A random principle from Adactio’s collection
This is neat—Vasilis has built a one-pager that grabs a random example from my collection of design principles.
I really like that he was able to use the predictable structure of my HTML as an API.
This is neat—Vasilis has built a one-pager that grabs a random example from my collection of design principles.
I really like that he was able to use the predictable structure of my HTML as an API.
Brad’s writing a book.
Insert take-my-money.gif here.
An important clarification from Stephen:
You don’t actually design in the browser
When I speak of designing in the browser, I mean creating browser-based design mockups/comps (I use the terms interchangeably), as opposed to static comps (like the PSDs we’re all used to). So it’s not the design. It’s the visualization of the design—the one you present to stakeholders.
Personally, I think it’s as crazy to start in the browser as it is to start with Photoshop—both have worldviews and constraints that will affect your thinking. Start with paper.
You can now read Aaron’s excellent book online. I highly recommend reading the first chapter for one of the best descriptions of progressive enhancement that I’ve ever read.
Some good practical advice from Tim on setting a performance budget.
Use rule-based metrics to make sure you haven’t overlooked simple optimizations.
Use quantity-based metrics as guides to help designers and developers make better decisions about what goes onto a page.
Here’s a fun little interview I did recently, mostly about work stuff. It’s available for your huffduffing pleasure.
One thing that really bothers me is the way I repeatedly said “guys” to refer to my colleagues at Clearleft. I must stop doing that.
Dave’s great slides from a presentation on performance and responsive design.
An epic braindump by Dan, covering connected devices, product design, co-creation, DIY, and knopening stuff up. That’s right: knopening.
Knopen, a fairly obvious portmanteau of know and open, can be a verb (to knopen something) or an adjective (e.g. a knopen tool).
A great primer on using
picture. I think I’ll be referring back to this a lot.
This was a fun podcast—myself and Cyd from Code For America talk to Karen and Ethan about how we worked together. Good times.
The audio is available for your huffduffing pleasure.
Patty’s excellent talk on responsive design and progressive enhancement. Stick around for question-and-answer session at the end, wherein I attempt to play hardball, but actually can’t conceal my admiration and the fact that I agree with every single word she said.
I share the concerns expressed here about the “sizes” attribute that’s part of the new turbo-powered img element (or “the picture element and its associates”, if you prefer). Putting style or layout information into HTML smells bad.
This is a concern that Matt Wilcox has raised:
Change the design and those breakpoints are likely to be wrong. So you’ll need to change all of the client-side mark-up that references images.
I can give you a current use-case: right here on adactio.com, you can change the stylesheet …so I can’t embed breakpoints or sizes into my img elements because—quite rightly—there’s a separation between the structural HTML layer and the presentational CSS layer.
Following on from that post of Jason’s I linked to, Chris also emphasises that, for most use cases, you probably only need to use srcset (and maybe sizes), but not the picture element with explicit sources.
It’s really, really great that people are writing about this, because it can be quite a confusing topic to wrap your head around at first.
A deeply thoughtful piece (as always) by Wilson, on the mindset needed for a sustainable way of working.
When we start with the assumption that optimizing for rapid, unbounded growth is a goal, we immediately narrow the possibility space. There are only so many choices we can make that will get us there. The same choices that made annual monoculture and the shopping mall the most efficient engines for short-term growth and profit are the same qualities that made them unsustainable in the long term.
There are more ways to scale than growth. There are more ways to deepen our impact than just reaching more people. What if we put just as much effort into scaling the impact of our work over time? Can we build digital products around sustainable systems that survive long enough to outlive us, that are purpose-built to thrive without our constant cultivation?
This is four years old, but it’s solid advice that stands the test of time.
A really nice little documentary about my friend Jeffrey.
I had a good ol’ chat with Justin Avery from Responsive Web Design Weekly. We talk about performance, Responsive Day Out, and yes, progressive enhancement.
Design principles for the newly-formed USDS. I’ve added these to my collection.
A fantastic collection of short videos from Luke on interaction design for devices of all shapes and sizes.
Make yourself a nice cup of tea, hit “Play all”, sit back, relax and learn from the master.
Those lovely people at Filament Group share some of their techniques for making data tables work across a range of screen sizes.
