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  • Designing the Conversational UI

    · · 16 Comments

    In the second of a two-part series, Matty Mariansky turns to the practical aspects of designing conversational interfaces. He discusses some of the challenges that he and his team encountered along the way and offers guidelines for translating specific design patterns into a conversational form. These guidelines are loose principles rather than hard-and-fast rules; best practices for designing conversations will form, break, and form again. It’s an exciting time to be a pioneer.

  • All Talk and No Buttons: The Conversational UI

    · · 14 Comments

    Conversational interfaces have been around for a while, but they’ve only recently begun to spread into the mainstream. The entire field of visual interface design—everything we know about placing controls, handling mouse and touch interaction, even picking colors—will be affected by the switch to conversational form, or will go away altogether. In the first of two parts, Matty Mariansky sketches out a road map for this brave new world.

  • Validating Product Ideas

    · · 4 Comments

    In this excerpt from Validating Product Ideas, Tomer Sharon provides a treasure chest of fundamentals, step-by-step guidance, and concrete tactical advice for interviewing users. It's for product developers who want to get up to speed or get a solid grounding in the techniques of lean user research, and for anyone who needs to understand their customers but doesn't have a researcher on staff.

  • Finessing `feColorMatrix`

    · · 5 Comments

    CSS filters lack the ability to do per-channel manipulation—a huge drawback. They may be convenient, but CSS filters are merely shortcuts derived from SVG; as such, they provide no control over RGBA channels. SVG (particularly the feColorMatrix map) gives us much more power and lets us take CSS filters to the next level. Una Kravets guides us through feColorMatrix and shows us how we can harness its power to create detailed filters.

  • The Pain With No Name

    · · 8 Comments

    Information architecture supports all aspects of the web experience. It enhances accessibility, and reinforces the efficacy and authenticity of sites. Yet, Abby Covert argues that IA is still an elusive concept, with a vast contingent of those who practice it groping at best, and copying obsolete strategies at worst. Only a fearless commitment to talking about IA—including the failures, the confusion, and the Eureka! moments—will bring this essential element out of the shadows.

  • The Art of the Commit

    · · 10 Comments

    The information you put into a commit message needs to be useful to the people who will read it. Instead of going into too much detail, or worrying about abstract questions like whether a given commit is the release version of a thing, focus on a much simpler story: I just did a thing, and this is the thing I just did. In this excerpt from Git for Humans, David Demaree outlines some best practices for crafting effective commits.

  • The High Price of Free

    · · 21 Comments

    Our industry is remarkable for how many of us do unpaid labor—sometimes for exposure, other times to give back to the profession and help our peers. We’re all grateful for the free software, learning, and support made possible by this generosity. But in coming to depend in it, we can’t forget that people need time to pay the bills and assure a secure future for themselves and their families.

  • Motion with Meaning: Semantic Animation in Interface Design

    · · 32 Comments

    Animation is fast becoming a mainstay of interface design, but one aspect of animation rarely gets discussed. Amin Al Hazwani and Tobias Bernard argue that adding animation to interfaces fundamentally changes them and necessitates a conceptual shift—an approach the authors call semantic animation. Individual screens shouldn’t be treated as separate entities if the transitions between them are animated; the entire experience is one continuous space.

  • Back to the Future in 2016

    · · 8 Comments

    Practicing kickflips. Standing still. Drawing. Learning JavaScript (finally). Messing around with Arduino. Reading and writing books. Jumping into CSS Grid Layout. Sunbathing with cats. We asked some of our smartest friends in the web design and development communities what new focuses they planned to bring to their lives and work in 2016. Their answers fell into four categories—design, insight, tools, and work—but one idea cropped up over and over: sometimes you need to take a step back in order to move forward.

  • Blending Modes Demystified

    · · 13 Comments

    In an ideal world, we’d be able to modify a design or graphic for the web while keeping the original intact, all without opening an image editor. We’d save tons of time by not having to manually reprocess graphics whenever we changed stuff. Graphics could be neatly specified, maintained, and manipulated with just a few licks of CSS. Oh. Wait. We can do that! Justin McDowell gives us the lowdown on blending modes.

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