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February

Popular design news of the week: February 10, 2020 – February 16, 2020

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

 

Avoid these 10 UX Design Fails

 

15+ Best Sites to Download Mockups

 

UX 101: Norman Doors

 

Neumorphism: A Trend that is Already Over?

 

A New Approach to Color (inspired by Dark Mode) in Our Design System

 

Drop.lol – Easy WebRTC File Transfer

 

Preloader Design Tips and Inspirations

 

Google Earth Just Released 1,000 Beautiful Wallpapers You Can Download for Free

 

How Deceptive UX Patterns Trick You into Doing What Companies Want

 

Design System Subtasks, by Step

 

UX Debt 101

 

How to Automate your Workspace and Write Less Code

 

Google Maps is Turning 15! Celebrate with a New Look and Features

 

Sketch 63 — What’s New?

 

Redesign: Gridniking

 

Youtube Tag Generator

 

Glitch Art Generator

 

New Marvel Eternals Logo Leaked

 

Brandless, the Pioneering Amazon Alternative, Shuts Down

 

A Dark Web Tycoon Pleads Guilty, but How was He Caught?

 

Facebook Buys AR Startup Building a 1:1 Digital Map of the Physical World

 

How to Save on Business Expenses as a SaaS Company

 

The Case of the Stolen Domain Names

 

Our Obsession with ‘Color Trends’ is Killing the Planet

 

Forecasting the Future of Design

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.



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February Win10 1903 and 1909 cumulative update causing desktops to disappear

Shortly after this month’s massive Patch Tuesday dump dropped, several people reported that when they rebooted after installing the patch, their desktops appeared to be wiped clean — icons went missing, wallpaper replaced, desktop data nowhere to be seen.

Last night, Lawrence Abrams on BleepingComputer came up with a comprehensive diagnosis:

Based on the reports by affected users, it appears that a bug in the KB4532693 update is loading up a temporary profile to be used during the update process and failing to restore the user’s profile when done. 

Which explains all of the symptoms I’ve seen [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Many people are in a tizzy — their desktop icons are gone, they can’t log onto their usual Admin account, and their files most definitely aren’t where they left them. Abrams has a bit of reassurance:

The good news is that the update is not wiping your data, but rather renaming the original user profile in the C:Users folder. If you are affected by this issue, you can look in C:Users and see if you have a renamed profile ending in .000 or .bak.

I’ve seen several reports that uninstalling the KB 4532693 patch solves the problem.

Günter Born picked up the baton overnight (U.S. time) and has come up with a tantalizing observation:

Currently I’m collecting information about the root cause. One user reported, that a bunch of 50 machines was affected, all using AVIRA antivirus, while the other machines without issues didn’t have AVIRA installed. But this is only a single voice. 

Of course, Microsoft hasn’t said anything. The official Win10 Release Information Status page hasn’t been updated since November. The Feedback Hub is useless, as usual (try searching for “KB 4532693”). The official Answers Forum doesn’t have a clue.

So we’re back to helping Microsoft crowdsource patching bug reports for its multibillion-dollar product.

Did your desktop disappear after installing this month’s patches? Are you running Avira or Avast? Please let us know on AskWoody.

I swear, if somebody tells me again how Windows patches are getting better, I’m gonna bust a blood vessel. 

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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A large – but manageable – February Patch Tuesday brings critical browser updates

With 99 reported vulnerabilities and patches to both Microsoft browsers, Office and Windows, this month’s Patch Tuesday update is not as large an administrative burden as you might initially think. We’ve rated the browser updates as a “Patch Now” update due to issues with the Chakra engine, but both Office and Windows can be scheduled according to a regular patch cadence. Unfortunately, we have another Adobe Flash update to deploy, but no critical development updates for February.

You can find more information in our helpful infographic here.

Known issues

Each month, Microsoft includes a list of known issues that relate to the operating system and platforms included in this update cycle. I have referenced a few key issues that relate to the latest builds from Microsoft including:

  • Microsoft Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) can still generate the error message,” “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5).” Microsoft is still working on a solution. Until a fix is released, you can try the operation as an administrator or try to “own” directories in question before the operation.
  • After installing some Asian language packs you may still (see KB4493509) receive the error, “0x800f0982 – PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND.”

Microsoft has been working on a fix for both these issues for a while now; we don’t expect a resolution any time soon.

