Some really useful and in-depth concepts about human perception and cognition, and its implications for designing better UI.
Steve Jobs once said: “You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.” Jared Spool reminds me above quote with his latest post. Read the article
Along with a decent idea and great execution there’s more to the success of a web app. It’s not the features list but the simplicity and details of an app that matters. Here’s a talk by Des Traynor where he emphasizes the role of good content strategy in the success of a web app.
Being a designer who knows HTML/CSS quite well helps me to make thoughtful decisions about how my designs will perform. Front-end plays a great part in overall performance of an website/webapp. Lara Swanson emphasizes the point in her recent article at A List Apart. Adding half a second to a search results page can decrease [...]
“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” said Steve Jobs and I remember this by heart and try to follow it always. These days there’s been a [...]
I have said “NO” to few great opportunities from Google, AOL, Intel, Groupon and few others because of my interests and priorities in life. Learn to say “NO” from my favorite designer – Jason Santa Maria. He talks about when and why to say NO, and whom to say NO.
There are principles, rules and best practices for everything we do. Last week while working on revising colors for graphs of Unmetric, I wanted to refresh myself and learn more about using colors in graphs. Luckily I found a brief but useful articles by Stephen Few, author of Information Dashboard Design which I read last [...]
I’ve done both and totally agree that Prototyping wins over Wireframing. I use Keynote for former and Fireworks for latter. However, Prototyping consumes more time thus needs more budget, which is worth it. Leisa Reichelt lists 11 points why prototyping beats wireframing. Here are top 3: You’re making, not documenting. You can feel the thing you’re [...]
I’ve read a few books and good articles about baseline grid and how to use it for the Web. But over the time I’ve found it difficult to fit it in my usual design process. Jason Santa Maria share his problems with baseline grids on the web and other technical issues. It’s incredibly difficult to maintain a baseline grid in [...]
There are many definitions of Simplicity but Daniel Ritzenthaler explains what does Simple actually mean at 52 Weeks of UX: Prevailing wisdom suggests that simplicity is about less…removal and reductionism. But simplicity is really about comprehension and clarity of purpose…can we design such that people instantly understand what’s going on and make a confident decision [...]
Typography along with grids, space and color is one of the most important aspect that distinguishes between good and great design. Jason Santa Maria is very well know for his elegant typography skills and I especially love his work for A List Apart. Here’s his talk “On Web Typography” where he talks about details of [...]
Since the Responsive Design has been introduced, we all started focusing on making websites responsive and on our way we ignored the aesthetics. At A List Apart, Paul Lloyd explores this subject and suggests how we can retain the aesthetics while being responsive. We’re embracing “responsive” but neglecting the second part: “design.” We’re replacing fixed-width [...]
Designers are trying different UI elements to enhance user interaction everyday. Stephen P. Anderson has compiled some latest and interesting UI patterns emerging lately answering to the following question: What are the best UI elements (controls, patterns, etc.) that have cropped up in modern web sites and web apps recently? → Check the answer on [...]
A website homepage has been considered most important page till date as it’s believed to be the first impression of any product or company, online. Kyle Meyer—product designer at Facebook—lists 3 types of homepage layouts: Sparse, Short-form and Long-form and explains why Long-form does the best job and how: Long-form home pages aim to provide [...]
Mailchimp.com is more famous for it’s personality than newsletters. While reading Redesigning the Web by Smashing Magazine I came across the case study about Mailchimp.com redesign launched in January of 2011. It contains some vitals thoughts from senior designer, Aaron Robbs: I’m a big proponent of modernism and minimalism. If we stripped it back to [...]
Kim Culen shares tips and tricks that the visual designers at Adaptive Path use to manage effective client reviews: I like to think of the visual design as the emotional bridge between the user and interface. However, emotional responses are very personal and hard to quantify. When you are dealing with differing preferences over color, [...]
