– iA Presenter turns presentations on their head. Its text-based interface cuts creation time to a minimum. The design engine automatically adjusts the design of your slides to your phone, PC, or projector aspect ratios. Presenting itself is fun, like Karaoke.
– Emoji spread from text messages into everything we write. Headlines, list items, email subject lines... Your text is boring? Add an emoji! Trying to increase the response to your newsletter? Add an emoji! Making a list? Add an emoji! Adding emoji always works. Right?
– No matter how many times developers compare their apps to coffee... apps are not coffee. The question is not: How many coffees does an app cost. It's: How many apps does a cup of coffee cost? And the answer is: Apps are not coffee but coffee machines.
– People sometimes ask us "What tricks do you designer guys use on your Macs that I don't know of?" We don't know what you don't know, but there are a couple of general tricks using macOS that you might not all be familiar with.
– As the success of design has become measurable, it has transformed a handicraft into an engineering job. Not the master designer but the user is the arbitrator of good design. The key performance indicator is not beauty but profit. As financial and technical performance was gained, beauty left the stage. Now it feels like something is missing.
– You may have heard that the best way to deal with the “information overload” is to switch off your devices. To take a break from the Internet. Go for a run. Roll out the Yoga mat. Read a book. Talk to your friends. Switching off is good advice. But eventually, you’ll be back. How about changing? Changing from passive, to active. From scroll to search, from react to rethink, from like and retweet to write and link. Take the power back.
– Language has the power to make us understand others, to feel like others through time and space. To almost become someone else. Used as tool, computers can help us amplifying the use of language. But if we talk to them alone, they can extract understanding for commercial use and make us die a little.
– Everybody that has an interest in influencing public opinion will happily pay a handful of Dollars to amplify their voices. Governments, political groups, corporations, traders, and just simple plain trolls will continue to shout through bot armies—as long as it is so cheap.
– Step by step, Facebook has cut the news from its feeds. Yesterday, they confirmed that they will focus on content from friends and family while de-emphasizing news. How come? A brief history of the odd partnership between Facebook and the news industry and what it means for us.
– You may have read or heard that the ideal paragraph consists of one thought. Clearly, there are various ways to begin and end a thought. One way is to start with a claim or topic sentence, offer examples for your claim, explain how your examples support the claim, repeat the claim in the light of the examples, and build a bridge to the next thought. It is not clear if the ideal paragraph has five, six, seven, a maximum or a minimum number of sentences, as it is not clear what one thought is, where or how it begins, and where or how it ends. On second thought, one could as well argue that every sentence consists of one thought.
– Artificial Intelligence is a complex riddle for all sorts of experts. It’s full of magic, mystery, money, mind-boggling techno-ethical paradoxes and sci-fi dilemmas that may or may not affect us in some far or near future. Meanwhile, it already shapes our everyday life. Things already go wrong. And no one is responsible. What can we do?
– The excerpts from recent Alan Kay emails are a gold mine. The text itself is a raw cut-up from a series of private emails. Kay argues that fundamental innovation and following objectives run counter to each other. Very much like art, fundamental research needs to be free from objective purpose.
– Monospace is the typical choice that communicates writing. With iA Writer Duospace, we went a step ahead. After seven years of offering no font options to write, iA Writer now comes with a choice. Next to the monospace Nitti you will now find a brand new duospace font. Duospace?
– “Only write when you have something to say.” It’s short and sound advice. Like “Think before you speak.” But, how do we know if we have something to say? Something to say *to whom*? Is there some other way than speaking to find out if we had something to say? Is there a formula?
– To spice up our monster essay on icons, we created an icon monster shooter arcade game. Planned as a one week hackathon, it turned into an amazing one year adventure. Here is what UX designers learned creating an arcade game.
– In the classic era of word processing, text was born between MS Word and a printer. Today, it is written and edited on multiple devices and apps, then mailed, printed, copied, pasted, annotated, published, RSSed, shared and re-shared, using all kinds of tools and platforms. Stubborn proprietary file formats fail in this frantic new environment. Plain text does better, but lacks Rich Text’s formatting. Markdown could be our golden gun. If only it looked a little shinier!
