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A Dieter Rams Radio, in an App

Image by motionpixels.co
Image by motionpixels.co

Image by motionpixels.co

Inspired by Dieter Rams’ iconic T3 radio from the 60s, this app is made to appeal to design lovers. Creator of the T3 app Eder Rengifodid not envision it as a substitute for your built-in iPhone player, but rather as a handsome and streamlined addition to it. The simplicity of the controls and just a few essentials beautifully put together.

—Thanks to Oscar Tellez

Viewport Sized Typography

Image by Chris Coyler
Image by Chris Coyler

Image by Chris Coyler

The latest CSS specification includes three new viewport-based selectors for coupling element sizes like fonts to the size of the browser window. Chris Coyler explains some of the uses of these new tags, as well as bugs and workarounds to expect.

—Thanks to Andy Riley

Infographics of a Year in the Life of Nicholas Felton

For nearly a decade, designer Nicholas Felton has tracked his interests, locations, and the myriad beginnings and ends that make up a life in a series of sumptuously designed “annual reports.” The upcoming edition, looking back at 2013, uses 94,824 data points: 44,041 texts, 31,769 emails, 12,464 interpersonal conversations, 4,511 Facebook status updates, 1,719 articles of snail mail, and assorted notes to tell the tale of a year that started with his departure from Facebook and ended with the release of his app, called Reporter.

—Thanks to Stephanie Walker

Applying Architecture to Product Design, Lesson 1—Circulation

Part one of a series that finds the common ground between architecture and product design, this article focuses on the concept of circulation—the architectural systems that allow people to navigate within structures. Percolate’s Melissa Mandelbaum examines the navigational needs of both physical structures and software, and suggests applying strategies from one domain to another.

—Thanks to Chris Williams

Hyperlapse, Instagram’s New Image-Stabilizing App

Instagram’s new standalone video app puts a small Steadicam system in your iPhone . The app uses information from the phone’s gyroscope to reverse-engineer and strip away any movement and shakiness in a video, resulting in film-like tracking shots. Hyperlapse packages its powerful functionality in a slim, focused UI design.

—Thanks to Mike Townson

Audio Is Expanding the Internet

Photo by Danielle Reid
Photo by Danielle Reid

Video, images, and animation—the tech world often focuses on the visual side of things. This article looks past the visual and delves into the ways audio has been quietly advancing in UX spaces, from providing hands-free control systems to adding personality to user interfaces.

—Thanks to Alan Koda

Windowless Travel in the Private Jet of the Future

Image by Spike Aerospace

Rethinking the inner space of jet planes, Boston engineering firm Spike Aerospace has built a concept that replaces the typical miniscule oval windows with a full 360-degree wraparound view of the outside of the plane. By lining the interior walls with displays, they not only provide a breathtaking view of the environment but also reduce the weight and complexity of the plane’s fuselage. The firm’s design is powered by exterior solar panels, reducing its carbon footprint.

—Thanks to Dennis Van Huffel

Get Ready for Generation Z

Photo by Chad Hipolito

Generation Z—the post-Millennials generation—may be shaping up to be smarter, more ambitious, and better connected than those who came before them.

—Thanks to Jeff Steinberg

Startup Marketing and How Emotion Drives Customer Action

“It is easier to build marketing around the [what], but storytelling originates in the [why]. The why enables startups to tap into its product/brand’s intrinsic emotional advantages – like excitement, happiness, or contentment.” Rather than relying on metrics, Kobie Fuller argues that startups should be creating an emotionally resonant story to bring to market.

—Thanks to Chip Wilson

Scribble’s Color-Matching Pen

Photo by Scribble

This pen uses an integrated scanner and CMYK paint mixer to create ink that is true to scanned color. It also comes with a stylus to match that color against the sample and create the color on mobile and tablet. Kickstarter coming this week.

—Thanks to William Yarbrough

Patatap: Visual Music-Making in Your Browser

Make musical bloops and bleeps, accompanied by beautiful algorithmically-generated visuals, from the comfort of your keyboard and browser.

—Thanks to Alan Koda

X to Close

Image by Lauren Archer

Ever wonder where the basic visual language of our Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) originated? This very thorough and entertaining essay by Lauren Archer traces the origins of the [x] symbol that is now a standard in UI design. Prepare yourself for a journey into the GUIs of the past.

—Thanks to Amber Lindholm

How Giant Websites Design for You (and a Billion Others, too)

Photo by TED

In this TED talk, Margaret Gould Stewart, Facebook’s director of product design, discusses the challenges of designing at a massive scale—where small details cascade into huge consumer ripple effects.

—Thanks to Jessica Dolson

Calculate Your Typographic System with Gridlover

Image from Gridlover

Gridlover helps designers create a typographic system and quickly see how different variations look. You can play around with vertical rhythm, scale for body and heading text, preview different fonts in the content area, and view the content with or without a grid. Once you’re done, you can get the output for CSS/Sass/Less in pixels, ems or rems. It makes doing the math for a typographic system much easier—which you’ll love if you aren’t a mathlete.

—Thanks to Lindsey Norman

A Designer’s Guide to DPI

Image by Sebastien Gabriel

Taking dozens of devices, screen sizes, and resolutions into account can be a difficult ordeal. Sebastien Gabriel lays down a short and sweet refresher on how to take consideration of screen resolutions in your designs, covering the basics on DPI, PPI, HD, 4K, PT, Hz, and any other acronyms I’ve left out. A great guide for thinking about mobile resolutions on a variety of devices.

