Reading People’s Minds, Diane Rehm with Alan Alda

Today’s Diane Rehm interview with M*A*S*H’s Alan Alda wasn’t intended to be a user experience or content strategy talk, but it was a great segment on reading between the lines with people, using improv techniques to communicate better. He references the “curse of knowledge” inhibiting interpersonal communication and has a number of great anecdotal stories.

Listen on

Geeks eat more pizza in smaller groups

Back in 2008 or so, I got involved in DC’s burgeoning tech meetup community. Fast forward a couple years to 2010 when my office moved into a new space with a great venue for hosting my favorite meetups. We started with DC PHP and immediately after, WordPressDC. Then DCjQuery (now DCJS), followed suit.

With three related meetups going, we were getting a lot of traffic and cross-pollination of members. There was also no shortage of sponsorship for food and beverages—though we were typically, BYO. Pizza is common fare for a meetup, just because it’s easy and doesn’t require too much in the way of incidentals like plasticware. Continue reading →

The science of making the logo bigger

Recently, a friend and I were pondering the common design problem of sizing logos to go into a series of business profile pages. This is a frequent issue, be it with any set of images, but particularly with logos because their aspect ratios vary so widely. A batch of photos, on the other hand, are typically all landscape or portrait—maintaining a 4:3 or 5:4 ratio.

In this case, typical photos look just fine against a square boundary:


In the content management system (CMS) world, we often handle this issue of scale programmatically, by applying a maximum height and width to a particular module in a layout (as seen above). That works fine for photos because their ratio is somewhat close to a 1:1 square—they don’t look all that awkward slightly leaning into the rectangle format. However, with logos commonly being very wide or very tall in ratio, this means they appear very small compared to a square logo that fills the playground. Continue reading →