Let’s make things better

“There is another core web update, and there’s nothing you can do about it!” Search Liaison, aka Danny Sullivan, screamed out into the SEO void this week. Then a maniacal laugh could be heard as he excessively pet a kitten until it squeaked out a tiny “meow” for help.

My week was good. How was yours? Great. Let’s get right into it…

The endless fight to fix email

Big Mail app
Big Mail app

Hey, if you thought HEY fixed email this year, as the Basecamp founders claim on the HEY site, then you will be surprised to learn it did not. Sparrow, Mailbox, Inbox, Airmail, Spark, Mailplane, HEY, and all the rest, trash. The next email app to take a stab at fixing email – and don’t tell email, it doesn’t know it’s broken – is Big Mail.

The best way to describe Big Mail is that it looks like someone mashed together HEY, Inbox by Gmail, the Cards View of Feedly, Apple Reminders’ sidebar, and parts of the App Store. But somehow, at least based on the screenshots, it looks promising.

These are the icons you’ve been looking for

Super Tiny Icons

Finding logos for your favorite brands is always a chore. If you’re like me, the first place you typically go is Google Images. Then you spend time refining the search with operators and filters to try and find the best vector image to use. Then you find one that looks good, but it takes you to a site that wants you to hand over your email, and you’re like, “not going to happen.” So you click back and so forth and so on, etc., etc.

This past week I discovered the perfect collection of popular logos called Super Tiny Icons on GitHub. All logos are in SVG format, are under 1KB, and have a 512x512px viewbox. I plan to take advantage of this collection for my future logo needs.

Core Web Vitals and Page Experience FAQs

Cheney Tsai, a technical advocate for Web, AMP, PWA technologies at Google, posted one of the best Google page experience FAQs I’ve seen so far. It consolidates disparate details about Core Web Vitals and other page experience topics onto a single page. It’s an excellent reference to share with colleagues that aren’t SEOs and refuse to listen to you but will believe something from the great internet deity, Google.

When specialized accessible design is just good design

Spire Digital published an article on UX Planet about designing for the elderly. It included a list of best practices, assumptions to avoid, and the best way to approach fonts and colors. The entire time I was reading it, I thought this would be perfect for me, and I’m not even elderly!

Sites shouldn’t be experiences and mysteries where visitors have to discover their way around. We already lived through the worst of that when Flash was at its peak. I encourage you to read through the recommendations and consider how you can apply them to your sites.

E Ink, which our brains prefer, now has color

Pocketbook Color
Pocketbook Color

I remember when E Ink was invented in the 90s at the MIT Media Lab. I was fascinated by its low-power paper-like characteristics. In the 90s, we were using giant power-thirsty CRT monitors, which made E Ink seem magical to me. E Ink eventually made its way into consumers’ hands in the form of e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle.

I’ve owned several Kindles, and I also have an E Ink tablet. I use a reMarkable 2 E Ink tablet to take notes, brainstorm, read, and sketch. Unlike a stylus on a tablet’s glass backlit screen that makes annoying tapping noises and doesn’t feel natural, the E Ink screen on the reMarkable feels and looks like I’m writing on paper with a pencil. It’s an enjoyable experience.

It ends up that E Ink screens are also easier on your brain. I learned this the hard way when I got a concussion from falling off a Onewheel a few years ago. And yes, I was wearing a helmet. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.

I couldn’t look at a computer display or TV for a couple of weeks because doing so made me nauseous. That’s because our brains are always working to process the refresh rate on displays, keeping it imperceptible to our consciousness. The only screen I could look at was my Kindle screen because E Ink doesn’t have a constant flicker; it’s paper-like.

Anyways, I had no intention of telling you that story. All I wanted to do was tell you how excited I was that color E Ink displays are now a thing. But as I kept revising it, the concussion story snuck in and took over, and well, here we are.

So there are new Color E Ink readers like the Pocketbook Color and ONYX BOOX 2 Color that are now available. I think the color display will help further grow the E Ink market and give our brains a rest. I know mine could use one right now.

He Was a Stick, She Was a Leaf

I’ll leave you with this random but fascinating image from an article on leaf insects in the New York Times. There are 9 leaf insects in this picture. Can you find them all? Click on the image to reveal the answers.

9 Stick Bugs
Find the 9 leaf insects. Click on image to reveal the answers.