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May 14 2013


April Resource Roundup: Food for Thought

While they might provide food for thought on the weekends, a new perspective before the workday, and/or even a way to unwind before bed, many design resources are far from revolutionary. Yet we hold out hope, as some of the best help change our (team’s) perspective. Nine such resources came to our attention this past month.

Design research, content strategy, gamification, oh my! Here’s the goods to make us good (err, well, better):

Design research

Design research is a necessary part of every user-centered design project, so more resources to that end never hurt:

Content Strategy

Far too many content strategy articles focus on the outcome rather than a productive “how to” – especially when it comes to writing. The following resources focus more on how to write effectively.

  • Tone of voice. Creating a solid “voice” is difficult, even for experienced content strategists. Enter Gather Content: A Guide to Tone of Voice. Created by Gather Content’s Kevan Gilbert back in November, this article provides a rough heuristic for lending personality to your website or application.
  • Valuable content. Those looking for more content strategy advice should check out Ahava Leibtag, President of Aha Media. She’s been practicing content strategy since 2005 (!), and her Creating Valuable Content checklist is a gift to anyone tasked with its creation. It’s simple to use and easy to adapt.
  • Using comics. Kevin Chang’s book, “See What I Mean,” was written in a show-and-tell fashion, beginning life as a presentation. The book demonstrates how comics can engage teams and facilitate understanding. Read it, and you’ll… see what I mean.
  • Health literacy. Although it was published all the way back in 2010, the US Department of Health and Human Services’s Health literacy online guide is as contemporary as ever. Chock full of research, design advice and content considerations, it’s an easy recommendation.


The gamification debate is complex. While it’s generally agreed that adding a “game layer” to an application is not a solution, there’s definitely value in incorporating engaging elements into our websites. These two resources dig a little deeper into the true aim of gamification:

  • Fun and (learning) games. Keeping the Play in Learning is a video highlighting the game mechanics inherent in education, banking, eCommerce, and other daily tasks. Play is also the subject of a TED talk or two.
  • Engagement via gamification. Chris McClelland’s presentation, engagement through gamification, examines the differences as well as the similarities between game mechanics – rewards, achievements, and competition – and UX best practices.

Live and learn

Ours is a rapidly evolving field, and every so often we learn another way to make the process more efficient. Leave a comment with your own favorite infographics, process-changing checklists, or a slideshare or video that speaks to the innovative designer in you.

The post April Resource Roundup: Food for Thought appeared first on UX Booth.

April 16 2013


10 UX Books Due out in 2013

The selection of UX guides and books has grown exponentially in the past few years. Rosenfeld Media and A Book Apart are just two of a number of publishers with a UX-focused audience. The expanding supply is exceeded only by the demand for more data, more depth, and more detail.

I explored the 10 best UX books of 2010 and, three years later, the time has come to follow up. There are a bunch of great books due out this year, covering myriad topics from the psychology of persuasion, to experience strategy, to lean UX, to microinteractions. Although we may not all get around to reading all of them, perusing the top 10 at least gives provides perspective. Without further adieu, here’s the list!

Designing the Search Experience: The Information Architecture of Discovery

Tony Russell-Rose and Tyler Tate kicked off the year with this impressive guide to information architecture as it pertains to the ever-present search bar. No doubt this will be added to many an a library sometime soon. Covering both the art and design of search, “Designing the Search Experience”, weaves together the behavior of information seeking with the practice of user interface design.

Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; Available now!

A Practical Guide to Strategic User Experience

In “A Practical Guide to Strategic User Experience,” Leisa Reichelt covers the foundations of both user-centered design and business strategy. She explores methodology, documentation and tracking metrics, helping designers make a more seamless transition into a strategic role.

Publisher: Five Simple Steps; available: Summer 2013

Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights

Understanding users is an absolutely essential part of what we do and the skills required to do it should never be taken for granted. Although Steve Portigal’s webinars have provided suggestions for embracing our user’s perspectives in the past, his book will likely provide a more comprehensive approach.

Publisher: Rosenfeld Media; available: May 2013

UX Team of One

Similar in scope to “Undercover UX” – Cennydd Bowles and James Box’s eye-opening book from 2010 – Leah Buley’s UX Team of One is specifically written for people working without the support of a team. It aims to highlight the real-life challenges faced by designers who need to produce deliverables with low effort and high impact.

Publisher: Rosenfeld Media; available: June 2013

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

Continuing along the Lean UX theme, this “hands-on” book aims to cover the principles of Lean UX – how this collaborative process enables you to forgo excessive deliverables in favour of building a shared understanding within a product team. Jeff has been working in lean UX and agile development for years now; he’s certain to provide valuable tactics and inspiring techniques!

Publisher: O’Reilly; available now!

Designing with Agile: Lean User Experience for Successful Products

While agile may function well for other teams, I’ve personally struggled trying to reconcile it with my own approach it. In this book Anders Ramsay aims to “provide a path” for design teams, and User Experience practitioners in particular, to help them transform their practices by applying Agile methods and thinking.

Publisher: Rosenfeld Media; available: late 2013

Designing the Conversation: Techniques for Successful Facilitation

An increasing number of books address specific areas within the context of user-centered design and I for one am glad for it. Designing the Conversation is aimed at practitioners who are looking to take their facilitation skills to the next level. Written by three UX professionals, this book helps designers facilitate stakeholder interviews, peer brainstorms, and client interactions.

Publisher: New Riders; Available now!

How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the art and science of persuasion and motivation

Susan Weinschenk – otherwise known as “The Brain Lady,” – has spent the past 30 years applying psychology to the design of technology. With several publications to her name, including “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People” and “Neuro Web Design (What Makes Them Click?),” Susan’s next book is all about how we “get people to do stuff;” how to use insights from recent research in psychology to be more effective in motivating people and to get them to do the stuff we want them to do.

Publisher: New Riders; Available now!


In “Microinteractions’, Dan Saffer provides a new way of thinking about designing digital products. He proposes that every feature, large or small, is nothing more than a series of interactions that are essential to creating a compelling personality.

How do you turn mute on? How do you know you have a new email message? How can you change a setting? All these little moments are opportunities to engage the user. These are the moments that change a product from one that is tolerated to one that’s beloved.

Publisher: O’Reilly; available: May 2013

Human Computer Interaction: An Empirical Research Perspective

“Human-Computer Interaction: An Empirical Research Perspective” covers foundational topics, including: historical context, the human factor, interaction elements, and the fundamentals of science and research. Throughout the book, Scott provides hands-on exercises, checklists, and real-world examples. Given Scott’s background of more than 30 years in interaction design, this book is likely to be a very comprehensive guide to research in HCI – a hefty addition to any bookshelf.

Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; Available now!

Collect them all!

It’s impossible to read everything that’s coming available this year, but the books above are the ones that I’m most looking forward to. And at this early stage of the year I have the best intentions to read as many of them as I can!

So, what’s on your 2013 reading list? Have you read any from this list yet? Join the conversation in the comments below – I look forward to hearing more suggestions.

The post 10 UX Books Due out in 2013 appeared first on UX Booth.

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April 09 2013


A Reading List Courtesy of This Year’s IA Summit

Wow. Although this year’s IA Summit was my first, it certainly won’t be my last! Each and every presentation I attended was filled with a wealth of takeaways, from practical advice to food for thought. In absence of a full recap post, I’d like to share five books added my Amazon wishlist during the event.

For context’s sake, here are the sessions I attended that informed my reading list:

These are just a subset of the total sessions comprising the conference, of course. For a full list, check the schedule page for the conference.

Books mentioned during the summit

While attending the aforemention session I came up with the following list:

Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension

The Embodied Cognition theory suggests that sensemaking is as much an external process as it is an internal one. In other words, technologies with which we interact change how we think about the world. Andrew Hinton suggests that this has significant implications on the work we do as information architects.

Cognition in the Wild by Edwin Hutchins

As a compliment to Supersizing the Mind, Edwin Hutchins’s Cognition in the Wild reminds us that our understanding of the world is also cultural. This idea touches on some of the educational concepts that Bill Gribbons mentioned to me last month, so it was a natural addition to the list.

The Empty Space: A Book About the Theatre: Deadly, Holy, Rough, Immediate by Peter Brook

Traci Lepore’s presentation explained how perspectives that function in the world of theatre can also lend themselves to the management of user-centered design projects. Although this book framed the majority of her talk, Tracy also mentioned method acting, which has me thinking about its applications to our practice, as well.

The Connected Company by Dave Gray and Thomas Vander Wal

Ah, governance. It’s a topic that’s as puzzling to me as it is important to the continued success of any design endeavor. Peter Morville and Lisa Welchman referenced this book as they explained how “loosely connected pods” are the key to a good governance plan. From what I understand, this approach informs Amazon’s corporate structure.

Content Strategy For Mobile by Karen Mcgrane

This one’s high on my list. In her closing plenary, Karen McGrane explained how radically different tomorrow’s content problems will be. When working with The New York Times, Karen recounted how digital publishing used to be relegated to a separate office. Today, it’s given equal footing with the print side of things. And tomorrow? Let’s just say we’ve got our work cut out for us.


I find it quite likely that some of you who read UX Booth attended the Summit. What books caught your eye? Are you currently reading anything that informed your understanding of this year’s talks?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The post A Reading List Courtesy of This Year’s IA Summit appeared first on UX Booth.

May 08 2012


Effective Presentation of a Website’s Navigation

Users obtain information on the web in one of two ways: searching or browsing. Browsing – moving through a multi-faceted content structure – is made easier when information architects present users with an intuitive navigation hierarchy. This article discusses two techniques to that end.

There’s a great line in the Postal Service song, This Place is a Prison, that states, “It’s not a party if it happens every night.” Although the singer specifically refers to a life of too much partying, it’s a good reminder that anything that happens too regularly loses its significance.

A copier's start button appears larger than its neighboring buttons

This same concept holds true in our navigation. As humans, our brains are wired to notice contrast, things that stand out from the norm. It’s why photocopiers employ big, green start buttons. It’s also the reason that the interface on my smartphone offers a collection of colorful icons instead of just text links.

When looking for Yelp on my iPhone, I’m not scanning for the word “Yelp;” I’m scanning for a red square. This is a much faster mental calculation than exhaustively reading each application’s name. It’s clear in both cases that the designers have put prioritization and visual language to work.

Defining our terms

Prioritization is the act of giving an element prominence relative to its importance in a (navigational) hierarchy. With regards to a navigational hierarchy, this is done by first considering each element’s relationship to its user’s goals.

Prioritization is the reason why items like “Settings” or “Profile” are typically less noticeable than the primary actions on a site or application. It can be communicated in a variety of ways, but essentially prioritization means that items of more importance should call more attention to themselves.

A screenshot of

Harvest App prioritizes more regularly used links (Reports and Timesheets) over others (My Profile)

Visual language, on the other hand, involves using visual elements to convey meaning. Often times this is done through illustration or iconography, though any visual cue that reinforces the function of an element contributes to that application’s visual language.

By way of contrast, consider text-only navigation structures – especially those that use the same font size. Without introducing/incorporating a rich visual language, these structures don’t reach their fullest communication potential. Simple visual cues go a long way towards helping users parse information because they facilitate recognition over recall.

Some well-known sites and applications make use of the calendar icon.


Unfortunately, designers often do the exact opposite in their designs. In their desire for consistency they often force users to carefully scan each item until they find what they’re looking for. Emerson once termed this kind of foolish consistency “the hobgoblin of little minds.”

Let’s take a look at a few bad examples:


Craigslist offers both little prioritization and a non-existent visual language. Users are required to read nearly each entry on the home page before finding the link they’re looking for.

A screenshot of

Jimmy John’s Website

Every time I order a sandwich on the Jimmy John’s website, I find myself carefully re-reading each navigation item. For the sake of consistency, every navigation item looks the same: red, black, and white. The sandwiches at Jimmy John’s are great; the navigation, less so.

A screenshot of

Microsoft Metro UI

One of my favorite recent violators is the Microsoft Metro UI. This has been out for some time in the Windows Phone interface and will be arriving soon on the desktop with Windows 8. By making the home screen tiles all the same color with white lettering and white icons, the user has to read each tile instead of responding to unique icons and colors. (John C. Dvorak recently wrote a great piece about this in PC Magazine.)

Rdio iPhone App

The Rdio iPhone App interface makes the same mistake as the Microsoft Metro UI. While they do incorporate iconography, the consistency of color and size of the icons forces the user to closely scan each item. In an otherwise beautiful and successful app, I find myself repeatedly scanning the home screen options to find my desired action.

Apple iTunes

In Apple’s iTunes 10 (as well as its Finder), the sidebar items were converted from color to grayscale. In bringing consistency, Apple removed the contrast between each entry, thus requiring users to scan more closely and read labels to find the desired content. Previously, if you were looking for podcasts, you scanned for the purple icon. Now you have to scan for the word “Podcasts” because the icons run together.

Screenshots of iTunes 9 and iTunes 10

iTunes 9 appears on the left and iTunes 10 appears on the right.

Path Sliding Menu

The Path iPhone app uses a similar sliding navigation to that found in Facebook app. There is one important difference, however, in that Path does not use icons with labels whereas Facebook does. Each time I open the Path navigation, I have to read each entry until I find the one I want. With Facebook, I’m reacting to the visual patterns and selection is much faster with less cognitive load.

Screenshots of both Path and Facebook's iPhone apps

Learning by example

So now that we’ve seen them, can we avoid these hobgoblins of consistency and create more effective navigation structures? Let’s look at some good examples:


Mint has long been viewed as an exemplary user experience and they have some nice touches in areas that use highly visual navigation. The “Ways To Save” tab in particular relies on a thoughtful collection of icons for navigating.

Screenshot of


The ESPN site has a variety of different navigation styles throughout, but I find the hover state for the primary navigation items to be particularly effective with its combination of photos, videos, and various text weights.

Screenshot of

Volkswagen of America

When browsing the vehicle model options on the Volkswagen of America website, the dropdown navigation menu combines prioritization – Sedans before Convertibles – with visual language – an iconic version of each vehicle in varying colors.

Screenshot of

Twitter Web App

The Twitter web app has a very simple interface with only a handful of links, but each is accompanied by a distinct and meaningful icon to set it apart and the most important action, composing a new tweet, is set apart in bright blue.

Screenshot of

Instagram iPhone app

The buttons on the Instagram app effectively combine both prioritization and visual language. Each button is identified by its associated icon and the most important one (the camera) is centered and stands out with a blue background.

Screenshot of Instagram's iPhone app

EPB Fiber Optics

The EPB Fiber Optics website makes good use of varying levels of priority within the top level navigation. The primary navigation items are all in black with the most important option (“Order Now”) set off in blue.

Screenshot of

Guidelines for success

We’ve seen examples both good and bad, now let’s try to generalize a bit. The following guidelines can help us create more prioritized, visual navigation schemes:

  1. Pay attention to User Goals and/or Conversions

    When trying to determine how to prioritize and bring meaning to your navigation, think in terms of your users’ primary goals and/or site conversions. Make those elements prominent and easy-to-understand.

