News & Comment

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Issue 18   |   December 2000   |   Updated 11/26/02 

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 Unexpected slow-down.
I should have known better than to promise a site re-design for the January issue (see next paragraph). Obviously it's not done, and I apologize. It's gotten a little crazy around here. The new semester started, with its usual demands of revised course materials, new software to learn (Photoshop 6), and new courses to set up. Then we decided to start a major renovation of our 100-year old house, meaning lots of phone calls to suppliers, plumbers, and miscellaneous interested parties. Oh yea, the downstairs heating system decided to die, too. More phone calls to plumbers. And so on. Not to mention that the new design has provided its own share of speed bumps and potholes. I'm cautiously optimistic that it will be online early in February (don't quote me, though). Thanks for your patience.

and here's what I was saying in mid-December:

What you think is what matters... 
Eighteen months ago Interactive Design Forum was launched, about a year ago it got a new look (the monthly banner graphic), and now I'd sure like to know how we're doing. YOU are the target audience for this website.

Right now we're working on a major re-design for the January issue. We'll be switching to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to wrangle the typography into line, and will be experimenting with new ways of both organizing the information and expressing it via design.

High on my list is a dynamic format for the four major sections (COMMENT, EDUCATION, RESOURCES, BEST OF). At the start of each month they will appear in four equal width columns. As you vote with your mouseclicks throughout the month, the column widths will be adjusted to reflect the popularity of each section: continuous feedback.

But that's just one idea, and maybe not even an important one (just one I like).

If you have a minute, please send me your thoughts about Interactive Design Forum. Is it too wordy? the design too boring? colors yucky? Do you like the type of information? the writing? What should there be more of? less of?

Here's what some other visitors had to say:

home page - there's an awful lot to take in in one go. Designers have the attention span of goldfish. Maybe a layer whereby you can go in through what you do / want to do? ... maybe some of the verbal content could be replaced by graphics? I love the way it's written, by the way, so many people putting sites together forget about the words! (Lydia Thornley, London, UK)

I would suggest grouping the homepage items into larger titling chunks and making the page therefore more scanable... Perhaps also considering a way to get things cycled through the homepage (maybe by date?), but then locatable after they are "fresh" and have disappeared. Overall I think the idea is a very strong one, however, it feels more literary than design-driven to me in its current iteration. (Jennifer Kilian, San Francisco)

Expand the site's level of sophistication by using graphics in place of verbiage where possible, early on in the navigation... For a content driven site, this is a great start and the content is good, but I would like to be romanced more before I marry it. (Dave Nixon, Kanga Interactive)

overall, IDF provides great breadth on the design issues that are interesting to me. perhaps soliciting writing, comment, through weird contests...or setting up participation of displaying design work (static, or non-static) and writing using the "And She Told 2 Friends" approach. (Diana Black, Minnesota)

And now it's your turn: [Send your comments]

Project ideas ...
This month's addition to our Open Source EDU section was sent in by Diana Black, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has created three challenging projects for her Interactive Graphic Design class [in EDUCATION].

Talk with Chip
If you're in the Cleveland area between now and Jan. 19, 2001, let me invite you to meet Chip at the Cleveland State's People's Art Show. Chip is the life-sized wood sculpture that houses my introspective, interactive piece Image/Self-image (description & photos).

The folks at the CSU Gallery have hosted this "free, unjuried, uncensored exhibition celebrating creativity, diversity, and imagination" for 14 years, despite frequent ridicule and criticism. The quality of the work varies wildly, but it's always fun to see "art" through the show's unfiltered lens.

This month's banner graphic
I pretty much struck out thinking of a clever holiday theme for this month's banner. Nothing fit. Getting a little desperate, I looked through a batch of pictures from when I was in Chicago last month for the ACD Living Surfaces conference. The one that showed threatening signs ("WARNING" "24 hour video surveillance" "WE WILL PROSECUTE") struck me as typical of urban life, not only now, but maybe in general.

It seems that these signs, aimed at discouraging homeless people from camping out in dumpsters behind the buildings, are an updated version of the "No room at the inn" Christmas story I learned growing up Catholic in the 50s.

For better or worse, I have little use for organized religion anymore, but I appreciate the values of love, hospitality and care for others that all religions seem to have at their core.

That Chicago alleyway and the little town of Bethlehem have a lot in common.

                                                              - Al Wasco 12/12/00


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Labcam goes on (and off) line... Open Source EDU...
[Nov. 2000]

Flash reviewed... Times Square... Education...
[Oct. 2000]

School's in... Smackdown scores... give it away...
[Sept. 2000]

Lust objects... Usability Nazis... Mac vs. Windows Smackdown!
[August 2000]

New magazines... Fireworks revisited... Director doomed?
[July 2000]

Cancer on the Web?... Barcelona... New CD-ROMs
[June 2000]

Kent State remembered... AIGA-Advance...
[May 2000]

myopia... Lab survey... Student web projects...
[Apr. 2000]

Flash animation: devil or angel?... Mexican graffiti...
[Mar. 2000]

Web usability... Mexican graveyards... online Valentine cards...
[Feb. 2000]

Yahoo!... CoolSTOP Award... Multimedia, the Web & CD-ROM...
[Jan. 2000]

Our new look... Goodbye, AOL... Ideas for critiques...
[Dec. 1999]

What I know about you... Teaching computer-based media... Nudes in Parma
[Nov. 1999]

Graffiti & hip-hop... Better critiques... Photoshop 5.5 vs. Fireworks 2
[Oct. 1999]

Swiss Design Quiz... Barcelona... AIGA / NASAD briefing paper...
[Sept. 1999]

Upgrade junkies,
Part 1.

[Aug. 1999]

Report from International Design Conference at Aspen
[July 1999]

"Interactive Design" or "New Media?"
[July 1999]

If no author name is show, article is written by Al Wasco, author of this website.
©1999, 2000

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