Category Archive for: Apps

rfp-robotRFP ROBOT: Website Request for Proposal Generator

The time has come for a new website (or website redesign), which means you need to write a website request for proposal or web RFP. A Google search produces a few examples, but they vary wildly and don’t seem to speak really to your goals for developing or redesigning a new website. You need to write a website RFP that will clearly articulate your needs and generate responses from the best website designers and developers out there. But how?

Have no fear, RFP Robot is here. He will walk you through a step-by-step process to help you work through the details of your project and create a PDF formatted website design RFP that will provide the information vendors need to write an accurate bid. RFP Robot will tell you what info you should include, point out pitfalls, and give examples.

Google is Testing Instagram-like Stories in Search Results by @MattGSouthern

Google is testing its own version of stories, a feature popularized by apps like Instagram and Snapchat.The post Google is Testing Instagram-like Stories in Search Results by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal. Source:

Features as Apps

One of the most important things that I’ve learned when it comes to building technology products, especially at the super early-stage, is the reality that designing a real MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is incredibly difficult to do. I’ve already talked about this once or twice on this blog before… The challenge of keeping things MVP-ish is real and they mostly stem from these two issues / challenges: The availability of robust frameworks and APIs make it far too easy to (accidentally) scale a simple experiment based on a simple hypothesis into more than just a simple MVP. It is psychologically difficult to minimize, constrain, and limit our “vision” of what could be with what should be, especially with so many existing examples to compare to (and the availability of great tooling – see #1). Practice, a shit-ton of discipline, and a hyper-judicious pragmatic framework are necessary to stay trim, stay lean,…

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Forever I’ve used the macOS Command-Shift-4 screenshot utility to measure things. Pressing it gets you a little crosshairs cursor which you can click-and-drag to take a screenshot but, crucially, has little numbers that tell you the width/height of the selection in pixels. It’s crude, but ever so useful. See those teeny-tiny numbers in the bottom-right? So useful, even if they are tough to read. PixelSnap is one of those apps that, once you see it, you’re like OMG that’s the best idea ever. It’s the same kind of interaction (key command, then mouse around), but it’s drawing lines between obvious measurement points in any window at all. Plus it has this drag around and area and snap to edges thing that’s just as brilliant. Instant purchase for me. The Product Hunt newsletter said: Two teenage makers launched PixelSnap, a powerful design tool to measure every pixel on your screen. Hit…

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On Startup Competition

Worth a repost, for sure: How much should an entrepreneur worry about competition in an early-stage startup? The short answer is easy: Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Spend none of your time  worrying about competition. But, if that’s not enough for you… Jason shares a few more meta-levels on why this makes sense: First, markets get redefined by new entrants that change the paradigm. Who saw that Zoom would rocket to $200m+ ARR in a crowded space that seemed to be a commodity going to free? Or that Slack would remake chat apps? Second, it’s often ok to just be 10x better at something that matters a lot to paying customers. You don’t have to better than Salesforce at everything. You can be Pipedrive, and simply be the best CRM that’s super easy to use. That’s enough to get you to $100m ARR right there. Third, super happy customers win. Yes, winner-takes-most is true in…

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Stimulus 1.0: A modest JavaScript framework for the HTML you already have

Modern JavaScript doesn’t have to mean single-page, client-side MVC apps.We write a lot of JavaScript at Basecamp, but we don’t use it to create “JavaScript applications” in the contemporary sense. All our applications have server-side rendered HTML at their core, then add sprinkles of JavaScript to make them sparkle.This is the way of the majestic monolith. Basecamp runs across half a dozen platforms, including native mobile apps, with a single set of controllers, views, and models created using Ruby on Rails. Having a single, shared interface that can be updated in a single place is key to being able to perform with a small team, despite the many platforms.It allows us to party with productivity like days of yore. A throwback to when a single programmer could make rapacious progress without getting stuck in layers of indirection or distributed systems. A time before everyone thought the holy grail was to confine their…

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How to use variable fonts in the real world

