Skip to main content
Grain and Mortar Banner

Creative / Development Inspiration 36

Website design and development inspiration can be tricky to find. This week we have the good stuff. 2 design agency websites for inspiration, several design articles on design mindset as well as bad UX/UI patterns. On top of that there are 2 new JS libraries, a CSS framework, and a great new React JS test website.

 

Website Inspiration

Grain and Mortar

A brand strategy and design agency website, Grain and Mortar have created something that is fast loading, slick, and gets the information across well.

https://grainandmortar.com/

 

45royale

This is another agency site. 45royale are a web design / development studio and their site shows it. Everything is laid out simply and easily digestible. My only issue with it, is after running Google Lighthouse, it falls down hard on Accessibility. If you are designing for the web, make it accessible…

https://45royale.com/

 

Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration

You Can’t Design Without a Growth Mindset

Since failure is such an inevitable and essential part of design, it’s important to be surrounded by people who can not only accept, but embrace failure. One way to do this is to cultivate a growth mindset, both among team members as well as the organisation as a whole.

https://zurb.com/blog/you-can-t-design-without-a-growth-mindset

 

The Most Hated UI & UX Pattern of 2018

This article takes a deep look into some of the worst UI/US patterns about, asks why, and breaks them down. For example, why did infinite scroll fail Etsy? (as well as many other sites). How preloaders are just a smokescreen for poor performance. A very interesting read.

https://icons8.com/articles/most-hated-ui-ux-design-pattern

 

Development Snippets, Samples, and Articles

Shepard

Guide your users through your website with this JavaScript libary.

https://shipshapecode.github.io/shepherd/docs/welcome/

 

Snack.Expo

This site was such a great find! Run React JS code right in the browser, include third party scripts, and push tests to your mobile. A brilliant tool, and free!

https://snack.expo.io/

 

Vivify

Another animation library, that you can just plug in. Its new, and its free!

http://vivify.mkcreative.cz/

 

Stream – Ui Kit

Stream UI Kit is beautiful Open Source Bootstrap 4 UI Kit. It has 5 complete pages and includes over 20 reusable and customizable UI Blocks. It’s lightweight and only ~17kb when minified.

https://htmlstream.com/templates/stream-ui-kit

 

A bit of everything

Better Research, Better Design, Better Results

When content isn’t considered until the end, or previous data hasn’t been looked at to make solid design decisions problems occur. When the client is not forewarned about content strategy (because there isn’t one) or the site is not built with SEO in mind, problems occur. Smashing Magazine looks at how and why this must be re-considered.

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/07/better-research-design-results/

bitmoji api output

Creative / Development Inspiration 34

Website inspiration in the form of a Tech Venture, sexy background animations, use the Bitmoji API, and why you should go and get that money! This weeks Creative and Development Inspiration is slightly shorter than usual. Mainly because of my crippling 2 day hangover. However, I believe that the articles and links I have pulled together this week are still that top quality information 😉

 

Website Inspiration

Rocka

This tech venture builder has put together a really interesting website, using parallax in a really enjoyable way. The use of vibrant colours and subtle animations add to the effect.

https://rocka.co/

 

Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration

Cool Backgrounds

From the creator of https://cssgradient.io/, Cool Backgrounds is their answer to customised background images. Whether you need something for a social media background image, or hero image on a website, you might find something that works for you.

https://coolbackgrounds.io/

 

Interface Exploration: Depth and Color

An experiment in using depth and Colour to create a new UI style. An interesting article, worth a read.

https://blog.marvelapp.com/interface-exploration-depth-color/

 

Development Snippets, Samples, and Articles

Bokeh Effect

A great background animation. The Bokeh Effect is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”. This codepen takes that style, and makes it live.

https://codepen.io/Mamboleoo/full/BxMQYQ/

 

Optic

AI Pair programming that automates those tasks you don’t want to do. Saves you time and helps with your workflow. From what I can see it is only build for JavaScript, but this isn’t a massive issue. ReactJS is getting so large this tool is a definite help.

https://useoptic.com/

 

Libmojo

Use the Bitmoji API with this tiny library to add customised Bitmoji avatars to your newest web project. Libmoji makes it easy for you to integrate Bitmoji avatars into your project without the need for having a Bitmoji or Snapchat account

https://github.com/matthewnau/libmoji

 

Don’t Use The Placeholder Attribute

The placeholder attribute contains a surprising amount of issues that prevent it from delivering on what it promises. This has been my believe for a while now, but here is someone smarter than me putting it into words.

