elias is my alias

by Elias Julian

call me trill cosby

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The awkward teenage years of the conversational interface

 I’m not Theodore Twombly and I don’t want a robot girlfriend, I just want to check the weather.

see Her, Ex Machina, Westworld, etc.

My wife and I recently took a trip to the Republic of Ireland, and I decided to try out Kayak’s Facebook Messenger chatbot to see for myself just how practical the idea of a text-based conversational interface is when it comes to renting a car, a process that’s inevitably filled with nuance and a little confusion.


A few takeaways:

 The process took longer that it otherwise would have if I were just doing it directly through the Kayak app or website.

But, that could be a good thing. The way the interface presents you with one clear question or prompt at a time could definitely help cut down on errors or making mistakes when choosing options you’re presented with. Almost as if you’re talking directly with a human and they’re posing one question at a

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universal f#%$!g shortcuts

 Why the fuck are there not universal shortcuts between design software? I’m looking at you Adobe. Yeah, you too Sketch.

Let me just start by asking, why, dear god why, did Sketch think it was intuitive for ‘V’ to be the pen tool AND the move tool. I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally plot an anchor point when I’m just trying to select an object.

I’m not even sure where to get started with you, Adobe. Why ⌘+E isn’t Export across the board is beyond me. As an example, here’s how ⌘+E works across the board:

Software Function
Illustrator Toggles GPU Preview
Photoshop Merges Group
InDesign Export
Sketch Export to Zeplin*
Lightroom Edit in Photoshop
After Effects Edit Original

*I don’t think ⌘+E has an inherent function in Sketch. It only exports to Zeplin since I have the plugin installed.

Now, I’m fully aware that each program caters to a different use

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Building & Scaling a Design Language


 Oooooh design languages

Usually design trends are head scratchers at first glance, a few weeks later they start to show up in your work, a few more weeks pass and something else new and weird comes along, that also slowly starts to appear in your work, and outside of the vague influence they’ve had, they fade into oblivion. And the cycle continues. Or maybe that’s just my experience. Regardless, all along the way little bits and pieces stick around. It may be too soon to really tell, but I think the design language is different. And it’s because it’s not a new concept. It’s recent rise to internet stardom is merely a symptom of the ever-expanding need to design for every medium and platform under the sun. And for good reason. Without a design system or common visual language, it’s extraordinarily difficult (dare I say impossible) to stay visually consistent and current when you’re

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concept ≠ design

 They’re not equal. It’s not an either-or decision. You can have both.

Recently I’ve noticed a not-so-invisible line drawn between the strength of an idea and the quality of the design. For anyone who isn’t familiar with this nonsense, let me explain as best I can.

Most, but not all, design your encounter out in the wild started as a rough sketch on the back of cocktail napkin (if you’re Don Draper), or more than likely, a nonsensical typo-ridden iPhone note you have to decipher on Monday morning. In my experience, it takes a long time to get an idea out of this stage of the process. For whatever reason, maybe you just overthink think and it never sees the light of day, you’re working with a small budget, stakeholders don’t buy into it, it could be any number of things. Point being, yeah this part of the process is important, even vital, but it’s not the most important and it’s

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Small things all the time, man.

Today, while doing some sketching for a big illustration project, I overheard two friends (strangers to me) at a coffee shop discussing, in-depth, what their new years resolutions are going to be this year. Each of them weighed the pros and cons of various things like attending more yoga classes or finally quitting that terrible job they’ve been stuck in for years. I zoned out for a little while and worked my way through some pencil sketches, graphite and eraser shavings flying out of my notebook, presumably. When I lifted my head again, probably 20 minutes later, I was surprised to overhear that they were still debating the resolution dilemma and it had become much more hotly contested as if they were up against a tight deadline or something.

I’ve never really been one for setting goals. That is, sitting down with pen and paper (or more likely evernote) and listing out things I’d like

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