Give ’em an inch…

In establishing some rather detailed PowerPoint templates recently (which is quite doable with a decent grid in place, by the way), I came across this a rather amazing article on Microsoft’s support site: ‘PPT97: PowerPoint Centimeters Different from Actual Centimeters’. The title says it all really, and unfortunately it’s neither: (a) a joke; or (b) any different in Office 2007.

In classic ‘that’s not a bug, it’s a feature’ mode, the article goes on to say ‘how much simpler the metric grid is in “PowerPoint centimeters” than in actual centimeters’. Or centimetres even. So much for convenient internationalization then, eh – one wonders if Microsoft’s fans at the European Commission might have something to say about this…

Making a Mockery

In a previous posting, I referred to small, homegrown apps that do specific tasks very well. One such is Balsamiq Mockups, a highly targeted application for mocking up user interfaces.

Where Mockups really wins is by striking a clever balance between utility (it contains pre-built versions of just about every UI component you could ever realistically need), fidelity (meaning even a quick sketch looks polished enough to convey quite detailed aspects of an interface), and hierarchy (that quick sketch has sufficient structure to indicate meaning and intent). Every component is editable to some degree, so, for example, switching from tabs to dropdowns is a simple copy-and-paste. Wireframing therefore becomes a snap, and yet there is still enough of a handdrawn feeling to convey a sense that, while things are certainly considered, they are not yet set in stone.  More ‣ 

Productive, creative, or captive?

The horror, the horror: one day, you look down at your Dock (coz, like, you’re using a Mac of course) and see that you’ve got the entire Microsoft Office suite running, but none of the Creative Suite. Yup, you’ve kept your head down, kept your nose clean, and done your time – and have now officially become a manager. Your gleaming MacBook Pro is doing nothing more than a corporate drone’s Dull flaptop.  More ‣