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/06/placeholder-attribute/

 

A bit of everything

Fathom

Web analytics, that is simple, trustworthy and open source. With the introduction of GDPR it is a perfect, non-bloated way to track your website usage.

https://usefathom.com/

 

Take that money

This isn’t my normal post, but it sits well within the design/dev world. It is something that really confuses me. How so many people don’t understand it all comes down to money ( “but Rob, I do it for love”. That’s brilliant, but love doesn’t put a roof over your head, not if you don’t live with your parents ).

http://www.erickarjaluoto.com/blog/take-the-money/

SVGator

Creative / Development Inspiration 32

This week has a very diverse range of links and articles. Some brilliant websites for inspiration, ranging from clean portfolios to more modern app landing pages. Some tit-bits to tickle the taste buds of web designs, and finishing it off with some development snippets. I hope you find something new in this weeks Creative and Development Inspiration.

 

Website Inspiration

I have been scouring the web for examples of websites to help get your brain moving in the right direction. This week I have found several great portfolio sites, as well as some nice, clean sales sites.

 

Dejan Markovic

Simple, clean website. But for some reason really stood out to me.

http://dejan.works/

 

Matt Farley

Simple and clean once again, but with a nice flow to it.

http://mattfarley.ca/

 

Cronhub

Cronhub is a CRON monitoring service. The website is clean, well broken down, and easy to find information. This can be very difficult to achieve.

https://cronhub.io/

 

Monetha

A deal maker based on Block chain. Monetha’s website is modern, and a great landing page for the app.

https://www.monetha.io/

 

Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration

 

7 Web Design Trends for 2018 – Don’t Fall Behind

Orana Creative have pulled together a must read guide for web design trends in 2018.  I wouldn’t say I fully agree, but they highlight some good points and it is always interesting to see what other people are pushing.

https://www.oranacreative.com/dont-fall-behind-follow-2018-trends-web-design

 

SVGator

Animate SVG easily. As simple as import, animate, export. There is no coding required. A very simple Adobe like interface for animating your SVGs.

https://www.svgator.com/

 

Payment Checkout Flow Animation

A beautifully designed checkout flow concept. The journey the user takes from selecting the item, to finally paying for it. An interesting use of micro-interactions and transitions between pages.

https://dribbble.com/shots/4689263-Payment-Checkout-Flow-Animation

 

Development Snippets, Samples, and Articles

 

Guzzle

I am probably a bit behind the times here, but I thought Id share as I have only just found it. A PHP HTTP client and framework for building RESTful web services. Now I know that more and more people are moving towards Node.js for this sort of thing, but I have a soft spot for PHP.

http://guzzle3.readthedocs.io/

 

Atomic CSS

Atomizer is a tool for creating Atomic CSS. Generate an Atomic stylesheet dynamically from the Atomic classes you’re actually using in your project (no unused styles!), or predeclare styles in configuration – it’s up to you. Atomizer is not opinionated, brings no CSS of its own, and integrates nicely with your favorite task runner.

https://acss.io/

 

tingle.js

aA minimalist and easy-to-use modal plugin written in pure JavaScript (We like modals here, also features RModal in Creative and Development Inspiration 30).

https://robinparisi.github.io/tingle/

 

The State of Changing Gradients with CSS Transitions and Animations

A well written article by CSS Tricks about CSS transitions and animations. The pitfalls and issues for working with these properties across many browsers (cough, IE, cough). Well worth the read.

https://css-tricks.com/the-state-of-changing-gradients-with-css-transitions-and-animations/

 

A bit of everything

How to Plan Website Design

Web design can generally be seen as what engages the users eye. What is pretty enough to keep them there. This is not true. What you really want to do, is engage the user and then convert them.

https://anartfulscience.com/How-To-Plan-Website-Design.php

 

CSS Watch Animation

Creative / Development Inspiration 31

Website Inspiration, pure CSS animations, know your ARIA, and the time for container queries. This weeks Creative and Website Development Inspiration covers some incredible example of the direction web is going. We also touch on some brilliant ReactJS packages, as well as show what exactly is needed in a web style guide.

