The Jony Ive New Yorker piece

Jonathan Ive and the Future of Apple

There were times, during the past two decades, when he considered leaving Apple, but he stayed, becoming an intimate friend of Steve Jobs and establishing the build and the finish of the iMac, the MacBook, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. He is now one of the two most powerful people in the world’s most valuable company.

Fascinating article on Apple’s lead designer and de facto direction maker. A long read, but a very good one.

A couple of things that stand out to me:

  • I’ve commented before on the old MacBook “sleep” light. The one where it blinks as if a sleeping heartbeat. There’s an anecdote in the piece that says people complained about it keeping them up while it sat on their nightstand. I always liked that little touch in he older laptops.
  • The designers who work under Ive are said to work 12 hour days. 12 hours. Do these people have families? Significant others? Lives outside of the office? Those kinds of working hours seem unsustainable. And borderline unhealthy. Just my initial, gut reaction.

A well-written piece am definitely worth checking out.

Source: The New Yorker


The Worst Feeling…

…is when you know you handled a situation incorrectly with your child. I overreacted. I was harsh. And I didn’t need to be. So many other ways to handle that situation.

Damn it

I’m a Social Drinker

“Hi Lee”, says the group.

No, not that kind of social drinker. I’m talking about coffee here, not alcohol. (Although, I would definitely call myself a very social drinker. I don’t tend to drink much of anything, alcohol-related that is, when I’m by myself. Hmm. Never really thought about that too much, but it’s true.)

When it comes to coffee, I drink a cup as I’m getting the kids up, fed, and ready for school. But after that, it’s more routine than anything else if I have any more. Some days, I fix myself a traveler (I’m really not talking about alcohol. Promise!). But there are other days where I’m essentially done for the day with coffee.

That’s a normal day. But when I’m in a social situation, I can drink a lot more coffee. And I even drink it faster, which I don’t really understand. I was recently at An Event Apart, where they served breakfast. Like most conferences, you eat in groups of your peers. I drank probably twice as much coffee as I normally do. Even when I meet someone for coffee, one on one, I drink more. It’s like I’m more focused on it or something.


Maybe it’s because it makes me feel more comfortable. Like it’s a security blanket or something. Hmmm…

“Apple rejection. Goodbye GIF Finder”

I quickly whipped together an update and got it submitted, promising the users it would be fixed in around a weeks time. This update was literally a 2 line fix in the code, so I thought I had nothing to worry about.

Fast forward a week and Apple has binary rejected the update on copyright grounds as you are able to find Disney images (amongst other names) using the app. I use Tumblr’s API and Imgur’s API to retrieve the the GIFs, the same GIFs that are available in the Tumblr app and through the Safari browser.

I have been identified as an Apple fan for years (and rightly so). I have also been accused of being an Apple apologist. If you believe that, let me break that thought process right now. What happened to Matt is utterly ridiculous and Apple should be ashamed that they are treating their customers (yes, not retail customer, but still a valid customer) like this. It’s ok to have a rule, but make sure that rule, and the upholding of that rule, makes sense. Don’t be afraid to make an exception. And don’t hide behind a corporate “because I said so”.


An Event Apart 2015 – Atlanta: Day Two

Designing for Crisis
Eric Meyer, Author, CSS: The Definitive Guide

– crisis drives you “how do i get to my [loved one]”
– opened iPhone and went to find Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; saw full desktop site
– couldn’t figure out how to navigate; couldn’t think clearly
– looked in center column (where the content should be)…nothing of use
– looked in left column for structure…nothing of use
– looked for site navigation (admittedly subtle and themed correctly)…missed it completely the first time
– no consistency in verbiage (Emergency Room vs. Emergency Department)
– placement of “Contact Us” (and font) looked like ad (brain is trained for it)
– so many roadblocks to finding the answer to the simple question of how to find your loved one
– “You don’t get to decide what your users will want to do on mobile. They do.” – Karen McGrane
– we don’t get to decide their mood, their concentration level, their ability to think clearly
– TIP: add another persona to your end user list: someone in crisis
– Empathy: fully imagine being a person who DOESN’T know how this shit works
– TIP: on top of persona, add contexts to user requirements (example: time of day)
– helpful tip for airline passengers: Airlines should provide (in-app) maps of the airport, with a route pointing the user from the gate they are arriving into to the connecting flight’s departure gate (relieves stress)
– error handling: you’ve got to tell the user what action to take if an error occurs
– processing: you’ve got to tell the user that the system is working
– give the users options that will fit within the context they are in (car accident; do not force IE on them)
– do things that will never be noticed; if they are never noticed, you’ve done your job
– they will never thank you, but the thanks is from all of us to you

