Plugin development has evolved over the past few years. We no longer have just one way to write plugins, but many. In reality, certain patterns might work better for a particular problem or component than others. Some developers may wish to use the jQuery UI widget factory; it’s great for complex, flexible UI components. Some may not. Some might like to structure their plugins more like modules (similar to the module pattern) or use a more formal module format such as AMD. And so on.
People in boardrooms across the world love a good graph. They go nuts for PowerPoint, bullet points and phrases like “run it up the flagpole,” “blue-sky thinking” and “low-hanging fruit,” and everything is always “moving forward.” Backwards is not an option for people who facilitate paradigm shifts in the zeitgeist. Graphs of financial projections, quarterly sales figures and market saturation are a middle-manager’s dream.
How can we as Web designers get in on all of this hot graph action? There are actually quite a few ways to display graphs on the Web. We could simply create an image and nail it to a Web page. But that’s not very accessible or interesting. We could use Flash, which is quite good for displaying graphs — but again, not very accessible. Besides, designers, developers and deities are falling out of love with Flash.
When it comes to responsive design, it’s not just about fluid images or adaptive layouts. It’s also about the responsive methodology behind the entire design process. In responsive design, we are creating responsive experiences, meaning that all design components need to be able to adapt to the environment in which they are displayed and have to interact with.
This is why we create tables, navigation menus, videos and other design elements responsive as well (see Responsive Web Design Techniques and Design Strategies for more details). It just makes sense to consider each and every design component — including the image slider.
For instance, many recent promo websites are essentially single page websites with an array of animation effects used to make navigation a smoother and richer user experience. We need to be very careful and cautious when using these dynamic effects in our designs. A simple, calm navigation is usually much more user-friendly than an evolved, dynamic one. Users want to use the website, not be baffled by the weird and hardly usable navigation. But that’s not to say that a creative navigation should be avoided at all costs.
Recently we’ve been receiving more requests for carefully selected, useful round-ups. We try to avoid round-ups on Smashing Magazine, but sometimes the format is useful and — if the resources are relevant — can be extremely helpful. Besides, we are glad to drive traffic to some obscure, yet useful resources and thus support the developers of these resources.
Interactivity can transform a dull static website into a dynamic tool that not only delights users but conveys information more effectively. In this post, we’ll walk through five different coding techniques that can be easily implemented on any website to provide a richer user experience. These techniques will allow you to better display difficult content, help users find information more effectively and provide meaningful UI cues without overwhelming the user: on-page text search, drag controls for oversized content, subtle hover effects, comment count bars and a full-page slider.
Websites often have search boxes to allow users to find content from their archives. But what if you want to find content on the given page? Information Architects
has had on-page text search that provides a great user experience. Let’s recreate this using jQuery.
jQuery plug-ins provide an excellent way to save time and streamline development, allowing programmers to avoid having to build every component from scratch. But plug-ins are also a wild card that introduce an element of uncertainty into any code base. A good plug-in saves countless development hours; a bad plug-in leads to bug fixes that take longer than actually building the component from scratch.
Fortunately, one usually has a number of different plug-ins to choose from. But even if you have only one, figure out whether it’s worth using at all. The last thing you want to do is introduce bad code into your code base. The first step is to figure out whether you even need a plug-in. If you don’t, you’ll save yourself both file size and time.
All of which means that, unless you have some odd grudge against jQuery, those days are gone — you can actually get stuff done now. A script to find all links of a certain CSS class in a document and bind an event to them now requires one line of code, not 10. To power this, jQuery brings to the party its own API, featuring a host of functions, methods and syntactical peculiarities. Some are confused or appear similar to each other but actually differ in some way. This article clears up some of these confusions.
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