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.

Victoria Fernandez – Animation + Illustration

Ran across work by Victoria Fernandez. She does a lot of animation work down in Latin America as well as some illustrations. It was actually her illustration style that first drew me to her site. Very flat illustrations but there is some wonderful layering going on. Also loving the more muted color palettes.

Below are two of her animations. The first is a spot for Nick Jr and the second is a compilation of a lot of different work that she’s done but if gives you a feel for the style.

Spot made by Victoria Fernandez for Nick Jr Latin America

Stop Motion Animation for Dosve in Buenos Aires. Also by Victoria Fernandez

For more of her work visit her website.

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?

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!

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.

Responsive Web Design

In honor of the project I’ve been working on most frequently – a responsive blog reader – I’ve complied a few of my favorite resources.

Responsive web design is relatively new. If you’re unfamiliar with it, in short, it is coding a website using media queries that target specific screen sizes. For example, with the rise of iphone and ipad usage, targeting a phone screen size would make the website recognize that it’s a smaller dimension & would adjust the elements accordingly. It does take a fair amount of extra effort on the part of designers/coders to figure out how exactly a page is going to look at each size. Most often getting to a size around 320 pixels requires elements to be smaller & some to even be eliminated.

One great resource for looking at websites that are responsive is Media Queries.

A book I read a while back was Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte. It’s a part of the A Book Apart series that details different web design techniques. Everything from CSS to media queries and designing for emotion. Pretty quick read but lots of information! I found it really helpful before diving into doing the coding for a responsive site in order to understand more of the logic behind it.

The best resource of all, however,  is Google! I find it enormously helpful to just google exactly what I’m trying to do and there always seems to be some kind of forum, documentation, or tutorial walking you through the steps. I’m far from learning everything that a responsive site can do but I’m having fun with the trial and error method for now!