What are HTML and CSS doing beside Java, a programming language? You know what they aren’t programming languages. They just don’t compile. When we are writing HTML and CSS we are creating content or bringing a change in the aesthetics. This is designing. Maybe we are not using Photoshop or Illustrator but our role remains the same, only the tools change. However truly understanding front end design is easier said than done. Coding and aesthetics require some hard core set of skills.
My aim here is to provide you a checklist which would help you understand some easy to follow rules that land you appreciation and not an extra hour in the office. Obviously these rules won’t turn your life around in a spin but will be a good start to a fast growing career.
Decide and Define the Rules
Each and every project is unique. Before starting a new project, the whole team needs to agree on what the deliverable will be. You shouldn’t check all these rules only at the end of a project. Make it clear to your team upfront what happens when.
Table of Content
The most important element in a front end designer’s checklist is the table of content. Because of its simple, usual form it is not always given the attention that it may deserve. It actually enables the users to browse through your content easily and is basically like a trailer to the movie that awaits them. It has got to be enthralling, isn’t it? An example can be:
1. — Design requirements
1.1 Grid system
1.3 Fonts and texts
2. — Analysis and pre-work phases
2.1 Paper analysis
2.2 Pre-development phase
3. — Validation
Common UI Elements
UI elements form the heart and soul of any front end style guide. These elements include Grid-Layouts, Buttons, Breadcrumbs, navigation etc. on the basis of their behavior , these elements can be of static and dynamic nature.
Just like a brand’s tagline, color palette allows the audience to have an understanding of the colors of the company. “Color does not add a pleasant quality to design — it reinforces it.”
It is a representation of the company in the market and on the web. A proper Color palette of the company must be present and the colors for UI Elements must be defined.
A grid is explicitly provided in the design, and the details of the grid are present in the technical specification. It defines how each element will be organized on screens(both for responsive or adaptive designs). You should be familiar with the grid system you’ll use on your project.
Most of the time alignment or offsetting options are ignored by the developer and tend to be replaced by manual padding or margin unnecessarily. You can build every template used in the creatives only with the grid classes. Building the structure before everything else will facilitate your work afterwards.
Many designers feel that typography includes just selecting the font size and style, whether it should be regular or italic. But there is much more to typography that designers tend to overlook. Typography gives designers total control. It Is the key element to share meaningful information, not just for human users but also for the Search engines to index your web.
You should focus on the elements here that users would enjoy. For example, the letters should be bold enough for the readers to read it but they should not make people turn away their eyes from the screen! A simple, medium stroke width is a good place to start.
As a front-end designer, always remember to keep your work modern. You cannot make business by sticking to old, outdated designs. A successful website has to have a modern interface. Stay updated on what is in trend and keep updating your designs accordingly.
You need to start by keeping it simple. Select a bright color palette and flat elements. Once the basics are in place you can give it a modern touch here and there. But remember not to go over-the-top. Modernity should come with a purpose.
From tiny hover actions, to elements that move across the screen, to engaging parallax scrolling, animation is a must-have aspect of a modern interface. Once you have the visual design taken care of you plan to raise the level by flirting in some animation to flare up your work.
This is what most of the designers do. They keep animation for the end and what they ‘end’ up with is pointless piece of work. Animation can help draw users in and provide an extra source of engagement to keep them with the design. Therefore, it should be incorporated in the beginning rather than considering it at the end of the design process.
Thoughtfully animated elements can really set the best designs apart from the rest of the pack but gratuitous animation will just waste a user’s precious time and after the first initial delight the user will get tired of it. So keep it on point.
A good front-end style guide should include responsive-design patterns and grids, code snippets for implementation, and strong guidelines for using each component. Designing is the first step. And it goes way beyond framing sketches with pen and paper. From creating an engaging table of content to integrating modern design with nifty animation, there are several elements that make it to a checklist of a front-end designer.
Keep within the framework of the checklist and you will be on the road of creating a design that justifies you and your art aptly. Keep it modern! Keep it stylish!