Hello, I'm Harlan Lewis.

I'm a web & mobile product designer in San Francisco.

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On hidden motives, performance as design feature, layout’s impact on performance, Google redesigns, CSS code smells, how software gets built, Small Nudges, new product manager priorities, and modern.IE.

Max Levchin has plans for you

I sometimes imagine the low-use troughs of sinusoidal curves utilization of all these analog resources being pulled up, filling up with happy digital usage.

Max Levchin, DLD13 Keynote

Levchin refers to humans as analog resources, a category we share with cars, houses, etc. The tragedy of analog resources is that they’re horribly underutilized. They spend a great deal of their time in idleness. Look out into the analog world, and you see a wasteland of inefficiency. But computers can fix that.

… This is the nightmare world of Big Data, where human beings — analog resources — are tracked by sensors and engineered by central authorities to create optimal statistical outcomes.

Nicholas Carr

In addition to Nicholas Carr’s commentary, you should absolutely read Max Levchin’s DLD13 keynote speech it refers to. This isn’t entirely new thinking - Jesse Schell painted a similar vision at the 2010 DICE Summit.

I get a lot of value from the record buttons on my iPhone apps, but it’s worth keeping investor motives behind the quantified self movement in mind while we continuously track our sleep, diet, and activity. Today’s efforts at greater resource efficiency enable services like Karma and Lyft, tomorrow’s (as Levchin suggests) may dynamically adjust insurance premiums based on who’s in the car.

Setting a Performance Budget

[Brad Frost] makes the case that performance is … an essential design feature.

The BBC … determined that they wanted each page to be usable within 10 seconds on a GPRS connection and then based their goals for page weight and request count on that.

… Once those goals are set, you stick to them. Anytime you want to add something to a page, you need to ensure it stays within budget.

Tim Kadlec

Related: Performance Implications of Responsive Design by Guy Podjarny.

On Layout & Web Performance

Outside of initial page load problems, layout thrashing is the most common performance problem I see in dynamic web applications. This is particularly true for Single Page Applications which build and destroy views on the fly.

I have embedded a simple graph below and added two buttons that update some elements in that graph. The first uses a strategy that suffers from layout thrashing. The second does not. … The first strategy takes about 250ms and the second only about 15ms. That is a pretty large difference given the two behave identically. As apps grow larger with more DOM elements and more styles applied to those elements, the issue worsens. I have actually seen very large apps taking seconds to do seemingly trivial updates due to layout thrashing.

Kelly Norton

Redesigning Google: how Larry Page engineered a beautiful revolution

Every designer we spoke to at Google repeated variations on the same message: There’s not one person who’s the grand leader of design at Google, Wiley says. Doronichev repeated the message: We don’t have a single mastermind designer.

… Doronichev says that It’s all about teams iterating together and sharing information, and making sure we end up in a sweet spot where our design language is very similar, fits well into each platform, but at the same time keeps being Google.

Verge Staff

Code smells in CSS

I’m going to share just a few things (there will, no doubt, be things that I have missed) that I look out for in CSS that will give you an idea as to its quality, its maintainability and its integrity.

Harry Roberts

How Software Is Built Today

I’d like to walk you through some of the design because it’s interesting and accessible, and because I think it demonstrates why our expectations of software are leading us into such a terrible mess.

Mark Bernstein

Small Nudges

If you like Little Big Details, check out Small Nudges — a Tumblr of best examples of small nudges towards a higher conversion.

What a Product Manager should focus on in the first 90 days

Product Management is usually introduced in an organization once there is a such a high level of internal enthusiasm and chaos that the leaders aren’t sure how to handle it any more.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by how much there is to do when you step into a stressful role like Product Management. So here are some recommendations on how to spend your first 3 months at a new company.

Rian van der Merwe

modern.IE - tools for testing Internet Explorer

Microsoft released a set of tools to aid developers supporting current and historical versions of Internet Explorer, most prominently URL scanning for common problems and virtualization tools (including a free 3-month trial of Browserstack, a tool I’ve been happily using since beta).