Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Cage The Elephant, Dropdown v. Radio Button & Stitch by Stitch

Weekly Update 2019-33: Kickin' alt rock from Cage The Elephant, the eternal struggle of choosing the right interface element and a breathtaking cross-stitch project at the Textile Museum.

Music: Cage The Elephant
Straight outta Kentucky comes this kickin' alt rock band, headed by the endless energy ball that is Matt Shultz. His vocals are so catchy and unique that I can't seem to get enough of their music. After seeing them back in 2017 at Osheaga, I knew they give as much to their live shows as they did to making their awesome music. That must be why their live album is so good. And after seeing them play another show this past weekend, I can confirm they are still amazing. More on that below.

Start anywhere, but I really dig their new album Social Cues. The lyrics definitely ring true with raw power and emotion of Shultz's recent divorce.

Larissa's second (and final) engagement party has come to an end, and I am pretty exhausted from it. The drumming performance and so much social interaction at once was quite a lot to handle, but it all turned out really well. My parents especially did a really good job planning the party and making the backyard look absolutely spectacular. In any case, I'm looking forward to a lower key weekend next weekend.

August 11 has come and gone, along with one of my favourite concert experiences. I took my dad to see Spoon, Beck and Cage The Elephant at Budweiser Stage and it was such an energy-packed performance. I can't believe what a performer Matt Shultz of Cage The Elephant is, he went into the crowd for several lengthy moments, and even surprised the lawn area by popping up there at the end of their set. Not to mention his many, many varied costume changes throughout the set, most of which occurring onstage while he performed. It was so weird but so cool!

I was lucky enough to be awarded the chance to dogsit Theo again for a couple of nights at Eric and Laura's place. He's such a good boy and he even let me take a few choice photos.

Look at that coat!

This weekend brings a bunch of live performance and show-spectacles: Tuesday is Game Grumps: Live, Wednesday is the annual Blackout Party (coinciding with Toronto Cruisers) and Friday I get to see my beloved Wolf Parade for the sixth time.

Saturday night is karaoke for Logan's birthday, and Sunday is a trip to the Art Gallery of Hamilton to see their excellent summer exhibitions and my personal favourite the permanent fixture Bruegel-Bosch Bus.

Random Thought: Dropdown v. Radio Button
Ah, the eternal user interface struggle. When a user is meant to select one single option from a list of two or more in an online form, both the dropdown and radio button components can do the job. And yet, they are different and serve different experiences to the user.

Radio button set on the left, dropdown on the right.

The above image suggests that a choice between red, green or blue should be specified with a radio button set rather than a dropdown. But why? A few reasons come to mind:

  1. There are less than five options, so the trade-off between how much space a dropdown saves versus the click it requires to reveal its options weighs toward showing everything upfront.
  2. There is no default or recommended answer, therein the user should probably read them all even if an option is pre-selected as in the example above.
I found a really handy decision tree created for an article on Appway's website that breaks down the technical side. I tested it with a set of field questions I was creating for a form at work, and it confirmed all my choices for UI treatment.

The devil is in the details, especially with something as boring and remedial to the user as filling out a form. Anything I can do to make the experience more comfortable with the right interface choices will help me (and the user) sleep better at night.

Inspiration: Stitch By Stitch
I visited the Textile Museum again and what a treat it was again to visit such a lovely place. All of their exhibits have been consistently top-notch in my eight or so past visits, and the size of the museum is just right for maximum impact of 3-4 projects.

A special project drew my family to visit The Torah: Stitch by Stitch for different reasons. The simply massive project is all cross-stitched in recreating first five books of the Bible as well as selections from the Scriptures and Qur’an, reflecting on the theme of creation. The project spread through the world by mail, bringing in works from almost 1500 participants from the far reaches to come together in Toronto on display.

Photos taken by my father - thanks, dad!

Everyone in my family has a penchant for craft (especially my sister, who taught herself to cross-stitch), and we do happen to be of the Jewish faith so these stories and letterforms are somewhat familiar to us. But what I saw more reflected in the project was the sense of community that Judaism provides in many forms, and in my experience of reform Judaism, an extension of that community to anyone who wishes for and accepts it.

Simply stunning. All cross-stitched by hand!

Therein this project's near-1500 contributors came from many faiths and backgrounds, and included passages that are common to the beginnings of many faiths beyond only Judaism.

If you haven't been to the museum yet, it is simply a treat. Between 5 and 8 pm on Wednesday evenings, the Museum offers pay-what-you-can admission. Check out their website.

No comments:

Post a Comment