Here are a few of the things our team found useful or interesting this past week.


California is banning companies from using ‘dark patterns,’ a sneaky website design that makes things like canceling a subscription frustratingly difficult
We’ve all seen dark patterns at one time or another. As a user, they’re an annoyance. As a designer, they’re sometimes a necessary evil. It’s interesting to see lawmakers take notice of the effects of design.

Citibank just got a $500 million lesson in the importance of UI design
Whoops! Costly design mistakes are fun when they don’t happen to you!

When did generic grocery brands get so good looking?
I find packaging design fascinating, from labels on wine bottles, to artisanal potato chips. With desirability being such an important aspect of decision-making while making a purchase, this is an interesting look at recent trends.


Add encryption to Active Record
Basecamp has extracted the encryption logic that they use in their product and brought it to Rails. This extraction will allow you to encrypt individual attributes on your models using the familiar Rails style DSL and it will be part of the next major Rails release.
Adam A

Ask Hacker News: Do you think Agile/Scrum is beneficial for software delivery?
An interesting discussion showing how varied opinions and understanding about Agile/Scrum can be! There’s probably some good learning in there for anyone new to Agile, or for those who are wondering if they’re doing it right and questioning its value.

Choose boring technology
A semi-famous article that only just now appeared on my radar. As a quick summary, embrace boredom by choosing technology with well understood failure modes. You’ll pull out a lot less of your hair in the long run and you’ll have a lot more freedom to focus on the big problems.

New gem for detecting N+1 queries
Prosopite is looking to dethrone Bullet as the go-to gem for auto-detection of N+1 queries for Rails apps. It boldly claims zero false positives and false negatives. Is that truly the case? I haven’t had a chance to test it yet, but I’m excited to learn whether it lives up to this claim. For people interested, there’s also a small discussion on Reddit here.