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

Web Development

Is Flash really the best option for web advertising?

September 11, 2008

 Flash technology provides a much richer experience than an animated .gif or static image for the user when utilized in web advertising.  It contains in it the technology to enable multiple functionalities, which can bring the experience of an entire website to the user with just one impression.  Forms, games, product features, etc. can all be experienced without leaving the current website.

Mac based web developers may want to check out Coda before Dreamweaver

November 7, 2008

I didn't learn web development the best way and I know it.  My first real job was a typesetting and page layout position for a publishing company.  One day the boss asked me if I had any interest in web development.  I had zero experience, but said "Sure".

Rethinking the Designer Holy Triangle

November 20, 2008

Fast, Good, or Cheap.  Pick two.  That's the Web designer holy triangle.  In most, if not all cases, you can't have it all.  The majority of clients don't understand this and most designers don't like to accept it, but both have had to deal with the reality of it.

New App Helps with Online Photo Privacy

November 25, 2008

A good majority of us are on Facebook, MySpace, or some other online social network.  For whatever reason, it has become very important to let everyone in cyberspace know what we've done, what we're doing, and what we're going to do, and we of course have the pictures to prove it.  Sad to say, I'm guilty of it as well.

One of the biggest problems with the functionality of these networks is that it is extremely difficult to shut off areas of your profile to certain people without hindering the possibility of someone else finding you or viewing what you did today (which is the whole point of the network).

On many profiles there are definitely party pictures shared for your friends to see, that you do not want your employers or parents finding.  There are also embarassing work picnic pictures your co-workers tag you in, that you may not want your friends to see.

ESPN.com gets Organized and Creative with their Redesign

January 6, 2009

First impression of the redesign...  I like it.  I don't live on the site like some of my colleagues do, but I navigate to ESPN.com at least once a day.  I find that the new, simplified, and tabbed navigation definitely reduces the clutter that engulfed the old design of ESPN.com. The main reason I come to ESPN.com is to stay updated on scores across the sports world, and I love that they placed the scoreboard at the very top of the page, above all advertising and banner ads.

One of the most notable and in-your-face changes is the Main Engagement and Carousel.  It's large, bright, and has a front-and-center location across a majority of the site, providing top editorial picks of sports videos and stories.

Pandora for the BlackBerry Storm?

January 7, 2009

I usually have Pandora, the internet-based radio station, running in the background while I work, and I see the ads showcasing the Pandora application for the iPhone just about every time I log in.  In fact, Pandora for iPhone just went 2.0, adding new functionality to an already well designed application.

So I have to ask...  where is version 1.0 for my BlackBerry Storm?  Why can't I join in to the Music Genome Project from one of the most advanced mobile devices on the market?  I can't even access Pandora through the web browser on the Storm.  Pandora Mobile already supports Sprint, AT&T, and Windows Mobile phones.  Why not support the latest and greatest from Verizon, the soon to be largest US Carrier?

When emailed a request for a Pandora app for the Storm, this was the reply:

Thanks very much for writing.

Each version of Pandora software for a portable device needs to be separately developed and approved by the cell carrier. We're currently working to bring Pandora to more devices including the Blackberry.

I don't know exactly when it will be available for the Storm but I would encourage you to stay tuned to our "On the Go" page for updates: Pandora Radio - Listen to Free Internet Radio, Find New Music for updates.

Thanks for listening in the meantime!

Tom K@ Pandora

Welcome to the Inauguration Waiting Room

January 20, 2009

Like many people around the world, I've been trying to tune in to see the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America via Internet.  CNN.com Live and Facebook have been advertising that they will be streaming Inauguration coverage all day today, but I just keep getting dumped into a waiting room.  I get cycled back out and then just sit on a loading page.  I've let it sit there for 15 minutes twice already.

Sorry CNN, you should have dumped more resources into this system because you're losing my impressions for your advertisements today.  I hate their coverage, but I'm heading to Fox News because I know their player works.

Congratulations and good luck President Barack Obama.

