I've begun a new blog component of this site which is simply titled Photoblog and can be found here for your reading enjoyment. Design is found everywhere and we all do it; remember design is an Idea that is expressed by you.
As the iPhone rumor mill gets into full swing it's time to take our own look into the iPhone's design possibilities. If we are to believe some pundits, the design is set and released for production and my guess is that's pretty close to true. But, we really don't know for sure what it looks like or what its feature set will be.
Back in 1984 when the first Mac was rolled out by Apple; one word appeared on the screen "hello" and though I am relatively sure that they were not thinking phones in those days it would not be a surprise at all to see that same greeting on the screen of the first iPhone. Since those days Apple has evolved a philosophy of integration so that the user experience is one of ease and delight. While not perfect it has by and large delivered on that promise.
If you are not a Mac user then this little post may not ring the same for you as does the Mac loving world. In any case when the iPhone becomes a reality take the tour and you can see for yourself what all the fuss is about.
So here's my perception of what the iPhone could be.
It's a phone duh!
It's a ipod too, ok
It will integrate with other applications and components of the Mac OS Leopard.
I am expecting integration with iCal, Address Book, iPhoto, Mail and Bluetooth to name a few.
WiFi, perhaps. Is surfing the web getting email practical on a small device.
Mail is probably the most viable; witness the Blackberry usage.
The real mystery for me is where does a phone morph into some new type of device or is there yet another system in the mix, such as a notebook size device. Here is where we have to look at the history of Apple products. They probably won't try to do everything on the first pass. Make sure the thing works and then over time successive iterations improve on functionality, taking into account the user feedback.
If you have a theory feel free to leave a comment...
When anyone seriously considers a new project; it doesn't take long to reach the cost question. What's it gonna cost? Since money is usually in limited supply we naturally want to sit down and count the cost before we build the tower. What is equally important to look at is the history of spending. What did someone say their budget was versus what they actually spent. Often the spending was higher than the budget and although we want the lower number it usually is the higher one.
There are probably a lot of psychological reasons we view money in this fashion but I would offer a couple of observations.
If you want to spend less then you probably should think differently about the end product if you want to have a high level of design. To do a cheap version of high style design; the areas where you cut corners will stand out more. This is probably the hardest thing for people to do since it means becoming a bit more unconventional and not everyone likes to stand out.
If you want the high style design; expect that it will cost you accordingly and probably a bit more. The reason for this is that projects change once they begin and often other decisions are made along the way that affect the cost. It is rare that someone will plan the whole thing beforehand and not stray from it. Change is a good thing if it supports the overall idea.
Be honest about the costs and you won't be disappointed when the numbers come in.
With every design project comes a series of questions, mostly related to cost, time, and final outcome. What seldom is understood is that design in it's pure form has little to do with time or money but is really about the finished product. Although time is a factor and money is factor the real issue for the client is to define what the end result should be. There are three ways this happens.
The client states his or her needs in some written form to be communicated to the design team.
The client may defer to the designer to come up with the design program.
The design may meander in a series of fits and starts without any real leadership.
So how does one go about Getting Things Designed?
The program should be defined first and clearly stated with a firm commitment to see it through to completion.
The schedule should be reasonable but understanding that projects often take longer than we want them to and challenges will arise along the way.
Money is last not because we don't have a budget but because it should not drive the design away from what was agreed upon in the beginning.
In the old days when we drew our plans with pencil we had a saying, "never draw more in the morning than you can erase in the afternoon."
Of all the design constants I can think of, the most common one is the aspect of change. I can attribute the success of a project by the number of design changes it took to get to the end result. I am not talking about the addition of bookcase or some adjustment to color or finish. Changes that tell the story are the ones that really matter. When a project really doesn't get off the ground and the fundamental approach goes through several iterations, that project has not been properly defined to start with. No one knows how to get there because the destination has not been established.
There are a number of reasons for this but the primary one is probably leadership. This leadership is a shared one where the client has a role and the designer or design team has a role. All parties must come the table and agree on what the outcome should be and then be willing to adhere to that idea till the thing is brought to completion.
