October 10, 2008

Information overload. Aren't they always?

As Paul has summarised the night and day so eloquently I'll kick off with the speakers who grabbed my attention. One second... I'll just add the burger's at GBK were fine indeed. The reason we gorged ourselves? 241 vouchers, yum!

The three speakers that I'll briefly cover include Steven Johnson, Aleks Krotoski and Jeremy Keith. I say briefly as its probably best if I just provide you with the links to go investigate further yourself.

Steven Johnson kicked things off with a talk on Victorian London and two men who tried to save the streets from an epidemic. Another topic I found interesting was the concept of The Long Zoom, a particular way of seeing that can end up defining an Age.

Aleks Krotoski talks about stickiness and how the games industry have got it SO right. Immersing your user is a powerful thing. Why aren't websites doing the same thing? Are they missing narrative and playfulness?

Finally Jeremy Keith bends our minds at the end of the day with a talk about network theory. I didn't really get it at first, mainly due to the information overload I was feeling by this point, but the slide deck had such provocative images (for such a dry subject) I could slowly feel myself coming around. I'm not even going to try and explain network theory here which is why I've provided a link to his slide deck below.

There you have it, the few nuggets of knowledge I gleaned from these talks. The link harvesting for the three speakers is below:

Steven Johnson - The Urban Web

Download the audio to the talk.

Read his personal blog and check out his latest project outside.in.

Aleks Krotoski - Playing the Web: how gaming makes the internet (and the world) a better place)

Download the audio to the talk.

Read her personal blog and the Games section on the Guardian Technology blog.

Jeremy Keith - The System Of The World

View the slide deck.

Read his personal blog and check out his book Bulletproof Ajax if you're into enhancing your websites with a sprinkle of Ajax.

You can subscribe to the podcast of all the dConstruct talks here (Johnson, Krotoski and Porter so far).

PS: Whats with the leading on this blog? Crazy legs Liz I suspect.

October 08, 2008

Burgers, Rain and Sumo Sacs


The trip to dConstruct in (a wet and windy) Brighton with my fellow D&Uers began on the Thursday night with a feast at GBK. An excellent burger indeed. Although I’m not sure why Dom, Tufty and I felt the need to eat 5 burgers between us?

The conference was full of many familiar faces from other conferences I’ve attended. Like-minded folk from Yahoo, BBC, Google and Vodafone were all there to listen to various people discuss designing for the social web.

As is the usually the case at these events, some speakers had more interesting things to say, or rather, I was more interested in specific topics more than others.

I found Daniel Burka’s talk on Designing for Interaction was the most interesting for me (once you got over the constant name-dropping and being good friends with Kevin Rose). I liked his ideas on how to encourage users to participate and take that first step into using a site, such as reducing barriers, in particular a simple sign up process. Geni.com was the example he used, but I think this is quite common across all the popular 2.0 sites.

Although geared toward the social web, I think we could do with taking on board this point. Previous research I have done on the film channel shows how a dreadful sign in and registration process really does have a negative impact on the whole UX. By simplifying registration, giving users a taste of what’s on offer, and an incentive to fully participate, one would imagine you increase your visitors. His presentation slides were pretty good as well.

I think one thing I feel I need to do at these events is to engage and network a bit more with others. But when there is a group of you tend to stay together. Maybe next time.

Finally, I think we need to get a Sumo Sac in the See, Play, Learn area.

May 13, 2008

What is an image? Photosynth


A demo of Photosynth, dazzling tech that may transform the way we look at digital images. Using photos scraped from the Web, Photosynth builds breathtaking dreamscapes with navigation.

What is shopping?


Brands are changing, we no longer  just partake, but also take part. Wolf Olins

Fancy designing your own handset...?


"The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”  Mark Weiser

April 10, 2008

Santa Claus*

Screenshot001 Modernista! is a design agency with a novel approach to having a presence on the web. They don't have one. Or at least they do, but rather than it being a website on it's own it kind of sits on the top of other web sites which host their content.

Want to see their latest video ads for some-brand-or-other? Here's a youtube page. Print work for the same client? It's on Flickr.  Only the Modernista! navigation menu follows you there and holds you hand while you take a look.

You could say it's a bit new for new's sake, but I quite like it. In the continuing drive to find a way for people to collate and present all the content they've uploaded to different sites in one place it's kind of a neat solution.

(* a joke about distributed presence which I couldn't come up with)

March 27, 2008


Flip All the cool kids seem to be getting into this thing. It's called the Flip and it's a very small camcorder and the point seems to be that instead of the usual "feature creep" design which effects most devices of this type, they've stripped away everything and made PC integration excellent. Mobile phone makers take note!

There's a good review on the New York Times site.

March 06, 2008

Fi Regal!

FeWhat is it with naming at the moment. Ug! What that in sky? It keep track of my location? Well my prehistoric friend it's probably a Fireeagle.  Or Fire Eagle maybe.

Yes, Yahoo have released a new service which is "the secure and stylish way to share your location with sites and services online". Which is great. I think. It certainly seems to have it's heart in the right place with a properly modern emphasis on data privacy and playing nicely with other services (naturally Facebook gets a mention).

Although it's out of Yahoo this seems to be a very mobile type of service. The options to use your phone to automatically track yourself seem to be far more interesting than the "type in your location" thing although having to visit a wap site just for this seems a little weak which leaves just the S60 brigade (however many of them there are).

The key though is really the privacy thing and  the proof of that pudding will come when integration with Facebook etc  come online. Sharing your location could be  a pretty private thing especially to the postcode level granularity and beyond which seems to be the order of the day here (unlike Dopplr which sticks more vaguely to major towns and cities).

It'll be interesting to see the kind of use that this might be put to. It's certain to be  something major telco's will be ripping off in around 4 or 5 years.

I have 4 invites for anyone who would like one.

March 04, 2008

If Saul Bass did the titles for Star Wars

A nice little genre mash up :)

February 19, 2008


Aviary seems to be a suit of design/creative tools which have all been built with flash and work in your browser.  From the evidence it looks like they've done a pretty good job. So the question is will they be good enough to make a dent in the Adobe market for creative  software?

Each tool is named after a different bird (how delightful!), so you've got: Pheonix for image editting (because that's likely to be the most popular and so needs the coolest name); Raven for vector graphics (obviously trying to lure Dean away from Illustrator there!); Toucan for swatch management and pallettes (ok...); Humming Bird for 3D, Owl, Penguin, Pigdeon, Tern, the list goes on and on.

My favourite is Horus for Font editor. Horus was the Egyptian god of the sky (or something), and the Egyptians only used hieroglyphics, so ... font editor? It's either very clever or very silly, either way I can't wait to give it a try.

Not all of them are ready  or released yet.  Oh yeah, and because they've built with Flash they're  planning to have downloadable versions using Air which work on your desktop.

October 10, 2008

October 08, 2008

May 13, 2008

April 10, 2008

March 27, 2008

March 06, 2008

March 04, 2008

February 19, 2008

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