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    Blog Posts (11)
    • “NEVER-TO-WORK-AGAIN” CLASS?

      It is now widely believed that within 15-20 years about 1/2 of the western workforce will lose their jobs to AI and automation. This means that 1/2 of the working population could end up being thrown on a permanent scrappy. But even if this was resolved with a generous welfare system, voices abound that such mass-displacement of traditional jobs could seriously weaken the society. A permanent loss of employment could lead to a perpetual sense of hopelessness amongst the new “never-to-work-again” class. Isolation, mental issues, alcohol, drug abuse - this could be the price we pay for bringing AI into our lives. Perhaps the little better news is that the pain of having to adjust to the brave new world of AI will in time force us to look deeper into our very existence, as individuals and as a society. It will force us to ask ourselves questions that we seldom bothered to face: What is the meaning of us being here at all? What is our purpose if there is no daily struggle to survive? Or could it be the prospect of limitless freedom that we find so terrifying? Can we comprehend a life worth living, free of perpetual existential crisis? A life that is meaningful and purposeful without a hint of the daily grind that most of us now seem to despise? It may not be too big an assumption if one were to say that a very different society will eventually emerge, very different to the one that you and I know. The modern society, the way it runs its daily business is a bit like the massively overloaded cargo ship on the above picture, battling against nature to stay afloat. And its heavy load may be the very thing that will make it capsize. All that wealth onboard, yet all pointless it would seam if Nature were to seal its fate, as it has done to us so many times during our relatively short existence as human spices, utterly oblivious to our existence. The consequences to our kind could be catastrophic if we don't address the social and political ramifications of powerful, yet little-understood disruptive technologies, such as AI and the looming bonfire of traditional jobs it will bring about. And don't forget Nature's infinite power to ruin our best-conceived plans.

