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28/06/07

The World is Horseradish

I’ve admired the new TED site before.

But I’ve just watched Malcolm Gladwell’s talk on spaghetti sauce, filmed in September 04 and uploaded last year to the site; it’s part of his Blink-era obsession with market research and decision making. (Keen viewers will have seen Blink on my holiday reading list). It’s a fantastic talk and there’s so much to take away from it, not least about the disconnect between what we think we want, and what we actually like. Find 17 minutes and watch it.

I’m just going to mention a couple of design features I like on TED beyond the usual great content and sleek design comments I made before.

One is the way that when you re-size the flash movie from playing at the size it is when you load, to a slightly bigger size, a couple of things happen. The first is that the movie pauses, and scales up a bit. The second is that the rest of the site is knocked back (out of “focus”) behind a shaded grey silhouette, or curtain. It’s nice. If you do this on YouTube, by comparison, the scaling of the movie forces the page to reload, and you lose your position in the clip. Which is really poor usability / experience when you think about it. (And the quality is even worse when you do do it).

The next thing is the way that each bit of the talk has been tagged so you can skip through from “The Perfect Pepsis” to “The Platonic dish”. It’s great.

Gladwell is a great presenter – entirely without notes and very natural – and comes up with lots of soundbites, the first of which being, “To the worm in a horseradish, the world is horseradish” as a way of explaining tunnel visioned obsessives.

It’s good. (Thanks Fab)

Malcolm Gladwell: What we can learn from spaghetti sauce

Posted by Peter Collingridge in Design, Web.

Today we like. // Links, 29 June 2007

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