Projects

The new Chelyabinsk Trams diagram

Over ten years ago I made the diagram of Chelyabinsk trams and trolleybuses. That design turned out to be very successful: dozens of designers used it as a reference for building their own diagrams. It wouldn’t be as good if not for Artem Gorbunov’s generous help.

Three years ago, together with Alexander Karavaev we made a new version of the diagram. It had a lot of design inventions: the “pencil-drawn” layer for buses and trolleybuses, the “watercolour” rivers and lakes, 3D terminals, the new shape of the stops’ ticks. With that diagram, a logo for chelyabinsk trams was born: the city’s coat of arms decorated with a pantograph.

Then Polina Lesnikova joined the team. She re-drew the map to account for the changes in routes. Together with Alexander, they changed a lot of details after testing the legibility of the previous version. Thus we arrived at the new diagram:

Some landmarks were added. The bus-and-trolleybuses layer gave the previous version some visual richness, and it was interesting to scrutinise. Unfortunately, it didn’t provide any notable utility, so we decided to remove it. This helped to simplify the geometry of lines and make the fonts bigger. The new diagram looks stronger.

Designed by Polina Lesnikova and Alexander Karavaev, art-directed by myself.

2018   projects   release   transportation
2018   projects

Aegea 2.7 released

Aegea 2.7 has been released. Aegea is a great blogging engine.

What’s new

There are several new design themes, which look like this:

All new themes are based on the existing theme Plain, but redefine some CSS variables:

Above is the code of the theme “Douglas”, which looks like this:

You can now easily preview the themes from Settings. There is a link that opens a special contrived page, which includes all sorts of blog elements to test. This makes building themes much easier as you can preview your CSS in one place instead of wandering around the blog looking for elements to check.

The editor now supports these Google Docs keyboard shortcuts, thanks to Igor Adamenko:

⌘B bold
⌘I italic
⌘K hyperlink
⌘⌥1 heading
⌘⌥2 subheading
⌘⌥0 usual paragraph
⌘] indent
⌘[ outdent

There are also multiple improvements to the features related to social networking, comments, search, RSS and JSON feed, uploading of images and audio.

About Aegea

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 one of the built-in themes 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.

2017   Aegea   my products   projects   release

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.

2017   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.

2017   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.

2017   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.

2017   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