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Creative / Development Inspiration 55

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!

https://newtodesign.com/xd-wireframe-kits/

 

Accessibility before Aesthetics

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.

https://uxplanet.org/accessibility-before-aesthetics-9a0fb463e149

 

Montage

Fast, easy prototyping for everyone. Using a user-generated library of components, designs can be got of the ground quicker than ever.

https://www.trymontage.com/

 

Rememberly — A UX case study to help people affected by Alzheimer’s and Dementia

A brilliant case study for a apps UX that needs to do its job.

https://medium.com/tj-egbert-design/rememberly-a-ux-case-study-to-help-people-affected-by-alzheimers-and-dementia-6a5c17a1e690

 

Development Snippets, Samples, and Articles

Zeroheight

This brings the design system closer to everyone involved. Starts with the designers, then can be fleshed out by the developers. Edited by everyone.

https://zeroheight.com/

 

The Dogs of CodePen

10 animated dogs. Thats all.

https://blog.codepen.io/2018/09/05/the-dogs-of-codepen/

 

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.

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/11/structured-content-done-right/

 

Getform

Not enough time to build in a form? Use Getform! Backend platform for designers and developers.

https://getform.io/

 

FreeCodeCamp – JavaScript Platform Game Tutorial

Lear how to build a Maria like platform game with this 3 hour video tutorial!

https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/beaucarnes/platformer-game-turorial-javascript–m1JO9zlF4

 

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.

https://baymard.com/blog/drop-down-usability

 

A bit of everything

Deep Dive Duck

Need to keep an eye on your competitors? Monitor changes on their site and get it set to you in a weekly email!

https://deepdiveduck.com/

Users love dark products like this

Creative / Development Inspiration 53

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.

Website Inspiration

Tom Rush

A Leeds based digital creative website. Tom has built a simple, easy to read, and quick to load portfolio that does a great job.

https://tomrushworth.co.uk/

 

Tim Householter

First Tom, now Tim. A lead designer at Transom Design in Seattle. His site uses lots of white space and grids to display his work. Clean, simple, easy to read.

http://timhouseholter.com

 

Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration

In the dead of night we are drawn to dark interfaces

Distraction free, pretty, and amplification. What dark interfaces are a massive thing in product design.

https://uxdesign.cc/in-the-dead-of-night-a4c7fa98aec4

 

Development Snippets, Samples, and Articles

Grid Tile Layouts with auto-fit and minmax

A new and easy way to make perfect responsive title layouts with CSS Grid.

https://gedd.ski/post/tile-layouts/

 

Building Your Colour Palette

You can’t build anything with five hex codes. To build something real, you need a much more comprehensive set of colours to choose from.

https://refactoringui.com/previews/building-your-color-palette

 

Creating Excellent UX Flow Charts

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.

https://medium.com/eightshapes-llc/creating-excellent-ux-flow-charts-df6f1e46e524

 

Google Web.Dev

With actionable guidance and analysis, web.dev helps developers like you learn and apply the web’s modern capabilities to your own sites and apps.

https://web.dev/

 

Glorious Demo

The best way to create animated code for demos. Copy, pastable, and pretty.

https://glorious.codes/demo

 

Chromatic – UI testing for Storybook

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.

https://blog.hichroma.com/chromatic/home

 

Maizzle

Maizzle is a BYOHTML framework for rapid HTML email development. It’s like a static site generator, but tailored to email.

https://maizzle.com/

 

Svelte

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.

https://svelte.technology/

 

Why using `tabindex` values greater than “0” is bad

Using Tab Indexes in web development? Maybe you should stop doing that…

http://www.karlgroves.com/2018/11/13/why-using-tabindex-values-greater-than-0-is-bad/

 

A bit of everything

Web Typography Resources

A great list of resources all centred around typography. Perfect for designers and developers.

https://betterwebtype.com/web-typography-resources

 

Cacher

The code snippet organiser for developers. Integrates with most editors to store commonly used snippets from the whole team on the cloud.

https://www.cacher.io/

 

Heat maps 101: a complete guide with examples, tools, and case studies

Hotjar walk you through why, how and when to use heat maps. Mixed up with a few case studies and examples to show how valuable they can be.

https://www.hotjar.com/blog/heatmaps

 

Designing, laws, and attitudes.

