What 8-Bit Video Games Can Teach Us About Design And UX

The computer sitting at your desk is far more powerful than anything available to all but the largest businesses in the 1980s, enabling us to continue to add layer upon layer without slowing down, and possibly losing focus on why we are here in the first place - to deliver a high quality product. One possible solution is to this is to artificially limit your design and color options the way Shigeru Miyamoto was limited by technical constraints when designing Zelda and Mario on the NES. While some of the NES library was filler, there were many standouts that used the limitations of 8 bit technology as strengths, rather than weakness.

Showcase of 20 Minimalist Grid-Based Web Designs

If you're been reading SpyreStudios for a while now you probably already know we like minimalist designs. In fact we've showcased many websites featuring a minimalist design in the past. We thought it was time for another round. Minimalism doesn't rhyme with grid systems, but many grid-based websites will feature a stripped down and clean design and make great use of typography. After all, it's all about letting the content shine. I hope you enjoy this post!

Curing the Navigation-itis Syndrome

More and more content is being published everyday and site owners need to find ways to categorize all this content. And with more content and categories comes greater navigation problems. Sometimes navigation becomes a problem when there are simply too many options. Thus, it's of great importance to cure the navigation-itis syndrome and make website navigation user-friendly and easy to navigate.

25 More Books For Designers, Developers And Web Workers

A while ago we shared 25 great web-design and development books and since this earlier post got a great response (and we've read a lot more books since), we've now gathered another 25. In this list you'll find books about design, theory, development, css, html and a lot more. I hope you enjoy the post!

Usability Best Practices For eCommerce Websites

Usability – a term that we hear almost everywhere we go on the web and for good reason. Good usability can mean the difference between one site’s success and the downfall of another. Usability is especially important in the case of e-commerce websites. While most usability principles of regular websites still apply for e-commerce sites as well, the different specific pages such as shopping carts, shipping methods, shipping and billing addresses, order reviews, payment options, etc. all add another layer of complexity to creating usable online shops.

The User Experience And Psychology Of Colour

There is a lot of psychology in colour, and while I don't claim to be an expert, every now and then I come across something that seems to be rather counterintuitive. I suppose there are some cultural influences on colour as well, and people need to take these sorts of things into account when designing sites, but there also seem to be some ideas that cross over cultural lines.

Great CSS Techniques to Enhance Web Typography

We all have our techniques for obtaining a great combination of readability and design. Many designers like to fine-tune the font stacks and sometimes add a nice shadow to bring text to life. Others like to take typography to a different level and use anti-aliasing tools and such to get a sharp clean result. Whichever method you decide upon, there are some great CSS techniques to enhance web typography without running the whole nine miles.

Collection Of 600+ Free Ink & Paint Photoshop Brushes

We've featured Photoshop brushes sets a couple of times before on SpyreStudios and this time we've collected over 600 ink, paint, watercolor and splatter brushes from various sources. Most of the sets featured in this post are of high-enough quality that they can be used for both web and print projects. I hope you enjoy the collection.

Top 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Create Trendy Designs

Following trends is a part of many creators in all creative mediums: design, fashion, music, film, whatever. It's only natural: you see what people want, then you give it to them. What's the problem, you might ask? Well, that system, while fine for short-term gains and immediate profits, is fundamentally broken. In fact, there are 5 reasons why you shouldn't create 'flavor-of-the-week' designs. By choosing to instead hone in on and dominate your own style – even while following trends – you'll set yourself up for long-term benefits.

How to Juggle Multiple Projects and Clients Without Going Crazy

Let's face it: it's hard working on multiple things at once. Focusing on just one thing is much easier than trying to juggle multiple projects and clients. Yet the reality for most designers and firms is you're working on many projects and with many clients, often simultaneously. Luckily, there's ways to juggle multiple projects and clients without going crazy. While some are pulling their hair due to feeling overwhelmed, others are handling multiple projects and clients with aplomb.

15 Community & Networking Sites For Designers And Creative Types

There's probably hundreds of community and networking sites out there but only a few focus on the design and creative community. We went ahead and selected 15 of the best sites for designers and creative types. Obviously there are some sites we might not be aware of, so make sure you leave a comment if your favorite design community/networking site wasn't included in this post.

