Where Icons Are Headed on the Web

Oak Studios just released Symbolset, an icon set that creates a significant step forward in a long-running trend for iconography on the web. In their words, Symbolsets are “semantic symbol fonts”, which act as replacements for full words in your HTML. This has a clear advantage for accessibility and indexing. Symbolset uses font files as the delivery system and map the icons to standard Unicode values. Continue reading Where Icons Are Headed on the Web

Creating a More Conversational Online Landscape

As you may have read, I am very interested in improving the way we create, distribute and interact with content online &mdash especially pertaining to the content of ideas and concepts. So much of the effort during the blogging and Web2.0 explosion was focused on empowering the individual to create and share content. Just think of YouTube’s tagline, Broadcast Yourself. What excites me is that there are a plethora of startups focusing on the facilitation of creating rather than broadcasting of the created.

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Nine Inch Nails' Ghosts Album is About MUCH More Than Music.

If you have been reading this blog for even a moderate length of time, you are most likely aware of the unusually high amount of Nine Inch Nails articles on this site (seen here and here to name a few). Considering the general theme of this blog, I could see how this could be seen as strange to many. Still, I tend to write a lot about how digital media (which design-technology intersects with) is changing not only mainstream media, but the society which consumes it – which in turn impacts how we do our work. For the past two years, Nine Inch Nails has really been on the frontlines of pushing media away from the consolidated, copyright-heavy, corporate-run model to a distributed, grassroots, artist-run model.

Last night, Nine Inch Nails released Ghosts I-IV, an independently-produced album that is available for download for the price of $5. There are 36 songs in this album, so that $5 looks even more reasonable than ever. For those of you into the tangible, CDs can be purchased as well. Additionally, 9 songs are available completely for free – no questions asked. While this is distribution model is new, it is not new – we have seen it with In Rainbows and Niggy Tardust, each with their own little tweaks on it. However, make no mistake, Ghosts is unlike any other album distribution we have seen.
Continue reading Nine Inch Nails' Ghosts Album is About MUCH More Than Music.

Clean Water Through Playing

This is the epitome of good interaction design. There are shining nuggets of work on the internet that create this rare win-win combination, but there are just far too few. reCAPTCHA is one that surfaces – I would love to hear from anyone about other projects/products along these lines. I honestly do think this is where products are headed – all products/services will have some sort of give-back. However, they probably will not be as fun as a merry-go-round.

Creative Payment Model For Indie Film – Big Media Could Learn a Lesson

Things like this get me really excited…

Very few of us enjoy the close-boxed mentality of big media. The whole mindset essentially flies right in the face of how the web works and continues to ignore how society interacts with media. I just ran across an example of how media 2.0 and the internet’s open model has seemed to influence an independent film titled Revoloution.

The premise is quite simple – moviegoers can watch the movie for free and then decide how much they wish to pay after they have finished watching it. We all have gone to movies and have felt quite robbed from the experience. Many people do not frequent theaters as often because it is not worth the gamble to spend a sizable chunk of change on something they may not like. Big-business media will almost assuredly never sign onto something like this for various reasons – one being that their product is, well, bad. Hollywood is already losing money, this would just speed up the process. Nonetheless, this model could be a much more beneficial model for aspiring filmmakers to garner an audience and begin to create buzz on a particular piece of work.

I could see a more hybridized version of this type of payment where less is paid up front and a ‘tip’ is requested after the movie is over. If I only had to pay $4 to $5 to get into a movie, I might just start going to movies again. Additionally, if the movie is decent, I definitely would provide a tip. Of course this model is more risky than the pay-up-front model, but with declining ticket sales, they may want to consider taking a few risks and getting creative. One thing I do know, hiking up the price of tickets is not going to work.

For more details on this experiment, watch the video below:

Much of the media online is free without even the slightest hint of payment. Even for the lucky (and talented) individuals publishing high-quality work exclusively on the web, compensation still is a challenge. However, people are making it and some are doing quite well for themselves. With the rise in popularity of web media with its low overhead and much less profit, big business is going to need to rethink payment models and the content they are willing to spend millions on to produce. (Many) people know crap when they see it – sadly, the majority of all media (internet or not) falls into that category. However, on the web, I do not have to pay $15 or sit through 20 minutes of commercials to see it.

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The Sorry State of Online Advertising

For many, the internet symbolizes innovation, creativity and unique expression. Why then is internet advertising so unoriginal, uninspired and uninterested in the people it is targeting? Online advertising symbolizes all that is wrong with the current state of the web. The basic model of advertising bombardment and sensory overload can ruin a site’s reputation while rarely giving the financial return expected. Why have site creators and online advertisers settled for such an unbecoming system? For many site creators, the allure of making income from their site outweighs the needs of their audience. This approach can ultimately cause much more bad than good.

Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about online advertising. This article will focus on what is currently wrong with the most common advertising model used online, the second will discuss my opinions on a better alternative and the third will flush out those ideas into pragmatic examples.

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