Flock?

14 Sep 2005 - 8:00am
8 years ago
29 replies
694 reads
Dave Malouf
2005

http://www.flock.com/home/about/

Anyone here a private beta tester for Flock? Are there anymore insights to
this new "Web 2.0" browser than what is in this article by Wired?
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,68823,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1

AND! What do people think of their approach to Web-Design ... Just look at
the site? Is this a new trend?

Seriously, though, I'm really curious if anyone has any thoughts, opinions,
takes, or other scoops and exposes to give to the rest of the crowd here.

For those not in "the know" read the wired article above, but it looks like
Flock is a new browser built on top of the Firefox engine that has built in
support not just for easy stuff like RSS, but for more API related stuff out
there (supposedly). Anyway, the article is there and so is their site.

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

Comments

14 Sep 2005 - 10:09am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Sep 14, 2005, at 6:00 AM, David Heller wrote:

> What do people think of their approach to Web-Design ... Just look at
> the site? Is this a new trend?
>

This is going to be THE trend.

Here's the paragraph that is going to bug our library-science friends
in IAI:

He says the web was until recently conceptually conceived as a big
library, a collection of documents to search and consume. Browsers
were all about navigation. Now, he notes, "Web 2.0 is a stream of
events, people and connections." A better browser is one that will
understand this new user environment.

One might also ask what is going to happen to visual design on the
web now that the control of it is passing into browsers and RSS
readers and the like. ie into even MORE user control.

Dan Saffer
Sr. Interaction Designer, Adaptive Path
http://www.adaptivepath.com
http://www.odannyboy.com

14 Sep 2005 - 11:06am
Rick Cecil
2004

On 9/14/05, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> On Sep 14, 2005, at 6:00 AM, David Heller wrote:
>
> > What do people think of their approach to Web-Design ... Just look at
> > the site? Is this a new trend?
>
> This is going to be THE trend.

If you are suggesting that this visual style of Web site design will
replace current trends in visual design, I disagree with you. Too many
people are going to think it's boring and unattractive. If we're
lucky, we'll see a trend toward simplification of Web sites, but sites
like this will always be an extreme example.

-Rick

14 Sep 2005 - 11:37am
eryk orłowski
2005

On 9/14/05 17:09, "Dan Saffer" <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:

>
>
> He says the web was until recently conceptually conceived as a big
> library, a collection of documents to search and consume. Browsers
> were all about navigation. Now, he notes, "Web 2.0 is a stream of
> events, people and connections." A better browser is one that will
> understand this new user environment.
>
>

Web-of-the-future, or - if You wish - web 2.0 will take the advantages of
semantic linking (at least I hope it will), and mentioned "stream of events,
people and connections" will be just a way the of interacion.

> One might also ask what is going to happen to visual design on the
> web now that the control of it is passing into browsers and RSS
> readers and the like. ie into even MORE user control.
>

Giving users more control over interface is a bug, or a feature for You? ;)

--
eryk "eof" orłowski || gg# 2765 || uin# 99692537

Ps. Sorry for the mess in msgs (if list not moderated)

Pps/ am I the only one who cares about "trim request" on THIS list? ;)

14 Sep 2005 - 12:11pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Sep 14, 2005, at 9:06 AM, Rick Cecil wrote:

> If you are suggesting that this visual style of Web site design will
> replace current trends in visual design, I disagree with you. Too many
> people are going to think it's boring and unattractive. If we're
> lucky, we'll see a trend toward simplification of Web sites, but sites
> like this will always be an extreme example.

Not talking anything about the visual style. The visual style can and
will be almost anything that content and the APIs will allow.

I'm talking about how websites (if that word will mean much anymore)
are constructed, distributed, and visualized. Imagine websites that
are only RSS feeds and APIs. They are coming. How will we design
them? What tools will we need to use them? Flock is a step toward this.

Dan

Dan Saffer
Sr. Interaction Designer, Adaptive Path
http://www.adaptivepath.com
http://www.odannyboy.com

14 Sep 2005 - 1:51pm
Omri Eliav
2004

Related post:
http://www.digital-web.com/articles/web_2_for_designers/
By Richard MacManus & Joshua Porter

"The Web of documents has morphed into a Web of data. We are no longer just
looking to the same old sources for information. Now we're looking to a new
set of tools to aggregate and remix microcontent in new and useful ways."

________________________________________

Dan Saffer wrote:

This is going to be THE trend.

