Stop the FAQ Page Bandage

by Jason Gross

Stop the FAQ Page Bandage

The evolution of the web and the way in which we design for it has brought around all kinds of patterns, standards and best practices. Sites have a relatively uniform information structure: We always start with a home page (also known as the front page or index page) as the default page, and we’ll have common pages such as a contact page, an about page, and so forth.

A lot of sites will have a web page dedicated to problem-solving, giving answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ). In a time where interactivity between the site operator and site visitors is at the forefront, and a time where site analytics allow us to know more about user behavior than ever before — has the FAQ page, been left behind? Seguir leyendo “Stop the FAQ Page Bandage”

Exploring Android App Developers GUI Kits, Icons, Fonts and Tools

By: Kayla Knight

Android is an operating system, created by Google, that has taken over many mobile devices, such as cell phones, tablets, and netbooks. As mobile devices have become more popular, Android has become one of the leading players in the world of mobile development. In recent years, we’ve also seen a rise beyond cell phones, into even more advanced SmartPhones, reading tablets, and mini-computer tablets (such as the iPad).

Exploring Android App Developers GUI Kits, Icons, Fonts and Tools

All of these devices are leading more towards personal customization, and this customization is only possible through the world of developers that are ever-growing the list of Android apps. In this post we have a list of some very useful Android tools, templates, and tutorials. Any developer, beginner to advanced, can get started with Android development easily and in the right direction.

Main Android Websites

Main Android Websites

  • – The main website for Android that can tell you a bit more about the operating system, how to get involved as a developer, and what devices use Android. There are also technical updates and media coverage of the Android platform.
  • Android 2.2 Developer’s Blog – Stay up to date with the official Android developer blog for Android’s newest versions: 2.2.
  • Android Developers – The official Android developer site, created by Here you can download the SDK and all other essential tools for Android development, plus check out some other cool resources, tutorials, and view the official documentation.
  • Android SDK – The SDK for Android development. Available for free off of the Android Developer’s website.
  • Android Market – This is where you can find a list of popular apps, and either purchase them or find free alternatives. Even if you do not choose to buy apps, this website can be a great place to get ideas for Android apps, or to see the power of what Android can do.
  • Android Open-Source Project – A community of developers for open-source technology related to the Android. Again, there are resources, tutorials, and more for creating other applications that are compatible with the latest version of Android.

Android GUI Tools & Resources

Designing is just as important on a mobile device as it is on the web or even in print design. Fortunately, for the Android platform, there are a number of Graphical User Interface kits and tools available to help any designer or developer get the job done quickly and easily.

Android GUI Prototyping – v1.4
Creating the interface for any application can be a difficult process, but this tool is here to help. This is the Android GUI Prototyping tool for Microsoft Visio. If you use visio for wireframing, sitemaps, etc. then this tool can provide you with all the stencils needed to begin wireframing GUI’s for an Android device. Seguir leyendo “Exploring Android App Developers GUI Kits, Icons, Fonts and Tools”

40 Brilliant Examples of Sketched UI Wireframes and Mock-Ups

By: Hilde Torbjornsen |

Creating wireframes and mock-ups is quite easy to do digitally these days. Applications are available everywhere, and there’s one for every style. While many prefer to do that part of the work digitally during the process, there are still quite a few designers who actually choose to do it the old-fashioned way using a Moleskine or other ways of drawing by hand.

We all have our preferences and the important part is of course that we find a way to do things that will nourish our creativity and talent.

Sketched UI Wireframes and Mock-Ups

We’ve collected some great examples for you, showing how some designers have drawn their ongoing projects. It can be quite inspiring to have a look at, maybe this will give you some new ideas for yourself?

I’ve personally found that sometimes I get an idea easier on paper when taking a notebook and escaping from the computer for a while, as the distractions are always so many.

HBO – True Blood Site

HBO - True Blood Site





UI Sketch
UI Sketch

Sketched Wireframes 5
Sketched Wireframes 5 Seguir leyendo “40 Brilliant Examples of Sketched UI Wireframes and Mock-Ups”

20 Excellent Coda Tips

I’ve been using Coda for a while now, and it’s become my web development application of choice. There are quite a few great web development applications out there (read “18 Wonderful IDEs for Windows, Mac, and Linux“) but if you’re a Mac user, Coda is easily one of the best.

Here are 20 excellent Coda tips to increase productivity that I’ve gathered during my use of Coda so far.

