Issue 7 of Web Design Readings

Hi there,

This week I share links from different aspects, including responsive images, loading performance, my thoughts on AngularJS and why having limitations is good.

Images on Retina Display

The srcset attribute is now supported in latest Android and iOS 8. If you are not aware of this new feature, the WebKit site provides a very simple getting started guide.

<img src="image-src.png" srcset="image-1x.png 1x, image-2x.png 2x, image-3x.png 3x"> 

The responsive web, however, is never so simple. AListApart published an essay last month discussing “Responsive Images in Practice”.

Loading Performance

Yahoo Developer site posted a collection of performance rules for a long while. On the other side, Mozilla Developer Network also has a keep-updating document discussing tips for fast loading HTML pages.

Page loading is always a challenge for web designers because of the variations of network access devices from EDGE mobile to fiber network. Although these performance guides have been there for a while, I still recommend reading them every few months for the latest best practices.

Are you still using AngularJS?

I have been using AngularJS since its early beta version. At first I felt stunning on how fast I can accomplish thing with Anuglar. Later then find using Angular is really like riding roller coaster. You never know if you are going to be awesome or awful on the next feature to be implemented.

There are tons of essay talking about Angular. Alexey Migutsky’s 2 years with Angular essay summaries it.

Angular.js is “good enough” for majority of projects, but it is not good enough for professional web app development.

I always think there is scenario where a specific tool would be useful, so does the AngularJS. The essay from the same “Why You Should Learn Angular Anyway” tells you why you should learn it even if it is not as expected. ‘People tend to put it everywhere these days’ so ‘Chances are high that you will have to touch it some day anyway.’

Having constraints is good

Why limitations are key to great UX? Stefan Rössler shares his thought on improving user experience by focus and constraints.

Just build the right tool for the job. The user experience can’t be controlled and it can’t be designed either. All you can do is build a tool that’s so limited that users can easily integrate it into their existing workflows.

That’s why I can’t stick with Evernote although I have been paying it since 2010. I think that Evernote has too many distractions. I want tools that only focus on one thing. Focusing is like those tiny yet powerful Unix commands.

Limitations mean that there are less features, less buttons, and less friction in your user interface.

We think every features are essential but actually they aren’t. 37signals told us how to Build half a product, not a half-ass product, in the book “Getting Real”.

Stick to what's truly essential. Good ideas can be tabled. Take whatever you think your product should be and cut it in half. Pare features down until you're left with only the most essential ones. Then do it again.

Be Creative with Character

One of my daily used website is the I copy character symbols there to use in many places, including a text-based todo-list (❑ ❑ ✔ ❑), Symbol for text-based headings and many other text fields.

Furthermore, the Donger list wants you to be creative with your unicode characters. For example, here is a running guy.

ᕕ| ◉ ͜ʟ ◉ |ง

You may also click the “Generate Random Donger” button to create your own unicode character. Just in case you want some fun in your text-based tools, this is a good site to go.

P.S. If you find the weekly readings worthy to read, please share it on twitter or Facebook. Your reading and sharing do encourage me a lot.

Best Regards,
Thomas Seng Hin Mak