Slay the Feature Creep Before It Eats Your Product Aliiiive!

Ghaida wrote this on September 10, 2014 in , . It has 717 reactions

Avoid the feature creep with solid product design tactics

Product teams competing on features are racing to the bottom. The design process and the design feedback loop are crucial to a successful product, and this feedback isn't just important on fleshed out prototypes, but for initial rough ideas as well.

We talked about PRDs and the unnecessary constraints that an archaic document will place on the team and how that hinders innovation. Here, we will look at the situation from the opposite point of view — what kind of product will result from an uninhibited flow of ideas?

The Engine of Design Thinking

You'll hear us talk about this a lot. This is design thinking. Designers cannot succeed without a feedback loop made up of design work, feedback, and iteration. At the center of this is the design work, which is not important in itself, but it is a way to solicit feedback and get the conversation started. Feedback is the...
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Foundation for Apps: Motion UI is the New Flat

Brandon wrote this on September 03, 2014 in . It has 1017 reactions

animated illustration depicting Foundation for Apps' new grid. It has significant 'oooooh' factor.

Wow! We're both humbled and awed by the excitement behind Foundation for Apps — hundreds of thousands of people reading, sharing and reaching out to us about it! The response has amped us up, and we're continuing to push forward.

As we've mentioned before, Foundation for Apps has three main parts: the Grid, AngularJS integration and Motion UI. We've discussed the Grid, we've shown how we made Foundation for Sites accessible, and now we want to chat a little about the web and motion.

An Open Web Always Wins

2014 is the year of "Native Apps vs. Web Apps." Dozens of Medium posts and tech blogs have exhausted the pros and cons of both, and the results are fairly consistent. The general consensus: web apps are ideal for limiting work for the business and maximizing reach, while native apps tend to feel more slick and put together.

"Slick" is often a term...
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Calling All Nonprofits: We're Taking Applications for This Year's ZURB Wired

Ryan wrote this on August 27, 2014 in . It has 53 reactions

ZURB Wired — our yearly design sprint to help one nonprofit though a marketing campaign — is around the corner. This year's event is on September 18th. And we're ready to take applications from interested nonprofits.

photo of people sketching ideas during ZURB wired 2014

Just as we gear up for this year's event, we want to give a special shoutout to our friends at Rebekah Children's Services, who just redid their site on Foundation for Sites. They were 2011's Wired nonprofit and they took what they learned from working with us, and used that knowledge when it came to their website refresh.

In every Wired event we work alongside the nonprofit's team, teaching them how do more with less using Design Thinking and a feedback loop. And it's satisfying to see that our previous nonprofits continue to take what they learned and keep winning.

(Design) Thinking It Through

When we first helped Rebekah Children's Services,...
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Whiteboard Photo Trick

Ben wrote this on August 23, 2014 in . It has 151 reactions

whiteboard image

Tell us if this has happened to you. You've had a brilliant idea while collaborating with a teammate and sketched it out on the whiteboard. You don't want to lose your idea, so you snap a photo of it. Then you get back to your desk 15 minutes later. Voila! It looks awful. There's a glare from the lighting and you can't make out what you've sketched.

It's happened to us. You'd think that recording a collaborative whiteboard sketch would be easy — grab a smartphone, tap a button, and you've got a pic. In reality, we've had to squint our eyes and say, "Here's a layout. If you squint at this part ... ". Not ideal. And communicating our ideas is important, so we came up with a little photo trick.

For this trick to work, we did a few experiments until we got it right. Exploring the right angles. Climbing over chairs. Editing photos on the fly. But it works. We've written a ZURB...
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Foundation Now Helps You Build Accessible Sites

Rafi wrote this on August 21, 2014 in . It has 555 reactions

Foundation accessibility

Last time on the blog, we told you about the new grid in Foundation for Apps. A new framework doesn't mean we've abandoned Foundation 5, which is now part of a larger Foundation family that also includes responsive emails. Today, we're excited about our latest release of Foundation for Sites — version 5.4.

This isn't just another point release. It's a step toward creating a fully-mature framework that's accessible for everyone. Yep, you heard right — accessible. Along with the usual stellar fixes and features — like multi-level off-canvas navigation — we focused on web accessibility for this release.

A lot of good people have been making the web more accessible for people with vision, hearing and motor skill impairments. More and more designers are talking about accessibility. That's because the web is maturing and becoming less of a wild, wild west. There are...
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Designers, You've Made It to the Table. Don't Screw It Up

Alina wrote this on August 12, 2014 in . It has 362 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 1693 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 95 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 21 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 316 reactions

The PRD is Dead, Long Live The Prototype!

What's a PRD anyway?

After publishing this post originally, we got requests to clarify the term 'PRD'. A PRD is a Product Requirements Document. This is a document that product development teams use to specify what they will build. It will contain features, user stories, business goals, and whatnot. It's usually drawn up by another team that bases the information in the document on research and the company's business goals. We also learned a lot about how other folks view PRDs (see below).

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...
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