Blog: Secrets from the Chef

Windows 7: clothes count for first impressions

Yegor Gilyov, 12 February 2009 Comments (0)

Criticism Reviews Visual style

Judging by the many online reviews, the brave souls who have downloaded and installed the beta version of Windows 7 are, in general, pleasantly surprised. Your humble servant likewise entered into the ranks of the brave souls. I confirm: it’s actually pleasant to work with No. 7. However, given the many new and different functionalities, and well-written reviews of other authors, allow me to throw in my two cents worth in our particular area of expertise: visual interface design.

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Why the new Google favicon is bad

Denis Kortunov, 10 June 2008 Comments (44)

Criticism Icon design

Google faviconA few days ago I visited the site of my favorite search engine and saw a new icon in the URL line. My first thought was that I misspelled the URL but then it occurred to me that Google had changed its favicon. I do not reckon it’s some kind of world-shaker for the whole IT industry but to me — an GUI designer — this fact appealed as rather interesting.

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10 Mistakes in Icon Design

Denis Kortunov, 12 February 2008 Comments (94)

Criticism Fundamentals Icon design

10 Mistakes in Icon DesignIt is much easier to criticize somebody else’s work than to create something cool yourself. But if you apply a systematic approach to criticizing, make a numbered list and prepare illustrations, it will be regarded as a fully-fledged analysis! In my opinion, icon design is undergoing a transitional period. On the one hand, screen resolutions are increasing, hence enhancing icons. On the other hand, we still have good old pixels. Icons sized 16×16 and even smaller are still widely used. And so, here are the most commonly observed mistakes in icon design…

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Physics still matter, even with special effects

Yegor Gilyov, 12 July 2007 Comments (46)

Criticism Icon design

Sharp-sighted Craig Hockenberry from the Iconfactory have spotted the inconsistency between the new 3D Dock and the old good Apple Human Interface Guidelines. Craig draws our attention to the fact that the sidelines of the Dock’s surface are sloping at different angles than the sidelines of the imaginary desk where the application icons are lying in the guidelines:

The floor displayed on the Dock does not use the perspective of the desk in front of you, nor does it appear as a shelf. Because there’s a difference between the floor angles and the traditional desktop icon angles, many icons look wrong.

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What could outrank Basecamp?

Yegor Gilyov, 12 April 2006 Comments (1)

Basecamp Criticism Tools Usability

There is hardly ever a person who could be surprised by a convenient and nice extranet system. “Oh! You are using Basecamp! Great!” — that is what our clients tell us after they have received an invitation to visit turbomilk.seework.com. Basecamp has become a de facto standard, and 37signals, its developers, showed up as recognized gurus of web applications design and usability.

Basecamp screenshotWhen we started using Basecamp, it felt like we are in heaven. The system simply did its job without making us think that we are too dumb to use it. A complete absence of tweaking options (except coloring the interface) turned out to be a great advantage of no necessity to spend the time and efforts to do that tweaking. Just launch — and work. However, after a year of active use of Basecamp (several dozens of accomplished projects later) I started to think we need to take a more sober look at this system.

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Icon Design by Caplin

Yegor Gilyov, 19 August 2004 Comments (0)

Books Criticism Icon design Reviews

It was with greatest surprise that I understood that the moment we’d been waiting for so long arrived a year ago. The first book dedicated to “computer pictogram design” was published in Russia.

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