– Icons sparen Platz. Icons sehen schick us. Icons geben einfache Antworten auf nervige Fragen wie: Kann man das alles etwas etwas frecher machen? Wie können wir da mehr Marke reinbringen? Womit peppen wir den Entwurf nun noch auf? Icons sind praktisch. Icons sind ein Segen. Wir ♥ Icons. Bis zum Wahnsinn.
– Icons save space. Icons look crisp. Icons give quick answers to hard questions: How do we make it nicer? How can we brand it? How do we make it more fun? We ♥ icons. Until they start messing with our minds.
– Will information technology affect our minds the same way the environment was affected by our analogue technology? Designers hold a key position in dealing with ever increasing data pollution. We are mostly focused on speeding things up, on making sharing easier, faster, more accessible. But speed, usability, accessibility are not the main issue anymore.
– To get a good perspective, we start our projects with research. We go mobile first for prioritization, and we want all the content first so we can design in the browser… Unfortunately, the reality of web design follows a different stereotype.
– Everybody likes logos. Everybody wants their own logo. Everybody wants to make their own logo. Everybody has a computer and some fonts. Anybody can make a logo. What makes designers think they are so special?
– Im allgemeinen Sprachgebrauch ist «Digital» all das, was mit Computern zu tun hat. Aber was hat heute schon nicht mit Computern zu tun? Der Unterschied zwischen digitalen und analogen Geräten verschwimmt immer mehr. Wie sinnvoll ist es noch, von «digital» im Unterschied zu «analog» zu sprechen?
– Since iA's work is informed by its presence in Europe and Asia, The Verge wanted to know our thoughts on the differences between the two, and in particular where he sees the state of Japanese design right now.
– How do you deal with erroneous tweets? Not any erroneous tweets, your erroneous tweets. The tweets that you misspelled or, worse, that contain information you later discover is false, or a late night knee-jerk response you regret in the morning.
– When we built websites we usually started by defining the body text. The body text definition dictates how wide your main column is, the rest used to follow almost by itself. Used to. Until recently, screen resolution was more or less homogeneous. Today we deal with a variety of screen sizes and resolutions. This makes things much more complicated.
– Our call to question the common practice of blindly adding social media buttons to every page got a lot of attention, and found many friends across the board. This proves we are onto something. Let’s look at some of the more critical reactions.
– Promising to make you look wired and magically promote your content in social networks, the Like, Retweet, and +1 buttons occupy a good spot on pretty much every page of the World Wide Web. Because of this, almost every major site and brand is providing free advertising for Twitter and Facebook. But do these buttons work?
– Werkzeuge sind Verlängerungen des Körpers: Die Brille ist eine Verlängerung des Auges, der Hammer eine Verlängerung der Hand, der Hut eine Verlängerung des Kopfhaars. Was ist ein Computer? Die Verlängerung unseres Geistes? Steve Jobs meinte, der Computer sei ein Fahrrad für den Geist. Eine schöne Vorstellung. Wenn man aber schaut, was insbesondere das Mobiltelefon mit uns macht, dann wirkt der zeitgenössische Computer eher wie ein Hamsterrad.
– With the chaos of different screen sizes and a new generation of web browsers, the design paradigms of layout and typography have shifted away from static layouts and system fonts to dynamic layouts and custom web fonts. Screens are changing not just in size, but also in pixel density. Now we need not only responsive layouts, we also need responsive typefaces.
– There is a difference between checking Google Maps on your iPhone and asking a stranger for directions. It matters whether you listened to Beethoven’s 9th in a concert hall or in your living room, whether it plays from a vinyl LP or from your iPod. King Lear is not the same experience when seen at the theatre, studied on paper, or scanned on a Kindle.
– Interview with William Channer for DRT, focusing on “the importance of keeping interfaces simple, why current websites are complicated and the pitfalls of research and why it's a good starting point to understand user expectations.” This is the unedited transcript of the interview.
– Der Geschäftsleiter eines grösseren Medienunternehmens hat mich kürzlich nach meinem Standpunkt zum Thema Pay Walls, diesen Online-Bezahlschranken gefragt. Worauf ich, wie üblich, mit Schema-F antwortete: Die Grundwährung von News-Websites sei die Aufmerksamkeit und nicht Moneten.
