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.

Full article

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”

The User Is The Anonymous Web Designer

We invest time, money and effort into understanding our audience, and the movement toward a more socially networked Web has made us realize the power that visitors have over how our designs are engineered; and we try to meet their ever-growing needs. Community is integral to the evolution and functioning of a website, and visitors and website owners have become dependent on each other. This reflects a change in the industry: the user has turned into an anonymous designer.

This article will explore the influential figure ‘user’ and uncover the power of your community. Whether you boast social applications, interactivity or a stream of regular visitors, your audience might be a powerful untapped resource at your fingertips. You, the website owner, have the power to make decisions and override them (for better or worse), but the user deserves to be recognized as more than a statistic.
Traditional Roles

Back in the Web’s infancy, the roles of the Web professional and visitor were clearly laid out. Technologies such as email, bulletin boards and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) rooms existed, but most Web users were technologically inclined — cost and complexity of computers and Internet access were the biggest obstacles for many in the early days. Additionally, website were simple and the power of users was restricted; users had little sway with designers and developers.
The Professionals

The role of the Web professional used to be — famously, in the ’90s — to build websites that delivered certain information. Asking the user for feedback was an afterthought; this was evidence of the commonly held belief that we, the experts, knew what was best for users. Usability and accessibility were a luxury, and many website providers ignored them in an attempt to control the way the medium was used.


By Alexander Dawson
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/10/14/the-user-is-the-anonymous-web-designer/

We invest time, money and effort into understanding our audience, and the movement toward a more socially networked Web has made us realize the power that visitors have over how our designs are engineered; and we try to meet their ever-growing needs. Community is integral to the evolution and functioning of a website, and visitors and website owners have become dependent on each other. This reflects a change in the industry: the user has turned into an anonymous designer.

This article will explore the influential figure ‘user’ and uncover the power of your community. Whether you boast social applications, interactivity or a stream of regular visitors, your audience might be a powerful untapped resource at your fingertips. You, the website owner, have the power to make decisions and override them (for better or worse), but the user deserves to be recognized as more than a statistic.

Traditional Roles

Back in the Web’s infancy, the roles of the Web professional and visitor were clearly laid out. Technologies such as email, bulletin boards and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) rooms existed, but most Web users were technologically inclined — cost and complexity of computers and Internet access were the biggest obstacles for many in the early days. Additionally, website were simple and the power of users was restricted; users had little sway with designers and developers.

The Professionals

The role of the Web professional used to be — famously, in the ’90s — to build websites that delivered certain information. Asking the user for feedback was an afterthought; this was evidence of the commonly held belief that we, the experts, knew what was best for users. Usability and accessibility were a luxury, and many website providers ignored them in an attempt to control the way the medium was used. Leer más “The User Is The Anonymous Web Designer”

Five Useful Design Techniques and Coding Solutions For Web Designers

As designers, we have to create an intuitive user experience, solve design problems and provide a beautiful and functional user interfaces. Unlike print design, we don’t have the luxury of designing in a static area; rather, our canvas is ever-changing in its content, browser width, page length and more. We do need to be able to code to some extent and be able to build a design around a structure of code. Yet, with these complications comes an opportunity for unique functionality, interactive effects and better user experience.

In this article, we’ll look at five useful coding solutions that we’ve stumble upon recently. All of these solutions enhance a website’s design, not just the code. These solutions affect the user interface and the user’s interaction with the design, and they can make for a more usable and interactive website.
1. Bar Graph Effect For Multiple Items

This effect (pictured below) can be a great way to add some oomph to a Web page, and make it more user-friendly. Its functionality goes beyond just being a cool trick, though. By organizing any set of items on a page — such as tags, categories, comments, product count — a designer can enhance user interaction, provide useful content clues and improve usability. By seeing a count of items such as tags and product types, the visitor can quickly get an idea of what the website mostly consists of. This is a great way to make quick connections with targeted visitors.

For comment counts, visitors can quickly see where the discussions are at. Highlights on highly commented posts can reinforce user-to-user interaction.

Pictured below are two examples of this design. The left organizes tags, and the second ranks the most commented posts on a blog. Be sure to visit both websites to see the full functionality and CSS effects.


By Kayla Knight
Full article
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/10/07/5-useful-coding-solutions-for-web-designers/

As designers, we have to create an intuitive user experience, solve design problems and provide a beautiful and functional user interfaces. Unlike print design, we don’t have the luxury of designing in a static area; rather, our canvas is ever-changing in its content, browser width, page length and more. We do need to be able to code to some extent and be able to build a design around a structure of code. Yet, with these complications comes an opportunity for unique functionality, interactive effects and better user experience.

