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Sven is the co-founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. He's now writing at his Conterest Blog, where he focuses on blogs, content strategy and publishing — all in German.

Google Profile: https://plus.google.com/+SvenLennartz-sf/posts

Paper Strips Menus

The beauty of an excellent design lies in designer's attention to smallest details. Conventions are our friends; however, to stand out, a design needs a creative spin, an elegant play of colors, some unique flavour — a small detail that would make a big difference.

Where the boundaries between traditional solutions and unusual approaches become fuzzy, designers tend to get creative. However, to come up with unusual ideas isn't that easy, particularly if you are dealing with some daily routine-tasks.

Paper Strips Menu
Deb Sofield sticks posts on a paper pile.

Still, nothing is impossible. Even if you're designing a navigation menu there are a number of possibilites you can explore. For instance, have you ever thought of... navigation in form of paper strips?

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30 More Excellent Blog Designs

It's not hard to design a weblog, but it's getting harder when you try to achieve a unique weblog design. It doesn't matter what weblog-engine you are using — frequently used themes tend to become boring over time, and they also don't necessarily reflect the unique identity of the blogger.

To create an original design you need fresh ideas and creative design solutions. However, you don't need to go too far with your design experiments. Basically that's a close attention to finest details which makes a weblog stand out and gives it a fresh flavour and soft touch visitors can recognize immediately.

Screenshot Weblog-Design

We've selected more of them — over 30 excellent weblog designs with unusual design approaches; these blogs don't only have a unique voice, but they also pay close attention to the finest design details.

  • You might find not all of the designs listed below beautiful; but that's not what it's about. They are beautiful in their own way as they are both well-structured and originally designed.
  • you can find further blog designs in the post 45 Excellent Blog Designs we've published before;
  • you can find even more designs in our Design Showcase section.
Read more...

Pagination Gallery: Examples And Good Practices

Structure and hierarchy reduce complexity and improve readability. The more organized your articles or web-sites are, the easier it is for users to follow your arguments and get the message you are trying to deliver. On the Web this can be done in a variety of ways.

In body copy headlines and enumerations are usually used to present the information as logically separated data chunks. An alternative solution is pagination, a mechanism which provides users with additional navigation options for browsing through single parts of the given article. Parts of the article are usually referred to by numbers, hints, arrows as well as "previous" and "next"-buttons.

Search engines almost always use pagination; newspapers tend to make use of it for navigation through the parts of rather large articles. And there are situations when pagination is also necessary for weblogs. Additional navigation can simplify the access to some site pages — e.g. make it easier for users to browse through the archives of the site.

In most cases pagination is better than traditional "previous - next" navigation as it offers visitors a more quick and convenient navigation through the site. It's not a must, but a useful nice-to-have-feature.

Apple Store
Misal
Flickr

Let's take a look at the good practices of pagination design as well as some examples of when and how the pagination is usually implemented.

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Crazy Cursors

Since mouse cursor is an essential element of user interaction, designers rarely risk to modify its presentation. Usability might keep you away from using experimental solutions in practice, however creative solutions and experiments are worth consideration and always nice to look at. In today's part of our Monday Inspiration series we'd like to showcase some examples of unusual approaches used for design of... well, mouse cursors!

Screenshot

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65 Excellent Flash Designs

With Flash you can do more than just displaying videos. You can create stunning visual experience and offer your visitors incredible user interaction. Although Flash is definitely not the favourite medium for usability and accessibility advocates, it has its advantages and it empowers the Web with functionalities which make it an incredibly interactive medium. With Flash designers can achieve results which simply aren't possible with (X)HTML and CSS.

The results can be creative, impressive, beautiful and fascinating. Under two conditions: 1) if designers find the right mixture between graphics, animation, video and sound and 2) if designers follow the guidelines of usability and user interaction.

However, since there is a number of things that can go wrong in Flash, it's easy to get it wrong. In fact, there are thousands of examples where it is the case. In Flash any experiments with navigation and layouts are possible and in most cases it's extremely hard to find a creative yet intuitive approach. Flash is commonly used by designers, agencies, advertisers and interactive web sites, and not on the sites where simplicity and quick access to information are important.

Cubamoon

Flash Screenshot

In this post we present 65 examples of outstanding Flash designs with excellent use of graphics, visual elements, interface design and graphics motion. This showcase (mostly) presents "pure" web designs; we've tried to avoid Flash-based games and advertising.

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Matt Stuart

Can you shoot photos of things that don't really exist? Matt Stuart is a professional photographer. He lives in England and is fascinated about people and the way they live their lives. But what is really interesting is that Matt shots photos from perspectives which create an illusion of objects and situations that don't exist in reality.

Matt Stuart Portfolio

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Flash-Based Galleries For Your Images

In many situations web designers should avoid Flash and prefer usual text-based presentation. For instance, in most tasks related to pure text presentation Flash is neither necessary nor user-friendly, and it also has some serious accessibility problems: in fact, "pure" text is easier to maintain and easier to copy and paste.