Slacker Radio Beats Pandora to the Punch

February 9, 2009

I'm a Pandora addict.  It's always playing in the background on just about every computer I sit down at.  I have been dying for Pandora to release an app for my BlackBerry Storm because I've recently gotten myself back in gear and into the gym 4 or 5 nights a week.  It'd be nice to just bring my Storm and some headphones while I work out, and get a nice variety of music that I didn't have to purchase or spend hours organizing into "perfect" playlists.

Well Pandora dropped the ball, even after myself and others have repeatedly harassed them over the past month or two. Slacker Radio beat them to the punch and is now available for the BlackBerry Storm.  It's a sweet little application for streaming internet radio, and even has a function to cache a song to listen to later offline.  You can get artist bios, album reviews, can ban artists from your stations, and the music continues to run while you use other applications on your phone.  It also has a nice landscape design that works well with the touch screen functionality of the Storm.

Honestly, I'm very impressed, and have even switched my computer over to Slacker Radio to really test what it has to offer.  Who knows, the switch may be permanent.  It really appeals to me when a company tries to stay on top of new technology, and makes sure it's accessible across all formats.

Who's the slacker now Pandora?

Google Latitude is Just a Bad Idea

February 19, 2009

For those of you not on the up and up with Google Latitude, it's a free application that works with Google Maps and basically allows mobile users with GPS to upload their exact location to friends, family, and anyone else they allow.

Google has recently released a new version of Google Maps that now supports GPS for BlackBerry which includes the Google Latitude application.  I decided to try it out with my Verizon BlackBerry Storm and after about 30 seconds of letting everyone know where I was, I freaked out and turned it back off.

I'm addicted to my BlackBerry now, but it took a lot for me to finally upgrade to a smartphone.  I like being accommodating but not instantly and entirely accessible.  Even with those feelings, I can currently be found with my BlackBerry Storm by calling, text, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, BlackBerry Messenger, Google Talk, Facebook, and E-mail me at 4 different accounts.  I admit, it's a bit much, and I find myself living in this phone.

The times I don't want to be found... I ignore that flashing red LED.  But, with Google Latitude I won't have that luxury.  If I don't pick up, I could potentially find that persistent (and now forever creepy) person tapping me on the shoulder minutes later.  I've got enough common sense to not allow questionable people to have my GPS fix in the first place, but sometimes you don't realize who the creeps are until they do something pretty creepy.  What's that quote you always hear on the news from the old lady who lived next to the mass murderer?  Something like, "He was such a nice man. Very normal...

Facebook is Killing Productivity

February 27, 2009

Hi, my name is Scott Bouchard, and I have a Facebook account.  So do most people plugged in these days. Actually, this morning on the TODAY Show, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, claimed that the social networking giant has surpassed 175 million users and is gaining approximately 1 million US users alone every week.  Even TMCnet is on Facebook now.

I'm pretty good about my usage though.  I log in on average once a day (usually right before bed) to browse through updates, and sometimes more frequently if I have messages coming in that require a response.  But, there are people in my life that almost need an intervention regarding their Facebook habits.

When I check updates at the end of a long day of work, it seems everyone else I know spent their entire day inside Facebook.  There are people updating their status every 5 minutes, commenting on the status of every friend, tagging photos, retagging photos, sending gifts, poking, posting notes on 100 question surveys, and becoming fans of some frankly ridiculous junk.  I barely find enough time in the day to read what everyone changed on their account.  I mean... what do these people do when their boss asks why a report isn't getting done, or a client asks why a job is late?

"Sorry that I'm so far behind, Rick changed his status to say he was eating a tuna fish sandwich, and I had to comment on his status to tell him that I had one yesterday.  Then I posted a picture of a tuna fish sandwich and tagged myself and Rick in it, and then I became a fan of tuna fish and wrote a note about it.  Then other people commented about my comment so I had to reply to those comments.  Then I created a note about the 10 things I love about tuna fish and tagged 15 people in it, and told them to fill it out and tag 15 more people if they like tune fish as much as I do.  I'm really quite tired. I'll try to get to it tomorrow."

I mean...

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