When should web designers use modal overlays?

"This web page needs to be interrupted by a lightbox effect and a modal dialog asking me to sign up for a mailing list," said no one ever. Read the rest

Listen: how to secure software by caring about humans, not security

Scout Brody is executive director of Simply Secure, a nonprofit that works to make security and privacy technologies usable by technologically unsophisticated people by focusing on usability and human factors. Read the rest

Washington Post and Jigsaw launch a collaborative pop-up dictionary of security jargon

Information security's biggest obstacle isn't the mere insecurity of so many of our tools and services: it's the widespread lack of general knowledge about fundamental security concepts, which allows scammers to trick people into turning off or ignoring security red flags. Read the rest

Historic accord reached in bum-washing bidet toilet UI conventions

Japan's leading bidet toilet manufacturers (including Toto, Panasonic, and Toshiba) have come together through their industry association, the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association, to agree upon a common set of UI conventions for the meanings of the icons on the buttons on the bidets' control panels, thus ending an era in which you might think you were getting "wash and dry" but actually ended up with "layer-cut and dye-job." Read the rest

California just launched a "Digital Service" based on the amazing UK Government Digital Service

Since 2011, the UK's Government Digital Service has radically transformed the way Britons interact with their government, streamlining bureaucratic processes, opening up data, and making APIs available for community groups and commercial players -- alas, the GDS has become a political football in Westminster and has hemorrhaged talent, becoming a sad reminder of a once-glorious dream of government delivered humanely, with the public in mind. Read the rest

Help Kickstart these cool geometric music controllers

Michael Samuels of Sonic Geometry is Kickstarting a set of polyhedral sound controllers that let users shape sound and light into a multimedia performance. Originally a Master's Thesis project at Berklee School of Music, the prototypes are scheduled for release next year. Read the rest

Here's the Pokémon UI redesign everyone's hoping for

Now that we're a month past peak Pokémon Go, developers would be wise to incorporate Wendy Borg's elegant proposed UI redesign to maintain interest. Read the rest

Instagram for Windows 95

Misha Petrick reimagined the Instagram app if it had come out 20 years earlier in Windows for desktop. Be sure to scan that .exe file for viruses! Read the rest

Futurististic computer screens are mostly blue

Chris Noessel and Nathan Shedroff demonstrated that in movies depicting computers in the future, the screens are mostly blue.

Some interesting exceptions: 1991's Terminator 2 made red popular, and the Matrix Trilogy made green the in thing for a while. But within a couple of years, we were back to blue. And it's been this way since the 60s.

I think that green usually signifies "old" computers, perhaps? The Matrix was clever in that way.

Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but I'm struck by the thought that the first and third Alien movies (which were British haunted house movies, sort of) used green screens, whereas the second one, Aliens (an American action movie) used blue. Google Images isn't entirely helpful.

Guardians of the Galaxy (above) appears, of course, to be both. Read the rest

The quest for the well-labeled inn

I have a first-world problem: I stay in a lot of hotels.

New trends in Chinese mobile UIs for 2016

Dan Grover has updated his excellent annual survey of UI trends in Chinese mobile apps with a new installment that covers the t-shirt icon, the happy shopping bag, the moving SEND button, the rise of data-management apps and chatbots, and more. Read the rest

Zero UI will "change design"

Zero UI is the new term for "invisible interfaces"—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: "If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way." [Fast Company] Read the rest

Trends in Chinese mobile UIs

Last December, Dan Grover summarized the unique mobile app UI conventions he'd spotted since moving to China the summer before to work for Wechat, a Chinese mobile messaging app that also incorporates a wallet, Evernote-style functionality, a games platform, a people-finder, a song-matching service, and, of course, an email client. Read the rest

Nagra IV-L: the pinnacle of tape recorder UI

A design classic from 1968, with all the dials, knobs, switches and buttons you could possibly need. Read the rest

Fellowships available in security usability

The Open Technology Fund and Simply Secure are offering fellowships to researchers who seek funding to work on usability in privacy and security technology. Read the rest

Help wanted: crypto-usability research director & ops manager

Simply Secure, a nonprofit developing usable, free, open interfaces for cryptographic communications tools like OTR, is hiring! Read the rest

Internet-of-Things answering machine from 1992, with marbles

Durrell Bishop's 1992 grad project for his design program at the Royal College of Art was a brilliantly conceived riff on the answering machine.

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