Color and Usability

Many of us have come to understand that color can convey meaning – this is something that we usually learn as children. A stop sign is red, so we come to associate the color “red” with “stop”. We learn that the color “green” means “go”, “yellow” means “caution”, and so forth. Color, then, can be […]


Going with the grid

“ The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee. It permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for a solution appropriate to his personal style. But one must learn how to use the grid; it is an art that requires practice. ” – Josef Müller-Brockmann The use of grids has […]

Design for all – The Sequel

In Chapter 6 of The Design of Everyday Things, Don Norman introduces readers to “design thinking” – the process of finding and fixing design problems. Norman tells us that “the key emphasis of this book is the importance of developing products that fit the needs and capabilities of people”, and he goes on to explain that the needs […]

What’s your type?

Our recent unit on typography gave me a new appreciation for fonts and those who create them – I’ve always been quite fond of fonts, but I guess I have also taken them for granted. Typography is so much a part of our lives these days – so ubiquitous – that we don’t really notice […]

Design for all

I’ve been delving more deeply into the topic of accessibility in digital environments, because it’s a major priority for me and my colleagues at work. We use an open source development stack to build digital repositories  – one of the tools is Blacklight (a Ruby on Rails engine plugin),  which is used with Bootstrap. So many of […]

Skeuomorphics in the digital space

Skeuomorphic is a strange word for a very useful UX concept. Don Norman, in his book The Design of Everyday Things,  defines skeuomorphic as “the technical term for incorporating old, familiar ideas into new technologies, even though they no longer play a functional role.” Skeuomorphism had a role to play in product design, and it has […]

Divine Design

In my world, design is divine. There are a few different periods in design history that I love, but mid-century modern is most definitely my favorite. As a child of the 70s, I grew up surrounded by it. I didn’t fully appreciate it, though, until about 10 years ago. Mid-century modern design in America was an offshoot […]