This is a rare treat. Mags Hanley talks about two things that you don’t hear about often at the moment - a passion for deep IA (controlled vocabularies, content models etc) and her love for managing UX people (not leading them, managing them - as in developing their skills and appraising them). In a world of copycat podcasts, this stands out…
Steven Pinker discusses the interplay of language and the mind and how psychological processes have shaped the English language.
The best stuff is about using Google’s enormous database of word-from-books to track how language evolves over time, in particular the gradual erosion of irregular forms in English (keep/kept and drive/drove) in favour of their regular counterparts (beep/beeped and jive/jived).
Which you WILL want to follow up with a visit to Google Ngrams - http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/ - essentially Google Trends but with all written words in the English language for the last 1,000 years (instead of all search terms in the last ten years).
Snappy but brilliant analysis of what design really is.
"If you follow the normal way of looking at things, you end up with, usually, repeat solutions, but if you look in here, in the bits where there aren’t solutions, you can find things that are disproportionately wonderful. If you can solve problems that people don’t even realise they’ve got, if you can bring joy where there isn’t any at the moment, then you can have a major effect. That’s how you add value."
Great insights for people working in client services from Mike Monteiro, co-founder of Mule Design. The whole thing is gold, but here are some of my highlights…
Only take on projects if the problem they are solving is central to your client’s business. Otherwise the project could change or become less important and you end up working on something you didn’t agree to.
It’s better to turn down great projects because you’re too small than to be so big that you have to do work you don’t want to do, just to keep the money coming in.
There is enormous value in acumulating experience in how to provide client services. Specifically that most client interactions have happened to Mike at least once before in his life, which makes it easier to find the right answers when they happen again.
But my favourite part is at the end, where he attacks designers who spend their time "cranking out beautifully layered Photoshop files that have absolutely nothing to do with this person’s business goals". Nailed.
Solid gold advice from David Rivers on how to approach visual design for web applications. This is not visual design as in making things pretty - it’s visual design as in proper problem solving.
Even just listening to the first couple of minutes gives you his 9 principles - Using The Stage; Attention Grabbers; Consistency; Interaction Planes; Borders, Boxes and Alignment; Fonts; Colour, Lighting and Branding; Affordances; Mocking Up With Real Data.
But he goes on to talk about other aspects, including my favourite stuff which was about designing data views for web apps - combining columns, using up to five shades of grey to differentiate, avoiding alternating row colours. And best of all, he points out that the ‘visited link’ state makes almost no sense in a web app. (As opposed to an information-rich website, where it’s vital). I can safely say that no-one’s mentioned that crucial distinction to me before!