Here's the paragraph that is going to bug our library-science friends in
IAI:

He says the web was until recently conceptually conceived as a big library,
a collection of documents to search and consume. Browsers were all about
navigation. Now, he notes, "Web 2.0 is a stream of events, people and
connections." A better browser is one that will understand this new user
environment.

One might also ask what is going to happen to visual design on the web now
that the control of it is passing into browsers and RSS readers and the
like. ie into even MORE user control.

14 Sep 2005 - 1:20pm
Juan Lanus
2005

Dave posed two questions and the answers mix, one ablut Flock and the
other about the site.
-------------------------------------
About Flock, yes what they state is THE trend: more human interaction.

Historically the internet grew based on human collaboration,
participation, communication. The very original basics were email and
usenet groups.
After, the web saw users not as people buy eyeballs and because of
that, and because of lots of hollow design, it stalled by year 2000.
By then there was an offering (plase recall with horror) of automatic
voice devices that were aimed at deleting any human traces in those
big-money-losing e-commerce sites.

In the meanwhile the business side of the internet was silently
growing. Commercial collaboration. Now corporate IT managers are
considering and using the internet as a reliable link. Many
applications are being built.

Now flock caters again from the sources. Making people collaborate os
the boon. Think, for example, of open source teams like Apache or
Eclipse or Mozilla. "Flocks" of people who might never meet F2F but
are somehow "strongly together".

Be it flock or other, the trend is unstoppable.
The internet is not a computer network but a people network: the
computers alone are nothing.
---------------------------------------
About the site, well, it's just a few pages. It makes it in that it
shocks. I'll never forget it.
Luis is right, reading that grey is hard. It's like reading a strongly
backlighted newspaper in the darkest night.
---------------------------------------
Juan Lanus
TECNOSOL
Argentina

14 Sep 2005 - 3:09pm
Dave Malouf
2005

To dan's point ... I like this ... http://root.net/topic/Interaction_Design

-- dave

On 9/14/05 1:11 PM, "Dan Saffer" <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>
> On Sep 14, 2005, at 9:06 AM, Rick Cecil wrote:
>
>> If you are suggesting that this visual style of Web site design will
>> replace current trends in visual design, I disagree with you. Too many
>> people are going to think it's boring and unattractive. If we're
>> lucky, we'll see a trend toward simplification of Web sites, but sites
>> like this will always be an extreme example.
>
> Not talking anything about the visual style. The visual style can and
> will be almost anything that content and the APIs will allow.
>
> I'm talking about how websites (if that word will mean much anymore)
> are constructed, distributed, and visualized. Imagine websites that
> are only RSS feeds and APIs. They are coming. How will we design
> them? What tools will we need to use them? Flock is a step toward this.
>
> Dan
>
>
>
> Dan Saffer
> Sr. Interaction Designer, Adaptive Path
> http://www.adaptivepath.com
> http://www.odannyboy.com
>
> _______________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Group!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixdg.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://discuss.ixdg.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixdg.org
> Home ....................... http://ixdg.org/

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

14 Sep 2005 - 4:11pm
dani malik
2005

More and more sites and web based applications are becoming aggregators for
content rather than composers of it. Especially with regard to text, I'm
wondering if graphic design could be a casualty of that transition.

I don't readily separate graphic and UI design -- I think good graphic
design does wonders for usability. I am a visual person and graphic design
adds to my enjoyment of content. I'm really not crazy about reading my RSS
feeds on my Bloglines or crawling through text-only websites like useit.com.
Customizing the aggregator doesn't take into account how graphic design
interacts with content....

Thoughts?

dani

--
Dani Malik
Interaction Designer
Laszlo Systems
w. 650.358.2744
c. 415.279.7978

----------

> Related post:
> http://www.digital-web.com/articles/web_2_for_designers/
> By Richard MacManus & Joshua Porter
>
> "The Web of documents has morphed into a Web of data. We are no longer just
> looking to the same old sources for information. Now we're looking to a new
> set of tools to aggregate and remix microcontent in new and useful ways."
>

14 Sep 2005 - 4:32pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi Dani,

This is my precise point of view as well. The words of my blog are one
aspect of it. The way I present it (for good or bad) is another. I feel like
RSS feed readers remove the character of the blogsphere.

What I like about some of these services is that they tell me what's new. I
just want them to create links and use the abstract so I know if I want to
go get it.

The exception to this are the plug-ins that help me download things to go,
but why can't I download the whole HTML page w/ images and style in tack?
Why does it have to be sanitized?

