History of Icons

History of Icons looks at the evolution of icons used for desktop, mobile, and web.  There are plenty of nostalgia triggering screenshots from a variety of systems.  Given that nobody could ever afford having all of those systems, I’m sure you’ll find interesting screens from computers you didn’t have or didn’t see.

The 20 best wireframe tools

 

Creative Bloq lists 20 best wireframe tools.  The selection varies from free, through cheap, to expensive, and covers web-based, desktop, and mobile solutions.  Quite handy for those of us not involved in web design on a daily basis, but needing a sketch / mockup / wireframe tool once in a while.

The list includes the following:

  1. Wireframe.cc
  2. Moqups
  3. UXPin
  4. Fluid UI
  5. Balsamiq Mockups
  6. Axure
  7. Pidoco
  8. Visio (surprise, surprise)
  9. InDesign CC
  10. Photoshop CC (no surprise)
  11. Photoshare
  12. Penultimate
  13. Pencil Project
  14. OmniGraffle
  15. Gliffy
  16. MockFlow
  17. Frame Box
  18. FlairBuilder
  19. Justinmind
  20. HotGloo

 

The Difference Between UI and UX

Via this article (in Russian), I came across this blog post discussing the differences between the design of the UI (user interface) and the UX (user experience).

In many cases, the incorrect expectation is that an interface designer by default understands or focuses on user experience because their work is in direct contact with the user. The simple fact is that user interface is not user experience. The confusion may simply be because both abbreviations start with the letter “U”. More likely, it stems from the overlap of the skill-sets involved in both disciplines. They are certainly related areas, and in fact many designers are knowledgeable and competent in both.

However, despite the overlap, both fields are substantially different in nature and – more importantly – in their overall objectives and scope. User interface is focused on the actual elements that interact with the user – basically, the physical and technical methods of input and output. UI refers to the aggregation of approaches and elements that allow the user to interact with a system. This does not address details such as how the user reacts to the system, remembers the system and re-uses it.

My lightbulb moment with modular design

Cameron Lock, of Yammer fame, describes the complexities involved that led her and the team to a simpler, more modular approach to the mobile application design.  The most important bit after grouping everything into modules, practically, I think, is this:

We stopped defining margins between modules. Instead, all the spacing in the app would come from padding within the modules — specifically, top padding. Bottom padding would have worked, too; just not both. The key is to choose one of the two and stick with it.

Modular CSS : Block, Element, Modifier

I don’t do a lot of front-end work these days, but I am genuinely interested in approaches that help build modular systems, especially when the subject is something as messy and as context-dependent as CSS.

Recently, I came across the Block-Element-Modifier approach, aka BEM, which I find interesting.

If you’re not familiar with BEM, it’s a naming methodology that provides a rather strict way to arrange CSS classes into independent components. It stands for Block Element Modifier and a common one looks like this:

.block {}
.block__element {}
.block--modifier {}
.block__element--modifier {}

The principles are simple — a Block represents an object (a person, a login form, a menu), an Element is a component within the block that performs a particular function (a hand, a login button, a menu item) and a Modifier is how we represent the variations of a block or an element (a female person, a condensed login form with hidden labels, a menu modified to look differently in the context of a footer).

This follow-up article provides more details and examples.

Web design : from zero experience to a high paying job

Richard Yang, a UX designer at Sony, shares his path from a guy with zero experience in design to a respected professional with a high paying job.  Much like with any professional, in the past, present or future, it wasn’t an overnight success, but an inhuman amount of work and dedication, with plenty of failure.

Continue reading “Web design : from zero experience to a high paying job”

Creative Commons beta tests new search

Creative Commons is beta testing a new search implementation.  It helps with finding creative work (mostly images for now) that one can use commercially, modify, adapt, and build upon.  For now, it brings the results from a few different sources that you’d have to search separately before – 500px, FlickrMetropolitan Museum of ArtNew York Public Library, and Rijksmuseum.

I’m sure once the functionality and performance are stabilized, more resources and types of creatives will be added.  After all, Creative Commons works with quite a few platforms.

Oh, and if you’ve spent the last few years in a cave and don’t know what Creative Commons is all about, here are a couple of links for you:

Via WordPress Tavern.

 

HTML Canvas Tutorial

Skilled.co put together this HTML Canvas Tutorial, which covers the HTML 5 <canvas> functionality, that allows web developers to draw all sorts of graphics on the fly, using JavaScript.  The tutorial is available for download in PNG and PDF formats, as well as on the webpage, and it covers the following:

  • Shapes
  • Styles and color
  • Text
  • Images
  • Transformations
  • Compositing and clipping
  • Animation
  • Pixel manipulation
  • Hit regions and accessibility

It also provides a few useful tips, inspiration, and links to other resources.