As I was flying back from the Smashing Conference in New York, I wondered whether it was a success. This wasn’t an original thought. We are always wondering what makes a conference good and what elements will make industry workers stay away.
Good and bad are such subjective terms, though, with almost as many expectations as there are attendees. We decided that just looking at the numbers instead might be a good idea. This article will not present best practices for planning a conference, but rather will look at how it’s actually done most of the time. While this is not a guide to putting together the perfect conference, it gives a good overview of what seems to work and which elements are so unpredictable that they do not serve as reliable guidelines.
When designing mobile first, navigation takes a back seat to content, and ruthless editing paves the way for more focused experiences. The pursuit of simplicity, combined with the tight spatial constraints of mobile viewports, often leads us to strip away elements in an attempt to minimize the interface. But the space-saving convenience we gain through clever editing and a compact UI can come at the expense of the very navigational aids our users rely on.
To help balance the craving for visual simplicity with the need to keep websites easy to navigate, we we can borrow some concepts from the world of wayfinding. This article shows how you can apply these concepts to the mobile web.
There are icons that you can find quite easily, and icons that are difficult to come across. With Icons of Autumn, we are humbled to release a set of 50 free autumn-themed EPS icons illustrated in a lovely sketchy style.
Designed by Nick Botner as line art in Adobe Illustrator, the icons are available in EPS, enabling you to change both the color or the weight of the strokes with ease. However, if you want to make the icons into solid shapes, it shouldn’t take much effort either.
More and more designers and developers in our industry are making the leap into becoming entrepreneurs by starting their very own products. One of these aspiring designers is Cat Noone, co-founder of Liberio.
Cat is a young and talented designer and entrepreneur from Brooklyn, New York, now living and working in Berlin. She worked in the field of special education before jumping into a career that she really loves and makes her happy.
In the physical world, no one builds anything without detailed blueprints, because people’s lives are on the line. In the digital world, the stakes just aren’t as high. It’s called “software” for a reason: because when it hits you in the face, it doesn’t hurt as much. No one is going to die if your website goes live with the header’s left margin 4 pixels out of alignment with the image below it.
But, while the users’ lives might not be on the line, design blueprints (also called design specifications, or specs) could mean the difference between a correctly implemented design that improves the user experience and satisfies customers and a confusing and inconsistent design that corrupts the user experience and displeases customers.
Sliders are cool. When they’re done well, customers love to interact with them. When they're not done well, they can cause a lot of frustration (not to mention lost sales) by standing between your customers and what they want. And getting them wrong is surprisingly easy.
In this article, we will present a solution, including the design and code, for a new type of Android slider to address common problems, along with a downloadable Android mini-app for you to try out. It’s a deep dive into sliders based on a chapter in Android Design Patterns. The experimental inventory-based slider we will look at would be at home in any application that asks for a price, a size, or any other faceted input within a widely distributed range.
AngularJS has grown to become one of the most popular single-page application frameworks. Developed by a dedicated team at Google, the outcome is substantial and widely used in both community and industry projects.
One of the reasons for AngularJS’ success is its outstanding ability to be tested. It’s strongly supported by Karma (the spectacular test runner written by Vojta Jína) and its multiple plugins. Karma, combined with its fellows Mocha, Chai and Sinon, offers a complete toolset to produce quality code that is easy to maintain, bug-free and well documented.
Designer Paul Rand once said, “An understanding of man's intrinsic needs, and of the necessity to search for a climate in which those needs could be realized, is fundamental to the education of the designer.” Prototyping helps us to unveil and explore these human needs, opening the door to insightful interaction and more empathetic design solutions.
Low-fidelity prototypes, in particular, are rough representations of concepts that help us to validate those concepts early on in the design process. Throughout this article, we will look at some of the features that make low-fidelity prototyping a unique tool to radically improve your work and to build an environment in which users’ needs can be truly realized.
Apple launched the Macintosh personal computer in 1984. It was more user-friendly than other PCs at that time — and, with its desktop publishing software, graphical user interface and mouse (all novel at the time), the Mac was uniquely geared to designers. Compared to what we can create on the computer today, the original Macintosh, with only 128 KB of memory, had limited capabilities. At the time, though, it opened up so many new possibilities.
Of course, using a computer didn’t automatically make designers better at their craft. Instead, the new technology gave them more control and sped up their exploration process. As with anything unfamiliar, the Mac sparked debate among designers during this time: While some saw the computer as simply another tool for creating work, like a drawing pen, others saw its potential as a medium in itself.
In today’s fast-paced mobile market, consumers have no patience for mobile apps that compromise their experience. “Crashes” and “Not working” are the most common feedback on Google Play for unstable or sluggish apps (including games). Those comments and ratings make hundreds of millions of potential downloaders skip those lousy apps. Sounds harsh, but that’s the way it is.
An app succeeds not by chance. It is the result of the right decisions made at the right time. The most successful mobile app developers understand the importance of performance, quality and robustness across the array of mobile devices that their customers use.