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Design Focus: Stylish Scrollbars

A few years ago, WebKit resurrected the ability to style browser scrollbars the way Internet Explorer first did. These days customizing the scrollbar is still not as rampant or recommended, since it’s not that advisable to mess with behavior that users are already used to, but featured below are sites that went ahead anyway. Some of them have pretty striking results.

Designs of the Week

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Mezcal Buen Viaje

Mezcal Buen Viaje

The most fabulous and colorful custom scrollbar I’ve seen, designed to match the festive and tribal-themed illustrations on the page, from the vertical navigation on the left to the social icons in the footer. I like that they added hummingbirds that flap their wings as you scroll down; an animation concept used on Andrew McCarthy’s site featured here. Even the slider and gallery are atypical, framing photos in diamond-shaped containers.

weareanonymous.fr

weareanonymous.fr

I love the use of different head silhouettes as masks against their portfolio images to drive home the “anonymous” concept. Instead of the usual grid of boxes they made it quirky and interesting. Scrolling through the projects section you see the scrollbar a bubble label with the year they were made, which I think is a clever and functional way of customizing it. Lastly: check out the way the form fields were arranged on the About/Contact part.

Fine Goods

Fine Goods

The poster boy for interface realism and fine attention to detail. I love myself some minimalist, “flat” designs but I don’t find this “skeuomorphic” look outdated at all. The different kinds of woodgrain, the sliding out drawers on the sidebar, and the shelves connected by ropes, the price tags punching holes into the product images—they all point to a special creativity that comes with this kind of design, and it’s still a delightful experience to have.

Eyewear Brands

Eyewear Brands

More conservative design compared to the others on this list, although there’s some artsy illustrations found within its pages. One notable interaction pattern here is dimming out the rest of the page when one hovers over the top mega dropdown menu.

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Web DesignStyle guide links
“As a follow up to my article on A List Apart I thought I would put together a list of links that have been extremely helpful to me as I’ve thought about style guides.”

DesignInside Monument Valley: How ‘Impossible’ Sketches Became An Amazing Game
“Wong cracked open his sketchbooks to give Cult of Mac readers a glimpse at how Monument Valley‘s breathtaking designs came to be.”

Interaction DesignMotion Ui Design Principles
“These basic principles I’ve outlined focus more on the what and why, rather than the how to of motion / animation. With the increasing emphasis on motion (largely thanks to the more paired back design of iOS 7) its important that it is implemented with the same integrity and purpose as all the other aspects of Ui design.”

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Design Focus: Color Chameleon

Adding a color-changing effect is a neat way to instantly make your site more dynamic and fun.

Designs of the Week

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Metafizzy

Metafizzy

The default state has an uber long text shadow, which is what changes colors, then when you hover it gets these psychedelic rainbow stripes. Even better is that the headers of the links below also change to match the gradiented streaks with complementary colors.

Animate.css

Animate.css

This one’s even more subtle and you might miss it if you don’t stay on the page for very long. It has a bit of the iOS 7 influence, with the colorful gradient color combinations, the thin lines (although not the Helvetica), and the bordered (instead of filled) buttons. Even the hover colors match the current display color.

Barrel Recap 2013

Barrel Recap 2013

Besides the changing solid background color on the landing page that keeps the rest of the site under wraps, which is in shades of blue and green, there are a couple other trends at play: the vertical column layout that scrolls horizontally, a sprinkling of statistics in between portfolio and team shots, and particularly large social media buttons arranged top-down at the far right end.

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CSSMagic of CSS
“CSS is a mess. We all love it, but it’s a mess. I liken it to English: there are a bunch of rules, and you can learn them. But sometimes you’re better off just trying shit and seeing what works and what doesn’t.”

Responsive Web Design, Email DesignResponsive Email Patterns
“A collection of patterns & modules for responsive emails”

Web DevelopmentWeb Development History Is Amazing
“What is meant exactly by tiered site architecture? The three aspects of any site are presentation, logic, and data. The further you separate these areas, the more layers, or “tiers,” your system has.”

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Design Focus: On The Eyes

Have you ever wondered about the user experience and interface design of shopping for spectacles and sunnies? This week we’re looking at online shops for the eyeglass- and sunglass-wearing crowd.