Major revisions

This month, two CVEs have undergone a major revision increment:

  • CVE-2019-1332: CVE information revised to announce the availability of Microsoft SQL Server 2016 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 2 (CU) and Microsoft SQL Server 2016 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 2 (GDR).
  • CVE-2019-8267: Microsoft revised this to include Internet Explorer 11 installed on all supported editions of Windows 10 Version 1809, Windows Server 2019, Windows 10 Version 1903, and Windows 10 Version 1909 because they are affected by this vulnerability. This change may affect your server update cycle

Each month, we break down the update cycle into product families (as defined by Microsoft) with the following basic groupings:

  • Browsers (Microsoft IE and Edge)
  • Microsoft Windows (both desktop and server)
  • Microsoft Office (Including Web Apps and Exchange)
  • Microsoft Development platforms ( ASP.NET Core, .NET Core and Chakra Core)
  • Cloud and Devices
  • Adobe Flash Player (to be discontinued)

Browsers

Microsoft has released nine updates to both browsers (Internet Explorer and Edge) this month, with five rated as critical, two as moderate and the remaining two as important. The biggest concerns are the four critical updates to the Chakra core scripting engine that could lead to remote code execution.

Microsoft advises that these four critical vulnerabilities could lead to a scenario where “An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.”

Add this update to your “Patch Now” schedule.

Microsoft Windows

Ok, this may sound like a lot of updates: Microsoft has released 79 patches to the Windows desktop and server ecosystem. Five of these updates are rated as critical and the rest are all rated as important by Microsoft. It sounds (and feels) like a lot of patches, but other than the critical updates to the Remote Desktop (RDP) platform, the administrative burden is not that great.

This patch cycle feels more like an administrative cycle than that one that addresses critical or exploited vulnerabilities. It’s “clean-up” time for Microsoft after the Christmas break and a very light January patch cycle.

Add these updates to your standard release schedule. 

Microsoft Office

Microsoft has released six updates to Microsoft Office – all rated as important. The most serious for this month affects Microsoft Excel with a potential (but difficult-to-exploit) remote code execution scenario involving how Excel handles objects in memory. All of this month’s reported vulnerabilities require access to the target system and require users to take explicit action on vulnerable systems. There is an update this month to Microsoft SharePoint server which will require a reboot of all affected servers.

Add these Office patches to your regularly scheduled updates

Microsoft development platforms

This month, Microsoft has not released any updates to the many variations of .NET, but we do have one update to SQL Server that has been rated as important. CVE-2020-0618 is relatively difficult to exploit, as it requires access to the SQL server instance and requires specially crafted pages sent to the SQL Server Reporting services.

Add this update to your regularly scheduled patch release cadences.

Cloud and Devices

We have allocated this space to the recent cloud (Azure) and device updates from Microsoft. This month, Microsoft has not released any Azure related patches, but has published a Microsoft Surface (device level) patch (CVE-2020-0702) that has been rated as important (and difficult to exploit).

Add this device related update to your regular patch cycle.

Adobe Flash Player

I thought that we were done with critical Adobe Flash Player updates from Microsoft. I even instructed our development team to remove this section from our internal bulletins. Well, they (Flash Player) updates are back, with a vengeance.

This month, we see another ActiveX flaw in Flash Player (ADV20003/CVE-2020-3757) that could lead to the execution of arbitrary code on the compromised computer. According to the Adobe security bulletin, “The vulnerability exists due to a type confusion error when processing Flash content. A remote attacker can create a specially crafted .SWF file, trick the victim into playing it, trigger a type confusion error and execute arbitrary code on the target system. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may result in complete compromise of the target system.”

Microsoft has documented a potential work-around relating to the Flash ActiveX control which includes making the following registry changes:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftInternet ExplorerActiveX Compatibility{D27CDB6E-AE6D-11CF-96B8-444553540000}]

“Compatibility Flags”=dword:00000400

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeMicrosoftInternet ExplorerActiveX Compatibility{D27CDB6E-AE6D-11CF-96B8-444553540000}]

“Compatibility Flags”=dword:00000400

Add this update to your “Patch Now” release schedule.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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Exciting New Tools for Designers, February 2020

Are you starting 2020 off on the right foot? How about keeping up with those resolutions to learn or try something new?

Either way, you’re in luck. This roundup is packed with new tools to help you through projects or learn new tricks to enhance your skillset. Here’s what’s new for designers this month.

