Late last year I ventured out to TEDx Newcastle, it was an amazing event organised by the guys at Codeworks, I’ve since joined their team.
They’re an amazing bunch and can nail content for events like nothing I’ve seen before. One of the talks was by Chris Stainthorpe of the B Group Creative Agency. Chris talked about privacy and the debate behind data being publicly available without people knowing it. I was intrigued by his talk, more so because of the feedback he was getting from the crowd. It seemed like shock-and-awe as they realised unless they changed their privacy settings that their info was widely available to the general public on the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn etc.
I was reminded about the debate this morning when checking the Technology area of news.bbc.co.uk and finding two articles relating to privacy issues with Google and Facebook. It brought me back to my opinion on privacy at the time of listening to Chris at TEDx Newcastle.
Surely in this day and age people are aware of identity fraud and ridiculous scams online. Putting that together with Facebook and other social networks, surely people must realise that whatever they write or publish is then quite clearly and obviously public knowledge. We’ve all heard stories of people saying the wrong thing on social networks and then being reprimanded at work because of it.
I personally think there is no privacy debate at all. If we put privacy in the control of the user then clearly tell them what is visible when they’re signing up, surely then it is down to them and not the social app which they’re using?
Why do we have to keep discussing what should and shouldn’t be allowed. What we can and what we cannot show? Give the power to the people and let them choose. Surely?
We don’t know how the Google algorithm works, yet we trust it to deliver results which are best for us!? Erm hang on a minute… Millions and millions of searches must go through the various international Google websites daily. Google presents us with websites in a specific order which they deem substantially correct for the keyword search that we enter. They also present us with paid results which advertisers pay Google to present the average Joe.
The internet is full of users who I would put in a ‘general’ category, you know, the majority of people who ‘use’ the internet to buy the odd thing, check out facebook far too much, read the news etc. This general category don’t particularly understand why things work the way they do, or why things look a certain way they just expect it to be ‘just like that’. They’re the category that believe Google are doing their best for them, that they’re delivering the results they want.
We trust Google to deliver results which are definitely what we’re looking for. This after all is one of the reasons that made it the biggest search engine in the world today. Do we really know that in those 10 links on the first page of results, the result you’re definitely looking for is there? How do you know that it’s not in fact on page 53?
It’s a strange question of course, but one that we’ve never queried as we expect them to be doing everything right. Surely Google wouldn’t be pulling the wool over our eyes, right? I’ll leave this open for discussion.
I thought I may as well give this URL ABC game a go since I’m feeling a bit under the weather. Started off by the extremely talented Tim Van Damme, and then followed up by Andy Clarke and Elliot Jay Stocks it’s a simple game: Go to the address bar in your favorite browser, and type one letter. Start with “a”, end with “z”.
O: NO BOOKMARK
P: NO BOOKMARK
U: NO BOOKMARK
So there you go, a look inside of my bookmarks ABC style.
I recently contributed an article to Fuel Your Creativity titled “Don’t stick with what you’ve been taught, you’re a creative so get creative!” I enjoyed writing the article and was honored by the comments left over at FyC.
Too many people look at other work and are again directly influenced by what they see. I say look at other mediums that are not directly linked to your own, look out for works of art that you could indeed work with for colour palettes. Look at beautiful brochures that could be linked to a new blog design, the world is your oyster.
Check out the post at Fuel Your Creativity and let me know your thoughts on the subject.
I recently had the chance to interview Prisca Schmarsow about work, teaching, web dev/design and everyday life. Thanks Prisca for taking part!
Prisca Schmarsow, 39
Amaretti & Capuccino
Book:: “Designing for the Web” (Mark Boulton)
Well, I was one of those people …. I used to think I am not cut out for working with computers. I started with hand-drawn visuals, doing pub blackboards and drawings/illlustration for adverts and did not think I would get my head around being creative on a ‘machine’. Quite funny now to think of it….
Gently pushed by my partner – I eventually did venture into the digital arena by doing a graphic design course – and it all started there. Painter was, and in many ways still is, my favourite app at the time. Doing graphic design work – I was soon drawn to the internet and its design possibilities. Though I was by then quite happy to work digitally – I was still a bit of a techno-phobe, thinking my head would not be able to cope with the technical complexities. So when I did start with webdesign – I took the then easier road of flash design. It gave me complete control over my designs. I absolutely loved creating flash websites though I of course soon realised its drawbacks and its place within webdesign overall.
