Jeff Croft

I’m a product designer in Seattle, WA. I recently worked at Simply Measured, and previously co-founded Lendle.

Some of my past clients include Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and the University of Washington.

I’ve authored two books on web and interactive design and spoken at dozens of conferences around the world.

I’m currently accepting contract work and considering full-time opportunities.

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November 2004

  • Blog entry // 11.30.2004 // 12:32 PM // 8 Comments

    Link Blog Updates

    If you visit the site regularly, you may have noticed a few changes over in the sidebar. Notably, I’ve made the links blog, which I call “HREFs,” more prominent. I’ve started posting more of these links, and as such, I’ve made a few changes to the “HREFs” area:

    • Links now include a (very) short description or comment by me. Usually just a one-liner, to get across what exactly I’m pointing out.
    • I’ve enabled comments on these links. Next to each short description, you’ll find a comment link. Feel free to discuss any links you find interesting. Commenting works the same as on the main blog.
    • Finally, I’ve set up an RSS feed of these “HREFs” links. Point your favorite newsreader to: http://jeffcroft.com/blog/links/index.xml

    Enjoy!

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  • Blog entry // 11.30.2004 // 11:14 AM // 3 Comments

    Virgin puts out for Drunk Dialers

    Virgin Mobile has deployed a new service to its wireless customers: “dialing under the influence prevention.” Seriously.

    A recent survey by the company of more than 400 people found that 95 percent made phone calls after a drinking session, with 30 percent of calls going to exes and 19 percent to current partners.

    The survey also found that the morning after more people will first reach for their mobile phone to check who they had dialled (55%) instead of reaching for painkillers (8%).

    With Virgin’s new service, you can simply dial a prefix, and then the number you don’t wish to call while drunk, and that number will be blacklisted until 6am — by which time you ought to have been long since passed out.

    The prevention, of course, is only effective in the case that you know you are going to get drunk, and you actually expect yourself to drunkenly call your ex for a late-night booty call.

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  • Blog entry // 11.22.2004 // 11:38 PM // 34 Comments

    Graphic Design Blogs and Forums

    As a sort of follow-up to my previous post, in which I stated that we standards-based web designers need to start talking more about graphic design, rather than just standards, usability, and accessibility, I’d like to invite you to drop a few links to some of your favorite graphic design resources. In particular, I’m interested in blogs, forums, and other social, collaborative types of sites. I do not care if they are web-oriented or not (in fact, I’d almost prefer they were not). What I am looking for is sites that are more interested in discussing design itself, and not the technology behind it. I’m not interested in CSS tips, Photoshop tutorials, or semantic markup discussions. I’m interested in brand identity, color theory, typography, design styles, design trends, etc. I’ll start with a few of my favorites:

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  • Blog entry // 11.22.2004 // 3:14 PM // 6 Comments

    On Design vs. Usability

    Late last week, Dirk Knemeyer posted a follow up to his original Digital Web article, The End of Usability Culture. Both articles generated some discussion in the blogosphere as well as in my office. The gist of the article is that while the practical aspects of web design (usability, accessibility, etc.) are important, it seems that the visual and creative aspects are getting somewhat ignored. There is a balance to be reached, and it seems that it’s been a bit out of whack recently.

    I generally agree with Drik’s sentiments, and I posted a comment on his redux article to share my personal feelings. It seemed appropriate for this site, too, so i’ve decided to re-publish it here. For the entire discussion, read Dirk’s article and the related comments.

    My comment follows:

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  • Blog entry // 11.22.2004 // 11:35 AM // 7 Comments

    More iPod Blegging

    Since freeipods.com worked so well for me, and I did actually receive a pink iPod mini for Michelle, I’ve decided to give it another go on freephotoipods.com. My 30GB iPod is maxed out (I’ve got nearly 40GB of music now and the battery life is starting to drain. A new 40 GB photo would be nice. So, if you want to help me out, use my referrer link, to sign up and complete an online offer. Once you do, you’ll be well on your way to getting an iPod photo of your own! Thanks in advance. :)

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  • Blog entry // 11.22.2004 // 9:14 AM // 11 Comments

    Pistons fans should be suspended, too

    Now that NBA Commissioner David Stern has come down with his sentences for the players involved in Friday’s epic Pistons/Pacers riot, who will be responsible for punishing the Detroit fans?

