We’re fucked

OK, not totally. But this is an interesting development. A startup that will take your designs and turn them into coded web pages by outsourcing it to cheap places around the world (returning your pages within 5 days). Prices from $150. If you don’t like it you don’t pay. TechCrunch: XHTMLized Turns Your Design into Code

In fact. I think we should start to use them. In fact. We’re saved! Saved from pricey freelancers that is ;-)

As a trend, alongside Spotrunner which does a similar thing with advertising. (Creates bargain basement looking ads and schedules and optimises media placements automatically). It’s interesting to see how some of the ‘low-end’ (and I’m not sure about using that term here) of both the interactive and advertising industries are being made automatable and outsourcable in new ways.

I suppose when you add in PayPal, Google Checkout, Shopify, eBay, etc. It’s just the next wave of technological enabling of small businesses and entrepreneurialism. And I suppose that it could just be compared to the fact that when Desk Top Publishing was made accessible, design shops didn’t die out. But I’m not sure it’s quite the same…

Online Community Motivations and Reputations

Faris left this rather good link about motivations for contributing to online communities to in the comments. I’m not going to summarise it here. But there’s a couple of thoughts I had about how this might change in the future…
It’s interesting to think how this might all change once our digital identities are no longer tied to individual sites or reputation systems. So if I turn up at a new community with my Amazon Top 100 reviewer badge and 3 gold Ebay stars (not that I have either of those things), would it make me more or less attractive to the people who are there. I guess it all depends on whether it’s a community that respects those ‘tribal’ badges.

And what happens if I get found out as having been a member of a ‘rival’ community in the past. Or, if in my wayward youth, I was badly behaved in a community and got chucked out of somewhere. Online ASBOs anyone…

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that if motivations and behaviours are motivated in certain ways, once those motivations extend outside of a ‘local’ online space, and become ‘global’ then the whole game changes. And I reckon that once various pieces of online ID become joined-up it’s going to get pretty tricky to erase unwanted parts of your history. It’s not like in the offline world where only a few people have access to your ‘files’, most of the things you’ve said and done in a public online space are stored indefinitely for all to see.

Which reminds me of a great presentation I watched a while ago – Dick Hardt from Sxip talking about Identity 2.0. Great content and great style.

Ugly Design Works

This is an interesting debate. I think I might not share it with some of my colleagues for fear of inciting a mini-riot Ugly Design Works… Most Web Designers Miss the Point. I do think there’s some truth in it though (eBay anyone?).

It reminds me of a quote from Tim Berners Lee about how “the Internet will always be a little bit broken” as reported by David Weinberger (I think I first heard it in his book Small Pieces Loosely Joined). In essence, because much of the web is made by real people it’s always going to have flaws. The argument then continues if you try to make a website too polished it feels like it’s trying to overpersuade people and they react against it.
The tricky bit for me is how you deal with corporate websites, yes they’re made by real people. But then so are TV commercials, and you don’t expect errors in those. Or, perhaps, if the rest of the TV environment was made up of public access channels you would?!?

And what about websites that need me to feel safe and secure? I’m not sure I want my bank website to feel as if it’s “a little bit broken”. Hmmm. I’ll have to ponder on that one. Feels like another chapter of my Emotional Architecture piece that I’m still promising to write.

NSPCC – Dream Auction

NSPCC Dream AuctionHere’s a little (in size) project Poke have done for the NSPCC. The NSPCC Dream Auction is aiming to raise a huge amount of money to help to end cruelty to children. There’s a number of ways to get involved, from a huge gala auction at the Royal Albert Hall (that I’m sure I won’t get an invite to), 1000s of eBay lots (which I’m sure I can bid on) through to the sale of rather fetching mobile phone lanyards.