Being a UI designer is much more than pushing pretty pixels. You’ve huge responsibility on your shoulders to help your audience achieve their goals easily and completely. Just like graphic design, UI design has some principles too. Joshua Porter has compiled a list of 20 such principles, that I’m trying to remember by heart. Clarity [...]
Short and valuable piece about why we must learn to write well: Writing is the connective tissue that creates understanding. We, as social creatures, often better perform rituals to form understanding one on one, but good writing enables us to understand each other at scale. Read more at Rands In Repose
Few days back I got an email from Steven Walker – Product Design Manager at Groupon – asking about working with Groupon. After Google, AOL and Intel this was another thrilling offer but it didn’t work out because of single simple reason: relocation. While I prefer working from home, these great companies need people sitting [...]
I, too, am practitioner of minimal design that is built on solid foundation of grids and typography. But sometimes minimalism is misinterpreting as Minh Tran states on Viget Inspire: A generalized definition of minimalism could be when something, an object or idea, is stripped down to its essential elements. In minimalistic art in the 1960s, [...]
Now onwards I’m designing stories and not screens. Braden Kowitz explains why and how: Once you’re dealing with an app that has a dozen screens and hundreds of states, you can’t hold the whole product in your head like a poster. I noticed that our team was emailing around individual screens, talking about individual screens, [...]
Tumblr homepage is simply beautiful, minimal and to the point but they committed a type crime even in this little amount of text. Tumblr is using prime mark (a.k.a. dumb quote) instead of closed quotation mark (or apostrophe). Ellen Lupton in Thinking with Type says: The purpose of prime marks, or hatch marks, is to indicate [...]
I’ve always loved reading good design books. I believe they are better and reliable source of information as compared to blogs as many great people put lot of hard work to get a single book out. In 2011, I bought 40 books and managed to read just 16 as of now. Books I’ve read: Recommended [...]
I’ve been working on PopSurvey—An awesome survey creation app powered by simplicity—for over an year now. The best part is the survey player (patent pending) where each slide carries just 1 question. We are also making the PopSurvey player compatible for iOS and other mobile platforms using media queries. After designing the mockups for PopSurvey [...]
I really love the simple and clean design of Readmill. The app. is awesome. Great design! Yesterday while logging into the app. I encountered their sign in form and thought it could be little better.
Designer Richard Seymour explores our response to beauty and the surprising power of objects that exhibit it.
How I almost ignored our single best source for customer feedback It turns out that answering our support calls has been an incredibly productive experience as well as potentially a profit center. When customers call, not only am I in a great position to help them as I understand the product inside and out, but [...]
All those who participate in design, from interaction designers, to usability engineers, to IA masters, fall victim to the same kinds of challenges when trying to bring good design into the world. From politics, to hubris, to downright incompetence, what can we learn by confessing to, and examining the causes of, our failures? Scott Berkun [...]
An electronic company were testing for a new boom box they hoped to start selling. Their research included focus groups where they showed the two colour options, yellow and black. The participants were in agreement that yellow was the best colour because it is a vibrant and energetic colour. At the end of the focus [...]
Now this is the best HTML/CSS framework till date. Something I’ve been waiting for quite a time now. Bootstrap is a toolkit from Twitter designed to kickstart development of webapps and sites. It includes base CSS and HTML for typography, forms, buttons, tables, grids, navigation, and more. Bootstrap is built with Less and was designed [...]
I like how Paul Boag thinks about using Media Queries to design better and overcome the limitations of the fold. Having a technique like this at our disposal means that we can avoid a lot of the awkward conversations with the client where we try to explain how the fold does not really exist. It [...]
Keith – lead designer at Forrst – has some interesting thoughts about the concept of “Getting Back to Zero” in design: The ability to consistently look at a design as a new user while laying out elements and keeping the project goals in mind. Getting back to zero. An on-going back-and-forth between making design decisions, [...]
