Posts tagged “thoughts”

I consider myself a craftsman in that I dedicate myself to my work. I’m probably a few steps short of a perfectionist (though that term has been applied to me in the past) and while I may not know best any newfangled idea or technique must convince me of its value before I’ll give it a second look. I pride myself in creating the best work I am capable of.

But reality does not always give me the luxury of doing so. While a craftsman would prefer having ample time and resources to work on their projects, the real world cannot always accommodate this. In most cases it’s “now or preferably yesterday!”

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One particular morning, as I was eating my breakfast of oatmeal and almond milk, I realized I had forgotten to bring my iPad with me. Deprived of morning entertainment, I picked up the box of almond milk and started reading the label (yes kids, that’s what we did to entertain ourselves before tablets and smart phones). Something on the box caught my eye — proudly displayed on the side was a bold, star-burst proclamation that the almond milk in my hands was made with 98% Australian ingredients.

So that got me thinking: What would a 100% Bruneian Website look like?

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I support the separation of presentation from structure.

I think it’s admirable we’re moving towards code reuse and modularity.

I’m all for using HTML tables for data and not for page layouts.

This is the perfect world I strive for in building websites. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a messy world where clients want visible changes immediately and we’re working within parameters of time, money and energy that we have no control over.
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You’re not a real website designer or developer until you learn to hate GoDaddy. I joke but GoDaddy doesn’t have the rosiest of reputations among seasoned designers & developers. Recent news of GoDaddy acquiring ManageWP (a popular service to manage multiple WordPress websites) has kicked up #WPdrama dust and once again stirred the GoDaddy hate.

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Designmodo has a quick overview of what to expect in Bootstrap 4. My initial thoughts:

  • Moving from Less to Sass. Crap, now I gotta learn Sass and set up my development environment to support it.
  • Grid System based on ems instead of pixels. Nice.
  • Dropped support for IE8. OK, whatever…
  • Dropped Glyphicons. Uh… please announce a replacement.
  • Optional Flexbox. Yesssssss…
  • Cards as a new component. Nice.

My biggest gripe is easily having to switch to Sass. Ah well, I’ll live.

They say “Don’t re-invent the wheel.” It’s pretty sound advice but you should probably know the different kinds of wheels you can choose from. And because it had been a while since I’d experimented with third-party libraries, I decided to mess around with Google’s Material Design Lite framework.

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A while back I made a post stressing the importance of providing users with all available options when offering a choice. A few days ago I was filling out an online form and was presented with these options:

A form asking "What is your gender?" giving 4 options: Female, Male, Transgendered and Other

That’s when it hit me that society (for the most part) has started to recognize gender identity beyond the usual Male or Female. It just blew my mind to think that such grand debates have finally come down to the everyday level of implementation. Trippy.

In late 2014 I participated in the BSB International Marathon organized by the Brunei Athletics Association. How did I do? I’m glad you asked 🙂 I placed 33rd out of the 127 runners in my category and covered 5km in 32 minutes 28 seconds, a personal best.

Despite the issues that plagued the marathon, I think a hearty “Congratulations” is in order to the Brunei Athletics Association. I’m sure they will take the lessons learned to heart and do even better next time. That said, there are a few website matters we can scrutinize and draw reminders from.

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At the risk of giving away my age I’d like to share an anecdote. Over 10 years ago when I was playing around with magic & illusions, an experienced magician said to me that he didn’t consider himself a magician but rather a story-teller; each routine in his repertoire of illusions had a different story to tell the audience.

Microsoft recently previewed a new member to the Office family: Sway. The official website has a preview video but if you’d like a more hands-on demonstration here’s one by the Office Garage Series.

Here’s how the Microsoft Office Blog describes Sway:

[Sway] is a new way for you to create a beautiful, interactive, web-based expression of your ideas, from your phone or browser. It is easy to share your creation and it looks great on any screen … Sway helps you focus on the human part: your ideas and how they relate to each other. Sway takes care of the design work—a Sway is ready to share with the world as soon as it is born.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that lately I’ve also been looking into the Aesop Story Engine, a WordPress plugin which positions itself as a way for website authors to write stories instead of code.

I see this as the next stage of website development. We went from hand-coding HTML to making use of WYSIWYG editors and Content Management Systems. But these were all aimed at the technical aspects of building a website. Using your content to tell a story or create a narrative has often been left by the wayside or given to branding experts and the marketing department. I for one am glad that tools are being developed to help streamline the way we pull information from different sources and present our created stories through different channels.

Content has always been king. It’s time we dressed it up and paraded it on the catwalk.

I have a feeling Jakob Nielsen may balk at this design but I like it all the same.

When you go to the University of Cambridge’s Research section you’ll be greeted with this menu in the sidebar:


Pretty standard fair. But click on any link under Research at Cambridge


and you get something that looks like the fair-headed child of a menu and breadcrumbs. The pages higher in the menu hierarchy have upward pointing arrows signalling “click me for a higher-level view” while also having a downward pointing nub that invites the user to drill deeper.

Very sexy!