Designers, You've Made It to the Table. Don't Screw It Up

Alina wrote this on August 12, 2014 in . It has 251 reactions

Those who believe that great design speaks for itself are likely not in the problem solving business, and that results in dumb design. Product design problems are messy and twisted, and the only way to get them untangled is to talk them out and get teams aligned on the path forward. Designers, often eager to fight for their seat at the so-called table, underestimate the training it takes to win over the Devil's Advocate in a work session or presentation.

Design work needs to be strategically presented, and conversation delicately controlled. Beside being data analysts, interaction gurus and code junkies, every product designer needs to have a bit of a salesman in him. Not the slimy let-me-tell-you-what-you-need type, but more of a smart conversationalist, who plays to his strengths and knows how to shut down doubts in his audience.

These skills can be developed...
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Foundation: A New Grid

Brandon wrote this on July 31, 2014 in . It has 1563 reactions

We've talked a lot about the Foundation's future over the last month or so. Recently, we announced a new Foundation — one just for web apps — and the start of a framework family.

Foundation 5 is now "Foundation for Sites." Ink is becoming "Foundation for Emails." And Foundation for Apps will be the newest of our family. We're working on a ton of new features — all from the ground up and using Angular JS, some amazing Motion UI and a swank, new grid.

"New grid, you say? Tell us more."

No problem, here we go!

Using a Hammer When You Need a Nail Gun

Building things is hard. Building things with the wrong tools is even harder. The web has changed over the past several years and will continue to rapidly change. We're racing away from an advertising web that discusses things to a web of doing and creating things.

The shift from native apps to web apps has begun. Yet, we're using the wrong...
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Mobilizing Nonprofits Through Design Thinking: Announcing ZURB Wired 2014!

Ryan wrote this on July 28, 2014 in , . It has 92 reactions

We're gearing up for our seventh ZURB Wired event, where we work alongside a nonprofit to get over a design hump. The catch: everything has to be done in a 24 hour time crunch.

We've worked with a number of nonprofits over our 16 years. We've noticed that an inspiring mission wasn't always enough to propel a nonprofit to success. For nonprofits, that mission is half the battle. The other half, however, is volunteers.

Volunteers come and go, like the ebb of a river, because life gets in the way. Nonprofits are constantly competing for a volunteer's free time. There are a dozen distractions that can get in the way. So it becomes very hard for nonprofits to mobilize their volunteers and get stuff done. Projects can linger and it seems like nothing will ever move, especially web-based projects. Everyone loses focus and sight. Priorities shift. A web project can...
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'Happyimadesignr' Joins the ZURBians

Shawna wrote this on July 22, 2014 in . It has 20 reactions

A 'happyimadesignr' isn't a strange creature from a strange land. It's actually the screen name of our latest designer, who joined us this week.

So without further ado, let's introduce —

Jennifer Tang, Designer

Jennifer Tang, designer

The nickname of 'happyimadesignr' came about after Jennifer designed her first website, and it perfectly describes the excitement and satisfaction she felt in that moment. And while she's designed other things, her passion is for interaction design and the web. That makes her the perfect addition to our wacky team at ZURB.

Believe it or not, Jennifer did have a life before ZURB. Born and raised in San Jose, Jennifer's desire to create came from her great-grandmother's side, which is full of artists, and her grandfather, who is a renowned painter. You could say that creativity is in her blood. She's always crafting small art projects, but didn't discover...
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The PRD is Dead, Long Live the Prototype!

Ghaida wrote this on July 16, 2014 in . It has 241 reactions

The PRD is Dead, Long Live The Prototype!

Every product begins with an idea. A lot of things can inspire ideas, but there's always a hint of assumption in every idea. It's a little arrogant, but product teams assume a lot of things at the initial discovery stage of their process — that they know that a problem exists and, worse yet, that they know how to solve it. That initial spark is necessary to start building up momentum in the design process. But bad things start to happen when teams don't budge from these initial assumptions.

More Like PRDon't, Amirite?

We talked in previous blog posts about the dreaded PRD. But we were surprised to find that people liked PRDs. Some designers liked the constraint, and developers like the idea that this document could somehow magically prevent feature creep.

