Archive for March, 2009

Remix Challenge: Car, Bus, Bike

Monday, March 30th, 2009

There is nothing more brutal that the injudicious use of Comic Sans. It’s latest victim is this poster, ostensibly from the wall of the Muenster city public planning office.

It’s time to take matters into our own, typographical-enriched hands. To make a poster worthy of the message. Put your design in the comments and tag it “PosterRemix” on Flickr. I’ll send some awesome Firefox schwag to the creator(s) of the most awesome design(s).

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Firefox New Tab: In-Line Search

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been iterating on the idea & design of what a Firefox new tab could look like. All told, we’ve now gone through 36 different versions of the page, with thousands of particpants helping test and provide daily feedback & new ideas.

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Cognitive Shield for the Firefox New Tab

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

As we iterate on the new tab design for Firefox, we’ve run into a seeming paradox. The new tab screen should have two main functions: (A) To show you the sites you are most likely to be interested in going to, and (B) to not distract you. That’s the paradox: by design success is when the pages we show are maximally interesting/distracting, but an explicit goal is to not interrupt your flow.

This iteration focuses on solving that paradox by proposing a solution that we’ve dubbed “the cognitive shield” (coined by Alex Faaborg).

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Order from Chaos: Future Web Directions

Friday, March 20th, 2009

My talk from FOWA. It is, I believe, the first talk ever to use seven consecutive slides of static visual noise.

It’s a talk about solving security problems with people, Ubiquity, making fun of people, and leveraging design with inspiration. You also get to see me attempt to overcome technical difficulties.

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Ambient Bias: Reading the City

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

As I walked home today, gazing at the houses around me, I wondered who lived behind the walls. And what political biases they had. Sometimes you get a sense of a neighborhood — candidate signs in the lawn and bumper stickers on the cars — but I’d love to be able to hear the silent whisper of money speaking its political will; to see the hidden color of bills in the leather embrace of back-pocket wallets.

With modern technology, that’s possible.

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Interfaces with Good Aftertastes: Hacking People’s Memory

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Here’s the experiment:

Sit someone down in your best headphones and play them (A) 4 seconds of horrendous and loud noise, and (B) The exact same thing but followed by the same noise just not as loud. They’ve now listened to two rather discomforting segments, one of which was 4 seconds long, and the other of which was 8 seconds long.

Now ask them which of the two sounds they’d rather hear again. Rationally, they’d choose A — choice B is the same amount of discomfort plus some extra discomfort thrown in for free. It’s a no-brainer. On average, though, people will opt to listen to noise B. Even though it’s objectively worse.

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Rapid Prototyping with Greasemonkey

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I recently was admiring the slick keyboard interface for Dropular, a sort of communal blog for sharing interesting finds on the net. It has that Swiss-minimalism-meets-interaction-design feel, which is enhanced by a modernist legend explaining how to operate the thing (although I wish the legend faded away after I got the hang of it). The interaction is simple: you use the arrow keys to automatically animate to the next/previous item.

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New Tab for Firefox: Iterations

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

We put up a post on the iterating on the new tab page for Firefox on the Mozilla Labs site today. It builds on feedback from the last two rounds of new tab concepts, we know that the page needs to load instantly (even a small wait breaks user experience); that it shouldn’t be visually distracting; and that it should be a launch point into your daily activities. One level higher, the distilled design themes are: No configuration, Streamlined, and Polite.

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My Dream Way To Write A Firefox Extension

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

The add-ons community for Firefox is one of the largest, most vibrant sources for innovation in the browser. If you want to affect people, to reach them and make a difference in their daily lives, the Firefox extension platform is hard to beat, with over a billion downloads of Firefox add-ons in total.

I want to be able to participate in that community, but I find it difficult.

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