May 2012 Archives
Should you happen to be in the neighbourhood of Porto in Portugal over the next few days we hope to perchance make your acquaintance. We’ll be in the city as part of the lineup for ESAD Web Talks:
Four great talks on what design on the web means today, as a profession, a medium, an industry and a community.
We’ll be running a paper prototyping workshop – ‘Good Ideas Grow on Paper’ – for the ESAD students on Wednesday, followed by a presentation – ‘You Are A Channel’ – on Thursday, where we’ll be joining a great lineup that comprises Andy McMillan, Simon Collison and Robbie Manson.
Should you be in the locale, we hope to see you there.
With an increasing emphasis being placed on easing the reading process (as summarised eloquently by Mr Zeldman) there’s a growing need for beautifully designed typefaces aimed principally at improving legibility and readability. If you’re working on a project with, “text that’s meant to be read,” – and, after all, shouldn’t that be every project? – the fine folks at Process Type Foundry have you covered.
The design of a new serif typeface meant for extended reading is an exercise in subtlety and restraint. Elena is a manipulation of these subtleties in a direct and unaffected way to create a modern serif typeface quietly balancing warmth with a crisp, tailored tone.
The result is a typeface that, “heeds the lessons of the past while taking advantage of formal possibilities no matter their origin,” resulting in a wonderful balance and elegance. If you’re working on a text heavy project where reading is a primary goal, look no further and - as is often the case with Process Type Foundry’s work - a web font version is available.
If you’re seeking a spot of inspiration, take a look at blacknegative. With it’s wonderful ‘drag to browse’ interface and it’s fascinating mix of audio visual inspiration it’s well worth a bookmark.
If iOS development’s your thing, you’ll appreciate the importance of a well-crafted iOS icon - it is, after all, the first thing your users see. Helpfully Murat Mutlu, a freelance creative strategist based in London, has gathered together some of the finest icons money can buy in The Art of the iOS Icon. The quality on offer is nothing short of spectacular.
The landscape of learning is changing, with a plethora of resources pushing web based learning much further than merely replicating the style and methodology of the printed textbook.
RubyMonk is but one example, although with an endorsement like this, from no-one but Yukihiro Matsumoto, the creator of Ruby himself, who could resist taking the plunge:
I am having fun learning Ruby at
http://rubymonk.com— I like this type of lessens ;-)
Courtesy of the talented Travis Kochel, FF Chartwell is, “a tool for easily creating graphs in both web and print environments.” Neatly packaged in the form of a font, it allows for the swift creation of beautifully minimal charts and graphs. As Mr Kochel puts it:
Using OpenType features, simple strings of numbers are automatically transformed into charts. The visualized data remains editable, allowing for hassle-free updates and styling.
In this day and age of Retina displays and multi device resolutions, FF Chartwell looks just the ticket for creating scalable charts and graphs that work seamlessly from device to device, whilst remaining easily editable.
NeonMob promises to enable you to, “buy, trade and sell digital collectibles with your friends.” Sounds interesting.
Sign up for a spot of window sliding sexiness. Nice.
Last year, whilst speaking at FRONTEND 2011, we had the welcome opportunity to witness the extremely talented Ms Eva-Lotta Lamm speak about (and demonstrate) the power of Sketchnotes - Combining the Power of Words and Visuals.
Ms Lamm’s presentation was fascinating, showcasing a fantastic method for, as she put it, “Capturing ideas in an engaging and visual way by combining the power of sketching and writing.” By introducing the power of visual note taking and outlining a number of core sketchnoting skills, Lamm showcased how powerful sketchnoting can be as a means of capturing a presentation in a rich and dynamic form that triggers the imagination and memory.
Good news. Ms Lamm’s released a new book, Sketchnotes, which captures over 100 talks by inspiring speakers and panelists. Coupled with, “ten of her favourite sketchnoters,” the book not only provides a window into a fascinating cross-section of presentations (captured in a variety of styles), but also highlights some sketchnoting best practices.
We’d urge you to pick up a copy, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed, and – should you follow Ms Lamm’s advice – we’re sure it will change your note taking style for the better.
If you’re looking for beautifully crafted, hand drawn credit card icons, Louis Harboe’s lovely little Credit Card Icon Pack has you covered: Visa, Maestro, American Express, PayPal, Google, Amazon and more…. Great work.
Anyone involved in education, as a student or an educator, knows that online tools branded with the word learning have a reputation for being expensive, hard to use, and burdened with a design aesthetic sadly reminiscent of Microsoft Office.
The initial impression of Lore is very different. With a design lead approach, and a mission statement, “to connect the world’s learners and educators”, Lore sets out to, “reshape education for the internet age.”
By combining course management with social networking, Lore is aiming to build a platform defined as, “a global network of students, educators, and content.”
It’s an interesting and worthy endeavour and one which we’ll be keeping a close eye on.
Over at Signal vs. Noise, Ryan Singer explores sign up patterns, suggesting that designers widen their focus from the ‘sign up in seconds’ part of the onboarding equation to include the ‘what happens next’ part of the process. As he puts it:
I’ll bet that the time-to-signup isn’t an important anxiety factor. When’s the last time you shopped for a software product under intense time pressure, where every second counts? When I evaluate web products I often feel uncertain about what will happen after the quick signup. Sure it takes seconds to create an account, but then what?
I had an idea to address this uncertainty. You could preview the workflow steps that come after the signup so it’s clear how much of a gap there is between signing up and getting value out of the product.
It’s a good point and, like the rest of Signal vs. Noise, it’s well worth a read.
If you’re seeking a spot of type pairing inspiration, Just My Type has you covered. Another thing by Daniel Eden, it’s a very nicely designed series of native web type samples, inspired by Typestacks and using fonts from Typekit. Lovely.
If you haven’t read it already, set aside a few moments and read Tobias Ahlin’s well written and focused piece on the benefits of skeuomorphism, Skeuomorphism and Storytelling. Ahlin’s side-by-side comparison of Apple’s Garageband for iPad and a redesigned version sans skeuomorphic cues, makes a compelling case for how - when handled with care and with clear intention - a skeuomorphic approach can aid a product to comunicate its purpose clearly.
With reference to the non-skeuomorphic version of Garageband for iPad he creates to explore and contrast a non-skeuomorphic approach, he states:
While this may be more functional, more clean, and more true to the functions of the interface, it’s not fun. I could as well be creating music in Excel. Apple’s Garageband interface not only presents features in a clear and understandable way, it adds to a beautiful, fun and memorable experience.
The skeurmorphism debate arouses heated opinions on both sides of the divide, Ahlin’s piece makes a case for skeurmorphism as a powerful tool, just be sure to use it with thought.