I often hear from stakeholders who worry that “accessible” means “ugly.” Well here are resources that are accessible and visually beautiful.

https://ethanmarcotte.com/wrote/designing-laws-and-attitudes/

Bedrock & Trellis WordPress Development

Trellis & Bedrock For Fast WordPress Development

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…

 

Once VirtualBox is installed, go to https://www.vagrantup.com/downloads.html and download the package.

 

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:

Bedrock directory structure for WordPress development

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.

 

git clone --depth=1 [email protected]:roots/trellis.git && rm -rf trellis/.git

 

And now Bedrock

 

git clone --depth=1 [email protected]:roots/bedrock.git site && rm -rf site/.git

 

So far so good!

 

Configure Your Site

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

 

Normal Settings

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.

Trellis normal WordPress settings

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.

Trellis WordPress Password Settings

Spinning Up

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 up

 

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: 91.189.88.152 80]

E: Unable to fetch some archives, maybe run apt-get update or try with --fix-missing?

 

I found by logging into the Vagrant machine:

 

vagrant ssh

 

and following the command given in the console

 

apt-get install -y -qq build-essential curl git libssl-dev libffi-dev python-dev

 

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:

 

Vagrant halt

 

This is essentially shutting the computer down. To start it back up just run:

 

Vagrant up

 

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!

Grav CMS banner

First Taste of Grav

Up until recently I have been predominantly a WordPress based developer. I have dabbled in other things, a little bit of React here and there but nothing crazy. Recently however, I have felt a bit nonplussed with it all. Everything seems to take a little bit too long to spin up, and although I have built Gulp scripts to help speed me along, they hasn’t help as much as I would like them to. Then Gutenberg became a thing. Not that I don’t think WordPress needs to stay with the times, I just don’t think it will make my life any easier.

 

Enter Grav. I was looking for a simple, easy to spin up static site generator that has a backend simple enough for idiots clients. It is PHP based (so I can put it on a clients hosting without having to explain Node), and speedy as anything. It seems to cover all those bases.

 

Installation

 

This was a dream. I already have WAMP and Composer installed on my machine so I had to run 3 commands to get Grav installed and ready to go.

git clone -b master https://github.com/getgrav/grav.git
composer install --no-dev -o
bin/grav install

 

This last one did give me a little bit of trouble. I got the error message:

‘bin’ is not recognised as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

 

Turns out this is due to the PHP directory not being found by Windows. To get past this all I needed to do was show my computer where PHP was located using this command:

 

C:\wamp\bin\php\php7.0.10\php bin/grav install

 

At this point everything went well. I already had Wamp switched on, so pointed my browser to that folder in my Localhost.

 

Grav Install Confirmation

 

 

Woop!

 

Installing Admin Panel

 

The Grav “Learn” section has a really good rundown of all the configuring and option settings that can be set. It walks through the folder structure, what is used for what, and the general layout.

 

At this point I was not bothered about this. I just want to install an admin panel and smash out a theme (if you are bothered, here is the link: https://learn.getgrav.org/).

 

It turns out installing the admin plugin is just as easy as installing Grav itself. Firstly you have to make sure that your version of Grav is the latest version.

 

 

bin/gpm selfupgrade

 

 

Then, once you are sure you are on the latest version, add that plugin

 

 

bin/gpm install admin

 

 

For the two above command, remember that is you had an issue with PHP when installing Grav, you will do again. So reference PHP directly.

 

I found that my console sat thinking for a while, before anything happened. But something did happen, so sit tight. The admin plugin also requires three other plugins. Login, Forms and Email. These set as though dependencies so will install them for you.

 

Once this has been completed, I found that when I pointed my browser back to the Grav folder on my Localhost the page had changed. Now there is a admin screen asking me to set up a user. Once this is done you are directed to the admin area.

 

Admin Panel

 

First thoughts: God damn I like this. It has very obviously been built with ease in mind.

 

All the options and settings that the “Learn” section went through are all included down the side of the admin section. This made me happy, as I want it as simple and as easy to explain to clients as possible. On a quick click through it seems much like any other CMS, but simplified. There is obvious room for adaption is a project requires it, but for a simple brochure site or blog this setup is perfect.

