Author:

Matt Cronin is an avid graphic designer, web designer/developer, Cocoa programmer, photographer, digital artist, and the like. He also enjoys writing, and does quite a bit of writing for Smashing Magazine. He is currently working on a startup called VAEOU, which will have new services coming soon.

Twitter: Follow Matt Cronin on Twitter

Backgrounds In Web Design: Examples And Best Practices

Web design has come a long way since its beginning, especially in terms of styling. Take a look at a website from 10 years ago and compare it to one from today. The differences are enormous. One of the major changes you will notice is the background. Today, backgrounds are one of the core features that determine how visually interesting a website is.

Screenshot

The background holds the theme of the website, and there are a vast amount of possibilities when designing a website background. This article goes over the best practices and popular trends of backgrounds in the current stage of innovative Web design.

You may also be interested in the following related posts:

Read more...

Designing Drop-Down Menus: Examples and Best Practices

As a general rule, most Web developers, especially usability enthusiasts, say it is bad practice to use drop-down menus because they are confusing, annoying and oftentimes dysfunctional. From a design standpoint, however, drop-down menus are an excellent feature because they help clean up a busy layout. If structured correctly, drop-down menus can be a great navigation tool, while still being a usable and attractive design feature.

Yes, that's right: drop-down navigation menus can be user-friendly. Just yesterday Jacob Nielsen the results of his recent drop-down menus study, in which he found out that big, two-dimensional drop-down panels that group navigation options help users to avoid scrolling and can precisely explain the user's choices with effective use of typography, icons, and tooltips.

Screenshot

In this article we take a closer look at the nature of drop-down navigation menus, analyze situations in which they should or should not be used, discuss various implementations and finally showcase a couple of bad and good examples of such menus. The article also includes various tips and suggestions to help you work with your drop-down menus. Read more...

10 Principles For Readable Web Typography

Readability is one of the more important aspects of Web design usability. Readable text affects how users process the information in the content. Poor readability scares readers away from the content. On the other hand, done correctly, readability allows users to efficiently read and take in the information in the text. You want users to be able to read your content and absorb it easily.

Screenshot

In this post, we'll explain some Web typography terms and how they play into readability; we'll present numerous tips to help improve the readability of your content; and we'll showcase very readable websites, layouts and articles.

You may also be interested in the following related posts:

Read more...

Slideshows In Web Design: When And How To Use Them

The key to smart strategic Web design is finding an appropriate and interactive way to display information. One comes upon endless possibilities when searching for ways to display information. One solution, slideshows and sliders, is an excellent way to display information such as images in an organized and compact manner. Slider galleries are excellent for organizing content into a nice clean module.

Screenshot

There are many reasons to use a slideshow or image slider. The slideshow is a universally known tool, and anyone who has used the Internet will know how to work a slideshow. Therefore, they are very usable and convenient for any user, and they can be used almost anywhere.

This article focuses on how to implement the slideshow technique correctly. We will cover when you should use a slider and how to make a good slideshow, and we will showcase good slideshows and content sliders.

Please also consider our previous articles:

Read more...

40 Excellent Illustrations In Web Designs

In website design, there are an endless amount of possibilities, styles and techniques that can be used to make a beautiful design that flows with the content. One of these styles is an illustration-heavy layout, which can take a website to a whole new level. Illustrations are becoming more and more popular, and some designers are really pushing the limits with some beautiful ones.

Screenshot

Below you'll find 40 designs that feature skillful and beautiful illustrations, integrated properly to create a visually pleasing style.

Also consider our previous articles:

Read more...

50 Beautiful And User-Friendly Navigation Menus

Usability is an essential goal of any website, and usable navigation is something every website needs. It determines where users are led and how they interact with the website. Without usable navigation, content becomes all but useless. Menus need to be simple enough for the user to understand, but also contain the elements necessary to guide the user through the website — with some creativity and good design thrown in.

Screenshot

Below we present over 50 excellent navigation menus — we feature CSS-based design solutions, CSS+JavaScript-based menus and Flash-designs. However, they all have something in common: they are user-friendly yet creative and perfectly fit to the style of their respective websites.

Please also consider our previous articles:

Read more...

↑ Back to top