-- dave

On 9/14/05 5:11 PM, "dani malik" <dani at jimreed.net> wrote:

> I don't readily separate graphic and UI design -- I think good graphic
> design does wonders for usability. I am a visual person and graphic design
> adds to my enjoyment of content. I'm really not crazy about reading my RSS
> feeds on my Bloglines or crawling through text-only websites like useit.com.
> Customizing the aggregator doesn't take into account how graphic design
> interacts with content....

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

14 Sep 2005 - 5:25pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Sep 14, 2005, at 2:32 PM, David Heller wrote:

> This is my precise point of view as well. The words of my blog are one
> aspect of it. The way I present it (for good or bad) is another. I
> feel like
> RSS feed readers remove the character of the blogsphere.

What if I like your content (words) but dislike your visual style or
prefer my own better? Maybe I have to increase your font size because
my eyes are bad and you use small type. Or maybe I want to translate
your content into my language. Or maybe your formatting doesn't fit
on my mobile device.

Unless you are a famous (or infamous) artist, photographer, or
designer, people probably aren't coming to your site to admire its
style. I know that's a blow to many of us here.

> The exception to this are the plug-ins that help me download things
> to go,
> but why can't I download the whole HTML page w/ images and style in
> tack?
> Why does it have to be sanitized?
>

What you call sanitized, some may call customized.

I'm playing devil's advocate here a little, but just a little.

Dan

14 Sep 2005 - 6:05pm
Ryan Nichols
2005

I've read quite a bit about a lot of this kind of argument. The idea
that just because a technology like RSS comes along, all of a sudden
people will abandon the distracting style of a site and turn on their
comic sans at 72pt. I don't think this will, or should, ever happen. To
the point of this thread, a number of people respond that they LIKE
reading the text in the given style of the site or author it came from.

I posted a response to this type of thinking here:
http://www.apples-to-oranges.com/thoughts/article.aspx?id=44

To sum it up, GOOD design will help the reader in two ways. On the
rational side, proper spacing, type, and margins will make the piece
easier to read. If you design properly, the text can be expanded or
shrunk and the correct proportions will remain intact. The second is the
emotional, or experiential, impact of design. Imagery, color, and even
the typeface communicate quicker and more efficient to the reader than
the text. This type of processing happens long before they even read a
word. It's an emotional framework that sets the tone of what your about
to read. I think throwing the value of this out as an assumption is
pretty short sighted. There's still a reason why corporations spend
billions of dollars on design in products, it's because a) it works and
b) we as consumers prefer it. (why isn't the ipod just a metal box?)

Good discussion though. Very interesting to see how Flock ends up
changing things.

Ryan Nichols
Apples To Oranges
http://www.apples-to-oranges.com

Dan Saffer wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>
> On Sep 14, 2005, at 2:32 PM, David Heller wrote:
>
>> This is my precise point of view as well. The words of my blog are one
>> aspect of it. The way I present it (for good or bad) is another. I
>> feel like
>> RSS feed readers remove the character of the blogsphere.
>
>
> What if I like your content (words) but dislike your visual style or
> prefer my own better? Maybe I have to increase your font size because
> my eyes are bad and you use small type. Or maybe I want to translate
> your content into my language. Or maybe your formatting doesn't fit
> on my mobile device.
>
> Unless you are a famous (or infamous) artist, photographer, or
> designer, people probably aren't coming to your site to admire its
> style. I know that's a blow to many of us here.
>
>> The exception to this are the plug-ins that help me download things
>> to go,
>> but why can't I download the whole HTML page w/ images and style in
>> tack?
>> Why does it have to be sanitized?
>>
>
> What you call sanitized, some may call customized.
>
> I'm playing devil's advocate here a little, but just a little.
>
> Dan
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Group!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixdg.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://discuss.ixdg.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixdg.org
> Home ....................... http://ixdg.org/
>

14 Sep 2005 - 8:24pm
Josh Seiden
2003

So, Dan... Content is words?

JS

Dan wrote:

What if I like your content (words) but dislike your visual style or
prefer my own better? Maybe I have to increase your font size because
my eyes are bad and you use small type. Or maybe I want to translate
your content into my language. Or maybe your formatting doesn't fit
on my mobile device.

14 Sep 2005 - 8:47pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Sep 14, 2005, at 6:24 PM, Joshua Seiden wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> So, Dan... Content is words?
>

Not exclusively of course. I was referencing Dave's previous post. To
whit:

On Sep 14, 2005, at 2:32 PM, David Heller wrote:

> This is my precise point of view as well. The words of my blog are one
> aspect of it. The way I present it (for good or bad) is another.

We should be asking ourselves how much of the formatting we do IS
content however. Where does the skin begin?

