Most designers spend too much time with their designs to be objective about them. The best thing any designer can do is to collect feedback from real users. Testing uncovers pain points and flaws in a design that are not otherwise obvious.
Recently, I had an opportunity to experience this firsthand when iterating on HelloSign, the iOS app that enables users to scan, sign and send documents from their phone using the built-in camera. Thanks to testing, the app went from four stars to a solid five stars after a redesign.
When Google announced its preference for user-friendly responsive websites in June 2012, I immediately saw an influx of posts that equated responsive design with search engine optimization. This is unfortunate because, while responsive websites can be SEO-friendly, some responsive websites are not.
I’ve detailed some of the common errors that give responsive websites problems in search results in an article on Search Engine Land earlier this year, so it’s nice to be able to do a more in-depth SEO audit of a responsive website here on Smashing Magazine.
Responsive images are one of the biggest sources of frustration in the Web development community. With good reason, too: The average size of pages has grown from 1 MB to a staggering 1.5 MB in the last year alone. Images account for more than 60% of that growth, and this percentage will only go up.
Much of that page weight could be reduced if images were conditionally optimized based on device width, pixel density and modern image formats (such as WebP). These reductions would result in faster loading times and in users who are more engaged and who would stick around longer.
Some websites outperform others, whether in their content, usability, design, features, etc. Details of interaction design and animation make a fundamental difference on modern websites. We’ll share some lessons drawn from various models and analyze why these simple patterns work so well.
When we design digital products, we often use design applications such as Photoshop and Sketch. Most people who have been in the business for a few years obviously know that design is more than just about visual presentation.
In this article, we’ll take you on a thought-provoking journey through carefully selected Web designs. Certainly, these websites have some captivating interactivity; however, the selection of type and the typographic styling and spacing are the reasons why we chose them for this piece.
In the context of typography, considering composition and grid structure is also important. Composition and grid structure are vital factors in effective communication with type.
Is sketching by hand more than a nostalgic activity? How is paper any different from a screen, especially when hardware is becoming more and more sophisticated? Is improving your hand-sketching skills really worthwhile when high-tech software is advancing every day?
Everyone seems to have a strong opinion about hand-sketching these days. Some absolutely hate the thought of putting their ideas to paper because they can’t draw to save their lives. Others couldn’t imagine their creativity surviving without it. Love it or hate it, there’s much more to a sketchbook than old-school charm.
Behind every successful design is a dynamic creative team, and it takes all kinds of personalities and skills to get the job done. However, the culture and expectations of a design agency are often largely centered on one outspoken, gregarious personality.
Things such as group brainstorming, on-the-fly presentations and open workspaces have become the norm in most design agencies. But the stereotypical extrovert is just one of the personalities that make up a successful team. A lot of people who excel at and are passionate about design — specifically UX design — are actually introverts.
Designing and developing can be time-consuming, especially when the project involves a new challenge, putting the team or freelancer into unknown territory. Moreover, time is a key factor in productivity. Working efficiently enables us to deliver better value at a competitive price.
However, some steps can be repeated for every project. These are steps we know and should make as quick as possible in order to have more freedom to experiment with new solutions. This article presents a collection of tools, tips and tricks that will make your standard workflow as fast and practical as possible, so that you have more time for the exciting parts of the project.
Like many great ideas, ours was born of a problem. When I was a graduate student at MIT, I sat next to a classmate who is visually impaired. He would whisper to me to ask the time, even though he wore a watch — which prompted me to wonder how the blind tell time.
I later learned from my classmate that he had a talking watch that announced the time out loud when he pressed a button, but he rarely used it in public because he found it disruptive and embarrassing. After that conversation with my classmate, I went home and Googled "watch for the blind". I couldn’t believe what I saw.
The relationship between copy and design has been coveredmanytimes on Smashing Magazine. Working in a content-focused industry, we need to keep this issue pretty close to heart; creating great copy is pointless if it is visually uninspiring or unreadable. Likewise, if the content doesn’t deliver, then even the most attractive page won’t hold the reader’s attention.
Yet much of the discussion so far has concentrated on issues such as microcopy — the small bits of text that instruct the reader on how to interact with the website — and the minutiae of user experience. This stuff is essential, of course, but in this article we’d like to broaden our focus to look at some of the fundamental mistakes behind bad copy.