This weeks list is more design focused, with a story telling script thrown in for good measure. As most design/dev sites are shouting about Cyber Monday deals, I wanted to keep this on the same track as we started. I hope you enjoy.
Needing to flex your design muscles? A little down time in the studio? Designercize has you covered. It randomly generates a concept that needs a design for. Brilliant for wireframing / whiteboard design practice.
Some websites look great, even if they defy conventional wisdom or tenets of design theory. A new design trend is showcasing that very idea with elements that cover or obstruct some of the text in the design.
Another one from Design Shack, they really impressed me last week. This article discusses how design needs three levels of typography. It seems very common-sensual, but its interesting to see it written in such a concise way.
Finding ways to display hidden information for users can be tough. The number of times brochure websites have required some level of user engagement and I have had to scour the web for examples such as these. I thought I should share.
Project Feature Highlights
By adding tooltips into div elements they can be positioned anywhere on a page. I imagine this could get a big fiddly for a responsive page, but nothing a few calculations can’t fix!
Today’s post is focusing on code snippets for hidden menus. These could be used on both mobile and large devices. Although they are not particularly attractive menus, I am focusing more on the usability and style. The purpose is to help inspire.
Simple multilevel menu
This menu is a code snippet from Cody House. It gives two examples, one plain CSS, the other with JQuery animations. Simple, but user friendly.
This subtle menu gives the user more information when they hover. The effect works really well, however I am dubious about how it would work with touch devices. The menu would have to be touch to show, which adds a touch point. Still a nice effect though.
This is completely different to menus I am used to seeing. Although it needs some tweaking to work on smaller devices, the effect it great. By moving the cameras focus when the menu is open adds a whole new layer to the site.
Today’s list is a selection of mouse over / hover effects. These animations and transitions can make a massive difference between just another website, and a sleek user friendly interface that readers want to keep coming back to.
Tympanus Hover Effects
The first two links are from Tympanus. A brilliant site with hundreds of code snippets. I really recommend keeping an eye on this website, both as a developer, and a designer.
Each link has multiple examples within, and showcases different ways of animating the same element.
One thought it that designers and developers need to remember not all devices have hover, specially as large screen touch devices are getting more traction in the consumer market. Any information that is shown on hover, needs to be accessible for these other users as well.
Today’s links are a mix of creative and development. A little bit of inspiration, and information.
7 Steps to creating a UX Strategy
I’ll start it off with some easy reading. This article walks you through 7 vital steps to creating a solid UX strategy. I think the first point is spot on, considering how I don’t believe many people fully understand this.
Microsoft gave you clip art, and Google raises it with Poly. A libary of thousands of 3D objects, created by both Google and Google users. These assets can be used to build apps, lowering the cost for developers. Google has also confirmed that they will allow third-party apps to plug in via API. Here we come VR!
At one point or another I imagine you have been told a fact about running that turned out to not have even an ounce of truth.
When I first started running I asked advice from several fellow runners and ended up receiving a variety of hints and tips, some at complete polar opposites. This has stuck with me, and I have decided to put straight a few “facts” that have bothered me over the years.
Stretch before a run
I’ll be honest, this surprised me when I found out that it wasn’t necessary to stretch before a run. Having been told throughout school to stretch before exercise, I assumed that this would also be carried across to running.
Not the case.
Static stretching (holding the stretch for a period of time) can actually cause muscles to be strained. Instead, you should focus on warming up the muscles and getting oxygen circulating. Dynamic movements like legs swings, arm swings, and high knees are best. Try to do this around 10 minute before the run.
That said you should still stretch after a run, as it helps your muscles return to the normal state and will reduce any stiffness or soreness you might feel after a run.
You should cool down afterwards
“If you don’t cool down you will strain a muscle, or injure yourself”. Turns out this isn’t quite true! Although it was believed that muscle soreness was caused by a buildup of lactic acid, this theory has since be disproved.
The idea behind a cool down is to help your body return to its normal, pre-exercise state, but its is not required. Your increased breathing rate will do the job as it is.
The body is designed to cool down by itself, using heavy breathing to help remove excess heat, waste products, and restore oxygen levels.
Running barefoot is better
Although I live in a city, and wouldn’t dare run barefoot I have often thought that being closer to nature must be a better way of running. Back to basics as it were.
Barefoot and minimalist running blew up a few years ago and really took the world by storm, but it can actually increase the risk of injury.
Due to the fact that many adults cannot run properly, combined with the sort of terrain that we tend to run on, we actually need running shoes to help support our feet – most people’s joints are not strong enough!
It’s possible to run barefoot, or minimally whilst still staying safe, but if you grew up always using running shoes remember to ease yourself in. Start small distances and get used to it, rather than jumping right in, be smart with your goals.
I have been told numerous times “Running is bad for your knees, it’s not healthy”. Initially I just ignored these comments as I quite enjoy running, but it turns out that there is no greater risk of joint issues or osteoarthritis for someone who does run, than for someone who doesn’t run.
In fact, for healthy and in shape runners, it is the complete opposite, and knee cartilage actually gets stronger under the pressure. That said, there may be a risk if you are overweight, this extra weight could cause mobility issues and put your joints out of alignment.
Flexible is faster
Being flexible may help your stride, but it will not help your speed. Due to being able to stretch further, your running efficiency is decreased and your explosive speed is reduced.
Runners with the most lower extremity problems like shin splints and lateral ankle pain are generally the most flexible in the ankle joint and more likely to injure themselves.
