For me, what matters most isn’t the code or pixels, it’s the users, clients, and friends who share it with me.
It’s always nice to find other people who think like we do, and Trent Walton does. He shares our belief that it’s more about the overall experience we create for our users, rather than the bits and pieces we use to get there. Although we strain immensely over all of those bits, and pour tirelessly over each of the pieces, what brings us the most joy is someone telling us “your work really helped me today.”
And that is what we strive for, because the whole is greater than the sum of all its parts.
You can almost hear Dieter Rams reading this article in his thick accent.
“Good content is user-centered…
Publishing content that is self-absorbed in substance or style alienates readers. Most successful organizations have realized this, yet many sites are still built around internal org charts, clogged with mission statements designed for internal use, and beset by jargon and proprietary names for common ideas.
If you’re the only one offering a desirable product or service, you might not see the effects of narcissistic content right away, but someone will eventually come along and eat your lunch by offering the exact same thing in a user-centered way.”
Ever wish you could get a little more organization inside your Moleskine? I mean, they’re already small, portable, and sleek looking- all great things. But our thoughts can be all over the place, and our note-taking shows it. We found ourselves drawing all over our notebooks in an attempt to become more organized… and ended up being the exact opposite.
We fixed our own problem… then decided it might be useful to other people, too!
We came up with an experiment to incorporate our todo lists into that same Moleskine pocket notebook we carry around all the time anyway. All you do is peel and stick the StickTo right onto the page, write your todos, and check ‘em off as you go. Instant organization. There’s even a tab that sticks out to remind you you’re not quite done with your list yet. No worries, though- when you are done, you can just rip off that tab and get on with it.
When most of our organization happens online, it’s nice to have a tangible reminder that our physical lives can be just as put together.
Check them out here
Jumpchart 3 is more than just a superficial new look for the app. Its redesign is a far-reaching rethink of the way the app works. Plus, we’re quite happy to say, it lays the groundwork for the next several feature releases which will make Jumpchart even more invaluable to you in the website planning process.
Here’s what’s new:
- Redesigned look. More so than ever, Jumpchart feels like a place.
- Faster. Jumpchart is now 20-30% faster. Which means you are, too.
- Add multiple pages. Now you can “quick-add” multiple pages to the hierarchy of your site. Get more done by doing less.
- Redesigned navigation area. The navigation panel is faster and, well, better.
- New content insert bar. Formatting content has never been easier- or more convenient.
- Personal e-mail messages. Now you can add a personal touch to your project invitations.
- Keyboard shortcuts. A robust new set of shortcuts to make you more efficient.
- Better print style sheets. Sometimes it helps to feel the paper in your hands.
See it here!
I love answering support e-mails. Yes, you heard me correctly.
Before I started working with Paste, my experiences with support had been frustrating. One particularly infuriating instance comes to mind…
Two years ago, my cell phone was having major malfunctions, and the actual store representative told me I’d have to call their main support line for help.
So I called support and listened to an automated woman talk for half an hour about all the other services available… none of which I cared about. Not even a little bit. I just wanted to know what was wrong with my phone and how to fix it. When I finally got to talk to a real person, she was such a low level customer service rep that she couldn’t help, either. She told me to send in my phone (seriously?!?!) and she’d have their technical engineers take a look at it. Keep Reading
I think it’s time web development had a critical culture. Sure occasionally people pop off on Twitter, but it’s seldom reasoned, or well thought out. It’s a half-dashed sluffed-off thought that nobody, especially the critiqued, can profit from.
I think it would benefit clients and developers alike to see factual discourse on more than just “it looks cool on my monitor.” We should be assessing work on several attributes: design, architecture, copy, interactivity, compatibility, as well as the technical aspects living under the hood.
My hope would be that we can raise the bar for our chosen industry- treating it like the liberal art that it is. Giving credit where credit is due. Pointing out where the critiqued, and we as a whole, can get better. I think the “community” feel of web design is fantastic. But mutual back-pats are not going to elevate our craft to the status that oil painting or even editorial magazine design holds in the history of art.
So who’s ready? Do you have a critical eye, a cutting whit, and impeccable taste? Are you unafraid of being adored by some and loathed by others? Are you the type of person who can love someone dearly yet still tell them that their breath stinks? Then you have a lot of work to do. Public critical analysis of web development is in its infancy, and we all need you to help it grow up.
A lot goes in to learning something new. There’s not always someone who can show you the ropes- you have to muddle through it yourself. If you’re doing it for the first time, it might be rough, and you might second-guess yourself. It’s truly awesome to know you can constantly get better and smarter, but it ain’t easy.
You’ll probably go wrong a time or two. You’ll probably mutter a few choice words you hope your cube buddy didn’t hear. You’ll might even want to throw your computer right out the window. But you’ll be glad you didn’t. ‘Cause what comes next makes all the frustration worth it.
It’s that moment when you know you’ve done it. When you sit back, look at the completed project, and smile stupidly because you’re so dang proud of yourself. You went through hell to get there- and it took twice as long as you hoped, but the end result is right. Now you know, and you can do this new thing you learned over and over.
This thing might be relatively insignificant, and it might be something your co-workers already know how to do… or it could be something cutting edge you can teach those around you.
Small victories are a big deal, so don’t brush them off, or downplay them.
The web is truly in a great place right now. Every day you can see dozens of new applications launched that required countless man hours to make. The nuances and specificity of them is beginning to boggle the mind. The sheer quantity of people on Earth capable of writing a web application is amazing.
In fact, as a web developer it’s somewhat daunting. You can have a thought like “what if I made a tool to keep track of when my next oil change comes due?” and a few seconds later realize that dozens of apps have beat you to the punch.
Sure, you could maybe improve the interface, make it prettier, promote it better, integrate it with Twitter, etc. But it seems like there’s nothing left in big chunks that isn’t a minute improvement on a small facet of something else.
Let’s skip to another subject for a second.
In 1997 NASA, in conjunction with the European and Italian Space Agencies, launched the Cassini-Huygens space probe. It had a far-reaching set of goals, most of which seemed more optimistic than legitimate. It’s track was outward from Earth- taking a layman’s tour of our solar system as it became accessible by coincidentally calculated orbit.
After near-space tours of Earth’s moon, Venus, and Jupiter, Cassini was en-route to one of Saturn’s moons named Enceladus. By this time it was 2005, and Cassini had already discovered three new moons of Saturn, tested General Relativity and made countless other minor discoveries leading to better understandings of our close corner of the universe. Keep Reading
Being the nerd that I am, a good percentage of my Christmas gifts were books. Since I’m always on the hunt for good books myself, I thought it would be cool to share a few of my gifts on the chance they’ll provide a spark for somebody else.
501 Bento box lunches.
My family knows I’m interested in both cooking and Japanese culture, so this one wasn’t a big surprise. I totally dig the idea that even something as mundane as packing a lunch deserves the care and attention to detail that bento requires. If you ever feel bored, remember you could be doing a better and more interesting job of even the small things.
100 Classic Graphic Design Books
I wanted this book to be amazing. It turned out to be only good. I share it just so you don’t get suckered in by the cover like I did. It’s a good book, but mostly it’s just a bunch of pictures of spreads that are too small to really do any justice. You’ve been warned.
The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams
I’m near obsessed with Apple hardware, and it’s common knowledge that Jony Ive, Apple’s lead designer is obsessed with Dieter Rams. This book is an incredible tour through Rams’ amazing design portfolio. Early sketches, great interviews, and tons of photography. Keep Reading