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Brutalist Web Design
"Guidelines for Brutalist Web Design
Raw content true to its construction

• Content is readable on all reasonable screens and devices.
• Only hyperlinks and buttons respond to clicks.
• Hyperlinks are underlined and buttons look like buttons.
• The back button works as expected.
• View content by scrolling.
• Decoration when needed and no unrelated content.
• Performance is a feature.

What is Brutalist Web Design?

The term brutalism is often associated with Brutalist Architecture, however it can apply to other forms of construction, such as web design. This website explains how.

The term brutalism is derived from the French béton brut, meaning “raw concrete”. Although most brutalist buildings are made from concrete, we're more interested in the term raw. Concrete brutalist buildings often reflect back the forms used to make them, and their overall design tends to adhere to the concept of truth to materials.

A website's materials aren't HTML tags, CSS, or JavaScript code. Rather, they are its content and the context in which it's consumed. A website is for a visitor, using a browser, running on a computer to read, watch, listen, or perhaps to interact. A website that embraces Brutalist Web Design is raw in its focus on content, and prioritization of the website visitor.

Brutalist Web Design is honest about what a website is and what it isn't. A website is not a magazine, though it might have magazine-like articles. A website is not an application, although you might use it to purchase products or interact with other people. A website is not a database, although it might be driven by one.

A website is about giving visitors content to enjoy and ways to interact with you.

The design guidelines outlined above—and detailed below—all are in the service of making websites more of what they are and less of what they aren't. These aren't restrictive rules to produce boring, minimalist websites. Rather these are a set of priorities that put the visitor to your site—the entire reason your website exists—front and center in all things."
webdev  webdesign  brutalism  design  guidelines  web 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Ten guidelines for nurturing a thriving democracy by Bertrand Russell
"In December 1951, British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote a piece for the NY Times Magazine titled The Best Answer to Fanaticism — Liberalism with a subhead that says “Its calm search for truth, viewed as dangerous in many places, remains the hope of humanity.” At the end of the article, he offers a list of ten commandments for living in the spirit of liberalism:

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2. Do not think it worthwhile to produce belief by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

3. Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed.

4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

9. Be scrupulously truthful, even when truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

Over the past few years, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to keep an open mind about many issues, particularly on those related to politics. Remaining curious and generous about new & different ideas, especially in public, is perhaps more challenging than it was in Russell’s time. We are bombarded on all sides by propaganda, conspiracy theories, and broadly discredited theories from the past pushed upon us by entertainment news outlets and social media algorithms — we’re under a constant denial-of-service attack on our ability to think and reason.

We can’t reasonably be expected to give serious consideration to ideas like “the Holocaust didn’t happen”, “the Earth is flat”, “the Newtown massacre was faked”, “let’s try slavery again”, “vaccines cause autism”, and “anthropogenic climate change is a myth” — the evidence just doesn’t support any of it — but playing constant defense against all this crap makes it difficult to have good & important discussions with those we might disagree with about things like education, the role of national borders in a extremely mobile world, how to address our changing climate, systemic racism & discrimination, gun violence, healthcare, and dozens of other important issues. Perhaps with Russell’s guidelines in mind, we can make some progress on that front."
bertrandrussell  rules  guidelines  howto  democracy  politics  fanaticism  liberalism  truth  thinking  criticalthinking  evidence  authority  opposition  opinions  happiness  curiosity 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Vox Product Accessibility Guidelines
"Making work accessible creates a better experience across the board. Use this checklist to help build accessibility into your process no matter your role or stage in a project."



"As journalists, advertisers, producers, and creators, content is at our core at Vox Media. We want to ensure that everyone—regardless of ability, situation, or context—can access it.

This idea inspired us to outline a few guiding principles to help us convey our philosophy on accessibility. We hope these principles can help continue the conversation on why accessibility matters and encourage us to put what we preach into practice.

1. People want to access our content and use our tools; let’s make it easy for them.

We at Vox Media are in the business of producing content that informs our audiences and tools that support our teams, and we need to make it as easy as possible for people to access our work. When we do our jobs well, everyone who wants to enjoy our content and work within our systems can do so. When we don’t do our jobs, we are the ones hindering their access.

2. We should never make assumptions about our users.

Making a product accessible does not mean targeting a specific subset of people. Rather, accessible design, or universal design, is about making products usable by the greatest number of people possible. We should not assume we know how our users are engaging with our content, and should understand that it may be “seen” by a number of assistive technologies, including automated tools, keyboard-only navigation, and screen readers.

