Archive for the ‘Design’ Category
Responsive web design is the new standard approach to building a website in this new mobile and tablet era we live in today.
Building your site to be “Responsive” means that you craft your code to allow for optimal viewing across multiple platforms and devices such as the iPhone and iPad, Android and many more.
A site that is Responsive uses CSS3 Media Queries to achieve responsiveness, which means that all the styling can stay inside your main CSS stylesheet allowing for easy access to your style and ease of changing/modifying your designs colors, backgrounds, gradients and more.
Some of the elements of responsive web design include,
- CSS3 Media Queries ,
that allow for the website to use different CSS3 style rules based on the device it is being viewed on.
- Responsive Gris Systems ,
such as The Skeleton Grid System which allow for you to structure your site in a 960 grid like fashion, while keeping your site mobile and tablet friendly.
- Fluid Grid systems ,
that allow for page resizing to be done in percentages, or Ems , rather than using absolute units like pixels or points.
Responsive web design is a MUST in todays internet age, so before you begin building your next website make sure you build it responsive.
Skytemple has been building responsive websites for the last year and we’ve had a whole lot of fun doing it.
Heres a little peek at some of our Responsive Web Design work in case you are considering using Skytemple for your next project.
1.) Jedediah Berry Responsive WordPress Theme – http://www.thirdarchive.net/
Jedediah Berry is the award-winning author of The Manual of Detection.
Skytemple designed Jedediah Berry’s website from scratch using the Skeleton 960 Responsive Grid system, and as you can see it adapts to mobile phones, tablet devices, and more.
2.) Digital Aurora Inc – http://digitalaurorainc.com/
Digital Aurora is a research and management consulting firm specializing in the development and management of informatics-intensive research initiatives for life science, healthcare, and medical research focused organizations.
The Digital Aurora site was design from scratch by Skytemple, and features an Adaptive Navigation Menu, and an Adaptive Slider which uses the swipe feature in mobile devices for switching through slides.
We also used the Skeleton 960 grid system to accomplish the responsiveness of this awesome website.
3.) Jeff Zugale – http://jeffzugale.com
Jeff Zugale is a Concept Design Illustrator with
Specialties such as : 2D and 3D vehicle, environment and hard-surface design, especially industrial tech and sci-fi. Storyboarding in BW and color. Character design.
The Future is Now
Augmented Reality, or computer mediated reality, is already all around us. Although we may not be able to buy The Terminator’s glasses or Jordy LaForge’s ocular implants, the world of fully immersive computer mediated experiences that blend the real world and the digital are not far off.
At a recent brainstorming session, we talked about the promises and pitfalls of this emerging technology as well as some of our own ideas on the possibilities of Augmented Reality. To give some focus to our vision, we each created cards describing the features that could come out of this emerging technology.
A Little History
Augmented Reality could be said to have it’s roots in a famously abandoned technology of the early computer revolution, Virtual Reality. Speculators ranging from Timothy Leary to William Gibson had dreams of building fully immersive 3d virtual worlds. Suits encased the user literally in bulky helmets and gloves, sometimes full body suits – and at their most extreme, buckled harnesses attached to human sized centrifugal hoops designed to free the user from the bounds of gravity. Unfortunately the dream exceeded the technology of the time. Virtual Reality never took off in large part because computers able to handle the amount of raw data needed to continuously render convincing interactive 3d worlds simply was too expensive and cumbersome for the average consumer.
Augmented Reality became a kind of middle ground. A staging area where the ideas and techniques of a virtual interactive 3d world could be tested by mixing them with real world objects and locations. On one end, exhaustive and exacting GPS coordinating became possible enabling geolocation accuracy down to a few feet and closing every day.
The real world was mapped and digested into numbers and fed into computers all over the world, creating a exhaustive, immense, and self-perpetuating mosaic of a world more detailed than the most thorough fantasy realm. The advance of personal portable computers in the form of PDAs and Smart phones has given rise to an already existing unseen virtual world growing up all around us. Best of all this virtual world is hosted in an ever expanding wireless web; cloud computing is slowly but surely breaking down the limitations of storage capacity and information access.
On the other hand, immersive multiplayer virtual worlds have grown both in popularity and sophistication. Two examples being the ever prevalent World of Warcraft (just one of many online communities who’s virtual economic system has grown so large and complex that it has given rise to cottage industries of ‘gold farmers’ who buy and trade virtual items for real world currency) and the recently released Skyrim, which has dazzled audiences and critics with it’s level of immersion and sophistication. In the last few years however, each of these splintered fields has been increasingly linked to create powerful applications which overlay the virtual world onto the physical.
The Writing On The Wall
One of the most familiar uses of Augmented Reality is in sports. Many people are familiar with the yellow ‘first down’ line in Football which appears to actually be painted on the field but is really generated by computer in real time, but many other sports use the technology to display advertising on empty playing field walls.
Applications on Android and iPhones can supply a kind of computer-mediated vision of the world. Some display simple things such as maps and information about surrounding points – all with the aid of location-identifying GPS coordinators, while others directly overlay the position of the planetary bodies, stars, and satellites, or real-time special effects such as laser blasts and explosions. While these early uses of Augmented reality may seem, at their best, like simple expansions on existing technologies, and at their worst gimmicky novelties, AR has the very real potential to change everything about how humans interact with the world. From advertising to architecture there is nothing off limits to AR.
