There have been a number of tools and services to help make web development more efficient over the years, with CSS extensions such as Compass, LESS and SASS, that turn stylesheets into faux-programming languages, complete with variables. In addition to that, mobile is now the most popular way of accessing the internet, so it’s crucial to make website code and scripts as compact and efficient as possible.
CodeKit, by Incident 57, describes itself as “steroids for web developers” and, after using it for some time, I wholeheartedly agree.
In recent iterations of iOS — Apple’s mobile operating system for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad — and in recent versions of OS X on the desktop, you will undoubtedly have noticed a move towards visual elements that mimic real-life objects. The ruled, yellow notepaper for the Notes app, the torn-paper effect at the top of the stitched, leather-bound Calendar app, and more are examples of this.
These software design elements mimicking real world objects have introduced a new word into our vocabularies: skeuomorphism. Such effects have, however, divided opinion, and it is just possible that we will see Apple shift away from these elements in future.
We’ve written before about the proliferation of apps that only do one thing, and do it very well. There’s something to be said for simplistic, minimalist tools that you bust out only when you need them, plow through the task, and close them again with blinding efficiency. One of the categories of apps that I find this to be the most true is graphics and design apps. Tools like Photoshop and Illustrator have ruled supreme as workhorse, Swiss Army Knife-style apps for some time, but innovative and well-designed apps are popping up all over that aim to replace single functions from these apps, and they often do it better than the larger programs.
Today we’re going to take a look at Spectrum, which is a beautifully designed app from developer Eigenlogik. Its designed to make it simple to create color palattes in a simple, beautiful interface. Put on your creative hat, and let’s dig in to find out more about how Spectrum works.
Our weekly sponsor this week is ANTETYPE, an innovative design tool that focuses on the needs of user interface designers to optimize their daily workflows. Designers often have to waste precious time with repetitive tasks and imperfect tools that could otherwise be used for creativity and productivity. This is where ANTETYPE comes in handy.
ANTETYPE offers a comprehensive library of pre-designed, customizable UI elements for Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android that allow designers to create high quality mockups in no time. When the time comes for a custom UI or design, the application supports the designer with its unique layout system, intelligent widget concept, multiple screens and states, as well as comprehensive visual design features.
With a smart layout and widget system for a responsive design, UI elements can be modified on one screen and changes are promoted to other elements of the same type with just one click. There is no need to copy styles manually or to nudge elements back into the right position. ANTETYPE lets you create interactive prototypes and presentations of your designs that can be used for substantial user testing, or to simply show the design to clients via ANTETYPE’s own web viewer or iOS app.
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If you’re ready to get started designing better UIs with interactivity, you should give ANTETYPE a try. You can try ANTETYPE free for 30 days, or buy it just now during the summer sale, where ANTETYPE is available for $99 until August 17, down from its regular price of $289. You can also get an educational licenses for just $19 if you’re an educator or student.
In the past few months, I’ve enjoyed using the popular music streaming service Rdio to listen to my favorite tunes on my Mac, in the car with my iPhone, and in coffee shops with my iPad. As I never wished to create a Facebook account just so I could use Spotify, Rdio seemed to be a great solution and it also included a much more decent user interface throughout all the apps – the designers worked hard to make sure the experience didn’t fall short in this area.
Last week, however, someone seems to have stumbled in a hole, for the service announced on it’s blog that they were refining the look of their web and Mac apps to be lighter, apparently both on the eyes and bandwidth. Sadly, it’s far from pleasing to my eyes. In fact, I’ve found it to be worse than Spotify. Please allow me to explain… (more…)
In the Apple universe, certain developers are rockstars – from the OmniGroup to Panic, their apps are high-quality, beautiful, and full of personality. So when developer Marc Edwards and his team at Bjango released their latest app, Skala Preview, the Mac community had high expectations.
Is this tool for designers a follow-up hit from the team who created iStat, or is Bjango just another one-hit-wonder? Read on and find out!
Mac is a dream platform for designers. Depending on how many complex features are needed to get the job done, there are a myriad of apps available for designers. It goes without saying that a designer has to handle everything from an exciting new mobile app interface to a boring brochure. Usually, the latter design need not be as ground breaking as the former and not every aspect of it has be built from the ground up.
Be it an office party, garage sale or a freelance catalog, you might never know when you will have to whip up a quick flyer or brochure all by yourself. Swift Publisher is desktop publishing app for Mac that can help you with all your design and layout needs. Come, join me after the fold to test its chops!
This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on April 14th, 2011.
Mac OS X has a very high standard of interface design, more so than most other operating systems. This is thanks to designers to work extremely hard to make your software work the way you want it to. They may spend hours perfecting a single icon that you will use once and ignore – but it’s worth it.
Dmitry Novikov is a Russian designer who works for MacPaw, the software company that has brought you beautiful apps such as MacHider, Ensoul, and a personal favourite of mine that I couldn’t live without, CleanMyMac. Today, we’ll be talking to him about his processes, design decisions, and much more.