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Lukas Mathis on Skype 5 for Mac

A downgrade in every sense:

Unfortunately, instead of making the Windows version of Skype better, they’ve decided to fix the discrepancy by making the Mac version of Skype more like the Windows version.

Always, always, a bad idea.

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Pure CSS Progress Bar

This is very pretty, but requires a WebKit-based browser (Chrome, Safari).

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The Details Are Everything

A new tumblr created by Me, available from now: The Details Are Everything, sifting the user interfaces and experiences I come into contact with in daily life. It is A) An excuse to write more about semi-work-involved things and B) something I’ve been threatening to do for long enough that I needed to either start it, or shut up.

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Cadence & Slang is a book about interaction design.

Written by Nick Disabato (nickd), soon to be self-published:

I’m writing a book called Cadence & Slang, due in late 2010. It’s about interaction design, which is the art and craft of making technology easier to use. There have been many products in the past decade that take generous advantage of good design – the iPod, the Flip Video, the Wii – and fortunately we’re moving more in this direction. Technology used to be an awful lot more complex and overwhelming, and we’ve since learned to make it simpler.

Back the project on Kickstarter, so I can read this thing. See also: the book’s outline (PDF), and it’s official site.

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Usability Question du Jour

Say I’m building a website that deals with data from other websites (social and professional networks, etc), and I want users to be able to enter in their existing profile info into of the application. I can’t just ask for their current username (e.g. http://facebook.com/<yourname>), because some of these websites do not have very friendly URLs (e.g. http://www.spoke.com/info/<somecharacters>/<yourname>) and these may confuse the user. Our mock-up implementation looks like this:

usability_q_1

In the example above, “Sign Up For” send the user to the specified site’s sign up page, and the form element is their ID. It changes based on the site in question, and I don’t think it quite works. What troubles me most (I’m not in love with it being overlaid on the text) is the language, but none of it is something I can’t live without. “Finish this URL” makes it sound like a game, or look like a CAPTCHA, neither of which is what we want. So, UI/UX/Usability gurus: How would you do it? Comments are open.