Designs of the Week

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The House of Eyewear

The House of Eyewear

No scrolling on this page and you have to go through a few steps to see the products, from Collections and Brands to picking your gender and sun vs. optical. When you finally get to the glasses page, there’s a progress bar at the top that counts down a few seconds until it twirls the product photo to give you a 360-degree view. It seems the only way to get it to turn again is to repeat the page load. On a few other informational pages there are videos playing in the background, which you can also view in full after hiding the box of content, so sometimes the navigation links at the top aren’t too visible.

NewVision

NewVision

The site takes a split-page approach; the menu moves to the left once you pick something and the content appears on the right side. Save for the eyewear pictures the site is pretty much black, white, and gray, even the custom-designed map.

Andy Wolf White Heat

Andy Wolf White Heat

Such a bold statement with their models that it’s gone from to lookbook to almost something of an art piece. Scrolling down peels of the virtual cover and brings you to the lookbook, description, collection, and teaser video all on the same page—no navigation links to skip to each. The product pages show full-width photos of the glasses with the model and without, as well as meta information like color and size.

Oxydo Society

Oxydo Society

Clicking anywhere on video and large logo unfolds a matching diamond-shaped set of links. The photoshoot snaps are for the collection’s different categories, while the individual products have different angles of the glasses and helpful links like an animated, hand-drawn illustration for the size guide, and a pretty psychedelic color guide page animating the letters of Oxydo based on your mouse location. There’s a handful more of animated illustrations on the Society page.

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Web Design, HTML, CSSWTF, HTML and CSS?
“A curated list of commonly frustrating HTML and CSS quandaries, miscues, and dilemmas.”

User Experience, Interaction DesignIxD (Interaction Design) Checklist
“Form a better understanding of interaction through using the IxD Checklist.”

BusinessWhy I Need to Know Your Budget
“But most of all, what that number tells me is how to guide you toward the appropriate solution for you, and to stay away from solutions that are outside of your price range.”

DesignLayout in Flipboard for Web and Windows
“How do we automate the whole process of layout design and editing? By slotting your content into custom designed page layouts—like fitting puzzle pieces together.”

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Design Focus: Infographic Web

You’ve gotten a glimpse of infographics making their way to the web in people’s portfolios and causeworthy sites. Here, our featured designs are independent websites that put the fascinating discipline of data visualization front and center.

Designs of the Week

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Make Your Money Matter

Make Your Money Matter

The advantage of websites over single-image infographics is their interactivity, and this one does it better than most. It artfully blends storytelling, scrolling by animation, and important information on one page with great illustrations, scenery, and and smooth transitions. For such heavy content it’s been optimized quite well. The typography is also impeccable, although it would have been nice for the headers to use web fonts instead of images.

FlatGuitars

FlatGuitars

No charts here so these aren’t traditional “infographics” but it’s definitely informative, graphical, and well-designed.

Water - Less Than You Think

Water – Less Than You Think

Uses keyboard navigation and some interesting perspective shifts to take you on a 3-dimensional ride, rather than just a scroll from top to bottom.

Sponge

Sponge

Their English site features an interesting 3D-moving graphic, while this one features a timeline format of their works. The yellow on black flips to black on yellow for inner pages, and uses this more pebble-type of shape (non completely circular but extremely rounded squares) for the images.

Visual history of computing

Visual history of computing

This site lets you embed its infographic as a whole image with an iframe code you can copy. The illustrations here are great, especially as you get to the older decades of computer inventions, but I really wish the first screen looked more interesting.

The Cost of Carbon

The Cost of Carbon

There’s a bit of a cinematic intro when the page first loads. An endless ticker tape listing the ecological risks of based on every person’s location and its carbon footprint. The small dots on the right show category icons on hover, letting you drill down on the explanations when you click. Though there’s a slight problem with the white when the graph or map is also white, doesn’t even have shadows.

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DesignResponsive Design Sameness
“Design sameness fades when designers stop focusing on which solutions for their problem are out there and start focusing on the problem at hand.”

TypographyCrafting link underlines on Medium
“The perfect underline should be visible, but unobstrusive — allowing people to realize what’s clickable, but without drawing too much attention to itself.”

