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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs front-end/UX workshops, webinars and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.
Few weeks ago we've presented a number of innovative gadgets, devices, designs and concepts. Unless explicitly specified, none of them has been officially released or produced yet, and none of them is currently available for end-users. But what about existing products? What about innovative designs which are already available in stores and can be bought straight away? [Content Care Nov/03/2016]
As part of our monday inspiration series we present 25 mind-blowing gadgets and devices which are already available today. Among them you'll find loudspeakers, turntables, TV sets, furniture, laptop sleeves and further accessories. Please notice: most of them aren't cheap at all, and many of them cost over $10,000.
Print and Web are different. Traditional layout techniques from print, particularly an advanced formatting, aren't applicable to the Web as CSS doesn't offer sophisticated instruments to design such layouts (e.g. text floating around an embedded image; some "floating" techniques provide such results, however they produce bloated source code just as well).
At the same time the flexibility of the Web is hardly applicable to print as there is no way to customize a traditional periodical for reader's convenience. Apart from that, online-reading is very different from offline-reading: in the latter both leading and the line length are usually much shorter. [Content Care Nov/09/2016]
However, there are a number of fundamental principles which are often being used in both media. Over the last years newspapers and web-sites started to apply similar principles of data presentation, such as the heavy use of white space and grid-based design. The results can sometimes be very similar, but often they have almost nothing at common.
This issue of monday inspiration series is supposed to provide you with some examples of outstanding newspaper designs which have been rewarded with prestigious awards (see references at the bottom of this post), and demonstrate unusual approaches of newspaper design.
We live in a spectacular time. The pace of technology steadily increases, new fields of science are heavily explored and innovative concepts emerge almost every day, resulting in stunning and overwhelming products. The impact of these products can be tremendous: in fact, new technology can completely revolutionize the way we play, communicate, work and live our lives. Some of these products are just eye-candy, some are useful, some are visionary and some may become revolutionary in the next years. [Content Care Nov/07/2016]
In this post we present 15 stunning examples of cutting edge technology which is already reality today or will become reality in 2008. Please notice that some videos might not provide you with a concrete idea of what the technology offers, e.g. it's impossible to display the advantages of 3D-TV using videos produced by a 2D-video-camera.
Usability and the utility, not the visual design, determine the success or failure of a web-site. Since the visitor of the page is the only person who clicks the mouse and therefore decides everything, user-centric design has established as a standard approach for successful and profit-oriented web design. After all, if users can't use a feature, it might as well not exist. [Content Care Oct/18/2016]
We aren't going to discuss the implementation details (e.g. where the search box should be placed) as it has already been done in a number of articles; instead we focus on the main principles, heuristics and approaches for effective web design — approaches which, used properly, can lead to more sophisticated design decisions and simplify the process of perceiving presented information.
Music has always been an excellent source of inspiration. Particularly if you are stuck with some problem you can't find a workaround for, a beautiful song can give you a new perspective, let you see the problem from a different angle. And sometimes it's just useful to make a break — for instance, watching some music videos.
In this post we present some unusual music videos for your monday's coffee break. Some of the videos are thought-provoking, some of them are funny and some are bizarre. While many of them are well-known, you'll probably find some videos you've never watched before. The videos all perfectly to the music which is being played in the background. Hopefully, everyone will find something new and inspiring for himself/herself. Please notice that you might need to watch some videos at least twice to get the idea behind them. [Content Care Nov/09/2016]
You might want to read the descriptions of the videos — they are provided below every link. The screenshots often don't reveal that much about the videos they stand for.
The main goal of data visualization is its ability to visualize data, communicating information clearly and effectivelty. It doesn't mean that data visualization needs to look boring to be functional or extremely sophisticated to look beautiful. To convey ideas effectively, both aesthetic form and functionality need to go hand in hand, providing insights into a rather sparse and complex data set by communicating its key-aspects in a more intuitive way. Yet designers often tend to discard the balance between design and function, creating gorgeous data visualizations which fail to serve its main purpose — communicate information. [Content Care Nov/03/2016]
In both print and web design infographics — visual representations of information, data or knowledge — are often used to support information, strengthen it and present it within a provoking and sensitive context, depending on designer's creativity.
