Meta Refresh 2013

The design and engineering of user interface on the web


Submitted by Souvik Das Gupta (@souvikdg) on Jan 11, 2013

Section: Process Technical level: Intermediate Session type: Lecture Status: Confirmed & Scheduled


To encourage designers to proactively reduce exposure of unnecessary details in their designs.


Design, esp. on the web, is not just pixel perfection. It is perhaps as important, if not more, to deliver a friendly and coherent experience from the very first point of interaction.

Behind the scenes every product is driven by a complex system, the internals of which — be it technology, implementation or business speak — are far from comforting for users. However, often as designers or as product/business owners, we overlook such elements that trickle through our products and expose themselves leading to a disconcerting experience.

We’ll take a look at some examples where details are unnecessarily exposed (e.g. revealing file extensions in URLs) and why creators and designers of systems should try utmost to identify them and make them invisible in their products.

Speaker bio

I am a co-founder of Miranj, a web design studio in New Delhi, and have been making websites for a few years now. I am a programmer at heart, love music and a foodie who prefers coffee over any other beverage.


  • Kiran Jonnalagadda (@jace) Crew 7 years ago

    Love it. Care to share a few more examples here?

    • Souvik Das Gupta (@souvikdg) Proposer 7 years ago

      Examples would include micro level ones such as ugly URLs, bad button labels, strict input validations etc. and few at macro level where I’ve found user flows to be dictated by business decisions rather than lives and behaviour of people. I am currently compiling them, so if you have any relevant examples, do share.

      • Kiran Jonnalagadda (@jace) Crew 7 years ago

        What about i18n labels? People attempt i18n and don’t keep it maintained, so the wrong labels show up sometimes.

        • Souvik Das Gupta (@souvikdg) Proposer 7 years ago

          Ah! I see what you’re pointing to, but ain’t that a case of attempting the right thing but not being disciplined?

      • Benjamin Arthur Lupton (@balupton) 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago)

        Another one is the “https” security shields that the modern browsers display in the URL bar. Chrome goes into way too much detail when the bar goes yellow (secure site, but insecure resources) and it freaks my mum out every time she opens gmail and the email she opens loads up some insecure resources and the shield goes yellow and she freaks out thinking people are going to hack into her computer - and asking around, this is actually a really common issue amongst her associates and is making them switch from chrome to firefox as firefox displays that yellow bar a lot more subtly and user friendly.

        • Souvik Das Gupta (@souvikdg) Proposer 7 years ago

          A BIG YES to making products mum-friendly, and I hope my talk would encourage people to care about them. However I will restrict myself to just websites and trust browser vendors to keep improving their product.

  • Benjamin Arthur Lupton (@balupton) 7 years ago

    Cool proposal. Will this touch on the Windows 8 Style Guide by any chance? I find that style guide amazing in terms of how it removes clutter liberally, which design has suffered from for too long. The Windows 8 Style Guide is essentially a design manual for engineers I feel. Touching on this usage in other aspects of design would also be cool, e.g. cars, fonts, posters, cases, etc. :)

    • Souvik Das Gupta (@souvikdg) Proposer 7 years ago

      I’m afraid not. The focus of the talk is not on design language or interfaces. Instead it is about encouraging designers to empathise with users and not expose internal details of the system that are likely to hurt the user experience.

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