Design for Developers – 5 Great Resources

In the world of enterprise software, design has a tendency to take a back seat. Though to some technologists design seems purely superficial, it’s impact on adoption and productivity is quite objective and can be detrimental to a project’s success if poorly done.

People can spot great design, but often struggle to explain why a design is effective, let alone create one themselves.

What if we had a core set of rules to help with this process that were pretty simple? Going from bad to moderate would be a huge improvement and basic rules can get us there.

Let’s take ourselves on a quick journey to introductory design… Quick – close you eyes and think about the characteristics of a designer.

What did you think of?

Religious about the Apple brand, loves lattes and pulls awesome espresso shots, listens to music from indie bands or electronica and when you tell them about something cool you found – they tell you about how it was interesting 5 years ago, but is now completely passe.

Beyond this – they seem to have an ability to just “get it” with ramifications around certain design decisions. Absorbing even only a fraction of this skill can pay big dividends with the usage of our applications.

How can this be done?

Good News
The good news effective design can be learned. As a starting point I have included 5 key resources in the form of a presentation given to developers around design, as well as a series of web sites for inspiration and reference. If you review the presentation first, you will begin to see new points within each design that were not previously visible due to you updated perspective.

1. Idan Gazit: Design for Developers Lecture
In the following presentation Idan Gazit uses some colorful language, but bear with him, as provides excellent commentary on design for developers. Here are some key design aspects that he discusses in detail, providing some insight that will absolutely change the way you view your existing and current projects.

  • If you are a developer you inherently do front end!
  • Attractive things work better
  • Do less, go minimal
  • Design using a grid framework
  • Leave more whitespace
  • Your words are dressed in Typography
  • Colors – go monochromatic or one color with grey or black

2. Smashing Magazine
Frequently updated blog around the state of the web from a design standpoint. Smashing does a good job of providing both technical developer and design focused information.
check out Smashing Magazine

3. Dribbble
Dribble is “Show and tell for creatives” where people share designs tagged by type (logo, ui, etc). Dribbble makes it possible to search on the basis of color palette. Some stunning example of design are located here and serve as brilliant inspiration. The content here is especially germane to developers looking to take their game to a new level with UI design using the examples tagged for http://dribbble.com/tags/ui and http://dribbble.com/tags/app. Head over to Dribbble for more.

4. Pattern Tap
Pattern Tap breaks down user submitted examples into categories like forms, buttons, navigation and other areas extremely helpful to web application interface development.
visit Pattern Tap

5. The Best Designs
Provides an outstanding gallery of web designs segmented into various categories based on appearance. A great spot to see what some of the top end designers are doing on the web today.
check out The Best Designs

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