Designing for performance

Designing for performance

Developers are acutely aware of the importance of website performance and optimising websites by minifying code, creating CSS image sprites and various other techniques has become best practice. However for those designing websites, but not coding them, website performance is something of an abstract concept.

While I’m not an advocate of designers needing to know how to code websites, they should appreciate the technical complexities involved. Perhaps the most important of these is the way in which design influences website performance, which in turn impacts on its success. Read more...

Responding to touch

Responding to touch

I had the privilege to attend the first ever Swipe Conference, which was held in Melbourne earlier this week and although it’s primarily pitched at iOS developers, many of the topics are still very relevant for those designing and developing websites. Among the many great speakers was Josh Clarke, writer of “Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps”. Josh’s talk, “Teaching touch” was an eye opener, exploring a future where gestures may replace buttons, menus and tabs and ways in which users can be educated to use such interfaces. Due to the nature of the web I think a chromeless future is a fair way off, but it did make me consider how us web developers approach touch when creating responsive layouts. Read more...

Adobe Muse?

Adobe Muse?

The latest product offering from Adobe Labs is Muse, a design program that allows individuals to “design and publish HTML websites without writing code”. Essentially this is a piece of software that allows print designers to design websites in an environment they are familiar with, due to it’s similarity to other applications such as Adobe InDesign. Designers can then publish layouts as HTML pages, that Adobe claims meets the latest web standards.

Many bloggers and the wider community have been particularly vocal about the failings of Muse and Adobe’s other recent forays, that include Edge and Wallaby. Elliot Jay Stocks has written a particularly good article examining Muse’s flaws, while also asserting that Adobe has taken a massive step in the wrong direction. Like many web designers I’m inclined to agree with Elliott’s astute evaluation. Read more...

Going large

Going large

Because responsive design offers a holistic solution for optimising websites for mobile devices many of its practitioners are heavily focused on exploring techniques and layouts to best achieve this. Frustratingly though many responsive layouts still ignore users with larger screens. They flex until they reach a width of 960px then stop, even though the content may not only accommodate going larger, but may actually benefit from it.

It’s important to remember that responsive design is not simply about optimising content for mobile, but for any device used to access the Internet. This includes desktop computers, televisions and other devices that boast impressive screen resolutions that exceed the “standard” screen size of 1024x768px. Read more...