In addition, applying universal design principles to our process makes the products better for everyone, and improves the experience across the board.

3. This is where the industry is going. Get on board or get left behind.

Accessibility may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s really just part of doing good work. And fortunately, accessibility practices are here to stay. Accessibility will eventually be a legal requirement for online properties. Investing in accessibility now will ensure that we’re not playing catch up when U.S. laws adapt.

4. Accessibility is everyone’s responsibility.

Accessibility is not a checklist item that only needs to be considered in some projects, or at the end of a process. Rather, these practices should be woven into every step of a project and role in a team. An accessible product stems from everyone on a team owning and shouldering the responsibility. It’s part of our jobs as creators."
accessibility  guidelines  design  via:ethanmarcotte  vox 
july 2016 by robertogreco
What Kids Need From Grown-Ups (But Aren't Getting) : NPR Ed : NPR
"Q: What is this phenomenon that you call "the preschool paradox"?

A: It is the reality that science is confirming on a daily basis: that children are hardwired to learn in many settings and are really very capable, very strong, very intelligent on the one hand. On the other hand, the paradox is that many young children are doing poorly in our early education settings.

We've got a growing problem of preschool expulsions, a growing problem of children being medicated off-label for attention problems. We have a lot of anecdotal evidence that parents are frustrated and feeling overburdened. So that's what interests me: What is going on?

We have very crammed [preschool] schedules with rapid transitions. We have tons of clutter on classroom walls. We have kids moving quickly from one activity to another. We ask them to sit in long and often boring meetings. Logistically and practically, lives are quite taxing for little kids because they're actually living in an adult-sized world.

On the other hand, curriculum is often very boring. A staple of early childhood curriculum is the daily tracking of the calendar. And this is one of those absolute classic mismatches, because one study showed that, after a whole year of this calendar work where kids sit in a circle and talk about what day they're on, half the kids still didn't know what day they were on. It's a mismatch because it's both really hard and frankly very stupid.

We're underestimating kids in terms of their enormous capacity to be thoughtful and reflective, and, I would argue, that's because we're not giving them enough time to play and to be in relationships with others.

Q: Why do you think so many educators and policymakers have come to see play and learning as mutually exclusive?

A: Yeah, it's incredibly weird — this fake dichotomy. The science is so persuasive on this topic. There's all kinds of research coming not only from early childhood but animal research looking at mammals and how they use play for learning.

I think there are two answers. There really has been tremendous anxiety about closing achievement gaps between advantaged and less advantaged children. You know, we're always as a society looking for quick fixes that might close those gaps. Unfortunately, it's had downstream consequences for early learning, where we're going for superficial measures of learning.

I think the other problem is that the rich, experience-based play that we know results in learning — it's not as easy to accomplish as people think. And that's because, while the impulse to play is natural, what I call the play know-how really depends on a culture that values play, that gives kids the time and space to learn through play.

Q: What does playful learning look like?

A: Playful learning is embedded in relationships and in things that are meaningful to children. I use the example of the iconic [handprint] Thanksgiving turkey. When you really get into what's behind those cutesy crafts, a lot of curriculum is organized around these traditions, things around the calendar, things that are done because they've always been done.

When you look at how kids learn, they learn when something is meaningful to them, when they have a chance to learn through relationships — and that, of course, happens through play. But a lot of our curriculum is organized around different principles.

It's organized around the comfort and benefit of adults and also reflexive: "This is cute," or, "We've always done this." A lot of the time, as parents, we are trained to expect products, cute projects. And I like to say that the role of art in preschool or kindergarten curriculum should be to make meaning, not necessarily things. But it's hard to get parents to buy into this idea that their kids may not come home with the refrigerator art because maybe they spent a week messing around in the mud.

Preschool teachers are very interested in fine motor skills, and so often they think that these tracing and cutting activities [are important]. I would argue that those are not the most important skills that we need to foster.

Q: What are the most important skills we need to foster?

A: I think the No. 1 thing is that children need to feel secure in their relationships because, again, we're social animals. And children learn through others. So I think the No. 1 thing is for kids to have a chance to play, to make friends, to learn limits, to learn to take their turn.

Q: You're talking about soft skills, non-cognitive skills ...

A: I actually won't accept the term non-cognitive skills.

Q: Social-emotional skills?

A: I would say social-emotional skills. But, again, there's a kind of simplistic notion that there's social-emotional skills on the one hand ...

