• With2
Web

With Associates

Posted by Will Hudson,

Every month we meet our web developers With Associates and run through tweaks we’d like to make to the site, not a one way process there is always plenty of discussion as to the best way of doing something.

Last month we merrily said we’d like our twitter account to feed into the noted section, about ten minutes later we’d worked out we didn’t want everything to feed through, just selected tweets and that there should be some way of shortening urls that would be protected even if the provider went down. The solution, http://itsniceth.at, we asked With to explain more.

So With Associates, we’ve got something rather clever going on, what is it?

It’s a dedicated It’s Nice That URL shortener. It does the same job as bit.ly or tinyurl or any of the other URL shortening services out there, but we made it especially for you guys.

Can you explain a bit more as to why have we done this and if anyone else doing it?

We added the functionality to It’s Nice That for a number of reasons. Mainly though we should admit it was because we wanted to give it a go, as for such a useful tool, it’s actually relatively fun and simple to build. The theory wasn’t all fun and games though. The serious side is the fragility of using 3rd party services for something as important as hyperlinking.

You were using bit.ly for example. Hundreds of Tweets of yours went out with their links in. If they ever went down, or under (see the recent tr.im fiasco), all your links would die. All your work would be dead (the same goes for Twitter in the first instance of course, but lets gloss over that one for the moment). By giving you your own short URLs gives you more control over your service.

It’s part of the whole link rot issue and that’s something we’re increasingly concerned about at With Associates. Our feeling is that more thought should be given to the longevity of digital media, in the same way that archival inks and papers are in the print industry. (Read more on URL shortening from the great Jeffrey Zeldman)

What’s the longest domain you’ve ever visited?

A favourite long URL from a few months back was www.jonesbigasstruckrentalandstorage.com followed by www.jonesgoodassbbqandfootmassage.com. Both highlighted the fact that it’s no longer critical to have a short and memorable URL. People remember words, concepts and services more than URL strings and go straight to search engines when looking for websites.

Google big ass truck rental and you’ll find it. Sadly however Jones’ sites were just a joke, but the concept is increasingly being used by advertisers, with print and TV campaigns that direct people to searching for a term as opposed to entering a URL. On the less memorable and searchable side there’s the recent 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592.com which had Pi to one million decimal places but due to server load issues now just has an equally impressive Guitar Hero 3 video.

If you could shorten anything else, what would it be?

When an innuendo or pun is staring you in the face, is it worse to say it, or not say it and risk appearing like you didn’t think of it?

Alex: Winter.
Erin: The time it takes clients to pay.
Jenifer: The spacetime between Scotland and London.
Mathew: Erin.

Image taken from With Associates Flickr

Wh-300

Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Web View Archive

  1. Catswing-itsnicethat-list

    We all know the housing situation in London is shit. For the price of my south-of-the-river flat I could get a fully refurbished, three-bedroom, end-of-terrace on the seafront in any one of the country’s beautiful coastal towns. But I’m a sucker so here I stay. Thankfully a growing number of organisations are seeking to protest this financial absurdity and the latest to do so is Shelter.

  2. Inside-abbey-road-itsnicethat-list

    There are a lot of things I’ll likely never be able to do in my life. I’ll never be an astronaut, because I’m shit at science for starters, and I’m never going to record a world-changing album, because in reality I didn’t get much further than playing The OC soundtrack on the piano. So when a digital experience comes up that allows to you pretend you might be sailing around the moon aboard the Soviet Union Luna 2, say, or to peruse the hallowed studios of Abbey Road among the likes of the Beatles and Tony Bennett, I’m more than happy to take it.

  3. Random-studio-itsnicethat-list

    I don’t know what it says about our relationship with technology that fancy websites are still providing a source of joy so long after the internet was invented, but there’s nothing like a bit of magical and unexpected web trickery to wake you up from a dull afternoon slumber. Case in point is eccentric Italian design house Fornasetti’s website, which has just been given a good jazzing up from Amsterdam-based Random Studio.

  4. Apple-emojis-itsnicethat-list

    It’s only been a few years since Apple introduced emojis onto our iPhones, but they’ve already transformed our syntax irreparably, and my fellow die-hard emoji users will be interested to hear that the tech giant has delivered on its promise to create a range of racially diverse faces. The new selection includes over 300 extra characters, including tiny faces and thumbs up signs in a choice of six different skin tones which – while it’s long way from being exhaustive – certainly allows for a far greater diversity than we’ve become used to. The newbies also include same-sex families and a bunch of complex technological gadgetry. Dancing lady! Crying happy face!

