Oct 12 2011

Paracord 550 Belt

I’ve been making bracelets out of paracord for a little while now and wanted to take it to the next level.

I found a tutorial online, bought 200 ($20.00) feet of black and digital camouflage colored 550 type III paracord, found a $3.00 belt buckle at Deseret Industries and went to work.

I spent ~7 hours total creating this beast. It was definitely worth it though. It’s very comfortable and could literally tow a car.

Oct 5 2011

Psychological Usability Heuristics

I recently read an article regarding psychological usability heuristics. Not only was the article informative but the author created a Google document containing 10 heuristic categories each filled with useful heuristics.

I decided I wanted to organize these heuristics into a reference poster in PDF (366k) and web format (please use a modern browser).

The image below represents my efforts. Please feel free to download and distribute.

Oct 4 2011

Vertical Text Direction

Psychological Usability Heuristics Vertical Text


In my effort to create an 11” x 17” poster housing myriad psychological usability heuristics I found myself constantly re-orienting the title. Due to valuable vertical real estate I’ve opted for the slightly less readable vertically oriented text. I was constantly fluctuating between orienting the title vertically top to bottom or bottom to top. I find vertically oriented text consumes far more cognitive processing but the focus of this poster is not the title nor is it considered to be an advertisement. Consequently, I’ve placed far less importance on the title being quickly internalized or serving as an attention grabber.

A book’s spine is printed top to bottom allowing the text to be easily read if lying face-up on a table. However, I’ve also heard that people are left-eyed or right-eyed and that one eye leads, the other follows. How is the readability affected between left-eye-high and left-eye-low and what is the split in the general population?

In the US we read top to bottom left to right so it may follow that any vertically oriented text should be read top to bottom. Text oriented bottom to top may result in double takes as the reader is essentially reading it backwards.

Art schools sometimes teach that “upwards is positive, downwards is negative.” This sounds very culturally biased and I’d love to see some research on the theory.

If you adhere to the mantra that “You read best what you read most” then top to bottom would seem to be in order for us Americans.

If more than one line of vertical text is necessary then I would prefer the text to be read bottom to top so the next line  read would be to the right of the initial line (following standard US left to right reading style).

There is a paragraph on the topic of  binding in ‘Designing Books’ Hochull, Kinross: Hypen Press. pg 101

It suggests if the spine of a book is broad enough to orient it horizontally, but goes on to say:

‘If they are vertical, traditionally in German-language books text runs from the bottom up (except on large-format volumes that are laid front cover up in the bookshelf, so that the spine title can be read normally). Since the spine title functions primarily when a book is standing upright on a shelf, this arrangement is certainly more rational–because one inclines one’s head more readily to the left than to the right–than the international standard, according to which text should be made to run from the top down. That one can read this spine text better when the book is lying on the table is not a factor in the matter; by then the reader knows which book is lying there (and anyway, many books also have their title on the cover).’

I wonder what data supports the claim that “one inclines one’s head more readily to the left than to the right.”

Upon searching Google for “vertical banner” I found virtually all read bottom to top.

Ultimately I’m leaning towards top to bottom due to my tendency to read the top-most word first.

Jun 8 2011

Banks Cabinets Photo Re-Touch

Recently a friend (an excellent cabinet maker / carpenter) who owns Banks Cabinets here in Utah  asked me to create an image he could use as his profile photo (or avatar) for Facebook and LinkedIn. I always enjoy working with photos in Photoshop so I agreed and proceeded to touch up the photo. It needed a lot of work. After about 2 and 1/2 hours of work I finally had something I was proud of.

Here’s what I did to it:

  1. Color corrected entire image
  2. Reduced the amount of Reds
  3. Added red back to lips
  4. Removed yellow/orange tinge from shirt
  5. Removed blemishes on shirt and face
  6. Whitened teeth
  7. Brightened eyes
  8. Straightened shirt logo
  9. Blurred highlights a bit
  10. Reduced highlights a bit
  11. Added wood background
  12. Added Banks Cabinets logo
  13. Marveled at my genius

Thanks for this opportunity Banks Cabinets!


May 11 2011

Android Eating Apple

Fraser Ntukula created an excellent wallpaper for Google’s I/O yesterday.

Originally it was intended as a wallpaper for smartphones. I present it here in 1920×1080.

Mar 29 2011

Android Honeycomb Wall | Wallpaper

Android honeycomb wall.

Click image for 1920 x 1080 resolution.

Mar 21 2011

Usability Quote Wallpaper

A Bad Web Site is Like a Grumpy Salesperson – Jakob Nielsen.

Mar 18 2011

Android in an Android Wallpaper

Just can’t get enough Android.

Mar 17 2011

Android in the Sky

Spring is coming! A tribute to beautiful skies and warm weather. I had a great time making this one.

Mar 16 2011

Android Honeycomb Wallpaper

I’ve been wanting to create an Android honeycomb related wallpaper for some time.

“Honeycomb” is the code name for version 3.0 which was designed specifically for tablets.

Click image for 1920 x 1080 version.