Tag Archives: design

Always show your working out

Remember hearing your maths teacher say that?

There’s a good reason for it; It gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how you solved the problem. You would be marked on the working out, and not just the final answer.

It’s the same with design work, if you can’t describe how (and more importantly why) things are done a particular way, then the client should (quite rightly) think of it as just a guess. Continue reading

The antidote to over-stimulation

Whilst reading http://contentsmagazine.com/articles/space-to-breathe/, the quote antidote to overwhelm and over-stimulation struck a cord with me. Quite a lot of home pages try to do everything, but by doing this they overwhelm the visitor. The absolute antithesis of that has to be the new WorkFu site, and to say I was impressed with their new homepage was an understatement:

I was blown away. I’d just never seen anything like it on a homepage recently.

Again, I think this comes back to confidence in design. Knowing that you’ll be able to convey the desired message in such a simple way without additional clutter Continue reading

Questions about Responsive Design – The Responsive Summit

On 23rd February the first ever Responsive Summit takes place in London. Thinkers and do-ers in the field of responsive web design get around a table to discuss how to make this easier for all of us.


This I can guarantee will enhance how we build sites in the coming years. Some of the questions I have are:

How we can serve up the right images for the right device?

Because of the responsive nature, images usually have to be created larger to compensate. I am wary of this because there have been discussions about increased page bloat and serving up multiple versions.

Further reading:

Is there still a place for ‘mobile’ versions of websites?

With the emergence of responsive and adaptive designs, do ‘mobile’ versions still have a place on the web?

How do we ‘sell’ responsive design to clients?

This is of course, down to the agencies and salespeople themselves. High profile responsive sites, such as http://bostonglobe.com/ have helped, but clients still need to be educated. That is our job.

There is, naturally a slightly higher cost to designing responsive sites, but this is minimal and when compared to separate desktop and mobile versions is usually a lot more cost effective.

How do we present responsive designs to the client?

Designs are typically served up in visual format, most proabably created in Photoshop or Illustrator first. Is there a good way of presenting these to the client whilst conveying the concept? Which leads on to…

Are we going to abandon Photoshop?

Is Photoshop even the right tool to design nowadays. With frameworks and tools available to create demos relatively quickly will this be the standard in the coming years?

Should we still be designing in pixels?

With the emergence of the retina display iPad and multiple resolution devices, have pixels had their day? Has the concept of pixel-perfect designs gone in favour of percentage and em-based designs?

Any other questions?

You can submit your own questions before the discussion takes place on the 23rd Feb by going to the website http://responsivesummit.com/.

Getting into Reading Mode

I have always found it hard to read a lot of content online. There are numerous reasons for this: poor layout design, bad typography and a lack on concentration on my behalf.

It is clear that this is a problem not unique to me. There have been many attempts made to make the experience a better one. From Safari’s built in Reader mode to Readability, designed to ‘zap online clutter and save web articles in a comfortable reading view’.

Focus Mode

The purpose of these systems is to remove the other distractions of adverts, additional links or related stories. At a much deeper level, Information Architects understood this whilst building their iA Writer they created what they called Focus Mode:

Thought goes into writing, not using: Focus mode allows you to think, spell and write one sentence at a time. This lowers the temptation to cross edit and keeps you in the flow.

I like the idea of keeping people ‘in the flow’ and so created a very quick mockup of a ‘focus mode’ for reading posts, not just writing them.


This could be made into a JS snippet, or as an idea for someone to use on their own site.

Because the script uses :hover this wouldn’t currently work on a phone, but I’m open to suggestions.