Talk Links
Torre Kean’s Notes

Smaller, Faster Web Sites
Mat Marquis, Developer, Bocoup

– Users care about their information and how they can get to it and use it
– We force our own context on our users (we assume high transfer rates / fast processors / lots of memory)
– Need to build a “Built for me” site, not a “Works best on…”
– Page weight (i.e. faster load times) opens opportunity for so many things
– currently, mobile/tablet usage accounts for 35% of all Worldwide Internet traffic
– EDGE is 50% of that usage; 3G is 30%; leaving 20% 4G+
– 71% people expect websites to load faster on phone than desktop
– 72% of responsive sites send roughly the same data to mobile and desktop users
– “Cutting down on the weight of our images is the single greatest bandwidth shaving we can achieve.”
– Smaller Websites
– average page weight: 2MB
– JS crept up in size; images have become much worse (retina is the reason)
– srcset to the rescue
– icons are a problem, too (“Pictures shouldn’t be made of math”)
– SVG’s supposedly to the rescue (not all browsers support; looking at you Android)
– Faster Websites
– Critical CSS (serve only stylesheets needed for current context)
– initial TCP/IP connection carries 14KB (sends markup and head content)
– the rest of the requests happen after the initial connection
– Deferred Loading of Webfonts
– most browsers wait 3 sec to load webfont before falling back to system defaults
– Set a Performance Budget
– We build purpose, not just websites
– “I take pride in building things that are invisible. That’s beautiful.” -@wilto #aeaatl

Talk Links
Torre Kean’s Notes
Chris Zacharias: Page Weight Matters
Above-the-Fold Detector

Responsive Images Are Here. Now What?
Jason Grigsby, Co-Founder, Cloud Four

– Currently shipped in Opera and Chrome
– In development for Safari and Firefox; IE “considering”
– Images have always been difficult (remember web colors?)
– Use Cases
1) Resolution Switching (one image, multiple sizes)
2) Art Direction (cropping when/where appropriate -OR- different assets)
is always required
– Sometimes, is all you need
– But what about high density displays?
– srcset to the rescue: 1X vs 2X display density identifier
– if that’s not enough, provide browser with width specs
– How do browsers pick the correct source image from ?
– Images are downloaded before size is known (viewport is only known size)
– Tug of war between Lookahead processor vs. Responsive Images
– The pre-parser is why we can’t solve responsive images with CSS/JS/new image format
– BUT…it makes browsing experience 20% faster
– Sizes
– provides max-width queries to base images on viewport width (vw)
– Let the browsers be smart
– So when do we use ?
– art direction (providing different images based on context)
– What about CSS?
– Art Direction
– image-set(): can be used in CSS where src-set would be used inline
– image-set() doesn’t support density definitions yet
– Image Breakpoints: images normally tell you when they need to change
– Resolution Switching
– Image Breakpoints: Hmm…don’t have any idea (depends on image, need, rules, etc)
– Responsive Image Community Group
– Use of polyfills work with older browsers (Scott Jehl)

