The Do’s and Don’ts of Contacting Designers

I receive quite a few messages from potential clients interested in working with me. And most of them do a horrible job of making me want to work on their project. I realize it can be hard to know what to say in that first message, so here’s a quick guide to help you approach a designer.

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Improving a design step by step, Part 2

NOTE: Now that I’m part of the Smashing Network, I thought I’d feature some of this blog’s older content for the new readers.

Here is part 2 of my step by step tutorial on design basics. In the first part, we looked at the grid and basic typography. In this section, we’ll tackle one of a designer’s main tasks: giving a layout meaning and hierarchy. Read more →

Improving a design step by step, Part 1

NOTE: Now that I’m part of the Smashing Network, I thought I’d feature some of this blog’s older content for the new readers.

Although it’s often said that art is subjective, you cannot argue that when it comes to web design, there’s a few key principles that you should always keep in mind. Ensuring your work respects the principles of contrast, unity, hierarchy, etc. can dramatically improve the result. In order to demonstrate this, I will show you how to make a homepage layout better step by step.

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The Great Wireframe Debate

My previous article on wireframes sparked quite a debate to say the least. To be honest I wrote this article expecting people to react, because I was questioning their work process (and designers are usually passionate about their work).

But what I didn’t expect was how thorough and well thought-out all of the comments turned out to be. I wanted to highlight some of the most interesting points and answer them properly. So here are some of the arguments in favor of wireframes that people brought up most frequently.

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Practicing Kaizen

I’m a big fan of Kaizen. No, that’s not a fancy type of Japanese cuisine (you’re thinking of Kaiseki), but the principle of continuous improvement. This principle is very simple to explain: it simply means not resting on your laurels, and making everything even a tiny bit better every day. But while it’s easy to explain, it can be pretty hard to actually do it.

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A simpler and faster alternative to wireframes

I recently explained why wireframes can hurt your project. My point was that in a lot of cases, you can save time by designing in Photoshop straight away or using a HTML prototype to flesh out your app. But some people rightly pointed out that wireframes were a better tool for sharing information in a way that’s approachable to people without design or coding skills.

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Why wireframes can hurt your project

Wireframes are one of the main tools in the user experience designer’s toolkit. Most usability and web design books devote a considerable section to sketching, paper prototyping, and other forms of planning. But while I agree wireframes can have their place in some projects, I think they are actually detrimental in a lot of cases.

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