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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, webinars and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.
Being a web designer is not easy. Not only do we need to have a good understanding about visual design, typography, information architecture, psychology and a plethora of other disciplines; in our work, we need to take care of so many details, so that our job becomes more and more time-consuming, requiring dozens of tools, attention span and an effective workflow for beautiful, timely and functional results.
And this is where small time-savers become handy. Be it a handy checklist, batch installer, dummy image generator or converter from Excel spreadsheet to HTML — all these things can save us a couple of minutes every day, making our work easier and more efficient. And this is why we keep collecting them for Smashing Magazine's readers. Whether you like lists or not: this one will probably help you find those little nuggets out there that will help you avoid headaches and stress. Below we present useful time-savers for web designers.
We have been publishing articles about CSS3 for a while now, and we keep receiving angry e-mails from some developers who complain that it doesn't make sense to use CSS3 today. Yes, Internet Explorer doesn't support most CSS3 properties. And yes, CSS3 vendor prefixes are bad for maintainability (and this is why we recommend extracting vendor prefixes in a separate CSS3 file).
But it's OK to accept that Web is a dynamic medium, and it's OK to create rich, interactive, beautiful designs for those who are already using a modern browser or will be using one soon. It just doesn't make sense to keep looking back, being afraid of looking forward and therefore avoid experimenting and learning about new CSS3 properties today. And this is why we keep publishing articles about CSS3.
You may be interested in the following related articles:
Over the last years we've got a pretty good understanding of what CSS does, how it works and how we can use it for our layouts, typography and visual presentation of the content. However, there are still some attributes that are not so well-known; also, CSS3 offers us new possibilities and tools that need to be understood, learned and then applied in the right context to the right effect.
In this round-up we present fresh useful articles about less-known CSS 2.1 and CSS3 properties as well as an overview of recently published CSS techniques, tools and tips for designers and web-developers. Please stay tuned: next week we will present the second part of this article, featuring fresh CSS3 techniques, tools and resources.
In our earlier article about Web design trends for 2010 we covered the strong influence of print design techniques, keypress navigation, horizontal layouts, rich typography and aesthetically pleasing designs. Web design today is developing rapidly, breaking the limitations of conventional approaches and exploring the possibilites of upcoming technologies. Designers are not only experimenting with new techniques and design approaches, but they are improving the quality of their designs in both technical and conceptual respects.
Modern websites have great strengths, such as flexibility, cross-browser compatibility and personalization, but they are also becoming increasingly simple and intuitive. This is being done through the application of subtle usability enhancements, drawn either from the Web itself or from offline interactive systems. The Web today is increasingly complex, while usage of the Web is becoming increasingly simple.
In this article, we'll explore some new design approaches and techniques that you may want to develop for your own projects. We'll present rather unusual or unconventional design approaches and try to understand what's actually interesting about them and how we can apply them to modern Web design. More specifically, we will discuss the following: real-life metaphors that are applied to the Web, hidden complexity, subtle interactivity, context-sensitive navigation and rapid CSS3 adaptation.
We love beautiful typography, and we appreciate the efforts of designers who come up with great typographic techniques and tools or who just share their knowledge with fellow designers. We are always looking for such resources. We compile them, carefully select the best ones and then prepare them for our round-ups. And now it's time to present a beautiful fresh dose of typography-related resources.
To help you improve the typography in your designs, we're presenting here useful new articles, tools and resources related to typography. You will learn the fundamentals of typography, find out how to combine fonts and know what to keep in mind when choosing a typeface. We also present typography-related slideshows, glossaries, layouts and experiments.
Web design is a fickle industry. Just like every other form of artistic expression, Web design has undergone a continuous and surprisingly fast evolution. Once a playground for enthusiasts, it has now become a mature rich medium with strong aesthetic and functional appeal. In fact, we are experiencing what could be the golden era of Web design — or at least the best period thus far. We have powerful new tools at our disposal (CSS3, HTML5, font-embedding, etc.), a plethora of freely available resources, a strong design community and also (if you needed any more!) reliable support of Web standards in the major browsers.
We're seeing better interaction design and more aesthetically pleasing designs. And we're seeing more personal, engaging and memorable sites, too. But what exactly is making the difference? What new directions is Web design heading in today? What new techniques, concepts and ideas are becoming important? In this article, we present some observations on the current state of Web design. We describe existing and upcoming trends and explain how Web design might evolve in the coming months and years. We'll also touch on what we as Web designers should be ready for to keep abreast of new challenges and opportunities.
Over the last year, Smashing Magazine has evolved. We've been publishing fewer lists and more in-depth articles about design and Web development. We have invited professionals and high-profile developers to write for us. We've been investing more resources in the quality and relevance of our articles. We've also explored new formats; and on weekends we've been publishing more inspirational pieces, leaving the in-depth articles to weekdays.
We've tried our best to fuel the growing appetite of our readers for more advanced articles, but recently we've been receiving more requests for carefully selected, useful round-ups. We are not big fans of lists either, but the format is useful and — if the resources are relevant — can be extremely helpful. Therefore, we've decided to add a couple of round-ups per month as a bonus to our regular articles. Instead of replacing the main articles, we will add round-ups on top of our regular schedule. If you don't like round-ups or find them inappropriate, please feel free to skip them. How does this work for you?
In this post, we present 40 useful but obscure jQuery plug-ins that will hopefully help you improve the user experience on your websites. We look forward to your ideas and suggestions in the comments to this post.
Round-ups of beautiful and useful icons are almost legendary here, on Smashing Magazine. While some readers complain about the annoying "list"-style of some of our articles, we are confident that useful round-ups of relevant resources are very valuable and useful for designers. This is why over months we collect useful links and then present them in posts in the magazine. Like it or hate it, but the feedback that we get from the design community when we publish such posts is mostly positive which is why we keep doing it.
This round-up covers 50 beautiful and useful icons that may turn out to be life-savers for your next design. We present photorealistic icons, mini icons and pictograms, symbols and signs, free templates as well as Christmas icon sets and desktop replacement icons. Please make sure to read the license agreements before using the icons – they may change from time to time. Did you find this post useful? Would you like to see more similar posts in the future? Let us know in the comments to this post!
You may be interested in the following related posts:
In our recent study on Typographic Design Patterns and Best Practices, we asked our readers about case studies they would like us to conduct. One of the most popular suggestions was a detailed case study of portfolio websites. Following the requests of our readers, we have carefully selected 55 design agencies and Web development agencies, analyzed their porfolio websites and identified popular design patterns. The main goal of the study was to provide freelancers and design agencies with useful pointers for designing their own portfolio.
This post presents the initial results of our big portfolio design study. Below, we discuss the visual design, structure, layout and navigation of portfolio websites. We also get into the design details of every single section, including the about, clients, services, portfolio, workflow and contact pages. Of course, you do not necessarily have to follow the findings presented here; rather, use them to get a general idea of what other portfolios look like, and then come up with something of your own that is usable, distinctive and memorable. We would like to thank Mark Nutter for helping us gather data for this study.