Perhaps we are fetishising physical things because our digital creations are social media junk food:
It’s easy to fetishize Brutalist buildings when you don’t have to live in them. On the other hand, when the same Brutalist style is translated into the digital spaces we daily inhabit, it becomes a source of endless whinging. Facebook, for example, is Brutalist social media. It reproduces much the same relationship with its users as the Riis Houses and their ilk do with their residents: focusing on control and integration into the high-level planning scheme rather than individual life and the “ballet of a good blog comment thread”, to paraphrase Jane Jacobs.
Scott points out a really big problem with the current state of the “internet of things”: everyone is inventing their own proprietary walled-garden infrastructure instead of getting together to collaborate on standards.
The single biggest fallacy I want to blow up is this utopian idea that there is this SINGLE thing called ‘The Cloud’. Each company today reinvents their own cloud. The Cloud as a concept is dead and has been for years: we are living within a stormy sky of cranky clouds, all trying to pretend the others don’t exist.
If, like me, you’ve been using the “export to SVG” plugin for Fireworks and then opening up the resultant file to trim it down, Josh has got you covered: here’s a version of “export to SVG” that will result in much slimmer files.
A beautiful piece by James on the history of light as a material for communication …and its political overtones in today’s world.
What is light when it is information rather than illumination? What is it when it is not perceived by the human eye? Deep beneath the streets and oceans, what is illuminated by the machines, and how are we changed by this illumination?
A lovely description by Paul Ford of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol.
That simple handshake is the firmament upon which we have built trillion-dollar cathedrals and bazaars, the base upon which we construct other protocols and networks.
Trent hammers home the point that the kind of compartmentalisation that’s traditionally been part and parcel of the web dev workflow just won’t cut it anymore.
Sorta sci-fi from Adam.
Consider this a shooting script for one of those concept videos so beloved of the big technology vendors.
I find it hard to agree with any part of this. To me, it shows a deep misunderstanding of the web—treating the web as just another platform, without understanding what makes it so special.
I think I may have found my polar opposite.
The hilarious obsession with file size is the start of my frustrations with the web community.
I like these design principles for server-side and client-side frameworks. I would say that they’re common sense but looking at many popular frameworks, this sense isn’t as common as it should be.
The latest Clearleft product will be like having an intensive set of discovery, collaboration, and exploration workshops in a box. Perfect for startups and other small businesses short on time or budget.
It starts in Spring but you can register your interest now.
A nice write-up of the Responsive Day Out with all the right take-aways.
I remember a talk and discussion at SxSW a few years back about trying to improve the efficiency of trade networks by making them more web-like: there are ships full of empty cargo containers, simply because companies insist on using the container with their logo on it. I really, really like the idea of applying the principles of packet-switching to physical networks.
But here’s the hard part:
The technology is not a problem. We could do it all in 10 years. It’s the business models and the mental models in people’s minds.
This was the crux of Elliot’s excellent talk at the Responsive Day Out. I heartily concur with this:
Once you overcome that initial struggle of adapting to a new process, designing and building responsive sites needn’t take any longer, or cost any more money. The real obstacle is designers and developers being set in their ways.
This year’s TeleGeography map of the undersea network looks beautiful—inspired by old maps. I love the way that latency between countries is shown as inset constellations.
Some handy tips for simulating slow network speeds on your machine.
I, for one, welcome our slime mould overlords.
The slime mould is being used to explore biological-inspired design, emergence theory, unconventional computing and robot controllers, much of which borders on the world of science fiction.
Here’s a really useful case study for anyone who wants to do “guerrilla” responsive design: when you’re handed a fixed-width mockup but you know that responsive is the way to go:
I started by styling up every element, without layout. The result was a fully elastic layout that effectively served as a mobile, or small screen, layout, which just needed some tweaking of horizontal spacing.
Bingo! And this approach had knock-on benefits as it “supported writing component-based, or modular, CSS”.
I love seeing the process behind responsive projects. This one is particularly nice.
It’s all about the signalling.
A peak behind the scenes at the responsive design and development workflow at Bearded. It makes a lot of sense.
This is quite an astounding piece of writing. Robert Lucky imagines the internet of things mashed up with online social networking …but this was published in 1999!
A nice look at some possible ways to approach workflow on a responsive project.
Amen, Lyza, Amen. Instead of treating web development for the multitude of devices out there as an overwhelming nigh-on-impossible task, let’s accept the fact that there are certain things that are beyond our control. And that’s okay.
Let’s build on the commonality core to the web where we can. To do this, I think we need to let go of a few things, to lay down our burdens.
Related: do websites need to look the same in every browser? NO!
Andy’s talk from the Smashing Conference in Freiburg.
