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Topic: Workflow & Tools

  • Getting Real About Agile Design

    by Cennydd Bowles · Issue 273 ·

    Agile development was made for tough economic times, but does not fit comfortably into the research-heavy, iteration-focused process designers trust to deliver user- and brand-based sites. How can we update our thinking and methods to take advantage of what agile offers?

  • Walking the Line When You Work from Home

    by Natalie Jost · Issue 263 ·

    Working from home as a freelance contractor or remote employee can be a great thing, particularly if you live alone. But what if you have a spouse and/or children at home with you while you work? Every work environment offers distractions, but those who work from home with their families face a unique set of issues—and need equally unique ways of dealing with them.

  • Collaborate and Connect with Subversion

    by Ryan Irelan · Issue 262 ·

    Managing subcontractors and distributed projects is easy and fun. No wait, that's a lie. Luckily, a good version control may be just what you need to keep your projects on track.

  • I Wonder What This Button Does

    by Mike West · Issue 220 ·

    We've all lost work to file overwrites and other minor disasters. There are remedies — and as Mike West explains, you don't have to have awe-inspiring technical skills to take advantage of them.

  • Sketching in Code: the Magic of Prototyping

    by David Verba · Issue 261 ·

    The rise of Ajax and rich internet applications has thrown the limitations of traditional wireframing into painful relief. When you leave the world of page-based interactions, how do you document all but the simplest interactions? Flowcharts and diagrams don’t work. Prototyping saves the day by focusing on the application and conveying its "magic." Prototypes can help you sell a decision that is fundamentally or radically different from the client’s current solution or application. Sit a stakeholder down in front of a working prototype and show him or her why your approach is compelling.

  • Creating More Using Less Effort with Ruby on Rails

    by Michael Slater · Issue 257 ·

    The "why" of Ruby on Rails comes down to productivity, says Michael Slater. Web applications that share three characteristics, they're database-driven, they're new, and they have needs not well met by a typical CMS, can be built much more quickly with Ruby on Rails than with PHP, .NET, or Java, once the investment required to learn Rails has been made. Does your web app fall within the RoR "sweet spot?"

  • Frameworks for Designers

    by Jeff Croft · Issue 239 ·

    Frameworks like Rails, Django, jQuery, and the Yahoo User Interface library have improved web developers' lives by handling routine tasks. The same idea can work for designers. Learn how to harness the power of tools, libraries, conventions, and best practices to focus creative thought and energy on what is unique about each project.

  • You Are Not a Robot

    by Jonathan Kahn · Issue 239 ·

    Are we not (wo)men? Cut us and we bleed. Present us with a problem and we solve it—using judgement, experience, and the ability to generalize. Learn why machines will never be able to do our jobs, and how knowing that fact can build respect for the profession.

  • Avoid Edge Cases by Designing Up Front

    by Ben Henick · Issue 228 ·

    By the time they reach the coding stage, many web projects are a tangle of exceptions -- and that can make standards-based development a nightmare. Better planning may be exactly what you need to avoid markup derangement or, even worse, a dysfunctional product.

  • In Defense of Difficult Clients

    by Rob Swan · Issue 227 ·

    Challenging clients: avoidable pain or necessary stepping stone to enlightenment? Rob Swan considers the benefits of un-perfect clients.

  • Educate Your Stakeholders!

    by Shane Diffily · Issue 237 ·

    Who decides what's best for a website? Highly skilled professionals who work with the site's users and serve as their advocates? Or schmucks with money? Most often, it's the latter. That's why a web designer's first job is to educate the people who hold the purse strings.

  • Stand and Deliver

    by David Sleight · Issue 237 ·

    You've got thirty seconds to sell your work to the well dressed nemesis who's paying you. Handle the next few moments gracefully, and the project will be one you can be proud of. Flub an answer, and you can kiss excellence goodbye. Are you prepared? Can you deliver?

  • Designing Through the Storm

    by Walter Stevenson · Issue 220 ·

    As designers, we all face the inevitable slump. That point where our creativity stagnates and we find ourselves at a dead end. Walter Stevenson offers suggestions on staying productive and creative.

  • A Standards-Compliant Publishing Tool for the Rest of Us?

    by Jeffrey Zeldman · Issue 157 ·

    Publishing with web standards is not for experts alone. A new tool hopes to make it easier for anyone. ALA interviews Six Apart’s Anil Dash about his company’s easy-to-use, standards-compliant publishing tool, TypePad.

  • Build a Cross-Platform Testing Station in Mac OS

    by Paul Sciortino · Issue 139 ·

    Everybody talks about cross-platform testing, but nobody’s shown how to do it on a nuts-and-bolts level. Until now. Sciortino’s comprehensive tutorial for Mac-based web designers will set you up with the testing platform of your dreams.

  • Modifying Dreamweaver to Produce Valid XHTML

    by Carrie Bickner · Issue 141 ·

    You don’t have to wait for Dreamweaver 5 (or 6) to squeeze valid XHTML out of the web’s most popular visual editor. Carrie Bickner’s illustrated tutorial will show you how to modify Dreamweaver to make it a standards–friendly authoring tool.

  • CMS and the Single Web Designer

    by James Ellis · Issue 133 ·

    Content Management Systems free designers from the gruntwork of individual web page production. They may also free companies from the need to retain design staff. How do content management systems work, and what impact will they have on a web designer’s job?

  • Process, Methodology, Life Cycle, Oh My!

    by Meryl K. Evans · Issue 118 ·

    Process, methodology, life cycle. No matter what label you slap on it, if you want to manage your web projects, you need a system that works the way you do. Meryl K. Evans’s overview will help you kick-start your own process.

  • A Design Method

    by Ross Olson · Issue 71 ·

    In a high-powered production environment like the web, a design method can help you get more done faster ... and provide you with rules to break. New ALA writer Ross Olson shares his company’s game plan.

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