    In the event you’ve been living in a cave for the past three days, allow me to recap: With 45 seconds left in Friday’s Detroit/Indiana tilt, the Pacers’ Ron Artest (who is always in the middle of everything) dropped a foul on Piston Ben Wallace, despite his team being ahead by 15. While this was a silly foul, it could not be defined as flagrant. Wallace didn’t take kindly, and retaliated with an extremely hard two-hand shove to the throat of Artest. After an extended scuffle, Artest was lying on the scorer’s table, apparently trying to calm himself down and let things die (it’s widely known that Artest has been “working hard” at keeping him emotions in check during games). Just after Wallace threw a towel at him, a Detroit fan threw a large cup, full of lquid and ice, at Artest, hitting him squarley in the face. Artest darted into the stands and gave said fan a beat down he won’t soon forget. What ensued was the worst melee in American sports history — a full-on riot inside the Detriot arena. Both teams were in the stands fighting fans, spectators were on the court confronting players, chairs were flying, concessions were makeshift weapons, police officers threatened with pepper spray, elderly folks were left bloodied on the ground, and kids were seen crying in the arms of their families.

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  • Blog entry // 11.18.2004 // 3:42 PM // 9 Comments

    Giving Thanks

    With Thanksgiving in a week, I got to thinking about thinks I am thankful for this year. There are a handful of things I am thankful for every year — among them are my daughter Haley, my girlfriend Michelle, my entire family, and my friends. Those things will always be the most important things life has to offer, and I certainly don’t want to shortchange them. But, there are a handful of things specific to the past year that I am thankful for, and I’d like to highlight those. I’m thankful for:

    • The ability to forge friendships (of a sort) with a number of web designers and bloggers who previously only served as inspiration to me. Among them: Mike Davidson, Shaun Inman, Paul Scrivens, Jon Hicks, Dave Shea, Derek Miller, Andrei Herasimchuk, Wilson Miner, and Mike Rundle. There are others, too, and I certainly don’t mean to leave anyone off the list. Special thanks to Mike Davidson for starting the Fantasy Football league, which facilitated a lot of these relationships.
    • Work. This year I left my previous job at Washburn University, primarly due to a boss whose evil is rivaled only by Beelzebub himself. It was a scary time, being jobless for a number of months, but some timley freelance work held me over until I snagged my current job at Kansas State University, which has been absoultly great so far. In fact, it all worked out so well that I should probably actually thank afore mentioned princess of darkness for forcing me to move on.
    • Basketball season. Baseball and football have been miserable — nothing but dissapointments and not living up to expectations. Of course, my Jayhawks are ranked number #1 this year, which means they’ll probably dissapoint me, too.
    • I guess those are the main things. I could go on, but those (in addition to the primary ones I mentioned above) are the ones that really come to mind. Quick data analysis would suggest that most of my thanks are for people. So if you’re one of the people — well, thanks. :)

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  • Blog entry // 11.18.2004 // 3:11 PM // 0 Comments

    Blog Glossary

    Samizdata has a interesting and fun Blog Glossary, which definies many terms you’ll hear around the blogosphere. Speaking of “blogosphere,” I rather liked the definition for it in the glossary:

    noun. The totality of blogs; blogs as a community; blogs as a social network.

    The key to understanding blogs is understanding the blogosphere. Blogs themselves are just a web format, whereas the blogosphere is a social phenomenon. It is hard to overstate the importance of this.

    What really differentiates blogs from webpages or forums or chatrooms is that blogs (at least properly implemented ones) are designed from the outset to be part of that shifting internet-wide social network. There have been many attempts to design ‘social software’ but thus far the only effective example is the blogosphere, which was not ‘designed’ by anyone but is an emergent phenomenon.

