Photoshop design work

Wednesday and Thursday I opened up Photoshop and did some fun design work. The mockups I did earlier (in HTML/CSS) were starting to depress me. I like the new design a lot, but that’s how new designs are, eh? We’ll see when the flush of newness wears off.

Photoshop is fun for design work, since it’s easy to get visual ideas out on the page without worrying about which CSS rounded-corners method to choose, or why IE6 always adds extra space at the bottom of images unless you delete all white-space in your HTML (yeah, there’s other workarounds, but it boggles my mind when the whitespace in my markup screws up my page layout — curse you, IE6).

I recognize 37signals’ points, but I think I can safely ignore them, because they aren’t like, successful or anything, right? :)
Really, Photoshop helps me see the end result quickly, and iterate between design ideas in a way I can’t do quickly in HTML/CSS. And I like seeing that end result, man.

Their 2nd point is the major thing I need to look out for: Too much focus on details too early. It’s easy to have to have everything be perfect, and Photoshop makes it possible, but I have to remember that just about everything will change in translation to HTML anyway, so get the flow right and move on.

I also now have a first-draft logo, integrated with the site at the moment. I’ll post it when I get back to my home computer (writing this on lunch@work). We’ll see how it works when I break it out of my current design.

This design work means I haven’t been getting ‘real’ work done on functionality, which is veryvery dangerous. It’s (roughly) the middle of the month, had you noticed?
On that front, though, I really have been making some steps forward. I’ve been able to read a bunch of the Agile Web Development with Rails book in slow moments at work, and it’s really good. I was a bit concerned about the focus on an earlier Rails version, but I’ve been able to mentally convert and apply everything, and it’s helped a lot with grasping the Rails concepts, as well as exposing me to more Ruby syntax, which is good.
ALSO have done some more thinking about how users will interact with the site, create challenges and so on. There are a lot of conceptual parallels between Runimal and the challenge part of Nike+’s site that ties in with their running sensor thing — hearing second-hand about what Nike was trying to do actually gave me the initial idea for Runimal. I hadn’t gone to actually look at what they’re doing, though, until yesterday. It was helpful to see how they’ve laid everything out. I think Runimal’s current approach is more flexible, but could probably be less confusing with a more wizardy interface. I’m also switching to a 100% Flash interface. Just kidding.

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