We’ve incorporated our blog into our new website. Same unique combination of posts about chocolate and bicycles, design and architecture but in a shiny new wrapper: brainstormoverload.com/blog We hope you’ll drop by and linger as long as you like.
Exactly two years ago I was designing an application interface for Creed Interactive’s client Frank N. Magid Associates. This application scrapes the internet and compiles trending news items. It was so successful the client patented it and we just found out that MSNBC is now using it to fuel Meet The Press. They call it the MTP Political Trend Tracker and even introduced it on the show (not that you can really see the design). Of course BrainsotrmOverload is already world famous so this is no big deal to us but we thought you might like to know.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 has been the bane of interactive designers and developers for a decade. A quarter of my life marred by the phrase “We can’t do that (insert cool idea) it isn’t supported on IE6.” At last the United States can apparently boast a level of user sophistication sufficient to drive IE6 penetration below 3% and a death watch has been established by… wait for it… Mircosoft. Huh? Well, to be fair The Internet Explorer 6 Countdown doubles as an effort to move remedial intergooglers to version 9 which would be an improvement – though I’d encourage you to switch to Firefox, Safari or Chrome instead. That said the countdown is a nicely designed info graphic and Microsoft is to be congratulated for taking the extra step to clean up their mess. Perhaps more to the point this site constitutes a data source for a pretty legitimate counter-argument and solution to lowest common denominator design and development decisions championed by clients fearful of alienating users stuck in the way back machine.
P.S. China, what’s up with 34 percent? You’re vigilant about pirating the latest versions of Microsoft Word… IE9 is free and they want you to have it. Push the update button.
They’re not asking for your time or money and you are welcome regardless of the type and amount of riding you do. In fact all you need to do is hit this url http://www.peopleforbikes.org/page/s/pledge and pledge that you are for bikes. Whether you race regularly or only use your bike for fair weather grocery runs we will all benefit by uniting in a shared voice.
Minnesota is currently ranked 8th in pledges. It’s not a competition of course but this is an easy opportunity to demonstrate why MN is home to Bicycling Magazine’s top Bike-Friendly City. After you’ve pledged take a minute to share your story and spread the word using the links to Twitter and Facebook… or go nuts and post a blog entry. Then skip out of work early for a ride in the gorgeous fall color.
I remember enjoying math in school and grew up to become a good little modernist who savors the mathematical implications of layout design. However staring into the headlights of an oncoming deadline is not the time I want to discover an error in the numbers underlying a layout. This is where Gridulator rides to the rescue like a digital cavalry grinding out the hard work so I can enjoy the spoils. This fabulous tool makes it easy to experiment with grid systems you might never have thought to try which can bring a freshness to your work just when you need it most (cue cavalry again). Gridulator is the product of David Sleight – aka Stuntbox which in the spirit of the web I recall fondly from the early days he has generously shared. (Cue anti net neutrality, proprietary, corporate profiteers… who get crushed by the aforementioned digital cavalry in a blaze of righteousness).
Not too long ago The FWA was the primary source of influence for interactive design. HTML has made up a tremendous amount of ground on Flash in recent years with HTML 5.0 promising even more innovation. As The FWA has responded by focusing on the elite an abundance of sites curating collections of excellent css based designs have sprung up to sustain the insatiable appetite of the designers in the trenches. We’ve mentioned here previously MNimal, PatternTap and RefreshStyle and are delighted to ad Screenfluent to the list. We’re pleased to be a part of the collection.
When you work for a big agency you sort of have to take the projects that come your way but it has been really exciting to be steering BrainstormOverload in directions of personal interest. Recently we’ve been working on projects in the cycling, athletic, landscape architecture/urban planning and environmental arenas.
This recently completed project for Automated Logic Corporation falls into the last category. It runs as a kiosk rather than online and it’s the first design work we’ve done for delivery on high definition screens (1080p) which was interesting – also the first touch screen design which was even more interesting. This application called Eco-Screen (built in Flex by Creed Interactive) will be displayed nationally in the energy efficient and LEED certified buildings in which ALC installs super efficient environmental controls.
We were striving for a sophisticated skin that would look and function in a cool way while on display in these high-tech lobbies. Inspired by the iPhone GUI everything is very tactile and dynamic. Modules respond to user input and the graphs are all generated from live data about each building’s energy usage. Layers of each graph can also be turned on and off by the user. This project got even more interesting when the first installation turned out to be a grade school in Texas requiring a skin that is much more icon driven (screens 4 and 5). The entire project was an exciting challenge and ALC was terrific to work with so we wanted to share the results.
It’s hard to believe after almost 20 years of designing and over 35 years of cycling that nary the two have met. Needless to say, when the agency Lindsay, Stone and Briggs (LSB) based in Madison, WI contacted me to design the new website for Saris I was elated. Saris makes racks for consumers as well as parking and storage solutions for institutional clients. LSB and Saris have been wonderful to work with. The new (and if I do say so myself) improved saris.com has just launched and while few designs survive development unscathed I’m still as excited as when we began and eager for the next cycling+design combination.
Actually, I guess I’ve started the next one by volunteering to help the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition with a logo and website as we work to make Saint Paul as cycle friendly as Minneapolis (We’re way behind Minneapolis but I guess that’s why they aren’t called the Identical Twin Cities.) More on SPBC soon.
The 2010 UnSummit is an alternative, “unconference” for those in the interactive profession. It is being held on June 26th with the stated goals of “full participation, full dissemination and free admission — all the things that traditional conferences are not.” You can register here. The event will be held at the CoCo – Coworking and Collaborative Space in Saint Paul’s Lowertown district. This is perfect because CoCo is sort of an UnOffice.
I’m still a little unsure about what is going to happen at the UnSummit but things should get interesting as the group gathers to apply some brain pressure against the community’s collective hemorrhaging. The official theme is “Solve for X. Where X = your problem.” So, unless your problem is fear of open-ended conference themes you should come and participate in the unintended consequences. Hope to see you there.
If you’ve seen enough Arial, Times and Verdana to last a lifetime I’m happy to report that more progress is being made on improving the typographic experience online. Google has joined the open source type crusade with the launch of Google Font Directory. While still in beta part of Google’s effort includes standardizing the experience of type across browsers which means not only readers will benefit but developers have something to fall in love with as well. For more on this topic also see post: The League of Movable Type.