These days I’m designing in browser instead of Fireworks for a live project — Pixoto.com. Designing in browser has some solid advantages as it helps you launch quite early instead of hanging there in design revisions. Get a quick mockup together and start coding. Quick design, faster revisions and early deployment.
Dear fellow designers, I hope you are having great time designing great stuff. You’ll be excited to know that I’ve 3 dribbble invites which I would like to give away to some really talented designers. So please leave your portfolio urls and your emails (in comments) where you would like me to send the invitation. [...]
The part of the world using Latin script may have enough type designers. But for the Arab world or India it is very different. More designers are needed there. — Gerard Unger, Type Designer quoted in his interview with MyFonts Gerand might be referring to only type designers here but I strongly believe that India [...]
As usual Luke Wroblewski posted his invaluable notes for An Event Apart – Atlanta, GA 2011 talks. Following are the ones that concern me: Crafting the User Experience by Sarah Parmenter On Web Typographyby Jason Santa Maria Design Principlesby Jeremy Keith
Joshua Porter (Bokardo) explains how to identify best design problems and how to tackle them using UX principle: Saying we have a problem is easy, but the real problems are the ones we get emotional about. Frustration is the first clue that people have a real problem on their hands. They might not know how to articulate [...]
Couple of weeks back I received an email from Mark Grantham — a User Experience Recruiter @Google — about working with them.
Tom Preston-Werner cofounder of Github tells about his early (and some valuable) experiences with Github and 10 things he learnt on the way. For me, 2008 was the year that I helped design, develop, and launch GitHub. Creating a new startup is an intense learning experience. Through screwups and triumphs, I have learned some valuable [...]
Tim Brown rightly states: By using culturally relevant, historically pleasing ratios to create modular scales and basing the measurements in our compositions on values from those scales, we can achieve a visual harmony not found in layouts that use arbitrary, conventional, or easily divisible numbers. → Read the article at A List Apart
I highly recommend that. Reading books over blogs gives you an in-depth knowledge for a particular subject and that too by an expert. Unlike blogs where people like me share their thoughts and ideas which may or may not be logical while in books these are not just thoughts but tested, proved practices. Blogging is [...]
Fundamental principles for designing effective User Interfaces. Effective interfaces are visually apparent and forgiving, instilling in their users a sense of control. Users quickly see the breadth of their options, grasp how to achieve their goals, and do their work. → Read the article at asktog.com
Jared Spool talks about Calls to Action with Paul Boag: … you have to be clear on what clicking that link is going to deliver. You have to mitigate any risk, so you have to have message that says “look, we’re not signing you up to be trapped into something. This is safe.” And then [...]
Designing for User Experience involves much more work than designing User Interface. UX design begins by learning about the business model, doing user research and understanding how a service can fit into the users’ lives in a meaningful way. Thus UX design has a crucial part in defining the business strategy, providing baselines for business [...]
Hiding important stuff behind code words might cost you business. Navigation titles should be clear and that people use in daily life. Jared Spool beautifully explains this with examples and following DOs and DON’Ts: Don’t hide your most valuable assets behind generic links. Avoid copying the design of your site’s navigation from other sites, especially [...]
Though wireframes are very close to visual design but they have a purpose and very important one. Tanya Breshears at Zurblog explains: At the wireframe stage, we want to focus on structure and content, not the color of the text or the drop shadow on that sidebar. It’s far better to limit the possible variables [...]
Ever wondered why Google’s website are not-so-beautiful? It’s because they have a different design strategy. A lot of designers want to increase the line height or padding in order to make the interface ‘breathe’. We delibrately don’t do that. We want to squeeze in as much information as possible above the fold. We recoganize that [...]
SlideShare to slides is what Youtube is to videos. Lots of valuable content by invaluable presenters can be found there. I’ve rebuilt the SlideShare Player following Joshua Porter’s strategy of Metrics driven design.
