5by5 - The B&B Podcast #80: Tips and Tricks: OmniFocus
Native applications are a remnant of the Jurassic period of computer history. We will look back on these past 10 years as the time we finally grew out of our desktop mindset and started down the path of writing apps for an infinite number of platforms. As the cost of computation and connectivity plummets, manufacturers are going to put ‘interactivity’ into every device. Some of this will be trivial: my power adaptor knows it’s charging history. Some of it will be control related: my television will be grand central for my smart home. But at it’s heart, we’ll be swimming in world where every device will have ‘an app’. What will it take for us to get here, what technologies will it take to make this happen?
We all know the eensey-weensey spider went down the water spout. But for a lot of us, that’s about all we know about spiders. They’re around. They spin webs. They have a lot of legs and make some people shriek.
A big new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History goes way on in to the spider story, with the fishing spider and the golden orb-web spider and the goliath bird eater spider – a spider as big as your hand. It’s got the story of spider venom and spider silk – stronger than steel! – and why we need spiders.
Context is an important consideration in designing a mobile experience. As new devices enter the market, designers have to contend with new form factors and consider things such as ergonomics. Even things such as Apple’s retina displays affect approaches to design.
Luke Wroblewski, author of Mobile First, is at the forefront of mobile design. He says that designers need to make sure their designs are fluid and flexible. Starting with a fluid grid at a foundational level ensures that your design can adapt to a variety of viewports.
In addition, Luke says you want to take multiple screen resolutions into account. Instead of relying on images, he suggests employing cascading style sheets and SVG. This will make sure that graphics scale appropriately to different sizes and devices.
Luke explores this topic further with Jared Spool in this podcast. He is also is presenting one of the daylong workshops at the User Interface 17 conference in Boston, November 5-7. Learn more about the Luke’s and the other workshops at uiconf.com.
In the early days of CSS the web industry cut its teeth on blogs and small personal sites. Much of the methodology still considered best-practise today originated from the experiences of developers working alone, often on a single small style sheet, with few of the constraints that come from working with large distributed teams on large continually changing web projects.
The mechanics of CSS are relatively simple. But creating large maintainable systems with it is still an unsolved problem. For larger sites, CSS is a difficult and complex component of the codebase to manage and maintain. It’s difficult to document patterns, and it’s difficult for developers unfamiliar with the code to contribute safely.
How can we do better? What are the CSS best practises that are letting us down and that we must shake off? How can we take a more precise, structured, engineering-driven approach to writing CSS to keep it bug-free, performant, and most importantly, maintainable?
5BY5 - The Web Ahead #18: CSS with Eric Meyer
Welcome to the world of atoms. Remember when the mantra was that bits were more important than atoms? That we could dispense with physical things because information was all that mattered? Well, that was nonsense then and it is nonsense now.
The human body is part of the physical world. It savors touch and feeling, movement and action. How else to explain the popularity of physical devices, of games that require gestures, and full-body movement?
Want to develop for this new world? There are new rules for interacting with the world, new rules for the developers of systems. But the new rules still follow the old principles. Let’s not throw away the old lessons of interaction. In fact, these become even more important than ever before. And yes, there are some new things to learn as well, new technologies to master, new words to learn.
Today the need is for complex, rich, emotionally satisfying things. It is no longer just about function and service. Those are still important, but they are taken for granted. Today we must add convenience and comfort, fun and excitement, pleasure. We needed to develop applications that both delivered real value but also was high in emotional value, experience, and engagement.
Dr. Don Norman is the author or co-author of fourteen books, with translations into sixteen languages, including: The Design of Everyday Things, Things That Make Us Smart, and The Invisible Computer. Business Week has called this the bible of the ‘post PC’ thinking. His latest book, Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things marks the transition from usability to aesthetics, but with the emphasis on a well-rounded, cohesive product that looks good, works well, and gives pride to the owner. The well-rounded product, says Don, will enhance the heart as well as the mind, being a joy to behold, to use, and to own.
Addiction or devotion? The complexity of our relationships between connected experiences, devices and people is increasing. Stanley Kubrick once said a film “should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what‛s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later”.
Design ethnographer Kelly Goto presents underlying emotional indicators that reveal surprising attachments to brands, products, services and devices. Gain insight on designing user experiences that map to people‛s real needs and desires.
As an evangelist for ‘design ethnography’, Kelly Goto is dedicated to understanding how real people integrate products and services into their daily lives. Goto is Principal of gotomedia, LLC, a global leader in research-driven, people-friendly interface design for web, mobile and product solutions for clients including Seiko Epson Japan, Adobe, NetIQ, WebEx and CNET. Her book, Web Redesign 2.0: Workflow That Works, is a standard for user-centered design principles. Goto is also the editor of gotomobile.com, a leading online publication on mobile user experience and serves on the national board of the AIGA Center for Brand Experience.
We will always debate: the quality of the paper, the pixel density of the display; the cloth used on covers, the interface for highlighting; location by page, location by paragraph.
This is not what matters. Surface is secondary.
What are the core systems comprising the future book? What are the tools that need to be built?
As designers we will need to provide the scaffolding for these systems. The interfaces for these tools. Not just as surface, but holistically—understanding the shifting of emotional space, the import of the artifact, the evocation of a souvenir, digitally.
How will we surface the myriad data just below the words of digital books in organic, clean and deliberately designed ways? How will we shape the future book?
Craig Mod is a writer, designer and publisher concerned with the future of books, publishing, and storytelling. He lives in a tiny Bay Area village in the California full of dreamers, endless yogurt, and trees that let loose money when shaken just so. His writing appears mainly on his website, but has also appeared in the New Scientist, The New York Times, and A List Apart. He works as a designer for Flipboard.
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