On Friday, Jeffrey Zeldman posted this inspiring article speaking to his recently redesigned personal site, which sports a hefty 24px body font. He speaks about the ever changing landscape of web design, and as it’s his personal site, he wanted it to be extremely legible.
This redesign is a response to ebooks, to web type, to mobile, and to wonderful applications like Instapaper and Readability that address the problem of most websites’ pointlessly cluttered interfaces and content-hostile text layouts by actually removing the designer from the equation. (That’s not all these apps do, but it’s one benefit of using them, and it indicates how pathetic much of our web design is when our visitors increasingly turn to third party applications simply to read our sites’ content. It also suggests that those who don’t design for readers might soon not be designing for anyone.)
The piece resonated with me because it was similar to my thoughts when I redesigned The Fox Is Black back in April. The majority of guests that read The Fox Is Black have at least a 1280 x 800 monitor, so having larger images and a larger font makes sense. It’s giving you the reader an easier way to ingest content. This isn’t a revolutionary way of thinking, but I’m not sure it’s as considered as it should be these days, when even the New York Times devotes almost 75% of their to ads. We can only hope that there’s a coming shift in how people read on the web.
I’ll definitely give it to the Google employees for coming up with some really fun ideas (though I still don’t care for the mothership). My buddy Matt this morning sent me this new game they came up with called Cube, a game about Google Maps. They’ve taken all the mapping data they have and have turned it into one of those giant marble games, where instead of getting the marble into the hole you get it to the waypoint. The physics are pretty fun, and be warned, you may lose some of your work day playing this.
So if you’re an Instagram user, you’ve been picking up on all of the cues about how important you are, how valuable you are to Instagram. Then along comes Facebook, the great alien presence that just hovers over our cities, year after year, as we wait and fear. You turn on the television and there it is, right above the Empire State Building, humming. And now a hole has opened up on its base and it has dumped a billion dollars into a public square — which turned out to not be public, but actually belongs to a few suddenly-very-rich dudes. You can’t blame users for becoming hooting primates when a giant spaceship dumps a billion dollars out of its money hole. It’s like the monolith in the movie 2001 appeared filled with candy and a sign on the front that said “NO CANDY FOR YOU.”
My immediate concern now is what Facebook is going to do with my photos and all the metadata attached to it. My guess is that they’ll do what they do and sell advertising with it, which is gross to think about. I don’t really fault the Instagram team for making this move, I mean, would you turn down $1 billion? No, you wouldn’t. Here’s hoping that Facebook’s greasy fingerprints remain off of Instagram and the team can continue to develop one of the best apps ever created. Only time will tell where things go from here.
Remember this day. 551-day-old Instagram is worth $1 billion. 116-year-old New York Times Co.: $967 million.
It’s odd to think that we see an app like Instagram to be valued more than a classic institution. I don’t think that’s necessarily wrong either, it just means that we our idea of what’s importance has changed. Sharing a moment with our friends is perhaps more worth our time than reading an article about economics or the arts.
Google yesterday revealed a product they’re working on called Google Glass. It’s the notion that the phone is a primitive tool and that there’s a better solution, namely a headset. The problem is, it’s Google behind this project. I think the idea of having an object that replaces your phone is a smart and obvious one, but I don’t think it’s a minimal Geordi LaForge visor. In all practicality, it’ll be a contact lens, then replacing your eye all together with something cybernetic, but that’s a whole different story.
What the video above entails is that you’ve got a heads up display, something you see in video games all the time. The HUD is a way to quickly access all of your information at a glance. My problem with this whole thing is what Google would do with your information, namely, selling it. I don’t trust Google anymore and I think a lot of people feel the same way. Could you imagine ads popping up on this thing when you based by Target? Oh wait, someone already made a video about it. I can’t think of anything more horrifying than my vision being blinded by a banner advertisement.
When I buy an iPhone, or any Apple product for that matter, I don’t worry about them collecting my personal data to sell to advertisers. If they collect data, I’d assume they used it to make my experience better, not to increase their net worth. But that’s also because Apple is primarily a hardware company while Google is an ad powered search company. Gmail is used to gather information and sell advertisements, as is Google Search, same with Google Chrome and Maps. I use all of these services daily because they’re the best, but I still can’t help feeling gross about it when I think about it for an extended period of time.
Plus there’s the fact that this is made by the same company that made Android, a fragmented mess of an operating system which is whored out to all the carriers. What’s to say this experience would be any better? They certainly haven’t proven themselves yet. John Gruber tweeted the video below yesterday, which I feel would be a much more accurate version of what the experience of Google Glass would be like. Enjoy.