The Obvious, the Easy, and the Possible

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Much of the tension in product development and interface design comes from trying to balance the obvious, the easy, and the possible. Figuring out which things go in which bucket is critical to fully understanding how to make something useful. Shouldn’t everything be obvious? Unless you’re making a product that just does one thing — like a… keep reading

What’s more important: An extra gig of RAM or 3D Touch?

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The hardware engineering and software coordination behind 3D Touch in the iPhone 6S is impressive. It’s such an Apple feature. Executed with exquisite diligence because they control the whole stack. Marvelous. But you know what, it’s not my favorite feature of the 6S. That honor belongs to the low-tech, behind-the-curve addition of an extra gigabyte… keep reading

Service sunsets aren’t the least bit pretty

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Software makers are obsessed with new. And of course we are, that’s our job: making more, newer, better! But as a lot, we’d be well-served to remember this affliction is generally not shared by our users and customers. Sure, some people love upgrading to the latest version the minute it lands. It’s also a lot… keep reading

A rallying cry for the Weird Wild Web

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This year, 2015, marked the 20th anniversary of the first time I stuck some HTML on a server and put it out for the world to see. (Sorry about that one, world.) Twenty years! Twenty years is a long time to do anything, especially in tech. Given how fast things churn, it’s rather unbelievable that… keep reading

Four Letter Words

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When collaborating with others — especially when designers and programmers are part of the mix — watch out for these dirty four letter words: Need Must Can’t Easy Just Only Fast They are especially dangerous when you string them together. How many times have you said or heard something like this: “We really need it. If we don’t we… keep reading

How we lost (and found) millions by not A/B testing

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By Noah Lorang, Mr. Data at Basecamp. We’ve always felt strongly that we should share our lessons in business and technology with the world, and that includes both our successes and our failures. We’ve written about some great successes: how we’ve improved support response time, sped up applications, and improved reliability. Today I want to… keep reading

Disruption is better when it’s other people’s jobs

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Many writers and publishers are freaking out after Apple opened Safari to ad blockers in iOS9. Ad blockers have been around for a long time, but the fear is that this is the move that will take the concept mainstream. That fear appears well justified. The App Store’s charts have been dominated by ad blockers… keep reading

Reminder: Design is still about words

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Click away from the pen tool… Put down your Pantone book… Stop rearranging your layers… Close your stock texture folder… Log out of your Dribbble… And god dammit, hug your copywriter… Designing for the web is still about words.

It’s OK not to use tools

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Recently I did a little side project to improve the website for a non-profit animal shelter in our town. The existing site was an outdated Microsoft FrontPage menagerie, so basically anything I did would be a big improvement. I spent around 20 minutes creating a simple design in HTML, and then several hours editing, rewriting,… keep reading