jason lynes archives

Work with us

One reason for the chirping crickets around here is the insane amount of work we have going on here at the LDS Church. We have major projects going on in every department of the church, and its keeping the 40 or so of us pretty busy.

So busy, in fact, that we’ve been able to shed the pesky hiring freeze and open up several spots. If you’re an active member of the LDS Church, are willing to work in Salt Lake City, and match up with the following requirements, send me an email at [email protected].

Design Manager Our Design Manager role coordinates all user experience design in one of our many portfolios of projects. You’ll need experience managing people (read: geeks), and experience in a Creative Director or similar role. Check out this really formal job description for more info.

HTML/CSS Coder We’re looking for contractors who can work 30-40 hours a week, on-site, cutting our Photoshop files into standards-compliant HTML and CSS. Send me an email if you know your stuff, and especially if you have experience interacting with or supporting development teams.

posted by jason 4 days ago

“It is our function as artists to make the spectator see the world our way not his way.”
Excerpt from a manifesto written by Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb and Barnett Newman, published June 13, 1943, in the New York Times.
Via The Footnotes of Mad Men.

posted by jason on Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009 · 0 comments

SVA’s MFA in Interaction Design program posted this series of short videos of designers answering the question, “So you’re thinking about becoming a designer? If I could tell you only one thing about going into the field, my advice would be _ .”

Kevin Chang’s answer, above, is especially rad: “Remember to think about more than just design.”

posted by jason on Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009 · 0 comments

“IxD Protip: Practice awareness of details. An invaluable skill best honed on a public park bench.”
Eris Stassi, via Twitter

posted by jason on Tuesday, Aug 04, 2009 · 0 comments

Our friend and former colleague Tim Zheng is on the just-announced lineup for Ignite SLC #3, set for August 20. He’ll be giving a finely polished discourse entitled “Chinese People in 5 Minutes.” A few of us hit Ignite #2 earlier this year and loved it. Tim, just be sure to finally answer the question, What does Chinese Dragon eat?

posted by jason on Monday, Aug 03, 2009 · 2 comments

Design doctrine

37 Signals’ Jason Zimdars hits the nail squarely today in his post Stop following directions and start designing:

Of course it is totally understandable to take the ideas of those that pay our bills as gospel. But we should also be reminded that those same people hired us for our expertise. If they just wanted someone to follow orders, they’d probably have hired someone else.

This is especially true in our jobs here on North Temple Street, where design instruction can come from the same people who write actual Church doctrine. I fear too few of us stand up for our own truths, the truths of proportion and color and composition.

While our customers – and yours certainly – are well versed in the gospels of their own sphere, we are the trained experts of design. Often these people who demand that the page doesn’t scroll or whatnot haven’t a clue as to how their message should be communicated.

Instead, let us assert our expertise. Carefully take the customers’ feedback, adjust the design as you see fit, and with confidence explain why those decisions were necessary. In the end, you’ll have progressed the design in ways that improve the product – and not the egos – of your customers.

posted by jason on Wednesday, Jul 29, 2009 · 3 comments

posted by jason on Thursday, Jul 09, 2009 · 3 comments

Carsonified goes Cooper and monochromatic. Also ThinkVitamin isn’t a magazine anymore, it’s just the Carsonified blog. Just whatever you do, don’t click on Team. Ouch!

posted by jason on Thursday, Jul 09, 2009 · 1 comment

I feel really stupid for not making progress on a silly website when they’re growing grass in the desert in China.

NYTimes – “Dunhuang, an oasis town deep in the Gobi Desert along the famed Silk Road, has become a center of China’s drive to lead the world in wind and solar energy.”

posted by jason on Thursday, Jul 02, 2009

Handcrafted CSS, a new book from Dan Cederholm and Ethan Marcotte, looks to add to the smallish pile of useful CSS books on my shelf. The others are in a large pile in the community library at work.

“This book will show how craftsmanship can be applied to flexible, bulletproof, highly efficient and adaptable interfaces that make up a solid user experience.”

posted by jason on Thursday, Jul 02, 2009 · 0 comments

Is nothing better than mediocrity?

Mull this over this weekend and get back to me:

Today John Gruber wrote this little gem in his review of the iPhone’s
Copy and Paste abilities:

That we had to wait two years for the iPhone’s text selection and pasteboard is a good example of one aspect of the Apple way: better nothing at all than something less than great.

... it’s simply incomprehensible to some people that it might be better to have no text selection/pasteboard implementation while waiting for a great one than to have a poor implementation in the interim.

Is it better to release something mediocre than to wait to release something great? Too often I hear this excuse: “this is better than what we have now.” This is a tempting excuse to spew out of your mouth, because no one can argue with it. Of course it’s better. It’s easy to be better. But is it great? Is it awesome? Are you cheating your customers or viewers of something that would blow their minds?

What do you think? Is it better to release early and often, improving on a”good” idea in public? Or is it better to wait until an idea strikes this beautiful chord of greatness and then unleash it on the world?

posted by jason on Friday, Jun 26, 2009 · 12 comments

The mere existence of your Foo is not enough for people to be interested

Andy Lester at Perl Buzz wrote up a nice short piece yesterday on How to announce an event, or, awesome is not always self-evident (no, I haven’t regressed into massive nerdery, I grabbed this link from Kathy Sierra’s bright green tweeter).

It hits on some great points of self promotion that apply to not only announcing something, but making sure that your bright light isn’t hid under a bushel.