 

Grav admin panel

 

As Grav is saved down into static files, there is no need for a database. This means that the way the site is backed up, is by downloading the static files. This option is set front and center on the dashboard, alongside a simple user statistic chart.

 

I like to automate everything I possibly can, and the idea of manually downloading a site backup every week does not appeal to me. Turns out this is not a problem. The Grav CLI allows you to hook into the inner workings of the site, so a cron job could be set to do this for you. Happy days.

 

Markup Though?

 

The text editor works in the same way the pages do when editing manually. They use Markup. This is a barrier to entry for a lot of people who are not so technically minded. Turns out someone has already got a solution for this.

 

The TinyMCE Integration Plugin

https://github.com/newbthenewbd/grav-plugin-tinymce-editor

 

Once again, installation is a breeze (yes, I like Grav). There are two ways you can manage this.

  1. Log into your admin panel,navigate to plugins. Search the plugin. Click add.
  2. Or, if you are like me and want to run everything quickly when rolling out a new project. Run this command.

 

 

bin/gpm install tinymce-editor

 

 

Love. It.

 

I am going to spend a bit of time looking into developing a proper, fully fledged theme. But as a general overview to rolling out a site on a localhost, it is a definite winner! As there is no database it means the whole site can be dropped on a hosting service via FTP/SFTP and you are laughing.

 

Inclusive Web Banner

The Inclusive Web – Why It Should Matter to Businesses

What is Web Accessibility?

Web Accessibility is about designing the web so that everyone can use it. The web is a resource that is used across all aspects of life. Education, employment, government, health care, the list goes on.

 

The United Nations Convention define the web as a basic human right, which is understandable. The right to work, the right to access to education, the right to participate in culture; all connected and obtainable through the web. An integral part of society and daily life. If a user is denied access to the web, surely their access is limited to the fore-mentioned.

 

However, in a broader perspective web accessibility benefits all users. For example, one of the key principles in accessibility is to meet certain users needs and situations. This could range from a physical or mental disability, to having a slow internet connection. Web Accessibility is about being fully inclusive of each and every user.

 

So why is the article called ‘The Inclusive Web’, not ‘The Accessible Web’? Because that’s exactly what it should be. Your site should not be designed, and then accessibility factored in afterwards – the whole approach should be a unified, considered, and inclusive of everyone.

 

Why Should Businesses Care About Web Accessibility?

It’s a fair question. At the end of the day businesses (at least most of them) are in it for the profit. If making their site accessible costs money, with no obvious return, surely it isn’t worth it?

 

People with disabilities are a large market segment

19% of adults working in the UK age are disabled. That is almost 1 out of 5 people that may be in a situation where they are unable to view, or navigate a website not built with accessibility in mind. If there is a perception that an organisation doesn’t support the disabled, the fallout can be disastrous. I never thought I would mention her in a blog post, but a perfect example is Kylie Jenner’s cosmetics website being sued for not being accessible – not a good look. Not only that, having a fully inclusive website open the doors to a much larger market. An almost 20% larger market.

 

Every business has customers with accessibility needs. The thought that a business doesn’t is categorically false. Unfortunately, there are no statistics to see which of user are disabled, so a business is unable to see how many of its customers are being turning away.

 

Search Engine Optimisation

It goes without saying, fully accessible websites have better search rankings.

When designed accessibly, the site is more user friendly for all users. The font is larger, which makes it easier to read. How many times have you been on a website with size 12 font, in a terrible type face. I tend to read half a sentence and leave. It is just too much work! Not only that but the messaging is simpler, once again, making the site easier to digest. Already the time spent on the page has increased and reduced the bounce rate.

 

Images have fully thought out alt tags, and all elements within the site are properly labelled. This means that suddenly Google (or whomever) has so much more content to get hold of and index.

 

Key word ranking (if done properly) increases. Why? Because 19% more people can use the site! This is a big thing!

 

On top of all of this remember, Google doesn’t have eyeballs! The easier a site is to screen read, the better the businesses SEO score will be.

 

Ahead of the Curve

Currently, less than 30% of the websites on the internet are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. Now although not a UK act, the requirements exist. Users with accessibility needs use the internet in the UK. This lack of uptake means there is a high chance a business’s competitors are not inclusive. By ensuring their website is compliant, this provides a real opportunity to increase thei market share and have a better competitive edge!

