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I write about design, technology, and people. Sometimes I photograph places I visit.

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Stop using isometric mock-ups

If you looked at online portfolios or “inspirational” websites lately, you have probably noticed isometric or skewed mock-ups. It seems they’re the hottest thing at the moment.

I didn’t want to put anyone on the spot, so I created a demo from screenshots of my website. The mock-ups or screenshots are usually skewed and then tiled next to each other.

I have been interviewing job candidates in the last year, and observed isometric mock-ups slowly creep into design portfolios. After giving it enough thought, I can think of only one benefit for presenting your work this way and many drawbacks. Read more

Brutal prioritization

The amount of time a person has in a day is finite. Although such an obvious statement is seldom worth repeating, it became my daily reminder since my son’s birth a couple of months ago.

I’ve lived through time-constrained situations before, but they were never so clear-cut as the current one. For example, if I had 20 things I wanted to do in a month—like exercising, reading, going out, or watching movies—and enough time to do only half of them, I was still able to do a lot. That created an impression that I was on top of things. I could shuffle various activities around and always remove one to make more time for another. I embraced the flexibility and in turn sacrificed some focus. Read more

What designers do

Good designers create beautiful mockups and care about typography. Excellent ones foster teams and environments that produce outstanding solutions. Designers accomplish that through three activities. Read more

Always guess

From a recent Numberphile video:

By the way, it’s always important to guess. Guessing is the way to learn and advance in science, both for students and researchers alike. If you guess right, you are very, very proud you got it right. If you guess wrong, you are really shocked; maybe not really, but slightly shocked, and that engages your thinking. You can learn what happened and then it makes you a little smarter next time. So always guess before solving any problem.

Source (6:05), edited for clarity

Setting hypotheses and testing them is one of the cornerstones of science and critical thinking. People practice it outside strict scientific fields too, but probably not as deliberately (the always part). After thinking about this for a couple of days, this struck me as odd because, as Professor Tadashi Tokieda had mentioned, it is an excellent learning method.

Guessing tests assumptions, reasoning, and knowing fundamentals. It can be used for more exact areas like programming and engineering, but also for messier situations like usability testing or sales meetings. The tricky part is remembering to stop for a few seconds, step back, and ask: “What do I expect to happen, and why?”

The telegraph at Montmartre

An old telegraph in France used a mechanical semaphore on top of the tower to signal letters according to the Chappe system. Nearby stations would observe it and relay it further.

People, companies, and governments downplaying new technology and being left behind is nothing new. Here is an example on early mechanical telegraphy and semaphores from the first half of the nineteenth century, as described by James Gleick in his excellent book The Information: Read more

These were the latest posts. If you want to read more, please explore the archive.

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