– Ich weiss ganz genau, was wir hier bei iA machen. Der Kollege, den ich vor einem Monat nach langer Zeit wieder einmal traf, der wusste das nicht. Wie er mir erzählte, hatte auch das eingehende Studium unserer Webseite daran nichts geändert.
– I'm not a nuclear expert. I am a 40-year-old Swiss web designer, with a degree in philosophy, living in Tokyo. And I'm a father of a two-year-old boy. I was nonchalant about nuclear energy so far, but recently, I've read a lot about it; it's hard to understand the discussion.
– We're tracking the performance of iA Writer with a wonderful app called AppViz from ideaswarm. AppViz not only allows you to track your own sales—you can also use it to evaluate how much other apps make, if you have comparable sales numbers. My first question was: How much does WIRED make?
– How do you navigate content on the iPad? Scroll or flip? In 1987, the biggest neck beards in tech held a conference on the Future of Hypertext and there were two camps, “Card Sharks” and “Holy Scrollers”. They had an epic battle over this question: Should you scroll or flip pages on the screen? Who won the fight?
– Do architects design houses or do they design “inhabitant experiences”? The bullshit answer is “They design inhabitant experiences”. The pragmatic answer is: “They design houses”. The cautious answer is: Architects design houses that lead to a spectrum of experiences, some foreseen, some not. But they do not design all possible experiences one can have in a house.
– «Das Buch wird niemals sterben.» In der englischen Simultan-Übersetzung klingt es fast wie «wir werden immer reiten und brauchen keine Autos». Doch der italienische Redner eines wissenschaftlichen Fachverlags ist sich seiner Sache sicher.
– First, the paper magazine was crammed into the little iPad frame. In the form of a PNG slide show. To compensate for the lack of interactive logic, this pretty package was provided with a fruity navigation.
– Hier ist unsere nächste Web Trend Map. In diesem Jahr gibt es keinen Metro-Fahrplan und auch keine Internet-Adressen. Stattdessen zeigen wir die 140 einflussreichsten Twitter User mit #Namen, #Alias, #Kategorie, #Einfluss, #Aktivität sowie wann und was sie zum ersten mal getwittert haben.
– Interview von Ulrike Daraghma und Pascal Jeschke für Design Made in Germany. DMIG «wollte wissen, ob es die perfekte Webseite gibt, ob Online-Nachrichten-Magazine eine Zukunft haben» und wie wir uns «die Zukunft von Text generell vorstellen.»
– Over the last two months we have been working on several iPad projects: two news applications, a social network, and a word processor. We worked on iPad projects without ever having touched an iPad. One client asked us to “start working on that tablet thing” before we even knew whether the iPad was real.
– From December 2006 to February 2007 we were in touch with the product manager of Facebook. The prospective: Redesigning Facebook. Eventually. Since the contract was never signed, we kept our designs in the drawer. Until now…
– It’s one year since our last Web Trend Map. A lot has happened, but there are not enough changes in the landscape of domains in the last 12 months to create another domain-based Web Trend Map. The big changes happened one level higher, on the social layer, that is: On Twitter and Facebook.
– Am diesjährigen Media2010 Event in Sydney wurden Marc Frons (CTO, New York Times), Nic Fulton (Thomson Reuters) and Oliver Reichenstein über die Zukunft der Nachrichtenindustrie befragt. Die beiden Hauptfragen lauteten…
– Last week at Media2010, Marc Frons (Chief Technology Officer, Digital Operations, New York Times), Nic Fulton (Chief Scientist, Thomson Reuters), and I were asked several questions on the future of news…
– Am 12. Januar 2010 meldete Google in einem Blogeintrag wie ein Blitz aus heiterem Himmel, dass man eine "neue Herangehensweise" an China ins Auge fasse. Man sei nicht weiter bereit, die Suchresultate der chinesischen Google-Suchmaschine zu zensurieren.
