Archive for the ‘design’ Category

How Microsoft Developed Office’s Ribbon UI

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

I started watching this presentation earlier this afternoon and couldn’t stop watching. A member of the Office 2007 design team, Jensen Harris, spends about an hour-and-a-half discussing how Microsoft build Office 2007, epecially the “Ribbon” user interface paradigm.

If you liked the recent documentary, Helvetica, if you’re into design, usability, UI, etc., you’re going to love this presentation. Which means, 99% of you will probably be better off skipping this link entirely.

Start watching here, and click on the video to keep watching (it’s divided into 10 parts).

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Category business, design, technology | Tags: Tags: , , , , , ,

Unintentional Robots

Friday, September 12th, 2008

I love it when I find unintentional robot faces in things. If you’re not sure what they are, think of your average three-pronged electrical outlet. Here are two examples I found from Target:

blue guyshelfguy

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Category design, humor | Tags: Tags: , , ,

Mozilla Labs’ Ubiquity: The Future of the Web

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

I’ve seen the future of the web, and it’s right here in this video below. The web used to be static. Then, it got filled with dynamic information, and “web 2.0″ brought all this dynamic information together with web-based services. That was cool for a while, but Mozilla Labs’ Ubiquity prototype shows us the next step. Forget about words, just watch this video. Be amazed.

Now, I was thinking: drag-and-drop might be one of the most important functions to the user since the GUI, or multiple windows. Making the drag-and-drop function ubiquitous was probably one of Windows 95’s greatest contributions to the GUI. You might scoff, since drag-and-drop is rudimentary; well, that’s because Windows made it ubiquitous, mainstream.

Think about it: Want to open something in Photoshop? Before drag-and-drop, you had to a) open Photoshop, then b) locate and open the file(s) from within Photoshop. Now you locate the file(s), and drag them to the Photoshop icon to open the program and files with a single action. Want to attach a file attachment into an e-mail? Drag it into the e-mail window.

Ubiquity aims to make the web that simple. This user-focused simplicity does not exist on the web…yet. Ubiquity aims to change this. And I can’t wait! For a much more in-depth post on how this works, check Aza Raskin’s blog (he’s the dude behind this project).

Walmart Misplaces its Asterisk

Thursday, August 7th, 2008


First off, I’d like to welcome WAL*MART—er, Walmart—to 2005! It seems the neighborhood-munching behemoth’s nearly two decade old logo wasn’t friendly enough to represent the company in this brave new world. Second, I wonder how long it took to develop this logo. Ten minutes? Fifteen? It probably took a year of focus groups consisting of old people who think lowercase proper nouns are cutting edge.

Business Week had the details on this change last month, and Brand New had a more snarky take—e.g. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

At least Walmart kept the capital; the same can’t be said for AT&T’s 2005 logo change. Hey, Walmart is working on being more environmentally friendly. All they have to do now is stop mistreating their employees, and destroying small-town America, and they just might back up their friendly new logo. In the same way that AT&T stopped being evil the moment they changed their logo. Oh, wait, never mind.

Bamboo, is it Green?

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

image of bamboo flooringWhile I’m satisfied with the cheap wood laminate flooring that I inherited when I bought my home, I’ve been waiting for the time when I’ve got the extra change needed to get some real hardwood floors installed. And being, a tree-hugging liberal, the first thing that came to mind was, of course, bamboo.

Sure, bamboo, unlike trees, can be harvested like any other crop, and grows back remarkably fast, but how “green” is it, really? Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one thinking about this. In short, since bamboo is a renewable resource, it’s definitely better than your average hardwood flooring… but the industry behind it isn’t. Apparently, bamboo is so hot right now that forests are being razed to make room for more bamboo crops.

Much of it comes from China, which kind of sours the deal for Fair Trade fans and folks into locally sourced materials. Oh, and those chemicals used in other materials? They’re used with bamboo as well. Fortunately, as with any product, there are good and bad companies out there. Apparently, Teragen is one of the good companies. And there are no less than thirteen dealers in my area, so I’ll have to get a quote.

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Category business, design, environment, living | Tags: Tags: , , ,

Apparently, I’m Good At Interior Design

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Either that, or I’m just on to something here. A year and a half ago, I decided to paint my living room green—not just any green, mind you, but a green color-matched to the green used in all Xbox branding, packaging, logos, etc. Let’s call it Xbox Green.

Living Room

Then, a few months back, I came across this photo tour of a west coast couple’s home, headlined by the following photograph:

From Apartment Therapy

It’s a lot more finished, and a lot more classy, but it’s definitely familiar. Note that the green is very similar because when under similar lighting as in the second photo, my living room’s shade of green looks exactly the same as in the second photo. I’m also sure that the other place has got real wood flooring, where I’ve got cheap laminate.

Suddenly, I’ve got the desire to paint the right side cream and install a mirror above it.

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Category design, living | Tags: Tags: , , , , ,

Chevy Nomad (By Way of Germany)

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Photo of Chevy Nomad concept car

You might (or not) remember Chevrolet’s concept car from a few years back, the Nomad. It never made it to production, but a similar car might thanks to Murat Günak, former design boss of the Volkswagen Group.

Photograph of the 2009 Mindset Six50

Günak co-founded a new auto company, Mindset and made the Six50, whose purpose is to buck the trend toward larger, heavier cars; its name comes from its weight, 650 kg (1430 lbs). For reference, my VW New Beetle weighs in at just under 3000 lbs, and even the tiny Smart Car weighs about 1600 lbs. Add to the Six50’s light weight the fact that it’s a hybrid, and we should be seeing some serious MPGs.

Rather, Europe should be seeing some serious MPGs. With the target price of €31,000 and the weak dollar, this car’s chances of making it to the States are approximately 0.000%. Check out the details at TreeHugger and scope a few more pics of this sweet-looking hybrid.