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A software engineer and UX designer.

It’s estimated that around 36% of mobile app design is comprised of text. Over a third of every design you are looking at is probably just text. So it’s important you nail how it looks.

Apple Music app split into grid with highlighted areas showing how much of the UI is comprised of text.
How much of the Apple Music app is comprised of text when the screen is split into a grid (source: Intercom)

Great looking text can really complement a nice design, as well as building trust with your brand (and therefore you as a designer).

Recently I’ve been deep-diving into typography design and selection. While I do not claim to be a professional typographer, I feel I can share some useful advice to anyone else struggling to find their perfect typeface.

As a preface to this walkthrough, I won’t be going in-depth about everything there is to know about typefaces. There are plenty of books and other articles about that. …

A grid of Notion logos.

If you’re a designer or a developer, chances are you have your own personal portfolio. You need to showcase your work for potential clients or job interviews.

However, you probably already have a job, client or something keeping you busy in your free time (maybe a child or, you know, a life).

Therefore, adding another development project to your agenda with your own custom-built portfolio is not optimal as it requires a lot of work to make it work properly and is a time-sink when it comes to updating it.

I had originally developed my portfolio using a combination of…

A health tracking smartwatch

Jason hadn’t been feeling right for a few weeks. He hadn’t thought much of it. That was until he put on his Apple Watch.

“It said that I was in aFib”.

Jason shrugged it off, assuming it was a false positive or a bug and went into work. The watch kept telling him he was in aFib (atrial fibrillation), but he didn’t take much notice until his coworkers started to comment on how pale he looked.

He headed to the hospital and sure enough, the cardiac team said that he was close to going into cardiac arrest. …

An iPhone showing the Instagram home screen redesign, with an overlay showing thumb accessibility and angry emojis behind.

People use Instagram for a few different things.

Creators use it to share photos, videos, Reels, and Stories. Businesses use it to reach out to customers, show the inner workings of their company, and sell their latest product. Some people just browse photos and accidentally like pictures of their ex at 3 am.

People get used to the way things work and where things are. We’re simple beings — we don’t like change.

Unfortunately, change happens whether we like it or not. And this is something Instagram has taught everyone in the last couple of days.

It’s no surprise to…

Hand gesture UI example
Illustration by Shai Samana

As a society, we rely on touch for almost everything we do. From our smartphones to how we use public transport.

However, touch can be dangerous.

It can spread viruses and bacteria onto many surfaces which we interact with, increasing the transmission rate, or R0 — pronounced “R-naught” — which for Covid-19 is estimated to be around 3.28.

Covid-19 is primarily transmitted through droplets being spread from person-to-person from the mouth or nose (e.g. a cough or a sneeze). The virus can survive on surfaces for around 72 hours.

Some measures like social-distancing and self-isolation can reduce transmission through changing…

2020’s hottest UI trend meets practicality.

Graphic of human finger tapping a button labelled ‘click me’.

Neumorphism” is a new slang term in design circles — co-created by Michal Malewicz — which essentially crosses the words “new” and “skeuomorphism”.

Essentially, it’s a new, minimal way to design with a soft, extruded plastic look. It’s almost as if the interface has been vacuum-formed. And let’s just get it out the way right now: it’s dividing opinions.

I personally like the look and think it brings a fresh new challenge to UI designers and front-end developers everywhere.

One of those challenges, of course, is accessibility.

Use copious amounts of post-it notes.

A gradient header with patterns and UX on it.

I’ve been developing for about five or six years now. However, I think I only really got kinda good at it in the last year or so.

That’s because over those years, I was learning how to code things. I’d get a task, I’d code the solution*, and it’d be done.

*it may not have been the optimal one

Often I felt like after a task was done — even though technically it was fine — I could have potentially done better in some way. I could’ve designed it better, I could’ve made it more enjoyable or easy to use.

How to create better notifications, and protect yourself from digital overload

Context switching: “In its simplest form context switching is jumping between various, unrelated tasks.” — Jessica Harris, Trello

I’m a front-end developer. Part of my role means I sometimes have to fix really strange and elaborate bugs.

For example, I might have to inspect why a response from a server isn’t directly mapping to the data model I wrote, or a piece of admin UI is showing to a regular user for no reason.

Often, it takes a bit of time to find the root cause of these problems, and continued focus.

However, sometimes that focus is hard to come…

It’s time for a chat and some post-it notes.

At my previous company, we had a problem.

The front-end of our products was a bit dated and needed a new lick of paint.

The only issue was: our entire development team was remote, so our Design team had to find a way to effectively communicate our design decisions and suggestions to them.

Previously (and during my time there), Design would hand off assets to Product, who would then communicate the requirements with Development.

QA would then look at the developed front-end and check it against mockups.

However, there were still some tiny things that you can’t communicate easily in…

Kim’s Convenience style

Over the last year, I’ve probably interviewed about 20–25 designers or frontend developers. They range from Graphic Designers to UX Designers, all the way to Frontend Developers.

I was helping to build a Design team at the EdTech company I was working at (alongside my manager), and I was also asked to help interview some potential frontend developers for the company my brother co-founded in Singapore, along with some of the people working there.

One thing I began to realise quickly was: finding really good designers was hard.

At the EdTech company, we went through about 20 CVs before inviting…

Michael J. Fordham

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