Design for the New China Markets conference

conference logoThe Design for the New China Markets (Beijing, 1-2 December 2005, Peninsula Palace Hotel) is an executive forum hosted by the IIT Institute of Design and the State Intellectual Property Office, People’s Republic of China. It is intended for leaders interested in the design and development of products and services for China.
Speakers at the conference will come from both the East and the West, providing a diverse set of perspectives on the issues facing design and innovation in China today.
Attendance at the conference is by invitation only and will be limited to 150 participants.

B!AS-International Sound Art Exhibition

I sorely missed a big event this past weekend in Taipei as Maywa Denki was performing at Luxy as part of the B!AS-International Sound Art Exhibition. I had no idea that particular exhibition and its associated YAGEO Sound Art Prize was taking place. It’s a pity for me as I have a number of works that fit that I would have entered. How does one find out about these events in Taiwan? The exhibition itself runs 9/24-11/20 at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Here is part of the press release in case it disappears into that Taiwan website wasteland (edited for encoding but not language).
“Since the 1990s, the use of the Internet has been a common platform for the collaboration and the sharing of resources in sound art; hence providing great access for international networking. From the individual experiments of combining technology and music in the Western world decades ago to today’s application of artificial intelligence, audio-visual collage and the exploration and practice of the aesthetics of error (incorrect use of software), sound art has become a crucial trend in the new media art and part of modern living. Through the global sound art community and network, YAGEO Sound Art Prize will encourage the sound artworks in all forms, including analogue, digital, the Internet, etc., whilst seeking the most inspiring sound art pieces with experimental, innovative and visionary quality.
YAGEO Sound Art Prize is also the first promotional campaign for “B!AS- International Sound Art Exhibition.” Curated by Jun-Jieh WANG and Wen-Hao HUANG, “B!AS” will open at Taipei Fine Arts Museum on September 24th. The show will exhibit a number of masters works, including German sound art guru Christina Kubisch, Acer Digital Arts Award first prize winner Edwin Van Der Heide from Holland, and new media art master Paul De Marinis, who specializes in large-scale public interactive installation. The young Spanish art group Alejandra & Aeron will be invited as visiting artists by the organizer. They will not only be on the jury for YAGEO Sound Art Prize will also create a “sound garden” (made of the unique sounds in Taipei), which will be exhibited in “B!AS.”
Press Release
Event Website
Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Visual simplicity: Steve Jobs does it again

“… good examples of “simple yet effective” slides. Well, you can see some good examples – one man’s examples – if you take some time to watch how Steve Jobs used slides to support his presentation in yesterday’s special Apple event at San Francisco’s Moscone West. Your own style and use of visuals will be different and unique to your own situation, of course. But I think we all can learn a lot by observing Jobs and being mindful of his natural interaction with the audience and his visuals as he tells “his story.” ”
A compelling story (told without looking at the slides) and simple supporting visuals.
Read: Visual simplicity: Steve Jobs does it again

Explain “Information Architecture” in 10 words or less

Jason Fried of 37signals is making an interesting point, there is no common concise answer to what the terms means.
Three years ago I threw together this definition from various sources:
Information architecture (IA) is primarily about cognition – how people process information and construe relationships between different pieces of information. Information design is primarily about perception – how people translate what they see and hear into knowledge.
These days I tend to believe “I don’t know, but I’m sure the information architect does” and “Information Architect (noun): title invented by web designers desiring a software engineer’s salary.”
Read: An exercise in clarity: Explain “Information Architecture” in 10 words or less

Beeps and blips

Quote:“Sounds are critical,” said Donald Norman, co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group and a University of California San Diego professor emeritus in the departments of cognitive science and psychology. “You have to spend the same type of attention to designing sound as visual appearance. Companies these days always hire graphic artists. They need to hire sound artists.” ”

Apple Bluetooth Mouse

There is a neat little feature I noticed today where Apple’s Bluetooth mouse will first in a semi-opaque window and then a flashing icon on the menu bar that the mouse batteries are running low. It’s an especially nice touch since I forgot that there were even batteries inside.
Bluetooth menu icon
I like this mouse. The batteries inside give it some additional weight that just feels right in my hand. So many mice (mouses?) I have tried are so light I feel like I am slipping all over the desk surface. The extra weight seems to give me more accuracy. It also tends to make me slower but I’m playing game tournaments just accessing menus.
Bluetooth helps gets rid of all those wires as well. I hate wires. Wires are ugly and, even in the case of Apple industrial design, inelegant. My old Apple mouses’ wire (I’ve never used a two button mouse) always got tangled and in the way. Good riddance.

