Adobe Flash Catalyst – Coming Soon

6 12 2008

One grievance that Flash designers have about the evolution of Flash IDE is that it has become more developer oriented than (as originally intended) designer friendly. Earlier designers could easily add interactivity using the menu driven coding. The Expert Mode for the code editor was a secondary option (Flash 4 and 5 .)

Well, Adobe is certainly an organization which is very sensitive towards its core customers (i.e. designers.) and have announced a new product called Adobe Flash Catalyst (earlier codenamed Thermo.) Catalyst is a tool targetted for designers who want to add interactivity to their design. The result is that we can create a UI in Catalyst and then just convert graphics into dynamic content by selecting objects and specifying actions from menus. No coding required. Output the file as a SWF or AIR. You can easily build a RIA prototype.

Catalyst will be launched very soon. Read more about it here…

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashcatalyst/





Web 2.0 layouts

21 11 2008

For years one strong rule that influenced designing a web layout was to avoid a vertical scrollbar as far as possible. The user was expected to lose interest if the content is not right in front (without scrolling down). So in order to achieve that, we would design a layout and then try to cram content into it, have hidden menus, small text, small logos etc.

However, times have changed and over the years the user has become quite scrollbar friendly. And the result is that we can design a layout that is more user friendly than ever. These layouts generally follow a similar trend and are termed “Web 2.0 layouts” as they evolved in 2006 at the same time “Web 2.0” became a buzzword. Some of the characteristic features of these layouts are:

  • Bright colors
  • Clean
  • More whitespace
  • Big fonts
  • Center aligned
  • Fixed width
  • Horizontally divided in columns
  • Use of gradients
  • Less navigation items on top
  • Detailed footer
  • Badges and Flowers (to highlight a section/feature)
  • Top part has less content and more marketing info to attract users
  • More content as the user navigates down the page
  • Rounded corners for boxes
  • A very short sign up form. User can update the detailed profile info later.
  • Text based logos with reflection
     

Following are some very good examples:

Firefox:

Firefox

Firefox

 

Cork’d:

Corkd

Corkd

 

You can study the Web 2.0 layout trends in more details at the following urls:

http://www.styleignite.com/articles/view/analysis-of-web-20-design-layout-trends-part-1-clean-colorful-and-horizontally-divided

http://webdesignfromscratch.com/current-style.php





KISS design principle

11 11 2008

For a UI design to be successful, one of the most important aspect is – it should be simple. Follow the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” principles. However, this is easy said than done. While designing a UI we often get carried away with adding more and more features/functionalities and confuse the user. In case a user recognises a feature already. Being too creative on the designer’s part does not really help, as the user will not be interested in wasting time on things he/she already knows. Being consistent with already established standards helps the user to understand the UI much faster. Ofcourse, it has to be visually appealing, content clearly readable, navigable, and attract the user.

I came across following articles that elaborate on KISS design philosophy..

http://www.digital-web.com/articles/keep_it_simple_stupid/

and techniques..

http://www.sueblimely.com/blog-design-25-kiss-techniques/

And checkout some websites judged based on the KISS principles..

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/03/26/keep-it-simple-stupid-showcase-of-simple-and-clean-designs/





Importance of good UI design

1 11 2008

Q. How important is UI design in application development?
A. Well, for a lay user, the UI is all that there is to an application. He doesn’t care whether there is a 1000 lines of complex code running behind the scenes.

UI design of an application makes or breaks the success of an application. If the user doesn’t like it, no matter how good and robust the code is, it will not be used. So, a UI has to be easy to learn, easy to use, intuitive, attractive, clean, and consistent. I came across a very good article on UI design tips, techniques, and principles. Read on…

http://www.ambysoft.com/essays/userInterfaceDesign.html