We designers have affinity for details and love to dig deep to make pixel-perfect designs. We spend hours on those tiny details that usually go unnoticed by the target audience. Only our fellow designers and sometimes a few design obsessed clients notice those details. I’ve no doubt that details matter and must be taken care of, but what matters more is the overall User Experience.
I love 37signals products and their work strategies. In this video Ryan Signer – UI designer and product manager at 37signals – walked through the process of how they build web-apps at 37signals. Really impressive!
Reading is not my hobby but I’ve to read as to learn. Here are few articles from my learning list: What makes a good UX designer Dashboard Design Gestalt Principles of Perception Sales: The Fail Team Should you blame your designer for poor conversion rates? Style vs. Design Inline Help Ellen Lupton Interview
Dana Chisnell, in her presentation at UX Australia: Beyond frustration: 3 levels of happy design, explains how to get your users beyond just not hating the product and closer to not being able to live without it, it takes keen attention to the relationship your design has with the user.
After digging deep into design, layout, grids, typography lately I moved my focus to another interesting field related to web design — User Experience Design. Recently I’ve been reading books and article about it. Here is another useful video I found today [via Aarron Walter]. Worth watching. UX Week 2009 | Jesse James Garrett | [...]
Being a self-employed web designer I’ve had chance to work on many projects demanding different skills other than just Visual design and HTML/CSS. These projects required additional knowledge of User Experience (UX) Design, Usability and IA which pushed me to learn more and be a better designer.
If there are few people who know what they are designing and know what they are talking about, then Andy Rutledge is one among them. Here is another useful article — The Design Lesson: 1 of 1. In graphic design, nothing is what it actually is. Everything other than content is representative of something else. [...]
Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence. — Abigail Adams Since I’ve started designing for web, learning for me has never stopped. And there is still lot to learn which I’m sure won’t finish till end. Every week I try to read 5-7 good [...]
Me: Hey, I want to say something.
CF (Comment Form): Wait, what’s your name?
Me: I’m Amrinder and I’m trying to say… [interrupted]
CF: What’s your email address?
Me: … it’s firstname.lastname@example.org. So I was saying that… [interrupted]
CF: Do you have a website? If yes, what’s the URL?
Me: … yes, I have but… anyway it’s http://designbyanaami.com
CF: Now please leave your comment.
Me: Ohk, I was saying that… your article is… good. Actually there was something else in my mind which I forgot…
This was my conversation with a comment form.
While designing login page for Intel, I had an opportunity to think about reducing login inputs with intentions of making things simple. Though the login form is already simple with just few inputs, I was thinking if they can be further reduced. I believe, yes.
I really enjoy being a web designer because it involves problem solving more than just adding colors. Couple of weeks back Dan Cederholm posted a rebound of a dropdown menu for trendy dribbble. While scanning the comments I found a UI challenge put up by Dave Simon. I accepted it gladly.
I really love to do an extensive research before I design anything, may it be a simple search input box, my wedding card or a complex information dashboard. I’ve already expressed my love for reading books about User Interface Design, usability, typography, IA and HTML/CSS. Here is a video I found which I strongly believe [...]
Couple of weeks back, I received a dribbble invite from Tuhin. It’s truly an amazing resource of design ideas and inspiration. I’m already in love with it. . It’s beautifully designed by Dan Cederholm but by using better font-stack it can be enhanced even further.
King of Web Standards Jeffrey Zeldman says, “Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.”, and very rightly so. Content is what (mostly) people use World Wide Web for and it can’t take back seat while we design a website. However, based on recent article by Jeff Croft, I [...]
I strongly believe that a freelance web designer must learn something, if not everything, about UX (User Experience). For practicing User Experience Designers, one of the most important laws isn’t Fitts’s Law, which helps us understand how to design interactive elements. Nor is it Hick’s Law, which describes how long people take to make decisions. [...]
