To you, modal windows might be a blessing of additional screen real estate, providing a way to deliver contextual information, notifications and other actions relevant to the current screen. On the other hand, modals might feel like a hack that you’ve been forced to commit in order to cram extra content on the screen. These are the extreme ends of the spectrum, and users are caught in the middle. Depending on how a user browses the Internet, modal windows can be downright confusing.
Modals quickly shift visual focus from one part of a website or application to another area of (hopefully related) content. The action is usually not jarring if initiated by the user, but it can be annoying and disorienting if it occurs automatically, as happens with the modal window’s evil cousins, the “nag screen” and the “interstitial.”
The internal systems of many organizations have shocking user interfaces. This costs companies in productivity, training and even the customer experience. Fortunately, we can fix this.
"How come I can download an app on my phone and instantly know how to use it, yet need training to use our content management system? Shouldn’t our system be intuitive?" This was just one of the comments I heard in a recent stakeholder interview. People are fed up with inadequate internal systems. Many of those I interviewed had given up on the official software. Instead, they use tools like Dropbox, Google Docs and Evernote.
Many of today’s hottest technology companies, both large and small, are increasingly using the concept of the minimum viable product (MVP) as way to iteratively learn about their customers and develop their product ideas. This two-part series, looks into the product design process of Dropbox’s Carousel.
Part 1 covered the core user, their needs and Dropbox’s business needs, and broke down existing photo and video apps. This second part is about Carousel’s primary requirements, the end product, its performance and key learnings since the launch.
In a previous article, I discussed using POP to create sketch-based clickthrough prototypes in participatory design exercises. These prototypes capture well the flow and overall layout of early design alternatives.
The same piece briefly mentioned another category of clickthrough prototypes: widget-based mockups that are designed on the target device and that expand on sketches by introducing user interface (UI) details and increased visual fidelity. These prototypes can be used to pitch ideas to clients, document interactions and even test usability. In this article, I will teach you how to use the iPad app Blueprint to put together such prototypes in the form of concept demos, which help to manage a client’s expectations when you are aligning your visions of a product.
Today Smashing Magazine turns eight years old. Eight years is a long time on the web, yet for us it really doesn't feel like a long journey at all. Things have changed, evolved and moved on, and we gratefully take on new challenges one at a time. To mark this special little day, we’d love to share a few things that we’ve learned over the last year about the performance challenges of this very website and about the work we’ve done recently. If you want to craft a fast responsive website, you might find a few interesting nuggets worth considering. – Ed.
Improvement is a matter of steady, ongoing iteration. When we redesigned Smashing Magazine back in 2012, our main goal was to establish trustworthy branding that would reflect the ambitious editorial direction of the magazine. We did that primarily by focusing on crafting a delightful reading experience. Over the years, our focus hasn't changed a bit; however, that very asset that helped to establish our branding turned into a major performance bottleneck.
Successful developers all have something in common: the desire to create. To fully realize that creativity, they need to continually improve their skills. The web industry has grown from this desire to learn. You only need to look at the unwavering demand for conferences, workshops and training days for evidence of this.
For many companies, however, these sources of training require time and money that simply might not be available — especially when you consider that technologies evolve all the time. The cost of continually sending your team to workshops and training days can quickly become unsustainable.
SmashingConf isn't the eighth wonder of the world, but we are pretty close. Join us at SmashingConf Oxford on March 16–19 or meet us at the shores of Santa Monica for SmashingConf LA on April 27–30. You won't be disappointed.