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Posts Tagged ‘Opinion Column’.

We are pleased to present below all posts tagged with ‘Opinion Column’.

The Smashing Guide To Moving The Web Forward

Many of us rely on open source tools, technologies and standards to help improve the work we do on a daily basis. None of this would however be possible without the hard work, commitment and dedication that others, just like you, have invested in giving back to the Web community over the past two decades.

Modernizr, HTML5 Boilerplate and jQuery are just a few examples of well known projects which were born from a desire to put something out there that could help others on the Web do more. These projects evolved because developers started using them and thought, “Hey, I could do something to help make this better. I bet it could save someone else’s time if I shared this with the world.”

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Easier Is Better Than Better

In his book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz comes to an interesting conclusion involving human choice. “People choose not on the basis of what’s most important, but on what’s easiest to evaluate.” Common sense would dictate that if you were given a list of choices, you would choose the one that is most important to you, when in reality humans usually choose the one that is easiest for them to understand and evaluate.

In 'N Out Burger

Very often we do so because we don’t have the time to put in the research necessary to make an informed decision. Politicians are rarely elected based on the majority of people doing research on their background and the policies they support. They are elected for the fact that people can relate to the message they are spreading and because we have heard of them before.

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But The Client Wants IE 6 Support!

Frequently, when I discuss CSS3 with other developers, the issue of stubborn clients comes up. They tell me that even though they personally don’t think a website should look the same in all browsers and they’re eager to try all of these new techniques, their clients insist that their website should look the same, so the developers are stuck with the same Web development techniques that we used five to ten years ago. Their clients just don’t “get” graceful degradation.

Money always wins

Is this really the issue? Are our clients incapable of understanding these things? Is the problem that our clients don’t “get” the Web and need to be educated? I don’t think so. We got ourselves into this. We are the ones who caused this problem for our industry. We are the ones giving ourselves this trouble and making our profession less creative and enjoyable than it could be. It’s entirely our fault and no one else’s.

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Are You Ready For A Web Design Challenge?

This is not a normal Smashing Magazine post. I’m not going to teach you something new or inspire you with examples of great work. Instead, I want to encourage you to complete a Web design challenge. I believe this will help to address a weakness that exists in many of our design processes.

If you complete this challenge, it will make it easier for clients to sign off on your designs, and it will improve the quality of your work. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.

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Design is About Solving Problems

Recently, a couple of things happened in my design career that have made me sit down and reflect a bit on where I’m at and how I can improve what I deliver to my clients and their users. I’d noticed that my source of inspiration had changed and that I was being inspired more by clever solutions and ideas than by visual flourish.

Like many designers, my RSS feed of inspirational websites is full of great work and posts. I’m also active on Twitter, and I meet up with other designers regularly at local events. But I find that at a basic level, I actually don’t draw that much inspiration directly from these things anymore.

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The Dangers of Designing for Context

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a growing excitement around mobile or device oriented web design. This excitement is fueled mostly by the high adoption rates of devices that come equipped with full scale browser capabilities but that’s not the only reason. A lot of talk lately has been centered around designing for context. So what does it mean to design for a user’s context?

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Ignorance is Bliss for a Creative Mind

The saying “Ignorance is bliss” originates in Thomas Gray’s poem “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” (1742). The quote goes: "Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise." Face it: you were better off not knowing that, weren’t you?

Generally speaking, ignorance is a detestable state of mind. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you are to deal with life. But ignorance itself doesn’t equal stupidity. For instance, I view myself as someone who is smart enough to realize his huge capacity for stupidity. I know there are massive gaps in my cultural and general knowledge. I would define my intellectual state as, at times, unaware. But who am I kidding? In some areas of life, I’m just plain ignorant, even if not by choice.

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Defending The Generalists In The Web Design Industry

In recent years there has been a move away from generalist Web designers to specialists such as content strategists, user experience architects and front-end coders. Where once there was a single job, there are now many, with ever-narrower spheres of responsibility.


Not everybody agrees with Paul Boag. Anita Hart is convinced that well-rounded individuals have a depth in at least 1 area of expertise. Do you agree?

While my peers are becoming more specialized, I have stoically refused to do so, remaining a generalist. If anything, my interests have broadened, encompassing subjects such as marketing, psychology and business strategy. This has drawn criticism from some who view generalists negatively, which is in line with some of what I am reading in the blogosphere.

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Inside Google’s User Experience Lab: An Interview With Google’s Marcin Wichary

Marcin Wichary’s fascination with the relationship between humans and machines began at an early age. As a boy in Poland, he was mesmerized by the interaction between arcade patrons and the video games they played. Years later, Marcin would help shape the way that millions of computer users interact with some of the world’s most popular websites. He would even recreate one of those arcade games for the Web.

Inside Google's User Experience Lab: An Interview With Google’s Marcin Wichary

Marcin is Senior User Experience Designer at Google, but his numerous roles and broad influence at the company are not conveniently definable. His fingerprints are on the code of Google products ranging from Search to Chrome. He gained publicity for his work on the Google Pac-Man Doodle, which he co-created with fellow Googler Ryan Germick. According to Ryan, “Marcin is a genius. He’s a UX designer but he’s also maybe one of the best front-end programmers on the planet.”

Marcin joined Smashing Magazine author Dan Redding for a conversation regarding his professional career, his interest in photography and a curious creation known as the Crushinator.

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Web Designers, Get Out There and Make Something!

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I make websites. They usually smile and nod and then ask whom I might make these sites for. I’ll ramble off a random list of clients I perceive to be most impressive. They, again, smile and nod. The conversation moves on. This has happened to me somewhere north of one hundred times. It always feels a little disingenuous.

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My day job and clients aren’t the issue. I enjoy most of the projects I get to work on. My coworkers and clients are smart people, with good ideas, who usually have a reasonable expectation and goal for their campaigns.

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Relationship Engineering: Designing Attraction

"Look at her: so beautiful, so friendly, so smart. And what a personality. She must be mine. Hooking up with her would make me the envy of all my friends. Sure, she's young and she's gorgeous. Besides, I can easily try something new if I get bored or something better comes along."

No, that’s not an excerpt from Lolita. As cruel and inappropriate as they might seem, these thoughts are fairly common in our society. In fact, in the past year, millions of people have entered into exactly that type of relationship. Don’t bother calling the Special Victims Unit; what we’re discussing here is not what you think it is. It’s the Apple iPad.

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Designing For The Future Web

Designing for the future Web. That’s a big subject. Where do we start when we’re talking about something that isn’t here yet? In this article, we’ll look at what the future Web might look like and how we can adapt our current skills to this new environment, as well as how to create fluid websites that are built around a consistent core and that adapt to the limitations and features of the device on which they are viewed.

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We’ll also look at how our conceptual approach to designing websites should evolve: designing from the simplest design upwards, and not from the richest website down. But before we get to that, let’s start with a question. What do we mean by the “future Web”?

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