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100 Things a UX/UI Designer Should Know

Architect Michael Sorkin recently died from coronavirus, and in a tribute to his beautiful piece 250 Things an Architect Should Know, I’ve compiled a list of 100 things a UX/UI designer should know.

Some are practical, some are poetic; all pay homage to the wonderful complexity of designing things for our fellow human beings.

Click an item to expand its answer · Expand all

  1. The angular size of legible text
  2. How to use yellow as a brand color
  3. The best patterns for displaying tables on mobile devices
  4. How to train a client to give you good feedback
  5. What your users would be doing if they weren’t using your app
  6. How long a hoverstate animation should be, in milliseconds
  7. What 'chart junk' is
  8. The biggest thing slowing down your website’s loading time
  9. What top-down lighting bias is
  10. Hanging punctuation
  11. Why certain colors clash
  12. The market rate for usability testing participants (60-minute session)
  13. What the best design of 1000 years ago looked like
  14. How to make a design that will be understood 10,000 years in the future
  15. How websites make money
  16. How your client’s website makes money
  17. Why painters never use black
  18. The appropriate number of characters per line for body text
  19. How to create an error message when your brand color is red
  20. When to use a grid system
  21. When not to use a grid system
  22. When to center text
  23. When to right-align text
  24. When to use a didone
  25. When to use a slab serif
  26. The minimum tap target size on both iOS and Android
  27. A handful of patterns for showing search results
  28. A handful of patterns for filtering search results
  29. The screen sizes of popular mobile devices
  30. What percentage of people look at your site on mobile
  31. Why Gmail bolds your search term in its autocomplete dropdown, yet Google Search bolds everything but your search term in its autocomplete dropdown
  32. When to use a bar chart, line chart, and pie chart
  33. The difference between saturation and brightness
  34. The font on the plaque that Neil Armstrong put on the moon
  35. What’s on the plaque of the Pioneer spacecraft
  36. The difference between inductive and deductive reasoning
  37. Why humanist fonts often feel warmer and friendlier than other sans serifs
  38. The 3 most popular fonts on Google Fonts (for the masses)
  39. The 3 most popular fonts on Typewolf (for the trend-setters)
  40. All the keyboard shortcuts on your favorite design app
  41. How to design matching icons
  42. The dimensionality of color
  43. The default text size on most web browsers, iOS, and in Material Design
  44. How to create an entire UI using just one color
  45. How to create an entire UI using no colors
  46. Why fonts with high x-heights are more legible
  47. At least 5 methods for putting text on top of images
  48. The WCAG recommended contrast ratio for body text
  49. The WCAG recommended contrast ratio for headline text
  50. What Leonardo DaVinci recommended as the first practice for beginning artists
  51. The most useful blend modes
  52. The principles of good composition
  53. Where to find photography that doesn’t look stock
  54. Four reasons a user’s search query might not turn up any results
  55. How to write an error message
  56. How to write a call-to-action
  57. How a screen reader works
  58. And how many people use one
  59. What not to put in your design portfolio
  60. How to present a design
  61. What “satisfice” means
  62. Which is more important – aesthetics or usability
  63. What a poisson distribution is
  64. Jakob’s Law
  65. Browser dev tools
  66. 3 reasons not to use “carousels"
  67. What the Law of Locality is
  68. The difference between a friend and a facebook friend
  69. How PageRank works
  70. The explore/exploit tradeoff
  71. The different types of mobile keyboards
  72. The psychology of road rage
  73. 10 controls you can use instead of dropdowns
  74. What complementary and substitute goods are
  75. What screens want
  76. Why you shouldn’t listen to your users
  77. How to run an A/B test
  78. When to not run an A/B test
  79. How to write
  80. How to edit
  81. How good online communities go bad
  82. The 80-20 rule
  83. How to make a half-decent logo
  84. Why games are fun
  85. Why gambling is addictive
  86. The only 5 typefaces Massimo Vignelli said he needed
  87. At least two dozen fonts on sight
  88. Where to find good inspiration
  89. Why menus in fancy restaurants don’t list cents on their prices
  90. Five ways to reduce clutter on a messy page
  91. The zero price effect
  92. The differences between Helvetica and Arial
  93. Five alternatives to either
  94. How to ask questions without biasing the answer
  95. Desire paths
  96. How it would work if it were magic
  97. Maker’s schedule vs manager’s schedule
  98. Who your ideal client is
  99. The tradeoff between line height and line length
  100. What you wouldn’t design, even for all the money in the world

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