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Browse hundreds of articles, tips, and inspiring design collections. Find helpful design advice, or the perfect resource for your next project.

Navigation / 11 Nov 2008

Simple Hover CSS Menu

Our partner site, 13 Styles has just released a new CSS menu called “Simple Hover“. It is, as the name suggests, a simple affair, with a link description appearing when hovered over.

The menu is completely free to download, use and customize, contains no images (it’s all CSS) and should work in any browser or operating system you use.

Please let me know if you find any problems or would like to contribute a menu in the future.

Visit

Inspiration / 3 Nov 2008

Announcing Design Top 10

A project we have been working on for a while launches today – Design Top 10. The site will be updated every month, featuring the best website designs, tutorials and resources published in that period. Hopefully it will grow into a great place to find inspiration and keep up to date with the best content produced online.

The design stems from a notebook style layout, as the site is a ‘scrapbook’ of discoveries and inspiration on a monthly basis. I feel that it fits the profile of the site well and I’m really happy with it.

Please take a look at the site and, if you find it appealing, write a post about it or drop me a comment – I’d love to hear what you think. I hope you find Design Top 10 a useful source of inspiration!

Visit Design Top 10 Subscribe

Navigation / 29 Oct 2008

Creating a jQuery Dashboard

The ‘Dashboard’ feature on a Mac looks great, and the menu allowing you to add/remove widgets is a well designed feature. A similar effect can add a whole new level of functionality to a website, providing a simple slide-down menu at the top of a page. This tutorial will walk you through the process from beginning to end.

Before getting started, you may like to check out the demo, or download full source code here.

Competitions / 27 Oct 2008

3D Spiral Winners

Thank you to all who participated in our 3D Spiral giveaway. We have randomly selected three winners, who are:

Congratulations! We have contacted each of you with information on how to claim your free copy of the 3D Spiral flash component.

To be notified whenever we give away new products and freebies, click below to subscribe:

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JavaScript / 22 Oct 2008

Creating a Virtual jQuery Keyboard

For those of us who travel often, we often end up accessing our emails and other confidential web accounts on public computers. In such circumstances, we are completely at the mercy of keyloggers and other malicious software that track our keystrokes and record our passwords.

Yet, very few websites provide their users with the option of using a virtual keyboard to key in (at the bare minimum) their passwords. Yes, a few banks do it, but considering how much personal information we store in various web applications these days, the safety of these accounts are of no less significance to us. This tutorial will explain how we can implement a simple virtual keyboard with some (well, okay, lots of!) help from jQuery.

Before I begin, let me show you how it will all look in the end.

Competitions / 20 Oct 2008

3D Spiral Component Giveaway

We have teamed up with FlashLoaded to give away 3 free copies of their latest Flash component, 3D Spiral (a retail value of $49.95 each).

The 3D Spiral is a Flash gallery component that displays images on an interactive 3D rotating spiral. You are able to obtain different layouts by changing the height and width of the spiral. The viewer can scroll, move up/down and zoom the spiral freely.

Software / 17 Oct 2008

GoodBarry Review

GoodBarry is a system which, rather than simply providing a content management service, attempts to offer all the facilities you need to turn your website into a fully functional online business. These range from e-commerce, to newsletter provision, to a complete customer management system. This review is going to cover what my main likes and dislikes are about the system, along with explaining under what circumstances it is particularly suitable.

Before reading this, it might be worth a minute of your time to watch the introductory video at GoodBarry.com. It gives you a quick flavour for what the system does and how it helps to manage your online business.

JavaScript / 10 Oct 2008

Creating a Slide-in jQuery Contact Form

Contact forms are an indispensable part of every website. They are mostly implemented on a separate page and they rarely display creativity, even though there are many ways to improve their visual style. In this tutorial you will see how to create a dynamic, slide-in contact form using jQuery.

Let’s see what we’re trying to achieve with this tutorial. The image below shows the layout of our goal. In the upper right corner of the content is “Contact us” link. When the user clicks on it, the contact form will slide down. When the user submits the form they will get a message that their message has been sent successfully and within two seconds, the entire form will slide up.

Articles / 7 Oct 2008

Ten Years of a List Apart

As far as online web design magazines go, A List Apart has been around for as long as I can remember. Their regular articles never cease to probe into new areas of design, or express existing techniques in a new and forward thinking way.

A new post today is celebrating A List Apart’s 10 year anniversary, looking back at how the project started out and evolved over a decade. It also gives an insight into how article submissions are processed and filtered, along with who edits and designs the site today.

If you’re a regular reader, or interested in contributing to A List Apart in the future, it is an article well worth a read.

Articles / 2 Oct 2008

Free WordPress Theme: Simple Balance 2

Alex, from Blogsessive, has released a minimalist WordPress theme called Simple Balance 2. Full information about the theme and download information can be found over at the release post.

Simple Balance features a whole host of customizable options, and it’s great to see a free WordPress theme offering what usually would be paid for features:

  • Several colour schemes
  • Different advertising layouts
  • The ability to manage adverts from the backend

Download Simple Balance

Articles / 28 Sep 2008

Creating a Digg Style Sign Up Form

Digg.com is one of the most popular social networking sites, allowing you to discover and share the content all over the web. In this tutorial we are going to simulate their signup form, with unique features such as their dynamic tooltips that give you a hint on each field that is to be filled. The same approach will be adopted for displaying validation messages.

Articles / 1 Sep 2008

Designing With GuiMags

GuiMags are a new concept, taking the idea of designing on paper down an innovative route. They comprise a set of magnets, created to stick to a whiteboard, made of material which allows you to write on them with dry-wipe markers.

I have been trying out a sample of these for a few days and am going to share the aspects I feel that work well, and the areas that still need improvement.

Why is this a good idea?

When designing a mockup, I work differently depending on who the site is for. If it is a personal project, working on paper and then Photoshop is perfect. If the design is for a client, commonly there is a need to express ideas in a collaborative environment. This could be done with a projector/laptop, whiteboard or a flip-chart. These all work well, but a common problem is that when using a whiteboard you find yourself drawing and re-drawing common components of a site (form fields, tabs, buttons etc).

GuiMags solves this problem, allowing you to focus on designing the structure without worrying about the small fiddly pieces. Designing forms, in particular, becomes a much more enjoyable process.

Available Magnets

These are the various magnets available, comprising a selection of most common website components:

Limitations

There are two main problems with GuiMags which could stop them being an overnight success. Firstly is the fact that you need a magnetic whiteboard to use them. From my experience, the majority of whiteboards I have used are non-magnetic and wouldn’t work with these gadgets. To be truly practical, they need to work at every client’s office – professionalism takes a hit when you have to start hunting round the whole building for an appropriate whiteboard.

The second issue is the design aesthetic of the magnets. Whilst the chunky look and feel is certainly appropriate, the choice of blue as a background limits the ability to use them in any mockups which illustrate colour. Future possibilities could be to offer a range of colours, or provide a black and white set to ensure they don’t over-power any other colours on the sketch.

Conclusion

Designing mockups and prototyping alongside a group of people has always posed a challenge. GuiMags goes some way to solving the problem, allowing you to create sample designs and forms with greater speed and ease. However, at $100, these magnets don’t come cheap and you may also find yourself requiring a new magnetic whiteboard (anything from $20 to $100 depending upon size). They are a great concept and a forward thinking idea, but some of the initial drawbacks need to be addressed before they are versatile enough to become a dominant tool in my design workflow.