Q: And academics on the other ...

A: Right, and I would argue that many so-called academic skills are very anti-intellectual and very uncognitive. Whereas I think a lot of the social-emotional skills are very much linked to learning.

I think the biggest one is the use of language. When kids are speaking to one another and listening to one another, they're learning self-regulation, they're learning vocabulary, they're learning to think out loud. And these are highly cognitive skills. But we've bought into this dichotomy again. I would say "complex skills" versus "superficial" or "one-dimensional skills."

To give you an example, watching kids build a fort is going to activate more cognitive learning domains than doing a worksheet where you're sitting at a table. The worksheet has a little pile of pennies on one side and some numbers on the other, and you have to connect them with your pencil. That's a very uni-dimensional way of teaching skills.

Whereas, if you're building a fort with your peers, you're talking, using higher-level language structures in play than you would be if you're sitting at a table. You're doing math skills, you're doing physics measurement, engineering — but also doing the give-and-take of, "How do I get along? How do I have a conversation? What am I learning from this other person?" And that's very powerful.

Q: What is high-quality preschool to you?

A: The research base is pretty clear. I'll start by telling you what it isn't. We start by looking at two variables. One set are called "structural variables" — things like class size, student-teacher ratios, or even the square-footage of the classroom and what kinds of materials are in the classroom.

And then there are so-called process variables, which are different. They tend to be more about teaching style. Is the teacher a responsive teacher? Does she use a responsive, warm, empathic teaching style? And then the other key process variable is: Does the teacher have knowledge of child development? And is that teacher able to translate that child development knowledge into the curriculum?

Q: Which seems like a hard thing to measure.

A: It's actually not. And there are many good measures — things like: Is the teacher on the floor with the child? Is the teacher asking open-ended questions? You know: "Tell me about your picture" versus "Oh, cute house, Bobby." It's actually not that hard to measure.

But here's the thing. The structural variables are easier to regulate. And, if you have a workforce problem where you're not paying teachers well and a pipeline problem where there aren't good career paths to get into teaching, it's much easier for us to focus on the structural variables when those have an indirect effect only. The direct effect is the process variables.

My colleague Walter Gilliam at Yale has come up with this wonderful mental health classroom climate scale, which really looks at these process variables in very granular detail — so, not only looking at the interactions between the teachers and the children but how the teachers are interacting with each other.

Q: You mount a spirited defense of unscheduled kid time [at home]. Less shuttling to and from sports practice, dance practice, swim lessons. Be sure, you say, to give your child time to sit on the floor and stare at the ceiling if that's what they want to do. I know a lot of parents who would find that view heretical.

A: That's because we don't have faith in young children. And we don't really have faith in ourselves. And we've been programmed to believe that the more enrichments we can add on [the better].

I think boredom can be a friend to the imagination. Sometimes when kids appear to be bored, actually they haven't had enough time to engage in something. We quickly whisk it away and move them along to the next thing. And that's when you say, "How can I help the child to look at this in a new way? To try something new, to be patient."

You've really kind of adultified childhood so kids really don't have those long, uninterrupted stretches of time to engage in fantasy play. And because we've kind of despoiled the habitat of early childhood, a lot of times they don't know what to do when given that time. So we kind of have to coach them.

I think there's a little bit of a repair process that we need to engage in. Because if you've got a kid who's used to going to a million lessons and only uses toys that have one way of using them and then, suddenly, you put them in a room with a bunch of boxes and blocks and say, "Have fun!", the kid's gonna say, "Are you kidding me? What?!""



"Now, I do want to be clear: There are all kinds of ways to respond to being hurt, including filing a police report, reporting to your supervisor or professor or RA in a dorm, talking with your friends, ignoring. To me, I think the social norming piece is really important because I believe we put way too much faith in these administrative guidelines, "suggestions."

Is that really how behavior change happens? I don't know. I think for some things, absolutely, legal recourse makes a difference. But for other things, I think, peer norming is highly effective, and to me, Halloween costumes would be in that category.

We can't … [more]
children  education  play  unstructuredtime  learning  preschool  school  curriculum  howwelearn  rules  structure  lcproject  openstudioproject  conversation  norms  behavior  howweteach  teaching  unschooling  deschooling  listening  coryturner  erikachristakis  relationships  boredom  imagination  parenting  guidelines  process  empathy  policy  transitions  sfsh 
february 2016 by robertogreco
GOV.UK – GDS design principles
"Listed below are our design principles and examples of how we’ve used them so far. These build on, and add to, our original 7 digital principles.

