Fizzy Web

I had a meeting with a prospective client yesterday (I hope she doesn’t mind me posting this, I am keeping it anonymous). And in our conversation she said that she wanted their site to be ‘fizzy’, at first I almost laughed, then as we talked, and I thought about it, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a fizzy web site – unless you’re a soft drinks company in which case you should be fired ;-)

She was using the word fizzy to describe something that other people would have described as dynamic, visually engaging, wankword, cliche, etc. It was really refreshing (damn, see what’s happened now!).

I’m guessing that the digital world suffers from briefing cliches more than some other areas. I think it’d be great to try living without e-cliches for a bit and replacing them with words like fizzy (where appropriate).

Application Love

After an earlier gripe about YouTube’s shoddy error message, here’s a beautiful piece of application design that’s cheered me up no end. From the brilliant and ever useful backpackit.com and their writeboard (collaborative document editing dodah) service.

I deleted a document that I’d been working on. On purpose. It did the usual thing of checking I was sure. Then on the cofirmation page. Bang.

WritePad Delete Confirmation

Gives me ultimate confidence that they understand the frailty of human nature and have built an application that gets it too. Aaah. Geek Lovely.

Errors in Errors

It’s been a wee while since I posted an interface gripe. So here’s one I got today at YouTube:

Youtube error
So, what’s wrong with this?
  • 500 Internal Server Error. That sounds like a lot of waiters with gut problems. Serious. What did I do wrong? I must have done something.
  • Trained monkeys, that’s sort of almost funny (but not really). I think they mean that someone’s going to fix it.
  • If someone’s fixing it, does that mean what I’ve just tried to do will get done or do I need to do it again. Now? Later? When?
  • Even though it’s being fixed I have to email customer service. Why? In case the monkeys’ pagers aren’t working?
  • What on earth is that big blog of Matrix style gunk that I have to copy and paste into my ‘error report’, what’s an ‘error report’? How do I make one?
It just hasn’t been thought about properly. Someone’s seen that it can be nice to personalise these messages and give them a bit of character (hence the monkeys gag). But for me it’s indicative of the fact that YouTube doesn’t really have a visible character, or tone of voice.

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I love London (a little bit)

Busking on Brick LaneSome of you may have seen my ‘I love London’ blog – an experiment to try to get me to love living in London a bit more. And whether having a blog that makes me look out for good things would help me to see good things.

After a strong start it faltered badly. I couldn’t find anything. Everything just seemed generic to living somewhere that isn’t ‘in the middle of nowhere’. And I started to feel like I wasn’t loving London very much. Then I saw something unexpected on Sunday that strangely fired me up…

A couple of people busking on Brick Lane: I’d given up… Until… – I Love London

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Alpine Entertainers

Here’s a little something from my holidays. Some photos of promotional posters from the finest entertainers that South Tyrol has to offer…

Alpine Entertainers – a photoset on Flickr

You see, these guys look like fun. They all look like they’d give you a night of rollocking good entertainment. Now compare the above to the tedious typographic poster techniques used by po-faced clubs in the trendy club capital…

I vote for more fun photos of people and their instruments on posters.

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MySpace Murder Foiled

I’m sure this is going to get a lot of coverage: MySpace Murder Plot Foiled – September 14, 2006

And I’m not going to bang on about it too much, but it reminds me of a conversation that I’ve had with a few people recently about online privacy and identity.

Sophie has mentioned to me a couple of times that I don’t credit her in my blog, and it’s true, but for good reason. Not because I’m trying to be a blog-swinger and attract chicks who read geeky blogs. Or because I’m trying to pretend that everything I write about is mine, mine, all mine. But because I don’t think that it’s right to ‘put’ someone online who doesn’t exist there already. I have no qualms about mentioning bloggers, or people who are active participants in online communities, or even people who are relatively googleable. But I’d never want to be responsible for ‘creating’ someone online. Even relatively anonymous Flickr postings can lead to all kinds of strange happenings.

The MySpace hit is just an extreme example of what happens when you get spotted in the wrong places online.

The one time when I have posted about someone who didn’t really have an online presence is when I blogged about my friend Olly who sadly passed away, I had a strange feeling that there would be people who knew he was tragically ill but may not have heard of his death. And sure enough there were a significant number of Google searches for his name that lead people here, resulting in a fair few emails from friends and acquaintances. Receiving those mails and dealing with them felt like an incredible responsibility and made me even more aware of the power of talking about people online.

Holidays, Blitzen and Blogsitting

It’s been a few days. But I am on holiday.

For some reason whenever I go away people say “you’re always on holiday”, but I promise I’m not. Regardless here’s where I am: Algund-Lagundo – it’s a lovely place, but slightly odd; it’s in Italy, but everyone speaks German. I’ll bore you with some holiday thoughts and pics later.

Anyway this time I decided to take my laptop with me, just for emergencies you understand. But when we arrived I was told that lighting had hit the internet (my poor translation from the German, but not a million miles off). When I called work on Monday and told them I couldn’t get online I really did feel my excuse was about as far fetched as the dog having eaten my homework.

My biggest regret about not being able to get online was that Mike Coulter who writes the excellent Digital Agency blog was going to blogsit for me. But I didn’t get round to sorting it before I left :-( When Mike and I were emailing about it I thought the idea of blogsitting was pretty interesting, then I discovered that it was old hat: http://www.blogsitter.net/

Youth

Ooooh oooh yes please. I’d love to know how to grab youth attention using these new fangled new media channels and technologies. Sounds exciting.

Damn! I should have guessed, breakdancing kids on mobile phones. The answer was staring me straight in the face all along. These photos are from a marketing pack I’ve just received for a conference.

Anyone know where I can get the ‘urban youth cliche clipart vol 7 cd’? I’m searching for a bmx-ing blackberry user and a skater grinding a PSP.

(If you fancy going to the conference, it might be ‘wicked’, it’s at: www.youthperspective.com)