Web DesignDrowning in Tools in the Web Development Industry
“This is one of the great things about our industry and, unlike some business strategies, this openness and collaboration doesn’t stifle innovation; it does the opposite.”

Email DesignSome Tips for Email Layout and Responsiveness
“In this article, I’d like to present some techniques I’ve successfully used at Artsy to create emails that look good on your browser or mobile device, in some of the most popular email clients out there.”

CSSPesticide
“Faster CSS layout debugging.”

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Design Focus: Noir & Suspense

For all the clean and minimalist designs out there are sites that evoke a dark, brooding, adventurous mood with illustrations, light, and even sound. The ones featured below also carry that noir, vintage feel.

Designs of the Week

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Luhse Tea

Luhse Tea

I love the clever touches used to frame certain content, like the smoke from the barrel of the rifle as background for “free shipping” and a blimp as background for the search bar. Even the lightbox for images has an ornate frame with proper branding—makes you wonder why sites don’t do this more often. I would have loved for the animations to be native HTML5 instead of Flash, but they are fun touches nonetheless.

Booking.com's haunted hotels

Booking.com’s haunted hotels

Instead of scrolling down, you go “up the stairs” and view creepy movie posters under flickering lights. When the page loses focus, the current section is rotated and zoomed out a bit, then rights itself when you return to it. The shuddering hover animations on the links and social buttons are also a treat.

Limoncello Studio

Limoncello Studio

Illustrations here are a tad less intimdating but have a great visual style as well. Super clever are the hanging portraits of social media sites as gangsters with their own edgy nicknames.

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Design, BusinessWhat Advice Would You Give To A Graphic Design Student?
“Be suspicious of lists, advice, and lists of advice.”

DesignCreating a Killer Style Guide
“Get five tips to creating a document that unifies a product’s design, even after launch.”

DesignBadass Lady Creatives
“Badass Lady Creatives celebrates women working in the creative industries.”

Responsive Web DesignDevice-Agnostic
“As web designers, it is our role to consider (and plan for) maximum reach and access, even when final results might seem underwhelming or less immersive.”

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Design Focus: Evergreen

We’re not talking about eco-friendly sites but designs that have taken a liking to this lush hue, now more than ever.

Designs of the Week

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Verde

Verde

For the minimalists, this is the equivalent of a big photograph, illustration, or video as the homepage header. It color-changes to different shades of green, sometimes coming off too strong for my taste, but one quick swipe downwards and the green disappears into a free-form arrangement of portfolio screens.

Folkelarm

Folkelarm

I like how the logo is broken down into parts and scattered into a circle in the header, then drops down to form it when you scroll down. It also plays with layering a bit by hiding behind the photos in the following screen, and repeats the pattern in the tickets and a couple of other backgrounds. White on blue is a little easier to read than white on green, but these days, the latter is very popular.

Two Minutes With TGD

Two Minutes With TGD

That tall and narrow type definitely reminds me of those movie poster credits, which fits with the video theme of the site. Elsewhere it becomes predominantly black and white, while the lighter shade of green becomes the accent color.

Troi Oiseaux

Troi Oiseaux

Notice exactly two links in the area, info and projects, sliding in their respective directions. Like the first site featured above it does an uncover as you move on to the portfolio.

Prospek

Prospek

Another site that plays with layering: the devices in the first screen are not stuck to the background but go to the foreground and gain full color on hover. The opposite happens to the images below and get a green-and-black treatment. Their 3-column, full-width layout carries over to the rest of the pages, including their blog.

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Typography Whats the Closest Google Font?
“We have all received design from a client with non-web safe fonts. The client does not want to pay the licensing, and you don’t want to break the law. So you are stuck trying to find a needle in the haystack that is the Google Web Fonts. Stop searching.”

User ExperienceWhat We Mean When We Say “responsive”
“I can tell you how to do Responsive Web Design. How we make things “responsive” is up to us. All of us.”

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Design Focus: New Age Editors

Check out these modern tools that will help you build websites faster and better than ever before, and the design patterns they employed for their landing pages—from animations to familiar color schemes.

