My Android Galaxy smartphone is so sweet. It plays games, has a lovely screen and lets me check all of my favorite websites while I’m commuting to and from work. And my new iPad is even better; it’s all I use at home when I’m relaxing in the living room, cooking in the kitchen or toileting on the toilet. As a consumer of electronic gadgets, I’m happier than Angelina Jolie in an orphanage with all of the devices with which I can use to access the Internet. As a developer, I hate it.
Have you seen how many browsers and devices we have to test now? I remember when Internet Explorer (IE) 8 came out and we were annoyed that we had to start testing six browsers. Now, we’re testing at least 15! Back then, when every home had broadband and before anyone had a smartphone, we were living in the Golden Age of web development. We never knew how easy our jobs were.
A/B testing, also known as split testing, is the method of pitting two versions of a landing page against each other in a battle of conversion. You test to see which version does a better job of leading visitors to one of your goals, like signing up or subscribing to a newsletter. You can test two entirely different designs for a landing page or you can test small tweaks, like changes to a few words in your copy.
Running A/B tests on your website can help you improve your communication with visitors and back up important design decisions with real data from real users. With the multitude of tools available (detailed later), split testing has become easy for even non-technical people to design and manage.
At the end of 2012, I was talking with a good friend of mine who runs a small custom woodworking company. We were discussing business over the last year and a few things we learned. While his business did about double the revenue that mine did in 2012, I made considerably more profit.
That’s when it sank in how unusual my business really is: Instead of having a 10 to 20% profit margin like many businesses, I had an 85% profit margin in 2012. That actually could have been much higher, except that I spent some money on equipment (I needed that 27-inch display) and hiring freelancers. After creating each product, I have only 5% in hard costs for each sale. And the product can be sold an unlimited number of times.
It's one thing to create a web application and quite another to keep it accessible — independent of the device that the user is using and its capabilities. That's why Heydon Pickering, now the accessibility editor on Smashing Magazine, wrote an eBook Apps For All: Coding Accessible Web Applications, outlining the roadmap for well-designed, accessible applications.
This article is an excerpt of a chapter in the eBook that introduces many of the ideas and techniques presented. Reviewed by Steve Faulkner, it's an eBook you definitely shouldn't miss if you're a developer who cares about well-structured content and inclusive interface design. – Ed.
Because the W3C’s mission from the outset has been to make the web accessible, accessibility features are built into its specifications. As responsible designers, we have the job of creating compelling web experiences without disrupting the inclusive features of a simpler design.
When the iPhone came out in 2007, the demonstration of its web browser by the late great Steve Jobs gave the not-so-subtle impression that Apple wasn’t too perturbed about its users pinching to zoom and swiping to scroll as part of the browsing experience. Responsive web design aimed to solve this problem by smartly applying flexible grids, fluid layouts and, of course, media queries.
However, responsive web design has turned out to be somewhat of a case study in the law of unintended consequences, with one of the perverse unanticipated effects being breakpoint paranoia. But even without the undue influence that media queries exerts on your selection of these breakpoints, it dawns on you after much introspection that these might not be the droids we’re looking for.
Are you a web designer or developer who dreams about creating a mobile game and bringing it to the app store? We have good news: Your road to the app store might be shorter than you think! And if you can recall your experience with ActionScript and the Flash platform from days of old, then you’ll even have a shortcut.
Building a native app with Flash might sound weird at first. In this article, we will share some insights on how we built a game for iOS that is written entirely in ActionScript.
Textures are everywhere — the concrete of a sidewalk, the fabric on your chair, even the glass (or plastic) surface of the screen you’re staring at right now. It’s natural that textures appeal to us because we see and feel them every day. And it’s no surprise why textures have become such an important element in design — so important, in fact, that I want to share with you the tricks and tools to create your own textures using Photoshop.
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.