Category Archives: Web Designing

Current Common Practices in Web Typography Part 1

Summary:

It is true that web typography is a bit different from print and constantly evolving due to ever-changing nature of web itself. At present, we are experiencing new opportunities on presentation front due to emerging mobile era as well as facing intricacies in implementations. These all force us to reconsider our practices and outlook.

Intro:

Day before yesterday, we were focusing on the print media and little on web media for static desktop like devices. Today responsive web designing practices have changed the entire landscape of web typography. Therefore, today we have to think about the font type, style, font size, and spacing in respect to the ever-changing viewports according to the client mobile and desktop devices. We strive to optimize readability of the web typography across the devices, browsers, and OS. In due course, we need to focus on certain current common practices prevailing in web typography landscape. Let’s check one-by-one.

Type Face

The choice of typeface sets the tone of the entire website and sends right or wrong messages by creating an atmosphere. Our designers are struggling between the Serif and Sans Serif typefaces for an appropriate choice since 2009. If we look back in the web typography of 2009, it was increasing trends for sans-serif typeface in body copy as well as in the headlines. Today designers are creating contrasts in body copy and headings by interchanging of serif and sans serif typefaces in order to improve readability and visual appeal of the website.

If we fine grain the data, we may find that serif typeface has replaced the sans serif in body copy gradually over the last four years. We can see the emerging trends for Georgia and Arial as the most popular typefaces on the responsive websites like The Guardian, Financial Times, BBC, etc.

The Most Common Typefaces

Besides Georgia, there are other popular typefaces such as Chaparral Pro, Freight Sans Pro, Helvetica, Verdana, etc. which have taken place in either body copy or headlines/headings and differentiate from others by creating contrasting effects. However, interesting trends are also visible for the non-standard typeface usage on the recent web development, especially in responsive websites made for multiple devices and screens. This indicates the increasing diversity in web typography.

Diversity in Typeface

As we use CSS in responsive design and fallback typefaces including standard core Web fonts like Times, Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, Helvetica, etc. are used predominantly as mobile platform fonts. Ironically, comeback of Times, and Times New Roman have widened the diversity of web typography still keeping the old players intact. The real genesis of diversity is leaning trends towards individuality and responsive web on designing landscape.

Many smart web designers are experimenting with typefaces mostly in headings because drastic changes in body copy may prove disastrous particularly in case of responsive designs. However, use of alternative fonts for body copy may create rich panorama and bring more diversity in web typographic landscape.

Fortunately, Lujayn has dedicated web developers who are accustomed with current trends and common practices in web typography landscape and capable to make your project a success legend in this fiercely competitive market.

Designing Simple-Predictable-Comfortable Navigation Part 2

Designing Navigation-Target Areas
Designing Navigation-Target Areas

Summary:

Target areas, links or clickable/tappable areas are dynamic and live part of the navigation in all sort of web designing, be it for static websites or responsive website designs. There are many factors determine the success of target area designing in course of navigation designing. Let’s check them in brief.

Intro:

In the first part of this series, we have seen that designing navigation is a part of creating information architecture and main menus are vital component of entire navigation system. Therefore, in this series I try to focus on the simple, predictable, and comfortable navigation designing using various components of navigation efficiently. In due course, we have seen navigation symbols in first part and now we will look at the target area designing in this current part 2.

Target Areas in Navigation

By definition, target areas are nothing, but navigation links designed to easily recognized, easy to click, and consistent throughout the website. Technically target areas have text or symbol label and hot/active area to click, which is linked with other web pages in the website. Sometime tint of graphics is added on the target areas to show it as button like things, but most of the times, it is highlighted through differences in fonts, font sizes, and font or background colors.

In drop-down menu, target areas should have contrast against the similar background and that should reflect in size of target area, texts of labels, and colors of the target areas. On desktops, we have opportunity to change font styles in dim lighting and other ways to respond hover effects. Unfortunately, for mobile users, we have to device other ways.

Size of the Target Areas

In field of human computer interactions, Paul Fitts had quantified the behaviors of the users and predicted some rules to follow. According to him, designers should design target areas a bit larger and closer so users will hit them faster and with comfort or ease. Therefore, experts are advising that designers should utilize every pixel available, and should extend the clickable/tappable areas up to its boundaries.

However, in static websites devised especially for desktop users, can’t follow this rule because they have more than necessary white space and it’s a part of flat and simple design. Of course, responsive web design can stick with maximum utilization of target areas and give the best user experiences in tough gestures. Covering the maximum areas don’t mean to convert or create images in mega-menus, but make them large enough that they can grab immediate attentions of onlookers and facilitate mobile users to tap or select the target areas easily. Thus, enlarging target areas from normal size to 10% can give good usability and UX at the end.

