User Experience News

Here’s a collection of user interface news, as aggregated by AllTop. I take no responsibility for the content, but it’s usually very good.

It’s always your fault

The easiest thing in the world is to blame others when things go wrong. Analyzing every misstep, pointing out every flaw. There’s value to such analysis, but it’s incomplete. To round the circle, you have to do the harder work: Figure out how this is actually your fault.

This is obviously most pertinent if you’re responsible for others. “The buck stops here” has been a popular phrase for half a century because its a concept that needs reminding. It’s too easy otherwise for those at the top to lay blame upon those at the bottom. (Just look at the current Wells Fargo fraud!).

But it’s not just bosses who need a lesson in introspection. Everyone could do well to take one. If you’re part of a team or a process and something went wrong, of course it’s also your fault. You could have looked harder. You could have raised your doubts. You could have double checked.

There’s a system in place that caused this to happen, and you’re part of that system. Shit never happens in a vacuum. The vast majority of it is a predictable consequence of the way things are. Even if it was “just somebody’s fault”, others put or kept that person there.

The goal is to change the system, and to change the system, you have to change its parts. Have the courage to start with yourself. Absorb as much blame and responsibility you can for what happened, and hopefully some of that introspection will rub off on the other parts of the system. But even if it doesn’t, you’ve still done your bit to improve matters.

It’s your fault. Say it.

We’ve made many mistakes at Basecamp. Technical mistakes, people mistakes, product mistakes. I’ve always learnt the most from those when I assume I had the power to fix the system. Even if I didn’t know of it (I clearly should have!), even if I didn’t foresee it (I clearly could have!). Everything is at least partly my fault, a lot of it is probably mostly my fault, and some of it is obviously just my fault. I’d like to think that accepting all this is part reason why we’re still here.

It’s always your fault was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Read the responses to this story on Medium.

A Head-Slapping Proposal for a New Google Logo

Proposed Google RebrandingWhen I saw this proposed redesign of the Google brand by L.A.-based graphic designer Dana Kim, my jaw dropped a…

Hidden Feature in Apple Pay

Apple PaySo, bad news: my wallet got stolen yesterday. I won’t go into the details, except to say that it’s basically…

Getting stuff done in 2016

At Highrise, we have a very small team, yet we get a lot done. Three quarters of the way through the year seemed like a good time to take a moment to reflect on all of the things we’ve accomplished so far in 2016.

Late last year we rolled out 2 game changing features and this year we’ve worked hard to make them even better:

Good Morning

Our group inbox, which allows you to manage support desks, recruiting responses, and generally collaborate with your team on incoming messages that need attention:

In 2016 we rolled out group email forwarding and more ways to interact with your mail.

It seems like ages ago now, but these updates helped us transition our own support desk to Highrise and now we can’t imagine doing it another way.

Good Morning was a big driver of growth for us as a business, and stay tuned, a lot more coming here.


A simple bulk email service to get your email newsletters out quickly without tripping over fancy templates that get in the way:

This year we added images, real time stats for opens and clicks, reporting, and the ability to bulk unsubscribe contacts (especially useful for someone who has been using a separate email marketing tool to reach out to contacts).

But that’s not all. Here’s just a handful of some noteworthy projects:

We also just recently announced our new Referral program, where current users can get credit and give credit when new users sign up via a shared referral link.

And there’s still a few months of the year left… 🙂 Some really great stuff coming.

If you haven’t taken a look at Highrise in awhile, you might want to check it out.

But don’t take our word for it:

We're huge fans of @highrise. If you do client services, you should try it. This link will get you a month free:

 — @lickability

Katie Munoz — Moving Forward, Inc: Everyone at my company loves Highrise. It’s easy to learn and intuitive to understand — even for the seriously non-technical employee. The few times that I have needed to contact support their response was swift, friendly and easy to follow. It’s WAY cheaper than Salesforce and some of the other contact management databases out there.

(see more reviews here)

Feel free to peruse the giant list of still only some of the things we do end up announcing for more. Or please get in touch with us about any of the changes or things you need. Would love to hear from you.

Getting stuff done in 2016 was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Read the responses to this story on Medium.

Replacing Dog as Man’s Best Friend

Interfaces that are more natural and human-like are likely to be easier for new users to adopt since we may lean toward treating them just like humans. In this article, Nicholas Bowman and Jaime Banks offer a discussion of what it means to be “social” with an interface.

