This Week in Design: April 25, 2014

Everything is new this week. From a new look for Twitter, a new set of Mother’s Day goodies and digital “paper,” there are plenty of design tools to preview. And if you are anything like me, new tools, trends and gadgets are always something to get excited about.

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].

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New Twitter Profile Pages are Here

week in design
week in design

Twitter is rolling out yet another redesign and my page was updated with the new look this week. The interface is brighter, flatter and airier. This new look applies only to your profile page and not the home feed.

New users to Twitter got the look when they created accounts starting earlier this month and all users will have it within a matter of weeks. (Twitter does give you a quick tour of the new features and lets you opt-in immediately or delay for a little while.)

The new design also features some changes to where content lives on the screen. The comparison above shows my personal page with the new design and the Design Shack page with the old design. The header image is much larger and wider, and your profile picture is no longer in the middle. (I will have to change my image; it does not quite work with the new design.)

Your personal information has also moved and is below the profile picture, which is larger by the way, on the left side of the screen. In the left column is all of your information and things that used to be there – Who to Follow and Trends – have moved to the right column.

One design change that’s quite notable is type size. There are two sizes for tweets on the profile page. Large text for things you tweet right from Twitter. Then smaller text for everything that else – items shared from other services, such as Instagram, and retweets. In a recent blog post, Twitter designer David Bellona said this change in text size is based on engagement so you can see what tweets are the most popular.

New features:

  • Best tweets: This is the larger and smaller text size options.
  • Pinned tweets: You can “pin” a tweet to the top of your profile so users see it right away. (Facebook has allowed users to do this for some time.)
  • Filtered tweets: Users can choose which version of a timeline they wish to see – tweets, tweets with photos or videos or tweets and replies.

Does your profile feature the new look? How do you like it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Mother’s Day Freebie

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Mothers are special, so show Mom you care by designing a custom Mother’s Day card. The problem is that sometimes Mother’s Day graphics can be difficult to find. But we have found a great collection for you.

The pack of 32 badges was created just for Design Shack readers by the team at Vecteezy and is free to use under the Creative Commons attribution license. Use these to create custom heartfelt Mother’s Day cards or even to promote your Mother’s Day sales.

Vecteezy is a great source for finding free art and graphics. From vector icons and backgrounds to swirls and flourishes, they have plenty of things to help you in a variety of design projects.

The image above is just a preview of the Mother’s Day pack. Download the file (zip format) or take a look at some of the other holiday-themed options from Vecteezy.

The ‘Sound’ of Color

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Have you every wondered what your favorite music would look like? Kelly-Moore Paints did just that with The Sound of Color Project, which analyzed songs to create corresponding color palettes.

The project broke colors down based on emotion cues taken from color theory. Then the people at Kelly-Moore listened to each song on a variety of albums and noted the emotions connected to each song. Then the company broke color associations into paint hues available in-store.

The end result is a set of color palettes that could actually work in a number of applications. Mumford and Sons’ “Babel” and Florence and the Machine’s “Lungs” each resulted in something that looks like four different monotone palettes. Beyonce’s “I am Sasha Fierce” resulted in a strong feminine palette with pinks and purples.

The project is a lot of fun and shows the importance of color in almost everything we do. Learn more and see the full infographic developed out of the project from Kelly-Moore Paints.

Does Your Form Need Required Fields?

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Could marking fields as required actually keep users from filling out your form? It is a possibility, according to a report by UX Movement.

“Research shows that most users approach forms with “voluntary over-disclosure” behavior. This means that they regularly offer more information than required even when they’re told that doing so is voluntary,” the article states.

So what does this mean? Only mark optional fields instead of required ones. It’s a simple idea if you think about it. The theory is that this provides a better user experience when it comes to working with forms and you may gather even more content from those who fill out forms on your site.

But will you try this out? How do you put together forms? Share some of your best examples with us in the comments.

The Next Generation of Paper is Digital

week in design

Sony has released a new tablet that works like paper on a 13.3-inch screen. Digital Paper allows users to draw on the screen using a special stylus, from doodles to handwritten notes to anything you can imagine.

The screen is designed to work indoors and outdoors and includes plenty of memory and Wi-Fi connectivity. Plus the battery stays charged for three hours.

But would you use it? At $1,100, it is much pricier than a $3 notepad and pen. What’s the value for you to go paperless?

Learn more about Digital Paper – and buy one if you like – from The Gadget Flow.