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Archive for May, 2005

Last night, I added a pop-up bubble to the RSS link at the top of this page (see
question mark icon). I based this on Jeffrey Veen’s posting from yesterday, “The Usability of
Subscribing to Feeds”
. The pop-up bubble is still a work in progress but it
should help the average user get started. Please feel free to provide suggestions
for improving it.

RSS is still in its infancy. I have to remind myself of this since I’ve been using it
everyday for over a year. We, as designers, must take into consideration the
average visitor when designing web sites. We should strive to keep things simple
and RSS, in its current state, is not easy to understand without help.

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Rok Hrastnik over at Lockergnome posted an interesting article on RSS
metrics. These are early results but they look very promising for eMarketers.

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Last week, I discovered the work of William McDonough as I was searching the
web. For those of you unfamiliar with who Mr. McDonough is, he designs
environmentally friendly buildings. This may sound similar to the thousands of
other designers and architects that claim to do the same but McDonough takes a
very different approach.

McDonough’s approach to design is one he calls “cradle to cradle”. The idea
behind this approach is to create reusable items which once you are finished
with, can be upcycled and reused as if it had never been used before. A great
example is McDonough’s own book “Cradle To Cradle”. It is made of reusable
plastic resin pages and ink. Every piece of the book can be used again without
any of it going to a landfill. The best part about this is that the reused items are
no different than the first time they were used. There is no weakening of the
plastic resin and the ink is as good as new.

Where McDonough truly excels is through is architectural design. He creates
structures that fit in with the environment rather than destroy it. The Gap
Corporate Office in San Bruno, CA is a great example of his work. The roof of
this structure is made of ancient grasses. These grasses help dampen the sound
of jets taking off at the nearby airport and they filter the rain water providing a
habitat for local wildlife. This only one example so I encourage you to read more
about his other designs.

The reason I find McDonough so fascinating is that his environmental approach
is very different from what we have all been taught to think about environment
friendly design. We’ve been told over the years that there are trade-offs to
environmental design. The truth is that there are no trade-offs. McDonough is
proving that by using nature as our model we can have a healthy lifestyle and
industrial growth without destroying the earth.

There is so much that we can learn by studying how other designers solve very
different problems from our own. There aren’t many similarities between
McDonough’s environmental design and web design but studying his approach
has taught me knew ways to approach my design concepts.

Additional Reading:

Read Full Post »

Last week, I discovered the work of William McDonough as I was searching the
web. For those of you unfamiliar with who Mr. McDonough is, he designs
environmentally friendly buildings. This may sound similar to the thousands of
other designers and architects that claim to do the same but McDonough takes a
very different approach.

McDonough’s approach to design is one he calls “cradle to cradle”. The idea
behind this approach is to create reusable items which once you are finished
with, can be upcycled and reused as if it had never been used before. A great
example is McDonough’s own book “Cradle To Cradle”. It is made of reusable
plastic resin pages and ink. Every piece of the book can be used again without
any of it going to a landfill. The best part about this is that the reused items are
no different than the first time they were used. There is no weakening of the
plastic resin and the ink is as good as new.

Where McDonough truly excels is through is architectural design. He creates
structures that fit in with the environment rather than destroy it. The Gap
Corporate Office in San Bruno, CA is a great example of his work. The roof of
this structure is made of ancient grasses. These grasses help dampen the sound
of jets taking off at the nearby airport and they filter the rain water providing a
habitat for local wildlife. This only one example so I encourage you to read more
about his other designs.

The reason I find McDonough so fascinating is that his environmental approach
is very different from what we have all been taught to think about environment
friendly design. We’ve been told over the years that there are trade-offs to
environmental design. The truth is that there are no trade-offs. McDonough is
proving that by using nature as our model we can have a healthy lifestyle and
industrial growth without destroying the earth.

There is so much that we can learn by studying how other designers solve very
different problems from our own. There aren’t many similarities between
McDonough’s environmental design and web design but studying his approach
has taught me knew ways to approach my design concepts.

Additional Reading:

Read Full Post »

Pheedo has posted its “Best Practices for RSS
Advertising”
. This is based on their experiences and metrics so it’s definitly
worth reading.

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The New York Post had an article last Tuesday regarding the decline in mass media.

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MarketingSherpa released an article
on Friday discussing RSS and how it is not an email replacement.

I agree that right now RSS should not replace your email campaigns. However,
RSS over the next few years will surpass email by providing higher conversion
rates and open rates. Marketers should supplement their current email
campaigns with measurable RSS campaigns. Once RSS is integrated into
Internet Explorer, the amount of people using RSS will vastly increase. You want
to be ahead of this curve and be prepared to take advantage of this before it
happens.

Marketing is about building relationships with your customers. The best way to do
this is through RSS, not email. Email, like cold calling will not go away, however it
will not be the primary online marketing distribution channel once RSS usage
expands.

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I’m not sure why it took me so long to start designing with larger font sizes and
varying line heights but now that I do it, I’m not going back.

Now, judging by how many sites continue to use small fonts and the standard line
spacing, it looks like we have a long way to go before all designers make the
switch. With the help of contacts/glasses I have very good vision. The problem is
that most of my work is performed on a laptop. Laptops don’t have the flexibility
that a monitor offers which makes it difficult to view web sites for 6 to 8 hours per
day. Now let’s factor in all the people out there that don’t have very good
eyesight.

Can we all make a pledge to stop designing sites with font sizes of less than
10px and line spacing of 100%? The minimum font size that I work with now is
11px, mostly 12px and up, and I try to balance this out with at least 150% line
height. Using these guidelines will greatly improve the readability and usability of
the text on your site.

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How long will it be before we can type a friend or family members name into
Google and have their location displayed on Google Maps?

Today, Google acquired Dodgeball.com, a social networking
service which allows you to tell your friends where you are through text
messaging. It will be facinating to watch this segment over the next few years as
Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and several others battle it out. The greatest impact
will be on the younger generations and it is sure to produce several new
advertising opportunities.

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image12345707.jpgHugh at gaping
void
caught my attention with this cartoon. It’s a great summary of today’s
business world. What’s even more intriguing about this blog entry is the link to his
collaborator, Sig’s, software project
“thingamy”
. It’s difficult to tell how far along this project is but version 2 is in
early beta.

So many companies are caught up in processes and structure that it’s difficult for
their employees to listen to customers and evolve the business to their needs. All
of the acquisitions over the years haven’t helped either. I look forward to seeing
the fruits of Sig’s labor.

Check out Sig’s blog. It’s a
refreshing read.

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