John Allsopp talks about the web being more than just the device we’re accessing it upon. We aren’t building for a device or a browser, it’s not mobile or content first…. think user first.
Tagged with “design” (324)
When you really start to think about it, responsive web design is just technology. It’s just web design. But all the ways that it causes all these other conversations to happen is really fascinating.
Jeremy Keith talks about writing, progressive enhancement and how we can take a new basic approach to build our sites.
User Experience is really all about delighting your users. You want them to accomplish tasks with ease and not encounter any roadblocks that are a direct result of your design. Many of the delightful things about an app or interface go unnoticed because they are the tiniest of features. These microinteractions can set the tone for your users and dictate the feel and performance of your design.
Dan Saffer is an expert on microinteractions. In fact, he wrote the book on it. He says that microinteractions essentially operate based on triggers, rules, feedback, loops, and modes. For example, when you engage a scrollbar, how fast does it scroll? Or when you click a volume up button, what percent increase is each click?
Just think of a car. In the broadest terms, a car is a car. But the styling of the interior, leather seats, placement of cupholders, and how the in car stereo system works all help differentiate one car from another. These are often subtle differences, but as with microinteractions, these small differences are crucial to the overall feel and experience.
As the Internet is increasingly embedded into our physical world, it’s important to start designing for physical and intentional interactions with interfaces to supplement the passive, data-gathering interactions — designing smart devices that service us in the background, but upon which we also can exert our will.
In this episode, Josh Clark (in an interview) and Tim O’Reilly (in a keynote) both address the importance of designing for contextual awareness and physical interaction. Clark stresses that we’re not facing a challenge of technology, but a challenge of imagination. O’Reilly argues that we’re not paying enough attention to the aspects of people and time in designing the Internet of Things, and that the entire system in which we operate is the user interface — as we design this new world, we must think about user needs first.
MIT’s Media Lab makes a strong claim to being the place where the future is designed. A class called Science Fiction to Science Fabrication, taught by researchers Dan Novy and Sophia Brueckner, makes that connection direct by using science fiction as an inspiration for real-world inventions.
Sci-fi is full of imagined technologies, some plausible (killer robots), some far-out (time-traveling DeLoreans). Students in this class mine the work of authors like Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, J. G. Ballard, Ray Bradbury, and William Gibson for ideas, such as an empathy testing machine like the one used to identify androids in Blade Runner.
But most science fiction writers aren’t advocating that we build their technologies; they’re asking how we would use, or misuse, them. That’s exactly why Brueckner and Novy decided to put science fiction in front of the students at the MIT Media Lab. “Reading science fiction is kind of like ethics class for inventors,” says Brueckner. Traditionally, technology schools ask ‘how do we build it?’ This class asks a different question: ‘should we?’
Novy adds, “With the ability of any technology or application to go viral over the planet in 24 hours, I think it is even more important to think about what you’re doing before you release it into the wild.”
In 1990, the federal government invited a group of geologists, linguists, astrophysicists, architects, artists, and writers to the New Mexico desert, to visit the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. They would be there on assignment.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is the nation’s only permanent underground repository for nuclear waste. Radioactive byproducts from nuclear weapons manufacturing and nuclear power plants. WIPP was designed not only to handle a waste stream of various forms of nuclear sludge, but also more mundane things that interacted with radioactive materials, such as tools and gloves.
WIPP, which is located deep in the New Mexico desert, was designed to store all of this radioactive material and keep us all safe from it.
Eventually, WIPP will be sealed up and left alone. Years will pass and those years will become decades. Those decades will become centuries and those centuries will roll into millennia. People above ground will come and go. Cultures will rise and fall. And all the while, below the surface, that cave full of waste will get smaller and smaller, until the salt swallows up all those oil drums and entombs them. Then, all the old radioactive gloves and tools and little bits from bombs –all still radioactive– will be solidified in the earth’s crust for more than 200,000 years. Basically forever.
This week, we take a listen to an episode of the Shoptalk show that was recorded WAAAYYYYY back in 2004, when – apparently – both Chris and Dave had midwestern accents and voices that cracked regularly! They speak to some up-and-comers in the web design community, and debate the hot question: CSS, or tables?
Q & A
5:26 Live Journal no longer requires an invite code: is there going to be a Shoptalk Community?
7:07 How do I add text to my Zen Garden theme with CSS?
12:06 I’d like to use CSS Zen Garden, but I’m Christian. What should I do?
15:31 I’ve been using frames and tables for my layouts, but I’ve heard about divs and CSS. Should I take the time to learn this stuff?
17:25 Is it possible to use CSS with IE 5 and 6?
20:10 I heard the folks at Mozilla are about to release a new web browser. Will it handle CSS properties better than Internet Exploder?
22:59 I have two frames in a frame set. How do I let my users toggle the left frame on and off by clicking a button on the right frame?
26:27 Where can I find “Under Construction” GIFs for my new site? And how long do I have before GeoCities takes my page down?
30:41 I’m working with an Ad Agency doing print work, but I’m interested in building websites. Is the future of websites bigger than print design?
34:28 I’ve been hearing about liquid layouts to let websites adjust to different screen sizes, but since most screens are 1024px or 800px, are liquid layouts worth the extra work?
38:23 What can I do to make my Myspace page look cooler?
40:50 I’m building my first website, and I want to make a blog. Should I use WordPress or Grey Matter?
43:15 How do I change the background image in my nav bar when the user hovers over it?
46:46 Do you know of a good rollover plugin for Dreamweaver 6?
48:47 Why should I start using CSS and Divs instead of table based layouts?
52:38 I’ve been using Adobe Director, but my teachers at school keep telling me that Authorware is going to be the next big thing. Any tips?
56:00 My uncle keeps having the weird dreams about the future where kids are taking pictures of their meals and sharing them on the internet. Is he crazy?
ProPublica’s new design director, David Sleight, discusses what he plans to bring to our deep-dive investigations.
This week we were joined by Katie Kovalcin. Katie is a designer at Happy Cog in Austin and teaches at Girl Develop It.
We talked about (roughly in order):
12:55 Protesters outside Google.io, and Google Cardboard
Q & A:
19:56 What is your feeling on website creators like Wix and Squarespace? Is this taking away from potential business for web designer/developers?
27:32 Recently I was asked to create page design for a client. Just the visual design, no code. I thought this would be easy, but after spending an hour and a half creating a table in Illustrator, I’m yearning for some basic HTML & CSS. Are there any design tools you guys know of that take into account of things like “separation of style and content” or “modular components”?
34:10 I’m a newb. I love designing using HTML and CSS, but my creativity is stunted because I can’t program. Which language should I learn first?
38:43 Responsive web design has done a lot of great things for the web, but sometimes the sharing of a single codebase for all the different breakpoints makes things tricky. I’ll usually ask my designers to avoid situations that would require building a component in two different ways across screen sizes. The navigation in the header is usually one of the areas for this discussion (where a design basically requires toggling visibility between two different menu systems). Am I being too much of a stickler or should I stand my ground?
47:03 For smaller websites I often find it difficult to collect quality content from the business that I am designing a website for. These website budgets are usually small therefore a content writer may not be practical. Can you explain your process on collecting data or steering customers in the right direction when it comes to providing quality content?
52:35 I’ve got this really bad habit of nudging things in my design. Two pixels up, an em here, an em there. And then repeat into insanity. I’m always struggling to get that whitespace just right. How do you approach whitespace?
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