Webdesign - a designers perspective: Introduction

This is going to be a multipart series on my view on the webdesign process in this day and age with nitty gritty details - to much for most casual readers but not enough for the more professional webbers but just about right to those making websites coming from a more design perspective touching each and every part that touches webdesign as a whole - from the artwork to the programming to the content management to the hosting problems to the philosophies, existing standards nobody cares about nonexisting standards everyone seems to care about. Guaranteed not flash bashing free and guaranteed full of sarcasm. Here is the intro to this never ending saga.

About ten to twelve years ago I got into developing my first website - back then I was neither designer nor programmer but had experience in the latter and was about to study the former. I made this website with a lot of javascript and made the mistake of using images as text as I wanted one font throughout the site. The site looked alright (to me ;) and functioned fine but was unmaintainable for a person who wants to do something else with their time then hacking pure HTML. It had one nice feature so - that was swappable images - something you see nowadays a lot in those fancy iFrame galleries - back then I did not encounter another site that had it. Oh javascript that was something I could identify with as it came so close to BASIC programming which I learned while the east was still the east and the west the bad. "You canīt use javascript, its bad practice - nobody should use javascript ever" was all I got for my month long effort of making a webpage. The site was sitting there for a long long time without any updates and got very stale - at one point - right after the only update it ever recieved -the browsers started to break the site and I decided to pull it.
Since then I have been pondering on making a new site - one with a cool content management system that would enable me to easely update the site, one that is very cutting edge and puts technology to a good use. The longer I pondered the more it became clear that I did not want a website for myself - but rather a framework that could be an umbrella for the myriads of my interests and those around me wanting to produce something cool together with me. On the design end I was still learning and trying to find my style my design mojo. The years went by and the website did not really progress other then in my head. There was a quick attempt at it about 3 years ago that had already an interface designed but that never off the ground because I actually had to finish my diploma and all. Then last years pushed by a lot of different things I actually started to take the plunge - and man if I would have known back then what a journey it would become I would have thought twice about going along, but now 35.000 lines of code and about a year later I am extremely happy with the outcome so far.

Next Part in the next days: Choosing the right Content Management System


All old Media is dying - nobody cares

…it was the kind of year in which circulation should have boomed. If you live for a story, this year was an embarrassment of riches.

And yet the decline didn’t just continue. It accelerated.

Andrew Sullivan about the newspaper industry.

I also subscribed to my third Twitter stream - I do not like Twitter that much for the personal stuff like game highscores and such but its kinda great if you want focused updates on something and themediaisdying is such a very focused channel bringing you up to date news on whats going on with the media - in just headlines. Well its been a rough rough week for the media let me tell you that. Every day there was at least one local newspaper ceasing publication, at least 200 people where layed off in some media company - even advertisers and ad agencies seem to start hurting badly - Digitas for example cuts 2.100 jobs in the US alone (big ad agency for print stuff). Now as the cries for a media bailout get louder (its the media with its own voice and while nobody has yet used the "b" word it is coming through in numerous articles around the web that this is indeed what "needs to happen") nobody seems to listen and that is something that should be exactly like that. The old media has done nothing in the past to distract the population, fed it with a lot of bullshit, sided with last century copyright laws and has been slower then a the biggest fattest dinosaur in adapting to the new reality that is realtime news, networked and linked news, crowd publication.
I am sorry for all the authors that are layed off and the content producers - but I am looking forward of seeing an uptick on original stories around the web. Stories that are wonderfully written and researched - stories from real journalists.
Now as for earning money - sorry there is no sound bussiness model (except maybe if it takes off). So maybe you the journalist side with those who are looking for an alternative monetary system? I am going to ask again in six month…


Comics coming to the iPhone - a medium finds a new host

Gosh I donīt own one (and unless they are getting smaller and the dataplans cheaper it will probably stay that way) but I love the iPhone for that it shackles up so many traditions and morphes us closer to a 21st century society - also it starts to save trees which is all and about a great thing. How? Well there are starting to appear comics on the iPhone that would have been printed on dead trees beforehand. Given that especially in Japan the throw away cheap comic culture is huge this might even have a measurable environmental impact at one point. But comics coming to the iPhone is even cooler. I have noticed the rise of webcomics lately but I find reading them in a regular browser takes a away a bit of the magic that happens when you dive into a paneled layout without distractions all around it that blink and try to draw you into a different universe - you know what I am talking about if you have ever seriously used a computer. A comic on the iPhone would is different - you have the screen and the comic fills it - yes it would break with the traditional panels on page layout and is instead only serial panels scrolling but you could even mimic the move from panel to panel which sometimes goes left to right sometimes top to bottom and sometime just quirky - depending on the content - by sliding the panel out/in to the corresponding side. You could even give a "page" overview on how the panels would be arranged for every virtual physical page. Quite general I love the idea and I think with the rise of epaper readers and the iPhone and the current attention deficit society comics become a much stronger medium in itself.

