Sunday, July 29, 2007

In love with a hippo

I love reading and listening to Kathy Sierra, her blog and talks can teach anyone amazing stuff about user interface design and product-making in general. One important question that Kathy often asks is: What products are you passionate about?

I'm passionate about, it's a wonderful wonderful site, providing speedy almost-1-click downloading of all the apps one needs on a windows machine (firewall, anti-spyware, winamp, acrobat, open-office, firefox, opera, etc.)

Everything is organized in a non-nonsense interface, the Search on the top right works like a charm if you want to quickly find something, and the logo is insanely great.

Great work.

Passionate about websites? Applications? online Radio?
Write a comment and tell me about it. (I'm curious)

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

The forgotten art of the landing page

I was reading some article on an Israeli content site and noticed an ad for a well-known israeli artschool called "Camera Obscura". I usually don't click on such flashy banner ads - but sometimes I do, wondering what the following page looks like.

It took me a few minutes to realize that I have no idea how I got the image above - it looks like some basic install of DotNetNuke (a web content management system), and it has a mini-form inside that asks the user for details such as name, email, etc.

The surprising thing is - this form appears to be real - it's not a bug - the people at Camera Obscura, or the agency that sold them the flash ad - sent all users clicking on the banner to this irrelevant looking page with the mini-mini form inside that's titled (loose translation): "Schedule a meeting / Request more information".

My bet is, only a tiny fraction of the users actually went on and entered the requested information. Most of them probably wondered what this weird pop-up page is and closed it right away.

It should be common knowledge by now, that animated flashy banner are not enough by themselves - they can be impressive and stuff, but if they direct users to a weird-looking page that has nothing to do with the look & feel of the original banner and context - they accomplish nothing.

The ad agency also abused its responsibility - it sold an online ad that achieves almost nothing - it only confuses users and leaves little or no impact.

For more on landing pages try seth godin's post on the subject.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wii hacking

I just saw this video again in a post on n.e.r.d.

It's really great to see such lovely applications of hacking - the Wii remote connected to some usb thingie I presume and into a macbookpro and used as an input device for a sound/live video app using the Mac's internal iSight camera.

Great, inspiring stuff.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Love Adium

I love Adium, I really do. such simplicity in an IM clone, and it works just perfect with all my msn buddies. Files get transferred pretty fast, they actually get transferred which is good. Buddy-icons are shown, everything just works.

It has a marvelous sound and Icon scheme, great themes out-of-the-box, absolutely lovable.

I've been meaning to write a post about that for quite some time now - I'm really passionate about using Adium. It's really IM reborn for me.

So there.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

The interface of a cheeseburger

A nice post on the iA blog titled The interface of a cheeseburger".

(I could write a lengthy link description, but that would spoil the fun of clicking a huge cheeseburger link image and waiting to see what opens up.)

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hikikomori: or why I'm scared of leaving my room with my PC

There are some problem solving workflows that only come to mind when I encounter a problem that I haven't seen in a while. One example is the windows safemode -> change resolution -> restart in normal mode -> choose resolution again workflow that I often performed when moving a PC around between 2 different monitors.

But there's a catch, this workflow only works with windows versions before Windows 2000. If you're up-to-date, you'll have to think ahead before moving your PC between 2 different monitors.

I often move my PC at work between work rooms, and each room has some monitors already in place, but every time I do that, I suddenly remember that my relatively high resolution: (1280x1024 at 100 mhz on a 21" CRT monitor) just wont work on some new LCDs we got here.

One would expect that moving my PC between 2 monitors should be easy. Plug & Play and start working. But in fact, it's nothing but easy: It's impossible!

The old workflow of moving the PC to a new monitor, booting in Safe Mode and re-setting the screen resolution just doesn't work in Windows 2000 and up. When the user restarts back in Normal Mode, the old monitor resolution is selected again and my monitor refuses to display at 100 mhz once more - which makes the machine completly unusable!

I really tried everything I could think of to solve this problem without finding another 21" CRT just to lower my screen resolution - I even used Safe Mode to disable the display adapter device in the Device Manager, only to find out that when I start it back in Normal Mode after restart, The screen goes black again and resolution comes back to normal.

