_archive for the ‘Web’ category

Musicians’ websites–what’s the deal?

09/17/08 :: by magalish

I’ve noticed noticed an um…interesting trend lately in musicians’ websites - is it just me or are they starting to look more and more like myspace pages? To investigate, I went to the Billboard Hot 100 Chart to see what kind of websites the top artists had. And sure enough, 4 out of the top 10 definitely exhibited at least some of the traits I’ve noticed: a long scrolling page with an image in the background, and lots of type, images, videos, sounds, animation, links, and anything else you can imagine - all right there on the homepage for our viewing pleasure!

These sites all belong to artists in the Billboard’s top 10:
(I did also discover one top 10 artist site that I really enjoy and doesn’t follow the trend—props to Jason Mraz for being original and having a really cool site that looks absolutely nothing like a myspace page!)

I decided to research the phenomenon further, and noticed that the trend is mainly followed by pop, rap, and r&b artists—not so much by alternative or other generes. Take, for example, Lil Wayne, Pussycat Dolls, T-Pain, and Jay Z, and even my girl, Alicia Keys! Are you starting to see the similarities here?

One possible reason behind this trend is that many of them are incorporating the social networking aspect into their site. They’re allowing users to create profiles so that they can personalize their experiences on the sites—not a bad idea in itself. So I can understand where they’re getting the idea to mirror the popular social networking site, but they could definitely execute the concept differently. Come on - what happened to visual hierarchy and well-organized user interface? Not to mention a little originality! Some of these artists have great music - now they just need beautiful, user-friendly websites to match. Get in touch, people - fluidesign can help!

Chrome, Anyone?

09/04/08 :: by pwang

The headlines for this week will probably have “Google Chrome” somewhere. Google’s new browser, love it or hate it, is definitely going to change things. Initial likes? The comic, of course, which goes beyond a good marketing/advertising move to something more educational and fun, so you can read it to get caught up with the technical specs on Chrome. I read it and got amped up before installing the app itself. It’s very blue, and there’s no menu bar. Otherwise, it felt like any other, non-IE browser (although the interface at times felt very IE, especially the nav bar). A standout is the new start page, which shows thumbnails of visited sites and used search engines, something I thought smart and useful.

So after using it (not heavily, mind you) for two days, no crashes. Nothing broke. Facebook and all my other web apps worked; even my own site looked right. I’m not keeping my fingers crossed because the app is beta and has bugs. Is it faster? In terms of JavaScript, John Resig says, not really. There is a new task manager-esque feature as well, so windows can be dealt on an individual basis: no more one bad site bringing down an entire browser session. Maybe. I haven’t done anything too crazy to notice a difference, yet. Neither is the new browser a messiah in saving memory, using about 100mb total for keeping open a few web applications, the same as Safari for Windows does. The bottom line: a transparent browser that just (mostly and for me) works, but nothing more than that, yet. The comic was cooler.

But after all this, one question. Why ‘Chrome’ and that logo?

Multiple File Uploader with Dojo and Flash

09/04/08 :: by Patrick

Came across this multiple file uploader via Ajaxian. I had been impressed with Flash file uploads from a presentation I saw this year at SXSWi by Jay Boutelle of Slidehare fame. Seems to work much more smoothly and seamlessly than the Java applets I’ve played with in the past.

If you don’t want to peruse the gory details, you can skip straight to the demo.

Data Resolution

08/28/08 :: by pwang

I don’t have an iPhone and am unaware of any visual redesigns since this was published, but I think in general this video editorial is applicable in a lot of cases, including its case study for Apple’s general design strategy, where sometimes user-interface design prioritizes looks and associates that with a user-friendly design. Mr. Tufte in this video really sheds light on data resolution, and what it means to be simple while not being sparse. There ought to be no reason that constraints in the medium should affect the level of detail in the message.

RPG for Life?

08/21/08 :: by pwang

While we’re on the topic of games, here’s an article that piqued my interest in the future of online gaming. I’ve never been a big fan of MMORPGs like World of Warcraft or Second Life, but if gaming could be made to actually benefit your real world self, besides powerful thumbs or trigger-happy clicking fingers, then maybe, just maybe, our lives will be that much more fun.

Google Lively: Just Avatar Chatting?

08/20/08 :: by allismarkham

Whilst researching some different video games and open-source communicating applications, I stumbled upon Google Lively. I remember checking it out once before and maybe reading a blog post or two about it.
Now, I like the concept. It’s kind of like a free, un-intimidating, easy to access Second Life. You don’t have to buy anything or spend a lot of time immersing yourself into the world to understand it. So, I thought I would try it out.

Building my avatar and learning how to move were easy. But, I found it unbelievable slow at times- as did many of the users I “spoke” with. It’s still in beta, so that’s to be expected.
To me, Lively appears to be a glorified chat system. I kept wondering, “Is this useful?” Interfacing beyond text can be much more immersive, true. But if I wanted some personal communication with family or friends, why wouldn’t I just use Skype? As for meeting and chatting with strangers, Lively was excellent. There are several active “rooms” and a seemingly huge community at all times.
So if you’re looking for a time-sponge that’s easy to use, try Lively.

Moving Type

08/13/08 :: by pwang

Despite it’s lack of kerning, this piece really speaks volumes. The choices in animation really improve in the second half, as the message builds up, when compared to the rather slow start.

I’m comparing this piece not to the GOOD animation from earlier, but to this one piece by Heebok Lee, who currently works at Prologue and was an inspiration to me (not the typeface, but the animation) when I had my fling with animated type:

It’s interesting to see quality animated type come from After Effects but not from Flash. And a little disappointing. Especially considering that there’s no real video in these pieces, and vector type will really improve the quality while keeping size down. The girl effect website itself, sleek as it is, could be a done in the same way as the video. We see type experiments being done here and there in Flash, like this one from a previous post, but hopefully more exciting and moving pieces will show up.

(girl effect video thanks to infosthetics.com)

Nesting.com Reviewed by TechCrunch

08/11/08 :: by allismarkham

Our friends and clients over at Nesting.com received this excellent review from TechCrunch today. Congrats!

TechCrunch reviewer, Jason Kincaid wrote, “The site sports a very soothing look that is well suited to its target demographic, with lots of pastels and rounded corners. The widgets themselves are also well designed, presenting an adequate amount of information without becoming overwhelming or cluttered.”

We’re glad to hear that TechCrunch has picked up on Nesting and can’t wait for more wonderful reviews as the site gains traffic and awareness.

‘member Homestar Runner?

08/07/08 :: by hdunce

I do. I was living in Koreatown with a photographer at the time…Homestar Runner, pencil skirts, and hoop earrings…

I see the above turning into a VH1 “where are they (meme makers) now”?


08/07/08 :: by allismarkham

I’m not naming names, but a couple of the ladies here at Fluidesign were joyfully discussing the effects of working late into the night. The caffeine highs/lows, buggy eyes and weird sense of humor- we’ve all been there. Even though the time is in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, it just slips away somehow.

It makes sense though. If you’re staring at a lit screen all day, your brain isn’t getting any natural clues to switch on it’s sleep cycle. Nocturne is an application for Mac created to combat this problem. As seen on MakeUseOf.com, it slowly dims your screen and turns it monochrome.

You can pre-set the time to correspond with the sun or, for nite owls like myself, set it as late as you like. I don’t know if I’ll be downloading this myself, but there are a couple computers I might just sneak it on.