  2. Be Inconsistent

    Take inspiration from the photocopier: instead of striving to give all navigation items the same size and appearance, leverage inconsistency in your design so that the most important items receive the most visibility.

  3. Use Visual Language, not just Textual

    Where it makes sense, use icons and other visual cues to bring additional meaning to your navigation instead of using only text. This will allow the user’s brain to process more quickly by relying on pattern recognition instead of reading.

  4. Size (and Color) Matters

    Use size and color distinctions to differentiate more important links or buttons.

Final thoughts

With so many aspects to consider when designing navigation, it can be easy to fall back on convention and create more work for your users as a consequence. While there will always be situations where using these techniques doesn’t make sense, keep in mind that differentiation can be a powerful tool.

Not all navigation is created equal. By employing prioritization and visual language in your navigational elements, you’ll help users forget the navigation altogether. They way they can focus on the content they’re really after.

April 04 2012


Best of Tuts+ in March 2012

Each month, we bring together a selection of the best tutorials and articles from across the whole Tuts+ network. Whether you’d like to read the top posts from your favourite site, or would like to start learning something completely new, this is the best place to start!

Psdtuts+ — Photoshop Tutorials

  • Our First Look at Photoshop CS6 – Now Available in Beta

    Our First Look at Photoshop CS6 – Now Available in Beta

    Today, Adobe announced some big news. Photoshop CS6 is now available for download in Beta. For the last several months, we have been speculating about what features we can expect to see in Photoshop CS6. This speculation was fueled by the Photoshop team’s release of several sneak peek videos that revealed some exciting new features. Now that the speculation is over and Photoshop CS6 Beta is available for us to download and try, we have been able to make a careful examination of some of its new features.

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  • Quick Tip: Create a Royal Gold Text Effect in Photoshop Using Layer Styles

    Quick Tip: Create a Royal Gold Text Effect in Photoshop Using Layer Styles

    In this quick tutorial we will show you how to create a royal gold text effect using layer styles in Photoshop. Let’s get started!

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  • Create a Clean Twitter App Interface in Photoshop

    Create a Clean Twitter App Interface in Photoshop

    In this tutorial we will create a clean Twitter app interface in Photoshop using layer styles and basic vector shapes. Let’s get started!

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  • Nettuts+ — Web Development Tutorials

  • Sass vs. LESS vs. Stylus: Preprocessor Shootout

    Sass vs. LESS vs. Stylus: Preprocessor Shootout

    Wielding the true power of a CSS preprocessor is an adventure. There are countless languages, syntaxes, and features, all ready for use right now.

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  • Sexy Code Snippet Management With Gists

    Sexy Code Snippet Management With Gists

    I’ve always struggled to find the perfect code snippet management tool…until now (and it’s free). I’ll show you my preferred workflow, using GitHub Gists and Sublime Text 2.

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  • Create Instagram Filters With PHP

    Create Instagram Filters With PHP

    In this tutorial, I’ll demonstrate how to create vintage (just like Instagram does) photos with PHP and ImageMagick. Wait? What? Yes, you can do this very thing with PHP and ImageMagick, and that’s just scratching the surface!

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  • Vectortuts+ — Illustrator Tutorials

  • Create a Psychedelic, Funky Line Art Portrait

    Create a Psychedelic, Funky Line Art Portrait

    In today’s Illustrator tutorial, I’m going to show you how I created a retro, psychedelic, funky, 70s inspired portrait using link art, bold colors and the handy Swirl Tool.

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  • Quick Tip: Brainstorming Head Design, a Focus on the Eye Line

    Quick Tip: Brainstorming Head Design, a Focus on the Eye Line

    Varying the horizontal axis line (the eyeline) and adjusting the spacing of the eyes are two excellent methods used to brainstorm new character designs. In this tutorial, we look at a few simple, but effective, techniques you can employ to give your characters personality while making them both fresh and visually interesting.

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  • 15+ InDesign Tutorials for Magazine and Layout Design

    InDesign Tutorials for Magazine and Layout Design

    Do you want to learn to how to design a magazine in InDesign? Discover industry standard workflows for print design professionals, magazine layout design tips, and follow how to design a magazine cover layout that attracts attention. These are just a few of the topics you’ll find in this roundup of best InDesign magazine and layout tutorials.

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  • Webdesigntuts+ — Web Design Tutorials

  • The Benefits and Pitfalls of Gamification

    The Benefits and Pitfalls of Gamification

    Gamification is becoming a hot commodity around the web, but what is it? Is it being used correctly? Let’s have a look at various aspects of gamification and how they can be used and misused.

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  • Building a Responsive Layout With Skeleton: Starting Out

    Building a Responsive Layout With Skeleton: Starting Out

    Dave Gamache’s Skeleton Boilerplate provides the perfect foundations upon which to build responsive websites rapidly and reliably. We’re going to use Skeleton and build a responsive page based on the Magazine design featured on Webdesigntuts+ recently. We’ll be looking at everything from multiple background images, through to media queries, flexible media and mobile-friendly navigation. Let’s get started!

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  • Quick Tip: Stitch up Your Layout

    Quick Tip: Stitch up Your Layout

    In this Quick Tip we’re going to create a cool stitching effect in Photoshop. We won’t be using brushes, we won’t be relying on patterns – we’re going to use a really simple and fast alternative.

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  • Phototuts+ — Photography Tutorials

  • How to Photograph Birds of Prey in White

    How to Photograph Birds of Prey in White

    The first thing people say when they see my Birds of Prey Portrait Sessions is “nice Photoshop cutout work”. In fact, it’s not a cutout, the birds are photographed against a white background. Let me show you how.

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  • Camera Exposure Modes Explained

    Camera Exposure Modes Explained

    If you’re just getting started with photography, the letters on your camera’s dial might feel like hieroglyphics. With a variety of modes, it can be hard to pick what’s right for the current shooting situation. Today, we’re going to explain common camera modes so that you can pick the right one for any situation and grow out of using auto mode.

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  • A Photographer’s Guide to Visiting Nepal

    A Photographer’s Guide to Visiting Nepal

    Nepal is a country wrapping in mystique for many. The home of the highest mountain in the world and a civilization known for living in the harsh conditions of the Himalayas, Nepal has much to offer the photographic traveler. Lush jungles cover areas of Southern Nepal which is the location of the birth place of Buddha, founder of one of the oldest religions in the world still practiced today. To the East travel becomes more rugged as compared to the more arid regions of the West.

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  • Cgtuts+ — Computer Graphics Tutorials

  • Creating The Always Popular “Invisibility” Effect With Maya & After Effects

    Creating The Always Popular “Invisibility” Effect With Maya & After Effects

    In this tutorial from James Whiffin you’ll learn how to create a truly awesome invisibility effect using Maya and After Effects. James will cover creating a fractal material in Maya to use as a transition for the cloaking effect, and how to composite displacement maps inside of After Effects, using the luma values of ambient occlusion and depth map layers to achieve this popular effect in our shot.

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  • Creating An Animated Fish Swarm In Blender Using Particles: The Complete Workflow

    Creating An Animated Fish Swarm In Blender Using Particles: The Complete Workflow

    In this new two part tutorial from Frederik Steinmetz, you’ll learn how to create a truly unique fish swarm animation using Blender. Frederik will guide you through the entire process of Modeling, Texturing, Rigging and Animating a realistic school of mackerels. You’ll then learn how to create a spiraling, tornado like effect for the swarm using particles.

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  • An Introduction To UVMapping In 3d Studio Max Using The Unwrap UVW Modifier

    An Introduction To UVMapping In 3d Studio Max Using The Unwrap UVW Modifier

    So UVMapping… you hate it, I hate it. But unfortunately it’s a necessary step in the process of completing most cg projects. In this tutorial we’ll look at creating uvs using the ‘Unwrap UVW’ modifier in 3D Studio Max, and discuss what uv mapping is, why it’s necessary and some ways to approach it.

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  • Aetuts+ — After Effects Tutorials

  • The Naked Truth About 3D Rotations

    The Naked Truth About 3D Rotations

    Third of the series: “Naked Truth About…” In this video I am showing issues with rotations in 3D space and ways to deal with them. Have you ever wondered what is the difference between Rotation and Orientation? We set two keyframes for rotations and the layer rotates strangely. Has it ever happened to you? Those problems are NOT After Effects specific. This video explains the way rotations in 3D space work. Once you understand the concept – it will be easier for you to tame rotations not only in After Effects, but also in other applications. Have fun.

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  • Quick Tip – Implementing Droplets and Watch Folders

    Quick Tip – Implementing Droplets and Watch Folders

    When working with video files on a daily basis, alot of time is spent converting videos into different formats, whether for web, archive, or editing purposes. Add onto that the interruption of opening and closing programs to convert your files and you’ll end up spending less time being creative and more on technical chores. In this quick tip tutorial, we look at two simple ways to save you time by automating the process of conversion using droplets and watch folders.

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  • Helpful Tips For Improving Promotional Documentary Video

    Helpful Tips For Improving Promotional Documentary Video

    Promotional video content for the web is a powerful way to communicate a message and it is used by many companies and organizations. It allows communication in a variety of forms including spoken word and visual imagery but it also facilitates a connection with the audience on a more subconscious level. A promotional video containing a product, message or guidance must look professional – but before you spend your annual marketing budget employing a production company, ask yourself if you can achieve appropriate results by applying the hints and tips below.

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  • Audiotuts+ — Audio & Production Tutorials

  • A Guide to Producing an Epic Orchestral Track

    A Guide to Producing an Epic Orchestral Track

    Although I’m not a huge fan of epic productions, they are definitely the thing that producers/directors/game developers search for nowadays. Now, as a whole, epic orchestral tracks can be heard on movies, TV, commercials, video games, trailers. They always support tension, battle, chase – all of these extremely dynamic moments that always catch the attention of the customer. This tutorial is a guide that I do hope will help you create your own epic orchestral track. Let’s get started!

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  • How to Minimize Noise In Your Mixes

    How to Minimize Noise In Your Mixes

    Home recordings are infamous for having noise. Background noise from outside and indoor noises from the air conditioning and people shuffling around in the next room. Home recording studios are usually never sound isolated enough. Even though you might have a great sounding room, with acoustic treatment carefully placed all over, you’re still going to run into sound isolation issues.

    The biggest issue is noise, and in the following tutorial I’ll run through a couple of ways you can minimize the amount of annoying hiss and noise from your home recordings.

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  • Making An Electro/Dubstep Bass Patch In FM8

    Making An Electro/Dubstep Bass Patch In FM8

    If you fancy a bit of departure form virtual analog, subtractive synths you could try dabbling in FM (Frequency Modulation) synthesis. Native Instruments FM8 is the perfect way to get involved with this edgy sound creation method. Lets take a look at how to create a typical roughed up bass patch that you could use for Electro house or Dubstep.

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  • Activetuts+ — Flash, Flex & ActionScript Tutorials

  • Build a Stage3D Shoot-’Em-Up: Sprite Test

    Build a Stage3D Shoot-’Em-Up: Sprite Test

    In this tutorial series (part free, part Premium) we’ll create a high-performance 2D shoot-em-up using the new hardware-accelerated Stage3D rendering engine. We will be taking advantage of several hardcore optimization techniques to achieve great 2D sprite rendering performance. In this part, we’ll build a high-performance demo that draws hundreds of moving sprites on-screen at once.

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  • oCanvas: A jQuery- and Flash-Style Library for HTML5 Canvas

    oCanvas: A jQuery- and Flash-Style Library for HTML5 Canvas

    With the advent of tools like Adobe Edge and libraries like EaselJS, more resources are becoming available for developers looking to create interactive HTML5 content. Many of these tools are being geared specifically for Flash developers to make the transition from ActionScript to HTML5 canvas a smooth one. This article will overview oCanvas, an HTML5 library that developers might not only find invaluable but also very easy to use.

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  • How to Build a Python Bot That Can Play Web Games

    How to Build a Python Bot That Can Play Web Games

    In this tutorial we’ll explore the ins and outs of building a Computer Vision-based game bot in Python, which will be able to to play the popular Flash game Sushi Go Round. You can use the techniques taught in this tutorial to create bots for automatically testing your own web games.

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  • Wptuts+ — WordPress Tutorials

  • Using Custom Image Sizes in Your Theme and Resizing Existing Images to the New Sizes

    Using Custom Image Sizes in Your Theme and Resizing Existing Images to the New Sizes

    In this tutorial you will learn how to generate custom sized images for you to use in your WordPress theme. Why use custom image sizes? So you won’t have to edit every image you upload to the Media Library. This way every image uploaded will get all the custom defined image sizes generated automatically. It can be inserted into the post or page using the Media Gallery or from the loop. Continue reading to find out how.

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  • The Complete Guide To The WordPress Settings API, Part 4: On Theme Options

    The Complete Guide To The WordPress Settings API, Part 4: On Theme Options

    In the last article, we took a deep dive into the various types of menus that are supported by the WordPress API. Although they aren’t necessarily part of the Settings API, they play a key part in development especially when working on more advanced plugins and themes.

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  • The header.php – What Needs to Go in It and What Doesn’t

    The header.php – What Needs to Go in It and What Doesn’t

    In this tutorial, let’s talk about the header.php, an essential file for any WordPress theme. I’ll show you a nice header file example and give tips about what needs to go in it and what doesn’t.

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  • Mobiletuts+ — Mobile Development Tutorials

  • 3D Game Development with ShiVa3D Suite: Project Overview

    D Game Development with ShiVa3D Suite: Project Overview

    Curious about 3D game development? Now is the time to learn! This five-part tutorial series will demonstrate how to build a simple game with ShiVa3D Suite, a cross-platform 3D game engine and development tool. This series was originally intended for Tuts+ Premium members only, but will instead be given away to the community for free with each portion published back-to-back over the next 5 days. Read on to begin your journey into 3D programming!

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  • Android Essentials: Creating Android-Compliant Libraries

    Android Essentials: Creating Android-Compliant Libraries

    Android libraries can be packaged and reused in other Android applications using the new Android Library feature of the Android SDK. In this quick tutorial, you will learn how to create simple Android library files that can be reused in multiple projects and increase developer efficiency.

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  • Enabling Google Analytics to Gather App Statistics

    Enabling Google Analytics to Gather App Statistics

    Google Analytics is a service provided by Google that makes it easy to track what users do. The Google Analytics team released an Analytics SDKs for mobile platforms including Android, iOS (Apple), and mobile websites. In this tutorial, learn how to include and enable this technology within your Android projects to gather important information about how users are using your applications.

    Visit Article

August 04 2011


July UX Resource Roundup

After a long hiatus, UX Booth is rebooting monthly roundups. In these roundups, look for a broad range of (sometimes bizarre) perspectives on user experience from many different Web-based resources. We’ll try and make horizon-broadening fun.

In this month’s roundup, you’ll learn about teledildonics, find out that tossing an egg will likely cause it to break, and see an OS review that’s probably longer than the user manual (and way, way better).

