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June 21, 2007 @ 8:20 AM

Social Search

Sometimes the right answer to a question is a discussion - a mosaic of answers. Enter Fluther, a great little project I found over at Cameron Moll’s Authentic Jobs. In redesigning their site, Co-owners Andrew McClain and Ben Finkel wanted an identity and user experience that would set them apart from sites like Metafilter, and Yahoo Answers. It was an rewarding collaboration.

Being Different.
One thing competitors in the social search space had in common were very plain, very generic “Web 2.0” looking interfaces. Just being something specific can sometimes be a powerful brand differentiator. After building an identity spectrum, we were quickly able to agree specifically on how the identity should “feel”. And the name Fluther (meaning a pod of jellyfish) gave me the perfect starting point to visualize these attributes.

identity study

Interaction.
The idea? You ask a question. Fluther connects you to people with a wide range of experience on your topic. Ya’ll chat… ...(more)

January 08, 2007 @ 10:45 AM

Empathy In Branding

tissues
Being in branding can burn a person out the way I imagine being a Cubs fan, or a toll booth operator can. But every once in a while you see a company get it right, and you remember what drew you to this industry in the first place.

I have no idea what I was watching last night on TV, but for the first time in a long time, a 30-second spot for Kleenex of all things, captured my imagination.

(Go watch it, I’ll wait...)

Tissues = Being Sick?
Tissue branding has always been aligned with feeling crappy, dryness, misery and/or post-nasal drip. Not a good move brand-wise. Has no agency ever sat down, looked at a box of Kleenex and asked “How do we get people to connect emotionally to this product?” The answer seems so obvious, but somehow it has eluded Kimberly Clark for decades.

“But, We’re Different!”
A frequent mistake for… ...(more)

January 03, 2007 @ 3:38 PM

Zooomr

raineerraineer Hosted on Zooomr

Zooomr.com is photosharing for grown-ups. You won’t find a lot of Help or FAQ’s on this “beta” site, but you will find a superior way to upload, organize and share your photos online. Just think flickr but better, and free.

5 things I like about Zooomr:

Zooomr is easy.
While still in “beta”, Zooomr’s interface is well organized, fast and easy to use. Sign-up is a cinch, and thanks to jUploadr getting your photos online is equally simple. I’m hoping to see an update to the interface however, when it finds its way out of beta.

Zooomr is cool.
At the ripe old age of 18, creator Kristopher Tate is giving photosharing giant flickr.com, a run for its money. I got to meet Kris, and Evangelist & CEO Thomas Hawk, in Seattle… ...(more)

December 31, 2006 @ 4:35 PM

The Places You’ll Go

qantas
In 2006 blogging, more than anything else, has afforded me some incredible opportunities to meet fantastic people and visit some exciting cities. Greg and Jason have started a “city” meme of sorts. What a fun way to look back at a year! Here are my cities of 2006:

Auckland, New Zealand
Austin, Texas
Chicago, Illinois
Christchurch, New Zealand
Cozumel, Mexico
Ft. Collins, Colorado
Key Largo, Florida
Los Angeles, California (twice)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Nassau, Bahamas
Orange County, California
Phoenix, Arizona
Queenstown, New Zealand
Roatan, Honduras
San Francisco California
Seattle, Washington (twice)
Wellington, New Zealand

Here are some pics from a mental health break I took just last month (desktops are on their way!). Where did you go for work or fun this year?

Also, thank you to everyone who reads and contributes to… ...(more)

November 09, 2006 @ 10:18 AM

ABQ Barcamp 11/11

Barcamp Logo

Attn: Albuquerqueans… don’t forget about ABQ’s first ever Barcamp this Saturday (11/11/06). This year I got to localize the Barcamp logo for Albuquerque and design the t-shirt. I’ll also be presenting something called Color Profiles for the Web at the “un-conference”. I’ll be sure to post my presentation here next week sometime. So, on to the details from Clearwired:

WHEN
We’re planning an ABQ Barcamp to take place on 11/11/2006 from 9am-4:30pm. Learn more about ABQ Barcamp and the host...

SCOPE
The scope encompasses any topics related to the web—Design (visual, experience, information architecture), Technology (infrastructure, programming), projects you’re working on. Come share your stuff!

LOCATION
After looking at different venues and having them fall through and others not quite up to task (wireless connectivity), we decided to fall back on on Plan B, the Clearwired Office: SEE MAP—on the second floor in SW corner of the building.

WHAT IS BARCAMP???...(more)

November 01, 2006 @ 4:27 PM

Apple Comes to ABQ!

