Creating Exciting And Unusual Visual Hierarchies // thnxz smashingmagazine.com – @smashingmag


Layout, for both print and screen, is one of the most important aspects of graphic design. Designs that extend across multiple pages or screens, whether containing large or small amounts of type, must be carefully controlled in a way that is enticing and is easy for all to access.

Creating Exciting And Unusual Visual Hierarchies With Typography

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Careful control of visual hierarchy is a key aspect of the design decisions we have to consider. In this article, we will look at how frequently type needs to be broken down into different levels, such as topic, importance and tone of voice.

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There Is No Mobile Internet! // @smashingmag – smashingmagazine.com


By Marek Wolski

A Quiet Change

At the beginning of June, Google published on its Webmaster Central Blog its “Recommendations for Building Smartphone-Optimized Websites.” Its recommendations are that responsiveness — or, where necessary, device-specific HTML — is the way to build websites for today. Both methods are based on all devices accessing one URL, which in Google’s words makes it “easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to…”

Following the recommendation means making most of your Web content accessible across devices. It ensures that each link shared across the Web leads back to the same place and that, irrespective of the user’s device, everyone gets the same design experience. It aims to standardize Web design approaches, but also to standardize user experience expectations.

Shortly after, Apple announced a lot of thrilling updates to iOS 6. One of the least talked about was Safari’s iCloud tabs. This syncs your open browser tabs and allows you to continue browsing from where you left off on another device. Google’s recent version of Chrome for iOS has the same feature. The result? The ultimate cross-media surfing experience, a digital doggy bag.

After many years of Internet people working on standards, technologies and practices to bring about a One Web experience, the two companies made a big push towards making it a reality. We are now a big step closer to, in the words of the W3C, “an Internet where as far as reasonably possible, the same information and services are available to users irrespective of the device they are using.” Well, that is only if website owners and brands get their act together and change their old ways. To do so, they will need to recognize that things aren’t what they seem and aren’t what many are still peddling.

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Old Habits, Old Stereotypes

A couple of years ago, mobile devices couldn’t even handle many of the Web’s fundamental standards (JavaScript, for example). But as devices became as powerful as last year’s MacBook, the technology drove a behavioral shift. It wasn’t just early adopters who were using the mobile Web. It was every person and their dog with a smartphone and a 3G connection (around 75% of smartphone owners surf the Web).

Our Mobile Planet - General Smartphone Activities
Image source: Our Mobile Planet.

The line between what is and isn’t Web-enabled is blurring. People don’t see the Internet on their phone or tablet as being the “mobile Internet.” It’s just the Internet. In the words of mobile expert Brad Frost, “mobile users will do anything and everything desktop users will do, provided it’s presented in a usable way.”

For the last few years, across categories, mobile experience benchmarking studies have been filled with recommendations to broaden and deepen the content available. Users are searching more and longer for information that currently isn’t available on mobile or even tablet devices.

Mobile Site vs Full Site
Image source: Strangeloop.

This desire for information is prevalent and strong enough that many opt for a less than optimal visit to the “full site” in order to access more or other information. The fact that almost a third of mobile users are prepared to endure poor navigation, slow loading times and no touch optimization really underscores the presence of this fundamental behavior.

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Multi-Device World: about design and more, and more… // @smashingmag / @flipthemedia


Thnx to smashingmagazine.com and flipthemedia.com

When I think about where we are with the Web in comparison to other media in history, pinpointing it is really hard. Is it like when the Gutenberg Press was just invented and we’re experimenting with movable type, or are we still embellishing pages and slavishly copying books by hand?

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Our knowledge of building digital things changes rapidly, taking us from newborn to adult and back again every couple of years. It’s both exciting and frustrating, because just when you think you have it all figured out, it completely changes. But if you’re like me, learning something new keeps things interesting.

So, it seems pretty normal that our methods of designing and building websites are questioned every so often. The argument to ditch design apps (or to drastically minimize the time spent in them) and go straight to the browser has popped up a lot in the past few years and then quite recently. It’s obvious that our digital world and, by proxy, our design process are in a state of transition. And they should be: considering design in the context of your materials and goals is always important.

I tend to shy away from prescriptive approaches. Most decisions are framed by our experience, and, as humans, we’re continually drawn to and seek out what we already believe (known as “confirmation bias”), ignoring the rest. So, I strive to keep that in mind whenever listening to advice about how things should be done. We’re all navigating the same changing landscape here. What many designers recommend is the right answer for them and not necessarily the right answer for you, or your client. As Cameron Moll more eloquently states:

“You know your circumstances, your users, and your personal preferences best. And if that means responsive web design — or design methodology or todo app or office chair or whatever — isn’t the right choice for you, don’t be ashamed if you find yourself wanting more, or at least wanting something else.”

That’s exactly how I feel right now. A lot of the explorations into Web design lately have been looking for the best ways to optimize an experience and to make it as flexible as possible across devices. These are important issues. But what about the design principles we’ve proven and iterated on through a variety of media? How can we apply what we’ve learned about design so that it can be utilized in an appropriate way to create websites in this multi-canvas world?


Typographic Design in the Digital Domain” with Erik Spiekermann and Elliot Jay Stocks

In an interview with Elliot Jay Stocks, legendary typographer and designer Erik Spiekermann explains how he finds it funny that designers today complain about limitations in designing for mobile…

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1. Technology and use trends

  • Digital options increase every day
  • Fluidity allows you to reach people through all the different methods available
  • Some devices actually create new data, which yield new insights (i.e. FitBit, Fuel band, etc. This idea will also be interesting for toys.)
  • Network speeds increasing (huge difference from 3G to LTE)
  • With the decreased price of cloud storage, sharing content across devices is easier (shared experience)
  • Content management systems drive the consumer experience and should be integrated into the foundation of your platform

2. Types of connected experiences

  • Synchronized: for example, the eReader let’s you make notes and brings you back to where you last stopped, no matter the device. Evernote allows you to share information and access documents from different locations and devices.
  • Adaptive: content adapts to your current device. This could mean apps for the device you want to target or responsive websites. It’s important to consider how the customer will engage on a device and what information you need to share.
  • Complementary(second screen): people interact with content at an event or with others experiencing an event. A lot of networks are investing in second screen platforms. 80% of people with tablets watch television with a second screen in front of them; an opportunity for networks to build deeper experiences for customers.
  • Device shifting: people start searches on mobile/tablets and finishing them elsewhere, shifting seamlessly from device to device. Consider content and context of each device.  For example, when searching for cars, on the phone you might want to show visuals, basic information, and location-based results, while on the PC you have expanded information, but don’t focus on location-based information specifically. Leer más “Multi-Device World: about design and more, and more… // @smashingmag / @flipthemedia”