Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Errors of Redesigns and the joys of RSS

Recently gawker media changed the layout design of all their blogs this included 2 that I read Gizmodo and Lifehacker. I'll just tell you right now it's a horrible redesign it is as if they thought how can I make this as unreadable as possible. Before you would scroll down a single column and view the stories and is was all very easy to read and chronologically ordered. Now there is a setup like some one wants to bring tables back. You've got the main pane where the article sits or when you first open the pages multiple articles might be and on the side is a column listing the stories(with out times or dates listed) and an even smaller blurb about the story than before. One of my gripes about Gawker blogs is how shorts the blurbs were before and then you open the story and well the story was like 2 lines longer. This has actually gotten worse.

So onto the content length this has been most evident on Gizmodo, things seem to be shrinking. The amount of story has gotten shorter and shorter and some of the posts that are of any substantial length are more copy and paste from the source article. Now when it come to navigation some of the stories are from other gawker blogs to fill out the content and the shitty problem with that is that it loads that blogs UI and so when you go back to Gizmodo from Kotaku you have to find where you were before and that isn't as easy since you don't know when anything was posted. So they said this would improve browsing for the user and I didn't find it as such so I e-mailed them about it and also wanted them to know the load times were 3 times as long compared to lets say Engadget, here is the response:

"We're sorry you're unhappy with the redesign. Have you tried our "Classic" view? Visit (e.g. for an experience more similar to the old sites.

Our goal was to make the front page lighter and simpler to scan, while also emphasizing big feature stories that we've written. The fact is that we spend a lot of time creating cool, original articles for our sites, but sometimes they would get lost in that long, long blog scroll. This way, we can splash them as big as we want! And not sacrifice load time.

For a more in-depth explanation for the redesign, you can read this post by Gawker Media publisher Nick Denton:

Jimmy N.
Gawker Media Help Desk "

So here is a screen grab of classic see the diference? so now you can scroll through in the bigger box too. But do it make any of the content bigger? Nope. Can you view videos with out the jump? No. Does it load faster? No. Is it actually that much different? Fuck no. And I didn't even mention that the box is less than half my screen width on my 15" mbp so that is pretty tiny.

So Yes the redesign has saved me a lot fo time in fact I have spent less time on gawker sites this week than I have writing this post and as it is always obvious I don't spend much time on these. So now my solution is RSS but even that has been a pain in the ass with Gawker because you have to jump to read anything and there still isn't much to read when you get to the jump I could go on about the mislabeling of their stories but I'm not. Hey gawker take a look at Engadget they have something like 1.5 million rss followers and much higher web traffic suck it up and admit you are the new coke or the new gap logo and just friend an elegant solution to this mess of a problem. You don't have to do this to your content just to make your blog different. Oh yeah and if I hear one of your "bloggers" call them selves a journalist but don't know the difference between their and there again I'm going to scream, at least get some one to proof that shit.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Illustrated Guide to Book Anatomy

So I was reading through the assignments we have and it occurred to me some of the terminology kinda made sense but maybe I could use clarification. So with a little bit of Google Magic I found this site Illustrated Guide to Book Anatomy. So this should solve all your worries about book anatomy.

Born to Run

Another great TED talk video. That tries to unravel the mystery of running.

The Senses

Every once an a while I have this overwhelming sensation of smell. And I would say with much modesty I have a great sense of smell even when I'm smoking I can smell a lot. So now I have been with out smoke in my sinuses for a few days and the temperature and humidity and smell are overwhelming. I can almost put my finger on the memories that are welling up in my sizable nose. I have a great sense of nostalgia and I don't know why.

The worst part is it makes me want to sketch but not GD shit I want to draw things in perspective and with contour lines and cut lines and screens and buttons. I want to do it with a prisma color indigo blue or tuscan red. I enjoy GD but I feel the constant desire make things in the real world not just print and books. Maybe I can find a way to satisfy these urges. I've always seen ID and the Radio as being my 2 addictions one I've kicked and the other I just feel like it will always haunt me.

Dieter Rams' 10 principles of good design.

I really feel kinda dirty trying to summarize this. This si like someone saying to summarize the 10 commandments something so distilled and pure and you want me to make it even more concise? Well I guess I should just try.