Ten Years Ago on the Web

2006 DOESN’T seem forever ago until I remember that we were tracking IE7 bugs, worrying about the RSS feed validator, and viewing Drupal as an accessibility-and-web-standards-positive platform, at the time. Pundits were claiming bad design was good for the web (just as some still do). Joe Clark was critiquing WCAG 2. “An Inconvenient Truth” was playing in theaters, and many folks […]

The post Ten Years Ago on the Web appeared first on Zeldman on Web & Interaction Design.

How to Convert Aerospace Drawings from Mylar to CAD

How to Convert Aerospace Drawings from Mylar to CAD

Mylar to CAD, even 3D CAD is a piece of cake…IF you know what you’re doing!  (We do!)

What is Mylar?

First, let’s have a primer on Mylar.  Mylar, by any other name, including MylarMelinex and Hostaphan is a polyester film (BoPET (Biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate) that is made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

While Mylar was used for long-term engineering drawings because it was more stable than paper, over time, it too degrades, and the accuracy of the drawing on it can be negatively impacted.  Mylar is still sometimes used for printing CAD drawings.  That’s because when a printed drawing is required, schematics on Mylar reflect the depth and dimension of the finished project more easily than blueprints or diazo prints. 

New in Basecamp 3: Campfire @mentions

Basecamp has always allowed you to @mention people in messages and comments. Now you can mention people in Campfires too. Just type “@” and a few letters of their name or initials and Basecamp will suggest people to choose from.

On the go? No problem! Our mobile apps support @mentions too.

Happy @mentioning!

New in Basecamp 3: Campfire @mentions was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Read the responses to this story on Medium.

Advice to a younger me

Go Cubs Go

Someone recently asked me advice I’d give my younger self. Well, here are three things of an endless list 🙂

Don’t be embarrassed

I think I’ve done a relatively good job putting myself out there in the world, but I can still point to many moments where I should have done one thing, yet did another. I didn’t release that app. I didn’t start that blog. I didn’t go to that audition. Because I was too embarrassed.

That fear of embarrassment is the key thing holding most of us back from the stuff we really want to achieve. The best of us are out there trying as hard as they can without fear of embarrassment, and yet they screw up constantly. They just deal with it. And quickly move on.

I bet there’s something you’re considering doing right this very second but keep putting off just because you fear what others are going to think. I know I am.

Become a better storyteller

I’m obsessed with becoming a better storyteller. Not just in words and articles, but now especially with video. How can I better inspire/captivate/motivate people through my content and ideas?

One of the key lessons there is to think about how an article or video or whatever leads people from one end of the spectrum in a strong human theme to another (hate/love, fear/security, despair/happiness, failure/success, embarrassment/pride, ignorance/genius etc.) Show people how the hero struggled to find love from a hateful place, or overcame great odds to go from failure to success, etc.

And it doesn’t always have to go from “negative” to “positive”. People crave authenticity. It’s ok to show people an autobiographical story of you moving from something good to something bad. Of course, they’ll probably love to tune in again to see how you can reverse that course.

A book I’m hooked on right now is Story. It’s about screenwriting, but really it’s universal. You want to write a blog post that keeps people’s attention, figure out how screenwriters and movies get people to stay in their seats.

Learn what really makes “good design”

Sounds like you’re focused on being a great developer. That’s awesome. But I wish my younger self also spent more time early on figuring out how to be at least a moderately ok designer. Too many people think they can’t design, just because they suck at things like picking aesthetically pleasing colors. They feel like, “I can’t make things that look good. Shit, I can’t even pick nice furniture for my home. I can’t design.”

Yes, there are some ridiculously good designers and their talents should be employed and not taken for granted.

But as a solo developer you don’t want yourself stuck in a spot where you can’t get a project out the door because you can’t find someone else to craft something that you think is “good design”. Figure out some basic principles of what makes great design.

Here’s one: writing.

It’s similar to watching video. Sure viewers want great visuals, but if the sound is terrible you’ll walk out. The opposite isn’t true. People watch poorly taken video all the time as long as the sound is good.

Same goes for writing. The “aesthetic” design can lag, but the copy can’t. It needs to be engaging, helpful, clear.

And there’s some great resources that can help you see a few basic principles to making good design. One of my favs is Bootstrapping Design.

I could go on and on.

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, you should follow my YouTube channel, where I share more about how history, psychology, and science can help us create better businesses. And if you find yourself overwhelmed while organizing your own small business or customer feedback, check out how Highrise can help!

Advice to a younger me was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Read the responses to this story on Medium.

A Typical UX Team of One Job Description

This week, we revisit Leah Buley’s book, The User Experience Team of One – A Research and Design Survival Guide. Here’s an excerpt from the article: If you happen to be in the job market, it can be helpful to know how to spot a UX team-of-one situation. Few UX jobs are advertised as a […]