Dave wanted to figure out if having a responsive site necessarily meant taking a performance hit, so he ran the numbers on his own site. It turns out all of performance-related issues are not related to responsive design.
A nice profile of BERG’s Little Printer. That Matt Webb is a smart cookie. He is also a very thoughtful cookie.
If you’re going to check out the New Yorker’s nice new responsive site, might I suggest you start here?
A look behind the scenes of gov.uk. I like their attitude to Photoshop comps:
We don’t want a culture of designs being “thrown over a wall” to a dev team. We don’t make “high fidelity mock ups” or “high fidelity wireframes”. We’re making a Thing, not pictures of a Thing.
We don’t have a UX Team. If the problem with your service is that the servers are slow and the UX Team can’t change that, then they aren’t in control of the user experience and they shouldn’t be called the user experience team.
The first in a series of posts looking at the process behind builfing this “quantified self” site:
As with most decisions in my life, I asked myself: What would Tony Stark do?
Here’s an intriguing approach to offering a navigation control that adapts as the user scrolls.
I’m not too keen on the way it duplicates the navigation in the markup though. I might have a play to see if I can find a way to progressively enhance up from a link-to-footer pattern to achieve this.
John peers behind the surface veneer of the web’s current screen-based setting:
The challenge for us as developers and designers for the web becomes less about screens and pixels and buttons and much more about how the web augments our lives, both actively and passively; how it makes us know ourselves and our homes and workplaces and environments better.
A peek behind the scenes of an interesting new navigation pattern on the Guardian’s still-in-beta responsive site.
You can try it out here
A concise case study from gov.uk:
Designing for the constraints of mobile is useful – if we get the fundamentals of the service working on small screens and slow network speeds, it can work on more capable devices.
Neil Berry writes down his thoughts prompted by Responsive Day Out 2.
A great blow-by-blow account of Responsive Day Out 2 from Simon R Jones.
Phil Baker writes up his thoughts on all the day’s talks.
What follows here is not a full account of each talk, you can listen to the audio recordings for that. This is more a collection of my main take-aways for the day, and what I found most interesting.
Marc Jenkins shares his thoughts on Responsive Day Out 2.
Another lovely write-up of Responsive Day Out 2.
Now this is what I call a conference write-up. Paul synthesises the talks from Responsive Day Out 2 into five principles for responsive design:
Sally and I will be speaking at this free evening in London on August 7th.
The brilliant George Oates has started a new design company with an emphasis on cultural heritage: “explicit notes to the future, local archives of global content.” Watch this space
Here’s Kirsty’s retrospective of Responsive Day Out 2, from the perspective of a speaker and an attendee.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of the magnificent Drew McLellan, the podcast of all the talks from Friday’s Responsive Day Out 2 are now available for your listening pleasure.
As well as delivering a terrific talk at Responsive Day Out 2, Ida has also written up her detailed notes of the day.
Adam Onishi’s write-up of Responsive Day Out 2, paying particular attention to the format and the curation of the day.
Jeremy puts together two fantastic conferences in Responsive Day Out and dConstruct, both of which I will have attended for the first time by the end of the year and I don’t think there’s a coincidence in that. Responsive Day Out was a truly fantastic conference, and it was all down to the curation of the conference, because quite literally there wasn’t anything else.
As always, Orde Saunders took copious notes at Responsive Day Out 2. The man’s a machine!
Sally’s talk at Responsive Day Out 2 was really, really great—it kinda blew my mind. I’m so, so happy she agreed to be a part of the event.
Here’s her description of the day and the other talks. Pay attention to the closing call:
I didn’t get to meet everyone I wanted to, but you should all come back for dConstruct in September as I’m sure that it’ll be even better than this weekend was.
Another great write-up of Responsive Day Out 2, this time from Hidde de Vries, who came over to Brighton from the Netherlands.
A terrific write-up of Responsive Day Out 2 by David Watson, tying together many of the day’s strands.
This is what Oliver was talking about Responsive Day Out 2 — a new approach to information architecture.
Cast off your sidebars! You have nothing to lose but your grids!
A lovely little tale of empowerment through HTML and CSS.
I had a lot of fun chatting with Andrew on his podcast. Yes, it’s a rambling affair but it’s worth sticking with it—we get really stuck in to some thorny questions about design and advertising.
