Category: design

Not only for design­ers, but also devel­op­ers who get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­vide input to the design process.

Feeling Like An Unwelcome Guest on

I have a short­cut to on the home screen of my Android phone. It’s there because I browsed the site a cou­ple of times and Chrome’s app install ban­ners prompt­ed me to add it to my home screen, so I did. Some time lat­er I launched the site from the short­cut icon and it opened and loaded so quick­ly that I actu­al­ly thought it had retrieved a copy from an offline cache. But it hadn’t, it was just very well opti­mised. So ten points to the Medi­um team for that.

Today I launched the site from the short­cut again – but this time the expe­ri­ence was some­what dif­fer­ent. So dif­fer­ent that I have to take away all the points I pre­vi­ous­ly award­ed to the team. The prob­lem is that when I launched the site today, I had the door emphat­i­cal­ly slammed in my face.

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CSS Blending — a Five-minute Introduction

With the release of ver­sion 30, Fire­fox becomes the lat­est brows­er to sup­port CSS Blend Modes (Chrome has had them for a few months, and sup­port is on the way in Safari 8). But what are blend modes? What is blend­ing, for that matter?

If you’ve ever used image edit­ing tools like Pho­to­shop, Sketch or GIMP, you’ll prob­a­bly already be famil­iar with blend modes. For every­one else, they are meth­ods of mix­ing two visu­al lay­ers so that the two are com­bined. This could be an image lay­er with a colour lay­er, or two image layers.

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Bitmap Image Optimisation

Har­ry Roberts wrote a great arti­cle, Front-end per­for­mance for web design­ers and front-end devel­op­ers, which details var­i­ous tech­niques for improv­ing page load times. One thing he skips over, though, is image opti­mi­sa­tion. There are many ways to opti­mise images for load­ing per­for­mance, includ­ing using image sprites, icon fonts, and replac­ing bitmaps with SVGs. But when­ev­er you have to use bitmap images you should also opti­mise them before they make it to the page.

In this arti­cle I want to show a few sim­ple image opti­mi­sa­tion tech­niques I use, which are aimed at reduc­ing the file­size of the images, and there­fore speed­ing up your page load­ing times.

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50 fantastic tools for RWD

As part of .Net mag­a­zine’s Respon­sive Week, I’ve updat­ed an arti­cle by Denise Jacobs to now bring you 50 fan­tas­tic tools for respon­sive web design.

The Uncanny Valley and Realism in UI Design

Last year I began explor­ing the idea of the uncan­ny val­ley as it applies to cre­at­ing pro­to­types, using a pan­el from Under­stand­ing Comics as an illus­tra­tion. Lukas Math­is at UX Mag­a­zine has had a sim­i­lar idea, but explored it in much more depth and with greater clar­i­ty.

Building The Front-end

This sub­ject of this post is the redesign of my employ­er’s web­site,, and is cross-post­ed from the Pre­loaded blog with permission.

At the begin­ning of the redesign project we agreed some design tenets: the new site should be a best-prac­tice show­case and an oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn and use some of the lat­est web tech­nolo­gies; and it should employ exist­ing ser­vices where practical.

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I’ve updat­ed my Speak­ing page to include more con­fer­ences, more videos, and a lit­tle on my speak­ing require­ments and pref­er­ences. I’m plan­ning to cut down on the num­ber of talks I give in 2014 (twelve is too many), but am always open to inter­est­ing offers and oppor­tu­ni­ties, so please get in touch if you’re organ­is­ing an event.

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