Author: Sven Lennartz
Sven is the co-founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. He's now writing at his Conterest Blog, where he focuses on blogs, content strategy and publishing — all in German.
When it comes to design of modern web-applications, Ajax is considered as a standard approach. Interactive solutions for lightboxes, form validation, navigation, search, tooltips and tables are developed using Ajax libraries and nifty Ajax scripts. Ajax is useful and powerful. However, when using Ajax, one should keep in mind its drawbacks in terms of usability and accessibility. With an extensive use of Ajax, you can easily confuse your visitors offering too much control and too many features.
Nevertheless, it's important to know what's possible, particularly since you can develop new ideas further, improving the quality of your web applications. Since our last article 80+ AJAX-Solutions For Professional Coding many things have changed — new scripts were introduced, new creative solutions were developed, new robust development kits have been released. They all are supposed to serve a better user experience and provide more comfort for web-developers.
This post presents over 60 new useful Ajax scripts, libraries and solutions which you can use in your future projects. License agreements can change from time to time — please read them carefully before using the script in a commercial web-application.
You might want to consider checking out the following related posts:
Please notice: the overview presented below is not just a yet-another-one-collection of Ajax-scripts. It's a collection of really useful ones, the ones you can use in almost every project you'll be working on.Read more...
According to classic principles of web design, everything at the bottom of the page isn't that important. Most users think like that. And most designers are convinced that this is true. Site elements at the bottom of the page aren't really able to catch visitors' attention which is why footers are often forgotten or ignored and not given the attention they deserve.
In fact, most footers are rather boring and uninspiring. Designers often use the bottom area to mention everything they haven't found place for at the top of the site. E.g. disclaimers, W3C-buttons, copyright, "back to the top"-link and contact details. But if most designers forget it, why don't make use of it? Why don't use footers to impress visitors with something they actually don't expect at all?
This post presents creative examples of footers and ideas for footer design. We've tried to identify some trends and some interesting approaches you may want to use or develop further in your projects.
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Basically, footers need to provide users with the information they are looking for. This is why contact details and a brief information about site or / and site owners needs to be placed in the footer. Corporate designs may need to provide driving directions, telephone number, a web form or at least an e-mail.Read more...
Flash is powerful. Using it properly, you can create stunning visual experience and offer your visitors incredible user interaction. Although Flash is definitely not the favourite medium for usability and accessibility advocates, it has its advantages. With Flash designers can achieve results which simply aren’t possible with (X)HTML and CSS. Whether you like Flash or not, it empowers the Web with functionalities which make it an incredibly interactive medium.
Flash-based web-sites can look not like web-sites at all; Flash-designers tend to use colorful, dynamic, loud and extremely vibrant approaches, with effects and animation, music and videos, stunning visual elements and interactive navigation menus. Below you'll find 39 examples of creative, beautiful, shocking, unusual, but always outstanding Flash-based designs.
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Every now and again we showcase beautiful favicons — tiny pieces of art you'll usually find only if you are looking for them or search through your bookmarks. Below you'll find 50 more outstanding little pieces of art. Please notice that these favicons weren’t chosen simply because of their beauty; it’s been important to us that the favicon perfectly fits to the site design or its content. All favicons are clickable and lead to the sites where they are used.
We've written enough about favicons in our recent posts. If you'd like to find out more about them, how to use them and how to design them properly, you should take a look at the following articles and showcases:
Shiny and glossy design elements are now officially outdated. Just like retro is becoming trendy again, grungy look appears to rapidly gain on popularity. And there is a damn good reason behind it. In our everyday environment we're unlikely to find ideal geometric forms or pretty shadow effects as they are manifested by glorious Web 2.0-designs. The reality is different, and Web is definitely not an exception here.
Therefore designers often tend to explore the less ideal and more realistic design solutions which reflect the world we're living in more accurately and precisely. Result: such elements give the design a more realistic, genuine look, a look one would actually expect in real life.
In such grunge designs dirty stains, torn images, "broken" icons and creased pieces of paper are as popular as hand-drawn elements and dirty textures. The main purpose of hand-drawn elements lies in their ability to convey a personality and an individual note. And dirty textures are often used as background images for navigation menus, photos and overall layouts. Usually these elements are regular objects from our daily life, replicated in their real form without any glossy effects.Read more...
One month ago we've asked our readers to help us create a gallery of blog header graphics which every designer could use for free and without any restrictions whatsoever. We've announced a Header Graphics Contest and now, one month later, it's time to present the most interesting, creative and beautiful works we've received.
38 graphic designers and artists participated; as a result we've received over 100 truly outstanding entries. The best ones are displayed below. Some of the participants will be randomly awarded with Poser 7, Anime Studio, and Manga Studio provided by Smith Micro Graphics. Participants, please stay tuned — we'll contact the winners within the next 24 hours.
This post presents the results of the contest — 45 beautiful blog header designs you can use for free. Below the designers have described their themes, intentions and shown us some examples of how header graphics can be used.
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Designer's attention to small details often has a significant impact on how visitors perceive the overall design of a web-site. Although users' main focus usually lies on finding information, it's nice to find the content being supported by finest visual details. This holds for favicons, shopping carts, pagination and tag clouds we've covered in our earlier posts. But it also holds for... well, date stamps and calendars. Apparently, the latter are used not only in weblogs, but also on large web-sites where events, news and any kind of time-planning is involved.
In such designs a tear-off calendar is often used to symbolize the date in a most intuitive way. However, it's not always the case. In fact, designers seem to experiment with a number of different approach one wouldn't really expect from such a tiny design element. Out collection of appealing and interesting calendar icons and date stamps is supposed to prove it. It might provide you with some fresh ideas once you need to design some original date stamp, but don't know where to start from. All images are clickable.
Some of presented examples may not look nice at the first glance, but they all have some idea behind them — an idea you may use and develop further.
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We, designers, are creative folks. And being creative, we permanently strive for inspiration — innovative approaches, crazy ideas, smashing concepts and, in general, unique designs which can help us to observe a given problem from a fresh perspective. This is why we always have some fancy design books laying around on our desk, and this is why we enjoy observing other people's work — basically just because we can learn a hell of a lot from them.
There are things one can do a number of times without worrying about becoming boring. For instance, collecting and showcasing excellent blog designs. In this post we do it already the third time. Why? Web design lives in blogs; new developments appear there, that's where the music plays. And that's where you need to look for in order to keep up with current trends and developments.
This post presents 45 excellent blog designs with a perfect layout and unique personal note. We haven't analyzed the content of the blogs; instead we focused on ideas, approaches, graphics and layouts.
If you miss some stunning blog designs in this showcase please let us know in the comments. However, it's also possible that these designs have already been covered in one of our previous showcases:Read more...
Imagine that you are designing an online-store. Since stakeholders are only interested in the number of sells, the success of your work directly depends on how well you manage to drive users to the "Checkout"-button. In this case you might want to consider some design approaches which will set you apart from your competitors. After all, the probability that they've done it wrongly is extremely high.
One of the simplest examples of flawed design decisions is the incorrect use of the shopping cart icon — a traditional icon which stands for the virtual holding place for any products of the store. Used properly, this little yet powerful element can help users to buy a product as quickly and painless as possible. As such, it is essential for the purchasing procedure and therefore deserves to be considered carefully during the design process.
In this post we present attractive, creative and user-friendly shopping carts, bags, trolleys, buckets and baskets — any kind of carts as they are used in the online-stores. Besides, we also cover related creative ideas, design approaches and usability guidelines.Read more...
Over years Adobe Illustrator has become the standard application when it comes to illustration design. Artists, illustrators and graphic designers use Illustrator to create vector-based graphics which — contrary to raster-based editors such as Adobe Photoshop — can be easily rescaled without the loss of quality. E.g., Illustrator is often used to quickly transform hand-drawn sketches on a sheet of paper into lively and colorful digital images.
However, to master Adobe Illustrator isn't easy; and the creating process of professional illustrations requires both time and patience. Therefore tutorials can turn out to be real life- and time-savers as they show exactly what needs to be done in order to create professional illustrations and how masters of illustration actually manage to do their magic. One year ago we’ve presented a hand-picked collection of Illustrator tutorials. Now it’s time for a fresh portion of healthy and creative Illustrator material.
In this post we present a collection of excellent Adobe Illustrator tutorials for beginners and advanced designers. The new selection isn't enormous, but big enough to provide you with some good starting points.
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