Archive for May, 2006

A new painting every day

May 29, 2006

A year and a half ago I posted an entry at Telegraph called Daily Practices, in which I linked to a blog called A Painting a Day and wrote:

One of my favorite applications of the weblogging medium is a daily practice. My first bloglike thing was a daily journal called Breathing Room that I used as a way of making sure I did at least some writing every say.

The other day, Gautam Rao, who blogs his daily paintings at Playful Painter, dropped me a note to tell me that painting blogs have caught on as a real phenomenon. His blogroll links to a number of other painters he admires.
It’s a great idea. The blog promotes the latest work and the painters seem to be able to sell their paintings fairly readily directly through the blog. I guess this is the equivalent of other indie forms of media creation where the artist has direct control over the marketing and distribution of his or her own work.
I’m glad to see the idea spreading.

A resource for enterprise search research

May 25, 2006

Mark sent a link around the office to Enterprise Search Center, saying “This is a new site dedicated to corporate search technologies. Should be more and more useful as more articles are contributed.”

Simple Knowledge Organisation System (SKOS)

May 24, 2006

Did you know the W3C has a standard for taxonomies and other classification schemes (Simple Knowledge Organisation System)?
Neither did I. But apparently, Jay Fienberg did, since he just mentioned it on the IA Institute mailing list. I doubt it would be of any use in communicating with clients, but I wonder if it might be useful for delivering machine-readable hierarchies to site developers?

Make the right things easy and the wrong things hard

May 23, 2006

Kathy Sierra at Creating Passionate Users writes about how Good usability is like “water flowing downhill”:

I’ve talked about this many times before; my horse trainer’s mantra is, “Make the right things easy and the wrong things hard” – but the opposite is everywhere. It’s ridiculously easy for me to screw up the settings on my digital devices. The API methods that intuivitely feel right turn out to be dead wrong. I click the button I think will do X, and instead I get… WTF?

Collaborative diagramming with Gliffy

May 22, 2006

A month or so ago Dan sent me a link to, an Ajax-y OpenLazslo-driven browser-based collaborative diagramming tool that could conceivably give Visio a run for its money (someday). Even with its limited initial feature set it makes fairly crisp looking diagrams with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.
Knowledging Across Life’s Curriculum has a brief review of Gliffy, and (of course?) Gliffy has a blog as well.
One thing I have to say is that I hate the product’s logo and its web page looks a bit clunky too. The whole brand presentation would benefit from a makeover by a good designer.

Borogoves and Mome Raths 2.0

May 21, 2006

Paul Bissex has released Jabberwocky 2.0. Of course it’s still in beta (unlike Flickr, which has recently upgraded to gamma).

May 19, 2006

ColorBlender is a cool Ajax-y service that suggests an entire palette of colors for you based on a dominant color that you enter (using RGB sliders). I’d still prefer a great visual designer come up with color ideas, but if you were on a budget and if you didn’t know the first thing about how colors complement each other, push forward, recede back, are cool or warm, etc., you could do worse than consulting this tool to put together a pleasing palette for a website.

Prototype JavaScript framework

May 18, 2006

Prototype is “a JavaScript framework that aims to ease development of dynamic web applications,” sporting an “easy-to-use toolkit for class-driven development and the nicest Ajax library around.”
Ruby on Rails features integrated Prototype support, the famous library is built on Prototype (but I curse Joshua Schachter for ever starting that URL trend), Rico offers Ajax components and effects built on Prototype, and so on.

Adaptive Path starts blogging

May 17, 2006

Subject says it all. (Here’s some of the thinking that went into the blog launch.)

Another vote for XHTML wireframes

May 16, 2006

At the Blue Flavor blog, Nick Finck casts another vote for making XHTML wireframes. I have to admit I find this idea appealing. Granted (and he grants this himself), it may not be the right approach for every client, but the prospect of creating blueprints and schematics that don’t get thrown away after they’re approved but that actually help give the web developers a leg up, is mighty appealing:

So why? Why would we want to do XHTML wireframes? Wouldn’t it take more time to do them in XHTML than it would in Visio or something? Well, yes and no. Yes, you would have to code the XHTML, but that would need to be done at some point anyway. Yes it may seem like it’s slower to create wireframes in XHTML but once you have done your first website using this method a lot of the same markup can be repurposed especially when it comes to navigation and various methods of displaying information on a page like multi-column lists and so forth.
In the end it’s actually more efficient to be building wireframes in XHTML and even navigation schemas because you can see exactly how it works and you only spend the energy necessary to create it once, not twice (once in Visio and once in XHTML).

(via Thomas Vander Wal)