We’ve finally got our new space all ready to go, and we want you to visit. In fact, it’s not just Needmore who’s having our Grand Opening this Friday – it’s the whole building. And you’re invited.
Come down and visit us at the newly renovated Olympic Mills Commerce Center – a.k.a. the Old B&O Building. Beam Development will be showing off the building and providing live music, local artists, food, and drink. We will have our office open for you to visit, as well as cupcakes from local cupcake magicians Saint Cupcake and wine from local wine geniuses Square Deal.
Where: 107 SE Washington Street (Suite 265)
When: Friday, 4PM – 8PM?
We’d love to see you there!
We had a pumpkin carving party this past Friday with all of our new friends that share offices in our new building. It was a blast! A special thanks to Vinh at AboutUs.org for pulling it all together.
(see more pictures)
I’ve been really impressed by how well Leopard’s CoverFlow view and QuickLook technologies work with different sorts of files. For a project today, I was browsing through a system font folder looking for a particular file, and out of curiosity I tried the CoverFlow:
Nice. I then pulled up the font’s QuickLook (by pressing the space bar):
One of our favorite neighborhood spots to have breakfast (or lunch) at our new office is the J&M Café. Their coffee service is particularly charming. They have a giant metal “tree” that holds a huge variety of mugs (no two alike!), and you get to choose one for your coffee and help yourself.
Since we have our own cute Needmore mugs, we decided to try a little guerilla marketing. I brought one of our mugs, enjoyed a coffee, and left it behind. Sneaky!
And sure enough, every time we’ve been in there since, someone was using the mug. Which is good, because it means people must like it. It’s probably that adorable Tim Root drawing.
Speaking of those mugs, if you come to our grand opening next Friday (watch for an email invite, or do go ahead and let us know if you want the details!), we’d be happy to give you one!
I’ve been reading this or that about Apple’s next operating system for the Mac, Leopard, over the past few days. This is largely because Apple just announced the release date, later this month, and also because it’s been uncharacteristically long since the last system software update.
Much of the discussion has offhandedly dismissed this version as “not a big deal” and “less than the usual.” I think the nay-sayers will be surprised. I’ll tell you what: I think that Time Machine feature will be worth the upgrade price alone. I think it’s that good, particularly after reading AppleInsider’s excellent overview of its details and technology.
But it’s true, in a way. There’s not much in the way of killer features or big new additions, beyond that. And it has been a while since the last upgrade. So why do I think this version is so great? It’s mostly in the details, and the way everything works so much better together.
Over the past decade, especially the last few years, Apple has shown a great willingness to focus on improving the technology, even at the expense of confusing some customers or the market. Their transition of all their computers to a new Operating System (OS X), a new central processor (Intel’s), and releasing products that “cannibalize” their own sales to stay ahead come to mind.
Leopard is Apple’s OS X release intended to strengthen their footing. They’ve been gaining market share, even while offering computers with a much older operating system than their competition (Microsoft’s Windows Vista). Obviously, if the new OS release doesn’t blow people’s minds (and nobody really expects it to), no big deal.
If this new version gives Apple a far stronger technological foundation for moving forward, however… well, I think we’ve got a strategy here.
Perception is a funny thing. At lunch yesterday, I overheard a woman declaring that, as a designer, she could easily start out at a local giant like Nike making over $100,000 a year. It got me wondering about salaries in our field. Was she way off?
A List Apart just realeased their web designer survey results and it is quite intereseting to see trends related to age, income and so on. If our lunch friend was talking about web design, it appears she was indeed off target; Only about 6% of web designers report pulling in over 100 grand a year. Average salary look to be about $40 to 60 (and this is a mix of seasoned and new designers usually with titles such as Information Architect or Creative Director). A quarter of those surveyed bring in under $20,000 a year. If huge salaries aren’t the draw, then what is?
Web designers appear to generally enjoy their jobs. Job satisfaction grows with age with women, on the whole, more satisfied in their jobs than men. Interestingly, respondents who are project managers and information architects indicated the highest satisfaction with their work, which does appear to relate to salaries above.
