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Content first

Imagine you’re a fashion designer and you get hired to design a women’s dress for a fashion show. You get a brief about the design, the type of clothing and the colours, but the client tells you they have no idea what built or height the model will be. This is the brief you have and you must continue the project. You have a hard task of making a great dress without knowing who will wear it and weather or not it will fit. So you decide to design a dress for an average size model and you leave some work for the last minute in case the model does not fit the average measurements. Just before the show, the client calls you and tells you the model is almost half the size your dress is. There’s no more time to make big alterations and your dress will not be great.

Web designers get into similar kinds of trouble often. Clients assume their brief is good enough, but without content, it very rarely is. Designers do not design screens, they design content.

Alain de Botton quote

This one makes me feel better about my work.

Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough

—Alain de Botton

Things learnt while designing in the browser

  • If you haven’t yet tried designing in the browser, I wholeheartedly recommend it, fellow maker of the web. It makes life easier.
  • It’s both tough and easy, mostly depending on your team.
  • All team members must know how to design in the browser. A chain is probably only as strong as its weakest link.
  • Experience will bring you speed and confidence, don’t expect to jump from a visual editor into the browser and get super results straight away.
  • It is faster and more effective than the waterfall process.
  • It makes more sense than the waterfall process and allows fast and constant iteration. No website is ever finished, after all.
  • Have an art director on your team and follow his lead.
  • Create moodboards or style tiles, or both, but don’t waste time on full mocks.

Chase Adam on Watsi

I absolutely loved Chase Adam’s talk about his website, Watsi. Take a 25 minute break and watch the video, it’s well worth it. I’m a huge fan of the idea, the model, and the dedication behind this project.

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