Monday, March 10, 2008


Persevere with it for a bit.
Seems like a really brave approach to me.

Does the Google rip-off give the brand the kind of stylistic polish you expect?
Is the search metaphor valid in this context? (ie. How many users know what to search for?)

Sunday, March 09, 2008


i'd kinda like to borrow some nice things to make a point.
here's point 1 about gaia, borrowing from josef muller-brockmann,

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bravia Site / Interaction Design? Pffftt.

So I saw this recently, and whilst visually it's very rich and I like the metaphor of stuff inside stuff... I think the interaction design of this thing is dreadful. It's so counter-intuitive. Why have they made it more complicated than it needs to be?

Did anyone else start using the keys only to find if you hold a key down it gets to the end and jitters? Why do you need the keyboard? Why can't I just rotate the cubes?


and as rach pointed out, what does this say about how many colours they control?

not enough....
(the error says "Sorry, we couldn't find that colour.")

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

client involvement in the design process?

personally, i think this is pretty much rubbish. of course it depends on the project, the exact requirements, and the nature of the specific relationship with the client, but for most agencies, the idea sounds disastrous.

personally, i prefer the agile UCD approach: lots of little design "sprints", where the client (and client services!) only get involved at the start and end of a sprint to review the outcomes and reprioritise the next sprint's goals.

this leaves the design experts to do what they do best, with a clear understanding of the sprint and over-arching goals... and leaves the client free to get on with running their business.

anyone else got an opinion?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Civil liberties and the web


So we were discussing this at work today...
Personally, I think it's strange that people complain about stuff like this? Facebook is a commercial operation that provides an application (for free!) with clearly set out terms and conditions. this isn't about what's socially acceptable... it's about whatever their terms of use are. Users of Facebook agree to this when they sign up. If they don't like it, then there is always the law of 2 feet: leave.

But Rich was arguing the point that this is essentially an infringement on civil liberties, because breast feeding isn't obscene, and Facebook has no right to censor it.

For me, there is definitely a judgement call about what makes nudity obscene. Personally I don't mind if women get their baps out in most situations, but I can also understand that some people may not be as liberal. The point is that context matters a lot. So if Facebook want to avoid this to protect their user-base, then surely they should be allowed.

I'm all for people protesting this, if they want. I guess my point is just why bother? You could spend your whole life worrying about little stuff like this. Or, like society does anyway, people could just relax and flock together or repel based on whatever common grounds they find.

Sure there's a danger of eroding our civil liberties, but there's also a danger in following the lowest-common-denominator of being overly politically correct.

Will people please stop bitching about Apple's pricing strategy?!

Read this:

And am continually astounded at people's naivety. Apple have maintained a rationalised suite of products since Mr Jobs came back and sorted things out. So, as they add a new top-end product to their range (in whatever category: PCs, Notebooks, OSs, iPods, etc.), they drop one off the low-end. This allows them to just keep 3 or 4 products in each range, making it a lot easier for people to choose and a lot easier for them to keep inventory for and support. In the same fashion, they shift the pricing so that the top-end product is a bit beyond what a sensible person can afford and the low-end is pretty darn accessible.

This shouldn't be news to anyone!

Of course, when they release a new product category, they can (and do) charge what they like, because like moths to the flame, Apple loyalists will buy it. So, if you want to pay a super premium to be the first one to have something, then go for it. Just don't go complaining about it.

The other thing that confuses me is why on earth would you pay a premium to become a beta-tester for Apple. Show me the generation-1 product from them that has been free from major issues. Battery-life, overheating, screen robustness, OS-flaws, etc...

But Apple aren't the only ones. Microsoft has been effectively treating their first release software as beta for years now. Why? Well because the market pressure dictates as such. If any of these technology-centric companies waited till something was properly tested and stable, they'd lose any momentum available through the initial wave. It's sad, but true.

