Our bookmarks on this topic are also at pinboard.in/u:unison/t:design/
From A List Apart: A style guide, also referred to as a pattern library, is a living document that details the front-end code for all the elements and modules of a website or application. It also documents the site’s visual language, from header styles to color palettes. In short, a proper style guide is a one-stop guide that the entire team can reference when considering site changes and iterations. Susan Robertson shows us how to build and maintain a style guide that helps everyone from product owners and producers to designers and developers keep an ever-changing site on brand and on target.
From Ed Catmull in Fast Company: A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms. Our decision making is better when we draw on the collective knowledge and unvarnished opinions of the group. Candor is the key to collaborating effectively. Lack of candor leads to dysfunctional environments. So how can a manager ensure that his or her working group, department, or company embraces candor? By putting mechanisms in place that explicitly say it is valuable. One of Pixar’s key mechanisms is the Braintrust, which we rely on to push us toward excellence and to root out mediocrity. It is our primary delivery system for straight talk. The Braintrust meets every few months or so to assess each movie we’re making. Its premise is simple: Put smart, passionate people in a room together, charge them with identifying and solving problems, and encourage them to be candid. The Braintrust is not foolproof, but when we get it right, the results are phenomenal.
From Fast Company: Long dominant in online search, advertising and maps, Google has shifted gears from utility to beauty and is now more fearsome than ever. “In all of these efforts, Google’s aesthetic aim is clear: To disappear. The most beautiful Google experience is the one you never notice.”
From Typographica: This year marks another step in the typographic diversification we observed in our previous annual. The global spread of independent font makers and the variety of new ideas in type design continues unabated. As evidence of that diversity, the 53 typefaces selected from 2013 were created by designers from at least 20 countries
AIGA, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, is celebrating its centennial year in 2014. 100 Years of Design, a microsite made by interactive studio Second Story (part of SapientNitro) launched on January 21st, AIGA’s 100th birthday. The site highlights the intersections of design and society through exemplary works from the AIGA Design Archives, interviews with living masters, quotes from leading designers and significant moments from the organization’s history. Together, these elements form a narrative about the impact of design; how it connects, delights, influences and assists us.
NY Times designers have streamlined online article pages and created a more responsive interface with faster load times. So navigating between stories is easier and finding more content that appeals to you is just a click, swipe or tap away.
From NY Times: Like many designers, Eric Rodenbeck has had a long relationship with bar graphs and pie charts. He just thinks they are a little old school for today’s data-filled world.
Mr. Rodenbeck has experimented with animation, three-dimensional maps that show the height of buildings by color changes and a representation of how photos spread on Facebook that looks like ice crystals forming on a car window. He’s even tried to characterize in a graphic how people were communicating in back channels at business conferences, with the biggest talkers at the center of a series of circles. He is, in short, trying to rethink how data is presented.
From John McWade: Normally we think that we are better at solving problems when they are presented clearly and simply. But at Princeton the opposite happened, according to Malcolm Gladwell. A 10 percent gray, 10-point italics Myriad Pro font makes reading really frustrating. You have to squint a little bit and maybe read the sentence twice, and you probably wonder halfway through who on earth thought it was a good idea to print out the test this way. Suddenly you have to work to read the question. Yet all that extra effort pays off. As Alter says, making the questions ‘disfluent’ causes people to ‘think more deeply about whatever they come across. They’ll use more resources on it. They’ll process more deeply or think more carefully about what’s going on. If they have to overcome a hurdle, they’ll overcome it better when you force them to think a little harder.’ Alter and Oppenheimer made the CRT more difficult. But that difficulty turned out to be desirable.