Archive: May, 2015

What Dogme 95 did for women directors

Judy Berman writing for The Dissolve on von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg’s famous film movement and its underrated positive impact for female directors:

By denouncing the high-priced spectacles and “superficial action” that have since reached their hysterical apotheosis in city-smashing, vehicle-exploding superhero franchises, von Trier and Vinterberg were countering a trend toward the hyper-masculinization of film. The manifesto’s exhortation to make low-budget films built around “characters’ inner lives” was a mandate to ignore superficial differences and find what makes each character different, as well as what is universal about all human experience.

The best UI typeface goes unnoticed

Designer Thomas Byttebier covers typographic basics for UI design. Spoiler alert: Helvetica gets some (well deserved) dings.

Design principles

Simple, core design principles. No fluff, read and review in a half hour, and great reading for those that don’t practice design but work with people that do.

Instant web

Mark Llobrera, writing on a wonderful post regarding Facebook’s Instant Articles and web performance over at A List Apart:

For most of us, even the ones I would describe as pro-performance, everything in the contemporary web design production pipeline works against the very focus required to keep the web fast. Unless you make some fundamental choices and set up clear constraints, you can—and will—build and ship beautiful sites without feeling a single ounce of the pain and frustration that your users encounter when all of that beautiful imagery, CSS, and JavaScript comes trickling down their mobile network.

ColorSnapper 2

I use ColorSnapper most days to select and compare colors on web sites, Sketch files, and more. I’ve tried other color pickers, but this app remains my favorite. Version 2.0 adds a smarter magnifying glass, Alfred-style color export formats and other enhancements.

The original, resonant, existentially brilliant “Mad Men” finale

New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum (and yes, spoilers in the quote and article for the entire Mad Men finale):

I don’t think the show was saying that real change is impossible. In fact, nearly everyone around Don changed quite a lot, and in ways that ring true for people living through decades—a real rarity in a TV show. Pete and Peggy and Joan, in particular, barely resemble the people they were at the beginning of the show. They’re stronger, clearer, and also more ethical. Their relationships are authentic. (Roger not so much, but that’s why we love Roger.) But if Don Draper is as much a symbol as a person, maybe that’s the point.

Among the many shows its compared against – from The Sopranos to Breaking BadMad Men’s final world view ends up far more optimistic.

80/20 practitioners make better communicators

Katie Kovalcin, writing for A List Apart:

When designers and developers (and entire web teams) work closely together with flexibility and shared understanding, they can use their time and resources more efficiently and creatively. Whether your process is waterfall or agile, a solid team foundation applies to everyone: it allows you to shape a solution that benefits all teammates on a project.

To avoid the mistakes we made on our Pizza Site process, we balanced our responsibilities differently with the Bike Site. We became what I call 80/20 practitioners, focusing 80 percent of our time on our own respective strengths while distributing the remaining 20 percent across other disciplines to benefit the entire project.

LucasArts and the rationalist tendency in videogames

Wonderful essay by Alexander Kriss at Kill Screen regarding Lucasarts’ golden age of adventure gaming and its impact on the burgeoning gaming market:

In the mid–1980s, the similar albeit slightly less profound question, “How do I know this is a videogame?” would be answered very differently than today. Such a query might have yielded answers like, “There are discrete levels that increase in difficulty, therefore it is a game,” or, “Progress is tracked by a score system, therefore it is a game,” or, certainly, “If the player fails, she reaches a ‘game over’ state, therefore it is a game.” The medium was young and existed in a kind of philosophical terrarium, bound by certain unwritten rules carried over from arcade era of the late ’70s.

Out of this experimental haze came Ron Gilbert, a young programmer and game designer at Lucasfilms Games (later to redubbed LucasArts). Beginning with 1987’s Maniac Mansion (co-designed with Gary Winnick), he embarked on the impressive project of dismantling the assumptions that had become so ingrained that most game designers had forgotten they were there. Like Descartes, Gilbert sought to find the latent truth of the (gaming) world through the power of the intellect.

Death to typewriters

From Medium, a one stop shop for everything about writing high quality text for the web. Everything from custom underlines to print styles, it’s all here. For web developers/designers, the best part is a technical supplement that outlines a lot of the CSS Medium uses to achieve its typography and layout.

Sharing in the world of the in-app web view

Interesting piece from Alastair Coote on how to determine if a user is accessing your web property via either full browser or in-app web view. It effectively is a user agent string check, which by it’s nature means you’re not batting 100% accuracy, but it’s a cool idea nevertheless.