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Did you know that we publish useful books and run
friendly conferences — crafted for pros like
yourself? E.g. our upcoming SmashingConf Barcelona,
dedicated to smart front-end techniques and design 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.
The ambigram is one of the few modern letterforms that engage both your intellect and intuition simultaneously. It reads as a word while also communicating a deeply familiar pattern. This is something beyond the ambigram’s obviously clever construction. I’ve thought quite a bit about why I love this word-image hybrid, and I’ll set out here to uncover just what it is about the ambigram’s design and structure that makes it so captivating. [Links checked February/20/2017]
My primary design background is as a symbolic logo designer, so I begin with what I know: symbols. I look to nature to create my work as a matter of practicality as well as aesthetics, because symbols are derived from nature and are the first language of all humans. Symbols engage us deeply as expressions of the organic principles and forms that life embodies. Nature is common to everyone, and when it is used symbolically in visual language, the chance of creating a relationship with the audience is significantly elevated because it mirrors the relationships within and around us. Nature even embeds symbols that mirror universal processes directly in our DNA.
As a Web professional, you can get great inspiration from a good conference session. While conferences may not bring value to all industries, the Web industry is stacked high with inspirational experts and quiet little geniuses beavering away from small home offices. A good Web conference shines a light on these clever souls and promotes professional growth and shared knowledge.
The number of conferences surrounding the Web design and development field continues to grow as new processes, techniques and other shared experiences, turned learning opportunities, are always presenting themselves throughout the industry. The problem becomes, with so many conferences that are out of reach for one reason or another, how does one catch the highlights from the conference that won't fit into a 140 character tweet?
The rapid pace of UX design in the agile world can lead to shortsighted design decisions. Focusing on addressing the immediate needs of particular user stories within the limits of a sprint can lead to neglect of larger design questions, which can come back to haunt UX designers later.
Sometimes, UX practitioners just need some time to work through big design issues that don’t fit neatly into an existing user story or an individual sprint. This article will explore one answer to these problems — namely, design spikes, an agile approach that I have developed for large projects. Design spikes, which are bubbles of time that allow designers to focus on complex UX issues, can fit comfortably within the scrum framework and can be an effective tool for designers who have holistic design questions whose answers could potentially invalidate the work being tackled by the team.
We tend to think of navigating a website as clicking from page-to-page via some kind of global navigation that's always visible. When it comes to a single page, we often think scrolling is the one and only way to move from one end to the next. Sometimes global navigation and scrolling are the best, most appropriate ways to move about, (however, they aren't the only ways).
The websites in this article let you scroll, but they also provide alternative ways of finding cues and means for getting around. In several cases the designs encourage exploration, which is both more engaging and also teaches you how to navigate at the same time.
I have an idea for a new product — can I tell you about it? It will take months to develop, and even though this kind of thing is usually given away for free, I’m going to charge for it. Oh, and the market for it probably won’t be very big… Wait, come back! Where are you going?!
It does sound like a crazy idea, but it’s exactly what a small group of designers and writers have been doing for the past year or so. On a Web littered with SEO-ified headlines (“17 Jaw-Dropping Responsive Design Templates and Funny Cat Pictures”), easy-to-share design gallery slideshows and quick tutorials that help you recreate the latest texture fetish in Photoshop, these people are taking a step back from what we have now come to refer to as the “fast Web.”
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.
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.
There is no doubt about it, I am a hypocrite. Fortunately nobody has noticed… until now. Here’s the thing. On one hand I talk about the importance of having a good work/life balance, and yet on the other I prefer to hire people who do personal projects in their spare time.
Do you see the problem with this scenario? How can one person possibly juggle work, life and the odd side project? It would appear there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Being the arrogant and stubborn individual I am, when this hypocrisy was pointed out to me, my immediate reaction was to endeavour to justify my position. A less opinionated individual would probably have selected one or the other, but I propose these two supposedly contradictory viewpoints can sit harmoniously together.
Can you have your cake and eat it, by working on side projects, holding down a job and still having a life beyond your computer?
To understand how this is possible we must first establish why a work/life balance is important and what role side projects play. Let’s begin by asking ourselves why it is important to have a life beyond our computers, even when we love what we do.