There comes a point when you’re slicing your fingers to ribbons on the back of your phone where you think “A) Why on earth did they make it out of glass? and B) I needs me a new phone.”
Honestly, though, it was the potential radiation leak I imagined upon seeing the rare earth elements dangling out the hole at the bottom that prodded me to upgrade (for just a small fee. You know, a small one).
So the little mobile nuclear reactor has been retired, and I’m dolting my way around the iPhone 5. I’ve never been so excited to see my contacts.
I’m less excited that our historic collection of iPhone adaptors is rendered useless by the new pin style. I’m guarding this cord with the vigilance of…someone super vigilant.Read More »
“Have fun blogging for the man, you whore!” sang my husband as he left for work this morning.
“Damn right,” I rejoined, curling up with my laptop, my tasteful birch IKEA USB stick packed with photos, and a cup of coffee.
Winnipeg’s Really Big Deal, the arrival of IKEA, is finally a reality tomorrow night. In advance, the clever PR folks at IKEA had the media (both old and new) at a private pre-shop replete with champagne, Mise chefs serving meatballs, and a handsome discount for excited-but-trying-to-pretend-they’re-not shoppers.
I’m very impressed with the level of attention to the blogging community IKEA’s PR is paying. And I do mean paying. The swag bag, handed out to each exhausted shopper as they departed, was packed with an appealing palette of treasure (including delicious chocolates, thoughtful napkins to deal with the aftermath, tealights & pretty holders, and full foamy-coffee paraphernalia. And like a whole lamp and a lightbulb).
Does the actual media get a payday like this all the time? Refocusing career on retail journalism!
But smooth marketing-to-the-marketers aside (except for that “vending machine in City Place” thing today. Can you ever tell a Toronto agency is placing these things.), the store is going to be a real resource for designers. Like my architect, Clayton of Design-Built, who came with me. We purchased 5 PAX units for our upcoming Wolseley renovation, and finally got to interview gleaming kitchen appliances in person.
The basic pieces of a home—stylish, modern kitchens and bathrooms, lighting, book cases like the gorgeous gloss-white EXPEDIT, shelving, and flooring are finally available at a great price point, in person, for Winnipeggers designing their homes. This is sooo huge.
Ordering these kind of things online can be a nightmare—EXPEDITs are double their cost to ship here, and you want to test the quality of large-ticket items like kitchen cabinets in person. Having the help of installers, planners & delivery all in our own city is going to make renovating our home so much sweeter and easier. It couldn’t be better timed.
And for the guy who unfollowed me on Twitter because I’ve become a corporate shill, let me tell you how much having access to good design in Winnipeg means to me.
In our first appartment, Kevin & I paid a fortune to ship BRODER and EXPEDIT shelves to start our lives together (in an organized fashion). When we got married, we marked the move to our new house (our first house!) with a road trip to Minneapolis for IKEA. When we got pregnant with our first daughter, we did it again—sooo uncomfy, that drive while enormously pregnant. But we needed a SNIGLAR crib. When our twins threatened to arrive, I was too huge to make it to the States, so our cousins in Calgary went to IKEA for us & got what we needed to welcome the babies.
IKEA has been a huge part of every big-deal life moment in our family, at an inconvenient & expensive distance. Finally, it’s here. I’m no shill. I freakin’ love this place
Oh, and on the topic of regional swagger:
“I literally got tears in my eyes when I saw the big sign glowing warmly over Sterling Lyon Parkway.
I’m sure you know this but it means a lot to a certain swath of Winnipeggers that IKEA is here. Deep down we know it’s all about a land deal or something, but to us it means IKEA believes in us, in our love of design.
You’re probably rolling your eyes so hard right now. But it’s the complement to the swagger the city felt when we got the Winnipeg Jets back. It’s good for our self esteem “Read More »
I loved it until the last slide. To me, Microsoft is doing just the same and the greco-roman architects by referencing a design pattern from the past.
Piet Mondrian thought that his sub-division styleshould be applied not only to painting, but also to other design, including city design. I always hated Mondrian’s dry design and sided with Dali (“Piet, niet!”).
But I dunno. Is it historicism or just a coincidence? Grids make rectangles. I’m not sure Microsoft could help it.
Updated: Lest you think I think Windows 8 is an example of good usability.
I’m just noting that they’re leaving behind the leather & drop shadows and striving towards something cleaner. Perhaps all that torn paper & leather biding makes things a little less confusing after all, eh?Read More »
So here’s the lecture that came out of last week’s research. I’m open to feedback/criticism & if I got something glaringly wrong, do tell.