In this article, we’ll look at five useful coding solutions that we’ve stumble upon recently. All of these solutions enhance a website’s design, not just the code. These solutions affect the user interface and the user’s interaction with the design, and they can make for a more usable and interactive website.

1. Bar Graph Effect For Multiple Items

This effect (pictured below) can be a great way to add some oomph to a Web page, and make it more user-friendly. Its functionality goes beyond just being a cool trick, though. By organizing any set of items on a page — such as tags, categories, comments, product count — a designer can enhance user interaction, provide useful content clues and improve usability. By seeing a count of items such as tags and product types, the visitor can quickly get an idea of what the website mostly consists of. This is a great way to make quick connections with targeted visitors.

For comment counts, visitors can quickly see where the discussions are at. Highlights on highly commented posts can reinforce user-to-user interaction.

Pictured below are two examples of this design. The left organizes tags, and the second ranks the most commented posts on a blog. Be sure to visit both websites to see the full functionality and CSS effects. Leer más “Five Useful Design Techniques and Coding Solutions For Web Designers”

Retro Video/DOS Games For The Weekend

We thought we’d do something a bit different for the weekend, because not everybody is actually working during the weekend. And even if we do, we deserve a break from time to time. For just this occasion, we have poured across the four corners of the Web and amassed a collection of retro games to help you make the absolute most of your break time this weekend… and possibly any break time you take from this day forth.

Now you’re ready to take some time off and unplug, let’s stroll down memory lane, the gaming way. Focusing on the days of the old DOS-based games, we sourced some emulators so that you could revisit your old favorites once again without having to downgrade your machine. So flex some willpower (or kiss your weekend goodbye) and dive into the deep end of this DOS-day throwback to get your ROM on.


We thought we’d do something a bit different for the weekend, because not everybody is actually working during the weekend. And even if we do, we deserve a break from time to time. For just this occasion, we have poured across the four corners of the Web and amassed a collection of retro games to help you make the absolute most of your break time this weekend… and possibly any break time you take from this day forth.

Now you’re ready to take some time off and unplug, let’s stroll down memory lane, the gaming way. Focusing on the days of the old DOS-based games, we sourced some emulators so that you could revisit your old favorites once again without having to downgrade your machine. So flex some willpower (or kiss your weekend goodbye) and dive into the deep end of this DOS-day throwback to get your ROM on.

Game Showcase

Prince of Persia
Prince of Persia is a 2-D platformer with run and jump game play. Your hero must avoid deadly traps, solve some simple puzzles and engage in sword fights with guards. As the hero, you have an infinite number of lives, but you have to restart the level every time you die, and you must complete the game within an hour. The very fluid animation of your character is especially noteworthy. The game is still available for free downloading.

Persia in Retro Video/DOS Games For The Weekend

Lemmings
Your task is to rescue lemmings across 120 levels of fast-paced puzzles. The creatures simply walk blindly through the world in the hope of reaching safety at the end of the level. Unfortunately, these levels include steep drops, gaps in the ground, barriers and rivers, among other hazards. You can play Lemmings online. Leer más “Retro Video/DOS Games For The Weekend”

50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

These are great times for front-end developers. After months of exaggerated excitement about HTML5 and CSS3, the web design community now starts coming up with CSS techniques that actually put newly available technologies to practical use instead of abusing them for pure aesthetic purposes. We see fewer “pure CSS images” and more advanced, clever CSS techniques that can actually improve the Web browsing experience of users. And that’s a good thing!

In this post we present recently released CSS techniques, tutorials and tools for you to use and enhance your workflow, thus improving your skills. Please don’t hesitate to comment on this post and let us know how exactly you are using them in your workflow. However, please avoid link dropping, but share your insights and your experience instead. Also, notice that some techniques are not only CSS-based, but use JavaScript, or JavaScript-libraries as well.


Full article:
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/10/12/50-new-useful-css-techniques-tutorials-and-tools/

These are great times for front-end developers. After months of exaggerated excitement about HTML5 and CSS3, the web design community now starts coming up with CSS techniques that actually put newly available technologies to practical use instead of abusing them for pure aesthetic purposes. We see fewer “pure CSS images” and more advanced, clever CSS techniques that can actually improve the Web browsing experience of users. And that’s a good thing!

In this post we present recently released CSS techniques, tutorials and tools for you to use and enhance your workflow, thus improving your skills. Please don’t hesitate to comment on this post and let us know how exactly you are using them in your workflow. However, please avoid link dropping, but share your insights and your experience instead. Also, notice that some techniques are not only CSS-based, but use JavaScript, or JavaScript-libraries as well.

Leer más “50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools”