I am a bit of a RSS feed addict. My most visited site is Google Reader and I keep tabs on over 100 sites/blogs on it. There is no way I would be able to receive the same amount of content if I had to visit each of these sites just to check if they had new content. Safe to say, RSS feeds make online content more accessible.
So I am one of the many people questioning Google’s decision to discontinue Google Reader on July 1st. I know this wasn’t a sudden decision on Google’s part. Google has had a history of taking Reader off of their main navigation. After complaints, Google briefly conceded to users and placed it back, only to quietly move it to their sub-navigation permanently.
The Internet’s Reaction
I find it fascinating when super-giant internet companies like Google commit the cardinal sin of internet culture: Do not piss off the internet! After the death of Google Reader was announced, it became a trending topic on Twitter (over the announcement of a new Pope). Thousands of users expressed their disappointment and dismay. A Change.org petition was started and is now at 48,000 signatures and counting. This Tumblr page seems to showcase the internet’s reaction best in animated gif form. It remains to be seen whether Google will bend to any of this backlash.
The Good News
Undeniably, the best news is that this leaves other companies room to explore new solutions for RSS readers. This will lead to new innovations and better user experience as each company will be sure to compete for users looking for Google Reader replacements. Google has also made it easy for us to move all of the data we’ve been storing on Google Reader, you can download your data here.
Feedly has already proved they are on top of their game by releasing a statement to users to let them know they are prepared for the switch. Feedly gets my vote for now since I’ve been using it on my iPhone for a few months now. There are also other alternatives such as Bloglovin, The Old Reader and Reeder. I also think many more RSS readers will pop up in the up and coming months. And this is a good thing. More competition equals more innovation. The death of Google Reader may be a blessing in disguise for users.
I’m excited to unveil one of my latest projects, Inspire [Her]. Last December, I attended the White House’s first codeathon which was organized to promote the Equal Futures App Challenge. We were encouraged to brainstorm reasons why women would be discouraged from running for office or accepting leadership positions and how we could utilize technology to solve this problem.
One of the themes that came up in our brainstorm was the lack of visible female public leaders for girls and young women to look up to. There have been so many women who have helped propose laws that have shaped the United States for the better but not everyone could name many of these women. The solution seemed clear: these leaders needed to be highlighted in a way where young women (or anyone, really) would notice them, share their message and be encouraged to learn more about them.
I thought sharing quotes by these amazing women would be an effective way of increasing the visibility of women as leaders. The idea was prompted by the popularity of sharing quote images on social media (just look at the popularity of Some Ecards!).
As you can see, the site is also responsive! Lately, all of the sites I have designed and built have kept mobile users in mind but I thought it was especially important for this project. Check out Inspire [Her] and share one of the quotes!
One of my favorite logo design techniques involves the clever use of negative space. The FedEx logo is the most famous example of this (if you’re unfamiliar with it, look at the shape that is formed between the E and the x). Here are a few more excellent examples of logos that make use of negative space:
Designing a logo is a complex and often misunderstood process. Hours upon hours of research, planning and sketching goes into designing a logo. Typeface consideration is crucial. Days can be spent on selecting the perfect typeface or handcrafting your own type. It also needs to be considered whether the logo can stand on its own with typography or if iconography should be introduced. Basic design principles such as gestalt and balance need to be considered. And all of these decisions need to be made with a strong concept in mind that carries the brand well.
Sometimes you’re lucky and the first logo concept is the winner and sometimes the perfect logo concept comes to you after you’ve completed 100+ variations of sketches. The beauty of this process is that you become more well versed and experienced with each design you complete. And as they say ‘practice makes perfect‘. You can use what you’ve learned about this visual language to come up with even more clever and successful ways of communicating the concept!
I love reading and I have been keeping track of my (mostly digital) book collection on goodreads. I recently noticed they have a book challenge feature that allows you select the number of books you would like to read this year and track your progress.
The first week of this year, while we were in Tennessee, I read 6 books. My mom commented that I was just like my dad in that respect. He would read thick mystery novels in less than a day. All of the librarians in the area knew him well because of his frequent visits and insistence that they help him look up books since he was “computer illiterate” (not so much like me there).
My dad passed away last year but we still had carrot cake to celebrate his birthday. This past week would have been his 67th birthday. For that reason, I chose to read 67 books this year.
These are a few books that have stood out to me so far this year. No thick mystery novels on the list but they are definitely page-turners, in my humble opinion.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Have you read any good books lately?