Responsive Wireframe

I put together a responsive wireframe with the help of Axure to show clients what they need consider when they make the off-handed request that a site needs to support mobile browsers. Even with this simple layout, there are still a ton of things to consider especially when it comes to image aspect ratios and resizing. The worst break point for me is the transition between 1024px to 768px. The grid column situation gets tricky. It's not dead on, but close enough for a wireframe.

Note: The iPhone landscape viewport is useless for web browsing so I stuck with the portrait view for both and center aligned everything.

Drag the browser window to change the view.

 Responsive Wireframe

Responsive Wireframe

Pages, Screen and/or States?

I'm often asked to estimate the size of a web project by the number of web pages I think are needed, but the explosion HTML5 is quickly making the term "pages", not obsolete, but not enough. Yes, there are "page templates", but the number of "states" for a particular page is what really drives design and development. To add further confusion, we also have to contend with multiple view ports (e.g. mobile, tablet and computer) often referred to as "screens". If I could cast the deciding vote, I would abolish the term "pages" and make everyone use "screens" and "states".

Create an album cover

Here's the instructions:

  1. Go to Random Article on Wikipedia.org. Use the first article as the name of your band
  2. Go to Random Quote on TheQuotationsPage.com. Use the last four or five words as the title of your album
  3. Go to Explore Last 7 Days on Flickr. Use the third image as your album cover.
  4. Put them all together and you get something like below.
sanG


Things I don't like about Basecamp

Some of these gripes that to do with the fact that I'm the Basecamp owner so I see everything. Basecamp is either showing it's age or my agency has just out grown it. The ability to apply a single function (edit, remove, delete, assign, etc.) across multiple projects, clients or people can be very frustrating. Can't wait to see if they address some of these issues with Basecamp Next.
  1. Can't easily assign multiple projects to one client
  2. Can't easily assign multiple users to one project
  3. Can't easily sort, filter or search users
  4. Can't alert team when I upload a new version of a file
  5. Can't later add team members to discussion thread
  6. Can't tag Writeboards (ala Files)
  7. Can't attach files to Writeboards (ala Messages)
  8. Can't import images into Writeboards (ala Backpage Pages)
  9. Email alert subject lines should have the subject first, then the project name (I hate those brackets)
  10. Switch to a different project drop-down menu. The recently access projects is not initiative to me. I would rather just have an A-Z order.

 

To App or Not to App

Some high level questions to ask before decision to build an app:

1. Will a user ever come back to your app?

The trenches of the iTunes App store are a bit like the Island of Lost Toys. "Play once and delete" is the name of the game. An app should provide a service that users couldn't perform without the phone in their hands. Just delivering copy and images isn't going to cut it; the common web browser has that covered. If your app doesn't entertain, inform and provide some type of utility on a daily basis, it will be added to the towering heap of the forgotten.

2. Will the app use any built-in iPhone features?

The most successful apps utilize a combination of features built inside and outside the iPhone in unique and surprising ways. iPhone users are intimately familiar with how these features work, so why take advantage of them? Instagram, the top-selling camera app, allows you to apply cool, retro filters and flash settings to photos taken with your iPhone. It also integrates with email, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr so you can easily share and order prints. To do a quick check, go to "Settings" on your iPhone and run through the list of native iPhone features and think about which services you can use.

3. How will this app use motion- or touch-based interactions?

The finger swipe is the most common interaction, but there are many more motion- and touch-based gestures to consider. The physical act of touching, shaking or tilting an iPhone to perform a task is the number one reason why it's the most popular phone on the market. Physical interaction is at the core of how humans discover and learn. It's also a lot of fun.

It’s the rare app that keeps its place on the “front page” of your iPhone home screen. Figure out how to make something useful entertaining, use the phone’s features to the fullest and optimize physical interactivity…and you’ll be three big steps closer to a permanent position next to Messages, Calendar and of course, Angry Birds.

