April 2010 Archives
You don’t have to be fluent in Japanese to appreciate Oli Studholme’s HTML5 Love slides (though it doubtless helps). Beautifully crafted in HTML5 and CSS3, the slides speak for themselves, though you might wish to ‘View Source’ for maximum enjoyment.
Love Gowalla? Lucky enough to have an iPad? You need Gowalla for iPad.
Like its iPhone sibling it’s free; unlike its iPhone sibling it introduces a new, map-based “see the world through a friend’s eyes” feature, perfect for advance planning when a forthcoming trip is imminent.
A great place to embark upon your edification is the excellent Q and Answer section, but the real treats are the short episodes, of which there are two to date: Denim and Shoes. Truly wonderful stuff.
Steve Jobs has penned a lengthy missive outlining Apple’s – or, one suspects more accurately, Mr Jobs’ – Thoughts on Flash.
Justifying the thinking behind the company’s decision not to allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads (and coming at a time when the relationship between Apple and Adobe is, to say the least, strained) the piece touches on a number of interesting themes and is well worth reading in its entirety.
Jobs’ reasoning falls under six key areas: openness; the ‘full web’; issues of reliability, security and performance; the importance of considering battery life in a growing mobile environment; the growing reliance on touch interfaces; and, last, but not least the fact that, as Jobs puts it, “We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform.”
An impassioned, yet reasoned piece, Jobs’ conclusion is hard to fault:
New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.
Forceful words indeed, and a response from Adobe will doubtless follow. What that response is, and how it is measured, will make equally interesting reading.
In response to a heartfelt plea to create – “A song that huddles around you and whispers, ‘shhhhhhh, calm the fuck down. S’okay’.” – Ze Frank created Chillout.
Regular readers will find it no surprise to discover that we appreciate Fontstaches, courtesy of Beard Revue.
Pixar time travels to the eighties with a series of carefully crafted Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear viral ‘adverts’ to promote Toy Story 3. The Japanese version, complete with Betamax ripples, is superb.
If you didn’t know the characters, you’d assume these were real.
If you’re considering embarking on an HTML5 adventure (and you should be), be sure to bookmark Remy Sharp’s extremely useful HTML5 Demos.
A “quickly built” home for the experimentation and demos Mr Sharp has hacked together, it provides numerous demos and examples cross referenced to a list of supporting browsers and technologies used.
Harry Brignull, of 90 Percent of Everything on a potentially costly Spotify UI ambiguity:
I’d love to find out what kind of revenue uplift theyll get when they fix this issue. It could be Spotify’s very own equivalent of The $300 Million Button.
A fair assessment that proves UI can, indeed, be costly.
Proving there’s life in paper yet, 48 Hour Magazine - “a raucous experiment in using new tools to erase media’s old limits” - brings together writers and artists from, amongst other publications, WIRED and GOOD, to write, photograph, illustrate, design, edit, and ship a magazine in two days.
The theme for Issue Zero is unveiled on 7 May and contribution is open to all, with 24 hours to contribute. Sign up at 48 Hour Magazine to be notified of the theme (and reminded to get going).
Helvetica is often described as the tasteless white rice among typefaces: satisfies easily, cheap and fast. But the good thing is, you can take the design into different directions with the sauce and side dishes (the typefaces you pair with Helvetica).
The State of Web Development 2010, a collaboration between Web Directions and Scroll Magazine, is an extensive report on a survey of professional web designers and developers conducted by John Allsopp into, “technologies, techniques, philosophies and practices that today’s web professionals employ.”
The survey uncovers some interesting results, not least the fact that Google Chrome has increased its market share dramatically as the browser of choice for developers (Firefox, unsurprisingly remains the number one choice). jQuery continues its rise with nearly 80% of respondents using the library (up from 63% in 2009).
Its no surprise to see that in web development technologies the big stories are HTML5, CSS3 and a substantial increase in the use of
font-face (a climb from 4% in 2009 to 23% in 2010).
The report is extensively researched and is essential reading in its entirety for anyone working as a web designer of developer in today’s rapidly changing industry.
The talented team at Panic have just released Transmit 4. With a host of new features, a faster Transmit Twin-Turbo engine and, “a dollop of unbelievably great,” (all covered in a very nicely designed microsite) it’s well worth a look if you’re on the search for a fully featured FTP client.
