Busting Major Myths Around elementary OS

Daniel Foré making the case for elementary OS (a Linux distro):

“elementary OS is for noobs or dumbs down their apps”

I think this stems from the idea that features require complexity. It’s a cultural belief in poor design. But we think that clear, easy-to-use apps are good for both new users and pros. Usability is for everyone and truly usable apps help, not hinder. Keyboard navigation is an example of something that is a priority both for pro users and users with special accessibility needs. An interface works best when it is transparent and empowers users to get things done.

I think Linux community need to pay more attention to usability, accessibility, and ease-of-use for their platforms. elementary OS have a pretty sweet HIG though, gotta love it.

Number 1 and 2

Steven Brykman:

But how intuitive is any of this? Ideally a mobile app shouldn’t require any instruction at all but should instead rely on established mobile interaction paradigms. Though device/platform specific, native interaction guidelines are rules we should all adhere to, particularly in the enterprise space. This is the common language of mobile. But if any interaction or functionality seems potentially confusing or ambiguous, better to err on the side of over-informing the user as to its correct usage or intent—via button labels, brief explanatory copy, help overlays, etc.

People comfortable using your app when it’s familiar to the construct of their mobile OS of choice. So don’t force them to change their habit.

Like a good joke, a user interface is good when you don’t have to explain it —I totally stole that sentence by the way.

Opinionated Software Design

From the old Sketch Tumblr blog:

Sketch helps you by always saving as sRGB, and if you strip away the color space to save a bit of space, it wouldn’t change the way your image is displayed in a web browser. As a web or mobile designer, this is what you would expect, and this is how Sketch works.

Opinionated software design.

Apple Music Android App

I'm gonna use this as an example of an app that honors their platform OS way of doing things, please don’t reinvent the wheels every time you make an app from scratch, it’s hard to design, prone to mistakes, stupid ones, overlooked edge cases, and so many things can go horribly wrong.

And most of all, your customers can and will be confused when they use your app, so you added a long and complex “onboarding” run to mitigate your earlier design choices, so yeah, messy and ugly. In business everyone loses when the customers loses.

The Apple Music Android app itself is still buggy though.

Positive Attitude Towards New Things

A 2012 interview of Shigeru Miyamoto on The Guardian:

Is there a difference between the kind of designer that started in art, like Miyamoto (who is ambidextrous – both Mario and Link were designed with his left-hand), to one who started in programming, I wonder?

“I don’t think there is a big difference,” he says. “Obviously people from artist or programmer backgrounds have to work together soon enough. So I think there are two key characteristics: a positive attitude towards new things, and someone who doesn’t easily give up in the face of problems or criticism. That’s what I look for in a new hire.”

There’s a part two of the interview, both are insightful.

P.S.: I got this link from Federico Vittici’s epic iOS 10 review.

“Design Technologist”

Jory Cunningham over at Prototypr:

Design Technologists bring a constructive pessimism to the design process. Designers can often be overly optimistic, or golden-path oriented. Often times a show-stopping potential exception is not identified until it is being built in Engineering and the design must be sent back to the proverbial, and literal, drawing board. Design Technologists will make sure that exceptions and engineering impact will be considered throughout the design process and the resultant design will be all the better for it.

I undertstand the role, it’s handy to frame how user interface design process have evolve, but I hate the title.

Digital Relief

Craig Mod:

Web projects often lack hard edges. They begin with clarity but end without. We want to close Hi.co with clarity. To properly bookend the website. Sometimes web projects exhaust themselves. Outlive themselves. Are allowed to stagnate, be forgotten. Resources dry up and then one day — poof — they’re gone. This has happened countless times, Geocities being one of the foremost examples. We don’t want this to happen with Hi.co.

At the same time we understand the moral duty we took on in creating Hi.co — in opening it up to submissions and user generated content. There was an implicit pact: You give us your stories about place, and we’ll give you a place to put your stories. This was not an ephemeral pact. Hi.co is not Snapchat.

We can’t call this age as “Information Age” if we do not think and do something about how we can preserve those information.

Coherence Loop

John Gruber:

Coherence in product design leads to coherence in product marketing. And vice versa: incoherence in product design leads to incoherence in product marketing. If the product isn’t logical and consistent throughout, how can it be marketed in a logical and consistent way?

Oh yeah, he’s talking about Apple Music, hopefully it’ll get revamped soon on WWDC. It’s kind of a mess as it stand today.