Using keynote as an organizer for your thoughts during the design process:
- Create an outline or screen inventory towards the story I’d like to tell.
- As I’m working through the wireframes, I’ll record my thoughts as bullets into the keynote
- Formatting your thoughts – keep it simple, go high level then break out specific UI elements.
- Most importantly – always be ready to present your ideas, at any stage in the process.
Formalizing designs in a presentation has it’s advantages:
- Keeps you focused
- Keeps the audience focused
- Is portable – can be emailed later w/out lengthy explanation
- Is progressive – once begun, you can simply layer increasing information on top of the first presentation.
- Is repeatable – once done, you can leverage the same presentation style for other projects.
Pro-tip: I work almost exclusively in Adobe Illustrator when wire-framing. It works great for layering increasing detail/resolution on the design from functional wireframes to final designs. Since the most recent Keynote software update, Keynote has issues copying vector designs from Illustrator directly to the page. Before you copy an element from Adobe Illustrator, outline the text (Command + Shift + “O”) in Adobe Illustrator, then copy to Keynote. It adds a step in the process, but is quicker than going between Illustrator > Photoshop, and the Keynote/PDF you result with is high quality with a smaller file size. Small file size is key if you’re uploading multiple version to Basecamp or sharing in email.
Every once in a while, you hit up something pretty cool over your lunch break reading. Today was two in a row, both dealing w/ design and css-3 properties I wasn’t completely familiar with.
Rotation in css-3. Or moreso it’s application in a baddass little poster experiment: http://www.everydayworks.com/css_typography/everydaytweet.html
And a sweet read on typograpy using css-3 that was well illustrated with some great usage examples: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/03/01/css-and-the-future-of-text/
It’s the kinda reads that make me look forward to my lunch breaks again!
A continuing part of my new life in Charleston is the new job that comes with it and re-wiring my brain around what design is. Moving from a creative agency to a software company, an intimate client facing environment to a larger, corporate environment has had some interesting effects. But one of the most interesting things has been the opportunities to design and think about what design can be.
My current morning practice is to get up a bit early and get in an hour+ of design work in, or read a good book to get my day off on the right foot. For the moment, that book is “inside Steve’s brain” – one that’s become increasingly popular around my company, and for good reason. As the company grows, they are increasingly looking for a brand to consolidate their array of products. And looking at the process of design, as the company shifts from one that makes software to one that is selling a brand. Increasingly, design leads such as myself are being looked to for advice – again opportunity.
This morning was Chapter 2: Despotism: Being a one-man focus group. Some really interesting take-always for me, especially considering I’ve been functioning as a one-man design show for years and the context of my new position. A lot of what I read has been reassuring in many ways – coming at design from a different direction than those building the product, gives you a unique understanding. Steve’s main asset isn’t that he understands the technology as well as the engineers creating it, but that he understands the users and is always pushing design. This is a strong concept for me, as it helps me think about where my value as a designer is to a company that writes software and needs that outside voice to help understand how to package and interact with the things they create.
After a nice long weekend of soaking my head in the sun of Palm Springs, I’m back to the grind on Monday and thinking about a few things I’ve been reading up on in the past week.
WebAssist’s Roadmap Series: Having played w/ their products before, WebAssist helps web programers prototype more quickly w/ an impressive array of tools and information. Besides this, they provide some nice information about the what and why’s of web design. Their roadmap series is boiled down, 4-6 page basics of web design. Why is this handy to for experienced designer? Besides some nice refreshers of the basics, the one that really got me thinking was their explanation of SEO, boiled down to 2 pages. I stutter to think how many lengthy emails to clients explaining the basics of search-ability this would have saved me.
The result is it really got me thinking how I could improve my professional practice by creating a series of short documentation myself; Covering theses buzzword topics that clients always ask about. It would help clarify the process and educate the client BEFORE their web-site was designed and built.
Design Observer: Collect a bunch of rock-star designers from a variety of disciplines and have them write, coherent, passionate articles? What could be better. Great inspiration, and a good read for that 4pm coffee break.
Core 77’s Design Directory: This is my Monday morning treat, their email newsletter id geared towards industrial design, but runs the gamut from furniture design to new sanitation ideas to save children in Africa. It’s the sort of stuff that gives me the brain jitters and informs the soul.