Thursday, June 20, 2013

Throwback Design

So right now the design trends are very simplistic, lots of white space, big buttons, flat colors. Think minimalist. Think flat.

Does this remind anyone else of the 90s?

I am sure I've been at this too long, and I guess my age is now showing. Everything often comes full circle, and design (in any form) is no exception... look at fashion design, it's like someone went through my elementary school clothing and tried to make it seem new again.

Of course there are new things thrown in there. Infinite scrolling is really hitting the main stream, as is parallax scrolling (I TOTALLY was designing a website for my singer friend years ago with this concept in mind... I never did finish the site tho - I should really go back and look at that some day. Maybe I was a bit ahead of the game there... of course it was built in Flex, a dying technology.)

Why these trends? Why this movement? In a word, mobile. I don't think it's any secret or any great epiphany that mobile is steering web design at the moment. People talk of "responsive layouts", I call them liquid layouts, same difference. But I think now it's more about uniform layouts. Web sites that can be shown on a large or small screen, look the same, act the same, and still be a good experience regardless of the device. This is definitely a challenge. I think this is where all this white space and simplicity comes from. You of course miss out on space usage since people tend to have larger and larger monitors now a days... and you miss out on cool use of gestures on mobile. So the argument then is that it's more important to have a uniform experience regardless of device. I can see both sides of the coin, but I tend to agree more with the majority, that uniform experience trumps coolness.

I should be able to look at a web site I often browse on my lunch break at work on my laptop later on my iPhone while waiting for the bus and just know how to use it. It should look and feel familiar. It should behave the same way. I shouldn't think "this site looks better on my iPhone" or "this is too hard to see/use on my iPhone".

What's happening, is what UXers have been screaming for for years, content is driving the site. No longer is the coolness factor having people logging on.... instead your content, which is, lets face it, the REAL reason you're online in the first place, is driving the design of the site. And that's as it should be, if you're a purist.

So as a UXer I can sit back and congratulate my peers on winning a battle... but now I have noticed a new one emerging from the ashes. Actually ironing out that content up front. I am fining it very difficult to have my clients decide what their content would consist of. Sure, we can come up with a site map, no problem. But what goes into each of those pages? They usually can't give me a real answer... and that's where I am struggling. How do I design a web site around content if I can't get the content out of my clients? They are so anxious to see a design, they can't wait for the content to be ironed out. I guess I need to put my battle helm back on.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

InDesign default units

I always found it annoying that when first creating a document InDesign it defaults the size in Picas. Call me unworthy, but I don't work in Picas, I work in Inches (yes I am Canadian, whatever metric system). So every time I would create a document I would go to Edit - Preferences - Units & Increments and change the Horizontal and Vertical Ruler Units to Inches. One day it occurred to me, shouldn't there be a way to set this once and have it the default so that I don't have to do this EVERY DAMN TIME? (Why it took me so long to think of this, I don't know. Don't judge.)

After just clicking around InDesign for a couple minutes I found no immediate way to do this, so I turned to my old friend Google.

At the end of this article ( I discovered that there is a very simple way to do this, it`s just not all that intuitive.

Open up InDesign but do NOT open or create a document. With no documents open go to Edit - Preferences - Units & Increments...

Change the Ruler Units to your preferences and click OK.

It`s so simple! I wish I did this so long ago...

Illustrator Align to Artboard

Don't ask me why, but me and the Illustrator Artboard have never truly gotten along.

I had a logo file that I wanted to export as a JPG on a perfectly square background so that it looked good on the client's Twitter and Facebook page. I knew how to get the artboard to be a square but I did not know how to center the logo on the artboard.

A little research with Google found me the answer. (

First to get the artboard square; File - Document Setup..., hit the "Edit Artboards" button. In the options just under the file menu there is W and H (width and height), choose the same number for both, hit Enter, voila!

Next, getting the logo centered on the artboard.

First I grouped all the objects in the logo (select all objects, right click, group).

Then I opened the Align panel (Window - Align).

On the Align panel I clicked the "Align To" arrow in the bottom right and chose "Align to Artboard".

I selected my grouped object then hit the middle and center align buttons on the Align panel.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Where have you been?

Where have I been you ask? Well I went and had a baby, aka time sucker/love of my life.

I haven't been working much with code, so I have less to post about. I've been doing a lot of visual design and IA work lately and it's great!

Hope to start posting more often!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Great example on creating and positioning TitleWindows.