I'm always looking for design inspiration, especially trends from previous eras. This link has forty really cool retro (or at least retro-looking) posters that pop with great colors. The Nerd eyeglass pattern is one of my favorites.
Part of creating a good experience for your users is the language you use on your website and in your documentation. Your text must engage the reader and keep them entertained as well as informed. And most of all you must not waste your user's time. After all, user is just short for future customer, and customers don't want you to take them for granted.
I had the incredible fortune to meet Marc Weiser when I was an intern at Xerox PARC. We are now building the world he firmly believed would come to pass; a world full devices. A world where computing has disappeared into the fabric of our everyday lives. He divided the device landscape into several forms, as described in this article.
(from Designing Devices)
Many first-generation tangibles have been whimsical and artistic explorations of what new technology can do. Some are simple; some, more complex. Some are elegant embeddings of display and projection. Some celebrate new materials. Some add sensing in clever ways. The field is still wide open, but one thing is clear: We’re likely to see more, not less, programming in things, and a lot more experimentation.
When choosing icons and other symbols for your application it's important to remember when to use realism and when not to. A graphic which is too realistic can actually make it harder to recognize and use. (from ignore the code)
The most interesting ebook applications to come out of the iPad hoopla is actually the comic book readers. Most readers seem to treat ebooks just like books and focus on recreating the experience of reading a printed book, complete with faded paper and page curls. Only the comic book apps seem to be exploring new forms of interaction, stealing liberally from cinema. Kicker Studio has a great overview of the cinematic reading of electronic comics.
20th century advertising has taught us to associate quality artwork and polish with quality products. Given two apps that do the same thing, a potential customer will pick the one that looks and feels better. This means every great app needs great art. Since most developers aren't artists or designers by trade, I've assembled a list of resources that can help. Here are icons, fonts, sounds, color schemes, and other great art assets to help you make your app stand out from the crowd.
Good use of color can really make your app stand out, but color can be tricky. The best color schemes often come from other people or real world objects. These sites have collections of color schemes created by people who work with color every day. They let you search by color, theme, and popularity.
COLOURlovers is a creative community where people from around the world create
and share colors, palettes and patterns, discuss the latest trends and explore colorful
articles... All in the spirit of love. (yes, they wrote that part)
Free Sound has a huge collection of user contributed effects, clips, and just plain weird sounds. Great for building sampled music and effects in your games
Jamendo is a music site containing only Creative Commons licensed works. The perfect place to find your next soundtrack.
Imagery & Textures
Lost Garden focuses on video game design. The author, Danc, has literally decades of experience in the field. You can easily lose hours reading through amazing essays on the site. Today, however, we are here for the free game graphics. Spanning both vector and bitmap, retro and modern styles, Lost Garden has game graphics for many uses
Open Graphic Design and Think Design blog
OpenGraphicDesign.com has tons of cool shapes and vector artwork. They are great as starting points in Illustrator
ThinkDesignBlog.com has free textures and vector shapes. Good for backgrounds and skinning. Plus tons of inspiration articles.
For photos your best source is images licensed under Creative Commons at Flickr. Conveniently they have a search option for just such photos.
Well Placed Pixels is a blog containing only one thing: screenshots of beautiful software.
While it hasn't been widely known, because I am not widely known :), I haven't been a big fan of Bluetooth devices. Due to their short range they end up simply replacing 6 foot wires, at an increased device cost and the extra hassle of having one more thing to charge (plus interference with endless other devices). But here's something that might change my mind..a a bluetooth hand!
This prosthetic hand lets you tweak settings via Bluetooth. It can handle up to a 200lb load, which clearly puts it into the six million dollar man range. Hmm. Perhaps that wireless technology is good after all.
Imagine the world two years from now when the tablet form factor is successful and we are all eReading. Monday Note tackles the question. Less overhead, easier access, newer long form formats emerge. The ebook as a form of journalism. The future might be Awesome!
Paper Solar Cells
They say that the key to making something cheap is to find a way to build it using microchip technology. Then you get to free ride on Moore's law and have someone else fab it for you. Flash memory followed this trend. So did accelerometers. They were once mechanical devices the size of a soda can. Once they could be made using CPU fabbing techniques the price and size dropped precipitously, and now they are being embedded in virtually everything.
So what's the next step beyond microchip tech... paper. If you can make something printable on paper then you can make it cheap. Amazingly cheap. And what's what may happen with solar cells. MIT has demonstrated a solar cell technology using essentially a fancy inkjet printer. The efficiency isn't great, but if it's a factor of a hundred cheaper than ridge cells no one will care.
This is a short video (~6min) where Tim Berners Lee (Mr. Web himself) talks about the successes of open data. Take special note of the end section where the Open Street Map project is used to help relief efforts in Haiti after the earthquake.
First, watch this amazing video created by a newspaper industry research group. It depicts the digital newspaper of the future. The surprising part? The video was created in 1994! And yet the newspaper industry didn't listen to their own research.
Your homework over the holiday weekend isn't to learn the lessons of the video, but rather consider why it's advice wasn't heeded. It did not have any impact on the industry that sponsored it, which is now suffering the consequences.
Does amazing design and research have any real value if it doesn't effect any change? What can we do to make our design have more impact?