 

Website Inspiration

Five by Five

A startup consultant agency that have gone the whole way with their website. Built on WordPress, it loads quickly, and is very very well designed.

http://www.fivebyfive.io/

 

The Shift

Although not as fast to load, this website can maybe be let off. It is not a sales site, but more of a creative/art piece. The way the user can control the perceptive is very clever and navigating around the site is quite unique.

https://kentatoshikura.com/

 

Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration

How To Create a Web Design Style Guide

Creating websites is getting more and more complex and is usually not a one person job. It is important to ensure that design is consistent and optimised to meet business objectives and create enjoyable experiences for users.

One of the ways to ensure that team is on the same page when designing separate parts of the website or saving designs from developers is to create design documentation or a web design style guide.

https://designmodo.com/create-style-guides/

 

Company Landing Page

Fluid, modern landing page, where sections flow into each other. Great example of a landing page.

https://dribbble.com/shots/4661919-Company-Landing-Page

 

29 Inspiring UI and Web Design Examples

Well worth the look. inspiredesign.me add an article like this weekly. It highlights some of the best websites and designs out there.

http://inspiredesign.me/collection/n-49/

 

What to consider when choosing colours for data visualisation

Data Visualisation can be defined as representing numbers with shapes – and no matter what these shapes look like (areas, lines, dots), they need to have a color. Sometimes colors just make the shapes visible, sometimes they encode data or categories themselves

https://blog.datawrapper.de/colors/

 

Development Snippets, Samples, and Articles

I have found more articles than usual this week, and that is not meant in a negative way. There is serious potential for all of the below links, maybe they will help inspire you.

Pure CSS Watch Animation

Starting this section of with a really really nice example of what can be done with CSS.

https://codepen.io/Wujek_Greg/full/KRXYpg

 

Know your ARIA: ‘Hidden’ vs ‘None’

A primer on appropriately using aria-hidden=’true’ and role=’none/presentation’. They each do very different things to elements, but their purposes are sometimes confused by developers.

http://www.scottohara.me/blog/2018/05/05/hidden-vs-none.html

 

Proppy

ProppyJS is a tiny 1.5kB JavaScript library for composing props (object that components receive to render themselves).

The primary purpose of this library is to lift the state one level above your UI components. So that your components are always stateless themselves, while you compose your props separately.

https://proppyjs.com/

 

eqio

Although container queries are not yet built into browsers. eqio allows you to attain the holy grail of responsive web development/design systems: components that can adapt their styling based on their width, not the browser‘s.

https://github.com/stowball/eqio

 

Grommet

I have recently started learning ReactJS. Something that I should have done a long time ago. In doing so I have come across loads of great resources (heres a list of learning resources – my Beginners Guide to ReactJS). I recently found Grommet.

A beautiful React UI component which focus on essential experience. At over 3k stars, these components take pride in their simple yet beautiful design.

http://grommet.io

 

 

A bit of everything

Building a responsive image

Nils walks you through the process of building a logo that responds to its own aspect ratio.

https://medium.com/9elements/building-a-responsive-image-e4c6229fa1f6

TunnelBear

Creative / Development Inspiration 24

This weeks Creative & Web Development Inspiration does not touch the code at all. I have found 5 articles that look at the design aspect of websites, as well as a few ideas that cover the process of creating digital media. How emotional interfaces can help retain users, all the way to the idea of transparent design.

 

How To Design Emotional Interfaces For Boring Apps

Humans can’t endure boredom for a long time, which is why products that are built for non-exciting, repetitive tasks so often get abandoned and gather dust on computers and phones. But boredom, according to psychologists, is merely lack of stimulation, the unfulfilled desire for satisfying activity. So what if we use the interface to give them that stimulation? Alice shares five secrets to more emotional UIs: gamification, humor, animation, illustration, and mascots.

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/04/designing-emotional-interfaces-boring-apps/

 

Constant Small Improvements Pave the Way to Perfection

A great article from Invision on constant improvements on design. Baby steps forward. Constant iterations. Nonstop nudges in the right direction. That’s how an empire is built. The path to success doesn’t need to be sprinted. Start selling this to clients, for both a better relationship, and a better product.

https://www.invisionapp.com/blog/designer-perfection

 

Start your designs with a concept

Defining a concept upfront can help shape everything that follows: the interactions, the relationship between elements, the tone of voice and copy, the transitions, the animations, etc. Once you have a strong concept, all these aspects start to align. Interfaces that are conceived without a concept and designed on autopilot creates interaction patterns that aren’t strategically aligned, user paths that don’t follow a clear logic, screens that are inconsistent and do not ladder up to a consolidated metaphor or concept.

https://uxdesign.cc/start-your-designs-with-a-concept-7270e6b00fcc

 

New to email coding? Here’s where to start.