Netflix’ Big Fail

Tara the Shiba Inu

UX luminary Peter Merholz of Adaptive Path shares his feelings about the recent Netflix developments on the Harvard Business Review blog. He argues that Netflix has gotten a bit carried away with its success and is officially failing the customer empathy test. Short post, but worth the read.

Search: A Biography

Wikimedia Commons

Aristotle once said that if you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development. So that’s why we suggest you check out this post on the evolution of the Web search to see how humble search beginnings evolved into what they are today.

Telling a Story on the Web


As we’ve pointed out before, crafting an experience for the Web is like telling a good story. There are characters, appropriate settings, and a narrative. Thanks in part to his background in journalism and media studies, author Robert Mills discusses how designers can learn from other types of storytelling.

The Monumental Ars Lion Review

Well, it’s sort of a lion.


Behold the beast that is the John Siracusa review of Lion (from Ars Technica). While the article is obsessively exhaustive in all aspects of the most recent Apple OS addition, there are great bits on new interactions and interfaces. Also, bonus points for a Game of Thrones reference on page 13 (of a whopping 19).

Instinct in UX (it’s science!)


“If you throw a rubber ball, it will bounce. If you toss an egg, it most likely won’t,” says author Taylor Bastien, which (hopefully) seems obvious. But he makes his point early in this article that instinct and intuition is important in all experience, especially those that are designed. Bastien delves into some psychological principals behind human behavior, and it all makes for a great read.

An Unlikely Tale of Usability Triumph


The holy grail of HCI is to bridge interaction gaps between humans and computers—issues that experience designers face every day. Christopher Mims shares with us a short case study about a triumph in usability design through teledildonics. We’re going to let you find out for yourself what that word means (hint: it’s what it sounds like).

A Chat with Mike Kruzeniski

Jan Mehlich

Core77 interviews Mike Kruzeniski, Design Lead at the Windows Phone design studio out in Redmond. He shares his personal outlook on interaction design and usability, and ends his interview by quickly explaining the 5 things that every designer should know (spoiler: knowing the basics is important).

That Table Looks Wobbly…


Tables are pretty much poised, by nature, to be usability troublemakers without the proper care and attention. This article takes a look at a few good practices to adopt while creating tables so that they’re not only successful sorters, but also user-friendly.

A Man’s Quest to Pinpoint Mobile Context

Mohammad Nowfal

Mobile context: what does it mean!? Though fairly weighty in theoretical discourse, this thorough post by Jason Grigsby examines where the mobile medium fits in with the greater media picture. He includes a good deal of context to his argument as well, so make sure you’ve got time to get happily lost in design conversation.

.net Usability Case Study

After running usability tests before launch, .net Magazine documented the testing process in this informative post. Author Alastair Campbell outlines how .Net used A/B testing, eye-tracking, and Google’s Website Optimizer to reach their final product.

Moving on

Do you feel slightly more enlightened? Let us know what you think in the comments section. Also, if you think we missed something really, truly amazing, let us know at our resource section. And be sure to see all the other great resources that didn’t make the spotlight cut.

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April 26 2011


4 Quick Tips for Getting the Most out of Google Analytics

There are plenty of tools and services out there for measuring useful statistics when doing research on websites. I’m often surprised to see people choose expensive tools with limited capability over Google Analytics.

  1. Use the different data views
    1. Table View
    2. Percentage View
    3. Performance View
    4. Comparison View
    5. Pivot View
  2. Learn more about your mobile visitors
  3. Use Regular Expressions to filter data
  4. Learn more about your mobile visitors

It’s true that Google Analytics feature set can seem a bit daunting, but if you invest a little time learning about it, Google Analytics can really be a valuable tool for user experience designers. As an added bonus, many sites already have it installed, which means that if you’re walking into a new project, you might already have a plethora of historical data waiting to be analyzed.

In this post, I’m going to share a few easy-to-use features Google Analytics boasts that aren’t always self-evident to newer users of the software.

Use the different data views

Data views in Google Analytics

In many of Google Analytic’s reports it’s possible to switch the presentation of data. Sometimes, this is useful for viewing data in a more ideal way, while other times a different view can reveal entirely new information about a website.

Switching views is simple. Directly below the date range area of a report, on the right side of the page, you’ll notice a set of buttons that can be used to tab through table, percentage, performance, comparison and pivot views.

Table view in Google Analytics

Table view

The Table view is typically the standard data view when going over statistics. This view organizes data in a very straightforward spreadsheet-like manner.

This view is useful as a general overview for many types of values for specific dimensions. For example, on the default Top Content page (Content → Top Content), it’s possible to easily digest Pageviews, Unique Pageviews, Avg. Time on Page, Bounce Rate, etc. for individual pages on a website.

Percentage view in Google Analytics

Percentage view

Sometimes it’s easier to understand sets of data using visual tools like pie charts. With the percentage view, it’s possible to get a good idea of how values stack up against each other in just a glance.

In the example below, Mobile Devices is being viewed in the Percentage view. We’ve ordered the items by Visits, and have told Google Analytics to calculate the percentage of total time each mobile device accounts for. In other words, in just a quick glance, we can see that iPhone, iPad and Android users account for over 75% of the total time mobile users spend on this site.

Percentage view in Google Analytics
Performance view in Google Analytics

Performance view

The Performance view is another tool for visualizing data. It can be useful for analyzing some metrics where the Percentage view fails to do so.

For example, it might make sense to use the Percentage view to visualize the total number of visits to a website from different referrers. However, if you wanted to see Pages per Visit, the Performance view would be the ideal way of presenting that data.

Performance view in Google Analytics

An example of how the Performance view displays Pages per Visit from different referrers, and measures them against each other.

Comparison view in Google Analytics

Comparison view

The Comparison view is a very useful visualization for comparing data against each other. With this data view, it’s possible to quickly visualize scenarios like: “What is the bounce rate of a page compared to the site average?”, “What is the average time spent on a page compared to the site average?”, or even “How many users are browsing using an iPad compared to this month last year?”.

By default, the Comparison view compares metrics against a sites average for that particular metric, but you can also compare against your sites history if you enable “Compare to Past in the Data Range section of Google Analytics.

In the example below, we can see the percentage above or below the site average of Pages per Visit from different referring sites (ordered by Visits/source).

Comparison view in Google Analytics

While in the following example, Compare to Past is enabled, so metrics are compared given historical data rather than current site average. This example shows Mobile device growth/decline percentages by number of Visits per device.

Comparison view in Google Analytics
Pivot view in Google Analytics

Pivot view

The Pivot view is an exceptional way to view multiple dimensions of data at once, which can be especially useful for finding otherwise hard-to-spot trends.

For instance, you could Pivot by Source, and then view Avg. Time on Site & Pages/Visit from different sources to specific landing pages. This might be useful in seeing what landing pages are most successful for certain sources, and which landing pages need work (or should be avoided) from specific sources.

Pivot view in Google Analytics

Using the Pivot view to show “Avg. Time on Site” & “Pages/Visit” for different landing pages from different sources.

Use Regular Expressions to filter data

Regular expressions (or regex) provide a means for matching patterns in strings of text. In Google Analytics, they can be used to match specific groups of URL’s allowing savvy users to quickly sort through data that matches specific criteria.

Example of a regular expression in Google Analytics

In this example, we’ve filtered results to show urls under /blog/ ONLY if the word “wire” can be found somewhere afterwards.

For example, say you’re analyzing data for a coffee publication, but you only wanted to go through pages with the phrases “French Press”, “Manual Drip”, and “Espresso” in the title. You could go to Content → Content by Title, and filter through pages using the regular expression: (French Press | Manual Drip | Espresso).

Another Example: Suppose that the site you are analyzing parses searches using a structure like /search.php?s=[search query]. You could filter results of data by using the expression “/search.php\?s=” (Note that a ‘\’ precedes the ‘?’ to indicate that the ‘?’ should be treated as a regular character instead of a regular expression wildcard.). If you wanted to see all searches containing the word “espresso”, you could use “/search.php\?s=.*?espresso“.

There is a brief write-up on using regular expressions in Google Analytics on Analytics Help that may help get you started using regex.

Learn about your mobile visitors

Google Analytics makes it easy to analyze mobile viewers of your websites. In fact, there is an entire section that is dedicated to “Mobile”.

If you’re using the current/old Google Analytics Dashboard, you can find the Mobile dashboard by going browsing to Visitors → Mobile → Mobile Devices. Here, you’ll get a breakdown of what handheld devices are visiting your properties, along with the same sorts of controls found throughout the other parts of Analytics.

Learn more about your mobile users in Google Analytics

Use "Navigation Analysis" on key pages

Say you’ve filtered your results down in Top Content, but now you really want to inspect the details of a specific page. Perhaps you’re interested in learning more about how users are coming to a certain page, and where they go next.

Navigation Summary

If you click on a specific page under Content, you actually have the ability to see such information. Simply click on Navigation Summary under Navigation Analysis.

From the Navigation Summary page, we can see how many times a page was viewed, how many times the page was directly accessed vs. traveled to from a previous page, and where most people came to that page from (and where they went next). This is especially useful for seeing if pages with specific goals are doing their job adequately, while also providing insight into possible problems.

Navigation Summary

Are you using Google Analytics?

While the tips shown here may be new to you if you haven’t dug around in Analytics too much, any seasoned Google Analytics guru can tell you that this just barely scratches the surface of what Google Analytics is capable of. Do you ever use Google Analytics to research the sites you work on? How has it been instrumental to a projects success?

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February 03 2011


Introducing Google Chrome: All In One Super Charged Guide

Google Chrome is the most fastest browser anyone could ever use. It has lived up to most people’s expectations with its speed, security, innovative navigations, ease of usage and very cool extensions. And because it uses WebKit as a rendering engine, it’s completely web developer-friendly.  So, let those HTML5, CSS3 & Flash-less designs come rolling in.

In this article we aim to deliver an All in one resource guide for Google Chrome users. From extensions to some advanced tricks we got it covered for you. So Fasten your seat belts and lets check out more than 90 kick ass extensions, themes, web apps and tips to customize your Google Chrome.


People who are shifting from Mozilla Firefox should must have this in mind that Google Chrome’s extensions repository is relevantly new and its a child as compared Firefox’s huge extension library. But let’s not get sad because of this as the repository is getting cool extensions day by day with the release of new APIs by Google chrome developer team.

Can’t get enough of Google Chrome extensions? They’re too good to be true and they make things easier and convenient for users. Good thing these goodies are easy to install and only takes seconds to download.

Below we have collected 60 extensions for every day use and we are hopeful they will help you a lot in changing Chrome according to your needs.


1. StayFocusd

This extension will help you focus and stop wasting time on irrelevant web activities. It will help you manage your time better by giving you limited time on opening or block distracting websites.

2. Meeting Scheduler for Google Calendar

You can now schedule meetings without having to worry about double booking. This extension will look into your Google calendar and sets tentative availability, evaluates invitee replies and schedules the meeting.

3. TabJump – Intelligent Tab Navigator

Navigate through your tabs faster & easier. Talk about multi-tasking, tabs may just be your new bestfriend. This extension will surely be a big help to make it through multiple-tab tasks.

4. DayHiker

Keep track of the date & schedules. There’s nothing worse than to get double-booking. This extension will help you manage and organize your schedule.

5. Lazarus: Form Recovery

Filling in long forms may be a pain in the neck, back and arms. But it gets really agonizing when you could lose all you have typed in because of browser crash. Getting this extension is a good solution for those bad scenarios. This awsome extension will store your input.


1. Blog This! (by Google)

Get blogging in just a click. Install this extension to open an application window and blog. It’s a very handy extension for regular bloggers.

2. Clip to Evernote

This extension makes it easier to remember your favorites, better than the bookmark button. You can categorize your favorites so it’s easier to find them.

3. Webpage Screenshot

Make easier and faster screenshots with this extension. You can explain and point out details using arrows and other indicators.

4. After the Deadline

This extension works perfectly with 10.0.634.0 beta. It checks grammar and spelling on emails, tweets, documents & messages.

5. StumbleUpon

Stumbled on a very interesting page you would like to share on stumble upon? Install this extension to make it easier. Now you don’t have to open the stumble upon page, just click on the extension button and you have it.


1. Cooliris

The coolest search extension that speeds up search on Google Images, YouTube, Flickr, and more. Get a 3D view on images and videos with an infinite scroll that makes it easier. Now you wont have to click from one page to another.

2. Hover Zoom

Now you wont have to click on the link and go to the page just to see the image clearly. Just hover your mouse on the thumbnail, and you can see a good view on the photo.

3.EXIF Reader

Photography enthusiasts and fans, extracting EXIF is made easy just for you. Find out the Exposure Time, Aperture Value, Focal Length and more. There’s no need to download a photo for view its EXIF information, With EXIF Reader, you can view EXIF information in your Chrome in an instant.

4.Instant Image Editor

A quick retouch is now made easy with this extension. You wont have to open your Photoshop software. With in your chrome browser, you can edit your photos fast & easy.

5.Explain and Send Screenshots

Share and send your screenshots with this extension. You can explain and point out with arrows as well.

Web Development

1. csscan

Inspired by the CSS Viewer by Firefox, this extension will allow you to see the CSS properties of the element. This is a very handy extension for web developers.

2. Measureit!

Another great extension. This will help in measuring pixel sizes on any web element.

3. JavaScript Tester

After installing this extension, you wont find a button. Rather, you’ll using keyboard shortcuts to type in and test the javascript.

4. Pendule

This is an ultimate extension for web developers. Find all your tools in one button, install this.

5. SpeedTracer

This extension will identify and fix performance problems in your web applications. Get a better picture of where time is being spent in your application.

Browsing & Searching

1. Google Quick Scroll

The name itself is self explanatory. Browse through the page easier and faster. But don’t worry, Quick Scroll tries to stay out of your way, and shows up only when it is likely to be useful.

2. WOT

Browse safely with this cool extension. WOT ratings will help you determine which sites are to be trusted and which are not. The ratings are powered by millions of experienced users that are trustworthy.

3. GoMBox

With this extension your image search is made easy. You just click on the thumbnail and it brings up a lighbox viewer. This way, you can get a good look on the image without having to go away from your search.

4. FastestChrome

This extension can make browsing easier and faster with less clicks. Searching in multiple pages can be tiring, but with this you just keep scrolling down and you are being taken to the next pages.

5.Google Similar Pages

If you want multiple opinions and views on your research, this extension is perfect for you. This will allow you to open related articles or searches with what you currently have on your screen with a click on the button.

Customization & Navigation

1. Keyboard Navigation

Keyboard shortcuts always gets you around faster than having to move your cursor everywhere. This extension will give you shortcut keys on your browser to get you moving quick & easy.

2. Smooth Gestures

If you prefer moving the cursor than pressing on keyboard shortcuts, not to worry here’s an option for you. With this extension, you can customize your cursor gestures by using both left and right mouse keys. It allows you to move the cursor faster with a smoother flow.

