Category Archives: Art/Design

The Rise of the UX Expert

User Experience

Hot on the heels of the New York Times article last week, we have this computerworld article about the rise in demand and salaries for UX experts. The article talks about all the usual suspects: Apple, mobile, designer/developer hybrids, the difficulty finding and hiring such folks, and—oddly enough—all the perks that are supposedly being lavished on UX designers. Sounds great, where do I sign up?

Seriously though, it warms my heart to hear such talk. Designers of all type have long been under-appreciated by corporate America. Here’s to hoping that all of this leads not only to more and better employment for designers but also to better products for businesses and consumers.

Design Trends: Nouveau Vintage

Scary Noises vintage logoI can’t resist the trend in design right now. You know the one I’m talking about—everything looks like it’s 1911 all over again. Technically, there are more geometric and grotesque typefaces, more of an emphasis on lettering (and type that looks like lettering), and lots of monochromatic design. I’ve temporarily ditched my site logo mark (the exclamation point with sound waves emanating) and just gone with the flow for now. Trends come and go but when one swells up that you happen to personally dig, you have to jump in before the wave is over.

What’s the significance of 1981? That’s not when I started this blog (that was 2004); it’s when I designed my first apps.

New York Times: Design more important than Technology

Nike fuel band leads with design

Bits, the New York Times’ technology blog, ran a post today claiming that design is now more important than engineering or technology. I can’t say I was sad to see this article in the New York Times. Of course, the situation is more complex than represented—without tech the design is only an idea—but this is yet another confirmation that design is finally being recognized as being a major (and sometimes the) differentiator in modern products and services.

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet

Just ran into this essay (again) from Douglas Adams (late author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) and had to share it. Great quotes about interactivity:

…but the reason we suddenly need such a word [“Interactivity”] is that during this century we have for the first time been dominated by non-interactive forms of entertainment: cinema, radio, recorded music and television. Before they came along all entertainment was interactive: theatre, music, sport – the performers and audience were there together, and even a respectfully silent audience exerted a powerful shaping presence on the unfolding of whatever drama they were there for. We didn’t need a special word for interactivity in the same way that we don’t (yet) need a special word for people with only one head.

I expect that history will show ‘normal’ mainstream twentieth century media to be the aberration in all this. ‘Please, miss, you mean they could only just sit there and watch? They couldn’t do anything? Didn’t everybody feel terribly isolated or alienated or ignored?’

‘Yes, child, that’s why they all went mad. Before the Restoration.’

‘What was the Restoration again, please, miss?’

‘The end of the twentieth century, child. When we started to get interactivity back.’

Because the Internet is so new we still don’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that’s what we’re used to.

I think this push/pull balance that the Internet has partly enabled is an explosion off the vector that having the choice of channels on the television and the radio gave us. Multiplied by a billion. The interesting thing for me is that interactivity is not a boolean; there are many levels of interactivity that are appropriate for different situations. It’s ok to clap and cheer at concerts, for example, but if twenty thousand people storm the stage, the riot gear comes out and the show’s over.

DNA/How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet

Design Police | Bring bad design to justice.

DesignPoliceThis is great — Chris Bernard passed this on.  It’s a “Visual Enforcement Kit” that you can use to tag bad design–ideally at work with wayward coworkers and not on public signage at stripmalls or something. My favorites are “Legible from space” (although that’s rarely a problem on the web) and “Comic Sans is illegal”. This is really focused on typography and print layout so it would be great to see a ‘Visual Enforcement Kit” for rich application design with terms like “Stupid default”, “No modal dialogs”, “Don’t waste the user’s time”.

Design Police | Bring bad design to justice.


Registration is now open for the designertopia conference being held in the UK Feb. 1st-2nd of next year. In addition to the expected presentation of Microsoft’s new offerings in this arena, there are some interesting sessions listed such as this one:

Young designers integrate technology into everyday objects with humorous, subversive or playful effect. Examples include the “OCD Lightswitch” which displays the number of times the switch has been turned on in its lifetime; a digitally controlled paint-roller that paints pre-designed murals on walls; a SMS projector that allows you to beam SMS messages from your mobile onto the sides of buildings. Marcus Fairs, a leading figure in architecture and design journalism and author of the best-selling book, Twenty-First Century Design, gives you a colorful introduction into this new design movement.

I’m speaking and attending as well…

Link to designertopia

Fireworks XAML Exporter

Infragistics has put together a Fireworks panel that allows exporting to XAML for those of us more used to Fireworks than Photoshop or Illustrator. (Hey, it’s called “PHOTOshop” for a reason and I rarely need to edit photos…)
Now there are several choices for those looking to create XAML graphics for use in WPF or metro. See the complete list on Mike Swanson’s blog for details and links.