—Thanks to Dennis van Huffel

Designing Rehabilitation into the Prison System

Responding to the ethical dilemma posed by designing spaces to purposely isolate and punish inhabitants, some prison-design architects look toward participatory design methodology to discover how the prison experience can encourage rehabilitation over punishment. Following the movement started by Scandinavian architects, Deanna VanBuren designs “restorative environments” for prisoners. In a workshop conducted with California inmates, 18 participants shared their thoughts on designing prisons in a way to lead toward rehabilitation and decrease likelihood of re-offending.

—Thanks to Rae Gibbs

Want the Best User Experience? Make it Harder to Add Features

Photo by UX Magazine via Shutterstock

Building software with scalability in mind seems like a logical choice for most companies. I would argue however, that software should be built for its current purpose, without scalability in mind. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s the right thing to do. It means that adding features down the line will need to be a careful process of consideration rather than just something that’s tacked on.

—Thanks to Jared Christensen

The Importance of Prototyping Your Designs

As a designer it’s imperative that, before you simply dive into a project and start creating, you must start from the beginning of the process and test your ideas to ensure they’re the most effective way of accomplishing what you’re working towards. Prototyping offers a way to test what looks great and is fit for purpose, whether it’s for a website or a piece of software.

—Thanks to Jared Christensen

A Great Excuse to Revisit Your Favorite Wes Anderson Movies

Photo from Fox Searchlight via Fast Co.Design
Photo from Fox Searchlight via Fast Co.Design

Photo from Fox Searchlight via Fast Co.Design

As writer Sumit Mehra, points out, “Director Wes Anderson has always been distinguished for his visual artistry, detail-rich sets, and storybook like imagery.” See how you can apply five basic principles from a comprehensive review of Anderson’s work to your next UX/UI project. projekt202 is already way ahead on leveraging number three.

Five Things UX And UI Designers Could Learn From Wes Anderson: Lessons from the Most Meticulous Filmmaker Alive

— Thanks to Kelly Moran

The Anti-Design of Everyday Things

At last: The Anti-Design of Everyday Things.

The Uncomfortable Project

— Thanks to Dennis van Huffel

Xbox, Contextual Research, and Biking

Photo by The Verge
Photo by The Verge

Photo by The Verge

This article shows how research in the environment (contextual inquiry, anyone?) helps to shape and form the design process. The design of the bike centers around new commuters in a city with lots of rainfall, beaches, hills and the need to quickly adapt your riding style. The design lead’s quote on integrating the lock into the handlebars has it doing duty not only as a quick-lock system, but also theft deterent: “When you come up to the bike, there’s no handlebars. If I steal this bike, how will I ride it?”

How the Design Firm Behind the Xbox Built the Bike of the Future

— Thanks to William Yarbrough

Gratitude in a Social, Virtual Context

In this long read, J. Nathan Mathias (a PhD student at MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media) explores the implications of common human expressions of gratitude — thanking, rewarding, showing recognition — in the context of social applications. He points out different approaches to gratitude, such as the “thanks” feature on Wikipedia or the review system of Couchsurfing and discusses various ways to promote or hinder social engagement and community-building through design.

Gratitude and Its Dangers in Social Technologies

— Thanks to Amber Lindholm

Game User Research Drives the Design of the New Dungeons & Dragons

After the poor reception of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, the D&D team incorporated user research, player feedback, and game user testing to create Dungeons and Dragons: 5th Edition. The design team hopes hopes to winning back the hearts of role players by refocusing on storytelling, in-depth rules and mechanics, and looking toward the future of the D&D franchise.

Designing the New Dungeons & Dragons

— Thanks to Rae Gibbs

Customizable Ambient Sound

Noisli — a project by Italian multidisciplinary designer, Stefano Merlo, is an ambient, high-quality sound and color generator for working and relaxing. The app features various sounds, including rain, thunderstorm, bonfire, forest, train and seaside — all of which can be toggled and layered with varying emphasis to produce your ideal sound combination. An everyday app with a beautiful and minimalist user interface. Clean, crisp icon design with excellent use of color.

Noisli

— Thanks to Oscar Tellez

Design Thinking and Airbnb

Video from First Round

This article presents an in-depth look at how solving problems through design, specifically getting into the shoes of the user, allows shareholders to want to solve problems in a larger capacity. The founders dropped their mentality that the solution needed to be scalable in favor of just choosing a path that would work to drastically improve the user experience. Encouraging all design decisions and then validating those changes with actual data fosters an experimental and design-driven culture.

How Design Thinking Transformed Airbnb from a Failing Startup to a Billion Dollar Business

— Thanks to William Yarbrough

There’s a New Meme in Town

To great surprise (and amusement), our meme Stocking Is the New Planking is getting some traction on the web and has gained a few followers and participants. As researchers, we’re definitely interested in examining the analytics and looking at how an idea spreads. As designers we’re reminded that the best ideas are often the simple ones and born out of collaboration. And as creative types working on the internet, we’re excited about seeing how other people adapt and remix our little jolt of craziness.

We’re not sure where this will go, but we’re going to have a little more fun with it. Check it out – you might see some familiar faces.

Oh, did we mention that we are taking submissions?

selected images from "Stocking is the New Planking"
selected images from "Stocking is the New Planking"