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The Smashing Book #2

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This eBook is the long-awaited digital version of our bestselling printed book about best practices in modern web design. You'll get:

  • valuable practical insight into design, usability, and coding
  • professional advice for designing mobile applications 
  • insights into building successful e-commerce websites
  • explanations of common coding mistakes and how to avoid them

You’ll explore the principles of professional design thinking and graphic design and learn how to apply psychology and game theory to create engaging user experiences.

Well-respected professionals have worked with us to provide exciting and comprehensive chapters:

The Principles of Good Graphic Design, Matt Ward and Alexander Charchar

This chapter looks at some key concepts of graphic design as they relate to modern web design. It looks at a number of the central elements and methodologies that drive the act of designing itself, and it discusses the sometimes subtle but always significant divide between the merely good and truly great.

This chapter is about: 

  • the meaning of graphic design
  • the difference between good and great design
  • timeless design
  • relational minimalism
  • the importance of contrast, space, and tension
  • typography
  • visual voice

Visible vs. Invisible Design, Francisco Inchauste

Basic principles and techniques of producing the visible layer of design in tools such as Photoshop are widely covered in books and online. Design is generally understood to be only what we see: a visual and primarily artistic medium of communication. However, the invisible part of design takes on several forms. When we design a website or application, we don’t (and shouldn’t) start from scratch. We start with certain patterns, and we need to understand their limitations in order to create effective solutions and experiences. Balancing invisible and visible designs enables us to create effective and meaningful interfaces for websites and applications.

This chapter is about:

  • seeing the invisible in design
  • designing how users think
  • mental models
  • excise design
  • design patterns and interface guidelines

Designing Mobile User Experiences, Mike Rundle

The best apps work well, but building an app that looks good and works well isn’t easy. Designing a mobile app’s user experience is particularly challenging because it requires skill in a variety of disciplines, such as interaction design, graphic design, information architecture and ergonomics, to name a few. User experience design is a combination of disciplines, and so designing a fantastic mobile app calls for a combination of perspectives and skills.

This chapter is about: 

  • building and selling apps
  • peculiarities of mobile software
  • principles of good app design
  • user interface design patterns for mobile apps
  • visual design of mobile apps

Sketching, Wireframing and Prototyping, Janko Jovanovic

Every design process starts with an idea. Many ideas, actually. The truth is, only a few of them prove to be good, and the others are just bad. Many people believe that they have an excellent idea and know the path to realizing it, yet most fail. And that’s not surprising, because having an idea is not enough. Knowing how to choose an idea, shape it and develop it is crucial to success. 

This chapter describes the process of moving from abstract ideas to concrete solutions and explains the workflow, tools and techniques available when designing websites and user interfaces.

This chapter is about:

  • design process
  • ideation through sketching
  • storyboards
  • techniques and tools
  • wireframing
  • prototyping
  • testing and refining

Red Flags (Warning Signs) in Web Development, Christian Heilmann

We spend a big part of our lives working hard to clean up and maintain products, rather than building great things to make the lives of our users easier. That’s just the way it is. If your code is hard to clean up, then you’ll be eating up even more time in the already short development process. 

Discovering that the product you’re having trouble extending or fixing is your own from some time ago is all the more aggravating. That’s when you start thinking that something must have gone wrong along the way. Well, something has. A few things will make good solutions go bad and start to smell, and this chapter goes over them.

This chapter is about:

  • building for maintenance, not the moment
  • why HTML and CSS code go bad
  • HTML painting and convoluted CSS syntax
  • issues with JavaScript and back-end code

The Future of Web Typography, Vivien Anayian

In the foreword to The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst points out that the underlying principles of typography are independent of any particular typesetting medium. Yet it is only after almost 20 painful years of setting type on the web that designers can finally breathe better and apply the essential elements of style without compromising on detail or execution. Recent years have been pivotal in shaping the future of typography on the web; what was unthinkable only a few years ago has become possible today, and it will get even better tomorrow.

This chapter is about: 

  • the evolution of web typography
  • @font-face
  • WOFF
  • the open-source type movement
  • font licensing
  • web font services
  • current problems in web typography
  • the fonts module and CSS3
  • exclusive interviews

Applying Game Design Principles to User Experience Design, Christoph Kolb

The ultimate goal of a business is simple: to engage as many people as possible in favorable interactions. These interactions could include buying a product, spreading the word, advertising, or just generally becoming a fan. Such objectives clearly require us to explore paradigms and perspectives that go far beyond aesthetics and traditional user interaction. 

This is where game design theory comes in handy. We can apply game design to certain areas of interaction to create user experiences that engage people and bind them to the company. In this chapter, we will learn how to apply some of techniques and theory of game design to website design, user experience, and business.

This chapter is about:

  • combining social psychology, game design theory, and economics
  • game mechanics: world, players, and rules
  • winning strategies for users and companies
  • playbook and strategy for interaction designers
  • game design techniques and real-life examples

When They Click: Psychology of Web Design and User Behavior, Susan Weinschenk

From the chapter: “I’m a psychologist by training and education. This means that I consider design in the context of the mental model of the user. Whether the design is of software, a website, a medical device, online instructions or product packaging, I can’t help but see it from a psychologist’s point of view. I enjoy applying what psychology research tells us about how people think, learn, play and work to design challenges. I take research and insight into the brain, the visual system, memory and motivation and extrapolate design principles from them.”

This chapter is about: 

  • different views on design
  • the importance of social interactions
  • unconscious decision-making
  • social validation
  • the goal-gradient effect
  • using distractions to grab attention
  • “satisficing” 
  • mental models
  • error handling
  • inattentional blindness

Design Patterns in E-Commerce Websites (Study), Steven Bradley

Designers of e-commerce websites have to take into account many things that designers of informational websites don’t. How to design the check-out process? How will the website establish trust so that visitors are willing to hand over sensitive credit card data? 

Common design patterns have evolved over time, and this chapter explores how well e-commerce websites match up with theory and best practices. What’s the average number of check-out pages for an e-commerce website? Do certain patterns emerge from the data to show how different websites approach such issues? Shopping websites were chosen and surveyed based on a set of elements in several categories.

This chapter is about: 

  • layout
  • information architecture
  • navigation
  • color
  • product, check-out, and shopping cart pages
  • wording and design of call-to-action buttons
  • contact and support pages
  • on-site marketing

How to Make a Book (Like This One), The Smashing Editorial Team

Holding your very own book in your hands for the first time is a truly remarkable experience. You suddenly realize that you’ve given your ideas—ideas conceived in some abstract state in your mind—a certain shape, a physical reality, making them tangible, visible, and enduring. The feeling is overwhelming: it fills your heart with pride, in the way that a painter admires their creation. The feeling has not been alien to those who have participated in book manufacturing over the centuries, and yet experiencing it has never been so affordable and accessible as it is now.

This chapter is about: 

  • printing a book on your own or with a publishing house
  • writing, editing, and preparing the book for printing
  • pricing, marketing, and fulfilment
  • eBook production: PDF, ePUB, Mobipocket
  • print on demand
Preview for The Smashing Book #2
Original Price:
$4
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 2011
Pages:
362