Consistency in Location in Target Areas

Today we have larger websites with multi-level navigation where chances of inconsistent target areas are high particularly in case of nested menu. Therefore, designers use the fly out or slide to the submenus and their location issues are bigger if we don’t keep consistent locations for them. In single-level navigation menus, closing the menu may become the problem if designers don’t provide obvious clues or close buttons at the same areas where it opens.

If you strive for such high level of user experiences and usability in your web development, Lujayn has team accustomed with aforementioned designing techniques and practices to take a chance.

Let Us Comprehend CUBI—A User Experience Model Part 5

Interaction in CUBI ModelPreviously we have explored the components of CUBI model for UX designers for web and mobile software products. In second part, we have grasped the content layers’ functionality. In third part, it were user goals while in fourth part, we had some knowledge about business goals. Now in this post, we will look finally at the fourth component of the CUBI model and its interaction. However, user interaction designing is crucial in modern high-end web and mobile landscape because only interactions make product live and exert the best user experiences in our highly intricate software designing projects.

Just like other components, user interactions has four layers to consider when incorporating it in the UX designs. Those layers are patterns, systems, devices, and humans. Let’s see how they act in the UX designing.

Interactions with Patterns

We know very well that UI design consists of various UI elements and most of them are the parts of graphics or layout designs. Therefore, it is natural that design patterns have greater impacts on the interactions of users hence on the UX designs. Apart from buttons, there are headers, menus, maps, calendars, video, audio, images, etc. which are taking parts in various interactions and responsible for user experiences at the end.

Interactions with Systems

Web and mobile applications are creating their own system and running on the various operating systems as well as devices using its hardware, software, and custom resources at a capacity. For instance, any software on web and mobiles may have navigation system, workflows, screen flows, feedback giving and receiving systems, notification systems to interact with internal and external components. These all are mean to help end-users to go ahead to achieve their intended goals with our products.

There is nature of the system such as static or dynamic may decide the interaction designing. At other hand, your software system will define the CMS, e-commerce, and other system software integration with a set of capabilities and limitations.

Interactions with Devices

We are living in fragmentation era in terms of computing devices. Therefore, it is mandatory to beat challenges of multi-screen designing for better UX in all mobile and web software products. Our client/targeted devices may have fragmentation issues with screen size at first place, form factors like smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops, kiosks, terminals, wearable devices, appliances, and many others at second place.

The biggest challenge for UX designers with devices is various gestures to interact with them like pointing devices/mouse, touch gestures with fingers, thumbs, and other body parts, body gestures with just movements, accelerometer like hardware gestures, geo-locations, and use of camera are some instances to consider during UX designing and interaction designs in particular.

 

Interactions with Humans

After all, we are designing UX for our end-users, and in most the cases, they are human beings. Therefore, human interactions with the product designing like formal, informal ways of interactions, sometimes personal or interpersonal or social interactions define the UX design of the software products at detail level.

 

In simple words, we can say that a set of various patterns provided in a system is responsible for UX and such system running on various devices trigger the human interactions with the product. If you want to get some clue of successful UX designs using CUBI model, you have to explore our portfolio and consult our designers for web and mobiles.

 

 

Author Bio:

Shoaib Marfatiya is an eminent writer in web development industry and its verticals. He has contributed a lot by throwing light on very intricate issues of web and mobile development community.

Working with and Building Modal Windows in Web Design Part 1

Summary:

Modal windows are offering extra spaces on the screen without intimidating user experiences if designed smartly. No doubt, making its semantic is the need of moment. Therefore, let’s check the best practices and trends for working with modal windows in your web design project.

Intro:

In web design whether for static or responsive websites, you need to take care of readability, usability, accessibility, and functionality during entire designing and programming process. In due course, organization of information architecture along with design layout is crucial and demanding a bit experiences as well as expertise.

At present, most of the websites are business oriented and highly relying on online identity to accomplish their critical tasks or processes of the business. Therefore, intricacy in design and functionality is natural. Majority of clients and their web developers are screen real estate hungry. They constantly try to include maximum info in minimum space. Thus, their trade-off with layout blocks and responsive design become more complex and force them to find out innovative ideas to justify their content needs.

Technically, we have innumerable GUI elements and structures to organize our ever-increasing content needs. For instance, jQuery-based sliders, Ajax based tabs, and simple pop-ups or modal windows through programming. Among these, modal windows have certain advantages to do off-canvas designing for web and mobile platforms.

