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Should Web Apps Behave More Like UNIX Programs?

Recently, through various discussions about the nature of the web and web applications I came up with an intriguing (to me at least ...) idea: Web apps should behave like UNIX command-line tools. Please hear me out and let me elaborate. Probably the most widespread pattern in modern web app development is that of single-page applications (SPAs). Though that particular term isn't used as abundantly anymore as it used to be a few years ago the design pattern it promoted still persists: Web apps ... Read more

Why motion matters in UI design

UI designer Craig Dehner wrote this interesting article about why he thinks motion design is the future. I wouldn't necessarily use such grandiose terms but essentially I agree: Motion design might not be THE future but it'll certainly play a vital role in current and future user interfaces. It took operating systems and browsers some time to be able to display smooth, seemingly natural animation (using CSS3 animations in the latter case). Now that animation is a staple of modern UI frameworks and ... Read more

Varying Degrees Of Software Quality And What To Do About It

When working on client projects I come across copious amounts of source code, which sometimes is very well-maintained, sometimes less so. The various code bases are as diverse as their owners and respective stakeholders: A few come with an inherent sense of quality, lots of unit tests serving as the specification for the product. They're typically delightful to maintain and extend. Some though at times leave the impression of having been cobbled together in a rather haphazard, impromptu manner in order to solve ... Read more

Tracking Down Software Bugs, Automatically!

Last week MIT researchers published an article about an automatic bug-repair system called Prophet. Prophet is a machine-learning system that learns general properties and patterns of successful error corrections in software and applies those patterns to making new error corrections in other programs. While the possibility of having software track down and fix bugs automatically (which effectively would mean creating self-correcting computer programs) is exciting enough in its own right, Prophet possibly has far-reaching implications for verifying the general correctness of code ... Read more

Zoltan Kollin: Misused mobile UX patterns

Zoltan Kollin, UX designer, co-organizer of the Amuse UX Conference and co-author of UX Myths (another highly recommendable collection of user experience tips and guidelines) recently wrote a post about misused mobile UX patterns. We've seen it all on the mobile platform of our choice: icons whose meaning is hard to guess the dreaded hamburger menu and hidden screens inconsistent gestures and features that are hidden behind them Zoltan mentions those and a few more bad practices, explains why they're bad and gives examples of better ... Read more

Toby Shapshak: You don’t need an app for that

In a 2013 TED talk South African writer Toby Shapshak talks about innovation out of necessity and how entrepreneurs in Africa are solving real-world problems for both their own continent and the world as a whole: Read more

Christian Heilmann – Advancing the web without breaking it?

Web development today is characterized by a constant, rapid flow of new frameworks, CSS preprocessors, task runners, package managers, asset pipelines ... Angular, Ember.js, Backbone, React, Flux, Grunt, Gulp. Every week or so it seems there's a new JavaScript framework that does everything better than everything else before. We need to jump ship ever more frequently if we want to keep up and stay on the bleeding edge. There's constant bickering about which framework is better and which framework du jour ... Read more

Petro Salema – Designing Interfaces That Think @ beyond tellerrand Düssedorf 2015

Earlier this year at beyond tellerrand Düsseldorf 2015 I had the privilege to attend a talk by Petro Salema. Petro shared his insights about today's limits in human computer interaction, attention span, mental bandwidth and how to address these issues. While the subject matter itself is interesting enough already I've never personally witnessed such rivetting storytelling before. He started his talk with a captivating story from his home country Tanzania about Bwakila, a machete-wielding madmen. This story nicely set the ground for the ... Read more

I don’t want an app for that

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame recently posted an article on why your phone interface is a legacy train wreck. He argues that the way we interact with our smartphones goes all the way back to the beginning of desktop computing. In spite of what Apple probably would have us believe - in spite of swiping, tapping and multitouch - we're still largely using our computing devices as if they were a 1987 IBM PC running Microsoft Word or Excel: When trying ... Read more

Apple, Google, Microsoft – What do they do best?

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently made some interesting points about what he thinks are the core strengths of Microsoft and its competitors Apple and Google. Though I can't really say I particularly like Microsoft products or would use them as a platform or tools for my own products there's some truth to these statements: "Whereas in our case our identity really is about empowering others to build products." "[ ... ] we want to be the tools provider, the platform provider [ ... ]" Google, ... Read more
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