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Category: Design

This category features articles on general design principles, Web design, typography, user interface design and related topics. It also presents design showcases and practical pieces on the business side of design. Curated by Alma Hoffmann.

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An E-Commerce Study: Guidelines For Better Navigation And Categories

Product findability is key to any e-commerce business — after all, if customers can’t find a product, they can’t buy it. Therefore, at Baymard Institute, we invested eight months conducting a large-scale usability research study on the product-finding experience. We set out to explore how users navigate, find and select products on e-commerce websites, using the home page and category navigation.

An E-Commerce Study: Guidelines For Better Navigation And Categories

The one-on-one usability testing was conducted following the “think aloud” protocol, and we tested the following websites: Amazon, Best Buy, Blue Nile, Chemist Direct, Drugstore.com, eBags, GILT, GoOutdoors, H&M, IKEA, Macy’s, Newegg, Pixmania, Pottery Barn, REI, Tesco, Toys’R’Us, The Entertainer, and Zappos. The pages and design elements that we tested include the home page, category navigation, subcategories, and product lists.

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Type Makes A Difference: An Exploration Of Type-Focused Websites

In this article, we’ll take you on a thought-provoking journey through carefully selected Web designs. Certainly, these websites have some captivating interactivity; however, the selection of type and the typographic styling and spacing are the reasons why we chose them for this piece.

Type Makes A Difference: An Exploration Of Type-Focused Websites

In the context of typography, considering composition and grid structure is also important. Composition and grid structure are vital factors in effective communication with type.

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Hand Sketches – Things You Didn’t Know Your Doodles Could Accomplish

Is sketching by hand more than a nostalgic activity? How is paper any different from a screen, especially when hardware is becoming more and more sophisticated? Is improving your hand-sketching skills really worthwhile when high-tech software is advancing every day?

Hand-Sketching: Things You Didn't Know Your Doodles Could Accomplish

Everyone seems to have a strong opinion about hand-sketching these days. Some absolutely hate the thought of putting their ideas to paper because they can’t draw to save their lives. Others couldn’t imagine their creativity surviving without it. Love it or hate it, there’s much more to a sketchbook than old-school charm.

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Powerful Workflow Tips, Tools And Tricks For Web Designers

Designing and developing can be time-consuming, especially when the project involves a new challenge, putting the team or freelancer into unknown territory. Moreover, time is a key factor in productivity. Working efficiently enables us to deliver better value at a competitive price.

Powerful Workflow Tips, Tools And Tricks For Web Designers

However, some steps can be repeated for every project. These are steps we know and should make as quick as possible in order to have more freedom to experiment with new solutions. This article presents a collection of tools, tips and tricks that will make your standard workflow as fast and practical as possible, so that you have more time for the exciting parts of the project.

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Designing The Words: Why Copy Is A Design Issue

The relationship between copy and design has been covered many times on Smashing Magazine. Working in a content-focused industry, we need to keep this issue pretty close to heart; creating great copy is pointless if it is visually uninspiring or unreadable. Likewise, if the content doesn’t deliver, then even the most attractive page won’t hold the reader’s attention.

Designing The Words: Why Copy Is A Design Issue

Yet much of the discussion so far has concentrated on issues such as microcopy — the small bits of text that instruct the reader on how to interact with the website — and the minutiae of user experience. This stuff is essential, of course, but in this article we’d like to broaden our focus to look at some of the fundamental mistakes behind bad copy.

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How To Create A Water Lily In Illustrator

Water lilies are beautiful flowers and ideal tutorial material. To get to the final result you’ll do a lot of clever actions which mostly involve rotating and duplicating, and there is a lot of room for experimentation as well. For instance, you can try out different ways on how you build up the layers of petals, and play with different shades of pinkish gradients.

How To Create A Water Lily In Illustrator

This tutorial gives you the basic steps I followed, but while I was creating this flower I did actually way more than what I’m writing here. You see, every creation is never straightforward or perfect just right away. It takes some trial and error, because I also needed to find the method that can be most easily explained.

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Flat Design And Thin Is In

In the last several years, we’ve seen a rapid shift in software and app interface design, from 3-D and skeuomorphic to flat and minimal. Although this trend has become nearly ubiquitous, let’s take a moment to consider how we got here and what influence it’s having on interface design as a whole.

Flat And Thin Are In

Additionally, I’ll share some tips and considerations on designing flat interfaces. So, how did the collective consciousness swing from a love of all things textured, beveled and drop-shadowed to a desire for flat colors and simple typography?

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On Creative Leadership

I have spent nearly a decade experimenting with a single goal in mind: to create scalable, predictably insightful, inspirational environments. I have led creative teams in these environments, and I’m currently doing it as the Director of Web Interface and Development at Astonish (a digital marketing company in Rhode Island, US).

On Creative Leadership

It hasn’t been easy, because forcing inspiration is impossible. You have to use finesse and let it come to you. What follows is what I’ve found to help my team and me harness inspiration effectively.

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Forget The Job Title And Start Designing For Digital Products

In digital culture, we are beginning to think of our output as products and of our clients as users. “Products” might be websites, apps or communities, and they might be created by startups, agencies or a couple of people at a hackathon.

Designing For Digital Products

This shift mainly means that we have gotten serious about asking how to better serve users, which reflects a significant change in the designer’s skill set. Designers will use the same tools they have always used, but they are now responsible for more than just the interface.

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Useful InDesign Scripts And Plugins To Speed Up Your Work

Few applications feel as complete as Adobe’s InDesign. First released in 1999 as a direct attack against the then-industry standard, Quark, the page-layout application has been made faster and more feature-rich with each iteration. But even the best applications lack some features.

InDesign Scripts And Plugins To Speed Up Your Work

Luckily, Adobe realized this some years ago and opened the doors to allow designers to expand this beloved set of tools through plugins. Many designers don’t realize how powerful InDesign can be, especially when expanded through plugins and scripts.

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A Journey Through Beautiful Typography In Web Design

First impressions are lasting impressions. Whether you realize it or not, your typography helps to create an experience for users before they’ve even read a word or clicked a button. Typography has the potential to go beyond merely telling a story — it shows the user who is behind the website and what you’re about. The treatment of type creates an atmosphere and elicits a response much the same way as tone of voice does.

A Journey Through Beautiful Typography In Web Design

You need to ask yourself, what do you want to say and how do you want to say it? Consider the user: What do you want them to feel and experience when the page loads? Typography establishes a mode of communication and, in turn, the personality of the website. The choice of typeface will determine how people respond to your website.

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A Common Misconception About Designing With Data

Too often when working in information design, you’ll hear the request, “Can you make the data look cool?” “Cool” is a rather ambiguous term, and means different things to different people.

All That Glitters Is Not Gold: A Common Misconception About Designing With Data

Unfortunately, when working with data, the term “cool” is often directly juxtaposed with common charts like line, bar and pie, which are often relegated to the backbench, and written off as “boring.”

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