1. Set Your Preferences

There are a few things I had to change right away when I first started using Coda. These are all found in Coda’s preferences.

I never use a GUI CSS editor so I set Coda to always open CSS files with the text editor.

Coda Preferences General Tab

Under the Editor tab I’ve check-marked “Show line numbers” and “Use tabs” for indenting. You can hide/show line numbers by pushing Command + Option + L as well.

Coda Preferences Editor Tab

Under the Colors tab I’ve check-marked “Highlight Current line” to make it easier to see where the cursor is when switching back and fourth between applications.

Under the files tab I set files to open when double clicked instead of a single click. You may also need to setup your external editors. Coda automatically used Photoshop for the image formats I use.

Coda Preferences Files Tab

This is how Coda’s navigation bar at the top is by default. This is just a waste of space in my opinion although it is pretty.

Coda Nav Bar Big

I’ve changed mine to display only text titles and as small as possible. Since I don’t use the buttons I have that section minimized most of the time anyway. Instead I use the shortcut keys which I’ll cover next.

Coda Nav Bar Small

Aside from these changes, I’ve left everything else at the default settings. I’ve played around with the color schemes a little but I didn’t find anything I was really happy with so I’ve kept the default color scheme.

2. Switching Modes

If you aren’t using shortcut keys to change modes, now is a good time to learn. Pushing Command + 1-6 changes the mode you’re in. You can switch between your sites, editor, preview, etc. modes very quickly this way.

3. Navigating Open Documents

Pushing Command + Shift + Left or Right Bracket will navigate through your open documents.

4. Line Indenting

Coda automatically indents certain markup for you by default but you’ll still find yourself using the Tab button pretty frequently. Instead of jumping to the front of a line to indent it you can push Command + Left or Right Bracket to indent the line the cursor is currently in.

5. Clips and Text Inserts

Pushing Command + Control + C will open up Coda’s clips. Clips is a place to store snippets of code for quickly inserting into documents. You can save snippets for use in all documents or just site specific clips.

Coda Clips General

You can assign tags to quickly insert clips. For example, I’ve set “htmltemp” to insert an HTML 4.01 Template when I start a new document. I would type “htmltemp” into the blank document and push Tab to insert the clip. You can also insert a selection placeholder if the cursor needs to go somewhere specific in the clip after being inserted.

Coda Clips General

Seguir leyendo “20 Excellent Coda Tips”

How to Customize the WordPress Admin Area

by Filip Stefansson |

Become a Facebook Fan of Six Revisions.

WordPress is one of the best CMSs out there — if not the best (but of course, I’m biased because I’m a WordPress fanatic). It has loads of handy features that make site administration a breeze. WordPress is a publishing platform with a comment system, a GUI for creating, editing and managing posts and pages, handy built-in tools like the “Export” feature to back up your content, user roles and permissions, and more.

But how much of these features do we really use? Though already simple and user-friendly by default, we might want to customize the WordPress Admin interface to make it even simpler and more manageable for our clients, our co-authors, and ourselves.

Why Customize the WordPress Admin Interface?

Lately, WordPress has reached phenomenally high usage rates. There are over 25 million publishers[1] who use WordPress, making it a popular publishing platform. This means that its use has been extended outside of just a blogging platform (although it was certainly built for bloggers at the start) to other types of sites such as portfolios, business sites, image galleries, and even e-commerce sites.

Here is the problem, though. A robust publishing platform like WordPress has way more features than a regular user would ever need. Take the “Comments” panel for instance: Not everyone is going to need all the moderation privileges it has. Some sites might not even need commenting capabilities on their content. For example, a static informational site that doesn’t have a blog section might not want people to be able to comment on static pages like their About and Contact Us page.

The following image shows the default WordPress Dashboard — the first page you’ll see when you log into the Admin area. For tech-savvy folks and power users, it’s great. But imagine a person (such as a paying client of yours) who doesn’t need half of the things they see in this screen. All they want to do is publish a post. Maybe edit it if they make a mistake. That’s it. Nothing else. Seguir leyendo “How to Customize the WordPress Admin Area”

Free Wireframing Kits, UI Design Kits, PDFs and Resources

To mock-up the user interface of a website, software or any other product, you’ll need some basic UI elements. And this is where wireframing kits and UI design kits come in handy. When you want to create a low-fidelity prototype for your projects, you can use these kits to give your idea a certain shape, keeping it abstract and not losing yourself in details.

