Articles & Tutorials

The articles and tutorials here are provided free of charge, and are fueled by caffeine.

The UX of upgrading to the iPhone 5

As someone who’s professionally interested in UX, I thought I’d share my recent user experience upgrading from my iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 5 in London.  This is of course, only one instance.  Your mileage may vary (and I hope it does).


Our so-called ‘design community’

Last week Skype announced a design competition asking designers to submit chat styles for their recently released and somewhat controversial Skype 5 client.  The new interface design had been in open beta for a few months, and featured a consolidated single window with a contacts sidebar, and a default style that had a frankly rather ridiculous amount of padding on nearly every element.


7 Photoshop efficiency tips

7 Photoshop efficiency tips Photoshop is an immense application, packed full of so many features that almost no one will ever discover them all, or how to use them to their full potential.  With so many features also comes a bunch of shortcuts and hotkeys, which are often hidden away in documentation, and in my experience, most people only use things recommended by other people, or things they find by accident.

So here are the shortcuts and various bits of trickery I use literally every single day in Photoshop, to make life just a little bit less painful.  Some may seem so simple that ‘everyone should know THAT one’, but that’s not the case.  If even 10 people find something new here that helps their workflow, then my mission has been accomplished.


Pure CSS Twitter Fail Whale

Pure CSS Twitter Fail Whale Click through to the full article to see a picture of the ever-vigilant Twitter ‘Fail Whale’ fully rendered using CSS.  If you’re using a Webkit browser (Safari or Chrome), it should also be animated using the webkit-animation CSS functions.  If you are viewing in IE8 or below, well, this isn’t an experiment for you.

The idea for this came to me this morning after being greeted first thing this morning by another Twitter outage.  I’d been looking for something to stretch my CSS muscles on, and the Fail Whale seemed perfect.  Also I think the animation only adds to his (or her?) charm.


Simple Pagination for ExpressionEngine

Simple Pagination for ExpressionEngine Simple Pagination is an addon for ExpressionEngine written by Dom Stubbs.  It allows you to create multi-page blog articles much easier than you would be able to otherwise.  I started using it when I redesigned this website last month, but I ran into a few issues shortly after launch.  Not wanting to hold up my site release I launched anyway, and told myself I’d get around to fixing the problems later.


How to write meaningful User Stories

I’ve seen a lot of projects fail when by all accounts, they shouldn’t have. The reason for this nearly every time, was that the requirements gathering stage of a project was done poorly, or sometimes not at all.  Sometimes this is driven by budget or deadline constraints, and sometimes it’s because the people responsible are just unaware of how to go about gathering requirements in a structured manner, and if you’re one of those people, or know one of those people, then please read on.


Creating a value proposition

A Value Proposition is a way to summarise what a client or project does. It can be used as a project’s mission statement, and can help focus the whole development and design team on important areas such as who the users are, the competitive advantages of their offering, and what the problem is that we’re trying to solve.

I would recommend creating one of these with your client in your first meeting with them, as it can be a valuable tool in requirements gathering, and beyond.


Creating rounded corners with precision

I love rounded corners.  They can make designs look more elegant, appear more simple and easy to use, and can portray feelings of friendliness and comfort to a user, all on a subconscious level.  Unless of course, they are done badly.

In this tutorial I’ll explain how to avoid common mistakes and create perfect corners every time.


Flash, and the future of the web

Recently, there’s been a lot of debate about Apple’s decision to not support Flash player on the iPhone and iPad.  Both Adobe and Microsoft have said their pieces, and now it’s up to the community to figure out what to do, as developers and consumers are the ones being effected by these decisions. I think debate is healthy, especially around a topic that effects the core of today’s web, and the future.  But there’s a lot of mud being thrown, and a lot of people missing the point.


Subcide: A new beginning

If you’ve been here before, you may notice things looking a bit different.  This redesign has been a LONG time coming (about 4 years) and I feel I need to apologise to all this site’s readers and visitors for how stagnant things have been over that time.  I can’t count how many emails I’ve sent saying “New redesign coming soon!” only to have another project take priority. So what’s prompted this change after so long?