Wikia Labs, a new feature introduced by Wikia last week, was one of the most exciting features I designed during my time with the company. If you’re familiar with Gmail Labs you’ll understand how it works. Users (specifically admins) on Wikia can turn features on and off – the set consists of Top Ten Lists, Gallery Exhibitions, and Article Comments. This new ability gives administrators a greater level of control over their own wiki. Additional it provides a limited environment for Wikia to launch new features and gather feedback from users. For Wikia’s devoted user base, change can often be scary and invoke a backlash from the most passionate users comfortable with infrastructure currently in place. Wikia Labs serves as a bridge to acclimate users to new tools and gather feedback to ensure the the company is delivering features that are needed and wanted by the community.
Well worth the read whether you’re a designer or in a position where you’re providing the feedback. It just might save your next project from looking like a mullet.
“John in marketing wants to be able to log in directly on the home page, but Tim in Engineering would prefer it on its own page. Can we compromise?”
No. We cannot compromise.
If you tell your barber that you like it short, but your significant other likes it long, you’re gonna get a mullet.
We’ve seen an explosion of meta gaming on the web in the past couple of years. Ever since Foursquare brought badges into the web conscience an influx of copycats have sprung up attempting to implement gaming features of their own. These days you’ll find badges and rewards systems on many of the Internet’s most popular sites. But the model has always struck me as flawed. It’s the cart coming before the horse. What the whole equation is missing is game design.
Earlier this year the team at Wikia started down the path to redesign their product – a popular wiki hosting platform. Over the summer they brought me on the project as an interaction and visual designer. And just last month we let the redesign loose to a passionate community of select users. Our redesign effort concentrated on making the experience of using a wiki, where a community of users contribute the content, easier. It’s still too early to judge if we accomplished our goal of attracting a larger audience, helping them discover content, and engaging them as editors. However, after a couple weeks, the reactions that we are getting from users are encouraging and we’re excited to continue improving the site.
This bit of work began as a postcard and made its way into a banner hanging from the San Francisco Ferry Building on the occasion of Wikia’s Food & Tech event. The logo was a piece of work we put together for the Healthy Recipes team at Wikia a few weeks ago. The event, which took place on Sunday October 10th, saw a handful of local chefs serving up their culinary delights and an esteemed panel discussing technology’s role in shaping the food we eat. It always puts a smile on my face to see my work placed in the context of tangible moments like these.
At 2 Out of Three designing websites is our specialty. We enjoy taking on every aspect of a project because it means we’ll have the ability to translate our creative vision from the early stages of wireframes all the way through to the last line of code. We’re extremely proud of our latest work for the niche travel experts Best of Both, where our vision extended not only to the imagery present while browsing, but also to the tools that the team at Best of Both will implement for updates.
The initial design for 2 Out of Three was over three years ago, an eternity in the web world. As new technologies and design methods appeared over the years the flaws I kept seeing on the site were magnified, even if it was only in my mind. So it felt like the right time for a redesign. What started out as a fresh coat of paint quickly snowballed into much more and in the end I found myself overhauling the entire foundation of the 2 Out of Three’s website. Now, a couple months after kicking off the project, it’s ready and I’ve got a brand spankin’ new website that I’m excited to show off and get feedback from you all.
I’m excited and proud that Armchair Revolutionary launched the Beta version of their website Armrev.org earlier this month. The project has been percolating for some time now with ambitious goals: to change the world by supporting projects in science and technology that would create positive social change worldwide. The idea behind the site is to empower tens of thousands of participants to raise funds, organize large phone and email campaigns, and educate the public about the site’s various causes.
Last week a group of ladies came stumbling into Santa Cruz wearing some of the hard work that came out of the 2 Out of Three studio. Team Sweet Tooth had just completed a 200 mile relay run from Calistoga to Santa Cruz. Congratulations to the team for completing the race and shattering their expected time by 2 hours. I’m proud that I was able to help them out with a shinny new logo for the run.
Layer Tennis has been around a few years, the premiss is simple. Two designers swap Photoshop, Flash, and Illustrator files back a forth in 15 minute intervals trying to out design and out smart each other. A moderator maintains a running commentary on this exercise of speed and wit. After 10 “volleys” all the fun comes to an end and everyone in the inter-web gets to vote for a winner via twitter.