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.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. In attempts to fight back against the growing adoption of ad-blockers, many publishers and ad-dependent websites adopt all kinds of techniques from introducing "light" paywalls to limiting access to the site to fully blocking ad-blocker users from accessing the content altogether.
It seems a bit ironic that a website would send away potential customers that are taking measures to actually access the site faster, and read the content published on the site without annoying distractions. Don’t get me wrong: publishers need to earn money, and in most cases advertising is still the most efficient way of doing this. We know it better than anybody: with our smart tech-savvy audience, the ad-blocker usage has grown from 12% in 2012 to 55% today (as of March 2016). That’s a huge growth, and it’s a tendency that hurts us massively.
Another week comes to an end, with new browser announcements, releases and cool new tools that you might want to check out. I make it short: Have fun reading this week’s reading list and enjoy your weekend!
Firefox 45 is out and now re-evaluates responsive images in srcset on resize or viewport changes. Also, the Web Speech Synthesis API and window.onstorage were implemented, and you can now test CSS Grid Layouts. Firefox Nightly also got an interesting new feature: the browser can read text in Reader View.
Location-based services are growing in popularity every day, and beacon-based services are tipped to be the advertising goldmine of 2016. You may already be using location data and beacons to enhance your users’ experience with your websites, apps and wearables. However, the use of location data is not without limits.
Developers must become aware of international privacy laws, as well as industry codes of self-regulation, that govern its usage. Following laws and codes, while also adhering to best practice principles through frameworks such as privacy by design (PbD), will ensure public trust in your app as well as in your services as a developer.
The idea that designers are bound to be servants of other people's and companies' products is extremely pervasive. Sure, you may build your own design agency but, in the end, that agency is simply a collective effort to serve someone else. From my perspective, though, the world is waking up to the idea that designers can be founders of a product and not just create the beautiful wrapping around some engineering core.
A recent study by Boston's Design Management Institute showed that design-driven businesses have outperformed the Standard & Poor's 500 by an astounding 228% over the past 10 years. These were companies that had design embedded within the company's organizational structure, design leadership present at senior levels, and a commitment to design's use as an innovation resource.
It’s the small details that make a project shine. Solid typography, well-crafted with attention and care is one of them. A harmonious visual rhythm, typographic subtleties like soft caps, margin outdents or the correct use of hyphens and dashes — there are a lot of things that add up to it.
In practice, however, publishing on the web is supposed to be fast, and the little details are often overlooked, which is a pity, because they are not only pleasing to the eye but also improve the reading experience.
If you’ve ever worked in an agile environment, chances are you’ve had your share of “retrospectives” — meetings where people write what made them “glad,” “mad” or “sad” onto different-colored notes, post them onto a board, arrange them in groups and — most importantly — talk about them.
These meetings are straightforward, as long as everyone is in the same room. But if you’re working with a locally distributed team, things can get a bit tricky. Let’s address this by creating a virtual version of our board to allow team members in different locations to hold their retrospective just as if they were in the same room.
When your design looks beautiful and polished, how do you know if it performs well? While it is easy to predict the appeal of a clean and simple UI, design that converts is always a shot in the dark for marketers and designers.
We worked with the team at FiftyThree to test their app store landing page before they launched ads in China. After tweaking background color, graphics, screenshot order, and localization, we achieved a 33% increase in app page conversion. In this article, I’ll share some ideas about app page design. I'll also argue that dropping your assumptions and testing is the only way to find content that not only looks and reads great, but also helps your bottom line.
Working on very different projects, in different teams and with different people can sometimes be a challenge. But one thing that works out remarkably well is doing retrospectives with your team.
In retrospectives, you talk about how a certain project went, and the whole team shares what problems/challenges they faced, what was good and what was annoying people, why people were unhappy. And after each person has written this down on a wall (you can use Post-Its), you try to find useful solutions, small improvements that avoid conflicts, that avoid people feeling bad in a project, and that avoid unnecessary stress situations. Ideally, you do this often — like every two weeks. In every team so far, talking about issues and addressing them has helped to bind the team together and improve future work. Let’s work more together in our teams instead of on our own.
Our objects are becoming increasingly connected. My watch is connected to my phone, which is connected to the speaker in my living room, which I can also connect (or not) to the speaker in my bedroom. When I go out to dinner with friends, we have to make a concerted effort to keep our handheld and wearable devices silenced or otherwise placed “in the background” of our social experience, so that we can focus on each other.
As our artifacts and everything around us become more connected, we run the risk as humans of becoming increasingly disconnected from each other — not in a tragic, dystopian kind of way per se, but in a real way that we need to take into consideration when designing for these experiences.