Notebook

Bill Scott and Theresa Neil's new O’Reilly book, “Designing Web Interfaces: Principles and Patterns for Rich Interactions,” presents more than 75 design patterns for building web interfaces that provide rich interaction. They've shared the full set of principles and patterns they use for RIA design in this article.

TechCrunch shows off their second prototype, following Michael Arrington and company's challenge to come up with a $200 touch screen netbook tablet. Looks like the price would be closer to $300, but they're well on their way to proving the concept.

Fantastic TED video of Paula Scher looking back at her career for those moments where she was able to devote time and effort to serious play and create wonderful work, and contrasting it with the unfortunate moments when the serious becomes solemn. I love how this retrospective observation of her career brings her to conclude that the best of times for her as a designer is when she comes into a project with no grounding or bearing--those times where lack of history or reference point allows that kind of play to emerge.

Smashing Mag curates their top web design trends, and gives us the first of a multi-part set with these 10 great examples. It's a well picked, high quality collection of screenshots as is typical of these guys. They never disappoint. Here's a snippet describing the list:

Web design trends for 2009: recent developments, new design elements and new graphic approaches. We also discuss situations in which these trends can be used and present some beautiful examples.

Their second set of trends is forthcoming.

The OmniGraffle UX Template for interface and interaction designers has been updated to version 2.1. Included in this release are major alignment, grid, and layout changes. Added guides for 24 column grid with vertical and horizontal gutters on wireframes. Added appropriate guides to all templates that necessitated alignment guides. Added small wireframe and iPhone templates. Download it here.

I'm just seeing for the first time Bryan Eisenberg's GrokDotCom article from Feb 2008 on the evolution of Amazon's shopping cart. It's a great article that makes observations about Amazon's tweaking and testing of their shopping cart buttons over the years. I put all of his screenshots together in the image above.

Pacemaker, the mobile MP3 DJ device that debuted last year with a 120 GB hard drive, is getting a 2.0 release this spring and offering an additional lower capacity 60 GB hard drive option, and a new user interface.

I was enamored with this device and the way they could incorporate most of the possible mixer and track selection controls for 2 deck track mixing into a single, albeit large, handheld device with their original product UI. The newly redesigned UI looks like it made some usability tweaks and subtle improvements. For instance, there's a new scrolling behavior that highlights your alpha headings. Some filtering options look like they'd be welcome improvements as well. For those that actually DJ, there are a bunch of new effects in there too it seems. The hardware remeains the same.

Now the lower price point and an improved UI, I might actually get one of these. It's still pricey, but over the years my use of 1200s, Trakktor, and Torq have diminished to near nothing. I get by now playing with a DS KORG. I miss DJing, but this may be the toy for me.

Ryan Singer posted a article on 37 Signals, deconstructing the design of the global navigation header on Github. In his example he points out the problem with the "Repositories: All | Search" links in the account box in the upper right of the screen, which suggests that those links are scoped to the user shown in the box.

This a great example of how visual grouping and proximity could be more effectively utilized to help users make sense of the available controls. Seems a bit strange to me that the Repositories link is in that area at all. Singer suggests moving the avatar to the right. I might even go further by moving the repository and search links to a different area or better defining the separation of those functions with the user information might be effective in this case. Removing the bounding box certainly helps to alleviate the perception of scoping created by the group, but a better visual structure could be represented here.

Nick Felton's annual report continues to take mundane data and meticulously render superb stastical diagrams and information graphics. If every corporate Power Point chart looked this good, fewer people would be bored out of their skulls in meetings.

Wireframes Magazine featured an entry on using sticky notes for UI design. I know a lot of us have done something like this before, whether it's using sticky notes or something else. I have occasionally sketched large and used transparent vellum with tape in the past.

Victor Lombardi has started Service Design Design Patterns, a wiki for capturing design patterns about service design. There are other places to learn about design process and methods; these patterns try to describe aspects of the service itself.