3. Minimum Font

This extension is very useful for users who has a problem in reading small fonts. This extension changes the current smaller font to a more easier to read font. Which means, less eye strain and faster browsing.

4. Apture Highlights

Google searching made better. With this extension, you will be able to search just by highlighting a phrase on any site to reveal the web’s most relevant content without ever leaving the page.

5. browseFrame

Browsing can now be done in a small frame to fit in your current open browser. Now you don’t have to navigate away just to do multiple browsing.

News & Weather Updates

1. Feedly

Compile all your favorite online news and magazine sites in one. With this extension, you will have all updates on everything that goes on without having to go each  website.

2. NPR: News, Music and Books

Listen to News, Music & Stories while browsing. This extension will deliver your daily dose of audio needs.

3.1-ClickWeather for Chrome

Get your weather updates straight from your chrome browser. This extension will give you updates and alert on the latest weather report in your area.

4.Financial Times News

Keep track of the world’s economic & financial status. Install this extension to get regular alerts and reports on the world market.

5. Top News

The most renowned News and documentary magazine is now on chrome. Install this extension to get access to top rating stories and articles. You can even go as far back as 1923.


1.eBay extension for Google Chrome

Online shoppers’ bestfriend. Get lesser chance of getting outbid by keeping this extension up and running on your browser. Get alerts on your watch lists, bids & won items.

2. PriceTrace

Compare prices from major shops online. Get the best bargain and shop hassle free online. This extension will help you there.

3.Price Blink

Find the lowest prices possible online. Get the best and most outrageous bargains you can ever have and install this awesome extension on your chrome browser. The best shopping experience is at your finger tips!

4.Shopping Buddy

Shopping online is now made safer with this new extension that gives the buyers the ratings of online shops.

5.Chrome Currency Converter

Shopping online, you may have international transactions in different currencies from around the world. This extension will automatically convert to your preferred currency without having to manually compute.

Social Networking

1. AddThis

If you’re addicted to sharing anything and everything you like or dislike from websites, you can do it in just one click. Install this extension and this will make it possible for you.

2. Chromed Bird

Post your tweets straight from your chrome browser, without having to open your twitter webpage.

3. Social Plus!

Customize and play around with your Facebook profile and layout. With the cool themes are offered from this extension, your Facebook experience will be taken to another level.


You can get connected on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, GoogleBuzz, Yammer, Friendfeed, AIM, Yahoo IM and more…all in one place.

5. Glue

Install Glue, and get updates for the hottest and high rated movies, music & books. Having this on your browser is the ultimate tool to getting the latest and best stuff in entertainment.

Sports Alerts

1.Sports Scoreboard

Get reliable updates on your team scores and install this cool extension on your chrome browser.

2.Are You Watching This?!

Install this well rounded sports extension on Chrome. This will give your the hottest updates on every game, every sport.

3.Advanced F1 Countdown

F1 enthusiasts should follow the latest news and updates on races. Install this on your chrome browser and feel the rush!

4. Ultimate Football Results

Football fans, here’s a Google Chrome extension made just for you. Get the latest news and updates on your favorite teams.

5. Event Ticket Finder

Buying tickets for your favorite sports, theater or concert event is now made easier! Get alerts on events and tournaments with this awesome extension.


1. Avalanche!!

Play this fun game to kill time while waiting for a page to open. Simply install the extension, and you’re ready to go.

2. Scramble

This fun extension can also test your reading ability. Even if you get the words scrambled.

3. Fast Typer

A bit rusty in typing? Test and practice your typing speed with this cool extension.

4. Flixster Movies

Watch cool trailers and read reviews on the latest movies. This extension will surely kill boredom while you wait.

5. SHOUTcast

Install an FM radio on your Google Chrome to listen to music while browsing the web. Isn’t it just awesome?!

Google Essentials

1. Minimalist Gmail

Get a faster Gmail experience by customizing your Gmail app.

2. Send from Gmail

Send emails with your browser without navigating away from your window.

3. Google Voice

Get Google Voice running on your browser with just one click.

4.Google Dictionary

This extension is a very handy tool for students and readers. One more fascinating feature is that it also supports translations.

Still not enough? Check out these previous articles written by us

Awesome Google Chrome Themes

Another great thing about Google Chrome are the stylish themes which gives your browser a new, fresh look.  There are so many choices to choose from but we have collected those which look great.

1. Elegante V2 – 2.0

2. Aero Theme – 1.5

3.Night Spidey – v.01

4. Dark Green – 1.0

5. Blond-Amsterdam

6. Ella Moss

7.Lilly Pulitzer


9.Marc Ecko

10.Charlotte Ronson



13.Kid Robot

14.Super Monkey Ball

15. Porsche

Google Chrome Web Apps:

Installable web apps are a way of making Google Chrome treat certain websites like apps. People can find installable web apps using the Chrome Web Store.

Many installable web apps are hosted apps—normal websites with a bit of extra metadata. You can build and deploy hosted apps exactly as you would build and deploy any web app, using any server-side or client-side technologies you like. The only difference is that you must provide a small manifest file that describes the app.

1. Tweetdeck

Get your updates for Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz & Foursquare with one Application.

2.Autodesk Homestyler

One of the many awesome Google Chrome apps to have. You can play around and make floor plans, design and choose your own furniture, it’s simply amazing!

3.Remember The Milk

Keep track of your tasks and schedule with Remember the Milk. The most popular online organizer is now on Chrome.

4.deviantART muro

Going on deviantART is now just a click away. Create masterpieces and graphic designs with this cool Chrome app.

5.Write Space

Want to get a writing experience without destructions? Install this Google Chrome app and you’ll see what it is I’m telling about.

6. Read Later Fast

You may have run into something interesting but got no time to read at the moment. Don’t worry, install this app and you can add the page on your list to read later.

7. MomoNote

Another awesome organizer for people always on the go. Momo will keep you posted on your tasks and schedules without hassle.

8. imo Instant Messenger

on all of your Instant Messengers in one window.

9.Pivotal Tracker

A story-based project management tool that allows software development teams to collaborate and react to feedback in real time. Simple and easy to use.


Read your articles, news & stories with this application. It allows offline reading as well!

Handy Shortcuts, Tips & Tricks

Learn how to navigate, manage and go around your Google Chrome browser faster and easier. There are lots of tips, tricks and shortcuts you could do to cut short your effort and time. In this part of the article I will gladly share with you the easiest and most useful shortcuts.

Chrome’s Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. (Chrome only) Ctrl+B toggles the bookmarks bar on and off.
  2. (Chrome only) Shift+Escape opens Google Chrome’s Task Manager.
  3. Ctrl+L to move your cursor to the address bar.
  4. Ctrl+K moves your cursor to the address bar to enter a Google search.
  5. Ctrl+T opens a new tab.
  6. Ctrl+N opens a new window.
  7. Ctrl+Shift+T opens the last closed tab.
  8. (Chrome only) Ctrl+Shift+N opens a new window in “Incognito Mode.”
  9. Ctrl+Tab cycles through open tabs; Ctrl+Shift+Tab reverse cycles through open tabs.
  10. Ctrl+J opens the Downloads tab.
  11. Ctrl+W closes the current tab.
  12. Ctrl+R refreshes the current page.
  13. Ctrl+H opens the History tab.
  14. Alt+Home loads your homepage.
  15. Ctrl+1 through 9 switches to a particular open tab position.
  16. Ctrl++, Ctrl+-, Ctrl+0 Enlarges, reduces, and restores default text sizes, respectively.
  17. Ctrl+Shift+T (PC/Linux) or Cmd+Shift+T (Mac) Reopen your last tab with.
  18. Ctrl+P (PC/Linux) or Cmd+P (Mac) to print your current page.
  19. Ctrl+Shift+D (PC) or Cmd+Shift+D (Mac) to save all open web pages as bookmarks in a new folder

-via: & Twitter

Tips and Tricks

1. Google Chrome Portable: Browse anywhere with Google Chrome Portable. Just download the software, and save it in your USB device. This is available in  Google Chrome 9.0.597.67 BetaGoogle Chrome 10.0.642.2 Dev for web developers and advanced users.
2. Google Account Synchronization: If you don’t want to carry a Portable Google chrome with you, there is another remedy  that is built right into the browser . You can synchronize your profile data with your Google account and whenever you want to synchronize a Chrome on other computer, just login to your account and resynchronize. You can do so in Options menu.

3. Check Memory Usage: this may help you browse faster by limiting your browser’s memory usage. Right-click on the browser tab in the start bar select ‘Task Manager’. You will get a window showing how much memory is being used by each tab in the browser.

4. Google Chrome Labs (Experiments): Flags in your address bar and enjoy some exciting experiments like side tabs which is a very useful feature for widescreen monitors. Very cool experiments are being showcased just to fit your taste.

5. Clear Selective Browsing History and Downloads: Browse faster by clearing up unwanted or heavy load in your browsing history. Click on the settings icon (wrench icon)>History or you can simply use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+H (Win) / Cmd+H (Mac). Then click on Edit Items. Put a check on the boxes by clicking which you want to remove from your browsing history.

6. Google Chrome BackupYou can use this tool to backup, restore and manage more than one profile for your Google Chrome. A very handy tool for those who are obsessed with Firefox Profile Manager

Please let us know your feedback and yes if we missed something awesome please feel free to shout out and we will update the article :)

November 07 2010


Holy Grail: 400+ of Outstanding Textures For Vintage Style Designs

Who said that designs cannot be old in time? This is one of the inspiration of designers to have, to go back in time and look back on what designs they are missing.  Vintage designs are really great in terms of the texture and element that cannot be found in modern designs. You can achieve the vintage look by the mixtures  of different images that are layered through image editor like Photoshop or through ready-made Photoshop vintage brushes.

In this article, I’ll be featuring awesome vintage style textures and vintage brushes.

1. Vintage Texture Pack I (5 Textures)

2. Vintage Texture Pack II (7 Textures)

3.  Vintage Floral (24 Textures)

4.  +texture

5.  Vintage Musk

6.  Simple Vintage

7. Vintage Strip Texture

8.  Vintage Grunge

9.  Map Texture

10. Victorian Grunge

11.  Vintage Polka Dot

12.  Victorian Grunge IV

13.  Vintage Musk 3

14.  Grunge Wallpaper 1

15. Use This 52

16. Beauty 69

17. Beauty 95

18. Vintage Texture II

19. Art Nouveau Pattern Texture

20. Antique Script Texture

21. Music Texture 4

22. Vintage Diamonds

23. Vintage Wallpaper Texture

24. Grunge Wallpaper 2

25. Cracked Wallpaper

26. Victorian Wallpaper

27. Textures: art + vintage (15 Textures)

28. Pretty Things (38 Textures)

29. Vintage Pattern Texture LARGE (32 Textures)

30.  Old Paper Textures II (10 Textures)

31. Vintage Brushes 1 (13 Brushes)

32. Vintage Birds (20 Brushes)

33. Old Paper Brushes 2 (9 Brushes)

34. Ornamental Vintage Brush (7 Brushes)

35. Vintage Toil (21 Brushes)

36. Vintage Polaroid Brushes (14 Brushes)

37. Vintage Style Textures (60+ Textures)

38. Parchment Paper Texture

39. Straw Canvas

40. Old Photo Texture

41.  Bloody

42. Concretely Lost

43.  Coffee Stained Napkin

44. Vintage Khaki

45. Echo

46. Old Photograph

47. Old Stitched Page

48. Brown Stucco Wall

49. Peeling paint on Rusty Metal

50. Rust on Green Metal

51. Old Notebook Paper

52. Stained Paper Towel

53. T  22

54. keltainen verho

55. Vintage Coca – Cola on Brick Wall

56. Grungy Stained Wood

57. Faded Green Paint on Concrete

58.  Trunk Texture

59. lasipinta 188k

60. Gipsey Countess

61. Fancy

62. Indialon

63. Ueo!

64. Old Lunchbox

65. Cake Box Texture

66. Very Old Hankie Box

67. Old Outside Trunk

68. Package Vintage Grunge -2 ( 5 Textures)

69. Vintage V Texture Pack (8 Textures)

70. Vintage Paper Texture Pack (4 Textures)

71. Vintage IV Texture Pack (9 Textures)

72. Black Vintage

73. Vintage Textures Pk1 (15 Textures)

74. Vintage Package 2 (5 Textures)

75.Victorian Grunge Texture Pack (5 Textures)

76.  Two Vintage Textures

77. Vintage Valentine Paper (10 Textures)

78. Stained Paper Textures I (12 Textures)

Here the vintage design that every designer should have. You’ll never know when will you dress up your designs with these cool and old-looking styles.

October 01 2010


Creative Bookmarks: Best of September 2010

Summer had to end eventually. However, with the coming of Fall comes an all new month with great new tutorials, articles and freebies! This is Creative Bookmarks September!

Photoshop Tutorials

Nature-Themed Girl Composition in Photoshop

This great tutorial teaches you how to have some fun with vectors, custom brushes, and stock images to create a colorful and eye-catching nature themed girl composition.

Create a Detailed Ornate Heraldic Design in Photoshop

In this tutorial, by Chris Spooner, you’ll learn how to use some manipulation techniques combined with some Photoshop tricks to create an impressive Heraldic style emblem.

How to Create a Fantasy Banana Ship in Photoshop

In this great tutorial, from PsdTuts+, you’ll learn how to use a combination of photo to create a fantasy flying ship from a banana.

Create a Fantasy Girlbird Illustration in Photoshop

This great tutorial shows you how to create a make believe bird girl illustration with some Photoshop painting and photo manipulation techniques.

Create a Motorola Droid Style Phone in Photoshop

This tutorial teaches you how to use various tricks and techniques to create a realistic Motorola Droid phone.

The creation of “A Life Of Aquatic Sounds”

This great tutorial, from WeGraphics, combines the use of blending modes, Photoshop filters, and other tricks and techniques to create this beautiful aquatic manipulation.

Photoshop For Beginners: Creating Buttons for Web

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use blending modes and layer masks to create beautiful buttons for the web.
See Also: Part Two

Design a Grunge Vintage Poster in Photoshop

Another great tutorial, from WeGraphics, in which you’ll learn how to use a grid, patterns, layers styles and textures to create a vintage looking poster.

Playing with Custom Brushes to Create Magical Scenes

This tutorial teaches you how to create a custom brush and will walk you through the options of the brush to create a nice composition.

Harnessing the Power of Geometry for a Creative Nike Shoe Design

In this great tutorial, you’ll learn how to make geometric shaped brushes and apply them to create a Nike advertisement.

Make a Stylish Futuristic Textured Wallpaper in Photoshop

In this tutorial, from Design Instruct, you’ll learn how to use blending modes and textures to create a wallpaper that has outerspace-futuristic look to it.

A Perfect Lie in Photoshop #2

Too many photo retouching tutorials use techniques that make the skin look fake. This tutorial, from Abduzeedo, does the opposite, presenting a tutorial that achieves a beautiful and real effect.

