Entries tagged: editorial

Article  |  Studio

Planet Argon Gets an Intern!

8 Apr 2013

Hey! My name is Corinne and I’m excited to introduce myself as Planet Argon’s first intern! I’m currently a student studying art, graphic and web design at Portland State University. I was lucky enough to land an intern position here at Planet Argon.

A large part of my education has been from studying resources on the web. And by “studying” I mean for four or five months I locked myself in my apartment and tried to learn as much as I could about web design and development.

So, as you can imagine, after a while this got pretty lonely. The amount of information out there was daunting. I decided to put my new skills to use and launched a portfolio site in hopes I’d be able to land an internship where I could learn around professionals.

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Article  |  Misc

Don't Let Momentum Define Your Career

1 Nov 2012

I started my career way back in the year 1996, fresh out of college with a Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design. I had spent the past four or so years learning the tools of the trade. Some of these tools were a bit older than others. Computers were starting to come on the scene in desktop publishing in a big way. So, interspersed in my curriculum were classes that represented the old and the new. In one class I might have been hand-lettering the alphabet with brushes and paint while in the other I might have been laying out a magazine-style article with copy and images on a Mac. It was quite the transitional period. However, no matter the technique I was using, be it old or new, the basis for everything was design. I was going to school for graphic design so I fancied myself a designer. It just so happened that design work was now accomplished with a keyboard and a mouse.

Photo by John Altdorfer

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Article  |  Development

Observations of an Android to iPhone convert

23 Jan 2012

I bought a Motorola Droid in the summer of 2010. I wanted a smartphone so I could check my email on the go, replace my aging GPS, and browse the internet occasionally. I bought a Droid because Amazon had a great deal (it was basically free), and I wanted to be able to do whatever I wanted with it. I rooted it within a week of getting it since that was the easiest way to get the updated version of the Android OS at the time.

I was really happy with the extremely easy and tight integration with all of the Google services I used (email and calendar mostly). But my wife really wanted a smartphone as well, specifically an iPhone. I was against the idea because I knew she’d have questions about how to use it, and without one of my own I’d be in the position of supporting two kinds of devices. When I started working for Planet Argon where everyone has an iPhone, I encountered my first small disadvantage…

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Article  |  Studio

Meteorites: Thanks for the extra hour Daylight Savings Time

20 Mar 2008

The Autumn of the Multitaskers

“Neuroscience is confirming what we all suspect: Multitasking is dumbing us down and driving us crazy. One man’s odyssey through the nightmare of infinite connectivity”

Jeff Raskin on ‘Intuitive Interfaces’

“Many claims of intuitiveness, when examined, fail. It has been claimed that the use of a computer’s mouse is intuitive. Yet it is far from that. In one of the Star Trek series of science fiction movies, the space ship’s engineer has been brought back into our time, where (when) he walks up to a Macintosh. He picks up the mouse, bringing it to his mouth as if it were a microphone, and says: “Computer, …” The audience laughs at his mistake."

Edge Cases are the Root of all Evil

“Most Edge Cases are presented in the conference room. You get a cross-functional team together to come up with some solutions to The Problem (insert meeting title here). You have people from all the departments that The Problem touches (plus a few more hangers-on who weren’t invited to the party, but personally felt that The Problem could not be solved without them). You brainstorm ideas, go on tangents and then finally inspiration strikes you.”

Easy, Intuitive and Metaphor, and other meaningless words

“Many tasks, that were once hard, can become easy. Learning to ride a bicycle as a child is precarious, often involving falling off, scuffing knees, and occasional tears. But as experienced cyclists riding a bike is easy. The process of transition from hard to easy is one of learning. All the time we spend in education is aimed at turning the hard into the easy. Not by changing the tasks at all – but instead by changing us.”

Where the Heck is My Focus?

“There’s nothing wrong with the point-and-click navigation model of the mouse, although it can degenerate into mystery meat navigation if you’re not careful. I don’t expect web designers to create keyboard-centric websites; the mouse is a natural and intuitive enough way to navigate web sites. But so is the keyboard, in certain circumstances. What frustrates me is when web developers fail to pay attention to the most rudimentary of keyboard support in their designs.”