Most of the time injuries occur when you push yourself too hard. No one is immune to injury but we can take precautions to make sure we are not as likely to hurt ourselves.
I have listed a five of the most common running injuries, and the best way to avoid and treat them.
Runners Knee. This occurs when the cartilage in the kneecap wears down. This can cause pain around or behind the kneecap. It is caused by running downhill, muscle imbalance and the repetitive force of running on pavement. To avoid this it is advised to stick to uphill or flat terrain, preferably on softer ground. If you are unlikely enough get this, experts recommend cutting back on the mileage and using a knee brace.
Shin Splints. If you are a runner and you have never experienced shin splints you are one of the lucky ones! If left untreated it is one of the worst injuries to hinder your workout. They can be caused by an increase in the frequency of a run, a more intense run, or poorly fitted shoes. To prevent shin splints research has found shock absorbing insoles can help, as well as insuring you are have the correct footwear. To stop the pain, you can try icing your shins for 15-20 minutes, and keeping them elevated.
Sprained Muscles. This is caused by creating a small tear in your muscle, generally by overstretching. Common muscles to sprain for a runner are the calf and hamstring. The simplest way to ensure you don’t pull a muscle is to properly warm up, and cool down before and after a run. If you do pull a muscle, remember R.I.C.E. Rest (up to five days), Ice, Compression, and Elevation
Blisters. These are caused by friction, usually due to your shoes or socks rubbing against your skin. Heat and moisture can increase the likelihood of blisters, which explains why many runners suffer with blisters in marathons. The best way to reduce the chance of blisters is by wearing a good pair of synthetic socks, and if one does appear you can drain it with a sterilised needle and then cover with a plaster.
Chafing. This is the result of friction between skin and clothing, or skin and skin. The result is skin rubbed red raw, or even worse! To stop the sting between your thighs you can wear a pair of longer, tighter running shorts, or capris. If the chafing is occurring on your nipples a couple of plasters can help, or some sort of lubricant.
Resistance, or procrastination is something we experience on a daily basis, whether it’s starting on a new project or going for a run. If you are anything like me it strikes just when you finally get up to do something, suddenly every distraction in the world shows up.
“I’m a bit thirsty, just a quick drink…”
“Maybe I should check Facebook…”
“Oh, it’s too late now, I’ll go for a run tomorrow”
Even if you come up with an excuse that seems legitimate to you, you are still not running!
The concept behind resistance is a simple one, the brain is anticipating what is new, different, or difficult, with the aim of keeping us comfortable, gives us the easy option. For many of us we have practiced this routine so many times that it is hardwired and strengthened to become the default setting.
To break out of the resistance loop you need to K.N.O.W Your Resistance.
Know resistance is inevitable. It’s always going to occur, don’t take it to heart.
Notice it. As soon as you start making yourself aware of resistance in your day you can create distance between it and yourself.
Open to the experience of it. How does it feel? When you recognise the feeling associated with it, and the type of thoughts you feel when experiencing it you can focus on how to move away from it.
Whack it! (Or “Welcome it and Let it Go” if you’re feeling compassionate). As soon as you are aware of the resistance you may feel disconcerted. Resistance keeps you in your safe zone. Understand why you are feeling this way and push past it.
This process helps understand where resistance is being introduced into your life, but a simple solution to the problem is to get up and go. By allowing procrastination to complete its cycle over and over only strengthens its hold on you. Every time you push back you allow yourself to achieve more and more.
Maybe create a set of rules. No Facebook before a run, once those shoes are on you can’t sit down! Anything to help you get out of the door!
Setting yourself goals when running is a brilliant way to stay motivated and make sure you build on positive habits. Unfortunately many runners are unrealistic with their goal setting and end up risking injury, or giving up in frustration! Knowing what kind of goals to set, and knowing how to see what goals are unrealistic are two of the most important factors. With this in mind, it is also natural to aim for the sky, these goals give you something to aspire towards (just not too quickly).
It is important to remember that you are less likely to achieve your goals if you don’t enjoy the process. Rather than focusing entirely on the process, make sure that you celebrate every improvement. Approaching each hurdle with a positive attitude will help no end!
Tip 1: Write down your goals
Studies have shown that you are more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Thinking about a goal is only part of the process, by writing it down it makes the thought all the more real. Write it down, reflect on it, adapt it to fit your schedule. Look at it every day to reinforce it.
Tip 2: Be Specific
If your goal is to “be a better runner”, how will you know when you have achieved it? Vague goals only discourage because you never feel any closer to the finish line. By setting a goal such as “I want to improve my time in the next marathon by 2 minutes” is specific. Use tangible words in your goals such as measurements, and maybe even a date that you will have succeeded by.
Tip 3: Measure Actions as well as Progress
As well as setting goals based on how fast you can run, or how long you can run for, consider setting goals on how often you will train, or exercise. By tracking your actions you can make sure that you are getting up and out of the house, rather than just focusing on the numbers. This approach can be very useful for tackling vague goals. Goals such as “Run for half an hour a day” is better than “Be fitter by the summer”.
Run every other day
You might say to yourself “Im going to run every day for the next month”. Don’t do it! You will wear yourself out and be less likely to pick yourself back up afterwards. Instead allow yourself a chance to build up your stamina and fitness before jumping all in.
Finish a minute faster
Instead of aiming immediately for a 6 minute mile, see how quickly you run a mile on an average day and try to speed that up each run. Every run try and finish 10-15 seconds faster than the previous. This healthy competition with yourself allows you to better your time, without being unrealistic.
If you have any tips on setting goals, let me know in the comments below!