Designers, it’s time to move slowly and fix things

Another reflection on how the culture of tech and design probably needs to change, this time from Basecamp product designer Jonas Downey.

Designers and programmers are great at inventing software… Unfortunately we’re not nearly as obsessed with what happens after that, when people integrate our products into the real world. They use our stuff and it takes on a life of its own. Then we move on to making the next thing. We’re builders, not sociologists.

Hooked and booked

Following on from an article I linked to a few weeks ago about the dark patterns used by to pressurise its users into making decisions, Jeremy Keith follows up with this reflection on why A/B testing used badly makes things worse.

A/B testing is a great way of finding out what happens when you introduce a change. But it can’t tell you why.

Part of this is also about a narrow focus on the wrong metrics. If a business decides it simply wants to increase the percentage of people hitting a partiuclar call to action on a webpage, this is the path they will end up on.

If, however, they can find a more sophisticated way to measure long-term customer satisfaction, surely users will feel less stressed, and the business will improve more in the long run.

These pictures capture Britain’s brutalist vision of urban utopias

A selection of lecture slides from John Richings James. He was chief planner of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government during the 1960s, when many of the country’s most controversial developments were constructed.

When he became a lecturer, he took with him a fascinating selection of photos that show the good, bad and ugly of the brave new world while it was being developed.

Robin Hood Gardens — V&A

Absolutely stunning news that the V&A design museum has acquired a section Robin Hood Gardens for preservation. The design may be controversial and divisive, but I find it difficult to understand any argument that it is not significant and worth preserving.

Minimalist banner

Stop adding complexity – be an undesigner

How do you make something better? Human instinct often tells us we should add something to improve it. But this evidence shows we should stop adding complexity.

In Dundee this weekend, so here is the obligatory photo of the V&A.

Website redesign

The annual redesign

Every year, at around this time of year, I get an urge to scratch that itch. I have to redesign my website. This year the visuals are jazzier. But the code behind the scenes is making me cringe.

Can web design really learn from brutalist architecture?

As a web designer with an interest in brutalist architecture, I was fascinated to read an article about what web designers can learn from brutalism. But perhaps instead of taking inspiration, perhaps the lessons are in what web designers should avoid.

CSS code

Implementing header images

I decided to add header images to this website’s design. I opted for a parallax effect, despite the fact that I normally rail against them.

Devising a colour scheme

I recently made some tweaks to the colours of this website. I have always felt that colour theory was one of my weakest points as a designer, so I like to take any opportunity I can to learn more about it.

Derby Street demolitions – aftermath

On Sunday, Dundee’s tallest buildings disappeared from the skyline forever. They were merely 40 years old, but were said to be too costly to maintain and too difficult to rent out. In seconds, these proud, sturdy structures collapsed into rubble — but not without a fight.

Bucklemaker Court

Derby Street demolitions, Dundee

Bucklemaker Court and Butterburn Court are currently the tallest buildings in Dundee. But in less than a month they will be gone entirely.