It’s not enough to do great work at work, but you must also let people know about what you’ve done, specifically your boss. The same is true of your … projects.

... If someone asks you about your project, can you explain its awesomeness, and why he should use it? If not, why are you bothering? And if you can, are telling everyone you can about it? If not, why are you bothering?

Often your boss will only hear negative feedback about your work. People just don’t go out of their way to tell your boss if you’re doing a great job. Often they’ll tell you, but meanwhile your boss hasn’t heard squat.

Can you explain your awesomeness to your boss? Are you telling them about it every week?

Same goes for the project you’re working on. Can you explain its awesomeness? If you can’t, why are you working on it? Get your awesomeness straight, or shut it down. And when it’s awesome, make sure peoples know about it.

posted by jason on Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009 · 0 comments

Color proof correction in Photoshop

I have been plagued with this problem for literally 4 years. I’ll work on a design in Photoshop for days, only to save the dang thing for the web and get a washed out, off color piece of crap result. Finally, today, I have the answer: one change of the Proof Setup setting will finally match your working space with your output images.

See below. The rich dark chocolates and deep reds of the Carl Bloch painting are washed out when you Save for Web in Photoshop:

OK so sure, most can’t tell the difference. Still infuriating.

Chris mentioned the above image was a bit washed out, and when met with a fury of whining from yours truly about the issue, calmly pointed me to the View menu (Photoshop CS4). You have to first click “Show All Menu Items” (reason #54 why you should never hire an interface designer with Adobe on their resume). You then are greeted with “Proof Setup” at the very top:

There you have the problem: Photoshop ships with the Proof Setup as “Working CMYK.” Because if you use Photoshop you must be a print designer.

For those of us who aren’t just print designers, simply change it to match your project and machine. In my case, Macintosh RGB, and voila:

Unfortunately, your new view of a current document will now be washed out. But at least it reflects reality! Now you can fix it accurately, and if you save your workspace, your settings should apply for all new projects, ridding you of this problem forever.

Google, you may now point everyone with Photoshop color problems to this article.

Update: See Josh Bryant’s comment below for a more complete set of steps to solve your Photoshop color headaches.

posted by jason on Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 · 14 comments

How to be happy at business, a Venn diagram by Bud Caddell. From his writeup:

We can’t determine how to make enough money from the things we want to do, and do really well. I’m constantly surprised at what can be monetized. And on the web, there’s a market for almost anything. But this problem requires you to rapidly iterate your positioning and the type of clients you serve. Often, we’ll get transfixed on a single direction early on (because we’re desperate to solidify our business) and we’ll miss our chance to radically experiment with the market.

A short and sweet synopsis of what we should all be striving for, not just if you have your own business.

posted by jason on Sunday, Jun 07, 2009 · 1 comment

“Less tan is always a good thing.”

posted by jason on Friday, Jun 05, 2009 · 0 comments

Burned out? From this week’s A List Apart article by Scott Boms:

You may be flirting with burnout if:

  • Every day is a bad day
  • You are no longer emotionally invested in your job or the work you’re doing
  • You feel unappreciated or do not feel like you’re making a difference in your job
  • There is a clear disconnect between your personal values and what is expected of you
  • Self-defined goals or those imposed on you are unrealistic or unreasonable
  • A significant amount of your day is focused on tasks that are not fulfilling on a personal or emotional level

See the full article for a well-written look at how burnout happens and what to do about it.

posted by jason on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 · 0 comments

New portfolio from Chicago-based We Can’t Stop Thinking. Some beautiful concepts and work despite the sad, tired use of Flash for layout and navigation.

posted by jason on Friday, May 22, 2009 · 0 comments

One of my new favorite blogs, 1001 rules for my unborn son, read my mind and has a book coming out based on the blog (but where’s the cover art?).

posted by jason on Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Mormon Channel

I’m happy to announce the launch of radio.lds.org, our site for the Mormon Channel radio station. I led the design efforts, while many dozens of others contributed to the development and implementation of the site.

While not without its flaws, the site is a big success internally for a number of design-related reasons:

There are dozens of other great features behind the scenes on this site, and again tons of other people helped make it happen. Congrats to our IT teams, and the AV teams and production crews on this huge cache of new content that’s now available worldwide.

posted by jason on Monday, May 18, 2009 · 13 comments

Interesting examples today of innovative internet advertising. In this economy™, companies are finding ad space on the cheap, and Vitamin Water and Apple have two similar but very different approaches:

On ESPN.com today, Vitamin Water has 5 ad spaces for their “Great Debate” campaign pitting LeBron against Kobe. Too bad these ads aren’t as good as their TV ads (“You can’t check him!”), and not nearly as awesome as Nike’s Jim Henson throw-back (“whooo!”). Each ad by itself looks fine, but the 4 ads together overwhelm the page and is uninspired and tired, if not annoying.

Apple, on the other hand, took over NYTimes.com today with a totally different approach. They’ve got 3 ad spaces here, and each ad interacts with each other. The PC and Mac characters point up to the bar graph, and the Hair Growth Academy guys start pitching in with their opinions mid-way. They’re clearly having some fun here, and employing a much more interesting and engaging experience.

Apple clearly takes the cake on this one, and my guess is they’ll see a better return on those ad dollars as viewers’ eyes stay on their ads for longer and that little Apple logo gets burned ever so deeper into our brain matter.

posted by jason on Monday, May 18, 2009 · 3 comments