If it's good, charge for it

Fascinating rant from Google developer, Steve Yegge  who was pervious worked at Amazon. His basic point is that Google doesn't develop with a platform in mind. According to him, every product is developed in a silo with little or no accessibility built in for external developers. This is an amazing insight given Google's constant use of the phrase "open" in its communications (especially within the Android vs. Apple scenario).  However, there is one point in the article in which he explains that there is no funding for platform projects and there in lies the rub. Getting funding for internal projects is nearly impossible unless you have a real visionary (aka Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos) in your company. In a former life, I was a product manager on a search marketing application which used Google, Microsoft and Yahoo web services for reporting and campaign management. By far Google was the best out of the bunch, but there was an arrogance in the way they rolled out changes. Little warning and short time frames were the standard operating procedures. I guess they thought I had thousands of developers at my disposal.  To add insult to injury, they begin actually charging for their services. My immediate reaction was, "You are going to charge me for this crap?", but after a year the quality did improve. Roll outs began to be scheduled on a regular basis, documentation improved and service outages went down.

My hypothesis as to why the serviced improved is the fact that they didn't look for internal funding. Users were already finding value in the service so why not charge for it. If there is real value, people will pay for it. The challenge is not finding funding (internal or angel) because you think to have a great idea. Great ideas are worth nothing. The challenge lies in determining at what point is the value is enough to charge customers. It's a lot easier to make the case for resources when there's money flowing into the bank.

Three goals of content

No matter how well architected, designed or programmed, it still come down to content. If your copy, video or audio doesn't hit at least one of the following, you need to go back to the drawing board. The Holy Grail is to hit all three.
  1. Inform
  2. Entertain
  3. Add Value

 

 

The battle between print and web. It's coming to an end.

There has been always tension between print and web design for as long as I've been on the web side of things (14 years and counting). A portion of this tension is derived from the web's less than optimal ability to control positioning and typography. Trying to get that amazing illustration to line up perfectly with that sizzling headline was a nightmare in not only HTML/CSS standards and browser compatibility, but page size. Then factor in connection speeds and monitor sizes and what you were left with is some less than spectacular. I still believe in keeping things lean and functional, but after working on the launch of my agency's website and looking through these 25 Inspiring Web Designs on Webdesign Tuts+, I believe we have finally turned the corner. It's finally the best of both worlds.

1966 prediction of the home computer

While the prediction of flat screen monitors and online shopping are dead on, this comment is way more insightful,

"When mother go's off to bed father will stay at the console masturbating furiously for 3 hours to more and more bizarre pornography."

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC5sbdvnvQM&feature=youtu.be"]

LG Customer Service: Sympathy is futile

I'm trying the sympathy approach in my exchange with LG, but no avail. Never buying LG again.

