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.

Top 10 Things We Learned While Building Foundation for Apps

10 things we learned building Foundation for Apps

It's been a little more than a month since we launched Foundation for Apps into the wild. And it's been great hearing all your thoughts on our latest framework! We're excited to learn how you're using Foundation for Apps so we can continue building atop what we've created.

So far, we've learned a lot creating this new framework — from new technology to just talking to the web community as a whole. Lessons that we wanted to share with all of you. Here's the 10 things we learned from building Foundation for Apps:

1. Flexbox Can Be Awesome, But It's Complicated

We decided to build Foundation for Apps using Flexbox instead of a traditional float-based grid. This let us do neat things like mix fixed- and fluid-width columns, drastically improve source ordering, and re-orienting grids. Nifty! What we mainly learned is that while Flexbox was amazing, it also has three different iterations for many different browsers. Figuring out what was supported across all browsers and how to maximize it was tough, but we ended up with a pretty sweet grid system because of it!

2. People love ASCII Art

screenshot of the ascii yeti in a terminal

By and large people had all sorts of warm fuzzy's for our ASCII yeti we created for the install. We tried tons of different ASCII Yetis, from full bodies to footprints, but loved the friendliness of our new Yeti's face that a few keystrokes could give us.

3. Naming Things is Hard

No, really it is. Four years ago, when we created Foundation for Sites, grid systems had been around and had pretty well-defined names for items. As we began looking at re-defining a grid system, we knew that things like rows and columns didn't always make sense once we flipped to a vertical axis. Some early ideas like 'group' and 'block' seemed really vague and even turned up as the basis for certain content management systems. We ended up defining things as grid- to start and then naming things how they were used. "Grid-block" was used as building blocks for your layout and "grid-content" was used to hold the content of your app.

4. Namespacing Can Be Even Harder

Using Angular allowed is to create components as single directives and mask the sometimes complex nature of things like modals and notifications. With that, namespacing is often utilized to keep your components separate from other libraries. When we first discussed how Foundation for Apps would use an 'fa-' to namespace its components, lots of people spoke up to tell us that they use or Font Awesome, both of which name space with FA. We ended up settling on zf- which even had some name spacing competitions with Zend framework, but seeing as thats a PHP framework we assumed we'd never be used together.

5. Apps Don't Have Defined Responsive Patterns

Illustration of the Foundation for Apps Yeti and a view diagram

ZURB has been doing responsive design for more than five years now and was even the first responsive framework. We've had time to develop patterns for how websites will respond and build off patterns that others have created. Responsive apps, however, have yet to develop their own design language. Native platforms have begun to experiment, but designers as a whole have yet to fully embrace common patterns. We took this challenge and created components that respond and transforms based on screen size. Things like scrolling divs that become slide-in panels on smaller devices and drop downs that convert to action sheets. We're still creating this language and paying close attention to the patterns becoming popular around the web.

6. Apps Doesn't Connotate Web Apps

Foundation for Apps was created with Web Apps in mind from day one. I'll repeat: Foundation for Apps was created with WEB APPS in mind! Building a fully responsive web app framework that could work anywhere despite the browser or OS was a must for us. What we quickly learned (and are still learning) is that native mobile applications have well monopolized the term 'app' and require clarification because of it. We're not against native apps or against phone-gapping the web for native, but our purpose was to create a system where you didn't need to chose a specific audience.

7. Routing is Hard

Angular is amazing, but getting designers to use it was hard since to make things like pages, or links required the knowledge of routes. We created a Gulp plugin to create those routes and make our framework much much much easier for people to use.

You'll write

We'll parse out:

8. Every Component is Just Showing and Hiding

We came to the conclusion that every JS component pretty much just opens and closes while building Foundation for Apps. We built an API that open and closes every JS plugin using simple open, close or toggle syntax linked with an ID of that item.

9. Height is a Second-Class Citizen

For people who have ever attempted using percents in height have pretty much always been disappointed. Placing 100% height on an item does nothing to it, for Foundation for Apps we knew we wanted to take advantage of the full height experiences of web apps. We used VH (viewport height) to accomplish this.

10. A New Yolked Yeti

When we knew we wanted a sibling to our current Yeti we turned to our very awesome illustrator, Adam Fairhead. Adam helped us create a character with the same lovable attributes as the Yeti we've known and loved, but with a more powerful appearance to help show the power Foundation for Apps gives us.

These are just a few things we learned while building Foundation for Apps, and pretty much everything we did had never been done before — by us or anyone else. Some things worked and others didn't. However, the wonderful thing about the Foundation Family is that its battle-tested every day here at ZURB. As we learn from our client work, internal projects or simple discussion with the community, we're able to use that to improve the frameworks. We'd love to get your feedback on how you're using Foundation for Apps and any improvements you'd like to see.

The Essentials of Accuracy in 2D to 3D Conversion

The Essentials of Accuracy in 2D to 3D CAD Conversion

Are you ready to revise an old 2D CAD drawing into a new and modern design?  Often that’s a great way to get inspiration, but not if you have to redraw the 2D drawing.  So, how do you get started?  If you’re working from an old paper drawing, then the place to start is with an accurate scan of your 2D blueprint or CAD drawing.    We recommend using a high accuracy large format scanner.  There a several good brands around, but we happen to be partial to Contex scanners. 

T-Shirt: Keep Calm and Wireframe On

Stressed out at work? Remind yourself and everybody else to keep calm and wireframe on with this T-shirt. Use it to boost the morale of your team, or express your passion for UX with it.

How Office Cubicles Came to Be

CubiclesThis article at The Economist on the evolution of the office cubicle is fascinating if depressing. It details how the original concept for modular office space was perverted almost immediately—the original intention was to position walls at 120º in order to avoid the monotony so familiar to cubicle dwellers today, but cost efficiency led to…


SWYP is the latest "next generation secure electronic wallet". Like Coin and Plastc, it can "transform itself into any of your cards at the click of a button" (thereby saving you the hassle of having to carry multiple cards). Unlike the competition, it has both an EMV chip (so that you can use it with the Chip and Pin payment terminals that are common in Europe) and a magnetic stripe (so that you can use it with the old skool payment terminals that remain common in the United States).

#CowArt with a drone

The video below, captured by a drone flying overhead, shows farmer Derek Klingenberg herding cattle in an attempt to produce #CowArt:


Glow are "laser headphones" that glow "to the beat of your music or rhythm of your heart":

3 Things that Will Change Experience Design in 2015

January 29, 2015

If 2014 was dubbed the “year of the customer” then 2015 is surely the “year of experience.” Here are three key trends that will reshape the corporate landscape in the year to come (and beyond).

1. Power Has Shifted to Consumers and Their Experience Matters

Many forces have collided to make this a reality. Over-rotating on cost cutting and offshoring caused a backlash and consumers are demanding better experiences. A generational force has driven the consumerization of IT with new workers entering the market that expect and demand the same quality of experiences they get everyday from their beloved consumer products and services. Today’s social networks have absolutely put consumers in the driver's seat and their experience expectations are only rising. more
By Saul Gurdus


Links for light reading (01/30/15)

General Using GitHub Pages To Host Your Website Microsoft Spartan and the Future for Internet Explorer Design Principles The problem with Angular AngularJS’ Internals In Depth DOM: custom elements Live Font Interpolation on the Web CSS Fun with line-height! CSS Level 4 Selectors to Watch Out For HTML HTML5 Form novalidate Longdesc alternatives in HTML5 [...]

Business Woman - Adam Quest

Business Woman - Adam Quest

Still loving the illustration style of Adam Quest.

via Adam Quest