Dunstan Orchard
November 9, 2004 10:22 PM   Subscribe

Dunstan Orchard designed his site header to mimic the view and weather of his parent's home in Dorset. To do so he created 90 illustrations reflecting the local weather such as cloud condition, wind, humidity, etc. and matched the pics with a XML feed from The design features a panel which folds out from beneath the current illustration and presents detailed local weather for both San Francisco & Dorset. Dunstan's talent and attention to detail are astounding. I've only scratched the surface of what he does with this site.
posted by filchyboy (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What other sites do you know of which use such time aware tools or design?
posted by filchyboy at 10:23 PM on November 9, 2004

Holy cow, the comment highlighting. What a brilliant and well-done idea. So practical, so pretty.
posted by rafter at 10:32 PM on November 9, 2004

One of the best-designed sites I've ever seen.
posted by rushmc at 10:38 PM on November 9, 2004

The fascination with weather and perfect attention to detail remind me very much of Oliver Sacks' descriptions of the thinking of autistic persons in An Anthropologist on Mars, and I mean that with high respect. I think Jessica Park would love this site.
posted by melissa may at 11:08 PM on November 9, 2004

Henry Darger's Book of Weather Reports.
posted by filchyboy at 11:41 PM on November 9, 2004

Pretty neat homage and demo of his mojo skills. Seems like a nice guy too.

Cool beans!
posted by fenriq at 12:02 AM on November 10, 2004

[this is good]
posted by plep at 12:31 AM on November 10, 2004

So elegant; this site is a thing of beauty. And yes, the comment highlighting-- I had the same reaction as when I first saw at Rebecca Blood's that she had differently coloured links for inside and outside the side. Smack forehead, think, Of course, it's so simple, so useful, why hasn't it always been that way?
posted by jokeefe at 12:40 AM on November 10, 2004

posted by jokeefe at 1:07 AM on November 10, 2004

Beautiful stuff - great design and not a bit of flash to be seen. Accessible too! I want to be this good when I grow up...aaw crap 1976 - that's my age!

must try harder
posted by twistedonion at 2:01 AM on November 10, 2004

I'd do it. /GirlFilter
posted by Summer at 2:59 AM on November 10, 2004

... she had differently coloured links for inside and outside the site ...

Sounds useful, but unless done very carefully, probably provides more confusion than benefit. Think about it: People have to have a way to know that's what the difference is. They've probably unconsciously internalized the idea of two link colors: Visited, and un-visited. If they think about it at all, a third color is most likely just to confuse users.

I actually don't think the vast, vast majority of users would think about it at all. So the "utility" is to Dunsten and Rebecca, themselves. Which is really to say that the value isn't really in its utility to site users, but in how it fits their own attention to detail. I find that a design aesthetic is often convincing and compelling to others in large part as a function of how consistent and complete it is, internally, to its creator.

Damn straight about the DHTML v. Flash. Making DHTML work well is all about attention to detail and organization. That everything here functions is a significant achievement by itself. That it looks good is amazing.
posted by lodurr at 3:46 AM on November 10, 2004

posted by donpardo at 5:00 AM on November 10, 2004

I'd do it. /GirlFilter

Hit it, Summer, hit it.

BTW another [this is good] from me.
posted by salmacis at 5:57 AM on November 10, 2004

While I'm at it, I'm not a million miles from Dorset. The sky is maybe a bit lighter than in the illustration, but it's not a bad picture of the conditions in Southern England right now.
posted by salmacis at 6:01 AM on November 10, 2004

v. nice!
posted by shoepal at 6:37 AM on November 10, 2004

Melissa, I know just what you mean. It occurred to me too. From his webpage, Duncan seems like someone who got just the right amount of those Aspergerish genes to be wonderful.
posted by digaman at 7:02 AM on November 10, 2004

Hit it, Summer, hit it.

Not in my part of the world.
posted by Summer at 7:43 AM on November 10, 2004

posted by togdon at 7:54 AM on November 10, 2004

To add to the running tally, this is extraordinarily cool. Thanks filchyboy.
posted by longbaugh at 8:11 AM on November 10, 2004

Dunstan, I meant.
posted by digaman at 8:13 AM on November 10, 2004

posted by TimeFactor at 9:00 AM on November 10, 2004

[this is good]

Websites like this (and there are others that approach this sort of design, even if they're not quite up at this level) make me glad that the Web has come as far as it has. They not only present information well but are a real joy to look at and use, and that's exactly how the medium ought to be--taking the kinds of eye-candy and layout designs that work so well in print, and bringing that to the higher levels of interactivity and visual feedback that the Web allows.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 9:43 AM on November 10, 2004

Dunstan is indeed a very nice guy and a talented developer. I worked (virtually) with him briefly a couple of years ago on the MACCAWS project. Kudos, Dunstan, for making MetaFilter - and for making the web a better place in general.
posted by sharpener at 10:14 AM on November 10, 2004

I want to eat this man's brain so that I may become as creative and skilled.

Guess that won't work... I'll have to do it the old-fashioned way, through hard work and dedication. Drat.
posted by lychee at 4:44 PM on November 10, 2004

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