Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Emblematic Graphics...!

The Visual presentation on any surface - wall, canvas, paper stone have enetertained me since time immemorial..! Nature as such does a good or rather remarkable job in creating an amazing amalgamation of such illustrations which are
referered to as 'Graphics' in IT World. The way it differs is in IT Graphics design may consist of the deliberate selection, creation, or arrangement of typography alone, as in a brochure, flier, poster, web site, or book without any other element. Clarity or effective communication may be the objective, association with other cultural elements may be sought, or merely, the creation of a distinctive style.

Now, here's an interesting website I found today that really made me roll my eyes again 'n' again in amazement. What do we do when we see a link (attractive enough to catch our attention ofcourse) - Easy - we go ahead and click it to see whats there in store for us. Now some smart people that offer
instant document retrieval (read Google, Microsoft & Yahoo) capitalise on this very concept and here we have the omnipresent world on Online Advertising..!
So here's what happens - everytime you, me or any mortal soul clicks on an online ad - smart people out there pocket some decent $$ and equip us with the required informatio in return.

Anyways, while my mind was lost in thinking about the idea of Online advertising - I came across this very thought provoking website that basically is an experiment in human interface design. The web site claims that there is a small gap of time between clicking that can be eliminated by omitting the clicking process altogether.
You are allowed one click to start off the interface, and from then on as you use the mouse to explore the interface, you are warned not to click.
Believe me its very difficult & highly strange to navigate for an extended period without clicking.

One very interesting this interface shows up is that we get used to what we do everyday..!! Inorder to learn to get into new "groove" - we really have to break from our existing mindset that makes us believe that if there's a link on a Web - One must click on it :)

A very nice study on human psyche indeed...!

Go try it out for yourself ...!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Yellow Fade Technique...!

A lot of web sites & applications make you feel a bit like "Where am I, Did the update / submit I did on the website worked?". Hmm, now you might as well ask that Why does this matter anyways? The answer lies in User experience.

When we edit something on a Webpage - the whole webpage reload happens. The issue is once the page reloads, it becomes really difficult to spot and confirm the change. This is particularly noticeable in cases when the changes occur in middle of a heavily loaded webpage.

Imagine, having a feature wherein the user gets to know whether requested changes (read updations) were done or not as a feedback on the screen!! No, hang on - I am not telling about throwing the POPUPS but have the graceful feedback instead - I tried using the YFT and believe me its so amazing.

The YFT uses JavaScript to create a yellow highlight that briefly spotlights the change when the page reloads. Then, in a second or two, the highlight fades and the page reverts to its normal state. The YFT makes it super easy to spot edits/changes yet its unobtrusive nature lets people quickly get back to work once a modification is confirmed. Many AJAX applications are now incorporating the yellow fade technique. Whenever something changes on a page (without a page refresh), the area is highlighted in yellow and then fades to its original background color. The purpose is to call attention to a change in the interface.

I got a little curious and decided to explore this a bit further. I was particularly intrigued by Google as always with its every product using YFT !! Hope the following Image looks familiar. (Feedbacks like these are shown on every user activity done on Google Products like Gmail or my personal favorite Google Reader.

Since I am still not quick 'n' smart with AJAX Concepts, Javascript was the only thing I could have played with and here's what I did.

  • Defined RGB values for “base” color (by default, it’s a shade of yellow).
  • Defined the “holding” speed and “fade” speed of the Fade as per my wish.
  • To make an element fade I simply call the function chinmayzfade(”name”) where “name” is the id of the element inside DIV Element.
  • Its nothing too fancy or may be it is ;)

A mini-implementation of the same can be seen if you click on the button below. (The background on the above text will flash yellow than fade).

Do let me know suggestions or any ideazzzzz for making this fade better Or join BaseCamp instead!!

Basecamp project management and collaboration

Saturday, October 07, 2006

In The Clouds...!

Often I sit back in amazement watching Google launching products and services which no ordinary soul can aspire to even think !! I find sharing d little I know abt the Search Giant as the best way od expressing my marvel week after week. Today, being in a relaxed mood - I decide to find about how do Googlers ensure pinch of creativity 'n' passion in whatever they do - afterall going by the basics some 'provocation' is required.

Here's what I found....!!

Anousheh Ansari
, the first female private space explorer, called the Googleplex from the International Space Station 10 days back. The person on other side of the phone was 'Larry Page'.
The topics they discussed ranged from what Anousheh forgot to pack while blasting off from Earth(her husband!) to her hopes for the future of space exploration!!

Some highlights:
Larry: What was the biggest surprise?
Her: Seeing the Earth rotate for the first time. Every time I want to remind herself that she's really in space,I look out of the window, watch the Earth rotating, and pinch myself to make sure I am still awake.

Larry: What would you change about the space station?
Her: Add another shower, Add Internet access! since right now email is batched.
Larry: Laughs :)

Larry (wistfully): When can we come up to join you?
Her: You'll have to come up one at a time. In any case, construction is speeding up on the International Space Station, so tourists will probably be fewer for the time being. I hope you (Larry) can improve the food; although the cheese pasta is fun to chase, it's not much fun to eat ;)

Larry: Do you have anything inspirational to say?
Her: Explore the boundaries. Try new things. Be free-thinkers and use your imaginations. Learn from your environment, your teachers, your books -- but then go beyond your knowledge. I always wanted to go to space, although I didn't wind up working for NASA.
I detoured to different areas, but finally I found a way to make it happen.

Now, if Interviews like this are the sources of inspiration 'n' energy for Googlers no wonder they are doing their job of
organizing the world's information and make it universally accessible
exceedingly well

Another offbeat thing these guys do apart from creating tecnological wonders is help society. – the philanthropic arm of Google aimed at making world a better place by focussing on Literacy, global poverty, energy and the environment using Google talent, technology and other resources has started off in full throttle as well.

The list is endless......I wish I had the time to share everything....!!!! Till next time Happy Googling..! Do have a look at Price of a Dream - Anousheh's Blog !!