Archive for April, 2009

Using Twitter for Travel

Using Twitter for Travel

We all know that Twitter has become a global phenomenon and the uses of it are changing everyday. What’s interesting though, is what people are choosing to do with it, and what uses work best for them. It is no longer just about catching up with your friends daily activities or keeping up with the constant stream of irrelevant information John Mayer is sharing with the world at any given moment. Nope, people are actually using it to make decisions.

Case in point – using Twitter for travel. Based on an article from the April issue of Travel + Leisure magazine, it is now becoming a common trend to book travel based on Tweets. Instead of searching through travel sites, users are turning to Twitter and their friends “tweets” to decide where they want to go, where they want to stay, and even how they want to get there.

Twitter offers users the ability to find information about hotels, destinations, restaurants, and airfare deals – all by way of direct feeds from those that users follow. I myself often book travel based on what my friends tell me and make my decisions from their experiences and recommendations. Twitter is giving users the same option, only virally, and exposing them to a much larger knowledge bank.

One man planned an entire trip from tips and information he acquired from his fellow Tweeters. Traveling from England to New Zealand over a 30-day span, his transport and accommodations were booked solely based on suggestions from the Twitter community.

Hotels, restaurants, and destinations are jumping on board too, reaching out directly to potential travelers, starting conversations with their customers in an informal manner, and encouraging responses. Developing this open dialogue in turn offers users who prefer social networking sites, and information based on actual experience, a place to turn to, ultimately causing these hotels and destinations to offer up more information via Twitter, then any of their other outlets.

To read the entire article, http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/using-twitter-for-travel

Everyone is Creative

Everyone is Creative

Not everyone would agree, but I’m convinced that it’s true. Here’s a brief overview of my own theories on the subject.

Inner Children Need Love Too
Exploration is a natural part of a child’s development. Think back to the days of your box of colorful waxed instruments known as crayons. Everyone at some stage in their lives possessed the ability to just creatively explore without the fear of rejection or judgement. With our parents beaming, our abstract scribbles were posted to the fridge to verify that our ideas were acceptable and well worth showing to the world. So what happened? So many adults today rarely let themselves “play” or fall out of adult mode. Inner children do exist, do you know where yours is?

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New Media vs. Typography

New Media vs. Typography

We have all seen it, a bright shiny new format or method of interactivity appears on the web. Numerous articles are written, potential usage forecast, then finally adoption into the mainstream. Which means for us designers a new piece of software or mark-up to learn and get the newness out the door for our clients’ benefit. One thing we as designers need to keep in mind and what seems to be forgotten in our scramble to be ahead of the curve is the basic principles of our profession, namely typography.

Now I am not talking experimental techniques or the latest trends in typefaces but the fundamentals of good typography. Visual hierarchy, readablilty and of course visual interest. Ignoring these why would anyone what to read the words we publish aside for the shiny package it’s presented in. With out the basic ground work of good typography and layout once one gets below the superficial animations and what not, what is left for the end user?

You can think of this in terms of traditional media. Who would want to read a magazine or newspaper that had giant type, total lack of white-space, and is jam packed with choices and things to distract the eye. Not me, that’s for sure, and I see this time and time again across the web, Flash apps with no regards to grid layout, rich media ads crammed full of copy. Typesetters of old would roll in their graves if they knew how the letter they had so painstakingly crafted were being treated. Just because there are limitless fonts to choice from will no true effort for creation on our part shouldn’t mean the history and proper uses of those faces are ignored or even worse forgotten.

So I leave my fellow designer with a challenge. Whenever faced with the challenge of new technology don’t forget your roots and the fact that almost all we create, the end goal is communication. Make sure your layouts always are inline with the message.