Digital design and other shiny toys

Category Archives: Web development

Web development, design and related work.

Improving table display in ebooks with responsive design

Posted on by Paul

Displaying tables in ebooks is like designing for mobile devices in that we don’t always know the display size. I recently completed three ebooks containing multi-column data tables. The client was keen to make these readable on small displays so I borrowed some responsive design techniques from my web development work.

Unethical or dishonest user interface design

Posted on by Paul

Go to darkpatterns.org and you’ll find an interesting presentation by Harry Brignull. He talks about unethical or dishonest user interfaces designed to trick people into doing things such as buying unneeded services, or help disguise recurrent payments as one-offs. He makes the interesting point that most professionals recognise the difference between good and bad practices when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO), but not design. Time for an industry wide code of ethics to sit alongside web standards?

Gone in a Flash™

Posted on by Paul

Adobe have announced they are no longer developing Flash for mobile browsers. Instead they’ll be focussing on HTML5 based tools. This is good because Flash on mobile pretty much sucks, and the antagonistic relationship between Adobe and Apple has been a childish distraction. Hopefully the resources Adobe wasted on pushing Flash for mobile can now go into developing HTML5 authoring tools such as Edge. However, it’s not all good news because 750 Adobe employees will lose their jobs over this.

Kindle Fire – the real content consumption device?

Posted on by Paul

When the iPad appeared there were dismissive comments about it being a ‘content consumption’ only device, suitable for reading, web browsing and so on, but not for creative work. That was untrue, but maybe the strength of the new Kindle Fire tablet will be that it really is a device for the content consumer, backed up by a tried and tested online store. Amazon marketing for the previous Kindle focussed on the ease of reading, wide choice of ebooks and speed of delivery. Now they have a device which offers this, but also hooks into their video streaming service and has a more intuitive interface. Add web browsing, email and a carefully managed selection of apps and it could be a winner. However, bright LCD screens really aren’t good for reading lots of text, so if you’re looking for a book reader it’s probably best to stick with the e-ink devices. Or buy both types of Kindle, which is what Amazon really wants.

New Kindle Fire tablet and updated e-ink devices

Posted on by Paul

As expected Amazon announced new Kindle models today. The existing e-ink devices have been updated, with both models losing the physical keyboard and one of them gaining a touchscreen. As before, these models use a greyscale e-ink display and are designed specifically for reading. However, the new Kindle Fire is a 7 inch tablet device intended for reading, web browsing, game playing, music and more. Amazon clearly want some of the iPad market with this one, and the low price indicates they hope to sell millions and recoup their costs through content sales. However, I think there’s plenty of room for both Amazon and Apple. The direct competition is Barnes & Noble, and companies such as Samsung and RIM who tried to copy the iPad but couldn’t match it on cost, design, ease of use and content availability. (Of course, this is just me thinking out loud and I might change my mind when I get hold of a Kindle Fire. Just what you need, eh? Another blog with unqualified, unverified speculation on a product that isn’t available yet.)

New websites: care and feeding of

Posted on by Paul

I’m often asked about support options for websites, and while each contract is different, I don’t just upload a site then forget about it. The new Chris Moore Art site went online a couple of weeks ago but I haven’t stopped working on it. This was a small project for a single client, but the post-launch work will give you an idea of what’s involved in supporting a website.

Chris Moore website – print ordering service

Posted on by Paul

The new website for commercial illustrator Chris Moore went online a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve added the print ordering service. Limited runs of selected images are now available. Prints are approximately A2 size (420mm x 594mm) and each one is signed, numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity. Images are printed with light-fast pigment based inks on 315 gsm archive quality paper.