Don’t Cry For Me, San Diego
Filed under: An Event Apart
Ryan and Tina Essmaker of The Great Discontent
RYAN AND TINA Essmaker are my guests for Episode No. 91 of The Big Web Show (“everything web that matters”).
Tina is an illustrator, essayist, photographer, blogger, and the co-founder of The Great Discontent, an online journal of interviews focusing on creativity and risk, and No Little Plans, The Great Discontent’s parent company. By day she manages community for Crush + Lovely and works as a freelance writer.
This episode of The Big Web Show is sponsored by A List Apart, the design magazine for people who make websites.
Enjoy Episode No. 91 of The Big Web Show.
Filed under: The Big Web Show
I CAME to AdobeMAX in Los Angeles to give a talk to a room full of designers. Before arriving, I thought of Adobe as a historically important 20th century company that was slowly leaking relevance—a company web designers in the era of responsive design have begun to think of with a combination of fondness and embarrassment, like a beloved but somewhat shameful old uncle.
I came to LA with those perceptions, but I leave with the impression of an exciting 21st century company in emergence.
Realistic products for a magical age
The products I saw were both amazing and realistic. It was amazing to see a responsive design prototyping application that works independently and inside Photoshop, created by passionate people who actually work in our field and who consulted with Ethan Marcotte, for Pete’s sake.
That was the amazing part, but the equally important realistic part was that nobody was pretending this tool would be used to deliver final code on your website. It was not a responsive Dreamweaver I saw, but a prototyping tool, to help designers figure out how their responsive design should work (and maybe show the prototype to a boss or client for approval). Just prototyping. Nobody pretending they had a product that would make the difficult craft of front-end design redundant. No such intention behind the product. A product for the real work-flow of 21st century design teams. No marketing puffery, no inflated claims to set designers’ teeth on edge.
We are now them
More than that. Every Adobe employee I saw seemed to be excited, happy, and on-board with the mission. I see that kind of energy at good startups and small studios. I never see it in big corporations. It sometimes seemed to me that Adobe hadn’t so much acquired Typekit as the reverse: that the people and thinking behind Typekit are now running Adobe (which is actually true), and that the mindset of some of the smartest consultants and designers in our industry is now driving a huge corporation.
I never expected to see that in my lifetime, and to me, it is even more impressive than the amazingness and realism of the new product line or the transformation of the company from a shrink-wrapped product manufacturer to an inventor of cloud-based services. I never expected to see people like us running companies like that.
It makes me feel good about the future, when so many other things conspire to make us feel the opposite.
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The Big Web Show No. 90: Paul Ford on emulators, archives, and the web
THE AMAZING PAUL FORD is my guest in Episode No. 90 of The Big Web Show (“everything web that matters”). In a fast-moving hour, we discuss computer system emulators on the web, designing web archives, the value of context in software and literature, the new tribalism, the fallacy of history, buying records when you are 16, why getting to magic is more important than attaining perfection, the interconnectedness of software design and storytelling, how parenting twins facilitates A/B testing, and loads more. Give it a listen!
URLs, URLs, URLs
- A Conversation with Paul Ford, the Now-Former Web Editor of Harper’s Magazine
- Harper’s and the Harper’s Archive
- Save Publishing (bookmarklet)
- The Web is a Customer Service Medium
- Medium of Choice
- Paul Ford on Medium
Paul is a freelance writer and computer programmer. He was an editor at Harper’s Magazine from 2005–2010, and brought Harper’s 159-year, 250,000-page archive to the web in 2007; the system now supports tens of thousands of registered subscribers. More recently he helped the media strategy firm Activate with the launch of Gourmet Live, a re-imagining of Gourmet Magazine for iPad, and co-founded Popsicle Weasel, a small company totally focused on microsites.
He has written for NPR, TheMorningNews.org, XML.com, and the National Information Standards Organization’s Information Standards Quarterly, and is the author of the novel Gary Benchley, Rock Star (Penguin/Plume). Paul programs in PHP, Java, and XSLT2.0, but lately is all about Python and Django. His writing has been anthologized in Best Software Writing I (2005) and Best Music Writing 2009. He enjoys both software and music.
