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Archive for the Web Design Category

Chrome Experiments

Posted by Alex

Swirling Tentacles by Steven Wittens


No doubt by now you have seen the Arcade Fire + Google Chrome super experiment posted today. This was awesome. Mind still blown. The site where the work was posted is Chrome Experiments and there is a ton of cool stuff there to keep you occupied for hours. (It’s my last day at IDEO this summer and I am having a hard time not playing with this every 5 minutes).

Even cooler, some of the experiments have ‘making of’ links and you can read a little more about their construction. (Warning: only interesting if you know what something like this means: for i in xrange(0, w.getnframes()):. )

According to CE:

We think JavaScript is awesome. We also think browsers are awesome. Indeed, when we talk about them, we say they are the cat’s meow – which is an American expression meaning AWESOME.

In light of these deeply held beliefs, we created this site to showcase cool experiments for both JavaScript and web browsers.

Hurts to try and conceive of all the possibilities with this type of technology. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

side note: I still maintain that some of the most interesting websites (in terms of rich/deep content) are those that haven’t even heard of CSS yet. I’m talking about websites that exist solely for the sake of information they host. Screw look and feel, their information needed to reach people. Something like this.

via the entire Internet

Virb

Posted by Alex




As a non-coder, and someone actually rather terrified of the “code” view in Dreamweaver, I feel it’s my duty to present notable website development platforms as they crop up. Sites like this really are a blessing for those of us that spend more time in Illustrator than Coda (give me your lunch money nerds). Virb is the newest kid on the block in this regard.

You may have heard of Virb before; their history is pretty interesting actually. What started as a social networking platform (apparently they used to be stacked up against Facebook and Myspace) has now morphed into something completely different. Strategically that was probably a good move. Now their mission is to provide the tools to build an “elegantly simple” website easily. As their CEO Brad Smith told Business Insider:

What Tumblr has done for the simplicity of setting up a blog, we want to do for the simplicity of creating a website. Sure, some people use Tumblr as their website, but at end of day its a blogging platform. We’re taking it a step further to where the entire idea is based around what we’ve always known a website to be — one location for all your content. [link]

Virb 2.0 (3.0?) feels like a mix between Squarespace and Cargo Collective, with maybe a dash of Tumblr thrown in. Overall I would say everything feels slightly simpler (perhaps to a fault) than the competition. I should mention that I am a user of Squarespace, Cargo, and Tumblr, so the Virb platform was immediately familiar to me. I haven’t really put it through the paces yet, but next time I need to create a website simply and quickly, I would consider Virb for sure.

You can rock a 7 day free trial now, but will have to pay $10 a month after that to keep things running.

New Audio Player

Posted by ISO50

iso50-plb
For those of you who listen to a lot of the songs here on the blog this should make your lives a lot easier. We’ve added a new audio player to the site for individual music posts which supports playlists. This means that you can just hit play and let them go without having to click each song individually. The new system is based off the same JWPlayer framework as the normal ISO50 Playlist player (top of the center column) but it will now be for individual posts as well. We will continue to update the main Playlist each month or so, but you can think of this as a new mini playlist each day. The skin is just temporary as I refine it, but all the core functionality should be there.

So far it’s only been implemented on Jakub’s recent “Top 50 Songs of 2009″ series but it will be used for all music posts moving forward. So give it a try and let us know how it’s working. If you find any bugs or issues please let us know in the comments.

Enjoy!

A Weekend with Cargo Collective

Posted by Alex

cargo
Cargo is a terrific web publishing platform built with creatives in mind. Like many content management systems (Squarespace, Indexhibit, Joomla etc), Cargo provides a backend that allows you to quickly publish and maintain a website without ever opening Dreamweaver. What distinguishes Cargo is a focus on simple and effective design. Consistent in all Cargo templates is a layout that is clear and simple; allowing the work to speak for itself without a complicated interface getting in the way.

Cargo evolved out of the system that runs the SpaceCollective community. We found it remarkably successful and efficient in creating visual content on the web, placing a strong emphasis on design, layout, image quality and typography. Our goal is to dramatically increase the accessibility and exposure of creative individuals on the Internet, while aspiring to build a networked context that will contribute to the culture as a whole.- Cargo Collective.

Noteworthy Features
- Free hosting with the ability to set up a custom URL. This is awesome. I have also played around with Squarespace, but their hosting costs are a little frightening — especially if you are also paying URL registration on top of that.