The sooner you stop fighting the quirks of email, the sooner you can use them to your advantage. Email can seem like a tangled mess, and you will deal with some crazy parameters. But once you learn to embrace the peculiarities, beautiful things begin to happen. Caity covers some great resources and techniques for creating emails that even work on Outlook! I also covered a great resource in Creative and Development Inspiration 1 – Heml!

https://explore.reallygoodemails.com/new-to-email-coding-heres-where-to-start-2494422f0bd4

 

Why transparent, open design leads to happier clients

“When you bring the folks you’re working with directly into the project, you create a lot more buy-in,” said Adonya Ourshalimian, Client Partner at Citrusbyte. “There’s a much better understanding of what’s actually happening.” The program they use looks unbelievably useful as well, sit down XD – https://www.figma.com/

https://blog.figma.com/why-transparent-open-design-leads-to-happier-clients-aaf98a7cd50c

Rough.js graphic creator

Creative and Development Inspiration 20

This week creative and development rundown is more development orientated. I have found some great packages to help enhance the user experience, as well as some alternatives to already well used solutions. Although a shorter list than usual, these items are far more usable, both in terms of using within a project and for learning more!

 

Driver.js

Driver is a powerful yet light-weight, vanilla JavaScript engine to drive the user’s focus across the page. This would be great for when a user signs up to a new website, or service., as well as providing interactive overlays. It is easy to implement and has great documentation.

https://github.com/kamranahmedse/driver.js

 

React Tutorial: A Comprehensive Guide to learning React.js in 2018

As the title says, this tutorial is a ground up guide to learning ReactJS. It is well broken down, and incredibly easy to understand. ReactJs is definitely a must for most front end developers. The majority of tech companies use it as a quick route to sale.

https://tylermcginnis.com/reactjs-tutorial-a-comprehensive-guide-to-building-apps-with-react/

 

Toast UI Chart

No one like having to make code work on legacy browsers. But sometimes it matters.  The developers of Toast US couldn’t find a project which supported legacy browsers, maintained reliably, and was free for commercial use, so they decided to make one. It is well documented, and quite pretty! I will most probably be giving this a trial run on the next web development project that requires charts!

https://github.com/nhnent/tui.chart

 

Animating Elements Along SVG Paths: Introducing PathSlider

This tutorial by Scotch is a really simple to follow SVG path animation guide. It used the PathFinder plugin, and anime.js, both very user friendly packages. Although not a groundbreaking example, it is a great gateway drug into SVG animations.

https://scotch.io/tutorials/animating-elements-along-svg-paths-introducing-pathslider

 

Rough.js

Rough.js allows you to create roughly drawn graphics within the browser. It is a light weight (~8k), Canvas based library that lets you draw in a sketchy, hand-drawn-like, style. The library defines primitives to draw lines, curves, arcs, polygons, circles, and ellipses. It also supports drawing SVG paths.

https://github.com/pshihn/rough

 

Creating User-friendly forms

Forms are of pivotal importance to individuals & businesses alike. When it comes to collecting data, forms most often than not is the direction we all take (perhaps due to it’s long-time presence around us offline before the internet boom). Therefore, creating user-friendly forms is a major key to increasing the completion rate of your forms.

https://blog.prototypr.io/creating-user-friendly-forms-46e3f7f4eef2

Esri Wind Animation

Creative and Development Inspiration 19

This weeks design and development inspiration has a couple of great Codepen projects, showing off HTML5, Canvas and JS. On top of that I have found articles and design from across the web to get you into the mood.