Illustrator Tutorials

Create an Elegant Patterned Vector Owl in Illustrator

This brilliant tutorial, by Chris Spooner, will teach you how to create an owl illustration using basic shapes and the clever use of patterns and shading.

How To Create a Gothic Blackletter Typographic Design

This hybrid tutorial utilizes Illustrator to create and modify type, then uses Photoshop to create a grungy metalic piece of blackletter type.

Creating Seamless Textures

This great tutorial shows you how to creat clean, crisp textures and patterns using the newly improved appearance panel in Illustrator CS5.

How to Create an Adobe Illustrator Brush

In contrast to Photoshop, there aren’t many blogs that publish quality tutorials on how to create Illustrator brushes. This tutorial fills exactly that need.

Create Amazing Patterns using Adobe Illustrator

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use the Pattern Brush in Illustrator. But wait there is more! You’ll also create your own pattern brushes and learn the right way of using them.

Create a Graffiti-Inspired Illustration Using Photoshop and Illustrator

This great intermediate-level tutorial, combines the power of Photoshop and Ilustrator to create a graffiti inspired drawing and then, bring it to life with color.

Design An Angry Vector Turtle Character In Illustrator

This excellent tutorial, from Spyre Studios, walks you through creating a vector turtle based on a photo; a technique that can be useful in the future.

Web Tutorials

Basic Beginners’ Guide to Installing a jQuery Lightbox

This is a great tutorial, from Line25, that gives you a crash course on how to setup a lightbox gallery on your website; perfect for the Javascript coding noob.

A Crash-Course in CSS Media Queries

This great screencast, on Nettuts+, show’s how easy it is to create browser width dependant layouts with CSS media queries.

An Analysis of Typography on the Web

Most designers will agree that typography is the most important part of a design. Unfortunately, it’s usually neglected online. This article/tutorial contains some very useful information on the topic.

Converting a clean magazine-style PSD template to HTML/CSS

This great tutorial, from WeGraphics, isn’t very step-by-step, however, it sheds light on the process and gives great tips and advice.

The WordPress Loop

I always love the screencast’s of Chris Coyier. In his latest he does a great job in explaining the WordPress loop and the different ways to use it.

On Designing Tumblr Themes: 7 Ways to Design a Useful & Customizable Tumblr Theme

This is an excellent article, by the great folks from A Good Company, that gives some great advice on what to think about when designing a Tumblr theme.

Professional Structure and Documentation in Web Design

As creative people, we usually don’t think about structure or organization. However, structure is needed in our projects. This article, from Specky Boy, explains why.

Five Useful CSS/jQuery Coding Techniques For More Dynamic Websites

The beauty of CSS and Jquery, is the ability to make a boring static web page into a rich user experience. This article, on Smashing Magazine, shows you how to do it.

The Look That Says Book

This great article was pointed out to my by Doug Neiner. Hyphenation is always seen in print design and I’m one to believe it should be on the web too. This article, on A List Apart, talks more about the topic.

Freebies, Inspiration & Resources


This beautiful typeface called Piron is great for both text and display use and at the moment, the regular and italic weights are free.

Social Media Sleek Icons: Icon Pack

This is a beautiful set of 25 icons that come in two different sizes that are free for your personal and commercial projects. As always, be sure to check the requirements for use.

Massive iPad Vector GUI Elements

This amazing freebie comes with every possible iPad element that you can think of. It includes not only the iPad, it also comes with buttons, alert boxes, tabs, the keyboard and more.

Weekly Vector Inspiration #88

Vectips publishes a collection of vector inpiration every week. Of the ones published, it was tough to only pick one of these. I strongly recommend you view the other showcases as well.

Creative Examples of Infographics

This is a great showcase, on Noupe, that is all about infographics. It’s the prettiest data you’ll ever see. I guarantee it.

50 Fresh and Inspiring Dark Web Designs

People liked the first collection of dark websites so much, that ,Web Design Ledger, decided it’d be a good idea to publish another. I disagree, it was a great idea.

40 Inspiring Portfolio Designs

This collection proves that a designers creativity and artistry aren’t confined to the “Portfolio” page. The whole site design can act as a showcase of one’s work.

Weekly Web Design and Development Inspiration – N.58

This great showcase, from Specky Boy has some beautifully designed websites. Also, I’m honored to say that my site forms part of the list.

Finding Success as a Self-Employed Designer

Being self-employed is tough. This great article, on Logo Design Love, gives some practical advice on how to be a successful self-employed designer.

Get Featured in Creative Bookmarks

If you’d like to be featured in the next volume of Creative Bookmarks, simply send us your tutorial, resource, or article link before the end of the month. If we think it’s a top notch link, we’ll be sure to share it with all of our readers!

September 21 2010


40+ Stunning 3D Text Effect Photoshop Tutorials

40+ Stunning 3D Text Effect Photoshop TutorialsTypography is defined as the art and technique of arranging type, type design, and modifying type glyph, and in order for you to master this art you should learn more techniques and methods to manipulate text to create stunning typography art. Using 3D effects makes text & typography more realistic and brings it to life. In this article I compiled a list of 40+ 3D Text Effect Photoshop Tutorials for you to learn new 3D text effects.

1. 3D Textured Text Effect

2. Floral 3D Text Effect

3. Create 3D Typography with Advanced Texturing and Lighting Effect in Photoshop

4. Create Awesome Splashing Water Text Effect in Photoshop

5. Design a Zebra-Skinned Crimson Text Effect in Photoshop

6. Create an Awesome 3D Text Effect with Abstract Brush Decoration in Photoshop

7. Design a Super Delicious, Shining and Glossy Text Effect in Photoshop

8. Design a God of War III Inspired Cracked Text Effect in Photoshop

9. Make a 3D Colorful Abstract Text Effect

10. Create Colorful 3D Text Effect in Photoshop

11. Colorful Plexi Text Effect using Photoshop

12. 3D Layered Text Effect

13. Metal Text Under 12 O’clock Spot Light

14. Create Awesome Text Made of 3D Blocks

15. How to Create A Realistic 3D Typography in Photoshop

16. Create a Spectacular Style Text Effect

17. How to create 3D Love text composition

18. Design a Slick 3D Ice Text Effect

19. Create an Extruded Glossy 3D Text Effect in Photoshop

20. How to Create an Incredible Typographic Illustration: Part 1, Part 2

21. Add Fantastic Color to 3D Text: Part 1, Part 2

22. Create a Steam Powered Typographic Treatment: Part 1, Part 2

23. How to Create High Quality Metal 3D Text in Photoshop

24. How to Design a Stunning, 3D, Sunset Type Illustration

25. Using Light and Shade to Bring Text to Life

26. Create a Spectacular Flaming Meteor Effect on Text

27. Design Soft Stylized 3D Type

28. Create a Spectacular Grass Text Effect in Photoshop

29. Recreate the ‘Bee Movie’ Text Effect

30. Create This Dazzling 3D Text Effect in Photoshop

31. How to Create Remarkable 3D Text in Photoshop

32. How to Create a 3D Text Photo Manipulation

33. Create a Dream Design with 3D Typography

34. 3D Text On Fire

35. Kaboom! Exploding Text

36. Create 3D type art using Photoshop CS5

37. 3D Type with Repoussé in Photoshop CS5 Extended

38. The Making of “Climb” – An Awesome 3D Text Composition in Photoshop

39. Create an Awesome Funky Text Effect

40. Create A Beautiful 3D Text Composition

41. Create a Cool 3D Graffiti Text Effect using Line Art in Photoshop

Let us know if we have missed some thing awesome and we will be happy to update the article.

September 09 2010


8 Must-see UX Diagrams

If you’re new to the field of user experience design, welcome! There’s plenty to see and do around here. And although many brilliant contributors have come before us, there’s actually not too much to catch up on—if you know where to look. Because pictures are worth so much, illustrated diagrams have served a critical role in our community.

Our community is filled with thought leaders, those among us that conjure up entirely new ways to look at difficult design problems. Unfortunately, their perspectives are only useful insomuch as they can be communicated to other practitioners; what good is a design process if it’s done in a vacuum? Diagrams are of great use because they cut to the heart of the matter, taking away the ambiguity of words and visually depicting abstract concepts.

In this post, I’ll share eight diagrams essential to the understanding of user experience design. If you’re extra curious, be sure to check out the accompanying links. Also, if you’re in search of something more comprehensive, check out Luke Wroblewski’s ongoing catalog of UX Diagrams over at his site.

The diagrams

  1. The UX Honeycomb

    Despite its age (2004!), the UX Honeycomb by Peter Morville is still as relevant as ever. Unlike other diagrams featured in this list, however, the UX Honeycomb makes no claims with regards to process. Instead, it outlines the subjective considerations motivating our work. Peter explains:

    When I broadened my interest from IA to UX, I found the need for a new diagram to illustrate the facets of user experience—especially to help clients understand why they must move beyond usability—and so with a little help from my friends developed the user experience honeycomb.

    Peter Morville

  2. The UX Wheel

    Even on first glance it’s fairly obvious that Magnus Revang, the creator of The UX Wheel, took a cue from Peter Morville’s UX Honeycomb. The significant difference here is that the UX Wheel does identify a design process, associating common deliverables with each subjective consideration. Magnus explains his diagram from the position of discovering a client’s value proposition outward:

    Value is what we want to accomplish—for customers and providers, positive user experience is a win-win situation—to achieve this we work backwards, starting and ending with search engine strategy, and going through and making a choice about each of the factors.

    Magnus Revang

    I personally find Magnus’ work inspiring. It’s a common difficulty to tell which deliverable will help a client best. This diagram helps novice-to-intermediate practitioners simultaneously place their client’s malady and recommend the an appropriate design solution.

  3. The UX Treasure Map

    Another gem from Peter Morville, the UX Treasure Map is a concise representation of the common deliverables found in his design process. A basic knowledge of each deliverable—as well as their relationship to one another— helps any UX designer navigate their way inside of a project environment. Lest we find the treasure map prescriptive, though, Peter cautions us that simply knowing our deliverables isn’t enough:

    …for each project, we must strive for the optimal mix. Since our deliverables resist a taxonomy, asking questions may help derive their folksonomy. [Questions the UX Designer must ask themselves:] Audience. Who must you reach? Content. What is the message? Context. Where is the conversation? Process. When is the message? Problem. Why are you communicating?

    Peter Morville

  4. The Elements of User Experience

    Created by Jesse James Garrett, The Elements of User Experience diagram has had one of the most succinct descriptions of our entire field (as it applies to the web) for a long time. Jesse describes it thus:

    The Web was originally conceived as a hypertextual information space; but the development of increasingly sophisticated front- and back-end technologies has fostered its use as a remote software interface. This dual nature has led to much confusion, as user experience practitioners have attempted to adapt their terminology to cases beyond the scope of its original application. The goal of this document is to define some of these terms within their appropriate contexts, and to clarify the underlying relationships among these various elements.

    Jesse James Garrett

  5. The Importance of User Experience

    Brought to us by Interaction Designer Bryce Glass, The Importance of User Experience requires little explanation to the experienced UX professionals in the room. That’s because, as well-seasoned designers, we understand what experience design must be. If a user walks away from a website with a bad experience, it affects the entire organizations ability to meet their business goals. Sharing this diagram, and this understanding, is essential. As luck would have it, Glass’s diagram is available as a poster—in case you want to spread the good word in a not–so–subtle fashion.

  6. The Fundamentals of Experience Design

    Like many UXers, design consultant Stephen Anderson believes that the best solutions lie at the intersection of “People, their Activities, and the Context of those activities”—what he deems The Fundamentals of Experience Design. Stephen’s diagram is almost a “thinking outloud” exercise, exploring the implications of this approach. Loaded with analytical thinking and insightful observations, Stephen’s diagram gives viewers a unique perspective on a commonly misunderstood design axiom.

  7. Web Design Process Guide — 2003

    No web design process is perfect. But this diagram, co-created by various design departments at AOL and edited by Erin Malone, is a good first step. Any one who’s tried their hand at designing a sizable, content-driven website knows that the moving pieces of design aren’t that easy to articulate. This diagram helps piecemeal the process, laying the groundwork for a pragmatic, user-driven design endeavor.

  8. User Centred Design

    Finally, one of the freshest takes on illustrating user-centered design comes from Pascal Raabe, a multi-disciplinary designer hailing from the United Kingdom. His diagram, User Centred Design, explains the nuances inherent in this oft-misunderstood process. What’s great about Pascal’s diagram is that it marries familiar elements from other prominent UX diagrams (such as those by Jesse James Garrett, Magnus Revang, and Peter Morville). In addition, Pascal finds the time (and, frankly, the space) to explain how timeliness affects goal-driven design as well as various ways in which designers can assess common accessibility concerns. A brilliant piece.

More to Share?

These eight diagrams are only those that I find most useful; what are yours? Fill in the gaps below!

September 01 2010


Creative Bookmarks: Best of August 2010

August was another awesome month with great tutorials and articles oozing from everywhere. Here’s Creative Bookmarks August!

Photoshop Tutorials

How To Create The Expendables Winged Skull Poster Art

In this tutorial, by Chris Spooner, you’ll learn how to re-create the sinister and gun-crazy poster for the new movie The Expendables.

Create a Cosmic-Inspired Dreamy Scene in Photoshop

In this great tutorial, from PsdTuts+, you’ll learn how to use a combination of photos, 3d elements, and other tricks and techniques to make a cosmic scene.

Design a Coffee Shop Menu Layout from Scratch with Photoshop and InDesign

This tutorial shows you how to create a beautiful coffee shop menu using the combined power of Photoshop and InDesign.
See Also: Part Two

Create a Retro Sci-Fi Movie Poster in Photoshop

This tutorial, from WeGraphics, teaches you how to use type, textures and some other tricks in Photoshop to make a sci-fi inspired composition.

Photoshop For Beginners: Understanding Layer Masks

The Photoshop For Beginners tutorial series can be very helpful. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to use one of the most powerful features of Photoshop: layer masks.

Combine 3D Geometric Shapes and Flowing Lines for a Sleek iPhone Ad

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a plethora of 3D geometric shapes and abstract lines with bright colors to create a vibrant and appealing iPhone ad.

Cool Text Effect with the Puppet Warp Tool in Photoshop CS5

In this great tutorial from Abduzeedo, you’ll learn how to use one of the new tools of Photoshop CS5, the puppet warp tool, to manipulate a photo of rope into a cool looking composition.

Create a Scene with Retrofuturistic-Inspired Light Effects

This great tutorial from Design Instruct teaches you how to create patterns and vector shapes, combined with photos, to create a retro yet futuristic scene.

Create an Artistic Scene with 3D Light Bulbs and Type

This great hybrid tutorial teaches you how to use the combined features of Photoshop, Cinema 4D, and Illustrator to create a great looking 3D composition.

Correcting Exposure with the Shadows & Highlights Tool

In this great tutorial, you’ll learn how to make the best of your photos by correcting exposure problems with the Shadows & Highlights tool.

