Journal

Baseline Grids on the Web

Jason Santa Maria:

Ratios and baselines grids can be too rigid for the inherently flexible nature of the web. Just because something works at one size doesn’t mean the same ratio will be appropriate at larger or smaller sizes.

I often design websites to a vertical rhythm, even though maintaining it can be difficult during development. Jason’s arguments made me realise that this practice goes against the grain of the medium; something I discourage in The Web Aesthetic. I need to let go of my baseline grids.

Trimming the Fat

Website optimisation can be a cruel game; everything has a number that begs to be reduced, but doing so requires a lot of experimentation, research and testing. And when you’re playing with the last hundred or so kilobytes, there’s little reward for your effort.

The Web Aesthetic

The Web Aesthetic

At the beginning of this year I was struck by a realisation, prompted in part by the discussions around responsive images but also the artistic ingenuity of the image optimisation techniques being used by Jeremy. How might the visual aesthetic of the web change if we were to acknowledge its nature and embrace its constraints?

Bruce Lawson’s Thoughts on Adobe Edge

Bruce Lawson followed up on my brief thoughts with his own, having attended Adobe’s ‘Create The Web’ event in London. As I suspected, some of the code produced by Edge Animate isn’t pretty, and there’s some weird messaging around browsers not based on WebKit. Yet he agrees that overall, this is the right strategy for Adobe.

My Life as a Games Maker

My Life as a Games Maker

They say change is as good as a rest. With early morning commutes, a ‘distinctive’ uniform and interaction with the general public, volunteering at the London 2012 Paralympic Games couldn’t have been further removed from the desk-bound job I’d become weary of.

Usable yet Useless: Why Every Business Needs Product Discovery

Rian van der Merwe for A List Apart:

A “shiny citadel” from far away, as The Guardian once wrote, up close Brasília has “degraded into a violent, crime-ridden sprawl of cacophonous traffic jams. The real Brazil has spilled into its utopian vision.”

This problem echoes across today’s web landscape as well, where the needs of ordinary users spill constantly into designers’ utopian vision. All around us we see beautiful, empty monuments erected not for their users, but for the people who built them – and the VCs who are scouting them.

‘Digital Brasílias’ is a great term for all the beautiful – yet ultimately useless – products emerging from the Valley. Product discovery can help us not only design things better, but design better things.

Material Thinking

Material Thinking

Earlier this month, Team Clearleft headed up to London for a day of design related exhibitions: Bauhaus: Art as Life at the Barbican and (after a ride across the city on a ‘Boris Bike’) British Design 1948-2012 and Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary at the V&A.

Now That The Games Have Gone

Now That The Games Have Gone

The last two weeks have been amazing. I tried my best to sample as much ofthe Olympic fever as I could, but with so much going on, the spectacle was overwhelming. So much to see, so little time to see it.

Once In A Lifetime

Once In A Lifetime

Olympics happen once every four years. Most are unlikely to ever experience them in their own country. I get shivers whenever I see banners with the Olympic Rings on them. This is once in a lifetime event, and I intend to make the very most of it.

We’ve Seen This Movie Before

Roger Ebert on the recent shootings in Aurora, Colorado:

This would be an excellent time for our political parties to join together in calling for restrictions on the sale and possession of deadly weapons. That is unlikely, because the issue has become so closely linked to paranoid fantasies about a federal takeover of personal liberties that many politicians feel they cannot afford to advocate gun control.

App.net

Dalton Caldwell:

We’re building a real-time social service where users and developers come first, not advertisers.

Our team has spent the last 9 years building social services, developer platforms, mobile applications and more.

We believe that advertising-supported social services are so consistently and inextricably at odds with the interests of users and developers that something must be done.

Help us create the service we all wish existed.

Putting my money where my mouth’s been for the last few years, and backing this audacious project. I hope it succeeds.

What If Social Networks Just Aren’t Profitable?

Derek Powazek:

Every community-based site in the history of the web has essentially been a stab at creating a social network. Most of them fail as businesses, with the rare exception of small, lucky communities that become self-sufficient but not exactly prosperous. What if that’s just the way it is?