Thursday, June 30, 2011

Toob: Creative Annotation of Video

I love the internet because every day I have the opportunity to be inspired, stunned (good and bad), challenged and intrigued. I found an amazing site that succeeds on so many levels.  It appears to be a side project as it's part of the person's domain.

The project is called toob and the creator is Travis McLeskey.  He describes the site;
"toob is animated, anyone-edited annotations for YouTube videos. It's a site where you can add time-coded annotations to videos and then watch them swoop in and out as the video plays....I made a fan website for an album by the mashup artist, Girl Talk. The album was "Feed The Animals", and my website was The whole point of the site was to let you listen to the album while a readout below the music player showed what songs Girl Talk was sampling at the current playback position....While it was originally made for music and video mashups, it's really just a wiki of video annotations."

As he says "you listen to the album while a readout below the music player showed what songs" are being sampled.   The songs featured on the site are largely rap and remix type albums, as you would expect.  However they've gone beyond simple listing of the tracks that are being played and overlayed, and this is the beauty of the design.

The different tracks float in from the right, appearing stronger as they near being played.  The length of the bar underneath them illustrates how long the track appears for before fading out and flying off the left side of the screen. The effect is a natural reading flow.

Editing is fairly rough, but effective.  The formatting is:
  start time|stop time|line 1|line 2|row number|color  

So the elements I added read
3:09|3:11|Pulp Fiction||5|#00CCFF
5:47|5:50|Blues Brothers||5|#00CCFF
The nice part about the editing is that you can tack your edits onto the last of the other edits. This is nice b/c you don't have to order them in any manner, but it does make it challenging to correct other people's times.

The video at the top is a Beastie Boys song which illustrates the integration of the various music clips and the lyrics flying in from the right and leaving on the left. The second video is a Kleptones video which is comprised of various movie clips.  While the music isn't as complex or layered as the Beastie Boys song, the use of the fly in for movies is a nice use.  I have to say that I was saddened by the fact that Hair and the Blues Brothers weren't called out in the clips, so I had to correct that before recording these demos.

Monday, June 27, 2011

National Association of the Deaf File Lawsuit Against Netflix over Captioning

Netflix logo versus National Association for the Deaf logo

National Association of the Deaf  File Lawsuit Against Netflix over Captioning

NAD are charging that Netflix violates the Americans with Disabilities Act not providing captioning to all of their streaming content. The lawsuit was filed June 16 in U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts

"An estimated 36 million Americans are deaf or hard of hearing. The deaf and hard of hearing community has repeatedly expressed concerns—via letters, petitions, blogs, and social media—to Netflix about its failure to provide equal access to “Watch Instantly."
“We have tried for years to persuade Netflix to do the right thing and provide equal access to all content across all platforms. They chose not to serve our community on an equal basis; we must have equal access to the biggest provider of streamed entertainment. As Netflix itself acknowledges, streamed video is the future and we must not be left out,,” said NAD President Bobbie Beth Scoggins.
“There is no excuse for Netflix to fail to provide captions so that deaf and hard of hearing customers have access to the same movies and TV shows as everyone else,” stated Arlene Mayerson, Directing Attorney of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. “Netflix admits that there is no technological issue. For people who are deaf and hard of hearing, captions are like ramps for people who use wheelchairs.”
View the statement from the NAD below.  Be sure captions are enabled as statement is signed.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chris Hosmer and his Tape Pictures (and other stuff)

Chris Hosmer is an artist who currently lives in China and is managing director of Continuum Shanghai.  I came across his tape "drawings"on the design blog Core77, but as a dug into his site, realized he's a versatile talented artist.

Tape Drawings

"I first saw a tape drawing while I was working in the Saturn Studio at GM's Tech Center in Warren, MI. I was the design lead for a 3 person team tasked to develop a Saturn concept vehicle. My two colleagues, a sculptor and an engineer, sat together as we watched a veteran car designer draw a full scale car profile in tape. It was revelatory for me. I never considered drawing this way before. The car designers do it because it's a little bit more controllable than a white board. And it's physical. It requires your whole body."

Hashidate Stop Motion from Chris Hosmer on Vimeo.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More love from the NYT- Jet Blue vs. Continental Airlines Websites

Back in March, I got a wee mention in the New York Times for some comments I made critiquing a website on their You're the Boss blog. Today, more of my comments were highlighted for inclusion in the summary of the comparison of Jet Blue and Continental Airlines websites.
My full original comments:
"Jet Blue's site is preferable visually It's clean and sharp with a clear focus on searching for flights. The Continental site has too many little ads for things, 2 for a credit card, Vegas, Farelock, merger news and Adidas. Problem is that they give the site a very busy feeling without adding value. Jet Blue has some across the bottom, but b/c they are all in style with the page, and each other, they're not distracting.
Functionally, the tabs behind Continental's flight search make more sense except that Vacation is not a tab but a link to another site. However, Jet Blue's tabs are how it keeps it's home page clean (some of the elements that busy Continental's site are in the tabs for Jet Blue.)
Calendar Functions: I'm at odds on those. Jet Blue has only the calendar and doesn't allow you to type a date, where Continental gives the option of either typing or using the calendar function. While I'm sure more people use the pop out calendar feature, I'm not convinced that it should be the only option.
Continental's menus across the top are a bit long, but win over Jet Blue. They're well categorized at the top level, but too many options. They could be shortened by having mid level categories. It's always a balance. Jet Blue's on the other hand are too broad. I attempted to find baggage information. On continental, I found it immediately under "Flight Information". On Jet Blue I had to poke around and found it under "Manage Flights", but worse than this was that it was below some ads below the fold under Helpful Information. All of that information should be given greater visibility from the homepage.
I was initially attracted to Jet Blue's site b/c of the clean layout, but as I looked closer as a consumer, I found Continental more functional (once you get beyond the noise on the home page). This is a great example of some of the conflicting elements in web design, form versus function. It's no good if it looks great and doesn't work, or if it's ugly but works. It needs to do both. Sadly, though Jet Blue's site is less functional in some ways, I suspect most people will find it a better experience b/c if feels better and less confusing"

Original article and comments at NYT "You're the Boss" blog
Previous post: Nice to Get a Wee Mention in the NYT
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