A User In Total Control Is A Designer’s Nightmare

How do you balance the creative control you give to the users, the usability of the product they make with your tool and the flexibility of that tool? We designers have always had a problem of handing over creative control to the general population — the basic users. There are two reasons for this.

A User In Total Control Is A Designer's Nightmare

The first is obvious: We are the ones who are supposed to know the principles of design and usability. Some of us were born with this feeling of what feels and looks right, while other designers have learned it — at least good designers eventually have.

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Career Advice For Graduating Web Design Students

It’s that time of year again: graduation, when students transition away from the classroom to what will hopefully be a long and successful career in their chosen industry. I recently said goodbye to some of my own website design and development students. Instead of teaching lessons in design principles or responsive websites, I spent our final evening together answering their questions. One of those questions was, “What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Career Advice For Graduating Web Design Students

At the time, I didn’t have an answer. I could think of many instances when someone helped me solve a particularly complex design challenge or a complex CSS issue or helped me navigate a delicate client situation, but I wouldn’t consider those “best career advice” moments. After thinking about it for a week or so, I came up with four pieces of advice that I received early in my career and that were invaluable to me as I was getting started in this industry but that are just as relevant and useful to me today.

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Sassy Z-Index Management For Complex Layouts

Z-index is an inherently tricky thing, and maintaining z-index order in a complex layout is notoriously difficult. With different stacking orders and contexts, keeping track of them as their numbers increase can be hard — and once they start to spread across CSS files, forget about it! Because z-index can make or break a UI element’s visibility and usability, keeping your website’s UI in working order can be a delicate balance.

Sassy Z-Index Management For Complex Layouts

Because z-index is contextual, once you start using it, requiring it for other elements as well is easy. Finding z-index: 99999 rules scattered throughout a website is not uncommon, but the infamous 99999 was born of frustration. It’s an easy way to get an element just to be on top of everything else. But it’s not entirely scalable: What if you need to add something on top of that?

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Building With Gulp

Optimizing your website assets and testing your design across different browsers is certainly not the most fun part of the design process. Luckily, it consists of repetitive tasks that can be automated with the right tools to improve your efficiency.

Building With Gulp

Gulp is a build system that can improve how you develop websites by automating common tasks, such as compiling preprocessed CSS, minifying JavaScript and reloading the browser. In this article, we’ll see how you can use Gulp to change your development workflow, making it faster and more efficient.

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Case StudyMaintaining Momentum Through Efficient Mobile Design

When interacting with mobile devices, users have little patience for confusing interfaces or unnecessary steps that impede their progress. As designers, we must understand the role of momentum in effective user interface design and create experiences that keep our users moving forward.

Maintaining Momentum Through Efficient Mobile Design

Think about the act of checking email on a mobile device. This is probably one of our most efficient interactions with our phones; we do it while crossing the street, between conversations and even (for the dangerous few!) while driving. Every distracting bit of user interface (UI) that could get in the way of checking our email has been stripped from the design, making it a streamlined process that we love doing.

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Upcoming Web Design Events (Jun. 2014 – Dec. 2014)

This year has brought a number of changes in the conference scene around the world. Quite a few established conferences have taken their last bow, and a whole bunch of new conferences have appeared — and I'm not just talking about the Smashing conferences! There's even a conference for developing applications of the not-yet-released Google Glass.

Upcoming Web Design Events (Jun. 2014 – Dec. 2014)

Many exciting conferences have already featured some of the industry's most illustrious speakers in the first half of 2014, however, there are quite a few more to come! Take a look at today's round-up of conferences taking place this year from June onwards, and remember, since most events are a bit light on the design aspect, it may be a good idea to visit those conferences that focus specifically on visual and artistic technologies.

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A Thorough Introduction To Backbone.Marionette (Part 3)

To help you tap the full potential of Marionette, we've prepared an entire eBook full of useful hands-on examples which is also available in the Smashing Library. — Ed.

In this series on Backbone.Marionette, we’ve already discussed Application and Module. This time, we’ll be taking a gander at how Marionette helps make views better in Backbone. Marionette extends the base View class from Backbone to give us more built-in functionality, to eliminate most of the boilerplate code and to convert all of the common code down to configuration.

A Thorough Introduction To Backbone.Marionette (Part 3)

I highly recommend that you go back and read the articles about Application and Module first, if you haven’t already. Some things may be mentioned in this article that refer to the previous articles, and this is part of a series about Marionette, so if you wish to learn about Marionette, you should read the whole series.

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