Dane. Designer.

Old Blog

The Digital Manicurist

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It’s been a relaxed weekend, mostly Halo free and steeped rather in the internal workings of K2. The codebase of which is in a pretty good place currently. So much so, that I can usually spend whatever time I find for development on tweaking and polishing the smallest parts of the interaction ‘experience’, if you will.

And really, that’s why I’m doing this; because I like perfecting the details. The fact that your popup takes just so much time to animate, or that the help text says exactly what it needs to say, not a word more.

If the core mechanics are the torso and head, I work mostly on the ‘bodily extremities’. Which, I guess, makes me a digital manicurist.

Now I don’t know whether it’s Automattic setting a rather mediocre example when it comes to the finer details of interaction design. Or if it’s simply because many plugin authors aren’t that great at finalizing the details. But the WordPress’o‘sphere does seem riddled with plugins that could be twice what they are; if only someone would love them.

Well, I guess the same can be said for the mothership product.

I mean, consider the WordPress widget system for a moment. It’s over a year and a half old, yet I don’t think a line of code has been changed in it since the day it debuted. At least it still has all the shortcomings it was born with, of which there are many.

And as of a few weeks ago, with WordPress 2.3 2.2, the widget system was integrated as a new default feature of WordPress, which in turns means that as of this writing, it will already have propagated to tens of thousands of blogs—if not more. Which in turn means, that every single shortcut is amplified by tens of thousands.

When you look at it that way, maybe they should’ve waited…

That’s why we’ve spent so much time writing our own sidebar manager for K2, rather than using WordPress’ default widget system. A decision which no doubt has cost us months of development time. But every time I use it, I’m assured that it was indeed the right decision.

The thought of ‘shipping’ something that isn’t just right makes me uneasy. It might take twice as long to make sure all the details fall into place, but when they do; it’s always worth the wait.

And really, with tools like jQuery, Firebug, CSS Edit and whatever else makes up the modern web developer’s arsenal, it’s as easy as ever to get things just right.

Anyway, that’s what I spent my day doing. ‘Fly fucking’ as the Danish expression goes, K2.

JournalMichael Heilemann