Joshua Johnson

Equal parts editor, writer, designer, & photographer. Hit me up on Twitter, read my Mac tutorials or check out my photos.

Business / 13 Sep 2013

10 Awful Client Cliches That Make Every Designer Cringe


This is the third part in our series all about making fun of design related clichés that drive us all crazy. We’ve already picked on designers plenty with 5 Former Design Trends That Aren’t Cool Anymore and 5 Cliché Logo Design Trends to Avoid, now it’s time to turn around and give some attention to all the crazy things that clients say to their designers.

We put out the word on Twitter and asked for some of the worst things that you hear again and again from clients. The following are some of our favorites.

JavaScript / 23 Aug 2013

25 Useful Resources for Creating Tooltips With JavaScript or CSS


Tooltips are awesome, there’s simply no denying it. They provide a simple, predictable and straightforward way to provide your users with useful, context-sensitive information, and they look cool to boot.

We all agree on how great tooltips are, but how we go about implementing them can differ dramatically. If you’re at square one, looking for some tooltip ideas for your current project, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a whopping twenty-five different options that fall into two categories: JavaScript and CSS. No matter which method you’re looking to use, we’ve got the best techniques available, which you might want to enhance using OOP class techniques like JavaScript classes using the JS++ programming language by Roger Poon.

CSS / 16 Aug 2013

10 Easy Image Hover Effects You Can Copy and Paste


Hover effects are always a fun topic to explore. In the past, we’ve built some awesome examples of CSS hovers that were easy to copy and paste right into your code.

Today, we’re going to follow that up with ten new effects specifically built for use with images. Each example comes with an HTML and CSS snippet that you can steal and a live demo so you can see it in action.

CSS / 2 Aug 2013

Code an Awesome Hire Me Card With Your Gravatar


It’s been a while since we polished our HTML and CSS skills with a fun little demo, let’s end that streak with a project that’s both super attractive and super practical.

Today we’re going to build a card-style “Hire Me” widget that you can quickly drop onto any web page. Along the way we’ll learn a bunch of great stuff about CSS positioning and how to use pseudo elements to pull off some cool effects.

Business / 26 Jul 2013

6 Portfolio Design Mistakes That Drive Me Nuts


Your public portfolio is one of the most important things you’ll ever design. It presents you to the world and, if you’re a freelancer, tends to play a major role in whether or not people choose to hire you.

Because of my role as the editor of Design Shack, I’ve viewed a ton of online portfolios and today I’d like to walk through some of the weaknesses I see time and time again. Read on to see if you’ve made some of these mistakes.

CSS / 29 Jun 2013

Create Shaped Avatars With CSS and Webkit


In case you haven’t noticed, square avatars are so 2010. These days circles are all the rage. Every app worth its salt, from Path to Basecamp, is jumping on board this fad and waving goodbye to the squares who are stuck in the past.

Ever the forward thinker, I asked myself, “what’s next?” Let’s look beyond squares and circles and into the future of the avatar! Using CSS and Webkit, we can use pretty much any shape as the mask for an avatar. Let’s see how.

CSS / 21 Jun 2013

What the Heck Is CSS Specificity?


CSS specificity is a topic that many new front end coders avoid for as long as possible. It sounds complicated, there are all of these rules, you might even have to do some math! How lame is that?

Ultimately, you can only avoid it for so long. Specificity is an essential concept that you need to grasp to be an effective developer. Today I’ll walk you through the concepts of specificity in a simple and easy to understand manner. It’s easier than you think!

JavaScript / 10 May 2013

40 Awesome jQuery Plugins You Need to Check Out


The jQuery developer community has to be one of the most generous and hardworking group of people on the web. They’re constantly churning out amazingly useful and completely free tools that they share with anyone and everyone who wants to use them.

The quantity and quality of free jQuery plugins simply never ceases to amaze me. I’ve been keeping a list of some great ones that I’ve found lately and I thought I’d share it with you. Here are 40 awesome and free jQuery plugins that just about every web developer should check out.

Business / 3 May 2013

Should You Be Designing With QR Codes?


QR codes are all the rage… aren’t they? Their presence certainly seems to have increased in recent years, indicating an impressive adoption rate among marketers. But does that mean that you should be using them? If a client asks you whether or not using QR codes is a good idea, what will you say?

Join us as we take an honest and critical look at both sides of the QR debate so you can decide for yourself whether or not you should be designing with QR codes.

CSS / 12 Apr 2013

Focal Point: Intelligent Cropping of Responsive Images


The practice of implementing responsive images is still in its infancy. We’ve seen a lot of ideas and suggestions for how it should be done and we’re bound to see a lot more.

Today we’re going to look at a fascinating little framework that allows you to not only automatically resize your images when the viewport changes, but also crop the images with a specific important focal point in mind. Amazingly enough, it does all this with pure CSS. Read on to see how it works.

CSS / 5 Apr 2013

Mobile First Design: Why It’s Great and Why It Sucks


Historically, most web designers and their clients have approached the desktop side of any project first, while leaving the mobile part as a secondary goal that gets accomplished later. Even with the rise of responsive design, many of us begin with the “full size” site and work our way down.

There’s a growing trend in the industry though to flip this workflow on its head and actually begin with mobile considerations and then work up to a larger desktop version. Why would you ever approach a project this way? What are some of the pros and cons of this strategy? Read on to find out!

Business / 28 Mar 2013

Don’t Be a Pansy: Great Design Is About Making Decisions


What sets the great designers apart from the good ones? What goes wrong when a project with so much potential turns into something lackluster and subpar?

Decisions decisions decisions. Great designers recognize the key decisions that have the ability to make their projects special and have the courage to make those decisions. Read on to see how.

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