– What makes Japanese design so special? Basically, it's a matter of simplicity; a particular notion of simplicity, different from what simplicity means in the West. So are things in general better designed in Japan? Well, actually, it's not that simple…
– When confronted with the necessity of offering news for free, editors are quick at pointing at the cost involved in news production. Which of course is beside the point. Information on the Internet is as common as snow in the arctic. You can't expect Eskimos to buy a snowman.
– Recently, there has been a quality renaissance in the discussion about the economic future of journalism. While some are still touting the one miracle solution (usually alluding to Google’s business model and success), a lot of ideas have arisen that will probably make up for the economic future of journalism as a whole. Time for a summary.
– Eine fertige Website weist zahlreiche Aspekte eines Hauses auf. So lässt sich das Treppenhaus (sagen wir die obere Navigation) oft nicht mehr verschieben, ohne dass die Mieter (sagen wir eine Partnerintegration) gestört werden und das Fundament (sagen wir Drupal oder Typo3) bestimmt die Stabilität und das Entwicklungspotential des Gesamtgebäudes mit.
– In einem Nachmittag zusammengeflickt war die erste Web Trend Map, die zweite kostete uns eine Woche und die dritte verschlang bereits einen ganzen Arbeitsmonat. Die Web Trend Map Nummer 4, erscheinen soll sie im Februar 2009, hat bereits jetzt mehr Vorbereitungszeit in Anspruch genommen als alle ihre Vorgängerinnen zusammen.
– With websites turning more and more into web applications, functionally as well as aesthetically, it'd be interesting to look at what makes a Web app work in terms of skinning. We start off by comparing two different approaches: HTML-skin vs. desktop-application-skin. In other words, Google versus Apple.
– A 14-year old video blogger named Fred somehow managed to get a fan base of almost 45 Million users. Now instead of asking how that's possible, Seth Godin and Robert Scoble trivialize his success. Did they forget what Elvis said?
– We had to be unusually secretive about the following developments. But now, we can finally lift the curtain. First, the big news project is finished. Second, we have opened a second office in Zürich, Switzerland.
– The IT-Revolution promised to free and enrich us. To free us from propaganda, to free us from mindless TV, to free us from advertisement torture, and to enrich us by letting machines do all the boring work so we'd have more free time. So, how did it go?
– We are happy to announce that the coolest gift for geeks, the A0 poster of the 2008 Web Trend Map, as featured by The Guardian, WIRED, Le Monde, Corriere, kottke, Boingboing, Techcrunch, Mashable, Valleywag and literally thousands of blogs.
– ここに、ついに2008年度版Web Trend Mapを披露させていただけるときがやってまいりました。私たち渾身の、栄光のベータ版です。今回は300件近い有名な、または影響力の大きなサイトをピックアップし、東京首都圏路線図に配置してみました。そして、前回より多くの方のご要望をいただき、ポスターのサイズもA3からA0へと大きくしました。ご自宅や、オフィスのワンポイントに、自信を持っておすすめさせていただきます。
– We present you with the 2008 Web Trend Map, in all its beautiful beta glory. This time we’ve taken almost 300 of the most influential and successful websites and pinned them down to the greater Tokyo-area train map.
– Those familiar with the new Swiss train station maps may recognize one source of inspiration. We’ve adopted some concepts from our good friend Adrian Schaffner’s work on mapping Swiss train stations.
– The release of music for free online is certainly no new thing, with many bands finding success through file-sharing. That fill-sharing kills the record industry is also nothing new, however Radiohead recently made it official by showing that it's possible the make and reach millions without either.
– We have hated this thing for over 12 years now—the button that launches a pull-up menu. Only the twisted minds over at Redmond could come up with this. Yeah, I know it's not a real "Start" button anymore, with Vista it's become more of a clickable logo like the Macintosh one. But, after all this time, it is still a push-up menu. And that is another major branding crime. Why?
– A company may choose to rebrand itself because of a merger, a bankrupting scandal, or because they simply have outgrown their name. These are solid reasons; however, on the web, rebranding should be considered with the caution of a face transplant.
– The last couple of days we have received some excellent feedback on our article “Washington Post Redesign as a Wiki”. First of all, thank you to everyone who took the time to study our problem and form an opinion. To be able to receive input from the best people in the field is rare and rewarding. We got lots of applause, together with some questions and reservations.