Back at it

As I started to write this for some reason the Creek Nickel song (not to be confused with the band Nickel Creek) “Back in the Saddle Again” (.wmv) keeps repeating itself over and over again in my head. On top of that I have a bad headache today – which came first the song or the headache?
I’ve redesigned my weblog, yet again, for about the .. well I’d give it a number, but at this point, I’ve lost track of how many times I redesigned this site. No actually about 5 times. Every year, which is still too much. Primarily this redesign has meant I have time to write my thoughts here again and fine tuning what gets displayed and how.
Much has happened this past summer, including a trip to Charlottetown, diverting my attention away from the pleasures of babbling about the things that interest me. The time I did have I tended to devote to changing 35togo, my photo weblog, and a couple “money” projects.
In most of design for the screen I try to “keep it simple with personality” . Doing so in this redesign seemed far more difficult than I had hoped primarily because my cms tool of choice has become excessively difficult to use. I have this tendency to want to upgrade software and software publishers have a tendency to release features that make you think you need to upgrade. In the case of Moveabletype – never again. One thing positive came out of this, I want to be a programmer. The time I spent upgrading mt, troubleshooting, and developing templates could have been far better spent rolling my own simple system. That is if I had the skill. Perhaps I am naive in thinking it possible but I would rather devote my “mindshare” to my own product than someone else’s.
This time, in addition to spending an inordinate amount of time on the system, I focused on simplifying the site structure and updating the archives. I’ve neglected my archives in the past but after collecting 4 years worth of entries it’s worth spending some effort. My inspiration is certainly Peter Rukavina’s weblog – he has the best weblog archive I have seen. Many of us tend to forget that there are a whole sea of visitors who never see your front page or that some people might actually be interested enough in what you say to actually navigate through your site. Peter raises the bar.
I still have allot to finish and will write more about some of the difficulties I faced later.
The comment system is broken – nothing gets through. Moveabletype won’t let me install a new system comment template to fix part of the problem. Lovely.

Is It Real?

After decades of being surrounded by synthetic, mass produced, generic products, consumers are yearning for the authentic: For the tactile sensation of genuine materials, for the %u201Creal thing.%u201D For goods that make an emotional connection with the artisan who crafted them. This yearning is evident in both marketing and product design, where perceptions of quality are strongly associated with the presence of authentic materials.
Continue reading Is It Real? The Trend toward the Authentic in Product Design

Audio in the Computer User-Interface

“A number of studies have shown how audio contributes to the interaction process in order to provide a richer, more robust environment than with mere graphic feedback. Auditory feedback can present further information when the bandwidth of graphic information has been exhausted, as is often the case with the present emphasis on graphic presentation. By expanding conventional interfaces in another dimension, sounds make tasks easier and more productive. Other studies have even shown certain types of information to be represented better by sound than through graphics or text. Additionally, audio feedback may complement graphics and text to create valuable redundancy, reinforcing or reconfirming a concept in the user’s mind.”
Noise Between Stations: Audio in the Computer User-Interface

Offshore design

“Web designers are everywhere, and web hosting is cheap. It is just much cheaper in India. So, 30 gbp paid via to got me a website design, an hour of the designer’s time for changes, and a year’s hosting for good measure. In 24 hours, and for less than the price of a few rounds in a pub, I had a new, uniquely designed website up and running. For small businesses needing a home page, why spend hundreds of pounds on a domestic designer, when something just as good can be commissioned from designers in India or Bangladesh?”
Guardian Unlimited | Online | Ben Hammersley: Swift and offshore