Don’t worry about the size of your headline font in week one.

February 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

Don’t worry about the size of your headline font in week one. You don’t need to nail that perfect shade of green in week two. You don’t need to move that “submit” button three pixels to the right in week three. Just get the stuff on the page for now. Then use it. Make sure it works. Later on you can adjust and perfect it.

From “Getting Real: Ignore Details Early On,” by 37 Signals. The whole essay is awesome.


People want more choices. / More choices make people sad.

February 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

“People will often want more information than they can actually process. Having more information makes people feel that they have more choices. Having more choices makes people feel in control. Feeling in control makes people feel they will survive better.”

Susan Weinschenk


“The more options there are, the easier it is to regret anything at all that is disappointing about the option that you chose.”

Barry Schwartz

Safe Streets for Everyone

October 24, 2008 § Leave a comment

“In Bogota, our goal was to make a city for all the children. The measure of a good city is one where a child on a tricycle or bicycle can safely go anywhere. If a city is good for children, it will be good for everybody else. Over the last 80 years we have been making cities much more for cars’ mobility than for children’s happiness.”

Former Bogotá Mayor Enrique Penalosa, via Streetsblog

My capstone project has slowly been taking shape over the past month, and at the moment I’m hoping to focus on the development of tools that will help urban planners conduct health impact assessments. I want to remember the quote above because it’s a good reminder of why I’m passionate about pursuing this project.

Newsflash: Making it Pink is Not Enough

September 13, 2008 § Leave a comment

The Ottawa Citizen recently posted a story about a developer in Texas who used some participatory design techniques to involve local women from the community in the creation of a new shopping center. I love that the final design is a mixed-use space that integrates more than just shopping and has a major focus on greenery instead of concrete.

Mr. Montesi added that Watters Creek was not any more expensive to build than other projects; it’s just that the money was allocated differently. For example, in response to the women who were consulted, more money was spent on landscaping than is typical for such a project, and less on making the buildings look impressive.

“They said: ‘We don’t much care about the buildings, we care about the landscaping.’”

All of which was a revelation to Mr. Montesi, who concluded that attracting a female shopper “definitely wasn’t about painting the buildings in pastels. It wasn’t about making the buildings look feminine, it was about making the place more friendly to the women who use it.”

via Ian via Brand Avenue

Indi Young on A List Apart

September 12, 2008 § Leave a comment

I am loving this new article in A List Apart, “Look at It Another Way,” written by Indi Young of Adaptive Path. It’s incredibly reflective of what we talk about every day in my master’s program.

Defining groups by their relationship to your product blinds you to the relationship they might have with products you haven’t thought of yet.

It’s awesome to see a piece like this, written by a UX rock star, on A List Apart (and it’s her second article here in the past year, no less), which is read by so many people who spend a great deal of their time at work getting their hands dirty with code. It reaffirms my belief that the web design industry as a whole is waking up to the need for solid interaction design that puts people first.

Bad Tools, Accessibility, and Playing to Writers’ Strengths

September 12, 2008 § Leave a comment

We could talk all day about why terrible tools are so prevalent. (In my experience, the reason why a terrible tool isn’t replaced is because someone senior paid $500,000 for it and sure as hell isn’t going to admit a mistake and scrap it.)

– From Accessibility in a Suit and Tie by Bruce Lawson, for Vitamin

So much of this article rang true for me in my experience as a university web designer. Although I was at a nonprofit, many of the issues related to getting buy-in from the top were the same.

I particularly appreciated what Bruce says about teaching CMS contributors to write their content in HTML. I think many people overlook the fact that HTML that has been created using web standards should make sense to any good writer — at its base, HTML just gives us a way to label the parts of our work (the main heading, the subheadings, the paragraphs, the figures/images, etc.), which we all learned to do in third grade or so. In my experience, writers don’t get fired for thinking explicitly about the structure and organization of their prose.

Swapping My Paperbacks

May 24, 2007 § 1 Comment

Last weekend I joined PaperBackSwap, a site where you can list books you’d be willing to send away to a loving home in exchange for credit toward a new (to you) book for yourself. I had heard about this before on my crush site Lifehacker, but it was the article about book-swapping websites in my newest issue of Bust that really got me thinking:

Who has room for a personal library in a studio apartment, or the deltoids to transport so much reading material with every change of address?

Swapping Lit, June/July issue

I’ll be moving in a few months, and although I’m not Thoreau-ish enough to get rid of the entire overflowing collection in my bookcase, I thought it was time to trade in a few things I’ll never read again instead of letting them sit on the shelves.

So far I’ve sent away four of the initial ten books I posted, which isn’t bad I think, considering that I just signed up. The problem now is that I’ve got four credits burning a hole in my Internet-pocket, and none of the books on my wish list are available. Ah well — this is a good exercise in patience, a virtue in short supply for me sometimes.

The verdict? PaperBackSwap seems pretty awesome if you want to get rid of some stuff and then have the used-bookstore experience of browsing for nothing in particular, but if you’re searching for a specific title, you might have to just pony up the cash at Amazon Marketplace or elsewhere.

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