Projects

Aegea 2.6 released

Aegea 2.6 has been released. Aegea is a great blogging engine.

What’s new:

  • Continuous autosaving of form data in post editors. Data is being saved locally in the browser. If the browser or the OS crashes, when you open the editor again, your latest changes will be there. If you edit the post from another device and save the changes to server, the most recent server version will open.
  • The new search finds more relevant posts, works faster and formats the results in a better way. It will not show the full posts, but just the fragments with the search query. If the found post contains images, it will show their thumbnails for quicker identification. For example, try searching street in this blog.
  • It’s now easier to set a post’s cover image for social networks. Just drag an image into the editor’s page. If you drop in onto the Text field, if will be inserted in text, but if you drop it outside the Text field, it will just get added to the post. Social networks will see it as part of the post, but it will not get displayed in its text.
  • Improved database migration from older versions.
  • Multiple other small improvements.

An engine is a program that runs on the blogger’s website. It provides the writing tools to the author, shows the posts to the readers and lets them write comments. Medium.com (or similar) is simpler, but they can shut down and take all your posts offline. With an engine, the blog runs on your own website and you have access to the files and the database (you don’t have to deal with the files or the database, but you own all the data).

I want most people to have access to personal blogging in this way. That’s why it uses the most easily available platform: PHP with MySQL.

Aegea powers this and many other blogs. Among my favourites:

With Aegea, you can use the built-in neutral theme or customise it however you like (this blog is an example). Be flexible with comments: allow and disallow them globally or per post. Refine posts using Drafts. Add images, videos, audio or code to illustrate your point. Organise your writing with tags.

Designers, writers, musicians and software developers use Aegea to show their work, communicate and spread knowledge. They love it because it’s simple and fast yet does everything they need. Aegea is free for personal use and paid for business use.

Learn more and get Aegea at blogengine.me.

May 5   Aegea   my products   projects   release

Securige operator user interface

I’ve designed the UI for the panel protection program Securige. It’s a program where operators see if someone’s broken into your apartment and send the rapid response team if they have. That’s what it looks like:

My favourite moment of the project was when I was sitting at the operator’s post quietly (it was the condition to let me in), and the operators are like “if you have questions, just ask!”. And so I started asking. That’s where I’ve learned why the keyboard is almost never used. Otherwise I wouldn’t have come up with the Fitts-law-optimised search bar on the left.

Also, when I asked what irritated the most in the existing program, everyone said: “it’s fine”. But when I gave examples of possible improvements, they said: “wow, can this be done?”.

Very interesting project. A whole book on user interface can be written just on the examples from this one. Read a more detailed description.

May 2   projects   user interface   work

Jouele 2.3

Jouele 2.3

Jouele is a simple and beautiful audio player for the web. Eugene Lazarev has been developing it lately.

Version 2.3 has been released. Jouele now uses Howler (bundled) instead of jPlayer. This change helps use less bandwidth, display the preloader better and get rid of several bugs. The data-repeat feature is now supported on single tracks. When a file is unavailable, Jouele shows this with an icon, instead of just “hanging”. The markup works better in different browsers.

Song example:

See documentation on Github.

Apr 30   Jouele   projects   web

Mimic 2.0: The client’s feedback

I’ve recently designed the new user interface for Mimic, a web developer tool for mocking server responses in a browser. Ilya Gelman, one of the Mimic’s developers, comments on working with me:

Ilya is of that rare kind of designers that seek to find solutions to problems instead of matching colors and shadows. He asks the right questions, concentrates on important things and understands that real products aren’t just beautiful pictures on dribble. He helped us redefine our tool to make it simpler to use and easier to understand.

Working with local Israeli designers, we usually communicated by real-time channels like Slack, WhatsApp or phone. It was a bit different with Ilya because we had to communicate mainly via email and had to schedule our calls ahead of time. Part of this was the difference in time zones and part of it was Ilya’s principle of managing his own time, which I can fully understand and respect. All in all we never had an issue of lack of communication and everything was always delivered on time.

What I liked about Ilya the most is that he was able to explain the reasoning behind his design decisions, and that he knew how to work together with us to get our tool released on time.

Apr 1   feedback   projects   quotes

User interface for Mimic 2.0

A web application’s front end (what the user sees) and back end (what happens on a remote server) are often developed separately. If the back end of some feature is not ready yet, the front-end developer is very limited in what they can do.

