Posts Tagged:Design

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.


New Year, New Updates for Basecamp 3 on Android

We’ve updated the Basecamp 3 Android app to coincide with the launch of the Basecamp 3 refresh. What’s new?💨 Navigation takes you to Projects and Teams faster🗺 Sticky titles and breadcrumbs keep you from getting lost🎨 Themes and overall styling updated to match the refresh💨 Navigation takes you to Projects and Teams fasterWhether you have one Project or one hundred, we know you’re using the Android app to check on Basecamp quickly, on-the-go.📌 Pinned Projects and Teams are more prominent on the Home Screen. Quickly scan for the Projects that matter to you. These pinned Projects and Teams stand out when you’re sharing a video from YouTube or uploading a photo or PDF.Pinned Projects and Teams are more prominent.🔍 Quick Jump to a Project or Team by typing a few letters in Search. Just start typing in the Search field. Since Search is accessible on nearly every screen, you can quickly switch back and forth between…

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Design Systems: Where to Begin

In our last article, we explored reasons you might need a Design System and how they can help. If you’re interested in the promises a Design System can offer, you might be wondering if you need help and where to start. This article is written with that in mind. Why hire an agency? Why not DIY? It’s true that many large companies are beginning to address the need for Design Systems from within their organization. So, why work with an agency when you can start working on this yourself? Here are a few important reasons: Scale We can scale according to your needs—either by doing everything for you or by supplementing your in-house team. An agency has, by design, a diversity of roles—everything from UX, design, copywriting, and development. We have specialists who can consult on your work who you wouldn’t otherwise hire. Maybe you have developers but zero to…

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The Basecamp 3 refresh is here!

Last month, we shared a sneak peek at some major design improvements we’ve been cooking up for Basecamp 3. Today’s the day — you’ll see those changes in your Basecamp account right now!There are countless little tweaks and improvements throughout the entire app, but here’s quick recap of the most important new stuff.High-level ChangesThe examples we showed in the preview still stand: improved navigation, colors, and typography, better use of space on desktop screens, and more consistent placement for buttons, headers, and menus. These changes apply everywhere.A few examples: Message Board, To-dos, and Docs & FilesNew Comments DesignComments got a big upgrade. We wanted to give comments their own identity and charm, while reducing the metadata noise that had built up around the actual writing. They’re friendly and easier to read, too.Comments get a big bold header, simple shapes, and an all-around cleanup.New Options MenusThere’s a slick new design for the ••• options menus that appear on every…

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Insignificant details

We hired a professional photographer this Christmas and he almost lost our business.My wife is one of four kids. One of those kids has four kids. We have a kid. Another sister has two kids.There’s a lot of us.And this Christmas we finally had most of us together. So my wife took to booking a professional photographer to snap some photos.She went through the typical process of reviewing websites and inquiring if they could do a shoot near the holidays.She found one she liked who had availability, but then a wrinkle came up. The end product was that they’d provide a CD-ROM of the photos.That’s a problem. We don’t even have a CD drive in our house anymore. We’re not going to go through extra hoops to get these photos off of this thing.We’ll find someone else.But it occurred to us to just ask to see if they had another method. Could we just give them…

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Third-Party Scripts

Trent Walton: My latest realization is that delivering a performant, accessible, responsive, scalable website isn’t enough: I also need to consider the impact of third-party scripts. No matter how solid I think my prototype is, it doesn’t absolve me from paying attention to what happens during implementation, specifically when it comes to the addition of these third-party scripts. I recently had a conversation with a friend working on quite a high profile e-commerce site. They were hired to develop the site, but particularly with performance in mind. They were going the PWA route, but were immediately hamstrung by third-party scripts. One of them, apparently unavoidably, couldn’t be HTTPS, meaning the site was immediately disqualified from being a PWA. They could still do a good job in many other areas, but right and left their great performance work was slaughtered by third-party scripts. I don’t envy being in that position. It’s…

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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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Design Systems: Problems & Solutions

Why do you need a Design System? In a previous article, we shared our thoughts on why Design Systems may be on the rise. Now, let’s further explore why you might need one. What are some of the common problems organizations face without a Design System, and how can one help? Common Problems Here are a few warning signs that might indicate you need to think about implementing a Design System: Process bottlenecks Through agile development methodologies, rapid release cycles have improved the ability for organizations to make timely and recurring updates. This means that individuals in organizations have had to do things more quickly than they used to. The benefits of speed often come at a cost. Usually, that cost is a compromise in quality. How will you ensure quality without introducing bottlenecks to your release cycles? Design inconsistencies Because your design needs have had to keep up with…

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HTML 5.2 is Done, HTML 5.3 is Coming

The W3C has completed its second round of HTML5 recommendations for implementation. The entire announcement is worth a read because there are interesting tidbits that provide more context and personnel changes within W3C, but the highlights of this recommendation are nicely summed up: Many of the features added integrate other work done in W3C. The Payment Request API promises to make commerce on the Web far easier, reducing the risks of making a mistake or being caught by an unscrupulous operator. New security features such as Content Security Policy protect users more effectively, while new work incorporated from ARIA helps developers offer people with disabilities a good user experience of their applications. There are also semantic changes to HTMl elements that are worth noting: Clarifications and bug fixes bring the HTML Recommendation closer to what has been deployed recently. The definition for the main element has been updated to support…

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The latest ways to deal with the cascade, inheritance and specificity