Designs of the Week

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TopStyle

TopStyle

Mixture

Mixture

CSS Hat

CSS Hat

Brackets

Brackets

Hammer for Mac

Hammer for Mac

Adobe Edge Code CC

Adobe Edge Code CC

Koding

Koding

SimpLESS

SimpLESS

Nitrous.IO

Nitrous.IO

Atom

Atom

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Web StandardsCode Guide by @mdo
“Standards for developing flexible, durable, and sustainable HTML and CSS.”

DesignThe Troublesome Misconception of Parallax in Web Design.
“The sites above are either using different scroll effects to simulate movement of objects not naturally expected by the user, or simply sliding two planes over one another at different scroll speeds.”

User ExperienceHow we work
“We always start by trying to understand the problem: the users of the website or product, the organisation on their customer strategy, the goals and needs of the project, who’s in charge and who isn’t.”

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Design Focus: Interactive Resumes

These days it’s not enough for a web designer to have resumes or curriculum vitae like they usually do. If anything, it’s the best avenue to put their best foot forward and show off the skills that they’ve got to potential new bosses.

Designs of the Week

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Robby Leonardi

Robby Leonardi

This guy set the bar extremely high by making a side-scrolling platform video game out of his resume. It’s a bit unintuitive, however, to scroll down in order to move sideways.

Passfolio

Passfolio

There’s the familiar scattered-objects-as-design in the background. Although a photo section and video feature of this tactile portfolio documents the clever idea just fine, I might have been even more intrigued if the content of the “passfolio” were to be real webpage elements on this microsite.

Charles Richard

Charles Richard

Circles dominate this parallax one-pager, like bubbles and balloons floating in and up the viewport.

Zeefax

Zeefax

Here’s another 8-bit inspired design, not skimping on the loud basic colors at all. The only thing that detracts from this blast from the past are those social buttons on the left side.

Pascal van Gemert

Pascal van Gemert

This is the most staid of the bunch, but I’m adding it for the very modest hover effect on the “flat”-style illustrations in the Interests section.

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DesignWhy you should move that button 3px to the left
“Designing a custom button in Photoshop is easy — that’s the part of the iceberg we can all see. Below the surface it takes a lot of effort to get the details right: building pressed and inactive states, preventing text highlighting on double-click, adding right-to-left support, testing accessibility, and so on.”

User ExperienceMobile Menu AB Tested: Hamburger Not the Best Choice?
“We really have no idea at all how users interact with our websites. Until we measure and observe, our assumptions are based on uncertain probabilities.”

DesignOn Creative Direction
“Creative direction is about the forest and the trees. More specifically, it’s about helping those in the trees see the forest, and helping those who only see the forest remember the trees too.”

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Design Focus: Versus

Go on a virtual sparring match with these websites that pit one person or concept against the other. Which design reigns supreme?

Designs of the Week

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Flat Design VS Realism

Flat Design VS Realism

A visual scrolling feast, with the right message at the end. My main problem with this page is how resource-heavy it is and how difficult it gets to scroll.

Ruthless Spartans vs Cuddly Hipsters

Ruthless Spartans vs Cuddly Hipsters

I like the halftone shadow effect on the buttons and borders. For a highly stylized browser-based game it still gives off a clean, minimal feeling.

Killing Kennedy

Killing Kennedy

A perfect subject to use a split design. I like how the canvas moves around when your mouse cursor does, simulating three-dimensional space with the foreground and background animation.

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Interaction DesignUI Animation and UX: A Not-So-Secret Friendship
“Animation on the web has hit some pretty sad lows, there’s no arguing that. But adding motion to our work can be meaningful and functional—when we find the right circumstances.”

Design10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
“In a world that is changing every day, it is too hard to find out who we are before we start taking action. So, Austin urges us to just go with it until we actually figure it out.”

AccessibilityDesigning apps for the visually impaired
“With the ever growing ownership of smartphones, computers and various other digital interfaces it is more important than ever to ensure that what we create is accessible to the largest amount of people possible.”

User ExperienceA Guerilla Usability Test on Dropbox Photos
“Part 1 in a series on reimagining the Dropbox Photos experience.”