Illustrator Tutorials

How To Create a Fun Cartoon Style Poster Design

This tutorial, by Chris Spooner, you’ll combine a character drawing with bold and blocky text, then texture it up to create a retro cartoonish poster.

Quick Tip: How to Create a Stylized Wave using Adobe Illustrator

In this tutorial, on VectorTuts+, you’ll learn how to use Pathfinder, Envelope Distort with Mesh and various Gradients to create beautiful waves.

How to Make a Flesh Ripping Zombie Type Treatment

This tutorial teaches you the process of creating a scary character and a gory type treatment for this blood-thirsty illustration.

Create a Painterly Apple with Illustrator CS5’s new Bristle Brush

The versatilaty of the new Bristle Brush is quite impressive. This tutorial teaches you how to create an apple illustration using this new tool.

Create a Glowing Neon Sign using the Appearance Palette

In this tutorial, you learn how to use the potential of the Appearance Palette to create a great looking Neon Sign.

Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

Abduzeedo is one of those sites that stays on top of the technology. This hybrid tutorial teaches you how to create Roy Lichtenstein inspired illustration using new CS5 tools.

Type Illustration Project: Experimental Digital Workflow

This excellent tutorial, from Design Instruct, that walks you through creating and polishing a beautiful illustration all in Abobe Illustrator.

Create a Polished Raised Type Treatment

Ryan Putman of Vectips is in love with the Appearance panel and this tutorial shows you how to create a polished metal look using the power of the this panel.

Distort Linear Gradients in Envelope Distorts

This tutorial teaches you how to use Envelope Distort in Illustrator. The funny thing is, the author really doesn’t see the practical use for it but, the effect is cool either way.

Web Tutorials

Post-Install Plugins to Enhance & Protect WordPress

This is a great list from Line25 on WordPress plug-ins that will help with your security, speed and SEO.

How To Add a Custom Facebook Like Box to Your Site

As Facebook becomes more and more popular, it’s essential to link to Facebook from your website. This tutorial show’s you how to make a custom like box that not only looks great but validates as well.

Building a Stylish Blog Design Layout in WordPress

This great tutorial is the third part of a series that walks you through the creation of the design in Photoshop to implementing it in WordPress.
Part One | Part Two

16 Vital Checks Before Releasing a WordPress Theme

Twitter recently released @anywhere, which allows you to easily integrate Twitter’s capabilities into your personal site. This great tutorial from NETTuts+ shows you how.

Who Needs University? The Best Nettuts+ Screencast Training Courses

Going to college can be quite expensive. However, you can go to The NetTuts+ University almost for free and learn a variety of subjects. This great post rounds up some great screencasts they’ve created.

Working With Writers: Some Insight From the Other Side

This is an excellent article, by writer extraordinare, Michelle Oxman, that clears up some common misconceptions and gives some great tips on creating a great writer-designer relationship.

Business Writing for the Web: 27 Ways to Write Better

Business writing can be quite tough as it’s objective is to persuade people to act. This great article, from Inspired Mag, gives 27 tips on how to write better business copy and therefore, get readers to act.

Giving Users Some Credit

This is an excellent Art Directed article from, Design Informer, that makes it clear that making a website easy to starts by throwing away the idea that all users are idots.

Freebies, Inspiration & Resources

Pixel Patterns

These are some amazing patterns created by Designer, Naomi Atkinson. You can download the limited set containing 16 patterns or pay only four dollars for the complete 48 pattern set.

Paper Boat

This beautiful origami inspired typeface, created originally by Bart Van Delft for a concept company, is now free for download.

15 High-Res Dirty Grid Photoshop Brushes

This is a great collection, from Think Design, that’s filled with 15 different grungy-grid brushes free for your use.

Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: September 2010

Just like every other month, Smashing Magazine, rounds up amazing and beautiful wallpapers from all over to spice up your desktop.

Twitter Background Design – Great Tips and Gorgeous Examples

A way of attracting followers on Twitter is having a good background design, especially if you’re a designer. This great article, on PsdTuts+, is a great intro on designing one.

26 Beautiful Photo Manipulations of Women

The female figure is nothing short of fascinating and that’s been proven by it’s continued use in art and design. This great collection features some amazing photo manipulations of women.

35 Purple Web Designs to Inspire You

Web Design Ledger has the reputation of finding some very inpiring works around the web and this is no exception. This great round-up showcases beautiful purple websites.

15 Logos With Hidden Messages

As if designing a logo isn’t enough of a challenge, this round-up, from Web Design Ledger, features logos that have hidden messages in them.

Blogging For Web Designers: Editorial Calendars and Style Guides

This is an amazingly detail article, from Smashing Magazine, that talks about the benefits of having an editorial calendar and style guides for your blog.

Get Featured in Creative Bookmarks

If you’d like to be featured in the next volume of Creative Bookmarks, simply send us your tutorial, resource, or article link before the end of the month. If we think it’s a top notch link, we’ll be sure to share it with all of our readers!

August 17 2010


35 Beautiful and Free WordPress 3.0 Ready Themes

This is a list of free and  beautiful WordPress 3.0 ready themes. They were harder to find than I thought, maybe because Wordpress 3 is so new and theme developers need more time to catch up. There are some early adopters, however, and the best of them are in this list. To see the theme demo, just click on the theme picture.

1. Stargaze

Great theme with a black background. If you have a blog about games, this is the theme for you.

2. PhotoBlog

This is a theme ideal if you want to showcase a bunch of pictures.

3. Freshblog

I really like this time because it’s simply + people these days love green!

4. AutoFocus+

Great theme if you want to showcase various photos. As you can see, once you hover over the photo you’ll see a description.

5. MobileWorld

Like the name suggests, this is a theme recommended for a blog on mobile phones.

6. Animes

Ideal theme for an anime website. Those people are really sweet.

7. Perfecta

Perfect theme! Mostly for portals.

8. Simplo

Simple 2-column theme. White background.

9. Magazine Basic

As the name suggests, a great theme for magazines.


11. Gadget

12. Magazeen

13. Hybrid Theme

14. Side Blog

15. The Seven Five

16. Suffusion

17. The Morning After

18. Oxygenous

19. Orsted Theme

20. Ceres Theme

21. Polaris Theme

22. Dimenzion

23. Channel

24. Fashion Press

25. Meissa

26. Capella Theme

27. Carbonified

28. Structure

29. Mansion

30. Mistique

31. Boronic

32. Graphene

(screenshots provided instead of demo, click on the Theme Homepage to learn more)

33. Gold and Peach

34. Calotropis

(the site itself is in the theme)

35. Constructor


User Experience Books for Beginners

a screenshot of a question via twitter

A request for help.

Through @uxbooks, my twitter feed for all things UX book related, I regularly get asked to recommend books to people, and more often than not its to suggest entry level publications. Normally, when I’m feeling particularly lazy, my default response is to point them in the direction of the seminal book ‘Don’t make me think‘ by Steve Krug.

Although the book deserves the praise, I thought it might be a touch unfair to only ever line the pockets of Mr Krug so I’ve put together this list of books by other authors just as deserving as Steve to give me a place to point people in the future.

If you’re a seasoned UX professional the chances are you’ve heard of most of them, in fact you’ve probably read, re-read, lost/sold/given-away, re-bought and read them again just for old times sake but hopefully there’s a couple included that you may not have seen or considered reading before. If nothing else it’ll act as the perfect place for you to direct people the next time they ask you the question “apart from ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ what else is a good intro to UX?”

A Project Guide to UX Design
(by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler)

Book cover: A Project Guide to UX

A Project Guide to UX Design.

When discussing books for beginners on UX Exchange recently ‘A Project Guide to UX Design’ received the most recommendations after ‘Don’t Make Me Think’. To quote one of the responses it’s “a great practical and accessible guide to what is required of ux designers, and serves as a great introduction into the field.”

I must confess I haven’t read this book yet but, due to such popular opinion, I chose to include it at the top of the list. From what I’ve heard, unlike other books pitched at a similar level, this one not only introduces you to design principles but also shows you how to effectively integrate UX principles into a project process.

Book: A Project Guide to UX Design (by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler)

The Design of Everyday Things
(by Don Norman)

Book cover: The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things.

This list would not be complete without ‘The Design of Everday Things’ by Don Norman. Although its centred around physical objects it stresses the importance of understanding the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how, and why, some products satisfy users while others only frustrate them.

Book: The Design of Everyday Things (by Don Norman)

The Elements of User Experience
(by Jesse James Garrett)

Book cover: The Elements of User Experience

The Elements of User Experience.

Jesse James Garrett and his book ‘The Elements of User Experience’ have become synonymous with the diagram of the same name. The Elements of User Experience cuts through the complexity of user-centered design for the Web with clear explanations and illustrations that focus on ideas rather than tools or techniques. Jesse James provides a broad overview of user experience development, from strategy and requirements to information architecture and visual design.

Book: The Elements of User Experience (by Jesse James Garrett)

Prioritizing Web Usability
(by Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger)

Written by the UX industries answer to Marmite (you either love him or hate him) ‘Prioritising Web Usability’ is “for anyone involved in creating something that goes on the internet: designers, programmers, information architects and usability people.” Although its a few years old now it’s slightly more relevant than its predecessor ‘Designing Web Usability’. At times the content is a little dry and doesn’t really take web standards into consideration but it’s a fairly good introduction to usability in general and worth a look.

My signed copy of Prioritizing Web Usability

That’s right baby, I got my copy signed!

Book: Prioritizing Web Usability (by Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger)

Sketching User Experiences (by Bill Buxton)

Book cover: Sketching User Experiences

Sketching User Experiences.

“Through his thought-provoking personal examples [Bill Buxton] is inspiring others to better understand the role of design in their own companies.”
- Bill Gates

According to the UX Book Club league table Bill Buxton’s ‘Sketching User Experiences’ is currently the most discussed book around the World, ahead of ‘Don’t Make Me Think’. Jason Robb also recommended it in his UX Booth post ‘Tools for Sketching User Experiences‘.

Book: Sketching User Experiences (by Bill Buxton)

About Face 3 (by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann and David Cronin)

Book cover: About Face 3

About Face 3.

‘About Face’ breaks down the principles of good product behavior and introduces you to Alan Cooper′s Goal–Directed Design method, from conducting user research to defining a product using personas and scenarios. Along with several other books in this list ‘About Face’ regularly crops up on many UX book-shelves including Nick Finck’s list of top ux books from last year.

Book: About Face 3 (by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann and David Cronin)

Emotional Design (by Don Norman)

Book cover: Emotional Design

Emotional Design.

The second of two books by Don Norman included in this list, both of which make it into the top 10 most discussed books in the UX Book Club league table, ‘Emotional Design’ articulates the profound influence of the feelings that objects evoke.

It’s a great (and quick) read and the perfect book to come back to time and time again for inspiration and insight.

Amongst other things, Don Norman is cofounder of the Nielsen Norman Group and a fantastically engaging public speaker. If you’d like to know more about emotional design and have 12 minutes to spare I recommend you watch Don’s TEDtalk on YouTube.

Book: Emotional Design (by Don Norman)

Handbook of Usability Testing
(by Jeffrey Rubin and Dana Chisnell)

Book cover: Handbook of Usability Testing

Handbook of Usability Testing.

‘The Handbook of Usability Testing’ is primarily a beginners guide that gives a basic overview of usability testing, although it also contains useful nuggets of information for more experienced UX practitioners.

Its an ideal book to keep as a reference due to the many checklists and step-by-step guidelines it contains.

Book: Handbook of Usability Testing (by Jeffrey Rubin and Dana Chisnell)

Designing for Interaction (by Dan Saffer)

Book cover: Designing for Interaction

Designing for Interaction.

“Building products and services that people interact with is the big challenge of the 21st century. Dan Saffer has done an amazing job synthesizing the chaos into an understandable, ordered reference that is a bookshelf must-have for anyone thinking of creating new designs.”
- Jared Spool

Whether you’re entering into the UX profession, collaborating with an interaction designer or merely curious about interaction design ‘Designing for Interaction’ is a good place to start if you want to further your knowledge.

Book: Designing for Interaction (by Dan Saffer)

Designing for the Social Web (by Joshua Porter)

Book cover: Designing for the Social Web

Designing for the Social Web.

Porter’s book currently lives in my bag to give me something to dip into whenever I’ve got a spare 5 minutes. The way its both written and structured fits with this approach nicely. Similar to Steve Krug’s style of writing ‘Designing for the Social Web’ is very easy to read and finds a nice balance between theory and practical advice.

Book: Designing for the Social Web (by Joshua Porter)

What do you think?

What books do you recommend to UX Beginners?

Tags: Blog Roundups

August 09 2010


Creative Bookmarks: Best of July 2010

We’re a week late due to some server trouble last week. Now that we’re back to smooth sailing, we’re bringing you a new edition of Creative Bookmarks. Enjoy!

Photoshop Tutorials

Create Beautiful Abstract Female Art in Photoshop

In this tutorial, from PSDTuts+, you’ll learn how to create a piece of artwork called “Beauty of Gold” that starts off with jus t a simple stock photo.

Create a Medieval Fantasy Castle Gate in Photoshop

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create a medieval castle gate using Photoshop’s tools and simple photo manipulation tricks and techniques.

Create Astonishing Nightclub Themed 3D Typography

This hybrid tutorial combines the use of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Cinema 4D to create an amazing typographic masterpiece.

Create a Refreshing Beer Themed Poster Design in Photoshop

This tutorial, from Colorburned, teaches you how to use Photoshop to create a beautiful and attractive beer advertisement.

Beautiful Vector Illustration in Illustrator and Photoshop by Carol Rivello

In this tutorial, by Carol Rivello, she walks you through the step-by-step process of creating a beautiful illustration for her sister’s blog.

Design a Beautiful Cosmic Space Scene in Photoshop

This great tutorial, Chris Spooner, teaches you how to create planets and nebula for an awesome Star Trek inspired space scene.

How To Give Your Photos a Cool Retro Analog Effect

In this great tutorial by Chris Spooner, you’ll learn how to create the unique look of analog photography with some very simple steps in Photoshop.

Real Apple Logo in Photoshop

This tutorial teaches you how to use Photoshop to create an icon that combines a photograph of an apple together with the Apple logo to make the “Real Apple Logo”.

The Process of Making a Professional Set of Social Media Icons

This great tutorial, from WeGraphics, gives you an excellent look into the precision and detail that goes into creating icons. A must read for those who are interested in icon design.

How to Create a Melancholy Model Photo Manipulation

This tutorial, at first was a photo retouching tutorial that transformed into the manipulation of an image of a beautiful model that screams meloncholy and darkness.

Create an Elegant Photography Web Layout in Photoshop

This great tutorial, from Design Instruct, teaches you how to create a beautiful website layout for a photography portfolio.

Create a Realistic Pencil Illustration in Adobe Photoshop

In this excellent tutorial, you’ll learn how to create an extremely detailed pencil and paper scene that uses advanced tricks and techniques to create a photo-realistic end result.

