Category Archives: Invention

The Journey of Launching My First Product, “To Do Cal”

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Note: This is the first and only time I’ll hand out sales numbers on my products. It’s dangerous and invites competition. I’ve seen others do it and screw themselves over. I’m handing mine out because I’d like my readers to let me know if I’m doing something wrong or my margins are too low. This is my first product and a massive learning experience. read…

 

Invention: Multiple-Choice “Windowed Slider” UI

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There was a lovely “Show HN” submission [http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4594264] on Hacker News from someone who passionately put together a really nice jquery slider plugin. People mentioned in the comments why sliders are a terrible choice for all the same reasons I found right before I mocked up my windowed version. But the slider plugin was made with such passion that I just had to write this article and share my discoveries. There IS hope. The slider can be fixed. In fact it can be made better and made to handle more than 2 options. read…

 

Invention: Stop Putting Holes In Your Business Cards

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I started doing this 5 years ago when I was a Production Assistant in the Entertainment Industry while looking for a way to plaster my business cards all over Universal Studios’ backlot and offices. Obviously the best place to do this was bulletin boards in hallways or entrances to production company office buildings. Everyone else put push pins and thumb tacks right through their business cards, creating ugly holes, and I was so proud of my business cards I didn’t want to do that.  So I came up with using the push pins themselves as a way of holding the cards on the outside edges. read…

 

Invention: Concrete Poured “Plus” Shaped Bench

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You know what? I have a thing for concrete. It’s just simplistically beautiful. I’m European, we’re practically concretesexuals, we love the stuff. And a lot of the benches I see at parks and transit stations are terribly uncomfortable, don’t have a back, look hideous, are made of expensive material, or seat very few people. So in my little fantasy world, here’s the perfect bench. read…

 

Invention: Infinite Scroll + Pagination Hybrid UI

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On sites like Twitter and some Tumblr blogs, instead of having to click next page to load new content you just scroll down and when you reach the bottom, the next page automatically loads by AJAX and appends itself to the bottom, meaning you can just keep scrolling down and have new content load. I really like this, it doesn’t interrupt flow but the draw back is that I can’t tell where exactly I am which emotionally worries me. I also can’t skip forward and it really sucks for sites with lots of content (thousands, even just hundreds of images and videos on one page can cause massive slow downs and crash the browser). So here’s a hybrid solution that still separates content into pages and loads them when you scroll down but also allows you to skip around. read…

 

Invention: “Lane Spacers” aka “Signaling Gutters” for High Speed Highways

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These came into my mind a few years back as a way to keep vehicles further away from each other on the highway thereby making it more obvious when vehicles merge into other lanes. In other words it’s a way of visually warning drivers that you’re merging into their lane (because 99% of drivers are bastards who don’t use turn signals or ignore other drivers using them) and it’s also harder to cut someone off or accidentally drift into their lane. Vehicles can use the gutters to signal that they are changing lanes by driving one tire in the gutter so your vehicle stand out from the others and lets drivers know you are preparing to enter their lane. It also might have a psychological effect on drivers, making them more likely to stay in their lane and less likely to merge around (which is what causes random traffic backups [traffic waves]). read…

 

Invention: “Scrollbar of Contents” UI

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Not to be confused with my “Content Aware Scrollbar” which inspired this. There’s a very specific type of content that this would be suited for. When the main content is separated into sections but needs all those sections to be on one page (programming code, law, app list) and needs quick links (Titles) to the sections which are proportional to where they are on the page, the Scrollbar of Contents would be appropriate. This would be perfect for a list of apps on a tablet computer. And if any of the apps have an error, alert, alarm, or notification, you’d see a red dot on the Scrollbar of Contents. read…

 

Invention: Introducing The “Content Aware Scrollbar” UI

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This new scrollbar design I made last week shows the user where content like videos, image galleries, customer ratings, and comments begin and end on a page and lets the user skip directly to that content without scrolling around and searching for it. It also lets users know what kind of content a page has so they’re more likely to stay. read…

 

Invention: Calendar Layout That Actually Has Space for Notes & Reminders

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I came up with this 2 years ago, basically I’ve tried all sorts of “Planners” and “Calendars” and “Calendar Planners” and their layouts were always unfriendly, loud, featured thick distracting borders, terribly designed, and never had enough room to write reminders and notes in, so I decided to make my own in Excel. I designed around 3 criteria: simple quiet design (borderless), lots of room for notes and reminders, and yet stick to the traditional calendar layout so that it’s easy for users to tell what day of the week a date is. So here’s what it looks like. read…

 

Invention: Laundry Detergent Cups That Don’t Leak

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It’s almost 2011 and laundry dispensers still leak and make a mess because of poorly designed cups. Yeah, they’re awesome, it’s just that they just all leak. Yes every single one. Every one I know that uses the dispenser with cup container has a leaky mess underneath it. The problem is the shape of the cup. After you’re done measuring and pouring using the cup, whatever little detergent is left in it slowly leaks out and makes a mess /or/ the detergent left inside the little valve you push leaks out into the cup. So I redesigned the cup so it has a place to hold the extra detergent and doesn’t leak all over the counter or washer. Sucks I’ll never get paid for this but oh well, gotta save the world from leaking detergent whether you get rewarded or not.

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Invention: Sequential Text Boxes

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Windows does it when you’re entering your serial key right after installation, and online forms do it when you’re typing in your phone number, social security number, or zip code. Sometimes, online forms have multiple text boxes for numbers with multiple sets. Instead of the user manually tabbing or clicking over to the next text box to type, the developer can code up some “auto tabbing” JavaScript to move to the next text box automatically as you type in the numbers (Windows and Microsoft Office do this). Unfortunately, no one actually warns you when the form does this on its own. Many times users fill in the first set of numbers and hit the tab button manually only to find out the form tabbed over an extra time, resulting in them having to go back to the previous text box or accidentally filling in the wrong one. read…

 

Invention: Keyboard Shortcut Reminders for Online Forms

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Millions of people around the world, young and old, rich and poor, don’t know that they can move to the next text box in online forms by hitting the [TAB] key on their keyboard instead of moving their hand over to the mouse and clicking on the next text box. I made these as a reminder for these poor unfortunate souls. Just imagine all the time saved from filing out billions of logins and registration pages worldwide. read…

 

Invention: Butterfly Menu – A Multi Paned Contextual Menu Concept

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Take a look at this monstrosity I created in 2008 just for fun. I thought separating and color coding menu actions was a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, the reality is that at first glance the average user would soil themselves after seeing such a menu pop up after right clicking. Lets go through the reasons of why I thought this would work, and why in reality it might not. read…