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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 responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.
Have your e-mails already been flagged as spam, although you've sent a seemingly legitimate proposal to your client? Have you ever wondered why the efficiency of your newsletter campaigns suddenly dropped down? In both cases you deal with a problem which is harder to get done with than you think it is: bulletproof e-mail delivery.
The main problem with undelivered mails is that both sides — sender and recipient — don't really know what happened. Was the e-mail sent? Is the task done? Was the e-mail delivered? Most recipients will never know that an e-mail flagged as spam was sent to them — they just don't receive the e-mail. And most senders will never know that an e-mail flagged as spam wasn't delivered — they just don't get a response.
This article suggests over 20 bulletproof techniques, best practices and related services you can use to ensure best e-mail and newsletter delivery rates.
The main advantage of excellent typography lies in its ability to be both attractive and functional at the same time. Although images communicate more vividly, text presentation can impress visitors with its sharpness and precise geometrical forms and curves. Consequently, chosen wisely and used carefully, it can be very effective — and there are dozens of outstanding examples of how the latter can be achieved.
However, web typography doesn't have to support the overall design. It can dominate. It can be loud. It can be bold. And it can be everywhere on a web-site. In many situations it's reasonable to give the typography the prominent position it deserves, leaving visual cues in the background or removing them at all. Doing that, you have to risk large font sizes surrounded by a generous amount of white space. What comes out of it? Elegant web sites with a unique form, style and sense of precision.
In this article we present over 35 examples of big, "loud" and yet elegant typography in web design; some listed designs are Flash-based, and in some cases designs are based not only upon typography, but also upon some visual elements.
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.
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.
Sometimes you just want to get the information you're after, save it and move along. And you can't. Usability nightmares — which are rather the daily routine than an exception — appear every now and again; usually almost every time you type your search keywords in Google. In his article "Why award-winning websites are so awful" Gerry McGovern points out that "the shiny surface wins awards, real substance wins customers" and that is absolutely true.
Nevermind what design you have, and nevermind which functionality you have to offer — if your visitors don't understand how they can get from point A to point B they won't use your site.
In almost every professional design (except from special design showcases such as, e.g., portfolios) you need to offer your visitors
a clear, self-explanatory navigation,
search functionality and
visible and thought-out site structure.
And that means that you simply have to folow the basic rules of usability and common sense. You want to communicate with your visitors, don't drive them away, right?
In this article we take a look at some of the usability nightmares you should avoid designing functional and usable web-sites. At the end of the article you'll also find 8 usability check-points you should probably be aware of.
If you can't live without a nice wallpaper on your desktop you might need to invest many hours in the search for the perfect one - that fits to your resolution and has an appealing theme. The quality of the desktop images is often not the one you'd praise over and over again looking at your desktop. The best wallpapers aren't cheap photos, but are works of art in their own right.
In the third part of our collection you'll find many different types of background images - beautiful wallpapers, devkits, Flickr pools, Widescreen and HD-monsters and even wallpapers-related social communites and wallpapers for gamers.
You might want to take a look at the previous collections of wallpapers we've already put together:
Sometimes web design is just about beautiful typography. Used with a profound understanding of white space, basic typographic principles and usability heuristics, it can sufficiently highlight the main sections of the site and its key-elements. Font size of headers, body copy and navigation is important. Leading is important. Line length is important. And the visibility of links is important. Basically, that's it - really, you don't need more.
There are literally thousands of professional typefaces you can use, you might use dozens of them; however there is also a plenty of high-quality freefonts which can serve as reasonable and feasible alternatives and fulfill your requirements just as well. We collect all of them regularly, so you don't have to.
Over the last month we've found six high-quality free fonts you can use for both private and commercial projects. Please check out the license agreements before using these typefaces - disclaimers can change from time to time.
Creative thinking is an essential part of design workflow. Whatever sketch you are working on, at some point you find yourself in the situation where you simply need some fresh ideas to find your path around the creativity block. Going away may help. Listening to the music may help. But particularly the works of the famous graphic artists may help. In fact, studying them very closely, you can not only explore new ideas, but also learn the smallest details - they form the profound foundation of every masterpiece.
In this post we'd like to present you an ultimate breakthrough for your creativity blocks; over the last weeks we've been searching for the most popular graphic designers, illustrators and artists around the world. We've selected some of their works to give you an idea what style they have and what details of modern design you can expect and learn from them.
So what do we have as result? Over 100 breathtaking illustrations from some of the best contemporary graphic designers, illustrators and artists; besides you'll also find references to further (mostly unknown) sources for inspiration you can use on a daily basis.
Once you've selected the artist whose works you like, click on the image to get to his/her portfolio and explore his/her work in more depth. Please notice that most artists listed below are well-known in the worldwide design community (and so are their works); hopefully you know not all of them.
Please be patient, it may take a while until the images are loaded. Please be aware that it also may take a while until you've seen most of showcased images.
Every now and again we take a look around, select "fresh" high-quality free fonts and present them to you in a brief overview. The choice is enormous, so the time you need to find them is usually the time you should be investing in your current projects. We search for them and we find them, so you don't have too.
This month we've found two of them - FF Good and LTR Datamine Segoe UI. It's not quite clear if one is legally allowed to use Segoe UI, which is also presented below. Please read the license agreement carefully - it can change from time to time.
You don't like to scroll? Be prepared. (We warned you.)
Every now and again designers stumble upon the very same problem: the choice of a unique and beautiful typeface which manages to fulfill three basic tasks. Support the corporate identity, enrich the visual appearance and is compatible with the overall design. However, usually there are simply too many options you can consider, which is why you need time to find the option you are most comfortable with. Although the choice usually depends on clients' requirements, it is necessary to have some pretty starting points for your font decision.
So which typefaces are "bulletproof"? What fonts can be used effectively in almost every Corporate Design? And what are the options for unique, but still incredibly beautiful typefaces?
We have answers. Over the last few days we've browsed through dozens of type foundries, read dozens of designers' articles about typography, analyzed font rankings and visited bookmarked font-related suggestions. So this post has 'em all. Well, OK, at least many of them.
Let's take a look at over 80 gorgeous typefaces for professional design, based upon suggestions from designers and web-developers all over the world. Most screenshots are taken from the foundries and provided specimens - particularly on Veer.com and Fontshop.com.