We face similar issues in the world of digital advertising. How can we be expected to continually innovate , whilst working backwards from a fixed point in time that demands integration with other media activity? The answer is of course, that we wait for users of our media creations to identify the issues and fix them in the live environment. Something has to give: Users? Clients? Developers? Project Quality? Time? Cost? Normally it's some combination of these. And normally the agency involved has to shift into some mode of damage control.

Surely there's a better way?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

advertising brands: good or evil

personally, i think it's a bit of a nonsense question - one of those things that middle-class twats like me have the time to ponder. regardless, a good banter at work this week exposed the following:
  • advertising has the potential to be evil and manipulative and needs to be heavily regulated.
  • brands playing up to youth strategies like "pester power" need to be careful about their moral grounding.
  • we mustn't forget that brands can still play an important role in simplifying the decision making process.
  • enables companies to invest longer-term in developing a brand image to improve sales.
  • advertising pays for the content and people tend to hate paying for content more than being exposed to advertising.
  • advertising revenue encourages media owners to develop new content and the more targeted and fragmented the media (eg. the web), the more opportunities for niche content.
this is obviously an incomplete manifesto, but a decent start-point for discussion...

Monday, July 09, 2007

campaign article: crossing the line

yep. i'm a fame whore. sorry.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

getting around a popup blocker

just realised something about firefox, and i'm guessing other popup blockers...
if you want to launch a new window from your Flash app, you've probably got a Javascript function on the page. but when you call this function, the popup blocker kicks in. but if you place the Flash asset on the page using SWFObject or UFO, and set the wmode parameter to transparent, then it seems to get around the popup blocker.
so your javascript should look something like this...

it's worth remembering that embedding Flash with wmode set like this will prevent Flash from accessing any of the accessibility features :(

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Parent - Adult - Child Model

Another interest thing from the D&AD training was analysing the psychology of the way we communicate (eg. Client - Agency), in terms of a "Parent - Adult - Child" model.

The underlying concept was that whilst much of our creative inspiration comes from our "Natural Child" and clients tend to be the "Controlling Parent", negotiations/conversations/explanations happen best when we are talking "Adult" to "Adult".

More about the PAC Model

Selling ideas

Did some D&AD training recently around techniques for making creative ideas stronger. One thing that I thought was particularly relevant: Separating the execution from the concept. This means understanding the Brand Idea, developing a Communicational Idea and creating the Executional Idea.

The examples we were working though in training were for print & tv advertising, but the process is the same for creative technology. And it's particularly useful for technologists working with creatives or clients, when trying to explain why an executional idea might be done differently (eg. to be more usable, or more technically feasible). With this kind of mental model, you can rationalise with a creative or client how the communicational idea can be preserved, but the execution might shift.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Are you a maximiser or a satisficer?

Reading an interesting thing about maximisers vs satisficers in this Paradox of Choice book:

I'll write something about it... But it makes a very interesting point about how having too many options may have actually caused people to feel like a 'maximiser', always wondering if there's something better out there. For example, the jobs market in digital advertising at the moment!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The T-shirt instrument

Interesting interaction possibilities with this, beyond air guitar.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A More Mature Web

An interesting observation about the design implications of a maturing web:

"The Web is no longer a marvel of innovation, it's an everyday tool, and you differentiate yourself by providing both better content and better solutions to users' problems. "

  • 1991-1997: Explosive growth, at a rate of 850% per year.
  • 1998-2001: Rapid growth, at a rate of 150% per year.
  • 2002-2006: Maturing growth, at a rate of 25% per year.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

IE7: Rendering engine review

Link: Mezzo Blue

"I’ve uncovered one so far, anyway. Using the overflow: auto easy clearing method, IE7 can act a little strangely."

SEO ain't dead

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Programming, Wii-style

It's awesome that programmers don't need to write a line of code, yet can preserve their inherent dorkiness.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Design your own Visa card

[ link ]

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Microsoft Photosynth

Sorry, but that is hyper-cool!
Like the guy says... imagine if you're getting real people simultaneously modeling something through an app like FlickR.

Havok 4.0

How long before Flash can do this?