Random links #13

Written on 19 March 2019, 10:20am

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Biohack is just a fancy buzz-word for common-sense advice about improving your life. The most important ones are:

  • sleep well
  • eat well
  • move
  • spend time in nature
  • socialize

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I am currently reading Solenoid, by Mircea Cartarescu, a surrealist novel that shows, among others, the challenges of growing up in Bucharest during the communist era.

In a nutshell, the novel is presented as a manuscript of a failed writer who teaches Romanian at an elementary school in Bucharest, hates his job and wishes to find an escape route from the confinement of his body and the three-dimensional world around it.

https://theuntranslated.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/solenoid-solenoide-solenoid-by-mircea-cartarescu/

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MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) seem to be the faulty mechanism behind the Boeing 737 Max recent failure.
If an outside sensor measuring the angle-of-attack reports that its nose is aimed too high, the MCAS is programmed to automatically lower it, allowing the plane to regain speed and lift. But if this sensor is broken (and it looks like there was no redundancy), then the MCAS will be incorrectly trigerred, causing the aircraft to dive.
A longer explanation here.

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– If you could convince an organization to take only one action to be more secure what would it be?
Collect less data and get rid of it faster.

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A good reason to use the dark theme whenever you can

Form design patterns – my notes

Written on 7 March 2019, 11:31pm

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Here are some notes relevant to me after reading the Form Design Patterns:

  • The inclusive design principles are about putting the user first
  • (in the context of a registration form): Nobody wants to sign up to your service — they just want to access whatever it is you offer, or the promise of a faster experience next time they visit.
  • Related: Nobody wants to log in to your site. They’re forced to as a security measure.
  • God help you if that video auto plays and wakes up my kid: I will find you.8 things parenting taught me about accessibility
  • One thing per page. Enough said.
  • Interactive things have perceived affordances. Making a checkbox round is like labeling the Push side of a door PullCheckboxes are never round
  • Sometimes you need to work hard to make things simple for the users
  • The way you ask your users for dates depends on the type of date you’re asking for. No, this is not matrimonial advice, it’s about calendar dates:
    • dates from documents: keep the same format from the doc (credit card, ID date, etc)
    • memorable dates (like user birth date): let them type it
    • future date(s): use a date picker
  • Hicks Law: the time taken to make a decision increases as the number of choices expands.
  • Confirming vs undoing: “Are you sure you want to launch the nuclear missile?” vs “3 emails have been archived. Undo” It all depends on the context. Sometimes you want speed bumps on the road (request explicit confirmation), some other times you want to let users perform the action immediately, without any warning.
  • When you’re an online store, make sure your search function can search everything. Not only products, but also the return policy
  • Don’t employ infinite scroll by default (‘show more’ link instead) and don’t break the back button
  • AJAX is not necessarily faster (it will only render when 100% of the page is ready)
  • <input type=”file” capture=”user|environment”> only works on mobile devices and opens up the front or the rear camera.
  • When working with long forms it’s better to check before you start (to make sure you don’t waste your users time) or to break the long processes into smaller tasks and show completion progress (the task list pattern)
Sunny – rainbow – cloudy

Refactoring UI book – my notes

Written on 19 February 2019, 11:49am

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For some reason, I still prefer the paper version…

Here are some notes relevant to me after reading the Refactoring UI book:

  • border radius: large=playful, no radius=formal. Just be consistent, not like Dropbox
  • you can highlight an element by de-emphasizing the others
  • sometimes the labels are not needed… but some other times they are mandatory. Just use your common sense. Also, make sure there is no confusion about which label belongs to which value
  • differentiate between primary vs secondary (or tertiary) actions
  • stick to 45-75 characters per line if you want to play it safe
  • line height and font size are inversely proportional
  • if some paragraph is longer than 2-3 lines, it will look better left-aligned
  • always right-align numbers
  • don’t rely on color alone: use the contrast, or even better, add patterns
  • try to emulate a light source when working with non-flat interfaces
  • don’t scale up small icons, just re-draw them completely to add more details. Conversely, don’t scale down big icons, just re-draw them (ex. draw a separate logo and scale it down to obtain the favicon)
  • don’t simply copy/paste screenshots: either paste screenshot from phone/tablet mode, zoom-in to the relevant section, or use a generic UI
  • lists don’t necessarily mean bullet points: can be check-marks or locks
  • re-think drop-downs, tables and radio buttons

I was surprised by the amount of useful information I learned in what felt like a couple of hours read. This is more than a simple book that you close and put away after you’re done reading it; it’s something that you might come back to from time to time for inspiration when you work on your next design project.

Notes made with workflowy