Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: May 2011

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one — desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for almost two years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: May 2011

Real-Time Data And A More Personalized Web

As Web designers, we face a daily struggle to keep pace with advances in technology, new standards and new user expectations. We spend a large part of our working life dipping in and out of recent developments in an attempt to stay both relevant and competitive, and while this is what makes our industry so exciting to be a part of, it often becomes all too easy to get caught up in the finer details.

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Real-Time Data And A More Personalized Web

Mobile Auto-Suggest on Steroids: Tap-Ahead Design Pattern

In contrast to desktop Web search, auto-suggest on mobile devices is subject to two additional limitations: typing avoidance and slower bandwidth. The new patent-pending design pattern, Tap-Ahead, uses continuous refinement to create an intuitive, authentically mobile auto-suggest solution.
This helps dramatically reduce the amount of typing needed to enter queries, and utilizes slower mobile bandwidth in the most efficient manner. Using this novel design pattern, your customers can quickly access thousands of popular search term combinations by typing just a few initial characters.

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Mobile Auto-Suggest on Steroids: Tap-Ahead Design Pattern

Proximity in Design: Why I Can’t Use My Car’s A/C

I’m always fumbling with the A/C controls in my car. My daily commute is in hot, sunny Southern California, home of the courteous freeway driver. I can’t afford to take my eyes off the road for too long to find the control I’m looking for. Half of the time when I’m trying to adjust the temperature, I end up blowing my beard off because I’ve spun the wrong dial. If my wife’s in the car with me, I usually resort to asking her to do it for me.

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Proximity in Design: Why I Can’t Use My Car’s A/C

CSS3 vs. CSS: A Speed Benchmark

I believe in the power, speed and “update-ability” of CSS3. Not having to load background images as structural enhancements (such as PNGs for rounded corners and gradients) can save time in production (i.e. billable hours) and loading (i.e. page speed). At our company, we’ve happily been using CSS3 on client websites for over a year now, and I find that implementing many of these properties right now is the most sensible way to build websites.

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CSS3 vs. CSS: A Speed Benchmark

Smashing Book 2: Why We Love It And Why You’ll Love It, Too

Two and a half months ago, the Smashing Book 2 was released. For us, a small independent publisher, it was a big deal, because this ambitious project on which we had been working since July 2010 was also very important for Smashing Magazine. We spent a tremendous amount of time and effort on the little and big details of the book. It was very important for us to get it right this time: to create an outstanding, high-quality book and provide outstanding, high-quality service to our readers.

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Smashing Book 2: Why We Love It And Why You’ll Love It, Too

Showcase of Creative Navigation Menus: Good and Bad Examples

Good navigation is the main cornerstone of an effective website. In practice, however, it’s often a tough challenge to come up with a meaningful, unambiguous way to organize, arrange, and display content to users; and it’s often not much easier to find a visually interesting solution either. The wide adaption of JavaScript libraries like jQuery is making it increasingly easy to add various kinds of sleek animations to navigation design.

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Showcase of Creative Navigation Menus: Good and Bad Examples

Pixel Perfection When Rotating, Pasting And Nudging In Photoshop

When creating Web and app interfaces, most designers slave over every single pixel, making sure it’s got exactly the right color, texture and position. If you’re not careful, though, some common functions like moving, rotating and pasting can undo your hard work, resulting in a blurry mess. But with some small changes to your workflow, you should be able to maintain the highest-quality artwork from the start to the end of the project.

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Pixel Perfection When Rotating, Pasting And Nudging In Photoshop

Make Your Content Make a Difference

Content, content, content. It’s an obvious part of any interactive experience. In fact, you’ve probably heard content is king, or queen, or some sort of royalty. Yet, content is elusive. Often, you don’t realize your content isn’t cutting it until it’s too late. Does any of this sound familiar?
Delayed projects. Broken designs. Uneven voice. Low-performing landing pages. Dead social media channels. Customer confusion and service calls. These problems and more are documented extensively,[1] so I won’t dwell on them.

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Make Your Content Make a Difference

Relationship Engineering: Designing Attraction

“Look at her: so beautiful, so friendly, so smart. And what a personality. She must be mine. Hooking up with her would make me the envy of all my friends. Sure, she’s young and she’s gorgeous. Besides, I can easily try something new if I get bored or something better comes along.”
No, that’s not an excerpt from Lolita. As cruel and inappropriate as they might seem, these thoughts are fairly common in our society.

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Relationship Engineering: Designing Attraction