This looks nice


“A rustic cabin in Fontainebleau serves as a retreat for designers Jérôme Dreyfuss and Isabel Marant. Photographs by Adrian Gaut”
via NYTimes

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Another one of my little fascinations, apparently I abandoned my blog for a little bit for a dalliance into the land of tumblrs! This one is about the tea sandwiches I make, find around me and on the interwebs! http://teasandwiches.tumblr.com/

Mushroom Zine

I made this in 2009 with a bunch of help with some friends, it was an anti-computer therapy session. You can see an online version here: http://emmazines.tumblr.com/

Download the  Mushroom zine pdf – 44mg

Patti Smith, Just Kids

Beautiful, Patti Smith reads 2 excerpts from her book Just Kids. About meeting Allen Ginsburg and her last letter to the dying Robert Mapplethorpe.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2010/11/17/131384730/hear-patti-smith-read-from-just-kids

Dog town Z-Girls…

These gorgeous girls have a longboard club – check them out..  I have a longboard, I want to set up a club too! And a BMX gang, I’ll do it when I finish my season of preforming for the Wet Hot Beauties

What are the words?

My boyfriend always pulls me up on songs that I sing along to because I have the words wrong.. i.e. ‘I went through the danger zone’ rather than ‘highway to the dangerzone’ (i’m still not convinced on that one).
This morning I heard this tune on the radio.. I though it was awesome, and started singing it when it finished, boyf teased me becasue I was singing ‘Shiny gun.. shiny shiny gun….’ and he said it was ‘Shiny blunt….. shiny, shiny blunt’ (that doesn’t even make sense!) – But victory pervailed when I googled ‘Shiny blunt’ and got nothing and tried ‘Shiny gun’ and found ‘Murder Weapon’ by Tricky – It has a mean Guy Ritchie-esque video clip and a killer  showdown, Tarantino-esque baseline..

Unhappy Hipsters

I love this blog, I look at it every morning. I entered their caption contest last week and my entry was chosen from thousands apparently 😉

http://unhappyhipsters.com/post/459025435/1-that-hed-been-volunteered-to-bring-everyones

Content Types

Found this presentation on SlideShare by Blend Interactive which explains content types and content modeling well, it is closely tied to their use in CMS’s

How to QA a Visual Design, a guide for an Interaction Designer

I found recently that one of my knowledge/skill gaps was in working with our visual designer. Knowing how to give her constructive feedback was something I realised I was lacking, I didn’t know how to talk about visual language, I didn’t know what to look for. I didn’t want to comment on the emotional aspects of the design but more on the functional elements. I decided to look in to graphic design theory, and the visual aspects of usability and accessibility. After doing so I came up with this kind of check list, I think the act of writing it instilled most of the knowledge but having it as a reference in the future should be good b/c my mind is like a sieve sometimes, especially when working on more than one project.

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The Checklist

This is a guide of what to look at in a visual design, to check it is usable, accessible and follows graphic design standards.

It is based on http://www.maxdesign.com.au/articles/checklist/, our company VCD process and research into visual/graphic design techniques and standards.

Some of the guides are more strict and specific than necessary; they’re really included more as a reminder or reference for future phases of the development.

S.M.P (single minded proposition)

Does the design follow the single sentence that summarises the focus of the design; has it been a reference point for all design decisions, ensuring a clear message?

Visual Hierarchy

Is there a clear visual hierarchy?
Organise and prioritise the contents of a page by using size, prominence and content relationships Is the visual hierarchy correct, do the colours and sizing of elements convey their level of importance correctly? Do the navigation elements and key elements stand out against the contextual elements?

Max Design Checklist:  Basic Usability

  1. Are heading levels easy to distinguish?
  2. Is the design’s navigation easy to understand?
  3. Is the design’s navigation consistent?

Perceived Affordance

Do the links look like they should be clicked? Do the buttons look like they should be pushed?