Blissfully Ignorant Shoppers Happier with Choices

“The researchers used three experiments to arrive at their conclusion. Two of them were consumer test-style experiments in which subjects were asked for their opinion of chocolate in one and hand lotion in the other. In each experiment, one group of subjects was given lots of information about the product, the other group much less. In each instance, the subjects who had little information were more optimistic about the chocolate or hand lotion than those who had more information.”

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Article  |  Studio

Meteorites: Goodbye Summer!

25 Sep 2007

Even Simple Multi-tasking Can Make a Project 30% Late

“Instead of doing many things at once (thinly-veiled in the name of Productivity), focus your attention on one task at a time, which in the long run will allow you to do more.”

Collaboration with development is a handshake, not a handoff

“As designers, we have the opportunity to provide an immense amount of value as the design moves through the development process. This process is best when it’s less of a handoff and more of a handshake; it’s a commitment between the designers and developers. Trust is a key component of this relationship, and once developers learned to trust our design decisions—and realized that we were really listening to their feedback about technical feasibility—it allowed them to focus on writing code and not second-guessing our design choices.”

If you aren’t embarrassed by v1.0 you didn’t release it early enough

“It is well known that the sooner you catch a mistake in development, the cheaper it is to fix. I believe this is just as true in marketing. A sure way to find these marketing mistakes is to release. You wouldn’t write a thousand lines of code before you tried to compile it. Why would you spend a year or more on development before testing it in the market? Creating software should be an incremental process.”

How well do you know prototype

“Here, I’ve collected most common use cases that do NOT use all of prototype’s capabilities and their simple solutions. I hope this will be a basic checklist to go through when developing for your next project.”

Simple Ways to Help Your Design Suck Less

“I often deal with people that have programming and website creation experience but lack any design experience or even common sense in design. Creating things visually pleasing comes naturally to me (I think), I also study the area at a tertiary level. Following some published theories as well as my own aesthetic sense there’s some simple things you can do to create better design.”

Getting Creative With Specs: Usable Software Specifications

“Usability applies to our deliverables as much as to our designs. Creating a usable spec is an excellent way for us as designers to make things easier for the rest of the team.”

Foundations of Interaction Design

“…Interaction Design is distinct from the other design disciplines. It’s not Information Architecture, Industrial Design, or even User Experience Design. It also isn’t user interface design. Interaction design is not about form or even structure, but is more ephemeral–about why and when rather than about what and how.”

Hat Heads vs. Bed Heads

“Every project and every office has multiple personality types. How you work with them and how you manage the rationale of decisions and feedback is crucial to your success.”

Typenuts, The Funny Side of Typography

see for yourself… ;-)

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Article  |  Studio

Meteorites: Hot August Nights

2 Aug 2007

26 Reasons What You Think is Right is Wrong

“A cognitive bias is something that our minds commonly do to distort our own view of reality. Here are the 26 most studied and widely accepted cognitive biases.”

The Five Biggest Web Site Mistakes

“Mistake No. 2 Don’t organize your site based on what’s familiar or convenient for your organization or its departments. You want a site that’s convenient for its end users—they come first. Put yourself in their shoes. Use language that makes sense to your intended audience; translate terminology (and any other jargon) into plain English.”

Multi-Tasking: Why projects take so long and still go late

“In most project environments multi-tasking is a way of life. This seemingly harmless activity, often celebrated as a desirable skill, is one of the biggest culprits in late projects, long project durations, and low project output. At the same time it is one of the least understood factors in managing projects.”

IT Conversations – Several podcasts of conversations with Interaction Design experts, from Irene Au to Jesse James Garrett.

Survey: Internet Explorer ‘most influential’ tech product in past 25 years

“Interesting word “influential.”" .. ""Best" certainly would have been a different story."

Microformats in Google Maps

“Today we’re happy to announce that we are adding support for the hCard microformat to Google Maps results. Why should you care about some invisible changes to our HTML? By marking up our results with the hCard microformat, your browser can easily recognize the address and contact information in the page, and help you transfer it to an addressbook or phone more easily.”

Proving the Value of Design

“We know that design is an expense—just look at any company’s balance sheet. And we know intuitively that for many companies, design is a profit center. But few organizations can actually prove that great design drives profits.”

