Are you able to be the villain? What about if the product you are making has potential to harm? Also, on a more positive note. Here are some great examples of design systems, the state of UX in 2019, and more! Enjoy!
Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration
Stop Showing Design Options and Commit
Normally create 20 different versions and let the client pick? But you are the expert, no?
They’re not going to be fun conversations. It’s not going to be easy convincing others that these aren’t paranoid delusions best tucked out of sight in the darkest, dustiest corner of the backlog. Realistically, talking about it may even harm your career.
This week is more UI focused, due to a project that I am working on. I have still managed to include some brilliant development inspiration articles, and a few thought pieces at the bottom of the rundown. Have a good week!
Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration
Adobe XD Wireframe Kits
A collection of Adobe XD wireframes to get you off the ground in your next web project!
It’s time we start addressing accessibility before aesthetics in our design processes to create meaningful products for our diversified societies and cultures. Before diving into the Why, How and What of it, let’s revisit the definitions of these terms to set the context.
Strategies For Headless Projects With Structured Content Management Systems
Using a Structured Content Management System (SCMS) can be a great way to free your content from a paradigm that begins to feel its age. In this article, Knut Melvær suggests some overarching strategies, with some concrete real-world examples on how to think about working with structured content.
Drop-Down Usability: When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use Them
Deciding when to use a drop-down — or when to use another interface type, such as a radio button interface or open text field — for a specific input can be tricky. This article talks through the when and wheres.
A massive selection this week. 2 great website examples to help inspire your portfolio designs. Some great JS frameworks and testing tools. A few articles to help designers design the good stuff, and even more articles to keep you busy. Enjoy this website design and developer inspiration rundown.
A Leeds based digital creative website. Tom has built a simple, easy to read, and quick to load portfolio that does a great job.
Flow charts, like any deliverable in the design process, is an excuse to talk to your team. As much as we like complaining about meetings and formal deliverables, the truth is that design work would come to a dead stop without (a) conversations and (b) pictures.
A continuous UI testing tool that combines the accuracy of manual testing with the efficiency of automation. 21% of software budget is on bugs, and the cost of bug repair in production is 5-10x. This tool helps save time and money.
The magical disappearing UI framework. I still need to have a proper look into this but it seems really interesting. Using vanilla JS, but the same functionality as major JS frameworks. Teeny tiny in size.
Although the designers have not considered usability at all, it is a good site to show the different animations and reveals that can be used across a website. Some brilliant hover states over images, and gentle fades on scroll.
While looking for tools to unify web designs and developers I came across three really interesting web apps. One not yet out yet. One that have been the block a few times, and the other new on the scene.
Give you the power to design, build, and launch responsive websites visually, while writing clean, semantic code for you.
A simple design environment that allows you to simultaneously design across a variety of themes and screen sizes, powered by JSX and your own component library. Create quick mock-ups and share the work simply.
If your job has anything to do with design, there is a good chance that you would have experienced the need to do some form of user research. If you happen to work with or for a group of people who have limited understanding of the design process, then you must have had your moments of frustration. This article helps answer these questions.
I am continually trying to speedy up and improve my WordPress workflow process. Unlike a lot of JS framework communities, WordPress seems to be a little behind in creating a fast and efficient roll out process. The whole thing seems a little “work it out yourself”.
That being said, there are hundreds of tools littered around the interwebs once you start looking. I have been aware of Roots, and the resources they have created for a while, but never had the time to properly look into them. Today I decided to look into Trellis and Bedrock.
What the Hell is Trellis? Bedrock who?
Trellis is labelled as “WordPress development and production servers done right”. Basically a complete WordPress server on your local machine, with the ability to deploy and update with a single command. This also means that if someone else on your team needs to spin up the theme to take a look, it is as easy as a few commands. No more sending a zip file across email.
Bedrock is a WordPress boilerplate that completely overhauls the standard environment setup. It means that the project is organised, and just easier to work with.
I will only go as far as setting up a local development environment in this article. I will come back and write an article on remote servers once I have my head around the process.
Installing the Requirements
To begin with Trellis runs on Vagrant – a tool for building and distributing development environments. And Vagrant runs on VirtualBox. So before we can do anything, these two need to be installed.
Firstly, to install VirtualBox, go to https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads and find the package for your machine. As I am running Windows I have a feeling this process is going to be harder for me, than someone on Mac on Linux. We shall see…
Vagrant takes care a dependency called Ansible for us. This is a automation system that handles application deployment and task execution. In essence removes the need to run repetitive tasks ourselves. Vagrant only installs Ansible within the project, so if you are going to consistently roll out new project, to save time it would be worth installing locally from https://github.com/ansible/ansible. This is not essential thought.
Create a Project
Now to get into the fun bit. Roots recommend a directory structure that is not the WordPress standard. This is handled by Bedrock, so no problems here.
It looks like this:
Firstly we need a project folder to put everything in.
mkdir example.com && cd example.com
Now we need to introduce Trellis.
At this point you are working with GitHub and SSH. Make sure that you have a SSH key set up on your computer, and also on your GitHub account. If you have not, you will need to do this now.
Trellis is built around the concept of “sites”. Each Trellis managed server (local or remote) can support a single, or multiple WordPress sites. Trellis handles the configuration everything required to host a site. This includes the databases, folder directories and Nginx vhosts. This means that this process only needs to be carried out once. After this everything can be run from here.
Trellis uses YAML files for each environment. There are two files that you need to be aware of.
Normal settings file: group_vars/development/wordpress_sites.yml
Passwords and secrets: group_vars/development/vault.yml
This file manages the top level settings that is used to define all your sites. This is the bare minimum example that is given in the Trellis documentation.
