Paper vs. Pixels: Print and Digital Experiences are Complementary

The spatial memories seem to translate into more immersive reading and stronger comprehension. A recent experiment conducted with young readers in Norway found that, with both expository and narrative works, people who read from a printed page understand a text better than those who read the same material on a screen. The findings are consistent with a series of other studies on the process of reading. “We know from empirical and theoretical research that having a good spatial mental representation of the physical layout of the text supports reading comprehension,” wrote the Norwegian researchers. They suggested that the ability of print readers to “see as well as tactilely feel the spatial extension and physical dimensions” of an entire text likely played a role in their superior comprehension.

Paper vs. Pixel.


“If everyone had the luxury to pursue a life of exactly what they love, we would all be ranked as visionary and brilliant. … If you got to spend every day of your life doing what you love, you can’t help but be the best in the world at that. And you get to smile every day for doing so. And you’ll be working at it almost to the exclusion of personal hygiene, and your friends are knocking on your door, saying, “Don’t you need a vacation?!,” and you don’t even know what the word “vacation” means because what you’re doing is what you want to do and a vacation from that is anything but a vacation — that’s the state of mind of somebody who’s doing what others might call visionary and brilliant.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson


The Listening Cloud

A data-driven light sculpture that visualizes social media conversation in real time. Installed in the lobby of RPA, it is a continuous display of the buzz around client brands.


Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal.
Albert Einstein, giving advice to his son


An Instrument for the Sonification of Everday Things

Description below from maker Dennis Paul:

This is a serious musical instrument. It rotates everyday things, scans their surfaces, and transforms them into audible frequencies. A variety of everyday objects can be mounted into the instrument. Their silhouettes define loops, melodies and rhythms. Thus mundane things are reinterpreted as musical notation. Playing the instrument is a mixture of practice, anticipation, and serendipity.

The instrument was built from aluminum tubes, white POM, black acrylic glass, a high precision distance measuring laser ( with the kind support of Micro-Epsilon ), a stepper motor, and a few bits and bobs.

A custom programmed translator and controller module, written in processing, transforms the measured distance values into audible frequencies, notes, and scales. It also precisely controlls the stepper-motor’s speed to sync with other instruments and musicians.


If the government demanded that we all carry tracking devices 24/7, we would rebel. Yet we all carry cell phones… If the government demanded that we give them access to all the photographs we take, and that we identify all of the people in them and tag them with locations, we’d refuse. Yet we do exactly that on Flickr and other sites. Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer for British Telecom

See also: The Internet Is a Surveillance State and Beware Trading Privacy for Convenience.


Sketching helps you better understand the problem you are trying to solve and lets you visualize possible solutions. It is a fast and inexpensive way to brainstorm and to test out a lot of UI ideas before committing to one. Sketching speeds us the concept creation and iteration phase and makes it possible to get feedback early on, when changes are easy to make. Lennart Hennigs, Smashing Magazine


Mobile Information Architecture: 4 different models

IA Mobile Navigation Models

Mobile devices have their own set of Information Architecture patterns, too. While the structure of a responsive site may follow more “standard” patterns, native apps, for example, often employ navigational structures that are tab-based. Again, there’s no “right” way to architect a mobile site or application. Instead, let’s take a look at some of the most popular patterns: Hierarchy, Hub & spoke, Nested doll, Tabbed view, Bento box and Filtered view.

Designing for Mobile, Part 1: Information Architecture. Via Small Surfaces


A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.

In the 1950s, the researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that we sleep in cycles of roughly 90 minutes, moving from light to deep sleep and back out again. They named this pattern the Basic-Rest Activity Cycle or BRAC. A decade later, Professor Kleitman discovered that this cycle recapitulates itself during our waking lives.

The difference is that during the day we move from a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue approximately every 90 minutes. Our bodies regularly tell us to take a break, but we often override these signals and instead stoke ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own emergency reserves — the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity. Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Florida State University have studied elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players. In each of these fields, Dr. Ericsson found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. They begin in the morning, take a break between sessions, and rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day.
Relax! You’ll Be More Productive


Researchers from John Moores University in the UK tested the effects of afternoon napping on sleep-deprived people. The subjects napped for half an hour just after lunch and then researchers measured their alertness. There have been numerous studies into the effects of power napping, but this one measured heart rates and reflexes as opposed to surveying participants. As per their hypothesis, alertness was significantly higher compared to the non-nappers.

From The complete guide to sleeping at work


Typography and ease of use

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…It’s helpful to understand one of the basic mechanicals of reading: saccades. Instead of moving smoothly across the page when we read, our eyes actually make discrete jumps between words, fixating on one word for a short period of time before making a ballistic movement to another one. We call these movements saccades.”

“But despite their “ballistic” nature, these rapid eye movements actually improve our reading capabilities. While we process the words immediately within our focus, we use the additional information just outside of it to further guide our reading. As readers, our time to comprehension is aided by the context of adjacent words-to the extent that we are often able to automatically process (and thus skip over) shorter functional words like and, the, of, and but.

From: Setting Type for User Interfaces