Tag Archives: web development

How to Avoid Design Fails through a Usability Test

how-to-avoid-a-design-fails-through-a-usability-test

As web designers, one of the lessons that will come in handy is learning objectives. With these objectives, a designer will figure out whether a design has passed or failed a usability test. Here are few things that you should know.

Verbs are Magical

One of the books that can teach you about learning objectives is George Piskurich’s Rapid Instructional Design. These books will provide you with list of behaviors to start your success criteria.

For example, you need to describe or demonstrate your objectives for comprehension rather than just understand it.

After obtain a higher level, a participant might develop their work stage into “explain” or “organize”, and even “create” or “evaluate”.

Think through the End of the Session

When you start planning your next usability test and you’re working on tasks, you can ask yourself a simple question like, “What should a user be able to do with this design?”

This question will take you to these answers:

  • Track three hours of time for a particular project;
  • Generate an invoice to a client based on that tracked time;
  • Describe the difference between tracking time and logging time.

Those three statements will guide you to give three success criteria to the participants. Success is different with tasks, even though it may sound similar. Success criteria are for your team, while the task is for the participant in the context of the usability session. In fact, in the explanation above, you’ll see that success criteria are about describing something. For instance, following-up question to a task rather than completing a task.

Stakeholders Love Success Criteria

Since stakeholders’ orientation is on your results rather than on your process. They will be terribly irritated, if your presentation of the results is vague.

So, using success criteria can help you clarify whether your design is really successful. They make it easier to share those results.

To help you track your success criteria, you can create a simple table with a color coding, such as below:

web designer

On the table, you can find where the problems are and grounds the results in the experiences of actual participants.

What is Minification?

css minification

Web browsers aren’t concerned about the readability of code, when it comes to generating a page or running a script. In order for the file to be executed, minification strips a code file of all data that isn’t required. With minified files, you don’t need to be decompressed before they can be read, modified or executed. This is so much different from traditional compression techniques. If you are a web developer or web designer, you may need to know further information about CSS minification.

After the code for a web application is written, and before the application is deployed, minification is performed. Minification can result in faster response times and lower bandwidth costs, as it sends the minified version instead of the full version. Nowadays, minification can be widely used in many websites ranging from small personal blogs to multi-million user services.

Minification Techniques and Tools

Minify is one of the more comprehensive minification tools. Minify handles minification, caching, and compression of CSS, HTML and JavaScript files. Minify also offers integration with popular web applications and frameworks including WordPress and the Zend Framework.

HTML minification

If you are looking for performance improvements to websites, you can find the PageSpeed Insights Chrome extension in Google. PageSpeed Insights provides a “Minify HTML” rule which generates a minified version of the open website.

CSS minification

Several online tools provide instant CSS minification, since CSS is less likely to change frequently. To get a quick and simple way to minify CSS, Refresh-SF uses multiple tools to minify CSS, HTML and JavaScript.

JavaScript minification

To create a more efficient copy of any JavaScript file, you can use Google’s JavaScript optimization tool, the Closure Compiler. Usually, a developer will use the Closure Compiler to minify the code and make change to a JavaScript file. For a user’s web browser, they can access the new file in the web server.

Example of Minification

The following code block shows an example of plain HTML and CSS:

<html>
       <head>
               <style>
                 #myContent { font-family: Arial }
                #myContent { font-size: 90% }
</style>
</head>

        <body>

                 <!– start myContent –>
                       <div id=”myContent”>
                       <p>Hello world!</p>
                       </div>
                 <!– end myContent –>

        </body>
</html>

Here are the same codes after minification:

<html><head><style>#myContent{font-family:Arial;font-size:90%}</style></head><body><div id=”myContent”><p>Hello world!</p></div></body></html>

Benefits of Minification

  1. As less unnecessary data needs to be downloaded, users can load content faster. Users experience identical service without the additional overhead.
  2. Lower bandwidth costs as less data is transmitted over the network. Developers no longer send the extra content that users don’t care about.
  3. Lower resource usage since less data needs to be processed for each request. The minified content need to be generated once, but can be used for an unlimited number of requests.

Create Beautiful Gradient Transitions with Granim.js

create-beautiful-gradient-transitions-with-granim-js

In web design, some features are made only for the sake of beauty while others are made for functional purpose. Gradient transitions are one of designs that made solely for show but they are quite popular and entertaining.

Now you can build gradient transitions with Granim.js. The result will look smooth and mesh nicely in any website. In fact, Granim may be the only JS library that managing gradient transitions and offer the perfect solution. Besides, it’s built on Vanilla JavaScript, so it can run alongside jQuery or any other JS library.

To get started with granim.js, you can drop the file into your page. You can also download a copy from GitHub or host one from a live CDN.

Here’s a basic code sample from the GitHub repo:

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<!– Create a canvas element –>

<canvas id=”granim-canvas”></canvas>

<!– Create a Granim instance –>

<script>

var granimInstance = new Granim({

element: ‘#granim-canvas’,

name: ‘granim’,

opacity: [1, 1],

states : {

“default-state”: {

gradients: [

[‘#834D9B’, ‘#D04ED6’],

[‘#1CD8D2’, ‘#93EDC7’]

]

}

}

});

</script>

It may look simple, but things can get more complicated than this. That’s why; you need to learn more on some examples. Then, find code snippets under each example to create gradient transitions for image backgrounds and even image masks.

The image masks can be used for a logo, for instance a PNG image, which gets hidden behind a gradient. Gradient will slowly transitions throughout the text which is as a result create a JS-animated logo.

Example

The example above takes a lot of JS/CSS code, so basically it’s not a simple implementation. But, you’ll find it is easier to be setup and customized after several practices. In fact, it’s the absolute best solution for any project as it is the only true gradient transition library online.

If you have any issues, you can check the issues tab, since the library is still updated semi-frequently. It’s only a pretty small library where there are no many things that need updating. This is also the strong reason why Granim.js can be a reliable solution for any site small or large.