Responsive Ads, Make More Money in More Places

Geoff wrote this on July 08, 2014 in . It has 132 reactions

Hey Mad Men, advertising on the web hasn't totally kept up with the web's shift to responsive design. A campaign may include a handful of ads that work on set screen sizes (phone, tablet, desktop), but they aren't truly fluid and responsive. Additionally, if a designer needs to edit the content of an ad, it has to be changed on each ad size being delivered. Today on Playground we're launching a proof-of-concept for responsive HTML ads. Our demo ads deliver as a single, compressed HTML file, and sit well within the IAB's standards for file size. A single file means less hassle for ad designers'edit the content in one place, and your ad is ready for the gamut of screen sizes.

For this demo we took a handful of core sizes for web advertisements— the rectangle, leaderboard, skyscraper and billboard'and gave them a responsive twist. Our biggest trick is taking a...
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A Product Design Question a Day: Introducing Tavern

Ryan wrote this on June 30, 2014 in . It has 142 reactions

We found the Tavern through the Forrst

When we decided to turn Forrst upside-down, we knew that we could no longer keep calling it Forrst. This new iteration would be a place where designers could discuss and debate product design questions to improve their product design skills. We needed a new name, something that reflected this purpose and still fit within the theme of Forrst.

With that in mind, we decided on Tavern — a place where designers could come, stay and deliberate a particular question of the day. After a month of successfully testing the site with a small group, we're letting in 50 people into Tavern today.

Focusing on a Daily Single Question

With Forrst, we realized that getting critical feedback required strong presentation and not merely posting a Dribbble-like screenshot. And that was one of the reasons the community didn't thrive after Kyle...
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How Designers Do Dumb Design and Why Design Presentation is Your Deliverance

Ghaida wrote this on June 27, 2014 in . It has 318 reactions

Previously on Notable, we talked about the importance getting in front of customers is for product teams. Product managers and designers must work together to create effective design presentations so they can solicit feedback and propel the team towards the next iteration.

At ZURB, we use the term 'design presentation' to literally mean presenting work to a stakeholder. Your presentation could be in any format — it can be on a call or in person, digital or analog. Whatever format you choose, the principles of effective presentation are the same, but most places don't ask the designer to represent his/her own work.

Normally, the designer hands off the presentation to a product manager first. This "point of no return" is when the designer loses ownership of the work. It becomes the manager's responsibility to represent the design to the customer.

In this scenario,...
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Email Sending Doesn't Have to Make You Blue: Introducing Our New University Sponsor

Ryan wrote this on June 27, 2014 in . It has 7 reactions

Last week, we spoke at Future Insights in Las Vegas and found that many people were still looking for a responsive email solution. Many were excited about using Ink on their next project, especially since it works with Outlook, which many said was a huge pain for them.

Outlook still remains the second-most used desktop email client, right behind Apple Mail. When sending emails, there's also authentication issues to consider with Outlook.

While we're glad to have a framework that looks great on Outlook, we're also glad not to be an email service provider. Which is why we're happy to announce our newest University sponsor — SendinBlue.

The folks at SendinBlue are also on the responsive tip with their own responsive email builder. Of course, we'd prefer you use Ink, but SendinBlue has everything you need to get your campaigns going.

Check Out Sendinblue

Create Blurred Images With HTML5 Canvas

Geoff wrote this on June 20, 2014 in , . It has 277 reactions

We love experimenting with emerging features of CSS3 like gradients and shadows. Today we're releasing another slick effect onto the Playground that follows the spirit of those effects and lets you create a blurred background like the ones you see on Rdio.

Our new Image Blur Texture tool takes a photo, blurs and enlarges it, and turns it into an abstract yet appealing background texture. You can use it on any block element — it stretches to fill any space just fine.

Using HTML5's Canvas or CSS3's filter effects, we take any old image, stretch it and blur it, to create a nice mottled texture effect. We've written a CodePen with all the code you need to mess around with it yourself. And look no further than the next iteration of Forrst, which will use image blurs in its headers.

Blur Your Images