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336: Learning by Doing

March 4, 2020

This week, we discuss practical tips to level up your visual interface design skills, including tracing and focusing on a "learning by doing" mindset. And as always, we share our cool finds of the week including a new notes application and a creative TV show.

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  • Last week Marshall shared a macOS tip to hide your menu bar. Brian tried it for 2 days but failed to keep it hidden.
  • New Layer just wrapped up a great two-part episode about giving feedback on a design team.
  • Manny says about giving upwards feedback: "Agree with talking to them after the meeting in a more private environment setting, it worked for me multiple times, also they are the people who will assign you work and decide your performance level."

Listener Question:

  • An anonymous listener asked: "I have been trying hard to learn UI but every time I sit in front of the screens - there are so many unknowns like what’s the best grey colour to use for disabled elements, how to even use the colours in the right way, what’s the best margin to take, why some interfaces looks so amazing while others don’ to do I go about learning these design details in detail?"
    • PSDTuts (now tuts+) was early inspiration for web design, and Brian traced it to learn about visual design.
    • Learning by doing can be helpful for absorbing more information. Tracing is a great way to figure out how someone created an interface that you find visually pleasing.
    • Ira Glass has a great video about taste.
    • Malcolm Gladwell gave a TED talk about choice, happiness, and spaghetti sauce.
    • Don Norman popularized the idea of Norman doors, which when noticed, will make you frustrated for the rest of your life.
    • The more you learn, the more sad you will become. Welcome to our misery.

Cool Things:

  • Brian shared Noto, a modern note-taking app with some great design details. It's particularly interesting because it's oriented for bottom navigation and one-handed use.
    • Marshall primarily uses Bear for taking notes. Brian uses iA Writer.
  • Marshall shared LEGO Masters, a new series that puts teams of LEGO builders in a battle to build wild creations.

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