Category Archives: design

Taking social stock (pt 2)


As we bid farewell to 2008, I’m looking again at the places I’ve been spending my time online. Last time, I attempted to chart all the places where I actively create content. I decided this time to catalog just the sites I use the most, and try to classify the activities that take place on each. I came up with these categories:

Some of these sites span multiple categories (e.g. – most sites have features that support conversation), and I do show some crossing over between two, but I’ve just tried to show the categories they fit in best, based on my most typical uses. I’ve also started drawing the connections that track the flow of info from one site to another. I’m mostly interested in how publishing can be automated, so in future explorations I want to try to focus on individual flows (e.g. – a photo on Flickr is used in a blog post, which gets automatically published to the Twitter feed, and aggregated in FriendFeed).

Jersey designs – initial ideas

dh jersey

I may have the opportunity to design the jerseys for a local mountain biking team. Here are the designs I pitched, initially. The logo was a real challenge to work with, as I wanted to come up with a bold, aggressive design for the jersey, while the design of the logo does not feature any strong lines, and is contained in a very static circular shape. As you can see, I’m suggesting a departure from using the logo as is…

Heuristic painting

Another great post from Robert Genn, Heuristic painting. In my field, I usually hear heuristics mentioned in relation to usability testing. Here, Robert’s advice applies to the design process, whether you are putting acrylic on canvas or pixels on a grid.

Start anywhere.
Accept “nearly right” to get going.
Forgo early accuracy and precision.
Let early strokes determine later ones.
Assume a solution and try working backwards.
Of two solutions, choose the simplest.
Move forward on incomplete information.
Think smart rather than laborious.
Use intuition and go directly to the outcome.
Trust your instincts.

One needs a sense of discovery and a willingness to go with the
educated guess, without falling too much into tried-and-true
habit. In other fields the conventional wisdom is sometimes
referred to as “bias.” Heuristic painters rethink their systems
to free up natural flow and avoid bias. Artists who find
themselves stuck, bogged down or habitually obsessive might
consider giving some of these ideas a spin. It’s not that
perfection is left behind, but rather a new kind of perfection
is found.

Taking social stock

A recent blog post by Seesmic‘s Loic Le Meur yesterday discussed the “social graph”, mapping the various services and softwares used in publishing and maintaining an online presence. It got me thinking that it’d be a fun thing to attempt. So, I’ve made a map of all places I create content or maintain a profile, and grouped them into basic categories. I’d like to do some additional connectors, to indicate flow of content from place to place (eg: stories shared on Google reader get populated into a feed on my site and my Facebook profile) but I haven’t taken it that far yet. I did add some color coding, to indicate the frequency and level of involvement I have at each site. Check it out: (click the image to see the whole thing)

This sort of inventory can be a useful step in managing one’s web presence, which is a topic I’ve been thinking about today, after viewing some slides from an Aquent/AMA webcast I missed last week, on managing your content, something I need to focus on more.

Social Graph Central is a new website that’s been created to collect various social graphs. Why not draw yours up and add it?

Update: improved color coding and added flows between items: (click the image to see the whole thing)