Excellent! Scott has his own URL now. If you haven’t read everything he has written so far, start from the start and read every single post.
A beautiful sight: the digital and the physical interacting through glowsticks.
A short piece on the experiment that James conducted with Lighthouse in the foyer of the Cleareft office building, trying to show some kind of physical representation of coding.
Some more thoughts on how our workflow needs to adapt to the current ever-changing device landscape.
Those articles about the “Internet of Things” I linked to? Here they are in handy Readlist form.
A really fascinating analysis by Jason into the apparent disparity in web browsing between Android and iOS devices: it turns out that the kind of network connection could be a big factor.
I don’t agree with everything in this presentation—there’s a nostalgic bias to the non-existent “good ol’ days”—but this is still very engaging and thought-provoking.
Everything Frances has written here resonates with me.
I don’t really want a label. I hate labels. I loathe the term “user experience designer”, because I still believe that “user experience” is just a fundamental to what you’re doing, and shouldn’t need stating. There is nothing but user experience design if you’re building products for people.
I think Derek is on to something here. Maybe online communities and profit are simply incompatible?
The bigger you go, the harder the road. Meanwhile, small, focused, and yes, exclusionary community sites flourish.
You know what? I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.
Andy remarks on the same synchronicity I talked about at An Event Apart Austin:
Every An Event Apart conference feels special, but at this one the (unplanned) recurring themes were spooky.
Leisa nails it. The real stumbling block with trying to change the waterfall-esque nature of agency work (of which Clearleft has certainly been guilty) can be summed up in two words: sign off.
And from a client’s perspective, this emphasis on sign-off is completely understandable.
It takes a special kind of client to take the risk and develop the level of trust and integration required to work the way that Mr Popoff-Walker any many, many other inhabitants of agency world would like to work.
This resonates a lot with me. It also hits very close to home: at Clearleft, we’ve definitely been guilty of taking the wrong approach as described here.
Josh writes about the importance of using rules and systems as tools without being bound by them.
Now you can proudly sport a Pixelworkers T-shirt of England’s finest seaside geek town.
Vannevar Bush’s original 1945 motherlode of hypertext.
I thoroughly agree with Lea’s approach. It’s all about the craft.
A co-working space in Brighton combined with a crèche: such a great idea!
I’m really pleased to be working with Bobbie on Matter.
Robin Sloan compares Facebook and Google in an interesting way:
Really, Facebook is the world’s largest photo sharing site—that also happens to be a social network and a login system.
Google is getting good, really good, at building things that see the world around them and actually understand what they’re seeing.
One developer shares how his workflow has changed thanks to responsive design. It’s insightful.
Paul interviews the team behind Kiwibank’s responsive homepage. There are some great insights into their process here, like the way that copywriters worked side by side with developers.
The video of the panel I moderated on device and network APIs on the second day of Mobilism in Amsterdam. It’s not quite as snappy as the browser panel (which, given the subject matter, is unsurprising) but it was still good fun.
This amuses me. I am amused.
This seems like an eminently sensible thing to do when building responsive sites: ditch mock-ups entirely. The reasons and the workflow outlined here make a lot of sense.
This is interesting, not because it’s yet another grid framework (which I never use anyway) but because of the way it’s doing layout: with border-box and inline-block, rather than floats. If you’re only serving up your layout styles to browsers that support media queries (which would discount older versions of IE anyway), this could make a lot of sense.
Albert-László Barabási and Robin Dunbar are among the authors of this paper — it’s the scale-free network equivalent of the Avengers.
Mark has put together this rather excellent prototyping tool. It’s basically the V from an MVC system. You can easily move stuff around, change data …all the good stuff you want to do quickly and easily when you’re prototyping in the browser.
I like Cennydd’s thoughts on the fundamental difference between skill and process:
Skilled people without a process will always find a way to get things done. Skill begets process. But process doesn’t beget skill.
The slides from Andy’s one-day responsive design workshop are well worth a perusal.
The video of my talk from Webstock, all about wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff like networks and memory.
Jeff documents some of the techniques he’s using to tackle responsive design, with some tips specifically for SASS.
Elliot jots down some of the issues discussed at the responsive summit.
Josh goes through the talking points from the recent Responsive Summit he attended. Sounds like it was a great get-together.
Pixelworkers have relaunched with a very nice responsive design.
Jonathan gives a thorough overview of the various tools and frameworks out there to help build native, hybrid and mobile web apps. He also shares his decision-making process on when to build what.