HTML5 has a lot to offer and I’m trying to get most out of it. Following are the few resources I’m using to learn HTML5: HTML5 Live John Allsopp is running this live course by Sitepoint which includes 2 weeks of live classes, hands on exercise, live Q&A sessions plus dedicated private forum. Seems very [...]
Most companies spend large amount of money to come up with all type of plans and offers as to delight their customers. However, they rarely examine the real behavior of a customer. Consumers’ impulse to punish bad service—at least more readily than to reward delightful service—plays out dramatically in both phone-based and self-service interactions, which [...]
Even web design have different types. Luke Wroblewski mentioned about it in his notes on Jared Spool‘s talk: Anatomy of a Design Decision at An Event Apart. Unintentional design happens when you were paying attention to something else (like the system or process). It works when our users will put up with whatever we give [...]
I have an affinity towards looking into details for good design and markup techniques. Very often, I check popular sites to analyze their approach. Woorkup is one of the 10 blogs I check more than twice a week. It publishes some really nice articles and has an interesting layout. But I’ve never liked its navigation [...]
Earlier this year, I wrote a detailed article about CSS Font-stack which led lots of people to rethink about their font-stacks. I revised font-stacks of some famous websites in the article, I love typography was one of them . I tweeted @Ilovetypography about the font-stack issue, but, in disagreement they pointed me to an overstated [...]
Minimalism is often practiced to achieve simplicity in design. Dmitry Fadeyev of Usability Post beautifully puts down the true meaning of minimalism. I can see how minimalism can have a clear meaning in art, where the artist is free to create their own rules and ideas. Minimalism is a style that can be characterized by [...]
FontFonter: Try Web FontFonts on any website using a new service by FontShop. It uses custom CSS and other techniques to temporarily replace a site’s font styles with Web FontFonts.
In the Indian sweet shops it’s common practice that people taste every sweet they want to buy. That gives them better feeling and idea of the real taste before they actually pay for it. On the web we have similar practice called Gradual Engagement, where we first let the users try the website/web application before asking them to sign up.
Being a self-employed web designer, I have to work on various aspects of a project along with Visual Design; namely, Information Architecture, User-experience design and Usability. More often I get projects where the requirement is more than just Visual Design and HTML/CSS. It feels good to solve problems than just adding color and pixels.
I love 37signals. I’ve read both of their books, Getting Real and Rework, and tried all of their web-based apps. Basecamp—a web-based project collaboration tool, is what I use almost daily. Last year, while signing up for Basecamp, I noticed that the sign up page required some alignment.
CSS3 is helping the designers get creative and save time spent in slicing images from crash-prone Photoshop. Just like web standards have helped reduce code from 30% to 60%, CSS3 is here to take this reduction to next step. But not everyone seems to be taking advantage of this.
It has been over an year now when I first thought of Relpost—a place where related quality articles and blog posts can be found. There are many good articles and blog posts that get buried as archives. Relpost intends to fetch those valuable articles (lost in the archives) and put them together where they could be easily found.
I looked up the page for the Get Started button but it was nowhere on the page. Soon I realized it’s the Sign-up they are referring to. Another thing which seems a little confusing to me is the Sign in link under Join Gowalla.
Serious efforts are being made to get more typeface choices on the web to enhance web typography. Still, most of us prefer web-safe fonts like: Verdana, Georgia, Times New Roman and Arial. Though choices are limited, yet the number can be increased by exploring other pre-installed fonts.
It feels awesome when you are featured among the best web designers, especially in the beginning of your career. Just like Oscar nomination, it’s more than exciting! In web designing, there are no Oscar kind-of awards, so getting featured in some of the best web galleries or good design-blogs with huge audience is more than enough to satisfy you.
With over 173,900 subscribers and 90,300 Twitter followers, Smashing Magazine is well known among designers as a source of high-quality content. Recently, it has been redesigned and Smashing Network has been introduced. But the site needs better Information Architecture and there are a few usability issues as well.