Yesterday Richard Rutter posted a great piece that explores how the team at Clearleft built the new Ampersand conference website using variable fonts (that’s the technology that allows us to bundle multiple widths and weights into a single font file). Here’s the really exciting part though: Two months ago browser support for variable fonts was only 7%, but as of this morning, support was at over 60%. This means font variations is a usable technology right now. And the nifty thing is that there’s a relatively large number of variable fonts to experiment with, not only in browsers but also in desktop design apps, too: Variable font capable software is already more pervasive than you might think. For example, the latest versions of Photoshop and Illustrator support them, and if you’re using macOS 10.13+ or iOS 11+ the system font San Francisco uses font variations extensively. That said, the availability…

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Design Systems: Design-Development Collaboration

In our series on design systems, we’ve discussed the advantages and approaches to creating a system from a design perspective. In this post, I’d like to cover some of the new tools that developers and designers are using. There’s been a lot of exciting activity around design tools in the last few years, and it’s changing how designers and developers collaborate. For those uninitiated front-end developers (if you’ve entered the industry in the past few years), building out a design used to mean wading into a designer’s world: Photoshop. Even after years of doing buildouts from Photoshop, I found the interface to be largely unintelligible. If the organization system of the designer is not on point you could be in for an even bumpier ride. Developers want to quickly get accurate build information and not worry about layer names, how to turn off a mask to get at an image,…

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Tools for Thinking and Tools for Systems

I’ve been obsessed with design tools the past two years, with apps like as Sketch, Figma and Photoshop perhaps being the most prolific of the bunch. We use these tools to make high fidelity mockups and ensure high quality user experiences. These tools (and others) are awesome and are generally upping our game as designers and developers, but I believe that the way they’ve changed the way we produce work and define UX will soon produce yet another new wave of tools. In the future, I predict two separate categories of design applications: tools for thinking and tools for systems. Let me explain. Tools for Thinking A short while ago Oliver Reichenstein described why we like distractions and how, in order to make great things, we need dedicated moments of focus, discipline, and concentration: Starting and finishing need courage. There is no app or tool that will give you courage.…

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How Do You Todo? A Microcosm / Redux Comparison

For those who don’t know, we’ve been working on our own React framework here at Viget called Microcosm. Development on Microcosm started before Redux had hit the scene and while the two share a number of similarities, there are a few key differences we’ll be highlighting in this post. I’ve taken the Todo app example from Redux’s docs (complete app forked here), and implemented my own Todo app in Microcosm. We’ll run through these codebases side by side comparing how the two frameworks help you with different developer tasks. Enough chatter, let’s get to it! Entry point So you’ve yarnpm installed the dependency, now what? Javascript // Redux // index.js import React from ‘react’ import { render } from ‘react-dom’ import { Provider } from ‘react-redux’ import { createStore } from ‘redux’ import todoApp from ‘./reducers/index’ import App from ‘./components/App’ let store = createStore(todoApp) render( <Provider store={store}> <App /> </Provider>,…

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Small Tweaks That Can Make a Huge Impact on Your Website’s Accessibility

For a beginner, accessibility can be daunting. With all of the best intentions in the world, the learning curve to developing compliant, fully accessible websites and apps is huge. It’s also hard to find the right advice, because it’s an ever-changing and increasingly crowded landscape. I’ve written this post to give you some tips on small things that can make a big difference, while hopefully not affecting your development process too much. Let’s dive in! Document Structure and Semantics It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that structuring your HTML in an organized, semantic way will make a big difference. Screen readers rely on a well-structured document in order to follow a coherent narrative, so make sure that you’re using the elements that the HTML5 spec provides responsively and effectively. If you’re unsure about how to markup your work correctly, check out resources such as HTML5 Doctor, Code…

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As Long as Possible

Have you ever thought about how macOS apps choose to design their installers? In other words, when you open up a new app that you’ve downloaded and it mounts to your drive, it will generally open up a new finder window and show you the app to drag-and-drop to your applications folder: A few different looks. I cleaned up an old computer and proceeded to download a bunch of different browsers, like Opera, Chrome, Firefox, and Brave (among many others). I do this mostly because of native testing of the apps that I’m building, but, I happen to download and install all of them around the same time and I noticed that some of the project teams take the time to actually design this part of the installation experience while others do not. In fact, it’s just interesting to note that the least designed one is also the largest organization and company.…

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Design Systems: Why Now?