The higlight for me was likening the 20th century Modernist architect’s rejection of historicism to Windows 8′s blowing past Apple with its cute little flat rectangle design. Can you believe the Villa Savoye was designed in 1928?!Read More »
After you’ve thought about something a lot, you stop wanting to think about it. Like eating half the dough before you bake the cookies.
& then I found this on teh Internets. My sentiments exactly. Read More »
Let’s chew on this example.
So does the functionality/purpose of the object matter? If it’s flooring which once used the strength of wood, is it a skeuomorph? Is the metaphor here that the case is as strong as wood? Why is that different than the floor being as strong as wood?Read More »
I want to teach my interactive class about the current design discourse around Apple’s famous “skeumorphic design” (referencing real-world textures like leather and wood). The more I delved into it, the more confused I became about the difference between true skeuomorphs and mere visual metaphors.
So. I’m still a little puzzled. Here’s my open letter, originally written to Dr. Dan O’Hara, but which I now publish here in the hopes that anyone may offer me clarity.
Howdy Dr. O’Hara,
I’m still struggling with understanding the difference between skeuomorphs & visual metaphors (as they pertain to interaction/UI design). I’m teaching a class at our college that includes it next semester & I really want to know what I’m talking about
I understand what was said yesterday about interfaces not truly being able to be skeuomorphs because the design is newly made, so nothing is actually held over from a previous design. @MachineStarts gave human fingernails/hair/appendix as his favourite type of examples of true skeuomorphs, because they had evolved to become somewhat useless.
However, if you think about the telephone, the previous design was a physical object with a rotary interface, and later a button interface. The iPhone is a next iteration of that design in a broad sense (“the telephone”). Therefore, holdovers in its general design (say, “buttons” organized in a grid like a push-button phone used to have) “survived the evolution” from the previous design.
If we use the Oxford Dictionary definition ”derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary to the original”, the *buttons in the iPhone keypad interface are skeuomorphs, aren’t they? They represent a physical button layout that the previous design, from which they’re derived, used. The grid of buttons isn’t strictly necessary on the UI, but it’s a convention so the designers use it & don’t explore a new layout for the digits. (*This might not be the best example ever but I’m using the phone for sake of clarity: it has a direct predecessor in the physical world).
What I’m saying/asking is: by your definition, I can only wrap my head around biological skeuomorphism. When I turn to physical objects, I can’t understand how they can be skeuomorphs because no industrial design every physically, actually evolves into the next iteration of itself. When people give the example of “nonfunctional screws molded into a plastic item” or “faux woodgrain on laminate flooring”, I’m confused how those can be skeuomorphs when, just like your UI examples, a designer put them there in reference to the original (they weren’t forced upon the object by evolution). By your definition are these things not skeuomorphs?
I’m tempted to suspend insistence that the strict definition of skeuomorphs limits them to biological iterations and accept that digital interfaces are the true next generation of thing like calculators—a better example than phones because they’ve left their physical body behind entirely—and that as such they can be skeuomorphs because they carry design conventions with them that aren’t mere metaphor. Am I right or wrong?
These are the gaps in my understanding:
Thank you for any clarity in this matter.
- Are true skeuomorphs only biological?
- If not, what are some examples of genuine physical skeuomorphology?
- If you apply a retro look to something (like Instagram to photos), is that skeuomorphic? Or are they visual metaphors?
- What is the difference (in UI design) between a skeuomorph and a visual metaphor? Is the Mac garbage can a metaphor? Or a skeuomorph? Or a skeuomorphic metaphor?
By now your SUPER EXCITING catalogue and your cute little “wish list” card has probably arrived on your doorstep. I love that they hyphenated our name. That takes balls. Of the Swedish meat variety.
I imagine they do this in every market, but I’m impressed at the extent of the brand introduction in aid of making the retail experience smooth. If you follow the link on the little wish list, you’re whisked away to a friendly little page with a map, social contact info, and assurances that your catalogue should it be yet absent, is on its little way to you soon.
They’ve even designed a whole little booklet to introduce noobs to the IKEA lingo & retail methodology. The warm repetition of “Winnipeg” in the copy makes you feel quite welcome. The brand is making every effort to be inclusive, not exclusive. This not only feels nice, it’s user experience as branding that carries out IKEA’s commitment to democratized design.
They touch on furniture quality, which people who haven’t made the trip to Minneapolis or Calgary might question, and the level of jobs they’re bringing to Winnipeg. The copy cleverly addresses Winnipegger’s major mental obstacles to embracing the brand.
On the social media front, IKEA’s reached out to bloggers like me to invite us to a private preshop (with cocktails! and discounts!), giving us permission to photograph the store before it opens and spread the awesome. I RSVP’d so fast I almost broke a nail.
