Surprise 1: As lovely as the new gadget is, it still has the same annoying problem as every other iPod and Walkman ever: headphones. They stick in your ears, catch in your coat, and tangle up miserably. Until they make an iPod with wireless headphones (and oh how I cannot wait for this), it'll remain a problem. But Apple's at least fixed one related annoyance.
I mentioned this idea briefly when I posted about the recent redesign, but I wanted to expand it further. Web designers of the world, let's talk about your bottoms.
When you're designing pages - specifically content pages - what is the best possible thing that could happen? I mean after the user has bought a computer, gotten internet connectivity, figured out how to use a browser, and somehow found their way to your site ... what is the single best thing that they could do?
Read. That's right, read. And read all the way to the bottom of the page. In this business, a user that actually reads all the way to the bottom of a page is like gold. They're your best, most engaged, happiest users. You know, because they haven't clicked away. They did the best possible thing they could do, and now they're at the bottom of the page. And how do you reward them?
With a copyright statement. Maybe, if they're lucky, some bland footer navigation.
If you ask me, that's just rude.
On the Cartoon Network there's a brilliant show called Harvey Birdman that recycles old Hanna-Barbera characters into a modern courtroom setting. One of the wilder side characters is Reducto, a little green man with a passion for all things small (voiced by none other than Daily Show's Stephen Colbert). Reducto is known for obsessing over tiny things, shrinking objects and people with his shrink ray, and using phrases like "perfectly tiny" and "wonderfully miniscule" and "magnificently dainty."
Why am I babbling on about a bit part on an obscure show? Because I'm the proud owner of an iPod nano, and this is an iPod Reducto would love. In fact, I'm convinced that it's going to turn perfectly sane people into raving Reductos.
His and Hers iPod nanos. (Mine's the black one, natch.)
Your eyes do not deceive you - do not attempt to adjust your browser. You are looking at the latest redesign of Powazek dot com. I'd give it a number, but at this point, I've lost track of which version this is.
I had two goals for this design. First, as much as I love the simplicity-rules 37 signals school of design, there comes a point when you just can't look at that much black and white Helvetica anymore. I'm all about the crisp and clean in my professional work, but this is a personal site and it should reflect the person behind it - and sometimes this person is a dirty, dirty boy. We don't all need to look like an advertisement for Swiss dentistry equipment.
Second, and this is something I've been percolating for a long time, I wanted to focus more on the page bottoms. Page bottoms are the most valuable screen real estate there is. You read that right. All that nonsense about people not reading and not scrolling is complete bullshit. Longtime readers will know this - I've ranted about it before.
Think about it this way: Sure, maybe only a small percentage of all readers will ever make it to the bottom of a page, but those readers are your most valuable. They read all the way to the bottom. They scrolled, even! When a reader reaches the bottom, they should be rewarded with a special treat - content, navigation, tools, whatever - not coldly abandoned the way most most sites do.
So new here is a wayfinding footer - the kind of stuff that's usually ignored in sidebars. Will it help people stay on the site and surf around? I don't know - you tell me.
I'm not done here. A good design is like a poem - it's never done, you just get to a point when you put it out there and hope people hear it like you meant it. So welcome to the new dotcom, same as the old dotcom, here until the next version rolls around.
This section is called Just a Thought. It's a blog where I post little pieces of what I'm thinking about at the moment. This page shows thoughts from September 2005, including:
iPod nano’s Pleasant Surprises
16 September 2005
Embrace your bottom!
13 September 2005
The iPod nano: So perfectly tiny
8 September 2005
Love in the year 2005
8 September 2005
Digging in the Dirt
5 September 2005
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Working the web since 1995, Derek Powazek is the creator of many award-winning websites, a couple of which still exist. Derek is the cofounder of JPG Magazine and the CCO of 8020 Publishing. Derek lives in San Francisco with his wife, two nutty Chihuahuas, a grumpy cat, and a house full of plants named Fred. More »
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iPod nano’s Pleasant Surprises 16 September 2005
Embrace your bottom! 13 September 2005
The iPod nano: So perfectly tiny 8 September 2005
Love in the year 2005 8 September 2005
Digging in the Dirt 5 September 2005