And then there was “designing with web standards” by Jeffrey Zeldman, introducing me to webstandards and a better web After finding Eric Meyer and his site – I went onto to learn handcoding and CSS from online resources — and here I am
There are many, too many to list really. I love the web for its online community spirit — I feel I owe my knowledge and understanding to all the helpful and lovely geeks out there. I could tell you lots of stories on how various people have helped me through various stages of learning webdesign – this would fill a book
Suffice to say that Eric Meyer is my all time guru – I feel I owe him and Jeffrey Zeldman my current career. Had it not been for their writing, sharing of knowledge and inspiration on so many levels – I don’t think I’d be doing what I am doing now and loving it. And of course now there are many more inspiring people, too many to mention.
Teaching is not something I ever envisaged myself doing, to be honest. I’d been working with graphic and flash design for about 2 years when the training place where I had done my first course had a vacancy for a graphic design and multimedia tutor. I would not have dreamed to apply but work was slow and my former tutor encouraged me to go for it. So I did – and to my surprise got the job despite my complete lack of experience. And though it was incredibly nerve-wracking initially – I loved it. Now I run the ‘design for the web‘ (as well as the ‘digital animation‘) course at TowerHamlets College and can teach what I consider good working practices to my students, hoping to send them into our industry with good skills – aware of what matters: good user-friendly design, web standards, accessibility and so on. And the ones who make it – make me proud
Always start with a cup of coffee I usually work on several projects at the same time, splitting my day’s time between them. Depending on whether the academic year is in flow or whether I can focus entirely on design – I divide my time up between my 2 jobs, taking care of my clients as well as my students. I usually take care of formalities in the morning and do a lot of the creative work towards the end of the day or evening. Love the holidays from teaching for being able to keep my own hours so I can do some late sessions if the mood takes me.
The eyedea team is currently undergoing a change – we’re working on our new site at the moment as we are shifting our focus now primarily onto webdesign. It all started as a freelance collective, combining multiple skills and working together as a team. Two heads are always better than one and we love collaborating on various projects and learning from each other.
As time went on we continued to work mainly on webdesign projects so we’ve decided to refocus. We’ve all still got our own areas and specialities, from photography over illustration to writing – but our main field remains the web. So I’m really enjoying designing our new site and looking forward getting it out there.
Design all the way… I do enjoy the challenge of coding and certain aspects of front end development – but if I had to chose one over the other, nothing can beat design. I’m a big fan of the Bauhaus and its principles which are my motivation. Design is for people—has purpose—aims to be used and enjoyed though it might go unnoticed through its successfully designed and implemented functions.
It’s the balance between the two that I like. Though teaching can be very hard work at times (mainly due to the bureaucratic mountain of paperwork it involves) it also keep you on your toes. I enjoy the challenges it brings and the learning environment, I remain a student myself.
And I do love design work, from start to finish – love the entire process and couldn’t do without it. And I do consider myself a designer who teaches and not the other way around so I suppose design would have to be my final choice.
The open and sharing spirit of the web. Without the many many friendly and sharing people online I would not be doing or loving what I do. In my early days of flash design – I learnt everything from online resources. I had had 1 day of flash introduction and went from there. Learning from online tutorials, forums, even personal support from individuals. My first ever site went online with someone in the Netherlands holding my hand – taking me through every single step via online chat. Overwhelmed by the technical aspects – it would have taken me ages by myself so this was a major moment for me – and I could not believe how supportive the online community could be.
Fast forward to “designing with web standards” – had it not been for Jeffrey’s book – and then Eric’s site…. I would not be handcoding now, or even have a clue about good webdesign. And then there are people like … actually too many to mention, I’d only forget some vital names. Sites like ‘A List Apart’, blogs by inspiring designers as well as developers who explain in plain English complex techniques and so on keep me learning all the time. (This is why I don’t really agree with the term ‘self taught’. Though I did the learning by myself in a physical sense – I would not say I am self taught – but rather have been taught by so many lovely geeks online)
So the short answer simply is: the biggest contributing factor are is the open and sharing spirit online.
Mac – though I think I was just lucky to learn on a mac. Saying that – I have to admit I am always in favour of gorgeous visuals which is why I’m happily sticking with Apple
Hopefully continuing to try to make the web a better place alongside everyone else.
Would love to – depending on time and money. At times some of the best conferences clash with my teaching — or are simply too pricey for a freelancer… But I do love the talks and the slides seem to be getting more creative now as well.