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The Five Most Beautiful Machines of 2011

Design Inspiration - December 27th, 2011

2011 is coming to a close and it’s been another spectacular year if you’re anything like me and appreciate art and mechanics combined into beautiful objects. I’ve compiled my own little shortlist of the most awe-inspiring machines that’s been presented in their final production form over the year, there’s many more that could have made the list (and a few of them are presented below) but in my mind these are the ones that really stood out in 2011.

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Lumebox is now a GitHub Project

Projects - December 20th, 2011

Lumebox, my open-source mobile-optimized Lightbox jQuery plugin is now a GitHub repository. Fork it and improve!

https://github.com/AndersZ/Lumebox

Posted in Projects December 20th, 2011 by
Anders
and last updated December 20th, 2011.

De Bethune DB28

Design Inspiration - November 22nd, 2011

The annual Grand Prix d’Horologerie de Genève took place over the weekend and one of my absolute favourite watches took the top honors, the De Bethune DB28. The Aiguille d’Or or Grand Prix is the supreme award given to the best timepiece of the year by a jury of watchmaking professionals. De Bethune was fonuded in 2002 and is independent manufacture with a thing for original movements that pushes the envelope technologically and design-wise, they also have a contemporary aestethic unlike anything else out there.

De Bethune DB28

De Bethune DB28 in titanium. Photo by De Bethune.

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Introducing cleanwebdevelopment.com

Projects - November 4th, 2011

I’ve just launched a new website, cleanwebdevelopment.com, where I’ll blog about web development from now on. It’s not just a blog though, my main goal is to create a complete guide on how to create efficient, flexible, high performing websites with a base in clean HTML and web standards.

With that said, head over to The Guide and read about my definition of Clean Web Development and let me know if I’ve messed up something.

[...] Separately, web standards, accessibility, on-page SEO and a mobile responsive web are important but together they are extremely powerful. What’s even better is that they’re part of the same positive spiral, by making one part better the other will benefit as well. The foundation for all of these disciplines is clean HTML, proper use of DOM elements and clearly structured content.[...]

 

Posted in Projects November 4th, 2011 by
Anders
and last updated November 4th, 2011.

Review of the new dn.se

Web Development - October 25th, 2011

Dagens Nyheter, the largest morning newspaper in Sweden, launched a new website today. The old one was a bit of a mess with horrible HTML and a design that discouraged the visitors from reading articles. Is the new one better?

In short, no. It’s still a mess from a design and user experience perspective, the front page weighs in at 2600kB and 183 requests, it has blocky fonts and while it works with JavaScript turned off it’s really a pain with NoScript and similar plugins since the requests are spread out over a number of external domains and there’s no way of knowing which is used for what. The way I see it it’s most of all a missed opportunity, with a full revamp and a move to a new platform they could have created a modern responsive website that really brings the game forward and pushes the envelope for news websites. Instead it’s just another newspaper website with a complete lack of vision and understanding of how the web works.

DN's first page 2011-10-25

DN.se's first page on 2011-10-25


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Microformats vs. Microdata

Web Development - October 24th, 2011

I first read about Microformats in the summer of 2010 and since I also run a food blog (The Cheap Gourmand) I got all excited about the possibilities with Google not only indexing my recipes but also interpreting the actual contents of them. They don’t just interpret recipes but also contact information, reviews and so on and this opened up another level for me in the quest for truly semantic and meaningful data on the web.

So, while Microformats was first and are being backed by Google a much broader initiative was launched duing the summer of 2011 where not only Google but also Bing and Yahoo together developed a new format for microdata. It’s called Schema.org and serves as a universal HTML5 based solution to the same set of problems that’s being adressed with Microformats. So, which is best and should be used?

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The Art of Kinetik Hedonist

Design Inspiration - October 11th, 2011

Hedonist by Art of Kinetik

Hedonist by Art of Kinetik. Photo by Art of Kinetik.

With yachts the designers have a very special attribute that perhaps no other form of mechanical art has, and that is sheer scale. An item of this size is not bound to just have architectural lines, it can truly have an architectural impact. Wally is one example of a manufacturer that makes yachts like this but one builder that have flown under my radar until just recently is Art of Kinetik, based in Belgrad, Serbia who have been operational since 2007. Their quest is to create the ultimate balance of art and performance and by the looks of their vessels they are quite a good way towards achieving that goal.

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Mobile Web is Just Web

Web Development - September 13th, 2011

The current buzz around town (in Stockholm at least) is Mobile Web, it’s an exciting field and I’m very happy that more can see the opportunities in creating slick, polished mobile web sites as a complement or alternative to their native mobile apps. However, it seems as if everyone wants to jump on the train and create mobile web sites and mobile web apps using magic techniques such as HTML5 and jQuery Mobile. The truth is that these standards and frameworks are just tools, they are quite powerful but nothing more than the final polish of a mobile web solution. The foundation of a mobile website is much more basic than that, but let us start by finding out the characteristics of a good web solution

  • Focus on purpose and content
  • Clear and logic page and content structure
  • Linkable pages using pretty and unique URL’s
  • User experience adapted to the users screen resolution and browser capabilities
  • Clean, semantic and SEO-optimized HTML
  • Separated logic and styling (CSS and JavaScript)
  • Optimized page loading times through minimized file-sizes, compression and the number of http-requests

And then let’s find the defining characteristics of a good mobile web solution

  • Focus on purpose and content
  • Clear and logic page and content structure
  • Linkable pages using pretty and unique URL’s
  • User experience adapted to the users screen resolution and browser capabilities
  • Clean, semantic and SEO-optimized HTML
  • Separated logic and styling (CSS and JavaScript)
  • Optimized page loading times through minimized file-sizes, compression and the number of http-requests

The characteristics are identical, I’ve marked two that really provides the base for a mobile web solution. The only difference between “desktop” web and mobile web is in the implementation and that’s no different from making a website compatible with Internet Explorer on netbooks versus Safari on the 27″ iMac. It’s still just about creating a good user experience across all supported platforms and using the possibilities of the target platform.

A developer who wants to create a mobile web site by adding stuff hasn’t grasped the most basic concepts of web, that it’s always about adjusting and adapting and not about adding stuff. The most obvious exampel right now is jQuery Mobile, it’s a fantastic framework for creating an app-like UI-experience but it still needs a solid web-based foundation to stand on. Mobile web is just web, anyone who says different just doesn’t have their basic web development skills figured out.

Do you want to read more posts like this? I now blog about Web Development at cleanwebdevelopment.com.

Designing an iPad Optimized Website

Web Development - September 5th, 2011

I’ve previously written about some of the technical possibilities we have to tailor a website to an iPad (part one and part two), this time I’m going to give some directions on how to design page layout and interactions for iPads and other tablets based on my experience surfing the web, using apps and reading PDF magazines for the last year. I’m using my iPad at least 1.5 hours every day (my commute is around 45 mins using public transportation) so I’ve racked up a number of hours and have had the time to reflect on my usage patterns and the design and interaction choices I believe work and which can use some improvement.

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Define the Purpose

Web Development - June 30th, 2011

The web community has a lot to learn from the mobile world, in my humble opinion the greatest gift Steve Jobs gave us with the iPhone in 2007 wasn’t the app-store or device itself, it was the new focus on purpose for every interaction and piece of information in the user-centric and tailored app experience. This focus on purpose and essential functionality is a large part (if not the biggest) of Apples mobile success and has then gradually spread and transitioned to every aspect of mobile computing, web and other forms of user experiences.

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