The Main Course

Deliciously fulfilling articles about serious business.

Creating UI assets for the iPhone OS

Posted on 12 April, 2010 5:35pm | 11 comments.

So I wrote this up recently for internal use at Inkling, and thought it might serve as a good general purpose guide for iPhone/iPad UI designers who work in tandem with developers. Hopefully it will help you work more efficiently and have more harmonious, fruitful partnerships!

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Star Trek and the Future of UX

Posted on 8 February, 2010 12:08pm | 4 comments.

Matt Gemmell asked a very thought-provoking question on Formspring yesterday, and I liked it enough to repost it here. I really think a lot could be said about this topic, and this just scratches the surface.

Q: To what extent has sci-fi (TV, movies, books) influenced your UX work?

A: That’s a great question. I think you can look at science fiction as our collective fantasy about technology. If you want to understand not how people use their computers but how they want to use them, popular sci-fi is the first place you should look.
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Making an iWork-style toolbar icon

Posted on 31 March, 2009 9:44pm | 10 comments.

In Mac OS X applications, toolbar icons are the illustrative UI shortcuts that appear beneath the title bar. You’ll see a few different styles of these depending on the application, but generally speaking they are relatively small and colorful, meant to be easy to remember. If you plan to design toolbar icons, you should start with the section devoted to them in the Apple Human Interface Guidelines.

While the HIG has a lot of good information, it doesn’t go into the details of implementation, so I’m going to go through the process of how I would design a toolbar icon. I’ve chosen the iWork style because I really like how crisp and clear they are, and I think they are a good model to work towards.
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The keyboard is a crutch, or why web design is boring and irrelevant

Posted on 6 March, 2009 6:41pm | 50 comments.

Ah, spring. Another Webstock has passed and SXSW is coming around the corner. I remember a time when I dreamed of going to the big web conferences, talking to exciting people working on exciting things, and meeting people I admired: Tantek Celik, Molly Holzschlag, Doug Bowman, Dan Cederholm. I started out in web design right as CSS was taking hold as a great way to make beautiful and flexible layouts. As my career unfolded I saw the growing popularity of Google, the introduction of Firefox, the beginning of the standards movement, and the explosion of AJAX, Rails, and web 2.0.

It’s easy to think I work in an an exciting, dramatic field that’s always pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, and continually reinventing itself in new and better ways. Users love the web, right? We’ve done a great job, haven’t we?
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On the Side

Tasty tidbits for any occasion.

Ellen’s Stock-a-Rama

3:45pm, 15-02-2010 | no comments.

Peter pointed me to these lovely stock illustrations from Ellen Lupton. I really like the textures and whimsical treatment of subjects.

On Selling Out

2:27pm, 4-02-2010 | no comments.

“I honestly don’t know what selling out is supposed to mean anymore, the term is leveled with such regularity. I was under the impression that it meant that your principles were for sale, that an indeterminate sum had changed hands and now you were under command. … Now it appears to involve infractions of some impossibly austere, orthodox hipster code, complete with constant play-by-play analysis by psychic forum trolls and betrayed fans who gleefully plot the coordinates of your downward trajectory.”

From 2004, but strikingly relevant in the context of the iPad. From Penny Arcade, via Meg.

Creativity is Not Design

3:39pm, 3-02-2010 | 1 comment.

“Creativity is not design. Creativity has nothing to do with design. Creativity is bound by no laws, rules, or strictures …which is perhaps why it’s so intoxicating. Design, on the other hand, is based entirely on math, psychology, human perception, and a host of rigid rules and laws that can be broken by only a highly skilled few. Those unfamiliar with these laws and rules, and the associated sciences are by no definition designers.”

As usual, thoughtful and informed commentary from Andy Rutledge.

Lose It!

3:48pm, 2-02-2010 | 4 comments.

So one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2010 was to end this year at a lower weight than I started it. Not drastically, but the idea is to work maintainable weight management/maintenance habits into my routine. Calorie counting has always been a good strategy for me, and hey, there’s an app for that!

Besides being an amazingly well-executed app, Lose It! is free and has some social motivational features. So if you’re using the app too, add me at… it’s always easier with friends!


Way more fun than real food.

No such pipe, or this pipe has been deleted

annekate: Fleet week is the best week.

annekate: Nothing like standing on the Caltrain platform for a hour to top off your workday!

annekate: Also, if you want to work with me and other hep cats on iOS or Android apps for Quora, get in touch!

annekate: Booked Christmas flights & one of the legs is on a Dreamliner. Unreasonably excited to ride one of those puppies, tho sadly it’s a red-eye.

annekate: Wow. Talk about authoritative. Where and how was the Bill and Hillary Clinton 1970s "hippie" photo taken?

annekate: I can’t wait to get on this gorgeous thing tomorrow.

annekate: Beetles are swarming and it just started pouring. Why is the Happiest Place on Earth in the middle of a swamp?

annekate: So far, strawberry cream cake in France, baklava in Morocco, Pocky in Japan and gelato in Italy. So far.

annekate: Epcot: Desserts Around the World.

annekate: People need to watch this earnestly. Also, RIP Michael.

annekate: Saw Captain EO expecting cheesetown, and got a rather amazing confluence of everything that was culturally important in the 80s.

annekate: Wheels down in Orlando. Disney World and associated magic, here we come!

annekate: Leaving for vacation with a Kindle containing Watership Down, Outlaws of the Marsh, and Moby Dick. I have some catching up to do.