It was almost a disastrous day for Frontend’s Kingfisher friend.
You’ve probably seen him flying around our website, cute little guy..
Simon found him in the middle of Valley Road, cars driving straight over top of him. Simon scooped him up and brought him back to the office.
The Kingfisher sat at the front door in shock, beak wide open, statue like except for the exasperated breathing, not even flinching at our very near proximity. It was cool to see him so up close, but we wished it was under different circumstances.
We wrapped him in a teatowel and sat down to keep him company. SPCA on the way.
Slowly he came out of his shocked – survival mode - state. He closed is beak, slowed his breathing and began looking around curiously. After a few more minutes he was back in action, flying straight out the door up to his common perch on the powerlines.
The Frontend Kingfisher lives another day!
Kudos goes to Simon for making the effort to save this beautiful bird.
Is responsive web the way to move forward?Hi everyone, today's post is just going to be some thinking I've been doing around responsive web
What is responsive web
To keep it simple, responsive web usually refers to a website that changes appearance and sometimes content when viewed on different devices such as a computer or a mobile phone
Smartphones are the most important device in changing our current design / UI / UX thinking. Before we simply had to decide on a layout (fixed versus liquid) and correct cross browser issues, we are now in a situation where we have multiple browsers and screen sizes.
What does this mean?
We now need to make decisions on how we present content across different devices. Before a mobile version of a website essentially just stripped out everything but a simple nav and the text. This ensured it worked across the majority of devices.
Now seeing a stripped down website on a mobile device leaves you feeling shortchanged. On the other hand, not tailoring your website to mobile devices can lead to awkward viewing window where the browser is trying to cram everything into that little space.
What's the answer?
I don't think there is a clear answer right now. Creating a responsive website isn't too difficult but it can mean adding to design and build times on already tight budgets. It can also mean having to rethink copy and whether or not you decided to edit content to suit different devices.
What approach should you take between the stripped down version and not doing anything at all? I would take the nothing at all approach. The reasons being, with this approach you still give put your websites best foot forward, and inbuilt phone browsers allow to you zoom to a point where viewing content is easy enough.
From all this it's still a very interesting time in the responsive web space, and a great time to be an innovator in this space and lead the competition by bring some responsiveness into your current websites
Simon and Brodie - Simon's 40th Rat Pack partyI am sitting on the sofa at work, taking a breather after a year of fun and adventure, for both Frontend and my personal life. Frontend made double figures by reaching 10 years and I turned 40.
We celebrated our 10 year birthday with catered lunch at the bunker, sipping back on a few bottles of Veuve Clicquot. Brodie, my fiancé, and Sandy our copy expert provided a yummy feast for the team. It was great to say thanks to the team who I really enjoy working with every day, in a collaborative way.
I am also excited by turning 40 in November and asking mi more Brodie Reynolds to marry me at my 40th Rat Pack party - what a moment which has left me floating high on a fluffy white cloud.
This year we made a conscious effort to bring in a high level strategic component into our process. This has been key to identify the customer proposition and the gaps and the opportunities, then identify what channels and functions to meet those customers. We have partnered with Kostia Shinderman from Alphero, who's company focuses on digital channel strategy development with a core focus on mobile.
Now we see ourselves delivering across multi-channel from website to iPhone apps and iPad and each having a specific purpose to touch and engage customers at the right time.
Next year we see a huge growth opportunity in creating business apps for smartphones, which needs to fit into the big picture of how you engage with your customer.
So if you are not sure where to start, the best way is to storyboard current and future-view customer journeys, which will help realize opportunities to pursue.
I am very much looking forward to 2012 being a turn-key year for businesses embarking on mobile strategies.
I'll sign off by saying thanks to my team of Corinne Gibson, James Ing, Kelly Milligan, Graeme Dickey, Dan Clausen, Quan-Lin Sim, Rebecca Tansley and Sandy Hirstich and of course our friendly clients, who we enjoy collaborating with.
Smell the roses and have a Merry Christmas with those you love.
What I look like after a few days in the office without sunHi everyone, today's post is just going to be a casual chat about making sure we all look after ourselves and both mentally and physically.
As designers our days are spent meticulously crafting and creating our craft. So dedicated are we to this that we often work to the determent of our bodies. With summer arriving soon it means warmer weather and more hours of daylight. It's a timely reminder that we should also remember to keep ourselves healthy and live a balanced lifestyle that allows us to continue what we love doing for longer.
