Sohail Mirza, standing in for Peter.

Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Eye candy IS a critical business requirement

I recently came across the presentation, Eye Candy is a Critical Business Requirement. Stephen Anderson of Poetpainter delivered this presentation at a Usability Professionals’ Association in July 2008.

As a software professional with one foot in development and one foot in design, this presentation really reasonated with me.  Eye candy really IS a critical business requirement.

(Found via: Delicious Popular list)


Written by Sohail Mirza

August 25, 2009 at 10:06 pm

New sterling designs

New British pence/pound coinsThe Royal Mint has unveiled new designs for the 1 pence through £1 coins. The new designs incorporate the Royal Arms and are absolutely brilliant in my opinion. They were conceived by Matthew Dent, a 26-year old graphic designer.


(Via kottke)

Written by Sohail Mirza

April 3, 2008 at 9:17 am

Posted in Design

Tagged with , , ,

More Office Space

As a follow-up to my previous post on the office of the future, BandwidthBlog has a story (mirror) showcasing the workspaces of some of today’s Internet companies.

Looks like there’s a good mix of both dedicated workstations…

Songbird Offices

…and wide-open spaces…

GigaOm Offices

…but nary a cubicle in sight!

Read the full article (mirror) at BandwidthBlog.

Credit:  From digg.

Written by Sohail Mirza

December 10, 2007 at 8:04 pm

Posted in Design, Work

Open-concept workspace the “new wave”?

Every once in a while you hear about the new office paradigm that is going to replace the dreaded cubicle farm. You hear that the notorious cubicle farms that house engineers and otherwise, all over the world, are finally going away and we’ll be ushered into the bright, open future of glass offices or lounge-style workspaces.

This time, has a piece on the “End of the Cubicle“, reporting that companies like Intel, Cisco and Sun are following the example of industry trend-setters Google and VMWare into the land of the cubicle-less.

The dreaded cubicle farm

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sohail Mirza

December 6, 2007 at 12:10 am

Assembly ’07 just around the corner

Well, Assembly sure has changed since back in the day.

Assembly ‘03 in Helsinki (Thumbnail)

In 1994, our family bought our first computer. It was a way-too-expensive IBM Aptiva with a Pentium 60Mhz CPU, which was mind-blowing for the time. The very first Pentium-class CPU! At the time I was very interested in computer graphics and other such geekery, and I had convinced my mum to buy that monster of a system so that I could experiment in 3d graphics design and computer animation, which were only budding industries at the time.

A friend at school eventually turned me onto the demo scene. I was captivated from the very beginning. To me, the demo scene represented a melding of art and mechanics. The demo creators pieced together complex visuals with what are nearly the most basic building blocks of modern computing (assembly instructions). The sheer skill required was enough to impress, but I was totally drawn in by the amazing mod soundtracks and graphical prowess on display.

Future CrewSo, for a few years during the mid-90’s I followed the annual scene releases and would always download the top few demos of that year. I grew up on the Future Crew and other well-knowns in the scene.

By the late 90’s though I had fallen out of the scene. My computer had aged into obsolescence and wasn’t very capable at running the newer demos. As well, most of the groups I had first heard of had since left the scene. The demos of this time just didn’t capture my interest as much. The late 90’s also saw the beginnings of the PC as a 3d gaming system, thanks to DirectX and OpenGL. This made the demos being produced at the time seem less and less impressive relative to the games that were cropping up, at least visually.

Throughout that time and the first half of this decade, I did look up the Assembly scene to see how was doing, once in a while vainly attempting to download and run a demo, but very few worked well.

Well, today I looked up the website at and was quite surprised to find the site had meta-morphed into what looks like a thriving community for the demo scene. I suppose the demo scene never really died, and I’m not sure if the scene as a whole slumped or not, but it certainly seemed it to me. Anyways I was pretty impressed with the site, which I think only a year or two back was a simple repository for announcing the new shows and hosting the show submissions.

It was also nice to see that Assembly ’07, this year’s incarnation of the annual meet is to take place in only 2 days.

This year I’ll plan to check out the shows submissions. Let’s see if I can’t re-ignite the captivation and awe at the skill of some of the demo-coders.

Written by Sohail Mirza

July 31, 2007 at 1:56 am

Posted in Design, Personal, Software

Firefox Pwns IE

Firefox Eating IEIf you were ever looking for the amazing Firefox icon showing the Firefox chewing the blue IE logo, here it is in its full-size glory.

I’m not certain who the original artist is, but if you know, please do let me know and I’ll give them credit.

If you’re looking for the icon in .ico format, you can download it from DeviantArt.

Written by Sohail Mirza

May 28, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Posted in Design, Firefox

Bill Higgins on ‘The Uncanny Valley’

Bill Higgins has written an excellent post titled, ‘the Ucanny Valley of user interface design‘. It discusses the application of the Uncanny Valley theory to AJAX web applications.

This makes for a great foundation to a very interesting discussion. He posits that as AJAX applications extend to apply new desktop user-interface paradigms, they will essentially become less usable because they’ll break the mental model that people generally have about the way a desktop-looking application works. Web applications can’t achieve true desktop functionality and where they differ, it will contradict user expectations.

Personally, I find myself agreeing with Bill. The comments on the post are also very interesting as some of the readers raise very good objections to this theory and Bill is able to address many of them. One point made in the comments is that Mr. Higgins is not against UI innovation, but where an interface attempts to mimic an existing paradigm and not able to mimic it entirely, he thinks that will back-fire.

Excellent read as we move into an RIA-ified world.

Written by Sohail Mirza

May 25, 2007 at 10:09 am

Posted in Design, User Experience