Please enjoy from the future in 2012 this brief summary of reviews of design in 2011.
Happy new year to each of you very fine BlogLESS readers.
Happy new year to each of you very fine BlogLESS readers.
A fantastic interview with Michael Braungart of the Cradle to Cradle at core77 discusses the need for designers to develop a new understanding about the materials they use and the ways in which they use them. Braungart elaborates on the role designers play in industrial transformation with respect to material selection, and the importance of making choices that are sustainable, healthy, and socially conscious.
Co-founder Jess Lin explains how Hello Rewind benefits survivors of sex trafficking:
We train and teach them in fundamental skills -- sewing, English, business skills. Many of the laptop sleeves made through Hello Rewind are hand-crafted by sex trafficking survivors, and we hope that they become an integral part of our business operations. After supporting the sex trafficking survivors involved with Hello Rewind, the remaining profits are recycled back into the company so that we can grow the business to support even more women.
Zheng proposes that the phone could run on a battery that uses enzymes to generate electricity from carbohydrates.
This is a client project for designing an eco friendly phone for Nokia. Throughout my research, I found that using a phone battery as a power source is very expensive, consumes valuable resources on manufacturing, presents a disposal problem and is harmful to the environment. The concept is using a bio battery to replace the traditional battery to create a pollution free environment.
Are we ahead of the curve or what? First business needs design. Now it needs philosophy.
According to a recent article from BusinessWeek, organizations have lost sight of the big picture. Philosophy, which considers problems of values, character, and ethics, can put businesses on the right track, serving human needs and interests.
[C]orporations are promoting the notion that their mission extends beyond profit and provides new frameworks—transportation, fuel, manufacturing, and so forth—for improving existence. These assertions require supporting actions over the long term if they are to have merit. In our connected and transparent world, where so many can easily see deeply into our operations, it has become clear that companies and even nations have character—and that their character is their destiny. For institutions to ensure that their characters, or cultures, are consistent with their behavior, they need more humans within their organizations who can appropriately manifest the desired culture through leadership, business practices, and individual behaviors.
Looks like there's a future for philosophers in the boardroom as well as the classroom. We've been saying it all along. ;)
Love this humidifier from Masuza. Made of Japanese Cypress, it uses no electricity. Water is naturally drawn through the wood and evaporated into the air. Minimal, beautiful, and natural -- this is a great little piece of design. Via.
How much of popular culture is simply people following the crowd? Can advertisers get you to buy something by falsely telling you that that other people like it? Clive Thompson writes about a research study that attempted to find out.
In the study, a music store was set up with a ratings system and purchasing habits were tracked in a variety of scenarios. Unsurprisingly, the researchers found evidence that social pressure is real -- that popular music (as rated by other listeners) tended to sell better. Most interesting, though, was that when the researchers purposefully rigged the system to promote bad music, in at least one instance people lost faith in the system and bought less music overall. Another data point for honest advertising.
In this NYT blog post, David Pogue discusses letters sent by readers regarding pricey data transmission fees. It seems that Verizon counts ANY amount of data sent from a phone as a full megabyte, which shows up on customers' bills as a $1.99 charge. Not unexpected, but here's the kicker:
“The phone is designed in such a way that you can almost never avoid getting $1.99 charge on the bill. Around the OK button on a typical flip phone are the up, down, left, right arrows. If you open the flip and accidentally press the up arrow key, you see that the phone starts to connect to the web. So you hit END right away. Well, too late. You will be charged $1.99 for that 0.02 kilobytes of data. NOT COOL. I’ve had phones for years, and I sometimes do that mistake to this day, as I’m sure you have. Legal, yes; ethical, NO.
For the record, I have accidentally clicked that button many times and quickly shut down the browser when I realized my mistake, but I don't recall any charges showing up on my bill.
I will say this: It would seem to me that if there is a very easy solution to this problem. Presumably Verizon can tell which URL customers are trying to connect to. If someone receives only 0.02 kilobytes or whatever from Verizon's address, they ought to ignore it as an error. This humane gesture would save them a bundle on customer service calls and data holds, not to mention reducing the number of angry blog posts out there.
As for the phone design conspiracy, my Verizon phone lets me reconfigure the button to something other than their web store. I just did. I realize many people don't ever touch the settings on their phone, but at least it can be changed. It's their phone, so you'd better believe they have the shortcuts configured for easy access to their most expensive services. Is that surprising to anyone?
I'm less inclined to believe this is an evil conspiracy, as the NYT post seems to promote, than an unfortunate confluence of corporate thinking. It's not ethical, but it's not a trap, either.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a legitimate form of marketing. It should not be undertaken by people with brains or souls. If someone charges you for SEO, you have been conned.
That's the start of this blog post from Derek Powazek which is currently causing all manner of controversy in SEO circles. He says some things I believe many web professionals have been thinking and I can't help but agree with his conclusion: If you want people to find you make something great. Tell people about it. Do it again..
Danny Sullivan, an SEO professional, has crafted this defense of SEO, which I also like. He shares some of Powazek's concerns, but is careful to draw the important distinction between bad or spammy SEO and good/legitimate SEO.
Both posts may be worth a read if you are new to SEO or just want to brush up on best (and worst) practices before your next job or client meeting.