What the new NY.gov taught us about service

October 6th, 2015 No comments






Since its launch a year ago, NY.gov doubled its unique users and quadrupled pageviews and mobile traffic.

Since its launch a year ago, NY.gov doubled its unique users and quadrupled pageviews and mobile traffic.



What worked, what didn’t & what’s next


  1. The future of digital government is mobile.
  2. Service reigns supreme.
  3. Connect emotionally.
  4. Good design means taking away.
  5. Never stop improving.
  6. Spread the love.


In two weeks, we’ll kick off our first-ever Agency Redesign Summit, where we’ll talk about the next phase of NY.gov: expanding our technology and design framework to the State’s 60+ agencies. We’ll be rolling out access to reusable web components, our universal navigation, the Drupal Content Management System, cloud hosting, the NY.gov content strategy, style guides, and much more. It’s a new age for State government, and the team can’t wait to embark on this next milestone for digital service design in New York.

Read in full by Rachel Haot on medium.



Authentic is not a look

July 21st, 2015 Comments off



Elon Musk gives tour for President Barack Obama by Bill Ingalls

Musk and President Barack Obama at the Falcon 9 launch site in 2010. Photography by Bill Ingalls.



An authentic look and feel of your personal or business website can help fool the audience into trusting you as a person or business to be authentic. Same goes for images or key visuals you claim as yours. Make your imagery feel like a snapshot of a documentary and you will come across as authentic.

Authenticity is more reliably reflected by what you do than by how something looks.

Authenticity can be produced and reproduced by making it feel like a documentary or news report. Something that advertising professionals have been making use of in the old world and more recently during the content fury- the content apocalypse we are witnessing in 2015.

This remains a constant from the old to the new world, we have entered. It can be hard to tell friend from foe. Fake from real. Fiction from fact.

Be it by 9/11, the wake of the post-digital age or simply by moving from 20th century into the 21st century, many such tricks work as they did in the old days.Think Big by Marc Johns

Think Big by Marc Johns



An image is worth a thousand words

As each of us lives comfortably in their own personal bubble, their belief system, these bubbles tend to burst when colliding with each other or when being exposed to reality, the bubble of a seemingly larger than life institution, organisation, society, club or brotherhood.

Authentic is what we agree on to be conforming to reality and therefore worthy of trust, reliance, or belief.

What we do can be accepted as being authentic. It will however have to stand the test of time. With his early explanation on the difference between a website and a blog, Thomas Mahon wraps it up brilliantly for all you marketers and entrepreneurs:


The main difference I think—between a blog and a website—it took me a little time to discern it. Apart from the obvious we know how they look and how they work. But basically a website is an image and that’s open to the same problems that we all want a good image. So often we tell a half truth and like to dress it up a little bit. But a blog to be successful has to be a—reflection, a true reflection. And if you look at the dictionary, there are big differences between image and reflection. And of course you gotta speak the truth in reflections. There is nothing being hidden and people see that about you and it shows.

Tom Mahon on the difference between a website and a blog



Christopher McCandless

June 6th, 2015 Comments off



Selfie by Christopher McCandless

August 1992, Christopher McCandless selfie for his parents to help them find comfort.



Deserted Bus 142 nearby George Parks Highway, where McCandles decomposing body was found on Sept 6 1992 by moose hunters.

Deserted Bus 142 nearby George Parks Highway, where McCandles decomposing body was found on Sept 6 1992 by moose hunters.



Diet 142 and the riddle over McCandless' death.

Diet 142 and the riddle over McCandless' death.



AT AGE 25, Christopher McCandless had himself get dropped off in the North American wilderness, to explore solitude and a life without society. Only four months later his decomposing body was found.



“Happiness is real when shared”

Supertramp’s popular quote was mistaken for the better in the German version of the PBS documentary, I watched the other day. They replaced happiness with life.

Today we live our lives in media and life is real when shared.



Read in full by Jon Krakauer.



Color in advertising and web

April 7th, 2015 Comments off

The missing dashboard from WasteMatch’s engine

March 8th, 2015 Comments off



bb logo




Websites that are engines
require a dashboard, no?

Twitpic @NYCSanitation



NYC WasteMatch is an heroic idea by New York sanitation to help reduce waste by offering a free commercial materials exchange to the city’s businesses.

One party profits by having a way to securely dispose of their office material and make way for new supplies – the other profits from much needed equipment for their start-up or small business with materials from furniture to office supplies.

NYC WasteMatch is a rudimentary grass root Web1.0 type site which is far better than overbearing Web2.0 type sites featuring parallactic scrolling thereby making things more complicated than need be.