Illustrator Tutorials

How to Create a Still Life in the Style of Primitive Art

An great tutorial, from VectorTuts+, that walks you through creating a “still life” composition and then add some style to it with Adobe Illustrator.

Getting Carried Away with Balloon Lettering

This fun tutorial, from VectorTuts+, walks you through creating, from a sketch, some shiny ballon lettering and the accompanying illustration.

How To Create a Trendy Seamless Pattern in Illustrator

This tutorial shows you how to create a seamless vector pattern that can be a useful technique for many different projects.

Create a Detailed Vector Emblem Badge in Illustrator

In this tutorial, you’ll use various vector shapes and other tools to create a cool looking emblem.

Web Tutorials

Style Your Site According to the Weather with jQuery

This is a great tutorial that uses jQuery and the Yahoo API to display the weather on your website by changing the your predesigned backgrounds.

Coding a Stylish Blog Design Layout in HTML & CSS

This tutorial on Line25, shows you how to create a working HTML page from this Photoshop layout, that will later become a fully functional WordPress theme.

25 HTML5 Features, Tips, and Techniques you Must Know

This excellent article is like a basic introduction to HTML5. As we all know, technologies are always changing and although HTML5 won’t be complete anytime soon, it’s powerful features can and should be used now.

4 Ways to Auto-Refresh your Browser when Designing new Sites

Usually when designing a website, we’re constantly refreshing the browser to see the changes. This great screencast from NETTuts+ shows you how to instruct the browser to do it automatically.

Simple TextMate Tips

In this great screencast, Chris Coyier talks about Textmate, a Mac-only text-editor, and it’s wonderful features. After watching this, I’m convinced that I need a copy!

A Beginner’s Guide To Website Copywriting

It has been reported that the majority of people on the internet scan websites for information and don’t really read the entire page. To adapt to that fact, this great article gives excellent tips on how to write for the web.

13 Ways to Better Monetize Your Blog Posts

Blogging for money can be difficult. However, it isn’t impossible. If you work hard and you give the blog time, you can earn money. This great article talks about how to make it happen.

Freebies, Inspiration & Resources

Work of Designer/Illustrator Dan Matutina

This is a beautiful showcase of Dan Matutina, an extremely talented graphic designer and illustrator from the Philippines.
See Also: Dan’s Website

HTC 1 Prototype

This amazing work by Andrew Kim reveals the process of his personal project called the HTC 1. The design of this phone and the details of his design process are nothing less than inspiring.

A Taste of Editorial Design Inspiration

Editorial design for me is one of the most interesting areas of graphic design. It involves making printed content legible yet, at the same time, appealing to the eyes. This is a great showcase of excellent editorial design in magazines.

Weekly Vector Inspiration no.81

When going through my RSS Feeds, I stumbled across this beautiful showcase that Vectips publishes every week. If you are into vector art or partial vector art, this is definitely for you.

40 Excellent Examples of Single Page Websites

It seems that the single page has been quite a trend so far this year. In this great showcase, Web Design Ledger, rounds up some inspiring single page websites.

Designing Style Guidelines For Brands And Websites

This is an excellent article by Kat Neville, that talks about the importance of creating a style guide and what to include in it.

A Guide to Popular Printing Techniques

This excellent article, from Design Instruct, talks about some really cool printing methods and how to fit them in next project’s budget.

Get Featured in Creative Bookmarks

If you’d like to be featured in the next volume of Creative Bookmarks, simply send us your tutorial, resource, or article link before the end of the month. If we think it’s a top notch link, we’ll be sure to share it with all of our readers!

July 06 2010


Creative Bookmarks: Best of June 2010

Photoshop Tutorials

Design Your Own Graphic Tee in Photoshop

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a cool looking composite t-shirt design from photos and basic drawing techniques.
See Also: Part One

Create a Magical Flaming Heart Illustration in Photoshop

This excellent tutorial will demonstrate how to combine stock images and the use of the Warp feature to create a magical flaming heart illustration.

Create a lovely textured web design from Photoshop to HTML/CSS

In this tutorial you’re going to learn how to create a beautiful web site layout and then code it into a working web page.

Photoshop For Beginners: The Power of Layers

This great tutorial, from WeGraphics, is the third part of the Photoshop for Beginners series that explains in detail the core of Photoshop: layers.

Make a Soft Grunge Product Ad Design in Photoshop

In this tutorial, from Design Instruct, you’ll create as very nice looking shoe ad using stock images and basic yet amazing effects.

Create an Apple Mac Mini Using Photoshop

This tutorial teaches you how to create an Apple Mac Mini from the bottom up. You’ll learn how to use basic yet powerful tools and effects in Photoshop to achieve a beautiful end result.

Design a Space-Themed Poster with Photoshop

In this great tutorial, you’ll learn how to create an amazing TV show ad that combines different types of stock photography and excellent typography for a great result.

Photoshop Quick Tips: Light Leaks in Photography

A trend that is becoming popular in Photography is the vintage/film/retro style. This great video tutorial shows you how simple it’s is to create and apply this effect.

Simple Underwater Scene in Photoshop

In this tutorial, from Abduzeedo, you’ll learn how to create a great looking underwater scene with bubbles and light effects inspired by the movie iRobot.

Create a Colorful Candy Store Website Layout in Photoshop

In this tutorial, from Devise Function, you’ll learn how to create a bright and very pink candy store web page layout with a unique and creative background and header.

Recreate the Epic 80’s Metal Text Effect in Photoshop

In this excellent tutorial, Chris Spooner, teaches you how to recreate a metal text effect that was very popular in the 80’s using modern day techniques in Photoshop.

Color your Black and White Photos Easily

This excellent tutorial, by Michal Plazinski, teaches you how to color in black & white photos using nothing more than the Brush Tool and Curve Adjustments.

Illustrator Tutorials

How to Create a Lustrous Electric Guitar

An outstanding tutorial, from VectorTuts+, where you learn to create a realistic looking electric guitar using basic shapes and simple techniques.

Create a Detailed, Vector-based iPhone Illustration

This great tutorial shows you how to create a realistic iPhone illustration and walks you through creating the icons on the iPhone home screen.
See Also: Part Two

Create a Trendy Seamless Type Pattern

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create a cool looking type pattern in Illustrator using some text and icons. You’ll learn tricks and techniques that can easily be applied to other projects.
See Also: Using Pattern Generator

Create a Distressed Vector Typographic Poster Design

This hybrid tutorial walks you through the making of the “Spectrum” poster; from it’s custom typograpy to the rugged look applied in Photoshop.

How To Draw a Cute Vector Dog Character in Illustrator

This tutorial, by Chris Spooner, teaches you how to take a hand drawn sketch of a dog and then add various lines, color fills, gradients and highlights to produce a vector cartoon dog.

Create a Print Ready Business Card Design in Illustrator

This great tutorial shows you how to create a great looking business card. You’ll learn how to create an illustrated character, create a background pattern and setup the file for print.

3D Text In Clouds

This excellent hybrid tutorial walks you through making 3D text in Illustrator and then making the text look real in Photoshop.

Web Tutorials

Super Cool CSS Flip Effect with Webkit Animation

This awesome tutorial takes a quick look at using the Webkit engine and some of its properties to create a cool looking flip effect.

Getting Started with Tumblr & Custom Theme Design

This article on Line25 takes a look at the basics of what Tumblr is, how to get a tumblelog of your own up and running and basic introduction on creating your own Tumblr theme.

Create a Vibrant Digital Poster Design with CSS3

This excellent tutorial walks you through the making of “Circlicious”, a vibrant and color poster made, amazingly enough, purely of HTML and CSS.

Did Internet Explorer get the Box Model Right?

This interesting video on NetTuts+ addresses the debate on wether or not border and padding should be applied on top of a specified width.

Multiple Borders with Simple CSS

This simple yet useful tutorial teaches you how to create multiple borders without images, just pure CSS by using the :after amd :before psuedo-classes.

The 10 HTML Tags Beginners Aren’t Using

This is an excellent article/tutorial, that talks about HTML tags that most of know about. However, this articles gives you reasons and practical ways on how to use them correctly.

WordPress 3.0 Upgrade: What to Expect

This is a great article, from Webdesigner Depot, that explains what you can do to prevent having problems when upgrading to the new Wordpress 3.0.

Redesign vs. Realign

Redesign and realign. What’s the difference? This great article explains that it’s essential for designer to know the difference and that this knowledge can result in very happy clients.

Web Performant WordPress

This excellent article, by Dave Rupert of Paravel, talks about his experience with achieving page loads of under a second and, fortunately enough, shares the tools and techniques to get your website loading faster.

Freebies, Inspiration & Resources

iPhone 4 – Vector Freebie

With all the buzz surrounding the new iPhone 4, VectorTuts+, has released a vector freebie of the iPhone 4 for all of your mock-up needs.

25+ Rare Cloth Texture Pack

This great freebie, from AnimHut, comes with more than 25 cloth textures that can come in handy for your print or web design projects.

Get Inspired

This is beautiful set of twelve professionally crafted by icon artist, Parthiban Mohanraj, that can be used for both your personal and commercial projects.

Weekly Web Design and Development Inspiration – N.45

Speckyboy makes a weekly list of mostly reader submitted webdesign inspiration and, in my opinion, they do a wonderful job of curating these lists that contain so many beautiful websites.

55 Fresh and Creative Logo Designs

With the massive increase in businesses and, therefore logos, it gets tougher to create something unique and creative. This great post showcases logos from designers who were able to achieve just that.

Showcase of 55 Inspiring Typography Designs

Attention to typography and its creative use has become very important to graphic designers and rightfully so, as it form part of the core of our craft. This beautiful showcase rounds up some great uses of type.

40 Creative 404 Error Pages to Inspire You

This cool round-up on Webdesign Ledger features some very creative 404 pages that almost make you want to enter an incorrect URL.

Elements of an Awesome Artist Portfolio

This is a great article where, Angie Bowen, shares her expertise and gives some tips on elements to incluede in a great portfolio site.

Get Featured in Creative Bookmarks

If you’d like to be featured in the next volume of Creative Bookmarks, simply send us your tutorial, resource, or article link before the end of the month. If we think it’s a top notch link, we’ll be sure to share it with all of our readers!

June 22 2010


June Roundup

Our field is such an exciting one to be part of. We see continuous growth, and brilliant people are always generating top-notch material for the community to consume, respond to, and grow from. Here are some highlights from the UX community:

Agile and UX Coaching

One of the more common challenges in integrating UX work into an Agile team is the push-and-pull between the good Agile practice of having knowledge and expertise distributed across team members, and the desire to have a genius designer just come up with a strong design concept and hand it off to the team.

User Centered Design

The central premise of user centered design is that the best designed products and services result from understanding the needs of the people who will use them. This is an information graphic poster illustrating the underlying lifecycle, methods, principles, and techniques in a user centered design process, where the visual part is only the tip of the iceberg.

Usable Efficiency

Usable Efficiency is a new website that showcases videos that improve websites and the way you build them. Topics range from frustrating usability mistakes to white space. One gripe I do have, however, is that I cannot link to specific episodes easily.

Wireframe Showcase

This site features all styles of wireframes (quick sketches, detailed, computer generated, etc) used to plan websites, web apps, desktop apps, or anything else! Wireframe Showcase is meant to be a place for designers to show off their projects and share something about their process.

Web Survey Design, Step-by-Step

David Travis guides us through the steps to create the perfect Web Survey. He explains that good questions alone are not enough, but all six of his steps will help you achieve web survey nirvana.

iPad vs iPhone User Experience: Square at Sightglass

Bold Peters conducted an observation of 14 customers over three months at our neighborhood coffee shop, Sightglass; they just so happened to be early users of, on both the iPhone and the iPad. The video compares the real-world usage in a business context of the iPad vs the iPhone. Keep an eye on UX Mag for an in-depth article on this topic.

Presentation: Revealing Design Treasures from the Amazon

As designers, we need to know what Amazon does; as designers, we are all affected by Amazon. This slideshow presentation and audio recording of Jared Spool is a must watch (and listen)!

Red vs. Green Buttons Redux

Last week, we published some A/B test results showing how a red call-to-action button clearly out-performed a green one when it came to converting people on our homepage (we’ve also put them on Given the danger of generalizing results for all cases outside of the test, we were anxious to know if anybody else would post similar (or conflicting) results.

Remote Usability: New Tools AVALANCHE

There are an abundance of new remote usability tools launching. Nate reviews the new tools that have launched within the last month or two. If you’re interested in remote usability, is a must read blog.

Intentional Communication: Expanding our Definition of User Experience Design

Design and content. Content and design. It’s impossible (and stupid) to argue over which one is more important than the other—which should come first, which is more difficult or strategic. They need each other to provide context, meaning, information, and instruction in any user experience (UX).

Signposts: Helping Users Navigate Content

Navigating unfamiliar information on the web requires aids. These aids don’t have an agenda or bias the way advertising does. Instead, navigational aids help people find the right path based on their interests.

Pros and Cons of Remote Usability Testing

In-person user research used to be the only game in town. As with most industry practices, its procedures were developed, refined, and standardized, then became entrenched in the corporate R&D product development cycle. Practically everything gets tested in a lab, hallway, or conference room nowadays: commercial web sites, professional and consumer software, even video games. But nowadays, we’ve got remote usability testing.

Agile + UX: Six Strategies for More Agile User Experience

Six ways to be more agile and better integrate user experience and information architecture into agile development teams.

Personas: The Definitive Guide

Conducting user research can produce some amazing insights… but how do you communicate these findings to the rest of your team? This is where personas can step in. When used effectively, personas can communicate the results of user research in ways that take said results into account throughout the design/development cycle.

Usability and Online Gambling

Have you ever encountered an ethical dilemma in experience design? What is the dark side for you? What industries would you never design for?

Gradual Engagement Boosts Twitter Sign-Ups by 29%

Twitter recently redesigned their sign-up process to boost new user engagement. Though the new sign-up process added one more screen, conversions went up 29%. How? Gradual engagement.

What Five Users Can Tell You that 5000 Cannot

With usability testing, it used to be that we had to make our best guess as to how users actually interacted with software outside a contrived lab-setting. We certainly didn’t have all the information we needed. In a sense, knowing what users did was a puzzle with a lot of missing pieces.

Master User Experience Design

User experience (‘UX’ to its friends) is a term increasingly bandied about. Currently in that strange position of being excitingly new to many, touted as an essential component of web design process by industry experts, and seemingly on the way to becoming ubiquitous, UX also has an air of mystery about it. This is partly because it’s tricky to pin down.

Quotes from the User Tumblog

I think all of us can sympathize with this Tumblog. Ever have a client think that users only say nice things? Here’s the place to prove them wrong. And of course, you can submit your own quotes.

Design Better And Faster With Rapid Prototyping

The old adage, “a picture speaks a thousand words” captures what user interface prototyping is all about: using visuals to describe thousands of words’ worth of design and development specifications that detail how a system should behave and look.

