Visualizing molecular interactions

This short (10-minute) TED talk really made me gape. Biologist and scientific illustrator, Drew Berry, explains that we have no ways to directly observe molecules and what they do. At TEDxSydney he showed his scientifically accurate (and entertaining!) animations that help researchers see unseeable processes within our own cells.

Amazing.

The power of illustration and visualization to unlock scientific mysteries reminded me of Bang Wong’s talk on the subject, and is adeptly shown here.

Fail early

I know I rattle on about sketching quite a lot, but I love it. Not only that, but taking time to try out ideas and concepts of paper first means that it is cheap to “fail” early on. The danger of jumping straight into the build of something is that you invest a lot of time and effort, and if you find later that something doesn’t work or doesn’t make sense, then it can be quite costly.

So try things out with pen and paper. Try lots of ideas; test them with other people in your team, and maybe with some users, too. It is quick to outline lots of ideas, and the ones that don’t work can be discarded early on.

A video on the BBC News site about toy creation illustrates this well. Given that these are commercial products, the inventors and manufacturers want to minimise cost, so there is a lot of concept sketching and prototyping early on.

Screengrab from BBC news video about toy creation

Review: HTML5 for Web Designers

I received my copy of HTML5 for Web Designers at the end of last week. At less than 90-pages, it makes for a quick read, and I found it really succinct and enjoyable. The book is written by by Clearleft’s Jeremy Keith, and published by the people behind the mighty A List Apart.

HTML5 for Web Designers cover

If you’ve heard Keith speak, or read his blog at all, you’ll know that he has a good-humoured, easy-going approach, and that comes across in his writing here. Although chapters a short, that doesn’t mean that Keith misses anything out… in fact, probably the best thing about this book is that it is so digestible, and yet it covers all the things you need to know right now.

Semantics; strategy; good and not-so-good points; the impact that <audio> and <video> tags will have; what you can do with HTML5 in today’s web browsers… are all covered in this book, in just enough detail for you to hit the ground running.

Recommended.

OK, that was a very short review… :)