The Menu Bar Podcast – Beauty in Accidents

Design / Podcast

Rob Sheridan is the guest on episode 24 of The Menu Bar. If you are not familiar with Zac Cichy, he focuses on technology with an occasional transition to culture: music, film, religion, etc. This episode stands out because Rob describes purposefully designing the wrong way while working for Nine Inch Nails. He tells stories of ignoring industry experts, purposefully degrading his work, and using carefully considered mistakes to establish a brand.

While designing a new interface I sometimes wonder if I’m obsessing over perfect alignment, grids, and symmetry resulting in a bland aesthetic. Perhaps we should include an iteration or two that leans in the wrong direction.

Horizontal Scrolling on the Web

Apple / Design / Web

Left to right scrolling has always been considered a designer’s valiant effort to be different with little recognition or acceptance from users. It became somewhat achievable when the Mighty Mouse was released with its 360 degree scrolling nubbin. Even then, horizontal scrolling was frustrating and unnecessary. Little changed with the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad which made it even easier to scroll in any direction. The bigger issue is not knowing there is content to scroll to.

Side note: I desperately wanted a Kensington Expert Mouse when I was a young lad using a Performa 6300.

Apple famously hijacked vertically scrolling in 2013 when the Mac Pro was announced. Even with the distractingly beautiful photos it’s a frustrating experience.

And now we’re here. Apple’s designers solved the issue of not knowing there’s content on the right by automatically scrolling from right to left when you vertically scroll.

Notice how the vertical scroll bar on the right side of the screen moves downward as you scroll horizontally. This feels unusual especially when you reach the end of the content and the interface switches to vertically scrolling. When you scroll back up the page the interface does the opposite: vertical scrolling switches to horizontal scrolling.

I applaud Apple for finding a new way to hijack scrolling, and continuing to push boundaries. The large type and animations are beautiful as usual, but I find the experience overall to still be frustrating. We are simply not trained to maintain spatial awareness in a horizontal space.

Hello There


I’ve been itching for years to post thoughts about what I observe in the world: interfaces, structures, products, experiences, etc. A few years ago an acquaintance thought of  “Freshly Ground Design” while I was describing my passion for design and coffee. I quickly updated my website to include this delightful moniker.

It’s time to expand on that name into its own presence. I want you to see what I see, and to appreciate the small touches a designer painstakingly considered.