The Value of Really Big Pictures

Picture 1

Still at Webby Connect: Michael Zimbalist from the NYT has just said that the Big Picture Blog has doubled traffic to year on year.

Big pictures are in. ‘The fold’ is out.

Love’s Powerpoint Website


I’m gutted. But impressed. And glad.

Love have made their new website in Powerpoint:

I’m gutted because I’ve been whanging on about doing a website in PowerPoint for the last couple of years. But impressed because I couldn’t figure out how to do it, or to be arsed with the task of actually getting it done. And I’m glad it’s the Love guys who did it, because i like them.

I’m especially loving their use of the standard PPT sound effects. Brilliant.

And thanks to Jono for posting a comment about the site, nice one.

EDIT: By the way I’m not saying that I think it’s a good way to build a site, or even that I like the site as it is, I think it’s an intereresting thing though making a site in Powerpoint – it gives it talkability even if you don’t like it…

O2 Bad Web Page

The new O2, we’re out of stock of the 3G iPhone, page is bad. For a number of reasons. The whole upgrade/ordering thing was a farce, but more on that elsewhere

But worst of all is the padlock in the top right hand corner.

In my book a padlock on web pages means something. Normally that the page is secure. The page in question, is not secure:

A big company like O2 should know better than to mess about with the sanctity of the padlock.

How Many 5 Year Olds Could You Take In A Fight


I liked this promotion for a free online dating site.

Not because I endorse fighting gangs of 5 year olds (although I’ve probably had more experience of that particular activity than most, but that’s another story…).

I liked it because when you elect to put the badge above on your site you can choose whether or not you want to have a version with an extra little link to their dating site. I chose not to. But it was really nice of them to ask. And I almost said yes, just because they asked. If they hadn’t asked and just stuck their extra link in, in a horrible and cynical fashion, I wouldn’t have put up the badge at all.

Nice one Damn I just posted their link anyway. See how well it worked.

Oh and I like the fact that they put in a link to the forum post that inspired the quiz. That’s a decent thing to do too.

Outsourcing In-Housing And All That Jazz

The Men From The Agency

I’ve been having lots of bollocksy conversations with ‘industry types’ about whether doing production in-house or outsourcing it is the right thing to do. I’ve always been of the opinion that you need at least a good core of production in-house. Otherwise you miss out on lots of things – especially if you’ve got a good culture of sharing ideas, inspirations, frustrations and stuff.

I don’t think that’ll necessarily always be the case. If the digital side of the industry reaches a point of maturity that could always change. But given the fact that it’s an open platform that anyone can add to and help to extend and evolve I don’t see it being mature (in all respects) any time soon.

I was reminded that I’d not posted anything about this when I was watching the rather super Men From The Agency on BBC4 on Sunday Night. It’s about CPD who I’ve written about before. And Richard wrote a very good thing about how they were a New Media agency when this documentary was aired back in 2006.

The thing that made me think about the in-house/outsource debate was the way that Alan Parker and Ridley Scott used to be a totally vital and key part of the creative team. Making films in the basement of the agency and pushing what could be done in terms of ‘making stuff’. Perhaps I’m not familiar enough with the types of relationships that agencies have with directors and production companies today. But from the little experience I have, this looked like a much tighter unit.

It was only later on that Parker went and set up a separate production company at the request of some senior CDP dudes (if I remember correctly and I might not, I was nodding-off slightly at this point). I’m guessing that this departure and separation was at a point where they’d collectively made their point in terms of creative use and evolution of the medium.

When I say I’m guessing, I really am. But I felt that there was a parallel that helped me to self-justify my myopic view of the world even further. So I’m going to ride it until someone tells me I’m wrong.

Autechre On MySpace

Autechre on Myspace

If you were glitchy techoid producers of freaked out soundz. What would you do with your MySpace page? I guess make it completely fucked up and glitched out. Right?

That’s what Autechre have done anyway. Totally unusable. But I can’t help but sort of like it.

The Webbys – A Trip Back In Time


Nik’s written a piece on why he likes the Webbys over here.

I like the Webbys too. For me they’re the awards that get closest to recognising the important things online (in the English speaking parts of the interwebs anyway). It tends to recognise things for what they are, not what they look like.

Anyway, inspired by Nik’s runthrough of winners I went back and had a a look at 1997’s winners (Webbys 1.0) and I was totally shocked when I started to try and visit them.

It felt like most of them had gone!!!

So I did a very quick lookup of what’s left in all of the categories and it’s as follows:

Webbys 1997

I started to draw all kinds of spurious conclusions about why Money, Science, Film and Health are all still there (because they’re connected to big money and/or boffins). And why music, politics and sport did the worst (because they’re fickle, fast-moving industries run by a bunch of charlatans). But then I realised I was talking nonsense. There’s all kinds of reasons why these sites have gone missing in action.

For me it’s a really big shame that 47% of the best websites in the world from 10 years ago aren’t there any more. Thank goodness for the Wayback machine and its ability to teleport us back in time (mostly)…

Here’s the ones that are still alive…

(The ones that I’ve marked with a * are the ones that I love because the sites still really smell of 1997. The ones with two ** are the ones that make me really nostalgic for the days that I could do web design. The rest of them feel like they’ve moved on a bit…)


Books and Magazines








Music (sort of works, but not really)










So if you’ve made a nice website or know someone that has, enter The Webbys (closing date for this year is 25th Jan). And keep your website alive. Forever.

Web Dogma

It’s been a while since I’ve read Boxes and Arrows, it’s a very good collaborative blog about information architechture and related jiggery pokery. One thing caught my eye today:

Dogmas Are Meant to be Broken: An Interview with Eric Reiss

It’s a set of ‘rules’ for web design in the spirit of Lars Von Trier’s Dogma Manifesto.

My first thought was that it was going to be a load of luddite nonsense that would get in the way of innovation and advancement. But then I saw this and was encouraged:

The trick with doing a dogma for the web was to avoid the “rules syndrome” (For example, Links should be blue.) for best practices that were liable to change as technology changed. How do you do a set of rules or guidelines that would prove helpful despite the technological advances and would also be relevant as fashion changes?

Cool, I thought. Then I saw the manifesto and thought doublepluscool:

Web Dogma ‘06

  1. Anything that exists only to satisfy the internal politics of the site owner must be eliminated.
  2. Anything that exists only to satisfy the ego of the designer must be eliminated.
  3. Anything that is irrelevant within the context of the page must be eliminated.
  4. Any feature or technique that reduces the visitor’s ability to navigate freely must be reworked or eliminated.
  5. Any interactive object that forces the visitor to guess its meaning must be reworked or eliminated.
  6. No software, apart from the browser itself, must be required to get the site to work correctly.
  7. Content must be readable first, printable second, downloadable third.
  8. Usability must never be sacrificed for the sake of a style guide.
  9. No visitor must be forced to register or surrender personal data unless the site owner is unable to provide a service or complete a transaction without it.
  10. Break any of these rules sooner than do anything outright barbarous.

For a fuller explanation of each of the points visit: Dogmas Are Meant to be Broken: An Interview with Eric Reiss