Drew Rattray : Design vs. Functionality
Drew Rattray
| News and views on design vs. functionality balance across the communications and technology space.

August 2008

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Kindle 2 and maybe 3

August 28, 2008

Amazon.com plans to unveil at least one model (potentially 2) of its Kindle e-book player in the coming months for the Christmas season.  The new models are said to be geared to market better to younger readers.



 The first new model is expected to feature an updated look, with smaller and sleeker features, and an improved interface.  The second new model is supposedly shaped like a piece of 8.5 x 11-inch paper (considerably bigger than the first model).  Both will potentially be offered in multiple colors.

 Someone who has seen the new version said that regarding the look, feel and style of the new model; it's a big leap from its predecessor.  They compared it to the difference between the first iPod and the iPod mini.



 The Kindle itself seems like a great idea, but I'm personally not ready to spend $400 on it.  I like my paperback novels and taking a trip to the book store once in a while.  Also the design (including the interface) right now isn't infectiously compelling like other gadgets out there.  Actually, come to think of it, I've never seen one out-and-about in the real world even though it was launched last November.

Stylish VoIP?

August 26, 2008

It's called the Tatung VoIP and is designed by Nova Design. Sad to say, it's only on exhibition at this time.

The phone features Bluetooth, Wireless and touch pad design, and is fairly easy to connect to your VoIP Service.  Other than that, it's pretty straight forward as a VoIP phone and is devoid of unnecessary features, making VoIP calls easy to accomplish.

It features a geometric shape that keeps the look and feel simple and soft.  To imply that "You're connecting to something", they threw in a retro throwback with a faux antenna that actually adds a little extra something to the phone visually.  The upper casing is interchangeable and customizable for more individual style, with various colors and patterns to choose from.



Trackballs: Ultimate On-screen Freedom and Off-screen Comfort

August 26, 2008

I'm a trackball man. I don't know how it happened or when exactly, but if I can avoid a mouse or a touch pad, I will. A lot of what I do for work and fun on a computer is graphics-related. There is nothing more annoying than running out of mouse pad and/or desk space when trying to finish a pen or brush stroke in Adobe Creative Suite, which is part of why I abandoned the mouse altogether.    Thumb- or finger-trackballs are all fine with me.

Sony BDP-S350 = good, but PS3 = better

August 25, 2008

Blu-ray won the HD format war, and while the picture quality has met and exceeded our wildest multimedia dreams, the units that play them leave something to be desired. Compared to standard DVD players, the Blu-ray stand alone players are for the most part bulky, oversized, and overpriced.

Sony has made a valiant effort of breaking the mold with the Sony BDP-S350.  It measures in at a comparably slim 8.75 inches deep (about half of most stand alone Blu-ray players), and a $400 list price.  But as a result, there are a few missing features, such as Profile 2.0 and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding.

The biggest problem is that the PS3 (also by Sony) can be had for the same price, and it offers superior Blu-ray playback and features.  Not to mention that you also get a high-definition gaming console, and all of the perks and fun that comes with that.

If you're going to spend a couple hundred dollars on a high-definition experience, you might as well get more "bang for your buck".

You can read a full review at CNET













Welcome to the Design vs. Functionality Blog

August 25, 2008

Design can be the saving grace or the bane of any product across all markets, especially in the communications and technology space.  There is a constant struggle between design and functionality, and finding that  perfect complement of both that will expose your product in a way that is most beneficial to your goals.

You may be sitting on the greatest, most functional, and revolutionary product known to man, that will change life as we know it for the better...but if it doesn't have a look that matches its hype, it is not going to market well in these times and you will end up drowning in inventory instead of cash.

You may also have created the most visually stunning and beautiful Web site ever to grace the Internet with its presence...but if an everyday user can't navigate through it, or find what they need from it, you may as well have never built it in the first place.

The key is not to work in contrasts, but to create a design that complements your functionality goals.  Whether it's a physical product, a Web page, an advertisement, or a simple page layout, you can make or break what you are trying to accomplish with your design.

Design has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember.   As most children, I started with a box of crayons and some construction paper,  and now I'm designing web pages for the World's leading communications and technology Web site.  I have an eye for design and make a living from it, but I know when to appreciate functionality and practicality over beauty.

I'm looking forward to covering design vs. functionality across the communications market and I promise to update this blog as often as possible.  Hope you sign up for the RSS feed.