"Intuition is about sensing facts before they materialize."
There is a playfulness in the interaction between these two structures that I really enjoy. A beautifully warm interior too.
I just discovered designer, Oscar Diaz. I love the humbleness in his designs. I also just purchased this bottle opener from Field.
Dyson has developed a tap with a built in hand dryer. The motor spins at 90,000 RPM in less than 0.7 seconds to push air out at 692 km/hr. And yes that is expensive to develop. Over $40M expensive.
The Personality of Imperfection
I was house-sitting for a friend in Melbourne a few years ago, while she was out of town. It was an older 70’s style unit. The front door was elevated on a step, painted black with a brass handle. Both were worn down. A small, abandoned garden sat on the other side in the entryway. Every day I would come home, find the matching brass key and struggle to unlock that door. I had to navigate through it’s stubbornness. My friend had already told me the code, ‘pull the door towards you, wiggle the key to the left and pull it out a little, then turn it to the right.’ Eventually I would master it.
I was once short-tempered with imperfections like this. We face them every day. But this door reminded me of the value of imperfection. Eventually I could unlock that door with ease, just like I could on my previous apartment, and just like I would on future apartments.
The door had a personality. And I had grown to understand it. We’d formed a relationship and we worked together. I felt this most when I’d proudly tell my friends the code — having watched them fail to unlock the door on their own.
In contrast, perfection doesn’t do this. It makes itself equal to everyone.
This story came to mind as I read an article from Josh Miller on the design of Facebook Poke. He says that unlike SnapChat, Poke’s design doesn’t support the behavior of the app - to be ephemeral, silly and spontaneous. But SnapChat’s imperfect interface does something else too. It requires me to form a relationship (which is comforting if you’re sending nudies), and creates a feeling of connectedness, knowing my friends and I have all experienced its quirks. Just like that black, worn door.
Dami is a beautiful series by Seung Yong Song inspired by traditional Korean grilles.
Apple’s renderings seem pretty sharp lately. I’ve been loving this one from the iPhone 5 page. Feels very Muji/Japanese. Also, notice how the grey has a slight blue tinge. Subtle saturation goes a long way.
Perhaps there are more important things to focus on right now, but regardless, I love that this ‘Architecture for Dogs’ project, curated by Kenya Hara, is open-source, with all design templates available for download.
Especially now that I’m accustomed to the more accessible field of application design, it’s nice to see architecture and industrial design projects being made available to the wider public too, not just reserved for the wealthy.
Above are my two favorites. The project is set to launch next week.
As Facebook begins to roll out Gifts and Collections, I thought it would interesting to define their product offering. I’m not sure if I can simplify it beyond this:
Facebook is where you express what you are– and stay up to date with what your friends are, thinking, doing, are going to do, are interested in, and want. It’s also where you stay up to date with what your favorite businesses, celebrities, artists and teams are doing, are going to do, believe in and offer. It is a place to communicate directly with friends, a place to discuss specific topics with peers, and a place to play games with others. Lastly as a platform, it’s how you connect, identify yourself and bring your friends with you across other digital products.
What do you think? Are they getting too bloated? Is their mission still clear to you? Let loose in the comments below.
Love the cover of ‘Page 1: Great Expectations’, an experimental book in typography, graphic design and the reading of a page.
A striking, and almost retro-inspired gas station in Slovakia. I appreciate the use of natural materials but it feels like something is missing at ground level. I would have loved to see planters at the base of the poles to soften that transition.
I love this work by Rune Høgsberg. The horizontal lines could be a very iconic element had these been attached and carried through to a physical or digital product. I thought the treatment of their index was clever too, feeling very clean and grounded.
Lotta Nieminen’s responsive site is inspiringly beautiful. The extended canvas gets me most excited. I’m surprised I haven’t seen more of it.
Lessons from Physical Spaces
The entrances and lobbies of physical spaces may actually contain some design considerations that we can carry into our web apps, giving users time to breath before consuming content or executing tasks.
We give consideration for a ‘hotel lobby experience’ with traditional marketing websites: a large, spacious header with powerful imagery that encapsulates the company, well sign-posted with a summary of the content inside. This works well, and MailChimp is a great example of that.
But with persistent log-ins, the task-oriented web apps rarely present users with this homepage experience. Instead they bombard users with content from the first few pixels of the page. This is something we encounter with low to mid-end retail stores, supermarkets or warehouses that need to economize on space. But the web doesn’t have the same square-foot expenses.
I tried to divert from that pattern back in 2009 when I concepted a Facebook redesign.
Now of course, there is the argument to not ‘waste’ precious real estate above the ‘fold’. But until I am proven wrong, I think the ‘fold’ is far less important in web apps than it is in traditional marketing websites. As Steve Krug mentions, marketing pages are like billboards. Users are flying by at 60mph, as they jump from page to page, so you have to make sure they know that milk is on special. But users choose to be in a web app like Facebook. They’re less likely to skip buying milk because it’s at the back of the store.
So, how do we design these experiential entrances without ‘wasting’ too much space?
Celebrating images on profiles for people or places can build emotion and let users orient themselves before digging into the details. One of my recent favorite designers, Martin Oberhäuser achieves this in some of his designs, while I tried to hero a little more information in my designs for Fieldplay. Other examples are the new Timeline which features a cover photo, and the new Basecamp which celebrates the users participating in a project.
More white space around navigation can produce a more relaxing introduction to a site. Design Made In Germany is an exaggerated illustration of that, while I always liked Behance’s small buffer above their navigation (which they’ve now pushed to the top like many other web apps).
Maps are great for bringing purposeful functionality to the header of a design which, by their visual nature, require less mental strain to process. Below are examples from Martin Oberhäuser and Foursquare.
So next time you’re designing a web app, think about how you can gently introduce users to their data. Large images, generous white space and maps are all effective methods. You may also want to summarize the data that follows with large numbers or graphics. If you have more examples, let us know in the comments!