Posts Tagged ‘Opinion Column’

We are pleased to present below all posts tagged with ‘Opinion Column’.

Are You Ready For A Web Design Challenge?

This is not a normal Smashing Magazine post. I’m not going to teach you something new or inspire you with examples of great work. Instead, I want to encourage you to complete a Web design challenge. I believe this will help to address a weakness that exists in many of our design processes.

If you complete this challenge, it will make it easier for clients to sign off on your designs, and it will improve the quality of your work. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.

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Content Meaning

You’ve heard the questions before. “The design looks great, but what are you trying to communicate?” “Where’s the message in your design?” “Did you use this texture here for a reason, or is it just design for design’s sake?”

Okay, enough with the questions. I’m supposed to be answering these, right? (Sorry, another question.) Well, our jobs as designers is to think of these questions before presenting something to our client, professor, peer or anyone with an opinion we value.

I’ll let you in on a little secret that really shouldn’t be much of a secret at all: content is king, and your design will never dethrone it. We live in a world where ideas sell, and everyone is buying.

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Design is About Solving Problems

Recently, a couple of things happened in my design career that have made me sit down and reflect a bit on where I’m at and how I can improve what I deliver to my clients and their users. I’d noticed that my source of inspiration had changed and that I was being inspired more by clever solutions and ideas than by visual flourish.

Like many designers, my RSS feed of inspirational websites is full of great work and posts. I’m also active on Twitter, and I meet up with other designers regularly at local events. But I find that at a basic level, I actually don’t draw that much inspiration directly from these things anymore.

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The Dangers of Designing for Context

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a growing excitement around mobile or device oriented web design. This excitement is fueled mostly by the high adoption rates of devices that come equipped with full scale browser capabilities but that’s not the only reason. A lot of talk lately has been centered around designing for context. So what does it mean to design for a user’s context?

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Ignorance is Bliss for a Creative Mind

The saying “Ignorance is bliss” originates in Thomas Gray’s poem “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” (1742). The quote goes: "Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise." Face it: you were better off not knowing that, weren’t you?

Generally speaking, ignorance is a detestable state of mind. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you are to deal with life. But ignorance itself doesn’t equal stupidity. For instance, I view myself as someone who is smart enough to realize his huge capacity for stupidity. I know there are massive gaps in my cultural and general knowledge. I would define my intellectual state as, at times, unaware. But who am I kidding? In some areas of life, I’m just plain ignorant, even if not by choice.

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Defending The Generalists In The Web Design Industry

In recent years there has been a move away from generalist Web designers to specialists such as content strategists, user experience architects and front-end coders. Where once there was a single job, there are now many, with ever-narrower spheres of responsibility.


Not everybody agrees with Paul Boag. Anita Hart is convinced that well-rounded individuals have a depth in at least 1 area of expertise. Do you agree?

While my peers are becoming more specialized, I have stoically refused to do so, remaining a generalist. If anything, my interests have broadened, encompassing subjects such as marketing, psychology and business strategy. This has drawn criticism from some who view generalists negatively, which is in line with some of what I am reading in the blogosphere.

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Inside Google’s User Experience Lab: An Interview With Google’s Marcin Wichary

Marcin Wichary’s fascination with the relationship between humans and machines began at an early age. As a boy in Poland, he was mesmerized by the interaction between arcade patrons and the video games they played. Years later, Marcin would help shape the way that millions of computer users interact with some of the world’s most popular websites. He would even recreate one of those arcade games for the Web.

Inside Google's User Experience Lab: An Interview With Google’s Marcin Wichary

Marcin is Senior User Experience Designer at Google, but his numerous roles and broad influence at the company are not conveniently definable. His fingerprints are on the code of Google products ranging from Search to Chrome. He gained publicity for his work on the Google Pac-Man Doodle, which he co-created with fellow Googler Ryan Germick. According to Ryan, “Marcin is a genius. He’s a UX designer but he’s also maybe one of the best front-end programmers on the planet.”

Marcin joined Smashing Magazine author Dan Redding for a conversation regarding his professional career, his interest in photography and a curious creation known as the Crushinator.

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Web Designers, Get Out There and Make Something!

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I make websites. They usually smile and nod and then ask whom I might make these sites for. I’ll ramble off a random list of clients I perceive to be most impressive. They, again, smile and nod. The conversation moves on. This has happened to me somewhere north of one hundred times. It always feels a little disingenuous.

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My day job and clients aren’t the issue. I enjoy most of the projects I get to work on. My coworkers and clients are smart people, with good ideas, who usually have a reasonable expectation and goal for their campaigns.

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