All posts tagged ‘UX’

File Under: Software, Visual Design

Photoshop Contemplates Adding Live HTML Layers

Adobe’s Principal Product Manager of Photoshop, John Nack has posted an idea for a new Photoshop feature on his blog. Nack’s idea is to create a way of rendering HTML and CSS within Photoshop. This means visual designers could work with “live” HTML objects as they’re building websites within a team of programmers, easing the workflow between the designing and coding stages.

Before you get to excited (or disappointed) keep in mind that isn’t a feature, isn’t even part of a plan, it’s simply and idea that Nack would like feedback on.

Nack describes the idea (and workflow) like this: a designer creates a mockup, which he hands off to a programmer. The programmer then renders the mockup in HTML/CSS, at which point he could hand it back to the designer who can open it in Photoshop as a kind of live layer. Resizing and other layer actions would cause the code to respond according to how the programmer has written the code.

What Nack is envisioning is a smart layer that uses WebKit (already part of the Creative Suite) to render what he calls “programmable layers.”

Among the benefits Nack sees are “[live] pixel-accurate web rendering (text and shapes); the ability to style objects via CSS parameters (enabling effects like dotted lines); data-driven 2D and 3D graphics; and high fidelity web output (HTML as HTML).”

The real world example Nack uses is a calendar widget, but that particular example raises an interesting question — what about scripting languages? We don’t know of anyone who writes out calendar code in HTML, that would be insane to update. So if you’re generating the calendar with, say, PHP, where does the script rendering happen?

So far, the comments appear pretty evenly divided between those who think such a feature would be great and those think that either it’s just more bloat in Photoshop, or that Fireworks would be a better home for the idea.

If you’ve got strong opinions one way or the other, head over to Nack’s blog and let him know what you think, either in the comments or by completing this survey.

Just remember that this is not part of a roadmap and may well never happen. In the words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t panic.”

See Also:

File Under: UI/UX

Information Architecture Tutorial – Lesson 4

If you’ve followed the first three lessons, by now you have a good handle on your site’s goals, who the audience will be, and what kinds of content and functionality you’ll need. It is now time to define the site’s structure, which is the foundation on which you build everything else.

Think of the site structure as a skeleton that holds the body together. Without it, your site will be a jumbled up, confusing mess – kind of like an amoeba. Do you want an unorganized, hard-to-use, crappy site? No! You want an evolved, highly structured, and easy-to-use site that can walk upright on its own two legs.

After creating a good site structure, everything else will fall into place. It can’t help but do so! A well-designed structure makes it easy to define a navigation system, and the two together make designing page layouts and templates a snap. This is the last step before you can actually get into building things.


Continue Reading “Information Architecture Tutorial – Lesson 4″ »
File Under: Glossary

Architecture

In computer science, architecture means the conceptual arrangement of a system’s components.

Taking the analogy of a physical building, if a website’s individual pages are rooms, its architecture is the hypertextual relationship between the rooms within the structure.

File Under: UI/UX

Site Optimization Tutorial

Overview

We’re all tired of waiting for web pages to download, aren’t we? To make sure that visitors to your site don’t get frustrated, we rounded up some in-house experts to help you make your pages faster ‘n greased lightning.

Pictures are worth a thousand words — especially on the web, where pages of text can download in the time it takes for a single image to load. Your images may be sub-zero cool, but if they’re too plump, few people will stick around long enough to see them. We’ll dig into tricks and optimizations to speed up your GIF, JPG, and PNG downloads.

Once you’ve learned the basics of shrinking your images, we’ll will walk you through the advantages of using CSS for your page layout. And, if you’re one of those people who insists on using tables, we’ll offer you a few choice hints on how to get those tables slim and streamlined.

After you’ve removed the bloat from your layout code and your images, you’ll learn how to cut needless elements from your pages. Hint: Start with all those links.

The series concludes with wise words about how to come up with benchmarks for speed and how to test your site using nothing but a stopwatch and a pencil.

Get started with with lesson 1


File Under: Backend, UI/UX

Site Optimization Tutorial – Lesson 1

A picture’s worth a thousand words. An old saying, but true enough on the web where you can transfer chapters of text in the time it takes to download just one big image. Ever notice how pictures are always the last thing to show up when you’re surfing? That’s because the biggest hunk of download time comes from the image files.

Over the next four days, we’ll be looking at all the different ways to get pages down to their leanest and meanest. Today we start with the most egregious and most obvious culprit: images.

By the way, a lot has changed since the first edition of this tutorial – there’s more to optimizing image performance today than just knowing your GIFs from your JPEGs. (Though we’ll review that, since this may be your first time around.) There are now other file formats (like PNG) worth considering, and improved weighted-optimization techniques to throw into the mix.

And, hey, quite a bit hasn’t changed. For one, web users haven’t gotten any more patient. It doesn’t matter how ice-cool your images may look – if they can’t be downloaded quickly over a 56K modem, very few people without broadband will stick around to see them.

Fortunately, there’s still a host of tricks and optimizations that web designers can implement to speed image downloads. Let’s start with the easiest thing in the world.

Continue Reading “Site Optimization Tutorial – Lesson 1″ »