7:29 PM Angelica: Hello Guest. Welcome to LG Electronics! How may I provide you with excellent service today?
7:32 PM Guest: Hi. I purchased an LG dyer on March 2. It turned on but is not heating. I've had two repair people come out, but there is still no resolution.
7:32 PM Angelica: I am sorry to hear about this.
7:32 PM Guest: I've clocked more than 4 hours on the phone with Home Depot and LG
7:32 PM Angelica: I see.
7:33 PM Guest: A customer service manager promised to call me back but I haven't received a call
7:33 PM Guest: I need some type of resolution this week
7:33 PM Angelica: May I ask when did he promise that?
7:33 PM Guest: I talked to a CS rep about an hour ago
7:34 PM Angelica: I see.
7:34 PM Angelica: Well, I would like to take a look at your case to see what is going on.
7:34 PM Angelica: Is your home phone number 973-7?
7:34 PM Guest: I'm reaching out on every channel to see if I can get some action of this
7:35 PM Guest: yes
7:35 PM Guest: 973-
7:35 PM Angelica: Very well.
7:35 PM Guest: Thanks
7:35 PM Angelica: Can I ask if you were talking to Charles, manager?
7:36 PM Angelica: I can see on the notes that he actually called you but unfortunately he didn't get an answer, so he left you a voice mail.
7:36 PM Guest: I only talked to a CS rep
7:37 PM Angelica: Well, I do see a lot of notes from different representatives on your case.
7:37 PM Guest: I definitely would have picked up the phone. My cell is 973-.
7:37 PM Angelica: They are from today, but on different hours.
7:38 PM Guest: I've tried through Home Depot where I purchased and directly to LG
7:38 PM Angelica: I see.
7:38 PM Angelica: Well, I could go and see if the manager that tried calling you is still available.
7:38 PM Angelica: If he is, I can ask him to call you back.
7:39 PM Angelica: May I ask what have the service center told you so far?
7:39 PM Guest: I desperate at this point
7:39 PM Angelica: What they're doing on the unit, waiting on some parts or something?
7:39 PM Guest: They told me they are waiting for the notes from the repair people
7:40 PM Guest: At this point, I would prefer a replacement. They have taken apart the dyer twice now
7:41 PM Guest: I don't have a lot of confidence that they can repair this one
7:41 PM Angelica: Well, as I can see, I'm afraid there are no notes from Tech Support stating that the unit has been deemed as unrepairable. Unfortunately, the only way we can actually submit a replacement order would be if the unit has been deemed as unrepairable.
7:41 PM Angelica: I do completely understand.
7:41 PM Angelica: The only notes that I can see from our Tech support state the following:
7:42 PM Angelica: "og tgetting power to the ignitor and renning not heating. ohm from the bd through system to the ignitor. spsect shorted wire from belt switch to the themostat the blowr housing
7:42 PM Angelica: First word would be Not. Sorry.
7:42 PM Angelica: Now, these are the recommendations they told the service center people.
7:42 PM Angelica: According to this, once the service center tries this, if that doesn't work, then they might be able to deem the unit as unrepairable.
7:43 PM Guest: Unfortunately I can't take the time to have another repair person come out to my house
7:44 PM Guest: I'm sure you can understand my situation. Two week without a dyer has been pretty rough with a household of 6 people
7:44 PM Guest: I need to have a functioning dyer this week
7:44 PM Angelica: I do understand.
7:45 PM Guest: If that can't happen, I really need a refund
7:45 PM Guest: or at least a replacement
7:45 PM Angelica: I wish I could something in this case for you, but I'm afraid that for policy, I'm not really able to.
7:45 PM Angelica: Well, there is not a reimbursement policy on LG.
7:45 PM Guest: That's the same answer I've been getting everywhere
7:46 PM Angelica: If I could just transfer you to our Supervisors, they might have the power to do so.
7:46 PM Angelica: But, we at customer service really don't have the power to. IF it was for me, I would be giving units away, trust me. (Probably that's the reason why we can't submit replacement orders).
7:47 PM Angelica: For policy, the procedure would be the following:
7:47 PM Guest: I understand you have no power to do anything given the company policy, but someone at management some at least contact me
7:47 PM Angelica: Exactly.
7:47 PM Angelica: As for right now, I can go quick and see if there's a manager on the phone that can contact you.
7:48 PM Guest: thanks
7:48 PM Guest: don't want to sound angry. I just want a working dyer.
7:48 PM Angelica: It's ok :)
7:49 PM Angelica: I'll be right back, just one moment please!
7:49 PM Guest: ok

The "Marvelous Magical Burger King"

Were the original Burger King characters the origin of Aqua Teen Hunger Force? I thought I read that somewhere. These characters are such a poor rip off the McDonald's.

The "Marvelous Magical Burger King"

The original animated King was soon replaced by the "Marvelous Magical Burger King," a red-bearded king, acted out by actor-singer Richard "Dick" Gjonola, who ruled the Burger King Kingdom and performed magic tricks (mostly sleight-of-hand, but sometimes relying on camera tricks). This campaign paralleled McDonald's McDonaldland children's commercials, which featured "Ronald McDonald," "The Hamburglar," and "Mayor McCheese," along with other characters and mascots.

Other characters in the Burger King Kingdom included:

  • "The Duke of Doubt," the King's arch nemesis, who constantly tried to prove that the King's magic was not real; he always failed, and each commercial that featured him ended with the tag-line, "No doubt about it, Duke."
  • The "Burger Thing," a large, three-dimensional painting of a hamburger that talked.
  • "Sir Shake-A-Lot," a knight, whose name was drawn from the fact that he was often literally physically shaking, with a craving for Burger King milkshakes and armor made of BK Cups. (Sir Shake-A-Lot's name was a take-off on Sir Lancelot, and his constant shaking was sometimes misinterpreted as being a symptom of hypoglycemia from the sugar content of Burger King milkshakes.)[citation needed]
  • The "Wizard of Fries," a robot who could "multifry," or generated French fries whenever given a sample.