Designer’s Guide to Supporting Multiple Android Device Screens

Author Nick August
Unlike iPhones, Android devices do not have the same company developing both the software and hardware.

This leads to different combinations of screen sizes, resolutions and DPIs and creates quite a challenge when designing and developing for these devices. While the iPhone 3G/S and iPhone 4 have different resolutions and DPI, they share the same screen size and the resolutions follow the same aspect ratio. Therefore, an image can be created to fit the iPhone 4’s specifications and be nicely down-scaled to the iPhone 3G/S. Credit to Steve Jobs for planning ahead and designing his phone with developers in mind.

For some reason, manufactures using the Android OS on their phones did not give us the same luxury. This leaves businesses with two choices – they can either choose not to develop for Android, and willfully miss out on a quarter of the market, OR push forward and learn. Sounds like a necessary evil, doesn’t it? But don’t worry! There is common ground when designing & developing for the extremely versatile world of Android.


Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
Author Nick August
Unlike iPhones, Android devices do not have the same company developing both the software and hardware.

This leads to different combinations of screen sizes, resolutions and DPIs and creates quite a challenge when designing and developing for these devices.  While the iPhone 3G/S and iPhone 4 have different resolutions and DPI, they share the same screen size and the resolutions follow the same aspect ratio.  Therefore, an image can be created to fit the iPhone 4’s specifications and be nicely down-scaled to the iPhone 3G/S.  Credit to Steve Jobs for planning ahead and designing his phone with developers in mind.

For some reason, manufactures using the Android OS on their phones did not give us the same luxury.  This leaves businesses with two choices – they can either choose not to develop for Android, and willfully miss out on a quarter of the market, OR push forward and learn.  Sounds like a necessary evil, doesn’t it?  But don’t worry!  There is common ground when designing & developing for the extremely versatile world of Android. Leer más “Designer’s Guide to Supporting Multiple Android Device Screens”

The Definition of Designer

For anyone who has ever dreamed of a career in the design field, I ask you this: What is design?

I have been asked this question in many ways over the years. Mostly the question has been aimed at my philosophy of design or my POV on it. But the definition is something that many of us may have simply overlooked. The formal definition can be found below.

Design is a specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints.

[Source]

I have paraphrased it for a 140 character-friendly world.

Design is the creation of an object to accomplish goals with specific requirements in a particular environment subject to constraints.


Author Garett

designerDef
For anyone who has ever dreamed of a career in the design field, I ask you this: What is design?

I have been asked this question in many ways over the years.  Mostly the question has been aimed at my philosophy of design or my POV on it.  But the definition is something that many of us may have simply overlooked.  The formal definition can be found below.

Design is a specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints.

[Source]

I have paraphrased it for a 140 character-friendly world.

Design is the creation of an object to accomplish goals with specific requirements in a particular environment subject to constraints. Leer más “The Definition of Designer”

4 Keys to a Great Non-Profit Website

Too often, NGOs settle for web presences that merely check-the-box without regard to whether or not the site is capable of meeting the organization’s goals. After all, every dollar not spent on programming is a dollar that isn’t directly contributing to the core mission. Furthermore, because the immediate ROI of a web presence is hard to calculate, unlike, say, events and mailers, justifying the expense can be difficult.

Regardless, a stand out website is an absolutely critical tool for any modern non-profit. It is often the only opportunity for the organization to explain their story and activate their supporters. If your site can’t demonstrate the power of your mission – if it can’t push a stranger over the hump of inertia to contribute their time, their money, or their voice, then it isn’t helping the cause.

Given the importance of the website, it’s important that it is done right. To help, we’ve narrowed down the key needs for any non-profit site and provided some best-in-class examples of sites that do a great job delivering against them.
1. Story

How do you get people excited about the mission?

No one needs to support a charity; they do it out of their personal morality and conviction. Obviously, there are many worthy causes competing for their resources so donors must select the ones they feel are most worthy. This process is largely an emotional decision, not a rational one. Since stories are how we communicate complex emotions and ideas, it is absolutely critical to make sure that your story comes across in an impactful way. Visitors need to feel the emotional force behind your cause.

Who are you trying to help? Why do they need you? Why have you, the charity or the founder, taken up this gauntlet?

FallingWhistles, a non-profit dedicated to speaking out against the Congolese war and the use of child soldiers does an excellent job communicating their story. Not only does the site open with a powerfully directed short film, but also an entire section is dedicated to the founder’s journal, a powerful first-hand account of his horrific journey through the Congo.