Dan

15 Sep 2005 - 1:05pm
Kevin Cheng
2004

Flock was demo'd at BarCamp (www.barcamp.org) a few weeks ago to much
buzz. I unfortunately only caught the tail end of it but those that
I've talked to there are big fans.

A review was posted here with some comments from Lloyd, who's on the
Flock team: http://www.willpate.org/bar-camp-flock-demo

Kevin Cheng (KC)
OK/Cancel: Interface Your Fears
kc at ok-cancel.com
www.ok-cancel.com

:: -----Original Message-----
:: From: discuss-interactiondesigners.com-
:: bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-
:: interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com]
:: On Behalf Of Dan Saffer
:: Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 6:47 PM
:: To: josh at 36partners.com
:: Cc: 'ixd-discussion'
:: Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Flock?
::
:: [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
:: material.]
::
::
:: On Sep 14, 2005, at 6:24 PM, Joshua Seiden wrote:
::
:: > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
:: > material.]
:: >
:: > So, Dan... Content is words?
:: >
::
:: Not exclusively of course. I was referencing Dave's previous post.
:: To
:: whit:
::
:: On Sep 14, 2005, at 2:32 PM, David Heller wrote:
::
:: > This is my precise point of view as well. The words of my blog
:: are one
:: > aspect of it. The way I present it (for good or bad) is another.
::
:: We should be asking ourselves how much of the formatting we do IS
:: content however. Where does the skin begin?
::
:: Dan
::
::
:: _______________________________________________
:: Welcome to the Interaction Design Group!
:: To post to this list ....... discuss at ixdg.org
:: (Un)Subscription Options ... http://discuss.ixdg.org/
:: Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
:: Questions .................. lists at ixdg.org
:: Home ....................... http://ixdg.org/
::
:: --
:: No virus found in this incoming message.
:: Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
:: Version: 7.0.344 / Virus Database: 267.10.24/101 - Release Date:
:: 9/13/2005
::

--
No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.0.344 / Virus Database: 267.10.25/102 - Release Date:
9/14/2005

20 Sep 2005 - 4:10pm
Dwayne King
2005

On Sep 14, 2005, at 3:25 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> people probably aren't coming to your site to admire its style

People also go to art museums to see art, the library to find books,
etc.

Despite this premise, a lot of money is spent on architecture and
"style" of the buildings that house these tasks.

I'm curious from Dan and the others in the - not sure what to call it
(remove style?) - camp

1: Is there a feeling that money is wasted on architectural style for
buildings that serve a specific function unrelated to the aesthetic
of the building?

2: If not, are the Web and real world examples too far removed from
each other to draw examples in terms of aesthetics? If so why?

I'm not asking these as rhetorical questions, I'm interested in what
each side on this thinks. I'm a bit of a fence sitter on this
subject, so I'm curious on thoughts.

Thanks,
Dwayne

20 Sep 2005 - 4:28pm
Rajesh Sidharthan
2005

I am sure, there are 'sites' where people go for the content and not
admire the style, as long as it is usable.
( I guess Dan was writing about such an example)

The word "site" is as generic as the word "building" itself.
We may not go to the DMV to admire its style. That does not mean that we
dont admire the Eiffel tower or the Pantheon.

Another fence sitter :)

</raj>

Dwayne King wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>
> On Sep 14, 2005, at 3:25 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:
>
>> people probably aren't coming to your site to admire its style
>
>
>
> People also go to art museums to see art, the library to find books,
> etc.
>
> Despite this premise, a lot of money is spent on architecture and
> "style" of the buildings that house these tasks.
>
> I'm curious from Dan and the others in the - not sure what to call it
> (remove style?) - camp
>
> 1: Is there a feeling that money is wasted on architectural style for
> buildings that serve a specific function unrelated to the aesthetic
> of the building?
>
> 2: If not, are the Web and real world examples too far removed from
> each other to draw examples in terms of aesthetics? If so why?
>
> I'm not asking these as rhetorical questions, I'm interested in what
> each side on this thinks. I'm a bit of a fence sitter on this
> subject, so I'm curious on thoughts.
>
> Thanks,
> Dwayne
> _______________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Group!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixdg.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://discuss.ixdg.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixdg.org
> Home ....................... http://ixdg.org/

20 Sep 2005 - 4:44pm
Dwayne King
2005

On Sep 20, 2005, at 2:28 PM, Rajesh Sidharthan wrote:

> I am sure, there are 'sites' where people go for the content and
> not admire the style, as long as it is usable.
> ...
> We may not go to the DMV to admire its style. That does not mean
> that we dont admire the Eiffel tower or the Pantheon.

