There's Life Beyond the App Store

Brandon wrote this on November 18, 2014 in . It has 180 reactions

Illustration if app icons breaking free from a broken app store

With the imminent release of Foundation for Apps, we've been chatting a lot about apps and how they're built. We've discussed the topic internally with our team, externally with our clients and with tons of our amazing ZURB friends. Much of that discussion revolved around not just how to produce apps, but what an app really is, how they differ from websites and even the future of where they'll go.

Before Apps There Were Applications

In the early days of computers, apps — or applications as they were once known — were pretty much the entire computer experience. You'd take a physical object, such as a floppy, put that in your computer and then use the digital version of the application. It was amazeballs. With the emergence of the internet, we saw people attempting to take what was once reserved for operating systems and move it online. CGI Applications like Hotmail...
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We've Lost the Guts to Think

Bryan wrote this on November 12, 2014 in . It has 278 reactions

brain and lightbulb

Last week, we wrote about the the conundrum design agencies and in-house design teams face in growing successful design teams. While it paints a rather doom-and-gloom picture, the reality is that these are company problems. The role of being a designer is flush with opportunity. The challenge for designers, however, is picking a direction that provides the most professional growth and fulfillment. But there's a catch.

While design opportunities are plentiful, most jobs don't provide designers with a way to shape design problems and create enough value in an organization. Companies are struggling to utilize the talents of designers in a meaningful way. But it's not every company's fault. Companies need to trust their designers to make decisions. Designers, for their part, will have to think. Gut-think.

The Stupidfication of Design

Solving 'user experience' problems won't be...
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Get a job, nerd!

via Job Board from ZURB

Grounding Castles in the Sky

Alina wrote this on November 04, 2014 in , . It has 35 reactions

Designing and building products is incredibly invigorating. It's the adrenaline high that's been moving industries forward in giant strides for the last hundred-some years.

When the muse strikes, it's easy to string one idea after another and imagine the product coming to life in fine detail with grand success. But these ideas can turn out to be a well-considered plan without users giving a damn when brought back to reality by tough questions. We, then, turn to Progressive Design to get us back on the right track, grounding the product in reality and challenging the castle in the sky vision.

castles in the sky

We turned to Progressive Design with our recent work with Mozilla. Their team already had a concept for a content site centered around advocating for open systems, and we're already far along in their planning. In many ways, the entire operational plan was in place before we started...
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Silicon Valley Killed the Design Agency

Bryan wrote this on October 31, 2014 in . It has 1091 reactions

Illustration depicting how the valley killed the design agency

The design agency world has turned upside down with the recent news of Adaptive Path finding synergy with a bank, Smart Design calling it quits in Silicon Valley, and [insert design shop here] getting scooped up by the Faceoogleboxes. Silicon Valley, which is known for putting whole industries on notice, has quietly killed the design agency. Or have they? While Silicon Valley isn't afraid to eat its children, it's also thinking an internet generation ahead as it produces hit after hit. So with chaos comes clarity, then chaos. It's a cycle. Until the next innovation.

The Design Industry is not immune to this fact. Silicon Valley wants to scoop up all the star design talent. But it's not as easy as hiring design talent in-house. You need a way to scale and bring purpose to the work at hand.

The Traditional Agency Model for Product Design Won't Survive

ZURB is a...
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A New ZURBian Comes Aboard to Learn the Ropes

Shawna wrote this on October 29, 2014 in . It has 16 reactions

We looked high and low, and after a long search (OK, maybe not too long) we found her: a fantastic Operations Administrator to keep the engines of our HQ purring so our team can focus on designing. So without further ado, say hello to …

Nathalie Smith, Operations Administrator

Photo of Nathalie Smith

Our newest ZURBian was originally from nearby Los Gatos, and then Carmel, but spent most of her early years growing up in mysterious (and hot) Las Vegas. There she watched movies, went bowling, hiked through mountains, watched movies again — there's only so much a minor can do in "Sin City."

Yep, she's our youngest ZURBian to date — fresh out of high school, class of 2014, which she said was an amazing experience. She wishes she could go back — except that she found ZURB.