Design Systems have been a hot topic as of late—so fiery hot that books are being written, platforms developed, events organized, and tools released to help us all with this growing need. To me, it feels a lot like a ‘what’s old is new again’ kind of topic. I mean, if we’re being real, the notion of systems design has been around since at least the industrial era—it’s not exclusive to the digital age. And, in many ways, Design Systems by their very nature are simply a natural evolution of style guides—a set of standard guidelines for writing and design. Yet, style guides have been around for decades. So, why the newness and why now? As an agency, we’re not here to define what Design Systems are and are not—there are already tons of articles that do so. If you’re looking good starting places, I recommend Laura Kalbag’s Design Systems…

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Front-End Tools: My Favorite Finds of 2017

Another twelve months have passed and I’m sure all of you have come across some interesting new coding techniques, technologies, CSS tricks (of course!), and other stuff that will make you more productive in 2018. As some of you might know, I curate a weekly newsletter called Web Tools Weekly, in which I feature dozens of links every week to new tools, mostly focusing on stuff that’s useful for front-end developers. So it’s an understatement to say that I’ve come across lots of new tools over the past 12 months. As I’ve done in years past, I’ve put together a brief look at some of my favorite finds in front-end tools. And please note that this is not a list of the “best” or “most popular” tools of 2017 – this has nothing to do with popularity or number of GitHub stars. These are tools I believe are unique, interesting,…

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Limiting Access

In a world where accessibility is simple and easy it’s very powerful to head in the opposite direction. More specifically, it’s just insane that anyone, anytime, anywhere can ping you via 1,000 different systems or tools or apps with the click of a button. Instead, shutting things down and closing things off is not only a necessary ingredient to maintain one’s sanity, it also helps curate and filter out the noise that might make it through if it wasn’t for making it slightly more difficult. And it’s not even that much more difficult either. By letting folks know that you only communicate via X, Y, or Z medium or tool forces folks to ask themselves how motivated they really are to connect with you. I’ve been doing this for years. For instance, I don’t communicate with folks via LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter DM. Instead, if they want to chat with…

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2017 Staff Favorites

It’s been a very productive year for the web community, and as all of us here at CSS-Tricks roamed around to conferences, read posts, and built projects, there were some highlights of contributions that really stuck out to us. Each of us picked 5 resources that were either the most helpful, the most unique, or are things you might have missed that we think are worth checking out. Sarah’s Picks The Miracle of Generators I quite like when someone takes a deep dive on a particular subject and does it well. I had the honor of seeing Bodil Stokke give this talk at Frontend Conference Zurich and it’s as charming and entertaining as it is educational. Designing with Grid Jen Simmons covers the status of CSS Grid, and how to work with it from design to development. Jen is a master of grid, and the lab section of her site…

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Invision Studio

Studio is the name of the new design tool by the team at InVision that’ll launch in January 2018 and it looks like it has a lot of great features, with shared component libraries being one of the more interesting features that I can’t wait to take a closer look at. Also I’m sure that it’ll integrate really nicely with InVision’s existing tools and apps to make prototyping a whole lot easier. Direct Link to Article — Permalink Invision Studio is a post from CSS-Tricks Source: CssTricks

The Rise of the Butt-less Website

It seems like all the cool kids have divided themselves into two cliques: the Headless CMS crowd on one side and the Static Site Generator crowd on the other. While I admit those are pretty cool team names, I found myself unable to pick a side. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” For my own simple blog (which is embarrassingly empty at the moment), a static site generator could be a great fit. Systems like Hugo and Jekyll have both been highly recommended by developers I love and trust and look great at first glance, but I hit stumbling blocks when I wanted to change my theme or set up more complex JavaScript and interactions across pages. There are ways to solve both these issues, but that’s not the kind of weekend I want to have. Besides…

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2018 Digital Healthcare Marketing Trends That Are Here to Stay

After re-designing websites, creating apps, and getting to grips with new channels like social media, 2017 felt like the year healthcare marketers started to look beyond ‘the basics’ of the digital patient experience. With the fundamental building blocks in place, the last 12 months have seen providers double down on technologies and strategies that measurably improve the patient journey, remove friction from provider-patient interactions, and move towards a more personalized digital experience for all. Source:

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