  5. Helen-cathcart-bolder-int-list

    “Yes we do live in an ageist society – but it is changing. More people as they retire are staying active, you see older people out skiing, golfing, swimming and travelling. They aren’t lying around letting the world go by. Attitudes are changing but there is a definite cult of youth. My life motto? Be positive and never give in.”

  6. Pacman-int-list

    Prepare your mouse-clicking finger for what might be the best collaboration since Madonna, Britney and Christina Aguilera snogged live on stage – Google Maps has transformed into an interactive and completely playable version of Pac-Man, and it’s bloody brilliant. You can take the yellow-faced protagonist to your local high street, New York’s Time Square, or hop right over to Niagara Falls and run riot in those streets too. Basically, wherever Google can go, you can play.

  7. Wired-redesign-int-list

    Discussing the “treacherous tide” of the “constantly surging ocean” of the web last year, we looked at the brilliant UK redesign of Wired, a project that wowed pretty much everyone. Now, the US Wired site has also upped its game in its first redesign since 2007, aiming to “create a clean and gratifying experience” through a clutter-free site. We had a chat with editor-in-chief Scott Dadich about designing a site for some very, very digital-savvy readers.

  8. Posters-of-berlin-int-list

    Berlin is awash with incredible posters – in places pasted one on top of the other to the point where thick layers of colourful paper come peeling from lampposts and temporary walls – so it was really only a matter of time before a graphic design aficionado based there started photographing them to share with the rest of the world. Enter Posters of Berlin, a simple but effective blog designed to proclaim the design capabilities of the German city from the rooftops, placing the good, the brilliant and the very very bad all next to one another in a delightfully rich juxtaposition of aesthetics.

  9. David-james-uma-thurman-int-list

    Lucien Freud, Kate Moss, Joaquin Phoenix…it reads like that list of dream dinner party guests you have to reel out in awkward “getting to know you" games. But it’s more than that: this all-star list is just a sliver of the cast that creative director David James has worked with over the years. David has been creative director at AnOther Magazine for the past decade, creating iconic images with photographers including Craig McDean, Willy Vanderperre and Nick Knight. If you missed out on getting the mags IRL, don’t fret: today sees the launch of Everything that Matters – an online retrospective of David’s editorial work. It makes for a lovely little scroll, even if it does make us feel pretty old to think that the time that’s passed since 2005 is retrospective-worthy.

  10. Drake-whybray-int-1

    It took Simon Whybray and Rik Lomas all of 30 seconds (might be an exaggeration, but who’s counting?) to pick up on the freshly released mixtape that Drake dropped at midnight on Thursday, whose cover artwork was a scribbled “If You’re Reading This Its Too Late,” and to turn it into an interactive website which allows you to create your own Drizzy meme. And in accordance with with grammatical errors in the album’s title – Drake has no time for apostrophes – the site won’t allow you to use any, either. Cue whole Tumblrs full of slurs, chat-up lines and jokes in we’re assuming is his handwriting.

  11. 1_500x325

    Back in 2006, three days before his death, rapper and producer J Dilla released Donuts – a now critically acclaimed album created almost entirely from his hospital bed. Now, nine years on, Amsterdam-based digital studio Cartelle Interactive has launched a rather nuts short film site called The Dilla Dimension in honour of the record, inviting users on a crazy interstellar journey through space, hip-hop and the internet. According to Cartelle Interactive, the film “tells the story of two sugarcoated souls and their psychedelic journey through outer space,” soundtracked by Donuts.

  12. Penguin-int-list

    Publishers are almost unique in that when it comes to their birthdays they give everybody else a gift, rather than demanding one themselves. Kind eh? Especially in the case of Penguin, which has announced that to celebrate its 80th birthday it will be launching a new range of 80 books, entitled Little Black Classics, to be sold for a mere 80p each. 80p, you cry! That’s madness! Well yes. And even more excitingly for some, the series is accompanied by a fun little interactive website, designed by freelance designer Mathieu Triay, which invites readers either to shake their phones or to drag the penguin across their screens in order to discover the titles and quotations from the books included. Whoever claimed that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” evidently has much to learn from the publishing house, which appears to be getting progressively more exciting with each passing year.

  13. Wesleyverhoeve-oneofmany-int-8-jess-denver

    I don’t mean to show off, but I’ve met quite a few Americans, and I often ask them about the creative scene in the USA. More specifically I’m interested in whether it’s possible to elucidate any recurring themes or general characteristics in such a huge, diverse country. Most of them, bluntly but politely, say that no, no it’s not. What a ridiculous question. Get out my car. So to study American creativity is actually to study its individual outposts, and that’s where Wesley Verhoeve’s One Of Many project comes in.