Archive for January, 2009

The making of Dawn, part 4

January 30th, 2009

Well, it’s been a while since I last worked on Dawn’s costume. The last entry I wrote for it was back in June, and that’s when I stopped. This week I’ve been working on making her skirt. Fabric of choice is Kona cotton, which I folded over to double in thickness.

I started by doing the pleats. I basically fold, then iron, and repeat until I’m at the end of the fabric. I secure them with pins as I go.

I take two more pieces of fabric of the same size, sew them together, and hem the edges. This makes a “pleat sandwich” as I put the pleated part between them.

After sewing the top and bottom parts together, I have to figure out how much to cut off. I always make them longer (in width) than needed because it’s better to cut off extra than to have to add back on. I sew the ends together, leaving an opening towards the top, where I sew on a clasp for opening/closing.

Now I have a skirt! It doesn’t poof out as much or is as short as Dawn’s, but that’s on purpose. I’d rather not have a panty-showing moment =P

The top black part is almost done. I just need to make a couple adjustments and cut out the shape for the bottom part of it. I’ll take pictures of them together later!

Another look at design

January 27th, 2009

I attended a course by Edward Tufte today (which was really good) and decided to type out some of my notes. Though he tends to focus on print and presentations more, I think these could still apply to webdesign.

1. Information overload means it’s a poor design. Don’t blame your audience for being “stupid”. Fix your design.

2. You cannot optimize one element. When you do local optimization, you make it worse globally. For example, if you think something like a menu bar isn’t being seen enough, you shouldn’t focus on making that one element better. You should be looking at the design as a whole.

3. Whenever we make a visual move, it needs to be perfectly clear, but no more. Make a minimal change that is still clear (the smallest effective difference). For example, you don’t need to do SOMETHING LIKE THIS to emphasize when something like this is just as clear.

4. If the strongest visual element is negative space due to clutter or distractive elements, there is a problem. The information should have emphasis instead of optical clutter.

5. Important things should be adjacent in space, not stacked in time. Use the user’s eye span instead of short term memory. Using a book as an example, it’s easier to compare things on adjacent pages (can see both at once), than comparing the front of a page with the back of the same page (have to remember as you flip pages).

6. “No matter how beautiful your interface is, it’d be better if there’s less of it.”

7. Good design needs to give itself up to the content.

8. “A feature that is 6 layers down is not a feature.” (6 is an arbitrary number. The point is that if you have to go through several menus to find something, it might as well not be a feature.)

I find that when studying design or usability, you tend to read/hear something and think, yeah, that totally makes sense. It’s almost… common sense. However, if it’s truly common sense, why are there still so many awful designs out there?

Too many idiots on the road

January 26th, 2009

WTF. I almost got in a car accident. Someone ran a red light. Let me clarify. The person was NOT trying to run a yellow light. The light did not just turn red. IT WAS ALREADY RED.

As I drive across the intersection, I see a car driving towards the passenger side of my car. Luckily, it braked in time. After passing the intersection, I look in my rearview mirror to see that the car had to put itself in reverse to get out of the middle of the road.