Airtable's Row Highlighting

What it is: When comparing the price of various paid tiers of Airtable, the rows highlight on hover to make it easier to compare the different levels.

Why it’s good: This design helps to balance aesthetics and usability by providing this row highlighting. This sort of visual feature makes it easy to compare individual rows, without require a constant visual element to help establish them.

Slack's Keyboard Navigational Helper

What it is: When tabbing through interface elements in Slack, a popup window shows up at the end of the keyboard cycle, showing you other options.

Why it’s good: Thinking about how users will navigate through an interface with a keyboard is a bare first step to allowing accessibility. It’s used by all sorts of people, from keyboard dominant users to dexterity impaired users, and is a fundamental navigational tenet for those using screen readers or voice control software.

In this example, Slack pops this up after you’ve already cycled through much of the interface, giving you a peek as to what options are available to you as a poweruser. Crucially, this interface disappears quickly if it’s not what you’re looking for, so it doesn’t impair users who aren’t looking for it and gets out of the way quickly if you already know that it’s there.

Day 100 - Tumblr's Inactive Account Notification

What it is: When your Tumblr account goes inactive, they send you an email asking if you’d like to keep your username.

Why it’s good: I figured that since I started this blog with talking about Tumblr, I might as well end it that way as well (And since this account will be going inactive, it just seemed so perfect)

First, note the conversational tone. Tumblr isn’t begging to have you back (Which some companies do, and it’s just straight up weird.) It very clearly tells you that your content isn’t disappearing, you’ll just lose rights to your amazing and unique username.

The business decision behind this is so amazing that I want to shake someone’s hand for it. This is such a great way to handle the scourge of inactive accounts—allowing new users to grab names without invoking paranoia in the less active.

After you hit the “I’m still me” button, it requires you to reset your password. Not only is this good for security, it also is a pretty intelligent guess that you won’t remember your password if you haven’t signed in for months. It gives a small barrier to cross too, so it isn’t trivial to squat on a ton of usernames.

That’s the last one, folks. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Day 99 - Twitter's Follow Cards

What it is: When you mouse over a username on Twitter, it pops up a small card that gives you information on their profile and allows you to follow them.

Why it’s good: Tooltips are such a fantastic way to dig deeper without breaking context. In this case, Twitter provides me with just enough information that I get a good understanding of who I’m moused over. There are a handful of links scattered through this tooltip that navigate me to different parts of the profile (many of which are colored the “link color” that is active on the given page.) The follow button’s different treatment indicates the different action, and the immediate state change gives me a great way to find more content and relevant users on Twitter.

Day 98 - HP's Cleaner Sheet

What it is: Every so often, this HP printer (a Color Laserjet 4700) prints out a page with instructions that is used to clean the rollers.

Why it’s good: The printer spat out this page without any prompting after a particularly large print run that I did.

This decision is so smart to me because it gave me the tool that I needed at exactly the time I needed it. Instead of blocking future action with an alert and requiring me to clean the printer before moving forward, it simply gave me this page with a few concise directions. It didn’t railroad my task or require me to go get a special cleaning sheet from somewhere else. Instead, the designers and engineers used the limited elements available to accomplish the task.