Design’s not dud yet

Sure, utility is still the key outcome of design, but let’s not ignore its broader potential. Design can have aesthetic and cultural impact too, even if that is only to inspire designers working on more essential products.

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Cennydd Bowles
Slow swordfighting

I’m at the World Chess Championship Candidates Tournament, at London’s IET. The winner will play India’s Viswanathan Anand for the 2013 title. Anand has been World Champion for six years, but most punters now regard his title as vulnerable. The stakes are high.

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Cennydd Bowles
Sloganeering

It’s no accident that slogans end up on book covers and campaign t-shirts. Slogans are the natural by-product of a shortform, connected world: the MVP of an idea, packaged to span the globe. Of course, their concision also makes them dangerous: no nuance, no debate. Idea soon becomes ideology.

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Cennydd Bowles
Not click. Not tap. Select.

We all know that the language we use is critical for framing discussion. So as not to prioritise one input method over the other, I’ve been trying to modify my language to suit this multi-input world.

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Cennydd Bowles
The gradient chart

Here’s a little tool I’ve found useful when deciding whether to build a responsive site or a separate site for different devices (eg a mdot smartphone site to accompany a ‘full’ site).

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Cennydd Bowles
Sphenisciform follows function

It feels almost arrogant to approach building for animals with regard for entirely human axes such as aesthetics and style. Far better that the occupants can flourish somewhere architecturally unremarkable.

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Cennydd Bowles
Designing with context

Context is a slippery topic that evades attempts to define it too tightly. Some definitions cover just the immediate surroundings of an interaction. But in the interwoven space-time of the web, context is no longer just about the here and now. Instead, context refers to the physical, digital, and social structures that surround the point of use.

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Cennydd Bowles
On failure

I’m no longer writing Designing The Future Web. Even after 18 months and 25,000 words, the well of knowledge is filling faster than I can draw from it, and it’s become clear that I can no longer make the sacrifices a book demands.

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Cennydd Bowles
A changing tide

It is the hybrid designer – not the specialist – who is most in demand, and every capable visual designer has picked up interaction design fundamentals. The specialists’ differentiation and competitive advantage is shrinking. 

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Cennydd Bowles
Joining Twitter

Later this month I’ll be joining Twitter as a senior designer, working on the evolution of Twitter’s apps with the London team. It’s Twitter’s first full-time design position in Europe, and as such has huge potential – and undoubtedly some intriguing challenges.

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Cennydd Bowles