On Saturday, November 10th I attended the 5th BarCamp Philly. It was my first BarCamp type event. Just a few thoughts:
- I loved how open & friendly it was. There were people of all ages (literally, I was in a session with a baby, another with 10/12 year old kid), all interests (but all a bit geeky!) and skill levels.
- I’m not sure I love how BarCamp sessions are scheduled. I found that there were times when there were multiple events I wanted to attend at a given time & then none at other times. That said, at a normal, pre-scheduled conference, one could run into this problem.
- I really enjoyed the informality of the conference — I felt like conversation & interaction were welcome and encouraged.
- Most of the sessions I attended were great & only one was a bit of a dud. Everyone presenting was clearly passionate and knowledgeable about their topics.
- My favorite session was called “Queering Serendipity”, presented by the Executive Director of the William Way Community Center, Chris Bartlett (@harveymilk). He discussed how to create opportunities for serendipity within organizations & between people within your network.
- I also really enjoyed “Expanding your design vocabulary”, presented by Kevin Hale (@ilikevests) of Wufoo. He spoke about the impact of culture & language on how design is analyzed and discussed, as well as gave a bit of insight into how Wufoo, one of my favorite web apps, creates experiences not just for public facing properties, but internally as well.
Overall, BarCamp Philly was a great way to spend a Saturday. I had to leave early, so I missed out on the final 2 sessions & the after party, but what I missed sounded great. I’d definitely recommend going to a BarCamp in your area.
I’m a saver, a pack rat — I love having endless resources at my disposal and the internet doesn’t do much to dissuade that habit. I save photos, bits of text, links, screenshots, etc. through a variety of apps. Here’s a review of three such services that to make clipping & saving bits of the internet easier.
Of the three, this is the service I’ve been using the least amount of time. It’s a relatively new service that I heard about via Forrst. One of the strongest features of this site is the feed. It’s a great way to discover what others are sharing. Its curation features are quite nice, with the ability to create “lists” & tag your clips. Clips can be shared to a wide variety of networks including Tumblr, Buffer, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
The clipping extension for Chrome works great. It’s very similar to Evernote’s clipping extension (reviewed below), but perhaps quicker and less clunky feeling. It does not have an iOS app (although there looks to be a 3rd party app) and the site isn’t responsive. Designwise, of the three apps I’m reviewing, it has the cleanest interface.
This site is great for saving screenshots & photos. I use it almost exclusively for that purpose. You can take full page screenshots of webpages, which is great for saving inspiration websites. It works well for me — I can easily browse my saved design inspiration sites & the link to the original site is connected if I want to take a further look at the interactions on a site. It also has social features, which I admittedly don’t use. Another way that I use this site is for archiving Instagram photos, via Iftt. When I take or like an Instagram picture, it uploads it to a folder in my Gimme Bar account. It’s an easier way to browse Instagram photos.
The clipping bookmarklet is quick and gives you a good idea of what you’re clipping. Gimme Bar also lets you choose whether it should be a public or private post. The only issue I’ve had with it is that sometimes when trying to screenshot a webpage, it will mistakenly try to only clip the article or text. There is no iOS app, but it is responsive so it looks nice on any size screen.
To me, this is the grand-daddy of them all. It has a web app, a desktop app & an iOS app. I use this site as a utility horse — it hosts web bookmarks, full page text of webpages, notes, etc. You can even include pdfs and other media. Clips can be tagged & put into notebooks. These are all available to me offline via both the desktop app & iOS app. The iOS app is great for clipping things on the go – ideas/brainstorming, photos of things I need to remember (my mom’s wi-fi passcode for example). I’ve used it for trip planning, recipe sharing, client site research and much more. Needless to say, it holds a great deal of my information.
That said, it’s not perfect — when synching on iOS there seems to be a lag and some serious slowing down on the device. The bookmarklet only lets you stay signed into your account for 1 week, which is a slight inconvenience. Since it can hold so much, it also tends to be a big jumble (a well organized jumble) of different parts of my life, which is admittedly more an issue for me than a platform issue.
Evernote just announced an partnership with Moleskine that allows you to upload searchable, hand-written clips.
All three of these services are free, although all 3 offer pro plans. I have yet to reach any upload limit on any of them.
What services do you use to save web clips?
I’ve never been super happy with Safari on iOS, especially on my iPhone. It feels sort of clunky and the amount of visible space is too small. A new player entered the field this week — Chrome for iOS.
The TL;DR: I love it.
I use Chrome exclusively on desktop and I quickly transitioned to using it exclusively on my iPhone. To me the killer feature is device sync — I can browse open tabs on my computer or other iOS device. It makes it easy to transition between devices. Like its desktop counterpart, the browser chrome is minimal, with a single address bar across the top and no bar across the bottom. It feels even more minimal thanks to the desktop-like single address/search bar.
The only downside is that you can’t set Chrome as your default browser, so Safari isn’t totally obsolete for me.
Bottom line, this is a must download.
We can’t keep designing as we used to if we want people to engage with our content. We can’t keep charging for ads that our layouts train readers to ignore. We can’t focus so much on technology that we forget the web is often, and quite gloriously, a transaction between reader and writer.
I came across two sites recently that create a sort of animated layered effect to really great results. Each approaches the effect slightly differently.
First is One Pause Poetry:
The <h1> is a transparent PNG. When the user hovers over the tag words in the right column, a new background slides in. To me this is so successful because the site is rather minimal and the background effect ads some nice details.
The second is Bobadilium:
As the user scrolls down, the color of the navigation & header animate in to match the background of the current section. This site uses sprites to achieve this effect. This effect helps to show the user the evolution or navigation through the site.