Open – Code – New York Times Blog – The New York Times launches a new “blog about open source technology at The New York Times, written by and primarily for developers. This includes our own projects, our work with open-source technologies at nytimes.com, and other interesting topics in the open source and Web 2.0 worlds.”

Why usability is a path to failure

…"why oh why do people in this day age still hold up “usability” as something laudable in product and service design? Praising usability is like giving me a gold star for remembering that I have to put each leg in a different place in my pants to put them on. "

Never Use a Warning When you Mean Undo

“Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you realize—just a split second too late—that you shouldn’t have clicked “Okay” in the “Are you sure you want to quit?” dialog?”

What Puts the Design in Interaction Design

“Designed behavior is not invisible. Sometimes it is obfuscated; at other times, it is apparent or even obvious. Most importantly, designed behavior dictates the flow between action and reaction, which is the basis of an interaction.”

Using Omnigraffle to visualise Rails model associations

“a quick script to scan the associations between models and output it in the Graphviz DOT format.”

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Article  |  Studio

Meteorites: Wheel in the Sky Keeps on Turning

11 Jun 2007

Watch this Wine Evangelist

“Gary has been sharing his passion for wine with daily online videos where he sniffs, slurps, and spits wine all the while imparting wit and wisdom about wine (and about the New York Jets).”

E-mail is not a platform for design

“E-mail is not a platform for design. Unlike the web, which also started as an exchange medium for text messages but which benefited from the inclusion of images and other media, e-mail works best when used for its original purpose, as the most basic of content exchange systems.”

How to hire the best people you’ve ever worked with

“…I like hiring people who haven’t done the specific job before, but are determined to ace it regardless.”

How Bad Design Increases Business

“The web is a marketplace. When people stopped respecting the rules of the market it crashed. They put priority on getting users with no revenue stream. They put priority on fancy trinkets of websites that didn’t produce income or even have a business model. That was Web 1.0 bubble.”

Hacking Firefox: The secrets of about:config

“…many of Firefox’s settings aren’t exposed through the Tools > Options menu; the only way to change them is to edit them manually. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most useful Firefox settings that you can change on your own and that aren’t normally available through the program’s graphical interface.”

Hot for Features

“Instead of the engineering specs, design and marketing have to work together to figure out what the story of the product is, how all the features fit together into a unified product that can be sold and enjoyed. We don’t need to sell simplicity any more than we should sell complexity. We need to sell — and design — products that are useful, usable, and desirable.”

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Article  |  Studio

Meteorites: Let's get this party started

12 Mar 2007

5 mistakes your company blog should avoid.

“Blogs are about people talking with other people – not a time for corporate speak. Dull, dull, dull. Show some passion about what you do. Engage your reader – don’t write at them.”

A Roundup for “Developers, Developers, Developers…

“…a compilation of products that developers may find useful.”

Clear Blogging: How People Blogging Are Changing the World and How You Can Join Them

“Almost overnight, blogging has become a social, political, and business force to be reckoned with. Your fellow students, workers, and competitors are joining the blogosphere—and making money, influencing elections, getting hired, growing market share, and having fun—to the tune of 8,000 new bloggers a day.”

Slife

“…a new application for the Mac OS X that lets you visualize and organize your computer activities like never before. Slife observes your every interaction with applications such as Safari, Mail and iChat and keeps tracks of all web pages you visit, emails you read, documents you write and much more.”

Down with titles

“Being at a fairly small company, most everybody plays several different roles that would justify several different titles. Naturally, we all have our primary role, but that only covers about 75% of what each of us does.”

The Arepa Cabal

“The first rule about the Arepa Cabal is that you don’t explain what the Arepa Cabal is.”

Pimpin’ Products Ain’t Easy…

“The act of pimpin’ products, on the other hand, never involves any kind of questionable tactics. Pimpin’ means putting your product’s best foot forward. Accen-tuate the pos-it-ive. It means not shirking from self-promotion, and shouting your product’s position, features and benefits loud and clear.”

Research Is a Method, Not a Methodology

“Like other tools in the designer’s toolbox, research should be used only when necessary, not applied to every project unthinkingly.”

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