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Posts tagged with Design

15 delicious examples of card-based web design

The rise of the smartphone has ushered in a new way of thinking among web designers and developers, who need to create websites that work on smaller screens.

The constraints of smaller screens have actually helped the web to become that little bit more modular, with responsive design now one of the foremost web design trends: pages can be broken up into their constituent parts, and reordered on the fly, depending on browser or screen sizes. Content spread over three or four columns can be repositioned into just one. 

This has refocused attention on 'cards', as a design pattern for displaying information in bite-sized chunks. Cards are ideal for the TL;DR generation, perfect for mobile devices and responsive design, and I think we'll be seeing a lot more of them in the months and years ahead. The format may not be new, but it's on the rise.

What is a card, exactly? Well, they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but commonly cards will include information such as a title, a user name, a picture, and various icons. Sometimes there might be a brief amount of text, for example a product description. In a sense, they are miniature, condensed web pages.  

Cards were one of my 18 web design trends for 2014, and I wanted to highlight some beautiful examples of card-based user interfaces. Tuck in!

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14 beautiful designs based around shades of colour

Earlier this year I highlighted monochromatic design and hypercolour as two of my 18 web design trends for 2014. There is a third way that lives inbetween these two approaches: choosing a limited palette and using different shades of colour.

Designers who go down this route typically choose one vibrant colour (and various shades thereof) and offset it against a neutral background. Sometimes two (or more) complementary colours come into play. 

I thought I'd share a few examples, to hopefully provide you with a little visual inspiration. Many of these examples are, to my eye, rather elegant. 

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space jam website

25 old school websites for 25 years of the web

The web is 25 years old. Did you use it today? And yesterday? Wow, it’s really catching on.

Here are some old websites from 1994 to 1998, when the web was in full swing (or so we thought).

If you’ve got your own to share, do leave them in the comments section below.

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21 examples of user experience innovation in ecommerce

I’ve been keeping a close eye on innovation in the ecommerce sector for more than a decade now, and it seems to me that we're living in exciting times. We have hit some kind of purple patch. 

Why is this? Well, ecommerce has massively matured. It's big business. Digital teams are smarter, and more agile. Sexy new tech such as HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery allows for sublime user experiences. 

As such I wanted to raise a toast to innovation by highlighting a bunch of - hopefully inspiring - examples to you.

But first, a massive caveat: I would severely and mercilessly beat a few of these sites with a big best practice stick. There are product pages with missing information. There are search boxes with tiny fonts. There are usability issues galore.

Secondly, for ecommerce sites, it is all about the data. If you’re not constantly testing, measuring and refining, then you aren’t doing it right. What works for one brand might not work so well for another. 

All of that aside, the ecommerce teams that take chances and push the boundaries of are to be applauded. Guidelines are precisely that: guidelines. Rules are there to be broken. And innovation is always to be encouraged, even when it doesn’t work out.

So let's take a look at some ecommerce websites (and one mobile app) that are trying new things, and that are noteworthy for their approach to the user experience. Click on the screenshots to check them out for yourself, and do let me know what you think.

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New Year marketing resolutions you shouldn't break in 2014

It’s February and already, according to a number of statistical sources, around a quarter of us have failed to uphold our New Year’s resolutions.

Interestingly, 39% of people in their twenties achieve their resolution each year compared to only 14% of people over 50. That’s interesting given the prevailing attitudes towards younger generations.

In the same vein, marketers are mapping out the conversations they want to have this year to stay ahead of the curve. Given the influx of ‘2014 Trends’ in January, I thought it would be a useful point to review the best and highlight a few that might follow New Year’s resolutions.

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15 tiny UX elements that can make a big difference

Small details can make a big difference to the user experience, saving users' time, making it easier for them to spend money, or just generally making it more enjoyable. 

Some of these things are so widespread and expected now that you don't even notice them, such as postcode lookup tools on sites. They were not always there, and save you a lot of hassle. 

