Author Archives: admin

About admin

Designer by day, designer by night.
  1. How to describe UI animation

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    It’s 2014 and lots of apps are looking the same. Flat design is here for the foreseeable future and with it a definite lack of personality. If everything looks the same how do you differentiate?

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the answer is with animation and motion. Animation is now a key facet in how an interface is experienced and understood. A search for shots tagged “animation” on Dribbble reveals designers are using animation to enhance the user experience. In this post I want to categorise some common UI animations that I’ve noticed and explain what I think their purpose is.

    Animation to transition

    Let’s start with an animation effect that’s ubiquitous: a transition. A transition is a change from one state to another over time. A smooth gradual transition will help to ease a user into a new screen rather than abruptly forcing it upon them.

    Tweetbot 3 uses a transition to guide the user into viewing attached content.

    Hover + hold to play and loop the video

    This animation is also an example of how a transition can help the user understand how to interact with an app. By bringing the attached content to the fore while also subsiding the listing the user won’t feel like they’re lost. This affordance also helps the user understand how to return to the previous state.

    Animation to focus

    The animation below implements a build-in effect to transition to a new UI state.

    Hover + hold to play and loop the video

    Notice how each element animates separately, this focuses the users attention on to one element at a time. Animations like this enable a designer to control a users visual focus, directing their attention to what’s most important on screen.

    Animation to delight

    Now this is a hard sell as it has little effect on usability but If your goal is to make a memorable app, then adding animations which pique a users attention is a wise choice. Here’s an example:

    This interface element could easily have been built without any animation at all. But would you remember it? It’s touches like this that separate good from great and enable your app to stand out from the crowd.

    Next steps

    With transition, focus and delight we now have a framework for describing UI animations. Which is exactly what I intend to do right here over the next number of weeks, I hope you stick around.

  2. Colour is everywhere. Cherish it.

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    Nigel Evan Dennis:

    “Everything you see contains a palette. Some beautiful. Some ‘ugly’. Some dark. Some light. Some hot. Some cold. But they are all inspiring. They are all engaging. Color can adjust our perception. It can effect the way our food tastes. It can increase the emotional and intuitive level of an experience. It can turn us off, turn us on. It is psychological. It is emotional. Color is a wonderful thing. Retain it.”

    That’s a mighty call to arms. Nigel’s microsite, from which the above quote was taken, is a dedication to his love for colour. There’s not much point in reading about it, so don’t stick around here for long. The site — much like colour — needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.

  3. Designing without colour

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    Old gold: Mark Boulton, writing about the use of black and white from way back in 2004:

    “One of the things I like about editorial design, specifically typographic design, is how there is an emphasis on black and white. True colour is a very important part of any typographic exercise, but primarily I begin by looking at tone and form. I think there’s a lot of value in removing colour from the equation entirely and focusing on the tonal aspects of a design before applying the colour.”

    This is a great piece of advice, adding colour should never be the goal. Strength of form and concept, that’s a better goal. The form a design takes should be easily understood without colour. It’s only once this part is right that colour should be considered as a method to highlight or add contrast. This is what Mark is getting at when he suggests beginning a design using only tones of grey. The article is well worth reading in it’s entirety.

  4. Still excited about design

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    Massimo Vignelli

    RIP Massimo Vignelli, one of the most influential designers of our time. When I was starting out as a designer I continually looked to him as I tried to figure out graphic design. His body of work was and still is an inspiration. Michael Bierut, who began his career working under Massimo and knew him well, offers this tribute:

    “Massimo died this morning at the age of 83. Up until the end — I saw him on Thursday — he was still curious, still generous, still excited about design. He leaves his wife, Lella; his children, Luca and Valentina; and generations of designers who, like me, are still learning from his example.”

    Thank you Massimo.

  5. Done but not perfect

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    Over the last couple of months I’ve been chipping away at a personal project. I’ve reached a point where I feel it’s time to move on. It’s done but not perfect. I’ve detailed my design process on this blog which I’m very happy about; I’ve even shown designs I was not happy with. Here’s a list of the blog posts if you’re interested:

    And below the final designs. You can also view them at full size if you like.

    It’s a good time for me to finish up with this as I leave on my honeymoon tomorrow. When I return I’ll be starting another personal project which again I hope to write about on this blog.