It’s existence is owed to the able collaboration of the NYC Center for Materials Reuse, the Department of Sanitation and the City College of New York. The sites straight forward functionality is owed to Norm Rutton’s iWasteNot Systems. That too is a good thing, open source reused objects are dominant drivers in the digital space.



Imitation recommended

City organisations around the globe, all eyes on NYC WasteMatch.




This proposition is of general nature. It asks to consider integration of two vital web objects for public services sites:

  1. CSS to be embedded as open source responsive theme and its distribution by iWasteNot- and Waste Match Systems (wordpress theme plugin directory).
  2. Dynamic real-time visual data chart to be considered as part of the theme.



percentage exchange rate real time chart

Real time display of what may motivate participating parties most

percent decrease in commercial waste real time  chart

All data needed for real time display of numbers and calculation is generated by the site. There are themes off-the-shelves out there that make use of the data.



Theme based design ads elegance to core functionality, and every engine needs a dashboard

Public service sites provide win-win opportunities to citizens and government agencies. Building it also offers a perfect situations to strengthen and sharpen the public organisation’s brand. With every action taken by the user confidence grows in the competence and usefulness of the agency.



theme based mobile first ,responsive WasteMatch.com

A quick mock-up to demonstrate how inherent functionality gets paired with elegance. While branding is being refocused and sharpened around the user expierience.




bb logo

Come end of March,
is open for business.



The return of HTML 1.0

February 18th, 2015 Comments off



Key Visual Ana Andjelica



Ana Andjelic, the omnipresent strategic thinker at Spring Studio, New York has published her reference site and speaks about why’d she done it on linkedin.

It consists of a full bleed key visual and four plain text content categories. Each listing dropped down lines of plain text, no eye candy aside from the iconic bowieesque key image, and no menu or social icons other than on the front page.

Remember when your agency asked you to act like a rock ‘n’ roll star?

Decision makers will have to use the back button to move from one to the other. The site respects their scarce time and allows for a comprehensive impressive scan in between everything else.

Have a look.



The slow web

January 15th, 2015 Comments off



Suddenly I felt the sensation of longing for a French come back



In the following of what happened in Paris and its rapid succession, it occured, that an acceleration took place and reduced the space which the spreading of the information took, although it analog spread from Paris onto France and Europe, onto the entire world.

The world is getting smaller and the distance for news to travel is getting shorter. While a digital fact, you would like to believe that the people analog would get closer to one another.






Few weeks ago, I suddenly felt a desire for France to come back, and here it is with the assault on Charlie Hesbo, in sharp contrast to Peteski’s laconic, recurring, silly motives with the caption »Paris n’existe pas«.






The faster the web , the more opportunity for anyone who faces a computer display for most of the day, to take the time you feel fit for work at hand. You work at your own pace, not only to achieve the best results, but to actually enjoy space and time granted for doing and getting done what consumes you and you do it so it happens at our fullest satisfaction.

If, as I like to place my bets on, the web favors a continuation of the age of enlightenment in 18. Century, in the early 21. Century, then peace enters as a consequence of excitement and uproar.

With the increase of speed in knowledge transfer, people gain on time to enable them to manage.



The slow web

It’s a slow web, that allows for the time you need, to do and get done as you see fit.

You respond to incoming mail when you see fit, and you respond to a knock at the door only if you see fit for the visitor and a visit is welcome.



Better than the golden age of flash

December 19th, 2014 Comments off



©DC Comics



During the golden age of freedom, as Sandijs Ruluks, recalls the nineties in retrospect from his view as a web and print designer, manufacturers everywhere pressured their ad agencies to build them a web presence of their own. Suddenly everyone needed a website.

Everyone wanted a website.

Until then it was not known and in the following likely ignored, that a website must do more than make promises, a website must immediately fulfil any promise made.

Pressuring their ad agencies, businesses were sold a static website as dynamic for their money. This is how it must have happened to nine million German businesses (an approximate count of websites ending with “.de”). An expenditure of between 45,000 and 300,000 Euro for each.

Advertising is a big promise. Can’t see anything wrong with that. On the web however, people expect instant solutions from businesses and results for their searches.

While people’s behavior changed, ad agencies insisted on their business model for good reason.

They had little to no competence in new technologies, competence that was (and still is) demonstrated by mommy bloggers.

Meanwhile what is happening is even more unbelievable.



The consumer returns to being a citizen.

Little by little people can no longer be satisfied with promises, it’s no longer suffice to protect appearances. The citizen who became a consumer now wants to return to being a citizen. People now wish to be citizens in charge for their responsibilities. They want results they can handle in everyday life.

Even though people currently are still willing to be made a product, this can be reversed as fast as it occurred in the first place. Have you never wondered when did citizens decide to become consumers?

Ello is a simple, beautiful & ad-free social network. The users won’t become the product.

