Early Adoption – iPad

consumerism, good design, Industrial Design, Marketing, user interface design

As much as I’d like to get excited about the iPad I am trying to wait and see. Several times a year new gadgets are released and people go gaga over the potential they offer, rush out and purchase them, then lament the flaws they discover after using theses as yet untested devices.
As much as companies test their products it’s only in daily use that many flaws can be found. Repetitive daily tasks, various use cases, unusual routines, and mass usage all play out scenarios the manufacturers (and software developers) can’t even imagine. This is the elusive nature of humans and the tools we use.
So here’s the deal with me and the iPad. I want one but I don’t want to figure out all these issues for Apple. I know it will be a good product but I don’t know if it will be good for me. I have specific things I want it to do, but I’m as unique as the next person, and I can’t be sure that there was an engineer with my unique use patterns to play out all the flaws that this device will have for me. I’d love to have a portable sketchpad, movie watcher, note taker. But I don’t know if it will work as a sketchpad for me, it might. So I’ll wait and play and read and let the market solve these problems before I invest in this new technology.

CSS 3 and web standards

CSS, Firefox, good design, IE, Safari, standards, web design

I don’t know about anyone else but I’m so excited about CSS 3 and web standards that I’m not even waiting for Microsoft to catch up. Heck four out of five of the most popular browsers on the market support CSS 3 so why wouldn’t I? The time it saves in producing sites is amazing. No more nested divs and sliced up images just to make rounded boxes. I’ve been using CSS for a few years now and can’t say enough good things about the results. My whole blog is built on standards. But since I’ve be employed at my present job I’ve neglected my own blog. It’s getting to be that time again and I’m getting the itch to redo this site ( and another site I started working on) in full HTML and CSS 3. So stay tuned, I’ve got big ideas running around in my head.

Web design presentation at Taylor Street Elementary

education, Flash, good design, Graphic Design, Sacramento, user interface design, web design, web development

Today I did a presentation on web design and design process to my daughters’ gate classes. It was an exciting opportunity to offer their classes some insight into the exciting world of design and learning new technologies.

So for any of the kids at Taylor Street Elementary reading this… I enjoyed speaking with you today, and look forward to learning with you again.

Sleeping with the enemy – I am running Windows 7

bad design, good design, Microsoft, reliability, review, Uncategorized, user interface design, Vista, Windows, Windows 7

I never thought I’d see the day when I would upgrade past Windows XP, but it is here. Windows 7 RC is nice; it is almost bug free, fairly well organized, supports Direct X 10, and seems to support most of my hardware. Additionally, I felt no growing pains with my current level of RAM, and system resources. It seems to be the best of XP and Vista put together. But here’s the downside…

Handcrafted CSS – and letting go of pixel perfection

bad design, Browsers, CSS, good design, IE, reliability, review, standards, user interface design, web design, web development

Handcrafted CSS Book CoverHandcrafted CSS, the latest contribution of Dan Cederholm to the world of Web Design and Development is a fantastic book! To say that I’m a fan of his work is a bit of an understatement. No web designer or developer should be without these books; Bulletproof Web Design, Handcrafted CSS, as well as Designing With Web Standards, and DOM Scripting. These books are fantastic resources, and push web development out of the dark ages of table based layout, css hacks, and duplicating sites for each browser version. But there is a particular philosophy the makes Handcrafted CSS special.

Wow! I love my iPhone…

blogging, good design, google, review, user interface design

What an amazing tool. The iPhone is such an enabler. I am writing this blog right now from my iPhone. I never would have thought that something like this would be this easy. At this point I can check email, write my blog, keep in touch through IM, social networks, oh and make phone calls.

The one thing I’m learning to appreciate is good design and development. Some of the applications I’m looking at are just not not very well thought out.

The real consideration needs to be me, the end user. What does the customer have to do to accomplish their job? If the developer can’t walk in the user’s shoes more likely than not the product will not do it’s best to aid the user in their task… Doing their job. So does that mean that the developer has not done theirs?

I think this is the challenge that all developers must accept. Their success or failure is in how well the product accomplishes it’s goals. My first goal as a user interface designer is meeting the user where they are, not where I want them to be. Know the task, understand the user, and always strive for the elegant solution.

I think I picked a fight with Fred Showker

bad design, education, good design, Graphic Design, user interface design, web design, web development

I have participated from time to time on the DT&G forums. Mostly to get feedback on site designs, and to provide suggestions to other designers. I got this flippant comment on my design by somebody named fred. (I didn’t capitalize his name, because he didn’t) I chose to respond, by asking them to back up their claims with examples.

Where is web design today?

bad design, Flash, good design, google, Graphic Design, review, SEO, user interface design, web design, web development

Many people now rely on the web as a source for their lifestyles; research, maps, gossip, movie rentals, shopping. Now that this tool is so heavily used I thought it would be good to think about where it started, and where it is today from a design perspective. In the early days websites were pretty horrible to look at, lots of blinking, flashing things, dancing hamsters, BIG FONTS, red text on black backgrounds etc… (I could go on, but I know some of you are already getting nauseous. Thankfully most of the world wide web has moved past designs like these:

Adobe Captivate V2 and V3 Review

bad design, Flash, good design, reliability, web development

Getting back to design and development topics I thought it would be valuable to offer my insight on this product. Being a courseware developer over the last 11 years or so, I’ve worked with a lot of tools. For most courses developing in either HTML, or Flash or a combination of both is my preferred method. It offers a vast amount of control and creativity. These methods do require a higher level of skill in web development, animation, and scripting but the results are well worth the cost. On the other hand Adobe Captivate offers some flexibility and a relatively easy learning curve for developers, and instructional designers and can result in a very professional result. Here’s my take the good, the bad, and the ugly.