Get out of your cave
Graphic design is hardly an outdoors activity (excluding 'special' meetings with beer). We often find ourselves inside for most of the day basking in the glow of our monitors. During winter it's not unheard of to get to work before the sun is high in the sky and leave after it's decided it's had enough of hanging around.
Vitamin D is produced in the body from exposure to sunlight. It's no surprise that when Néstle worked along side the University of Sydney they found 42% of their office works were deficient in Vitamin D. What can we do? Simple get more sun. But how? Well the sun is generally outside so I suggest starting your search there (mileage my vary).
Move about, and stretch it out
Typical office worker's neckAnother concern is the amount of time designers and general office work has us sitting down. Our ancestors toiled the fields, built shelters, and hunted dinosaurs (I assume). Though physically demanding, it meant they moved about. Quite the opposite of the modern office worker. Sitting down for extended periods can have all sorts of terrible effects on the body from terrible posture to shortening your life span. What should you do? Take the occasional break, and just walk around a bit and stretch out those muscles. Don't over stretch, but just enough to ease up a bit
Stop thinking about stuff and or things
Find an outlet for stress, else end up like an awesome 90's movie (Falling down)What about the noggin? In many industries such as Graphic design, it's hard to completely switch off from work, even when at home or on holiday (I'm very guilty of this). I've left work stewing over a problem on Friday, only to have it suddenly hit me with a possible solution on a Saturday night (alcohol often helps in this regard). This can be problematic for those around you, as you're never quite out of work mode. There's no one solution I don't think. But I've found finding a new hobby or interest you can invest in mentally helps your brain from wandering back into work mode whenever it gets a chance.
So what should you be doing? I don't know, but I'm looking forward to scuba diving out and about and getting my vitamin D quota
The online space has a weird way of repeating itself. Unlike print, the online space hasn't got hundreds of years of history to look back on. Instead it has a few decades, each with its own little leaps of technology that push the boundaries of what's possible. With each new leap we often find ourselves repeating the past, mistakes and all.
Early websites were designed for a standard monitor size of 640px by 480px. This was the total screen space- we still had to subtract the size for the top toolbar and footer, leading to an even smaller viewable space. Over time monitors have become larger and with it we've seen an increase in usuable screen space.
Generally we design websites for the initial content to fit within a standardized view port of 960px x 600px (-ish). This vertical height represents the 'fold'. The 'fold' is an old term taken from newspapers, referring to the point where the paper was folded in half. Content above the fold is instantly viewable so would be used for the more important information.
Designers initially avoided putting content below the fold as the user often avoided scrolling. The alternative was to make separate pages, so an article may have been broken up into 4 short pages all appearing above the fold. Over time users learned to love scrolling (you probably don't even notice the sound your mouse wheel makes anymore). This change resulted in webpages becoming longer without the worry about content not being seen below the infamous fold.
So what do all of this have in common with today's topic?
"With each new leap we often find ourselves repeating the past, mistakes and all." - James, this very same article.
In the mobile space we've often been limited to much smaller screen sizes. We've had to design pages with tiny dimensions, within a tightly confined space. You end up with lots of little pages with very little content. With the rise of smartphones we now have the chance to design in spaces not too dissimilar to regular websites. Mobile websites are once again trimming down pages and spreading content too thinly. Often it is due to constraints in technology (cost of mobile data, etc), but in my opinion sites should give users the option between a mobile and a regular version. This way it gives the user the power to choose between the full or diluted experience based on their situation.
Smartphones have also given rise to the application marketplace. These apps can range from the light hearted 'band name generator' to more complex apps designed to help people maintain a healthy lifestyle. Apps allow developers to create more complex interactions and animations than mobile websites often can permit. This unfortunately has lead to some developers abusing this system once again.
A few online magazine apps appeared on the release of the Apple iPad that meant that users could subscribe to and download online magazines full of great interactive material, videos and images. This led to extremely large, clumsy apps that looked great. But it also meant these apps have inherited all the problems of old flash websites- large downloads before users can see content, flashy interfaces which make it difficult for users to navigate and have made it hard for developers to update and maintain.
New technologies allow us to push the boundaries of what is possible, often allowing us to refine past ideas. Just remember some old ideas are better left in the past.