Via 37signals… Their lighthearted blog post shows how Tufte and Gene Simmons sound alike. Funny yes, but it led me to watching this longer video where Tufte picks apart the iPhone interface. Myself, as a longtime reader of Tufte and an iPhone owner, I found this video fascinating, but a little off base. Watch this iPhone video and tell me you don’t think his analysis of the stock application, the photos app and the weather screens to be a little pedantic. I suppose thats his gig, being a pedant, but come on… Saying things like the grid lines between the thumbnails in the photo preview screen should be grey and only one pixel in width seems a bit difficult to swallow with out him offering a mockup of the design in the screen. I’m sure that Apple performed usability/likability tests on the interfaces with those very same sorts of variations. Furthermore, I seriously doubt that super high resolution stock charts or live radar appeal to anyone besides him and a handful of users.
I also found his assertion that detail means it must be good to be a bit of a generalization and in this case counter to what the iPhone’s specialized apps provide… data at a glance. Not via a long reflection upon a high denisty display, but via a simplified “chartoon” as he calls them. For deeper detail, go online. His review of the Safari browser is spot on though, the button bar on the bottom of the screen should be smaller and transparent.
I’m pretty sure that that isn’t what this page says if translated by a human, but silly Google auto-translation sure thinks that it is what it says… Anyway, the Japanese mashup site, Mashupedia.jp, picked up a link to KulerCreator somewhere, liked it and is featuring it… I’m really thankful they like it! If you are digging the compositions it makes… post ‘em on your blog. I have about 200 compositions I have saved thus far. I use ‘em as autorotating desktop wallpapers on my MacBook Pro.
Part three of a three part series.
James Coudal is the owner/principal of Coudal Partners, a design firm / innovation factory in Chicago. Thye produce creative work as well as a number of web powered commerce/media ventures ranging from advertising networks, to CD packaging to T-Shirts. All in all, a varied interesting bunch of creatives and a fantastic blog at coudal.com make Coudal Partners one of my favorite regular web visits. It was really cool to finally see him speak, as I have often wondered about the people and process behind the site. His presentation was largely about fostering ideas and letting serendipity take hold in your business to help you “Stumble Towards Happiness”. A little ethereal, his premise was made a bit more concrete through explanation of his last few years at the helm of Coudal Partners.
A bit of a “splat” of his ideas…
- Many business owners are afraid to fail, and as such, they are afraid to take chances or let their ideas run their course. Coudal mentioned in his presentation that his view is that ideas are good.
- He also mentioned he looks to fail as often as he can, as it allows him to learn and gives him a greater chance of having that one good idea that makes the others worthwhile.
- Embracing your short attention span can have beneficial results if you let it.
- The word “like” is a powerful one… It’s a metaphor about how something is similar to another thing. It is a subjective decision that shows your affinity for something… It deserves a place in your creative process.
- Having an idea is a bit like the strum of a power chord on a guitar… It starts loud and exciting and then can taper off. Execute while the excitement is there for the maximum chance of success and before you tweak to death or over plan.
- When accepting or venturing into completing work… Answer these three questions… Don’t take the work if you can’t answer a majority of them with a “Yes”.
- Can you make money with it?
- Can you be proud of it?
- Can you learn from it?
- Often, when people set goals, they set them for the person they are when the goal is set, rather than who they will be when the goal is achieved… This often leads to a cycle of dissatisfaction.
I really enjoyed Coudal’s talk and really can identify with a number of the things he brings up. I know I often wrestle the entire personal satisfaction conundrum, and I appreciate hearing other’s vantage point on this. I also like to jump on ideas regularly and try to execute them before the loud crunch of the guitar chord dissipates… any longer and I’ll probably be too bored to finish it.
Part two of a three part series.
