Ben Norris

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The Wireframing Book

A new book is coming out soon, and it will be a fantastic resource to anyone wanting to build better software. Written by Michael Angeles, Leon Barnard, and Billy Carlson, this will share knowledge and insights from some of the best in the business.

Wireframe book

A product design book written for everyone on a software team, regardless of size or configuration. See how wireframes can help teams design better together and learn how to design and communicate better by focusing on structure instead of pixels.

You’ll want to sign up to be notified when it’s available on the Balsamiq website.

Modeling being human

As a leader, one of the most important things you do for those who follow you is modeling. I have seen all too often leaders who work excessive hours while preaching the value of work/life balance.

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🔗 Empowering women

I loved this article studying how the voices of women can be better fostered and heard: When Women Don’t Speak.

The bottom line, if you want to empower women, apply majority rule when women have the numbers and unanimous rule—or at the very least, an underlying principle of unanimous rule, hearing from everyone—when they don’t.

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🔗 Cursors on iPads

  • 2 min read
  • General

I loved this delightfully written article by Craig Mod: Who Would Have Thought an iPad Cursor Could Be So Much Fun?

This is where the iPad’s support for the trackpad comes in—a middle ground between laser and potato, and a reinvention of Engelbart’s pointiness. Apple has taken the desktop cursor’s familiar thin arrow and replaced it with a translucent circle. This circle has the ability to change form not only with context but with the “physicality” of the object beneath it.

Move the pointer above a button and the circle morphs into the button itself, “snapping” into it, enveloping it like an amoeba, causing it to glow in a pleasing way. What this means is that the usual precision of a trackpad isn’t required to get exact hits on navigational elements. If you own an Apple TV, you’re already familiar with this vibe—it’s how the cursor on the TV “jumps” from icon to icon with a kind of sticky momentum. Similarly, on the iPad home screen, you can “lazily” slam the cursor around and have it lock onto applications with an eerie telepathy not experienced on a desktop OS.

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🔗 Great retrospective format

  • 1 min read
  • General

I was intrigued by this article by Fiona Voss: My favorite way to run a retro:

The leader sets up the Trello board with four columns:

  • Celebrations
  • Gripes
  • Topics to discuss
  • Actions

Then everybody has 5-10 minutes to write Trello cards in the first three columns, working from their own laptops. You’re allowed to move a card somebody else wrote from Celebrations or Gripes to Topics to Discuss if you want to talk about it.

When all the cards are written, use Trello voting to vote on cards. When voting is finished, the leader sorts the cards by number of votes (descending).

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🔗 Working with resistance

As I finished reading this article this morning, I said out loud, “That was beautiful!” And then I thought maybe I could share it so others might have that same experience. The article is from Zen Habits: Working with the Ebbs & Flows of Your Resistance. He points out that feeling resistance to new or good things is normal, but we can learn to work with it.

It can also get stronger. But it can’t maintain its strength for long. You can breathe, stay with it, wait it out. Bring curiosity to it. Give the feeling a little compassion and kindness.

The key is develop more mindfulness. Instead of shying away from hard thoughts or feelings, sink into them for a moment and get to know them better. Over time, as we become more comfortable with them, we can notice them and acknowledge the message they are sending us and them make our own choice about what to do.

🔗 How to be kind

  • 1 min read
  • General

This was a fantastic article on Zen Habits: How to Be Kind to Yourself & Still Get Stuff Done:

The truth is, most of us are judging ourselves, beating ourselves up, looking harshly at our shortcomings and flaws, a lot of the time. It’s why we’re stressed, anxious, frustrated and disappointed so often.

A different path might be kindness to ourselves. When we see a flaw, we might see the beauty in it. Instead of always striving to be better, we can find gratitude for how great we already are. Instead of beating ourselves up, we can be kind to ourselves and see that we have tried our best, that we had good intentions, that we have a good heart.

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🔗 Embracing both sides

I loved this article from the Art of Manliness: Sunday Firesides: I Have Kids.

Then one day, for reasons unknown, I suddenly saw the open printer drawer not as an impertinent annoyance, but as the inescapable evidence of a simple fact: I have kids.   

I have kids, and kids inevitably come with some vexations. Yet they’re exactly what I want in my life, and a source of inexpressible joy. Because I have this privilege . . . I also have to accept its aggravations.

This is such an easy thing to forget and so important to remember. Our lives are not meant to be blissful, they are meant to be meaningful.

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