This category features articles on general design principles, Web design, typography, user interface design and related topics. It also presents design showcases and practical pieces on the business side of design. Curated by Alma Hoffmann.
When I think about where we are with the Web in comparison to other media in history, pinpointing it is really hard. Is it like when the Gutenberg Press was just invented and we’re experimenting with movable type, or are we still embellishing pages and slavishly copying books by hand?
Our knowledge of building digital things changes rapidly, taking us from newborn to adult and back again every couple of years. It’s both exciting and frustrating, because just when you think you have it all figured out, it completely changes. But if you’re like me, learning something new keeps things interesting.
How do you make sure all the software products you spend time building are something that your customers will actually want to buy? It's one thing to spend a few weeks coding your next big idea. But are you sure that you have an audience of customers that want what you've built?
The last thing you want is to create something, invest in Adwords, only have your potential customers arrive non-plussed, and then navigate away, never to return again.
The history of the Internet has been a steady march towards websites that are richer, bigger and more interactive. As websites have become more robust, we — as designers and developers — have often placed the burden on our users to make more decisions, each of which distracts them from their wants and needs.
However, by using a combination of technical solutions and some careful decision-making on our part, we can often remove interface barriers for our users.
One of the best patterns for browsing a small collection of featured products is the carousel. Unfortunately, many mobile app implementations do not offer an engaging or satisfying carousel experience and are not effective at driving conversions.
In this article, we’ll use the analogy of a real-world amusement park carousel to explain what makes for an authentically mobile user experience, and we’ll give you the design, the complete source code and a downloadable mini-app, which you can use today to add an enjoyable and effective carousel to your own app on phones and tablets.
Planning user experience (UX) projects is a balancing act of getting the right amount of user input within the constraints of your project. The trick is to work out the best use of your time. How can you get the most UX goodness for your client’s budget? This article explains how to choose the right mix of tools for the task at hand.
The planning phase is all about understanding what you have been asked to do and working out the best combination of activities that will give you the outcome you need, within the time, budgetary and resource constraints of the project.
Do you remember those “10 Useful Legal Documents for Designers?” Well, it turns out that you, designers who read Smashing Magazine, liked one in particular: a plain-language, straightforward “Contract of Works for Web Design” which is based heavily on Andy Clarke’s “Contract Killer”. Since Mr. Wong published that template eight months ago, almost 1,500 designers have downloaded it on Docracy alone.
Why is this legal template so popular? Does it really work better than other contracts? Can it help you close that job faster and protect you from getting stiffed? Could it become an industry standard, like grid systems and agile development?
The ambigram is one of the few modern letterforms that engage both your intellect and intuition simultaneously. It reads as a word while also communicating a deeply familiar pattern. This is something beyond the ambigram’s obviously clever construction. I’ve thought quite a bit about why I love this word-image hybrid, and I’ll set out here to uncover just what it is about the ambigram’s design and structure that makes it so captivating.
My primary design background is as a symbolic logo designer, so I begin with what I know: symbols. I look to nature to create my work as a matter of practicality as well as aesthetics, because symbols are derived from nature and are the first language of all humans. Symbols engage us deeply as expressions of the organic principles and forms that life embodies. Nature is common to everyone, and when it is used symbolically in visual language, the chance of creating a relationship with the audience is significantly elevated because it mirrors the relationships within and around us. Nature even embeds symbols that mirror universal processes directly in our DNA.