Not understanding that concept has cost the business world a tremendous amount of money and at the same time has left the landscape with things less than what they could be.
On a positive note; design seems to be finding favor in the marketplace now with products such as the iPod proving that good design enhances the user experience and adds desireability and quality of life. The good news for business is that these things translate to the bottom line where the "coolness" factor [for lack of a better term] sends the buyer in search of these products.
As we bounce around from site to site it often becomes bewildering; like trying to find which aisle in the grocery store has the turkey bags. How many times do we pass by a site before we discover that this really is what we are looking for. The poor web designers are sweating bullets trying to provide the best navigation, content, and site experience. In truth there is just too much stuff for any sane human to sift through. Who can solve the problem? You and I can and there is no telling how it will come about but it could be the next google. Google searches the billions of pages but we don't need billions we only need the one or maybe three. The trick is how to find them. One way is to have people who already have reviewed the site recommend it to you. There are lots of "jump" sites that target certain areas of interest but most of the time they don't tell you what the sites actually contain. Most information publishers have not really addressed this issue. Bookstores have too many books. If they had fewer books they would actually sell more. How does that work? Hire me and I'll tell you :-)
My little contribution to all this comes in the form of some sites that I think you can benefit from if you are interested in these subjects. These sites I visit regularly and come away with information that I can put to use.
PHOTOGRAPHY: The Digital Story - Author for Oriely Media, Teacher and Photographer Derrick Story runs The Digital Story site; which he calls his "virtual camera club". Derrick also has a weekly podcast where he shares tips, tricks and hacks from his experience on assignments and travels around the globe. There is also a monthly photo assignment where the experience becomes truly interactive. Derrick is a real gentleman and probably has the smoothest voice in podcasting. Check it out and see for yourself.
Aperture Tricks, Podcasting Tricks, My Photo Tricks, all run by Scott Bourne, media pioneer as well as host of some great photo and tech podcasts. Scott is a buddy of Derrick Story and they work together on another great podcast called the ilifezone. Although I don't use Aperture and I am not a podcaster I still learn things that are appropriate to my own workflow. What really is great about Scott's work is that he speaks to the geek as well as the more conventional folks among us. I didn't list all the stuff that Scott does if you go to his site you will find the whole dimension.
Photoshop Online is the site for one of my newest stops— some great tutorials by Jan Kabili. Jan's simple easy to understand style combined with easy to view videos are great for wrapping you mind around the power of photoshop. Jan's video podcasts are broken down into short segments that don't overwhelm and often she will spread the concept out over several lessons. Highly recommend you take a look at her site as well as her work over at lynda.com.
Another Photoshop video podcast is sponsored by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals is, Photoshop TV. Hosted by "the photoshop guys" Scott Kelby, Dave Cross and Matt Kloskowski. All the antics aside they do provide some great insight into the power and little known or understood capabilities of the program. I would say this show is probably geared to the intermediate or advanced user but even if you are a novice like me you can learn things and get a real feel for what the software can do.
SOCIAL MEDIA: This is an area that has really taken off in recent months or maybe within the last two years. I am not going to list any sites here because that is simply too complex and the needs of individuals too diverse. So what is social media. This blog you are reading is part of it. Generally it includes the voices of so called everyday people as well as better known pundits that are having their say via the Internet in the form of blogs, podcasts, wikis [wish there was a better term], video, audio and the like. No one really knows where all this is headed although I am sure someone is trying to say they do or to figure it out. There are at least fifty million blogs on the Internet and that is not going to sort out easily. The important thing to note is that a new form of communication is taking place and and like most other things it will develop into a hierarchy. While I have heard some good ideas and become more aware of what others are doing I would say that there is always room from some old fashion common sense.
Moleskine™ the greatest little notebook with the nifty strap inside pocket etc. Of all the views on my Flickr stream the Moleskine pics get the most attention. I guess it's all part of the new user promoted product paradigm.