If you deal with images, sooner or later you will want to automate the repeating process of saving different sizes from one source image. If you own Adobe Photoshop and do not save too many output sizes, Photoshop actions are probably quite enough for your needs. However, keeping a Photoshop action up-to-date is quite painful — change a source folder, and you're screwed.
As you probably noticed in Smashing Magazine's monthly desktop wallpaper series, especially if you work on wallpapers, preparing them for a plethora of desktop resolutions is quite a task. On my own wallpapers website, I generate more than 300 JPEG files for each wallpaper! I want my art to reach as many devices as possible, which means I need to publish my wallpapers in as many sizes as I can support. On the other hand, I do not want to spend the rest of my life resizing my artworks — I’d rather draw new ones!
As with most designers, being sure that we explore and select the most successful, memorable and stimulating designs is a vital aspect that underpins every project we undertake. For us, the beginning of a new challenge has never been as simple as asking ourselves what might be the best avenue to take and then sitting down at a computer and attempting to fulfill that idea.
After researching the subject matter, we will almost always begin with a sheet of paper and pencil and draw out a variety of design options to help bring together and develop the breadth of ideas that are maturing in our minds. In this article, we will explore the use of drawing and mark-making as an integral part of the creative process.
Yesterday we described who we are, and today it’s your turn to tell us your story. Looking back at where we’ve come from and where we are today, we see that one principle has not changed a bit over the years, and it is one of the core elements of our work: that is, we’ll go as far as it takes to deliver value and substance to you, our dear reader.
We measure success not by traffic and not by the number of advertising spots sold, but by the amount of value an article provides you with. And to measure that, we quantify the attention an article receives and the overall feedback it gets in comments, blog posts and social channels. We listen to you, and we listen carefully. Our team reads through each and every email and tweet sent to us, and we also double-check comments that get marked as “spam” and approve the legitimate ones. Every meaningful comment contributes to the discussion and helps us further improve the quality of our content. And that’s a huge deal for us.
Today is the day when it all started — the day when this little website launched back in 2006. We are celebrating our six-year anniversary party, and you, being the ones who made the website possible and kept us going, are our special guests. We couldn’t possibly have a party without you!
But who are we? Who are the people working behind the scenes to make Smashing Magazine truly smashing? Today we’d like to publish something rather different. Being chummy as we are, we’d like to give you a peek behind the scenes — a little insight into how we work, who we are, where we live and where we come from. It will be quite a ride, so get yourself a beverage, make yourself comfortable and set a few minutes aside.
A year ago we published an article on 11 fundamental guidelines for e-commerce checkout design here at Smashing Magazine. The guidelines presented were based on the 63 findings of a larger E-Commerce Checkout Usability research study we conducted in 2011 focusing strictly on the checkout user experience, from “cart” to “completed order".
This year we've taken a look at the state of e-commerce checkouts by documenting and benchmarking the checkout processes of the top 100 grossing e-commerce websites based on the findings from the original research study. This has lead to a massive checkout database with 508 checkout steps reviewed, 975 screenshots, and 3,000+ examples of adherences and violations of the checkout usability guidelines.
There is an old story of blind men and an elephant. The blind men all meet and are asked to describe the elephant. One says that an elephant is long and skinny like a snake. The other says that the first doesn’t know what he is talking about and says an elephant is like the trunk of a tree, round and thick. The third says they are both wrong, that an elephant is wide and circular like a giant disc.
In some versions, they stop talking, start listening and collaborate to “see” the full elephant. When a sighted man walks by and sees the elephant, they also learn they are blind. It doesn’t take us very long to figure out that each of the men is talking about a different part of the elephant (trunk, leg and ear, respectively). The men are blind, so they fail to take in the whole elephant. Because their experience was limited to a certain part of the elephant, they assumed that the elephant was the part they could see. One could only feel that the elephant was a trunk, so he thought it was like a snake.
We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one—desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for over four years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.
We continue to nourish you with a monthly spoon of inspiration. This post features free desktop wallpapers created by artists across the globe for September 2012. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your wallpaper!
Please note that:
- All images can be clicked on and lead to the preview of the wallpaper,
- You can feature your work in our magazine by taking part in our Desktop Wallpaper Calendar series. We are regularly looking for creative designers and artists to be featured on Smashing Magazine. Are you one of them?
This is our seventh article in a series that introduces useful and freely available tools and techniques, developed and released by active members of the Web design community. The first article covered PrefixFree; the second introduced Foundation, a responsive framework; the third presented Sisyphus.js, a library for Gmail-like client-side drafts. The fourth shared a free plugin called GuideGuide with us, and later we've announced Erskine's responsive grid generator Gridpak and Remy Sharp's debugging tool JS Bin.
Back in 2009, when coding version 10 of Opera Mobile, my Opera colleagues decided to tune the Opera Mobile build machine so that it would churn out builds not only for common mobile platforms, but for Windows and Linux as well. Originally intended for quality assurance and testing, these desktop builds proved also to be useful for Web development; being able to use Opera Mobile on a desktop machine took away the need to do all testing on a phone, and the mobile browser window was suddenly only an
Alt/Command + Tab away from our text editor — exciting!
We all know basic tenets of user-centred design. We recognize different research methods, prototyping, as well as documenting techniques in our rich methodological environment. The question you probably often ask yourself though is how it all works in practice?
How do real-life UX design processes actually look alike? Do we have time for every step in the process that we claim ideal? In this article, I'd like to share a couple of insights about the real-life UX design process and speak from my own experience and research.