The Day When Web Design Gets Boring

Nothing can escape the iron teeth of time, and the day when web design gets completely boring and finally fades away will sooner or later come… or perhaps it has already happened? In an online world full of grid-based hero blocks, and yawn-inducing call-to-action buttons, we can’t be sure of anything anymore.

The best thing we can do is to approach the problem rationally, as it can be expected from good professionals.

In this post we try to figure out the time when the web will be fully deprived of creativity, and web designers won’t be anything more than framework-configuring bots. The clock keeps ticking, the dark times are coming, but don’t worry, if we know the schedule we can better prepare for the change.

First of all though, we need to take a look at the bigger picture, and understand how the field of design has managed to survive this long.

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The Oldest Profession In The World

Design has been the oldest profession in the world. Have you heard it otherwise? Most likely those were just urban legends, dirty jokes or evil gossips.

Goods, products and everything that can be sold or bought need to be first designed. Money or other valuables that were offered in exchange for the service that is mistakenly considered the oldest profession also needed to be designed well before anything could have happened.

If you want to understand the impact design has had on humanity just quickly look around yourself wherever you are. Everything you see right now, other than natural forms and living creatures – objects, buildings, furniture, vehicles, clothes, your tea infuser and coffee mugs – first existed as ideas in designers’ minds, then were smartly prototyped by them.

The global influence of design is so enormous and has so many dimensions that it’s hard to grasp.

So how has the oldest profession in the world managed to survive this long? Throughout the neverending need for change, the constant diversification of the field, and via the theoretical and practical conflicts that have never ceased to exist.

Conflicts That Can Never Be Solved

Any domain that requires at least an ounce of creativity are full of conflicts. As design is creation per se, it is naturally loaded with a lot of dissent.

The questions have always been there: how to provide the best solution, what are the rules, are rules needed at all, along with many other debates and uncertainties. As this post is nothing more than an investigation about the final days of web design as we know it now, we will focus only on the conflict that has had the most impact on our field.

This conflict in design – and generally in art – began when mass production became widely available, around the beginning of the 20th century. Since then creators have been trying to comprehend how they can the best serve human needs while still coming up with creative and unique solutions that fill the void not only physically but also mentally and emotionally.

The opposition of Art Deco and Bauhaus – the handcrafted for the few and the functional for the masses – in the early 20th century excellently represents the nature of this conflict.

Bauhaus
Art Deco

Both produced elegant solutions on their own way without invalidating the existence of the other. Something similar happens these days in web design.

The Ever-Expanding Online Universe

When the World Wide Web was created it was hard to figure out how it would finally look like, just like we are right now struggling with finding the magical date when web design will turn insufferably boring.

It’s more and more sure though that the web formed a virtual world parallel to the physical one, that needs to be populated with virtual objects that we know as applications and websites.

The number of things from the physical world that get a representation in the virtual one is growing every day: we buy cool stuff from e-shops, our personalities are represented online, and fabulous solutions for our burning problems are also stored on the web. But not just that.

The rapidly emerging hardware technology also expands our opportunities both as users and creators, just think about the rise of wearables and other smart devices.

The Gray Side of The Early Web

A more complex online world naturally requires more solutions and a wider approach than a simpler one that was mainly about creativity and fun. Or was it? What if there have always been a gray, boring side of web design?

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We are lucky, as with the help of the Wayback Machine we can easily get an accurate reply at least to this question. Let’s go back to the beginning of the new millennium to see if this frightening assumption can really be true.

Yahoo From 2000
Reuters From 2000
Harvard From 2000
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Wait, What?

Yup, this is how the most part of the web looked like in the year 2000. Business sites that had to make profit and web pages of organizations that required easy usability chose the straightforward, simple designs that didn’t leave too much space for imagination, even back in the good old days.

The tools have been constantly changing though, so at least the coding part has never become boring: back then devs used HTML tables, transparent gifs and other sneaky techniques to achieve the logical, easy-to-understand layout; these days we tend to use frameworks like Bootstrap and Zurb Foundation.

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Tools Are Just Tools

Tools are just tool; it has always been the client and the designer who decide what to achieve with them. It’s possible to build beautiful, award-winning websites with Bootstrap, but of course aesthetics is not always the primary consideration.

User Experience and Usability are more of a concern these days for business clients who need to provide accessible websites for a wide user base. Luckilyclients who want artistic websites are also out there, like they have always been – just think about the needs of a music band, an art gallery or a conference organizer.

