From Spreadsheets to Websites

Did you know, according to the Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report, Microsoft Office formats (.xls, .doc, .ppt) represent 38% of malicious file extensions in email? (1) And don’t think zipping your spreadsheet file will make it any more secure because Archive files (.zip, .jar, .rar) came in at 37%.

Wait. What?!
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What to Do With Designer’s Block

Illustration of designer's block

I recently found myself completely stuck trying to decide on a blog post topic, when a fellow A+L designer suggested I write about being stuck. Well, that’s a good idea. I grabbed some coffee, sat down to write, and immediately felt stuck again. What is it with feeling stuck? Where does it come from, and what can we do about it? (more…)

Design Roles – UX & UI

Illustration of a Sketch, Wireframe, Mockup, Development

(. . . and how these are two very different phases of a software project)

 

Back in the day, we were all “web designers” – simply put.

We knew everything from buying the domain name to launching the site and figured out everything in between as the project progressed. Granted, it was mostly static HTML, links had blue underlines, and was still a novelty, but the role “web designer” was a catch-all title for a fresh new industry — digital design.

My, how things have changed.

Similar to how the role of “neighborhood doctor” has branched into a myriad of specialized fields of medicine, the same has happened in the world of web design. Technological developments, more advanced tools, focus on human-centered design and in-depth studies of user psychology has caused web design to branch out into its own specialized roles. (more…)

Book Review: Artful Design

What We Make, Makes Us

In our age of rapidly evolving technology and unyielding human restlessness and discord, design ought to be more than simply functional; it should be expressive, socially meaningful, and humanistic. Design should transcend the purely technological, encompass the human, and strive for the sublime.

Sublime design presents itself, first and last, as a useful thing, but nestled within that window of interaction lies the novel articulation of a thought, an idea, a reflection—an invisible truth that speaks to us, intimate yet universal, purposeful without necessity of purpose, that leaves us playful, understood, elevated. It is a transformation so subtle that it escapes our conscious grasp but that once experienced—like music—we would never want to be without again.

— Manifesto

Ge Wang is a professor and computer music researcher, perhaps most widely known in the field as the creator of the ChucK language for creating computer music systems and one of the founders of the company Smule, creators of numerous iPhone music creation apps including the Ocarina and “I Am T-Pain”. In this new book from Stanford University Press, he lays out a set of strong arguments about design (mostly focusing on his work in computer music, but also thoughtful ruminations on pencil cases and other artifacts) focusing on how we as designers can aspire to the sublime in the systems that we build. (more…)