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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