How To Create a Slick Navigation Bar In Adobe Fireworks

I love Photoshop. I guess we all do. But I believe Fireworks is better suited for web-design work and I usually prefer it over Photoshop. After all Fireworks was created with web-designers in mind and it allows us to quickly prototype and design for the web, so let's see what it can do. I've created this simple yet modern navigation bar in Fireworks, and I'll walk you through the steps necessary to create something like that. In the event there are some windows and panels you don't see opened on your computer, simply go to the 'Windows' menu and open them.

Enter to Win a Copy of Justinmind Prototyper – A $495 Value

Wireframing is a very important part of the design process and there's a plethora of wireframing tools available out there. But for the serious web or software designers and developers, free tools probably won't cut it. We've partnered with Justinmind to give away a copy of Justinmind Prototyper to a lucky reader of SpyreStudios. Read on to learn how to enter.

How To Design A Gorgeous Big UI Button In Photoshop

In this tutorial we're going to be creating a gorgeous and modern user interface button suitable for the web or a mobile interface design. We'll be using a handful of Photoshop techniques that are bound to come in handy for more than just creating buttons; in fact, the techniques we'll be using are often used in most UI elements. Create a new Photoshop document (I've used a 1000x1000 pixel RGB 72dpi document for this tutorial - keep in mind this will need to be a high resolution if you're designing for a mobile device with a high resolution display such as an iPhone 4). Fill your background layer with a color of your choice, I used this lovely mid-blue color.

Usability And You: The Design Process

As someone who works at a web design company running a usability tool, I get many questions from interested parties on how we use usability in our design process. Many people seem to see usability as an impediment to a smooth design process, as something that breaks up the workflow rather than complementing it and smoothing it out. They see implementing a usability testing process as a very time consuming, expensive, arduous task that adds little value to their business or for their clients. This is all very negative sounding, and something I hear repeated rather too frequently for my liking.

Simplify and Improve Your Designs with the Bonsai Tree Method

Want to simplify and improve your designs? As is often the case, sometimes the best design inspiration comes from outside of the design field. In this case, you can look to an ancient Japanese art form: bonsai trees. You can simplify and improve your designs with the Bonsai Tree Method. The thousand-year-old Japanese bonsai tree tradition is an art form of cultivating a miniature tree in a pot. Both the pruning and shaping of the tree as well as contemplation is meant to be an enjoyable activity for one's self, rather than for the purpose of producing food, planting in a garden, or something.

10 quick tips for first time freelancers

Beginning your freelance career can be a scary time in your life, no matter how excited you are at taking the plunge. On one hand, you're excited to know that you are going to be leaving your job and doing something you're passionate about & on the other hand, you're scared out of your mind because you've never done this before and you're not sure where the money is going to come from to keep your family secure. Luckily, this article will outline 10 quick tips for first time freelancers, so you'll be able to put a lot of your nervousness to rest. I hope you enjoy it and learn something from what I've written for you.

5 Tips For Improving Readability On Your Website

A more readable website means improved usability and an enjoyable reading experience. We all want that for our users, don't we? In this article we'll go through 5 simple ways you can improve readability on your website. Of course feel free to chime in and leave a comment at the end of the article, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Showcase of 40 Pricing Tables and Signup Pages

A well-designed pricing table and sign-up page can make or break your online business. Getting users to hit the signup button is one thing, but making the actual signup process easier and helping people chose the right plan or package is a science in itself. Today we'll have a look at some great pricing table examples. I hope you'll find some inspiration from the examples showcased in this post.

5 Reasons Travel Can Improve Your Design Work

Traveling rocks. Practically everyone likes to travel, whether by land, sea or air. And why not? You get excited to see new environments and people, try new things, and be surrounded by fresh and inspiring surroundings. But did you know that traveling can actually help your design work as well? Yep, there are at least 5 reasons travel can improve your design work. Now, to be clear, traveling doesn't directly help your designs (except for reason #4 below). Rather, travel can indirectly improve your design work by improving yourself. When you become better/happier/more excited, your work becomes better as well. It's like fuel for your brilliant work, and traveling constantly refuels you. The reasons explained below will show you just how traveling does that.