And in the awareness category, outdoor advertising is running that extends the saucy tv campaign about that couple doing it in the kitchen (in this case lamps that will turn you on), more quality assurances, an extension of the “learn IKEA” marketing with a MALM quiz, and general hype for an amazingly designed home—the real USP.
My god, non-dumbed-down ad copy with a nod & a wink. I feel designed to already.Read More »
Melancholy book trailer for Disappearance of Darkness, about the shift from analogue to digital photography.
I spent my thesis year of art school—a typical sunless Winnipeg winter—in a darkroom, and I got pretty bummed by the end of it from lack of vitamin D. I don’t miss the darkroom at all.Read More »
Can’t wait to someday sport the ‘New Media Glasses’ the really hardcore screen-squintin’ Winnipeg folks wear.
Here I am at the #NMMunveil event sitting on a desk beside Red River web instructor Ilse Dyck, absorbing the announcement while somehow enduring the nearby glare of fellow Red Riverian Kenton Larsen. Who indeed sports the aforementioned New Media Glasses.Read More »
The brilliance of the Brilliance: New Media Manitoba’s strategic focus on mentorship, coworking & sales.
Happy to squeeze into today’s New Media Manitoba press conference! To make up for RSVPing late, so I arrived (mighty) early. I was first, in fact. Which means I got the freshest coffee.
NMM presented ideas for a bright digital future of the Peg, subtitled The Brilliance of Exchange—a reference to both the physical heart of the new media industry and the exchange of ideas & energy that comes from creative collaboration.
Did you see my totally cute husband Kevin in there? Squee!
Anyways. I’m glad someone’s been working on a bird’s eye view of this whole situation. Kevin Hnatiuk & the gang at NMM have been measuring the local $38.8m scene & helping us set some goals. A strategic direction focussed on sales, collaboration and mentorship will benefit our city’s new media industry and the economy as whole.
Mentorship—specifically the molding of job-ready new media grads from our univserities & colleges—hits home with me as I take on the new challenge of teaching Interactive Media at Red River College.
Soft skills, which contribute to getting along in a professional environment, design polish, user experience design, wireframing and prototyping will be some of the areas I touch on.
What skills do you want to see in new graduates?
I’m super proud of this project because it helped a few people, and because my partner in crime on this one was my super talented husband, interactive producer Kevin Glasier. We won 2 awards at the Signatures for the idea & it was nice to be recognized for something we did together ❤Read More »
A recent (nonscientific) study by the Media Behaviour Institute shows that people who work in marketing and media make more thorough use of these delivery channels than people who, say, herd alpacas professionally.
This is useful to consider with regards to advertising. Advertising on television still matters, though thanks to the audience fragmentation wrought by the DVR, broadcast ads have less reach and product placement and sponsorship are on the rise.
But don’t think this means “the average person doesn’t use the internet” and that focusing on this channel isn’t critical. 80% Canadians are “online”, and the rest are probably at present just too darn remote from a piece of fibre optic. Facebook recently hit the billion user mark. That’s a larger user base than any product except perhaps air and potable water. (more…)Read More »
Could not agree more with Farhad Manjoo‘s Stop Pagination Now: Why websites should not make you click and click and click for the full story. Thanks Alyson for sharing.
Farhad misses beefing about the worstest worst part of the scourgey scourge that is the paginated web: the horrific mess it makes on your phone.
Take a look at a link I recently tapped—not clicked—on Facebook, and how the slideshow renders on my phone:
I wasn’t even sure what I was seeing, but I really wanted to read this stupid content. So I persisted. Later, checking it out on desktop, its design was lovely:
The mobile experience of a paginated slide show is really just so bad. Often:
- the slideshow images and/or navigation get cut off
- worse, the captions get cut off, leaving you contextless & confused
- you’re loading pages on your data plan, where every k counts
- you’re loading pages on a cell connection, where speeds may suck
- you’re zoomed in, not even seeing the stupid banner ads the technique is meant to expose you to
So besides the obviously offensive intentional waste of user’s time for the sake of advertising, paginated slideshows just don’t play well with the soon-to-be-dominant platform.
Of course, when mobile domination is total, sites will have to serve optimized pages & hopefully slideshows will be addressed as part of that. But in the mean time, ugh.
Sometimes your USP (“unique selling proposition”, or the one thing you think makes you stand out from all the noise) isn’t what you are, it’s what you aren’t.
Got a cheap vinyl product? Well hey, at least it isn’t made of totally offensive leather! Creative thinking when it comes to your downsides can make lemonade—vegan lemonade—out of the sourest of lemony products.Read More »
Methinks no marketing copywriter oversaw the development of this photo uploader. Bit of a harsh choice of words where “stop” or “whoa there” would’ve sufficed.Read More »