February 23, 2011
Quick, Switch to iTunes
Which is which? Apple's icon design is awfully blue and round lately. I still have trouble identifying iTunes in the app switcher while I'm working.
July 09, 2010
Top 10 iOS Apps for Designers
My friends at HOW Magazine asked me to write up my picks for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad apps for designers, which is now posted at HOWdesign: "Top 10 iOS Apps for Designers". The list includes essentials such as OmniGraffle for iPad and ColorExpert, as well as utilities such as GoodReader and 1Password Pro. You'll also find a bonus 11th app, just for fun!
September 10, 2007
TidBITS Redesign Is Now Live!
This has been a long time coming, and now I'm happy to announce that the redesigned Web site for TidBITS is now live. The backend was built by Glenn Fleishman, I did the graphics and HTML/CSS, and publishers Adam and Tonya Engst herded Glenn and I.
We'll be talking more about the redesign in TidBITS in the coming days and weeks, so I won't go into much detail here. But I want to defend myself a little before the Web designers out there and say that the priority was on shipping, so the CSS and HTML isn't as clean as it should be (and it's not quite 100% valid with the W3C's validator); but that will be rectified as we go along.
The last time I did any significant Web design work was when we used tables to do layout (plus a bunch of other ugly hacks). Glenn and I even wrote a 1,000 page book about Web design using Adobe GoLive way back when. Doing the TidBITS site was a clear revelation: there are no tables that aren't comprised of actual tabular data; it's all CSS; and CSS is really a wonderful thing.
June 12, 2007
Web Design for Print Designers - Resources
My second presentation at the HOW Design Conference was "Web Design for Print Designers." Here are a list of resources I mentioned.
My apologies if you looked for this last night; I ended up crashing hard at about 9 pm (the first night I've slept more than about 5 hours in too many days)!
- A List Apart, great resource for Web designers.
- Article: "Quick CSS Mockups with Photoshop" by Casper Voogt
- CSS Zen Garden, site that really demonstrates the power of CSS.
- Joe Clark's Web site, a rich resource for accessibility information.
- PDF Enhancer, by Apago (for the woman who asked about ways to deal with large PDF files online).
Thanks again to everyone attended the session!
June 11, 2007
Wrangling Fonts Presentation Links
At the HOW Design Conference today, I gave a presentation called "Wrangling Your Fonts." Here is a list of resources that I mentioned (or didn't mention but found useful).
- "Avoid the Most Common Mac OS X Font Mistake," by Sharon Zardetto Aker; TidBITS, 2006-05-29
- Take Control of Mac OS X Fonts, by Sharon Zardetto Aker (electronic book).
- Take Control of Font Problems in Mac OS X, by Sharon Zardetto Aker (electronic book).
- Real World Mac OS X Fonts, by Sharon Zardetto Aker (physical book version of the above ebooks, if you prefer paper).
- "The Mac OS X font managers review," by Dave Girard; Ars Technica, 2006-12-28
- Smasher, by Insider Software. Opens old font suitcases and breaks them up into new suitcases for better font management.
- Suitcase Fusion, Extensis
- Font Doctor, Extensis
- Linotype FontExplorer X
- FontAgent Pro
Thanks to everyone who came to hear me speak!
July 27, 2006
Patron Saints of Graphic DesignDesigner W. Lynn Garrett has identified the six Patron Saints of Graphic Design, with beautiful accompanying artwork (which you can purchase). No surprise, Saint Anxieté ("Martyr, Patron of Impossible Deadlines & Foamy Coffee") is one of my favorites:
This thirteenth-century domestic servant worked for two generations of the wealthy Asap family, who were often annoyed by her.... Deeply in love with the Duke of Starbucks, Anxieté was tragically martyred at the age of 45 when trampled by a herd of cattle while chasing after the King of Fedex to hand him a package. Heartbroken by her death, the Duke put her relics on display in his small coffee shop where they were said to make people extremely stressed out & had to be subsequently removed. Her Latin name means "She who ought to take up yoga."
June 27, 2006
I hit Slate just now and see that they've done a redesign; a horrendously bad redesign. I thought at first that the CSS stylesheet hadn't yet loaded, but that's the new look.
September 26, 2003
I'm drooling at the design, the implementation, and most of all the thought that went into the new offices for Fog Creek Software, as related by Joel Spolsky in Bionic Office. How often do you see something and say, "Wow, they really get it"? Beautiful.
February 22, 2003
The cabin where we stayed on our vacation last week, called Siskun Song, is gorgeous. "Cabin" almost feels like the wrong word, since this is really a nice large house that's rented out as a cabin. The main room features wood floors, a high angled ceiling lined with fir or pine, and lots of big windows that look out on the snow-covered surrounding woods. There are three bedrooms in all, including a master bedroom that feels like a cabin by itself. I can't find anything that states when the place was built, but it can't be more than two years old. It's been great to simply hang out, read books, cook meals, visit with our friends Mark and Salle, and generally relax.
The architect and designers clearly spent a lot of effort on furnishing and decorating the whole place. The towel bars and toilet-paper holders in the bathrooms are all hand-hewn metals shaped like branches and leaves; the slate tile backsplash in the kitchen matches the slate floors and shower surrounds in the bathrooms. However, there are a few examples of poor design that stand out, perhaps because the rest of the place is done so well, that I can't help but comment on.
For one, the gas fireplace in the main room is controlled by a thermostat mounted around the corner on another wall. After trying every switch in the room to light a fire, I called the proprieters of the cabin who suggested the thermostat. To make it work, you have to move the switch all the way to the right (past 80), which lights the flame... or rather, sometimes lights the flame. It finally caught after about 12 tries the first time I used it. Turning the thermostat down, which I can only guess is meant to control the intensity of the flame, just turns the fire off. So in addition to this new fireplace not working very well, it's inscrutable to turn on in the first place.
Another example is the shower: it's a work of beauty, with copper-colored slate floor and walls, a custom glass wall, and attractive brushed-metal hardware. There is no door -- you enter at the right side of the glass wall, then stand behind the glass to be under the water. But first, you must turn the water on, and the only place to do that is directly in the water's path: unless you have extraordinarily long arms, you're guaranteed to get blasted with cold water! The shower controls should be on the opposite wall as you get in.
A saving grace in the bathrooms is that they feature heated slate floors. Now this is a luxury I could appreciate. However, unless they're on in the morning already (I can't tell if they come on automatically or not), it takes a few hours to heat up. By that time, you've already showered, dressed, and gone snowshoeing. The alternative is to leave the heated floors on all the time, which is a waste of electricity.
I know these are quibbling matters, and that they're small in the overall scheme of things. Believe me, I'm not complaining! It's just that I see things like this and wonder, Didn't they notice this when building the house? Were these conscious decisions, or just tradeoffs?