Steven Johnson describes the beautifully chaotic way that ideas collide and coalesce. Oh, and this bit…
Listening to Cerf talk about the origins of the Internet — and thinking about the book project — made me wonder who had actually come up with the original idea for a decentralized network. So that day, I tweeted out that question, and instantly got several replies. One of those Twitter replies pointed to a Wired interview from a decade ago with Paul Baran, the RAND researcher who was partially responsible for the decentralized design.
That reply on Twitter was from me!
This post from Maciej might initially seem negative but read it through to the end: there’s a very powerful positive message.
Toby’s write-up of the workshop I led for the Build conference. I enjoyed myself so it’s immensely gratifying to know that the attendees did too.
Roll up, roll up! Get five nights food and lodging at a fantastic luxury horse ranch in the Rockies in March.
Oh, and myself and Aaron will be running workshops on progressive enhancement for you during that time too.
A framework for banging out ready-made responsive designs.
A nicely-designed project to highlight everyday life in a three-week period in England in 1943 by imagining how four people would have used Twitter.
A very honest post from Meagan that I can relate to (and Jessica too, I suspect).
Reminiscences of the BBSs of yesteryear that could in time be applied to the social networking sites of today.
A great piece by James on the architecture, aesthetics and perception of datacenters.
A set of default styles to get started on a mobile-first responsive design.
A wonderful reminder by Kevin Kelly of the amazing interconnected world we live in, thanks to network effects.
I, for one, welcome our autonomous swarming robot overlords.
Samantha gives the rundown of a hands-on use of Style Tiles.
I’m usually not a fan of CSS “frameworks” but I like the thinking that’s gone into this fluid, responsive system. I particularly like this advice:
Take it apart, steal the parts that you like, and adapt them to your own way of working.
A pitch-perfect parody of people that peeve.
A wonderful post by Trent Walton on the thinking and workflows we can employ with responsive design. So many opportunities!
Web designers will have to look beyond the layout in front of them to envision how its elements will reflow & lockup at various widths while maintaining form & hierarchy. Media queries can be used to do more than patch broken layouts: with proper planning, we can begin to choreograph content proportional to screen size, serving the best possible experience at any width.
Stephen and PPK are taking their two-day mobile workshop on the road, including two dates in the UK (one of which is Brighton!). There’s a welcome emphasis on testing.
On the two-year anniversary of his arrival at Clearleft, Paul takes a look at where the craft of web design is today and where it’s heading tomorrow.
A profile of those whacky Brooklyn Studiomates.
I am very fond of this T-shirt that Ethan designed.
Kevin Kelly asks “What is a book?” and provides some thought-provoking answers. There’s some inspiring crystal-ball gazing in here.
Present day Austin Kleon gives ten pieces of advices to past Austin Kleon.
Freaky stuff. If you’ve seen Kevin Slavin or James Bridle talking about the increase in property prices on Wall Street as the buildings get closer to the network hub …that’s nothing—these are the new centres of world power; places where the speed of light interferes least with the speed of transactions.
On Public Objects: Connected Things And Civic Responsibilities In The Networked City.
A brave and probably unpopular stance; could it be that the fundamental technological bedrock of the internet needs to change to avoid the seemingly-inevitable rise of walled gardens?
Here’s a gem from the past: a thoroughly fascinating and gripping interview with Paul Baran by Stewart Brand. It’s thrilling stuff—I got goosebumps.
Paul has created a site for tracking usage of the BBC’s GEL (Global Experience Language) visual design language. Nice’n’responsive it is too.
Paul has some further thoughts on self-hosting bookmarks while trying to retain the social aspect.
This is exactly why I always choose the combined queue in Waitrose even if it looks longer than the queue for a single till.
Paul explains why he won’t be moving from Delicious: the social network is too valuable.
I really like this idea for connecting cities to the papernet.
A neat little experiment in replicating classic 80s albums using CSS.
Leonard has some handy tips for protecting yourself against Firesheep and its ilk.
Ethan shares his thoughts on the role of the reference design in the responsive workflow.
Responding to Malcolm Gladwell's recent piece in the New Yorker, Jonah Lehrer argues that the strength of weak ties *does* extend to social activism.
A well-argued piece by Malcolm Gladwell on the relative pros and cons of weak-tie networks and strong-tie hierarchies ...although, as always, Gladwell relies on anecdotes more than data to make his point.
A fantastically detailed look by Michael at the evolution of the design of Chewbacca.
Colly shows the results of his dConstruct workshop: great stuff!
Yes, yes, yes: "A PSD is a painting of a website.” We don’t spend weeks or months understanding a client’s complex needs and issues to make them paintings.
This looks like being a thoroughly excellent event at The Royal Society, featuring Tim Berners-Lee and Albert-Laszlo Barabasi.
A response to Tom's "Either you've shipped or you haven't."