He teaches Content Strategy at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His personal website, started in 1997, is Ftrain.com. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife Mo and the obligatory cats.
McGrane: Kill Your CMS
THE ERA of “desktop publishing” is over. Same goes for the era where we privilege the desktop web interface above all others. The tools we create to manage our content are vestiges of the desktop publishing revolution, where we tried to enable as much direct manipulation of content as possible. In a world where we have infinite possible outputs for our content, it’s time to move beyond tools that rely on visual styling to convey semantic meaning. If we want true separation of content from form, it has to start in the CMS.–Karen McGrane, WYSIWTF ∙ An A List Apart Column.
60 Minutes of Luke
IT’S ANOTHER Full-length Friday! In this 60-minute video caught live at AEA Boston, Luke Wroblewski (Mobile First) explores multi-device design from the top down (desktop to mobile) and bottom up (using mobile to expand what’s possible across all devices):
Happy Cog: Building Hand-Crafted Websites
OUR FRIENDS at Typecast shot a video of some of Happy Cog’s designers discussing readability in design and the importance of great type tools to our process.
Become a Web Developer: Avi Flombaum of The Flatiron School on Big Web Show 89
AVI FLOMBAUM, dean of The Flatiron School, is my guest in Big Web Show Episode No. 89. A 28-year-old Rubyist, Skillsharer, storyteller and entrepreneur, Avi founded Designer Pages and NYC on Rails before creating The Flatiron School—a 12 week, full-time program designed to turn you into a web developer.
Listen to Episode No. 89 of The Big Web Show.
URLS, URLS, URLS
- The Flatiron School
- Huffington Post on Avi Flombaum
- Designer Pages
- NYC on Rails
- Skillshare Master Teacher
- Avi Flombaum on Linkedin
Big Web Show: Greg Storey
GREG STOREY of Happy Cog is my guest in Episode No. 88 of The Big Web Show (“everything web that matters”). We discuss the Austin tech and design scene; real and virtual office models; Greg’s upcoming book (with Carl Smith) for people transitioning to web design; new methods of publishing on multiple platforms; and the inspiration behind the Digital PM Summit.
Listen to Episode No. 88 of The Big Web Show.
URLS, URLS, URLS
In eighteen years leading interactive creative and development teams, Greg Storey has launched projects for industries ranging from education to retail, gaming to medicine, media to politics. His amazing roster of clients includes Sundance Film Festival, The Nation, W3C, MSNBC, Today Show, AOL, New York Magazine, DiVX, and SpeedTV.
Greg’s ideas, and his work as a creative director and designer, have been profiled in Communication Arts, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC-TV, Salon Magazine, The Associated Press, and beyond. He serves as a resource for journalists, researching new media stories for a number of well-known publications.
As a writer, he has become a voice in the web design and development community through his personal site, Airbag Industries, and publications like A List Apart. Greg serves on the Board of Advisors for South by Southwest Interactive and has been a presenter as well.
In 2005, Greg started his own studio, which grew to eight employees and a number of strategic partners in less than four years. In 2009, Jeffrey Zeldman and Greg Hoy approached Greg Storey with a plan to merge his company with Happy Cog. Today, Greg oversees the operations and expansion of Happy Cog’s newest base of operations in Austin, TX.
This episode of The Big Web Show is sponsored by An Event Apart.
ALA 373: Hack Your Maps, Grow Your Design Business
WE INTRODUCE new web design skills and share design business growth strategies in Issue No. 373 of A List Apart for people who make websites:
by YOUNG HAHN
Ever taken apart a digital map? Worked with a map as a critical part of your design? Developed tricks, hacks, workarounds, or progressive enhancements for maps? Walk through a design process to implement a modern-day web map. Let’s make maps part of the collective conversation we have as designers.
by JASON BLUMER
If you want to grow in a sustainable, satisfying way, then you need to pay attention to how you’re growing, not just how much. After all, a bigger company isn’t necessarily a better one. Let’s look at four common pitfalls of growth in the design industry, and how to avoid them.
Illustration by Kevin Cornell for A List Apart.
Filed under: A List Apart