A while ago, I was working on a website that required a number of icons. “No problem,” I thought. “I know how to handle this. I’ll use an @font-face icon set for high-resolution screens. It’ll be a single file, to reduce HTTP requests, and I’ll include just the icons that I need, to reduce file size.”
“I’ll even use a Unicode character as the base of the icon, so that if @font-face isn’t supported, then the user will still see something like the intended icon.” I felt pretty pleased with myself.
Some things just don’t change: SmashingConf Freiburg is taking place again this year, on September 15th-16th 2014, in our lovely hometown Freiburg, Germany. Two days, one track, 18 brilliant speakers and 300 fantastic attendees, sharing practical insights into their craft. And the best bit: lots of networking with good ol’ German beers in beer gardens, at the very foot of the legendary Black Forest. Tickets are now on sale.
The main focus of Smashing Conferences has always been hands-on insights and actionable takeaways — things that have actually worked in practice, and the design/development process behind them, including mistakes, failures, critical decisions and eventually successes.
As Web designers and developers, we invest a lot of time and effort in nurturing professional relationships, including those with clients, prospective clients, coworkers, peers and others in the industry.
Unfortunately, while many Web professionals work hard to make these work-related relationships as strong as possible, they often neglect their non-professional relationships, including those with family and friends and even with themselves and their own health and well-being.
The BBC’s Programmes website is huge, and is intended to be a rolling archive of everything that the BBC broadcasts on television and radio. Originally released in 2007, it now has pages for over 1.6 million episodes, but that’s barely half of the story. Surrounding those episodes is a wealth of content, including clips, galleries, episode guides, character profiles and much more, plus Programme’s newly responsive home pages.
The new responsive home pages, known as “brand” pages, join the schedule and A–Z lists in a broader responsive rebuild. 39% of users (and growing) now use mobile and tablet devices to visit these pages; so, making the pages responsive was the best way to serve a great experience to everybody while keeping the website maintainable.
We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one—desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd.
This creativity mission has been going on for six years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month. This post features free desktop wallpapers created by artists across the globe for May 2014. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your wallpaper!
We have all been there. With Responsive Web Design becoming a convenient strategy for device-agnostic design, we keep running into annoying technical issues that all those quirky (and not so quirky) mobile browsers are raising so very often. However, fixing these issues can be quite easy — once you understand exactly why they come up. The book will be useful for mobile strategists, developers, designers, and everybody willing to better understand the intricacies of mobile — both technical and market-related.
Working with people can be hard. But get it right, and you’ll be able to produce stunning work more smartly and quickly than ever before. With methodologies such as agile and lean influencing how design teams work, some interesting challenges lie ahead. Iterative and collaborative practices vary greatly across work environments and even projects, and they can, and most likely will, bring your time-honed workflow to its knees.
A shared understanding of the tools (and the way you use them) is crucial, then. By sharing assets, constructing files systematically and generating objects using core techniques, the team is freed to focus on crafting concepts and solving problems, rather than fighting unwieldy file structures and obtuse working practices. This shared understanding should underpin everything the team works on, becoming part of an ever-evolving process of refinement and learning.
Our users are precious about their time and we must stop wasting it. On each project ask two questions: “Am I saving myself time at the expense of the user?” and “How can I save the user time here?” What is the single most precious commodity in Western society? Money? Status? I would argue it is time.
We are protective of our time, and with good reason. There are so many demands on it. We have so much to do. So much pressure. People hate to have their time wasted, especially online. We spend so much of our time online these days, and every interaction demands a slice of our time. One minor inconvenience on a website might not be much, but, accumulated, it is death by a thousand cuts.
When our HTML5 game Numolition was nearly done, we decided to throw it all away and rebuild it in Unity. That turned out to be an exciting and valuable experience, and one that I thought would be worth sharing with other Web developers. Come in, the water’s warm!
Last year, we released a mobile game named Quento. It was written entirely in HTML5, wrapped in our proprietary PhoneGap alternative and launched in many app stores with mild success. The game caused me to jot down a few spinoff ideas. One that I particularly liked was a game with a stack of numbered tiles in which the player has to clear a level by combining numbers and tapping groups to make them disappear.
Phil Karlton once said, “There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.” This article is about the harder of these two: cache invalidation. It’s directed at readers who already work with Varnish Cache. To learn more about it, you’ll find background information in “Speed Up Your Mobile Website With Varnish.”
10 microseconds (or 250 milliseconds): That’s the difference between delivering a cache hit and delivering a cache miss. How often you get the latter will depend on the efficiency of the cache — this is known as the “hit rate.” A cache miss depends on two factors: the volume of traffic and the average time to live (TTL), which is a number indicating how long the cache is allowed to keep an object. As system administrators and developers, we can’t do much about the traffic, but we can influence the TTL.