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.
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
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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
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...
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...
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...
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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