Online strategy game wip

hex-based online board game
Soarce is working on a online hex-based strategy “board” game. The front end is going to be HTML + JS and should work in IE8+, FF3.5+, Chrome, Safari, and eventually iOS/MobileSafari. Still needs a name… we’ve been tossing around things like “Post-Apocalyptic Tactical Combat” but haven’t really settled on anything solid.

Wednesday wip 2

Some decent progress on this one. I’m using a different technique than usual, breaking up each major part of the figure into its own layer. This should help me get some nice clean edges where I want them, since I’ll be able to use the eraser around the edges instead of painting with the background color.

Wednesday wip 1

This is the start of a new weekly post series, hopefully every Wednesday, showing the current status of whatever I’m working on. And hey, the post titles will even be alliterative.

A quick sketch for a new poster/print/digital painting. I’ve been thinking of the possibly producing a series with this same general layout & theme.

Also here’s the start of some color/design ideas for the upcoming Soarce website redesign:

Winter Landscape wip 2

I started to get a little carried away with the details after blowing it up to 12×18  at 300 ppi, but it’s coming along ok. I think I’ll come back to it in a few days, make any corrections I need to, then call it finished.

Winter landscape wip

winter landscape wip

A couple hours in, I think I’ve got the colors fairly accurate so far. I’m going to get into the real tiny details like the background tree branches and cattails next.

Ear-bud Usability

After about 3 years of service, my Apple ear-buds that came with my iPod finally started to go, and I got some cheapo $10 JVC’s to replace them. They’re nothing fantastic as far as sound quality, but after using them for a few days, I noticed a simple little feature that solves a usability problem with headphones, especially Apple’s ear-buds: figuring out which ear-bud goes in the right or left ear.

Apple's headphones

Apple's headphones

Apple’s standard ear-buds are stylish and minimal in design, and like most of their products, stripped to the bare essentials. A stick with a speaker on the end, and a little bit of rubber to keep it in your ear, that’s about it. Faint little “L” and “R” printed on the “stick” portions are the only indications of left and right. Apple brands itself as the champion of user experience, but in this case their aesthetic choices cause them to lose sight of an easy usability improvement.

JVC Gumy headphones

JVC Gumy headphones

JVC’s design is fairly similar, but for inexpensive headphones (the cheapest I could find at Best Buy), quite clever in a few important ways. In addition to higher contrast “L” and “R” printed on the sides, the right and left buds are shaped differently, and you can sort of feel the “right” and “wrong” way to put them in once you’re used to it, but by far the most helpful feature is a tiny raised bump that indicates the left bud.

Raised bump indicating Left ear-bud

Raised bump indicating Left ear-bud

I often use my headphones at night, or when I’m in bed with the lights out, (or I’m too lazy to look at them) and such a simple design decision makes it vastly easier to use. It removes any fumbling around trying to find the little L’s and R’s, and allows proper use in the dark or by people with low-vision.

It’s always a good feeling when a budget purchase turns out to be a really good product, and hopefully if JVC cares enough to include these subtle features in their design, the internals will hold-up too. Perhaps Apple could learn a thing or two from their low-cost rivals.

Executive Education Website

Adam_Vogel_exed1Adam_Vogel_exed2Adam_Vogel_exed3Adam_Vogel_exed4

Over the course of about 3 months, the University of Wisconsin Executive Education‘s website was converted from static pages, to a dynamic database driven site, with a modern aesthetic and significant user interface improvements. I contributed in nearly every aspect, including XHTML & CSS template creation, MS SQL database design and implementation, JavaScript/JQuery and classic ASP programming, and graphical asset creation.