However, if you'd like to present some multimedia-content, particularly images, Flash can often be a feasible solution, with flexible image management for web designers and impressive visual presentation for users. Used moderately, Flash-based galleries can give the presentation a fresh spark and create a rich visual experience you might want to offer your visitors.

Polaroid Flash Gallery
In this post we present some of the free, attractive and flexible Flash-based galleries you can use to present your images more effectively. Read more...

Splash Pages: Do We Really Need Them?

Yes, sometimes we do. Should we use them? No, we probably shouldn't. Splash screen (or splash page) is a front page of a web-site that don't provide the actual content, but offers visitors some kind of intuition or background information for what the site is about. Designers use splash pages in their portfolios to impress potential clients with eye-candy. Companies tend to make use of them to draw users' attention to their latest products. And users literally can't stand them, because splash pages usually take a long time to load and provide (almost) no navigation options — except of "entering the site".

Splashpage Screenshot

Depending on designers' creativity, splash pages use more or less attractive visual elements, sometimes with interactive Flash-movies which sometimes start to play automatically. Splash pages usually have a very simple structure — mostly just an image with few text lines and links. The design of these pages sometimes isn't related to the overall site design. And although most sites don't use them, splash pages are sometimes necessary and therefore remain popular. In fact, there are some situations in which we might want or might even need to use them. Even although we shouldn't — for our visitors' sake.

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50 Designers x 6 Questions

Some months ago we’ve selected 50 prominent designers and design companies, contacted them and asked to answer five design-related questions, sharing their knowledge and experience with fellows developers. 35 designers have responded then. For each of 5 questions we've received 5 precise answers. The result was 35x5 professional ideas from some of the leading web-developers all around the world. Good news — planning the celebration of our 1st anniversary, we've decided to do some more math. We've selected 6 questions, which main purpose was to give fellows designers more insights in practice, and in the experience prominent designers gained during their work over the last 5-10 years. So this time we wanted it to be not about useful coding suggestions or clever CSS-techniques, but about the practical knowledge and personal experience developers would share with us and our readers. What are the things you should know before starting designing / programming? What things should you be aware of? How to get your project done? In fact, we wanted to take a close look at some practical answers to these questions - from the worlds' best designers.

First Three Questions

Since we've received many answers, we've decided to divide the article in two parts; as you might suggest, each part will cover designers' answers to three (out of six) questions. Here are the first three questions we've asked. As in the first survey, one single text line would have sufficed.
  • What is one typical myth about web-development (which is not true)?
  • What is one bulletproof method to get over creativity block?
  • What is one thing you wish you knew before you've started programming/designing/... ?

50 Designers x 3 Questions

In August we've contacted over 70 renowned designers, and asked them even more — six — questions. 65 of them agreed on answering the questions in time, however not all of them managed to send the answers till the deadline. This time over 50 world leading designers, developers and experts have participated, however, not everybody answered all six questions. So the result is ca. 300 professional suggestions and facts one can learn only from his/her own experience. We'd like to thank all designers and developers who participated in our survey and/or were willing to take part it. Among them are Eric Meyer, Shaun Inman, Veerle Pieters, Carole Guevin (Netdiver), Jakob Nielsen, Patrick Griffiths (HTMLDog), Oliver Reichenstein (Informationarchitects.jp), Meryl K. Evans, D. Keith Robinson, Jonathan Snook, Jina Bolton, Daniel Mall, Cameron Adams, Andy Rutledge, Carolyn Wood (Digital Web Magazine), Andy Peatling, Andy Budd, Christian Montoya, Garrett Dimon, Jason Beaird, Luke Wroblewski, Mike Davidson, Richard Rutter, Dan Rubin, Matt Brett, Paul Boag, Roger Johansson, Russ Weakley, Mark Boulton, Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain and many more.
35x5: Reloaded
Thank you!
  • Please feel free to post your own ideas, suggestions and tips in the comments. Share your knowledge with fellows developers!
So, let's move to the answers, shall we? Read more...

Logotrend 2007: Leaves

In modern logo-design leaves stand for fresh ideas or - more generally - for an innovative way of thinking. In Web they are mostly used to communicate light-weight solutions as well as clean and unobtrusive designs. In fact, leaves, plants or ornaments which appear to be related to the nature can be found almost everywhere; it's a trend that will probably be reversed soon, due to an extreme overuse of the theme in modern designs. The sites themselves, using leaves for their logos, mostly do not have a relation to foliage - and even although often green color is used, that is not necessarily the case.

9rules
30Logo
Logo with leafes

We'd like to present you some of them. The following logos aren't supposed to represent the quality of logo designs with leaves, but the trend we observe on the Web. The images can be clicked and lead to the sites from which the logos have been taken. You'll also find tutorials you can use to learn how to create "leaf logos". Please notice that this post features only those logos which are related to the Web.

What do you think? Is an extensive use of leaves in logos a current Web 2.0 hype which will disappear soon or are the leaves here to stay?

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