So, inspired by sites like littlebigdetails, I've rounded up 15 examples of little UX touches I've come across myself, or have found via sites like Pinterest. 

Some are obvious, some less so, and there is a general ecommerce slant to this list. Please suggest any examples you've seen lately...

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Visual narratives: telling a story through visual design

According to Curt Cloninger, "Usability experts are from Mars, graphic designers are from Venus"

Since the early days of web design and development, the enduring perception has lingered of a clash between two incompatible approaches.

According to the somewhat exaggerated popular concept of brain lateralisation, these might correspond to 'right brain' thinking (represented by art and aesthetics) and 'left brain' thinking (represented by engineering or usability).

This, of course, is simply not the case. Any website, (or any other form of communication) needs a combination of them all to be successful, and as the discipline of user experience (UX) has matured over the past few years this perceived divide has begun to contract.

Today, UX professionals are using the basic tools of visual communication to provide clearer, more intuitive user journeys.

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mobile home cloggs

Cloggs responsive redesign: mega gallery

With 2013 the first year tablet shipments are expected to exceed that of PCs and also a year in which smartphone penetration reaches 64% in the US (Nielsen), responsive design is rightly this year’s hot topic.

Despite this, it seems a lot of big brands are playing catch up, with new research from Venda showing just one of the UK’s top 50 most visited retail sites (Curry’s) currently hosts a responsive website.

A quarter of websites analysed don’t have a mobile optimised site, and many retailers host their mobile site under a different URL structure to their existing website, which could be negatively impacting their SEO and affecting their efforts with analytics. 

As comScore estimates a third of all UK page views now come from smartphones and tablets, delivering a slick customer experience across all devices has become a massive competitive advantage for retailers.

To that end, I've been looking at the new responsive Cloggs website. 

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Start Me Up! A profile of Marvel, turning your Dropbox images into prototypes

Sending email attachments to pitch for work is starting to feel like an ugly way to present your hard-crafted work to clients.

Marvel has been created to smooth this process via Dropbox, allowing files to be converted to prototypes once uploaded.

I spoke to Murat Mutlu, Product Designer and Co-Founder about Marvel app.

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16 alternative lorem ipsum generators to spice up your filler text

If you've ever wireframed webpages then you might have found the need to use some dummy text. Traditionally that meant searching for 'lorem ipsum' on Google and copying and pasting a bunch of Latin. 

Nowadays, we have a few more options. I have collected some lorem ipsum variants for you to use the next time you need some placeholder text.

Choose your weapon wisely! And be warned, some of these tools are a little sweary, or non-PC, so if you're easily offended I suggest you stick to using Latin.

Enjoy!

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Why site optimisation is necessary before, during and after site redesigns

Say the words ‘site re-design’ and if you listen really, really hard you can probably hear a collective shudder from IT and marketing teams around the world.

Anyone who has ever been involved in a site re-design will know it’s a huge project and requires coordination of a number of parties involved.

With resources constantly under pressure, testing can often be forgotten. However, this can actually cause more problems in the long run!

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HTML5 / CSS3 logos

14 creative HTML5 websites built for digital agencies

If you run a digital agency, especially one that designs and builds websites, then what better way of showing off your talents than to build a wonderful website for your own company?

In the past couple of years many agencies have rebuilt and relaunched their websites using HTML5 and CSS3. The results can be eye-opening, highly engaging, and built to work on all kinds of devices.

It's not all good news though. Sometimes the use of HTML5 can be downright annoying: just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Does it matter that some of these websites take half a minute to load? Personally I think fast loading times really matter, but I've heard arguments that people are prepared to wait for certain types of website. You can decide for yourself. 

At any rate, there is plenty to admire here, and perhaps there is an acceptable trade off between optimal usability and the overall user / brand experience. Certainly it's always interesting to watch web design evolve, and agencies are naturally inclined to push the boundaries.

The following examples show what can be achieved, and mercifully not all of them are addicted to loading icons. Tuck in and see what you think.

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