    • USER EXPERIENCE (UX) IN INTERACTIVE MEDIA DESIGN

      USABILITY AND UX, ARE THEY THE SAME? IF THEY ARE NOT, WHAT'S DIFFERENT? In an article published in UXdesign.com UX design author Michael Cummings, makes a clear distinction between the two. He states that UX design puts the “emphasis on the human side of human-computer interaction, and its affective results, rather than on the mere usability, the human performance aspect of computer interface design, which traditionally relates to the field of ergonomics.” UX is one of the main concerns of user-centred web design. These two areas are indeed related. Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or computer application, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use: if a website degrades the user experience too much, people will simply stay away.” UX AND ITS ROOTS - BRIEF HISTORICAL OVERVIEW Pabini Gabriel-Petit, Principal Consultant at Strategic UX at Silicon Valley, and founder, publisher, and Editor in Chief of UXmatters, In its Nov 2005 issue she writes: “When Don Norman came to Apple, in 1993, as Vice President of Research and head of the Advanced Technology Group (ATG), he brought with him the new term user experience design. UX design takes a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to the design of user interfaces for digital products. Depending on the product, UX can integrate interaction design, industrial design, information architecture, visual interface design, instructional design, and user-centred design, ensuring coherence and consistency across all of these design dimensions. UX design defines a product’s form, behaviour, and content.” Macintosh, the first ever mass-market computer featuring Graphical User Interface (GUI) was launched in 1984. It transported computer users from command line to mouse operated cursor and clickable computer screen items, or icons, as they became popularly known. It is important to note that in the late 80s, and even in early 90s a number of prominent tech commentators and Academics continued to be sceptical about GUI, now a critical component of UX. It is easy to see the connection between the tectonic changes that GUI brought to computing, and especially to contemporary mobile devices. It is a matter of historical fact that GUI was originally dreamed up and developed by Xerox Palo Alto Research Institute (PARC). But it was Steve Jobs who recognised its enormous potential in the rapidly growing market of personal computing. Louis Anslow's article in Timeline.com explores the way in which experts and analysts have responded to Macintosh, as well as other platforms featuring GUI. It states that the tech media reports seemed less than favourable, expressing doubt whether Icon/Mouse driven interfaces could ever successfully compete with command line. In 1990, six years after the Macintosh launch, the NYTimes in an article titled “The Computers That Mimic a Desk,” featured a mocking illustration of a man in a suit on a very high chair sitting at a rather bizarre looking giant desk-like screen. In June of the same year, at a time when GUI was well established on a number of different platforms of the day, Marcia Peoples Halio, a member of the English Department at the University of Delaware, released a critical paper titled “Student Writing: Can the Machine Maim the Message.” In this paper she suggested that the quality of students work done on a Macintosh with a graphical interface was inferior to the work that students completed using the command line. Halio’s academic colleagues, however, disagreed with her findings. In an article in the journal Computers and Composition, they argued that the “article is so seriously flawed by methodological and interpretive errors that it would probably have been dismissed had it appeared in a journal directed to an audience of professional writing teachers. Publication in Academic Computing has given it wide circulation, however, not only among faculty members involved with writing instruction, but also among administrators responsible for purchasing equipment for their campuses. Its potential [negative] impact is therefore considerable.” Chris Goyens, a prominent tech author argued at the time that: “What began as the Macintosh revolution, using a “mouse” to pinpoint and call up editorial options which were represented by icons — pictures of file folders, electric calculators, painter’s palette and trash cans — now has spread.” Goyens dubbed the phenomenon “icon-mania” and called GUIs a “mixed blessing.” The system was not much of a gain, he argued, and with word processing it made hardly any difference at all. Despite the many influential doubters of the day, the Steve Jobs’ vision of graphical interface on personal computers prevailed. The touchscreen technology as we know it today, now ubiquitous user interface component was affirmed by the emergence of the iPhone. BRIEF OVERVIEW OF HUMAN BEHAVIOUR AND ITS ROLE IN UX THINKING In simplest terms, successful UX design is a product of understanding instinctive human behaviour in a variety of scenarios. Danish behavioural design expert Sille Krukow argues that human behaviour broadly falls into two categories: Automatic - such as reading the emotion on human faces Reflective - such as working out mathematical equations Studies, as well as personal experience show that the latter requires far greater effort. Humans are naturally predisposed to saving as much energy as possible, which is why we try to avoid reflective thinking for too long, as it is heavy on our metabolic resources. An important aspect of determining human behaviour is to acknowledge and accept human flaws, such as limited attention span. Consequently, UX designers must take into account the insights of human behaviour in order to find the best design solutions that can effectively communicate the intended narrative. A broad guideline to successful UX design would therefore be about aiming for a reduced complexity interface and content, neither of which should be too taxing from users’ point of view. In the UI context in order to facilitate intuitive behaviour or automatic non-reflective behaviour a UX designer should consider, amongst many other things: REPLACING WORDS WITH VISUAL SYMBOLS. REPHRASING TECHNICAL JARGON INTO COMPREHENSIBLE LANGUAGE Sille Krukow argues that the task of doing the weekly shopping, for an example, may seem simple, but in reality it is not so. The amount of decisions that a shopper has to make is considerable. By the time the shopper has filled up the trolley and reached the checkout, the task of decision-making has caused their blood sugar levels to drop significantly, which is why supermarkets make sure to place sweets at prime spots around checkouts. Ethical implications aside, from shoppers’ perspective a choice of sweets at the checkout would ensure a positive finish to a demanding shopping event. Our instincts and flaws reflect in everything we do - how we spend our money, how we interact with products, how we interact with websites, with traffic signs, or an app. Humans in general have good intentions, and deep down know what is the best thing to do, but our instincts all too often get in the way. Humans tend to respond much better to positive instructions rather than what we are requested or ordered NOT to do. UX design is about working with human flaws and instincts, i.e. not assume that the end user is willing to be too reflective for too long. This would suggest that when designing for UX it is wise to consider human instincts. Our pack mentality for instance would be one of them. It is one of our strongest and most rudimentary instincts. Our need to conform means that we instinctively mirror the behaviour of those around us, as we tend to do what we see other people do. This instinct is so profound that it can cancel out our own good intentions, or what we believe to be a right thing to do, such as an antisocial habit of littering, or other forms of human behaviour. Above images illustrate a good example of how Sille Krukow’s design addresses beach-littering issue. Instead of giving authoritative orders such as “NO LITTERING” or moralising on how littering is irresponsible and selfish, she instead gives positive instructions using primary colour coding and clear graphics with easy to see and maintain recycling points.