Hi, thanks for the reply. So what I'm getting at is this, What if
there was some care and attention payed to the DMV facility in terms
of aesthetic (I know they have usability issues that should be
resolved first), would trip be a little less miserable? If so, does
that translate to the Web at all?

I'm not talking buildings the Eiffel Tower and other buildings like
it, that were built primarily to be admired in and of themselves, but
things like a public library. There's no good reason for a library to
be pretty, that I can see. As long as the library is organized I can
find what I want and check out the book I need. That said, our local
library did an extensive and amazing remodel (http://
www.multcolib.org/agcy/cen.html) and I find I go there a lot more now
than I did prior to the remodel.

I'm not sure if I'm making sense or just babbling, but the core of
the question is whether there is any value in the effort and money
used to make a utilitarian space aesthetically pleasing, and if so,
does this translate to the Web and other interactive spaces?

I'll stop now :)

20 Sep 2005 - 4:49pm
Cullen Newsom
2005

My opinion:

Having worked in places that have "nice" "pleasant" etc. etc.
features, and also in some very drab, and dank places. I'll have to say
that where, it is appropriate, I prefer, and perform much better where
there is some superfluous architecture / artistic quality.
However, considering that the web IMO is still an infant. And
having to suffer through so much awful "eye candy" on websites, I will
still tell anyone who asks me that I prefer utilitarian,
bare-if-necessary, dry, boring, web sites, which get me my data as
quickly as possible. That eye candy is only pretty the first fifty
times.

-CN

20 Sep 2005 - 5:27pm
Austin Govella
2004

On 9/20/05, Dwayne King <pinpointlogic at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm not sure if I'm making sense or just babbling, but the core of
> the question is whether there is any value in the effort and money
> used to make a utilitarian space aesthetically pleasing, and if so,
> does this translate to the Web and other interactive spaces?

Of course.

Inc's running a story on a NPO CEO named Bill Strickland that explains
how aesthetically pleasing spaces contribute directly to realizing an
organization's strategic vision.

Strickland runs an arts, job training, and cultural center in a much
less than well off area of Pittsburgh. He explains how the center's
user interface (the architecture and int. design) is important:

"The kids work here... This is not a daycare center. Your job is to
expect kids to perform. But you can't just say it and you can't just
teach it. You've got to show the way you think about the kids every
moment you're with them. They see that fountain out in the front
plaza, they eat the food in our dining room, and they know before a
word is spoken how we feel about them. We are not a poverty center...
A poverty center looks like poverty; we look like the solution. A kid
goes into that ceramics studio, he works with first-class equipment
and materials. When he looks up on the shelves, he sees the work of
world-class artists. You provide those kids with good things, you
expect them to do good work, and don't worry, they'll do just fine."

The best bit is this: "they know before a word is spoken how we feel
about them".

This is true whether you're talking about visual design or "textual"
design: your writing is just as important as all of your Photoshop
skullduggery. And in the case of Flock, it's more important.

An opening slide from a presentation by Marc Rettig asked it best. If
we're designing a vase, are we designing a container to hold flowers,
or are we designing a way to enjoy flowers inside the home? Questions
about public spaces like libraries have similar questions. Are they
places to store books, or a place to enjoy stories? (Web 2.0 is a
public space.)

The management Innovation Group;s Victor Lombardi has an excellent
essay on "Strategic delivery points" that helps explain how an
organization's various customer interfaces can be an integral portion
of the organization's vision and strategy.

In a different vein, Peter Merholz has been writing a lot about what
he calls "designing for the sandbox" where the premise is you should
design objects so that they play well with everyone else... so I can
read your site in Bloglines, Feeddemon, or Flock... so I can keep
track of my Basecamp project in Thunderbird...

Of course, the sand box doesn't mean your content is undesigned. It
just means you have additional constraints and problems to solve. Text
has been an aesthetically pleasing space for a long time.

Links:
"What one man can do", Inc's article on Bill Strickland:
* http://www.inc.com/magazine/20050901/bill-strickland.html

"Strategic delivery points" by the Management Innovation Group's
Victor Lombardi:
* http://www.managementinnovationgroup.com/ideas/strategic-delivery-points/

Peter Merholz's blog on "Designing for the sandbox":
* http://www.dsandbox.com/

--
Austin Govella
Thinking & Making: IA, UX, and IxD
http://thinkingandmaking.com
austin.govella at gmail.com

20 Sep 2005 - 5:31pm
Todd Roberts
2005

Dwayne,

You at least partially answered your own question.