The cascade is such an intrinsic part of CSS that they put it right there in the name. If you’ve ever needed to use !important to affect specificity in the cascade, you’ll know that it can be a tricky thing to deal with. In the early days of CSS, it was common to see highly specific selectors like this: #sidebar ul li {} We’re all much better at managing specificity nowadays. It’s a widely accepted best practice to keep specificity low and flat—to shun ID selectors, to make liberal use of classes, and to avoid unnecessary nesting. But there are still plenty of situations where a more specific selector will be useful. With the introduction of a newly proposed pseudo-class, more support of the shadow DOM, and the use of the all property, we will soon be able to handle inheritance and specificity in new and exciting ways. The :is…

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The latest ways to deal with the cascade, inheritance and specificity

The cascade is such an intrinsic part of CSS that they put it right there in the name. If you’ve ever needed to use !important to affect specificity in the cascade, you’ll know that it can be a tricky thing to deal with. In the early days of CSS, it was common to see highly specific selectors like this: #sidebar ul li {} We’re all much better at managing specificity nowadays. It’s a widely accepted best practice to keep specificity low and flat—to shun ID selectors, to make liberal use of classes, and to avoid unnecessary nesting. But there are still plenty of situations where a more specific selector will be useful. With the introduction of a newly proposed pseudo-class, more support of the shadow DOM, and the use of the all property, we will soon be able to handle inheritance and specificity in new and exciting ways. The :is…

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Small

My 3 year old daughter is in school. Most of her classmates are older than her. She keeps up great. But she reported to us recently, that many kids have called her small. And it makes her feel bad.It’s easy to just chalk this up to kids being naive. “Hey kid, comparing your age to someone whose older or taller and feeling bad you aren’t as big as them is dumb.”But adults are just as guilty.In a study at Harvard, researchers asked participants if they’d rather have $50,000 in a society where everyone else made $25,000. Or $100,000 where everyone else made $200,000. The prices of all material goods were the same in both scenarios. More than half chose the world where they were only making $50,000. Even if they could have more money and wealth in absolute terms, many would rather just make more than their neighbors.I get it. I look at…

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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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Making CSS Animations Feel More Natural

It used to be that designers designed and coders coded. There was no crossover, and that’s the way it was. But with the advent of CSS transitions and animations, those lines are blurring a bit. It’s no longer as simple as the designer dictating the design and the coder transcribing—designers must now know something about code, and coders must know something about design in order to effectively collaborate. As an example, let’s say a designer asks a developer to make a box bounce. That’s it—no additional instruction. Without some cross-knowledge and a common vocabulary, both sides are a little lost in this communication: the developer doesn’t have enough information to fully realize the designer’s vision, but the designer doesn’t really know what the options are and how to communicate them. With a very basic interpretation, you might end up with something that looks like this: See the Pen Bouncing Box…

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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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Tales of a Non-Unicorn: A Story About the Roller Coaster of Job Searching

Hey there! It’s Lara, author of the infamous”Tales of a Non-Unicorn: A Story About the Trouble with Job Titles and Descriptions” from a couple years back. If you haven’t read that original article, I recommend skimming it to give you some context for this one, but I think you’ll still find value here even if you don’t. A lot has happened since I wrote that article in 2015, and this follow-up has been in the works for a good six months. I ended up, not with a solution for the job titles conundrum or a manifesto about the importance of HTML and CSS, rather a simple, honest story about my roller coaster ride. Okay, enough dilly-dally. Let’s go! <story> In the aftermath of the FizzBuzz drama in 2015, I doubled down on my freelance business and did really well. I got a great contract gig with startup in New York…

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Deliberate Practice?

Photo by Steven LelhamThere’s an endless list of books about how the greatest become the greatest — deliberate practice. They don’t just show up time after time. They also set short measurable goals and keep stretching them.Time your runs. Swim a bit faster. Get yourself over that pull up bar just one more time.That’s great for performance sports. The goals are easily measurable.But I’m not looking to be, for example, a fast editor. I’d like to be a better, more creative, editor. I want to build bigger audiences. And get more subscribers this week.So how do you deliberately practice in the creative field where success is often external, unpredictable, and uncontrollable?Here’s four ways I’ve found over the years to deliberately practice being more creative.RepetitionHow many times have you redone something? Probably not more than 18. Monet painted at least 18 haystacks that we’re aware of. He destroyed a bunch too.Work on the same thing over and…

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A Round-Up of 2017 Round-Ups

This week marked the beginning of a new year and with it came a slew of excellent write-ups from folks in our industry reflecting on the year past. We thought it would be nice to compile them together for easy reference. If you know of any others that should be on everyone’s radar, please leave it in the comments. Now on to the round-up of round-ups! Rachel Andrew Having been wandering the globe talking about CSS Grid for almost five years, Grid finally shipped in browsers in 2017. This was good, as I didn’t really want to be some kind of CSS vapourware lady. I knew Grid was important the first time I read the initial spec. I had no idea how my championing of the specification would change my life, and allow me to get to work with so many interesting people. Read More Geri Coady One of my…

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What’s the point of vlogging?

On January 2, 2017 I published a video on YouTube telling everyone I was starting a daily vlog. I also told them I’d probably fail. I did.I remember the exact meeting I was in at Accenture in 2001 when I found out a manager I was working with had started his own “blog”.Though I was in a technology group researching trends, I still found it weird that someone at work would blog. What a strange word. “Blog”. I didn’t pay any attention to the blog after he told me about it. Who wants to read this guy’s personal journal online anyway.Blogging went mainstream. My first blog was published after I started my first company in 2005. I wrote a couple posts, then lost motivation. I got a little more serious in 2010, but just barely. A post here or there. By then, there were so many good writers out there and I was…

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