An "affordance" is a perceived signal or clue that an object may be used to perform a particular action. A chair sits at around knee height and appears to provide support. It affords sitting. A toothbrush has a handle a little longer than the human palm. It affords gripping.
All of the objects that surround us have affordances: some are explicit (the “Push” sign above a door handle), and others are hidden (a chair could be used to break a window or used as a weapon). The term was first coined by psychologist James G. Gibson, then introduced to human-computer interaction by Donald Norman in his book The Psychology of Everyday Things, required reading for budding industrial and product designers everywhere.
Have you ever wondered how digitally healthy the organization where you work at really is? If you're a freelancer or work at an agency, well, have you thought about the health of your clients?
I’m not talking about whether you have the latest mobile application or a responsive website. I’m talking about the organization that sits behind these digital tools. If the organization is not digitally healthy, then even the best technology and design will fail. As digital professionals, we like to complain that the organizations with which we work are a hindrance. But are they? Exactly how digitally-friendly are the companies we work for?
The value of icons lies in their ability to support content in web design and communicate with users in more intuitive and effective ways. Most users are known to first scan a page for visually interesting content, and only after something grabs their attention will they actually begin reading. In short, icons are a simple, effective way to draw users into the content of your website.
Today's icon set consists of a passionate set of icons in two styles (flat and light gradient). The icons have been carefully designed by PixelBuddha and released exclusively for Smashing Magazine and its readers.
From a motion design perspective, Facebook.com is phenomenally static. It's purposefully dumbed down for the broadest levels of compatibility and user comfort. Facebook’s iOS apps, on the other hand, are fluid. They prioritize the design of motion; they feel like living, breathing apps.
This article serves to demonstrate that this dichotomy does not need to exist; websites can benefit from the same level of interactive and performant motion design found on mobile apps. Before diving into examples, let's first address why motion design is so beneficial.
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.
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?”
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.
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.