Good Design is Innovative: The design should bring something new and progressive to the table. Use what technology you can and don't shy away from new materials and processes.

Good Design Makes a Product Useful: The design should improve the functionality of the device. What use is the design if it doesn't offer anything additional to the user experience.

Good Design is Aesthetic: I guess this should be pretty obvious, there aren't many cases when you design something to be repulsive.

Good Design Makes a Product Understandable: The design should lend to the purpose of the device. The ultimate use and operation of a device should be reflected in it's design.

Good Design is Unobtrusive: This one has been lost on most I think. Te design of a device should not overshadows it's use or cause it to be a source of attention. A well designed lamp will be noticed but will not become a focal point.

Good Design is Honest: Design shouldn't exaggerate or lie about the ability of the device. This is something I commonly see with heavy duty labels and rubber bits and yellow coloring.

Good Design is Long Lasting: The idea that what you design remains relevant. This also means you have to forgo popular fads when designing to avoid dating your work.

Writing For Visual Thinkers

The concepts covered in this booklet are those of idea generation and development through the use of words in the context of creating the visual. One of the most common methods are the mind mapping and free writing. I like the use of both in conjunction with my sketch book.

Mind Mapping - This is like a dynamic word list you begin with a central idea and begin to branch off writing associated words and then you branch off of these words and ideas. In the end it looks like a flowchart from hell and some of the ideas are no where nere the original and that is really the reason for this exercise. As designers we by nature have to be divergent thinkers we can't settle on the one solution but must accept there might be multiple solutions and explore those options.

Free Writing
- I think every one in the U.S. has had to do this at one poitn or another in grade school. the concept is simple but I find it frustration at times. Here's how you do it. First you begin to wrie about the core idea or problem and then you just continue with what ever comes to mind even if it happens to be "I can't think of anything". And at that point it kinda fallas apart from me because I begin to think about all the things I can't think about and get nowhere. But if I do the mind map before and think about some of the core contexts then I can come up with more valuable insights.

Audience Profiles

Audience #1

Age – 18-22

Sex -M

Education – High school, in college

Interests - Just leaving for college or currently enrolled. Some what sheltered before just starting to explore past the boundaries of his parents house and his neighborhood. Is interested but not successful in relationships and has up until this point read fantasy and science fiction. He thinks that Empire Strikes back is the best of the Star Wars movies. Enjoys gaming preferring strategy over first person shooters. He wants something intriguing and profane and something that looks more adult like.

Audience #2

Age - 20-30

Sex –M/F

Education – Some college

Interests - College student or post grad that has been forced to read endless amount of books on boring topics but still enjoys reading. Has been playing world of war craft and living through relationships that fill the voids of time. They want something contemporary and edgy but grounded in reality. They enjoy meal out by themselves and prefer wheat over white bread.

Audience #3

Age – 30-35

Sex -F

Education -College

Interests – Some one looking for excitement but lives in a quiet setting. Likes crime dramas and forensic shows. They are now in the twilight of their youth and work a 9 to 5. Evenings are often shared and they have a great love of barroom trivia. Previously they had read Whitman and Miller and those writers had stuck with them. They like watching other people do stupid things and living vicariously through the contestants on reality shows.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I'm trying to to find something out of the cliched realm of condoms and and people having sex for my patterns and even beyond that into inspirational photography and imagery. It's hard to su of some of the characters past some of their key features or how do you express the idea of searching for your mother? Yeah I'm trying and maybe I'm trying to hard.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Good God

My mind might melt if I go through all the version of Helvetica Neue. Funny because I'm really just looking through it just to give it a fair shot. I'm not even that fond of Helvetica and I hate the lower case r's. Yeah I'm a happening guy saturday night spent staring at fonts. I think I still have 15 more concept sketches to do for Monday and I'm hoping I can get some of them digitally mocked up as well. Maybe I need to take a few minutes break from type.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Design and Condoms

I'm a huge advocate for sexual education and removing the taboos we have in our society to openly talk about sex like adults. So I found this brand of condom I hadn't heard of and they are using design to remove inhibition some people have when purchasing condoms. I have actually bought condoms for strangers at Watkins because they were too embarrassed to ask themselves. So check out One Condoms and hopefully they can prove design can solve some of the bis problems in out society.