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🟡⚪🟣⚫ (any and all pronouns) I’m a (so far) self taught aspiring product designer interested in operating systems and the devices they run on. WVWC CS ‘21
The Windows 11 logo with a wallpaper like folding blue fabric
The Windows 11 logo with a beautiful wallpaper

Windows 11 has just hit the Windows Insider program. Though this new OS is still in its early days, and I already love it so much, I made a list of small changes I’d love to see before it launches for the general public in October (or in next year’s update). I’ve separated my ideas into three categories: polish (small, seemingly easy quality of life tweaks), customization (optional features to make Windows more tailor-fit to individual users), and interactions (new ways of using Windows that just make sense to me). …


A stylized “recent apps” icon with a paint palette icon in the middle

In Android 9 Pie, Google started the transition from static navigation buttons to gestures with a near-universally panned half-step. The traditional 3-button navigation bar was replaced with a slimmer gesture “pill” and back button. The app switcher got a similar facelift, spreading apps out horizontally and adding a dock filled with suggestions. Because the user was physically dragging elements around at a random speed, all the on-screen elements moving around had to be perfectly in sync. To accomplish this, Google needed to tie the system apps responsible for the navigation bar, home screen, and app switcher together. Android 10 made…


The ART logo next to the brand’s two concept phones
ART is a concept LG Mobile sub-brand focused on content creators

Last Time in Project Rebirth…


My first smartphone was an LG G4, and I loved that thing. I chose the G4 over the then-recently launched Galaxy S6 because it was slightly cheaper, the camera was quite good, and (most importantly) I’m a contrarian mess. While the S6 would surely make it easier for me to find cases and skins to keep my phone feeling new, I was already bored with the glass slab form-factor it stamped into the Android market. My G4 opted for a stitched leather back, power and volume buttons running down the back beneath the camera, and a screen that subtly curved…


Icons for Mockitt and the apps I redesigned using it

The nice folks over at Wondershare reached out and asked me to try out their UI mockup software, Mockitt, and write about my experience. I was already planning a series redesigning popular apps, so it made sense to combine the two projects and learn Mockitt by using it for something I intended to publish anyway. When I started using design software, I used the Windows 10 Beta of Adobe XD. After a few months I switched to Figma, which has been my main design software since. Most software uses the same basic project structure and has one or two unique…


The top end of a phone with a screen flowing content over the front camera
Oppo prototype USC (under-screen camera) teaser from June 2019

Bezels are dying! Xiaomi’s original 2016 Mi Mix marked the beginning of a borderless trend, stretching the screen right up to the edge of the phone (though the 2014 Sharp Aquos Crystal did it first). The idea of trimming the glass crust from your phone’s screen is quite compelling, but that futuristic, game-changing vision has yet to be fully realized. First, there was the obvious technical challenge of reducing the footprint of the display driver connections (the circuits that control the individual pixels). This has been mostly taken care of, especially with wrap-around “waterfall” screens moving the side bezels to…


Photo by Jean Carlo Emer on Unsplash

In the early 20th century, over 70,000 Americans were forcibly sterilized by the state. Minorities, victims of sexual abuse, autistic people, queer people, and poor people were targeted. The right of a state to do this was upheld by an 8 to 1 vote in the supreme court case Buck v. Bell, establishing state-enacted eugenics as constitutional and inspiring the Nazi party just a couple of decades later. Eugenics and Social Darwinism are harmful and false ideologies that still have their roots in our modern politics, namely the conservative stance on welfare. They posit that poverty is the result of…


The rebooted pride flag, mean to recognize the specific struggles of queer and trans POC

Its almost the end of Pride month, and, inevitably, some people claim queerness is nothing to be proud of. In an ideal world, sure, orientation and gender identity would just be facts about you and not accomplishments to be proud of, but this isn’t the world we live in. Our world is one that makes queer existence a feat in and of itself. Mainstream culture reminds us that it isn’t for us on a daily basis. Here, I’ll go over a few point of pride I’ve found in my queer life.

  1. Inner work — The queer journey is a tough…


this is the nonbinary flag

Before I dive deeper into what this means, I have a couple of things to say. First, a disclaimer. I only speak for myself, not anyone else in the queer community. I am not confused or misled, I am relaying my own experiences. I didn’t know many of the words I use today for myself until after I understood myself in a way that fit them. I barely knew any other gay and lesbian people back then, let alone trans and non-binary folks (I was not manipulated or persuaded by anyone, a favorite way for people who don’t understand to…


When I was told to come up with an app and design its interface for my UI class, I knew almost immediately what I wanted to do. I’ve been teaching myself some principles of UI and UX design for a couple of years now (designing hardware or interfaces is what I want to make a career out of). So far, I’ve been publishing my projects on Behance and my personal site, trying to build a portfolio and learn along the way. I’ve created a fictional tech company which is aimed at marrying power user functionality with creative and intuitive design…

Jacob Estep

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