Category: Thoughts

Taking charge and producing

The first day of Webstock's conference was filled with people telling us we need to produce more and consume only the things that matter to us.

Everyone thinks the way they're doing things is the right way and they ask us to do the same. It's confusing because often the message is 'be yourself by being more like me'.

Still, there's a reason those people are on stage and we're in the audience and it can't just be because they're American. They've each done something extraordinary to be in a position to give that kind of advice.

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Professionally ticked off

Two people checking their todo lists

Here's the thing about being in business: you never want to look unprofessional. If you don't think you're in business, look around you. Do you have a job? You're in business. Does someone give you money in exchange for goods and services? You're in business.

There is a level of service expected in business and it is called "professionalism". If you are looking unprofessional, you present the opposite of the level of service expected.

One of the ways I get around this problem is with a todo list. You know those moments when you're working and you think: "I'll just check Facebook or Twitter,"? Those are moments when your mind is wandering and wants something else to do. Chances are you have something else to do. If you aim to be professional, you bloody better have something else to do.

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Editing is more than cutting

I always resented the TV show, Sex and the City, because of the way Carrie, the narrator, wrote her columns. The narration of the show is supposed to be a recitation of her published column and, when the audience sees her actually doing her job, she's usually lounging on her bed, typing things out and getting to wondering.

What we're hearing are the words she is typing directly into her laptop and so, we are to assume she will send that off to her publisher and that is exactly how it will be printed.

But it won't. It will be edited first. It will be improved by someone who has a better understanding of how it will fit into the whole work. It will be checked for tone and cut for size, bits of it will be rewritten, slashed or moved in a different order. If there is time, Carrie will have a chance to redraft the piece but let's be serious about this: the sort of person who lazes around on a bed banging out a column is unlikely to be handing her piece in much before deadline. She probably asks for a lot of leeway on delivery, too.

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Lorem ipsum is bad for design.

We use content to realise the goal of any design. A wireframe without an understanding of the content is an easy step towards meaningless layout.

The problem for designers, who are so proud of being the solvers of problems, is that content, and particularly the text, is often absent before the design needs to be completed.

Rather than solve the problem, they absolve themselves of the responsibility by using placeholder text, known as “lorem ipsum”.

As far as placeholder text goes, lorem ipsum is probably the most meaningless. It is a bastardised quote that has been rendered non-sensical even in its original language, Latin.

Good design should have nothing meaningless in it.

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Whither Benefit of the Doubt?

One of the things I’ve been thinking about, with my own jobs, is “by doing this, am I making the world a better place?” When I work in a team, improving a situation or solving a problem is central to everything else we do. It’s an attitude we try to encourage at Floate and that I try to put forward in all the other work I do.

That, however, does not seem to be the response from bloggers and journalist in this country. This is what I see happening: a large organisation announces a new website or application is in the works and the knee-jerk response is to criticise or mock it based only on the information in a media release.

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