Jeffrey Zeldman: “we need design that is faster and design that is slower”

Jeffrey Zeldman:

When I say  “we,” I mean our whole industry, when I say “our whole industry,” I mean design, and when I say “design,” I mean: web design and development; digital product design; digital user experience design; digital user interface design; digital interaction design; “mobile” design (which is the same thing as web design and development); graphic design as part of UX, UI, interactive, digital, and web design; publishing and editorial design; and other  design practices specifically empowered by the internet and digital technology and built largely around reading and interacting with words on screens.

A mouthful, isn’t it? Some people mean all the above when they say “UX.” I generally mean all the above when I say “design” and call myself a designer.

I exclude from the category, for this specific discussion, tactile, conversational, and passive design powered by the internet of things. Not because those practices are uninteresting or unimportant—on the contrary, they are fascinating, exciting, and fraught with critical ethical questions—but because they are not specifically screen- and reading-driven. And it’s our screen- and reading-driven design that needs a reset.

Our whole industry, as I’ve just defined it, needs design that is faster for people who are trying to get things done, for they are our customers and should not be burdened by our institutional surrenders. We need design that is slower for people who are trying to comprehend, for they are our only chance of saving the world.

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How can we tell which sites should be faster, and which should be slower? It’s easy. If the content is delivered for the good of the general public, the presentation must facilitate slow, careful reading. If it’s designed to promote our business or help a customer get an answer to her question, it must be designed for speed of relevancy.

Interesting points from Zeldman

Cheesy Zucchini Bread

Love cheesy bread? But want a healthier alternative that still tastes good? This cheesy zucchini bread is both healthy and tasty.

What you need:

  • 3 medium zucchinis
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes for taste
  • 2 teaspoons Freshly Chopped Parsley
  • Marinara, for dipping

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Using either a box grater or in a food processor, grate zucchini.
  3. Wring excess moisture out of zucchini.
  4. Place zucchini in a large bowl and add eggs, garlic, oregano, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, and cornstarch.
  5. Stir until completely combined.
  6. Transfer “dough” to prepared baking sheet and pat into a crust.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes until golden.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining 2 cups mozzarella, salt and pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and parsley and bake until cheese is melted for another 8 to 10 minutes.
  9. Slice and serve with marinara.

The #1 reason Facebook won’t ever change

Om Malik:

Google’s core DNA is search and engineering, though some would say engineering that is driven by the economics of search, which makes it hard for the company to see the world through any other lens. Apple’s lens is that of product, design, and experience. This allows it to make great phones and to put emphasis on privacy, but makes it hard for them to build data-informed services.

Facebook’s DNA is that of a social platform addicted to growth and engagement. At its very core, every policy, every decision, every strategy is based on growth (at any cost) and engagement (at any cost). More growth and more engagement means more data — which means the company can make more advertising dollars, which gives it a nosebleed valuation on the stock market, which in turn allows it to remain competitive and stay ahead of its rivals.

Why Can Everyone Spot Fake News But The Tech Companies?

Charlie Warzel, for BuzzFeed:

The companies ask that we take them at their word: We’re trying, but this is hard — we can’t fix this overnight. OK, we get it. But if the tech giants aren’t finding the same misinformation that observers armed with nothing more sophisticated than access to a search bar are in the aftermath of these events, there’s really only one explanation for it: If they can’t see it, they aren’t truly looking.

How hard would it be, for example, to have a team in place reserved exclusively for large-scale breaking news events to do what outside observers have been doing: scan and monitor for clearly misleading conspiratorial content inside its top searches and trending modules?

It’s not a foolproof solution. But it’s something.

Apple Plans Upgrades to AirPods

Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:

The model coming as early as this year will let people summon Apple’s Siri digital assistant without physically tapping the headphones by saying “Hey Siri.” The function will work similarly to how a user activates Siri on an iPhone or a HomePod speaker hands-free. The headphones, internally known as B288, will include an upgraded Apple-designed wireless chip for managing Bluetooth connections. The first AirPods include a chip known as the W1, and Apple released the W2 with the Apple Watch last year.

The idea for the water-resistant model is for the headphones to survive splashes of water and rain, the people said. They likely won’t be designed to be submerged in water. The latest iPhones can survive splashes, while the Apple Watch is considered “swim-proof.” Apple’s plans could change or be delayed, the people said. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

The iPhone X and Portrait Lighting

Take a look behind the iPhone X and discover the process we went through to create Portrait Lighting. Combining timeless lighting principles with advanced machine learning, we created an iPhone that takes studio-quality portraits without the studio.

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps vs. Waze

Arturrr:

In early 2017, a conversation with yet another Waze fanboy finally nudged me to start a navigation app experiment. I was skeptical that the Alphabet owned company could meaningfully best its parent’s home grown Google Maps. I was also curious whether Apple Maps had discovered competence since its iOS 6 release.

I thus set out to answer three questions:

  1. Which navigation app estimates the shortest travel time?
  2. How does each app over/underestimate travel times?
  3. Which navigation app actually gets you to your destination most quickly?

This exercise lasted the majority of 2017 and led me to dread almost any car trip due to the self imposed data gathering tasks that came with it. Nonetheless, my wife and I persevered, and I hope this data serves the community well.

The author reached these three conclusions

  1. If you want to get to your destination most quickly, use Google Maps.
  2. If you want an accurate prediction from your navigation app to help you arrive at your destination on time, use Apple Maps.
  3. If thinking you’ll get to your destination quickly helps to ease your commuter anxiety, use Waze.

Bitcoin thieves threaten voilence

Nathaniel Popper, New York Times:

In the beach resort of Phuket, Thailand, last month, the assailants pushed their victim, a young Russian man, into his apartment and kept him there, blindfolded, until he logged onto his computer and transferred about $100,000 worth of Bitcoin to an online wallet they controlled.

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A few weeks before that, the head of a Bitcoin exchange in Ukraine was taken hostage and only released after the company paid a ransom of $1 million in Bitcoin.

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In New York City, a man was held captive by a friend until he transferred over $1.8 million worth of Ether, a virtual currency second in value only to Bitcoin.

The pros and cons of moving from a MacBook Pro to an iPad

Charles Arthur, The Overspill:

A couple of weeks ago, I opened my Macbook Pro as usual. The keyboard lit up, as usual. I waited – there’s that pause while the display gathers itself (it’s a 2012 model) and the processor pulls everything together and presents the login window.

Except this time, nothing. The display didn’t light. There was the quiet sound of the fans going, but nothing. Oh dear. Closed the display, opened it to catch it unawares – no, that wasn’t going to fool it. After a bit more futzing around, I concluded that it was not in the mood to work. But I had work to do, and so I turned to my iPad Pro.

Charles gives a good list of pros and cons of moving from a MacBook to a iPad Pro to do his work.