Design related thoughts and discoveries

How to start a web design project – infographic

Found this great post over on designmodo (http://designmodo.com) which captures the process of creating a website nicely.

Start a Web Design Project [Infographic]

Why I love Instagram

Wales Millennium Centre via Instagram

Okay so I know I’m arriving at the Instagram party a little late, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a quick rave about it. I don’t remember the last time something captured my attention so immediately. In the modern age of constant advertising, Twitter conversations and my ever decreasing attention span that’s a pretty rare thing. So I felt the urge to try and question exactly what it is that makes Instagram so compelling for me.

I think it’s the simplicity of it that makes it so addictive. There’s no overly elaborate settings to fiddle with, you just take a snap and post it. I love the fact that you can’t save pics so you have to be ruthless. If a pic isn’t up to scratch, ditch it and take another. I have my phone with me all the time so it’s great to be spontaneous and snap when I like. I’d never remember to take a digital camera out with me everywhere and I certainly wouldn’t have time to transfer those pics to my Mac and then decide which ones to post online and then decide where I should post them – Facebook? Flickr? Arrrghh!

It’s great seeing what other people are taking pictures of too, in fact it’s a great source of inspiration and creative networking with peers. It’s also nice to see things on a bigger screen sometimes too on this interest/instagram hybrid website: http://www.pinstagram.co/

Instructions for a successful Instagram experience:

  1. Take a picture
  2. Add a filter
  3. Does it look awesome?
    • Yes – go to step 4
    • No – go to step 1
  4. Post it!

Follow me on Instagram, search for @hellotank

Web design work flow for iPhone

iPhone workflow

For a lot of the projects we are working on here at Hellotank we are having to design for mobile devices as well as desktop and laptop screens. We’re heading towards everything we design and build for web being responsive –  in other words, creating web content that will work on any screen size. With new devices appearing almost daily and with them new screen sizes, the old days of designing purely for 1024 x 768 monitors are gone, so we have to rethink the way we design and come up with something more flexible.

It can be quite hit and miss when you’re trying to preview your designs on an iPhone. JPEGs auto scale to fit on screen and appear to be compressed. Trying to get a visual to fit to the screen width without scaling AND still allow you to scroll vertically, as you would a regular web page proves to be a bit of a challenge.

Finding a definitive resource on designing web content for mobile devices can be tricky. I’ve spent a long time scouring the web looking for concise, accurate and straightforward information on what size things should be when designing for a mobile device – specifically the iPhone Retina display. This article on Smashing Magazine is probably the best I’ve seen to date.

But it’s all so overblown. I just want to know a simple way to preview my designs accurately on my iPhone. Through reading other people’s experiences online and a fair bit of trial and error I’ve come up with a workflow that suits me and will hopefully be of some use to others.

This is by no means a definitive guide. This is just a nice simple way for previewing your designs on iPhone etc quickly and accurately. If anyone has any suggestions or improvements to this then I’m all ears.

Designing a website for iPhone Retina Display

Goes without saying but you need: Mac/PC with Photoshop, Dropbox, iPhone for previewing

  1. Set up a Photoshop document at 640px x 960px @72dpi resolution
  2. Design using vector shapes where possible

When you’re ready to preview on your device:

  1. Save a copy of your Photoshop file as a PDF
  2. Drop that PDF into a folder in Dropbox on your Mac/PC (I have a folder set up called ‘iPhone visuals’) that I just drop everything in
  3. Open the Dropbox app on your iPhone/iPod Touch and locate the file you’ve just created
  4. Et voila! Accurate previewing, no unnecessary compression, fits to width and allows vertical scrolling

Women’s Rights Education & Advocacy Project launch event

Cardiff Women's Aid launch event

Hellotank has been delighted to be involved with Cardiff Women’s Aid over the past year to help with their ‘Women’s Rights Education & Advocacy Project’.

Yesterday was a big day for the project with a launch event in the Pierhead building, Cardiff Bay. Championing the cause are Finance Minister Jane Hutt, Julie Morgan AM and Ospreys, Wales & British Lions rugby star Adam Jones. The project aims to challenge gender inequality and domestic violence and has already recruited and trained 42 female volunteers.

Hellotank created the branding and marketing materials (including the banner pictured) which are helping the project gain publicity and raise awareness. We hope this goes on to be a huge success and are very proud to back the campaign.

More information on yesterday’s event can be found on the WalesOnline website here: http://bit.ly/ILLZKx For more information on the project itself visit the Cardiff Women’s Aid website: http://bit.ly/Jgn5o6