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  1. Balsamiq Mockups is a low-fidelity mockup creating tool. One that’s widely used by design professionals in the web space. If you go to the Help menu, the application has a “What should I make for dinner?” link which leads here, where the team at Balsamiq uploads a new video almost every day for a quick dinner recipe in a super quick format.

     


  2. Things I learned at the 99U Conference

    I was at the Behance 99U Conference last week. Here are my lessons learned and observations:

    1. Responsive organizations are more receptive and adaptable to change. Ant colonies, the immune system, and the Internet are all great examples of highly complex systems built on very simple principles that can quickly adapt to situations.

    2. Your culture translates into your product directly.

    3. Design isn’t a step in the process, it happens at every step of the process.

    4. Ship love: value, ease-of-use, and craft (the thought you put into a product’s design that the user just knows when they use it).

    5. When rules start to look like blivets, defy them.

    Perhaps the most important learning from this NYC trip, however, took place outside of the conference. I learned that empathy is a skill. It’s not an abstract “thing” you should be aware of. It’s a skill you can hone, practice, and learn.

     

  3. Mavericks does this thing where:

    1. It tells you about updates that are ready to install (not a fan of the title case there),

    2. Suggests two options: now or tonight,

    3. Gives you the freedom to defer to a later time than suggested.

    I haven’t used a Windows machine in years, but I remember really disliking when my PC restarted to install “updates” whenever it felt like it.

    There’s a subtle balance that needs to be struck when dealing with user control and freedom. How do you prevent the user from deferring to a time that’s too late? Or if the update fixes a security bug? i.e., how do you save the user from themselves?

    Mavericks, for example, gets aggressive if the update is security-related and/or time-sensitive. In that event, it only gives you the option to restart now or in an hour.

     


  4. UPS engineers found that left-hand turns were a major drag on efficiency. Turning against traffic resulted in long waits in left-hand turn lanes that wasted time and fuel, and it also led to a disproportionate number of accidents. By mapping out routes that involved “a series of right-hand loops,” UPS improved profits and safety while touting their catchy, environmentally friendly policy. As of 2012, the right turn rule combined with other improvements — for the wow factor, UPS doesn’t separate them out — saved around 10 million gallons of gas and reduced emissions by the equivalent of taking 5,300 cars of the road for a year.
    — 

    i am not a fan of left turns onto busy streets either. i avoid them.

    Why UPS Trucks Don’t Turn Left (via justin-singer)

    (via fred-wilson)

     


  5. Wrote a post about a recent feature launch on the Wave Apps Engineering blog. If you’ve ever wondered what I/UX designers do at work, this is for you.

    wave-engineering:

    Wave exists to make the lives of small business owners easier. This means we often take difficult processes and workflows and simplify them for our users. A great example of this is the much-anticipated and accounting-heavy “bank reconciliation” feature we released a month ago.

    According to Wikipedia

    (Source: wave-engineering)

     

  6. Dashdash is “a cocktail party on the Internet” and has the greatest introductory animation up on their site.

    Using familiar stories and characters is a fantastic way of showing your app’s purpose to users. 

     

  7. Workflowy asks you to rate their product only after you’ve been using it for a certain period of time and explains why.

    Bonus points for human copy like, “It kinda stinks”

     


  8. Tracking down noisy tabs

    Google Chrome does this great thing where it displays a sound icon on tabs that are playing sound. You can read more about it on the Chrome blog here.

    So say you have a bajillion tabs open (it’s OK, you can admit this. We’re all adults here.), the tab that is making the noise looks like:

    image

    But let’s take it a step further. What if you have a lot of windows with a lot of tabs? You’d have to go to each window and scan through all your tabs. That’s time consuming.

    What if the “sound” icon was displayed on the Chrome window it was coming from when you were in exposé, like so:

    image

    An obvious downside of this approach is that it’s Mac-only. I haven’t used a PC in a while, so I wouldn’t even know where to begin to approach that on the Windows OS. It also solves a very specific use case:

    1. You’re a Mac user

    2. You open multiple Google Chrome windows

    3. You need to track down noisy tabs

    4. You know/frequently make use of exposé

    But if you qualify, this would be a huge help. I know it would be for me. Maybe there are add-ons out there that do this already, and if you know of one, I’d love to hear about it.

     

  9. Not the biggest fan of (American) football, but this is awesome.

    Source

     


  10. Rdio unavailability

    Rdio is a subscription-based music streaming web application that seeks to provide you with music that it thinks you’ll like based on artists you like and the people you follow. Sometimes, some songs aren’t available on Rdio. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, Rdio does a good job at telling you what’s up and why.