Not built with jQuery

Not built with jQuery

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.

More


Five Ways Good Design Can Help Your Business

Five Ways Good Design Can Help Your Business

The Cognitivie Puzzles Ogilvy campaign for IBM Software. Illustration by HORT and Carl De Torres.

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.

More


Incubating Your Own Products: Insane or Smart?

Incubating Your Own Products: Insane or Smart?

Studio life.

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.

More


Five Things Your Interactive Agency Should Be Doing for You

Five Things Your Interactive Agency Should Be Doing for You

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.

More


Improving the Game: Tech for the Win

Improving the Game: Tech for the Win

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.

More


The New York Times Innovation Report: The Cliff Notes

The New York Times Innovation Report: The Cliff Notes

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.

More


Disconnecting

Disconnecting

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.

More


Data Behaviors — jQuery vs. querySelectorAll

Data Behaviors — jQuery vs. querySelectorAll

In October 2012 I wrote an article for .Net magazine, “Get your JavaScript in order,” in which I detailed how I organise my JavaScript files and fire functions linked to DOM elements. The peer reviewer of my article, Ross Bruniges’, main concern was how the JavaScript searched the DOM because I had used the well known slowest method of searching through the page. Now I have an updated version that should put any doubts to rest: querySelectorAll.

More


(De)sign of the Times: Adaptive Information Architecture, Larry Wall, Cow-trails and Master-plans

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.

(De)sign of the Times: Adaptive Information Architecture, Larry Wall, Cow-trails and Master-plans

UC Berkeley user paths. Photo, Peter Merholz

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.

More


Making Every Page a Homepage

“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.

More


Product Management with Trello

Product Management with Trello

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.

More


Instagram statistics

Instagram statistics

Instagram: @inthefrow

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…

TL:DR

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

More


SVG Rendering In Browsers

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.

More


A Small UI Tweak Says a Thousand Words

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.

More


Getting unstuck

Getting unstuck

Navigating Stuckness

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.


The end of sprites; the rise of SVG

The end of sprites; the rise of SVG

SVG markup

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.

More


Ajax Pinterest Buttons

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>

The 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 window object.

And then to use:

// parse a DOM element
window.parsePins($("#element")[0]);

// 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.


Forward MoMentum

Forward MoMentum

Chicago White Stockings, 1885

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.

More


Kohana workaround to side-step debug information in production

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.

More


The future of print is (already) here

The future of print is (already) here

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?

More


Demo: Dynamic Device Wrapper

Playing around with some marketing page concepts and came up with an interesting way to display content on multiple devices with one element in the markup. Check the demo here.

Inspired by device-loop from slid.es.


Decision Fatigue and UX

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.

More


Type Nerds

Type Nerds

photo © flickr user needtoptic

Last weekend a few of us checked out an exhibition called Pencil to Pixel, a showcase of rare finds from the Monotype type Foundry’s archives. We were educated by a type designer currently working at Monotype about the history of the foundry, advancements in type design & reproduction over the years, and some stories about printers and type designers of the past. A few exciting points were the original “sketches” Eric Gill gave to the designers at Monotype of his now robust Gill Sans, a case of goodies by the designers at ITC including a tissue sketch by Herb Luballin, and a demonstration of some new advancements in web typography by Typecast.

More


Excuse me, does my font look big?

If you’re an internet denizen or professional, you may have noticed sites throwing away the standard size 13-16pt native font in exchange for a much larger, in your face, type size. Showing up sometime around mid last year, this bold statement is still mostly championed by independent design blogs and small agency websites – and seems to be growing. As a UX and readability obsessor, I am thrilled! Before getting into why, here is a brief background.

More


Today I learned: you can have paletted PNG files with 8-bit alpha

For years I’ve been saving out graphics for websites as either 8-bit PNG or 24-bit PNG. Photoshop always gave me just those two options and so I assumed they were the only two options; if we needed fully transparent backgrounds we used 24-bit and if we didn’t we used 8-bit. IE6 had trouble with 24-bit PNG with the alpha channel so we often just fell back to 8-bit with 1 colour transparent backgrounds. And thats the way things where.

More