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.
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.
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.
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.
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.