Journal

Don’t Be Evil, and Get Rich Trying

My short break in California has so far included four hour-long trips on Caltrain as I hop between the cities of San Francisco and Palo Alto. These short periods disconnected from the web, have allowed me to catch up on my reading list.

(Re)introducing Bradshaw’s Guide

(Re)introducing Bradshaw's Guide

Based on the 1866 edition of George Bradshaw’s handbook for tourists using Britain’s nascent railway network, my latest project puts his historical insights into the hands of a new generation, many of whom use the same routes he described 150 years ago.

And the Award Goes to…

When awards are given out, they should encourage everyone to be finer practitioners, not louder personalities. Instead of putting people – however deserving – on pedestals out of reach of new talent, when done right, they can promote inclusivity and celebrate our collective achievement.

Front-End Performance for Web Designers and Front-End Developers

Harry Roberts:

It’s hard, if not impossible, to deny that performance is by far one of the most critical aspects of any decent web project, be it a small portfolio site, a mobile-first web app, right through to a full-scale ecommerce project. Studies, articles and personal experience all tell us that fast is best.

If you’re a web developer (or designer) read this. Now.

The Trend Against Skeuomorphic Textures and Effects in User Interface Design

John Gruber:

The trend away from skeuomorphic special effects in UI design is the beginning of the retina-resolution design era. Our designs no longer need to accommodate for crude pixels. Glossy/glassy surfaces, heavy-handed transparency, glaring drop shadows, embossed text, textured material surfaces – these hallmarks of modern UI graphic design style are (almost) never used in good print graphic design. They’re unnecessary in print, and, the higher the quality of the output and more heavy-handed the effect, the sillier such techniques look.

John’s article forms part of a larger discussion about the possible emergence of a truer digital aesthetic. Flat interfaces, such as those seen in Microsoft’s Metro UI and the BBC’s GEL project are certainly fashionable, and thankfully, to my taste. Simpler interfaces are particularly suited to the web; high-fidelity interfaces can require a large number of image assets or many lines of CSS, reducing overall performance.

I’m not sure this trend has much to do with HiDPI displays though. I suspect, like most design movements, it’s just a reaction to what proceeded it. Skeuomorphism is to Art Nouveau what flat design is to minimalism. What goes around, comes around.

Be sure to read Max Rudberg’s counter argument, too.

Clearing the Decks

As the page turns on another year, just enough time to close the book on a few personal projects and responsibilities. In doing so, I hope to free up some time (and mind space) for new projects to be unveiled in the new year.

Trimming Even More Fat

The Christmas break provides the time to tie up loose ends and make much needed progress on personal projects. At least, that was the plan. Once again I find myself distracted by the task of making this website just that little bit faster.

Instagram Didn’t Get The Tone Wrong

Fantastic commentary regarding Instagram’s clarification of its controversial (if not unexpected) policy changes:

If anything, this whole episode is a demonstration of the slippery charms of tone of voice. The terms and conditions were an example of clear language being used to convey information as simply as possible – it just happened to be controversial information.

The ‘clarification’ is an example of tone of voice being used to obscure and mollify. Almost like a filter applied to a photo, giving it nice fuzzy edges and an air of authenticity.

A Field of Ponies

Earlier today, 24 Ways published an article in which I outlined five reasons why I believe two current proposed markup patterns for responsive images are largely redundant. Here I provide some follow-up, and hopefully clarification around the points I raised.

Exploring the Causeway Coast

Exploring the Causeway Coast

After attending Build in Belfast last month, Chris Armstrong gave Ethan Marcotte, Chris Shifflet and myself a tour of the Causeway Coast which, as the name suggests, is home to the famed Giant’s Causeway.

Skyfall

Skyfall

Fifty years after the release of Dr. No, James Bond returns in Skyfall, the twenty-third instalment of the longest continually-running film series in history.

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