    • INFLUENTIAL INTERACTIVE MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES TIMELINE

      There’s an array of remarkable technologies used in interactive media. This timeline explores its humble beginnings and its evolution. Please feel free to add, or comment on your most loved ones, or your most annoying ones if you prefer ... 1985 - VideoWorks / Director A multimedia application authoring platform. Originally created by Macromedia, now owned and developed by Adobe Systems since 2005. Director is the primary editor on the Adobe Shockwave platform, which dominated the interactive multimedia product space during the 1990s. It started out as MacroMind "VideoWorks", an application for the original Apple Macintosh. Animations were initially limited to the black and white of early Macintosh screens. The name was changed to "Director" in 1987, with the addition of new capabilities and the Lingo scripting language in 1988. A Windows version was available in the early 1990s. 1993 - User Experience Don Norman came to Apple, in 1993, as Vice President of Research and head of the Advanced Technology Group (ATG), he brought with him the new term User Experience Design (UX). Depending on the product, UX can integrate Interaction design Industrial design Information architecture Visual interface design Instructional design, and User-centred design. UX ensures coherence and consistency across all of these design dimensions. UX design defines a product’s form, behaviour, and content. 1995 - Flash / Shockwave Authoring The precursor to Flash was a product named SmartSketch, published by FutureSplash was acquired by Macromedia in 1996. Flash was a two-part system, a graphics and animation editor known as Macromedia Flash, and a player known as Macromedia Flash Player. The entire portfolio of Macromedia products was acquired by Adobe Systems in 2015. Macromedia Flash became Adobe Animate. It is a multimedia software platform for production of animations, browser games, rich Internet applications, desktop applications, mobile applications and mobile games. Flash displays text, vector graphics and raster graphics to provide animations, video games and applications. It allows streaming of audio and video, and can capture mouse, keyboard, microphone and camera input. 1995 - JavaScript A high-level, dynamic, programming language. Alongside HTML and CSS, JavaScript is one of the three core technologies of World Wide Web content production; the majority of websites employ it, and all modern Web browsers support it without the need for plug-ins. JavaScript is prototype-based with first-class functions, making it a multi-paradigm language, supporting object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles 1995 - Flash Player A freeware software for using content created on the Adobe Flash platform, including viewing multimedia, executing rich Internet applications, and streaming video and audio. Flash Player can run from a web browser as a browser plug-in or on supported mobile devices.[6] Flash Player was created by Macromedia and has been developed and distributed by Adobe Systems since Adobe acquired Macromedia. 2003 - WordPress WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. WordPress users can install and switch between different themes. Themes allow users to change the look and functionality of a WordPress website and they can be installed without altering the content or health of the site. 2007 - Silverlight Microsoft Silverlight is a deprecated application framework for writing and running rich Internet applications, similar to Adobe Flash. While early versions of Silverlight focused on streaming media, later versions supported multimedia, graphics, and animation. Silverlight is also one of the two application development platforms for Windows Phone, but web pages that use Silverlight cannot run on the Windows Phone or Windows Mobile versions of Internet Explorer, as there is no Silverlight plugin for Internet Explorer on those platforms. Since September 2015 Silverlight is no longer supported in Google Chrome. Microsoft has set the support end date for Silverlight 5 to be October 2021. 2007 - HTML5 It is a markup language used for structuring and presenting content on the World Wide Web. It is the fifth and current version of the HTML standard. Published in October 2014 by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to improve the language with support for the latest multimedia, while keeping it both easily readable by humans and consistently understood by computers and devices such as web browsers, parsers, etc. HTML5 is intended to subsume not only HTML 4, but also XHTML 1 and DOM Level 2 HTML. 2009 - GitHub GitHub is a web-based Git or version control repository and Internet hosting service. It offers all of the distributed version control and source code management (SCM) functionality of Git as well as adding its own features. It provides access control and several collaboration features such as bug tracking, feature requests, task management, and wikis for every project. It offers both plans for private and free repositories on the same account which are commonly used to host open-source software projects. As of April 2016, GitHub reports having more than 14 million users and more than 35 million repositories, making it the largest host of source code in the world. 2010 – Sketch Sketch is a proprietary vector graphics editor for Apple's macOS, developed by the Dutch company Bohemian Coding. It won an Apple Design Award in 2012. Sketch was first released on 7 September 2010. On 8 June 2016 Bohemian Coding announced on their blog that they were switching to a new licensing system for Sketch. Licenses would allow users to receive updates for 1 year. After that point they could continue using the last version published prior to the license expiring, or renew their license to continue receiving updates for another year. 2012 - Bootstrap Twitter Bootstrap is a highly customisable HTML/CSS framework which speeds up development time and handles cross browser issues. Just like WordPress, it features themes. It is meant to be very time efficient compared to similar development platforms. 2014 - PaintCode This is an application that enables the developer to draw controls, icons, and other graphical elements as one would in programs such as Sketch, Photoshop, or Illustrator. Except PaintCode has one major difference – it generates Objective-C or Swift Core Graphics code from your drawings in real time!

