define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true); design

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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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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