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Weblog Entry

Self Promotion Day

May 10, 2004

A whole lot has been busting through the pipeline lately, to the point where I can start talking about what I’ve been working on recently. Here’s a bit of a roundup to get some of this out there. (If you can’t get away with horn-blowing like this on a Monday, then honestly, when can you?)


Blogger template thumbnail

First, the Blogger thing. Yep, Blogger.com just upgraded to a shiny new Adaptive Path/StopDesign collaboration of a site, and wow is it hot. As you’d expect.

I played a tiny little role in the news too (making this photo not as entirely ironic as it looks, though still somewhat so), with my contribution of a new Blogger default template I call ‘Snapshot’. Since we’re still not sure whether we can link to these or how much we can promote them, here’s a sample screenshot.

As Steven Garrity has already noted, Snapshot has a personality of its own. This was something I debated during the design process, as a ‘template’ generally should be just that — generic. Doug Bowman (the project coordinator from my standpoint) and I went back and forth a bit, but we concluded that a bit of personality in this case was a good thing. If a user is savvy, he or she can update the header graphic themself. If they’re not, they have 23 other templates to choose from.

The ‘We’ in the paragraphs above, of course, refers to my cohorts Doug, Dan, Dan, Jeffrey, and Todd. A heck of a team, and a heck of a lot of good work from these guys (and me) await new and existing users of Blogger.

I’ll save for others any further reflection on what the new, simplified signup process means for web users, but suffice it to say it’s all good stuff.


Web Essentials '04 Logo

Second, I’d like to point out that Web Essentials ‘04 is happening from 30 Sept – 1 Oct 2004 in Sydney, Australia.

I’ll be there to speak, along with the afore-mentioned Doug Bowman, and the inimitable Joe Clark, alongside a handful of local Australian presenters (including John Allsopp of WestCiv and Russ Weakley of MaxDesign). I’m sure I can speak for the three of us non-Australians when I say we’re absolutely thrilled to be a part of what’s shaping up to be an amazing two-day event.

WE04 is open for early bird registration. Get your name in before July 1st, and you save a hundred bucks per person. Also keep in mind that the Australian dollar is on par with the Canadian dollar, making it much cheaper for those in the US and UK. It might be worth a look no matter where you live, I hear Australia in the springtime is beautiful.


Bright Creative Logo

Third, Bright Creative is now live. This is the premiere launch of my new design studio’s site, replacing the old placeholder.

Though I’ve been doing business under the name since the beginning of the year, working for clients has kept me busy enough that the business site fell off my radar immediately. The placeholder graphic had promised as early as January the launch would be a distant mid-2004. Optimistically it should have been up in early March. Realistically it ended up happening in May, right on target.

Where’s the blue? Stowed away in the box of crayons for now. Bright Creative indicates a new direction for my work, and a new beginning for my life. Old habits die hard, but they can be put to rest with effort.

Bright Creative is red and cream with grey and white highlights. Header type is set in Gill Sans, with Trebuchet MS for body copy. Photos rich in texture were used for section headers to add a tactile feel, heavy lines and solid blocks of colour were used to visually distinguish background from foreground.

Line continuation effects were used to place the header in relation to the background stripes, and a jarring discontinuation was used to affect the home page in a somewhat disconcerting, but intentional variation from the internal pages. A light touch of Flash was applied to the home page for that extra oomph. Flash is a nice tool for the toolbox if done right.

Technical notes: should be validating XHTML Strict, with a CSS-based layout. Tested across the major browsers, but rendering glitches are inevitable in some of the fringe browsers at the moment. A migraine knocked me out of commission on the weekend, so Mac IE5 users will have to ignore the wierdness, which will be attended to in short order. There’s another factor in the continuing quest for standards-based design that hasn’t been touched on: wellness and mood.

Bright Creative: Brilliant Design Solutions. Come see what ‘we’ do.


Navarik logo

And finally, the company I spend part of my week with during non-Bright hours has relaunched a site of their own. Navarik Corp., here in Vancouver, is a software company building solutions for the shipping industry. They’re an open source shop using all the coolest acronyms (PHP, MySQL, XML, MT) for large clients in a focussed industry, one that I know next to nothing about yet.

I won’t generally be able to talk about the work I’m doing with them. Suffice it to say some very large companies that you have heard of are starting to get standards-based solutions for their internal systems, and more will do so. It’s exciting work, but locked heavily under NDA’s.

What I can say is that the company site has been coalescing for the past few months after a slow start late last year, and thanks to some extra effort by the staff and myself we’ve launched what we’re calling a starting point. Over the next few months more content will be added through the Movable Type posting system we’ve built (Movable Type also runs all the internal weblogs that form the Navarik intranet) and more focus will be given to telling the story of what the company is all about.

Team member Derek Miller, a local copywriter and editor, has written up the process in more detail. His notes are a good case study of a company that understands why web standards are important, and how said company has put them into practice. Building a standards-compliant site, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Good reading.


And that concludes this Monday update. Hope your weekend was better than mine, but I also hope your week has started as well as mine did.