The chance of expanding her skills in a real office environment was too good to pass up, and now she's helping to make...
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How to Be Amazing in Less Than 10 Seconds

Shawna wrote this on October 28, 2014 in . It has 130 reactions

ticking clocks

You're a designer ready for the next big thing in your life. Maybe you just finished school or a boutique training course, or maybe you're ready to move on to a new adventure. Whatever your reason you're fresh on the market and you're ready to crush it! That's all well and good, potential employers like people who are excited. The problem is that excitement alone doesn't always get you very far.

We've learned something from 16 years of hiring designers. And we have a few tips for you to amaze a person looking to hire their next designer. After all, you're just one drop in a sea of drops. You have to stand out! Let's take a look at a few ways you can do that and what we tend to look for in a candidate.

Wow Them at the Start

Your email/cover letter has to be unique for every place you're applying to. It doesn't have to be amazingly complicated. The reality is,...
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5 Ways the Foundation Community
is Crushing It

Rafi wrote this on October 23, 2014 in . It has 109 reactions

Illustration of the Foundation Yeti with lots of support

Foundation recently turned three years old. It is hard to believe how much it's changed especially considering it was the first responsive design framework first built in Sass and modular mixin partials, and the first to take a mobile-first approach. The code has changed a ton, but one thing hasn't changed throughout this time. The level of dedication and passion the people who use Foundation has constantly impressed us.

Some of the biggest improvements to the framework since we launched Foundation 5, now known as Foundation for Sites, have come from our community. Despite having over 7,790 commits, we have opportunities to continue to tighten up all the details of what a framework can be. The community has really embraced these challenges and worked together to resolve them. Whether they are fixed or not, these efforts are what open-source is all about and...
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The Problem With Design Thinking Is That I Still Don't Know What Design Thinking Is

Bryan wrote this on October 21, 2014 in . It has 566 reactions

Illustration of a person reaching for abstract tools

Design is hot. Design executives are being tasked with being design-driven, but don't have the tools or processes to sustain this effort. They embrace design thinking, but it's unclear how their companies will embrace its ideas. VC's are telling founders to hire a design leader, but it's not clear who this mythical, unicorn person is who will drive the design approach across the company. It's entirely possible to grow this person in an organization, but not likely to be someone who comes in with magical fairy dust to make everything Apple-esque.

Design thinking is a broad term with no specific directives. It's open to a lot of interpretation. It's too big and too lofty for most businesses to embrace. Throw in a couple inexperienced designers who are students of the idea and you've got yourself a mess. Most designers don't have the authority (nor desire?) to...
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Show Me the Responsibilities

Ryan wrote this on October 16, 2014 in . It has 102 reactions

Cyndi Lauper was wrong when she said money changes everything. Well, wrong when it comes to designers. Of course, she probably wasn't talking about designers, but that's another story. When we surveyed designers on the reason they'd leave a job, we expected that money would be the number one answer. It wasn't.

Designers said they'd bolt if there was no advancement. But what the heck did they mean by advancement? We did a follow up survey of 100 designers. Once again money took a backseat. The top answer was new skills training.

Pie graph of survey results

Money came in number two, followed by more responsibilities. These three things seem to be the trifecta of advancement — and what really motivates a designer.

Money Isn't Everything

Illustration of flying dollar bills

About 50% of designers are under 30, which puts them firmly in the often-used label of Millennials, so you'll pardon us for using the term here. Not surprising since,...
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Shortcut Foundation Layouts with Morse Code

Ben wrote this on October 15, 2014 in . It has 89 reactions

illustration that says 'Morse Code for Foundation'

Let's face it: Building CSS grids can get complicated fast. Even using Foundation 5 — or what we call Foundation for Sites — sometimes finding that one stray </div> tag can be tricky.

Today, we're launching a new way to build, share and store Foundation layouts: Morse Code, a shorthand lingo for Foundation grids. Here's an example:


That's a row with four large columns, eight large columns, and another row of six and six large columns. As one of our designers pointed out, an entire page can become a tweet.

At first glance it looks like gibberish. It's writable once you learn the system, which we describe on its Playground page. But to help speed things along, we also wrote two plugins for our favorite code editors, Coda 2 and Sublime 3 — just in time for the impending launch of Coda 2.5. These plugins encode Foundation...
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