A charming little game that got me to smile a lot for the duration of a well-spent hour.
A repository of styled and “styled” form control elements and markup patterns, and how they are announced by screen readers.
Kyle Wiens makes a great point:
[Dieter] Rams loves durable products that are environmentally friendly. That’s one of his 10 principles for good design: “Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment.” But Ive has never publicly discussed the dissonance between his inspiration and Apple’s disposable, glued-together products.
When a single broken key requires replacing a laptop’s entire top case, there is no denying that Apple has given too little consideration to the durability of its products.
I’m extremely curious to find out how (if?) Apple’s design philosophy will change with Ive gone.
What we know is that native and custom calendar controls are often a problem for users and applied where they are not needed. Before dropping the code on a screen as a matter of habit, consider if it genuinely helps the user or just your workflow.
Thanks Todd Vaziri for tweeting about this great Roger Ebert quote that I had forgotten about:
Movies are the most powerful empathy machine in all the arts. When I go to a great movie I can live somebody else’s life for a while. I can walk in somebody else’s shoes. I can see what it feels like to be a member of a different gender, a different race, a different economic class, to live in a different time, to have a different belief.
An open-source community effort to map support for web accessibility features across different Assistive Technologies. It’s still early days, but I hope this flourishes — accessibility interop is a complex topic in dire need of de-mystification.
Zeynep Tufekci is worried about what ownership means for always-connected products:
Today, we may think we own things because we paid for them and brought them home, but as long as they run software or have digital connectivity, the sellers continue to have control over the product. We are renters of our own objects, there by the grace of the true owner.
I worry about this a lot, maybe too much. Unless I don’t have a choice, I avoid any device that superflously requires an internet connection (or worse, a smartphone app) like the plague.
I just knew that as soon as I booted this game for the first time, I would fall down the rabbit hole and be completely transfixed. And so it happened. One of the most rewarding exploration games I have ever played.
I started off a bit disappointed, because this seemed like little more than a duller version of Patriot; the writing felt meandering, the humor more surface-level, never as witty or pithy. Turned out I was looking at it wrong: it’s more of a drama than I’d figured from the premise, with the comedy falling a bit further into the background than it does in Patriot. It’s its own thing, delicately balanced, and a few episodes in it really clicked.
Great interview. Frank Chimero is always thought-provoking:
Everyone has their lean years, but I think they make a poor compass. You can always work more. We need to disabuse ourselves of the thought that work is the solution to our problems, or that by keeping up we are getting closer to something worth having. Being more active is not being freer. I won’t romanticise those months on peanut butter and jelly as freedom, but I can confidently say that in retrospect the problems of that time were no better or worse than the ones I’ve experienced at the peak of my successes.
Heydon Pickering and Andy Bell have created a terrific resource for CSS layout patterns following algorithmic design principles.
We make many of our biggest mistakes as visual designers for the web by insisting on hard coding designs. We break browsers’ layout algorithms by applying fixed positions and dimensions to our content.
Instead, we should be deferential to the underlying algorithms that power CSS, and we should think in terms of algorithms as we extrapolate layouts based on these foundations. We need to be leveraging selector logic, harnessing flow and wrapping behavior, and using calculations to adapt layout to context.
This approach is precisely what I’ve been striving for ever since Jen Simmons’s Intrinsic Web Design talk from last year.
When I’m asked to describe design systems work, I say the word that springs immediately to mind is mapmaking. As designers like Matthew Ström and Alla Kholmatova have argued, every website has a design system underneath it. Take yours, for example: your website’s interface is built from a library of components, each shaped by a series of design decisions and business needs. Your design system may not be explicit—maybe you don’t have a polished pattern library, or a set of well-defined design principles, or maybe your documentation’s not as robust as you’d like it to be—but it’s still a system. And in order to improve that system, you have to research it before you can begin to gradually, slowly improve it.
Every additional ingredient should bring a contrast in flavor or texture: If the salad is primarily crunchy, add something soft. If it skews sweet, add something salty or bitter. If it’s on the rich side, use acid to nudge it back to equilibrium. And if what you’re about to throw in achieves none of that? Save it for something else.
Maciej Ceglowski writes about privacy and I want to quote the whole thing:
Ambient privacy is not a property of people, or of their data, but of the world around us. Just like you can’t drop out of the oil economy by refusing to drive a car, you can’t opt out of the surveillance economy by forswearing technology (and for many people, that choice is not an option). While there may be worthy reasons to take your life off the grid, the infrastructure will go up around you whether you use it or not.
Because our laws frame privacy as an individual right, we don’t have a mechanism for deciding whether we want to live in a surveillance society. Congress has remained silent on the matter, with both parties content to watch Silicon Valley make up its own rules. The large tech companies point to our willing use of their services as proof that people don’t really care about their privacy. But this is like arguing that inmates are happy to be in jail because they use the prison library. Confronted with the reality of a monitored world, people make the rational decision to make the best of it.
That is not consent.
One thing that is often forgotten about accessibility is that keeping things simple and utilising semantic HTML gets you most of the way towards providing a fully accessible experience for everyone.
Suggesting that users changing ecosystems is a sufficient antidote to Apple’s behavior is like suggesting that users subject to a hospital monopoly in their city should simply move elsewhere; asking a third party to remedy anticompetitive behavior by incurring massive inconvenience with zero immediate gain is just as problematic as making up market definitions to achieve a desired result.