Linkbag of Stuff That Works

Ryan Singer at RailsConf

The most enthusiastic, positive, funny web-guy I know was interviewed at RailsConf about the being a designer who can write code, and “touching the magic wand”, which isn’t nearly as pornographic as it sounds. Have a listen.

And this is me showing off my new Flip camcorder to Ryan, and his silly little dance, complete with my belly chuckle wobbles.

Discouraging Design Decay

If you’ve ever designed a site which someone else will be maintaining, you know design decay: the little tasteless changes that slowly but surely turn your masterpiece into a piece of trash. Jina Bolton’s written a good guide to laying down the law with a style guide, and pushing back the forces of entropy as long as possible.

My two cents: Jina’s right in everything, except the choice she offers at the end: print or HTML. Don’t make the mistake of creating a printed or PDF styleguide. If you’re working on a project that’s really big enough to need a detailed styleguide, then the odds are that your guide will land in 20 different pairs of hands–various client departments, various content providers, and different agencies working for your client. I’ve seen this happen more than once. By the time they all have a copy, you’ll have changed it, and the annoying distribution cycle begins again. Make your styleguide in HTML, so there’s only one copy, and changes are instantly visible to all. If someone insists on hanging it on their wall, they can print it themselves. For extra credit: make your styleguide a living example of the rules it explains.

Skip the Shop

This just popped up in my reader: “Why We Skip Photoshop” from the 37signals blog, where Jason lays out 7 good reasons to skip Photoshop and jump right into HTML & CSS. I’ve been having quite a few talks with people in my company about this lately, so it’s pretty timely for me.

There’s already a pretty lively conversation going on over there, and I ‘m hoping someone from 37 answers Jeff Croft’s questions, especially:

Is it possible that your no-Photoshop workflow has actually influenced your design style?

I think that’s a big “yes”, but either way, even though I’m a glorified Photoshop-jockey, I’m eager to try skip the Photoshop phase in a project and see what happens. Update: Jeff’s written his own response over at the Blue Flavour blog.