Elephant Restaurant's Website

The Final Date

As it has just turned out, web design has always had a functional side that can only use subtler visual elements. We unfortunately run into an infinite loop that will hardly come to an end.

The conflict between functionality and aesthetics is not simply a binary question; it exists on a spectrum that is influenced by more and more factors, as the online world becomes more complicated. Web designers need to reconcile newer and newer needs.

As we exist within an infinite loop that can only be solved with formatting the whole system, it doesn’t bear much sense to stare at our clocks, and worrying about the time when our field will be deprived all of its creativity.

The best thing we can do is to get rid of our annoyingly ticking clocks, and replace them with perpetuum mobiles. Gazing at them with an open mind can be a good meditation practice that can help us understand how we personally can contribute the best to the ever changing world of web design.

Now Read:
Changing The Face Of Web Design: A Case Study Of 25 Years

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Designing For People With Accessibility Needs

The people who use the web are not a homogeneous mass but rather a huge group with incredibly high diversity. Many of them are not native English, or highly educated city dwellers with excellent health conditions. When we design for the public we need to pay attention to this fact; otherwise, we miss out on many potential users, as well as a great possibility to boost the search engine rankings of a site.

Universality and inclusivity are in the focus of the Accessibility web standards that are one of W3C’s web design related standards. The final goal of the Web Accessiblity Initiative (WAI) is to design a web that works “for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, culture, location, or physical or mental ability”.

When we think about accessibility the most important thing we need to understand is that a user doesn’t need to have full loss of a sense or an ability to be in need for accessibility support. People who have problems such as partial sight loss, or mild hearing impairment also have acessibility needs.

Now let’s see who are the main groups, how they use the web and how the careful designer can improve their user experience.

Visual Impairments

People in this group can have mild or moderate vision impairments in one or both eyes, colour blindness, low vision, blindness or deaf-blindness

In many cases there is a need to change the presentation of the web content to adapt it to their needs. They require the ability to resize text size and images, and to customize fonts, colours, and spacing to increase readability. It’s also a good idea to ensure that people who can’t see the mouse-pointer can navigate through the content using only their keyboards.

Many visually disabled people use screen readers that only work properly if the frontend is semantically coded, otherwise their special assistive softwares can’t identify the structure of the web page and users would hardly be able to make sense of the content.

We need to provide these pages with proper descriptions for hyperlinks, icons, images, and other media types with the help of explanatory alt and title HTML attributes. The rule of thumb here is to make an equivalent text alternative available for each non-textual element.

It’s also important not to stop users from configuring their own browser settings, so if it’s possible, specify everything in relative units (ems, rems, or percentages) instead of exact sizes.

In fact, the bots of Google and other search engines can also be thought of as visually disabled agents, and keep in mind that everything that is good for visually impaired humans also pleases the bots thereby improving the SEO ranking of a site.

Auditory Disabilities

Web users who suffer from hearing impairments of different grades can’t always understand speech, especially when there is a background noise. The most frequent use case here is video content, that needs to be made accessible by adding visual assistance to the audio part.

According to the Media Access Group of the WGBH Radio “an estimated 24 million Americans have enough of a hearing loss that they cannot fully understand the meaning of a television program”.

Using closed captioning in which background noises such as music or explosions are also captioned can help them a lot. Providing options for captions and transcripts can also significantly improve the experience of people who are not native speakers of the recorded language.

We also need to be careful when designing web and mobile apps. If users have to rely solely on interactions using voice, people with auditory disabilities or those without proper audio hardware or software will be excluded from the usage.

App designers also need to pay attention to always adding options to stop, pause, or adjust the volume. Apple TV is an excellent example of a device designed with the deaf and hard of hearing in mind, as it provides them with a nice user interface to customize subtitles and captions to their individual needs.

Auditory Disabilities

Cognitive and Neurological Disabilities

Disorders related to the brain or the peripheral nervous system impact how people move, see, hear and understand things. There are many people who need to process information slower than others, so we need to provide them with clearly structured content that facilitates orientation.

It can also help if we offer different ways of navigation: not only one huge dropdown menu, but also tag clouds, search option, breadcrumbs, and other smart and easy-to-understand solutions.

Enhancing the content with visual cues is crucial when we want to enable people with cognitive and neurological disabilities to understand the information we want to convey to them. Images, graphs, illustrations, and smart typography such as avoiding long paragraphs can do a lot for them.

Reducing the number of distractions like flashing or blinking ads and annoying popups can keep many of them on our sites, just think about those with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or autism.

If you want to see an example of carefully designed, logically structured content with accessible navigation and descriptive visual cues, take a look at the U.S. government’s Social Security Administration site.

