It’s been a while since we’ve done a weeknote.
Deadlines, exhaustion, seismic events both real and psychic have conspired against us, but still – very remiss of us. We’ll try and resume normal service as soon as possible.
Busy times, a full studio, a lot on deck. Week 255. Off we go.
The week started with some nice recognition of Mag+ from Apple: there’s an in-depth look at the project we called El Morro in the iPad section of their website.
El Morro continues – the team are working on improving the reading experience, adding some extra capabilities to the platform, and most importantly perhaps – ensuring that the toolkit and knowledge necessary to create Mag+ is transferred to where it belongs in the editorial teams.
As the ashcloud subsided, face-to-face around a whiteboard replaced skype calls as few of our friends from Bonnier came over from Stockholm for a really useful day of workshops to that end, and as I type Mark P. from their US team is sat with the guys working away.
Jack and myself had an interesting chat with magazine art-director-and-enthusiast extraordinaire Jeremy Leslie over breakfast on Wednesday – hearing his feedback on the challenges and opportunities of Mag+ and digital magazines in general was awesome.
Ashdown is coming on leaps and bounds since going into Alpha, with Tom and Matt B. heroically-cranking through the phase we’ve started to call ‘tuning’ in the studio.
We don’t really have a fixed process at BERG, but we have approaches that we use and evolve. We’ve talked about the phase we tend to call ‘material exploration‘ before – and in fact Tom has written in depth about that in association with Ashdown, but ‘tuning’ is where I guess the instincts you’ve acquired for the territory and the material throughout the project really serve. It’s about taking the time once the core features and functionality are working to try and make the elements sing in harmony and shine them up best as time allows.
The first product from Ashdown is being tuned now, and I think the team have made something really gorgeous. Alongside the visuals and the interactions – the voice of the product is being tuned too. We’ve been joined today by Giles Turnbull who we worked with a lot on matters of tone and writing while I was at Dopplr, and he’s helping with that. Nice to have him in the studio today.
Back to ‘tuning’ – there’s an element of Disney’s ‘plussing‘ there, and trying to inject delight where you can – but the word ‘tuning’ just seems to fit better for us. It might be about removing things as much as ‘plussing’. When you find the signal, making sure that you are removing anything that impedes it, and do everything you can to amplify it.
Kendrick’s time for tuning has passed, and fingers-crossed it will shortly be in the world. Nick’s been shepherding that process in part this week. Trumbull’s design is progressing nicely – but a resource hiccup has put things back a little bit. I’ve been working to resolve that with Kari and Matt W this week, and, again – fingers crossed – we have a solution.
Jack had a great production engineering meeting on Availabot (remember that?) which left him grinning, and there are a couple other of our own projects, including Weminuche, which are starting to walk rather than crawl which is really satisfying to see.
As I started to scribble down what to put in this weeknote, it was mid-afternoon on Friday. It’s a long weekend here in the UK – we have a holiday on Monday.
The studio was waving goodbye to Webb, who had to leave a little early to go and buy shoes before travelling to an event this weekend. Everyone looked a little disturbed to be left in the studio as he went – a situation we’re not used to, and is usually quite the reverse.
The last few weeks have been crazy-busy for all of us, but especially him. He’s held the BERG helicarrier together through some extreme turbulence recently and seen that it’s still delivered, and I’m very glad we’re back in a rhythm that allows him to go and buy shoes.
After all – you make the road by walking.
Happy Friday from week 255.