Talk Links
Torre Kean’s Notes
A List Apart: Responsive Images in Practice

Prototyping and Play
Dave Rupert, Paravel; The Shop Talk Show

– Co-host of Shop Talk Show (co-host with Chris Coyier)
– Tools to Help
1) Clicky Image Prototypes
– (prototyping)
2) Clicky Motion Prototypes
– framer.js
– Origami
3) Code Prototypes
– Pattern Labs (atomic design) (
4) Frameworks & Libraries
– “Spend less time designing the Container and more time designing the Content.” – Trent Walton
– How We Prototype
– Goal: get to code as soon as possible
– Start with sketching
– “The fidelity of your prototype should match the fidelity of your thinking.” – Jared Spool
– Share what you’re building; make sure people know what you’re doing, the decisions you’re making
– “Don’t Hoard the Process”
– unintentionally creates animosity
– Web Design is a Team Sport
– We’ve got to set goals to match skills
– Benefits of Prototypes in the Workplace
– Prototypes help solve arguments
– “Won’t work ‘cause it’s weird” – Me. Every project ever.
– “If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a thousand meetings.” -IDEO
– You WOW upper management
– “The technical challenges of integrating with the CMS are huge when [a design is] not even tested yet.” – Chris Balt, Microsoft, on the RWD Podcast
– The Costs of Not Shipping
– Turnonver
– Biggest Failures
1) Too Many Designers
2) Didn’t Code Soon Enough

Talk Links
Torre Kean’s Notes
Making Front-end Development a Team Sport

Content Amid Chaos
Sara Wachter-Boettcher, Author, Content Everywhere

– We love the web, so we don’t want to see it trashed
– Gripes about websites:
– Always late
– Not mobile-ready
– Too corporate
– Totally irrelevant
– Way too long
– Redundant
– We’re really talking about “not-my-problem” or “too-big-to-try” problems, not content problems.
– How can web projects fix those problems?
– Turn your project into a catalyst project
1) Make change feel achievable
– most people want to do a good job
– but big problems feel…big
– Start with just one thing (Visible / Valuable / Scope-able)
– sweet spot is between your skills and area of influence and what’s causing problems right now
– Fix something…don’t necessarily fix everything
– Small wins build optimism
2) Aim for ownership
– We can’t just wait around for “someone else” to fix it
– We need people to take charge
– Get people problem-solving together (Ask, don’t just tell.) (Do, don’t just talk.)
– Doing things with people > doing things for people.
3) Get a commitment
– Maps give us momentum
– Maps connect vision to operations (defines where you’re headed)
– example: Unstructured (scattered) content ——> Structured (indexable) content
– Identify potential projects / challenges: break down into tasks
– Decide who will lead each charge / Set a cadence for progress
– Maps keep us moving
– We’re not here for perfection. We’re here to change for the better.

Talk Links
Torre Kean’s Notes

Magical UX and the Internet of Things
Josh Clark, Principal, Global Moxie

– Interactions not just keyboard/mouse anymore; now there’s touch/natural gestures
– Design beyond the screen is coming; we have to be ready (“Expecto Patronum” is coming)
– Common technology will lead to these new design interactions to user experiences

A Performance in Three Acts
1) Magic & Technology
– “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
– “Fantasy fuels a need for a simpler, more controllable world.” – Alan Kay
– “One goal: Make the computer disappear” – Alan Kay
– The phone is the first Magic Wand (aka Internet of Things Device) for everyone
– Sensors + Smarts + Connectivity = Magic
– “Mobile is available at the point of inspiration.” – Tomi Ahonen
– Mobile phones bring computing power to immobile objects (we can now embed smart brains in anything)
– Average smartphone screen time: 3+ hours a day.
– The more connected we are the more disconnected we are
2) Physical Meets Digital
– Physical interaction with a digital API
– The world IS the interface
– The world IS ALSO a data source
– The world is a big canvas
– The world has depth and mass
– Gather data for insight; Channel intention
3) Magic, Imagined
– “What is ____ was magic?”
– Add insight, not just data
– Make the tech invisible
– Build systems smart enough to know they’re not smart enough
– Algorithms can go VERY wrong
– The magic is not about the thing; it’s about the combo of sensors/smarts/connectivity
– Technology should amplify our humanity

– It’s not “Can We?”, it’s “How Will We?”

Talk Links
Torre Kean’s Notes

“Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly To Ban Advanced Placement U.S. History”

An Oklahoma legislative committee overwhelmingly voted to ban Advanced Placement U.S. History class, persuaded by the argument that it only teaches students “what is bad about America.” Other lawmakers are seeking a court ruling that would effectively prohibit the teaching of all AP courses in public schools.

I don’t even know what to say…