U.S. Government Social Security Administration

Physical Disabilities

Physically disabled people can have motor disorders, limitations of sensations or muscular control, joint problems, missing limbs, and can face many other physical impediments.

Probably the most important thing related to them is always providing full keyboard support, and giving enough time for them to complete tasks such as filling online forms, replying to questions or editing their previous content in comment sections.

Offering keyboard shortcuts, especially on touch-enabled devices can be godsend for this group.

Physically disabled people can face with difficulties when clicking small areas, so we always need to make sure that we design large enough, clickable areas like buttons.

It’s also important to keep in mind that many of them use assistive hardware or software. They can access the content with the help of an on-screen keyboard navigated through with a trackball, or they can use voice recognition or eye-tracking softwares.

Because of this, just like in the previous cases, it’s crucial to build logical, coherent navigation and a well-structured site without too many distractions.

Trackball

Conclusion

Creating web experiences for disabled people is an excellent design practice. If we build a site that takes the needs of the sensory impaired into consideration, we design a product that is logical, well-structured and easy-to-use. This is not only good for the disabled, but for every single user, as they have the same need for an intuitive and customizable website that is easy to understand.

If we give users a choice about how they want to consume the online content, and carefully think about all the possibilities they might interact with our site, we increase the overall user experience of our design in a significant way.

Now Read:
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The post Designing For People With Accessibility Needs appeared first on Hongkiat.

Fresh Resources for Web Designers and Developers (April 2021)

A great product these days relies on the ecosystem. Imagine iPhone without the apps or WordPress without the plugins. They won’t be as useful as they are now.

In this round of the series, let’s take a look at some of the resources that support popular tools or libraries. Here we have quite a handful of React.js libraries, a couple of WordPress plugins, some VSCode extensions, and a lot more. Let’s jump in for the full list.

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Mesh Gradient

A Figma plugin that allows you to generate a beautiful Mesh Gradient. It allows you to edit the gradient axis to achieve a perfect gradient. Having Mesh Gradient can easily make your product design stands out from the crowd.

Notification

A WordPress plugin to notify actions that happen on a WordPress site. This plugin provides quite extensive APIs where you can do customization like sending notifications to selected recipients, call services, subscribing to particular actions, and whitelabeling. It’s a great plugin to keep you updated with your site activity.

Notification

Spatie Ray

A plugin that connects your WordPress site to Ray.app, Spatie Ray is a desktop application that makes debugging and measuring code performance on your website more convenient. It is also available for some frameworks and CMS such Craft and Laravel.

Spatie Ray

Webhint

Webhint is an initiative from OpenJS Foundation to help developers build a better web by advocating and creating tools such as this VSCode extension and the browser extension to enforce some best practices.

This tool scans your code or your website and reports if the HTML is lacking in proper attributes, or if the site has some accessibility and performance issues.

Webhint

ScriptKit

A desktop application for macOS that allows you to register a script to automate your tasks such as opening a browser and reading news, opening particular files or directories from a project, search for a book from particular sites, and much more.

It provides several pre-made scripts and will soon also provide collective scripts shared from its users. Script is written in Node.js or JavaScript, so if you’re familiar with the language you can create a custom script that suits your needs.

ScriptKit

Laravel Octane

A Laravel library that greatly improves the performance of a Laravel application by leveraging high-performance PHP server environment Swoole or RoadRunner that enables concurrent requests. This allows Laravel to run blazing fast at 6000 req/s from the initial test.

Laravel Octane

PHPMon

PHPMon is a macOS utility application to monitor the PHP service that runs on your machine. It adds a menu on the menu bar where you can see the PHP version that’s running, the extensions, and where the location configuration is. Pretty handy!

PHPMon

Heroicons

A collection of a beautiful hand-crafted collection of more than 200 icons. They come in two variants, Solid and Outline, and are available in SVG and JSX format so you can easily reuse them in your website or digital products.

Heroicons

FocalBoard

Focalboard is an open-source application to manage and organises tasks similar to apps like Trello and Notion. You can install FocalBoard on your own server or computers that give you more freedom and flexibility. A great alternative for those who prefer control over convenience.

FocalBoard

Gutenberg Icons

A collection of icons used by Gutenberg, the new WordPress editor. This site shows all the icons where you can generate the snippet to reuse it in Gutenberg block or simply download the SVG.