- Multiple template designs to build off. Each one starts with a great layout and it’s really easy to apply your own brand. Simple manipulations of color, font, and header images etc quickly distinguish your site from the skeleton template.

- Follow feature, similar to Tumblr or Twitter — allows you to keep tabs on your favorite Cargo pages.

- Developer forum. I had a small issue which I posted to the forum — received a response within 3 hours. Not bad!

- Slideshow and Fullscreen features for viewing images. This is exceptionally easy to incorporate (just a matter of clicking the buttons) and is a really great feature. Works flawlessly and adds an extra touch of unique functionality.

My Experience

I spent the last few days migrating my portfolio to the Cargo system. I had done a lot of the preparation work a while ago, when I put a portfolio up on Behance, so I didn’t have to spend too long sourcing my images and writing description paragraphs. I was thrilled to be moving to a more personalized portfolio space — as much as I love Behance, sometimes it can feel a little too much like a design Myspace.

The set up process was quick, easy, and remarkably enjoyable. All in all I would say it took about 6-8 hours from start to finish. Most of this time was spent designing the look and feel after the content was uploaded. Once I got familiar with the CSS at work, it was just a matter of figuring out exactly how I wanted to look — altering fonts sizes, small layout tweaks, and making sure everything worked properly. I only hit one or two speed bumps, all easily solved by a quick Google search.

I think it’s important to note that I am not a “web guy” by any stretch of the imagination — if I can handle it, this is a good sign for anyone intimidated by the words “CSS” or “target blank”. Having a basic understanding of CSS/HTML helps, especially if you are planning on tweaking the template significantly, but it is not completely necessary. Even with my limited knowledge, I was able to make the adjustments necessary to create a site I am happy with. As mentioned, the important part of a site like this is the work, and I didn’t really feel like I needed to brand the site too extensively.

As of now, Cargo is in the pre-release stage. I am really excited to see how this system evolves as more and more people get involved. I would highly recommend it to anyone debating which CMS to choose. If you would like to apply for an account, use the contact address on the website.

Favorite Cargo Sites
but does it float
superfamous studios (aka Folkert Gorter)
The Office of Feltron
Avant
Jory Dayne

New Features + Upgrade

Posted by Scott

upgrades
We’ve been doing some tweaking here and there and adding some new features over the past month so I thought I’d list them all out in case you missed any.

Featured Posts:
Selected posts are now listed in the center column of the site. There’s also an archive of all past featured posts.

Playlist Archive
As I mentioned last week, all of the playlists are now archived here. Soon there will also be a drop-down below the player containing all the lists for easier access.

Subscribe to Comments
There is now a “Notify me of followup comments” check box in the comment form. By checking this you will be informed via email if anyone replies to your comment (that is of course if you entered an email when commenting). The functionality on this one is still a bit experimental so let me know if you have any issues.

Share Links
Added share links for Facebook and Twitter as well as a “Share This” link which includes all the social network links. They’re all located at the bottom of each post.

Server Upgrade:
As you may have noticed lately, the site has been having some intermittent technical difficulties. The guys over at Mediatemple have been a big help in working on the problem and apparently something in my WordPress install has become corrupted. They’ll be moving me over to a new dedicated server and I’ll be starting fresh with a new WordPress install. Hopefully this goes smoothly but as with any big technical move there are sure to be a few hiccups; I appreciate your patience if something does go awry.

Sebastian Gram / Hello Monday

Posted by Alex

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Seriously impressed by the diverse portfolio of Danish designer Sebastian Gram (currently art director of Hello Monday). The first image (interactive design for fashion brand Revolution) made the FFFFound rounds a while back, but it wasn’t until recently that I explored his portfolio further and found the rest of his exceptional work. Each project, whether it’s a logo or full blown identity system, is considered down to the smallest detail. It’s also cool to see process shots along side the finished product; gives you a sense how much time and refinement went into it.

I was especially intrigued by the typeface for Vertica, developed by Gram and Creative United. My guess, based on progress images like the one above, is that it was designed as a custom face for Vertica and is not commercially available. Too bad, those are some sexy letterforms. Like much of Gram’s work, it manages to rock out with a rigid, corporate aesthetic, without being boring or common. I would love to see my name written in that font.