04 2 / 2013

interactb.in Going on Hiatus

After almost 2 years of publishing two posts a week on Interaction Design, User Experience, work flow related tips, and reviews, interactb.in is going on hiatus.

The blog started shortly before I went to work at Blackboard as an User Experience Designer.  Little know fact, the blog style was inspired by David Desandro’s http://dropshado.ws/.

I am letting this blog go for the time being in order to focus on two other blogs:

I have enjoyed writing for this blog and getting some great response from the community and readers.  Thank you all and if my new direction interests you, I’d love if you start to follow my new sites!

29 11 / 2012

Hide the Menu Bar / Toolbar on a Mac

This simple app does exactly that: Menu Eclipse 2 

27 11 / 2012

Cool Book “Matrix” Page on SitePoint.com

I recently wrote about the navigation over at SitePoint.com.  That led me to head over to their book section.  

I’ve read a good deal of SitePoint books and have always appreciated that they took creative approaches to displaying a “matrix” of their books to easily display their books by topic and level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).

Check out their most recent version, it’s pretty slick.

Well done SitePoint!  Keep up the good work :)

22 11 / 2012

The New, Fixed, Transparent Navigation at SitePoint.com

SitePoint has always been a company, in my mind, that has a hard time defining exactly what it does.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because they do a lot of great stuff - from publishing resources and books to managing forums and marketplace.  

Over the years they have made a lot of changes to their main navigation and homepage layout to reflect what was most important for them to share and convey about their company and offerings.  

Their current design is very very plain and almost too simple in my opinion because at first glance it looks like it could be any given tech blog.

That said, when you start to scroll down, a fixed position, transparent menu appears at the top of page that’s pretty nice. There must be something about transparency that still looks sexy to me.

When I noticed the menu it drew my attention to the Information Architecture and I appreciated again the effort that goes into organizing large sites with tons of different types of content.  What’s a little strange though about this main menu is that a number of the sites link to other domains with completely different navigation that offers no way back to the main site.

I would suggest they look into something like the approach Fuel Brand Network (and others have taken) with a single site navigation and then a global navigation across all their sites.

Just a thought.  Otherwise, keep on rocking the great content SitePoint!

20 11 / 2012

Digging the New ActionMethod Redesign

A while back I responded to @pbuick’s tweet asking if anyone was using ActionMethod.

I said that I had used it in the past but wasn’t anymore.  I found it clunky to use and that’s a major turn off for a todo app, which should be super simple to use (at least for me).

In lovely Twitter as support fashion, ActionMethod got into the conversation and asked if I had tried it since the redesign.  I had not.  Now I have.

This is what it looks like now:

Unfortunately I don’t have a previous screenshot, but it’s definitely slicker and has been cleaned up a bit.

My biggest gripe with the online app before was that picking and assigning a date was cumbersome and involved too many clicks.  The date picking functionality on the iPhone app was great, but the online version was not. They improved that process quite a bit and better aligned the online experience with the mobile one.

Unfortunately I can’t show that because I cancelled my account.

With the recent design enhancements I may have actually kept using ActionMethod.  My reasons for canceling were purely financial.  $99 a year for a todo app is just not worth it to me, especially when I don’t use the group functionality that is one of it’s selling points, and I assume part of why they charge so much.

Overall I have to say well done on the redesign ActionMethod!  If you were way cheaper I would still be a customer :)

01 11 / 2012

Cool Delete Confirmation for Comments in Google Drive

I’ve mentioned this before, but since coming on board to Treehouse I log a lot of time in Google Docs.  I think this has been a recent addition, or I just noticed it recently.

When you have a comment selected in Google Drive, it looks like this:

When you click “Delete” you get this notification:

A few things I like about this:

  1. You can’t miss it
  2. I like how it covers the whole comment
  3. Something about the transparent black just looks good to me

Thanks Google for continuing to make Google Docs (I mean Drive) a lovely app to work with.

30 10 / 2012

An HTML Character Encoder I Really Like

Folks who write a lot of tutorials with code appreciate a good and easy to use an encoder that converts HTML into safe characters.

After experimenting with a lot of them I have settled on using the HTML Character EnCoder from All Blog Tools.

There are a few things I really like about it:

  1. It keeps the line and indent formatting.
  2. It has a relatively small text field that makes copying very easy
  3. It has an easy “Clear” button
  4. It’s colorful and shiny 

If you need a good character encoder I recommend this one.  Thanks All Blog Tools! 

25 10 / 2012

Mac Bartender Review - Organize your menu bar

If you’re like me your menu bar on your mac can get pretty cluttered.  A big thanks to Jason Seifer, my Treehouse buddy, for noticing this and recommending Bartender, a mac app that helps address this exact problem.

Here is what my menu bar looked like before Bartender (19 items):

And here is what my menu bar looks like with Bartender (7 items):

You’re probably thinking that you can accomplish something similar by using the individual settings for each application in the menu, but that’s not always the case, for example, Bartender let’s you hide the following menu icons that I haven’t figured out how to hide natively:

  • Spotlight (still accessible via shortcut)
  • Volume (I just use the keyboard)
  • Adobe’s update notifier (Not sure why this needs to be in the menu bar)

Plus it’s nice to have it all managed from one place.

Now, there are a few menu items that Bartender does not let you turn off from the app and you have to do natively.  Here they are as well as how to turn them off:

  • Bluetooth (Preferences > Bluetooth > Uncheck “Show Bluetooth status in the menu bar”)
  • Fast user switching menu (Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items > Uncheck “Show fast user switching mode”)

A cool feature that Bartender has is the ability to store menu items in a drop down menu bar that appears when you click on the Bartender icon in the menu bar.

I’m not sure how much I’ll use this feature, but it seems like a cool feature.

Finally, you have the option to change or completely customize the icon that Bartender uses.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this app, and would also recommend picking it up for $7.50 while it’s still in beta.

Thanks again to Jason for recommending this app to me and Surtees Studios for building it!

23 10 / 2012

An Awesome Show/Hide Hidden Files Alfred Extension from Kyle Cotter

I recently posted a link to the terminal code to show and hide all hidden files in Terminal.

Thanks to Kyle Cotter’s Alfred App extension you can now do this even easier!

Thanks Kyle!

18 10 / 2012

Shortcut to Open Last Closed Tab in Safari

For those who know and love the Command + Shift + T shortcut in Chrome, you’re probably like me and which that Safari had the same shortcut.

It does have something almost the same though. If you hit Ctr +Z it will open the prevoiusly closed tab.  However, if you do something like open a new tab it will no longer work.

For those who can accept using the mouse, you can also do this from the Bookmarks menu.