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Posts suspended for a bit while I settle into a new job. . . 

Entries in Design (10)


The Search Box

I am more and more impressed with Design Shack; it is a complete, accessible resource for web design. I encourage you to subscribe to one of the feeds, at least.

Carrie Cousins, in Design Shack, posts a great introduction to the considerations for designers in implementing the all-important search box within a website. She covers the need for a search box, its functionality, placement in the site and on the page, signals the box should provide to guide its use, and tips and resources for search box. 

What Makes a Great Search Interface?

by Carrie Cousins on 26th February 2014

A search box is one of the essential pieces that is included in almost every website design. While sometimes the creation of this small element turns into an afterthought, there is no reason why the search box should not be designed as beautifully as the rest of a website.

The design of a search box should mirror that of the rest of the site, be functional and easy to use and be placed in a location that is obvious to users. Today, we are going to take a look at some great search boxes and a few tools to help you through your own design.

Post continues at link. 


Avoid These Design Trends

Via Design Shack -- a very useful resource -- 

Design Shack showcases inspiring web design, alongside resources and tutorials for you to succeed in the same way. We only offer the cream of great design, filtering through lots of the redesigns that occur every day across the Internet, and cataloguing the greatest projects out there – perfect for getting that spark of creativity going again.

Regular articles will teach you new techniques for creating your own designs, and daily community news ensures that you’re up to date with the latest developments elsewhere.

If you want to be updated every time a new design or tutorial is added, you can subscribe to our RSS news feed. 

-- a welcome post about over-used techniques: 

10 Design Trends I Don’t Want to See in 2014

by Carrie Cousins on 3rd February 2014

We talk a lot about emerging trends and how to make them work in a variety of design projects. But there are some design techniques that I am, quite frankly, sick of seeing. They are overused, overdone and just not effective anymore. (And if you use them, you risk having a design that looks like a lot of other stuff out there.)

Today, we’re going to take a look at 10 design trends that have outlasted their time. Do yourself a favor and really think about removing each of these tricks from your 2014 projects.

Post continues at link. My least favorite trends are script typefaces and thin type.

Many of the trends are rooted in skeumorphism, which is design that uses elements and tricks to make graphical representations emulate physical objects -- cues ranging from functioning knobs in video processing software; to tabs that behave like real, paper folder tabs; to the shutter-click sound used on smartphones. 


Web Design

I just came across this very rich resource for finding ". . . free and paid tutorials, courses, instructor-guided courses, and reference material."

Highly recommended.


Trends in 2014: Design

[January 19: for a funny story about a consequence from lack of attention to affordance, see here.]

Gannon Burgett in The Industry writes a very nice piece -- right depth, right length, (although very Apple-focused) -- on design trends he sees in the coming year. (Also reproduced in Gizmodo.)

14 Design Trends for 2014 

Just as I did a year ago, I’m kicking off 2014 – as well as our redesign – with a list of design trends I expect to gain ground over the next twelve months. The world of interactive design is an extreme fluid in terms of what’s determined as a staple of good design from year to year.

It should go without saying that these are my thoughts as to how design will play out over the course of the next year. I will certainly be wrong on a few of them, but I’m also extremely confident in all of these making some sort of appearance throughout the course of the year, as prominent or short-lived as they may be.

List continues at link. 

Three that stand out to me include 

  • Color as affordance. Affordance -- the intrinsic "property of an object, or an environment, which allows an individual to perform an action" -- seems, to me, to be an under-appreciated concept. Folks who are responsible for design -- of services, interfaces, applications, spaces, etc. -- should be familiar with the canon, and particular with Don Norman's book, The Design of Everyday Things
  • Blur. See this piece in the very good resource design shack, and the example of Square's Cash (to some degree). 
  • Single-use pages. A beautiful example is that one cited by Burgett, The New York Times's Snowfall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek




Apple Design

It's amusing, Fast Company's use of the term, "longread" -- something long to read. Apparently, on a screen, something is "long" when you have to scroll down. 

Max Chafkin in Fast Company's Co. DESIGN writes an excellent longread  survey of Apple's journey to design excellence. Videos, and a great slide show. 

An Oral History Of Apple Design: 1992–2013


Most efforts to explain design at Apple end up reducing a complex 37-year history to bromides about simplicity, quality, and perfection--as if those were ambitions unique to Apple alone. So Fast Company set out to remedy that deficiency through an oral history of Apple's design, a decoding of the signature as told by the people who helped create it. A longer version of the story that includes material not published elsewhere is available in the Byliner original ebook, Design Crazy.

The Good


"This is our signature," Apple's gauzy television ads proclaim, referring to the familiar words that the company stamps on the undersides of its products: designed by Apple in California. The ads fall in the grand Apple tradition--beginning with the "1984" Super Bowl spot--of seeming to say a great deal while revealing little. The singular Cupertino computer company is one of the most intensely competitive, pathologically secretive organizations in the world.

The Bad

If there is one thing that CEO Tim Cook doesn't want people to know, it's what dwells behind his company's "signature." As a result, most efforts to explain design at Apple end up reducing a complex 37-year history to bromides about simplicity, quality, and perfection--as if those were ambitions unique to Apple alone.

So Fast Company set out to remedy that deficiency. It wasn't easy. Precious few designers have left Sir Jonathan Ive's industrial design group since he took over in 1996: Two quit; three died. (We talked to the two who quit, among dozens of other longtime Apple veterans.) What we found is that the greatest business story of the past two decades--how Apple used design to rise from near bankruptcy to become the most valuable company in the world--is completely misunderstood.

Article continues at link above.