pete lasko archives

If you are confused in any way about the chart posted by Michelle (or you simply feel there are too many typefaces out there), this simplified version should be a lot clearer. (via grady, who I think got it from cameron somehow—what’s he up to these days anyway?)

posted by pete 2 hours ago

John Jensen is a talented designer who is studying at BYU. My favorite pieces are his Air poster and his Zinc Magazine design. Not only is the work a notch (or two) above, but his URLs are nice and clean. No flash based, black box website syndrome here. (via my Brother Joey )

posted by pete on Tuesday, Jun 30, 2009

Sometimes designers like to talk about things that they don’t really understand. Rob Foster sent me the following link today because it explains a concept neither of us really understood well enough to explain (polymorphism), and it turned out to be the best description of REST I’ve run into yet. If you make things for the internet, please read this.

posted by pete on Thursday, Apr 02, 2009

“Certainly looking through the medical records is a lot cheaper than going and doing a bunch of human or animal studies.”

It might seem a little like cheating, but Wired Science has an interesting article discussing the application of new technology and understanding to old and forgotten, but effective, medical procedures. Isn’t the recombination of old and new the essence of innovation?

posted by pete on Thursday, Apr 02, 2009 · 0 comments

Can Good Design Save the Newspaper?

An architect turned newspaper designer provides insight into a great design success story. “Give power to designers.” via TED.

posted by pete on Wednesday, Apr 01, 2009

Updated to enable comments: Rapha is bringing to cycling a level quality in design and materials that I would never have expected. Aside from a really cool looking header graphic, Velodramatic has showcased (some might say shilled, though I believe the guy is seriously in love with the gear) some really amazing product.

If I had the means and the wear-with-all, this would be my kit of choice.

What brands are you interested in based on the quality of design, materials, and class? Which brands have redefined quality in their respective markets?

posted by pete on Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 · 2 comments

For those of you who do not follow John Gruber I wanted to relink this book sale by Sitepoint. They’re selling your choice of 5 books (in PDF format) for $30. 100% of the money goes to help people affected by the fires in Australia. So if you need an excuse to get a bunch of decent web related reading material (Web Design, Javascript, CSS, HTML, AJAX, Rails, PHP, ASP, etc), you’re not going to find a better one.

posted by pete on Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009

Power to the Poster impresses in its restraint.

posted by pete on Sunday, Nov 16, 2008

“Theater…is a process where you iterate, you see what works, you try it in rehearsal, and then you make changes, and then you try it again.”
Jared Spool makes an interesting connection between User Experience and The Theater. From a 2005 Interview by Peter Merholz .

posted by pete on Friday, Nov 07, 2008

My brother Joey directed me to this great identity/packaging work. The amount of work done, and the variety achieved while maintaining consistency is impressive.

posted by pete on Monday, Oct 27, 2008

It’s the Little Things

When I came to work here, I was using the Prototype/Scriptaculous one two punch. Several of my peers were talking about jQuery, and how great it is. I had, however, already found my JS framework, though, and stuck with Prototype.

Over time, I grew tired of working around jQuery. I started figuring out how it worked, and about that time I re-realized how great life is for people who make web sites. We have jQuery, we have Firebug, we have CSSEdit, Textmate. Life is good.

Since I sat down and figured out how jQuery works I haven’t given Prototype even a sideways glance. I don’t know what state the effects are in. No clue about the footprint. jQuery has completely won me over, and here is why:

I recently had a little problem where I needed show some form fields dependent on the state of a checkbox. If the checkbox is clicked, show the hidden ( .dependent{ display: none } ) fields:

$('input[type=checkbox]').click(function(){ $(this).parent().find('div.dependent').show(); });

There was a side effect here of prematurely showing nested checkboxes

Okay well, what about the child selector? You know, the one where you put “body > p” which selects paragraphs that are direct children of the body tag. Seems like a good choice, right. But then I’m looking at my jQuery, and because I’m passing the clicked input, and getting its parent: $(this).parent().find(‘div.dependent’), it looks like the only place that even sort of seems like it will work is to just put it in front of the div. So I tried that.

