Tools for web design efficiency

After joining a new design team about a year ago,
it came to my attention that some of the tools I
put to work when approaching web design projects
aren’t necessarily as widely used as I’d previously
thought. Nonetheless, the utilities I’ll be discussing
in this article have in many ways become my ‘third
arm’ when it comes to producing high-quality web
design work, with precision and in a timely manner.
Hopefully walking you through these select apps/
utilities – which you may or may not have heard of
before – will enlighten you to even better ways of
getting a good job done.
ONE Classic Color Meter
Whether I’m working on creating a colour palette, or
just need to quickly know the value of a particular
colour on my screen, Classic Color Meter (netm.ag/
ccm-255) makes grabbing a hex code as easy as a
simple set of quick keys.
Classic Color Meter is the enhanced version of a
counterpart that comes as a default Apple computer
utility, but shelling out the £1.99 it costs in the Mac
App Store feels practically free considering the
amount of time it saves me on such a regular basis.
CCM offers a variety of ways to find a particular
colour’s value, but I usually just use it for grabbing
a hex value.
With the application open and the part of the
screen in view with the pixel of colour I want, simply
hovering over that pixel (your mouse becomes an
eyedropper) and hitting Shift+Cmd+C will copy the
value (hex code, in my case) to the clipboard. Then
it’s super easy to paste that value into your design
programs, create a new swatch with it, and be on
your way. It’s an easy way to take the guessing out
of colour value generation.
TWO 0to255
While we’re on the subject of colour, I’d also like to
highly recommend 0to255 (0to255.com) – the Adobe
Creative Cloud programs aren’t the only place I’m
likely to head after copying a hex value via the
Classic Color Meter.
Often times, I’ll then open 0to255 in a browser
window, paste the hex value I’ve just grabbed from
CCM into the given field on the website and click
Submit. The following page provides a simple
interface displaying a spectrum of shades and tints
based on the hex value you entered on the previous
screen as the centre point for the scale: clicking
on another colour will copy its hex value to your
clipboard, which you can then take the same steps
you had with CCM and paste it into your design
programs to work with.
I often use this tool when I need to provide a bit
of depth to certain design elements using flat colours
in shades derived from the main colour. You can do
similar things in other programs, but having the
Five tools for web design efficiency
In part two of her exploration of tools for productivity, Joy Burke shares
another group of utilities more specifically used in her web design process
productivity.
Top Tip
The WhatFont plugin
(chengyinliu.com/whatfont.html) enables you to push one button in your browser window to open the tool; then mousing over any dynamic text on a page will reveal what font is being used. Clicking on text opens another window giving more detailed info including font-weight, font-size
and line-height. It’s super handy: way easier and more streamlined
than using browser inspector elements.
Productivity ability to get the spectrum in a single click, and
copy another colour’s value with another click, is a
real timesaver.
About the author:
hey-joy-heyJoy Burke
w: heyjoyhey.com
t: @heyjoyhey
areas of expertise:
Print and interactive
design, UX, illustration

User Experience

Content is the lifeblood in any user
experience. It’s the current that
impels us forward, coursing through
screens or pages or rooms. We design to
present information and facilitate
decisions. We often want those decisions
to be fast. But pace is a variable.

WHY SLOW DOWN?

Efficient experiences aren’t always the most
effective. Users may miss important details
or click Confirm too soon. If you want them
to focus, learn or engage more deliberately
with a decision, let them slow down.
Affordances of design and content strategy
can offer them the space to do so.
Consider the experience of an outdoor
enthusiast trying to choose a new harness
for an upcoming climbing trip. The websites
of most outdoor retailers make it easy to
compare gear loops and buckle systems so
that her purchase can be fast and easy. How
can that customer choose a new harness,
enter her credit card information, and move
on with her day without a second thought?

Slow is beautiful

Why faster online experiences aren’t always better
Second thoughts undermine efficient
ecommerce experiences. But if we only value
efficiency, we ignore opportunities for
learning and validation that characterise
effective, less transactional experiences.
As our rock climber packs for the trip, she
starts to hesitate. When her new harness
arrived in the mail, she noticed it didn’t look
quite the same as it appeared online. Now
she’s questioning her decision. She also realises
that she should have picked up a couple of new
carabiners for the trip. Online experiences
often prompt users to make decisions quickly
through the use of design elements that don’t
impede the process. Users glance through
bulleted product attributes then complete
transactions we optimise for fewest clicks.
But that kind of experience is foreign to
the longer history of commerce. Consider
the experience of shopping offline for that
climbing harness. You might wander into an
outdoor gear shop and banter with the clerk,
prompting him to recommend a model. He
suggests you might want to look into new
shoes too. The grubby ones you’ve been
wearing at the gym won’t cut it.
After you pull on the harness, another
employee helps you fix the buckle;
you didn’t put it on properly at first.
You notice the wall of carabiners
and remember you should buy a
new one while you’re there.
The offline shopping
experience is circuitous but
effective. Consumers take in
information along the way. They
may trade efficiency for
satisfaction, but with many pauses
to deliberate, they gain greater confidence
in their choices.
Foster good decisions
We can create similar circumstances online
by acknowledging that not all transactions
should be optimised for speed. If a purchase
is so routine the user doesn’t need to give it
a second thought, we don’t need to get in
their way. But many
activities aren’t like that.
They demand a second
thought, and the content
to support it.
Brands like Patagonia,
Waitrose and Crutchfield
help users engage more
thoroughly with their
choices by using long form
content, longer
sentences, and a
conversational tone. IKEA fuels learning by
simulating the in-store experience of
exploration; its online shoppers can swipe
open cabinets and navigate detailed kitchen
vignettes. And by dividing forms into
multiple screens, Barclays helps its account
holders slow down and review the impact of
important financial decisions.
Design for questions
These content types and design patterns
aren’t necessarily the fastest way for users
to complete transactions. Instead, they help
users engage with purchases with greater
confidence, satisfaction and certainty. When
content pushes us to weigh options and
wrestle with difficult concepts, it pushes us
to ask questions – and place greater weight
on their answers.

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Bespoke Brochure websites from £250, Ecommerce websites from £550, Content management websites from £500, Website re-design from £300, Search engine optimisation of a website you already own from £300 by Manchester website designers.

We are website developers in Greater Manchester and have been designing websites for 15 years we design your website specifically for you and your products we design to your corporate branding or whatever design you require, have a look at our testimonials before you decide to get your free website design quote.

If you don’t like the website we have designed and you don’t want it then you don’t have to pay for it!!! we will remove it from the internet leaving you free to find someone else. So you have nothing to lose get a free website design quote today!!

The websites we design are designed to web standards, this means that they use less bandwidth and load faster, we also design websites to fit any screen right down to a smart phone which incudes iPhone and iPad, we do this by intelligent website design, the page doesn’t just shrink until you can’t use the navigation buttons or even read the text as others may do.

We produce the website to know where it is, if it’s in an iPhone, blackberry or any smart phone it will automatically enlarge the text the pictures and the navigation buttons to fit the full width of the screen so that they can still be easily used, the website will re-arrange the text and pictures to compliment each other resulting in a stable website that is a pleasure to use, try it!! just shrink this page or look at it in your iPhone and you will see that the site is still just as easy to use as it was before.
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