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. upcoming SmashingConf New York, dedicated to smart front-end techniques and design patterns.
Responsive images have been around long enough for most of us to have taken them for a spin, or at least to have learned from the experiences of those who have. Beyond doubt, the responsive images specification is a great win for the web. However, quite a few reports from the front lines suggest that responsive images can become pretty ugly.
One thing we should learn to embrace more this year is to enjoy the good things and focus more on the positive news than on the negative. I started to learn more ES6 this year and have scheduled 1 to 2 small learning modules of ES6 and 1 to 2 accessibility features I don’t know yet to study each week.
This week, Apple announced the pre-release of Safari 9.1 which will introduce the <picture>-element, Fast Tap on iOS, changes to modal dialogs, CSS Variable support, all, unset, font-variant-* and will-change property support as well as unprefixed CSS filter. Let’s hope that shorter release-cycles are Apple’s new strategy for a more open, more responsive browser culture.
Every morning, designers wake up to happily work on their products, be they digital or physical, with an inner belief that people will want to use their products and will have a blast doing so. Perhaps that is a slight generalization; however, as designers, we tend to have a natural desire for each project we work on to be the best it can be, to be innovative and, most importantly, to make a difference.
Here is a little revelation. People are not really into using products. Any time spent by a user operating an interface, twisting knobs, pulling levers or tapping buttons is time wasted. Rather, people are more interested in the end result and in obtaining that result in the quickest, least intrusive and most efficient manner possible. And these are two fundamentally different concepts — usage versus results — which, at the very least, differentiate good product design from poor product design or, on a smaller scale, a good feature from a bad one.
The way we consume open source software (OSS) dramatically changed over the past decade or two. Flash back to the early 2000s, we mostly used large OSS projects from a small number of providers, such as Apache, MySQL, Linux and OpenSSL. These projects came from well-known software shops that maintained good development and quality practices. It wasn’t our code, but it felt trustworthy, and it was safe to assume it didn’t hold more bugs than our own code.
Fast-forward to today and OSS has turned into crowd-sourced marketplaces. Node’s npm carries over 210,000 packages from over 60,000 contributors; RubyGems holds over 110,000 gems, and Maven’s central repository indexes nearly 130,000 artifacts. Packages can be written by anybody, and range from small utilities that convert milliseconds to full-blown web servers. Packages often use other packages in turn, ending with a typical application holding hundreds if not thousands of OSS packages.
When they hit the front-end landscape a few years ago, preprocessors were heralded as the saviour of CSS, bringing modularity, meaning and even a degree of sexiness. Terms like “Sass architecture” became commonplace, ushering in a new generation of CSS developers who occasionally went to excess with their new-found power. The results were marvellous, and sometimes undesirable.
One of the unpleasant side effects was a preprocessor elitism that continues to persist. Neophyte designers who were just getting their hands dirty with CSS were overwhelmed by an influx of must-have tools and confused by the bitter partisan wars in web development forums.
They’re probably the most familiar interfaces on the planet: the numeric keypads on our mobile phones and calculators. Yet very few notice that the keypads’ design has remained unchanged for nearly half a century in the face of evolving global design norms and conventions.
Even fewer users notice another startling design feature: the phone’s keypad is the inverted version of the calculator’s. This article explores the roots of this disparity and proposes a better solution. We will discuss how to simplify and adapt a traditional numeric interface to a minimalist design norm by taking advantage of modern touch-driven modes of human–mobile interaction.
I wish you a happy New Year! But although we write another number now — 2016 — your habits and goals won’t change overnight. That is why I’m not convinced of New Year's resolutions. You should have goals, resolutions and you should try to improve yourself.
But bear in mind to make these goals reasonable, actually achievable for you, and re-iterate in smaller periods than just once a year. I think that works way better than having one large resolution and then feeling bad because, of course, you failed to reach your big goal. Make the small things count and improve in small steps!
When you start a fresh web project or start digging into an existing code base, chances are you’re trying to create or enhance a feature for your users. The last thing you want to do is spend time customizing build tools and creating infrastructure to develop your application. If you land a new client, you want to show them features today, not in a week after you’ve cobbled together a build pipeline.