In this post, we’ve prepared an overview of useful web and mobile user interface kits, handy PDFs and resources that you can use in your projects. We’ve carefully selected the most useful kits and resources to get you going in the early stages of a project.

[Offtopic: by the way, did you know that we are publishing a Smashing eBook Series? The brand new eBook #3 is Mastering Photoshop For Web Design, written by our Photoshop-expert Thomas Giannattasio.]

Free Mobile GUI PSD

Android GUI PSD
This Android GUI PSD is based on elements of the Android 1.5 GUI and was made to help the open-source community with its Android application mock-ups. Most of the elements and phone illustrations are done in vector paths and so are easily resizable. Android Sans was used for the text.

Uidesignkit50 in Free Wireframing Kits, UI Design Kits, PDFs and Resources

Seguir leyendo “Free Wireframing Kits, UI Design Kits, PDFs and Resources”

45 Free Applications For Designers And Developers

By Callum Chapman


If you’re one of these people, this list is for you – and there is probably an application or two in here that those of you who are not looking for freebies will love too. The post is full of open source applications for Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, iPhone/Pad and Android phones, from development apps, painting and image editing apps and nifty little tools that come in handy from time to time.

Development Apps

Notepad++ | Windows
Notepad++ is a free source code editor that replaces Windows’ standard Notepad editor, and is available in several different languages across the globe.

Notepad1 in 45 Free Applications For Designers And Developers Seguir leyendo “45 Free Applications For Designers And Developers”

Designing Web Apps for the iPad

by Stephen Vescio

What’s stopping you from creating a functional app/website for the iPad? My answer was the Objective-C coding language, time constraints and having to deal with the infamous Apple App Store.

But if you’re a web designer, like me, and you think that designing for the iPad is outside the realm of possibility — think again.

Love it or hate it, the iPad is an incredible medium. There is no denying that the touch form factor will have an incredible impact on how designers approach user interaction. So get ahead of the game and start experimenting with iPad web apps now.

In this article, I will guide you through my creative process in which I developed a simple but useful iPad web app in just one weekend:

I do not consider myself a professional iPad app developer, so if you feel a little apprehensive, let my experience be an inspiration to you.

Why Did I Create a Web App for the iPad?

I created a web-based iPad app mainly for my own personal use. I got fed up with the App Store and all the paid apps that didn’t do the trick.

My particular project is a news aggregating app that makes it easy to take 5 minutes every couple hours and keep up-to-date on news stories from a variety of sources.

This helps because I am in business/finance and it takes too long to go through a static newspaper or browse multiple websites.

It turned out better than I thought, so I figure it may be of use to others. I made a landing page at allowing anyone with an iPad to use it 100% free.

Again, I do not consider myself a professional and I truly believe any web/graphic designer can learn from my experiences to create web apps better than most of the ones you find in the App Store currently. Seguir leyendo “Designing Web Apps for the iPad”

Making User Interface Elements Difficult to Use By Intent

by Jacob Gube

Making User Interface Elements Difficult to Use By Intent

In modern web interface design, no other principle has been heralded and pushed onto us as much as the concept of user-centered design. User-centered design tells us that we should do everything we can to make our user interfaces as easy to use and as intuitive as possible.

However, a big part of designing user interfaces that are easy to use also involves figuring out what things should be a bit more difficult to to use. It’s a counter-intuitive notion that’s central to effective user interface design. Seguir leyendo “Making User Interface Elements Difficult to Use By Intent”

Wireframing And Website Prototyping: Best Professional Tools To Design Your Website

Professional wireframing and web design prototyping tools take a step forward compared with free wireframing tools and commercial website prototyping tools, by allowing you to draw highly-realistic mockups of websites. In this MasterNewMedia guide you will find the best professional wireframing and website prototyping tools that you can use to create compelling visual web design projects.

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It’s Time For Microsoft’s Second Inception

If you’ve watched television at all over the past two months, you’ve likely seen the trailer for Inception, the new film by Christopher Nolan. The trailer is great, and the film looks like it could be even better. In it, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, a special agent whose job it is to construct dreams in order to lure people inside and take their ideas — a tactic they call “inception”.

An idea can transform the world and re-write all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it,” Cobb teases at one point in the trailer.

For whatever reason, the film and that premise got me thinking about Microsoft. More specifically, about some of the recent stories about yet more internal struggles at the company and the complete and utter failure of the Kin. It seems to me that Microsoft created one of these inceptions once in the 1980s. And it led to the company’s greatest success: Microsoft Windows. Now I think it’s time for a second inception.

