Category: design

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

Interesting examples of sitemaps

I’ve been doing quite a lot of site map­ping recent­ly, and look­ing for a way to escape the stan­dard boxy top-down view. In search­ing for exam­ples of dif­fer­ent ways to present the infor­ma­tion, that are pleas­ing to look at but still imme­di­ate­ly con­vey mean­ing, I found a num­ber of inter­est­ing examples.

Below are the pick of the results, along with a few that don’t quite work, and some old stand­bys. I want­ed to include images to illus­trate this, but in most cas­es the license did­n’t allow.

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Visualising search relevance with Google charts

Some search engines, par­tic­u­lar­ly on con­tent man­age­ment sys­tems, give a per­cent­age fig­ure for the rel­e­vance of a result to your search term. When view­ing a lot of results on a page, the fig­ures can tend to run into one anoth­er and be hard to quick­ly distinguish.

This was the case with a client site I’m build­ing using CMS Made Sim­ple at the moment, and the results page suf­fered from a lack of clar­i­ty. Think­ing of a way to sim­pli­fy the page, I remem­bered the old adage “a pic­ture is worth a thou­sand words” and hit upon the idea of using Google’s Chart API to replace the figures:

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Grid alignment without frameworks

When build­ing a small site or blog tem­plate with a grid-based lay­out I find ‘CSS frame­works’ such as Blue­print and YUI Grids are overkill; they con­tain a lot of extra CSS rules which I don’t use. They are (in the ver­nac­u­lar) like using a sledge­ham­mer to crack a nut.

What I do instead is much sim­pler; I use an extra stylesheet just for test­ing, and a sin­gle PNG image tiled across the background.

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What I saw at @media 2008

As is cus­tom­ary (or as cus­tom­ary as ‘twice’ can be), here is a quick round-up of the ses­sions I attend­ed at @media this year, with links to slides where avail­able (which, as I type this, is pret­ty much unavailable).

Ses­sions which I found par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing should be cov­ered in more detail lat­er, and I’ll update here as I find more presentations.

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Unveiling my new theme

Any­one not read­ing this in an RSS feed will notice that I’ve installed a new theme. I was nev­er real­ly hap­py with the pre­vi­ous one, as it was based on a design that had been reject­ed from anoth­er project and was called into action before it was ready.

I’ve giv­en this one a ver­sion num­ber of 0.5, as I still have a lot I want to do with it, notably: embed­ding more micro­for­mats in the code; adding more pro­gres­sive enhance­ment to the CSS; mak­ing more use of Word­Press’ tag­ging sys­tem; and test­ing more thor­ough­ly in IE.

How­ev­er, I’m pret­ty pleased with the more typo­graph­ic direc­tion in this design, and am excit­ed to be using a theme I gen­uine­ly care about.

If any read­ers have any con­struc­tive crit­i­cism to give, please go ahead and do so in the com­ments. How­ev­er, do please be gen­tle with me!


What I saw at FoWD 2008

As promised, slight­ly more detailed notes on the ses­sions at FoWD (fur­ther links to pre­sen­ta­tions to fol­low). In chrono­log­i­cal order:

Finding Inspiration for Design (Patrick McNeil)

I missed the begin­ning of this, but it seemed to be pret­ty sage, if not rather com­mon­sense, advice (don’t just use web­sites for web design inspi­ra­tion), as well as some notes on cur­rent trends and tips on future ones; soft colours, more use of hor­i­zon­tal space, more video.

User Experience vs Brand Experience (Steve Pearce and Andy Clarke)

Set up as a con­fronta­tion, but in fact both speak­ers were at pains to point out that both should be thought of togeth­er. Andy Clarke adds: don’t be afraid to fail, we learn from our mistakes.

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Aside

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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