Every designer is inspired by some other designer—better or more experienced. Inspiration is must to keep us moving forward and keep trying to produce better results. Without inspiration, sometimes we get stuck when ideas stop falling. Every designer should be prepared for such situation.
Last Friday I came back home from Canada after almost 4 long months. It is sooner than expected. My friends and family never thought I would come any sooner because people, here in Punjab, are crazy about abroad. But I have different priorities and prefer family, friends and comfortable life above money.
Ask the right questions, understand the problem, and explore lots of possible solutions.
Recently two big design community sites have been redesigned, Woorkup.com (earlier woork.blogspot.com) and Smashing Magazine, very popular sites among designers. Smashing magazine redesign has disappointed me but I am glad to see the new face of Woorkup.com. Design is really cool and clean. However I think there are some following usability issues.
Money drives most of things in this world. Everybody wants to start earning as soon as possible, without even being eligible. One must know when he has learn enough, and when his skills should reap the yield.
In a couple of weeks I’m going to India and need to take my beautiful iMac with me. But I am little conscious about its transportation. Whether to ship it via FedEx (very expensive) or take it as my luggage (better idea). Finally I decided to take it in my luggage.
In last couple of years I’ve discovered my love for webdesign books. I have learnt a lot from some really good books and blogs. Living in India, you don’t find any design workshops and good designers to talk to and learn from. One has to rely on books, rather than ebooks I would say, because Amazon doesn’t take online orders from my country :(.
I would love to attend a web conference some day. There is lots of stuff to learn, even from somebody’s notes. Luke Wroblewski, design lead for Yahoo!, has published some valuable stuff from invaluable talks from great speakers at An Event Apart.
When I started designing for the beautiful web, I didn’t know where to start. Because in my country (India) you won’t find great designers, especially web designers. Luckily I got in touch with Klaus Komenda — a yahoo employee — who guided me on how to start learning web design.
Couple of years back when I started web designing after college I used photoshop as most designers do. I worked hard to learn everything about photoshop through video tutorials, blogs etc. Few months later I came to know about fireworks. I used it and it was easier to use than photoshop, plus it is designed for Web designers for prototyping and creating website/UI mockups.
Finally got Web Form Design. I have to order it from U.S. due to unavailability in Canada. After reading few page I knew I would have really missed it.
Wired magazine invited various designers to re-design Craiglist.org. Khoi Vinh’s design is amazing.
Jason Santa Maria giving useful tips about preparing and presenting before audience.
Even though slides are what most people equate with “the talk,” depending on your presentation style, they are actually one of the least important aspects.
iTunes 9.0 came out this week. It has some really cool features but the design is not very cool. I think Tim Van Damme had better design idea of iTunes Store than designers at Apple. Apple iStore 9.0 design PS: There is some box showing up in top right corner. I don’t know what it [...]
Note & Point: A gallery by Cameron Moll hosting nice presentation made with Keynote (Mac) and Powerpoint (PC). Second and Park: A beautiful design by Things that are brown. Cardobserver: Gallery featuring beautiful business cards. Sushi & Robots (redesign): A beautiful redesign by young SF based designer, author and speaker. Biggest Apple clean, simple design. [...]
This week I started with jQuery. I know, I know I’m very late to it, but thankfully I am onto it. Starting with an essential jQuery book: Learning jQuery 1.3 and few tutorials. Here are few links I found useful: 15 Resources to get you started with jQuery from Scratch 10 tips for writing better [...]
Hello there! This is first post of its kind and there will be lot more in coming time. I’ll be posting links of what I’ve read, learned, saw during the whole week. Useful articles & links: 12 business tips from Simon Campbell of Erskine Design, UK. Behind the Typedia Logo Design by John Lagndon (Da [...]
Finally I managed to re-design my portfolio (http://designbyanaami.com). And yes, I agree it is one of the toughest design I’ve ever done so far. Waiting to know your comments on this design.