Mike Propst User Experience

Mike's Blog

User Experience, Front End, Home Studios, Dad Stuff. Slightly less pink than it was.

August 1

On Mistral

I think the article itself disproves the thesis that Mistral is patently hateable— in fact the piece eased my own distaste for it. I am plenty old enough to remember a time before Comic Sans and Papyrus when Mistral was the only typeface to loathe.

One point that I think is key is that it was one of the few extant fonts, let alone ones that business owners had access to, that would approximate handwriting or graffiti. It's a big reason Comic Sans persists, and presumably why sites like Creative Market are flooded with handwritten custom typefaces. I find it hard to hate on small business owners who wanted their signs or truck stickers to be less brutalist. A world where an otherwise solid piece of art like Straight Outta Compton can be packaged in crap design is a more fun world, anyway.

July 5

Stealing your way to original design with Dan Mall

Mall is a capable, arguably influential designer and writer on the web. It's always cool to see how the sausage is made, but even cooler to see that a person with his credentials has a framework for creative "theft" as a basis for starting new designs.

When you're experienced, you start to internalize these kinds of layout patterns. But while recently working on a website, I realized I hadn't designed one in a very long time and was pretty unfamiliar with the nuts and bolts of a site these days. This would've been a great way to get rolling, and I might try it for the next iteration.

June 28

Inline validation considered harmful

Just kidding, this article didn't really use that word. And rather than an alarmist view, this is a fairly measured take. However, most of the arguments are actually against realtime (onblur) validation, not inline validation.

I spent two years dealing with some serious problems that were born entirely out of the fact that an application used realtime+inline validation. And that was primarily in a series of wizard-like dialogs, which really didn't make any sense (the pattern of "disable the continue button until validation is cleared" would've worked well).

Our problems included:

  • forms that didn't require a certain order to filling them out, but validation that did
  • false positives triggered by mouse actions that left users in an unresolvable state if they clicked "wrong"
  • field groups often in a false-positive state (point #4 in the article)

This isn't the same as saying that per-field validation is wrong, and I still strongly believe in that, but this article has a lot of solid points.

June 11

Type on the web

Some great fundamentals here. Other than the wide trend toward cranking the size that's been going on for a few years, really solid type work on the web is only recently coming into its own. It's kind of like when Khoi Vinh popularized grids a few years back; it made me wonder how many folks in this business have even studied design. I think it's great when people with more formal knowledge spread it to the web.

When it comes to type though, it's only been recently that we've been able to have a real level of control over it.