Digital UX – Are Users Ready to Ditch the Grid?

The new Apple watch is still just a pretty slideshow based on Jony Ives’ secret sketchbook with only a handful of real-world prototypes briefly showcased to the press, but the design model for the watch’s UI made enough of an impression on developer Lucas Menge that he built a prototype for the iPhone using the same construct.

Most current UX best practices say users need grid layouts, left-right readability and other constructs carried over from the physical interfaces that so many of our digital ones have been built to mimic. Maybe, however, we are far-flung enough from the original inspiration for those designs now that our digital UI’s can have a design plan of their own, built for a world that is and will always be electronic. It seems like touchscreen technology has become sufficiently advanced to permit a more organic metaphor. At least, that’s how these gifs makes it seem:

I wouldn’t mind downloading an iPhone skin that worked this way just to try it. Maybe it’s more intuitive and usable than we think – maybe we have all just been programmed to fear the chaos of organic structures through a lifetime of computer-induced order.

Via Gizmodo: How the iPhone’s UI Would Look If It Acted Like the Apple Watch.

This is why English is so hard to learn

Ok, there are a lot of reasons why people cite US English as one of the most difficult languages – a tendency to invent words at a rapid pace, a proclivity to adopt words from other languages, the whole “I before E except after C” thing – but I think this is another. Here’s a neat infographic (hey, there’s one of those invented words) from citing 8 words English doesn’t have yet from other languages. How long do you think before a couple of these end up in Websters? If that German one was easier to say (let’s keep it brief next time, Deutschland) it would apply to so many things (looking at you, Windows 7). Personally, I think it’s great, I see no reason not to adopt any bits of other languages that seem useful, especially words with that certain je ne sais quoi.


You Can’t Say That In English! – via

When you can’t even trust your bathroom fixtures

Soon you won’t even be able to trust your wall mirror to be honest with you, as it provides flattering lies every morning like this prototype at Ikea.  Sure, it will feel nice to be told “Have you been working out?” every morning – a nice change from what I usually think when I pass the mirror, toothbrush in hand – but how long until the product placements?  As usual, Futurama predicts our fate, and like Fry we will always look better in the store mirror than in real life:


Ikea Gets Dove-Like With a Mirror That Tells You How Beautiful You Are | Adweek.


Brand Advertising & The Diamond Industry – A Great Read

One of the best stories I have ever heard to explain what Brand Advertising is, why it matters, and how powerful it can really be, this is the story of the De Beers diamond empire, dating back to the late 1800’s.  Inventors of the “A Diamond is Forever” tagline, among others, De Beers has been carefully crafting demand for their product with marketing for over 100 years.  It’s not a short read but it’s a great story – if you are in the ad biz you definitely want this anecdote in your repertoire.


From the Atlantic – Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?

Why We Should Rethink the Eight-Hour Workday

I know my energy levels don’t align with a 9-5 day, as I definitely have a few non-ideal hours during that period where I’m running on fumes.  My most effective workday would probably start with email and calls from 7-8, a workout from 8-9:30, in the office 10-12, lunch and a 30 minute power nap, an afternoon full of face-to-face meetings with an afternoon snack break around 3.  I’d leave the office about 5:30 for happy hour and dinner, which is still a great time to be discussing work if it’s with coworkers, and be home by 7:30.  It sounds like a long day, but with breaks woven in and recharge time built into the day, it’s pretty optimal for me.  Lifehacker explores some of the reasoning and history behind our traditional 8-hour day and why it might not make sense anymore:


Why We Should Rethink the Eight-Hour Workday.


A Small Organization Might Better Advance Your Career

Malcolm Gladwell is always full of interesting ideas, and this one is based on a study of colleges but could apply to any organization (like your employer).  He proposes that since we compare ourselves to those around us, we are more easily demoralized in a big place where many more people will be over-achievers (statistically, of course – this is Gladwell).  A good argument for a small team within a big org, or a small unknown startup vs a big well-known multinational, at least at a stage in your career where you are building your confidence.


Malcolm Gladwell’s David And Goliath – Business Insider.

To grab this book for Kindle:

SEMA Las Vegas – November 2014

I like big trucks and I cannot lie… which is why so many of my photos this year feature giant lifted trucks, but there are also stunning Italian cars, trick Japanese rides and immaculate hot rods in the mix. The largest gathering of small businesses in the US was even bigger this year – I heard 160,000+ attendees, up from 135,000 in 2013 – an encouraging trend for our economy, for small businesses and for the auto aftermarket. As always the amount of time, money, creativity and skill on display at the SEMA show boggle the mind.

If you are hoping for accurate, realistic photographs of the products and projects at SEMA move along elsewhere because this show and it’s over-the-top, bigger-than-life, can’t-believe-they-pulled-that-off custom cars are my excuse to be as seizure-inducingly aggressive with the photos as I care to be. Nothing about this event is subdued and I take all kinds of liberties with the images to highlight the parts I find interesting and stylize them to my whim. One of my Lightroom presets is literally named “CSI Miami”. Now that I have set your expectations correctly, you are clear to proceed:

Gallery is here – slideshow button is at the top-right corner.

SEMA Las Vegas – November 2013

My third year at this epic show and I’m still overwhelmed by the depth of creativity represented in aluminum, carbon fiber, rubber, paint and steel. Between David, Tyler, Sean, Dave and I think we saw about one fifth of what was there. Next year I’ll bring a bigger entourage…

Gallery is here – slideshow button is at the top-right corner.