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    • Design for Print | ZigMEDIA

      DESIGN FOR PRINT Printed page doesn't need recharging. And it never breaks either. Just like most modern-day consumers and web junkies, we too love the speed and convenience that the digital age brings to our lives. Yet print continues to influence us, inform us and entertain us. Although the world has long moved online, the print continues to play an important role in the way companies communicate their culture, their brand and their products to their customers. CD COVER DESIGN PROMO MATERIAL CATALOGUE - BROCHURE DESIGN The captivating smell of print ink, the tactile magic of a brochure or a magazine, the turning of physical pages - it all adds to the positive experience of a brand as it brings that extra bit of edge helping to further promote customer loyalty.

    • Branding | ZigMEDIA

      BRANDING "Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room." Jeff Bezos Client: Mikan Zlatkovich Jazz Pianist - San Diego, CA USA https://mikan.pro Client: Cameleon Night Club Sparti, Pelopenese, Greece Client: Istituto HFC Family Mediation - Rome, Italy https://istitutohfc.com Client: Hellas Homes Estate Agents - Kalamata, Greece https://hellashome.gr Client: Daniel J. Parc Jazz Singer - San Diego, CA USA https://danieljparc.com Client: Web Surgeons Design Agency - Birmingham, UK ​ http://websurgeons.co.uk Client: Ustadh Umar Tai-Chi Academy - Wexford, Ireland https://ustadhumaracademy.com Client: Be Safe - GPS Tracking Systems Kalamata, Greece https://be-safe.gr Client: Trevor Lawrence Hip & Knee Clinic - Solihull, UK https://trevorlawrence.co.uk Client: PWS Rail Ltd. Infrastructure, Recruitment & Training London, UK Client: Creative Artizans Solihull, UK Client: Jerome Guitars Guitar Luthier Acocks Green, Birmingham, UK A good company logo is an essential part of clear brand communication. It is a shorthand illustration and a visual clue to the brand, its culture, its ethos and its uniqueness. A well-designed logo can transcend all national, cultural and language barriers. A logo representing a brand is meant to clearly and instantly inform the target audience about the company identity. Logos can be serious, funny, sharp, soft, aggressive, friendly, or a mix of any of these, whichever works best for your business.

    • Web Development Agency | ZigMEDIA | Birmingham

      WEB UX UI GRAPHICS PRINT BRAND ING DES IGN All our design work is about reaching out and championing dialogue, ever in search for elegant new ways to communicate your brand and your products to audiences you want to reach. Based in South Birmingham UK, is a design & web development agency offering project management, branding, content architecture, copywriting, web and UX UI design services. All our work is done to the highest aesthetics and functionality standards, friendly, hassle-free home of communication design solutions. ZigMEDIA branding graphics design for print web design ux ui prototyping contact Please see also samples of our ADVERTISING , TYPOGRAPHY , CATALOGUE/ BROCHURE design work. Design is to articulate and express, not to show off or impress. “ ” ​ — John Tanedo ​ Design is where science and art break even. “ ” ​ — Robin Mathew ​ A picture is worth a thousand words. An interface is worth a thousand pictures. “ ” ​ — Ben Shneiderman

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