March 2013

At the bottom of this otherwise good article is a little circle with the label “604 Kudos” next to it (the number will be different by the time you see it):

sashmackinnon.com/what-its-like-to-die

If you move your mouse pointer into that circle, without clicking, the circle reacts and the text changes for a second or so to “Don’t move”… then a moment later the picture is a little heart and the kudo count has been incremented by one. You’ve apparently kudo’d this article even though you didn’t click!

Step 1

Step 2

Look ma, no click!

Step WTF

WTF? That’s so obviously wrong that I am at a loss to explain how any web designer could possibly have thought it was okay. If there is one user interface contract every user knows, it’s that “If you didn’t click, you didn’t do it”. Even without that bizarre “Don’t move” imperative, it would have been a bad idea; with the imperative, it’s an intentional bad idea. What are we going to see next? Click-through EULAs that don’t actually wait for you to click, but claim your agreement because you hovered your mouse pointer in the wrong place?

This isn’t just a dark road. It’s a dark and silly road. Designers, resist please.

Update 2013-10-14: In the ultimate irony, someone whose blog uses this interface did a post about an Apple iPod UI Dark Pattern. I tweeted:

Post on iPod UI Dark Pattern http://blog.sefsar.com/the-ipods-dark-ui-pattern itself uses Kudo button dark pattern (as per http://www.rants.org/2013/03/15/wtf_new_ui_clicks_for_you/).

For some reason, I’ve always liked pictures that manage to capture the mood of music. Perhaps it’s because of the inherent impossibility of a still image showing something we experience dynamically as sounds over time. Such pictures are literally evocative, because second-order evocation is all they can do — they can remind you of a completely non-visual experience, but you have to fill in the rest.

Here are some photos of that kind, of Rick Perlstein playing jazz (excellently) at my place recently:


Own the space.


Rick sets the mood.


Gettin’ into it…


Lean in a bit further…


We are there! It is happening! Now!


Contemplating: what’s next?


Work it.



Yep, that is one smooth cat.


Sure is.

OpenITP’s first round of 2013 project funding is still open for proposals! The deadline for application is 31 March 2013

Contact: sandraordonez {_AT_} openitp.org

OpenITP.org Logo

Reposted from OpenITP.org (see also the OpenITP FAQ for answers to common questions about applying for an OpenITP project grant):

Should your project apply? Here’s some help deciding:

OpenITP project grants are meant to support specific technical efforts to improve users’ ability to circumvent censorship and surveillance on the Internet. “Technical” doesn’t have to mean software or hardware — for example, we also consider efforts to improve user experience through translation, testing, projects to improve documentation, meetings that get developers together in person to solve specific problems, etc. The main thing we’re looking for is that your proposed project is finite (e.g. has a deadline, is scoped) and contributes to OpenITP’s core mission of enabling freedom of communication on the Internet.

We’re interested in all good proposals, but note we’re especially receptive to proposals that improve user experience (UX) and in translation (of both software and documentation). Don’t take that as a filter, though: if you have a good proposal that’s not about UX or translation, we still want to receive it.

While our grants don’t have a hard limit, they tend to be in the $5k-$30k USD range: enough to fund a specific piece of work, or to provide seed funding for a new idea, but not enough to be a primary long-term funding source. Therefore we try not to burden applicants with a lot of bureaucratic overhead and paperwork to apply for a grant. It’s enough to send us a brief description of what you have in mind, and point to public URLs for further details. Since we only fund open source work, we expect that most proposals we receive will already have been discussed in publicly-archived forums anyway, and perhaps written up on a public web page — though there may be exceptions, such as projects that are becoming open source but aren’t all the way there yet. In any case, we’re comfortable clicking on links and reading stuff on the Web. You’re not required to package everything up in one PDF to make a proposal. Just tell us what you want to do, make it easy for us to find what we need to find, and we’ll take it from there. We’ll ask you questions as we have them.

Here are some examples of things OpenITP approved funding for in our previous round:

  • An implemention of Off-the-Record (OTR) in Javascript, initially for the Cryptocat project but reusable by other projects.
  • Improvements to the GPG Tools project for developers (e.g., build process improvements, etc) and for users (better address book support, documentation improvements).
  • Improvements to Serval to ease user adoption (lessening reliance on root access to handheld devices, better peer-to-peer distribution of updates, more end-user documentation).
  • Those examples aren’t meant to narrow the possibilities. They’re just meant to give you an idea of the scope of our project grants and types of projects we’re looking to support.

Your turn!

Tweet: @OpenITP seeking proposals for first round of 2013 circumvention tech project grants! http://is.gd/Xs217B