What is Invisible Design

20 w

Design is not always an in-your-face art. It is subtle, usable and often undefinable. Quite simply, good design is often invisible.

And just to be clear – invisible design is not about adding layers or transparencies or hidden meanings to projects. It is about creating great user-oriented projects that work functionally and visually.

It’s something I heard over and over again when I was starting out as a young designer. If you have to “decorate” the canvas, you are over-designing it. The best design – the design that really makes a project work – is invisible.

But how to you achieve that invisible design? Especially when web design is a quite visual tool. (As a bonus, a few websites that exemplify the idea of invisible design are featured throughout this post.)

So before we get too far along, design is visible. There’s no argument about that at all. But the techniques and tools you use, should not be glaringly obvious to the common user.

Much of design is about “feeling right.” Users want to engage and interact with something. They don’t necessarily

Internet of Things

5 w

Do you like fantasy movies?

If you don’t, it’s about time to start watching them, because what we have seen in sci-fi and fantasy films in the last decade is getting real with every new technology advancement.

Everyday things around us are becoming smarter, sometimes even smarter than ourselves. And when you think about it in perspective it is actually more disturbing than fun. However, I am always for the tech progress rather than against it and internet of things (IoT) is no exception. IoT is the next big thing and it’s already here.

According to a widely acknowledged definition, “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”

Although IoT is booming today, it is not new and tech companies have been working on interconnected smart gadgets for quite a while now. That is why we’ve been offered a variety of innovational products at each tech exhibition this year.

Personal Branding Guide for Designers

2 w

Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. Being good at your craft is not enough these days, being unique and authentic will make the cut, but only if enough people know about you. As Michael Simmons writes, authenticity is key in the digital age. Having a strong personal brand and following can lead to enormous opportunities and recognition.

Personal branding is becoming one of the most important key factors in any industry. Skills and boring resumes are not guaranteeing you anything anymore. You have to really start developing your own brand and building a tribe, or in other words an audience that will help you getting jobs, supporting you, sharing your work and getting recognition.

In today’s article I’d like to share some personal branding guidelines I’ve been experimenting with in the last couple of years. The techniques and methods used led me to speaking engagements, interviews on Forbes and Fast Company, business growth and business leads, not to mention the connections and friendships I’ve made.

Why should you care about building a personal brand?

There are numerous of reasons why you should consider strengthening your personal

The Four Main Benefits of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is beginning to take over in its importance in the success of both online and offline businesses. What was once thought of as something that could be used to get an edge on the competition is now being thought of as a type of marketing that is essential for even marginal success.

To help you give you a better understanding of just how important digital marketing is and will continue to be, here are a few of its benefits.

It Helps to Level the Playing Field

In times past, big companies with large advertising budgets were able to blow small businesses out of the water by simply bombarding consumers with entertaining advertisements. Today, that is nowhere near the case.

In order to compete in the digital marketing world, website owners are forced to use things like SEO, email marketing, and social media to get to the top. This opens up opportunities for the small businesses, as they attempt to make waves that put them ahead of the major businesses and companies that have been dominating the advertising sphere for years.

Cost Effective

One of the main reasons so many small

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design term is related to the concept of developing a website design in a manner that helps the lay out to get changed according to the user’s computer screen resolution. More precisely, the concept allows for an advanced 4 column layout 1292 pixels wide, on a 1025 pixel  width screen, that auto-simplifies into 2 columns. Also, it suitably fixes on the smartphone and computer tablet screen. This particular designing technique we call “responsive design”.

Now you can test your website using the Responsive Design Tool.

Responsive web designing is an entirely different designing version than traditional web designing, and developers (especially fresher) must know about the pros and cons of responsive web designing. This blog is a mighty example of the approach so we will reveal a few facts about the uses of responsive web designing. The basic instinct might be to choose media queries to develop a responsive site. However, the hassle one faces with media queries is that new queries can pop up from moment to moment; each time, the user experiences sudden and drastic changes to the look and organization of the site. Experts suggest using some CSS transitions to ease

Pro Tips to a Smarter Design Process

Being a UX designer myself, it’s important that we fall back in love with the art of design. Especially when you hit a creative wall.