As computers creep from the desk, to our pockets, weaving into our very clothes and perhaps some day our flesh, the question has become not when, but how computers will mediate our lives. Will AR be used to supplant reality with a “better” version, to cover walls with virtual ads and fantastic vistas, or will it be used to enhance reality, to visualize once invisible depth and dimension to our the Real World User Experience?
We Escaped From a Doomed Existence in the Cubes and You Can Too!
For years, the cubicle loomed large before the office landscape. It’s sleek partitioned workspaces exemplified simplicity of construction and design. The cubicle seemed, at least from an engineering standpoint, the pinnacle of efficiency. A beehive of number crunchers. The cubicle dominated the modes of social interactions and locked the white collar worker in a maze of office tedium. Yet, workers lamented it’s imposing nature, television shows, movies and books, all bemoaned it’s existence, their characters trapped as if mice in a vast impossible corporate maze.
Studies have shown that an office’s design has a direct effect on on job satisfaction, productivity and profitability, yet many employers do not consider creating productive workspaces for their employees a priority. A study from 2006 reported that 90% of respondents thought “their office space affected their attitudes about work and that a different setup could make their companies more competitive.”
The Skytemple office began as the apartment of our CEO Curtiss Hayden. Furnished with futons, a couch, and dressers we needed to turn this living space into a working space. What was once a fine bachelor pad became an office. Decorations came down, furniture was removed, and Ikea yoga was practiced.
It was quite obvious the design wasn’t working for us and consensus was reached, if the design isn’t working, change the design.
We needed a way to draw our team together, to get discussion and ideas flowing. We wanted to utilize the wall space. We already had a number of white boards and sticky note filled bulletin boards but the general flow of the room was a mess. Cluttered and disorganized, we started by removing the clutter.
With all the empty wall space someone hit on the the idea of buying a projector to give more visual focus to our meetings and discussions. Most of what we did in the office was computer based so working in tandem could sometimes be tricky.
As it turned out, the introduction of the projector was key. Once We established the common viewing wall, the layout of the desks and tables flowed naturally, They pushed back and bundled up around each other. We became a huddled team.
Meeting became much more dynamic. Clients and teammates no longer had to huddle around tiny screens. Projects became full sized creations, and the viewing experience took on a group experience. Weeks of back and forth e-mails became quick group hashing sessions.
As Mel, one of our designers put it, “I love having things geared around the projector. That has definitely upped our productivity and has been a great asset in the WordPress meetups we sometimes hold here.”
So, a few simple (and free) changes helped us really supercharge our workflow and increased turnaround time. Setting up a better strategy for meetings and clearing out the clutter helped us organize and clear out our heads as well. And the inexpensive addition of the projector brought focus and cohesion to our discussions.
An office redesign can be a simple cheap and incredibly effective tool for breathing fresh vigor into a stagnant workplace or help relieve stress in an already busy office. You don’t have to learn Feng Shui to come up with ideas to open your offices work space and give your employees room the breath and a space to collaborate. As Jason put it, “When you understand the flow of thought and action, you can optimize the space to improve productivity.”
The Whoo Space on Market St, has been host to a variety of community events, from an art exhibit of handmade books to campaign headquarters for Arnold Levinson in this years past Ward 3 Special Election. This past Tuesday was no different when University of Massachusetts’s Permaculture Program, in conjunction with Creative Community Collective, and a number of local residents hosted a presentation on shared community space.
According to C3′s website, “three Northampton neighbors decided to take their fences down and combine their yards to create a larger space for shared recreation and food production.” The goal was to create a Permaculture site, which C3 defines as:
…a vision, design system, and global network that draws on patterns and principles found in nature to meet human needs, while regenerating the natural world and creating abundance we can share.
The students redesigned the shared backyards into a sustainable open space, taking down the barriers of the three neighboring backyards and integrating them into one cohesive shared area for recreation and sustainable gardens. The goal is to inspire others in the community to open to the idea of turning neighboring land into shared space for the community to gather around.
The presentation consisted of a number of design possibilities. The various options which the team of UMass students had assembled ranged from the more conservative rearrangement of bushes and minor terraforming to the highly progressive, with much of the shared backyards transformed into a super efficient organic farm powered by animals complete with rice paddies and greenhouses heated by chickens. Owen Freeman-Daniels, newly elected Ward 3 City Councilman, owns a condo on part of the property used for this project. He told our Director of Marketing that he hoped his neighbors were interested in pursuing the concept. The turnout was exceptional, with more people in attendance than the space could accommodate. Many passersby were poking in to see what the gathering was about. Each mini-presentation was followed by a short Q&A session where members of the community could gain further insight in each proposal. The group was then invited to stay and take a closer look at the various proposals drawn up by the students, as well as ask any further questions to the presenters. Check out our gallery of photos to see the audience and designs. It was a great success, with a lot of interesting new ideas about utilizing the ever-decreasing open spaces that we have here in Northampton’s Ward 3.
Hillary Price, who does the strip “Rhymes with Orange,” appeared at UMASS-Amherst on Thursday, April 79th, 2011 at 5:00 PM in Room #249 of the Boyden Gym. We hope you are familiar with her work and know the strip in particular, as it’s a surreal masterpiece – and she’s wonderful, too! Take a look at the strip that accompanies this post and please share this info with anyone whom you think might be interested.