30 Jun
   Filed Under: Goodies, Wallpapers   

After Apple showed off its new Snow Leopard artwork and packaging, I immediately wanted to update my previous wallpaper, which was based on the first artwork Apple had made for it. However, I had a lot of other things to do during and after WWDC. Now, finally, after a few weeks of picking away at this during night hours, I present you new Snow Leopard wallpapers. There’s even a Server edition.


By popular demand, versions have also been included without the giant ‘X’.

It goes without saying that this wallpaper is intended for personal usage and desktop customization only. I cannot guarantee your safety if you use it on cars, nuclear devices, and other things that are obviously not your desktop. Mac OS X 10.6 ‘Snow Leopard’ is © 2009, Apple Inc.

29 Jun
   Filed Under: Interface Design, iPhone   

I got the Design Commission’s iPhone UI design stencil kit as soon as it came out, as one of the 100 first customers. I may have been the last one to go before they sold out, as a friend of mine was literally checking out a minute after me and got a message saying they were out of stock.


And to make a long story short: I’m quite pleased with it. Upon opening the package, the first thing that struck me was how thin it was — a great ‘feature’, because you don’t want a thick piece of metal between your pencil and the paper. As a bonus, I was also pleasantly surprised to see that they included a thin mechanical pencil.
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22 Jun
   Filed Under: Personal   

Shawn Blanc has a series of interviews up with various interesting folks sharing their Mac setups. I was honored to answer some of his questions and snap a few pictures of my desk and computer setup, which is in a constant state of flux.


Read the whole thing here. The entire series is worth checking out.

21 Jun
   Filed Under: Apple, Interface Design, iPhone   

There’s been so many iPhone OS 3.0 feature roundups that I’m not even going to bother doing a roundup of UI changes, as most users are quite familiar with this newest version of the iPhone firmware already.


This is a post about the details, but there’s a few things I won’t go into. For instance, please don’t get me started on those pinstripe icons. Seeing them on a huge banner at WWDC was painful enough, and then having to recreate the same stripes for this blog post’s graphic was the proverbial needle under my fingernail.

However, it’s worth a blog post to look at those nice little touches that have been added to the already impressively well-designed iPhone UI.
Continue reading…

20 Jun
   Filed Under: Giveaways   

Thanks to everyone who participated in my little giveaway of shirts for WWDC. If you have participated, but haven’t won, no worries: I’ll send a coupon code for a solid discount your way once the shirt store is online.


Anyway, on to the winners. There were some really great entries (browse the comments section of the giveaway post to check them all out), but I used my standard random drawing system again, adding ‘weight’ to the entries that obviously took more effort. The outcome (drumrolls, etc.):

Totally free shirts go to Jesper Alm, ‘firen’, and ‘Bean’. I won’t be asking you guys for sizes, as you can simply use a particular code upon checkout when the shirt store is up for a free shirt. I’ll email you as soon as the store goes up.

That’s it for now — again, if you participated, you’ll also get an email with a discount code when the store goes online. Check back in July for the next giveaway.

17 Jun
   Filed Under: Interface Design   

When I watched this movie earlier today, which Craig linked to on his Twitter page, I once again thought about how much it can hurt usability if you consider your users to be (far) more ‘intelligent’ than they actually are. Everyone who’s in the field of designing particular software interfaces (and even icons) requires at least one idiot to ‘proof’ his work.

Hire an idiot

If you take offense at the term ‘idiot’, I apologize. To clarify – if it hasn’t been clear to you from my first sentences – when I say ‘idiot’, I actually mean the least ‘intelligent’ and/or computer-familiar class of users this particular product has.

“This isn’t news,” you say, “Surely, everybody takes into account end-user stupidity, and Apple, for instance, is a nice shining example of making stuff everyone can use.”

Really? I invite you to a short look at of the wonderful app that is iPhoto ’09. Most user friendly software ever, right? I gave it to my parents in law so they could edit, manage and share their pictures. Sharing is obviously an important aspect. Personally, I love iPhoto. Makes stuff so much easier.

Let’s say I want to make a slideshow. “Bah, easy!”, says iPhoto, “you only have to click the self-descriptive icon in my toolbar from any collection of photos and off you go.”. Sweet! That makes for an awesome slideshow. Now I’d like to share this particular slideshow. Where do we go now?

My spouse, who is far from computer-illiterate or an actual idiot, had asked me how I could export slideshows, and although I hadn’t ever done it, I was sure it was possible. “Hah, that’s easy!”, I exclaimed, making a fool of myself. It took me a solid 10 minutes to find it. I was the idiot.

“Ah, the share menu!”, I thought. Bzzt. Wrong. Not there. Easy way out: I tried to use the Help menu to search for ‘Share’ and ‘Slideshow’. Bzzt. Sorry, no sharing here. A few of these harsh lessons later, I was still utterly stumped. I kept searching and trying seemingly unrelated things, fearing the worst for my perception of iPhoto as being so friendly to the computer-illiterate.

the dialog

Spoiler: the iPhoto slideshow exporting is hidden in… the File menu. Nope, not in Share, not part of any particular UI related to your current collection or slideshow, and not part of anything in the actual slideshow editing UI either. It’s in the ‘File’ menu. You have to click ‘Export’, and then select the rightmost tab, which reveals a quite nicely designed UI. Right next to ‘Import from Library’. I bet that doesn’t import slideshows, though. But who knows?

Everybody makes these mistakes. I won’t heckle any single party over this: this iPhoto annoyance is a mere example. It’s more important to acknowledge it when you made them, and rethink how you go about working with the extremely varied ways people interact with your product.

And perhaps Apple needs a few more idiots around.