2 Days in Taipei

I had the pleasure of travelling to Taipei this past week to give a talk
to some students at a design school. It’s always great to discuss design
with people who are really excited about the possibilities of creating
something cool. The presentation was titled “Building a case for
including designers at the beginning of the design process”. So many
companies in Taiwan do not truly understand or fully employ design in
their process when they build product. It is usually only appied as
window dressing at the very end of the development cycle or as a way
later to mask fundamental problems that may not have appeared if they
had actually utilized some design or designer at the outset (this is my
generalised view). An added bonus for me in this class was that they
actually asked questions. So many of the classes and talks I have been
invited to are a one sided affair – me talking and everyone else
listening (or falling asleep!). I certainly enjoyed the interaction that
these designers created as it allowed us to approach far more
interesting topics than I had proposed. It was cool and they were quite
nice. Unfortunately I came away with a bloody bad cold that has had
caused my life to come to almost a complete stand still.

The second day I travelled back to Taipei, sick, and faced the full
force of the Canadian beaurocracy here in Taiwan as I applied for a new
passport. Time has passed. The only highlight to that day was being able
to buy good bread and the sight of so many wonderflly dressed women.
Simple joys which help you through the day.

About charts and graphs

Part of a series in the AIGA design forum this article is another one of those convenient lists of “do’s and don’t’s” for practicioners who don’t want or don’t have the time to dig deeper. Unfortunately I cannot link to the pdf download directly so you must go through the AIGA site.

Reviewing these basic dos and don

Time Management Theories

“Well, this article really has nothing to do with pickles, nor does it have anything to do with eating or wise men at all. In fact this article has nothing to do with anything tangible, unless you choose to follow along. Though you don

Creating More Time

I think almost everyone would answer yes to the opening paragraphs questions, I know I did. It’s pretty difficult to manage some kind of balanced life. When living in Taiwan it’s hard to not get caught in what appears to be the center to most peoples lives, their work. While for the next few years I can see this as still being true for myself, the increased tempo of balancing work, study, and fun is something I need ideas on how to accomplish.

“Do you ever feel there is not enough time to do everything you want? Do you ever end the day with a list of things-to-do? Do you ever finish the week with more you need to get done? You are suffering from the common freelancer

Faucet Facets

Jeffery Veen of Adaptive Path has written a great introduction, with examples, into the benefits of using fauceted classification .

“So often we assume that Web sites should be hierarchically organized. We talk about a “home page” that offers “top-level navigation” so that users can “drill down” to the content. It’s as if we’re programmed to think top down.

But what about information that isn’t as easily structured this way? Sometimes, content has many attributes that have different importance to different users. A hierarchy assumes everyone approaches these attributes the same way, but that’s often not the case.”

Read: Faucet Facets: A few best practices for designing multifaceted navigation systems

Apple’s iPod Design Triumph

An interesting look into the design and development process of Apple’s iPod.

“It turns out that much of the underlying iPod design was performed by outside companies. The Cupertino folk haven’t given up on their heritage of design excellence

Understanding the Web as Media

This article is certainly a good point of departure for a discussion.

“What is the web good for? What can the web do that other media can’t do? What can the web NOT do that other media CAN do?” In other words, what are the unique media characteristics of the web? What are its inherent strengths and weaknesses? How does the web “fit in” with existing media?

Read: Understanding the Web as Media

A Timely Article

What a timely article this is, as my 35th birthday approaches and I exit the “18-34 category–that much marketed-to demographic cohort that’s typically single, selfish, vulgar, and fun” and become a grown up. Yes I too looked upon last Thursday the incoming students to the graduate program at Chao Tung and remarked at how young they are. I am sure they looked at me and said the opposite. How did this happen? How did I get so old so quickly?

This cliche is poinant: Youth indicates health and an abundance of time. Age is the opposite, and requires us to accept a process that ends, if you are lucky enough to last that long, in death. No wonder I have no patience, hurry up my time is running out.

Read: Jugglezine – Life: A Mid-Term Evaluation

Mac OS 10 needs a few things other than iChat

After Mail.app caused great annoyance by asking for access to my keychain for the fourth time today I wrote a very short rant on a few things that I wish Apple would take care of in it’s “Super Modern Operating System”. While I do at times sit in amazement at how anyway could make such complex things such as software work at all, I often get annoyed when a product in which I have invested a great deal of money fails on some fundamental level. It’s Apples dichotomy. Some things they create are like magic while others seems to uterly annoy. Maybe that is the secret that Microsoft exploits, mediocrity that works with no expectations.

But despite my complaints there is something great about some of the products they make, something beyond industrial design. I never thought I would need an iPod until I saw it and now it’s they only gadget I lust after.

Read:Mac OS 10 needs a few things other than iChat

A Project Management Glossary

“Project Managers – can’t live with ’em, can’t lock ’em in a filing cabinet in a disused basement toilet with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.

Project Managers have a large part to play in what work you’ll have to do, when you’ll have to do it by, and whether you get paid. So it’s pretty useful to gain credibility with them – and other stakeholders you meet – by understanding their language, and even using it on occasion.

What follows is a guide to the common terms used by Project Managers and other people within a project. Like most jargon, it seems pointless until you start working with it, at which point it becomes a very useful way of describing the many people, situations and processes which almost every development project will involve.

Many of the terms have a commercial tone to them, as if the only possible application is in pursuit of cash. Leaving aside the question of ‘so what?’, it’s worth bearing in mind that a project is a project, whether money changes hands or not, and whether the end goal is profit or not. “

A Project Management Glossary : evolt.org, Site Development

Presenting Data and Information

“Below are my notes from this one-day class. Edward Tufte is one of the few very “rich” presenters I’ve encountered before — there’s no unnecessary repetition of content or other filler. I found myself really mentally involved with the class throughout the day. Tufte is a really gifted teacher/presenter; I left the class full of enthusiasm and excitement for the material he covered.”

Read: Notes from “Presenting Data and Information”

The Five Elements of Digital Storytelling

In the first decade of its existence the World Wide Web has been used primarily as a new content distribution channel. It has not yet come into its own as a new medium. In order for the Web to achieve full status as a new medium, content developers and users must take full advantage of its attributes, environment, and functionalities. The Web must go through a maturation process; the same process all new media have undergone. A classic example of this process is television news. In the beginning, television news was simply radio reports read on camera. Today, however, the full abilities of the medium are used as multiple camera angles, live and taped video, photos and graphics are all employed in the telling of daily news events.

Read: Five Elements of Digital Storytelling

Using Wireframes

Nam-ho Park an information architect in Virginia has a great article on using wireframes.

Wireframes serve a central function in communicating the content and layout of each web page for internal discussion and client review as well as a blueprint from which graphic designers and web developers will derive final designs. It’s importance, roles and implementations are discussed in this article.

As well Omni Group produces a wonderful piece of software called Omni Graffle which when used with Michael Angeles’ palette becomes a fantastic tool for producing wireframes. If you purchased a new Macintosh recently and are using OSX on more than a casual basis you may have noticed that this application is included in the software installation for free.

Read the article: strange systems: Using Wireframes
Learn about: Omni Graffle
Download: Michael Angeles’ Omni Graffle wireframe palette
Download: Apple Pi’s GUI Design Palette