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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/

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!

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

Overflow - Userflow

Creative / Development Inspiration 35

Why you need to care about UX design, some brilliant tips on improving mobile interaction and how to create single element patterns. This weeks creative website design and development inspiration also looks at how to create HTML5 sprites and a beginners guide to A/B testing.

As well as going over keeping up with what is new on “that there interwebs” I also use this blog for a place to keep all the best bits that I want to remember.

Its easier to find here!

 

Website Inspiration

Overflow

“User flows done right” is this sites tagline. No wonder the site is perfectly designed. Perfect landing page with large header, and understandable call to action (I think I might use them).

https://overflow.io/

 

Designer Resources, Examples and Inspiration

Why you need to care about UX design

Understand what your customers want, keep your customers attention, and give them a well written story. Why brands really cannot afford to ignore UI or UX.

https://www.retailtechnews.com/2018/06/26/why-you-need-to-care-about-ux-design/

 

7 Effective Tips to Improve Mobile Interactions

The quality of mobile design can be measured simply. When the process of usage is so smooth and effortless that people don’t even think about it, it is the sign of the professional design work. On the other hand, if there are some problems in the interaction system, users will definitely notice them and won’t be pleased about it. This article breaks down 7 places that could be improved.

https://design4users.com/2018/06/22/7-effective-tips-to-improve-mobile-interactions

 

Development Snippets, Samples, and Articles

Introducing the Single Element Patterns

This is something I have been pushing for, and manoeuvring my workflow to get to this point. A project based on lots of small elements that can be reused over and over again. This article breaks down a few essential rules you should follow to make sure you can work faster.

https://medium.freecodecamp.org/introducing-the-single-element-pattern-dfbd2c295c5d

 

Animating Sprite Sheets With JavaScript

Martin Himmel walks you through how to animate a sprite in HTML5 Canvas. Easy to follow, and a hell of a lot of uses!

https://dev.to/martyhimmel/animating-sprite-sheets-with-javascript-ag3

 

Building a chat app with React.js and Chatkit

I had never heard of Scrimba before finding this tutorial, but I’m so glad I have. This tutorial walks you through building a chat app with React.js and Chatkit. Each step has a video, and you can take your own pace.

https://scrimba.com/g/greactchatkit

 

Glide JS

A dependency-free JavaScript ES6 slider and carousel. It’s lightweight, flexible and fast. Designed to slide. No less, no more. Looks like something I will definitely be using moving forwards!

https://glidejs.com/

 

A bit of everything

A Beginners Guide to to A/B and Multivariate Testing

If you want to improve site conversion, A/B and Multivariate Testing are invaluable tools. This article run through the different services available, and how to get moving in the right direction.

https://boagworld.com/design/split-testing

 

User Journey: Design Flows Instead of Screens

Most designers are obsessed with screens. They have features and screens piled up, but rarely see their apps with their users’ eyes. Familiar? Well, it’s time to start thinking in flows instead of screens. A user journey shows how your people reach their goals in your app. This article introduces the basics of creating a user journey with some tips and specific examples.

https://uxstudioteam.com/ux-blog/user-journey-design-flows/

Colour Wheel

Creative / Development Inspiration 28

Tabler

Tablet is a premium and Open Source dashboard template with responsive and high quality UI. It has so many modules and components that it could be used immediately off the bat with no customisation required. Built with Bootstrap and icons integrated into thew build, its definitely bookmark-able.

https://tabler.github.io/

 

Nimiq Miner WP

I have mentioned Crypto Currency before in this blog, and am a strong advocate of the idea. I have recently been following a project called Nimiq, which labels itself as “the blockchain designed for simplicity”. I agree with this, the wallet is easy to set up, transfers are so fast! and mining is so easy! Because of my belief in the project I have started work on a WordPress plugin for mining Nimiq. It is at early stages with lots of features in the pipeline. Take a look!

https://github.com/justlikethisdesign/NimiqMinerWP

 

Three Essential Design Trends, May 2018

Web Designer Depot have written this great summary of what they thing the top 3 trends are of May. They have included some great examples of actual websites to go alongside their trends. Perfect website design inspiration.

https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2018/05/3-essential-design-trends-may-2018/

 

Why You Should Never Centre or Right Align Your Logo

Many designers assume that centre or right aligning their website logo will make their brand more memorable. Research has shown this assumption is not true at all. In fact, straying from a left aligned logo can make your brand less memorable and even your site harder to navigate.

http://uxmovement.com/navigation/why-you-should-never-center-or-right-align-your-logo

 

Colour Theory

As a designer in the digital era, you certainly don’t have to stick to the colours available from paints, inks, or other pigments, though there’s a lot we can learn from fine art’s approach to colour. In fact, the human eye can see millions of different hues — but sometimes, choosing even just two or three to use from those millions can seem like a daunting task.

 

Canvas covers Colour Theory is a way that makes it so easy to understand. Definitely on the bookmark list for me.

https://www.canva.com/learn/color-theory

 

Priority Guides: A Content-First Alternative to Wireframes

A List Apart have put together this expansive article covering how Content-First allows you to better understand what is required on your website. They break down each stage to show how much simpler the concept is.