Falling Whistles uses an actual whistle as a symbol of both the plight of child soldiers and the group’s action to stop it.


AuthorBrian

Too often, NGOs settle for web presences that merely check-the-box without regard to whether or not the site is capable of meeting the organization’s goals.  After all, every dollar not spent on programming is a dollar that isn’t directly contributing to the core mission.  Furthermore, because the immediate ROI of a web presence is hard to calculate, unlike, say, events and mailers, justifying the expense can be difficult.

Regardless, a stand out website is an absolutely critical tool for any modern non-profit.  It is often the only opportunity for the organization to explain their story and activate their supporters.  If your site can’t demonstrate the power of your mission – if it can’t push a stranger over the hump of inertia to contribute their time, their money, or their voice, then it isn’t helping the cause.

Given the importance of the website, it’s important that it is done right. To help, we’ve narrowed down the key needs for any non-profit site and provided some best-in-class examples of sites that do a great job delivering against them.

1. Story

How do you get people excited about the mission?

No one needs to support a charity; they do it out of their personal morality and conviction.  Obviously, there are many worthy causes competing for their resources so donors must select the ones they feel are most worthy.  This process is largely an emotional decision, not a rational one.  Since stories are how we communicate complex emotions and ideas, it is absolutely critical to make sure that your story comes across in an impactful way.  Visitors need to feel the emotional force behind your cause.

Who are you trying to help? Why do they need you?  Why have you, the charity or the founder, taken up this gauntlet?

FallingWhistles, a non-profit dedicated to speaking out against the Congolese war and the use of child soldiers does an excellent job communicating their story.  Not only does the site open with a powerfully directed short film, but also an entire section is dedicated to the founder’s journal, a powerful first-hand account of his horrific journey through the Congo.

Falling Whistles uses an actual whistle as a symbol of both the plight of child soldiers and the group’s action to stop it.

Falling Whistles uses an actual whistle as a symbol of both the plight of child soldiers and the group's action to stop it. Leer más “4 Keys to a Great Non-Profit Website”

Search vs. Social: The Battle of Man and Machine Rages On

Where do you go to find information?

The way we find information online is in a constant state of evolution. It began with categorized portals like Yahoo and AOL before moving on to search and the now ubiquitous Google. Digital information retrieval now appears to be undergoing another seismic shift.

Over the past year, we’ve seen social media embraced and adopted by nearly all demographics, from forty-something year old mothers on Facebook to twenty-something’s on Twitter. But social media isn’t just for socializing anymore. While search engines like Google are still the primary tools for information seekers, social media is rapidly entering the search landscape.

According to “The Nielsen Company” 18% of all online searches are conducted through social media outlets like Wikipedia, Blogs, and social networks sites like Facebook and Twitter.


Where do you go to find information?

The way we find information online is in a constant state of evolution.  It began with categorized portals like Yahoo and AOL before moving on to search and the now ubiquitous Google.   Digital information retrieval now appears to be undergoing another seismic shift.

Over the past year, we’ve seen social media embraced and adopted by nearly all demographics, from forty-something year old mothers on Facebook to twenty-something’s on Twitter.  But social media isn’t just for socializing anymore.  While search engines like Google are still the primary tools for information seekers, social media is rapidly entering the search landscape.

According to “The Nielsen Company” 18% of all online searches are conducted through social media outlets like Wikipedia, Blogs, and social networks sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Charting A Shift from Communications to Engagements

The nature of advertising and branding is changing.

The dictionary definition of advertising, “the act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service, need, etc.” is starting to feel pretty quaint. In fact, even the term “advertising” is starting to feel off the mark.

In all honesty, marketing is starting look a lot less like marketing communications and a lot more like service design. So to put a stake in the ground, I propose that a more accurate description of modern advertising is “engagement design.” My definition, (heavily based off Live | Work’s definition of service design) is “the design of [branded] experiences that add value through many different touch-points over time.” The culmination of these experiences creates a “brand,” the general impression left with a consumer.

engagement design_rev

What does that mean? The old advertising model, the one predicated on message dissemination, was designed to use multiple touchpoints to convey an idea about a brand. In that model, a brand positioning is planned and communicated through repetition, creativity and ubiquity. That’s not what we’re talking about here.


