Posts from December 2002

Catchy type

I usually go back to Columbus, Ohio to see my mom and visit other family and friends a few times a year. Christmas is one of those times, this year being no exception. Every time I come home to visit, Mom and I like to hit the movies at least once. There’s usually a limited set of movies playing that Mom is willing or wanting to see. No action, no violence, and no intense drama, suspense, or natural disasters. continued

Mixing it Up

You, a doorway to the W3C, and your valid, user-centered design full of intrigue, aesthetic appeal, and inspiration. All potentially part of wthremix: an independent contest challenging creative types to redesign the W3C’s recently revamped homepage. Think you can muster up a better first impression and access point for everything the W3C offers and represents? Here’s your chance to prove it.

Upgrade messages

Via Clagnut a few days ago, Richard Rutter summarized some interesting observations and conclusions on the “Upgrade now!” message often seen in the unstyled version of CSS-based designs. Contrary to the current snafu with browser detection scripts over at HotBot, Wired News relies on support of specific CSS methods to hide or display any messages regarding browser capability. View Wired News in a browser such as Netscape 4.x and — as of December 18, 2002 — you’ll see this message at the top of the front door: continued

HotBot redesign launched

Ah, I can finally talk about it. It’s so far off everyone’s radar that hardly anyone has noticed yet. Let’s change that.

Another project I had a hand in design directing and pushing to XHTML/CSS (smack in the middle of the Wired News redesign) finally surfaces. Following Wired’s lead, HotBot redesigns and in the process, completely morphs as a new product. [Mostly] table-less CSS-based design that was cranked out in a one-week visit to Boston back in June. The backend took significantly longer, thus the delay. The CSS changed slightly from what I originally authored, creating a few rendering and alignment bugs in various browsers. But you get the basic idea. Aside from very minor visual changes, the design we came up with is still in tact, and represents the harnessed power and attitude HotBot has been known for. continued

Representational language

I discovered an excellent resource over the weekend that I’ve been (and will be) digging through in my spare time. All of a sudden, I’m starting to understand the logic behind Braille by reading through the incredible information at Dotless Braille. It’s a site written and constructed by a sighted person, or — in the words of the author — a “dot-challenged” person, to help other sighted persons get past the hurdles of understanding Braille. It’s purpose, from the website itself: continued

They say imitation…

is flattery. But I’m not sure what I think about this recently discovered copy. It’s obviously a work-in-progress. Remnants of my content still poke through in places. I don’t know how long it will stay up, but I’ve taken a screenshot [.gif, 43 KB] or two [.gif, 27 KB] to save for my own entertainment, if nothing else. I’m completely in support of tearing apart a site to see how it’s put together. But I’m a little surprised at the level of detail to which this aspiring Dane has copied and reproduced every single convention, workaround, color, image, and CSS file. continued

All about the brand

Leander continues the Wired News Mac loyalty series with two more articles pushed out today. Both deal with the power of brand. Apple: It’s All About the Brand makes the point that Apple is not necessarily selling product as much as they’re selling and capitalizing on an emotional brand. A great real-world example and representation of user-centered design:

“Apple’s design is people-driven.”

For Mac Users, It Takes a Village presents the concept of brand communities. The connection between customers allows Apple a little more leeway to experiment and even make mistakes without the threat of mass reduction in user base.

They are real communities, bound by a brand, that display three central characteristics of all communities: a shared consciousness, a set of rituals and traditions, and a sense of moral responsibility…

Small talk in SF

Since MTM/SF in October, Tantek and I have been batting around the idea of holding an informal discussion about style, blogs, workarounds, etc. at a local cafe here in San Francisco. Preferably with free wifi. And space to flip our laptops around to show cool experiments we’re working on. Or projects by others that have provided inspiration. If you live in the City or the general Bay Area, or even happen to be in town visiting, you’re welcome to join us in the discussion or even just partake in a warm latte in a friendly neighborhood. continued

Mac loyalists

Continuing on the theme of Mac loyalty, Leander begins a series for Wired News dissecting the reasons behind the passion and obsession for Apple’s machines. Mac Loyalists: Don’t Tread on Us examines the Mac cult and why it continued to exist, even through the directionless Amelio-led late ’90s.

To Mac users, Apple represents everything that Microsoft isn’t. Apple innovates; Microsoft copies. Apple puts out solid products; Microsoft puts out buggy ones. Apple represents creativity and individuality; Microsoft represents business and conformity. Apple is the scrappy underdog; Microsoft the big, predatory monopoly.

Some of the exact same rationale I used to cite before my Windows switch. And the some of the same reasons that are bringing me back to Mac.

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