Matt Gemmell

Designing blogs for readers

I’ve been blogging for almost eleven years, and I’ve been writing at this domain for almost nine. In that time, I’ve used several different blogging platforms (blosxom, b2, one I made myself called Thistle, WordPress, and now Octopress), and I’ve redesigned my blog about once every couple of years.

I recently redesigned this blog once again, and as I did so, I thought about how my perception of blogs in general has changed over the past decade.

Author Marks

Four days ago, I published an article entitled Tail wagging, about the backlash against skeuomorphic design. It was well received, gaining about 30,000 reads here and links from The Loop, Marco Arment and Khoi Vinh, amongst others.

I get a great deal of pleasure from reading responses to my articles, most of which are via my Twitter account. I was reading the stream of tweets referencing the article via Topsy recently, as I do for all my pieces, and I was once again fascinated by the extracts and quotes people choose to use.

Tail wagging

Last year, Jony Ive was interviewed in the London Evening Standard. It makes for interesting reading (despite the awful title).

Our industry is in the throes of an aesthetic shift. At one end of the spectrum, there’s the stitched leather and wood of iOS; at the other, the stark, ascetic information-spaces of Windows Phone. It’s more than a change of fashion: I think it highlights our continuing struggle to understand how to design and build products.

In that context, one seemingly offhand remark of Ive’s really struck me:

One of the things that really irritates me in products is when I’m aware of designers wagging their tails in my face.

A new site design

As will be immediately obvious if you’re reading this in a web browser, I’ve redesigned – yes, you’re still in the right place!

App.Net for conversations

You may have heard of the new-ish social network (it’s actually more than that, but for most people the distinction isn’t particularly relevant) called App.Net, or ADN (for “app dot net”). I’ve been a member since August 2012, and I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while now.

I think that ADN is important, and I’d like you to consider joining me there.

Generating filename slugs with Alfred 2

I’m a huge fan of the Alfred utility for OS X, so I was glad to see that Alfred 2 was released very recently. It supports extensibility with “workflows”, which let you chain together various triggers, scripts and actions to perform complex tasks.

I often have to generate URL-safe (or filename-safe) versions of strings (called slugs), such as the titles of my blog posts, and I thought I’d create an Alfred 2 workflow to help with the task.

Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP Wallpapers

I’ve gone a bit retro-gaming mad recently. First, I wrote about playing classic Nintendo games on your Mac (using original controllers), then I made some SNES-themed wallpapers for iPhone 5, and then some NES-themed ones too, then finally some SNES controller wallpapers for your Mac or PC.

Now, I want to share some Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP wallpapers with you, for your Mac or PC (or iPad and iPhone, if you crop/resize them yourself). The SP came in various colours and special editions, and I’ve recreated a few of them here. As a bonus, there are some other vintage Nintendo controllers and devices too!

Update your feed

Since Google Feedburner has the stench of death upon it (and since they’re killing Google Reader soon, too), this blog’s feed has moved. You no longer want the old Feedburner feed.

Please update this feed in your chosen feed reader!

As always, the canonical feed you do want is:

(It’s been valid for more than 8.5 years, and will always redirect to the appropriate actual feed – which now happens to be /atom.xml on this server.)

The old feed will stop working over the next few weeks (sometime in April 2013), so please do update your subscription now.

If you have any problems, you can bug me on Twitter or on App.Net. Thanks for reading, intelligent and attractive person!