A Journey from Clipper to User-Centered Design

Our past shapes how we see the future.

It's easy to forget how far we've come as application builders. In 1994, my strongest programming language was a dBase variant called Clipper. In fact, I was able to do such great things with Clipper that they called me “The Wizard.” (OK, one person said that one time, but it was still pretty great.) For those who have never been a Clipper wizard, here is a quick rundown of what Clipper could do:

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CSS Preprocessors

Have you ever had to change the colors in a website? How about update the font style or size? If you’re still working without the benefit of a CSS preprocessor, chances are you did a search through all your CSS files, hopefully replacing all the instances where the color or font existed (only to miss at least one instance). Haven’t you always wished there was a better way? Some way to declare your website’s colors and fonts so that you’d only have to update one place in one file? Wish no longer. This is the type of problem CSS preprocessors solve, along with much more besides.

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Handling User Experience Design Disagreements

Many design decisions on a project can bring disagreements

During the course of any project for a product, system, or service that involves user experience designers, visual designers, engineers, project managers, product owners, and stakeholders, there will be many design decisions made that will affect the business and its users. Many of these decisions will be minor with little disagreement amongst project members on the design solution being built. It is also possible that you'll encounter something in the design that becomes a hot button issue and triggers a debate between members of the team.

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