 

The Last Experience

I’ll start you off with something great, and strange. The Last Experience is a collection of robots designed to dance in sync. That is, until you get involved.

https://codepen.io/ge1doot/pen/LkdOwj

 

StencilJs

Self-named as the “Magical reusable web component compiler” Stencil is a compiler that generates Web Components (more specifically, Custom Elements). It combines the best concepts of the most popular frameworks into a simple build-time tool to make development faster. Since Stencil generates standards-compliant web components, they can work with many popular frameworks right out of the box, and can be used without a framework because they are just web components.

https://stenciljs.com/demos

 

Wind Animation

Take a map, take a wind chart, animate. That is exactly what Esri have done. The code for this project uses nothing but an HTML5 Canvas element and pure Javascript. The data come from the Global Forecast System which produces a large variety of datasets as continuous global gridded datasets (more info below). Great inspiration, beautifully designed.

http://esri.github.io/wind-js/

 

The Future Of Mobile Web Design: Video Game Design And Storytelling

As technologies change and design techniques evolve, it’s inevitable that we’d experience massive growth in terms of design quality. There are similar parallels we can see within video game design as well. This article helps look at website design in another angle.

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/03/future-mobile-web-design-video-game-design-storytelling/

 

10 Examples of Drag and Drop UI

Drag-and-drop has been with us for decades. It helps us to get things done on both our desktop, mobile apps and operating systems. There’s both a simplicity and intuitiveness that has led to it become one of the most universal UI features. Speckyboy has pulled together 10 examples to show this web functionality off.

https://speckyboy.com/drag-and-drop-ui/

 

Responsive Components

Media queries are great, but it can be such a nuisance when limited by needing to alter the whole page. As opposed to altering each section depending on is own size. This approach would allow fully modular design, with elements being able to be added without as much thought to device size. I honestly thing this development approach is a step in the right direction.

https://philipwalton.com/articles/responsive-components-a-solution-to-the-container-queries-problem/

 

Milligram

A minimalist CSS framework. Milligram provides a minimal setup of styles for a fast and clean starting point. Only 2kb gzipped! It’s not about a UI framework. Specially designed for better performance and higher productivity with fewer properties to reset resulting in cleaner code.

https://milligram.io/

CSS Animation Shooter Game

Creative and Development Inspiration 16

This post has been a long time coming, what with crippling man flu (sympathy vote alert) and work deadlines I haven’t been able to put anything together. I have however had a lot of time to stare at my phone and look at pretty pictures. That means that this list is especially special, and has some pretty interesting links for you to peruse.

 

basicScroll

Inspired by skrollr, this scrolling library allows you to change CSS variables depending on the scroll position. Use the variables directly in your CSS to animate whatever you want. I am a massive fan of this, and can’t wait to roll it out on some of my projects.

https://basicscroll.electerious.com/

 

3D Parallax Example

Thismanslife built this example of 3D parralax on IMacs only using CSS.  Definitely need to take a look at that source code!

http://www.thismanslife.co.uk/projects/lab/imac3d/

 

Sweet Alert 2

Need to remind a user to save their work before they leave the page? This alert library is a perfect addition to any web project using alerts. Easy to integrate, and an improvement on the standard browser alert.

https://github.com/sweetalert2/sweetalert2

 

5 UX Design Principles That Never Go Out of Style

The best designers understand that there must be a balance between standardization and innovation. Keeping that in mind, here is how to design a product with GREAT UX.

https://medium.com/walkme/5-ux-design-principles-that-never-go-out-of-style-672cc6ba9047

 

Stimulus

Because why wouldn’t we need another JavaScript library?! Personally I doubt I will ever use this, but you may. Easy to install using NPM, Yarn ect and allows you to enhance your already existing HTML.

https://stimulusjs.org/

 

Gangbase

One for the designers. Gangbase was created to collect all studios, designers, tools and awesome websites in one big base, where it’s easy to find whatever you need.

https://gangbase.design

 

GradPad

A beautifully designed website, with only one purpose. To create perfect CSS colour gradients within your browser. Perfect for web designs / developers.

http://ourownthing.co.uk/gradpad.html

 

Kutt.it

Like Bitly, but yours. Free and open source, Kutt.it allows you to host your own server, and manage all of your links & data yourself. A great interface, and documented API.

https://kutt.it/

 

CSS Space Shooter

I haven’t had one of these in a very long time. An old-school arcade-style 3D shoot-em-up rendered entirely with CSS 3D transforms. A great break from work, as well as a perfect example of CSS transforms. How far can you get?

https://www.michaelbromley.co.uk/experiments/css-space-shooter/