Before joining AREA 17 two years ago I spent a year and a half trying to get my startup, justmap.it, off the ground. I wanted to create a simple app where people could log and share places. And while it’s been a grind, I’ve pushed forward and will be releasing a new, much more polished version soon. Maps and places continue to intrigue me and seem to always find a way into all of my work.
The language of interactive design is still in its infancy and frequently draws parallels from its more established counterparts in architecture and the Fine Arts. These creative disciplines do share many similarities and often warrant a dialogue that isn’t mutually exclusive. However as design becomes more ubiquitous in every aspect of our lives, and informs decisions in boardrooms around the world, it’s worth reconsidering how we talk about it. One approach is by embracing simplicity and harnessing the virtues of unpredictability.
The first time I used jQuery on a website was June 2007; I used it for an image carousel that faded between sponsor logos. During the rest of 2007 and 2008 I used jQuery, MooTools and Prototype.js until settling on jQuery for everything in 2009. And I’ve been using jQuery on every site since. Until now.
This article was originally published on Adage.com as the third in a three-part series authored by AREA 17’s leadership team.
Good design is good business. Now more than ever this well-worn phrase, coined by long-time IBM Chairman-CEO Thomas Watson Jr., is worth repeating. In an increasingly competitive business landscape, design is the new battleground and the success of your business depends on it.
This article was originally published on Adage.com as the second in a three-part series authored by AREA 17’s leadership team.
At one time or another every agency has considered creating a commercial site that has nothing to do with its client work. Developing a new product takes time, focus and the ability to go into it with your eyes open. And when handled correctly, the payoff can be huge.
At AREA 17 we’ve done it—several times. It has been part of our evolution from a design studio to a full-service agency and has completely changed the way we approach our client work and relationships.
This article was originally published on Adage.com as the first in a three-part series authored by AREA 17’s leadership team.
Is your interactive agency doing everything in its power to make your projects — and business — successful? How do you know? Whether you’ve just hired your interactive agency or have had a relationship for years, you may wonder if you’ve made the right choice. With digital budgets increasing year after year, it’s a question worth considering.
Here are five things to look for to make sure an agency is truly right for your organization.
I’m a huge sports fan. It’s a full-fledged passion. So you can imagine my excitement when I didn’t have to miss a World Cup game with WatchESPN. Then I learned that FIFA was supporting goal-line technology in all 12 stadiums during the tournament. To me, this only made one of the best sporting events in the world much better. This view, however, has been hotly contested. With technology creeping deeper into every sport the debate on its role has only increased.
If you are in digital publishing and haven’t heard about the New York Times Innovation Report, well, maybe you aren’t really in digital publishing. I’m kidding. But, chances are you’ve heard about it but didn’t have time to read all 90 pages. No worries, here are the critical things that the New York Times thinks it should be doing and, by inference, you should too.
People always ask, “why do you keep coming back here?” I’ve already been to Iceland three times. Truth is, I‘ve never really been into checklists: been there / done that. Accumulating travels. It was my third time in Iceland but it definitely won’t be the last. I’ll be back again and again and again, until I’ve fully satisfied my appetite for this country and its unreal landscapes. Hopefully these few photographs will make you hungry for Iceland too.
The following is a result of ongoing conversations about where online design has been and where it could go. These discussions led directly to the doorstep of Larry Wall, inventor of the Perl programming language. Love Perl or hate it, Larry’s thoughts on the constraints presented by web design are well worth serious consideration — even 16 years later.
Eugene Kim: Would it be accurate to say that Perl doesn’t enforce good design?
LW: No, it does not. It tries to give you some tools to help if you want to do that, but I’m a firm believer that a language — whether it’s a natural language or a computer language — ought to be an amoral artistic medium.
– “A Conversation with Larry Wall,” Dr. Dobbs, 1998
Something’s always struck me as odd about interactive, online design. Considering the immensely social nature of the medium, it’s shocking how often it seems to exist in a bubble — or rather a box. Websites, mobile and iPad applications are all designed and developed by a group of people or individuals usually with the hope of mass consumption. And yet despite all that (hoped for) human traffic, most mass sites feel more like cloistered, master-planned suburbs rather than thriving, ever-changing and evolving cities.
“Every page is a homepage.” As side-door, social, and mobile traffic skyrocket, homepages are no longer the work horses they once were. The load now rests on the article page to keep users engaged and moving through the site – something the rise of mobile and one-hit readership has made essential. How? Better recirculation.
Here at AREA 17 we like to track project scope with User Stories. I completed Scrum Master Certification a few years ago and have been trying to find a suitable alternative to a physical project board ever since. In my opinion there isn’t any better way to track a project’s progress than using physical story cards pinned to a board. Having a visible representation of project status for everyone to see works incredibly well.
At AREA 17 almost all of our projects have a distributed team — often in very distant locations (New York, Paris, Argentina, London, Manchester). This makes sharing project status using a physical device almost impossible.
