Posts Tagged

design

So often, we marvel at the quality of interface design on OS X – the clean, simple layouts, and how you know exactly how to use an app when you first use it. But do you ever stop and think about why this is?

It doesn’t just happen by accident. There are UI designers working tirelessly to make an app look and feel absolutely perfect.

Chris Downer is the UI designer for Realmac Software, the company behind such OS X greats as LittleSnapper, Courier and Rapidweaver. Today, we’ll be talking to Chris about his methods, inspiration and much more.

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I think we’ve all been there. It just feels like its time for a new furniture configuration. The ideas are flowing. “I could move the chair over there and then the coffee table over here and then…”. Out comes the tape measure (maybe) and we start trying to figure out what would fit where and how it would all look.

You think you have it figured out, start moving furniture around and then realize that you’ve blocked half your doorway. Frustration ensues as you try to remedy your “design” and, after a while you end up back where you started and all you got out of it was a workout.

Maybe a little help is in order?

MyFourWalls is interior design and layout, modeling, and floor planning application. It’s basic function is to help you plan the interior design of your home, office, or any interior space. Without too much difficulty, you’re able to recreate the exact space and then play with different wall treatments, flooring, lighting and furniture layouts.

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“The Mac is geared towards creatives.” That’s what you hear most often when a discussion turns to the benefits of operating systems. But what exactly are those fantastic apps that appeal to us creative folks?

Other than the well known giants of Adobe Creative Suite, there are many other software gems with plenty of functionality (and a far lower price tag). Today I’ll be showcasing the giants in the design software world, and a few alternatives that may actually suit you better.

Read on for a showdown of the essential Mac design software – whether it’s for the web, bitmap, or vector design (and I’ve thrown a few apps for developers in for good measure too!)

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I’m a fairly recent Mac switcher and, as a web developer, I started wondering which coding environment I would choose. I spotted two main apps that seemed to stand out from the crowd: Coda and Espresso. Although we’ve covered Espresso in the past, I thought it was worth taking another look at this fantastic web development app today.

When Espresso was reviewed here for the first time, it was still in beta. Though we could see what the app would look like and some of the features it would include, the app wasn’t complete. Since Espresso came out of beta, lots of things have been added to the product. Features such as a project manager and better publishing options have really helped Espresso become an all-round better candidate.

Espresso has some superb features, but also a few aspects that could be improved. And how does it stand up to Panic’s Coda? In today’s review, we’ll put Espresso through its paces.

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Mac applications are known for their superb design, and in the past few years UI designers have really embraced this trend by creating some really remarkable interfaces. They embrace realism, ooze texture, and generally make you stop and stare.

Today we’ll look at 30 pieces of Mac software that really push the limit of great interface design. First we’ll say what the app does, then provide a screenshot followed by a brief statement about what I really love about the interface.

Let’s get started – prepare to be dazzled!

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Every time I find an application that I really like, I immediately check out the other applications from the same developer. You’ll find that more often than not, there is a theme (visual or practical) that ties all their applications together in such a way that if you like one of them, you’ll probably like a few others as well.

Today we’ll take a look at some of my favorite Mac software developers. Some of them have created incredibly popular software while others are fairly obscure. You can be sure that all of the Mac and iPhone developers below have immense talent and at least one or two apps worth downloading.

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Live Interior 3D Pro is a powerful and feature-rich application for designing and building both the interior and basic exterior of a home. Though the graphics are by no means photorealistic, there are some primitive rendering capabilities that make it fairly easy to create impressive images.

This review will give a quick breakdown of the UI and features available in Live Interior 3D Pro and conclude with a few thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of the application.

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Let me say right at the outset that I’m not an obvious choice for reviewing this application. I’m not a designer, and I don’t currently work on maintaining any websites; I have little use of software for working out effective color schemes in my day-to-day life and work. These facts might make me either entirely the wrong person to assess ColorSchemer Studio 2, or just the right guy.

I used to be involved in running the website of a big local authority, and I have seen first-hand the damage that can be done by untrained eyes when the thought arises “Wouldn’t it be nice just to add a little splash of color to this page?” With ColorSchemer, this needn’t be such a big problem any more.

This is a really clever app that simplifies the work of coming up with effective and attractive color combinations for websites or any screen design work. You don’t need to be a professional designer to appreciate its great features or to find it useful whenever you do need to work with colors.

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There comes a time in the life of a designer where they seek methods to make their already beautiful design magnificent. The grid system is one of these such alternate methods, with many application developers, both online and offline, creating their own for a specific purpose. Two popular examples in the web field are the 960 grid system and the blueprint framework. Slammer takes this to a whole new level, adding in powerful tools to manipulate your grid system framework across all platforms.

Slammer, developed by Ringce, is an advanced layout tool that allows web and interface designers alike to create and tweak their layouts to align with a grid system, golden sections, harmonious sections and the fibonacci series.

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It’s safe to say that you can never have too many tools. No matter what your trade, you will always be more effective if you have quality tools at your side (as long as your don’t bankrupt yourself in the process). Luckily, if your tools are of the software variety, you don’t even need to find room in the garage to store them.

One example of an incredibly innovative and effective set of tools for designers and web developers on the Mac is xScope. XScope is an app that has a wide array of features, allowing you to layout and measure elements on screen in an incredibly “Mac-Like” way. The seven included tools offer everything from color sampling to pixel spacing, and everything in between.

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