The reasons vary. Maybe you’ve been working too fast and too hard and burnt out. Maybe you work in a non-creative environment and contend with a lot of resistance each day. Maybe you’ve unknowingly become a repeat performer, putting out the same work over and over again. Or maybe you’re just bored

A design process empowers you to confidently innovate because you can map the inception of an idea to its evolution.

Your process should never be so ideal that it can’t change. Every project has limitations. Whether it’s resources or skills, your design process must adapt to all these real-life constraints.

Here’s 10 tips for improving your own design process based on what I’ve experienced in my own career.

1. Define the problem before hunting for solutions

Einstein once said, If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

Many designers make a fatal flaw in thinking problems are obvious. Most

User Stories and Scenarios in UX Design

There was a time when the best website design was the one packed up with some cool new features, a weird navigation and anything else that the designer thought looked good. We trusted the designer’s taste and opinion often even more than our logic. Sometimes it worked out amazing, but sometimes usability suffered. Thankfully things have significantly changed in favor of the user.

Today users stand in the center of any design project. We build products based on what we know about the users even when it contradicts our own opinions and surprisingly we now fail less. How is that possible? With the help of user research methods, such as user stories and scenarios

In order to understand how these two UX research methods can actually help us create beautiful interfaces, let’s go through the three main points.

  1. what are user stories and scenarios?
  2. how are they different from each other?
  3. what is the role of user stories and scenarios in UX design

What is a user story?

There is a Native American proverb that says “It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story” and that’s exactly how we write a user story.

Checklist for Designers

You have a looming deadline for a client project. The minutes re ticking toward the face-to-face client meeting. Are you ready?

Just grabbing a design and handing it to a client is not the way to nail your client project presentation. There are other things you should do as well to prepare for that meeting so that your project proposal or your design is more likely to come across as you intend. Preparation is key. You need to be on top of your game ahead of client meetings so that you will feel comfortable, confident and increase the chances that your project (or proposal) will make a great impression.

Here’s how you do it.

Start with the Basics

Before you even start to think about your actual presentation, make sure you have a good idea of who you are talking to? Who will be in the room when you give your client presentation? What is the goal of the meeting? Knowing your audience is the key to preparing an appropriate strategy.

Make sure you tailor your presentation to that audience as well. The tone of your speech will likely change based on whether

Mobile Design Magical Micro

You understand and have created an app that looks amazing. It has a cool story and the visual design is impressive. But that’s not enough — it needs more, something that really connects with users and feels alive.Micro-interactions are the secret ingredient when it comes to creating an addictive app. These design moments keep users engaged, create unexpected delight  and are almost invisible to everyone but the designer.

You come across micro-interactions hundreds of times a day.

Each time you end an alarm, see a text message flash across the screen, are reminded of your turn in a game, skip a song in a music player or even as you change course based on traffic alerts during your morning commute. Every one of these tiny moments  forms a micro-interaction. And it’s likely that you don’t think about any of them, but each one contributes to why you continually use specific apps day after day.

What Are Micro-interactions?

A micro-interaction is any single task-based engagement with a device. Most of these engagements are barely noticeable, provided the flow feels smooth

Slack, above, is a great  app that does all three of these jobs in one

Changes are Coming to Tools and Devices for UI UX Designers

There is interesting stereotype that the ideal tools for designers are Apple devices with OS X and iOS. Regarding UI/UX design — it is explainable. Products such as Sketch and Principle, have great advantages: small consuming of resources, intuitive interface, low price. When it comes to devices, laptops and tablets, items from Сupertino look awesome.

But in light of recent events, such the the launch of new Microsoft products and the AdobeMax conference, that stereotype might be changing. A new group of products is about to take the design market by storm.

Lumia and Continuum

Microsoft has one big advantage — it is one platform for multiple devices. And their main competitor, Apple, doesn’t have it. According to Tim Cook’s interview, there must be two different operating systems

I won’t list different technical specs of these devices. They are not as interesting as the experience of using Lumia, especially the Continuum feature.

It allows to connect a Windows 10 Mobile smartphone to a display dock and monitor, and get a full PC experience. Considering productivity of the modern devices, we can easily work with vector graphics. I hope that Adobe will take care about adaptation of Project

Why Hipster Attitudes Can Ruin Interaction Design

Overwhelmingly, humans avoid challenging their long-standing beliefs, tastes and opinions. We prefer something we know instead of seeking new experiences.