Courtesy of Information is Beautiful, Colour in Cultures visualises the meanings of different colours in different cultures. Produced by David McCandless and [Always With Honor the piece is available to order as a five colour limited edition print. Tempting.
Folklore, a web site dedicated to gathering, “Anecdotes about the development of Apple’s original Macintosh computer, and the people who created it,” is by no means the new kid on the block, but given Apple’s relentless resurgence (that has brought with it no shortage of stories about the company’s occasionally less than open culture) it remains a fascinating read.
With anecdotes covering, amongst other things: a brief history of desk accessories (Desk Oranments); the infamous 1984 advert that nearly never aired (1984); and the importance of the moustache in getting a promotion (It’s The Moustache That Matters); it’s well worth a bookmark.
Hot on the heels of a series of tantalising previews at Dribble, Edinburgh based freelance interface designer and web standards developer (and all-round gentleman) Sam Brown has launched his new portfolio site. Lovely.
Elliott Kember is a freelance web developer with a passion for the colour pink. New Zealand’s third most famous export, he now lives and works in Bath.
Working predominantly in Rails, he is noted for the countless web applications he has built; applications distinguished by their balance of creative thinking, design sensibilities and flawless execution.
Kember’s eye for design is equally finely honed, his fine-tuned design style more often than not resorts to an elegant blend of 32pt Georgia, sometimes in italic and printer’s primaries, often in #FF00FF.
We asked Mr Kember a dozen questions.
Where did you learn your craft?
I played around with HTML a bit when I was young – I remember using Netscape Communicator, which helps date things a bit – after that, not much for a while, until I started working with a friend of mine writing PHP and CSS.
I was fortunate enough to work with some great developers back in New Zealand, which was a big help. I did some computer science at university, but left when I started doing contracted dev work; the money seemed worth it, and it was fun.
All the work and training I got was through people I met. One person knows someone else, who knows someone else… soon you find you’re talking to someone really cool and interesting, and then you’re working for them. Getting to know lots of people is the most important thing you can do, especially if you ever go freelance.
Other than that, I taught myself. The resources are all there, and once you’ve started it only takes a little bit of input by someone much better than you to help steer you in the right direction.
Who inspires you?
Anybody who mixes great work with personal flair; I miss _why. Conversely, I also enjoy designs that are wall-to-wall - applications that keep up a flawless façade of design, without revealing the hard work going on in the background.
I was blown away by Divvyshot, for example - which was bought by Facebook recently - and I also love Dribbble. (I bet you thought I was going to say 37signals! Everybody’s inspired by 37signals. It’s pretty hard not to be.)
I have a few friends who are doing great things too: Adam Cooke, who runs Codebase; and my hugely talented designer friend Hector Simpson; not to mention Tim Van Damme; and Paddy Donnelly. All constantly churn out excellent stuff.
What are your influences?
I don’t really know, this is more of a designer’s question. I don’t spend nearly as much time reading other people’s code as I should. I look at stuff that I really like using, and I try to pick up bits and pieces from there.
If you look at everything with a critical eye, you start to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t, and why. Then, when you create something, you can throw in all the tiny tips and tricks you’ve learned. This also works if you see things that you hate, or even just tools that don’t quite fit your needs.
You’re known for a number of free, personal projects - Spreadtweet, Chatrbox and Speckle, to name but three… Is this simply to answer an urge to create or do these projects fit into some kind of grand masterplan?
It’s a bit of both. I love making new projects, and they’re great for productivity and for exposure. Every new project is more practice, and each time I figure out some new tricks. It’s great fun, everybody should do it. Working on several projects at once helps keep you from burning out.
The grand plan is that, with a bit of luck,one of them will be useful enough for people to use it - then I can do a bit more here and there, and turn it into a really useful app. We’ll see, I guess.
Which of your projects has seen the most success and why?
That depends on how you define success. Monetarily, none of them have been successful, but for me the most successful one so far has been Spreadtweet, my Excel Twitter app. It was a fun app, and it’s free - but it’s still being talked about on Twitter now, and people are still discovering it. I didn’t spend much time making it, so in the overall scheme of things the juice-to-squeeze ratio was very high! It was in the New York Times, which was very cool.
Has the Kember Identity Hash been found?
Ha! No; my $100 is pretty much safe. The conservative timeframe estimate was around a billion years, so I think we’re more likely to see the heat death of the universe. Some guy set his CPU on fire trying to calculate it, I know that much. There’s only a 30% chance the damn thing actually exists, anyway.