Before I get into that, a bit of history. Seguir leyendo “It’s Time For Microsoft’s Second Inception”

A good week! Great readings! »:-)

por jabaldaia

To read is fun and makes me think!

6 Tips for Open Collaboration by Venessa Miemis

This is a crosspost from Alpha Lo’s blog, Open Collaboration. Though he had a much catchier title for the post (“What I Learned From Venessa Miemis” – ha), I thought he did a great job listing some of the attitudes and behaviors helpful when trying to extend oneself, collaborate, and evolve. Alpha’s doing some amazing work in creating gift circles on the west coast. Check out the original post and comments here.]

Design Thinking in Stereo: Martin and Brown by Paula Thornton

When the topic of “design thinking” had gained enough momentum for BusinessWeek to devote an entire issue to design in 2004, it was a siren song to me. Newly converted, I digested everything I could find. Design thinking seemed to cover most of the experiential clues I’d been collecting as the means to improve business potential. Seguir leyendo “A good week! Great readings! »:-)”

Useful (Offline) Utensils and Toolkits for Designers

By Cameron Chapman

Most web designers start new projects on their computer. There are hundreds of tools out there for creating wireframes, mockups, prototypes, and doing various other planning activities on your computer or online. But there are also tons of offline, paper-based tools that can speed up your development and design process. Designers who start their planning offline often just use blank or graph paper and start from scratch.

Sleek Interface Designs from DeviantART

We encounter user interfaces everywhere in our daily lives. When I look at interfaces, they always inspire me and I hope that they will inspire you too. Here are 40 creative interface designs from DeviantART for your inspiration.

1. AdvancedUI: Status Screen

AdvancedUI: Status Screen Seguir leyendo “Sleek Interface Designs from DeviantART”

Social IT outbursts: Share your business assets for the future. Business models and social architectures.

Bla-bla List: Share list
While designing a social web site and being annoyed by all the bickering social media (share me!, no share me!), I was distracted and came up with a new way to understand business assets. Some people would call it Web 2.0 or social marketing but to me it’s an evolution of web site or enterprise level architecture assets no matter what buzzword you like. The public (the internet) and the enterprise are thinking along the same lines. Business has always used the same types of assets, but without computers, we didn’t have much change unless you scaled up. It’s still the same value creation process whether supplemented by technology or not.
We use technology to process information both for customer facing applications and as an internal set of applications. The public facing internet has different goals than the privately controlled enterprise networks and that has been the source of contention in the adoption of social media marketing in business I believe. The operational tension of trying to adapt a technology for the customer while maintaining control and stability of an internal system has caused some traditional IT system thinking people to ban social network access entirely. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Certainly, what I am breaking out here is not going to be a Web 3.0 design because there are people who talk about all these pieces already, but the structure that I’m putting it into is unique I think. I’d like to have any comments where you think I just reinvented the wheel of course. For me, it’s a new set of ideas that came out of grasping SOA concepts and seeing ITIL deal with our social channels from a high enough level that it didn’t matter whose definition of any 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0 term was right. The progression of technology assisted asset complexity is as follows:
  • local information only
  • local information and applications
  • shared info
  • shared applications
  • shared info and applications

Information and applications

Web sites were originally created to distribute files of data. The idea of the web was that of a giant file server that everyone could access. This took the place of the employee who wrote down or handed a pre-printed piece of information for every customer who walked in the business. Now it was publicly available and employees could direct a customer there.
The employee generally wanted to capture and record some customer information to process a transaction so they asked questions, made phone calls, and consulted managers to take care of the sales process. The employee also might want to automate how they did surveys and updated information to display. These types of automated processes were placed on a web site also.
The two types of assets, information and applications, have been at the core of the value transfer system of business before it was automated when it known more as knowledge and process. Now our automation of the two is maturing at a level on a large customer scale. And startups are first out of the gate to take advantage of lowered costs of entry for these assets. Other asset types in ITIL terms such as capital, infrastructure, organization, management and people have stayed more stable but have had to adapt as the needs to integrate with information and applications have changed. Entrepreneurs who understand customer development and lean startup ideas from Steve Blank and Eric Ries have the upper hand here. Their management concepts are based around information flow on the customer side and a more efficient process.
Local info only