 

Calcolor

Calcolor is a color tool that provides deeper information and meaning for every color in your palette so you can make better color choices. The tool has a contextual description for every HEX color code. You can use it to create and save digital color palettes or find better options for colors before you get too deep into the design.

 

Invisible Line Editor

Invisible Line Editor is a tool that helps you align text in a specific manner. You can click and drag to center, justify, or right- of left-align text. You can even download text and share. If nothing else, it is fun to play with to see how blocks of text might look in different alignments.

 

YourStack

YourStack, which is in public beta, is designed to help you share your favorite products with others. It’s a neat concept for reviewing tools and products. Plus, it has a nifty design that’s fun to peruse.

 

FlowMapp Personas Tool

FlowMapp’s Personas Tool helps you better understand your target audience by building distinct user personas. It’s deep mapping in a premium tool that can help create better design experiences.

 

Kinetic Slider

Kinetic Slider is a fully customizable WebGL slider based on PixiJS and Gsap. It creates an effect that lets you swipe to navigate between slides, include regular prev or next navigation, use a background or cursor displacement effect or background to titles RGB split effect.

 

Learn CSS Positioning

Learn CSS Positioning is an interactive article/game/tutorial to help you make the most of how CSS positioning works. Developer Ahmad Shadeed did an excellent job with this tool and presentation. It’s an amazing learning tool that’s actually fun to use.

 

LambdaTest

LambdaTest is an automated scheduler for screenshot testing. You can set specific time intervals and the tool will take screenshots of the desired URL. Results go to your inbox. It’s a good way to monitor websites.

 

Remote Stash

Remote Stash is a database of tools for contractors, freelancers, and remote workers to help increase productivity when you don’t work in an office with other people. Tools are sorted into categories to help you find what you need to do better work.

 

Flow Fields

Flow Fields uses a particle simulation to visualize a field of directional vectors. It uses Perlin Noise to construct a field of random (but related) forces in horizontal and vertical directions (that change over time). Go play around and watch the lines draw themselves.

 

BinarySearch

BinarySearch, which is still in beta, is a game to help you and your peers create rooms to practice mastering algorithms. Create problems and race to the answers. It’s a fun learning tool for sure.

 

Snack This

Snack This is a tool to generate text gifs in seconds that you can download and use online or on social media. Type in your words and get a screen of generated options, pick the one you want and download or export.

 

Shimmery Text

Shimmery Text uses SVG and GSAP to create a cool animated text element with editable controls.

 

Design Password

Design Password is a practical tool that’s just plain fun. It’s a tiny generator that creates passwords that are easy for designers to remember, with a description and visual cue to match.

 

No-Code Coffee

No-Code Coffee is a daily email newsletter packed that features a daily tool that is code-free and can help with projects. It’s free and can be a nice source of inspiration.

 

Monday Hero

Monday Hero is a tool that converts Sketch designs into Swift code so you don’t have to. Use it to create mobile code fast. The tool supports multiple languages, including Swift, Kotlin, Flutter, and React.

 

Motion

Motion is a free and simple animated SVG editor. It’s a downloadable tool that works on Mac or Windows. It comes with icons that you can edit and adjust to your liking. A premium version is also available.

 

Screenie

Screenie is a Mac app to manage screenshots. But the best feature is that you can search text inside screengrab images.

 

Greenhouse Vector Icons

Greenhouse Vector Icons is a set of flat icons in two formats and three versions with a “green” theme. If you are already starting to think about spring, this is the icon set for your projects.

 

All Design Conferences

All Design Conferences is just what it sounds like – a giant list of all the conference opportunities for designers in 2020. It’s based on a google sheet with a sortable, searchable design to help you plan training opportunities for the year.

 

Magical Rainbow Gradients

Magical Rainbow Gradients is a tutorial to help you create this fun effect. It uses CSS Houdini and React Hooks to create buttons with a rainbow effect and animation.

 

Chocolate Valentine

Chocolate Valentine is a fun comic-style font with fat letterforms and an almost child-like feel. It includes upper- and lower-case letters and numbers.

 

Dark Light

Dark Light is a handwriting style typeface with interesting letterforms and a thin structure. It includes a full character set and some alternates.

 

Giant

Giant is a trendy outline style typeface with an extremely high x-height. The character set is somewhat limited but could make for a fun display use.

