[Excellent article from 3.7CREA.TVclick here for original article]

CSS has brought us many capabilities in terms of typography and the web, but we always seem to be limited to the same 4-5 typefaces over and over again. There is an inherant problem, if the font you specify isn’t on the viewers computer it won’t render in that font. So as designers and developers we end up selecting the ones that we can safely assume is available on most computers today. So most pages use Arial, Helvetica, or Georgia as their typefaces… and the world of the web remains slightly more bland.

But there are quite a few high quality typefaces that are available on most new computer systems and you can always fall back on the common ones. Of course there are options like creating images, dynamic headlines, and siFR… but all of these techniques increase load time and development time. There are plenty of good reasons to be strategic in the font choices rather than using additional technology. I am shocked at how rarely I see anyone taking advantage of these type options, so here is a quick and dirty list of fonts you should and could use in your desgns and stylesheets.

1. Palatino Linotype / Palatino

WINDOWS 97.09% / MAC 78.86%

This is a nice serif font that his pretty good support for both Mac and Windows based machines (97.09% of all windows machines have it, and 78.86% of mac’s). Yet very few people use it and instead default to georgia or times. As you can see it makes for great headlines, and I have used it with success as copy type as well. Worse case you can always default back to georgia, times, etc.

Read More…


So I’ve been contemplating the whole idea of social networking and the proliferation of tools and APIs now available to support it.  I honestly admit, I never got the whole MySpace thing and despite that I write a blog or two, there’s a lot of tools I just really don’t get.  Take twittering for one.  I get that people have this insane need to be heard and “seen” and that the digital age made it just that much easier for individuals to leave obscurity and become rockstars in their own minds.  But why in the world would anyone want to follow someone else’s life through simply “watching” what they do?

Weigh in please … I am dying to understand this.

Posted by: Mat | June 5, 2008

I want…

Those of you who know me know I rarely ever really want anything (material that is)…even the iPhone, nah.  But this caught my eye…the HTC Touch Pro.  Unfortunately not available in the US until late 2008.  Figures.

 Read more here and see more here.


Posted by: Mat | May 30, 2008

Applying Divine Proportion to your Web Design

Effective web design doesn’t have to be pretty and colorful — it has to be clear and intuitive; in fact, we have analyzed the principles of effective design in our previous posts. However, how can you achieve a clear and intuitive design solution? Well, there are a number of options — for instance, you can use grids, you can prefer the simplest solutions or you can focus on usability. However, in each of these cases you need to make sure your visitors have some natural sense of order, harmony, balance and comfort. And this is exactly where the so-called Divine proportion becomes important.

This article explains what is the Divine proportion and what is the Rule of Thirds and describes how you can apply both of them effectively to your designs. Of course, there are many possibilities. Hopefully, this post will help you to find your way to more effective and beautiful web designs or at least provide some good starting points you can build upon or develop further.

[Read the rest – via Smashing Magazine]

Posted by: Mat | May 27, 2008


Asked frequently about how pages get rendered in a browser, and invariably stumped for an easy response(and never seeming to find one), here’s one pretty interesting way to look at it…

In his blog, DougT explains the concept of reflow which Mozilla defines as the process by which the geometry of the layout engine’s formatting objects are computed.  In any case, a couple of good examples cropped up on the net including this one below.  Check out this post for a couple more.

Posted by: Mat | May 26, 2008

Back in the saddle

I just got back from NYC after spending a week at the National Stationery Show in support of madebygirl.com.  It was an interesting experience in many ways, most notably being in an arena where technology was basically unimportant and visuals and textures and personality were the ruling parties.  You can check out some photos here and here.

And despite having Internet in the hotel, I don’t think I opened my laptop at all.  Instead, for once, I took the time to actually enjoy New York and the people and buzz.  Good fun.

In the meantime, I left every class with assignments … get to work!

Posted by: Mat | May 6, 2008

He gets it…

So in another bird to the naysayers who think the old school record labels still wield the power, NIN now (following the Niggy Tardust and Ghost releases I wrote about previously) just released their/his new album (The Slip) for free.  Free.  At this point, I don’t have anything else to say.  As for the title of the post, I’m responding to this article from DownloadSquad – NIN gives away another album, either Reznor gets it, or he’s just rich.  I’ve long maintained that, at least for the business side of things, he gets it.  I can’t even say I really like the music all that much.  But as a testament to its success, once again the servers were slammed – and that was just to get the torrent.  But at least it’s nice to see that new avenues are being explored, that musicians are taking it upon themselves to look to the long term gains from free distribution, to use torrents to make distribution efficient and cost effective. 

Posted by: Mat | May 1, 2008

Happy Birthday www


Happy Birthday to the World Wide Web, born 15 years ago yesterday!  Yeehaw – throw party!  Can you imagine what you would do in class if you couldn’t watch YouTube or check your MySpace (puke) page while I was lecturing! Oh the horror!

And for those of you who are really geeky/nerdy/dweeby [join my 😎 club] today is the 44th anniversary of the first program written in Basic.  To really grasp what efforts the two academics that did it had to go through and then contrast it against what things are like today, read about it here.

Posted by: Mat | May 1, 2008

Tapping the collective group mind

One way to generate more excitement and brainstorm when working on group or collaborative projects is to approach it a bit differently than you may have in the past.  Regularly at my job managing research & development at iStreamPlanet, we spend hours investigating different paths of development, exploring ideas and experiences, thinking way beyond the confines of normal programmatic or visual design practices…it has become a hallmark of how we are able to create efficiently and quickly produced solutions to technological problems.

Image: Adaptive Path
I was also recently at Mix08 where it was apparent that there was an huge interest in more collaborative approaches to problem solving and with the advent of socializing technologies, you should broaden your means of getting ideas generated.

I was prompted to think about this after reading a blog post on Adaptive Path about this very topic here and after watching one of my own UCD groups use overhead projections and whiteboarding.  But this is only a slice of the puzzle.  Be proactive, and be open-minded when searching for solutions.  Use colors, use technologies, use visuals and be big.  The answer is always out there, but it may be buried in a mound of ideas, so give it a reason to pop out.

[read “Tapping Into Conference Participants’ Brilliance“]

Posted by: Mat | May 1, 2008

Struggling with HTML and CSS?

Perspective…[eldavojohn writes] “The design director of NYTimes.com, Khoi Vinh, recently answered readers’ questions in the Times’s occasional feature ‘Ask the Times.’ He was asked how the Web site looks so consistently nice and polished no matter which browser or resolution is used to access it. His answer begins: ‘It’s our preference to use a text editor, like HomeSite, TextPad or TextMate, to “hand code” everything, rather than to use a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) HTML and CSS authoring program, like Dreamweaver. We just find it yields better and faster results.'”

[via Slashdot]

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