Oh, goodness. I started writing this post in January, and have had it basically finished for weeks now. I’ve been putting off actually posting it for some time, thinking it needs more work. But now — in fact, just three hours ago — Design Observer unveiled a redesign and made me look like some kind of jerk. Now, if that isn’t an object lesson in shipping…
Design Observer looks dated.
DO’s header boasts proudly that it’s been operating since 2003, and you can tell. Look at it with 2014 eyes and you’ll observe a non-responsive fixed-width layout with tiny text. Is that really a blogroll? Where are the ubiquitous social sharing buttons?
It’s like a time capsule of early-2000s blog design.
And that’s why it’s so great.
Continue reading “Observing Design Observer’s design”
Last year I read an interesting blog post that taught me the name for something I’d been hearing more and more about for a while: MOOCs (“Massive Open Online Courses”). You know, they’re those online classes that you can take, offered by universities like Stanford, Harvard and others — plus a host of private companies — typically for free and without credit. Oh, and across an absolute metric fuckton of topics.
Yesterday, setting aside any traces of an um-yeah-I-already-finished-college-thank-you attitude, I spent some time poking around MOOC List — an extensive aggregator of available classes — and found something that caught my eye: Intro to the Design of Everyday Things, taught by Don Norman, author of that book you may have seen on my dining room table, waiting patiently to be read, for a little while now. (Okay, Amazon says it’s been over two years.)
So I’m taking Don’s class now, and while I’m not sure if I’ve had my eyes opened to any truly new concepts yet, I’ve picked up a couple of terms: “affordance” and “signifier.” And to finish off Lesson 1, I’m currently on the lookout for a signifier to photograph, critique and improve.
So, why Intro to the Design of Everyday Things? I can actually share the answer I posted to the class forum:
I’m taking this class because, as a copywriter whose opinions on the finished product tend to extend a bit beyond my specific area of expertise, I’d like a more solid grounding in these other areas.
Basically, soon I’ll be telling you why I’m right about even more things, using all the right terms. Look out.
I’m clearly no stranger to marketing, but my career hasn’t yet brought me in touch with product packaging. I like packaging, and I’ve actually bought things over the years because they were nicely packaged — stuff like candy, Altoids Sours, some random bike part… and yes, I’ve even bought myself a few low-balance gift cards to keep in my this is so awesome file.
I recently found myself impressed with the cardboard packaging around the McDonald’s Premium McWrap — I should probably go ask for a clean one while they’re still available. I guess I didn’t notice when they added this item to the menu, because I ordered my first one by mistake. My annoyance at paying about double what I expected turned to intrigue about as soon as I peeked into my drive-through bag.
Continue reading “The Premium McWrap packaging is very nicely designed”