B.J. Fogg's research shows that a professional appearance, which I
interpret to include at least some aesthetic value, significantly adds
to the credibility of a site. On the web when few if any sites are the
sole players in their niche there must be something that sets them
apart, and aesthetics is likely to be a key in this area. I know I've
made purchasing location decisions based on the aesthetics of a site; a
solid company is likely to have spent more on a pleasing design than
some fly-by-night company.

There is also no reason the aesthetics of a site have to interfere with
its usability. When looking at two sites with comparable usability,
would you prefer the barebones one or the aesthetically pleasing one?

Todd Roberts

Dwayne King wrote:

> That said, our local library did an extensive and amazing remodel
> (http:// www.multcolib.org/agcy/cen.html) and I find I go there a lot
> more now than I did prior to the remodel.

21 Sep 2005 - 11:06am
Dave Malouf
2005

I really like the concept that Todd brought up about persuasiveness and
trust.

On the comparison to real architecture. I don't think this is comparable.
Public, experienced spaces have an aesthetic requirement that private
onscreen spaces I don't think really have.

The outside of buildings are part of an environmental space where each
building interacts with those around it and the other spaces in the same
general area.

The inside of buildings create mood, and interaction flows which cannot be
separated by aesthetics, because the interaction with color, texture, and
shape (aesthetic elements) are primary elements in the total solution.

I.e. A stone tacky bench with lots of points, has a very different aesthetic
than a warm rounded wood one. Functionally they do exactly the same thing.
So aesthetically (emotionally perception) they have a different value.

For us as IxDs there is much the same scenario. I just recently wrote an
article in <interactions> for SIGCHI about aesthetics in IxD that I think is
relevant to this conversation. For non-members you can get it on my blog at
http://synapticburn.com/comments.php?id=89_0_1_0_C

Now it can be argued that for now, the concept of blog content centers
around words and not more aesthetic elements, but to me this is splitting
hairs on a living horse. Letting user's have control of GUIs leads us back
to users w/ magenta backgrounds and fuchsia type.

-- dave

21 Sep 2005 - 12:14pm
Rick Cecil
2004

Interesting point:

On 9/21/05, David Heller <dave at ixdg.org> wrote:
> Letting user's have control of GUIs leads us back
> to users w/ magenta backgrounds and fuchsia type.

Beauty being in the eye of the beholder, is this such a bad thing? I
certainly might not like magenta bg with fuschia type, but I don't
have to like it...only the person who looks at it has to like it (much
less be able to read it, but that's another story altogether)...

-Rick

21 Sep 2005 - 1:58pm
Peter Merholz
2004

>
> Now it can be argued that for now, the concept of blog content centers
> around words and not more aesthetic elements, but to me this is
> splitting
> hairs on a living horse. Letting user's have control of GUIs leads
> us back
> to users w/ magenta backgrounds and fuchsia type.

It depends on control of what GUIs.

I don't necessarily want other users to control my GUI.

But I want to be able to control my own GUI. And if I love magenta
backgrounds and fuchsia type, then so be it.

Remember what the web has taught us -- the more you relinquish
control, the more value you receive.

I would argue that WinAmp became the phenomenon it did in large part
because of skinning. Particularly in the world of music, where
identity is very much at play, being able to tailor a GUI to suit
personal desires makes a lot of sense.

Apple gets away with it with iTunes because of the features it
offers. But if Apple had true competition, skinning would provide a
competitor a distinct advantage.

--peter

21 Sep 2005 - 2:13pm
Dave Malouf
2005

On 9/21/05 2:58 PM, "Peter Merholz" <peterme at peterme.com> wrote:

> Remember what the web has taught us -- the more you relinquish
> control, the more value you receive.

Hmm? That seems like a statement for the "it depends" category.
Or more aptly, that isn't exactly my experience of the web.

In fact, what I have learned is that, this perception is often a red herring
for the more important issues that seem to tailcoat on it.

I.e. RSS is not about giving up control, but about finding a usable way to
push content. These are NOT the same thing.

Web 2.0 to me is not about giving up control, but about merging services to
increase contextual relevancy of desperate data/information/service sources.

As for the example of WinAmp, this is what I call going after one market to
get a bigger market.

Skinability and other types of control are technolust concerns. MP3's back
in the day were used primarily by early adopters who fit a more techno
friendly personality. These people like "fiddling" with stuff and so they go
after software that allows them to "fiddle" w/ it. This group is also vocal
about the things they like and thus tell their non or less technical friends
what they like. Thus WinAmp. But if you look at MP3 players on people's
desktops, uh? I doubt you'll see a lot of skinning.

