Notes on interaction design & development. Get the Feed.
By Christoph Ono, builder at GBKS, and tweetable at @GBKS.

20% of Yelp reviews are fake


20% LOL! If only it were that low. I used to be a reputation management company, at one time we were responsible for 10% of the reviews in Silicon Valley. There were metro's where we were about 80% of the reviews.

iOS 7 blurring techniques


Interesting that many of the new blurs use static images to fake real-time blurs. Perception is reality, and knowing how to fake complex effects with simple visual tricks goes a long way to creating magic experiences.

Unbundling: AOL, Facebook and LinkedIn


Any smartphone app can use the phone book and PSTN numbering system to access a ready-made social graph, removing a lot of the friction Facebook benefits from on the web. A core Facebook use case is photo sharing, and a smartphone's built-in photo library offers much more fluid ways to share photos across multiple services. In effect, the phone book and photo library are reservoirs that any app can tap into, where on the desktop, creating that resource is a major pain and a major moat for Facebook.

Layer Cake


Transparency, blurs and the new motion framework that is part of iOS 7 are going to be the pillars of modern, human interaction design for the next several years.

The Dribbblisation of design


I very much dislike this article because of it's tone. The core message that design is a process and there is a lot more to a product than visual styling is great, but getting this point across could be done in a much more constructive way. From the start, the author points out what he thinks is bad design and puts a whole well-respected online community in a bad light. I'll just discuss the beginning of the article, otherwise this post will get too long.

The cover image and the first sentence already show the bias. He states that the beautiful weather apps don't solve the real problem, but the one that tells you whether you need to take an umbrella today does. What about knowing today's high and low temperatures so you can decide whether to bring a jacket when you're going out in the evening? Weather apps simply displaying weather statistics is fine because everybody's context is different, people have different sensitivities to temperature, etc. The information being generic lets everybody make their own decision based on what they have planned for the day.

Second, weather apps are extremely simply in terms of functionality. Typically, you start the app, look at it for a few seconds, maybe tap once or twice, and then move on. Because of this, it's fine that they are playful and visual. This adds a human element and what way to better communicate that it's a nice day by showing a blue sky with some fluffy clouds?

Third, because weather apps are so simple and visual, many designers use them as their playground. It's easy to design a quick weather app over the weekend to try out a new technique, or experiment with a style you saw somewhere. Much of what's on Dribbble are experiments and practice, just look at how many people took their own spin on iOS 7 icons when it was announced.

Dribbble is a place to be playful, which is part of what makes it great, and it does not mean that the designers there lack depth. You're only allowed to post 400x300 images, which was an intentional decision so people could only post small snippets. For more complete case-studies, a site like Behance, or the portfolios sites of agencies and designers are more appropriate.

To sum it up, I think the article would have been much more successful if it had used a more positive tone.

A boutique lifestyle business



Defined as a small business, department, etc., specializing in one aspect of a larger industry or a small, exclusive business offering customized services.

Lifestyle business

A business that is set up and run by its founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle. In conventional business terms, lifestyle businesses typically have limited scalability and potential for growth because such growth would destroy the lifestyle for which their owner-managers set them up. However, lifestyle businessess can and do win awards and provide satisfaction to their owners and customers. These are firms that depend heavily on founder skills, personality, energy, and contacts. Often their founders create them to exercise personal talent or skills, achieve a flexible schedule, work with other family members, remain in a desired geographic area, or simply to express themselves.

This is what I am trying to achieve

I spent seven years in the world of interactive agencies, helping big companies like CNN, MTV, Nintendo, Porsche, EA, Ford and others. Before that, I spent the last 1.5 years of my time in college, building an online-mindmapping tool. I would have loved to continue that route, but my status as a foreigner did not allow me to start my own company. Now, with a greencard, I can get back to that. And now that I can choose my path, I am trying to create a boutique lifestyle business around online services. This path promises a balance of work and family life, as well as the satisfaction of creating something outstanding for me and a great service or product for users and customers.

Less, but better, as Dieter Rams famously stated.