Today, too many websites are still inaccessible. In our new book Inclusive Design Patterns, we explore how to craft flexible front-end design patterns and make future-proof and accessible interfaces without extra effort. Hardcover, 312 pages. Get the book now →
For some time now, I’ve wanted the ability to route paths for a GitHub Pages website to its index.html for handling as a single-page app (SPA). This is table-stakes because such apps require all requests to be routed to one HTML file, unless you want to copy the same file across all of your routes every time you make a change to the project. Currently, GitHub Pages doesn’t offer a route-handling solution; the Pages system is intended to be a flat, simple mechanism for serving basic project content.
In case you weren’t aware, GitHub does provide one morsel of customization for your project website: the ability to add a 404.html file and have it served as your custom error page. I took a first stab at an SPA hack simply by duplicating my index.html file and renaming the copy to 404.html.
Criticism is easy. It seems like everybody has an opinion, but, as the author Harlan Ellison points out, "You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion." To become informed, though, requires exploration. Design critiques are an important part of any product exploration.
A design critique — where the creator discusses and explains the creation with the rest of the team and/or client — is not about badgering the designer or pushing them to justify every decision they made. That’s just criticism. A good design critique is meant to explore the design, find where it is working and where it could be improved. If done well, design critiques allow everyone on the team to feel as if they have been heard and allow clients to give valuable feedback.
Even though we think everything happens in real-time nowadays, we need patience. While technology has been capable of real-time for long now, the “bottleneck” are human beings. Whether it’s a pull request that’s waiting for review since days or weeks or an email response, we need to keep in mind that delays might happen for a good reason.
Different people have different priorities, they might be focusing on something else at the moment, or they just take a break. Training patience is an important aspect of mental health, and, in the end, a well-thought-out, not instantly written feedback is better, too. Take your time and let others do the same.
Progressive web apps could be the next big thing for the mobile web. Originally proposed by Google in 2015, they have already attracted a lot of attention because of the relative ease of development and the almost instant wins for the application’s user experience.
A progressive web application takes advantage of the latest technologies to combine the best of web and mobile apps. Think of it as a website built using web technologies but that acts and feels like an app. Recent advancements in the browser and in the availability of service workers and in the Cache and Push APIs have enabled web developers to allow users to install web apps to their home screen, receive push notifications and even work offline.
Dariel Fitzkee, the famous magician, once said, “Magic is both in the details and in the performance.” Interaction design is just like that. Designers love to get the big picture right, but if the details aren’t handled properly, the solution will fail. The magic is all in the details. That’s why well-designed microinteractions make experiences feel crafted.
To get a better understanding of how your design benefits from microinteractions, it will help to sketch out your app ideas. Adobe introduced a new design and wireframing app called Experience Design (or Adobe XD) which lets you design wireframes and make them interactive. You can download and test Adobe XD for free.
We've all been there. You spent months gathering business requirements, working out complex user journeys, crafting precision interface elements and testing them on a representative sample of users, only to see a final product that bears little resemblance to the desired experience.
Maybe you should have been more forceful and insisted on an agile approach, despite your belief that the organization wasn't ready? Perhaps you should have done a better job with your pattern portfolios, ensuring that the developers used your modular code library rather than creating five different variations of a carousel. Or, maybe you even should've sat next the the development team every day, making sure what you designed actually came to pass.
One of the hardest decisions to make when starting a new app is which platforms to target. A mobile app gives you more control and better performance but isn’t as universal as the web. If you’re making a mobile app, can you afford to support both iOS and Android?
What about trying to build a mobile app and a responsive web app? Ultimately, the best experience for your customers is for your app to work everywhere, but the development and maintenance costs of that can be prohibitive.
I shut down my browser on Wednesday, accidentally having a setting switched on that clears history and all sessions. First, I was sad to have lost many tabs with articles I stored “for later”. At the same time, it felt refreshing, liberating to have a clean browser window with zero tabs open. So my new goal is to start work in the morning with a completely clean browser window at least once a week.
In other news: I spent several hours fixing broken links this week, and as a result I can’t say how happy I am that archive.is and archive.org exist to prevent content from disappearing forever. Still, some of the resources I found broken have left forever. So remind yourself about redirecting content.
It’s been quite a journey for this very sentence to wind up on this little website. Not many people know it, but every single Smashing article goes through a thorough editorial review, including multiple passes for editing and refinement, before being published.
In this series of articles dedicated to our upcoming 10th anniversary (mid-September 2016), we’d love to shed some light on our editorial process, explain our workflow and introduce the people behind the scenes, as well as address how our little company is earning money to keep the website alive and running.