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 172014

Prototyping Your Workflow explores the process of introducing new ways of collaboration for working on innovative approaches to development in a way that retains organizational efficiency while not having the client “bankroll our workflow remodeling project”. Techniques used include a more direct approach in working together with cross-functional development teams:

pairing designers and developers early on in a project, and having the developer create markup that “waterskis” behind the designer’s sketches and Photoshop explorations.

What I found particular interesting is the implementation of  HTML/CSS wireframes with an eye towards eventually delivering HTML/CSS prototypes to the client in the final round. I believe there is a definite trend in that direction.

Prototyping Your Workflow.

Mar 272014

This is a must read for independent designers and developers. Rachel Andrew is right on the money in her observation that world of large design firms and web conferences is a world apart from independent web developers who work in the trenches creating websites for small businesses on a budget. They represent a large segment of the web workforce and are not apart of the rarified world of expensive speakers and high end conferences. This breeds an alienation and relevance factor that deserves serious attention.

Our Enclosed Space ∙ An A List Apart Column.

Mar 242014

If you’re hosting your own video content and need robust streaming that’s cross platform and html5 friendly then Adobe Media Server with good encoding presets and a robust back-end works well.

Here’s an article that details a project I was involved in a while ago. It serves as a good reference on the approach we took to make it work. The actual web application is live and hosted by Web Learning Solutions for the Minnesota Humanities Center.

I’m Saying Adios to F4V. By Jan Ozer

Dec 312013

This is a good resource for Dreamweaver alternatives. The author compares features so you can quickly see what’s missing and compare that to features you may need. If you’re on Windows, Microsoft Expression Web 4 is a good alternative.

10 Best Alternatives To Adobe Dreamweaver.

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 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

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.

Oct 292013

This article covers the media spectrum of digital storytelling. What fascinated me as a steady consumer of online news content is the trend towards subcompact publishing which

“has been defined as a method of digitally publishing focused HTML-based content targeted at carefully identified audiences, primarily via mobile devices, in small, weekly (or so), mainly text-based issues, adhering to simple user-interface and navigation principles.”

Reading within apps can be limiting (an app for every newspaper) and RSS readers though great can be problematic. Have you experienced a Feedly crash lately? Enter Subcompact publications (qz.com) that offer long form content using a simple interface and a flat taxonomy in your mobile browser–no app required–on any platform.

Desktop versions of news websites have become so cluttered with floating ads, confusing layered taxonomies, and pages that load with the speed of flowing molasses, even on desktop connections, that they have become untenable perhaps even in-viable. So check out this article and take a look at a few refreshing subcompact publications.

Recent Trends In Storytelling And New Business Models For Publishers | Smashing Magazine.

Sep 122013

These articles from alistapart shine a light on the importance of cultivating good working relationships and good communication (interviewing and listening) practices. They also provide practical information including how to choose good clients and work with them as well as a step-by-step approach for conducting effective client interviews. Even though the article on “Good Clients…” focuses on freelancers, several aspects apply to designers in all employment situations.

Interviewing Humans · An A List Apart Article.
Good Designers, Good Clients ∙ An A List Apart Column.