I hate using paper. I just do. I could never cut anything straight and had an ever present fear of lead poisoning drilled into me by catholic nuns in elementary school. You can imagine my elation when I discovered Balsamiq (now called Mockups by Balsamiq). At the time I was tasked with creating wireframes to show the CEO/Art director (don’t get me started) some ideas. Seemed like the perfect solution to keep his mind off the aesthetics and on the larger issue of pain points, flow, and user stories. What have I used this program for since? Everything! Wireframes, personas, prototypes, even design critiques. The funny thing is that I was raised using Adobe Illustrator for anything that involved the smallest amount of layout. Talk about overkill. Typically I’ll end up exporting the bmml files out as PNGs and dropping them into Keynote or whatever I’m using to present.
I would have liked it more if it had some “before and after” examinations. Instead there’s a lot of success examples throughout; “look what Amazon did here” type stuff. Makes for an easy read but I really enjoy the details of problem solving. It has a lot of general explanations as to why IXD’s do some things that we learn in class or in the field. There’s hardly anything in here that Steve Krug didn’t cover in a more concise manner, IMHO.
Now that we’ve got an MVP ready to submit to the store, it’s time to start iterating on improvements. The app works, it’s intuitive for the majority of testers, and it even has a bell and whistle (singular) but now we need to make some moves to make it a bit more seductive.
Each of the following are non-functional prototypes and are being used to test before narrowing down any viable ideas. Click on each to read a description of the whys and hows.
Many years ago I was leading a small team on the presentation layer of a Rails app and it was suggested that my team start using HAML in strict mode. We had all been writing HTML/CSS/JS by hand for years and just could not see the value in learning shorthand syntax because we’re not Rails devs and we know how to write markup. Sure it’s more efficient and cleaner looking for a back end engineer but why add a layer on top of something that’s not a problem for us? That said, we tried it anyway. It was a disaster. The strict indenting slowed down the dev cycle and while the syntax was fairly close to raw HTML it looked more like Ruby than markup. We ended up dropping HAML and productivity sky rocketed.
Years later the landscape has definitely shifted. It’s not just about writing human readable code. It’s about semantic markup and accessibility compliance. These shorthand languages provide a system for reducing hacks in the markup and provide templates for a larger application.
doctype html html(lang="en") head title="selino" link(rel='stylesheet', href='index.css') body #container.flex-con p Item 1 p Item 2 p Item 3 p Item 4 p Item 5 p Item 6 p Item 7 p Item 8 p Item 1 p Item 2 p Item 3 p Item 4 p Item 5 p Item 6 p Item 7 p Item 8 script(src="js/reload.js") script(src="js/prefixfree.min.js")
if youAreUsingJade p You are amazing else p Get on it!
I’ve been using SASS in Rails projects for years. How I wrote CSS before is hard to imagine but I didn’t have to imagine it for long. As I began work on the Flojuggler iOS app I realized that I had to write some raw CSS. Was not a problem but… kinda sucked. So, I looked around for a tool that would let me write SASS without needing a server side interpreter. I shopped around, tried a few, and decided that Koala is the marsupial for the job.
- Multi-language Support: support for Less,Sass, CoffeeScript and Compass Framework.
- Real-time Compilation: listening files, compile automatically when the file changes, that everything is running in the background without user action.
- Compile Options Support: you can set the compiler options for each file.
- Compression: auto compress code after compilation is completed.
- Error Notification: if encountered an error during compilation, koala will pop up the error message.
- Cross-platform: koala can run in Windows, Mac and Linux.