Today we’re actually giggling as we share with you our very random, all of a sudden, feature release. You see, two weeks ago our CTO Michael Fouquet set off a domino effect in the company after sharing that Fridays are when he takes a break from working on anything in our Sprint board and instead works on projects in our Blue Sky board. For those of you wondering, the Blue Sky board is one of our favorite places! It’s filled with ideas we (and you) have wanted to see come to life for a while, and think could be really cool to add to the Stark feature set. But of course, priority is necessary and super important in product development. So we pull from the board based on what we feel will have the most impact to you, your workflow, and of course accessibility. Having these Fridays allows him (and anyone else) to experiment and explore these ideas, and that in conjunction with our Freaky Fridays (Stark’s “demo anything” day), became a day of true brain fun.
And that gets us to today’s announcement. What started as a fun little Friday project for Michael turned into a new feature we’re really pumped to announce today––Blurred Vision! There are so many folks with blurred vision caused by a variety of conditions. In fact, nearly 70 percent of adults suffer from blurred vision, back pain and headaches just because of staring at a computer screen. That doesn’t even include the laundry list of other reasons why people end up with blurred vision.
For some it happens gradually over time, and for others it’s acute. If you have blurred vision, the things you see won’t look sharp or clear. They’ll actually appear out of focus and hazy. And that may be experienced in both eyes or just in one eye, depending on what is causing it. Sometimes everything you look at will be blurry, while sometimes just part of your field of vision will be blurred.
And unfortunately, with that can also come other symptoms like headaches, sensitivity to light, or just generally irritated eyes.
What causes it? Well, it could be a variety of things, but the most common we’ve found are:
- Staring at computer or mobile screens for prolonged periods of time.
- Plain ol’ difficulty focusing because of near-sightedness or far-sightedness
- Astigmatism; a problem when the surface of the eye isn’t curved properly.
- The inevitable Presbyopia; which happens when your eyes find it harder to focus as you age.
- Dry eye syndrome; which is, well, dry eyes. And it occurs when either the eye does not produce enough tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly.
- Cataracts; which is an opacification of the lens of the eye which leads to a decrease in vision.
- Glaucoma; a group of eye diseases which results in damage to the optic nerve and cause vision loss over time.
- Age-related macular degeneration; with age, this may result in blurred or no vision in the center of the visual field.
- Eye infection
- Injury or Damage to the cornea
- Dry or old contact lenses. Yes, wild. We were shocked too.
Point being? Blurred vision is super common, impacting almost every adult in the world. Our job as designers is to better understand the end customer. Our product designer Tregg is colorblind, and heavily emphasizes the point that with many things that we do in our field, the map is not the territory. With Blurred Vision in Stark you can now simulate how your website or software will be seen by people with any of the above conditions (or even anyone who just had to take their glasses off), so you can make an informed decision. And while Stark should never replace but work in conjunction with your user testing, if you're serious about your work, then you can’t make decisions without as much information as possible at a given moment. You don't know what you don't know. Being informed allows you to make better decisions.
Blurred Vision joins the different options in the Vision Simulator, and is one of the several types of simulations we’ll be rolling out over time. We’re spending time thinking about how we can improve it with small quick wins, so if you have suggestions and something you’d love to see us do to improve it, reach out!
Become a Stark Pro to use the Blurred Vision simulation
Much like the additional simulations, the Blurred Vision simulation is available today in Sketch and Figma for all of our Stark Pro users, and free to preview and click around other simulations for everyone on the free plan. For those using Adobe XD, we're currently investigating how we can bring it over to you on XD, but it's on the roadmap, and of course we’re excited for that!
How do you plan to use the Blurred Vision simulation in your day-to-day work? What else do you want or need to be informed on in your every day design work?
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