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Design Focus: Pictures in Words

More typographic pieces are front and center in this list, all against striking pictures and even video.

Designs of the Week

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Atelier Kyoto

Atelier Kyoto

Use All Five

Use All Five

Damien Faivre

Damien Faivre

Apartment Story

Apartment Story

Ryan Michael Kelly

Ryan Michael Kelly

One Pause Poetry

One Pause Poetry

Jean-Christophe Suzanne

Jean-Christophe Suzanne

Big Cartel 2013 Recap

Big Cartel 2013 Recap

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User ExperienceUX Crash Course: 31 Fundamentals
“The following list isn’t everything you can learn in UX. It’s a quick overview, so you can go from zero-to-hero as quickly as possible.”

JavaScript You Might Not Need jQuery
“If you’re only targeting more modern browsers, you might not need anything more than what the browser ships with.”

CSSInternational box-sizing Awareness Day
“The date corresponds to Paul Irish’s post where he introduced the concept of using it on every single element on the page.”

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Design Focus: Drag Around

These featured websites want you to drag their interfaces to navigate. Is it a better design decision or not? Let’s find out, shall we?

Designs of the Week

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The Production Kitchen

The Production Kitchen

Clever combination of animated drawings and photos of cooking utensils to present a recipe-format website. It’s actually built on top of the Google Maps engine hence the dragging mechanism, although it has keyboard navigation as well.

Where You Are

Where You Are

The dark gray homepage features abstract lines and boxes representing paragraphs and images for the stories you’ll read as you click on each name. Most of the text links are arranged vertically, and the overall layout & content are similar to the book.

Fendi Life

Fendi Life

There’s a nice touch of making the borders slide in when you hover over the clickable media. Also interesting is how the whole wall repeats no matter how far you scroll, making it like an infinite screen although also possibly confusing.

Dreams Doodler

Dreams Doodler

The key to these draggable screens is giving options, like in this page where you can get to the different sections from the navigation. The whimsical quality of these illustrations are excellent.

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OptimizationWe spent a week making Trello boards load extremely fast. Here’s how we did it.
“I wanted to improve board rendering performance by 10% every day for a week. It was bold. It was crazy. Somebody might have said it was impossible. But I proved that theoretical person wrong.”

JavaScriptA Dive Into Plain JavaScript
“With jQuery, adding, removing and checking if an element has certain classes is really simple. It’s a bit more complex with plain JavaScript, but not too much so.”

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Design Focus: Where It’s Winter

This week’s designs are taking an icy turn and feature chillier landscapes throughout different subjects.

Designs of the Week

 

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Yeti Spotter

Yeti Spotter

Animated falling snow is a staple of winter or holiday-themed designs, and here it’s not covering the whole page but just the header, behind the mascot monster.

Dunlop Winter Maxx

Dunlop Winter Maxx

Making the tire roll down the snow-covered path by scrolling looks cool, if not a bit flickery at times. Clickable dots in the different diagrams loads extra information in a screen that slides in from the right.

Hello Monday

Hello Monday

Nice little detail with the loading sprite going through days of the week until Monday, not to mention the favicon that says “I heart” beside every page title—sweet and clever. Another interesting twist is how the submenus appear on top of the primary menus, pushing the header down instead of floating over the text.

Into The Arctic

Into The Arctic

Love the 3d unfolding interaction on the overlaying links. Stories are also presented in the context of their location in the Arctic, so you’re flying around over the map a bit as it changes perspective and gets highlighted to fit the information you’re browsing at the moment.

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DesignDesign is the Rendering of Intent
“We’ve found this definition seems to resonate with people more than any other. People can see the relationship between the intended outcome and the process that renders it.”

TypographyThe Ten Most Popular Web Fonts of 2013
“These are the ten most popular fonts I’ve noticed from analyzing font usage on Typewolf in 2013.”

Web DesignCSS Level 4 And More: What’s Coming In 2014
“At times it would be nice to stop and catch a breath, but the year ahead will offer no such opportunity: if anything, the pace of innovation will only increase.”

CSSAnimating CSS Shapes with CSS Animations & Transitions
“So the transitions on CSS shapes are really transitions on the individual points making up a shape.”