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Smashing Book 5 features smart responsive design techniques and patterns.
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.
2016 will introduce new conferences and be host to most of your favorite conferences from the past years. IoT will probably be as prominent as wearables. And the budding virtual reality topic may very well become a hot topic with the release of two major VR headsets in the last quarter of 2015 and the first of 2016.
The list is quite lengthy, so let's dive in. Ah — just before we get started: as you might or might not know, we also run a few practical conferences every year. Coming up next: SmashingConf Oxford on March 15–16 and SmashingConf San Francisco on April 5–6. Just sayin'!
Even though hooks in WordPress are amazing and everyone uses them knowingly or unknowingly, I get the impression that some advanced users and especially front-end developers still seem to avoid them. If you feel like you’ve been holding back on hooks, too, then this article will get you started. I am also going to reveal some interesting details to anyone who thinks they are familiar enough with hooks.
You’ll want to read this article especially if you’d like to: understand code snippets with hooks such as those found in forums, extend WordPress, plugins and themes without breaking updates, learn how to avoid common problems, allow others to extend your code.
As digital technologies are implanted deeper in the world, making more and more aspects of life intangible, it’s hard to imagine the world without any kind of banknotes, or paper money. In the dramatic history of our world, money became not just generic objects of payment, but also symbols of societies.
Combining utility and exclusivity, money is one of the challenging objects to design. And as with any complex task, currency design holds some valuable lessons for us, web designers. This article is an attempt to formulate some of these lessons and, therefore, draw your attention to the inspirational nature of paper money.
The new year is an occasion to start things fresh, to rethink current practices and habits. So why not start small? Clean up your desktop and give it an inspiring new background. We might have something for you: desktop wallpapers created by artists and designers from across the globe as a part of our monthly desktop wallpapers challenge.
This post features their artwork for January 2016. Each wallpaper is available with and without a calendar and can be downloaded for free. Thanks to everyone who contributed their designs! And a happy 2016 to all!