March 20, 2012

Mobile First (Intro)

Over the past few months I’ve been working towards a site redesign. One of my priorities for the redesign was to create a user-friendly experience across a wide range of devices. While responsive design has been a great innovation, it is often used for pure bling factor, without real consideration for how the content should be adapted or managed on various device sizes. In an effort to overcome such hurdles, I began the redesign with a ‘mobile first’ mentality as pioneered by Luke Wroblewski. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, mobile first is the practice of considering the design first and foremost for mobile or small screen devices, and then building upon that foundation, or progressively enhancing, for desktop and large-screen experiences. To read more on the topic, check out Luke’s book Mobile First available at A Book Apart.

The concept really connected with me on a number of levels. Mainly because mobile is the future of the web. Without getting into hard numbers and statistics, it’s logical to assume that mobile devices will replace traditional computers as the go to device for internet browsing. They are less expensive than a tablet or notebook, more accessible, and for the most part, always with us. The future of the personal computer has arrived, and can most likely be found in your pocket. This is not to evangelize the power of mobile technology, but instead illustrate the fact that mobile is a force to be reckoned with, and if we are not considering the mobile experience, than our designs will soon be obsolete from a UX perspective.

I’ll be detailing my thought-process and workflow for the redesign here in the days to come, but I wanted to release a snippet of the redesign in it’s infancy. It still has a long way to go and should be a viewed as super-beta, but the groundwork is in place and you can get a sense for where things are headed. Additionally, the dev site has been built and styled primarily for iOS and small screen devices, so if possible view it on your iPhone, or scale down your browser window size in Safari or Chrome.

Preview at dev.alexdeckard.com. Be sure to share any thoughts and/or criticisms with me on my Twitter account @alexdeckard. Thanks again to Luke Wroblewski for his insight on the topic and fantastic book, Mobile First.


March 15, 2012

Ultramontane

I am a big fan of bike and ski movies. Nothing gets you more stoked for the upcoming season than a well done edit. However, my favorite movies are not necessarily the one’s that feature the gnarliest lines or biggest hucks… but instead are the films that encapsulate the soul or essence of the sport. A few years back Sweetgrass Productions accomplished this with Signatures, a powder-ski film shot exclusively during an epic Japan winter.

Now, with bike season just around the corner here in Northern Utah, I’m going deep into bike mode devouring any bike-related content I can get my hands on. Recently I’ve discovered Ultramontane, a collective who’s made it their mission to embrace the offseason. Their videos are extremely soulful, set to great music (Deer Tick in this one), and are a must watch for anyone waiting for the snow to melt off their local trails. Check them out at ultramontane.ca.


March 14, 2012

Talent vs Persistance

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

— Calvin Coolidge

You don’t hear a lot in regards to our 30th President… but I sure like what he has to say about talent vs. persistance. Many regard Coolidge as the country’s first middle-class president. A small-town lawyer from humble begninnings who, through persistance and determination, became President of the United States.


March 13, 2012

New Work for Mountain Town Music

Sketch for Brothers of the Baladi Poster

Recently I’ve been commissioned by Mountain Town Music to create a few posters for their Spring concert series. This one is for the Brothers of the Baladi, an Oregon band that plays Middle Eastern inspired music. I’ve always been an advocate of sketching out your thoughts before touching a keyboard or mouse. While my sketches are by no means complete, having a direction in mind drastically cuts out the number of wrong turns a piece tends to take throughout the process. Above is the sketch that I submitted to the client illustrating the concept next to the final product. They loved it and I was able to move forward with the poster right away.

Brothers of the Baladi Poster

March 12, 2012

Leaky Rocket Ships

One of life’s most thrilling experiences is to build your own leaky rocket ship, then to ride it and see if it flies.

Frank Chimero on risk and exploration.

Frank Chimero is one of my favorite designers. He manages to intertwine his own narrative and editorial into every piece he creates… just reference his new homepage as evidence. Frank’s above quote really struck a chord with me. As humans, we’re always building and creating. However, the true reward comes not in the build, but during that maiden voyage where we either succeed or fail gloriously.


March 11, 2012

And… We’re Back!

Looking back at my last update… it’s hard to believe that 5 months have passed since my last post. The end of 2011 turned out to be an action packed couple of months. I proposed to Kassie, my little sister got married, and we’re proud new Park City homeowners. Since moving, we’ve been in a continual state of renovation and disorder, but now it seems as though we’re finally starting to close in on the gap.


October 10, 2011

Obama for America

Obama for America is seeking poster submissions from artists across the country illustrating why we support President Obama’s plan to create jobs now, and why we’ll re-elect him to continue fighting for jobs for the next four years.

— Taken from the Obama For America Artworks Website.

Really Obama… do you not see the irony in this? I have an idea for creating some jobs… it’s called hiring a professional. Take a note from FDR… the Farm Security Administration actually PAID their photographers and designers, thus creating jobs. What a concept.

And one last thing – Obama For America designers and developers… you should be ashamed of yourselves whoever you are.


October 9, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

— Quoted from Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement address.

What is most remarkable about Jobs’ death is the timing; having had the Apple announcement take place just the day before. Steve Jobs loved that company, and when he could no longer be a part of it, it was the final nail in the coffin so-to-speak. I guess lovers do die from broken hearts after all. Thanks for all you’ve given us Steve… you’ll be missed.