Hi, I’m Brian Dys — a photographer from the inside looking out · a composer entangled in electronic music · a UX designer · a spouse, a parent, & everything in between.
What are other web design tools available out there other than Photoshop?
Web design has evolved from being focused on graphics down to being focused on content and experience. Even imagine the time when web design was done using Flash.
This is one of the reasons why in the past, that a photo-editing application like Photoshop was a perfect tool for web designers-we can create elaborate graphics and at the same time export HTML and CSS.
Web designers can still choose to do it that way, only that there are already a wide variety of applications that specifically cater to web and mobile design – and up to a certain point – development. Even Adobe has XD to contend with Sketch and InVision DSM.
So, yes, there might be web designers who didn’t find a need for Photoshop in any of their web projects. And that’s ok.
Ideally, design guides, brand guidelines, style guides, etc. are based on research.
They did not appear in a vacuum.
Collaborate with the people who made the guides and find out if you are aligned with the same objectives.
The user and business objectives are the guidelines for the team, whether in UI design or frontend development.
These are the Elements of UX according to Jesse James Garrett:
- Strategy – user and business objectives
- Scope – content and functional requirements
- Structure – Information Architecture and Interaction Design
- Skeleton – Information Design, UI Design, Navigation Design
- Surface – Sensory Design (e.g., Visual Design, Audial Design)
UI Design practically comes after having objectives and requirements. It constitutes the design of the interface based on Information Architecture and Interaction Design.
The Elements of UX shows the abstraction of what constitutes UX Design. It involves the whole process of research and testing at different planes and at different stages of the process.
Now, must a UI designer dive right into UI design without referring to any previous work done such as objectives and requirements, information architecture and interaction designs?
What is the mental model of the user interface—or at least the UI buttons?
The Feedback Aspect
Just like with most physical buttons, if a user wants to press it, he or she touches it. The feedback comes from its look and feel (it looks like a button; it feels like it can be pressed by actually pressing it).
With UI buttons, a user could get feedback from the following:
- Visual Design
- It looks like a button
- It feels like it is clickable
- It says that it is a button
It Feels Like it Is Clickable
With some techniques in Visual Design, a designer could reinforce the feeling that the button functions as expected.
The Light Source
Does the button budge up when hovered? Or does it budge down?
If up, then the shade becomes lighter as it moves closer to the light source—which is naturally above us (in the real world). If down, then darker.
The LED Light
Does the button light up when hovered?
If yes, then the shade becomes lighter—whether the light comes from the body of the button or simply around the button.
You may combine those different techniques—but basically, those are the considerations why the shade of a button would be darker or lighter when hovered.
Please note that for devices with pointing device, the mouse changing to a pointer is enough feedback for the button to feel like it is clickable.
However, for touch devices, to feel like it is clickable, a user will actually press it.
Admittedly in the design industry, there are lots of terms being used to call design artifacts (not to mention their combos)—flowcharts, wireframes, wireflows, comps, FAs, and prototypes.
A prototype is not an artifact per se but what we make of an artifact. It cuts across disciplines and stages in the design process because of its purpose—to foster innovation, collaboration, and creativity by presenting and testing it to a relevant audience.
A set of wireframes designed to communicate a specific functionality is a prototype. Even a flowchart that communicates the flow of tasks is a prototype.
Recently, I’ve come across the term “Click–Through Prototypes” which also is “Interactive Prototypes”—the ones wherein the test participant could click on specific elements and be taken to the next interaction point.
I knew it from decades ago as “image–mapping” or putting “hot spots” in elements we want to be clickable.