{ thinking out loud about the things i care about }

Archive for the ‘design + graphics’ Category

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

Friday, April 8th, 2011

A quick post to share this, which my pop-culture, literary and fiction-filled soul adores. ComputerSherpa posted this fantastic chart of some of the core storytelling tropes inspired by the periodic table and it’s fantastic.

Click through to see the full size chart and some of the sample “compounds” you can create with these tropes.

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Linkspam: Feminism, Science & Usability

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Even during crazy weeks when I’m up to my eyeballs in work, Fringe shows and social appointments, I still manage to read piles of stuff on the Internet. Here is a sampling of the most interesting things I’ve stumbled upon this week.

Feminism & Women


Science & Technology




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When Floating Web Elements Go Bad

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Floating elements along the sides, tops or bottoms of web pages — usually displaying some sort of persistent social media cue or functional element of the website — are all the rage, and I can see why. It’s a neat trick and, when used correctly, is a snazzy, mostly unobtrusive way to include a persistent piece of information. It can be small and still get noticed by virtue of being the only thing on the page that isn’t scrolling.

Except. Now we get things like this:

badly designed floating web elementsI’ve accepted the realities of animated gifs flashing across the outskirts of webpages like giant annoying fireflies trying to distract me from the reason I went to the page in the first place, which was to read content. I harrumph at those irritating automatically expanding banner ads that unexpectedly push the page content down, but dutifully wait for it to finish so I can collapse the thing and get on with my reading. I even deal with my hard knock life when I inadvertently set off expanding-popup-video ads by sliding my mouse past them.

But when websites start layering these things over my content they’ve gone too far. This Twitter bar is overlapping the content I’m trying to read — the reason I came to this website in the first place — and it’s doing it mid-page along the side, right where my eyes are most comfortable reading and where I scroll content to centre in. If this floated along the bottom or very top of the screen and covered text it would be less intrusive because that’s at the very outskirts of where I read anyway, but mid-page is smack dab in my field of vision. Also note there’s no way to get rid of or collapse the layer: I’m forced to either read above or below it, or to intuit the missing letters it covers.

The most frustrating part is this is such an easy, no-brainer fix: add ten or fifteen pixels of margin space on the left and the problem goes away. This is just shoddy and lazy web design and usability, and it raises my hackles.

Look. I get that advertising revenue is how the Internet stays in business. I don’t use add blockers and I begrudgingly put up with seizure-inducing flashing gifs and pop-out cars driving across my screen and videos with auto-play functionality because I understand websites do cost money to host and maintain, especially the successful ones. Advertising on the web is a reality of the current system where people expect everything online to be free and don’t understand there are real costs to the people behind the websites they love, and as people get better at ignoring ads the ads have to get better at being noticed.

But once these elements start permanently obfuscating the content that brings me to and keeps me on the website, we have a problem. The way I’ll solve my half of the problem is by not coming back.

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It’s Because He Makes Such Great Faces

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Surely by now everyone knows there’s been a ruling in the Lexicon Case.  Seems the judge believes there’s too much verbatim for it to qualify as a truly transformative, fair-use work.  Fair enough.  I wonder if RDR books will tuck their tail between their legs and go home beat or if they’ll appeal?  Only time will tell I suppose.

Not a good day to be Steve Vander Ark, I would guess.

I’ve doodled a couple more icons, because what the heck else am I gonna do on a Monday night after a busy weekend?.


Grabbed some seriously excellent fonts from Font Garden while making these tonight.  Well worth the hour it took me to go through them all. 

Swipe if you like, point and laugh if you don’t.  *winks*


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I Can Has Icons?

Friday, September 5th, 2008

It appears I have made Doctor Who icons.  I have some more in the works, but they take bloody forever to make ’cause I’m out of practice and just plain slow.  Gosh, the last time I randomly mucked about in Photoshop like this was ages ago.  Whazzit– what’s this pen tool do again? OMG how do I load new brushes?!? 

There are few things more embarrassing than having to look up a tutorial for something you could once do in your sleep.  That part of my brain is rusty and dusty.

sex in glasses  i am sex in glasses  pouty face  brainy specs  bleep bleep

There will likely be more sometime Monday-ish if the number of ideas on post-its left cluttering my desk is any indication.  Steal if you fancy.


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