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Joshua Johnson

Joshua Johnson

Equal parts editor, writer, designer, and photographer. Hit me up on Twitter, or check out my photos.

Framework Fight: Zurb Foundation vs. Twitter Bootstrap

CSS / 24 May 2012

Framework Fight: Zurb Foundation vs. Twitter Bootstrap

In the vast world of rapid prototyping CSS frameworks and toolkits, there are a ton of different options to choose from, but ever since Twitter’s Bootstrap hit the scene it seems like it has largely gobbled up this market. Is there room or reason for anything else?

The folks at Zurb think so and aren’t about to abandon their widely successful Foundation project. Having written about Bootstrap several times in the past, I’m going to jump into Foundation today and see what I think.

Ode to the Option Key: 30+ Cool Option Key Shortcuts in Photoshop

Software / 23 May 2012

Ode to the Option Key: 30+ Cool Option Key Shortcuts in Photoshop

The Option key (that’s Alt for you PC folks) is an amazing little helper for the Photoshop user. For the most part, you can probably get along without it but when you learn to wield it well, you open up tons of time saving features.

Why is it so great? What are all these great things you can do with the Option key in Photoshop? Read on to find out!

Can’t Get Into Preprocessors? Try Zen Coding

CSS / 22 May 2012

Can’t Get Into Preprocessors? Try Zen Coding

A ton of discussion lately has been given to preprocessors. These incredibly useful tools make coding easier, faster and more maintainable, but they’re certainly not for everyone. Whether or not you’ve jumped on the preprocessor bandwagon, you should give a fresh look to an old favorite that helps you dramatically cut your coding time without reinventing your workflow with compilers and other complications: Zen Coding.

With Zen Coding, you can type a little and output a lot, just like with a preprocessor like Jade or Haml, only it expands instantly into the vanilla HTML that you love. For those that are new to the concept, I’ll walk you through how Zen Coding works and show you some of my favorite tricks, then end with a brief tutorial on getting Zen Coding up and running in Sublime Text 2.

Cycle Through Client Quotes With CSS Keyframes

CSS / 17 May 2012

Cycle Through Client Quotes With CSS Keyframes

Client testimonials are a popular website feature. They bring credibility to a company and instill a sense of trust. If your other clients love you so much, I might too!

As a fun experiment, today we’re going to set out to build a cool little quote section that will rotate between multiple different quotes using only CSS. Along the way, we’ll learn all about how to plan and create multi-step keyframe sequences. Let’s get started.

10 Tips for Awesome Tumblr Theme Design

Tumblr Themes / 16 May 2012

10 Tips for Awesome Tumblr Theme Design

Here at Design Shack, WordPress is our bread and butter, but in the world of blogging platforms, we have lots of love for Tumblr as well. It’s simple, gorgeous, and simply enjoyable to use.

Today we’re going to take a look at what makes a great Tumblr theme. With thousands of options in the Tumblr theme garden, it can be difficult to stand out.

Why do some themes catch so much attention while others are ignored? Good design holds the answer. Not all themes are created equally, and knowing what aesthetic cues to look for can help you choose a Tumblr theme that will serve you well.

Adobe Muse Test Drive: Is It Worth $15 Per Month?

Software / 15 May 2012

Adobe Muse Test Drive: Is It Worth $15 Per Month?

Adobe has an interesting relationship with folks who design websites. Photoshop and Fireworks have you covered from a static image perspective, but tools to build live, functioning websites are another story completely. Flash is no longer the poster child of modern web technologies (quite the opposite), GoLive went the way of the dinosaurs and Dreamweaver, though still widely used, is regarded by many to be a bloated mess.

One area that Adobe is intent on pursuing is web design for non-coders. They’ve made it their mission to bring the world of professional website creation to the huge market of designers who can’t write a lick of code. Thus far, they’ve largely fallen short of that goal (Project Rome anyone?). Their latest attempt, Adobe Muse, has finally exited beta and is available as a part of Adobe’s new Creative Cloud service ($50 per month) or as a stand alone product ($15 per month). Is Muse worth your time and money? Will it really allow you to create professional level websites without coding? Read on to find out.

Build a Library of CSS Image Label Options

CSS / 14 May 2012

Build a Library of CSS Image Label Options

Today I’m working on another awesome free download for PixelsDaily. Here you’ll be able to see my thought processes, goals and code, and later you’ll be able to download the whole project to use in your own work.

Basically, our goal here is to create a simple effect so that when the user hovers over an image, a hidden text label pops up into view. This is of course extremely easy to do so we’re going to go a step further by building a whole bunch of options for the developer to choose from. This will provide you with some good practice for how to create flexible effects that can be applied in different ways without too much code repetition.

Web Design Critique #80: The New Responsive WebAppers Site

Critique / 12 May 2012

Web Design Critique #80: The New Responsive WebAppers Site

It’s time for another awesome web design critique, where we take a look at a real website and analyze the design. We’ll point out both the areas that are done well in addition to those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today’s site is WebAppers, a great place to find open source web resources. Let’s jump in and see what we think!

Design to the Power of Three: The Magically Ubiquitous Number

Layouts / 10 May 2012

Design to the Power of Three: The Magically Ubiquitous Number

Three is only a number, right? Just one of ten numerals that we use to express value, nothing more. Or is it perhaps a lot more? Is the number three a designer’s best friend? Does it drive art, photography, design, architecture and even the natural order of the universe?

Join us as we take a look at some ways that designers leverage the number three, and more importantly, why you should keep the number three in mind whether you’re designing websites, print ads or even logos.

My Favorite Web Design and Development Podcasts

Inspiration / 9 May 2012

My Favorite Web Design and Development Podcasts

Podcasts have been around for a long time, but I’ve really never been able to get into them. That is until recently when I really invested some time into looking around and finding the best design and development podcasts on the web. Now I’m an addict and rarely spend a day slaving over my computer without a few podcasts to keep me company.

Today I’ll share with you some of my favorites so you can finally take the leap and subscribe to some podcasts that are not only enjoyable, but thoroughly educational. This isn’t a list of every web design podcast out there but rather a personal offering of some of the podcasts that I’ve personally checked out and enjoyed.

Create Stunning Effects With CSS Transition Delays

CSS / 8 May 2012

Create Stunning Effects With CSS Transition Delays

I’m a huge fan of CSS transitions. Sure, they can be abused but on the whole they’re a really great and easy way to add a little life to your web pages. And let’s face it, they’re flat out fun to play with.

I’ve covered transitions a million different ways, but there’s one feature that I hardly ever touch: transition delays. Why would you want to delay your transition? It turns out that the effects that you can achieve become much more complex and impressive when you incorporate this one extra parameter. Let’s jump in and build some cool demos to show off how it works.