Design and stuff

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The designer’s toolbox. Pictos. See Examples Load Speed & File Size: Typically, you use image sprites to render icons on the web.


If you have a hover state and an active (pressed) state for those icons, your sprite will be three times larger than it needs to be. By using a font instead you can load in the icons once and use CSS to change their look for hover and active states. Not only that, but a font made up of twelve icons will have a smaller file size than an image sprite with the same number of icons.

Scalability: Image sprites cannot be scaled up. Responsive Web Design Patterns. Responsive Patterns A collection of patterns and modules for responsive designs.

Responsive Web Design Patterns

Submit a pattern Layout Reflowing Layouts Equal Width Off Canvas Source-Order Shift Lists Grid Block Navigation Single-Level Multi-level. Cork grips. Wandawega Souvenir Dispenser Camp Wandawega was clever enough to re-purpose a cigarette machine to dispense small Wisconsin-related souvenirs.

cork grips

More details about each special little item can be found here. PDW City Fenders Nearly a year ago I installed a set of Portland Design Works’ Full Metal Fenders on my Lemond. The original design was optimized to fit road bikes that were never meant to fit a set of proper full-coverage fenders. Also see: Field Test: Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders. On UI Quality (The Little Things): Client-side Image Resizing. Make it good.

On UI Quality (The Little Things): Client-side Image Resizing

As front-end engineers, our job is ultimately to produce and deliver the front-end “experience.” That is, in addition to the core service (eg., a photo sharing site) which you are providing, you are also responsible for replicating and maintaining the quality of the visual aesthetic, including attention to detail in your UI. Making it really good. It’s “the little things” – small layout changes, single-pixel margin tweaks and color fiddling done as part of this process – that can sometimes seem overly nit-picky and risk being overlooked or sacrificed in order to meet deadlines, but the result of this effort has value: It’s quite obvious when UI polish has been done, and it’s something everyone can appreciate – even if they don’t know it.

Getting the fine details down “just so” can take extra time and effort, but in my experience has always been justified – and whenever your work is under a microscope, attention to detail is a wonderful opportunity to make it shine. Findings. Fluid Images — Unstoppable Robot Ninja. (Hello!

Fluid Images — Unstoppable Robot Ninja

If you think this article’s interesting, you might check out my ALA article on responsive web design.) Responsive Web Design. The English architect Christopher Wren once quipped that his chosen field “aims for Eternity,” and there’s something appealing about that formula: Unlike the web, which often feels like aiming for next week, architecture is a discipline very much defined by its permanence.

Responsive Web Design

A building’s foundation defines its footprint, which defines its frame, which shapes the facade. Each phase of the architectural process is more immutable, more unchanging than the last. Creative decisions quite literally shape a physical space, defining the way in which people move through its confines for decades or even centuries. Fluid Grids. Early last year, I worked on the redesign of a rather content-heavy website.

Fluid Grids

Design requirements were fairly light: the client asked us to keep the organization’s existing logo and to improve the dense typography and increase legibility. So, early on in the design process, we spent a sizable amount of time planning a well-defined grid for a library of content modules. Over the past few years, this sort of thinking has become more common. Thanks to the advocacy of Mark Boulton, Khoi Vinh, and others, we’ve seen a resurgence of interest in the typographic grid, and how to use it on the web. Media Queries.

How to fit your website for the Apple iPad « x7 Labs. Important note, updated: Apple has released very limited information about the iPad at the Safari Dev Center.

How to fit your website for the Apple iPad « x7 Labs

This article is written on the assumption that previous guidelines for Safari on iPhone OS apply to version 3.2 and the iPad. Step 0: Design for 980 pixels and do nothing The width of the iPad screen when held in portrait orientation is 768 pixels. Since many pages (like the NYT, which Jobs has demoed) are wider than that, the iPad scales down pages. The NYT website is automatically scaled down to fit on the iPad screen. The default viewport width on the iPhone and presumably the iPad is 980 pixels.

If your site is designed to work at 980 pixels wide or slightly less, you probably don’t need to do anything. Step 1: Adjust your viewport settings. Dimensions of the iPhone Display. Detect retina displays with javascript. Written by Brian Cray on May 5th, 2011.

Detect retina displays with javascript

Detect Apple’s Retina display and load specific CSS stylesheet - [ ] HTML5 Please - Use the new and shiny responsibly. A Design Primer for Engineers. For a word that can so vastly change the fortunes of a company, it’s worth noting that no generally accepted definition of the word design exists.

A Design Primer for Engineers

This means when your boss stands up in front of the team at that all-hands and says, “We’ll have a design-centered culture,” there’s a good chance he’s saying nothing at all. But you keep hearing this word.