Author:

Some contributors with just a single posting. To learn more look at our ebook.

Top 10 CSS Table Designs

Tables have got to be one of the most difficult objects to style in the Web, thanks to the cryptic markup, the amount of detail we have to take care of, and lack of browser compatibility. A lot of time could be wasted on a single table although it's just a simple one. This is where this article comes in handy. It will show you ten most easily implemented CSS table designs so you can style your tables in a zap!

Top 10 CSS Table Designs

Before we start, let's review the general rules of thumb when styling tables:

Tables love space. Set the width of tables carefully, according to the content. If you don't know the perfect width, simply set the width of the table to 100%. Tables look nicer when they have "overwidth", and when it comes to tables too much width is definitely better than too little width.

Cells need some padding. Sure, each table cell relates to each other. But it doesn't mean that we have to pull them too close, right? Define some space between the cells, crammed up table cells are so much harder to read.

Treat tables the way you treat content. Tables are read similarly to the way we read text — except it's harder and it takes more time to read a table. So be careful with the amount of contrast you are giving to your table. Use soft colors — it's easier for the eyes. Don't treat your table like it's a graphical decoration. Make sure that the style you apply to it makes the content more readable, not the other way around.

Read more...

Who Do You Design For: Clients or Users?

If you close your eyes and think back to the first design fundamentals class you ever took hopefully you remember the instructor saying,"When beginning a design ask yourself who is your audience? If you don't know who you are designing for then how can you design anything at all?"

Fast forward to the present. Now you are a freelance designer, you have met with the client, discussed what they want and agreed to do the job. Suddenly the client sends you a sketch of a horrible monstrosity of a design so unholy your eyes begin to burn. The client attached instructions that do not resemble the previous discussions and break every rule you can imagine.

Now ask yourself, "Who are you designing for?" By definition, your job is to communicate a message via images and text. But, as a businessperson your goal must be to meet the requests of the client. If you go against the client’s explicit requests and produce a user-centric design, oddly enough you’ll have an unhappy client. Now the flip side of the coin. If you cooperate, lay down your sword, turn off the grids and produce what the client has demanded, the design will fail and in turn you will fail. The bad design will always come back like Rocky and smash you right in the face.

Read more...

My Secret Weapon to Getting Contracts

In my first days of freelance web design, I did all the right things to get business — web-site done, Chamber of Commerce joined, social media networking done. So why wasn't the phone ringing? I suspect many freelancers feel the same way. The big question remained: where do I get business?

Then I discovered a secret weapon. I wanted local business, as it's easier to build referrals that way. I went through the local directory looking at businesses without web-sites, or with very old and poor sites and made a list. I made a small brochure, put on some decent clothes, grabbed my business cards and actually physically walked into their offices! I got enough business within two days to keep me busy for months, and had a blast at the same time.

Read more...

Top Ten Web Typography Sins

While many designers have been quick to embrace web standards, it's surprising how often the basic standards of typography are neglected. Here are ten deadly sins to avoid in your web typography.

Top Ten Web Typography Sins

Using hyphens instead of an em dash. If you need to interrupt yourself, do it with an em dash (alt+0151) instead of a pair of minus signs. This is a top pet peeve for countless editors. Using periods instead of ellipses. Most fonts provide a dedicated ellipsis character (alt+0133) to keep your type tidy. The ellipsis character fits the three dots into a single letterspace, which is especially beneficial for content that might be printed.

Read more...

How To Stop Being A Lazy Designer

From working with wide range of projects, I have learned one thing: designers are lazy (sometimes myself included). Most often it comes from our desire to get a quick signoff and move on with the next project. While several posts could have been written on this, I offer here a few suggestions guaranteed to make things at least a little bit easier in the end:

  • Name your layers and folders.
    What the heck do "Layer 234" and "Block Right Copy 23" mean? Have you ever tried to work with someone else's files and find that one layer within several hundreds of them?
  • Make sure you cover most case scenarios.
    Nothing can be worse for integration developers to guess how something needs to look or interact. Design for the worst case scenario first and only then look at the best case scenario — you are always good at that!
Read more...

Design and Independence

Designers are independent. In work, mindset and lifestyle. Yet in this Web age aren't we losing independence? For most designers the first tool to start designing from is the Adobe suite, a quite impressive set of tools that help us to make our work easier. But don't we rely too much on Adobe? For years people have been watching how Microsoft dominated the market. We lament that its applications are bloated and criticize its efforts to wipe away competitors. But instead of taking a stand, we continue to buy its products and we continue to moan.

We always have options. And in the design process we have them too. At the moment we don't really know to what level open source applications can compete with Adobe. But with support, with independent minds and strong community involvement, the open source movement can grow. Competition is a part of the progress and so is the choice. We need to maintain a competitive arena in design. And we need good open source alternatives for the tools we use. Independent start-ups are the lifeblood of the industry and the breath of fresh air we all need.

Read more...

10 Beautiful Things For A Beautiful Life

With this post we start to publish finalists of our guest author contest. Over three weeks 12 winning articles will be published — selected top-10-lists and discussion articles. To rate the articles we'll analyze popularity, users activity, quality of backlinks, traffic etc. You can follow our updates on Twitter — feel free to share your comments, suggestions and remarks.

USB Drives

We are using a lot of beautiful things every day. Once we understand how beautiful they are, the life is becoming better and more interesting... and when not... well, then they still make our life more interesting! There are some truly beautiful things to make our life a little bit more unusual and vivid. Most of them are ordinarily but they can make our life and the life of people around us a little bit more spectacular. The question is: do we need these things? – Of course we do!

Read more...

↑ Back to top