Quality Assurance may sometimes seem like an extra drain of time and effort after already putting so much work into your project. It can be the difference between worthwhile results and “just good enough”, though.
There are many right and wrong ways to develop CSS. How do you build a good foundation for your architecture?
Building a database or application without a plan seems crazy. Why is that the standard expectation for so many front end developers today?
Getting professional recognition can be a difficult and complex task. Does the value of providing free work and resources merit the time it takes out of your day?
What makes a product or experience memorable to a user? What impact does front-end design and development have on the success of a project?
Working remotely can be equal parts blessing and curse. What are some of the best ways to make the most of your time for you and your client?
So what is a Scalable Vector Graphic? It’s a type of image usable on most modern web browsers. IE 8 and the stock Android 2.3 browsers don’t’ support them, but there are pretty comprehensive fallback techniques that cover the gap pretty well. As long as you’re aware of your audience needs and access capabilities, SVGs should be in your tool kit.
What role does front-end work play in virtual reality, and what do the new rules of three dimensional interfaces look like?
Personas can be a powerful corner stone or an Achilles Heel for projects of every kind. Knowing the right way to leverage them makes all the difference.
The reign of terror of internet popups is steadily subsiding. But is there a new pretender to the Throne of Annoyance from interstitial ads?
While a lot of time and effort goes into user interfaces, user experience, and what happens functionally in the user’s browser, it’s important to take the time to consider the length of cable and airwaves between your website’s host and your visitor’s browser.
How we design and develop the front-end of websites has changed a lot over time. In the beginning, Tim said “Let there be text”, and it was good. Text alone wouldn’t last long, though. Even before the internet became a full global phenomenon, human imagination demanded more.
I’ve spent the last few weeks transferring over the client sites I host from an older server, to a newer one with better speed and security. In the process, I was reminded of the potential hazards of development complexities that can sneak into the most basic of sites. While leveraging Wordpress can make some problems trivial, it’s also got equal tradeoffs and stress points that show up at the least opportune moments.
The more we add to the web, and the more complex it gets, the more difficult it can be to work with. More complex code and development standards, multiplied by sifting through resources that all claim to be “the only correct method”, means that things aren’t getting any easier.
I’ve been working on a pet project this week to update some branded email templates with a more recent style. The prior versions were mostly text-based content templates to save time and focus my thoughts for a variety of situations. I’ve since polished up a bit on the oh-so-sexy skill of HTML email building, and thought this was a perfect excuse to do a comprehensive deep dive and make some really nice templates.
Speaking of new and old users alike, this week I wanted to start talking about accessibility in modern design and development. It’s a topic that can innocently fly under the radar, or deliberately be swept under the rug. If responsive design for mobile devices is a can of worms, then the effort and understanding of accessibility might seem a bit like a Lovecraftian nightmare.
Mobile phones might be something you’ve heard of in the past couple of years. Like Beanie Babies and Tamagotchi, it’s a safe bet that mobile browsing of the internet is something that’s here to stay. As a matter of fact, we are probably still in the early days of seeing mobile saturation, much less whatever strange and unique user interfaces will eventually come next.
My team has been working on a few parallel projects recently that are all massive in scale. For a team with only a couple dedicated developers, that means that we’re regularly involved in a flurry of very big-picture ideas and small-detail implementation and testing.
Tools and methods for designing, developing, testing, and growing are floating around everywhere. Some of them are incredibly helpful and will be crucial in reaching our goal. Others are lurking, just waiting to make us stumble or distract us at a critical moment.
Visiting a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Amazon’s backyard seemed to be an appropriately ironic thing to do in Seattle, and I found myself browsing the technical section for any hidden gems. I had nearly exhausted the shelves when I found a copy of “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum”, by Alan Cooper.
Complexity in work is nothing new for the human condition. If your job consists of a small handful of simple things, like pushing a button every time you hear a beep, it’s because someone had to wrap their heads around a complex process and break it into parts before you started. Also, you should really find a new job.
This episode, I want to talk about value. Creating value, and then communicating that value, is at the core of most creative work. In some cases, that can be a simple proposition; a commissioned project with a clear deliverable, or a maintenance request to fix a bug. Unfortunately, this kind of work doesn’t often make a great platform for growth.
Below is the first episode of my new project, Front End Center. Hit play to listen in, and read along in the transcript beneath if you want! Check out future episodes and content at http://fec.fyi
Front-end technology is a complex, rapidly changing area of specialization. Anyone who works as (or with) a "front-ender", knows that any single topic can be an action-paralyzing process of option evaluation and comparison, ad infinitum.
