Tag Archives: web development

Awards – are they worth the effort or the perspex they’re engraved on?

Spurred by Darragh’s post on how the Golden Spiders people are looking for feedback on their event ahead of this year’s gong-giving, I want to ask a few questions about the value of web awards ceremonies.

Ireland is a small country. The web industry – in my mind – is a small industry within this small country. Proportionally I think we’ve got quite a lot of gongs going for digital media. Off the top of my head here’s the ones I can think of:

  • Irish Web Awards
  • IIA Net Visionary Awards
  • Irish eGovernment Awards
  • ICAD Awards
  • Digital Media Awards
  • Golden Spiders
  • IDI Awards

Aside from the recognition by your peers and the nice warm fuzzy feeling that you get from having your work given the thumbs up I’m curious to know if anyone has experienced other benefits as a result of winning or being nominated for an award?

Does it help you to win clients?

Does it raise your profile?

Does it open up new opportunities?

Do you advertise the fact that you have been nominated for/won awards?

I’d love to know what you’ve experienced.

Dolly Mix 22.06.10 – Paddy Games, Tour de Picnic, eCSStender

Just when you thought sillyness had left our shores for another summer, the Paddy Games comes along. It takes place on August 14th in Cork city and is open for registration.

The common man’s games, Paddy Games founding principle is taking silliness very seriously.

Events include Retro Running (i.e. Backwards running), Irish Dancing Hurdles and Mobile Phone throwing.

Fancy free entry to this year’s Electric Picnic in exchange with raising some cash for Temple Street Children’s Hospital? Check out the ‘Tour de Picnic‘ – essentially it’s a 90km charity cycle from Dublin to EP in Stradbally, Co. Laois. Raise €500 and you’re in. Info is available here.

The text shadow is becoming the glossy button effect of old in the web design world at the moment. More and more designers and developers are dabbling in the visual gems that CSS 3 affords despite the fact that CSS 2.1 spec has yet to be signed off. An article on A List Apart today highlights the dangers of ‘forking’ that this adoption of these proposes and offers the solution of a new JavaScript library called eCSStender.

I don’t know how I feel about this. While I agree that forking isn’t ideal I don’t think that loading pages with yet more JS libraries is the acceptable path to take either. What do you think? Will you be using eCSStender? Are you using CSS 2.1 and 3.0 properties yet?

Dolly Mixture 15.06.10 – THEATREClub, People of the Year & good Cork grub

Fire Guy

So yeah, my love affair with THEATREClub continues so much so I wish to inform the good people of Cork of the arrival of THEATRECLUB STOLE YOUR CLOCK RADIO WHAT THE F*CK YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT this weekend at the Cork Arts Centre at 2pm on Saturday on Sunday as part of a double-bill for the Midsummer Festival.

ALSO – they’re looking for people to work with them including lighting and stage people, actors etc. Check the spec here.

Today is the last day to nominate someone for a People of the Year award. Yes it is an X Comms website but being so I get to read about the superb work that some extraordinary people are doing every day of their lives and it’s great to see them get some recognition for it. If you know someone why not nominate them?

I was in Cork at the weekend volunteering for the first leg of the annual SPWC and once again I had to be dragged kicking and screaming from the city after being exposed to some amazing food. And that was even *before* I got to Café Gusto on Washington Street. Thanks Sabrina & John for the introduction and the smashing vino (nice one Café Gusto on the BYO option).

New to WordPress development? Now is a great time to be getting to grips with it with version 3.0 in the pipe and set to bring WordPress from a blog-engine-cum-CMS to a proper CMS option. Yoast is doing a nifty series of posts on using WordPress as a CMS that’s worth a look.

Ogilvy PR Worldwide are looking for a junior web dev. Info is here.

FOWD Day 2

Molly on CSS spec :)Yikes, almost 2 weeks gone since FOWD day 2 – been a crazy time since then but here’s my highlights from day 2 at the Future of Web Design London.

Molly Holzschlag –  Progressive CSS3 Design

Quite a start to day 2 with Molly starting off with a call to action for all designers to have more input in the W3C Working Group. She presented a pretty matter-of-fact state of the web and where we are with CSS spec. The spec for CSS 2.1 isn’t finished and browser vendors and developers are already ploughing ahead with using the far from finished CSS 3 properties. It’s a all getting a bit crazy!

Posing the question of whether we should be going with a ‘progressive enhancement’ or ‘graceful degradation’ approach she recommended a ‘bridge building’ approach that somehow traverses the 2. Each project should be assessed individually for what kind of browser support you have to take into account but while you shouldn’t ignore older browsers and the problems they pose you need to get on top of what’s coming down the line.

