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?

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How to Survive – iPhone App

As I talked about earlier, I’ve been working on an editorial spread for a while now. The topic I decided on early this quarter was “How to Survive 16 Hours in the car” as that is the length of our typical road trip to Wisconsin each year for Thanksgiving.

For Interactive Design we were required to animate an app in After Effects. Being unfamiliar with the software, I wanted to choose something I already had assets for rather than worrying about both the design AND the new software. Turn out I completely changed my mind on the overall design of the piece in the process so I ended up redoing everything anyway – but it was worth a try!

The app features various games that can be played on the car ride. Ideally it would be a more in depth app but this was a pretty quick deadline. I featured the “Are We There Yet?” part of it where a user can insert their intended destination and then anytime the “Are We There Yet” button is pushed the app updates you with a “Nope, not yet. Still have ____ miles to go” or some other similar saying. There is also a “States & Plates” part that acts as a digital checklist for finding license plates.

Unfortunately the final movie clip is a little large to embed on here right now. After Effects is definitely going to take longer than the 2 weeks I spent on it to get used to! I’m pretty happy with the progress that I made on it so far and definitely a lot happier with this direction compared to where I was going with it earlier in the quarter. Everything always seems to smooth itself out in the end!

Positive Negative Magazine

Yesterday was the official “launch party” of the Positive Negative magazine that we’ve been working on for so long.

To say it took a little more time and effort than a regular class would be an understatement. This class was awesome because everyone was really invested in it. Normally people come into class, work on their own projects, critique semi half-heartedly and then leave. This class from day one was a group effort.

We elected a “staff team” early on with Art Directors, Copy Editors, Photo Editors, Design Directors & more. Including the iPad team which I worked on! This meant that in addition to the articles that we were writing and designing for the class, the staff was responsible for the printed magazine (cover, table of contents design, folio, all of the copy editing and the list goes on…). The class also raised funds for the magazine through Kickstarter, in addition to funds from RIT’s president & different departments.

I loved seeing how everyone really backed each other up & gave honest critique and advice. We started a Facebook page early on and everyone was able to put up images of their work and get critique almost instantly from somewhere. This meant that we weren’t just showing up to class with something new to show but the whole process along the way was able to receive help & advice. I definitely think it helped the pieces overall because people were able to jump in with new ideas right away rather than waiting for the next class which meant the growth from beginning to end was greater.

The iPad team was a new edition to the magazine. This Positive Negative magazine has been done by editorial design classes for the past 4 years (this is the 5th edition). Each is different in it’s own way. Everything recently has moved into a digital space and so we thought it was only fitting that the magazine transition as well. It was definitely a trial run and a huge learning experience. At the beginning of the quarter we really had no idea what direction we were going to take.

The idea of a magazine on an iPad is still relatively new and therefore there is no set software or set of instructions that anyone can go off of. We ultimately decided to build it like a website that was responsive using HTML/CSS and Javascript which allowed us to use coding languages we were already familiar with (hooray for  huge time savers). Since we were diving into the unknown it was nice to at least understand the language we were coding in and not have to learn that on top of figuring out interactivity. In choosing this route we did give up the ability to use xcode or put it on the app store (something that would be nice for the future). Of course, that would be the ideal situation but seeing as we had no idea what we were doing 10 weeks ago and none of us had an experience with iPad magazines, I’d say it was pretty successful.

If you go to www.positivenegativemagazine.com you’ll be able to see the 12 articles that we’ve put on the iPad version of the magazine. Please keep in mind that we’re still working on some minor thing for it so if there is a bug, chances are we already know about it! We’re also working on getting some behind the scenes footage up on it so that will be available in the next week or so – will post again when that’s working.

Clear for iPhone

As a creator of massive to do lists (usually multiple ones per day) I’m in love with this new iPhone idea.

I’ve used Reminders on the iPhone for a while but the UI is not completely there. I’d like to be able to easily create multiple lists and drag items between lists rather than having to click on 3 different steps to change anything as is currently the case.

Clear has awesome UI design & looks like it will be simple and easy to use. You can read about it more at Good.

Clear for iPhone (Coming Soon!) from Realmac Software on Vimeo.

Luke Shuman Design – Interactive vs Print

I ran into Luke Shuman’s design work a while back while looking at the SPD Editorial competition (seen in the 4th image below). Totally impressed by all of his work – editorial, infographics and iPad layouts. A lot of the work shown on his website is for Wired or other big name magazines. Loving the interactivity of the magazine spread above.

iPad design is still up and coming. It’s able to be used by a wide majority of people, yet it’s still so new that not everyone seems to know what to do with it. There are a few options when it comes to designing something that’s interactive: traditional HTML/CSS website viewed on a tablet, Quark Express & the new Apple Textbooks (have yet to explore that one). In my editorial class this quarter there are 4 of us exploring all of these different options and actually turning our print magazine into an interactive one (hopefully!). [More on that soon.]

I’m really excited to see where iPad (and other tablets) design goes in the coming years. There are a lot of interesting interactive magazines out there already – my favorite is Wired. It’s really interesting to see how you take a traditional spread & turn it into something that people can interact with and actually experience.

There is, of course, still beauty in traditional print though. Love the bright colors and ways that he simplifies the graphic to really what the essence is. Infographics might be the “cliche” thing right now but there is something to say about the really well done ones – for a visual person such as myself, I’d much rather see information drawn out in a clear way.

Source: Luke Shuman Design 

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!