– News organizations cannot continue to ignore the global shift from institutionally-controlled media to user-controlled media. They have to redefine their processes and face the obvious question: Do we still need old media for news?
– You often hear people saying that other people understand or don't understand the media. Funny enough that the appreciative "he/she understands the media" is applied to success in old media, while "he/she does not understand the media" is applied to old media people fumbling with the Internet.
– You should read Mike's latest article several times. Not because it's hard to understand, but because it's amazing stuff. Read it again and again and then read through a whole series of his related articles.
– Yes, we still get requests from people that want us to work for free or deliver comps and sketches “just to see”. And we did some work for tire kickers in the past and once got really screwed by a couple of con-men. So actually we do have some advice for young creative companies and students that work in our field.
– Since the PR giant Edelman and Technorati are working together they are both trying to become an industry reference for statistics on the blogosphere. The question is how reliable is Technorati’s data?
– Web 1.0 started as a streaming publish-to-read medium; web 2.0 has established itself as a publishing platform for everyone. Now web 3.0 is said to be a technologically advanced Internet, where the user executes and the machines do the thinking.
– If you have a website that is not user friendly, you have an unfriendly website which basically means that you lack manners. The specialists use that word (“user friendly”) so often that they forget that “friendly” actually is an ethical term.
– Last Sunday, they started airing the "Hello, I'm a Mac… and I'm a PC" ads here in Japan. And here's a surprise: they're different. The Mac guy isn't particularly cool and the PC guy is a real "salary man" type. The ads aren't as obvious as the Western originals.
– When people ask me about my background, they're confused. I studied philosophy. How come I do web design? In short: The old Greeks brought me here. What can Internet workers learn from the old Greeks?
– An avalanche of comments, hundreds of applauding blog entries, honorable mentions from cooler and more sublime and hotter and higher places, forum discussions, translations in Chinese and partially in Italian and even blunt plagiarism was incited by one of my recent notes.
– In 2001, usability guru Jakob Nielsen—according to USA Today “the next best thing to a true time machine”—was convinced that by 2007 books would be gone and “fully replaced with online information”. Was he being serious?
– Brands make us associate positive values and positive experiences with the products they mark. Brand values are defined by the senior management in the “Brand Matrix”. Coca-Cola recently changed their brand matrix. Are we soon going to associate other things with Coca-Cola?
– All things have an interface. Shaping interfaces is shaping the character of things. The brand is what transports the character of things. When looking at McDonald’s, iPod, or Nintendo DS it becomes quite obvious that the interface *is* the brand.
– 95% of the information on the web is written language. It is only logical to say that a web designer should get good training in the main discipline of shaping written information, in other words: Typography.
– Simple websites are easy to use, easy to understand, nice to look at. In practice, websites are either unusable or ugly and filled with too many words. Why do designers have a hard time to keep it simple?
– The Internet business took a hard hit around 2000 after the tech bubble burst. To call yourself an “Internet agency” or even an “Internet startup” was considered nothing less than masochistic. That is when most Internet companies started to get into “consulting“ and “branding” and “marketing”.
– We now have over 75 million websites we can go to, but still we only visit six of them regularly, as we just learned from a study recently made public by Directgov. Their findings make us think of a new phase of the Internet.
– Your website is more important for your company and its brand portfolio than your business card, your brochures, the products you sell, your packaging, the address and the building your company resides in.
– As an information designer the interfaces we currently work on—no matter whether Apple or Windows—bother me. Yes, OS X looks a lot better than its predecessors, and Windows’ upcoming rip off of OS X looks better than the previous rip off.
– Whoever performed any usability tests knows that users look at the content straight away. Users first look the pictures, then at the titles, then at the text. Navigation often gets completely ignored. In my seven years of conceiving websites and monitoring usability tests I am tempted to say that navigation is useless.
– Internet users can give websites a thumbs up or thumbs down in less than the blink of an eye, according to recently published study report. Nature.com and Wired recently reported on the fact that we pass judgement on a website in less than a second. This sounds like good news for web designers. Is it?