Other examples of this. I think Netscape/Firefox is another example of this.
I do NOT think that "skinning" or giving up control is something that a
product "better". It is just a neat way to target early adopters, and get
their fans on the band-wagon after that.

I think apple took a better approach. Get it right the first time so that
everyone is dying to get on the bandwagon despite the newness of the
technology.

So let's not confuse "good" or "powerful" functionality with anything
important to the total experience once we get beyond a certain point in the
rise past the chasm.

BTW, Blogging is still WAY on the other side of the chasm when we talk total
% of audience, let alone some type of RSS reader use. Most lay users can't
tell the difference between a blog and a web site if you put them side by
side and that includes a good chunk of the design community.

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

21 Sep 2005 - 3:16pm
Austin Govella
2004

> On 9/21/05 2:58 PM, "Peter Merholz" <peterme at peterme.com> wrote:
>
> > Remember what the web has taught us -- the more you relinquish
> > control, the more value you receive.

On 9/21/05, David Heller <dave at ixdg.org> wrote:
> Hmm? That seems like a statement for the "it depends" category.
> Or more aptly, that isn't exactly my experience of the web.
>
> In fact, what I have learned is that, this perception is often a red herring
> for the more important issues that seem to tailcoat on it.

This is an interesting observation. Could you talk more about what
some of these issues might be?

> I.e. RSS is not about giving up control, but about finding a usable way to
> push content. These are NOT the same thing.

Perhaps a bad example, but RSS isn't about usable push as much as it's
about usable pull, a way for *me* to find out when *my* websites have
been updated so *I* can keep up. RSS solves a user problem. The fact
it also solves a business problem is simply a facet of a good
solution.

> Web 2.0 to me is not about giving up control, but about merging services to
> increase contextual relevancy of desperate data/information/service sources.

The merging occurs in an out of control environment. Amazon opens it's
service in a controlled way via its API, but how that service is
implemented is up to any one. (There was a hack a while back that made
"art" using Amazon's dynamic discount images.)

> I think Apple took a better approach. Get it right the first time so that
> everyone is dying to get on the bandwagon despite the newness of the
> technology.

Trying to get it right the first time... that's our job. Thinking you
got it right the first time smacks of dangerous hubris. Apple
succeeded because they successfully executed their strategy of making
technology 'friendly'. The quality of the iTunes interface goes to
this, but isn't the driver. The message of 'friendly' is the driver.

> BTW, Blogging is still WAY on the other side of the chasm when we talk total
> % of audience, let alone some type of RSS reader use. Most lay users can't
> tell the difference between a blog and a web site if you put them side by
> side and that includes a good chunk of the design community.

A blog is a type of website, so there'd be no difference. A little
while back (on his blog/website/whatever), Jesse James Garrett
wondered whether or not it was important for users to know the
difference. I'm not sure what his conclusion was, but I think we all
understand the experience has nothing to do with what you've called
it, or how you intended it.

People take things as they want. We can only make them better to take.
Web 2.0 (how I loathe the phrase) is a natural evolution of the human
drive to make things better to take.

--
Austin Govella
Thinking & Making: IA, UX, and IxD
http://thinkingandmaking.com
austin.govella at gmail.com

21 Sep 2005 - 3:53pm
Dave Malouf
2005

On 9/21/05 4:16 PM, "Austin Govella" <austin.govella at gmail.com> wrote:

>> Web 2.0 to me is not about giving up control, but about merging services to
>> increase contextual relevancy of desperate data/information/service sources.
>
> The merging occurs in an out of control environment. Amazon opens it's
> service in a controlled way via its API, but how that service is
> implemented is up to any one. (There was a hack a while back that made
> "art" using Amazon's dynamic discount images.)

Control for whom? The programmer who created the art?

Web 2.0 as it stands now is not close to being an end-user function. It is
VERY cool to developers, and the effect is very important to end-users, but
end-users do not gain control of the output necessarily unless the
middle-man doing the merging gives them that control. Most examples don't
give control.

Which is my point about Web 2.0 ... It's not about control at all. It can
include aspects of giving up control, but it doesn't have to to still be
successful.

> Trying to get it right the first time... that's our job. Thinking you
> got it right the first time smacks of dangerous hubris. Apple
> succeeded because they successfully executed their strategy of making
> technology 'friendly'. The quality of the iTunes interface goes to
> this, but isn't the driver. The message of 'friendly' is the driver.

