When discussing Experience Design, the ultimate example cited is Disney World. Whether or not you believe that an experience can be designed, I expect most of us would agree that Disney World is the most spectacular attempt to do so. From the design of the environments, traffic flow, and landmarks, to the “actors”, entertainment, and dining, everything is very much designed with a particular type...
In the past, amateur photographers tended to forget that a camera could be rotated ninety degrees to take a picture of something tall and narrow, like a person. I have noticed a new trend among family and friends as more of them get smartphones (mostly iPhones) with cameras. They naturally hold them in portrait orientation and don’t think about it when taking a picture. I’ve seen many photos of...
This is Personal
One of the reasons design is such a rewarding career is that the work is personal. Whether I’m laying out a gate-fold brochure for the I Have a Dream Foundation, implementing a website for my church, or designing an application that will improve the safety and efficiency of our nation’s soldiers, I know that my work is positively impacting someone’s life. I’ve particularly enjoyed participating in...
Not a Fan-dango
I don’t get out to the theater very often, but there are certain movies that my wife and I make a point to see. I’ve quite enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, so we decided to see the most recent one and had a friend watch the kids. While enjoyable, I didn’t find On Stranger Tides to be as compelling a story as the previous films, but this isn’t a movie review site, so I’ll spare you my...
Having been through both an undergraduate BFA program and a masters program in design, not to mention teaching for six years, I’ve participated in a lot of critiques. I’ve had my work shot down, and I’ve received many accolades. I even got a “Holy shit!” out of Dick Buchanan—I was rather pleased with myself for that one. As a result, I’m quite comfortable presenting my work, and I’m accepting of...
User Interface Design Trends
Rob Tannen posted the following question to IxDA.org: What do you see as the current or emerging trends in user interface design? I don’t mean the big changes like gestural interfaces, mobile devices, social networking, etc—I mean the more specific changes to the information architecture and graphical design of screens across devices/platforms. Five general trends came to mind. Across the...
Something rather amazing is coming from Andy Clarke, Naomi Atkinson, Dan Rubin, and Mircea Piturca. But first, a little background: Andy Clarke is a member of the Web Standards Project and author of two books: Transcending CSS: The Fine Art Of Web Design and Hardboiled Web Design. He also runs Stuff and Nonsense, a web design studio. Naomi Atkinson has been doing great web design for a long time...
The Content is the Hard Part
I’ve been working on a redesign of my church’s website for quite a long time. It’s not that it’s a particularly large site or at all complicated. I just haven’t had much time to work on it. Recently, I’ve been able to make it a priority, and I hope to have it live within the next month. I’ll be sure to share it here when it’s up. I posted awhile back on my lack of knowledge about simple website...
Form Over Function
I prefer SoftSoap brand shower gel over any other body wash I’ve tried, but I despise their bottles. Sure, they are beautiful forms and I’m sure their appearance boosts sales, but they are not functional. When full, they are top-heavy and easy to knock over. When near empty, they are impossible to stand upside down to get the last dribbles out. I continue to buy it, because the contents of the...
I just wrapped up another semester at WVU. I taught game design in the context of a project for a paying client. The goal was to design and prototype a proof-of-concept for a game that would teach junior high students about the wetlands of the Appalachian Highlands. Titled Defenders of the Valley, the game puts players in the role of special forces park rangers who have been called in to help save...
The One Thing
I participated in a survey Apple is conducting. It asked a single question: What is the one thing you would like Apple to improve upon and why? That’s very like Apple—simple and direct. I really had to think about it. I decided that the one thing I would like to see Apple improve upon is support in their products for a family unit. Historically, computer software has been designed for a user....
Not a Specialist
The British Author Graham Swift said, “One of the attractions of being a writer is that you’re never a specialist. Your field is entirely open; your field is the entire human condition.” In much the same way, a designer is not a specialist. A designer becomes an expert on whatever content, medium, and industry he is designing within. He must learn to think like those who will utilize that which is...
The Art of Video Games: Winners
The Smithsonian American Art Museum broadcast today a live announcement of the video games that will be part of The Art of Video Games exhibition from March 16, 2012 through September 30, 2012. Nearly an hour long, the curators talked us through the winners, picking one from each age/platform combination to discuss the merits for which it was selected. It’s available on their website or through...
Last week, I attended the Graphic Design senior presentations at West Virginia University. The students showed a lot of good work. One of my former students, Blake Stewart, was also there to see the show, and I got to chat with him briefly. I learned that he started his own business directly after graduating a couple years ago and now has over 200 clients—some local, and some scattered across the...
Eric Raymond’s Rule of Optimization implores us to “Prototype before polishing. Get it working before you optimize it.” As with most of the Unix design rules, this one doesn’t only apply to writing code. When designing a user interface, it is imperative that one explore multiple solutions through sketches, mockups, and prototypes before setting the design in code, or even in a specification. Ideas...
Each of our developers has two Dell displays on his/her desk. I noticed that the guy in the cube beside me had the Dell logos covered with Post-it notes. He had been distracted regularly while working as he would see motion at the bottom of his monitor. As it turned out, the logos are reflective, and he was seeing the reflection of his fingers typing on the keyboard. Other Dell displays that we...