 

Lawsuits

In America companies are facing an alarming number of lawsuits for websites and mobile applications that are not accessible. The belief is that the ADA should apply to website, and that they should be accessible across all devices. Currently these lawsuits are only happening in the States, but I can believe that this mindset will cross the pond.

 

So why is it that so many large businesses, both in B2B and B2C are not fully accessible?

This stems from a lack of understanding and availability of information on the subject. There are no statistics on what percentage of users visiting a business’s website are disabled, which may make it tough to justify the extra expenditure. It may also be that agencies that businesses use for web development are unaware of the benefit of an inclusive website, so do not provide it as a service.

 

However, the facts on SEO and related analytics are not so easy to ignore – if a business has an existing digital marketing strategy, accessibility should surely be integrated to achieve the best results.

Mawla Banner

Creative / Development Inspiration 48

A focus on design systems this week, with a brilliant piece on Ubers rebrand, website inspiration, and micro nudges. Plus a few more in this weeks design development inspiration rundown.

 

Website Inspiration

Mawla – Mobile & Web Development Studio

Firstly, I love these bobble shapes used across the Mawla site. That, combined with the pastel colours makes it friendly, and welcoming. Lots of white space between sections allows the user to fully digest each point. And it works well on mobile!

https://mawla.io/

 

Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration

Uber’s Undoing Part I: Whipping Boy

Uber has been through so many re-brands, they don’t seem to know who they are any more. Eli pulls apart the company, and looks at the way their re-brands have seemingly had no grounding.

http://www.elischiff.com/blog/2018/10/10/ubers-undoing-part-i-whipping-boy

 

A Guide to Colour Accessibility in Product Design

Accessibility is getting a lot of traction now, with more designers and developers trying to get the upper-hand. With that in mind, have you ever thought about colour accessibility?

https://medium.com/inside-design/a-guide-to-color-accessibility-in-product-design-516e734c160c

 

Micro nudge: a micro animation for behavioural change

A micro nudge is a well-timed small animation that prompts a user to complete a small task. This article includes examples from Instagram, and walks us through the process.

https://uxplanet.org/micro-nudge-a-micro-animation-for-behavioral-change-dd15ecd4fab3

 

Development Snippets, Samples, and Articles

Building an Image Generator for the Number 1 Track on Spotify

DJ Snake, Cardi B, Selena Gomez, and Ozuna have released their new song, Taki Taki, into the world and it has quickly soared to #1 on Spotify’s Global Top 50. Lee Martin was asked to create a marketing concept. This is what he came up with.

https://medium.com/@leemartin/taki-taki-eb45d03a8fb1

 

Cross Browser Testing Cloud

LambaTest allows you to test your website or application across 2000+ browsers and operating systems.

https://www.lambdatest.com/home

 

A11Y Style Guide

This application is a living style guide or pattern library, generated from KSS documented styles…with an accessibility twist. A well build, well documented style library.

http://a11y-style-guide.com/style-guide/

 

 

A Collection of Design System Articles

I have recently become interested in design systems. The concept makes complete sense, allowing all stakeholders to understand the brand – as well as making future design much faster!

Designing Design Systems

Clearlefts Jerlyn walks through the process of designing a design system, and how they run workshops to encourage stack holders to work through pain points.

https://clearleft.com/posts/designing-design-systems

 

Design Systems and Agility

A piece extended from a talk at UX Australia on design systems and their importance. Who do they serve? What is the point?

https://medium.com/interactive-mind/design-systems-and-agility-part-1-of-2-b96c188acfca

 

Understanding Design Systems and Patterns

The concept of design systems is not new to creative industries, but it has only recently been picked up by the digital side.  This article breaks down what a design system is, and can be.

https://www.toptal.com/designers/ux/design-system

 

A bit of everything

You can’t do human-first design without looking after your humans.

Our industry has a poor reputation of burn-out, long hours and stress. How can you keep moral high in the office?

https://perspective.despark.com/you-cant-do-human-first-design-without-looking-after-your-humans-726a0074834f

Card 2.0 Web Banner

Creative / Development Inspiration 45

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.

