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Issue № 338

Dark Patterns: Deception vs. Honesty in UI Design

by Harry Brignull · 20 Comments

Deception is entwined with life on this planet. Insects deceive, animals deceive, and of course, we human beings use deception to manipulate, control, and profit from each other. It’s no surprise, then, that deception appears in web user interfaces; what is surprising is how little we talk about it. All the guidelines, principles, and methods ethical designers employ to design usable websites can be subverted to benefit business owners at the expense of users. Study the dark side so you can take a stand against unethical web design practices and banish them from your work.

Expanding Text Areas Made Elegant

by Neil Jenkins · 29 Comments

An expanding text area is a multi-line text input field that expands in height to fit its contents. Commonly found in both desktop and mobile applications, such as the SMS composition field on the iPhone, it’s a good choice when you don’t know how much text the user will write and you want to keep the layout compact; as such, it’s especially useful on interfaces targeted at smartphones. Yet despite the ubiquity of this control, there’s no way to create it using only HTML and CSS, and most JavaScript solutions have suffered from guesswork, inaccuracy, or a lack of elegance "¦ until now.

More from A List Apart

Columnists

Rian van der Merwe on A View from a Different Valley

The Distance to Here

The people who determine product strategy move through a world of analysts, media, division leads, shareholders, stakeholders, monetization, and marketability. They seldom get a chance to come back to the corner where users and designers mingle. Rian van der Merwe suspects that increasing the communication distance between the decision makers and the product’s builders and users leads to a loss of perspective—and the results are products with marketable features that no one really needs.

From the Blog

On Our Radar: Faux-Naïve

On our radar these days: Google rebrands. A web animation expert refuses to speak at your conference if it doesn’t have a code of conduct. Preload hints can help you load your web fonts faster. A new site launches that hopes to bridge the gender gap in communication design. Your weekend reading awaits!

On Our Radar: Pretty Advanced Machine Learning

Between bots and blogging, newsrooms are getting into Slack in some very cool ways (take some inspiration and apply for a Knight-Mozilla Fellowship!). Plus more recommended reading: revisiting Cameron’s World; the joy of generalists; the finer points of faving; and one really excellent gif of cats.