Sam Solomon

October 14, 2014

Wiry

Wiry is an open source wireframe template that helps designers create wireframes clients will understand.

Visual Design, Frontend

There’s a problem with traditional wireframes—clients have a difficult time understanding a collection of boxed Xs. Even when you explain that one element is an icon, the other is a text overlay, it can be difficult for them to see. On the other end, the designer doesn’t want to show too much detail, as to loose flexibility when working on visual design. This is where Wiry comes in—to help designers create wireframes clients can understand.

Wiry is a small project that I’m working on with Chris Rowe. Using his personal wireframe kit as a starting point, we’re adding new elements, device mockups and building a site to show off its features.

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October 12, 2014

Bussing Tables

My friend Jason Shen wrote a post called You Had One Job. His goal was to point out that our parents’ generation grew up with the expectation that they would go work for one company and be loyal for their entire life. It’s obviously different in today’s world. I’m 25 and have already had more than a dozen different jobs.

As I was going through Jason’s list, I reflected on my own jobs. More interesting than the number of jobs that I’ve had, is the experience I gained from them. In many cases I learned what I didn’t want to do when I grew up. Those poor experiences pushed me in the right direction.

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September 6, 2014

Learn from Side Projects

How can I learn to code?

It’s a question I get a fair amount. The obvious answers are to checkout codecademey and Treehouse. Both are good places to start, but I think the best answer it to learn from side projects.

A side project should not start as a business. It should be enjoyable and push your skills a bit further. As Marvel’s Murat Mutlu says, “Your side project should be something where you get home, fire it up, and feel the zen.”

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August 31, 2014

Signal Tower

Signal Tower is an online magazine that features longform interviews with entrepreneurs, writers and designers.

UX, Visual Design, Frontend, WordPress

When I moved to Mobile, a small town on the coast of Alabama, I quickly realized that the tech and design community I loved was nowhere to be found.

To keep in touch I started doing Skype sessions with friends. Eventually that expanded to others in the community. One day I had the idea to start recording these sessions. If they were helpful to me, I figured they might be helpful to someone else.

I’ve spent the last year and a half conducting interviews with brilliant entrepreneurs, designers, developers and writers from all over the world. The interviews themselves were incredible, but the site they were on was not. It was time to make a worthy home for those interviews.

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August 27, 2014

Icon Yard

Icon Yard is a library of Creative Commons Zero icons created by designers from all over the world.

Visual Design, UX

Finding good icons can make or break a project. Some icon sites require designers to license or attribute icons. Others require the user to register. Incredible icons are scattered across dribbble, but they can be difficult to find. Why isn’t there one place where it is easy to find vector icons? That’s why my friend Henry Bayuzick and I built Icon Yard.

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May 26, 2014

Websites are for Humans

Writing an article that gets read by tens of thousands is exhilarating. If you’ve written an article, it’s hard not to obsess over the analytics. It’s the same type of thrill that keeps gamblers glued to slot machines, or addicts in search of cocaine.

That exact obsession took hold when my post about eliminating social media buttons went viral. I had tens of thousands of visits on the first day. Hundreds of people thanked me for providing a new perspective, while others lambasted me, saying that I was an idiot. I loved every bit of it.

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February 7, 2014

Why I’m Done with Social Media Buttons

As designers, it is our job to question why elements should exist. Sometimes we get so caught up in new ideas about navigation and animations that we forget to go back and examine more common elements—like social media buttons.

They are unsightly relics of the web 2.0 era, yet they continue to find their way into new designs. Why does this happen?

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May 11, 2013

The Experience Deficiency

I recently spoke with an MBA student who wanted to get into advertising. She said that it seemed like an interesting industry, and wanted to learn more about the interactive side of it.

One of my colleagues talked about how the agency was organized and what the day-to-day was like. I mentioned my experience trying to run a business in college, and talked about the advantages of writing.

When asked if she wanted to know anything specific to working on interactive projects, or had any questions in general.

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March 18, 2013

The Last Two Jobs on Earth

Everywhere you look software is automating work. If you think your job is safe, I bet someone is trying to automate what you do.

History tells us that when technology destroys a sector of jobs, a new sector appears and absorbs those jobs. It may even create more in the process. When Henry Ford’s affordable automobile jumped onto the scene, carriage makers went out of business. But as automobiles gained ground new opportunities were presented in manufacturing and transportation.

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January 31, 2013

Why College Graduates are Underemployed

Recently the Center for College Affordability released a report titled “Why Are Recent College Graduates Underemployed?” The report focused on university enrollments and labor-market needs.

We are producing vastly more college graduates than needed in the economy, and makes some interesting predictions about the future. It touches on many of the points I made the other day about how we our treating symptoms, instead of problems.

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