UI/UX Articles and Interesting Tidbits of the Week

Pedro Canhenha
4 min readDec 3, 2023

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December//1//2023

Here are some interesting finds on UI/UX of the week!

1.

Web Vitals. Very informational article from Philip Walton, on the topic of Web Vitals. Web Vitals is “an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web”. It essentially measures how efficiently web driven experiences are being delivered to users. The author describes the three core web vitals, which are described as such: Loading (LCP), Interactivity (FID) and Layout Stability (CLS). Worth reading through this very informative article and understanding the importance of these measurement values in terms of product performance. Highlight of the article includes:

“While the Core Web Vitals are the critical metrics for understanding and delivering a great user experience, there are other vital metrics as well. These other Web Vitals often serve as proxy or supplemental metrics for the Core Web Vitals, to help capture a larger part of the experience or to aid in diagnosing a specific issue. For example, the metrics Time to First Byte (TTFB) and First Contentful Paint (FCP) are both vital aspects of the loading experience, and are both useful in diagnosing issues with LCP (slow server response times or render-blocking resources, respectively). Similarly, a metric like Total Blocking Time (TBT) is a lab metrics is vital in catching and diagnosing potential interactivity issues that will impact FID and INP. However, it is not part of the Core Web Vitals set because they are not field-measurable, nor do they reflect a user-centric outcome.”

2.

Leading by Design. Great article hailing from the Figma blog, which is a direct sequel to one which was highlighted a few weeks ago in this newsletter. Amber Bravo, the author of this article, documents the reactions a variety of Design and Product Leaders had to Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO statement: “There’s a whole new generation of designers that aren’t going to work for engineers. They’re going to sit alongside engineers. They’re not going to be told what to do by product managers. They’re going to help drive the product. Some of them are going to choose to drive companies. Because ultimately, what everyone wants is to have a product people love.” The participants in the conference reacting to this statement include: Julie Zhuo (from Facebook), Steve Johnson (from Netflix), Sho Kuwamoto (from Figma), Lenny Rachitsky, and Yuhki Yamashita (also from Figma). It’s a very interesting article once again highlighting the need for Designers to pair their focus with a business acumen, and contextual understanding that goes beyond their perspective on users’ needs. Well worth reading through. Highlight of the article includes:

“Usually there’s a dynamic between designers and PMs because the incentives are different. Where designers are really trying to make the best experience possible, a PM is like trying to get something out the door and show impact faster. Or, you know, they really care about hitting a particular business goal. A great experience is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. And because of that, they’re not going to champion great experiences for the sake of great experiences. The reality is there are certain companies for which being design-driven is actually critical to business (like Apple), and there are companies for which maybe it’s not. But philosophically, designers always just seem to believe it more than the average human being — or the average PM, at least.”

3.

Design Trends for 2024. While I typically avoid articles with “trends” in their title like the plague, I’ve decided to go against my bias and highlight this post from Grace Fussell which is published in the Shutterstock blog. The trends that are listed in this article are not surprising: AI (that is a topic on everyone’s mind), but the author also emphasizes Quiet Luxury, Hyperreal Photography, Nostalgic Color Palettes, and Condensed Serif Fonts (keep in mind there are six different types of fonts, serif, sans serif, slab serif, display, monospaced and script). Trends as the designation implies, only become so if people adhere to it and find it somehow relevant to their storytelling. A trend should serve a point, not the other way around. It’s an article worth browsing through and investigating some of the elements the author researched to provide validation on its points. Highlight of the article includes:

“Quiet luxury can be a surprisingly difficult aesthetic to perfect. It requires focus on subtle details and thoughtful touches, rather than attention-grabbing shots of color or eye-catching images. For print designs, look to beautiful textured paper stock, metallic foiling, or neutral colors to capture a stealth-wealth aesthetic on packaging design or stationery templates. For websites and social media posts, seek out a condensed serif font to add a touch of whisper-soft elegance. The last word in quiet luxury? Less is always more.”

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