Even in the modern age with constant new stimuli, we like to follow the same well-worn paths and draw the same conclusions regardless of fact.

That being said, this kind of selfish thinking is something that greatly inhibits a product designer to craft useful and meaningful interactions. Stepping outside of our personal biases to facilitate a truly tailored interaction is what’s known as empathetic design.

The easiest and most common way for a designer to fail to build empathy is by dismissing users’ viewpoints on a moral or intellectual objection.

1. Identify Users’ Motivations

Designer Knows Best

Building empathy is hard. The human brain loves to follow friction-less paths to the easiest answers but simply believing that our personal biases are right all the time is just the easiest way to fail.

The Kano model allows us to map user needs and weigh those needs by importance

Discovering what users think is, of course, important, “what” is quantitative and allows us to categorize users’ needs into feature sets. That being

Ways to Supercharge Your Design Learning

I started learning design in 2007, and a lot has changed since then. Now we have thousands of communities available, tutorial sites, remarkable individuals sharing their knowledge and dozens of opportunities to learn and earn as a designer.

Today, I’d like to share some of the techniques and methods I’ve used to learn design. I keep learning new things every day and some of the examples below are based on my personal experience trying, failing, building and succeeding.

Show Up Everyday

Developing a habit of learning is a key to establishing consistent learning routine that will allow you to supercharge your learning experience and maximize the outcomes of the effort you put in

Allocate time daily to learn design and have it everyday for the time you want to keep studying, whether it’s a month or half a year

1 Percent Rule

Practicing everyday is what makes you better. The trick is to really commit to learning, set aside some time and show up consistently every day. Just think about simple math, showing up 60 minutes a day for a month is 60 minutes x 30 days = 1,800 min or 30

How to Use Color in Web Design

The current landscape of color in website design is interesting to think about. Most websites look more or less the same, yet color can be a powerful tool in design.

I’m not trying to state this as anything revolutionary or as an extraordinary find. But if most websites have similar color schemes, what does that mean for color? Actually, it means a lot. Imagine a world where every website was colorful – it would possibly be very pretty and rainbow-filled but it would mean that nothing stood out. It’s like having every paragraph bolded in your essay.

Therefore, when color schemes are muted, it allows for many opportunities.

Draw Attention to Anything You Want

Most websites start with a basic grayscale look – white background and black text. Color comes in as accents that get you to look places

Take Vibrant, for instance, when you first land on their home page the background and images are black and white. The logo, call to action and the hamburger menu are bright yellow. They stand out and grab your attention quickly.

Another example is Takeit; when you first land on their home page you’re

Comprehensive Guide to Static Website Generators

Most developers already understand how content management systems work. The popularity of WordPress has permeated the globe and become a staple for creating any blog.

However a growing trend is the use of static website generators for blogs or small websites. These are dynamic compilers that turn preprocessed code into static HTML/CSS/JS files that can be maintained on a server without a database. And while this may not be the best workflow for every site, there are many reasons why developers have been flocking to static site generators.

In this post I’d like to explore the depths of static website generators: what they do, how they do it and why you might want to use one. If you simply don’t understand static site generators then hopefully this post will shed light on the subject.

Origins of the Static Web

The web actually started as purely static HTML files in the 90s. Yes, there were larger applications that ran on Perl or Java, but HTML was the quickest way for anyone to publish content online

Static sites were meant to deliver content fast. HTML pages are parsed directly by a web browser, so HTTP

Web Design Trends of the Future

One of the hottest techniques in web design is the HD background, enabled by the growing commonality of HD displays. But it’s not going to be easy when you’re creating a pattern whose trademark is visual complexity.

In this article, we’ll take a look into the future of web design. It’s not a question of if HD web design will dominate the web, but rather when high-res monitors become widespread enough to necessitate improved visual designs.

Let’s get a head start. We’ll explore how to build an HD background, using images, video, or animation, and layering everything together.

These are the most descriptive words of modern web design when it comes to background images. Not only are designers thinking about HD, but they are taking HD to the extreme with backgrounds that occupy the entire screen.

This design technique works because users are innately visual.

