Author: Design Guru

Utilizing The Power Of Recycling In Web Design

Truth be told, I am a philistine. When people talk about recycling, I don’t think of saving the planet. Now let’s explore the subject further. We will look at how we can recycle existing work (done by ourselves or others) in order to be more efficient. By doing so, we can finish projects more quickly and generate a better profit margin. The great thing about recycling is that we can all do it, whether we are a developer, designer or website owner. Let’s begin our journey with the masters of recycling: developers. I was once told that all good developers are lazy. Having a design background, I thought this bizarre. And yet, good development involves discovering the most efficient way to do something. Of course, finding the most efficient way is not always easy. It largely comes down to constantly searching for new approaches and taking the time to try new ideas. The key is to never be satisfied with your current approach, but rather to always strive for and experiment with new approaches. At the core of this “lazy’” approach to development lies the principle of “coding only once.” Classes and Functions Mid-project, it is easy to focus on the immediate challenge and fail to think long term. But a good developer writes code that is reusable in future projects. Functions that can be used in multiple projects...

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The Personification of Design

Every single day for the past twenty two years of my life, I have never left my house without having to worry about my appearance. I am human, and as such, I tend to identify myself by what I wear. Others tend to identify me by what I wear. My original Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses let the world know that I am ahead of the curve and up-kept with the current trends, my unbrushed hair places my in the ‘artist’ category of things, and my Beats by Dre headphones confirm my love for music. People tend to judge others on first impressions, which is one of the main reasons why we buy the things we buy. We all want to be judged the way we want to be judged. I’m sure you do too. And believe it or not, this is translating very well into our digital lives. Further Reading on SmashingMag: Just Like Real Life Just how we are constantly trying to fit in with a certain crowd or to be seen in a certain way by our peers in real life, we are doing the same in our digital lives. And by digital lives I mean our social media profiles. If you come to think about it, our online profiles are a lot more than just an extension to our real lives. I truly believe that in the...

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The Neglected Necessities Of Design

Right now is an exciting time to be in the Web design community. Every month we seem to stumble on a new thought-provoking way to put our expanding tool set to use for our clients and the patrons of the Web. Many designers are chomping at the bit to litter their websites with new CSS, advanced HTML and ultra-engaging JavaScript. By all means, go out and use every last declaration and element you can get your hands on. Abusing, misusing and taking advantage of everything the Web could possibly offer is the best way to learn about what we can and can’t and should and shouldn’t do in future. Whether you are excitedly exploring responsive design, diving headlong into accessibility, building a typographic masterpiece or seeing what level of interactivity you can achieve, all of your Web-based projects should have a common core. All of the new methods being discussed in the design community daily might be overwhelming, but no matter what route you ultimately take, almost any Web project you embark on today should start with solid HTML and logical CSS. This may seem like common sense, but the fact is that very, very few websites today benefit from sensationally optimized HTML and CSS and appropriately applied JavaScript. When I say solid HTML, I don’t just mean that it validates as XHTML 1.0 Transitional. I don’t even mean...

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Design Talent or Design Skill?

I’ve always wondered this: “Is there such thing as a talented designer? Or is good design a skill? Or maybe to be a great designer, you need a combination of talent, skill, and experience.” Well, I guess it would depend on your definition of what talent and skill is. I looked in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and this is how it defines the two words. Well, I guess it would depend on your definition of what talent and skill is. I looked in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and this is how it defines the two words. Skill: A learned power of doing something competently, a developed aptitude or ability. Talent: The natural endowments of a person, a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude. So based on these definitions, a skill is something that is learned, acquired, mastered through the course of time with enough practice and education. Talent is something that can’t be learned. It comes natural or easier to an individual. No need for silly advertising. At this point we just want to thank you for sticking around. This lil’ website wouldn’t exist without you. You are indeed quite… ahem, smashing. Happy reading! 😉 This button does nothing → The reason I bring this up is because it just seems to me that there are certain people that I’ve seen who have went to school for design and are smart...

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Review Of Cross-Browser Testing Tools

At some point in the future, the way that all major browsers render Web code will likely be standardized, which will make testing across multiple browsers no longer necessary as long as the website is coded according to Web standards. But because that day is still a way off (if it will really come at all), testing your design the advanced browsers as well as legacy browsers is a necessary part of any project. The old-school way to test code was to load your website on as many computers as you could find, using as many different combinations of browsers and operating systems as possible. That was fine if you had access to a bunch of different computers (and had some time to kill). But there are much more efficient ways to test across browsers, using either free or commercial Web services and software. In this article we review some of the most useful ones. Good news: very powerful free testing tools are available for Web designers today. Some are more user-friendly than others, and some have significantly better user interfaces. Don’t expect much (if any) support with these tools. But if you’d rather not spend extra money on testing, some great options are here as well. Adobe BrowserLab Adobe BrowserLab is a free cross-browser compatibility tool that lets you test a number of modern and legacy browsers, including...

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