Sadly, you won’t find many inspiring examples of websites which use CSS Shapes. That doesn’t mean that inspiration isn’t out there — you just have to look a little further afield at advertising, magazine, and poster design.
I’ve been thinking about my own web designs lately, and realising how often they can lack variation in the shape combinations I use. This is a great introduction in to using better art direction for the web, CSS shapes isn’t a technology I’m overly familiar with, perhaps its time to do some more learning.
I’ve seen a few people on Micro.blog using a thing called Quill to post to their sites. Intrigue got the better of me so I’m giving it a try.
Finished on: 30/12/2017
This was my last book of 2017. I started it at the end of November and kept wanting to try things out so it took me a lot longer to finish than it should’ve. It’s a book I’ll be returning to over and over in the next few months while I keep trying out the new CSS techniques in my work. Looking forward to the more powerful and extensive layout options that are now becoming available to us. The web has started to look very same‑y in the last 12–18 months, mainly I believe, due to designers trying to make it easier to build responsive websites. I firmly believe some of the new CSS specs will allow that to change and for designers to start pushing boundaries again.
I created my first blog back in 2005 while I was at university. I had come across a number of blogs that I enjoyed reading and looking at the design of them. I wanted in on the game, a means of having my own piece of the internet, a way of learning about web design, and a place to write. It became a bit of a hobby, one which I enjoyed and one which I have battled with trying to regain over recent years.
The last few months have been interesting on the internet. There has been an increasing awareness that the large social networks create a bit of a cauldron. A boiling pot of likeness. The ability of sites like Facebook and Twitter to learn what kind of things you are interested in means they continually surface things that you like and are interested in. It’s a logical behaviour, but it’s one which lacks the ability to show you what people outside of your bubble are actually thinking and saying. They create controlled environments that perpetuate similar trains of thought.
Services like Medium also serve similar purposes, they want you to use their website and app as your only source of finding new content on the internet. It uses similar techniques to the bigger social networks and it presents it in a largely homogenised appearance to make it all look the same and give it the same visual voice. It takes ownership of your content and with it adds your voice to that bubbling pot of likeness.
There’s a big danger to that boiling pot. Each person ends up with their own, fed by similarity and linked to other similar pots by the content that fits them both. It takes away discourse. It takes away reason. It takes away the ability to have conversation and the ability to disagree well. It leads to a world where different opinions are denounced as bigotry, especially when they are contrary to the popular culture of the time. It’s something I am beginning to see more and more of, and something which I am beginning to feel influence my own thinking. That’s why I’m starting to see a fresh how important it is that we keep the web open. That we keep the ability to post to our own corners of the web and share it with those we know and in public domains that are easy to find. It’s why we need bloggers.
The problem is, that many people don’t see themselves as bloggers. It’s a geeky past time, that’s seen as old hat and no longer the done thing. What’s most interesting is that anyone who uses sites like Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram, are bloggers. Posting a tweet is a blog post. It’s a small one granted, but at it’s essence that’s what it is. Likewise with Facebook, any status posts, notes or whatever other myriad of things you can post originally to the site, are at their essence blog posts. We are all bloggers, whether we are aware of it or not. The difficulty is that we need to find ways of encouraging people to post these things to their own sites first, to take ownership of their thoughts and opinions, no matter how long they are. This is why I’m so excited by services like Micro.blog which encourage you to start your own Twitter-like personal site, which you own and can direct to other places. I’m not just excited by the idea of encouraging people to own their own posts, but by the fact that it could, like it is doing to me, get people interested in the idea of sharing their own thoughts and opinions in longer form as well. That’s what the web was built on. It’s what the web needs.
For a while now I’ve owned the domain philbowell.me, I bought it while it was cheap and to make sure no one else got hold of it and thus cause confusion with the domain of this blog. I’ve wondered what to do with it for most of that time, briefly it acted as a micro-blog but I merged that with this site a few months back. This evening while doing a bit of introverting I picked up my iPad (where I designed it and set the basic html structure), then my MacBook (where I implemented the CSS) and ended up with a new web page. A small about me should anyone stumble upon it. The only thing I’ve yet to do is optimise it for an iPhone sized display but it’s working pretty well on an iPad sized screen and upwards.
Marco Arment has written a great piece in relation to the secret Apple meeting with seven renowned podcast producers. He outlines Apples role and position in the podcasting world, what the podcasters are after and what it could mean.
It seems to me to be another case of the big companies trying to gain more control and data about those who listen. I’m in favour of things developing, but they need to remain open. The likes of Facebook and Medium are making the open web a harder place to be, and to me that is showing me how important it is that it remains easy to do things without the big data companies controlling everything. I couldn’t agree more with Marco’s final statements.
And the last thing we all need is for the “data” economy to destroy another medium.
When we let the success and failure of others superficially guide design decisions, we skip over the context and uniqueness of what makes our products different. Design becomes a game of catch-up. Not an intelligent pursuit of finding unique formulas that help the organization stand out on its own.
This is one of those articles that as I read it I found myself nodding along to more and more. It’s easy in a world of short deadlines and on demand solutions to default to what we know works, or at least what appears to work when we’re approaching a new job. But what’s most important in these situations, is that this kind of behvaiour/design does a disservice to our clients.
I’ve lost count of the number of times over recent years that we speak about being professional designer, or designers growing up to be on the level of lawyers and accountants. Experts who know what they’re doing and, in many cases, have earned that respect. The trouble is, that the web doesn’t always portray that, and the glimpses of the web in this piece certainly seem to be back that up.
Each client and each job is unique, treat them that way. There is no one size fits all when it comes to design.
I love the interaction and design on this iPad site for Skyfall.
Your website is your home on the web. And in a web where we’re increasingly fractured between social networks, having that sort of “home base” on the web seems increasingly important.
A nice clean and simple solution from Ian Hines as he seeks to solve the problem he so succinctly set out in the quote above. It looks great, although the last two items aren’t necessarily what I would’ve chosen for their relevant actions.
A fascinating read of the story behind how the new Microsoft.com came to be. A blend of both inspiration and pith.