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 →
Editor’s note: So you’ve attended a conference, listened to some truly inspiring talks, made quite a few valuable connections, maybe even attended a hands-on workshop and learned a thing or two. What now? How do you bring back the new knowledge and ideas and connections to your team and to your work? This article highlights a practical strategy of getting there without much effort. With SmashingConf Barcelona taking place next week, we thought this article would come in handy.
Have you ever been to a conference with top speakers, awesome people to network with and such a great energy that you got fired up and couldn’t wait to get home to start applying everything you’ve learned? How do things look two weeks later? Did you implement all of that learning into action? How about two months later? Were you still taking action on that knowledge?
As people working in front of a screen all day, we often struggle to find the right balance. I’m not talking about work-life balance alone here, but of how our life that is completely virtual during the day often causes us to not take real life into account.
We tend to forget that our bodies need something else than coding all day. And we need to take care of our fellow human beings in real life as well. Just think about this number: The average US person will spend over 9 hours in front of a screen today. Time to become more aware of how we can keep the balance between the virtual and the real world.
Icons are an essential part of many user interfaces, visually expressing objects, actions and ideas. When done correctly, they communicate the core idea and intent of a product or action, and they bring a lot of nice benefits to user interfaces, such as saving screen real estate and enhancing aesthetic appeal. Last but not least, most apps and websites have icons. It's a design pattern that is familiar to users.
Despite these advantages, icons can cause usability problems when designers hide functionality behind icons that are hard to recognize. An icon's first job is to guide users to where they need to go, and in this article we'll see what it takes to make that possible. If you want to take a go at creating your own icons, you can download and test Adobe's Experience Design CC for free and get started right away.
Many apps today, such as Google Now, Spotify and Amazon, make assumptions about user preferences based on personal data. They may even use this information to make decisions on our behalf, without any direct input from us. For example, Facebook tailors your news feed and Amazon recommends products — both hiding "irrelevant" information and only showing what they think you will like.
This type of design pattern, where user choice is removed, has recently been coined "anticipatory design". Its aim is to leverage data on user behavior to automate the decision-making process in user interfaces. The outcome lowers the excessive number of decisions people currently make, thereby reducing decision fatigue and improving decisions overall.
We might not realize it, but as developers, we build inaccessible websites all the time. It's not for the lack of care or talent though — it's a matter of doing things the wrong way. In our new book, Inclusive Design Patterns, Heydon Pickering explains how we can craft accessible interfaces without extra effort — and what front-end design patterns we can use to create inclusive experiences. Quality hardcover, 312 pages. Get the book now!
Now, accessibility has always been a slightly unsettling realm for web developers. Surrounded with myths, misunderstandings, and contradicting best practices, it used to be a domain for a small group of experts who would "add" accessibility on top of the finished product. Today, in many simple and complex websites, it's still unclear what makes up an accessible interface and what developers need to know in order to achieve it.
Whether or not you celebrate Halloween, there is something magical about that special spooky day, surrounded by mystery, horror, scare and trick-or-treat candies for kids and adults alike.
In this post, we celebrate the creative side of Halloween with those of you who are also planning to celebrate with friends. The post features artists around the world who have been creating wonderful illustrations dedicated to Halloween.
In the past few months, chat bots have become very popular, thanks to Slack, Telegram and Facebook Messenger. But the chat bot idea is not new at all.
A chat bot interface is mentioned in the famous Turing test in 1950. Then there was Eliza in 1966, a simulation of a Rogerian psychotherapist and an early example of primitive natural language processing. After that came Parry in 1972, a simulation of a person with paranoid schizophrenia (and, yes, of course, Parry met Eliza).
But then again, we have to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t immediately jump to a new tool just because it’s available, to not rewrite the whole code of a project just because conventions have changed. No project will stop working because you’re using OOCSS instead of ITCSS or Backbone.js instead of React.js. If the project is an ongoing process and will be developed and maintained for another few years, you should evaluate to change tools from time to time, of course. But take your time. Better evaluate first, then reconsider, before you immediately jump on a train from which you don’t know where it’s heading.