Is Twitter important?
On a personal level, Twitter is as important as you want it to be. Personally, I’ve found it to be really important for my work - I promote all my apps using Twitter, and I also use it for support questions. Also, if you’re working from home it’s great to be able to talk to other people in the industry.
I do think there are some people who attribute too much importance to Twitter, or try to make money off it, but that’s bound to happen. I’m not a fan of Twitter politics, though - to me it’s all just slacktivism. Fickle, too. Everything’s interesting for two minutes, and then we move on. In my opinion, real change takes elbow grease and shoe leather.
So yeah, Twitter’s important to me, but it’s not as important as recycling. It’s all relative, like West Virginia.
We had the pleasure of first meeting you at Build, and you’re shortly speaking at DIBI; what’s the appeal of the small, boutique conference?
So far it seems like the smaller conferences are way better. My inner armchair-economist says it’s a recession thing. Small conferences are less about making money and more about the community. There’s less advertising, and more fascinating content. Andy McMillan did an amazing job at Build, and DIBI’s shaping up to be really good too.
FF33FF or #FF00FF?
A designer will say #FF33FF because it probably looks better, but #FF00FF is an absolute value.
I like to think that developers are more vector-oriented, while designers are bitmap-based. Everything has to line up for a developer which is pretty much a crutch for not having any artistic talent. We’re paid to be logical, and design is illogical: what makes #FF33FF better than #FF32FF, for example? That’s an impossible line of reasoning.
What’s your favourite typeface?
For writing Ruby code, Monaco. As a sidenote, I think some of our language preference comes with typeface association, which sounds silly but actually makes sense. I saw some Python in Monaco recently and suddenly I saw the language differently. I’m used to big chunky letters, so reading Python like that was an easy transition. Usually for me, Python’s all thin and spindly.
From a design perspective, I love Fontfont’s Meta Serif, and Fontsmith’s Clerkenwell (Elliot Jay Stocks used Clerkenwell for a talk once and I’ve been hooked ever since). From a web perspective, I’ve been seen flirting with Gill Sans and there’s a place in my heart for Georgia, but Helvetica’s my go-to gal.
What’s your favourite plain text editor?
I use Textmate for writing. I use it all the time anyway for Rails, so it’s familiar and easy enough. I quite like OmmWriter for long blog posts, but I usually forget to use it. If I’m just writing things down, I use Notey. That was very much a plug; I wonder whether it’ll get edited out.
What’s your favourite tea?
I’m more of a coffee man.
I buy Extract coffee from the local farmer’s market when I can be bothered, and Illy from the local shops when I can’t. I feel like a smug coffee-hipster when I buy from the farmer’s market, like I know something you don’t. In truth, I don’t know whether it actually comes from Indonesia, and I don’t really mind as long as I can show you the packet while I’m making one. It may just be the satisfaction I’m tasting, but it’s great.
Tea-wise, I’m a fan of green tea - the proper stuff which comes as scrunched up leaves and you buy in a big tin. I think it’s supposed to be good for you. It’s got electrolytes.
“Akihabara is a major Tokyo shopping area for electronic, computer, anime, and otaku goods. You can find any sort of old and new videogames, starting from the 8-bit era…”
You can download and contribute to the project at GitHub, or if you’re just looking to idle away a few hours… remember that the Z key is the A button, the X key is the B button and the C key is the C button.
By “Encouraging people to show the ultimate sign of creative respect” — letting someone else re-design part of your website, Design Swap is on a mission to spread “camaraderie through good design”.
We’re especially looking forward to seeing what our man in Belgium, Mr Donnelly (currently number two in the ‘Coming Soon’ design swap list) will be getting up to in his joust with New York’s Mr Hoyt. Thrilling.
If you haven’t already seen Messrs Wichary and Delgado’s HTML5 Presentation, you should take a look now. Wichary and Delgado state:
This presentation was originally meant to run in Google Chrome. Though some experimental features may or may not run in other browsers for now … you’ll cry out of happiness when you see so much running in IE with the Chrome Frame plug-in.
A Google Code Repository is helpfully supplied to enable you to download the latest version.
Combining a love for posters and typography, UK based postography creates limited edition, hand numbered prints with a typographic theme, inspired by “art, books, film and design”.