Advantages of Modal Windows

Let me list those advantages in brief just to mention:

  • Modal windows are quite smaller UI element in most of the cases so save space
  • It is floating over the existing page so you need not to create special space for them in your layout, just give links or CTA UI element to pop it up
  • It never requires loading of entire page and simulate the Ajax like functionality so end-users like them so you can consider the modal window as improved usability step in your web designing
  • You can move modal window simply by dragging it on the existing page so offer great convenience for users
  • As modal windows are part of off-canvas design, you can add them in multiple occasions and in as many as you need, of course, don’t exceed here too

Contextual Usage of Modal Windows

No doubt, modal windows are excellent structural UI elements, but they are not applicable on all sorts of content or media so be careful while incorporating in your UI designs. Here I am going to listing and depicting where and when modal windows elements should use and not.

For Lightbox

In these days, our images and videos are of large to extra-large size. Therefore, incorporating them on live web page or UI prove costly and strenuous for layout designers. If we use lightbox for images and videos we don’t have to load or reload web page frequently and can reduce the loading burden until lightbox is not opened. You can use thumbnails of images/videos at linking UI element instead of mere text link or simple button. Thus, you can give ideas of the content before clicking it.

Moreover, you have many options to highlight your content of lightbox in modal window design. For instance, you can blur the background of the rest of screen against the lightbox so your visitors/users can easily see the image details or watch video without distractions. Workings with background of modal windows are easy in styling so you can show your creativity freely.

Another usage of lightbox is converting modal windows into the image galleries. Here you can use auto-sliding or manual next-previous buttons to the lightbox to give best user experiences.

There is much other usage of modal windows in web or mobile UI designing, but we will check them in the next part of this series.

 

Author Bio:

Shoaib Marfatiya is an eminent writer in web development industry and its verticals. He has contributed a lot by throwing lights on very intricate issues of web and mobile development community.

 

Test Hard, but Test Smart—a New Message to the Designers Part 4

Formulating Smart Testing Groups
Formulating Smart Testing Groups

Welcome on this final part of the series. As we have explored the factors involved in the testing a website and what to test in previous part, we will finally go to the browser group formation so we can know how to test smartly within limits of time and devices.

Options for Testing

We have some good options for testing in industry such as emulators, virtual machines working on servers or cloud, and some awesome testing services like Open Device Lab, BrowserStack, etc. are helping us different ways for different purposes. It is true that emulators and other above described options are good to cover wide range of devices for instance, if your target audiences are on the Android devices in majority and you have to test some where 2000 devices or hundreds of representative devices and their browsers, you are okay with them without spending much on devices possessions.

Issues with Optional Testing

At other hand, affordability and user experiences are issues with such services. If you want to know that what is loading time, how your UI elements fitting into your deserved parameters, and which hardware is conflicting in which device are tough to obtain in such remote or virtual testing. Therefore, we have to group our devices smartly by balancing our testing requirements, resources, and time devoted for manual or automated testing. In short, you have to decide the priorities for your browsers, devices, and their parameters or properties.

Ways To Do Smart Grouping

Formulating First Group

Let’s decide, which devices with, which browsers we must have for our first group, which can cover at least 50% of your targeted audience population.

  • Development Machine/desktop/laptop
  • Two Apple devices: one with latest iOS (iOS8) and another with a previous version (iOS7)
  • There Android devices: one with latest Android OS (4*) and Chrome, second with one-step backward version of Android OS (<4) and other Android browsers, and final one with older version of Android OS (2*) and with small screen size. Here I prefer 3 devices for Android platform because Android devices cheaper to buy and we need to cover more representative devices in order to cover huge audiences of Android.

Thus, now we have browsers of three screen size groups: first for big devices like desktop with Windows and Mac operating system, second groups have medium screen size with Apple and Android devices with latest versions, the third group would have small screen with backward version of OS and browsers.

In our first group we are covering browser types as Chrome, Safari, and some Android specific browsers.

Fortunately, at Lujayn our responsive web designing team is capable to cover vast audience with this group of devices and browsers in their rigorous testing of the websites of our patrons and successfully debug the most of the issues before any complain has made.

Formulating Second Group

Now our second group will include virtual machines for different kinds of browsers because in first group we have covered only Chrome and Safari. Therefore, now we are adding IE and Firefox in this second group using virtual machines against the costly devices. Thus, we will cover IE 8 and IE 11 on virtual machines for large screens and IE 10 for the emulator of Windows Phone as small screen size.

Moreover, our development machines will cover Safari and Firefox browsers for large screen tests. Thus, this second group has only one Window Phone emulator with touch experiences, otherwise rest have pointing devices experiences.

Formulating Third Group

For third group, you need to have only one Apple device with Opera Mini browser and one Nokia Ovi devices with Ovi browser.

Formulating Fourth Group

Whereas in fourth group you can add BlackBerry devices, BrowserStack testing services, virtual machines, and you development machines for wide range of browsers that you missing in above three groups.

This way you will cover almost 100% of your audiences with least investments on devices, services, and time.

