Other posts related to design-critique

 | August 3, 2010 5:50 pm

Vignelli-SubwayOver the past couple of weeks, I’ve been wandering about in a daze.  (This often happens when I’m doing too many things at once.)

I’m trying to get LyX-Outline done, finish my book, and draw up plans for  Time Drive.  I’ve also got dozens of ideas for blog posts, scientific studies, articles, software projects, and even books dancing about in my head.

(I wish I could figure a way to make some of these ideas pay for themselves, as I would like to pursue them more aggressively.  But, that is a topic for another day.)

Amidst all of the creative chaos, there is one question that I find particularly interesting.  Namely: How the form of a thing influences its function?  This question also goes by a secondary, better known moniker: “the medium is the message”.

Like other dynamics such as nature/nature,  form/function is  a constant in graphic layout, analytic design, horse training, writing, software development, scientific inquiry, marketing/advertising, neuroscience, and behavioral psychology (basically everything which interests me).  My obsession with it has already filled one book chapter and, unless I can exercise some self-restraint,  will likely consume another.

Which brings me to the point of this post.  While researching typographical examples this morning, I found a very interesting instance and thought I’d share.

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 | July 7, 2010 5:15 pm

Windows-Live-WriterMicrosoft just released the latest version of Windows Live Writer to beta testing; and as it’s been more than 18 months since the last upgrade, people have been waiting with baited breath.  Last week, I finally found time to download and play with the new version; and, in general, I like what I see.  Right out of the box, you’ll notice a number of improvements, including:

  • a new ribbon interface, which unifies the user experience with Office 2010 and other Windows applications
  • support for new blog platforms
  • new image effects
  • a more organized and attractive appearance

But even though many of the changes are positive, others are not.  In some instances, the changes negatively impact the program and feel like a step backward.  And  this is an absolute shame, since Windows Live Writer is the best way for a novice computer user to create a personal website.

Because the program is still in beta (and I sincerely hope that the Live Writer design team is seeking feedback from the user community) I thought I would post a short critique of the program from a “design perspective.”  What follows are a collection of fussy thoughts related to item position, order and control redundancy.

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