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Issue 13   |   July 2000   |   Updated 7-6-00

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This month's update had to compete with other summertime events: two weeks' vacation with no Web connection(!), a modem fried by a thunderstorm, clients who DIDN'T go on know how it goes. Be sure to check back in two weeks for more additions.

Read all about it
As interactive electronic media matures as a design field, more and more is being written about it. You can read about the big picture in Steven Johnson's Interface Culture [reviewed here]. But if you want a regular fix of articles in dead-tree form, your choices are comparatively few. I've been reading ArtByte [] recently, but can't say I'm a huge fan.
I'm not re-subscribing until I see two new periodicals (both with online components) due this fall.

The first is eDesign, a spin-off of PRINT magazine. The new "magazine of design and commerce for the Web" plans to cover both business and culture, including products, technologies, entertainment and trends. If the new mag is anything like PRINT it will be pragmatic & lively. [contact:]

From a totally different source, LAUNCH is a magazine/website created by the non-profit American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). AIGA has recently been discussing "experience design," perhaps a better term than the meaningless "new media." As AIGA defines it, experience design is "Simplifying the complex to integrate content + form + context to inspire people."

LAUNCH promises insightful editorial and case studies that get at the heart of creating compelling experience design. I'm looking forward to it. I've found AIGA material to be excellent and thought-provoking, if sometimes a bit verbose. []

Fireworks, again
To my surprise, even after eight months our comparison of Photoshop 5.5 with Fireworks 2 continues to be one our more popular articles. In it we recommend Photoshop as the superior solution to image preparation for the Web, for a variety of reasons that made good sense in October 1999.

Well, it's July 2000. Fireworks 2 is Fireworks 3. And I've heard enough good things about version 3 to warn you to take my earlier comments with a big grain of salt. If you're primarily interested in preparing GIFs and JPEGs for the web and you have Photoshop 5.5, you can get by quite nicely. But if you're doing more ambitious Web-related work, and especially if you're using Dreamweaver, you may appreciate Fireworks' new features and better integration with Dreamweaver.

Read a batch of reviews at

Is Director doomed?
Many designers who in the past might have used Macromedia Director for animation & games have switched to Flash, which creates small, efficient files for online use. Students have begun to ask me whether they should even bother to learn Director.

My response is that if you want a job right now, go with Flash. Because so much attention is focused on Web-based content, anyone with even modest Flash skills is in demand. But Flash has limited capabilities for more complex interactivity, which is where Director shines. I believe that Director, for now at least, offers designers and artists a far wider range of possibilities, especially for work that is CD-ROM or kiosk-based.

Read Director Online's excellent commentary This Year's Model.

                                                              - Al Wasco 7/6/00


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

Kent State remembered... AIGA-Advance... Interactive Indiana
[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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