 

Jet Brains Mono

Jet Brains Mono is an open source typeface designed for developers. It has an increased height for a better reading experience, weights with matching italics and is usable in 145 languages.

 

Red Hook

Red Hook is a double layer font with a light fill and slab outline. The design said it is inspired by the brick walls of Red Hook.

 

Thicker Black

Thicker Black is a super-sized extra black typeface that works for display. The free version has four variants for noncommercial use and the full version is robust with 10 weights.



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3 Essential Design Trends, February 2020

During the Winter months it’s easy to get the blues, and let that show through in design work with darker color palettes and a slower paced feel to projects. But that’s not the way projects are trending right now.

Designers are embracing big, bold concepts with oversized elements, bright color, and even a little rule-breaking. (The best part? Most of these trends seem to overlap somewhat.) Here’s what’s trending in design this month.

 

Homepage Headline Heroes

Homepage hero areas are shifting again from website entryways with plenty of text, CTAs, and options for users, to simple displays with big headlines (and maybe not much else).

Use of oversized headlines and text elements make it clear from the start what a website or design is about, but doesn’t provide a lot of opportunity for users to explore without scrolling. And that might be okay. Thanks to mobile dominance, users have become accustomed to the scroll. It may even be shifting to the preferred method of digesting content. (Even more than clicks or taps.)

Scroll is fast and allows users to glance at content and information with little delay or interaction.

Each of the website examples below are designed for just that:

Whiteboard opens with a large headline that encompasses their vision statement and nothing else. On scroll you get access to projects and a deeper dive into information about the brand.

whiteboard

Self-Evident Poems doesn’t actually scroll but moves into prompts for usability. It’s rooted in the same homepage headline hero area that’s designed to draw you into the content.

poems

Illume has additional content below the scroll beneath a giant headline in the hero area. What this design does differently is that it does include some imagery, although it is still secondary to the text because of typography size.

illume

 

Peachy Tones

Beat the Winter blues with a dose of Spring color! Peachy tones seem to be everywhere.

While this trend might be an evolution from other bright colors such as pinks and oranges that have been popular, it has a lot of practical application. Use it as a dominant color such as Grain & Mortar, and Monokai, or to create an accent like Kevin van der Wijst’s portfolio.

Peachy tones provide plenty of options and can be more pinkish or push toward orange. The color can be highly saturated or fairly pale. The nice thing about peachy tones is that they aren’t that overpowering, and work equally well as background or foreground color. Peach can get a little tricky when used for typographic elements, depending on the font style and contrasting elements.

Larger swaths of peach tend to stand up against other elements better than tiny ones. Note that even as an accent in the featured portfolio below, peach tones encompass a significant portion of the canvas. (You might also want to click through and play with that design, which also includes cool liquid animation. You can even make the peach area take up most of the screen.)

gm
japan
kevin

 

Outline Fonts

This trend is exploding in use from small projects to big brands. Outline fonts are a big deal. It’s one of those trends that you would shake your head at and say “no way” if you didn’t see it in action … and used so well.

Outline fonts can be a challenge. They create an effect that’s almost the opposite of the oversized typography in another trend mentioned here. But they do create an eye-catching effect that draws you into the words on screen.

Outline fonts are almost always paired with the same font filled. It creates and yin and yang effect that can help keep users reading longer and engaging with content. The contrast between and outline and filled font also put specific emphasis on the bolder element in the lettering pair.

The trick to making it work is not to get too crazy with the design and design outline fonts so that there’s plenty of contrast for the letters to remain readable.

Fitlab is the busiest of the examples of this trend with multiple use of outline fonts and even a quick-moving video roll. Put it all together and the emphasis is on “personal” training. It works.

fitlab

Chilly Source uses an outline font for its brand name so that you get another intro to it without too much brand in your face. (The name is mentioned three time on the homepage.)

chilly

Vitesse Trucking uses outline text to tell you what they do throughout the design. Text is information but also serves as an art element with movement in the parallax-style scrolling design. Outline type elements mirror smaller filled words and even include some layering and overlays to keep the eyes moving. It’s an interesting use of this trend in an industry where you might not expect it.

truck

 

Conclusion

I’ll be the first to admit, you probably won’t find me designing with a lot of peachy coloring. While it works for these projects, it’s not a favorite of mine.

On the flip side, I adore all the outline font options. It’s funky and provides depth to text elements that we haven’t seen a lot of. How about you? What design trends can you see yourself using in the coming months?



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