Hello, I'm Harlan Lewis.

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

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On 2013’s design trends, how user’s really hold mobile devices, what does mobile mean anyway, what’s up with all those iPhone weather apps, bourbonomics, harmonious pages, the rest of the world, astronauts becoming humans, digital magazine experiences, herd immunity, and some tweets.

Trends in interactive design 2013

147-slide deck. An excellent companion piece to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends.

How Do Users Really Hold Mobile Devices?

However, some time ago, I noticed a gap in our understanding: How do people actually carry and hold their mobile devices?

… In the past year or so, there have been many discussions about how users hold their mobile devices—most notably Josh Clark’s. But I suspect that some of what we’ve been reading may not be on track.

… The way in which users hold their phone is not a static state.

Steven Hoober

The article goes into quite a bit more detail with plenty of measured results.

How users hold and touch their phones has been a subject of discussion for a while - from Josh Clark’s above-mentioned 2010 Rules of Thumb in Tapworthy to Dustin Curtis’s 2011 3.5 Inches and 2012 4 Inches. Most have argued the iPhone has the ideal form factor & interface design patterns (destructive and regressive actions in upper left, primary content and controls across right and middle) for holding in the right hand and reaching across the screen with the thumb.

Frankly, I’ve never bought these thumb-reach explanations and am happy to see a critical eye turned to it. Most smack of post-rationalization and lack any research citations. Even a casual observation of typical user behavior reveals task-based physical interaction adjustments. For example, within a single application a user may take a picture, browse a feed, zoom in on a photo, and leave a comment in quick succession, changing how they hold and touch the screen throughout.

While designing for thumb reach is appropriate in some contexts, excessive observation may preclude exploration of more usable or expressive controls.

No More Mobile

The thing is, you can’t be 100% certain what someone means when they say Mobile. … Are they talking about device type, small screens, low bandwidth, device capabilities or people in the park?

Jim Ramsden

Smart questions asked: does mobile mean context, touch input, screen size, device features (camera, geo), or any number of other implied but not explicit statements about use case and constraints. The solution requires one of my favorite parts of the design process - just keep asking questions.

Comparing iPhone weather app screens

iPhone weather apps are to iOS designers what chairs are to industrial designers. They’re a playground for clever ideas, and these 27 ways may be the quickest way to catch up on diverging iOS aesthetic and interaction design trends.

Bourbonomics 101: What the Maker’s Mark dilution debacle says about corporate strategy

That is normally a problem — too much demand for a product — that a company loves to have.

… The problem is that Beam Inc. has crafted a role for Maker’s as one of its power brands. … Having those power brands ensures that Beam Inc. has relationships with distributors around the world who need its products, in turn giving Beam Inc. the leverage to ensure that its rising star brands also earn a place in distributors’ warehouses, on liquor store shelves and behind the bars.

Neil Irwin

The Secret Law of Page Harmony

So elegant is this method of producing harmony that a few designers saw to rediscover it. Even though it was considered a trade-secret, they all came to the same conclusion, hundreds of years apart, independent of one another, but each supported by the other.

Alex Charchar

Weekly Dispatch: February 3 - 17

This week: Chuck Hagel makes history, Syrians want to talk, French want to leave, North Koreans want attention, and Venezuela wants a President, preferably a living one.

Eric Danielson


NASA needed astronauts to go plant a flag on the moon. For obvious reasons, the astronauts ended up being the most reliable type of man America makes: white, straight, full-starch protestant, center-right, and spawned by the union of science and the military. … America had sent the squarest motherfuckers it could find to the moon and the moon sent back humans. Armstrong became a teacher, then a farmer. Alan Bean became a painter. Edgar Mitchell started believing in UFOs.

454 W 23rd St New York, NY 10011—2157

The Magazine Experience on the Web

The interplay of mediums the user can’t control (audio / video) and their scrolling will be a key piece of the puzzle to figure out. What happens when a user is listening to the audio of one section but moves on to the next? Do we automatically play the new section’s audio? Do we ask them?

… How do we ensure our stories make sense if a reader simply consumes the text and images of the story without engaging with any of the enhanced features?

… Making stories that were created to be pixel-perfect on one screen size, and then translating them into a responsive design is approach [sic] the problem wrong.

EJ Fox

Herd Immunity Demonstration

8 visualized scenarios of (mostly) increasing complexity demonstrating how herd immunity works and its effectiveness in populations of varying behavior, especially the relation of those who choose not to be immunized and those who cannot be immunized due to age or health reasons

People tweeted:

Related: Tips for smooth scrolling web pages (EdgeConf follow-up).