$('input[type=checkbox]').click(function(){ $(this).parent().find('> div.dependent').show(); });

Ta-da. This whole big long story, 2 code snippets, 3 images so I can illustrate the kinds of things that make me happy to be making websites. I hope the dev team gets some use out of this code. Thank-you jQuery.

P.S. While this isn’t my exact production code, its similar, so if you have an approach that is much cleverer than this, I’ve left comments on.

posted by pete on Tuesday, Sep 16, 2008 · 1 comment

Wired covers the Red One camera used to film the skateboarding footage linked to earlier on this blog. (if you haven’t seen the skateboarding footage, its in this article as well.) Awesome.

posted by pete on Wednesday, Aug 27, 2008

Big Music Website Redesigns

Sites get old. They start to get krufty, or out of fashion, or whatever. As web designers, there is nothing we like better than to completely redo a site. Re-strategize, re-colorize, re-semantifize. Just Redo It. Love love love redesigns. Client says, “Hey my website is running kind of slow.” Redesign! “I need to increase my traffic by 10% or I’m out of business.” Redesign! “Um, my email isn’t working right.” Redesign! See how exciting that is?

But I’ve noticed something on this one site I’ve been using for a while. The site in question,, has recently made some incremental, positive improvements to their site. An example: in-page previewing of songs and albums. This is big a step forward from the 30 second iTunes stream of yore, which would lag, and which you would then need to delete from your library by hand, quietly informing those within 40 or 50 feet of your desk that there was a better way.

Then, tonight, I notice their album download page has been almost completely redone. The actual preview is the same (or nearly), but they have added YouTube videos of songs from this album. They have a Wikipedia entry. They’ve somehow gotten users to write actual reviews, rather than terse, meaningless loved it/hated it knee-jerk comments!

The team at emusic has taught me something. The lesson: You don’t have to redo a whole site in order to make big improvements. While the header, navigation, and footer, has been worked on, much of the site remains virtually untouched for a few years now. And it works fine.

I know the thought is intoxicating: an entire site, springing forth, fully-formed, modern, minimalist, community-centered. From the GROUND UP! One minute, same old site. Flip that switch and bask in the onslaught of blogglory that inevitably follows. As I’ve been shown, this is not the only way to meaningfully improve your user’s experience.

But now I’m all mad, cause I’m out of downloads this month.

Disclosure: I am an investor in emusic. In the sense that I regularly invest something like $9/mo into their company. Because of this generous duodeci-yearly contribution, emusic allows me to download a certain amount music from their site every month.

P.S. That band I linked to above is awesome. It’s these two guys from Belfast, and from the sounds coming out of the stage, you wouldn’t believe it was just two people making all that audio.

posted by pete on Sunday, Aug 10, 2008 · 2 comments

posted by pete on Wednesday, Jun 25, 2008

I must be completely oblivious to the world around me. I just now noticed (as I looked on the side of an amazon box that was delivered today – which only had the arrow) that the arrow by itself looks like a smiley mouth. Coincidence? I think not…

See the FedEx logo, as another sneaky example of subliminal (or at least clever) messaging from within the shapey depths a logo.

(I cannot lie. I did not figure out the fedex one on my own.)

posted by pete on Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008

Why once wrote about the travesty of the textarea. Let us revisit this, and reflect that in 4 years things have not improved much.

Textarea You Are A Sunken Nothing

posted by pete on Tuesday, Apr 01, 2008

Inspiration is everywhere. I don’t know that the icon designer who did the new Office Mac icons was looking at a Metallic Blue Telecaster with Ivory Binding, or not, but that’s what it reminded me of.

posted by pete on Thursday, Feb 28, 2008

“The most common way to get usability wrong is to listen to what users say rather than actually watching what they do. Requirement specifications are always wrong.”
Jakob Nielson in the aforementioned Top-10 Application-Design Mistakes.

posted by pete on Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008

A modernization of the Deseret Alphabet by my talented younger brother. But what does it say?

posted by pete on Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008

posted by pete on Thursday, Jan 24, 2008