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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.
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.
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.
“Can you put together a digital strategy for us to review?” Requests like this strike fear into those of us who work on the Web. What do we know about putting together strategy documents?
Yes, we understand the Web, but we don’t know how to write a document that is essentially a business strategy. What even goes into a digital strategy! Unfortunately, this is something management seems to increasingly request from Web designers.
The recently popularized “flat” interface style is not merely a trend. It is the manifestation of a desire for greater authenticity in design, a desire to curb visual excess and eliminate the fake and the superfluous.
In creating new opportunities, technological progress sometimes leads to areas of excess. In the 19th century, mechanized mass production allowed for ornaments to be stamped out quickly and cheaply, leading to goods overdecorated with ornament.
In my career as a freelance illustrator, map-making has become a favorite specialty of mine. With each map assignment, I virtually travel across the globe, visiting places I’ve never been. Most recent was a “trip” to New Zealand for a sampling of local Wellington beer for Draft Magazine.
My maps are designed to appear next to magazine stories about trips to faraway places, or about the best restaurants in a nearby neighborhood. I create them in Adobe Illustrator, and I relish the research process as much as working on the drawings themselves.
A website has a personality — it is a reflection of the person or organization behind it. When people visit your website, you want it to stand out from the crowd, to be memorable. You want people to come back and use your website or get in touch with you.
So, to distinguish itself from the unwashed masses, your website not only needs remarkable content, but also has to be innovative yet functional. Ask yourself, what would make life easier for your user? The following websites will whet your appetite for extreme creativity. Browse through and explore them for yourself.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the staggering array of resources and options available to designers. In this article, we’ll explore the idea of consciously restricting yourself to a set of core tools that you know, love and trust.
Take a traditional craftsman — let’s say a carpenter. While they may have access to a wide range of tools in their workshop, they will take a bag with just a few carefully chosen tools when working away. Similarly, an artist may have a wide range of paints, brushes and accessories in their studio, but will carefully select a limited palette and a few choice brushes when painting in the field.
Today we’ll discuss how to improve the paint performance of your websites and Web apps. This is an area that we Web developers have only recently started looking at more closely, and it’s important because it could have an impact on your user engagement and user experience.
Frame rate is the rate at which a device produces consecutive images to the screen. A low frames per second (FPS) means that individual frames can be made out by the eye. A high FPS gives users a more responsive feel. You’re probably used to this concept from the world of gaming, but it applies to the Web, too.
With all of the different smartphones, tablets and other devices that sport various operating systems and versions thereof, a Web developer’s job — testing (sometimes virtually) on multiple devices to resolve errors — hasn’t become any simpler.
This article suggests how we can manage these tasks without pouring a truck-load of money into actually buying all of these different devices.
Good typography has always been a defining aspect of effective Web design, and this holds true especially for websites in which the emphasis is on presenting a large amount of content — specifically, articles, news and stories.
Whether for a magazine or international newspaper, the designer of any website that distributes a lot of content has always had to consider typographic details as seriously and thoroughly as a print designer would. In 2009, we conducted a survey of then current typographic practices. Since then, responsive design techniques have clearly gained momentum and established their place in the landscape of CSS layout.
This article is about design consultancy. It’s about wrangling that client who uses empty sentences like, “We want a snappy, simple experience,” or, “It should be on brand and should really pop.”
It’s about commanding the room and setting a vision before moving on to wireframes and pixels. While I’ll talk in terms of consultation, these ideas can be applied to the design phase of any new project.
Responsive design is about more than just layout; it’s about designing for the Web, which means, mostly, for people with browsers. And that’s just about everything we know about the people who visit our websites: they are probably using a browser. All the rest we just don’t know.
Up until not so long ago, we used to base our designs on some rather general assumptions about screen size and input type. With the rise of devices with various screen sizes and alternative ways to interact, these assumptions have turned out to be unreliable. We need to upgrade the defaults that we use when we start designing our websites.