Jason Fried heads up 37signals, webdesign firm turned web software as a service/product firm. He has a bit of a different approach to developing apps than most. I would say it’s related to agile programming, but that may be an understatement. His process almost seems to outsiders as a rejection of process. He strips design and development down to the most bare essentials yet comes up with easy to use applications that are most certainly successful. He obviously is talented and smart and surrounds himself with staff at 37signals that is too. He presented a talk at Seed titled “10 things”. The 10 things are:
- The Great Unknown
- projections are pie in the sky
- 5 year plans are actually blinders
- road maps are actually a lock-in
- Words that are Red Flags (avoid these words)
- Worrying About Things That Don’t Matter Yet.
- pixels and polish at the wrong time.
- what ifs? (what if we get big, get dugg, get slashdotted)
- partnerships – largely a waste of time
- When is Enough, Enough?
- When you can use it! Don’t over build/engineer right away
- Too Many Cooks
- Staying small is a good thing!
- Parkinson’s Law – Work expands to fill the time allowed
- Scale your scope to match your head count
- Not Enough Chefs
- Give your secrets away!
- Show what you know
- What’s in your cookbook?
- Interruption is the Enemy of Productivity
- Taps on the shoulder? Not good.
- Required Meetings? Hrrm. Also probably not good.
- Calling a name across the office, “Hey check this out”
- Phones and Blackberries are productivity killers
- A fragmented day is not productive
- Passive vs. Active Communication
- Know when and why to use each.
- “Communication fails except by accident”
- 6 people are actually present in a 2 person conversation
- Passive communication will reduce interruption
- Meetings are Toxic
- meetings are symptoms, not solutions
- meetings are last resorts
- meetings are costly
- meetings are like TV shows, they fill regular time slots, 15 mintues, 30 minutes, an hour… thoughts and answers just aren’t time boxed like that.
- Make Tiny Decisions
- Judo ‚Äì Break big choices into smaller and smaller ones
- decisions allow for progress to be made
- when you make tiny decisions, you can’t make big mistakes.
Whew… alot to take in there. Some, I’m not sure of, but I do know that I have at one time or another been in a toxic meeting or three.
Part 1 of a three part series.
Carlos Segura is the successful, talented and interesting designer/owner behind Segura Inc, home to Segura Design, T-26, 5″ and various other creative and design ventures. An innovator and creative force in the regional/national design field, Segura has long been known in the field for being a driven, yet approachable creative.
He was the first speaker to present at the Seed Conference, January 18th, 2008 at IIT in Chicago. His presentation was largely about genreal observations in his process and company as well as his thoughts on managing relationships. He profiled several recent case studies and displayed an attractive graphic presentation that accented the work being discussed but contained few if any words.
Some key notes/quotes taken by me from the presentation:
- A person that doesn’t take a chance, doesn’t make a chance.
- His ethos behind much of what has transpired at Segura, Inc has been about fostering/creating a community of design.
- Recording and avid record keeping of client correspondence is needed to help gently remind them of the decisions made during the process.
- Don’t be everything to everyone. That applies to not only services/mediums you create in, but also to vertical markets you may do work in. Being a jack of all trades can be a liability.
- Suggest projects to clients once comfortable with them to continue to push their “envelope”
- Don’t be afraid to say no to people (new clients or bad decisions chosen by clients)
- Client gives you no budget guidance? Give them no estimate if possible.
- From an ongoing business standpoint for all intensive purposes the actual client is irrelevant, it’s about the work that is done.
- He doesn’t meet his clients in person. (Wow.)
- Never do spec work.
And that’s about that… If you captured different or opposing views from his presentation, let me know.
I attended the January 18th Seed Conference at IIT in Chicago with John Feser, one of the partners from the company I work for, The Iona Group. The three speakers, Carlos Segura, Jason Fried and James Coudal all gave informative sessions with Q&A following. I’ll attempt to do a brief recap on the sessions for my personal records (one post for each speaker), as well as for those that may have attended the conference or are thinking of attending one in the future. Overall the sessions were insightful, memorable, funny and candid. I applaud the three of them for being so open and transparent, often offering very frank views of their inside operations and thoughts on the web design/application/creative industry and the associated perils.
These recaps are just that, only excerpts. For the fully leaded, unadulterated web 2.0-y goodness, you simply must attend one of these yourself. Here’s to hoping that these three trend-setters are starting yet another trend, telling it like it is, even when it’s not always pretty.
