Form design patterns – my notes

Written on 7 March 2019, 11:31pm

Tagged with: ,

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 vs “3 emails have been archived.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

Tagged with: ,

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

10 things that I liked in 2018

Written on 31 December 2018, 12:50pm

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

In the last day of the year, it’s time to look back at the year and highlight the things that enjoyed in 2018. For reference, here is the list from the last year.

1. Two books: Daemon and Freedom, by Daniel Suarez. Absolutely brilliant, I don’t know how I missed them for so many years. Here’s an excerpt:

The Code book from Simon Singh was probably the runner-up – a few months ago I ordered the printed version and read it again after 5 years.

2. My new notebook: Huawei Matebook x Pro. Say what you want about Huawei, but they came up with a brilliant device. Miles ahead of the premium-priced Macbooks, it fundamentally changed my workflow. Never been a tablet guy and probably never be, so the combination of an iPhone + an ultrabook like the Matebook works best for me.

3. WorkFlowy: an exponent of the makers (*) culture, WorkFlowy is a dead-simple, cross-platform note-taking app. The hierarchical structure of the notes makes it compatible with mind-mapping and I found myself using it in a variety of ways. For instance, I drafted the outline of this post in WorkFlowy. Others wrote books with it:

(*) the makers culture: Peter Levels https://levels.io/ https://makebook.io/
https://twitter.com/ajlkn https://carrd.co/

4. A place: the Austrian Alps in the summer time. I had the chance to spend about a week in the mountains. The combination of mountains, clean air, outdoor activities and clear blue sky is amazing. Just have a look:

5. Security. There were plenty of security things that I learned in 2018. Went to a few classroom training sessions (CISM, CISSP, TLS), passed some challenging certification exams, and realized that (IT) security is a fascinating domain with a lot of brilliant people.

The IT industry rocks (as one of the security guys that I follow said today), and on top of that, the security aspects make things much more interesting to watch.

6. Simona Halep: not only for finally winning her Grand Slam, but also for having the capacity to remain competitive for a long time: never dropped out of the top 10 for over 5 years and currently number 1 for more than a year (with a brief 4-weeks interruption). Well deserved and very inspirational.

Simona Halep, Roland Garros 2018, Simple Dames, Finale, Photo : Nicolas Gouhier / FFT

7. Two series: Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. I enjoyed watching Breaking Bad when it was released on Netflix, and found the Better Call Saul a very good continuation of the series. Now that Better Call Saul is over, I went back to re-watch Breaking Bad – it’s amazing how a few years and another prequel change the perspective.

https://breakingbad.fandom.com/wiki/Mike_Ehrmantraut

8. Jurgen Klopp. He joined Liverpool 3 years ago and built an amazing team around him. One can learn a lot about leadership just by listening to his interviews. Humble and determined, he’s a perfect fit for Liverpool and you can sense how everybody around the club loves him.

https://twitter.com/stuffIfc/status/1079432962062671873/photo/1

9. The iPhone X – because the dimensions are finally right, and, more importantly, because its camera allowed me to take some amazing photos throughout the year: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dorin_moise

10. Tesla Model S. Finally, I left this at the end because it offered me some very mixed feelings. As I said in a recent post, the car is really amazing and it offers an experience that you will not find anywhere else. But the quality of the support services is disappointing here in Belgium. I hope that things will improve, even though I’m not holding my breath.

Here’s for a brilliant 2019 and remember, in the end it’s all about getting better.