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.
Relaunching a large-scale website is always quite an undertaking, especially if the task involves a huge political entity with content accumulated over a dozen years. In this article, we look behind the scenes of the responsive redesign of Kremlin.ru, Russia’s most prominent government website.
We had an opportunity to talk with Artyom Geller, one of the creative minds responsible for the design and UX of the project. We talked about the design process, the challenges and constraints, creative front-end solutions, as well as unusual budgets and stakeholders. —Ed.
Every now and then we see discussions proclaiming a profound change in the way we design and build websites. Be it progressive enhancement, the role of CSS or, most recently, web design itself being dead. All these articles raise valid points, but I'd argue that they often lack objectivity and balance, preferring one side of the argument over another one.
These discussions are great for testing the boundaries of what we think is (or is not) possible, and they challenge how we approach our craft, but they don't help us as a community to evolve together. They divide us into groups and sometimes even isolate us in small camps. Chris Coyier has published a fantastic post recently covering the debate on the role of CSS in light of growing popularity of React.js, extensively and objectively. That's the quality discussions we need, and that's what keeps us evolving as a growing and maturing community.
Smart “responsive” workflows, effective responsive design/UX patterns and powerful front-end techniques — if you need a good book on smart responsive design, our brand new Smashing Book 5 is just what you need. Neatly packed in a gorgeous hardcover, it covers time-saving, practical techniques for crafting fast, maintainable and scalable responsive websites. 584 (!) pages. Hardcover/eBook. Pre-order the book and save 15% today.
Responsive design is a default these days, but we are all still figuring out just the right process and techniques to better craft responsive websites. That’s why we created a new book — to gather practical techniques and strategies from people who have learned how to get things done right, in actual projects with actual real-world challenges.
So you find yourself somewhere in a little tourist station in Northern Sweden — with a few adventurous tourists, 86 surprisingly happy inhabitants, and a remarkably good Internet connection. There is nothing but breathtaking nature around you, with blueish mountains and bright red skyline blurring endless horizon — and Northern Lights dancing in the sky right above you. What do you do? Obviously, you come up with an idea for those sneaky 'lil Smashing Mystery riddles.
In our previous riddles, we turned our little challenges into quests for creative solutions quickly. However, as we try to level up every new Mystery to keep it quite difficult to solve, with a new riddle this time we decided to turn it into an exercise of patience and stubbornness — beyond problem solving, of course.
You didn't really think we'd wrap up our endless, mischievousmysteryriddles just like that, did you? Well, the Mystery continues! To celebrate the launch of the SmashingConf NYC 2015, we’ve prepared a new mystery riddle, and this one will be an exercise in patience and stubborness. No, it's not going to be an easy one this time either, but the reward is definitely worth the effort.
How does it work? Well, you know how it works. Below you’ll find the first of a few animated GIFs that contain a hidden Twitter hashtag. Your job is to discover those hashtags as fast as possible. If your guess for a hashtag is right, you’ll find a tweet leading you to the next level. Once you’ve reached the last level, just tweet out all the hints in one single tweet to @smashingmag. You're looking for 5 hashtags in total, a hashtag per level. Not that difficult, right?
Mobile is a difficult, unpredictable beast. If you run into technical problems in mobile, then you’ll know how annoying fixing them can be. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Peter-Paul Koch to create The Mobile Web Handbook, our practical new guide to dealing with front-end challenges in mobile. The book is finally ready and is now shipping worldwide. It’s available in print or as an eBook.
Today Smashing Magazine turns eight years old. Eight years is a long time on the web, yet for us it really doesn't feel like a long journey at all. Things have changed, evolved and moved on, and we gratefully take on new challenges one at a time. To mark this special little day, we’d love to share a few things that we’ve learned over the last year about the performance challenges of this very website and about the work we’ve done recently. If you want to craft a fast responsive website, you might find a few interesting nuggets worth considering. – Ed.
Improvement is a matter of steady, ongoing iteration. When we redesigned Smashing Magazine back in 2012, our main goal was to establish trustworthy branding that would reflect the ambitious editorial direction of the magazine. We did that primarily by focusing on crafting a delightful reading experience. Over the years, our focus hasn't changed a bit; however, that very asset that helped to establish our branding turned into a major performance bottleneck.
You've seen this happen a thousand times. An organization struggles with a high level of internal enthusiasm and creative chaos that team leaders don't know how to handle any more. To bring order into projects, a new product manager is appointed, under huge expectation, and with unclear responsibilities and big goals defined within a very short timeframe. That's when things usually go south, resulting in failed projects, crushed teams and disappointed clients.
That's why we've teamed up with our author and friend Rian van der Merwe, a senior product manager with a sociology and UX background, to create a new practical book to help product managers in the digital space manage projects effectively — the right way, with the right strategy, in the right time, with the right team. Making It Right is a book about just that: what product management is, what it isn't, why it's important, and how to approach it strategically and meaningfully to get things done well. Available today.
Experiments and side projects are wonderful ways to challenge yourself and explore areas that you wouldn't usually consider exploring. That's what Smashing Mystery Riddles are for us: little experiments that challenge us to come up with something new, original and a bit crazy—every single time. The ideas are usually a synthesis of the things we discover, stumble upon or try out ourselves—and oh my, they take quite some time to get right.
The most recent riddle took quite a lot of time spent fiddling and getting right (and Guillaume, the designer, wasn't that happy about all the changes that our tests required). The basic idea was simple: as usual, you have a series of animated GIFs containing clues. One animated GIF leads to another, and every animated GIF contains a key (or keys) that have to be discovered. Once you uncover all the keys, you construct a solution and send out a tweet containing that solution. Doesn't sound too difficult, does it?
Ah, these mysteryriddlesnever stop, do they? To celebrate the launch of the SmashingConf Whistler, our very first conference in Canada, we’ve prepared a yet another riddle, and of course this time it's not going to be any easier!
Tip: Watch out for a hint in one of the frames in each of the GIFs. Large view.
So, how does it work this time? Well, below you'll find the first of a few hidden animated GIFs that contain a secret Twitter hashtag. Your job is to deconstruct that hashtag as fast as possible. To do that, you have to pay attention to the file name and count objects within the GIF (for example, "3 chairs") and search for them on Twitter (i.e. #3chairs).
We have all been there. With Responsive Web Design becoming a convenient strategy for device-agnostic design, we keep running into annoying technical issues that all those quirky (and not so quirky) mobile browsers are raising so very often. However, fixing these issues can be quite easy — once you understand exactly why they come up. The book will be useful for mobile strategists, developers, designers, and everybody willing to better understand the intricacies of mobile — both technical and market-related.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? You find yourself in a coffee shop abroad, sipping cappuccino and chomping a muffin as you realize that your laptop’s battery charge is just about to crush your creative session to dust. Well, perhaps you’ve got your power adapter with you but, of course, it isn’t the right one for foreign power sockets.
So you end up looking around and chatting up with strangers asking for help. Some are more responsive than others, and before you know it, you don’t just have a full battery, but you've made a couple of new, surprisingly interesting acquaintances.