Rabbit holes for procrastivity.

Pivot Mac for PivotalTracker

I was looking for a way to add stories to Pivotal Tracker without having to load their UI in the web browser. I wanted something as fast as using Alfred, and found Jelle Vandebeeck’s Pivot App for the Mac.

Pivot puts an icon in your menubar, and drops down a form to file chores, features, bugs, and releases with auto-completion for projects, owners, and tags. Simple. Only thing I could want more from this is a clipboard link to the story, or an optional description field, but is otherwise near perfect.

Available in the Mac App Store.

Google Web Designer

Google Web Designer is design and development tools for creating interactive HTML5-based motion graphics. The tool looks like it’s targeted at advertising creative. It provides templates for banner ads, which makes sense, but can be used for generating any canvas motion graphics. The default layouts are for DoubleClick and AdMob mobile ads.

Web Designer is a web application that's built with HTML5, and runs natively on your desktop. It provides support for text, images, videos, and even provides bezier drawing tools for creating shapes and 3d objects. The pen tool itself is pretty exciting. The Quick vs. Advanced modes for animation are also interesting if you're not that interested in the details of how to render the timeline. When you're ready to publish, it creates clean human-readable HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript that can be minified and packaged into a zip.

Looks really useful, and not sure how this will affect other tools in the same category. I just started using Hype myself, so I'm paying attention.

Frontify: Design review, documentation, and specification app

Frontify looks like an interesting SaaS product for design teams. It provides collaborative features for getting design feedback, creating specifications, documentation and style guides, and linking pages together.

The commenting and linking features are what you'd expect, but what I was really impressed with are the measures, colors, and typography tools for generating style guides. Very nicely done. There are additional capabilities for code export & integration with their API.

Semantic UI Library

Semantic UI is a framework for building HTML sites that aims at creating a system based on semantic naming and sensible defaults.

The framework compares itself directly with Bootstrap. It uses simple, common language for parts of interface elements and familiar rules used in natural languages for describing elements. Interface definitions are tag ambivalent so you can use div, article, section, span without affecting the display of the element.

Macaw: Code-savvy web design tool

Macaw is a forthcoming Mac application for designing pages for web browsers that are ready to use as web-native code. The app runs natively in html and css, and provides excellent export to clean html and css.

There are some great optimizations for nudging/pudging on a grid, and for setting properties that make sense for css—thinking of positioning and dimensions.

The outline view is a nice way to browse through all the groups in the document and adding container tags and/or classes for semantic html publishing. It's well matched to how you'd think in html. It leap-frogs the heavier prototyping tools, but it's limited to creating static pages, like comps, for now. I'm not sure what the graphics output options will be.

The html export is clean, maybe cleaner and more efficient than what I would write because it's a robot. Look really interesting, and is yet another approach to designing more directly for the browser.

Watch the sneak preview video to learn more.

Sketchnote Typeface by Mike Rohde

Mike Rohde’s Sketchnote font can be purchased on Delve for desktop and webfont use. Mike created the font for the Sketchnote handbook and writes about its design on his blog. The family has four fonts: Sketchnote Text in Reg­ular, Bold and Italic, plus Sketchnote Square.

Sketchnote Text is a friendly, casual script with a bouncy baseline and a warm texture. To emulate natural hand­writing, OpenType features auto­matically switch be­tween multiple versions of each letter or number, with over 240 alter­nates in each text font. OpenType kerning classes are used with unique kerns made to tame pairings of all those wily alter­nates for con­sistent spacing.

Sketchnote Square is a bold, somewhat com­pressed head­line type that complements the text fonts. Drawn in­stead of written, the characters in Square have neat little hap­pen­stance voids within the strokes. Square also fea­tures a handy selection of fun icons, rules, and arrows—some functional tidbits for your design projects.

I've already purchased a license for myself and used it in Mockups and it's outstanding. You can peep it in a wireframe here. The character there is perfect.

You can download the whole family for $99, or by individual fonts for $29. More info at Delve.

FontPrep: Web Font Generator for Mac

FontPrep is a web font generator for the Mac with a simple drag/drop interface for adding your TTF and OTF font files and generating all of the respective font-formats for the web: WOFF, EOT, and SVG. Each converted web-font is bundled with @font-face declarations, and a subsettings feature allows you to select which character sets to include.


PowWow is a free simple service for scheduling user research using your Google Calendar. The fine folks at Pointless Corp (aka Viget) created this as a side project for handling scheduling of user interviews and testing, but could be used for any kind of event.

There are other apps like this that remove the fuss of coordinating schedules via email. PowWow does it simply, and provides a polished and pleasing experience. You pick the times that work best for you and send out a calendar with available appointments and any additional information to potential participants. Participants can select the appointment time that works best for them and you will be sent a confirmation with their contact information.

Sticky Jots

Sticky Jots is a set of storytelling sticky note paper and paper prototyping kits for designing mobile and tablet interfaces. The product is designed by Rae Milne and Pamela Jue, two grad students in the SVA Interaction Design program.

Pam writes about the thinking behind Sticky Jots.

The idea came from our constant prototyping and ideation process in almost every project this semester. While it’s great to do, it’s still frustrating how time consuming it can be. We started thinking more of how we can we integrate a better experience with our process so that it could be more collaborative and efficient with time.

They're going to be offering storyboard sticky notes, as well as mobile or tablet dot grid pads. There are also iPhone and iPad backs, which look like they'd be great for paper prototyping and testing. They've already surpassed their production cost goals on Kickstarter, which ends on Apr 24. Find out more about how to back the project.


Mixture is a rapid prototyping and static site generation tool for Mac and Windows. It works with the Liquid templating system, supports includes and smart paths, handles HAML and SASS comilation, CSS and JS minification, and provides a simple model system for global and custom data, and supports access to form and query data in their request model. It can produce static HTML that you can push to a hosting service, and allows use of your own domain. Service integration for testing with BrowserStack and other services is planned.

Via Ryan Riatno

Hammer for Mac

Hammer is a static web site builder for the Mac that lets you build out sites quickly with no server side requirements.

Hammer does includes without PHP, compiles Coffeescript to JS, SASS/SCSS to CSS, has an auto-refresh feature for never having to reload the browser, and provides some simple to use helpers. Since it knows about all of the files in your projects, you just reference names and it knows how to build out paths. It has a helper for selected link classes in your navigation elements. When you're ready to share your prototype you can upload to your own server, zip and send the Build folder, or use their own built in publishing system.

AirServer: Airplay receiver for iOS devices

AirServer is an AirPlay receiver for Mac/PC that allows you to receive AirPlay feeds in up to full 1080p HD. It works similar to an Apple TV, so you can stream content or Mirror your display from your iOS devices or Mountain Lion to your desktop computer. The app was made for game and video streaming, but would work perfectly for application demos and presentation or usability testing, when coupled with a concurrent video recording of the user’s face and hands.

Thanks to Kevin Cheng for the tip!

jKit: jQuery based UI Toolkit

jKit is a cross platform, jQuery based UI toolkit, that’s small in size and is simple enough for non-programmers to use. There is a technique using a special attribute that even allows you to inject behaviors without writing javascript. It has commonly used design patterns, and nice techniques for content templating and binding to cover the basics of UI prototypes.

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