Recreational Reading: Designing Interactive, A User Interface Blog

Twitter is great for keeping up with the happenings of friends and family alike, but it’s also a great tool for discovering new people and resources. Example: I follow 37signals’ @jasonfried, who tweeted back to @joshwalsh that Basecamp was up and running again. I clicked on @joshwalsh to see his original post and happened to stumble upon his great blog on usability & interface design, Designing Interactive.

Josh’s latest post goes into some detail reviewing the usability of the Old Navy site. It’s a great article, but I liked his article on red as an error state even more. (In it, he notes a specific example where an expired coupon displayed in red when it should have instead been greyed out, since the user themselves did nothing wrong, and grey brings less attention to the no longer useful data, rather than more undue attention to it.)

Josh has a lot of great advice pertaining to both the nuanced and big picture issues that designers face when developing intelligent, innovative and clean user interfaces. Do yourself a favor and add him to your feed reader promptly.

Designing Interactive

Posted in: Cool Stuff, Design

TechCrunch50 Fail Boat: Yet Another Clone Wins, Innovation Is Dead

Last year was TechCrunch‘s first shot at a demo-ish conference. Forty startups launched and presented their premise to a crowd of bloggers, journalists, VCs and such and such. Last year’s winner was personal finance tracker Mint allows you to sync up all of your credit cards, loans, bank accounts and even reward points and track your entire financial well-being. It creates budgets for you and makes them pretty.

The issue? Mint is really just a re-skinned version of Yodlee. Yodlee is a bank account aggregation tool that makes itself available to banks who want to offer their customers the same sort of “one look” aggregation services in a white-label manner. They’re good at what they do, and they offer a free personal edition called MoneyCenter. Mint simply slapped a bunch of pretty gradients on top of it (they actually use Yodlee as their backend) and some transaction matching algorithms that generally miscategorize items or retitle them if it thinks it knows what they were. (It’s wrong, in my experience, a staggering amount of the time.)

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Posted in: Rants

Doing Twitter Right: Complete Twitter Immersion

So I’ve been staying away from the Twitter craziness for some time, primarily because Facebook integration was sketchy at best (the Twitter app used to add “is twittering” to your Facebook status so you’d look like a total ass) and because none of my friends were on it. But then I watched as the Intrigo folks commented on my post on Twitter, where I could see it and respond back and something appealed to me about the “open text messaging/IMing” concept. Allowing others to join in on a conversation is fun and, more importantly, a great way to find interesting people.

After I configured my account, it was time to make Twitter work for me, to the maximum extent allowed by the law. Here’s what I’ve done to make my Twitter experience a bit better, after the jump.

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Posted in: Cool Stuff, How To