After all, as described in Web Design Trends 2015 & 2016, vision dominates a lot of our subconscious interpretation of the world around us. On top of that, pleasing images create a better user experience partly because we perceive attractive objects as working better. It seems harshly superficial,

How to Conduct a Card Sorting Study

Opinions differ just like tastes. That is why when making important design decisions we need to consider what users think. We may argue whether contact information should go in the “about us” section or in the footer or elsewhere and each team member may be right in a sense, but the only opinion that matters is that of the user.

But how can you incorporate users’ ideas into the information architecture of a product?

I suggest card sorting. It’s simple, easy to conduct and analyze and it’s an informative UX design process.

Card sorting is a user study where participants organize content pieces into groups based on topic similarity. The group labels may be predefined (closed card sorting) if you already have some kind of information architecture and navigation. However, it’s even more informative to leave group labeling to the participants (open card sorting), especially if you are unsure about the category naming. This way you will get an understanding of how your users “speak” about the same topic.

Choose Your Methods

Depending on your project goals you can choose to conduct either an open or closed card sorting study. While closed card

Web Design Trends

The new year will come with plenty of new techniques and trends, but the dominant theme is likely to be a continuation of things we have started to see at the end of 2015. More video, vertical patterns, Material Design-inspired interfaces and slide-style sites will grow in popularity.

And it’s not hard for you to make the most of these concepts. Here, we’ll ring in the new year with 11 web design trends (and plenty of great examples) that designers will be seeing a lot of in 2016. (Make sure to click the links as well and play around with some of these sites to really get a feel for them. Many of the trends are just as much in the user interface as the visuals.)

Web Design Trends

Vertical Patterns and Scrolling

A bigger leaning toward mobile – with some thinking mobile traffic could equal desktop traffic this year – means more sites are being designed with vertical user flows

A few years ago, we were all debating the end of the scroll in web design only to find it roaring back as an important interaction tool. Smaller screens lead users to

Web Design Trends

Practical as they are visually attractive, card interfaces are more than just a trend.

With 2014 marking the first time mobile internet usage exceeded desktop, web design is now favoring the small screen as responsive design becomes mandatory. The result: simple interface styles like the new flat design, minimalism, and especially cards are more popular than ever.

The usefulness of the card UI pattern goes beyond loading times and translating across different screen sizes. Bite-sized content matches the attention span of most web users (especially on mobile devices). Nurtured by Pinterest and then popularized by social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, card UIs can now be found across websites of all industries.

In this article, we’ll explore the rise of the card UI pattern: why they’re useful, how they fit into responsive and material design, and what to expect from them in the future.

What’s Container-style Design?

To understand this pattern, you must first understand the card itself.

Cards are basically small containers of each information, with each card representing its own singular thought. A card can hold all types of content — visuals, text, links, etc. — but all fall

Design Trend Parallax With a Twist

The newest trend in web design has inklings of parallax, but it’s not quite parallax.

It involves moving elements, but it’s not really animation.

It includes plenty of great color and physical elements, but it’s not material.

This background trend includes elements of plenty of other trends for truly engaging moving elements that draw users in and keep them on the site with great scrolling actions. This new parallax with a twist is the latest craze to fascinate website designers.

Identifying the Trend

Parallax with a twist is different because it is so much more seamless than what we’ve seen with moving background trends in the past. It is identifiable by a moving background that is activated with scroll, very much like parallax scrolling effects.

The key difference is in the lack of “screens.” The scroll creates a continuous and moving dynamic flow where the background changes color, includes moving animations and elements that move with the screen and other elements move in to and out of the focus area.

It’s different from the parallax scrolling trends we’ve seen in the past because the elements move so seamlessly and smoothly that

Understanding Immediate and Anticipated Emotions in Landing Pages

Today I want to explain the concepts of immediate and anticipated emotions while designing. It’s a concept that is truly handy once you realize what it is.

Identifying Immediate Emotions

Immediate emotion is a user’s emotional reaction to a product. An example is a negative response to a landing page from issues such as usability, accessibility or readability that get in the way of visiting the page. When a long page hijacks scrolling, your immediate response could be frustration, confusion or even distrust. That’s one way of experiencing an immediate emotional response to a product.

But there are also positive responses such as being impressed or wowed by a product when you’re first introduced to it. That’s what you should aim for