Jul 262014

This article focuses on a mobile first strategy that emphasizes good user experience which a traditional implementation of responsive design doesn’t meet in many cases. I found interesting the observation that all CSS and scripts are loaded regardless of media queries and there are steps you can take to avoid that. One approach is using javascript MATCHMEDIA (I wish the author would have gone into  some detail on this point). What’s most interesting is the behavior and latency in mobile networks. Recognizing that should cause you to adjust your approach.

I suggest giving this eye opening article a read.

You May Be Losing Users If Responsive Web Design Is Your Only Mobile Strategy | Smashing Magazine.

Jun 022014

This article does a good job comparing different ways in which desktop and mobile users approach tasks and how that effects behavior, needs, and the interface: desktop vs. mobile. For that alone it’s a worthy read.

Code examples are included if you’re wondering how to program specific functions  such as techniques for local storage, avoiding a browser crash when waking from sleep mode, and keeping data refreshed while preserving bandwidth.

The context is a case study on mobile efficiency and user experience.

Streamlining Mobile Interactions | Smashing Magazine.

Feb 242014

I previously referenced an article in this blog on CSS regions which are a way of controlling the flow of content in a specified order via   containing block elements a.k.a. CSS regions. This allows for artificially (if you will) controlling content flow vs a more organic approach using native CSS3 multi-column layouts.  The purpose of CSS regions is to more precisely control content flow in responsive designs.

I suggest reading both articles for an excellent point counterpoint perspective. The implications impact semantic markup and responsive design. The author of this article is sympathetic to the concept of CSS regions while pointing out real problems with implementation.

CSS Regions Considered Harmful ∙ An A List Apart Blog Post.

Jan 092014

Here’s an excerpt that lists the lean UX manifesto. The article does a nice job of explaining these points and how they make for a more efficient and effective design process.

We are developing a way to create digital experiences that are valued by our end users. Through this work, we hold in high regard the following:

  • Early customer validation over releasing products with unknown end-user value
  • Collaborative design over designing on an island
  • Solving user problems over designing the next “cool” feature
  • Measuring KPIs over undefined success metrics
  • Applying appropriate tools over following a rigid plan
  • Nimble design over heavy wireframes, comps or specs

As stated in the Agile Manifesto, “While there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

The Lean UX Manifesto: Principle-Driven Design | Smashing UX Design.

Dec 192013

This article was prompted by Adobe’s announcement that they will no longer continue development of Fireworks. Many UI designers use the Illustrator Photoshop combination which begs the question for some – Why Fireworks?

If you read this excellent article you’ll get the answer in detail with a mouth watering list of features that make obvious the reasons Fireworks is an excellent UI development tool.

Here’s a brief excerpt on Photoshop/Fireworks differences.

Photoshop is the (elephant in the room) most obvious example. It was created for photo editing and print design tasks. A few UI design features were later added to it, yet Photoshop still lacks many features that would make it really useful (and easy to use) for screen design. Still, thousands (if not millions) of users worldwide have been working with this imperfect tool for more than a decade and use it successfully for UI design tasks.

Fireworks, on the other hand, was built from the ground up for UI and screen design, and every single feature in it is intended specifically to help the UI designer. Even though Fireworks isn’t the perfect tool, in my opinion it best meets the needs of UI designers.


Dec 162013

The first article looks at an alternate way to personalize and humanize personas so they are easier to relate to by development team members. When you look at the prototypes in the author’s templates (second link) and compare them to a standard approach it makes sense. The idea is that personas must engender empathy in order for them to be of use.

The final article linked below on why Personas matter is more general in nature and provides context for the specific approaches outlined in the first two links.

How to Breathe Life Into Personas, on Boxes and Arrows.

Link to view, and purchase if you like, the author’s persona templates.

Why Personas Matter and how to Utilize Them

Dec 102013

Most of us have experienced running an app while offline, or losing connectivity while in an app only to receive an error message or helplessly watch the app crash or seize up. Connectivity is especially important in developing nations where Internet access can be unreliable and bandwidth limited. So designing for Offline-First is important and in many cases a necessity. Many apps that depend on synchronization are already doing this. Case in point, Evernote.

Designing Offline-First Web Apps on A List Apart

Dec 092013

This article effectively highlights design challenges for high resolution screens. Locking in max-width is a limiting and oftentimes detrimental approach. With responsive design one needs to consider big screen opportunities as well as small screen compatibility. How can you take advantage of high resolution? Consider content strategy and the opportunity to keep more content above the fold. The plethora of examples along with discussion on how others have utilized the big screen are what really make this article useful.

CSS3 offers two key techniques for responsive designs across resolutions. One that shows the most promise is CSS regions. Also look at CSS columns and design around a strong grid.

Surveying the Big Screen · An A List Apart Article.

Nov 052013

The last subheading in this article is “…Do make me think, sometimes”, an obvious nod to Steve Krug and one I agree with. The crux of the authors point is noted in the following quote.

We know that well-presented content and organized design makes information appear more credible. Unfortunately, this can also be true when the content itself is of low quality.

Actual interaction time and engagement may increase when information is actually slightly harder to decipher or digest easily. This suggests that simplification of content is not always desirable if we are designing for understanding over and above mere speedy consumption.

Sometimes, perhaps out of the fear of high bounce rates, we might be ignoring the fact that maybe we can afford to lose a percentage of users if those that stick are motivated to really engage with our content. In this case, the level of detail to support this deeper interaction needs to be there.

Good food for thought wouldn’t you say? Now read the full article.

Clicking Fast and Slow « Boxes and Arrows.

Nov 052013

If your main point when selling responsive design to a client is compatibility with mobile devices then you’ll find this article eye opening. Sure, mobile compatibility is fundamentally germane but responsive design is about more than that, especially today when there really isn’t a standard monitor size. This article makes good points in the context of a case study which always helpful.

Selling Responsive Web Design To Clients | Smashing Magazine.