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((( bs free zone )))

leonard's fa410 blog

Welcome to my weblog for the fa410 class I took in the fall 1999 semester.
Other sections:

[ archive | assignments | class notes | matrix redesign | recommended reading ]

Friday, October 01, 1999

10/1/99 8:40:27 PM
cluetrain manifesto

10/1/99 4:51:23 PM
omg. a cool weblog on aol. ok, i'm checking outta here. work is finally over. welcome traffic!

10/1/99 4:47:14 PM
ye gods this kid is productive. Look at all these (mostly very creative and excellently done) openlog designs:


10/1/99 4:04:03 PM
Ho hum. obviously not working @ work. argh, if only there were a way to build in homesite/emacs key-combos into the blogger posting text-box. sigh...

10/1/99 4:01:41 PM
Well, color me surprised. I was wandering around Jason Kottke's site and found this old article of his that I don't remember ever reading before. It very succinctly expresses most of the stuff I rant about regularly when people who don't know what the web is tries to make/critique web design. nice to be reaffirmed. ;-)

Thursday, September 30, 1999

9/30/99 1:57:58 AM
I set up an account on an on school server Tuesday, allowing our "Team" to collaborate on the Matrix Lab website. It's located at http://gsimun.usc.edu/~fa410/.

Monday, September 27, 1999

9/27/99 5:14:59 PM
I'm happy. I finally got around to creating a symbolic link and for my old fa150 paper and it actually worked. Woohoo. Although the url is the same, the file now resides at ~/public_html/usc/fa150/. I did have to fidget and make a second symbolic link though, because I used relative urls for accessing my linked style sheet and i'm too lazy to run a replace (since i'm no grep and | master, i would have to write a perl script for that. much easier to "ln" it ;).

9/27/99 3:33:03 AM
I think my web design philosophy is that the design should take into account, or be aware of the medium (the web, web construction). Besides the critical viewpoint, the added bonus is that the resulting designs are much easier to implement, are more natural (to users) and less awkward, and are usually better.

This helps not only in creating "good" web page (although this can also appliy to sites, in this case I'm talking specifically about the former ) designs, but also in good web design attitudes -- ie, user-centric/usable, concerned with a page that looks good, not necessarily exactly how it appeared on your own monitor, etc.

ok, it's 3:30am, i'm rambling. i have sooo much crap to do it's not even funny. need to start early tomorrow morning...

Sunday, September 26, 1999

9/26/99 2:26:07 AM
It has been quite a while since I've updated. Unfortunately, I've been waylaid, sick this past week. (Yes, still) I just saw American Beauty, a truly excellent film, which IMO compares favorably with any of the "fine art" that I saw in my visit to the LACMA Friday night.

I did spend a large portion of the day working on graphics and HTML for my FA410 project (playing with ImageReady 2, but ended up getting frustrated and going back to Fireworks). Very depressing. Found out how very non-web friendly the design our group wanted to do really was. Rather painful, actually. Spent a few hours and was left with not much to show. I decided on whim to turn my personal comp into a real web page and was actually rather pleased (didn't take that long either). HTML comments show what I was too lazy to finish up.

Peter Merholz never ceases to impress, entertain, and enlighten. Because I'm lazy, ripped straight from his blog:

September 21, 1999
Narrative as organizing principle.
In New York a couple weeks ago I did a consulting gig, preaching the gospel on information architecture and user-centered design methodology, and the continually recurring theme was, "What's your story?"

Narratives are an amazingly powerful tool for cohering design, as well as ensuring that what you're creating, well, makes sense.

Case in point: in the design of a weather page on the site, a three column structure was used--thin left column for navigation (natch), big middle column for feature weather story, and thin right column with temperature in various cities.

Now, when you go to a weather page on the site, what is it you want to do? It's likely either you want to find out what the weather will be where you are or where you're going. However, the story being told by the aforementioned design says, "Dave goes to the weather page to find out what's happening in the world of weather." Silly, huh? Almost ludicrous even. When going to a weather page, people likely don't want weather news--if they want news, they'll go to a news page.

By framing the design's message as a story, the fallacy became bleeding obvious in a way that simply viewing The Design wouldn't show--the page had nice composition, a single striking image to draw attention, pleasing colors, and other hallmarks of "good" design. But the story showed how it actually failed to meet real needs.

I'm far from original in my blather about storytelling and design. Tom Erickson wrote a marvelous essay, "Design as Storytelling," showing the power of narrative to communicate design ideas. Digital storyteller and designer extraordinaire Abbe Don weighs in with the deeply academic (and I mean that in a good way) "Narrative and the Interface." And here's a more business-friendly approach to the subject (great for showing those with the purse strings who think "storytelling" is what you do in kindergarten).

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