 

Website Inspiration

Resn

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.

https://resn.co.nz/

 

Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration

How and why I redesign my portfolio every year

Lessons this designer learned after iterating their site design over 6 years.

https://uxdesign.cc/how-and-why-i-redesign-my-portfolio-every-year-bf3bba3833fc

 

Using persuasive design and triggers to increase conversions

Learn how to improve your conversion rate and increase sales by adding persuasive design elements and triggers to your eCommerce websites.

https://webflow.com/blog/using-persuasive-design-and-triggers-to-increase-conversions

 

Cards 2.0

100 symbols and elements ready for use in any UI. Really nicely designed, with a light modern look.

http://cards2.webflow.io/

 

Development Snippets, Samples, and Articles

Prettier

An opinionated code formatter that makes your code prettier.

https://github.com/prettier/prettier

 

KY

Ky is a tiny and elegant HTTP client based on the browser Fetch API

https://github.com/sindresorhus/ky

 

Sal

A lightweight scroll libary. Just remember don’t overuse, as I explain in week 27.

https://mciastek.github.io/sal/

 

Brownian Gnats

A great JS animation (ish) example on random paths to create little animals. Although a very basic concept, you could built a lot on top of this.

https://codepen.io/DonKarlssonSan/pen/aJVxbO

 

18 Tips for Running a Successful Design Sprint

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.

https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2018/09/18-tips-for-running-a-successful-design-sprint/

 

A bit of everything

Real Work vs Imaginary Work

How do you catch more problems in the uphill phase before they catch you later on in the process? The problem with uphill work is it ‘imaginary’.

https://m.signalvnoise.com/real-work-vs-imaginary-work-8bdb84a7d1da

 

The Importance Of Manual Accessibility Testing

Automated accessibility tests are a great resource to have, but they can’t automatically make your site accessible. Use them as one step of a larger testing process.

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/09/importance-manual-accessibility-testing/

Mail chimp chart banner

Creative / Development Inspiration 38

Two great website inspiration examples, several website generators, and why the open-plan office is rubbish! This plus a lot more in this weeks website design development inspiration rundown.

 

Website Inspiration

Freetrade

I found this site whilst doing research into investment apps. The thing that struck me was its simplicity, and ease at which is gets its message across. The whole site is well thought out, and easy to digest. It could look into user accessibility a little more, but as a piece of inspiration, perfect.

https://freetrade.io/

 

Iconwerk

Although simple, my god its quick! The way the blog title and images are swapped from the standard card layout is interesting, and works well in this case. Once again, accessibility is an issue (why is this such a standard problem, its not hard to fix!).

https://iconwerk.com/

 

Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration

10 Beautiful Examples of Wireframes

Wireframing helps designers map out the structure of a website before anything is set in stone. 1st Designer has pulled together 10 examples of different wireframes.

https://1stwebdesigner.com/wireframes-web-design/

 

Dark UX Patterns in Advertising

According to Hubspot research, 85% of people have a negative opinion towards websites with obnoxious or intrusive ads. What’s wrong with the remaining 15%? This article points out the ad creators, and how they tried to trick you. Interesting read.

https://icons8.com/articles/dark-ux-patterns-advertising/

 

Development Snippets, Samples, and Articles

Storybook

I am surprised it has taken me this long to find out about this. But now I have I am definitely sharing it. Storybook is a development environment for UI components. You can browser a component library, view different states, and interactively develop them!

https://storybook.js.org/

 

Stitches

Build plain html templates from this JS template generator. A great idea for rolling out fast concepts, and the ability to add your own templates! Drag and drop and all that.

https://github.com/amiechen/stitches-template-generator

 

Docusaurus

A great project for easily building, deploying and maintaining open source projects. The “Simple to Start” guide walks you through the whole process in a very short amount of time.

https://docusaurus.io/

 

Does the Perfect Email Template Exist? We Used Data to Find Out.

Mailchimp put the numbers together, and came out with this article. They should know, they are the email people! There are no set rules, but they have found some helpful guidelines from this.

https://blog.mailchimp.com/does-the-perfect-email-template-exist-we-used-data-to-find-out/

 

Aria Examples

I have been banging on about accessibility for the past few weeks. Here is a link that can help you with that. Some great examples of common elements, and how they should be built to include/improve accessibility.

http://heydonworks.com/practical_aria_examples/

 

 

A bit of everything

These two articles go against what is being shouted about on Linkedin and those life inspiration blogs. They are also both very good reads.