Design fiction from a NASA scientist.
Some URLs are ugly. Some URLs aren’t. Let’s not sacrifice them.
I guess it goes without saying at this point, but this piece from Frank is beautiful and thought-provoking.
This part in particular touched on some things I’ve been thinking about lately:
Design’s golden calf is simplicity. Speaking as someone who sees, makes, and uses design each and every day, I am tired of simple things. Simple things are weak. They are limited. They are boring. What I truly want is clarity. Give me clear and evident things over simple things. Make me things that presume and honor my intelligence. Shun seamlessness. It is another false token. Make me things that are full of seams, because if you give me a seam and I pull the thread, I get to see how the whole world is stitched together. Give me some credit. Show me you trust me.
A lovely post by Mark on the value of URLs.
This is an interesting observation about the design of cassette inlays. It reminds of Paul’s presentation at the Responsive Day Out when he looked at the “responsiveness” of television idents.
Greg isn’t just lamenting a perceived “sameness” in web design here. He’s taking a long-zoom view and pointing out that there’s always a sameness …and you can choose to go along with it or you can choose to differentiate.
A handy little bookmarklet for quickly checking how a site might look at different screen sizes, and you can customise it to use whichever screen sizes you like.
A nice summation by Dan of when it makes sense to use a graphic design tool like Photoshop and when it makes sense to use a web browser.
This is a wonderful piece of writing and thinking from Frank. A wonderful piece of design, then.
A personal view on generalists and trans-media design
A great article by Susan on getting started with creating a styleguide for any project.
I’ve seen firsthand how style guides save development time, make communication regarding your front end smoother, and keep both code and design consistent throughout the site.
We need a web design museum.
I am, unsurprisingly, in complete agreement. And let’s make lots of copies while we’re at it.
The transcript of Malarkey’s recent talk. Good thoughtful stuff.
Yaili is documenting the process of retrofitting ubuntu.com to be responsive. I’ll be avidly reading each post in this series.
A terrific post from Trent, touching on all the important facets of building for the web: universality, progressive enhancement, performance …great stuff!
Fast Company features Aral’s tantalising Indie Phone project that he’s been working on at Clearleft Towers.
Good to see Oskar the dog getting the recognition he deserves.
On the top floor of a commercial building in the old maritime city of Brighton, England, Balkan has been quietly hacking away at Indie Phone for the last several months with the rest of his team—Victor Johansson, an industrial designer, Laura Kalbag, a professional web designer (and Balkan’s partner), and her Husky, Oskar.
The importance of long-term thinking in web design. I love this description of the web:
a truly fluid, chaotic design medium serving millions of imperfect clients
An interesting pattern for handling complex data tables in responsive designs. It’s a desktop-down approach, but pretty smart.
Some great thoughts in here about web development workflow and communication between designers and developers.
I believe that the solution is made up of a variety of tools that encourage conversation and improve our shared lexicon. Tools such as styleguides, pattern libraries, elemental and modular systems that encourage access not only by developers, but by designers, shareholders and editors as well.
Hey, look! The Clearleft interns are in Wired. That’s nice.
Lovely little graphics inspired by New York architecture.
The transcript of Mark’s talk from last week’s Handheld conference in Cardiff.
There are mountains.
I agree completely with the sentiment of this article (although the title is perhaps a bit overblown): you shouldn’t need a separate API—that’s what you’re existing URL structure should be.
I’m not entirely sure that content negotiation is the best way to go when it comes to serving up different representations: there’s a real value in being able to paste a URL into a browser window to get back a JSON or XML representation of a resource.
But this is spot-on about the ludicrous over-engineered complexity of most APIs. It’s ridiculous that I can enter a URL into a browser window to get an HTML representation of my latest tweets, but I have to sign up for an API key and jump through OAuth hoops, and agree to display the results in a specific way if I want to get a JSON representation of the same content. Ludicrous!
I like this CSS solution to sideways-scrolling tables for small viewports. It’s not going to be right for every situation but it’s a handy trick to keep up your sleeve.
This is the talk I gave at the border:none event in Nuremberg last month. I really enjoyed it. This was a chance to gather together some thoughts I’ve been mulling over for a while about how we approach front-end development today …and tomorrow.
