Arnt Gulbrandsen
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2012-07-20

Man is the measure of all things

Le Corbusier said so. Noone seems to understand it.

A window sill is not 1m above the floor. A window is properly located so its centre is 1.0 eyeheights above the floor and its size is 1.0 visionwidths, because man is the measure of all things. A good architect resolves these difficult units appropriately to the building.

The same applies to doors, stair steps, GUI animation times and technical writing. The reader's comprehension is the measure, not logical structure or the writer's composition ideal.

2011-11-28

Baselines

The text we've all learned to read is arranged in lines: Horizontal baseline, regularly sized letters, regular line height, lines neither too narrow nor too wide.

Anyone who breaks those rules disturbs the mind's reading and distracts from the content. Minor violations cause minor disturbance.

Which is fine, I suppose. Ask any advertising agency. If you violate the right norm you can make the brain sit up and take notice of a message it would otherwise skip. Drink Coca-Cola. But it's not something a GUI program should do. GUI programs should form the thinnest possible barrier between user and data. (more…)

2011-08-17

Zero bits of information

I quote at length from chapter four of Jef Raskin's book The humane interface:

We have looked at two interfaces, one of which will take about 5 seconds to operate and the other of which will take more than 15 seconds. [...] It is clear which of the two better satisfies the requirement. The next question that we ask is how fast an interface [...] can be. (more…)

2011-01-03

Software patents not all bad

So Paul Allen sues over patents and I'm sure he'll attract a lot of flak for that. But a side issue interests me particularly: The patents were originally awarded to Interval Research, a tech R&D firm founded by Allen and former Xerox executive David Liddle in 1992. The firm was folded in 2000, and the patents were later transferred to Interval Licensing. (more…)