What we talked about in August 2012

Yet more mobile stuff, including some discussion of Android vs iOS browsers. Seattle design events. White House beer. Pepsi redesign insanity. Icon fonts. Armies of noodle robots, and/or rolling iPad robots for Diego to drive remotely around the office and be a floating robot head. Bootstraps, mobile boilerplates, boilerstraps, I don’t even know anymore.

  • Bright and early (OK, at like 11am) on the first day of the month, Jared shared this potentially terrifying article about the amount of caffeine showing up in the ocean in the PNW due to human waste.
  • Char shared “Explaining the iOS and Android mobile browser usage disparity”, which discusses new data showing that Android users are proportionally significantly more likely to access the web on cell networks rather than wifi, and several theories for why this might be the case.
  • This was everywhere during the Olympics, so you may have already seen this cool interactive infographic showing all Olympic men’s 100-meter sprint medalists, compared to each other, but it’s really neat. There’s another one for the men’s long jump; the 1968 gold medalist set the world record apparently.
  • UW staff and faculty can now get OSX Mountain Lion (10.8), as well as lots of other software, for free for UW-owned computers. Requires UW NetID authentication.
  • Several folks on the team have started using Bootstrap on various projects. I haven’t gotten into it yet but I’ve been following along as others share related things, like the Font Awesome icons, which Diego says are “better than the Glyphicons icons that come standard with Bootstrap.”
  • Jason was then reminded of a Trent Walton blog post on icon fonts that he’d found earlier in the day, and recommended all his articles in general, especially those on web fonts.
  • On a roll, Jason also shared Baymard, a UX research group whose clear articles explain problems and solutions with lots of example images.
  • Does anyone use DevonThink? None of us do, but Jason is interested in it.
  • Urban Prototyping: San Fransisco is — well, I’d better just quote their own description of the project:

    UP: San Francisco 2012 is a festival centered around Placemaking Through Prototyping: How Citizen Experiments Reimagine the Public Realm. The festival will foster a wide array of new creative projects which blend the digital and physical to explore new possibilities in public space. Every project produced will be open source, publicly documented, and replicable in any city in the world.

    It looks like fun; thanks Jared!

  • Another good find from Jared: Design Tip: Never use black. I’m convinced.
  • Relevant to at least one of our current projects is this article on the three-lines icon to represent nav, which includes discussion of its pros and cons, and examples of it in the wild. Char shared this one with the team at about the same time that Diego and Jared were already discussing it amongst themselves.
  • The aforementioned (April, June) Dave Olsen and Eric Runyon (also mentioned in June) did a Fresh Squeezed Mobile podcast on Mobile Web in Higher Ed, which Char shared with the team. I haven’t listened to it yet but it looks worth it.
  • In June, Jared mentioned these neat whiteboards made of bamboo flooring. The folks who made that one are now working on producing them for sale at Draft Made.
  • app.net. What is it? We don’t understand.
  • Diego shared 320 and up, which is a “‘tiny screen first’ responsive boilerplate.” Then there was some discussion of other options: 320-and-up is based on html5boilerplage, but Char says then they released “mobile html5boilerplate” which is apparently similar to the 320-and-up boilerplate (I’m taking his word on all of this). Jared mentioned html5boilerstrap, which is a thing combining Bootstrap and Mobile Boilerplate (with a silly name). But it turns out that Char ended up rolling his own django + django-mobility + Less + compressor … thingy: Django Vanilla on github.
  • Jason found an Eero Saarinen exhibit at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard, which unfortunately ended in mid-August.
  • Looking for some resources on Personas to send to another UW-IT group that wanted some guidance, Jason came across Personas: Putting the focus back on the user at UXBooth.com
  • LukeW’s Data Monday on Aug. 20 consisted of some interesting mobile browser use stats.
  • You still (just barely) have time to catch the The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl exhibit at the Henry, through October 7. Jason went already and said it was good.
  • Char found this useful Responsive Design testing tool.
  • For some reason Jared thought Jason in particular needed to know about this noodle robot video. Though, on reflection, who DOESN’T need to know about a noodle robot?? Check it out, if only for the terrifying army of noodle robots with giant knives.
  • Just going to go ahead and quote Jason on this one: “Last night, I ended up rereading a relatively recent interview with Ian MacKaye, who I keep coming back to as one of my major influences. Anyway, I thought that, in addition to the interesting overview of decisions and thoughts on providing all their live shows via digital music database, there were some interesting observations here on the effects of decisions on audience expectation/experience and the difficult balance of creation vs. maintenance.”
  • This Kickstater, which has since been successfully funded, claims Pixate enables you to create beautiful native mobile apps styled with CSS. We have some reservations about this — does it negatively affect app performance? Are iOS users naturally gravitating towards iOS-style interfaces, and if so, how will this affect the usability of apps created with Pixate? We’ll have to see how it plays out.
  • Diego shared the mobile Bumbershoot 2012 schedule as a good example of color-coding and accordion-style panels. Looks like they used Sched.org to create it.
  • Char found Separate Mobile Website vs Responsive Website, a comparison of mobile techniques using the examples of the two major parties’ presidential candidates’ websites.
  • What is this I don’t even. A supposedly real design brief for the Pepsi brand redesign (pdf).
  • Microsoft unveils their new logo. It’s very … plain.
  • Our group was nominated for an award for our efforts to spread good ux design via our consultations. We had a hard time deciding where to go to celebrate, but options discussed included Special Collections, to see the current book arts exhibits; a Seattle Architecture Foundation design tour; Downtown Seattle lunchtime music; or Seattle Design Festival events.
  • We thought about getting one of these remote-controlled rolling iPad kiosk thingies for Diego’s face during meetings, since he’s joining us via Skype from Montana these days. A very entertaining idea, though unfortunately extremely unlikely. (We also discussed some other less-expensive but also WAY less fun options like this and these.
  • Fontello lets you pick which icons you want from various well-known icon fonts and combine them into one file with only those icons you’ve selected. Helps cut down on font file sizes quite a bit.
  • We are discussing doing some R&D to explore how we could support Team-Based Learning on campus. We started with a literature search and I promptly filled up the channel with like ten links to articles from the UW libraries databases. I won’t post them all here, but if anyone is interested in learning more, let me know or leave a comment on this post.
  • White House beer recipes!!!
  • We ended up going to Pam’s Kitchen for lunch to celebrate our award. It was delicious.
  • Super-cool wind visualization.
  • A lengthy interview with Jeffrey Zeldman, the “godfather of web standards,” about how he got to web design and what is up next for him.
  • Jason went on a rant about the use of the word “infographic” and how it now seems to just mean … posters. This is what inspired his wrath this time.
  • Loosecubes is a co-working type situation, where you can arrange to use office space for the day. The Loosecubes office itself seems awesome. As part of showing up and using the space, they ask that you just provide some feedback on what they’re currently working on. Jason immediately started hatching plans to take working vacations all over the world.
  • Last but not least, ZeFrank is back!


  1. Shawn Medero · October 2, 2012

    Ahh, the Pepsi logo brief. There’s an interview with Peter Arnell about a year after that leaked (I’d always assumed it was a hoax until that interview…)

    • Lauren · October 2, 2012

      Thanks for the reference. I meant to look it up and try to verify it before posting but I got kind of overwhelmed by the list of links this month.

      That guy sounds like … a character. To say the least.