When Ashwin Patel isn’t preoccupied running Grid, he, “from time to time dabbles in his own self-initiated projects.” The Bare Essentials is the latest of these, a beautifully crafted, minimal print, “based on the stereotypical ‘must haves’ of the graphic designer from mind set and values to tools and appliances.”
So you need a new typeface? Courtesy of a spot of flowchart goodness, Julian Hansen has you covered.
Now live and available to developers, we’ve begun to integrate Twitter’s new @Anywhere service into the Web Standardistas’ web site.
Simply hover over any reference to @standardistas (like the word you just read, or the @standardistas in the Twitter bar at the top of the Standardistas’ site) and you’ll notice they’re auto-linkified and seamlessly activate our Hovercard.
We’re looking forward to exploring @Anywhere further and sharing the results with you as we experiment with it.
OurType’s web site is : 1. brand new; and 2. horizontal. (Though, arguably unnecessarily, Flash.)
Purveryors of fine handmade lifestyle accessories, hard graft have a very nice Grab iPad Case on offer. Now all we need are some iPads….
John Battelle (co-founding editor of Wired magazine and ‘band manager’ of BoingBoing) and Tim O’Reilly (founder of O’Reilly Media and advocate of the free software and open source movements) have co-authored An Open Letter to Apple Regarding The Company’s Approach to Conversation with Its Peers and Its Community. Messrs Battelle and O’Reilly state:
We miss you.
Once upon a time, back before you got real popular, you used to take part in the public square. You may have been less forthcoming than most, but at least your employees would speak at industry events, have unscripted conversations with journalists, and engage in the world a bit here and there.
But over the past few years, things seem to have changed…
Let’s hope Mr Jobs takes Messrs Battelle and O’Reilly’s advice on board. It would be a shame to see our favourite insanely great company lose its way, just as it’s found its feet.
If you are a designer or developer with an entrepreneurial mind and idea that you want to turn into an App, for Mac, Windows, iPhone or Android, Build it With Me could be a great place to start.
The site allows you to find and partner up with someone with the complementary skills you need to turn your idea into reality, instead of depending on external funding to finance the design and development of your App.
Waiting for HTML5? Paul Irish and Divya Manian have collaborated to create HTML5 Readiness, a visual overview of HTML5 readiness across a number of leading browsers. Beautifully designed, and making use of, “all the ‘cool’ features of CSS3,” it’s well worth a bokmark.
Ms Manian has also helpfully written some Notes from HTML5 Readiness Hacking which are equally well worth reading.
Flights cancelled due to the ever-evolving (and escalating) Icelandic volcanic ash travel ban? Airbnb has the answer. Described by Time Magazine as the ‘eBay for Space’, Airbnb might have the ‘room relief’ you’re looking for.
Jason Santa Maria quotes Paul Rand (“Dont try to be original, just try to be good.”) paraphrasing Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (“I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good.”), in On Good, stating:
Design that strives to be original for the sake of it, and typically at the expense of its real purpose of communication, often falls into a mire of stylistic tropes and shallow meanings.
Spot on (and a lovely piece of design).
The Type Directors Club asked 16 internationally respected designers to “find a classified/personal newspaper ad from their local community to ‘hijack’ typographically”. The resulting pieces are, well, Beautifully Banal.
Our favourites, unsurprisingly, include: ‘Poodle All Colors’, courtesy of always-on-the-money Swiss Miss (Tina Roth Eisenberg); ‘Junk Car Removal’ by trained sign writer (and Émigré typeface designer) John Downer; and, of course, ‘Must Sell My $2 Bill Collection’ by the idiosyncratic, low-culture/high-culture virtuoso Ed Fella (for which we’ve just placed a not insubstantial bid).
All 16 prints go under the hammer on Tuesday, 11 May 2010, to benefit the TDC Scholarship Fund.
Although it’s been in gestation for a long time Twitter has finally announced a business model centred around the idea of Promoted Tweets.
In a post, appropriately titled ‘Hello World’, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone outlines Twitter’s vision for advertising which features a number of subtle differences to other online advertising models, not least a ‘survival of the fittest’ model where promoted tweets that don’t cut the mustard, for want of a better word, ‘die’. Stone states:
Promoted Tweets must meet a higher bar — they must resonate with users. If users don’t interact with a Promoted Tweet to allow us to know that the Promoted Tweet is resonating with them, such as replying to it, favoriting it, or Retweeting it, the Promoted Tweet will disappear.
