May 2012

Sweep the Sleaze

Oliver Reichenstein:

Social media buttons are not a social media strategy, even though they’re often sold that way. Excellent content, serious networking and constant human engagement is the way to build your profile. Adding those sleazy buttons won’t achieve anything.

I approve of this message, which might seem ironic coming from a peddler of social media icons. Perhaps I should include this health warning in the accompanying ‘Read Me’ file.

Let’s Be Less Productive

Tim Jackson:

The care and concern of one human being for another is a peculiar “commodity.” It can’t be stockpiled. It becomes degraded through trade. It isn’t delivered by machines. Its quality rests entirely on the attention paid by one person to another. Even to speak of reducing the time involved is to misunderstand its value.

Modern Medicine

Jonathan Harris:

These vignettes draw comparisons between software and medicine – in their dual capacities to heal and to hurt. They explore the nature of addictive technologies in relation to business, the power that software designers are presently wielding over the masses, and a new way of imagining companies: as medicine men for the species.

This is essential reading for anyone designing software. Essential.

Highly Optimized Images for the Web in 3 Steps

Pascal Altena:

In this article, I’ll cover the techniques I use to make images load fast on a webpage.

A beautifully succinct yet informative article that begs to printed out and stuck on the wall next to every web developer.

All the Oxygen Trapped in a Bubble

David Heinemeier Hansson:

Sure, people are being employed, money is changing hands, but come Monday morning, the hangover is that we spent a bundle to build a lot of shit that’s not going anywhere. As a result, we missed out on doing other worthwhile things. All those smart and talented heads, and all those benjamins, didn’t progress the economic base in a way we’re going to care about tomorrow. And that’s a damn shame.

Put another way, “the best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads” – that’s the view of Jeff Hammerbacher, an early employee of Facebook.

Kiwibank: Standing Up for Something New

Banks aren’t the most likeable organisations, but I’m developing a soft spot for Kiwibank, a New Zealand-based bank competing against larger Australian-based rivals. Their latest advertising campaign suggests they’re willing to stand up for something new “and even a bit crazy”, and in the world of banking, a responsive website is just that.

Barebones

Barebones is an initial directory setup, style guide and pattern primer intended as a starting point for my own web development projects. I’ve made it available on GitHub so that others can use it in their own projects too. Anna has written more about the release here.

Not Excited by the Olympics? Then Thank God for the Sponsors

Charlie Brooker:

The Olympic rings have been whored around so much they’ve become valueless: a status symbol for a few corporations to tote like a badge for several weeks, impressing almost no one except themselves.

Increasing commercialism of the games threatens to undermine the Olympic movement.

Inspiring Nobody

Rather than showcase British interactive design talent, the biggest cultural event of our generation has been represented online by an uninspired mess that flies the flag for the status quo.