“The property of an object or system’s action possibilities being easily discoverable” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordance “To maximize the perceived affordance of clickability,” http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040510.html

Max Design Checklist:  Basic Usability

  1. 1. Are links underlined?  
  2. Are visited links clearly defined?
  3. Does the design reflect the brand values?
  4. Does it use the brand colours correctly?
  5. Is the logo used according to guidelines?
  6. Does the design reflect the tone of the brand if this was required?

Branding

  1. Does the design reflect the brand values?
  2. Does it use the brand colours correctly?
  3. Is the logo used according to guidelines?
  4. Does the design reflect the tone of the brand if this was required?

Appropriateness

Is the design suitable and appropriate for its purpose.

  1. Does the design reflect its audience?
  2. Does the design reflect the industry it is part of?
  3. Does the design reflect the business? (not necessarily it’s language or structure though)

This is achieved by using language and imagery that reflects the audience and industry, which they will be able to use and recognise.

Max Design Checklist:  Basic Usability

  1. Does the design use consistent and appropriate language?

Typography

Does the typography of the design suit users reading methods, is the text easy to read and scan.

  1. Does the site use web safe fonts? If not how will elements be treated on the page?
  2. Does the hierarchy work? e.g.  Heading, Sub-heading Paragraph
  3. Does the line spacing work – do lines look appropriately related and separated, are they easy to read?
  4. Is the contrast of the text enough?
    http://juicystudio.com/services/luminositycontrastratio.php
  5. Are elements emphasised correctly?
  6. Does the size and combination of the font of the text make it readable?
  7. Is the font legible (serif, sans serif)?
  8. How is the line height, is the text readable?
  9. Is there enough white space, can the text breath?
  10. Sentence case? Title case? Is it consistent?

Colour

Ensure that all information conveyed with colour is also available without colour, for example from context or markup.  Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – checkpoint 2.1

Max Design Checklist:  Accessibility for users

  1. Is there sufficient colour brightness/contrasts?
  2. Is colour alone used for critical information?
  3. Are red and green used to differentiate elements

“There are basically three types of colour deficiency; Deuteranope (a form of red/green colour deficit), Protanope (another form of red/green colour deficit) and Tritanope (a blue/yellow deficit- very rare).  Colourblind Webpage filter Vischeck” (maxdesign.com.au)

Cohesiveness

Do all the pages sit nicely together?

Composition and Organisation

Have all the elements been placed on the grid in a compelling and orderly manner.

  1. Are the margins even?
  2. Is the design balanced and polished?
  3. What grid does it use?
  4. Will it fit to 960, does it size elements in increments of 8px?

Clutter

Following the ideas of subtractive design, reduce the clutter by eliminating visual elements that don’t contribute directly to the visual communication.

Consistency

  1. Is the visual language consistent?
  2. Are the sizing of the icons and labels even?
  3. Is the use of language and labels consistent?

Falling Whistles

Instead of crappy corporate xmas gifts this year my companies donating time and money to creating a new website for the New Zealand Child Cancer Foundation. I’m on the project as UX designer, so working through the requirements, the wish list with the UX lead, PM and the amazing team at CCF.. then doing the IA and interaction design, working closely with our Visual Designer b/c it’s a site with such a strong message..

The research for the site has been pretty hard on the heart strings, and I’ve come across some pretty sad stories. The most recent is this one, the story of the Falling Whistles:

http://www.fallingwhistles.com/story/

Captured by Nkunda’s rebel army, the boys not big enough to hold a gun are given merely a whistle and put on the front lines of battle.

Captured by Nkunda’s rebel army, the boys not big enough to hold a gun are given merely a whistle and put on the front lines of battle.

The world is changed by those who speak out. Whistleblowers. Rarely understood in their time, history looks back and calls them courageous.

Be a whistleblower for peace.

Buy the whistle and the proceeds go to support and advocate for war-affected kids. Wear the whistle, share the story, and speak up for them. Together, we’ll become the voice of a growing coalition to end our world’s biggest war.

Buy the whistle and the proceeds go to support and advocate for war-affected kids. Wear the whistle, share the story, and speak up for them. Together, we’ll become the voice of a growing coalition to end our world’s biggest war.

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