This is a significant - and welcome - shift, encouraging advertisers to carefully consider tweets they push out as Promoted Tweets to ensure they resonate in users’ timelines.
Stone states, “We expect to iterate to make it better…”. With such a long wait for a Twitter business model to emerge, it will be interesting to see how Twitter evolve the service and, equally importantly, how businesses use it.
For one night only - Thursday, 15 April - GF Smith presents 111 Years of Graphic Design from GF Smith, a pop-up exhibition at the Art College, University of Ulster at Belfast.
Featuring work by, amongst others, Saul Bass, April Greiman, Paul Rand and Milton Glaser the exhibition looks set to be short, but sweet.
With Twitter’s ‘Official Developer Conference’ - Chirp - underway, expect an avalanche of Twitter related announcements over the next twenty four hours.
With an action-packed schedule including: OAuth; Streaming; Geolocation, Business Strategies; and a look at the Twitter Roadmap; all followed by a 24 hour Twitter Hack Day, expect some interesting developments.
Watch this space for details and @standardistas on Twitter for the news as it happens.
Graphic designer? Card shark? You need Helveticards.
It’s official, Opera Countup is over.
Opera Mini was approved after: 20 days; 08 hours; 31 minutes; and 00 seconds.
Where Hipstamatic gets the balancing-on-the-edge-of-the-superfluous interface design just right, SwankoLab unfortunately descends deep into the gratuitous. Every aspect of the user interface bubbles and squeaks, making the user experience closer to that of the crazy inventor’s laboratory in an imaginary 70s TV show than that of the darkroom.
Sometimes it’s better to hold back.
Steve Badowski’s Social Media Mullet offers an interesting look at the dilemma facing the modern-day individual; how do you keep the balance between the Business in the front and Party in the back.
In the words of social media analyst Jessica Miller-Merrell:
Users of social media need to be mindful to maintain a professional image while showing your creative and unique qualities at the same time.
The mullet is an excellent metaphor, as the ratio between the flowing party locks at the back and the well trimmed, respectable cut at the front must be perfectly balanced to avoid the complete douche nozzle look.
In a pixel-perfect parody of some of the worst, well-worn excesses of web ‘design’, Internet Online Website! combines all the obligatory elements a “typically amazing web experience” needs, with well-crafted copy, mocking the “truly awesome online experience”.
Combining, amongst other beauties, the ‘OMG Flash Banner’ - “From banners to full sites, if you’re looking to make an impact online, you need Flash talent.” - with the all-important ‘SEO and SEM’, the site’s copy includes this, indisputable, gem:
Copywriting. It’s tough, right? Stringing words into sentences is just the beginning; eventually you have to string those sentences into whole paragraphs, and that takes real skills, spelling not the least of them.
Aquent, the site’s ‘creators’, describe the site as, “a website about websites,” with each feature of the site, “designed to be explored,” helpfully providing each feature with a, “pop-up of helpful information.”
To use an equally well-worn phrase, Internet Online Website! is teh awesome.
Apple’s WebKit team have published “high-level documentation” indicating the future directions for WebKit, the open source web browser engine that, amongst other things, serves as the layout engine for Safari.
As Mr Gruber pits it: “Whoa.”
We refer you to last year’s eloquent explanation as to the lack of style sheets, should you visit the Web Standardistas’ web site on 9 April, 2010.
We hope you’ll join us this year, and for many years to come, celebrating CSS Naked Day.
It’s only a matter of time until Nicholas Felton’s 2009 Feltron Annual Report (The Second-Hand Edition) ships. To tantalise us Mr Felton has supplied a Flickr Set showcasing the meticulous production work in progress.
Jonny Campbell, a conversational media designer based in Belfast, has developed the idea behind his recently unveiled markup-inspired web site to create a range of markup-inspired virtual business cards. Campbell states:
Each card is designed to look like an hCard with the difference being that they each have a different stylesheet. If you were to type up the markup and render it in a browser you’d get a correspondingly styled card.
Saving a little markup input, Campbell has provided links for ease of use, to each of the four different designs: CSS3 Inspired; Apple Finder Inspired; Photoshop Inspired; and good, old-fashioned 90s Inspired (complete with animated cats).
Shaun Inman has a lovely, new home page; celebrating his pixelated presence, products and play.
Mr Weston very kindly gives us a hat tip in the interview. In the interests of recursivity, we’re happy to offer a hat tip in return.