Archive for June, 2013

Catch Me if You Can

Allen Pikes post get’s it mostly right, but I think the ‘Copy This, Assholes’ is a bit off the mark. iOS7 is just Apple consistently doing what it’s done for the past decade or so – steadily pushing the state of the art:

Even with tuned native software, the iPhone 4′s A4 chip can’t handle the most interesting aspects of iOS 7. The 3D, the blur, the compositing – all of them are disabled or degraded on the A4. iOS 7 is designed and developed for the A5, and will truly shine on the A7.

The original iPhone and iOS pushed the state of the art of 2007. After many iterations of hardware improvements, iOS is again able to push the envelope. This shouldn’t be a surprise, but to many, it kind of is. And I think that’s because not many corporations are able to envision the future and have the infrastructure and culture in place to relentlessly execute that vision the way Apple does.

It’s not something we’re used to seeing so consistently from a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and I think it’s brilliant.

A good (and thorough) guide to Web form usability

This guide by Justin Mifsud over at Smashing Magazine is one of the most informative and well-balanced guides to Web form design and usability that I’ve seen on the web. Instead of blindly proclaiming oft-heard things like ‘Labels above input fields are the BEST’ Justin summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of each aspect, providing useful examples and sources along the way:

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Contrary to common advice, above the input field is not always the most usable location for a label. It’s ideal if you want users to fill in the form as fast as possible. But there are times when you’ll want to deliberately slow them down, so that they notice and read the labels attentively. Also, keeping a long form to a single column and making users scroll down the page is better than breaking it up into columns in an attempt to keep everything “above the fold.” Each style of alignment has its advantages and disadvantages.

Working in government, forms are a huge part of what I do. If you deal with forms, check out Justin’s post and share it with your developers.

Here’s a few of the books Justin recommends:

Behind the typography of H&FJ

The AIGA has created a beautiful short video feature of Jonathan Hoefler & Tobias Frere-Jones discussing how they approach creating a new font (start with the H, O and D) and other insights behind their beautiful typefaces.