As we roll into 2016, responsive design comes ever further into the limelight. Individuals, small businesses, and even international corporations are trying to get the most out of this "responsive" thing.
While you won't be finding code-related insight, or explicit UX advice I've gained from playing through Journey many times, I felt that not writing something would be doing a disservice. From the first time I picked up this game years ago, it's been a constant source of inspiration and the most identifiable source of my pervasive interest in zen-like simplicity.
My career as a web developer began while I was still in school, teaching myself via online tutorials. I picked up everything I thought a good freelancer ought to know. After getting a grasp on basic coding and some design theory, I was only missing one thing: actually working with people.
And now an article on Awwwards!
Whether you're listening to the nightly news, checking the latest opinions on the internet, or just catching up with friends over drinks, the topic of unemployment has probably been coming up. A lot. Also, this probably isn't something you just noticed recently.
Working in technology can be a boggling mixture of infinite creative power and utterly random limitations that there is no sane way to avoid. Ask me my opinion halfway through attempting to create the perfect responsive email campaign for Outlook, and I will have a very loud, very explicit opinion on the matter.
My first article for Web Designer Depot is live!
The access to information most people enjoy today is completely and utterly unprecedented. What once required potentially vast amounts of time, effort, and pre-existing knowledge has been simplified and made convenient with modern technology.
How do people prepare to make themselves a success? I know I fall prey to the occasional impulse to look up salary levels associated with a coding language I could learn or a team role I could fill.
It's in my professional tag line, always at the fore-front of my efforts, my favorite word: simple. It's what I've distilled from the movements that proclaim "Lazy is good!" and "Working harder isn't working smarter!".
Design has always been prevalent to the modern world. Sometimes good design fades into the background and you wouldn't even notice it if you hadn't been looking in the first place. Other times, the design serves a function in and of itself by being obvious, artistic, and in your face.
Being a professional of any kind comes with a equal amounts of benefits and responsibilities. One of the largest, especially in a creative field, is the ability to say both 'yes' AND 'no'.
For those just broaching the topic, CMS (Content Management Systems) are a wide variety of programs and scripts that provide a skeleton of sorts to build a website on. These systems are pre-built in a 'vanilla' structure that provides base level functionality and the potential to be grown and customized greatly, as each project demands.
No, I'm not advocating for 'creative' business ethics. That's what lawyers are for. I'm looking to talk about business (and personal!) ethics in the creative/design industry. Although the former certainly pays better, the latter usually leaves more of your soul intact.
Typography can make or break a web project far more quickly than many non-designers would ever expect. A large part of that typography, especially in auto-generated solutions like Wordpress nav menus, is the alignment and spacing of text-based elements.
Whether you're a freelancer, or well embedded in a larger design/development studio, there's a pretty good chance you're at least capable of wearing multiple job-hats, if you have to. Most folks have at more than one point in their career.
A lot of discussion and argument goes on based around trendy or just otherwise nebulous industry jargon. Writers both big and small can leverage new topics that are both of interest to professionals, but are also accessible to those not on the front line with years of experience.
Freelancing can mean a lot of different things at different points in the same career, much less across an entire industry. Most folks experience freelance as an intro-level to an industry, or at least as a way to build a basic portfolio to garner them further attention and bigger opportunities.
The relationship between a client and a creative professional can be complex, colorful, and never the same twice. Even the same partnership can give drastically different results depending on the medium and goals of the project.
The workflow process of a web project can range from simple and straightforward to an exercise in an M.C. Escher caliber game of connect-the-dots.
Web design and development are nebulous, but lucrative, fields of employment. In many ways, they are exemplary of the opportunity-driven, Wild West mentality of the internet as it stands today. The tool-set to start your journey is incredibly accessible, meaning that anyone around the world can try their hand at whatever part of the industry intrigues them the most.
Contrary to popular opinion, sometimes it's okay to judge a book by its cover. In fact, you'd be doing just fine to do so with Smashing Magazine's latest book. It looks great!
How much does a freelancer charge for their services? Do you charge by the hour? Do you charge a given rate for a specific task, no matter it's complexity or length? How much are YOU worth?
Having just wrapped up a MASSIVE redesign of this very portfolio, it stands that now is the perfect time to put down some thoughts about what a creative portfolio website is, is not, can be, and definitely should not be.