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Monthly Archives: June 2015

It’s one of life’s great mysteries, isn’t it? (Red Vs Blue, S1 E01)

Every time I sit down to redesign my website, I think “I don’t really need to mess with this,” and go back to playing FIFA. I don’t claim to be disciplined with my free time. If I’m not working, working, working on my house, or spending time with my family, I have a hard time wanting to do yet more work.

One thing I’ve been thinking about is “why is this website here”? I could show off my work on Dribbble or Behance. I’ve got my Linkedin page up to date.

So why a website? I suppose it’s about vanity. Those services all force you into their methodology, their mode of thinking. A personal website, regardless of profession, is your personal statement. Perhaps that’s too grand, but why else? So. Maybe I need to rethink how I’m approaching this. Maybe it’s not about the work presentation, but my presentation as the primary goal. When I design something for work, one of the immediate question is, “What is the primary goal?” This lets me isolate 2 or 3 key elements to begin with. I think, this time, my primary goal is the section normally labelled “about me” or “cv” or whatever the term-of-the-week.

Links that I’m thinking about:

Kulthouse
Vito Salvatore
Buzz Usborne
Lucas Hirata

Don’t be an idiot. Of course it is, and there’s nothing wrong with someone asking you to build prototypes as a designer. It’s just another way to express your vision, and frankly, way better for it than static mockups. Asking if prototypes are important is like asking if wireframes or user research are important. As projects pass a certain size, learn to love prototyping.

Do all prototyping tools suck? Oh god yes. From Pixate’s lack of support for basic features to the mess that is Origami & Quartz Composer, every tool is still terrible in many unique ways, and NONE of them help you actually build an app. God, I miss Flash sometimes.

QShould designers learn how to code?

ASure.

Do they need to?

I don’t know. When’s the last time you asked a print designer to create a Postcript file or PDF by hand? You never have. At most, your average print designer will do some basic pre-press prior to delivering the files. Then it goes to specialists who will tweak trapping and overprinting. Then it’ll go to plate/press/whatever you want to call it. I might be living in a fantasy land, but the fact that interactive designers even get ASKED this shows how bad the state of our tools are that even the most basic websites can’t be built with GUI-based tools.

To look at this another way, should developers know how to design?

Of course not! Programming at high levels is a specialized skill, best reserved for… oh, yes. Specialists.

Look, this isn’t complicated. Some projects can get by with minimal design work – a basic to-do list app can scrape by with mostly default UI elements. Some design projects SHOULD be able to implemented with automated tools. Some products need a full staff.

QIs flat design bad?

ANo

No matter what Eli Schiff argues, it’s just a style. A reaction to what came before – the green felt abomination of Game Center, the rich Corinthian leather of Calendar, or random cartoon characters in the interface.

badargument4

This is dumb. This? Don’t do this. iOS and Android have plenty of obvious buttons. This is a deliberately bad comparison, because in the right context either is a valid button. Hell, if you don’t think colored text is occasionally viable in a user interface, I think we need to talk about this little thing called hyperlinks.

Don't do this

Actually, I think the Safari and Remote icons are just fine. It’s a question of style. Neither Game Center icon is good. Nice switcharoo on the Facebook icon, though. The actual app icon is relatively unchanged, except for the subtraction of the gloss-thing at the bottom. Also – that’s not the Instagram icon!

Wait, are we defending random cartoon characters in a clipboard UI?

Wait, are we defending gradients everywhere and random cartoon characters in a clipboard UI?

badargument3

Yes! This is a good example!

Flat design isn’t why designers are encourage to code, it’s not why prototyping is important, and it’s not why design careers have the lifespan of a mayfly.

Arguments in bad faith don’t help.

I do agree with Mr Schiff that it’s highly overblown as a design trend, and needs to be de-coupled from our perception of modern design. Everything else? Where the fuck was he when Flash was cool? I have one name: 2advanced. If you know what I’m talking about, you’re cringing inside.