I’ve designed the user interface for Mimic 2.0, a web developer tool for mocking server responses in a browser. With Mimic, you can develop as if the server was alive. It’s very easy to set up a simple mock. Say, you want to pretend the server responds with a line of JSON:

It lets you set up very advanced mocks, adjusting HTTP headers, timeouts and what not:

The great thing about Mimic is that you don’t need to set up a local server and change request URIs in your application. It works with the existing applications as they are, right in the browser. And you don’t even need to install browser extensions: you just link one script to your application and that’s it.

Read more about the user interface on the project page.

2017   projects   user interface   web
2017   Ekaterinburg   projects   transportation

Introducing Aegea

Introducing Aegea, a great blogging engine.

An engine is a program that runs on the blogger’s website. It provides the writing tools to the author, shows the posts to the readers and lets them write comments. Medium.com (or similar) is simpler, but they can shut down and take all your posts offline. With an engine, the blog runs on your own website and you have access to the files and the database (you don’t have to deal with the files or the database, but you own all the data).

I want most people to have access to personal blogging in this way. That’s why it uses the most easily available platform: PHP with MySQL.

Aegea powers this and many other blogs. Among my favourites:

With Aegea, you can use the built-in neutral theme or customise it however you like (this blog is an example). Be flexible with comments: allow and disallow them globally or per post. Refine posts using Drafts. Add images, videos, audio or code to illustrate your point. Organise your writing with tags.

Designers, writers, musicians and software developers use Aegea to show their work, communicate and spread knowledge. They love it because it’s simple and fast yet does everything they need. Aegea is free for personal use and paid for business use.

Learn more and get Aegea at blogengine.me.

2016   Aegea   my products   projects   release

Sayve, a reliable voice recorder and recogniser

Sometimes an idea comes to mind when I am running or driving and I can’t write it down. I just want to say it to my phone and I want the phone to remember it. Unfortunately, there was no tool for this.

Siri needs Internet and is stupid. When it fails to recognise what I’ve said, there is no way to get back to it later. Keyboard dictation works offline most of the time, but if you aren’t lucky, the original audio recording is also lost. Also, you have to remember to pick the right keyboard language before starting dictation, otherwise you will also lose everything. The Voice Notes app records audio, but does not recognise speech. To find the necessary recording, you need to listen to each as they all look the same.

That’s why together with the developer Michael Rubanov we made Sayve — a reliable voice recorder and recogniser. It works like this: when you open the app, it starts recording and recognising immediately. When you are done speaking, it underlines the words it’s unsure about.

Sayve, a reliable voice recorder and recogniser

You can tap the words and replace with the alternatives. If it’s completely wrong, you can re-listen to the audio. Raise the phone to your ear to listen through the ear speaker.

You can change the recognition language after recording, and it will re-recognise the recording. Then you can export everything to Notes.app or whatever.

We can’t always recognise speech without Internet. But audio is stored permanently, so you won’t lose your thoughts in any case. Also we’ll try to recognise it later, when Internet is back.

Here is the button:

Get for free in the App Store

For free for now, but we’ll see.

2016   projects   Sayve

Fifth version of the Moscow Metro map

I made my first Moscow metro map in 2007. The official map was disgusting then, but nobody cared. My work inspired many designers to try to design their own map. I know several designers who gave up after they’ve appreciated how hard the task actually was. I had two major revisions of my map including the one for the official 2013 competition for the new map to be used on the system. In that version I’ve solved the problem of the Biblioteka imeni Lenina junction and invented the Compass (more on that on the 2013 map’s page in my portfolio). I took the second place. It took most of the 2015 to design the next version of the map: it used space more efficiently and the overall graphical design was improved.

Here is the new version, with the new Circle Railway (Line 14) added:

Compared to the official map, this map has almost 35% larger font when printed as same-size poster:

Fifth version of the Moscow Metro map

See the project page for detail.

2016   design   moscow metro   projects

Ekaterinburg metro map

Check out this new Ekaterinburg metro map:

Designed by Pasha Omelyohin, directed by myself.

A large metro network works like teleport: people don’t care how it gets you from point A to point B, it just does. In London, Paris or Moscow metro maps do not show the surface geography: there is no room. And for many people, the metro map is the map of the city.

But that’s not the case for the small metros. Designing a map for a small metro this way makes no sense:

This does not contain any new information compared to a plain list of stations. The need to simplify and get rid of surface details only occurs when the complexity of the map gets in the way of finding your route. Ekaterinburg does not have this problem.

When there is one metro line, there is no teleport effect. It is very important to show how the metro is connected to the surface:

That’s why we list the routes of buses, trolleybuses and trams, show metro exit locations, nearby streets, parks, the river Iset, railway and coach stations:

2016   Ekaterinburg   projects   transportation
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