It’s hip to be square

How long have people coveted the joyous features that CSS3 is now bringing to your browser? How long have we spent hacking around trying to create gradients and rounded corners to now have these very things easily at our fingertips. Quite a good damn while and I for one am very grateful for the new found ease and flexibility we have in deploying these features even if there is not full support everywhere.

Not so long ago I put together an article for Smashing Magazine about using CSS3 and I did mention that using CSS3 features would not be suitable for every situation and that they should be used sensibly and not just splashed everywhere and I think a sign of the maturity and true usefulness of CSS3 will come as people realise this and use it where it is truly necessary, using it as a design tool and not include it just for the sake of it (1px white text shadow springs to mind again!).

So I was rather pleased to see Google+, ok Google haven’t been praised for their groundbreaking design in the past but Google+ is a really well put together and visually appealing design and it’s mostly square. There are the odd subtle rounded corners but on the whole there are a lot of straight edges meeting straight edges with no hint of curve and it looks lovely, you don’t look at it thinking “Oh if only they’d rounded the corners of that button”. It’s not like Google are completely blind to CSS3, there’s plenty used around the Google+ site and the other redesigns of the Google network of sites, no they have chosen to leave square edges in without a hint of remorse.

Yes ladies and gentleman just because you know how to use a gradient doesn’t mean you have to, just because you know all of the border-radius web prefixes by heart doesn’t mean you need to use them – it is hip to be square.

(If you’re looking for something to do whilst you’re not using CSS3 how about checking out Paul Boag‘s post on Web Designer Depot – Stop obsessing over HTML5 and CSS3)

My switch from PC to Mac

It’s about 6 weeks since I took the leap and switched my work setup from my familiar and trusted Windows setup and got myself a Mac and given the amount of interest in work setups with sites like The setup and also the amount of reading I did before I switched I thought I’d give some of my thoughts. Continue reading

Coding that makes you say WTF!

Every so often you pick up a project that has been coded by somebody else and encounter something and you can’t help but wonder what the f**k they were thinking, often it’s down to naivety or a lack of knowledge, or even a use of old outdated coding methods but then sometimes it’s just mind boggling bizarre.

Here’s a few examples I’ve come across recently but I’m sure there’s plenty of you with more to share. Continue reading

Things That Shaped the Web Design Industry in 2010

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve not done any writing for a while, well it’s kind of a new years resolution for me to get back into it. I’ve got lots of half articles strewn around which I’ll look at finishing off but I thought I’d kick off with a look back at last year.

I wrote a looking ahead to 2010 piece for Six Revisions last year so before looking ahead to 2011 I had a quick look back at the piece and 2010 and you can have a read here – Things That Shaped the Web Design Industry in 2010.

I’ll be following it up with a look ahead to 2011 soon!

How good will IE9 have to be?

Microsoft have rolled out an IE9 beta, you can have a look for yourself over at http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/. I can’t haz IE9 as I’m still on Windows XP (I didn’t upgrade to Vista and haven’t got around to Windows 7 yet) so I’ve have to just have a look at the various round ups and reviews (such as this one – IE 9 gets back in the game)

But as I read over the various improvements in the interface, the new support for up and coming standards and the use of hardware acceleration amongst many other advances, one thought stuck in the back of my mind – how good will IE9 have to be to offer a chance of growing it’s market share again? The answer obviously is pretty damn good.

IE will no doubt maintain the majority share of the browser market for a long time given the large number of users who neither know or care which browser they use, or are quite happy to stick with IE out of comfort. The growth of Google Chrome has shown that users are not unwilling to switch their browser if a better alternative is available. But even if IE produced the best browser by a country mile I’m not sure how much it would effect it’s standing as a browser. Could you see web designers and developers recommending it to their clients? Sure there are plenty of fair minded sensible people out there who would hold their hands up and say yes it is a great browser, but it’s become cool to hate Microsoft and IE and to bemoan their problems. There are many for whom IE would have to show something really really special before they would consider doing anything other than picking at it’s faults.

Still we don’t live in a one browser world and it’s nice to see that Microsoft are finally taking up the baton and producing a more modern browser that supports the standards and innovations that designers and developers like me want to see.