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Smashing Book 5 features smart responsive design techniques and patterns.
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.
Last week at the fabulous Smashing Conference in Freiburg, I gave a new talk, one I’d written just a few hours prior. I chose not to use slides, but instead to speak about three things that I’m incredibly enthusiastic about: Responsive design is not (just) a design or development problem; the client participation process is broken; how to call your client an idiot, to their face. Here are the (slightly expanded) notes that I made before my talk.
In all the excitement about responsive Web design over the last few years, someone forgot to tell our bosses and clients, so we’ve been treating responsive design like it’s a design or an implementation problem, whereas in fact it’s as much an issue for business. In fact, it’s an issue for everyone involved: designers, developers, content specialists, the people who commission websites and those who structure the teams who make the websites.
Every name here is a tragic story of loss and heartbreak. The Garda Memorial Garden, or Gairdín Cuimhneacháin an Gharda Síochána, is located in the heart of Dublin city. This memorial is a contemplative garden with large stone plinths and a lot of names and numbers. The list of names, this “roll of honor,” records individual police officers (gardaí) who have lost their lives violently and tragically in the line of duty since the formation of the Irish state in 1921.
This article offers insight into the creative thought processes I followed in designing a typographic solution for this memorial. I’ll discuss my choice of typeface, my detailed layout, the size of type, the materials, the process of engraving, and leaving open the possibility to add names in the future. My objective was to keep a sense of visual harmony throughout the design, while aiming for a certain consistency in the future engraving of names, regardless of language.
For years you have been searching for it. You hear the question being asked in your dreams as you go on an Indiana-Jones-type-crusade to find the answer. When the answer comes to you, you know that the confetti will fall from the ceiling and the band will start playing your favorite song. You might even get a kiss from that special someone. So what is this question? "What is the secret to Web design?"
A tough question and one that might not have an answer. In 2006, Oliver Reichenstein wrote that Web Design is 95% Typography. Some people loved it, others were not so amused. If Web design was based that much on typography, then what was the point of learning anything else? All you needed to do is understand the elements of typography and you were good to go.
Today we'll have a look at a few projects in which the consistent use of the well-known term "emotional design" can result in a great personality. Positive attitude often leads to people sharing and even advocating for your product with their peers.
Positive emotions instill positive memories and make users want to interact with your product in the future. There’s also an additional benefit: In pleasant, positive situations, people are much more likely to tolerate minor difficulties and irrelevance. While poor design is never excusable, when people are relaxed, the pleasant and pleasurable aspects of a design will make them more forgiving of problems within the interface.
We love to tell users that they have done something wrong. We have error messages for everything from poorly formatted telephone numbers to incorrect logins. But what about our user's successes, do we celebrate them? Do we tell them they are doing something right?
It is as important to tell users that they are doing things right, as it is to inform them when they make a mistake. This kind of positive reinforcement is key to a pleasurable user experience. In this post, I want to explain why positive feedback matters, suggest when it is appropriate and how to integrate it into your website.
The way you present your product or service is essential to its success — or at least it could be if you know how to do it right. The first impression you make on people is crucial. When selling a product, you want that first impression to be as positive and remarkable as possible. If you have managed to draw them in, you will need to introduce the product within a few seconds.
Show them that your product is just what they want, that it’s useful and that it adds some kind of value to their lives. A smart product presentation does all of that. Here, we will cover different aspects of a product presentation and give examples of how to use them to your advantage. The idea is to give you an overview of the different elements that make a product page successful.
Good Web designers know what many others might not realize: that creating a truly beautiful website requires care, time and craft. And similar to how a craftsperson molds their creation by combining raw materials, skill and unwavering focus on the vision, a beautiful design is planned and executed with exceptional focus on what is to be achieved by the website. It is important, however, not to confuse a beautifully crafted website with one that simply brushes over the content with attractive visuals.
This article provides a small selection of tried and true methods that Web designers regularly employ to give a website that bespoke look and feel. Make no mistake: these methods do take extra time, and they often result in improvements that the untrained eye might not consciously register. Users will leave with a smile and a lasting impression or relationship with your website, even if they can’t quite put their finger on why.
Emergency car shopping is no fun. This past month was the second time I had to shop for a car in a short timeframe without advance warning. Like most informed shoppers, I went online to get a feel for my options, armed with knowledge of what I was looking for: apart from safety, gas mileage and reliability, it had to comfortably seat six and not require me to take out a second mortgage.
I felt like a persona out of a scenario that I had role-played a few years ago when our UX team conducted a global UX benchmarking project for General Motors. That year, a JD Power consumer satisfaction study revealed that 68% of GM’s US websites were below the industry average, with two in the bottom 10%. This time, though, the experience was personal and made me think about the lessons to be learned from the experience of shopping for a car online that could be applied to any website.
We’d like to believe that we use established design patterns for common elements on the Web. We know what buttons should look like, how they should behave and how to design the Web forms that rely on those buttons. And yet, broken forms, buttons that look nothing like buttons, confusing navigation elements and more are rampant on the Web. It’s a boulevard of broken patterns out there.
This got me thinking about the history and purpose of design patterns and when they should and should not be used. Most interestingly, I started wondering when breaking a pattern in favor of something different or better might actually be OK. We all recognize and are quick to call out when patterns are misused. But are there circumstances in which breaking the rules is OK? To answer this question properly, let’s go back to the beginning.
The story of usability is a perverse journey from simplicity to complexity. That's right, from simplicity to complexity—not the other way around.
If you expect a "user-friendly" introduction to usability and that the history of usability is full of well-defined concepts and lean methods, you're in for a surprise. Usability is a messy, ill-defined, and downright confusing concept. The more you think about it—or practice it—the more confusing it becomes.