Encryption, The Best Feature of iOS8

With today’s launch of iOS8, Apple has begun to encrypt all your things. As detailed in the new “privacy” section on apple.com, all iCloud data is now encrypted end-to-end. On Apple’s servers, in transit and presumably on your device. In other words, it’s technically impossible for Apple to comply with government or legal surveillance requests. And more importantly to the average law-abiding-citizen, a phone thief will not be able to access the data on your phone, through any means, without your passcode or finger print.

In my opinion, this definitively ends the Google vs. Apple war, period. At least until Google can change their business model such that it’s not dependant on collecting your personal information to target you with ads, etc.

Good show Apple, good show.

Carousels Are Useless

Carousels are a lazy and ineffective way to surface content on the web. Stop using them.

— End of Post —

Earlier this year, Erik Runyon the director of web stuff at the prestigious University of Notre Dame, took a close look at how their users were interacting with carousel content.

He found that of the 1% of users even engaging with the carousel in the first place, 84% clicked on the first item in the carousel and PRACTICALLY NO ONE (~4% each equally) clicked on the remaining items.

To put it another way, you gaining practically nothing by putting content in a slider.

This data mirrors my recollection of the tracking we ran on hiphopdx.com when we were working on a redesign circa 2010.

This is not new information, yet carousels are more popular than ever.

If you absolutely must use a carousel, take a read through Brad Frosts post over here.

But seriously, find a better solution.

Update: Chris Noto asks a good question in the comments “why is hiphopdx.com still using a carousel.” While I can’t answer for certain, I tried.
TL;DR – the 0.04% of visitors who click through the last item in a carousel still generate real dollars in ad revenue.

Please don’t customize social media icons

When I put on my front-end developer hat, I’m often the last line of defence between the client and an unfortunate typo, bad idea or missed opportunity. I’m the last pair of eyes to examine a design before it hits the development environment. Designers probably hate me for it, but if I see a design choice that doesn’t make sense to me, I’ll mention it.

One of the most common design choice that irks me is customized social media icons. Web designers seem to have an inescapable need to redesign Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, whatever.app’s icons to match the overall look and feel of the site. One one hand, I can almost understand the appeal, these logos can stick out like a sore thumb. On the other hand, that’s the entire point!

Brands like Twitter and Facebook spend massive amounts of time and money tweaking their identity. They spend even more money marketing their brand, getting it in everybody’s face. Facebook’s white ‘F’, Twitter’s blue bird are immediately recognizable. In my humble opinion, if you actually want website’s visitor to notice and use those sharing features I’m supposed to implement, it’s probably a good idea to follow the social network’s brand guidelines. If you want people to share your content or follow the @account, it’s not a great idea to have the social media icons BLEND IN WITH THE REST OF THE SITE!

I’d love to do an A/B test to examine this theory..

The One Where I Read The Mule Blog

I stumbled across the Mule Design blog yesterday. It’s good. I had a minor epiphany (is there a word for that?) when I read this:

When a client says, “I don’t like green”, most designers translate the sentence into “You must change the green.” But no one asked you to, did they? They merely made a statement about their subjective dislike of a particular color. Your job, as a designer, is first and foremost to listen. And then to gather data. Don’t jump the gun. How, if at all, does the client’s subjective taste enter into the success of the project?

~ I Hate Green

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Tim Hortons printing news tweets on sleeves in the UAE

OK. This is cool.

Gulf News (the #1 English language newspaper in the region) is partnering with Tim Hortons to print breaking news on coffee cup sleeves. The campaign is the brainchild of Y&R Dubai, who claim they’ve increased website traffic by 25% and subscribers 1.5% [case study. video].

I have to admit, this is a pretty clever campaign all around. It’s a good use-case for QR codes and the custom built tweet printer’s pretty cute!

via my wife > foodbeast > psfk.