Recently a friend of mine and fashion blogger, @inthefrow, asked me if I’d help her determine who her most popular Instagram followers are. I knew Instagram had an API so I assumed the task would be trivial. Of course, it wasn’t as straight forward as I first assumed…
From a sample of 21,239 Instagram users:
- 6133 had protected accounts – thats 28%
- Average number of followers: 843
- Median number of followers: 194
- Average number of people followed: 822
- Median number of people followed: 265
- Average follower/follows ratio: 1:1.76
- 533 or 2.5% are disabled or other wise invalid accounts
I noticed some strange inconsistencies across browsers when exporting .svg’s for a recent project. Safari renders .svg’s based on coordinates, Chrome renders vectors optically. This applies to straight objects as well as curves. For example, by default if a circle is drawn on whole pixles the shape will render with hard edges. It’s become best practice to decrease the circles height and width from the center by a few half pixels to reduce the hard edge and make the shape look optically correct on 72dpi screens. In addition to Safari and Chrome, Adobe Illustrator CS6 has trouble displaying pixel results in .svg files as well. The different vector renderings make it difficult to keep consistency in Ai and cross–browser.
Although .svg’s may lack visual consistency, their strengths aren’t necessarily in pixel-perfection on 72dpi screens. As the web moves further from static images to elements that animate, we should consider .svg’s for their real advantages; interactivity.
I believe there is much to say behind every small, unannounced UI tweak a large web product rolls out. Are they correcting a mistake? Are they AB testing? Just a fidgety design team? Due to the subtle nature of these changes, we might never know – which makes speculation all the more enticing.
Beautiful personal essay by artist and computer scientist Jonathan Harris about getting unstuck.
I didn’t want to sit in meetings, manage people, market products, raise money, and send emails all day. Really, I just wanted to make small, beautiful things.
To see more of Harris’ work, visit his site Number 27.
About a year ago, Ned proposed the idea of switching our method of displaying icons and other small graphics in websites that didn’t use sprites. He suggested we used individual SVGs instead.
At the time we were making sprites and had become become quite adept at building them; though they were a constant source of frustration. In the middle of 2012 Apple released the Mac Book Pro with a Retina screen, which added new impetus to seek out ways of making sprites appear sharp on high resolution screens. Our first solution was to make double size sprite files and resize them with CSS for high resolution screens. This solved the problem; but gave us more problems. Now we had two sprites to maintain and more frustration.
So an SVG solution was worth seeking out.
It turns out re-rendering or rendering ajax’d into place Pinterest buttons is quite straight forward. Not that you can find this in the Pinterest docs…
Update the way you include the Pinterest js:
<script defer="defer" src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js" data-pin-build="parsePins"></script>
defer defers loading of the script until after the page has loaded. The important bit is the
data-pin-build attribute. This makes the
pinit.js expose its internal
build function as
parsePins on the global
And then to use:
// parse a DOM element window.parsePins($("#element")); // parse the whole page window.parsePins();
The function is looking for a DOM node and not a jQuery object which is an array like object; so selecting the DOM node the jQuery object wraps is needed.
And thats it.
The top four things that Movember did/does right.
There’s a chill in the air, the leaves have changed and flannel is once again the fabric of choice. Clearly, that means that another Movember is upon us. These days, Movember requires little explanation (unless you’re my parents). But for the sake of recap, here’s the quick and short:
One night in 2003, some friends in a Melbourne pub were discussing the age-old decorative facial styling known as the mustache. (By the way, it is old indeed, with the first visual recording of the cropped growth being a portrait of an Iranian horseman from 300 BC!) These two blokes wondered about the dip in the mustache’s popularity, and settled to grow some themselves.
Kohana provides a nice exception handler (and an error handler that transforms errors into exceptions using PHP’s ErrorException class) which displays all kind of useful information in a development environment.
In addition to the error/exception related information, you also get environment-specific information that can help you troubleshoot your application : path of your application, php extensions, server software, and so on. Of course, it is always bad to display this kind of information on a live website.
As an interactive agency, it goes without saying that we love all things digital and all the possibilities that the Internet affords. But as designers, we can’t help but also love print. So we’re really psyched to see a growing interest that brands have in publishing their own magazines.
This article asks whether “print is the new black” since it seems that more companies are looking to create niche magazines with bona fide editorial content as a complement to digital marketing and in lieu of more traditional forms of “disruptive,” outbound TV and print marketing.
While being reported as a trend, this analog version of what digital marketers call “content marketing” is what the print industry has always referred to as custom publishing. It’s been around for while. Apparently, farming equipment maker John Deere has been publishing a quarterly journal about agriculture called The Furrow for over 118 years! Who knew?
I just recently came across a really nice article by The Atlantic about decision fatigue. This is the concept of a person trying to make a decision between more options than their brain can process – resulting in no decision at all. Read it here. Among the great comparisons to real life, I think the following principles referenced from the psychologist Sheena Iyengar can be used as an excellent UX tool.