6 posts tagged the world is now a web-app

Self-Contained Experiences

I hadn’t thought of the digital book experience in terms of containment before, but as a designer it is a powerful attribute to recognize. Holding a physical book in your hand, with no other apps and nothing to tap on, makes it a contained experience. By contrast, an electronic book on, say, an iPad is not as contained. I can easily switch to another app or get distracted by a notification. A “webified” book on such a device is even less contained. Hyperlinks, video, notes from other readers: all can add some value to the experience over a physical book, but they come at the cost of focus.

Isn’t there value in designing self-contained experiences, even if the constraints that make it up are self-imposed?

So, something to ponder: just because we can almost infinitely expand a physical experience when we move it into a digital realm, should we? Isn’t there value in designing self-contained experiences, even if the constraints that make it up are self-imposed? In visual design, constraints are one of my favorite tools and I don’t believe that should be any different when designing experiences, digital or otherwise.

It is in this manner that I believe the internet—and most digital technology—is still very much in its infancy. I’m generalizing a bit, but on the whole we—those of us that build the web and software—are spending most of our time trying to add things as we take pre-digital experiences and bring them online. This isn’t bad, but I can’t say it’s unequivocally good, either. We’ll all figure this out over time, but it never hurts to try to lead the charge now.

Apple is professional, the web is amateur

David offers an interesting explanation for why Apple—to this point—hasn’t been that successful in the realm of web services and particularly the social web. I tend to agree with a lot of it. The very culture of the company seems to go against the grain in the haphazard world of web services.

(via @mranauro)


An Instagram Rainbow


Developer Elliott Kember and cohorts have been playing around with Instagram’s API since before it was actually an API, starting with a web interface for the iPhone photo app called Insta-great!. At a recent hack night, along with Marc Roberts and Phil Sturgeon, he created Instashade. It pulls photos from the service and then organizes them in a rainbow, of sorts. It’s very pretty. And, if you have a larger monitor, there’s a big version too.

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What Happens in Facebook…

Great essay by Pell. It’s true of our entire online persona, not just Facebook. It reminds me of bumper stickers. I have no bumper stickers on my car. It’s not that I have no opinions, it’s just that, ultimately, I make snap judgements about every driver I see on the road based off of their bumper stickers. Snap judgements are a barrier to truly getting to know someone and an online profile is essentially a big pile of bumper stickers—lacking depth and context and human presence.

How do I learn to program?

I’m a designer who learned to program out of shear frustration. I didn’t have the resources to hire a programmer yet I had ideas that I wanted to execute and was tired of feeling helpless. I let the frustration motivate me, and now I can play both ends—design and development—it’s the best thing I ever did for my career.

by SimpleGeo

Nice work by my SimpleGeo friends. The Boulder-based company has put together a little microsite that showcases their ability to cache and stream an enormous amount of geo-location data. For the next week or so you can watch live checkins in Austin for SXSW, as they happen, from services such as Gowalla, foursquare, and BrightKite.

The “geo-location wars” might just be heating up, but these are the guys who will be doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the background.

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