Category: Articles

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Business / 13 Mar 2013

Understanding the Three Question Limit as a Designer

Have you noticed when you ask someone three questions in a row, their eyes glaze over and they stop paying attention? It’s a psychological defense mechanism to keep our privacy to ourselves. It’s one reason so many people choke up when taking a test.

The human, by nature, is a questioning animal. We question our existence and future but when it comes to giving answers, that’s just not in our biological nature. This is one of the problems with planning a design project. Questions have to be asked – numerous questions. There is, however, a way to ask questions and get all the answers you need…

Inspiration / 11 Mar 2013

10 Things I Learned About Design From iPad Apps

Good design is all around us. Not just in printed materials or on websites, but also in everyday items. What’s great is that you often don’t notice it — you just enjoy whatever item, tool or website you are using.

Nowhere is this more true than with mobile apps. Most of us use them every day, but do you ever stop to think how much they are shaping the way you approach design? Apps can be a great source of inspiration and also another reminder of time-tested design concepts. Here are ten of the great lessons I have learned (and re-learned) from iPad apps.

Software / 7 Mar 2013

Webnote: A New App for Browsing and Inspiration Clipping

If you’re anything like me, you love collecting visual bits that you find while working online – photos, video, text, gifts, whatever. These little pieces from the web are sources of inspiration that help to shape future projects, showcase trends, and serve as reminders of some of the neat things others are doing.

Creating this visual collection just got a little easier for iPad users with the new Webnote app, which allows you to browse, collect visuals and share all from one app. Here’s a look at how it works.

Business / 6 Mar 2013

Design for People, Not Interfaces

Interaction Design has been practised long before the digital revolution, but under different guises and representing many other facets of today’s design language. Once you understand the underlying principles, you will probably realise that everything that has ever been designed effectively, has had some interaction design techniques applied.

Today, we’re going to be delving into this concept a little further, considering how we can use the basics of interaction design to ensure that we’re creating designs that work for people — not just interfaces.

CSS / 6 Mar 2013

How to Center Anything With CSS

Recently, we took a dive into the very core concepts behind CSS layout and explored the differences between absolute and relative positioning. We’re going to follow that up with another CSS layout talk, this time based around a fundamental question that almost every new developer asks: how do you center something?

There are a bunch of different types of web elements and layout situations, each calling for a unique solution for centering (both vertically and horizontally). Today we’ll go over a bunch of these scenarios so you can wrap your mind around how they work and come away with the confidence to center anything!

CSS / 4 Mar 2013

Unique CSS3 Header Styles for Copyfitting Typography

All of the newer properties emerging from CSS3 specifications have been immensely helpful in constructing more advanced UI designs. Webpages have been seeing a dramatic overhaul in the methods used to build typical layout styles. Notably typography and buttons/form elements are seeing the largest makeover – and with more developers launching open source projects there appears to be no end in sight.

For this tutorial I want to demonstrate how we can build a few sample headings into a basic webpage. I am using mostly CSS3 effects on the top navigation bar, along with the typography in the page. All of these techniques should carry over into the newer standards-compliant web browsers. Plus there are so many various design techniques you may duplicate and apply into any project. Be sure and check out my live demo to get an idea of what we are trying to build!

Mobile / 1 Mar 2013

Zurb Goes Mobile First With the All-New Foundation 4

Planning web projects for a host of devices got a little easier this week with the release of Zurb Foundation 4, a responsive framework with a mobile-first outline.

The follow-up release to Zurb’s Foundation 3 flexible grid is structured to make designer’s think mobile first. With more than 1.08 billion smartphones being used worldwide, it’s a trend that will likely continue to gain popularity. Join us as we take a look at what’s new in Foundation 4, and discover why you should consider using it for your next design project!

CSS / 27 Feb 2013

Zen Grids: A Responsive Grid System Built on Sass

Building grids was moderately complicated before responsive design, these days they can be downright intimidating. When you dive into a complex layout, it’s easy to get lost in all of the math and percentages. Sure, the hardcore nerds among us love to play with this stuff, but some developers just want to get to work!

Today we’re going to look at an awesome grid system that will help you set up your responsive grids with very little effort. It’s semantic, built for responsive design, completely flexible to the way you work, and powered by Sass. Meet Zen Grids.

Typography / 25 Feb 2013

Is My Type Stressed? a Primer on Stressed Typography

As a designer, either working with a design firm or on a freelance basis, you probably know a lot about stress. From deadlines to redesigns, client relations to cash flow — it is part of everyday life for someone working as a designer in any capacity.

But did you know your typography could also be stressed? Just like in your life, type has certain pressure points, and there are good and bad types of type stress. In today’s article, we’re going to delve into this concept in a little more details. We’ll walk you through exactly what types of typographical stress there are, how you can ensure it doesn’t affect the readability of your designs.

CSS / 22 Feb 2013

5 Simple and Practical CSS List Styles You Can Copy and Paste

Who doesn’t love a good list? We use them constantly in our markup for a variety of different situations. Today we’re going to take a look at a few simple and practical examples that you can steal and use in your own work.

We start off with a fun animated vertical list, then style up a list with thumbnails and text, another with just images and finally an ordered list where the numbers are styled differently than the rest of the type. There’s a ton of great things to learn here so let’s jump in!

Graphics / 20 Feb 2013

5 Tips and Tools for Designing a Stand-Out Presentation

Most people who need to create an exciting presentation are not design experts. Fortunately, there are a number of really neat tools and websites that can assist you in creating a captivating, professional look for your slides.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at five such tools. While I can’t promise that these tools alone will turn you into a design professional, they will certainly point you in the right direction.

Business / 18 Feb 2013

5 Reasons You Should Go to a Design Conference in 2013

I recently returned from the New Adventures in Web Design conference in Nottingham, and it’s left me taking stock of just what I’ve gained from going to a design conference. Having attended this conference for the previous two years I can honestly say I’ve gained more from the conference experience than simply “a day or two out of the office”.

I’ve seen world class speakers, new speakers just starting out & met and spoken to a lot of really good people. There are hundreds of design and development conferences all over the world, ranging from single track design or development only to multi-track 2-3 day events covering a multitude of specialisms concurrently. Whether you choose to take a day out or go for the full experience, there’ll be a conference to suit every interest and wallet. Sadly 2013 was the last year that New Adventures will be run, with organisers, Simon Collison and Greg Wood taking a well deserved break to concentrate on their own projects. The New Adventures experience has really whet my appetite for conferences and, while I’m not a serial conference-goer, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for a replacement for that experience. But what can you get out of a design conference?