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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. 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.

     

  3. 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. 

     


  4. 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.

     


  5. It is by design, mercifully simple. Once the company realized it had something good, the team took what Roman calls “aggressively-focused positions.” They stopped thinking about and accommodating for edge cases. Any feature suggestion that might appeal only to early adopters was immediately killed.

     

  6. At the risk of coming off as a total fat-so, I’d like to share this fantastic progress bar on the Dominos website.

    The first step lights up when you place your order, then when someone at the store takes your order and processes it, the tracker tells you that it’s being fired up! It also adds the name of the employee who processed it, to keep things real.

    Each segment/step also pulsates, so it’s never static, which gives the perception that things are moving along (even if they aren’t).

     

  7. At Code School, you earn badges when you complete things. You earn your first badge just for signing in, and they’re not slow in letting you know that there’s more of those to come.

     

  8. Tumblr’s new user onboarding workflow immerses users in its current interface and holds their hands through the first few steps of following blogs in order to craft the ideal user experience.

     

  9. Better Touch Tool transforms your Mac’s trackpad into a magical wonderland that knows no limits. Maximize screen to right? No problem. Tile windows horizontally? BTT can make it happen. I powered up my Macbook today to find an update from the BTT creator, Andreas Hegenberg.

    It’s so great to see developers dedicated to their audience and their craft. Not only did Hegenberg (does his name remind anyone of Heisenberg from Breaking Bad? No? Just me then) introduce a new feedback system, he made sure to include a link to existing feedback to avoid duplicate issues and complaints.

    Win win win win winning.

     

  10. Adobe gave Kuler a makeover! And the results are rather pretty. For those of you not aware of Kuler, it’s a site that helps you create brand color swatches, pick colors for your site, or any other design project you might be up to. 

    The giant color wheel gives the site a playful look and puts the main objective front and center. The old site featured themes more prominently, and while helpful, didn’t accomplish the main point of the site.

    Oh, and the new site is also responsive-ish, which is a huge plus.