The first telephone call was a shared piece of data. The first web site was a shared piece of data.. But we changed our common communications model from a one-to-one to a one-to-many through the use of technology. That made the barrier to entry financially lower for distributing information. Inside the enterprise, the same shift happened when a corporate database was built allowing any employee access to company information.
If you as a customer wanted to know something about the company that was stored in the database, you had to use an employee to allow you access. In a small business, they might look up the information in a Word or Excel file. The web site became a substitute for that employee as distributor of that information and that customer inquiry process became automated
Local info and applications

Programmers very quickly began exploring how they could add process or logic into the data that was on the web. SSI, SHTML, CGI and other basic ways to augment the display of data were developed. People today, still create these basic types of sites first full of data, and then progressively adding e-mail and lead acquisition functions. But the quantity of web sites now available have made the usefulness of these walled gardens less interesting unless they develop a massive amount of data and make it available through a great interface.
The corporate DBAs found that by adding stored procedures, it allowed them to better manage their data. COBOL and other languages were designed with database access in mind and database management systems developed GUIs and created languages to allow better access and management of their data. Now in the enterprise, the systems have grown into data directly accessible to the employee called content management systems (CMSs) and the data systems that manage more structured data requiring applications to make sense out it all.
Shared info

Networks allow for communication and the idea that data didn’t have to be all in one place created some advantages but created severe problems as well. For the corporate data schema, it was generally better to keep data in one place under a central control but the distributed database system evolved as businesses found efficiencies to take advantage of.
It was much easier for the web site to link to another piece of data on another web site creating the distributed database called the world-wide web. But without a central control, it lacked usefulness as information increased. Google provided a simple interface to the web but without meaning. People are still trying to turn the web into a giant library complete with a Dewey hexadecimal Semantic Web indexing system or something.
Shared applications
Distributed applications started to appear as the efficiencies emerged for managing logic in different places around the corporate network. One file might have been partially processed on one server and then passed off to another to complete the processing in a batch job. Now packets of information are being passed as messages around the corporate network for processing. These packets can be managed my smaller applications known as services and on the web these services become accessible as web services. Managing the data being handled by these services and the architecture orchestrating it became known as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).
On the web, programmers started accessing other web sites applications and combining the outputs of them to create a web site that had no data of its own but provided value in seeing property values or crime statistics
on a Google map. These kinds of distributed applications were called mashups. Even without several web servers contributing their applications to one web site, a web site could enhance the logic on the web server with logic on the browser using JavaScript’s AJAX and formidable language powers rediscovered after its shameful use by direct marketers in the past.
The shared information or shared applications models by themselves were the beginning of a social transformation of the web from single managed to multi-managed. The first social users of the web were programmers who collaborated on how systems should work together on the internet. But the ability of common folk to participate in this sharing wasn’t available until the administrative structures were programmed by someone who wanted to automate the sharing.
Shared info and applications

The web initially started with basic interactive applications such as MUDs and bulletin boards which became forums but the techies were satisfied with just having fun. Later the push for business use of those same functions created more socially useful applications. Now the business use of social networks is what people are talking about mostly because there’s money involved.  These sites provide customer access, shared data, and shared services across multiple sites bringing together Twitter data, Facebook profiles, publicly accessible blogs, forums, news sources, and whatever else sites can get their paws on.
But the enterprise has trouble dealing with this level of interaction while maintaining control. The large scale enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications are large and complex beasts. When many people are adapting and self-managing on the web to market interests, the change is rapid and without disaster as long as you don’t look at fail whales and massive hacks. When the corporation manages an ERP adoption as a single project, the results often are poor. Other corporate systems are striving to grab public data and integrate it with internal information in new types of applications such as the social customer relationship management (SCRM) systems.
I’m thinking that the corporation needs a new standard for this social and enterprise level architecture. I’d call it Socially Enabled Architecture (SEA) and it would answer the strategic questions of
  • how does a business monitor social media?
  • how does a business engage with customers through social media?
  • how does a business record that social data?
  • how does a business share that data?
  • what social media makes sense to capture?
  • what relationships are useful to capture?
  • what application types manage social data the best?
  • what processes best manage social data interactions?
  • what metrics should be used to determine social task successes?

Social assets

Value comes by assets and finding better ways to share those assets. We now are sharing more of our assets than ever before in business both of information and applications. Consumers now find that the barrier to entry is so low on business assets that they easily become a service of value when they start blogging or tweeting. Upgrading that to a web site with more data and applications to take the weekend socialite to a business venture takes more understanding of customers and business in general. But the home-style web business is growing because of that and the future looks to continue the trend. Myself, I’m looking forward to more mature SEA web sites in the future.
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