Apple Safari browser now offers to choose DuckDuckGo instead of Google. DuckDuckGo is an Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy.

Image is everything


be yourself


Reversal of values



Not values but interests is what we may prefer to be consumed by. It’s easier and less time consuming to settle issues based on interests than on values. Raw data exchange of interests is what keeps knowledge transfer going. Self-actualization is inherent and mandatory for survival.

At the Frankfurt book show, the philosopher Byung-Chul Han had made known, that from now on it won’t depend on the ownership of books, but on the accessibility of content. Accessibility not ownership.

In the analog world it’s all about values, about mental states, the digital world is about interests.

For digital it takes efficiency, for analog it’s effectiveness.

Exactly, the golden age of freedom was dominated by the effects Adobe Flash provided. Motion graphics and animation. Without such effect, it was no longer possible to sell a website to fortune 500 companies. Businesses mistook motion graphics as dynamic.

Today we know that dynamics are determined by participation. It’s not what you do, it’s what the people do. The level of participation on behalf of both visitors and developers account for traffic, pageviews and relentless, continuous updates of plug-ins and web components.

German content management systems are left behind, not neccessarily because they are of lesser quality but because they are meant for the developer, more advanced countries in digital build their stuff for the user not necessarily a developer.

Since a quarter of a century, the advantages and efficiencies of object oriented are known. The C programming language evolved into Objective-C and so forth.

From the beginning of the 21. century, milestones mark the adaption of universal usability in web design. CSS (1998) und HTML5.0, the rediscovery of liquid design allowing a one for all solution with mobile taking over, which now is referred to as responsive design and is practically essential to cover the different formats and screen resolutions spanning from desktop PCs to smartphones and tablet PCs.



Everything gets a redesign

In the US most major websites have already been redesigned for the 21. Century. See nyc.gov, In Germany, each of the 9 million websites ending in .de require a redesign, unless German businesses want to lose their traffic to their mobile ready competition. The begin of another golden age with a difference.
This time design tops marketing.



New units in CSS like vh, vw (viewport height and width) allow much greater flexibility to position elements. It will also solve the problem that has puzzled so many designers – why centering something vertically in CSS is such a pain. Flexbox is another cool concept which is a part of CSS. It allows to create layouts and modify them with a single property instead of writing lot of code. And finally web components is an even bigger take. It is a set of elements bundled together, i.e. a gallery, signup form etc. That introduces an easier workflow, where elements become building blocks that can be reused and updated separately.



Most encouraging for businesses, start-ups, artists, authors and self-employed people is that all this progress has been made with the the end user in mind. It is available at little or no cost right ofd-the-shelf.

Not what we think changes what we do, what we do changes our thinking. It enables the enslaved consumer to return to being a mature citizen and returns to her the bill of rights to speak up and being heard.

Start-ups and family businesses can now train their resilience in standing up against multi nationals. The early 21. century is demonstrating and has made obvious, that small can surpass big.

A license to kill.



A brief history of web design for designers by Sandijs Ruluks

December 10th, 2014 Comments off



The dark ages of web design (1989)



Tables – The beginning (1995)



JavaScript comes to the rescue (1995)



The golden era of freedom – Flash (1996)



CSS (1998)



Mobile uprising – Grids and frameworks (2007)



Responsive web design (2010)



The times of the flat (2010)



The bright future (2014)



…to be continued.

to be continued… (2015)



Only some six years ago, I received cost estimates of 65,000 to 145,000 US dollars for work, I can now hack on my own without any third party aid.

This is what gives the evolution of the web its revolutionary edge. It’s what the visitor, my client’s consumer can do with the web, that makes it useful and usable. Usability is the deciding factor in interactivity.

The beloved “Do”-word defines dynamics. As long as its immediately usefull and needed, emotions don’t have a part, the mental state of the user is without a thought. Naoto Fukasawa famously said “Design dissolves inbehavior.

The aimed for behavior of interactivity is a transaction, the finalised purchase and result of trading. For my clients and myself a much welcome and celebrated development of web design.

Clients can focus on their product(s) improvement and I do what I do better than anyone, ensuring a becoming brand and building it aside from usability.



The lecture of a brief history of web design for designers by Sandijs Ruluks is recommended.



Rules apply

December 8th, 2014 Comments off



Apple Piktogramme



Fake it ’till you make it

Fake it until you make it, and remember that what makes design great never changes.
Kare’s shared wisdom for young designers hoping to make as big an impact as she did in one swell sentence.



What makes design great never changes

Everything changes continuously with the tick of the clock. Change however occurs in intervals. It takes time for any design to resolve into behaviour and for the new behaviour to spread.

Read in full by John Brownlee.