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  • My Comic Writing Process is a Mess

    And I like it that way. Here is what I tweeted earlier today:

    I have a script for a comic I've been sitting on for a while about Flickr feeling all dejected and unused. Might have to toss that one.

    A couple folks asked if I would share the script anyway. I figured why not so I opened my big document of comic ideas and found a mess of a script. The idea was to give Flickr feelings and have it deal with abandonment. There are 3 variations of the script, I never came up with a punchline for any of them which is probably why it never left the big document of ideas.

    This is how I work: I jot down dozens of ideas as they come to me every week and then when I have time I go back and see if there is something more to them. Unfortunately this makes for excruciatingly bad and boring scripts but is a pretty good way to collect ideas.

    v1 Trying to break up with Flickr:

    • FL: You used to love me.
    • Brad: I still do.
    • FL: But you never use me.
    • Brad: It's just easier to use Facebook or Instagram
    • FL: Can you group your photos in sets? Can you tag them? Is the quality any good.
    • Brad: Listen it's not you it’s me.
    • FL: I see,
    • v2

    • Brad: Happy Birthday Flickr!
    • FL: Aw thanks guys, you shouldn't have.
    • FL: What are you doing?
    • Brad: Taking your picture.
    • FL: With that brick?
    • FL: You own a f-ing Panteck super sync 9000 and you're using your phone?!?
    • FL: You used to be a real photographer not falling for every pretty filter that batted her eyelashes at you!
    • v3

    • FL: Happy birthday Brad!
    • Brad: Flickr! You scared me, and it’s not my birthday
    • FL: Well if you have filled out the new forms on the about page I would have known that
    • Brad: I didn't know…
    • FL: Of course you didn't, you haven't logged in since March
    • FL: Where have you been Brad?

  • Responsive Design: The New Whipping Boy

    Over the last few weeks We’ve seen responsive web design get blamed for everything from bad usability to the reason Facebook’s stock is tanking. One of the better thought out volleys came from Kirin Prasad who heads up LinkedIn’s mobile design team. He says:

    "Prasad thinks it (responsive design) is all wrong. Responsive design might work for uncomplicated, one-off websites, he said, but for applications or networks (such as LinkedIn is), responsive design is actually bad."

    I’m hoping Venture Beat is making this seem more of a blanket statement than he meant it. He goes on to say this:

    “You can’t take a mobile app and just scale it up to tablet or desktop,†he said. “A lot of responsive design is building one site that works everywhere, and that works for websites. But it’s bad for apps… You have to come up with a completely different design because of the use case.â€

    What is being described here isn’t a design problem, it’s a content problem. You can’t make your site responsive because your content strategy is out of whack. The responsive technique is becoming the fall guy for a content problem.

    On a larger screen users can skim past what they don’t care about easily, once screen real-estate becomes a premium that’s when your content problems become more pronounced. I dread logging into LinkedIn for just that reason. Are they trying to be Twitter? Why are there news headlines on the home page? Why am I always being bugged to add more information? The app is the streamlined experience the website should be.

    I think what Prasad is saying is that this app was an opportunity for him and his team to hit the reset button on LinkedIn’s user experience. And it shows, they did a great job. The article is about how the app is 95% html, but there are lots of apps that are mostly html, the reason this one is newsworthy is because it doesn’t suck. The lack of suck comes more from the streamlined content than the design.

    It’s just a shame that what he decided to bash was responsive design. For LinkedIn to go responsive they would have to cut crufty features. That would require admitting they were wrong about old unused features. That would require wading neck deep into the company’s bureaucracy. That would require getting buy in from all levels of management. That stuff is hard, maybe impossible. But starting over from scratch with an app, that’s doable. It’s just a shame that a design technique is getting all the flack for content problems.

  • My SEO Secret Sauce

    I was emailed recently by someone asking how my site does so well in Google. They probably noticed that I don’t use meta-tags, I sometimes forget to put alt text on images and I’m not jamming every page with keywords. If you study up on SEO tactics you’ll see that I ignore most of them. Here is what They wrote:

    Okay, so you seem to be an SEO mastermind. I see you have the first hit for Independent Web Designer. We REALLY need SEO help. While we are a web design company, we are not an independent which we both know are two different beasts. Care to tell your secrets. So I did. Here is what I wrote back.

    Sure, here is my secret.

    Create content for people not search engines. Content that makes them laugh. Content that makes them cry. Content that makes their lives a little better. Content that they have to share with their friends. Content that other sites want to link to. Content that you are proud to point to and say that you created. Then keep doing that over and over. In a couple years you’ll be kicking ass.

    I say this to anyone who ever asks and usually people are disappointed.