Hi. I'm Jason Zimdars a web designer in Oklahoma City, OK and this is my website.

Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Apparently the correct answer is “yes”

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Clicking “no” exits the installer. Is it just me or is this complete gibberish?

Dragon installer

Dragon installer

This just might be my dream home

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

underground-home-designs-swiss-mountain-house-16Swiss Underground home.

I love everything about this from the unique and eco-friendly underground design to the beautiful, natural materials — all with a modern aesthetic.

Tons more pictures here.

The making of a designer

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Reading John Siracusa’s Hypercritical on Ars Technica a couple of weeks ago really sent me back in time. This is the first time in my life where I’ve encountered an account of growing up that so closely matches my own. I was really stunned to read it.

I, too, grew up drawing and everyone always expected me to be an artist. I drew constantly as a kid, right up through high school where my ability was known enough that my teachers didn’t mind if I drew in class—I always managed to follow the lesson anyway. (I’ve always thought it was some kind of hyper creative state that allowed me to stay fully on-task in the class while drawing).

Drawing was my thing. It started with copying Garfield characters out of books (I still really admire the line work in Jon Davis’ comics). By middle school, I was drawing my own original comics for the school newspaper (typically written by my best friend, Josh Glider). Finally, in high school I took all the art electives they would let me and got a bit more commercial, drawing mascots for the school and some of the on-campus clubs. I still have some of the t-shirts.

Drawing was the way that an average athlete and above-average nerd gained a little corner of popularity both with kids and adults. It certainly was an easy way to make friends and impress people. But I was always annoyed by the people that insisted that they could not draw, dismissing what I could do as some naturally born talent. Did they not realize that I could draw because I worked my ass off at it? Did they not know I drew ALL THE TIME? Perhaps, not as elequently as Siracusa I realized that there was more to it. I wasn’t blessed with some kind of superhuman hand-eye coordination or the subtlety of gesture to shade carefully. No, what I was given was a very critical eye and a yearn for realism.

As John described, I, too, saw some of this manifest with my toys and interactions with adults. Toys were never realistic enough. I hated that my toy Millennium Falcon was so squat and dumpy compared to the lean and elegant model in the movies. Why did all of my action figures stand as if at attention instead of in an action pose? Why was the illustration of the Transformer on the package so dynamic and the toy so dull? Didn’t anyone else notice this stuff?

I had the same problem with adults growing up. They always seemed so imprecise and got things wrong that really mattered. Like mixing up Star Wars and Star Trek (or Star Track, ugh). They couldn’t remember what night the TV show was on, or what day the new movie came out, or that character’s name on that show. I since realize that adults probably had a lot more on their minds than I did as a child, but it still annoys me even when I slip up now.

No, Siracusa nailed it. The thing that I struggled with (continue to struggle with), the real ability I was blessed with, the thing that made me an artist (ok, designer) is a critical eye. Not that this doesn’t come without it’s drawbacks. I love this passage, in particular:

The drawbacks are obvious. Knowing what’s wrong with something (or thinking that you do, which, for the purposes of this discussion, should be considered the same thing) does a fat lot of good if you lack the skills to correct it. And thinking that you know what’s wrong with everything requires significant impulse control if you want to avoid pissing off everyone you meet.

But much worse than that, it means that everything you ever create appears to you as an accumulation of defeats. “Here’s where I gave up trying to get that part right and moved on to the next part.” Because at every turn, it’s apparent to you exactly how poorly executed your work-in-progress is, and how far short it will inevitably fall when completed. But surrender you must, at each step of the process, because the alternative is to never complete anything—or to never start at all.

This is why it is hard to be satisfied with my work—there is always a flaw. And knowing what is wrong with everything certainly has made personal and professional relationships challenging at times. But it has probably had an even greater effect on my work, so for that I am thankful.

So what’s the point of writing about this? I’m not sure. It might just be to give John Siracusa a high-five and a “right-on”. It is pretty rare and cool to read something that you can identify with so deeply. Oh, and it also appears that I share one more trait with John: verbosity.

Refresh OKC March Meeting 2009

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Just wanted to say I had a great time joining Jeff Davis, Tommy Yi, and Craig Teel on the panel at Refresh OKC yesterday evening. Moderator Chad Henderson provided some great questions for us to discuss as a group. Some of the highlights were discussions about our “setups” (paralleling my recent blog post), the recent social media mash-up on, how we approach our design process, how to deal with clients, and of course “boxers or briefs?”.

If you are an internet person in the Oklahoma City area, Refresh is a great way to meet and get to know people that do what we do around here—and there are more of us than you might think!


For those of you interested, the audio podcast version of the evening has been posted at


Friday, October 24th, 2008

Google Mail’s web interface has tons of great features missing from even older and more established desktop mail applications. One of my favorites is the way it handles email attachments. Clicking “View all attachments” will do just that opening them in a new browser tab all together rather than downloading them to your computer and relying on the user to both find and open the images. This option is only visible when the attachments are images. Smart!

GMail\'s download attachments feature is smart.

Similarly, with non-viewable attachments (such as the ZIP archives in my example) GMail offers a “Download all attachments” link. This packages all of the files into a single ZIP archive and downloads them all at once. What is more, GMail manages to intelligently name the new ZIP file based on its contents. Really smart!

Brilliant Packaging

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Sometimes the very best ideas are so natural they don’t seem like ideas at all. That is, they seem so obvious, that it makes you wonder why the idea hasn’t always existed or how we got so far away from it. Such is the case with this laptop, the HP Pavilion dv6929wm Entertainment Notebook PC which ships and sits on retail shelves inside a laptop bag. Not a cardboard box, tons of styrofoam, baggies, and twist-ties, but actually the computer and all of its accessories are inside a laptop bag designed for the dual purpose. And the bag is made of recycled materials, too.

The product was created by HP as an answer to Walmart’s design challenge, challenge which asked electronics manufacturers to produce a product that would reduce environmental impact. HP’s solution won the top prize in reducing 97% of the typical waste from laptop packaging. It really is a shame that more products don’t ship in similar “packages”. How many things, especially electronics, do we buy and then buy a bag, cover, or other protection for? I’d love to see this trickle into other products. When did we become a nation that needs everything we buy to hermetically sealed?