Each site starts with the website name as the key. This is used by Trellis internally to name the site and as a default variable throughout the build. It is recommended that sites are named after the domain, so that it is easy to understand which is which.
To access the development site on your localhost, set the canonical link to the URL of your choice. Trellis will set your system to show your WordPress site when you visit this domain. In the example above, visiting www.example.test will take you to the site.
Under this site name are the settings for that particular site. There is no need to redefine these variables, but if you do, be aware you will also have to edit the corresponding entry in the Password file.
Passwords and Secrets
This file is used by Ansible. It is used as we do not want to include passwords in our Git repository. This is an example of the vault.yml file given in the documentation. As you can see the site names match in both files.
To get the server up and running, three things need to happen. Firstly move into the Trellis folder, inside your project root. Secondly, run the following command:
Vagrant will go away and get certain dependencies it needs to run. Once these are installed you will need to re-run the command.
At this point I found on my work machine Vagrant got an error when trying to download a build essential: build-essential_12.1ubuntu2_amd64.deb
The console returned the following error message:
The following SSH command responded with a non-zero exit status.
Vagrant assumes that this means the command failed!
apt-get install -y -qq build-essential curl git libssl-dev libffi-dev python-dev
Stdout from the command:
Stderr from the command:
E: Failed to fetch http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/b/build-essential/build-essential_12.1ubuntu2_amd64.deb 400 Bad Request [IP: 126.96.36.199 80]
E: Unable to fetch some archives, maybe run apt-get update or try with --fix-missing?
I was able to fix the issue. Once these packages had properly installed, I ran
vagrant reload --provision
To kick off the machine again.
Once running, this will take around 5 – 10 minutes to complete. As soon as this is finished, your WordPress site is accessible. In your browser following the canonical URL set in settings earlier to see the site.
When you need to shut down the machine, you can roll it down without deleting the whole machine by running:
This is essentially shutting the computer down. To start it back up just run:
Once this has been run once and you have the hang of it, your workflow speed is dramatically increased. By including Gulp into your theme development will turn the whole process of developing WordPress themes so much more enjoyable. Rather than messing about with the setting up of environments you can just be creative!
This week was a hard week to work out what not to put in this design development rundown. There were so many great choices. A brilliant website inspiration, some great design based tools, and all the articles. Enjoy!
St. Phillips Homes
A development company, specialising in building homes in desirable locations. The site is fast to load, and has a sleek look and feel. A nice change from tech sites.
How (properly) Wasting Time at Work Increases Productivity
Our workaholic culture and the business epidemic tend to villainize time-wasting behaviours during work — like leisurely lunches and web browsing — but research proves that breaks can enhance your performance, on many levels.
Site has gone live, but you have seen tweaks are needed. No need to write each one down and send to the developer. With this extension you can make the changes in the console and send with comments. Cannot believe its taken this long!
While it may seem like a new way of approaching digital workflow, the concept of a design system is not “new” to creative industries. At the core of any design system is a language of design patterns that solve common problems a designer might face.
Getting to Yes — Convincing Stakeholders to Invest in User Testing
Those who understand the importance of UX know that design-centric companies have a higher ROI so including user testing in a design project comes as a no-brainer. On the contrary, unfamiliarity with its potential benefits means that many product owners don’t consider testing in the first place.
Persuasive design, portfolio redesign, and how to run a dev sprint. This weeks design and development inspiration rundown has a great selection of articles and code snippets to keep you up to date with last weeks tech.
A global creative digital agency. Although hard to work out how to get their contact details, I love this site! Clever use of JS animation and video.
Development time is a precious resource. In order to be more efficient and responsive, product teams continuously try to use advanced techniques for product creation. One of the most popular frameworks that help the product team to achieve this goal is a design sprint.
After a week off ( for sun, mojitos and swimming ) I have another web design / development inspiration for you. However, because I can’t stop researching – even when on holiday – the list is slightly longer than usual, and full of some pretty interesting links.
I’m not usually a fan of film websites, but the way the film snippets work alongside the parallax and particles is really something. Worth a look.
With CSS grid now available in all popular browsers it’s possible to reliably define the rows and columns that make up any kind of grid. This article details how toachieved the designed layout using CSS grid without any silly workarounds or java-script magic necessary.
I am so happy to have found this. Emotion is a performant and flexible CSS-in-JS library. Building on many other CSS-in-JS libraries, it allows you to style apps quickly with string or object styles. It has predictable composition to avoid specificity issues with CSS. Perfect time saver.
Could Value-based Pricing be the Key to Higher Revenues
A recent survey of design and development firms revealed a tantalising statistic: Freelancers who use value-based pricing were more likely to report annual income over $50,000 per year than freelancers who weren’t. Could it raise revenues for your practice?
Brilliant UX/UI articles this week – how to craft a kickass post filter, the Screenlife app case study, and a whole bunch of design resources. On top of that we have a tutorial on NodeJS gesture recognition, and how to create a blog with React. Ever considered launching a side project? At the bottom there is an article on how to do it in 10 days! Take a look!
Kollegorna – Swedish Digital Agency
This site seems to be built on top of Bulma or at least styled similarly, but I’m not sure. It is very sleek and easy to digest, which is a big thing for me. I love how each element has been considered and animates in its own way. My only issue with this this site is it is for a digital agency, and yet has a Chrome Lighthouse performance score of 35… mixed messages.
It was a summer night in Seattle. She ate some ice-cream, watched a Youtube tutorial, and downloaded a free trial of Principle. Several months later, completed her 5th 100-day-project — 100 Days of Motion. Then made these.
This post isn’t about the advantages of building with a new technology, or “7 things I learned while doing it”. Rather, it’s about the process of building a web app quickly, keeping irrelevant ideas from muddying focus, and the tool belt to make it happen. The end result was Card Surge.