After giving up on all sorts of hacky workarounds, I ended up looking for another 21" CRT in the new work room, and finally found one only to use it for booting into Normal Mode and setting my resolution to 1024x768, making sure it's low enough for the new monitor.

Plug & Play is long considered dead in many areas such as Printer installation (more on that some other time), but is some ease of use, on such basic devices, really so much to ask?

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Mark Corelan

Mark Corelan is a graphic designer who specializes in on-screen UI design for film and television. Sadly there are no actual screenshots in his website but there's a fun show-reel to watch.

Great stuff. (I also mentioned him in shmentura.)

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Interesting technology stories

Low end mac is a long running mac website that features a serious of articles called Orchad. Orchad tells the stories behind many world-known technology projects and companies, mostly apple-related.

The articles are extremely well written and I can get carried a way and read a few of them instead of going back to work on my design work.

Great stuff.

I really enjoyed:
The NeXT Years
The Amiga Story
How Jean Louis Gassée Changed the Mac's Direction

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The people over at G'RAFFE have an insanely cool flash-based navigation on their site.
I usually really hate flash sites when it comes to online-portfolios, but the mouse hover sound effects are heart warming. :)

I especially like frieda (amazingly funny, kissy?), and this typographic clip.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007


Prototyprally is an experimental flash games blog. It mainly includes quick prototypes of flash games. Interesting stuff.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Interface experiments, EmoChat

Great flash experiments over at Typorganism, I especially like the EmoType Chat which includes several animation effects according to special emotion icons use: ";) ;( ;0"...

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Quick links

Thing have been fairly quite here, mainly because of the heavy workload of the semester. It'll be over real soon so stay tuned for some user interface rants as usual.

In the mean time, some quick links:

Over at, Khoi Vinh talks about a surprisingly nice feature in Apple's address book application.

Rich Ziade, of writes about Framing Software: communicating specific workflows by actually turning features off. And it's especially interesting that someone is talking about taking features off of 37signals' applications.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Inspiring tactile interfaces

Demos of tactile interfaces are always very inspiring. They often present stuff like futuristic new input methods and some creative software that goes along.

Stuff like Jeff Han's demonstration at TED or the TactaPad really makes you drool over your browser. But I think that even smaller input method innovations are inspiring as well. When I heard about 3DConnexions' devices for the first time I was really excited. I even thought about the possibilities of trying to build something similar with a 2nd trackball mouse connected to my PC.

I think my general point is that even slight innovations in existing input methods can seed the creations of new applications. Even more moderate stuff as the MacBook Pro's multitouch touch pad (1 finger for pointing the cursor, 2 fingers for scrolling) can enable, for example, 3 fingers 3d panning (in ZBrush perhaps?), etc.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Great flash sites

Mathieu Badimon creates some great flash websites.

These include some vector manipulation games at the 'lab' and some great windowish interface at communicationresponsable

[via computerlove]

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

The horrors of functionality restrictions

About a year ago, my girlfriend bought an Epson CX3500 printer. It caused many problems almost from day one: The ink would ran out too quickly, less expensive re-fill ink wouldn't work right, the expensive ink wouldn't work well as well and so forth.

One particularly annoying behavior was the printer's refusal to print grayscale / black & white documents when it's color cartridges are empty.

Each time I hear about this problem I just go nuts. It makes me want to throw the printer out to the street and buy another one. It's just completely incomprehensible to me that the developers/designers at Epson thought this can be considered as a reasonable behavior.

The printer's entire goal in life is to print documents. It's not an online ink shopping website. It's not an ink commercial. It should never refuse to print my documents unless it absolutely can't. It should have no problem printing b/w documents if it has Black ink.

I have an HP psc at home. I really disliked hp printers before but this one has just been great to me. This hp also has a similar problem, but it's less of a pain: it refuses to print anything if one of the cartridges is missing, but it will print a b/w document even if the color cartridge is empty.

Someone at Epson thought it's reasonable to ask users to buy color printer cartridges to print black and white documents. That someone is obviously wrong. Products should empower users, not restrict them.

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