Fictional Book Covers

I have always wanted to design book covers. One way to go about it is to create an alternate cover for an already existing book. A famous book which many people have read. So it is easier to determine whether that cover captures the exact emotions of the entire book. On the other hand is to dream up a title to a fictional book, and then design its cover. I will be doing this project at least once every week, and will always keep the publisher as Baby Sloth Publishers. The image used in this cover has been taken by me, and will try to use my own pictures in the future as well.

Feedback is very welcome, and other designers are welcome to join in.

Movie Posters – 1

You would have to look at the two posters beneath carefully, for the discussion ahead.

Do you see a marked similarity in the two visual styles? Do you find this style very different from the normal bollywood style? I find both the fonts reminiscent of hand painted ‘special signage’. Now hand painted signage has almost vanished from the major cities and metros. Due to cheap printing technology which have reached this places, you can get digital control over the final output, rather than depending on the whims and fancies of the sign painter. And being cheap is not a small deal.  But small towns where these printing has just begun to sprung, hand painted signs are still widely seen.Also apart from the hand painted signs, the bling everywhere, with lights and the wannabe glitz. As I have seen subtlety is not a forte of the small emerging towns. Globalization has brought its affects even to these towns with every alternate house having a son or a daughter working for a big IT company in Bangalore. Uncles chat around the milking gwala at the local dairy about how their son has just sent 10 lacs from US. Definitely bling is in.

Another similarity between the two films seem to be newly launched Hero/Heroine. If both these assumptions are correct that would lead to the conclusion that this was intentionally done; so that the producers wanted to target small towners. These small towners might be residing in big cities earning their livelyhoods, but that doesn’t change much.

Does anyone know how to find how much a movie made at the box office in different areas? If these movies (one of them yet to be released) made more money in the smaller towns, then these assumptions will stand true. What do you think about these thoughts pulled out of my non existent hat.

If you are interested in movie posters, check out these posters – Agneepath, Singham and the minimal bollywood posters movement going on here.

Google’s ‘being Social’ problems

I received an email in my gmail account, saying that a person has added me to their (google+)circle. The subject is “XYZ dded you on Google+”.Here XYZ stands for the name. Now I go into my mental database and think of all the people with that name. The email next says that I can add him to my circle as well. Then as an afterthought it tells me that I don’t have to. It also gives me this link, which tells me further about what a circle is and how it can make my life better.

Now where can I go and see who this person is? I don’t see his name as a link anywhere. Later I realized that the image is a link to that person’s profile. They are so involved with their own devised feature (the circle) that they forgot to add a proper link to that person’s profile. Also their seems to be an assumption that I would not be inclined to add that person into my circle if I did not know him beforehand. At the very least the name (XYZ) in this line “Follow and share with XYZ by adding him to a circle” should have been a link.

What would you do when you see one of your friend’s pic in your gtalk list with the head section cropped off? Most of you I would guess might want to see the full picture. That is how the profile pic interaction works across the internet. In fact at some places that small aspect is also used to push people to signup. Case in point being twitter, where only signed up users can view full profile pictures. When you click on a thumbnail of a profile picture you expect a full size picture.

But google thinks most people want to change the picture. In fact they have thought about this feature so much that it has two parts. For friends who have not added any picture, I can add pictures as well. So it clearly is not a lack of thought. I think it is a very individualistic view of seeing things. Being social is not changing another person’s profile pic for our own view, but to maybe suggest the person to change the picture. Which is what happens elsewhere, “change the bloody picture, it has been there since ages”. Ever seen that?

The good point about this is, you can stop getting scared of google taking over the world :D.

Importance of Permalinks

HFI is a leading usability and human factors consultancy. So I was a little surprised when I came across a small blunder. An example which illustrates the importance of permalinks. Also the importance of experience design.
The page I am talking about is the UI design newsletter page. I got to this page from google search. After glancing through the newsletter I wanted to see the past issues. Near the PDF file icon, there is a links which says, “back to past issues”. What would you expect to happen when you click this link? You expect to see the past issues page.. right? Now click on the image to go to the page, and see what happens.

.

If you clicked on the image and then clicked on the “back to past issues”, you would have come back exactly to this page. Because the link that it uses is a javascript link.

<a href="javascript:history.go(-1)">Back to Past Issues</a>

This just uses browser history to find out which was the last page and opens that. Either this is a small slip-up or whoever decided to use the javascript link assumed that the user will only come to that page from the HFI site. In fact people can come to that page from any search engine or any other site/blog where it is linked. Ideally the back buttons should have the link for the list page for the newsletters. The URL could be something like,
<a href="http://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/newsletters">Back to Past Issues</a>

This example illustrates how even technology overlaps into user experience design.

Rasas in “Goldfinger”

I have been listening to the song Goldfinger from the James Bond movie. I have always liked the song. After seeing this video of the live concert did I realize why the liking. I could identify at least 6 rasas. The way Shirley switches from one to the other is remarkable too. She should have been an Indian classical dancer seeing her mettle in expressions. I have tried to take screenshots to show what I mean.

Rasa - Adbhutam (Amazement)
Rasa - Hasyam (Laughter)
Rasa - Karunyam (Compassion)
Rasa - Vatsalya (parental love)
Rasa - Vibhatsa (disgust)
Rasa - Viram (heroic mood)

Do comment if you see any other rasa in the video.

Monetizing Twitter!!

Moments after I tweeted this:

“Fight Club” in the real world http://bit.ly/bB7jrU

I received this reply:

@kaargocult His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.

Apparently the user IAmJacksBot keeps searching for a few keywords, “fight club” being one of them. As soon as it finds one, it replies to the original tweet with a random dialogue from the movie.

I am not sure if anyone is using this automatized replying as a way to monetizing twitter.

Imagine you tweeting: “I would like a new camera phone with 5 megapixel”, and immediately getting a reply “read our recent review of 5 megapixel camera phones. Nokia XXX came out the winner”.

First letter to a pen friend

Found an old book rummaging through my collection. From my school days.

Titled :Model school essays, letters and paragraphs.

I am copying a letter called First letter to a pen friend from it.

——

282 Bunglow,

Sector- 16A,

Chandigarh

Dear Monita,

I saw your name and address in the Hindustan Times dated …. under the heading of ‘Wanted Pen Friend’. Enclosed please find my photograph and details like education, hobbies, extra curricular activities, political ideology etc. as desired by you.

Please send me your photograph along with other necessary details at the earliest. I hope, we will prove good friends.

With best wishes,

Yours Truly,

Sunny

——

The first thing which strikes me is the so formal tone of this letter. Maybe I have grown used to the casual copy like the ‘flickr is having a massage’.  While in the first paragraph he is slightly hopeful but still very polite. In the second paragraph he suddenly becomes much more confidant ‘demandin’ she sends in the picture. Obviously she will only do so if she likes Sunny’s details.

Fun to realize that this is what the  “Fraindship request’ used to look like in those days. This book was published in 1992.

What do you remember from those days?