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


How paper wireframing will make you a better designer

This one goes against the above article. However, in a sense they also go hand in hand. The idea of moving away from from a computer and getting hands on allows a greater freedom of expression. You are not limited by the software and its toolbar. Worth the read.

https://blog.prototypr.io/how-paper-wireframing-will-make-you-a-better-designer-5a57db8dca13

Neomedia Pokemon

Creative / Development Inspiration 23

This weeks creative & development inspiration covers some great articles, all the way from bad user onboarding and UX to using IBM Watson to analyse your social media. The most eclectic post so far.

 

4 Examples of Bad User Onboarding That Will Ruin Your UX

Starting off with this great article on bad user onboarding, Ty Magnin breaks down a few issues that are causing bottlenecks in getting users onto your service. It doesn’t just stop there either, if the user can sign up easily, they may hang around longer.

https://www.appcues.com/blog/bad-user-onboarding

 

Gender pay gap: women in graphic design earn £4,000 less than men

Gender equality is something that is being spoken about in all industries. This article discusses the issues behind the gender pay gap for woman in design, and how woman in design get paid 6% less than their male counterparts.

https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/3-8-april-2018/women-graphic-designers-earn-4000-less-year-men-gender-pay-gap-shows/

 

NEA Media

Whilst researching different portfolio websites for styles and how the page load is managed I stumbled across NEA Media. The way the site loads and then animates up is really enjoyable, as well as the design across the whole site. Definitely worth a look.

http://www.neamedia.fr/en

 

“Let’s not be elitist about what we do”: should designers give away their secrets?

Pentagram partner Natasha Jen recently lambasted the term “design thinking” as “bullshit”, “jargon” and “extremely dangerous”. Designers share their thoughts on the concept and discuss whether teaching design skills to businesses is helpful or irresponsible.

https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/26-march-1-april-2018/lets-not-be-elitist-design-thinking-designers-share-secrets-natasha-jen/

 

Analyzing Your Company’s Social Media Presence With IBM Watson And Node.js

Jamie Munro demonstrates how to perform a search with Twitter’s API to retrieve content that will be inputted into the ML algorithm to be analysed. This way, you’ll be provided with characteristics about the users who wrote that specific content so that you can get a better understanding of your audience. The example application will be written using Node.js as the server.

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/04/analyzing-social-media-presence-ibm-watson-nodejs/

 

Modern PHP Without a Framework

This article discusses the reasoning behind not using a PHP framework for your next project. A fairly technical read, but definitely worth it if you work with PHP.

https://kevinsmith.io/modern-php-without-a-framework

 

Mitsulift Elevators by Base Design

The last link is a beautiful new identity by Base Design. The new identity manages to work across all mediums, whilst easily portraying the brand and what they do. Big fan.

http://bpando.org/2018/04/03/branding-mitsulift-elevators/

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

Feet up Steps - A 2016 running plan

Hit 2016 Running – A 4 Point Plan To Get You Started

Christmas and the New Year have come and gone and tens of millions of people around the world have made resolutions for the next 12 months. New Years goals about getting into shape are the most common, probably brought on by the binge drinking and food comas.

Unfortunately many people fall short of these aims. This isn’t to say that these people are lazy; rather their system is not working for them. It is one thing to say “I will run 3 times a week”, but that is not enough. You must use tactics that work to help you stick to your New Year’s goals, whether they are to run more, eat healthier or get a new personal best. Use this 4 point plan to get running this year.

 

1. Get a plan, Get a Program
If you don’t have a plan in place then you are unlikely to achieve your goals. This saying can be used for all your resolutions, fitness or not! If you want to run a marathon in the summer make sure you know how to get to that stage.

Beginners can use the Couch to 5K program like Val did (read about Val here) that will take you from not running at all, to completing your first 5k run.

It also helps to keep track of your runs, how long you went for, how far you ran. This doesn’t have to be anything smart and sexy; a piece of paper on the side of the fridge will do, as long as you can see your progress.

 

2. Shout about it
Tell your friend, family, co-workers what you want to achieve. If you are constantly being asked how for you have progressed there is less of a chance that you will hang it up to dry. It also helps being proud about what you are doing, enjoying the run or the outcome can really help motivate then next one.

 

3. Make it work for you
Convenience is the key. If you don’t have a gym in your office, or within 10 minutes of your house don’t get that membership. Driving to the gym is an inconvenience; it is too difficult to “try hard” to go to the gym.

Instead get up a little earlier and run before work. It is hard to skip a run when there are no other pressing obligations (aside from going back to sleep, I’ll leave you to not press snooze). If this doesn’t work, maybe take your running clothes to work and run home.

 

4. Make it a habit
They say it takes 30 days to make something a habit. If you can start, and stick with it for 30 days then you won’t event notice when February rolls around.

Try and stay consistent as well. The number one way runners improve their performance is through consistency, one step at a time, one mile at a time, one day at a time. When you’re consistent, you develop and maintain a solid base of running fitness from which you can improve.

 

Life is short. Be pro-active about reaching your goals and keep pushing yourself to get better. You can succeed by changing little things in your routine to make your run easier.