    Just thought it was interesting. We all know this, but they did a nice job of putting it into words, I thought.

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  • Blog entry // 11.17.2004 // 1:42 AM // 8 Comments

    The College Dropout’s Playlist

    Best. iTunes. Celebrity. Playlist. Ever. If you don’t know, now you know.

    Kanye West is such a breath of fresh air. That’s all, really.

    As you were.

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  • Blog entry // 11.15.2004 // 10:26 PM // 6 Comments

    Safari bookmarks to del.icio.us?

    Since it’s all the rage, and I’m a total bandwagon-hooper (see Flickr, Bloglines), I’m giving del.icio.us a try. Does anyone know how to get my bookmarks out of Safari and into del.icio.us?

    Thanks in advance.

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  • Blog entry // 11.15.2004 // 5:01 PM // 1 Comment

    Postal Service v. the postal service

    According to the New York Times (registration required), the pop band Postal Service has settled its trademark dispute with the United States Postal Service:

    Future copies of the album and the group’s follow-up work will have a notice about the trademark, while the federal Postal Service will sell the band’s CD’s on its Web site, potentially earning a profit. The band may do some television commercials for the post office. The group also agreed to perform at the postmaster general’s annual National Executive Conference in Washington on Nov. 17.

    This has got to be unprecedented as far as intelectual property settlements go. Very strange. And yet pretty cool, too. I’m impressed with the lawyers who were able to think outside-the-box to come up with a creative solution.

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  • Blog entry // 11.15.2004 // 2 PM // 5 Comments

    Hanks to star in Da Vinci Code

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tom Hanks is close to finalizing a deal with Columbia Pictures to start as Robert Langdon in Ron Howard’s adaptation of the best-selling Dan Brown book The Da Vinci Code.

    This is both exciting and dissapointing to me. It’s dissapointing because I don’t necessarily think that Tom Hanks is the best choice for Langdon. That having been said, Hanks is a great actor (amongst the best out there today) and I’m sure he can pull it off quite nicley. Additionaly, having Tom Hanks in the film will likley generate a lot of additonal buzz and turn this into a real blockbuster, which is quite exciting for me, as I’ve been looking forward to the flick ever since I read the book.

    For the curious, I posted my dream cast for Da Vinci Code a while back. Check it out.

    In related news, I’ve heard there are also plans to do Angels and Demons, Dan Brown’s other Langdon novel, cinema-style. In some ways, I think Angels might be the better story of the two, and I think it’d be ideal if they did it first (but they won’t).

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  • Blog entry // 11.12.2004 // 1:01 PM // 7 Comments

    Now here’s a site I don’t really like.

    Today I stumbled across a site called space4future.com. I’l be hoenst. I’m not a fan. Nothing personal against creator Paolo Tonon, of course — I just don’t really get down with this style of design. Just a personal preference.

    But here’s what I love: someone doing standards-compliant websites with out-of-the-box designs. For some time, it seems, standards-based design was for the more practical of us web designers — not for the artisans. The artsy types (whom I value deeply, even if I’m more on the fiip side of things) generally migrate to flash, or old-school table-based design (probably because they prefer to work in a visual enviroment when developing). I just think it’s really damn nice to see someone pushing CSS out of the blog box. Way to go, Paolo.

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  • Blog entry // 11.11.2004 // 5:45 PM // 0 Comments

    Farewell Audion

    Audion is retired.

    This should probably be over in the “enjoying” area, but I really wanted to make a few comments. I can’t even begin to describe how cool it is for Panic to send Audion on it’s way in this fashion, and I also think Panic freaking rocks as Mac developers. Every program they’ve offered so far has been the absolutle cream of the crop. I just hope they keep coming up with ideas.

    Farewell, Audion. I loved you dearly (you know, untill that dirty slut iTunes stole my heart).

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  • Blog entry // 11.10.2004 // 10:21 AM // 23 Comments

    Safari vs. Firefox

    Until recently, I considered Firefox to be the best browser on Windows by a longshot, but not a worthy replacement for Safari on my Mac. Like most Mac users, I’m a sucker for a great user experience, and I believe that Safari offers me that.

