Federico was the only other kid on the block with a dedicated ISDN line, so I gave him a call. It had taken six hours of interminable waiting (peppered with frantic bouts of cursing), but I had just watched 60 choppy seconds of the original Macintosh TV commercial in Firefox, and I had to tell someone. It blew my mind.
Video on the Web has improved quite a bit since that first jittery low-res commercial I watched on my Quadra 605 back in 7th grade. But for the most part, videos are still separate from the Web, cordoned off by iframes and Flash and bottled up in little windows in the center of the page. They’re a missed opportunity for Web designers everywhere.
Have you ever submitted design files to a development team for production and a few weeks later gotten something back that looks nothing like your original work? Many designers and design teams make the mistake of thinking that their work is done once they’ve completed the visual design stage.
A design is more than a simple drawing on a canvas in Illustrator, Fireworks or Photoshop; it is a representation of function. “Form follows function” is a well-known principle, first coined in 1896 by the architect Louis Sullivan. How will the website work? How will that section fold? What happens when you hover over this button? How does that menu function?
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.
Starting a position in an organization, especially if it is your first in the industry, can be as nerve-wracking as it is exciting. Practices that seem like common sense to those of us who have been in the Web industry for some time might not be as obvious to designers and developers without the benefit of our experience.
Part of our responsibility as veterans in this industry is to mentor new team members and share with them the knowledge that we know they will need to succeed. I recently published an article here on Smashing Magazine titled “Lessons Learned in Leading New Web Professionals.” As a follow-up to that piece, this one looks at the other side of the team leader-new employee dynamic. We’ll cover the practices that I have found are consistently followed by employees who excel in their new role and grow in this industry.
The Web has succeeded at interoperability and scale in a way that no other technology has before or since. Still, the Web remains far from “state of the art”, and it is being increasingly threatened by walled gardens. The Web platform often lags competitors in delivering new system and device capabilities to developers.
Worse, it often hobbles new capabilities behind either high- or low-level APIs, forcing painful choices (and workarounds) on developers. Despite browser versions being released much faster, new capabilities still take a long time to materialize, and often do so in forms that are at best frustrating and at worst nearly useless to large swathes of the developer community for solving real-world needs.
Click, touch, load, drag, change, input, error, resize — the list of possible DOM events is lengthy. Events can be triggered on any part of a document, whether by a user’s interaction or by the browser. They don’t just start and end in one place; they flow though the document, on a life cycle of their own. This life cycle is what makes DOM events so extensible and useful. As developers, we should understand how DOM events work, so that we can harness their potential and build engaging experiences.
Throughout my time as a front-end developer, I felt that I was never given a straight explanation of how DOM events work. My aim here is to give you a clear overview of the subject, to get you up to speed more quickly than I did.
Product findability is key to any e-commerce business — after all, if customers can’t find a product, they can’t buy it. Therefore, at Baymard Institute, we invested eight months conducting a large-scale usability research study on the product-finding experience. We set out to explore how users navigate, find and select products on e-commerce websites, using the home page and category navigation.
The one-on-one usability testing was conducted following the “think aloud” protocol, and we tested the following websites: Amazon, Best Buy, Blue Nile, Chemist Direct, Drugstore.com, eBags, GILT, GoOutdoors, H&M, IKEA, Macy’s, Newegg, Pixmania, Pottery Barn, REI, Tesco, Toys’R’Us, The Entertainer, and Zappos. The pages and design elements that we tested include the home page, category navigation, subcategories, and product lists.
Developing a product is one thing, bringing it to market is another. In this article, Rachel explains how to start with a new product, develop and support it over time. Interested in learning more? Rachel will be hosting a full-day Smashing workshop on "Shipping Your Product" in Berlin, and she has contributed a chapter on customer support to the brand new upcoming Smashing Book #4 (to be released in late November). —Ed.
If you are launching a bootstrapped product, then your aim should be to ship something that people are happy to give you money for as quickly as possible. This means launching with the minimum that will make your product something that people would be happy to buy. You can then begin to develop additional features based on what customers actually want and need, rather than on what you think they want and need.
With the release of Ember.js 1.0, it's just about time to consider giving it a try. This article aims to introduce Ember.js to newcomers who want to learn more about the framework. Users often say that the learning curve is steep, but once you’ve overcome the difficulties, then this framework is tremendous.
This happened to me as well. While the official guides are more accurate and up to date than ever (for real!), this post is my attempt to make things even smoother for beginners. First, we will clarify the main concepts of the framework. Next, we’ll go in depth with a step-by-step tutorial that teaches you how to build a simple Web app with Ember.js and Ember-Data, which is Ember’s data storage layer. Then, we will see how views and components help with handling user interactions. Finally, we will dig a little more into Ember-Data and template precompiling.
This article is the third part of an article series about improving your design workflow in Adobe Fireworks with some of the best extensions currently available. You may want to check out the first and second parts if you're not already familiar with them. – Ed.
We have already covered over a dozen brilliant extensions to add to your Fireworks arsenal, just the tip of the iceberg. With all-around great guys such as John Dunning, Aaron Beall, Matt Stow and Linus Lim continuing to support the app (an app that Adobe has finally decided it has had enough of), the power of Fireworks continues to make the lives of designers all over the world easier and more productive.