After almost 20 years of evolution, today's web typography, with its high-density displays and support for OpenType features, is just a step away from the typographic quality of the offline world. But there's still one field of graphic design where we still constantly fall back to bitmap replacements instead of using native text: display typography, the art of staging letters in illustrative, gorgeous, dramatic, playful, experimental or unexpected ways.
Sure, we're able choose from thousands of web fonts and use CSS effects for type, some with wide browser support (like drop-shadows and 3D transforms) and others that are more experimental (like background-clip and text-stroke), but that's basically it. If we want really outstanding display typography on our websites, we'll usually embed it as an image.
If you’re a UX designer, you’ve probably designed a lot of forms and web (or app) pages in which the user needs to choose between options. And as a designer, you’re likely familiar with best practices for designing forms. Certainly, much has been written and discussed about this topic. So, you probably know all about how best to label and position form fields and so on for optimal usability.
But have you thought about how the design of a form affects the user’s decision-making? Have you ever considered to what extent the design itself affects the choices people make? As always in design, there are a variety of ways to design a form or web page.
I love being a web designer and I'm incredibly thankful that I decided to join this industry many years ago. Still, despite my love of this profession, there have been a number of times during my career when my passion has waned and I’ve found myself simply going through the motions instead of fully applying myself to my work. This scenario is likely familiar to many of my fellow web designers. It is called burnout.
Burnout is a very real challenge that we face as web professionals. The same processes that help us complete projects successfully can also contribute to us falling into a routine and hitting autopilot on our work. Sometimes, an overload of work can force you to fall into a routine and become a production line in order to meet deadlines. Other times, a lack of variety and excitement can lead to apathy with burnout not far behind.
A lot of tools enable us to distribute a website’s content, but when we need to promptly reach a target group, an email notification system might be the best option. If your website is not frequently updated, you could notify all subscribers each time a post is published. However, if it’s updated frequently or it covers several topics, you could filter subscribers before mailing them.
If you opt for the latter, you could set up a user meta field that stores a bit of information to identify the subscribers to be notified. The same bit of information would label the posts you’re publishing. Depending on the website’s architecture, you could store the metadata in a category, a tag, a custom taxonomy or a custom field. In this article we’ll show you how to let your website’s subscribers decide when they want notifications, and linked to a particular location.
Although Windows Phone usage is still low compared with other browsers it's sometimes necessary to test your web work for Internet Explorer Mobile. For web developers, this could be a complication. Testing for the Windows Phone environment is not always optional, but it can be a chore — especially because the version of Internet Explorer that comes with the Windows Phone can be quirky at best. If you're a developer without a Windows Phone device, you might have to get a little creative to ensure that your websites are being rendered properly.
In this article I want to point out a few different tools and techniques which can help test websites for Windows Phone even if you don't have the real device handy or if you are not developing on Windows. But first let's quickly look into the differences between mobile and desktop Internet Explorer.
Recently, I had a project in which I needed to produce high-fidelity screens for a tablet. I was to present these screens on the device and also produce a clickable prototype. They needed to be pixel-perfect. The timeline was tight (as always), so I went with my go-to tool, Photoshop. I’ve been using it for over 10 years, and it gives me the fastest high-quality output.
Are you designing at “Retina” resolution in Photoshop? If the answer is yes, then this article is for you. I will walk you through the problems I faced in creating Retina mockups to be displayed on a tablet device. I will then explain a way to work that is easier and gives you better performance. This is about my experience with Photoshop, but it could be applied to Illustrator and other software.
In the past year, adoption of Sketch at Google, where I work at, has taken off and is now a widely preferred tool. The more tools in our belts, the better, so here’s my take on why Sketch and the new material design system are a great match.
Tools are an extension of our hands, and as such, they should be versatile, quick and intuitive. A lot has changed between the print era of offset presses and the digital era of cross-platform screens. Developers have attempted to adapt our tools, but Sketch is perhaps the most successful app in this regard — its creators have removed the bloat, started afresh and presented a smaller, fit-for-purpose feature set. What may seem on the surface to be a simple drawing tool in fact nails the core workflows of digital design.
Editor’s Note: This article contains many video examples that show functional animation. Therefore, it may take longer to load on slow connections. A good UX designer can easily explain the logic behind each decision in a design concept. This includes the information architecture, the content hierarchy, the flow and the assumptions made.
Sooner or later, animation will be introduced to the wireframe concept, and then making design decisions or explaining them becomes harder. Reasons such as “It will be cool!” or “It’s trendy” or ”exciting” are exactly the areas where a design starts to lose its strength. Animations deserve a far better ground in our design considerations. We should be justified in defining animations and explaining their purpose — just the same way that we explain all other elements in a design.
Some things just don't change: SmashingConf Freiburg is taking place again this year, on September 14th-15th 2015, in our lovely hometown in Germany. Two days, one track, 16 brilliant speakers and 300 fantastic attendees, sharing practical insights into their craft. And the best bit: lots of networking in good ol’ beer gardens, at the very foothills of the legendary Black Forest. Tickets are now on sale.
Trends don't matter, but techniques do. With another friendly, intimate conference in our lovely hometown, we'll explore practical techniques, design patterns, lessons learned and other tasty recipes from real-life projects. As you know, we care about interesting problems and smart solutions. The goal of this event is that everybody — speakers, attendees, as well as the fellow designers and developers watching the videos later — discover new techniques and strategies that can be applied to real-life projects right away.
CSS’ clip-path property is your ticket to shape-shifting the monotonous, boxy layouts traditionally associated with flat, responsive design. You will begin to think outside the box, literally, and hexagons, stars and octagons will begin to take form on your web pages. Once you get your hands dirty with clip-path, there’s no end to the shapes you can generate, simply by tweaking a few values.
While the focus of this article is on clip-path using polygons with CSS, all of the demos provide a reference to an inline SVG, in order to gain additional support on Firefox. Generating a responsive SVG clipped shape is trivial once you have created a responsive shape with CSS’ clip-path. We’ll look at this in detail later.