I've been really impressed by Aza Raskin's Ubiquity add on for Firefox, which I've been playing with a lot lately. It completely makes up for the less than exciting experience I had with Enso, which never came close to a Quicksilver experience on Windows. Ubiquity is pretty much the Quicksilver experience brought to your web browser. A smart tool that is summoned by a keyboard shortcut, and provides shortcuts to frequently used tools, and contextually relevant paths to using selected content in the page. Raskin talks more about the app on his site.

CNet reports on Swype, a new keyboard technology for touch screens created by the inventory of the T9 keyboard technology for numeric keypads. Swype lets the user drag their finger across the screen, touching each of the letters in the words they want to enter, and predictive software selects the word they wanted. This could be a great tool to the improve the typing experience on the iPhone, which I find pretty awful compared to a hardware keyboard. Will also be very useful to the next wave of touch screen notebooks and ultra mobiles that we'll be seeing.

A magazine devoted to showcasing design projects that have been rejected by clients. Sounds excellent. Will be interesting to see what gets submitted and if people blur out details enough to make the client anonymous.

Ars Technica reports on the 3.1 Alpha of Firefox, which includes support for the HTML 5 Video element which provides some functionality to developers that is not possible with Flash. Video can be interspersed with other web content, playback can be manipulated with JavaScript, and video elements can be directly accessed through the document object model.

Bluish Coder demonstrates the Video tag in SVG to implement a Silverlight style demo in Firefox 3.1 alpha. The demo shows transparent layers of videos that can be dragged, moved, and resized.

I got my hands on the new soft cover Moleskine notebooks. The faux cover feels like a luxurious thin leather, and is soft, but sturdy.

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox reports on their study of sitemaps, observing that among the sites they tested, sitemaps continue to be a useful tool to some people. While their study shows that they are rarely used, they can be simple, inexpensive tools to generate for the users who find value in the sense-making cues that a visual overview provides. Their recommendation is to continue to use them if you already produce them, but keep them static and don't add interactive effects to them.

Google explains it's new open source, Webkit-based Chrome Web Browser with a 28 page comic book inked by Scott McCloud. The Chrome browser beta becomes available to Windows users on September 2, 2008. Mac and Linux versions are also planned.

3 recent articles show how to get interactive effects on menus, proving that you don't need Flash for this kind of simple interactivity.

  • Dave Shea's tutorial in ALA shows how to create interactive menu hover effects using CSS sprites and the JQuery Javascript library. A sprite image is a single graphic with multiple states mapped on the graphic, a technique borrowed from game design, where game characters are shown in different states of action. Shea's tutorial extends the use of Bauman's sliding doors sprite method for navigation buttons by adding transitional effects on the graphics.
  • ShopDev reverse-engineers the interactive menus used on Dragon Interactive and shows how to pull it off using JQuery.
  • Bedrich Rios' demo and tutorial in NETTUTS shows how to create a Moo-tools inspired sidebar navigation menu.

James Kelway's article on wireframes in the User Pathways blog summarizes what the different types are, what their purpose is, who the audience for their use are, and how they are typically implemented. There are several nice illustrations in this article for those that need to explain what they are.

Not sure if the user on Vimeo who posted this is THE Woz, but he or she posted this concept user interface for an iPhone menu application that looks very interesting. The video opens with a UI that displays falling media that appear like little square stamps dropping like leaves to a desktop with contacts, photos, videos, etc. on the face of the leaves. The user can apparently pick up one of the pieces, and if it's a video for example, start playing that video in the UI. Also shows a pretty carousel menu and an awesome looking RGB color mixer for customizing the wallpaper I presume. Very nice ideas here, if only for conceptual purposes.

The Economist, the magazine and news site, provides access to the excellent editorial style guide that every journalist for the company is given. The book, written by John Grimond, is also available for purchase in the printed book form.

This is a very topically focused blog I can appreciate. Kate Rutter of Adaptive Path started, StickyNote Ninja, a site dedicated to using sticky notes for more than just to do reminders.

From her about page, she says "...I’ve been using them in my work, my personal life and as a tool to help companies work faster, more collaboratively, and to make smart decisions that stick. In 2007, I began speaking to groups about these simple, cheap, ubiquitous and powerful tools. This site is a resource for stickynote ninjas everywhere as we journey in our quest for perfection via stickynotes."

Love it.