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.
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.
This weeks catch-up topic was about film title design, a much loved topic which made me reminisce a wee bit about my uni days.
Film titles designs were kicking off again in the 90s in a big way. You'd almost go to a movie just to see the amazing title designs that were produced by the likes of Kyle Cooper. Se7en, of course, being a talking point for weeks for most in my class. People in Type in Motion 1 would try and replicate the effects (with varying levels of success - this was around the same time when I decided type in motion was too much of a laborious process for me to indulge in).
Gattaca is one of the first titles that clearly stuck in my head, particularly after watching the movie a second time and realising what the elements were. The title is cleverly based on the initial letters of the four DNA nitrogenous bases (adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine) and during the credits the letters G, A, T, and C are all highlighted.
I love looking back at pre-computer generated sequences - to me they have a lot more mystery and awe. Soylent Green is a classic one. Sequence editor Chuck Braverman, known for his flash frame kinestasis montage/films, opens director Richard Fleischer's film adaptation of Soylent Green with images of the building up and crumbling of society. Fantastic scene setting for the movie, which has had a significant cultural impact, and many parodies and mockeries stemmed from it.
TV series title designs
Lately, TV series opening sequence design has really been hitting the mark. Just take a look at this years Emmy nominations for "Outstanding Main Title Design" - it's great to see Imaginary Forces (founded by Kyle Cooper) is represented twice in this category, with Boardwalk Empire and Rubicon.
Game of Thrones, my personal favourite opening sequence, is also on the list. GoT is actually the first sequence i've heard non-designers talk about recently – if you don't know about GoT, seriously, get into it.... "Winter is coming."
I've been a bit lazy, just posting a few screen caps instead of videos... mainly because I have to get this post up by 5pm, or buy the crew lunch on Monday. One day i'll go back through and hook up the videos.
However, if you want more, make sure you visit the art of the title site, where you'll find the complete compendium and leading web resource of film and television title design from around the world. They honor the artists who design excellent title sequences, discuss and display their work with a desire to foster more of it.
This weeks Inspiration Thursday topic was cool apps. Here are a few that we looked at!
- LetterMPress. Part of MPress Interactive, this cool app comes with a pre-loaded 13 typefaces as well as five art collections. You can use it just as you would a letterpress, and you can email/facebook the art quickly too.
- Sleep Cycle. A bio alarm clock that senses your movements and wakes you right when your sleep is lightest.
- iBrainstorm. A collaboration between your iPad and your iPhone. Design something on the iPad, flick it over to your iPhone. It's that simple.
- Ruler. How many times have you wished you had a ruler with you? Well, this app turns your iPhone into a ruler!
- Cellar. Keep a note of how many wine bottles you have, in the Cellar!
- Photovine. Take a photo, and 'plant it' in this app. Then watch it grow as your friends continue the chain.
- G-park. This app is perfect for those forgetful car-parkers.
- Sweet talk. Handy when you want to disguise yourself ;-)