Always Get Better

Posts Tagged ‘design’

Apple is Having Babies

Monday, December 1st, 2008

We rented Baby Mama this weekend. I was happily surprised to find PC Guy in the role of the fertility doctor – perhaps a nod to Mac Guy‘s film appearances. It warms my heart to see those references transitioning into the cultural lexicon. All this got me thinking about Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign; there have been some funny ads circulating around the net lately, including some Flash videos seemingly spreading between ad spots (how do they do that?).

The newest byte is that due to a shortage of trained developers, talented programmers can earn $125-$200 per hour by developing iPhone applications.  Unbelievable!  Where is my old iBook when I need it – buried under a stack of music CDs with an old version of OS X that doesn’t support the iPhone SDK.  Maybe the time is right to spring for a new laptop if there is a potential to earn $250,000 by creating a decent marketable application.  Gold rushes like this don’t act long – talk about striking when the iron is hot!

The Net is Recession-Proof; Hire a Blogger

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

An interesting article at the Silicon Alley Insider today – recession winners are designers and SEO experts.  Advertising is tricky for businesses because dollars spent can’t always be tracked to dollars earned.  When it comes to designing a web site I like to go with the analogy of a salesperson.  A web site is like an employee who works 24/7, can serve unlimited numbers of customers, and remembers everything they are told about every product.  Every dollar spent on a corporate web site is returned to the company passively over time – and as the site ages and grows in traffic, its value continues to increase.

Those are interesting elements to keep in mind when making purchasing decisions.  As we head into hard times it is more important than ever for businesses to connect to their customers in real and organic ways – social networking is the tool for the job.

For the best bang-for-the-buck, look for companies to increase efforts at creating and maintaining blogs either through the acquisition of in-house writers or by outsourcing to professional bloggers.  Blogs are search-engine darlings, but their real power lies in the fact that people are not just visiting blogs – they are reading them and participating in discussion.

Any company that has not yet begun to consider the benefit of the blogging medium to increase their brand awareness is going to find themselves left behind like the dinosaurs of the industrial revolution.

Slogan Not Appearing on Drupal Site

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

A common issue faced by theme developers is that of the site slogan not appearing even when the variable $site_slogan is present.

The site slogan is disabled by default.  To turn it on in Drupal 6.6 go to the Theme selection list and choose Configuration.  The site slogan is one of the checkboxes available on the left-hand side.

The same thing might have to be done in the theme-specific settings to take effect.

FlexBuilder: Flash for Programmers

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Since I’m not a designer (an obvious conclusion anyone will reach after taking one look at the design of this site), I’ve never had much use for the Flash development environment, nor any real desire to learn it.

Adobe FlexBuilder 3 provides an integrated development environment (Eclipse, actually) that allows programmers to build Flash applications. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this software, and found its brand of MXML to be very familiar coming from an ASP.NET background.

Stay tuned for updates as I learn more about this software. Have you had any experience with it? I welcome comments and suggestions – what should we watch for when working with this software?

Form Trumps Function

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

One (sad?) truth I have learned through the past several years is this: Form Trumps Function, every time. You can write the most elegant code in the world, produce an application that meets requirements 100%, but if it isn’t pretty to look at, your time has been wasted.

In fact – you can show a client a beautiful shell of an application that has no functionality at all, and they will love it.  Show them the same application feature-complete but without the design, and they will not want to pay for it.

The bottom line is this – when writing code, be it for web or for the desktop, always have an eye for the ‘look’ of your product.  Even when a separate designer is involved, the programmer can take responsibility for the ‘feel’ of the application – how the buttons move around, tab order, this kind of thing.

I am considering spinning this blog off to a second one devoted to designing applications (both GUI and web).  The design element can’t be ignored, so hopefully getting programmers more involved in the process will improve the situation on all levels.