Facebook Paper

Design / iOS

I was a huge fan of Facebook Paper. I knew when Facebook acquired PushPopPress that Mike Matas and team were going to build something amazing.

Facebook Paper launched in 2014 and I recall the overall reaction to be simultaneously “wow!” and “what?” Reflecting now it’s clear that Paper was an inspirational yet unusual attempt to combine Facebook with periodicals. You were able to follow publications and topics, and then swipe between your Facebook feed and these other sections. I consistently used Paper to browse my feed, and, more importantly, communicate with friends using instant messaging after Facebook removed messaging functionality from the main app.

Tilting through full-screen photos using the phone’s accelerometer was cool, but my friends don’t usually share gorgeous photos on Facebook. The assumption that people carefully edit photos after shooting with fancy cameras was also a misstep with Facebook Home.

As an interface designer I was floored by the details: the animations were perfect, the swipe gestures were fun, the onboarding tutorial was clear, and the primary interaction was horizontal instead of vertical. For right-handed users this was a very pleasing interaction (although Instagram recently tried a similar approach with less success). Paper pushed me and the rest of the now defunct startup I worked for at the time to get the details right.

I hope to one day build an app as beautiful and delightful as Facebook Paper.

Photowalk — Sausalito, California

Event / Photography

Photowalk — Sausalito, California:

Alas, it was time again for the San Francisco Unplashers to congregate and capture. This event was a bit more ambitious than the previous get-togethers and schmoozes. We decided to hop on the ferry at the Ferry Building and ride over to the quaint yet delightful town of Sausalito. But first, coffee at Blue Bottle for some pour overs and lattes.

I recently hosted another photowalk event for Unsplash. Read about it on Medium.

Essential Skills for Product Designers

Design / Essay

Essential Skills for Product Designers – Yellowstroke.com:

When you receive a new project, listen to your manager. Ask for requirements, historical information, the definition of done, timelines, etc. When you show your designs, listen to your design team. Ask follow-up questions. Consider every piece of feedback even if you disagree with it. Try their suggestions. Make a few more iterations. When you show your prototypes, listen to your users. They will surprise you by interpreting interfaces in ways you did not expect. Ask why. Ask what they’re thinking. Ask what they expected.
When you hear concerns and clarifications, listen to your engineers. They need to solve problems you most likely didn’t consider. If they have a tough sprint they may need to find ways to simplify your proposal. Cooperation and compromise are key to building strong relationships.

Yours truly on Budi Tanrim’s fantastic design blog, Yellow Stroke.

Memobottle Notebook-Sized Water Bottles — Tools and Toys

Product

Memo

Memobottle Notebook-Sized Water Bottles — Tools and Toys:

I loved the medium-size Memobottle, and I carried it around at work for several months. The only problem was how often I was asked with a sarcastic tone, “What are you drinking?” People assumed it was vodka because of its flask-like shape. I eventually changed to a Yeti, but I was never in a fraternity. Now I drink water out of a glass like an adult. Sigh.

Craig Mod Pontificates About macOS Behaviour

Apple / Design / iOS

Each time I try to use iMovie my mental model for how an app should work is challenged: What *are* you, Sir? Be you a desktop app? Or be you an iOS app? Or be you some unholy hybrid, neither here nor there, using neither standard nor guessable UX patterns or keyboard shortcuts?

Where as using Keynote makes me feel like some perfect freestyle swimmer, able to glide effortlessly forward, running against few walls, expected functionality where I expect it, working as I anticipate it to work.

Let’s play: How do you save a movie in iMovie?

File … > Save? Nope. Doesn’t exist.

File … must be … > EXPORT? Nada.

OK … File … > Share?? … > File… ?

Really?

File > Share > File is how you get a movie out of iMovie onto your drive?

*places laptop in toilet*

I mean, I get the impulse to create parity between iOS and macOS … sort of. But, who is this helping? The iOS folks are going to open the app on iOS, and the folks on macOS are going to expect standard macOS patterns.

Craig makes excellent points about how some apps changed over time depending on how closely linked to iOS they became. Keynote continues to behave the way it did in the early 2000s when I was making fancy HCI presentations with three dimensional slide transitions.

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.