This article presents some spectacular data visualizations and infographics which manage to combine a strong visual appeal with the effective presentation of information.
Steve Jobs stated once that the “design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” While this statement has proven to be crucial over thousands of years, one shouldn't misinterpret it by emphasizing the functionality despite the design. When it comes to product design, the significance of aesthetics of a given device, the way its design looks and feels, determines the choice of the customer once the functionalities of multiple devices are more or less similar. If supported by sound user interface and a well-tested, clean implementation, innovative design solutions can drastically enhance the user experience. [Content Care Nov/03/2016]
This article presents innovative, futuristic gadgets, devices, designs and concepts. Unless explicitly specified, none of these cut-edge concepts is currently being manufactured. None of them is available for end-users which is why neither the price nor links to the stores are mentioned.
Your workplace and the atmosphere surrounding you determine the way you work and explore your imagination. The more inspirational your workplace is, the easier it is to break the creativity block and discover new ideas. And apparently there is a number of things you can do to improve your personal workflow.
As a part of our Monday Inspiration series we present a dozen of creative and unusual workplaces; in the end of the post you'll also find references to related resources, among them office design galleries and Flickr pools. They can serve as an inspiration once you've decided to spice up your work environment.
You can also click on the images — they lead to the sites from which the screenshots have been taken.
The importance of typography in design can't be overestimated. The accuracy, precision and balance of geometric forms can give letters the elegance and sharpness they deserve. Besides, elegant fonts can help to convey the message in a more convenient way. In fact, while there are many excellent professional fonts there are literally thousands of free low-quality fonts which you would never use for professional designs. [Content Care Nov/09/2016]
Quality costs. The price of "bulletproof" fonts usually reflects their quality and starts at 50$ per typeface. However, before purchasing a font you will probably use only once in your designs you might want to take a glance at outstanding free alternatives first.
Over the last year we've been observing typo-designers and their works; we've regularly collected high-quality fonts available for free download and free to use for personal or/and commercial projects. In this article we'd like to present an overview of over 40 excellent free fonts you might use for your professional designs in 2008. What is your favourite?
Compared to conventional navigation patterns tag clouds don't necessarily offer a more convenient and intuitive navigation. However, used properly, they can provide visitors with an instant illustration of the main topics, giving a very specific and precise orientation of the site's content. Since human beings tend to think in concepts and models, it's easier to get an idea of presented content if the main concepts are given straight away — in digestible pieces, and prioritized by their weight. In fact, the main advantage of tag clouds lies in their ability to highlight the most important or/and popular subjects dynamically which is not the case in conventional navigation menus. [Content Care Oct/11/2016]
Tag clouds offer a quite interesting approach for site navigation; although the technique is sometimes considered to be an "alternative", it shouldn't replace the "common" navigation but support it giving users additional clues about the content of the site. Due to their "cloudy" form the design of tag clouds sets them apart from other design elements on a page. And although designers don't really have that much choice in designing them, they still find their ways to break through the bounds of creativity and come up with some unusual approaches and solutions.
This article offers some selected examples of tag clouds, its shortcomings and also some suggestions for tagging data and links in a more profound and effective way.
You don't have to agree upon everything. As a professional web developer you are the advocate of your visitors' interests and needs; you have to protect your understanding of good user experience and make sure the visitors will find their way through (possibly) complex site architecture. And this means that you need to be able to protect your position and communicate your ideas effectively — in discussions with your clients and colleagues. In fact, it's your job to compromise wrong ideas and misleading concepts instead of following them blindly. [Content Care Oct/11/2016]
In this context nothing can support you more than the profound knowledge of fundamental issues related to your work. But even if you know most of them it's important to know how to name these concepts and how to refer to them once they appear in the conversation. Furthermore, it's always useful to have some precise terms ready to hand once you might need them as an argument in your discussions.
In this article we present 30 important usability issues, terms, rules and principles which are usually forgotten, ignored or misunderstood. What is the difference between readability and legibility? What exactly does 80/20 or Pareto principle mean? What is meant with minesweeping and satisficing? And what is Progressive Enhancement and Graceful Degradation? OK, it's time to dive in.
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. [Content Care Nov/03/2016]
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/... ?