The Appropriate Use of Modals

Modal windows, by definition, obstruct user flow by preventing interaction with the main application.

Modals are designed to enhance user experience by presenting new content situationally. Generally, a modal window should require a user interaction to initiate its display. A page load event, scroll event, or an arbitrary timeout is not a justifiable “interaction” for the presentation of a modal window. Presenting a modal window without an appropriate prequalifying action disrupts user flow and concentration, and introduces frustration and confusion.

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Designing & Optimizing Favicons

Favicons, or favorites icons, provide users a visual way to differentiate between a browser’s tabs, bookmarks, favorites, and history items. Depending on browsing habits, a user may have more exposure to a website’s favicon than its logo. To craft a favicon that improves user experience and entices users to return to a site, authors should ensure that the favicon is unique, crisp and well optimized.

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Ambient Video

Ambient videos create engaging, “interactive” layouts by setting a video as the background of a page or a section of a page. While this design technique can evoke a powerful emotional response, special care must be taken to ensure that implementation does not negatively impact user experience.

As a rule, ambient videos (also referred to as “environmental videos” or background videos) should not include audio. Generally, these videos do not require user interaction to begin playback and loop seamlessly. In many ways, ambient videos resemble animated GIFs; cinemagraphs are particularly well suited for ambient videos.

Challenges of ambient video include accessibility, playback compatibility, and performance.

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Screen Recording

Creating screen recordings on macOS doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming or expensive. You may be surprised to learn that pre-installed applications and tools in macOS can be used to quickly create high quality screen recordings and animated screenshots of your Mac and your iPhone.

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Responsive Aspect Ratio & Fluid Text

When designing, developing and optimizing a responsive website, you will often encounter elements which maintain their aspect ratio while scaling. Images do by default in HTML, but videos, background images, calls to action, ads, and other graphical elements do not.

A developer’s first inclination may be to set the width and height of an element to a percentage value. However, because percentages in CSS are calculated based on the dimensions of the equivalent property of the elements parent container (i.e. a percentage based height will be based on the parent’s height, width will be based on width), decreasing an element’s width will not directly affect its height.

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