About curiosity, privacy, accessibility, dark patterns and unethical design
One key designerly behavior is curiosity - the desire to know. Designers ask a lot of questions - of clients, stakeholders and users to truly understand and empathize with users before translating those insights into action to improve users' experiences.
Genuine curiosity is like a muscle that trained and strengthened through regular exercise. Begin by acknowledging that we don't know something. Research it, ask questions, adopt a beginner's mindset and don't be afraid to appear foolish.
In this issue, we'll look at what people were curious about and trends in Google's Year in Search (2020), a couple of books on curiosity, a few links to articles related to privacy, dark patterns, bad design and some design inspiration.
Curious about what people were curious about?
In a year that tested everyone around the world, “why” was searched more than ever
– Google Year In Search 2020
I enjoyed their video summary and viewing the trends. In addition to asking "why", people also searched how they could make a difference, which was great to see.
The trends are also presented in a way to engage people's curiosity to discover additional trends that they are interested in.
Visualizing the Length of the Fine Print, for 14 Popular Apps
Imagine spending the equivalent of 6 work weeks to read through the legalese of services and apps we use... wonder how much longer if we had to actually comprehend it!
WhatsApp has been in the news because they recently proposed non-user-friendly Terms of Service changes that users had to accept to continue using the app. (Good news below - now delayed until May).
"These agreements are an insight into the legal mumbo jumbo that exists when it comes to regulating the use of these apps. There are a multitude of agreements that go even further into depth about what rules govern developers, online cash transactions and much more. The average American would need to set aside almost 250 hours to properly read all the digital contracts they accept while using online services."
Amazon Prime Too Hard To Cancel, Consumer Watchdog Complains
"You can check out any time you like / But you can never leave!" - Hotel California
"You can log out any time you like / But you can never leave" - Norwegian Consumer Council report about Amazon Prime
There's also a 30 page report on the dark pattern for your leisure reading.
Shame, suicide and the dodgy loan apps plaguing Google’s Play Store
A sad, cautionary read about instant loan apps in India that boomed in India during the pandemic. They lend people money, then harass and publicly shame them until they can’t cope anymore...
These apps break the first rule of ethical design: Do No Harm
WhiteHouse.gov now has dark mode
Along with the new Biden administration, whitehouse.gov also revealed some accessibility features: a high contrast mode, which serves as a dark mode, and a toggle to make the font size larger.
Illustrations made with Figma
While most designers use Figma for interaction design and prototyping, others like Martin Bekerman, designer at Netflix, used it to create illustrations. This link shares some of those illustrations, and you can download some of those files if you like!
You see salad but think fries: Why this new lettuce branding looks like fast food
The identity, by design agency &Walsh, is a branding trojan horse that uses color psychology to splash the packaging with ketchupy reds and mustardy yellows that hopefully inspire hunger!
WhatsApp delays take it or leave it privacy terms update until May
This buys some more time for people who were starting to migrate to apps like Signal to avoid the new terms and conditions and all the WhatsApp-Facebook-Kumbaya-data-sharing that were due to go into effect in February.
I hope they roll back the privacy offending terms before May!
Pink seesaws across US-Mexico border named Design of the Year 2020
The Design Museum in London awarded the Design of the Year 2020 award to the Teeter-Totter Wall. This happened during Donald Trump's final days in office.
Nissan envisions a work-from-anywhere caravan with a retractable office pod + rooftop deck
I want! Even if I have to work from my driveway!
It's a concept vehicle, but you can enjoy the video and images...
A Farewell to Adobe Flash—and the Messy, Glorious Web
ICYMI: Adobe no longer supports Flash Player, and beginning Jan 12, 2021, has been blocking Flash content from running in Flash Player.
All I now have are memories of animation in the early days of the web...
Study Finds Bad Web Design is Killing Us All With Stress
"Slow-loading pages (taking 8.8 to 10.5 seconds to fully load) caused a 21% spike in blood pressure, while multiple pop-ups and auto-play music were almost as bad, causing a 20% increase each. Items such as 404 broken pages and non-clickable buttons were just middling annoyances in comparison."