Progressive Disclosure: Presenting Information On A Need-to-Know Basis

Do you sometimes struggle with how many links to include in the main navigation of a fairly large site? Maybe the issue is where the secondary navigation will be located in your design.

UX Leadership

This website was created to address the many issues we face as designers related to power, authority, influence and leadership. It started when the author began writing the presentation for CHIFOO called “Traversing Power Structures,” and realized the problem was much bigger. It needed room to grow—a forum to discuss leadership in the context of the UX community.

Hot UX Booth Articles

Here are our top three articles from the last few months:

Complete Beginner’s Guide to Design Research

Research actually begins the moment we learn about a project, whether we acknowledge it or not. As user experience designers we aren’t content simply designing to specification. Instead, we ask questions; we take notes; we learn everything we can about our client and their audience—and that’s before we even begin! In this article, we explore the (purported) method to this (seeming) madness, appropriately known as design research.

About Pages: Good, Bad, and Missing

John Hyde has uncovered a variety of approaches while researching About Us pages. This post catalogs some of the most notable, eventually exploring why some of the biggest names decide to go “without about.”

43 Essential Controls for Web Applications

Familiarize yourself with Rich Internet Application technologies and the best UI controls for creating your application. Rich Internet Application technology has empowered us to create really amazing user experiences. The best RIAs on the web today rely on a discreet set of UI controls to provide a lively and timely experience.

In Love?

Are you in love with these resources? Then you better head over to our resource section ASAP! Additionally, as a lover of UX, you have a moral obligation to submit future UX resources that you find to our resources form.

Tags: Blog Roundups

June 01 2010


Creative Bookmarks: Best of May 2010

May went by extremely quickly with all the new articles, tutorials and excitement. Here’s Creative Bookmarks May!

Photoshop Tutorials

Hexagon Bokeh Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, from Abduzeedo, you’ll learn how to create a digital bokeh effect with hexagons using brushes, patterns, filters and blend modes.

How to Create a Social Media UFO Icon

With most sites having a social media presence, many are unfortunately recycling the same old icons. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create a unique UFO inspired Facebook icon.

Create a Magical Four Piece Stardust Composition

This tutorial will show you how to combine stock images, filters, textures and other adjustments to create a 4-piece stardust composition.

Create a Non-Destructive Vignette Effect in Seconds

This is a great tutorial that shows you how to create a simple yet striking vignette effect using brushes and blending modes.

6 Techniques to Extract Anything From its Background

Extracting an object from its background can be a tedious task, especially when dealing with hair. This tutorial, from WeGraphics, teaches you six different techniques on that could help you out.

3D Water Text Effect with Repoussé in Photoshop CS5

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create a water text effect using Photoshop CS5’s new Repoussé, in which you can create 3D objects directly in Photoshop.

Mixing Brushes and Layers in Photoshop

This great tutorial will show you how to create a great looking composition by mixing simple layer effects and custom brushes.

Create a Textured Paper Photoblog Layout in Photoshop

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a textured paper photo blog layout using various Photoshop techniques such as creating patterns, customizing brushes, layer masks and more.

Design a Hand Drawn Illustrated Desktop Wallpaper

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to combine a hand-drawing with clever typography to create a nice desktop wallpaper.

Create a Clean and Modern Web Design in Photoshop

In this tutorial, from Design Instruct, you’ll learn how to use simple techniques to create a clean and modern webdesign.

Create an Abstract Cloud Jumper in Photoshop

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to manipulate multiple photos and combine them with abstract elements to create a beautiful composition.

Illustrator Tutorials

Create Interlocking Motifs in Illustrator

In this great tutorial, from Computer Arts, you’ll learn how to plan out your artwork to create a type of jigsaw puzzle composition.

Using the Blob Brush and Eraser for Character Lines

This is a great Quick Tip from VectorTuts+, in which you’ll learn how to use a drawing tablet, the Blob Brush and Eraser tool to create a digital drawing.

Keep the File Size Down and Spice-up our Vectors with Bitmap Textures

The problem with vector based textures is that they can make your file pretty big. This tutorial shows you how to create bitmap textures that look great!

Dress Up Your Desktop with a Sharp Dual Screen Wallpaper

In this tutorial, talented illustrator Andrea Austoni, walks you through making a dual screen wallpaper that you’ll be proud to call your own.

Create a Cute Baby Monster Character in Illustrator

This great tutorial uses Illustrator’s basic shapes together with gradients and other effects to make this baby monster come to life.

Create Beautiful 3D Graphs and Charts in Illustrator

Unfortunately, graphs tend to be boring and visually unappealing. Not in this tutorial!! You’ll how to put some make graphs in Illustrator and how to make them look great.

Web Tutorials

5 SEO Tactics That Make You Look Like a Douche

With that title is there really a need for a description? People tend to go way to far with “optimization techniques”. This article talk about five of them.

Designing an Infographic with HTML, CSS & jQuery

Talk about taking things to the next level! This great tutorial on Line25, teaches you how to create a beautiful and interactive infographic.

Spice Up Your Web Typography with @Font-Face

@Font-Face is an awesome technology that allows you to embed new great looking fonts into your websites. This tutorial shows you how simple it is to implement it.

Google Fonts API: You’re Going to Love This

Google recently released its Google Fonts API which allows you to use any typeface in Google’s Font directory by simply linking to it. This screencast show’s you how amazingly simple it is to do it.

CSS DIY Organization

To improve your workflow, it’s essential to write and organize your CSS well. This great tutorial explains why and how you make it happen.

Efficiently Rendering CSS

This is an excellent article/tutorial, from Chris Coyier, that answers a simple yet important question: How efficient is the CSS that we write, in terms of how quickly the browser can render it?

Best Practices with Dynamic Content

With AJAX you can dynamically load content without the need of refreshing the page. This great screencast teaches you the correct way of using this technology.

A Designer’s Guide To Effective Proposals And Invoices

If your proposal isn’t created carefully, it can lead to misunderstandings and unhappy clients. With that in mind, this article gives some excellent tips on how you can create effective proposals and invoices.

Freebies, Inspiration & Resources

Ink Squirts PS Brushes

This is a great brush set from WeGraphics, that includes 15 different brushes. Although the complete set is for purchase, you can download a free sample for free.

Hand Drawn Sketchy Icons of Your Favorite Social Sites

This an excellent collection, from Chris Spooner, that contains 16 sketch social icons that includes every social networking site you could possibly think of.

Get Inspired

This is an amazing collection from Media Militia that’s filled with inspiring artwork that is guaranteed to get your creative gears working.

Weekly Web Design and Development Inspiration

This is an excellent collection from Specky Boy filled with beautiful website designs that are sure amaze you.

30 Stunning Examples of Long Exposure Photography

This is a great round-up from Web Design Ledger, of long exposure photography that in my opinion is such a beautiful form of photographic art.

50 Red Web Designs to Inspire You

Red is a beautiful yet powerful color. This amazing round-up compiles 50 red web designs that are sure to amaze and inspire you.

A Showcase of Letterpress Invitations for Inspiration

This is a great collection of beautiful letterpress invitations that are sure to inspire. Letterpress is a beautiful type of design that definitely make a great impression.

On Going Different and Pushing Boundaries

This is an excellent article on the newly re-designed, Design Cubicle, where Brian Hoff urges you to push the boundaries and and let go of your design inhibitions.

Bojan Stefanovic, AKA Logoholic

This is a excellent interview by Michelle Oxman, with Bojan Stefanovic. I absolutely love her writing style. She did an amazing job! It’s a must read!

Get Featured in Creative Bookmarks

If you’d like to be featured in the next volume of Creative Bookmarks, simply send us your tutorial, resource, or article link before the end of the month. If we think it’s a top notch link, we’ll be sure to share it with all of our readers!

May 04 2010


Creative Bookmarks: Best of April 2010

April was an amazing month with spring creativity oozing from everywhere. Here’s Creative Bookmarks April!

Photoshop Tutorials

Create a Retro Urban Gig Poster in Photoshop

In this tutorial, from PSDTuts+, you’ll learn how to create a poster for a dance party using a textured and retro look that has become so trendy.

How to Create an Incredible Typographic Illustration

In this two-part tutorial you’ll learn how to create a typographic illustration without using any photos. You’ll build this composition from scratch using Cinema 4D and Photoshop.
See Also: Part Two

Create a Sleek and Stylish MP3 Player in Photoshop

This tutorial shows you how to create a sleek and stylish MP3 interface using many of Photoshop’s tricks and effects that add depth and realism.

Create a Cosmic Sci-fi Poster Design in Photoshop

This tutorial, from WeGraphics, teaches you how to use Photoshop, Illustrator and Cinema4D to create a sci-fi inspired composition.

Clash of the Titans Text Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, from Abduzeedo, you’ll learn how to create a text effect inspired by the Clash of the Titans posters and artworks that will take you close to no time to accomplish.

Combine 3D Shapes and Vectors for a Dynamic Composition

This tutorial teaches you how to use brushes, custom shapes and stock imagery to create a dynamic and eye-pleasing piece of artwork.

Create a Vibrant Colorful Alcohol Product Ad in Photoshop

In this great tutorial from Creative Fan, you’ll learn how to create a vibrant and colorful ad that combines different types of stock photography for an excellent result.

Simple & Cloudy Portfolio Layout in Photoshop

This tutorial teaches you how to use Photoshop’s various tools to create a practical and effective portfolio layout with a cloud-type theme.

Create an iPhone App Website in Photoshop

In this tutorial, from Devise Function, you’ll learn how to creat a simple yet practical app website in Photoshop. Plus: The complete Photoshop file is free for download.

Add Brilliant Light Effects to Your Work with Photoshop

In this tutorial, from Design Instruct, you’ll learn how to use simple techniques and brushes in Photoshop to create an amazing composition.

Creating Retro Folded Typography Using Photoshop

Using real strips of paper as a model, this tutorial, teaches you how to create a retro-looking piece of type that uses Photoshop’s tools and techniques excellently.

How to Design a Speedometer Icon in Photoshop

In this excellent tutorial, you’ll learn how to create an extremely detailed speedometer icon in which you’ll learn many tricks and techniques essential to icon design.
See Also: Part Two

Illustrator Tutorials

How To Create Outstanding Modern Infographics

An outstanding, from VectorTuts+, proving that data can be beautiful. You’ll learn how to use graph tools and other techniques that will definitely come in handy.

Create a Grimy Text Treatment with a Pen Tablet

In this tutorial, on Vectips, you’ll learn how to get grimy and create a text treatment using Illustrator’s Blob brush, Live Paint, and a pen tablet.

Create a Simple Storefront Icon

This tutorial teaches you some simple techniques, such as basic shapes, effects and gradients to create a great looking store icon.

Vector Plasma Television

In this great tutorial, from Vector Diary, you’ll learn how to use basic shapes and gradients to create a realistic television.

Create a Typographical Logomark

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to go through the process of creating a typographical logo from scratch.

How To Design a Sweet Linework & Typography Combo

This great tutorial from VectorTuts+, inspired by the guys at Mulheres Barbadas, combines the use of Flash, Illustrator and Photoshop to create this brilliant illustration & type combo.

Designing a Typeface, With Illustrator and FontLab, from Start to Finish

This an excellent three-part tutorial that walk you through the process of designing a typeface from inspiration to completion.
See Also: Part Two | Part Three

How to Create a Baroque Pattern in Illustrator

Starting from a sketch, this tutorial teaches you how to create a stylish pattern with Illustrator in only ten easy steps.

Retro 3D Arcade Text Effect in Illustrator

Illustrator’s 3D capabilities are amazing. This tutorial tutorial teaches you how to use them the right way to create a retro, arcade-looking, typographic effect.

Web Tutorials

Build a Simple Image Slideshow with jQuery Cycle

Image slideshows can be a very useful technique to display multiple photos and maximizing space. This great tutorial, walks you through creating one of these using jQuery.

Coding Up a Web Design Concept into HTML & CSS

This tutorial on Line25, teaches you how to create a website from a Photoshop design into a coded website in HTML and CSS3.
See Also: How To Build Your Own Wordpress Theme

The Intricacy of Simplicity: CSS3

This great screencast and written tutorial combo explains how to create great looking effects with CSS3 instead of using images, therefore, allowing for much more flexibility.

Using Twitter’s @anywhere Service in 6 Steps

Twitter recently released @anywhere, which allows you to easily integrate Twitter’s capabilities into your personal site. This great tutorial from NETTuts+ shows you how.

15 Useful HTML5 Tutorials and Cheat Sheets

HTML5 is a new technology that is changing and will continue to change web design. This is a great round-up of tutorials, from Web Design Ledger, that will help you embrace this new technology.

Grid-Based Web Design, Simplified

This is an excellent article/tutorial, from Design Informer, that explains and teaches you how to implement grids into your webdesigns. Not only is this article great; it’s custom design is incredibly impressive.

Different Stylesheets for Differently Sized Browser Windows

Also known as “resolution dependent layouts”, this tutorial by Chris Coyier, teaches you how to implement different CSS styles depending on the screen size.

How to Make a Screencast for Your Website

Screencasts can be a great tool to engage with readers or teach in-depth techniques. This helpful article, from Webdesigner Depot, gives some excellent tips on how to do it right.

Freebies, Inspiration & Resources

Time-Savers: 400+ Stock Images, Retro Vectors

Stock images can save you valuable time to work on more important parts of a project. This is a great round-up that has collected over 400 retro-themed vectors for your use.

Subtle Grunge Textured Photoshop Brushes

This pack by Liam McKay comes with 42 high quality grunge brushes that are free for your use in any type of project.

Get Inspired

This is a beautiful collection from Media Militia that’s filled with inspiring artwork that is guaranteed to get your creative gears working.

World Cup 2010 Posters Inspired by African Pattern Heritage and Contemporary Football

The 2010 World Cup is rapidly approaching and with it being held in South Africa, not only can we expect the soccer games to be exciting; we can also expect to learn about it’s culture, music and aproach to art.

A Showcase of Creative Punctuation in Logo Design

The familiarity that we all have with punctuation makes their effectiveness as logos remarkably good. This is a great showcase of logos that use punctuation creatively to get their message across.

50 Beautiful Print Advertisements for Inspiration

Today’s ads are more than just advertisements. To stand out from the rest, they need to be works of art that capture the eye of potential costumers. This is a showcase of ads that accomplish that.

20 Clean White Letterpress Business Cards

This is a great collection of 20 clean white letterpress business cards that are sure to inspire. The white and minimal design of these cards, give you a sense of quality and elegance.

Evaluating a Graphic Design Curriculum

This is a great article where PSDTuts+ Editor, Sean Hodge, gives some great insight on evaluating the graphic design curriculum at your university.

An Interview with Jeff Starr

This is a great interview by Andrew Houle, with Jeff Starr, who co-wrote the book Digging Into Wordpress with Chris Coyier.

Get Featured in Creative Bookmarks

If you’d like to be featured in the next volume of Creative Bookmarks, simply send us you’re tutorial, resource, or article link before the end of the month. If we think it’s a top notch link, we’ll be sure to share it with all of our readers!

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