After a few years of designing products for clients, I began to feel fatigued. I wondered why. Turns out, I’d been chasing metric after metric. “Increase those page views!” “Help people spend more time in the app!” And it kept coming. Still, something was missing. I knew that meeting goals was part of what a designer does, but I could see how my work could easily become commoditized and less fulfilling unless something changed. I thought of how bored I’d be if I kept on that path. I needed to build some guiding principles that would help me find my place in design. These principles would help grow and would shape my career in a way that fits me best. The post Giving Your Product A Soul appeared first on Smashing Magazine.
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One of the most popular children’s television heroes here in the Czech Republic is The Little Mole, an innocent, speechless and cheerful creature who helps other animals in the forest. TV heroes often fight against people who destroy their natural environment. When watching The Little Mole with my kids, I sometimes picture him as a mobile website user. Do you want to know why?The post How To Poison The Mobile User appeared first on Smashing Magazine.
Editor’s note: So you’ve attended a conference, listened to some truly inspiring talks, made quite a few valuable connections, maybe even attended a hands-on workshop and learned a thing or two. What now? How do you bring back the new knowledge and ideas and connections to your team and to your work? This article highlights a practical strategy of getting there without much effort. With SmashingConf Barcelona taking place next week, we thought this article would come in handy. Have you ever been to a conference with top speakers, awesome people to network with and such a great energy that you got fired up and couldn’t wait to get home to start applying everything you’ve learned? How do things look two weeks later? Did you implement all of that learning into action? How about two months later? Were you still taking action on that knowledge? The post How…
As people working in front of a screen all day, we often struggle to find the right balance. I’m not talking about work-life balance alone here, but of how our life that is completely virtual during the day often causes us to not take real life into account. We tend to forget that our bodies need something else than coding all day. And we need to take care of our fellow human beings in real life as well. Just think about this number: The average US person will spend over 9 hours in front of a screen today. Time to become more aware of how we can keep the balance between the virtual and the real world.The post Web Development Reading List #155: On JSPerf, Client Hints, And Keeping The Balance appeared first on Smashing Magazine.
Icons are an essential part of many user interfaces, visually expressing objects, actions and ideas. When done correctly, they communicate the core idea and intent of a product or action, and they bring a lot of nice benefits to user interfaces, such as saving screen real estate and enhancing aesthetic appeal. Last but not least, most apps and websites have icons. It’s a design pattern that is familiar to users. Despite these advantages, icons can cause usability problems when designers hide functionality behind icons that are hard to recognize. An icon’s first job is to guide users to where they need to go, and in this article we’ll see what it takes to make that possible. If you want to take a go at creating your own icons, you can download and test Adobe’s Experience Design CC for free and get started right away. The post Icons As…
Many apps today, such as Google Now, Spotify and Amazon, make assumptions about user preferences based on personal data. They may even use this information to make decisions on our behalf, without any direct input from us. For example, Facebook tailors your news feed and Amazon recommends products — both hiding “irrelevant” information and only showing what they think you will like. This type of design pattern, where user choice is removed, has recently been coined “anticipatory design”. Its aim is to leverage data on user behavior to automate the decision-making process in user interfaces. The outcome lowers the excessive number of decisions people currently make, thereby reducing decision fatigue and improving decisions overall. The post How To Build Honest UIs And Help Users Make Better Decisions appeared first on Smashing Magazine.
Whether or not you celebrate Halloween, there is something magical about that special spooky day, surrounded by mystery, horror, scare and trick-or-treat candies for kids and adults alike. The modern-day spirit of Halloween shines through in its tradition; everyone can dress up like a monster, superhero, or nearly anything else. It allows our imagination to unfold and lets us be whatever we want to be — for that one very special day (and night). The post Best Of Halloween: All Things Spooky appeared first on Smashing Magazine.
In the past few months, chat bots have become very popular, thanks to Slack, Telegram and Facebook Messenger. But the chat bot idea is not new at all. A chat bot interface is mentioned in the famous Turing test in 1950. Then there was Eliza in 1966, a simulation of a Rogerian psychotherapist and an early example of primitive natural language processing. After that came Parry in 1972, a simulation of a person with paranoid schizophrenia (and, yes, of course, Parry met Eliza).The post How To Develop A Chat Bot With Node.js appeared first on Smashing Magazine.
Editor’s Note: When it comes to elections, we are each given a choice in how to express our opinions and beliefs. Some designers and developers use their skills to further articulate their choice in one person. Here’s a glimpse into how Topple Trump!, an interactive responsive quiz game, was designed and built — combined with some valuable lessons learned along the way. This article is about techniques and strategies, so please avoid political flame in the comments. Creating an online quiz that is simple to use, looks great and is really fun to play is one thing. Basing it on Donald Trump’s polarizing presidential campaign is another. The brainchild of Parallax director and developer Andy Fitch, Topple Trump! has gone on to win numerous awards. But it was a real team effort that brought the game to life. Here’s a glimpse into precisely how that happened, touching on…