Warning: it does get quite ranty towards the end.
Also: it is only now that the video is released that I see I spent the entire talk looking like a dork with a loop of wire sticking out of the back of my head.
The title is a bit sensationalist but I agree completely with what Karen is saying:
It’s time we acknowledged that every responsive web design project is also a content strategy project.
Frank’s fantastic closing talk from this year’s Build. There’s a lot of great stuff in here about interaction design, and even more great stuff about what’s been happening to the web:
We used to have a map of a frontier that could be anything. The web isn’t young anymore, though. It’s settled. It’s been prospected and picked through. Increasingly, it feels like we decided to pave the wilderness, turn it into a suburb, and build a mall. And I hate this map of the web, because it only describes a fraction of what it is and what’s possible. We’ve taken an opportunity for connection and distorted it to commodify attention. That’s one of the sleaziest things you can do.
A wonderful piece by Ethan taking issue what the criticism that responsive design is over-reliant on screen size. Instead, he says, it begins with screen size, but there’s no limit to where we can go from there.
Responsive design might begin with the screen, but it doesn’t end there.
Dan Bricklin—co-creator of the original VisiCalc spreadsheet—turns his attention to responsive design, specifically for input-centric tasks.
Dan gives some insight into what it took to make his personal site responsive. Stay tuned: there’ll be more of this.
A great presentation from Brian Boyer on NPR’s mobile strategy. Spoiler: it’s responsive design.
I heartily concur with Lyza’s mini-manifesto:
I think we need to try to do as little as possible when we build the future web …putting commonality first, approaching differentiation carefully.
It’s always surprised me how quickly developers will reach for complex, potentially over-engineered solutions, when—in my experience—that approach invariably creates more problems than it solves.
Simplicity is powerful.
Here’s the CSS and markup you need to make third-party iframes responsive. Handy!
Some good-lookin’ stats from a responsive redesign:
Total page views, a metric we were prepared to see go down with the redesign, are up by 27%. Unique visitors per week are up 14% on average and visits per week are up on average 23%.
Scott gives us an excellent State Of The Web address, looking at how the web can be central to the coming age of ubiquitous computing. He rightly skips through the imitation of native apps and gets down to the potential of just-in-time interactions.
Jason recants on his article from a few years back when he described responsive design as “fool’s gold.”
Responsive web design: it’s solid gold, baby.
Trent proposes a way to avoid implementing dark patterns: take a leaf from the progressive enhancement playbook and assume the worst conditions for your user’s context.
On the one hand, this is yet another Snowfall clone. On the other hand, the fact that it’s responsive is impressive.
Fodder for a Markov chain.
A handy collection of links to web-related podcasts. Go forth and huffduff.
I was interviewed for this article on psychology in web design. The title is terrible but the article itself turned out quite nicely.
A great call-to-arms from Tim, simply asking that we create websites that take advantage of the amazing universality of the web:
The web has the power to go anywhere—any network, any device, any browser. Why not take advantage of that?
Inevitably there is pushback in the comments from developers still in the “denial” stage of coming to terms with what the web is.
There’s a lot of very opinionated advice here, and I don’t agree with all of it, but this is still a very handy resource that’s been lovingly crafted.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy this classic documentary on graphic design, courtesy of its producer Edward Tufte.
A call for developers to let standards bodies know what we want:
It is important that we as developers focus on the right things again. If you encounter a bug, you should not only fix it for your site; you should reach out to browser vendors and web standards people to fix this in a long-term solution. It might cost you a few minutes, but brings a lot of improvement to the whole developer community.
A page to demonstrate the conditional CSS technique I documented a while back.
A nice collection of navigation patterns for responsive designs. The demos aren’t using a mobile-first approach, and they’re reliant on jQuery, but they could be easily adapted.
Well, this is rather nice. John Maeda uses my list of design principles as a jumping-off point for investigating the differences between design for people and designing for machines.
A terrific case study in progressive enhancement: starting with a good ol’ form that works for everybody and then adding on features like Ajax, SVG, the History API …the sky’s the limit.
I gave the opening keynote at the Beyond Tellerand conference a few weeks back. I’m talked about the web from my own perspective, so expect excitement and anger in equal measure.
This was a new talk but it went down well, and I’m quite happy with it.