Uh? One of the first things I've learned about design is that it is never
done, meaning you never get it right the first time. Our job is getting the
best value to customers within the constraints in front of us at any given
moment within the parameters of said project. Now this contradicts what I
said, but not what I mean. What I meant, but "getting it right" is that user
involvement in presentation is not needed. Not "getting it right" means that
there are now 5 generations of iPods out there with more every quarter. ;)
We are also up to version 5 of iTunes.

But more importantly w/ 75% of the market, there is no reason to introduce
"skinning" and other personalization tools to iTunes. Even the whole HP
print your iPod skin failed miserably and remember the whole nokia
face-plate fad ... That has faded away and well, Nokia has totally changed
course as well.

As far as the whole magenta/fuchsia thing goes, I think my point is more
akin to the Homer-mobile. Sure, anyone can design a car for themselves, but
will it kill them, hurt them, or lower their productivity despite
themselves?

-- dave

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

21 Sep 2005 - 3:55pm
Andrew Otwell
2004

> I'm not talking buildings the Eiffel Tower and other buildings like
> it, that were built primarily to be admired in and of themselves, but
> things like a public library.

Even the most unattractive public building embodies some "style." Don't
confuse style with "beauty". It is not possible to create something
visual, including a web page, that does not have stylistic qualities,
although you might still create something very ugly and unusable.

For instance, public buildings from the 1960's and 1970's in the US
(like many Department of Motor Vehicles buildings) are pretty darn
"ugly". They're usually big boxes, maybe with some dark windows (such as
http://www.expertlawfirm.com/areas/art/dmv_irvine.jpg or
http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/mdmanual/24dot/images/1198-1-071.jpg).

But those both pretty obviously draw from what's called the
"International Style" of architecture, as practiced by people like Mies
Van der Rohe and lots of others. In fact, that second example looks like
its window elements are drawn from Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, perhaps
one of the most influential pieces of architecture ever
(http://faculty.evansville.edu/rl29/art105/img/corbusier_savoye.jpg).

It can even be hard to identify exactly which elements govern the
"style" at all: maybe the plain white walls, strips of square windows,
or reflective glass. Many people would find these buildings plain, not
much going on, probably ugly. But the point is that there are clearly
stylistic elements, carefully chosen.

As everyone's surely aware, this question of beauty versus style (not to
mention beauty vs utility) is one that hardly new; we are not the first
to fail to answer these questions or to provide any helpful guidance to
people wondering if good things should also look pretty, or what "good"
or "pretty" even reliably mean.

21 Sep 2005 - 4:41pm
Chick Foxgrover
2003

Although there is much more to be said on this fascinating subject I think
that blogs and their part in other socially constructed webspace are more
about the conversation of entries "through" many sites over time. If you are
reading many blogs, and consider that the writing in blogs is important, it
seems to me that you will tend to aggregate in order to make the
conversation more coherent and efficient. Delicious, bloglines, technorati,
flickr, your rss reader and, in the mix the blog site itself (at times) are
the enviroment. You are often following threads of thought, ideas, concepts
and talk (still emerging in the rough folksonomies being constructed by all
of us) and trying to make the interface as diaphonous as possible, thin and
transparent, not thick and substantial. Naturally there is a
necessaryvisual component to communication, many times within the
entries themselves
and one can imagine even more the development of "local" visual presentation
modules for use within with in the stream(s).

Blog design is best as simple and beautiful but it only needs to be
competent and hopefully it's content and metadata available in the feed.

This is a superficial stab at really interesting topic.

-----------------------------------------------------
Chick Foxgrover

4 Oct 2005 - 11:16am
Dan Saffer
2003

Sorry for the delayed response. Got lost in email...

On Sep 20, 2005, at 2:10 PM, Dwayne King wrote:

>
> On Sep 14, 2005, at 3:25 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:
>
>> people probably aren't coming to your site to admire its style
>
> I'm curious from Dan and the others in the - not sure what to call
> it (remove style?) - camp
>
> 1: Is there a feeling that money is wasted on architectural style
> for buildings that serve a specific function unrelated to the
> aesthetic of the building?

Just to be clear, I'm not in the remove style camp--I do have a
master's degree in design, after all :). I do think, however, that
visual design will be moving to a different place than it was before:
into the tools we use to view content and away from the content
itself. More of the control of the visual design will be in the hands
of users and in the hands of the tool-makers. More than ever, it's
important that the tools we use to view content--our RSS readers,
browsers, email clients, etc--have good visual design baked in.

Does this mean giving up individual control of our content? Yes, but
maybe not entirely. There's got to be a happy medium somewhere; we
just need to find it.

Dan

Syndicate content Get the feed