If you attended the conference and want to share your experiences, please use a pingback so I can track your thread… If you have questions about the content, drop me a line or comment in the respective post.
A post over at O’Reilly leads to a blog post and a *ahem* white paper on a topic that seems a bit self-explanatory, albeit sensationalistic. Obviously, this paper is meant to stir the pot a bit. There are a number of ways he could even out his research methodology to make it seem less like an AJAX developer/GLU (Grumpy Linux User) who just doesn’t like rich media and more like a researcher that writes white papers… Some key points:
- MySpace? You are basing all of this on one domain? One site where individual profiles are notoriously messy and strewn with nastiness? What about Youtube, Facebook, Cnet, Digg, etc. A broader sampling should probably be used to get an accurate view.
- How about comparing Flash to Silverlight, Java or heavily AJAX-using sites?
- One version of Flash player? Who knows if Flash player 9.0.115 is more or less efficient than previous revisions.
- One browser? Hmm.
- One OS? What was it, Linux? Again, hmm.
- No mention of other services etc running on the machine.
- No mention of power management settings in his OS control panels.
Now, I’m all but sure that Flash enabled sites do indeed use more juice than non-Flash sites… It just makes sense, as my fan rarely kicks on when surfing, except when visiting Flash sites like YouTube, etc., however, if you are going to set up your findings to appear as a scientific experiment, it really should be a bit more thorough. I realize that I sound a bit like a wet blanket here… but ringing the alarm bells seems a bit premature.
I would welcome reading a complete, detailed report containing a broader sampling with a more comprehensive methodology. That said, I applaud Matt for taking some steps to try and research Adobe’s black box Flash player and since it appears he is certainly really smart, and looking for a job, perhaps consulting as an energy efficiency engineer for Adobe’s Flash player team would be a good gig for him.
Thanks to the people at MashupAwards for naming my Yahoo Pipes/Delicious Flex site, “Pipelicious” mashup of the day… very cool indeed! I built this a while ago… You might remember from this post here. I need to make some updates to the app, like I mentioned I would… ahh time and motivation, why do you so rarely meet up with each other?
The movie lived up to the interent hype for me. The hand-held camera stuff did make me a bit queasy, I’ll admit. I am happy that it ended the way it did. Certainly creates some questions for me, though… Stop reading if you don’t want spoilers…
- What company was Rob going to work for? Was it the company in the viral sites for the movie? Tagruato? Seems like it would make sense, but maybe be to convenient/cheesy.
- What stirred the monster up? Offshore drilling? Is this an environmental statement?
- Is the “hammer-down” a tactical nuke strike?
- Was the monster destroyed?
- How was the camera/tape not destroyed in the “hammer-down”?
- What is in the parasites bite that causes the victim to burst/explode?
- What were those air sac things on Clover’s head?
- How much would a monster that size need to eat?
- If the monster is living at a depth sufficient to hide it for millenia, what kind of food could be available down there?
- Does it eat this stuff (used to make Slusho)?
- Did Tagruato’s harvesting of the “Seabed’s Nectar” cause it to come looking for food?
- ¬†Did the monster actually come from outer space?
- Or did the parasites come from outer space and wake the monster?
- Did the parasites eat the monster’s food causing it to leave it’s habitat?
I’m really interested in hearing from other people that have seen the movie… What do you think? So many questions… Maybe Cloverfield 2 will answer ‘em… hmmm.
I hope to have a longer post complete with notes in a day or two from my day at the Chicago Seed Conference (they are in a Fields Notes Brand notepad, given away at the conference right now.)… but for now, you can check out the site or the presenters sites: Carlos Segura, Jason Fried, James Coudal. A long time fan of the Coudal and Segura, I wasn’t so sure of Jason Fried prior to coming to the event, and I am still not sure my views have changed… he may be a bit too “agile” for my tastes, but I may have turned on that, too… More on that coming soon. Nonetheless, a great day and very worth it.