Archive for the 'Usability' Category

Pencil: Free GUI Prototyping in Firefox

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Pencil GUI prototyping in Firefox
Just stumbled across this nifty free (and open source!) tool: The Pencil Project. Pencil lets you sketch out your applications quickly and export them as PNG images. It offers, among other things, the standard operating systems widgets (currently WinXP and GTK, collection expandable) and is built upon XUL and SVG. Pencil runs as a lightweight 400k Firefox 3 extension, but can also be run as a stand-alone application.

TiltViewer – View Current Flickr Photos in 3D Space

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Flickr TiltViewer
TiltViewer by Felix Turner (who is also behind the excellent allows you to browse Flickr’s most interesting images in a 3D space. It’s designed to provide a fun, intuitive user experience. Images are pulled from Flickr’s Interestingness list.

Show The Plug, Not The Cable

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Show The Plug, Not The Cable37Signals get it right yet again, making a very good point about online shop usability: why do so many shops show the whole cable, when all you really need to see are the plugs? Show the plugs already!
This translates well to all the other web apps, too:

“Makes you wonder how often web apps miss the point and show people the cable instead of the plug: Showing a list of features when people want benefits. Telling facts when people want stories. […]”

TED Talk – “Simplicity Patterns” by John Maeda

Friday, September 21st, 2007

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The MIT Media Lab’s John Maeda lives at the intersection of technology and art — a place that can get very complicated. Here, he talks about paring down to basics, and how he creates clean, elegant art, websites and web tools. In his book Laws of Simplicity, he offers 10 rules and 3 keys for simple living and working —
but in this talk, he boils it down to one simply delightful way to be.

Entertaining tidbit for a Friday, eh? Have a great weekend.
(Thanks, swissmiss)

Elements of Design: Showcase of Everyday Solutions

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Elements of Design is a design showcase that I think is a lot more useful in an everyday work environment than most of the others. Why? Because instead of showing us complete designs, Elements of Design showcases solutions to common design problems in a quick and concise manner. Among that are things like comment forms, date pickers, search boxes, pullquotes and headlines. They seem like small elements but often they are those parts of a design that take up the most time. I get caught up on these details a lot, especially when I’m trying to achieve optimal usability.

While I’m at it, I’d like to (yet again) recommend Defensive Design, a book that, in my opinion, offers a great deal of insight and solutions for bullet-proof user guidance.

(Thanks for the tip, neck).

Apple’s New Animated OS

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

Core AnimationIf you’re anything like me, you eat up every update on new Apple products when they’re served. To those of you who checked out the new features that the next version of Mac OS X, Leopard, has to offer, I’m willing to bet the Core Animation tab on the Apple website was the least interesting. Well, it may actually be the most interesting bit.


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