On Our Radar: Walkthroughs, Black Boxes and a Sordid Legacy

Paul Wilkins
Paul Wilkins

Create better walkthroughs and Apple designer lessons

Creating walkthroughs can be challenging at times, so here’s some help to write better walkthroughs for your product using a the 3×3 method. It’s said that “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” In line with this idea, you boil down the what, why, and how of your product. From this foundation you can then build up your walkthrough, turning back to the fundamentals that you have honed in on with the above technique.

Over at Apple, we learn that the biggest lesson learned as an Apple designer is that even though we get the impression that Apple has no deadlines, there is actually a highly structured set of internal deadlines, and even deadlines for deadlines that have their own deadlines. The secret though is that they’re not publicised, so that deadlines can be pushed or adjusted when needed to allow a product to be as good as it can be, before its given an official launch date. It’s an interesting insight in to an unknown aspect of such a large company.

Sordid legacy of browser context-sensitive menus

Burke has an excellent rundown on the sordid legacy of browser context menus. Now that we’re creating apps within the web browser, it’d be great to have context menus similar to non-browser apps. The link provides a good history of context-sensitive menus, and says what we can do to develop our own custom solution.

Also around this week, a guide to creating better photo filters, with an explanation of techniques for developing a better interface, with which a user can more easily compare different photo filters.

Chris takes a good look this week at what to do when your design process breaks down, and how certain CSS techniques can be made easier and simpler by using SASS techniques instead. There is also a good breakdown of CSS preprocessor techniques, where you can compare and contrast the different types of preprocessors and the different techniques they use.

Another thing that got our attention (aside from the clickbait heading) was a good piece from Adobe with ‘one weird trick’ to baseline-align text. It’s a good exploration of how to align dropcaps, and cater for different sizes and types of fonts that may be used.

Other CSS-based things we saw:

Building a one-page scroll plugin, and black-box driven development

With JavaScript this week we see from Pete all about how he built the one-page scroll plugin, with an excellent rundown of how he broke things down into simpler parts, and details on the development from there, before rebuilding it with Zepto. It’s quite the detailed exploration and has something for everyone no matter their expertise.

Meanwhile, over at Mozilla we learn more on black-box driven development, with code and details on how to modularise everything, deal with public methods and use composition over inheritance.

And lastly, Bjorn takes a good look at advanced objects in JavaScript, covering all sorts of techniques from the new ES6 version of JavaScript.

Other JavaScript things we saw this week:

What links stood out to you this week? What do you think of the 3×3 technique? We’d love to hear your thoughts.