 

 

Test Hard, but Test Smart—a New Message to the Designers Part 3

Testing Parameters for Websites
Testing Parameters for Websites

In previous part 2, we have seen that the deep understanding of audiences, devices, and their use-cases can make big difference in decision of testing strategies and methods. Now, in this one more part, we will see that ‘what to test’, and how to formulate browser groups, in order to do smart testing of your mobile websites.

 

Test Matrix

If we have enough knowledge of testing parameters and we know, which parameters are needed for which products, we can do smart testing with least efforts and greater accuracy. Therefore, it is mandatory to know and decide the testing matrix first.

 

Screen size: we are aware of fragmentation in the screen sizes of the mobile devices, thus, testing our fluid or responsive layouts, UIs, and various dynamic elements on our major targeted devices in real world make big sense.

 

Screen Resolutions: Pixel density or screen resolutions is among the parameters to test for the clarity and ease in use of mobile app. However, there are tough time when you have to calculate pixel and sub-pixel values for different browsers of mobile devices during layout preparation of your websites.

 

Connectivity: user experiences are highly depends on the connectivity issues and speed of connection as loading time increase may distract users of your responsive or mobile website. This the reason that mobile devices are not capable to do high-speed data transfers and use of high-speed cloud or web services at optimal levels as desktops can do. Thus, you need to test connectivity and related issues first and debug them to improve performance.

 

Interactivity: interactivity depends on many factors in designing and coding. However, styles of interactions like use of pointing devices like mouse and touch gestures through fingers and thumb are important for better user experiences during normal use cases of the mobile website or web app. Some devices have hardware buttons while iOS like have software or operating system elements to do frequent interactions so test them thoroughly in user experience testing.

 

Similarity among Browsers: it has seen that many browsers have almost similar properties and supports while some have acute differences. Therefore, if we segregate such browsers in groups of similarities and differences, we can save our valuable time from repeated testing, as we can leave rest of similar browsers by selecting only one browsers from the group and focusing on browsers of dissimilar groups more.

 

Rendering Mode of Browser: As we know modern browsers have two kinds of rendering modes, one is standard client-side rendering and another is proxy rendering. Technically, client-side rendering browsers use resources of client devices, while proxy-rendering browsers use server-side resources to render a page.

 

Thus, proxy-rendering browsers are quick to respond and fast to load in compare to standard client-side rendering browsers. Therefore, you have to check the kinds of browsers and test them accordingly in their different modes.

 

If you have pure intentions to make smart testing during your web development or PSD to Joomla development projects, you need to apply all fundamentals described in this series.

 

Test Hard, but Test Smart—a New Message to the Designers Part 2

 

Mobile Audience
Mobile Audience

In the first part of this series, I have described my thoughts on testing and my smart strategies for testing responsive web designs.

 

As we know that the nature and purposes of every website is unique and differing from others even among the same niche and competitors. Therefore, it natural that the audience of the website also unique so we have to consider the traits of website and its audience at first place while deciding the testing strategies.

 

Properties of Your Audiences

It is true that people from effluent class use mobile devices in more incidences, as that is the latest trend in the market and they always like to keep ahead themselves using costly devices. Against this, young generation wish to see themselves as tech-savvy and modern people so they prefer mobile devices while less affluent class of people have no luxury of desktop/laptop devices along with mobiles. Thus, they choose to stay with low or medium cost mobile devices and use them frequently.

 

These reveal a hard-fact that we are going to deal with web audiences with desktop devices in minority and mobile users going to be in increasing majority.

 

Form Factors of Devices

We know that iPhone is more popular in US and Canada as well as some in UK and Australia, while rest of world is fan of cheaper Android devices. Moreover, China and India have their own choices in forms of devices and their smartphones are just like mini tablets or called ‘Phablets’ in industry because they want to type large fonts of their local language characters in their messages.

 

Against these, cheaper mobile sets from Nokia like companies are popular in rural India where long battery life is a big issue. After looking such variations, we have to decide the choices of devices in the regions of our targeted audiences and test them accordingly.

 

Time Factor

Use of devices hence the usage of browsers are varying with the time and mood of the people. For instance, it has observed that during working days people are present in their work spaces where they have big sister devices like desktops at hand so their usage found high while on holidays or Sundays it decrease dramatically.

 

Therefore, we don’t prepare our testing strategies according to the time of engagement of people with devices and browsers, our chances of failure and unexpected errors increasing many folds. Thus, we have to be smart enough to go for testing.

 

Conclusively, based on these observations and experiences, we web development team at Lujayn are deciding our testing strategies and selection of browser groups

 

I hope, in next part of this series we will check what to test and how to formulate browser groups to do smart testing.

 

 

Author Bio:

Shoaib Marfatiya is an eminent writer in web development industry and its verticals. He has contributed a lot by throwing lights on very intricate issues of web and mobile development community.