    Firefox, on the other hand, sports a great rendering engine (on par with Safari’s, if not slighty better), but lacks the “Mac-ness” in the interface that makes Safari so nice. Firefox’s cross-platform nature is definitely one of its strong points, but because of it, it’s not built with the standard Mac toolbox. As such, it lacks many of the goodies us Mac users have come to know and love in our native apps.

    That having been said, the extensible nature of Firefox is forcing me to think twice. The number of extensions and themes available for Firefox is growing at a pretty fast clip, and I’m starting to miss some of them when I find myself in Safari. In patricular, the Bloglines notifier extension and the web developer toolbar are becoming absolutle must-haves for me. Additionaly, the proliferation of Firefox themes that give it a decidedly Mac-like appearance is making the interface downfalls feel less objectionable.

    Still, I find myself coming back to Safari. I think what I’m deciding through this is that Safari needs a plug-in system. There’s value in Apple keeping the browser as stupid simple as possible out-of-the-box, but there’s also value in it being scalable for power users.

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  • Blog entry // 11.09.2004 // 12:59 PM // 22 Comments

    Konfabulator: Turn About is Fair Play

    As I said in my last post, Windows users don’t demand the quality software that Mac users do. Sometimes, though, they get it anyway.

    Konfabulator, the utility that took the Mac world by storm a couple years ago, is now available for Windows. This is the same utility that sent Apple reeling to create Dashboard, the upcoming feature of Mac OS X Tiger that looks a whole heckuva lot like Konfabulator. Arlo Rose and the Konfab team didn’t take too kindly to this. As such, they’ve gone and introduced a Windows version — but that’s not all. In poking around the new version, I found a nifty feature that “shades” your desktop enviroment and brings all your widgets to the forefront. It’s name? Konsposé. Seriously. Hillarious.

    I never really got into Konfabulator. I do think it’s very nifty and quite useful, but I could never get myself into the habit of using the thing (much like Quicksilver, Exposé, and a number of other useful Mac toys). I downloaded the Windows version, though, to see if they managed to make Windows do the display tricks Mac OS X is famous for (alpha opacity, drop shadows, etc.). Guess what? They did. Very cool.

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  • Blog entry // 11.09.2004 // 10:54 AM // 10 Comments

    A Very Delicious Monster

    Like every other Mac user in the world, I downloaded the much-anticipated Delicious Library, by upstart Delicious Monster. This little toy has been hyped for a few weeks as a media cataloging tool with a ton of interesting features. Perhaps the most intriguing is the ability to use your iSight as a barcode scanner, allowing for quick entry of all your media (DVDs, CDs, games, etc, etc.).

    Delicious Library

    So I downloaded the demo. I turned on my iSight, grabbed a handful of DVDs, and started scanning. Five minutes later, I’d reached the demo’s 25-item limit. But it was too late. I was hooked. I promptly bought the damn thing. Then, i spent another 15 minutes or so scanning another 100 DVDs, a handful of CDs, some books, and about 20 PS2 games. It worked brilliantly. Each item scanned in, and immediately looked itself up on amazon.com, returning all the info I could ever want to know about my DVD or CD. There were two items I couldn’t get to scan. Both had sort of tattered barcodes, so I assume this was the reason. There was one item, the Miniority Report DVD, that scanned, but failed to retrieve any info from Amazon. This seemed strange to me, so I manually entered the title of the DVD and Amazon was then able to hook me up with all the data. All in all, I’d say three items failing to scan properly ain’t bad out of nearly 200 attempts.

    This is the way software should be written. This is why Mac users love their computers. It’s not about the hardware (which is beautiful, to be sure). It’s about software that lets us do mind-bendingly complex things in brilliantly simple ways, and then lets us work with stunningly beautiful and incredibly user-friendly interfaces. I’m not sure why Mac users demand this sort of perfection when Windows and Linux users don’t (Derek preaches on this matter) — but we do, and the software people are delivering.

    Way to go, Delicious.

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