The nature of advertising and branding is changing.

The dictionary definition of advertising, “the act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service, need, etc.” is starting to feel pretty quaint.  In fact, even the term “advertising” is starting to feel off the mark.

In all honesty, marketing is starting look a lot less like marketing communications and a lot more like service design.  So to put a stake in the ground, I propose that a more accurate description of modern advertising is “engagement design.”  My definition, (heavily based off Live | Work’s definition of service design) is “the design of [branded] experiences that add value through many different touch-points over time.”  The culmination of these experiences creates a “brand,” the general impression left with a consumer.

engagement design_rev

What does that mean?  The old advertising model, the one predicated on message dissemination, was designed to use multiple touchpoints to convey an idea about a brand.  In that model, a brand positioning is planned and communicated through repetition, creativity and ubiquity. That’s not what we’re talking about here. Leer más “Charting A Shift from Communications to Engagements”

From Status to Access: Urban Millennials and Mobile

It was almost a rite of passage, but the rules that governed growing up in New York City in the late 80s/early 90s were unflinching: Once one hit adolescence, one needed a beeper.

Of course no one really “needed” one, but no one wanted to be deemed “disconnected” or “off the grid.” For most, beepers were desired less for their functionality (at least for us lawful citizens) and more as status symbols– there existed an inherent need to identify with the larger, connected group. Even if your social circle was restricted to your 8th grade classmates, we still had a way to get at them (or in modern digital social vernacular, “poke” them)… should they needed to get got at for whatever reason.

Since then, this underlying need of urban America to be constantly connected hasn’t changed much at all. As the technology has matured from archaic numerical pagers to chic two-ways (oh, how I miss my Timeport) to mobile phone ubiquity to the current smartphone craze, the underlying cultural drive has shifted as well.


It was almost a rite of passage, but the rules that governed growing up in New York City in the late 80s/early 90s were unflinching: Once one hit adolescence, one needed a beeper.

Of course no one really “needed” one, but no one wanted to be deemed “disconnected” or “off the grid.”  For most, beepers were desired less for their functionality (at least for us lawful citizens) and more as status symbols– there existed an inherent need to identify with the larger, connected group.  Even if your social circle was restricted to your 8th grade classmates, we still had a way to get at them (or in modern digital social vernacular, “poke” them)… should they needed to get got at for whatever reason.

Since then, this underlying need of urban America to be constantly connected hasn’t changed much at all.  As the technology has matured from archaic numerical pagers to chic two-ways (oh, how I miss my Timeport) to mobile phone ubiquity to the current smartphone craze, the underlying cultural drive has shifted as well.

What Exactly Is A Culture Creator?

Cognizant of the fact that he could better disrupt the status quo from the inside, Kanye leveraged his position as Jay-Z’s go-to producer to establish himself by trading on his credibility and changing the perception of his role in Jay-Z’s success. “I brought back the soul,” he eloquently raps on The Blueprint 2’s ‘The Bounce.’

By the time Kanye was able to tell his story on his first album in 2004 it was, essentially, already told. Every celebrated hip-hop artist at the time had either already collaborated with Kanye (Ludacris, Lil’ Kim, 50 Cent) or otherwise revived their career by leveraging his distinctive sound (Common, Twista).

His transformation from hip-hop musician to “culture creator” was a byproduct of the fact that he (and his platforms) embody everything that is of value to him. His has successfully leveraged his curatorial voice to actively shape the urban cultural landscape. Be it sartorially (through his collaborative efforts with some of the world’s most influential personal and luxury product brands), materially, or musically (through his G.O.O.D. Music label), Kanye has created the blueprint for the modern “culture creator” role that today’s most successful icon’s embody.


An icon from the Crystal icon theme.
Image via Wikipedia
AuthorRichie Cruz
On Wednesday of last week, I moderated a panel entitled “Making Your Mark” at this year’s Latin Mixx Conference.

The conference, now in its 5th year, is half entertainment summit, half information session and attracts a pretty varied audience of DJs, artists, and industry folk. To kick off the panel, I delivered a presentation (available below) covering a few areas of interest including: personal branding, the marketing and publishing landscape, and the role that today’s public-facing entertainer must play to thrive in the modern information economy.

To be successful in today’s business climate and attract the attention of brands and marketers, artists must fulfill the role of “Culture Creator.” Leer más “What Exactly Is A Culture Creator?”