1. Start with needs*
2. Do less
3. Design with data
4. Do the hard work to make it simple
5. Iterate. Then iterate again.
6. Build for inclusion
7. Understand context
8. Build digital services, not websites
9. Be consistent, not uniform
10. Make things open: it makes things better"
gov.uk  design  guidelines  principles  ux  needs  open  consistency  context  digitalservices  inclusion  iteration  simplicity  data  lessismore  inlcusivity  inclusivity 
december 2014 by robertogreco
a t l i n - “Thoughts on Filmmaking” Pictured: “Peter Beard...
"“Thoughts on Filmmaking”

Pictured: “Peter Beard takes a photograph of a charging lion.”

There is no mystery to filmmaking. The modern camera is a simple device comprised of retracting mirrors, lenses and software. There are far greater mysteries to be unraveled. 

We are light-seekers, chasers of sunsets and sunrises.  

Design is central. Create spaces for people to inhabit, paths to wander, and colors to taste.

Make films with people who do not share a common language. New ways of communication and understanding emerge. We all have something we want to say to one another. 

Work with non-actors. Everything starts with their story. If you need someone to go to a dark place, you need to go there with them.

Filmmaking is problem solving. The constraints make our work stronger. 

Small moments of spontaneity become grand miracles.

Put down the pen and pick up the camera. Spend more time making films than talking about them.  

Always sweat. Travel light with heavy dreams. 

This is an evolving list."
atlin  filmmaking  worldbuilding  film  films  language  light  peterbeard  photography  making  doing  lists  spontaneity  small  slow  problemsolving  communication  rules  guidelines 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Experience Passports | Design | Alex Egner's Log of Web
"…a list of life experiences…we feel budding young designers should have in addition to their in-class studies. We want to occasionally push students away from their computer screens and out into the world. I formatted this list of experiences into a series of four passport books, one for each year of our degree program. Students can work through the list—visiting museums, viewing films, listening to the news, etc.—and collect passport stamps along the way. At the end of four years, each student will have hopefully learned a tiny bit more about that ‘everything’ and, by extension, about design.

The experience passports were distributed to students simply as black & white print-ready PDFs. Each student could then select a paper stock of their choice and complete the printing and binding. Not only did this approach save on printing costs, it enabled each student to customize their books. Faculty can confirm that the various experiences were completed using a series of 12 ink stamps…"

[See also: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671484/a-student-workbook-for-observing-life-like-a-designer#1 ]
culture  customization  observation  noticing  graphicdesign  typography  booklets  books  suggestions  exploration  experience  learning  2012  alexegner  guidelines  glvo  stamps  passports  classideas  design  teaching 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Proposed 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines | Food Renegade
"Fallon Morell notes that by restricting healthy animal fats in school lunches and diets for pregnant women and growing children, the Guidelines will accelerate the tragic epidemic of learning and behavior disorders. The nutrients found most abundantly in animal fats and organ meats-including choline, cholesterol and arachidonic acid-are critical for the development of the brain and the function of receptors that modulate thinking and behavior. Studies show that choline helps the brain make critical connections and protects against neurotoxins; animal studies suggest that if choline is abundant during developmental years, the individual is protected for life from developmental decline...
nutrition  usda  diet  learning  brain  pregnancy  development  via:cervus  tcsnmy  glvo  guidelines 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Alfie Kohn: “If rewards and punishments just make things worse, what should parents do?”
"absence of a step-by-step solution to parenting challenges can be terribly frustrating to people who believe that “practical” advice entails exactly that...really ought to be skeptical about advisers who do offer such solutions...Besides, one-size-fits-all strategies usually just turn out to be ways of doing things to children – in other words, variant of rewards (“positive reinforcement”) or punishments (“consequences”). By contrast, there are countless “working with” approaches...need to be worked out in each family. [can offer]...broadly conceived guidelines rather than specific instructions...ten examples. 1. Reconsider your requests. 2. Put the relationship first. 3. Imagine how things look from your child’s perspective. 4. Be authentic. 5. Talk less, ask more. 6. “Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts.” 7. Try to say yes. 8. Don’t be rigid. 9. Give kids more say about their lives. 10. Love them unconditionally."
alfiekohn  parenting  control  respect  tcsnmy  howto  guidelines  teaching  punishment  consequences  rewards 
april 2010 by robertogreco

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