Gutenberg Icons

Haikei

A collection of tools to generate shapes, backgrounds, and patterns to use in your design. It features a number of tools including one to generate a Blob, a Wave, Layer Waves, gradients, and a few more to come.

haikei

Design Patterns

A collection of design patterns to structure your PHP codes. It covers various patterns and is recommended source if you intend to deep dive and improve your PHP development skills.

php-design-pattern

Accessibility Path

A collection of learning materials to know about web accessibility and inclusive design. You can find books, videos, articles from blogs, and tools. A great source to help you get started with the topics.

accessibility-path

Code Tour

A VSCode extension to add a guided tour to help users walk through the codebase in a project. This is a great tool to help new developer to get familiar with the code quickly.

vscode-code-tour

React Hook Form

An award-winning React.js library to create form. It is easy to use, lightweight, performant and renders proper markup with native HTML validation. On top of that, this library is also nicely integrated with tools like TypeScript for type validation, ReactNative for building form in a mobile app, and Validation library like yup for those who need go more advanced.

react-hook-form

Tauri

A framework to build desktop applications with web technicalogies. Tauri focuses on performance, smaller app output, and provides a whole experience for developers to create an app. It provides CLI, API, Testing and CI framework. An example of an app built with Tauri can be just 600KB.

tauri

React Admin

A React.js library to develop a web application to manage any kind of data. It’s built on top of modern stack which includes REST and GraphQL APIs, ES6, React, and Material Design. This library is a great starting point to build an admin interface using React.js.

React Admin

EditorJS

A JavaScript library to build an interactive text editor for modern browsers. It looks modern and clean than the usual WYSIWYG editor and is extensible with Plugins. It also generates a well-structured data that you can use anywhere on the website, mobile app, AMP, Instant Articles, and speech readers.

EditorJS

HTML DOM

A good resource that show you code snippets and tips to interact with DOM with just native API from the browser. These days you no longer need to use jQuery or Zepto.

HTML DOM

Awesome Compose

This is where you can find an awesome list of tools, apps, that can help to boost your productivity when working with Docker and Docker Composer.

Awesome Compose

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Insider Jokes Only Programmers Will Get

It isn’t easy being a programmer. They code all day, debug all night and go through thousands of code lines trying to clear up all possible messes before going live with their code. Sometimes, it takes a fellow programmer to understand the hardships of another programmer. The same can be said of their jokes.

In this post, we have collected a handful of jokes, that have been floating around the Web, which showcase a programmer’s sense of humor. Don’t worry if you don’t get all of them — just get a programmer to explain it to you.

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Some People Call It Magic
This Is Why You Should Hug Your Programmer
programmer insider jokes
So That’s What It Is!
programmer insider jokes
We Should Thank The Inventor Of “Hardware”
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: csl

Well, Technically It’s True
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: Claudio

Get It?
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: Robert S.

Where Programmers Usually Hang Out.
programmer insider jokes
Programmers Are People Too
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: gaylard

Riiiiiight
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: CCH

The difference between nerd introvert and extrovert.
programmer insider jokes
Brace For Backlash
programmer insider jokes
That’s Why You See Most Programmers Bespectacular!
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: Arjan Einbu

Seriously, Try It
programmer insider jokes
0, 1, 2, 3…
programmer insider jokes
Good Luck Getting An Explanation About This
programmer insider jokes
The Greatest Programmer Of All Time
programmer insider jokes
For Him Nothing Is Impossible.
programmer insider jokes
It’s An Addiction
programmer insider jokes
Hello World
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: Don Neufeld

Java Programmers Should Know This
programmer insider jokes
Monkey See, Monkey Do
programmer insider jokes
Sometimes We Wonder Why Do We Bother
programmer insider jokes
Once Upon A Time…
programmer insider jokes
#programmerlogic
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: GnevZmaja

Loop-dy-doo
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: Adam Liss

SQL Clubbing
programmer insider jokes
Unix friends
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: CodingBytes

The Programmer Has A Good Point
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: Martin Cote

Ladies…
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: Macke

Well, Does It?
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: Adam Liss

Think Of The Possibilities!
programmer insider jokes
Reigning Champion
programmer insider jokes
Be awesome
programmer insider jokes
Hooray!
programmer insider jokes
Do You Think This Is A Game?
programmer insider jokes
XOR
programmer insider jokes
Never ever…
programmer insider jokes
No Class
programmer insider jokes
Which Are You?
programmer insider jokes
Conditional Love
programmer insider jokes
programmer insider jokes
programmer insider jokes

Courtesy: CommitStrip

programmer insider jokes
programmer insider jokes
programmer insider jokes

Now Read:
30 CSS Puns That Prove Designers Have A Great Sense Of Humor

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