What I’ve Been Reading

Lots of news lately surrounding social media platforms (both new and old). Here are some of the articles that I’ve been reading lately. Some you might have seen already and others might be completely new. I’ll try to throw some fun things in there as well!

Amazing iOS6 Maps. It’s no secret that when Apple launched their new operating system that got rid of Google Maps, people were annoyed. It’s the number one reason i have not yet switched over. As someone who uses the transportation button on there frequently, I’m quite annoyed that they would do such a thing. There is quite the amusing tumblr going on that shows all of the “amazing” new features – such as missing bridges, a “roller coaster” Hoover Dam and others.

What You Can Say to Siri. Okay, okay, everyone is hating on iOS6 maps, but they did manage to throw a few good upgrades in there. Including an improved Siri! Here are some of the things that you can now ask.

Myspace. Everyone has to remember Myspace from forever ago. Crazy flashing backgrounds, weird message boards and, of course, Tom. Myspace appears to have a new upgrade coming soon (in November) and I’m definitely interested to see what they’re going to offer. Worth a look!

Facebook publishing private messages. Remember those supposedly “private messages” you sent on Facebook, they might be public now. Apparently some Facebook messages from 2008 and earlier have been mistakenly posted publicly to your timeline – might want to go check your privacy settings.

XKCD map. For a little fun, how about a giant scrolling comic from xkcd. Kept me entertained for a good bit.

USA Today redesign. USA Today launched a redesign (done by F-I). Amazing! Definitely worth looking into. Their interface made me so happy as a UX designer.

What have you been reading lately?

Containerization & API

Interesting video on containerization and how it can explain what an API is. I loved the graphic approach to describing it and it’s definitely a helpful analogy to break down what is really happening when companies share APIs.

Containerization from MAYAnMAYA on Vimeo.

Admissions & Social Media

Right after my love for design, comes the one for social media & marketing.

As a graphic design major, all of my classes focus on the visual aesthetic of something but rarely dive into metrics or how design could be used directly for marketing. I frequently find myself swaying back and forth trying to figure out which one “fits” better. Only to realize that they can be used together. I’ve found through taking Business courses (I’m a Digital Business minor), I’ve been able to more clearly see how marketing and design work together and how I don’t really have to “give up” one when looking for jobs.

But let’s start from the beginning..

For the past four years I’ve worked for the RIT Undergraduate Admissions office. When I started,  I worked in the mailroom and blogged but since then I’ve kind of ended up in a social media position which has evolved drastically over the past few years. It’s a slightly long story but you can hear about some of it here on AdmissionsLive:

It’s been nice because we’ve had the same target market for four years: prospective & accepted students. Then we had to figure out how to leverage what was out there to help them. We cover everything from traditional social media such as Facebook and Twitter to blogging, video blogging (new this year), weekly webisodes, live streaming (in beta) and launching something super cool in March (stay tuned). Of course, Facebook has changed its layout throughout this process more times than we even wish to count which brings me to the next point.

I love the fact that the job relies so heavily on staying on top of what is out there for social media. A job that requires me to research more about Facebook and Twitter? Yes please. Not only that, but it often means that we’re working with new updates almost the exact same time they are being released which means there is no precedent for how you’re supposed to use it. We’re still in the midst of figuring out how to best leverage the new Admissions Facebook page.

I have future posts planned to go a little more in depth into our process in the office including Brainstorming, How We’re Using Facebook, Blogging + Problems We’ve Run Into. In the meantime, you can check out the 5 RIT Students YouTube page! Or watch our “Meet the Season 2 Cast” episode!

Tips + Tricks

Met with the lovely Carolyn from Composing Nows yesterday to help with some blogging & wordpress tips (which was hopefully helpful?!). I consider myself far from an expert on the matter considering half the time I want to do something I just end up Googling it & hacking something together until it works (as long as it meets the goal, right?).

I decided that I’m going to start sharing some more of my tips & tricks for building websites, figuring out WordPress + other fun things. After all, there are so many out there it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks.

The first being Subtle Patterns. Seriously, if you haven’t found it yet.. go check it out. Now.

You’re able to access & download hundreds of different patterns for any use. Easy to use, best thing ever.. You get the idea.

Next up is Coda. It’s basically a stripped down version of Dreamweaver. I’ve become quite accustom to working in Dreamweaver, however I LOVE the interface for Coda. I’m actually considering buying a year subscription to it (It’s only $99). It’s way less clunky than Dreamweaver which means you can actually open multiple applications while working on websites & not have to worry about crashing your (somewhat old) computer.

It does take some getting used to because it’s all code view (there is a preview button) but I’m a huge fan of the split code/design view in Dreamweaver. The whole instant gratification thing in coding makes me happy. There is a 16 day trial period or something like that so definitely check it out & see what you think.

Finally there is Google Web Fonts. Chances are you’ve probably run across this one before but just in case…

A wonderful library of 466 (+ growing) font families free to use! They make it super easy to embed any typeface you want on your website and they even provide the amount of load time it takes so your website isn’t slow. Easy to use + makes typography on the web so much better!

Those are only 3 of many things that I find myself using on a daily basis. Will post again soon with more helpful hints!

What typography/design/development web tools do you find helpful? Have you used any of these before?

Group Projects & iPad Design

The theme of this quarter seems to be group projects + iPad design. It seems like in the past 6 or so months there has been a giant shift to needing to incorporate things online not only into website but into sites that are easily accessible on iPads or iPhones.

In my Adv. Interactive Media class we’re going to be working on a project to redesign a blog or newsite so that it’s useable on a desktop, iPad and iPhone device. For Ind. Study I’m going to be looking into creating another comprehensive project that addresses both print needs as well as online social media.

In Editorial Design we’re producing a 100 page student magazine and for the first time ever there will be an iPad friendly version! I’m really looking forward to that class because it seems like a good blend between the old and the new.

So far it’s been fun to research what is currently out there and how people are using it. It becomes very clear that there is no definite right way to do it! I think that’s pretty exciting because it means there is a lot more innovation and development yet to come. Especially when it comes to print magazines becoming digital, magazines have just started to push the boundaries of the traditional definition of a magazine.

Lots are beginning to incorporate sound (below), animated graphics, picture swapping, and embedded videos. Really cool to see what is out there so far. From what I’ve seen, Wired is clearly on the leading edge of this new technology.

As for group project, Packaging Design involves working with both Packaging Science majors as well as Industrial Design majors. Definitely an interesting insight into how other people learn. Up until now I didn’t realize how much of a “graphic design only” world we were working it. It’s nice to get out and work with other disciplines.

Going to be a busy but fun quarter!