 

Don’t listen to those productivity gurus: why waking up at 6am won’t make you successful

There is a list of things that “experts” say you must do to be successful, before you begin the working day. This article is of the opinion that they are wrong. I am inclined to agree.

https://medium.com/swlh/dont-listen-to-those-productivity-gurus-why-waking-up-at-6am-won-t-make-you-successful-b3c77921d9fd

 

The open-plan office is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea

Articles like this one have been circling for the last few weeks, and I finally decided to add it to the rundown. I have always been of the belief that open plan offices are counter-intuitive. Especially for individuals who need to concentrate on their work. As much as a support Dave hyping up his client on the phone and getting that sale, I also now can’t concentrate on this awkward function.

https://m.signalvnoise.com/the-open-plan-office-is-a-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-idea-42bd9cd294e3

Visual Creative Studio Illustration

Creative / Development Inspiration 37

Brilliant website inspiration, as well great articles on disrupting the normal design process. Plus web design style guides, and stupid design mistakes. Some great CSS techniques if you are a front end developer, as well as an exciting new virtual whiteboard.

It was great getting the articles together for this week. Some top writers, thoughts and concepts, as well as inspiration. Enjoy this website design and development inspiration rundown!

 

Website Inspiration

The past few weeks I have featured several agency websites to show how good design and layout can be simple and elegant. These two sites build on top of this even more!

 

April Zero

April Zero is a demo site for showing the information Gyroscope collects on you. The way it displays data, and quite honestly how pretty it is really appealed to me!

http://aprilzero.com/

 

Vizue

A creative studio based in Slovakia. This is one of the most creative sites I have seen in a while. Great use of animated SVGs to tie each section together. A great piece of work.

http://vizua.sk/en

 

 

Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration

 

Priority Guides: A Content-First Alternative to Wireframes

Finding a better process for designing websites is a big priority for me. A lot of “Digital Agencies” throw a design together, then add the content into pre-existing boxes. Quite frankly that makes no sense. Why add content that isn’t required? The internet already has enough meaningless drivel. Every message should be considered and have a point.

A List Apart takes us back to designing wireframes, and discusses how there may be a better alternative.

https://alistapart.com/article/priority-guides-a-content-first-alternative-to-wireframes

 

How To Create a Web Design Style Guide

If you are designed a site for a client that is likely to be around for a while, or you are redesigning your own site a style guide is a must. Not only does it allow you to go back to a central place to remind yourself, it stops you redesigning an element that already exists! It also allows third parties and future development teams follow brands guidelines.

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

 

10 Small Design Mistakes We Still Make

We will always want the principle “dont make me think” to apply to everything. The goal to each page should be self-evident. The average user should know exactly what is going on.

This article covers 10 mistakes that regularly occur, that stop the user from progressing easily.

https://uxplanet.org/10-small-design-mistakes-we-still-make-1cd5f60bc708

 

Development Snippets, Samples, and Articles

 

Text editing techniques every Front-End developer should know

This almost didn’t make it onto the list, until I realised it was one of the most helpful articles I have read in a while regarding writing code.

Any Front-end developer is going to spend a lot of time typing and manipulating code. It pays to know how to ‘drive’ your editor to get the best performance. This comes just in time after my post on my new editor setup.

https://benfrain.com/text-editing-techniques-every-front-end-developer-should-know

 

Combining the Powers of SEM and BIO for Improving CSS

SASS and LESS can take your loverly code, and turn it into a mess once complied. It can also make file sizes larger than needed.

SEM and BIO are coding techniques that allow your code to be scale-able, maintainable, and with a simple structure. A great read, and something to really consider.

https://css-tricks.com/combining-the-powers-of-sem-and-bio-for-improving-css

 

 

A bit of everything

RyeBoard

Still in development. But god damn this is going to be useful! Think Trello, now think whiteboard. But on the cloud!  Currently only on desktop, but so so interesting!

http://www.ryeboard.com

 

700 Screenshots of Developers’ Websites

Something nice and simple. 700 screenshots of developers websites. Maybe you can get some inspiration? Maybe you are just intrigued?

https://alexbezhan.github.io/devwebsites/

 

 

 

 

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/