We use ad-blockers as well, you know. We gotta keep those servers running though. Did you know that we publish useful books and run friendly conferences — crafted for pros like yourself? E.g. our upcoming SmashingConf London, dedicated to all things web performance.
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 beauty of writing systems is that each has something unique from which to draw inspiration. Two weeks ago, in the first part of this article, we covered Arabic and East-Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese) and a few Indic scripts (Devanagari, Thai and Tibetan).
We are now back for the second (and last) part, which is a bit different but just as interesting. You will see that some features of the languages presented here clearly correspond to our Latin-based system, while others are unfamiliar. The point of this second part is to complete our look at writing systems of the world and to think more generally about what they signify. We'll cover Hebrew, Modern European scripts, Mongolian, Inuktitut and International Phonetic Alphabet.
Web, industrial, interior… You name it and there are designers for it. We're all trained in our particular areas (as we should be), but it would do us some good sometimes to look beyond our borders for new approaches to design problems. For a fresh perspective, here we'll apply several principles of interior design to Web design and see what ideas would help change some of our stuck-in-a-rut design practices.
In interior design, balance breaks down into two kinds: formal and informal. Formal balance is simple. It is achieved in a room when objects on one side of a room are a mirror-image of the other side of the room. It focuses on symmetry (creating a mirrored effect) and is the easiest to create — just think of two nightstands on either side of a bed or two sconces on either side of a fireplace. However, it can become overwhelming with too many objects or a busy color palette. Too much can make a good design concept ugly.
The old adage, "a picture speaks a thousand words" captures what user interface prototyping is all about: using visuals to describe thousands of words' worth of design and development specifications that detail how a system should behave and look. In an iterative approach to user interface design, rapid prototyping is the process of quickly mocking up the future state of a system, be it a website or application, and validating it with a broader team of users, stakeholders, developers and designers. Doing this rapidly and iteratively generates feedback early and often in the process, improving the final design and reducing the need for changes during development. [Links checked & repaired March/06/2017]
Prototypes range from rough paper sketches to interactive simulations that look and function like the final product. The keys to successful rapid prototyping are revising quickly based on feedback and using the appropriate prototyping approach. Rapid prototyping helps teams experiment with multiple approaches and ideas, it facilitates discussion through visuals instead of words, it ensures that everyone shares a common understanding, and it reduces risk and avoids missed requirements, leading to a better design faster.
Information graphics (or infographics) are used to display information in ways that are more creative than plain old text. These days, they surround us in the media, published works, road signs and manuals. Lately, the Internet has been flooded with infographics on various topics, ranging from science and technology to society and culture. In this article, we'll look at the process of designing an infographic about programming.
What does the infographic show? The infographic exhibits pioneers in the field of programming, along with the history and current statistics of various programming languages. Also included are some random facts and algorithm diagrams to make the infographic more visually appealing.
In any industry where the people behind a company are as important as the company itself, you're likely to find a kind of expanded "about" page that includes information on individual employees. "Meet the Team" pages are popular among web design and other creative firms, but are also found on sites within various other industries. These pages are a valuable addition to any site where human contact is an important part of the industry. It adds a personal touch to the company and can lend trust to visitors. [Links repaired January/15/2017]
There's suddenly faces behind the names, and it becomes a "real" company to the visitor, rather than just another website. This builds credibility for many, especially considering how concerned many people are with online scams and phishing schemes. Adding information to a website on a company's key employees is a simple but effective way to make that company stand out in the mind of its prospective clients. Below are a handful of trends and some interesting examples of "Meet the Team" pages.
The archive is one of those often-overlooked parts of a website that doesn't get the attention it deserves. Too often it's thrown on a page that's no different from any other page on the website, or it's ignored altogether. The archive offers a lot of room for creativity, though. Whether you opt for an abbreviated one in the sidebar or footer or devote an entire page to it, the archive an opportunity to make your design stand out.
While there is plenty of room for creativity, there is also a number of things to keep in mind to make sure your archive is functional and user-friendly.
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.
The beauty of typography has no borders. While most of us work with the familiar Latin alphabet, international projects usually require quite extensive knowledge about less familiar writing systems from around the world. The aesthetics and structure of such designs can be strongly related to the shape and legibility of the letterforms, so learning about international writing systems will certainly help you create more attractive and engaging Web designs.
Pick any language you like: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, maybe Nepali? Each is based on a different writing system, which makes it interesting to figure out how they work. Today, we'll cover five categories of writing systems. This may sound tedious and academic, but it's not. If you take the time to understand them, you'll find that they all give us something special. We've tried to present at least one special feature of each language from which you can draw inspiration and apply to your own typography work. We'll cover: East Asian writing systems, Arabic and Indic scripts (Brahmic). If you are interested, we will cover Cyrillic, Hebrew and other writing systems in the next post.
With all of the buzz going on in our Web community about HTML5 and Flash, I've decided to dive into the fray and offer my thoughts as a 10-year veteran of both Web design and Flash development. Let me preface by saying that this article is opinion-based, and that information is certainly out there that I am not aware of, and that none of us truly knows what the future holds.
When Flash broke on the scene, it was a fairly revolutionary tool… and much simpler to use than it is today. I first started using it in 1999, when it was being produced by Macromedia. The current version then was 4. The simple benefit was that it allowed the average computer user to design graphics and create simple user interactions with almost no skill: quite a feat in the messy and over-complicated world of Netscape and IE4.
Minimalism is achieved by reducing a design to only the most essential elements. Expressions of minimalism span multiple disciplines, as well as other art forms such as music and literature. For website designers, though, minimalism can be intimidating and difficult to master.
But anyone can master minimalism. Essentially, minimalism is about breaking things down to the barest elements necessary for a design to function. It's about taking things away until nothing else can be removed without interfering with the purpose of the design. Below are a number of principles of minimalist design, as well as an exploration of current trends and additional examples.
In our past articles, we've experimented with better ways to engage users on web pages with CSS3. We love getting into the nuts and bolts of web design by showing off some nifty coding tricks. In this article we'll take a step back to provide some reasoning for designers to embark on that next redesign.
Great web design happens with sound user needs, solid business goals and focused metrics. Learning how to deconstruct a website is an important step in building a plan that aligns the company vision with the needs of users. A good review will put the focus on the profitability of the business.