Topic: Design

Designing websites, apps, products and user interfaces.

« Back to topics

On Google Drive’s lowered pricing

Recently Google announced a price drop for their Google Drive offering. If you compare their new price to Dropbox, it’s a pretty decent offering.

For the same price as Dropbox users pay for 100 GBs, Google Drive users will get 1 TB of storage. That has got to be considered pretty good.

Now, too bad it’s really confusing what it means to have a Google Drive.

Language

I got into an ironic conversation the other day over the usefulness of having multiple languages in the world.

I am of the opinion that languages are redundant and they only exist for being the most usable mechanism we have invented for communication so far.

How to be great at building UI wireframes

As I tweaked some last bits of code and added a few comments here and there, I realized I was getting excited. This project I had been working on for the last few days was almost done. I was happy about the code I had written and started prepping for a code review. My co-workers had been asking how it’s going and wanted to give me feedback, so I pushed and deployed my changes to a staging server.

What immediately followed was a humbling experience. “What is this?”, “Why did we decide to do it this way?”, “Won’t this interfere with the rest of the product?”, “How about if we do X instead?”, “Arnor, what the hell have you been building?”

Mobile app design: Clutter free using 1% prominence.

By now, it’s no secret that making mobile products has a unique set of design challenges. All companies and individuals making mobile products struggle with this. Finding the right balance between power and ease of use on a 3″ – 4″ screen is hard.

It really all boils down to the natural rule of features:

More features => harder to understand, more useful.
Fewer features => easier to understand, less useful.

So if you just add more features, without applying careful thinking about the whole experience and especially the experience for new users, you’ll inevitably make a complicated product.

Diving into Facebook’s Timeline UI

A couple of months ago, Facebook started rolling out it’s Timeline feature. For those who don’t know, it’s a new form of a Facebook profile, which displays a user’s profile in a very different way, based on their entire life’s history. It’s a very dramatic thing and is a very impressive endeavor.

I signed up the very minute it was announced and have had it as my default profile, though it hasn’t been viewable by anybody but me for some time, it’s dust has now settled a bit and I’ve been trying to digest it and form an opinion.

The Timeline is so interesting in so many ways. In one regard it’s got a very inconsistent UI compared to the rest of Facebook and it introduces a lot of UI concepts and ideas that have not been known to websites in general before but on the other hand it’s also a very pretty beast.

Read on if you’re interested in diving (probably way too) deep into the Timeline

Designing User Interfaces for “Normies”

When I was working at a small web development shop in Iceland, we developed a lot of applications. Some of those applications were used by what you would consider the “older generation” and/or “normal users”. Working at a small company like that you need to wear many hats, so usually what would happen is that I would end up teaching the end users to use most of the applications I developed.

I really hated it and I’m guessing most developers do, however, I would also say that it taught me a lot at the same time. It would even be safe to say that it shaped how I see user interfaces today.

In this post I try to cover a few of the common patterns that I noticed among users with less computer understanding.

The problem with “Lorem Ipsum” and What You Can to Do Instead.

Usually when designers are designing both print and website layouts, banner ads and other user interfaces, they need to have some text copy to work with. Most of the time, the client or the company they are working for doesn’t have text copy prepared, so designers usually place so called “Lorem Ipsum” content into their designs.

Lorem Ipsum has been used for many decades as placeholder content in print layout designs. It’s based on latin, but is actually just gibberish and doesn’t have any meaning. It’s purpose is to divert the reader’s attention away from the text itself and onto the layout and the design. That seems very logical.

I like these fonts

Two fonts I like.

How to Draw an Equilateral Triangle in Photoshop CS5 (updated)

An equilateral triangle, in case you’ve forgotten, is a triangle composed of lines that are all of the same length.

For some reason I started thinking about those kinds of triangles the other day and wanted to create one, for use in a pattern or something.

I could have opted to just google for an image of one, but I wanted to draw one by hand. I started by creating a shape using the pen tool (p), but I found out quickly that it’s not intuitively easy.

New Vodafone in Iceland website launched

The Vodafone website in Iceland has just undergone a redesign. It was designed by the amazing web agency Kosmos & Kaos, which is also based in Iceland.

I’m very grateful to have been able to partake in the project. I helped with the CSS, initial HTML and most of the Javascript interactions on the website, and I’ve got to say I’m pretty proud of the work. That includes some nice CSS3 effects, a custom parallax slider, the modern dropdown menu etc.

Apple’s design inspired by Dieter Rams

Somebody tweeted this link out today: 1960s Braun Products Hold the Secrets to Apple’s Future. The title is link bait and inaccurate, but I found the article fascinating.

Jakob Nielsen on why the WSJ app gets bad reviews

Jakob Nielsen recently published this post, where he (and I guess his team) analyze why the Wall Street Journal mobile app gets such bad customer reviews.

It all stems from a horrible interface where the customers are led to believe that they need to pay separately for the monthly subscription to to the mobile app, when in fact it’s free for existing subscribers.

It Doesn’t Hurt to Make People Smile

I just received the monthly Dreamhost newsletter – the November 2010 edition, to be exact. As usually it made me smile. It starts out like this:

Previewing fonts using Google’s font directory

Now you can preview fonts in the Google font directory. This is exactly the kind of thing Google does incredibly well. It also gives you the CSS needed to make the font appear the way it does in the preview. Nice one Google. Font Preview – Google Font Directory.

What Makes a Great Webcast?

I’m a big fan of webcasts (video podcasts).  I have my favorites in various categories that I watch regularly. My viewing pattern is somewhat different from watching standard TV shows or something like that. I tend to have a show running in the background while I’m doing something else. In monitoring my own viewing pattern […]