Well, not actually the editor, Sara’s on holiday and she didn’t want us to hold up this shiny new release of the Ubelly site so I said I’d cover for her.
We’ve spent the last 2 months kicking the tyres and rocking the roof of the old site – not that there was anything hugely wrong with it, but as the site has grown, contributers have grown, the way we work has changed and we needed a site that worked a little smoother with our editorial processes and the different areas of the digital realm that we’re talking about.
The previous site was powered by WordPress and we made a decision to stick with it, which wasn’t an easy decision to make as there are so many options out there at the moment. This year The Beebs and I used Umbraco to run the Tech.Days site and it was amazingly fresh and simple to use. We’ve been massively impressed by Drupal and Joomla! in the last 12 months – the work they’ve done with their communities (that’s you that is) and integration with WebMatrix makes those apps so simple and quick to install and customise but a big consideration was our backlog of content. Given that here at UBelly we’re all about experiencing the same things that you, the developers, have to go through, we probably should have forced ourselves through that experience, but would you have done the same?
Apart from the operation of the site, we also wanted to take a look at the UI and design. With Metro growing from Windows Phone to the desktop experience as announced at the Build conference a few weeks back, it made sense to tip our design hat to Metro. I love the work that the UX and design teams at Microsoft have done on creating the Metro system and feedback from you in the design community has been has been satisfyingly reassuring.
If you want to see more about the philosophy behind Metro, I saw Sam Moreau’s Build session “Designing Metro style: principles and personality” and would highly recommend it as an insight into many years of design investigation. In the next week I’ll be releasing some short films about Metro that I’ve been working on with the amazingly talented Johnny Daukes in the Director’s (and editor’s) chair. I wanted to take a look at some of the design philosophies behind Metro and how they extend beyond the phone and the desktop into other worlds. I was really lucky to have the conversations that I did with the people who agreed to be involved. I hope you enjoy watching them as much as I enjoyed making them.
We asked John O’Nolan to help us with the re-design and build and I think he’s done a cracking job of it (although I am writing this before it’s actually live) and he’s been great to work with – we’ll be sure to follow up with an interview so you can find out more about the process and the difficulties and how brilliant we are to work with too. Watch this space.
Finally, this is a busy month for events. Me, I’m excited about Wired’s inaugural conference in London later this week and Typo London at the end of the month – brain food for the creative and futurist part of me and looking forward to speaking at SoCon2011 in a few weeks time about our social interaction with computers. There’s a slew of Web Dev events including HTML5 Live (where Ubelly’s Martin Beeby (@thebeebs) will be taking stage), Web Dev Conf (in Bristol) and Full Frontal (gotta love a Brighton conference).
If you’re at any of those events, do come and say hello, we love to talk. Also, if you’re interested in telling your story on Ubelly then contact us.
Andrew Spooner – @andspo