Japanese Manga Comes To The iPhone (Mike Cane)
The Future Is Almost Now (Publishers Weekly)


Fritz Langs Metropolis rediscovered in FULL!

metropolis01.jpgmetropolis02.jpgEveryone who loves movies and loves science fiction knows that the most important film in the early history of cinema was of course Fritz Langs Metropolis. Everyone who watched a "remastered" version of that film also knows that considerably parts of the film are missing - with some parts having been filled in with typographic plates explaining the missing scenes. That leaves the viewer with an uncomplete, lacking and sometimes misunderstood overall picture of the film.
The reason is that there just has never been found a complete copy of the film, because most copies disappeared in WWII in the burning cinemas of Berlin. The current watchable version is a patchwork of multiple partial reels found all over the world. Everyone agreed that this iconic science fiction film that set the pretext of visual science fiction to come - in production scale and "out there" story - will never be shown how it was supposed to be meant. Until now...
The german Zeit magazine found a complete full length copy of this film in Argentina - in a museum that somehow never knew it had such a treasure. The magazine has already some pictures up. The film is in dire condition and in the need of a LOT of retouching and cleaning but the prospect to see this film in full and maybe understand some confusing scenes and have some more drama incorporated will fill science fiction fans, silent movie fans, cinema fans and fans of a doomed machine world with joy for sure.

The Zeit article on the find

The Zeits gallery

The "old" patched 1/3rd of the film on the internet archive


The total collapse of the traditional media in the USA

I was wanting to wait for our podcast tomorrow to speak about the issue of the total collapse of the soundbite media but since it makes such a huge splash today I will comment already and make it more clear tomorrow.
Yesterday was another "primary debate" in the US - meaning the two remaining candidates from the democratic party Barrack Obama and Hillarry Clinton sparred it out with words on TV. It was the 20th debate of the election season (no I am not kidding). I have been following closely whats going on because I was just waiting for this moment to happen (all along and I expected it much earlier). Normally the primary season should be over by now but since Hillary Clinton is loosing by all means even so she was the clear front runner before this all started it gets dragged out and Clinton is throwing the mud around ( I have been watching closely and as said before I could care less who is winning - so Obama is probably the better choice for the whole world in the end seeing the real Clinton) Anyway not get dragged into the issue of who will win the nomination - that is not the reason for this blog post - the real reason is that in the debate last night the ABC news network overdid what turns people off network television and the big media in general - it tried hard to produce sound bites and controversy over absolutely nothing but left out real politics in the meantime - the debate was light entertainment for the right wing. This wouldnīt be interesting in itself but the media has overplayed the 10 second soundbite that say nothing about a candidate for the last weeks or so so to keep the race close and higher their ratings - and quite obviously it has been to much even for the average tv watching couch potato. The outrage is HUGE and comes from all sides - left wing right wing bloggers and even some big media journalist. The talk of the day is that people feel personally offended for beeing treated like they are totally dumb.

Thats the framing. With big media in general decline this event could end the pop culture of the 90s and early 2000s and take down all of big media in one go. Its a significant event that when a huge electorate swallows the blue pill in one evening. There is huge consensus that this was a historical milestone for alternative media to rise to the top for people powered media for media fact checking and for big media to loose its grip on the big swath of the people who have been left behind the information age - at least in the US of A (hey and since trends do come over here to europe with a 5 year delay expect the same thing to happen here too very soon :) I am eager to see how this plays out in the coming days but I think a lot of media moguls will scratch their heads at why their ratings are dropping into the bottomless hell of nonexistence. I truly believe there is nothing these tv network newspaper networks and radio networks can do to turn this around now because they would have to change their whole corporate culture and even if they would start doing that now it would just seem false for those that have been lied to those that have feel they lost half their lifes by being dumbed with britney spears and co. This is a true revolution unfolding in front of us and it will be like the banking crisis - hidden for a couple more month/years but then the graveness of the situation will come to light and people powered media - as chaotic as it is today - will be the only information tool left. The only true Free Press and it balances itself....


The Myth of the Media Myth

This is one of the best articles about the role of the media in society that I have read in a long long time. Its meta topic is about games and the perception of videogamers in society but it digs very very deep into why there is a dissatisfaction and outright fear persistent in 30+ year old people concerning videogames and it comes to a very very intelligent conclusion.

"The media perpetuates it, but it doesn't cause it. ... The media just picks up on it and presents the same message with as much negativity as it can possibly find, because we are a negative-driven culture. We don't do things because they are right thing to do; we do things because we don't want the wrong things to happen." I think on that a long time.

Me too think on that long time...

Read the whole article at the escapist magazin


Trailers from Hell

trailersfromhell.pngA lovely site done with a bit too much flash. It shows you trailers from famous culty horrorflicks of the past underlayed with a very informed comment from different people coming from film.