Simon Collison – What Will Web Design Look Like in 2 Years?

An interesting musing on where the web and the web from a design perspective is headed. From questioning how the design process might change (should we design for mobile first and then desktop?) to the potential problem of the adoption of web fonts leading to widespread inappropriate use of typography on the web. Do designers understand grid systems properly and should they really be using them? How much web design in the next while is going to be purely experimental given the changes that lie ahead for HTML and CSS? His stunningly gorgeous website has more.

Aral Balkan – The Art of Emotional Design: A Story of Pleasure, Joy and Delight

One of my favourite sessions of the whole conference, partly because he spoke a whole lot of sense and partly because of his clear passion for what he does. He presented the question “why do we pay more for one thing over another?” Answer = UX. There’s a world of MP3 players available in the world yet the iPod still outsells them all despite not being one of the cheapest available. People like using them and are willing to spend a bit more for it.

For the second or third time at FOWD design and user experience is likened to our experiences with food. Essentially, to say that something is usable is like saying something is edible. Edible is fine but we want more than just edible. We go to a restaurant for more than edible food so let’s take that slant and apply it to user experience on the web. This idea I love.

And I loved his talk so much I’m going to have to give it some blog space all of it’s own. Seems I’m not the only one who gave him the thumbs up!

Bruce Lawson of Opera – How to build a HTML 5 Website (live demo)

As it says on the tin, a rapid how to for newbies on how to approach building a web page using HTML 5 markup and what the heck it’s all about and why we should care about it. Good overview and some useful tips on handling fallbacks for video formats in particular. Very much looking forward to getting stuck into the book that himself and Remy Sharp are writing on HTML 5 and its more advanced features.

Brett Welch of Adobe – Rethink Your Job (And Earn More Money)

Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting much from a sponsor slot but hats off to Bretty for making some really interesting and valid points about the business side of the design and development process. Some of the main points from his talk:

  • Web designers need to think of themselves as web consultants (and consultant isn’t always a bad word!)
  • Don’t expect a website to be a success without a strategy
  • Set your goals
  • Measure the results
  • Don’t launch a website and leave it there – try a more iterative approach, agile development works on the web!

John Hicks – Icon Design

John Hicks of Hicksdesign is a well-known graphic, logo and icon designer who has produced some truly gorgeous work for well-know brands such as MailChimp and Opera. After a brisk step through of the history of icons and the concept of icon design he gave us some pointers and suggestions on how to approach the workflow for icon design including:

  • Is an icon appropriate in this scenario?
  • Choose the right metaphor
    • Realistic
    • Abstract
    • Aribitary/Symbolic
    • Application
    • A logo is not an icon!
  • Is there an existing convention?
  • Can you base it on familiar objects?
  • Avoid too much detail and decoration
  • Design on a grid
  • If you’re designing more than one icon design them together to maintain context and coherence

Check out his work and his blog here.

FOWD Day 1 – afternoon sessions

I popped up a quick post about the morning’s activity here, should you fancy a looksee.

Day 1 –  afternoon

The highlight of the afternoon, and indeed the day for many people was the UX Masterclass with Web Standardistas. Despite their 19 hour trek from Belfast thanks to the infamous ashcloud they kicked ass to a packed room. It’s the second time I’ve seen them give a presentation and I’m completely enthralled by their attitude, work and passion for what they do. Their trademarked UX Recipe (which I will have to go into in a post all by itself) will hopefully raise the game for at least everyone who was there.

Allan Haley gave us the low-down on what Fonts.com are doing with their web fonts service. Now I get that he’s a sponsor and we need them to run these kind of events but it was all just a bit too salesy for me. It was nice to get a demo of what you can do with Fonts.com web fonts but I’d like to have seen a more objective talk on web typography taking a look at all the options side by side.

Paul Boag shook things up with his ’5 new skills every designer needs to know’ presentation. He had asked people via Twitter to guess in advance what these might be and got lots of the typical stuff in response – HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, web fonts etc. His response? If you’re not already using them, well, you’re screwed. Amen to that! His recommended toolbelt additions for designers:

  1. Marketing
  2. Copywriting
  3. Contextual Awareness
  4. Strategy
  5. Psychology

Check the Boagworld blog here for the full gist of his talk. I recommend the Boagworld podcast if you fancy some regular ramblings on all things web. It can be a bit long and chatty for my liking so consider the ‘bitesize’ version that’s available on iTunes too.