Apple Store
New Mexico, birthplace of Microsoft, the Atomic Bomb and the Albuquerque Isotopes, now joins the prestigious ranks of states like Arizona, Utah and Rhode Island with the debut of its first Apple Store (right here in good old Albuquerque).

The Mayor even gave a brief speech before hastily joining the more than 1,000 “Aqua-thirsty” Mac fanatics who showed up before noon today for free t-shirts, and a glimpse at the wall-to-wall stainless steel retail behemoth.

Kelly Robinson, an Albuquerque web developer, was first in line having guaranteed his position by showing up at 8:30 PM the night before.

I stopped by just after breakfast and shot for a while. Ran into many local Creatives and Developers, including the guys from Clearwired, as well as Sam Maclay and Tim McGrath from 3 Advertising.

The store is phenominal. Similar to the ones I’ve visited in other cities with one HUGE diffference… it’s 10 minutes from my house. Needless to say (and yet… ...(more)

October 27, 2006 @ 6:19 AM

Meeting with Getty

getty

I’ve just returned from Seattle where I met with 6 other bloggers and Getty Images, the world’s largest stock photography company. It was my first opportunity like this since launching my blog in January. Describing the guest list as “humbling” would be an understatement.

Robert Scoble - PodTech.net, Buzz Bruggeman - Buzznovations, Marshall Kirkpatrick - TechCrunch, Thomas Hawk - Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection, Kristopher Tate - Zooomr and Latthanapon “Ponzi” Indharasophang - Lockergnome

A huge “thank you” to Getty Images and Edelman PR for including me.

It was awesome.

From the schedule, I’d expected to be spending some real time with my sleeves rolled up, checking out some of the exciting initiatives Getty currently has under development. The day turned out to be a little more “press-junkety” and a little less “hands on testing” than I’d anticipated. Getting to provide feedback at this level to a company whose… ...(more)

October 16, 2006 @ 7:35 AM

Identity Spectrum

birds

Client: “We really like Apple’s branding. Can you do something like that for us?”
Designer: “I love what Apple is doing too, but your company’s a Mortuary?”

Often when I’m hired to do identity design, I’m given direction like, “Make it look Web 2.0-ish” or “Can you make it look really clean?” or “We really like red. All of our competitors are using it.”

Without some kind of roadmap, the conversation inevitably revolves around personal preferences regarding color, typography and what competitors are doing.

An Identity Spectrum gives everyone involved a common vocabulary for talking about how an identity should feel. What attributes should it convey and to what degree? It attempts to take something very subjective (an identity), and in some small way, measure it. It doesn’t serve as a Bible, but rather a starting point. A point of origin better than just our personal preferences.

Together, we plot 5 or 6 different points between different pairs of attributes on a chart. This helps us to quantify abstract… ...(more)

October 11, 2006 @ 10:42 AM

Mass Ascension

ascension
At 4:45 AM we went to Dawn Patrol at Albuquerque’s 2006 Balloon Fiesta. It takes place about 5 minutes from my house, and is one of my favorite annual events in Albuquerque.

You literally can’t take a bad picture there (unless you forget to remove your lens cap). There were approximately 200 balloons in this morning’s Mass Ascension. They all launch side by side, and spectators are given free reign of the take off field. So you can pretty much walk right up to them, between them and even under them as they launch.

I’ve made a desktop from one of my favorite pics. If you like it, please feel free to download it (no “Mark Bixby” logos or anything).

desktop_preview

SIZES:
2560x1600 (<-- Now in "Veerle" size)
1920x1200 (<-- 24" iMacs)
1690x1050
1600x1200
1440x900 (<-- MacBook Pro too!)
...(more)

September 12, 2006 @ 10:12 AM

Killer Widget

widget
I’m not what you’d call a Dashboard poweruser. It’s a great app, but until now I just haven’t come across that many really useful widgets.

Sundial is a sweet one developed by the prodigious minds over at Clearwired. As with any great widget, it does one thing, and it does it really well.  Sundial allows you to log time directly to your Basecamp Plus or Premium account.

sundial

We’ve upgraded our MethodArts Basecamp account to Plus (from Free) to take advantage of time tracking (as well as file sharing, and a few other features that I think are really going to make Basecamp worth the investment ).

A few notes on using Sundial 1.0:
If you use multiple Basecamp accounts, simply create a separate instance of Sundial from the Dashboard widget bar.

detail

You can also jump directly to your Basecamp account from the widget… ...(more)

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