The Plan

I've been thinking of two things a lot with the holidays arriving. The first is, how can I provide a discount on Konigi stuff to my friends who use the notepads and sketchbooks. The second is, how can I find a way to make my Christmastime donations interesting. When I was an avid Lala trader a few years ago, I tried to see if I could get one of the many CDs sleeves I marked back and vowed to make my donations coincide with the event. I never got a sleeve back, but made the donations anyway and was included in a WashPost article because I tend do end of year charitable giving.

Last year I ran a discount code for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. This year, however, I thought I would forego a discount and instead donate 50% of all sales revenue--not just profit, but all sales-- to 2 charities. I figure the cost of these little sketchbooks and tools is not so great, and we can all give a little while getting something back. The donations will be made to 2 local organizations devoted to fighting poverty and hunger.

The Beneficiaries

Robin Hood is an organization that gives 100% of donations to poverty-fighting organizations with programs focussing on Early Childhood, Education, Jobs & Economic Security, and Survival, and uses sound investment principles to sustain in its philanthropic mission.

The New York Food Bank organizes food, information and support for community survival and dignity. Working to end food poverty and increase access to affordable, nutritious food for low-income New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs, the Food Bank's initiatives focus on direct services, food sourcing and distribution, nutrition and health education, financial empowerment, disaster relief and policy and research.


Thanks for participating with me. When you buy one of the Konigi products in the store, you are making a small contribution to these philanthropic organizations . I will be doing an update to the icons to help entice you to make your purchase. I feel fortunate to have something to trade for dollars in donations, and to have the help of my friends and readers.

Google launched a new behavior on the search page that hides everything but the logo and search form on load, and fades in the rest of the surrounding interface when the user moves the mouse. The idea is to give focus to search for the primary use case, where a user hits the page and starts typing without moving the mouse. They talk about the new behavior on the Google Blog.

Nick Finck's holiday gift ideas for UX designers is an annual blog entry that I hope to look forward to for years to come, and not just because he lists Konigi among the great list of suggestions. :)

[I]t is once again time for the gifts for user experience geeks post for the 2009 holiday season. Just like last year this list is a collection of items I have come across over the last year that would make the ideal gifts for UX geeks like Information Architects, Usability Specialists, Interaction Designers, and even Web Designers.

Balsamiq announced that Mockups now supports export of multiple canvases to a single PDF that includes links. This means that your multi-canvas mockups can now be used as click through prototypes in Acrobat. Download the demo PDF file for a test drive.

I just discovered Touch User Interface, a blog that reports regularly on touch interface projects, and provides links to resources related to designing for touch screen interfaces.

This is a demo of an HTML Prototyping Toolkit that I've assembled from a few open source libraries. The idea is to create something super light so you can sketch your wireframes in HTML.

Using Templates

I'm using a jQuery template for creating columns in a grid.

Columns look like this:

{cols}  <-- grid layout container
  {col12} <-- 12 unit column
  {/col}  <-- closed column
  {col12last}  <<-- 12 unit column
                   last in container
{/cols}  <-- end of container

You can try out the prototypes I'm playing with here:

If you have Firebug, inspect the page to see what the templates are building.

Works with ixEdit

As I said above, this is meant to be super light and uses existing libraries. I'll start posting the code when it's cleaner.

This an article from March 09 by Kevin Vigneault of Viget that explores some techniques using Javascript to create more usable password inputs in forms. The ideas range from using a checkbox or button to temporarily show the password or changing type from text to password when the input is not in focus. Great ideas.

If you're interested in this topic, you might also want to check out Chris Dary's experiments with password masking.

Leah Culver discusses the design of hybrid sign up / login forms, showing a few examples and the final form as implemented for Leafy Chat. Uses the familiar I'm a customer/I'm new here radios that we know from Amazon, but positions it before the password field, which I find an improvement over the Amazon implementation. Lots of ideas in the comments.

Noupe offers up a complete guide to techniques and tools for designing web layouts with grids. Includes basic information about grid design, links to more articles on specific aspects of grid-based design from other sites, links to all of the CSS grid-based layout frameworks I've heard of and a few that are new to me, and showcase of sites.

Via @zakiwarfel

Simon Collison writes about the different forms of prototyping in ErskineLabs' Process Toolbox, describing the benefits of paper, wireframe, and browser prototypes.

As much as all parties may talk about requirements and argue over features, often they won’t really “get it” until they can see the concept represented visually, and understand its exact behaviour. This brings us on to various methods of prototyping.

Found via I ♥ wireframes. Read more at Erskine Labs.

Usabilla was ran usability tests to compare the usability of four travel sites and has posted the results. Their analysis concludes that Expedia gets defeated by its competitors Hotwire, Priceline, and Travelocity on basic usability tasks. Expedia performed the worst in a usability showdown between the four major international travel sites. A total of 148 people participated in this usability test and tried to perform three basic tasks on one of the four websites.

Read the result analysis at the Usabilla blog.