Overall, this survey is quite an interesting peek into the trends and realities of our field. I’d love to see this survey compared with a general design survey. I wonder if we’d still see such young (43% of us are 25-32), male-dominated (82.8%) demographic.
Every morning I like to come in and spend a half hour or so in my newsreader software. It’s kind of like reading the morning paper, but less depressing.
This morning, while reading our “neighborhood blog,” I stumbled across a link to a yoga studio that I might be interested in. Seems nice, although I immediately started complaining to Kandace about the clip art photography of someone holding a plant sprout in their hands. I’ve just seen this kind of graphic way too many times. What does it mean, anyway?!?
Not ten minutes later, I stumble across a strangely familiar look in a site linked from the CSS Remix web gallery. But it’s different, right? This time they’re only using one hand. Has this plant sprouted there, right in that hand, from nothing? Is this the hand of God here?
Truly a tired, overworked image.
Traditionally, we both design and program each of our websites (and quite enjoy this holistic approach). Here and there, we have also been invited to take part in projects in the role of either designer or programmer. In each of these circumstances, the more interaction between design and programming, the better.
Seth Godin sees web design a bit different:
We need to start by divorcing the two practices….Start with design. Don’t involve the programming team until you’re 90% done with the look and feel of your pages. It’s cheap to change design if it can’t by supported by programming, and cheaper and faster to have design done in Photoshop before you commit to cutting it up and coding it.
In one respect, Seth is right on: it is often cheaper to make changes in Photoshop than once programming begins. However, leaving a designer to make all of the assumptions about how technical aspects are going to work together can be both dangerous and costly. A design that looks good isn’t always going to be realistic to program. Bringing a programming perspective in early on allows designers to augment designs based on such feedback.
37Signals has a similar approach:
Thinking of designers as someone who paints the application pretty in Photoshop is a common but unfortunate misconception…Designers decide and design the flow, the copy, the structure of the page, the programmers make all of it come to life by plugging it into the backend. All along both parties trade concessions on how to get the feature done as fast possible by grabbing the easiest value. (emphasis mine)
Thinking that a client is going to gain value from divorcing programming from design is simply not realistic. In fact, the more programmers and designers communicate throughout a project, the better a client is ultimately served (and will be presented with a stronger product for their investment).
So we’ve been looking into building a site for a realtor. For the most part, this is a straightforward proposition. You just need a basic content management system that you can style so that it looks nice. Home listings can, in essence, be blog posts or any other “container” that you want. It’s a solved problem.
However, things get vastly more complicated if you want to show “live” listings from the Multiple Listing Service. For one thing, there’s not one MLS, there’s more like a hundred around the country. So for the Portland area, they have their own unique data and their own format, as I understand it. And you can certainly link to a search form on their site if you like, but all the results you get are on their own site with links to various different realtors. Not the seamless experience Needmore wants to provide to a client.
The way around this is with a data exchange format called IDX. However, this is no simple data feed that anyone can grab. You need to be a fully licensed realtor, and sign a rather strict agreement to get to the data. You also need a competent programmer to handle processing the data, since each MLS seems to use a slightly different format. In other words, you legally need a company of a certain size to just develop a means of handling this data and integrating it into a site. A small firm like us can’t just build a website using this data.
And so there’s a whole slew of companies who offer IDX listings that you can drop into your site. The problem is that they don’t look attractive and they’re not going to look right in the site we build. That concerns us. What concerns us more is that they charge anywhere from $35/month to $100/month and up. They also usually charge several-hundred-dollar setup fees!
This is a lamentable state of affairs. I can’t see it improving any time soon, but it sure would be nice.
This is pretty neat. Here’s the front of our building (albeit with the wrong address):
And you can see it here … You can zoom in and out, rotate the camera, and move around the city at will.
That’s right, Google added Portland to their Street View today. You can learn more about it on Google’s help site. Endless fun!