7. Most websites treat “I like it” and “This is good” as the same thing, leading to most people on the Internet refusing to distinguish between “I don’t like it” and “It’s not good.”
From Anil Dash’s Ten Rules of Internet.
Dinah Fried’s Fictitious Dishes are wonderful. This one is Catcher in the Rye. “When I’m out somewhere, I generally just eat a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted milk. It isn’t much but you get quite a lot of vitamins in the malted milk. H. V. Caulfield. Holden Viatamin Caulfield.”
Seen via Creative Review: Branding studio Faust has created an immersive, tactile experience for children at Nick Cave’s exhibit in Denver. The Sojourn exhibition features a floor-to-ceiling felt wall and felt silhouette mannequins that kids can embellish and re-embellish with colorful cut-outs, as well as kids punching bags and a super-sized projection of Cave’s film Drive-By. See more here. If you’re in Denver, go here for info on the exhibition.
I’m sure my son will need this in middle school before too long: an easy to way to add citations to a document via Google Scholar. Simply Google the article/book title in Scholar, click ‘cite’ on the search results page and copy the MLA, APA, or Chicago citing into your document. Thanks to Afternoon Snooze Button for the tip!
Was tipped off to Macaw this morning. It’s still in preview but looks like an amazing tool for interface design. Very much looking forward to testing it out, as it functions as a web design tool, but also spits out real code. Take your wireframes and turn them into full-blown mockups that have real code you can transfer to your developers. Just amazing. Lots of amazing features to check out on their site, like absolute positioning within the interface, but static document conversion flow upon export, reusable components, saving of common styles, default percentage CSS, and fluid canvases and grids.
Have a look at the sneak video here – functions as a tutorial and preview of what Macaw can do. And don’t forget about Sketch, which already exists and works in a similar way. You can read what Khoi Vinh had to say about Sketch here.
98 year old Hal Lasko uses Microsoft Paint ten hours a day to continue working in the graphic arts, a field he started in when designers still used pencil and paper.
We start every project with a short, written specification that includes project goals, feature descriptions, site information architecture, a site map, and a branding profile. For a recent project Bearded worked on with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, we kept everything in a text document on Basecamp, where it was editable (and version-controlled) by everyone on the project. That helped us update it quickly, without misleading, out-of-date versions floating around. Version control also made sure that we had a record of any changing decisions, should they come into question later.
Many projects probably start with a similar document, but making it “live” somewhere editable at all times seems like the key to success here (huge benefits for the agency and the client).
Via Tinybop: Hopscotch is a graphics-based programming language for kids (they recommend 5+) that uses really colorful, easy to use little tool that kids can pick up and figure out quickly. From the review:
“In it’s current incarnation Hopscotch is focused on basic programming concepts and on drawing, but the developers have ambitious plans to turn it into a robust environment especially geared for mobile (for geeks out there, the plan is to make it Turing complete). Hopscotch is easy, approachable, and fun.”
“We’ll start the Development process after much procrastination. Really, this is the thing we fear the most—actually having to come up with ideas that win our clients’ fickle hearts. What we really want is to have a client give us the unconditional go-ahead to do anything we want. No. No, that’s not true. That’s probably our greatest fear, actually.”
So. The child psychologist across the desk has just told you that your three-year-old is “presenting behaviour consistent with that of an individual on the autistic spectrum”. You feel trepidation, sure, a foreboding that your life as a parent is going to be much tougher than the one you signed up for, but also a dash of validation. At least you now have a 10-page report to show to friends and relatives who have been insisting that boys are slower than girls, or that late language is to be expected in a bilingual household, or that you were just the same at that age. It’s a relief that your child’s lack of eye contact, speech and interest in picture books now has a reason and a name. You send some generic emails to people who ought to know first containing the words “by the way”, “looks like”, “has autism”, “but don’t worry” and “confirmed what we thought anyway”. The replies come quickly but read awkwardly: condolences are inappropriate in the absence of a corpse, and there aren’t any So Sorry Your Offspring Has Turned Out Autistic e-cards. People send newspaper cuttings about autism, too – about how horse-riding and shamans in Mongolia helped one kid, about a famous writer whose son has autism and is doing fine, about a breakthrough diet based on hemp and acacia berries. The clippings go in the compost.
This is a tremendously meaningful piece for me, having experienced a lot of the same things Mitchell has (sounds like his son is higher on the spectrum than mine is, but the process, realizations, frustrations and minor miracles are all very familiar) and never quite found the right way to discuss. Most awkwardly, the bit about “there’s no sorry your son has autism” e-card, that kind of odd way people console you like someone has been hit by a car, when in actuality there is so much joy and happiness along with every autistic child. I’ve always bristled at this notion that it’s some disease (it’s a developmental disorder, not a disease, btw) that parents should basically commit suicide over. The truth is much more nuanced. Yes, there are days when the scheduling, therapy, screaming or head banging, teacher’s notes and conferences, sadness and overwhelming feeling of helplessness crush you. And sure, there are days when you feel sorry for yourself. But it’s not about us. It’s about them. And they will surprise you, believe me. And that process is so incredible, every victory along the way is so magical, it makes the rest of it seems like a qualifying course you’d beg to be on. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything, I wouldn’t change my child one bit, I wouldn’t look longingly at some other child with ‘no issues’ … I’m too proud of him, too in love with all the things that make him special.
Anyway, many thanks to Mitchell for writing this. And many thanks to my son for teaching me these lessons over and over again.
Great piece by Robert Hoekman Jr. on Smashing Magazine offering thirteen essential tenets of user experience. My favorite is number one:
User experience is the net sum of every interaction a person has with a company, be it marketing collateral, a customer service call, or the product or service itself. It is affected by the company’s vision and the beliefs it holds and its practices, as well as the service or product’s purpose and the value it holds in a person’s life.