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5 Great Tools and Tricks for Designers and Developers (October 2017)

5 Great Tools and ...

Looking for some bright ideas to enhance your design and development skills?

Check out this month’s offering of tools and tricks, all hand picked for you...and your stormtrooper utility belt.

WARNING: Some of the tools and tips contain other tools and tips.

Just in case you’re in a hurry.

josh-clark-banner_696_284_80 
An Event Apart’s: Tools We Use

An Event Apart, can you do no wrong?

Even if you haven’t made it to any of their 2017 events, you can still learn from the best in the biz by checking out their Tools We Use series. These short-format blog posts list the tools these folks use to brainstorm, collaborate, be productive, and keep themselves (and their ideas) from going off the rails.

Some choices may surprise you. Case in point, Josh Clark (pictured) uses Microsoft Cognitive Services, SVGOMG!, and Ulysses, but he also loves Post-its and his Zebra Sarasa gel pen.

Who knew? Well, now you do.



UX

Empathy Maps: The Business Of Putting Users First

We love this line from UX designer Katherine Rosenkranz in her InVision blog post: An empathy map is a tool to get to know the target audience (hint: it isn’t you).”

It’s a great primer on creating empathy maps for someone starting in UX and actually anyone who is working with a client or stakeholder who wonders what they heck they’re doing.

icons_star_wars

Symbolicons: Your Friendly, Versatile, Go-To Icon Set

If you use the internet (and we know you do), chances are you’ve seen Symbolicons in many places: Instagram, Gumroad, Authentic Jobs, Dribbble, and many more.

Speaking of which, Dan Cederholm, co-founder of Dribbble, has this to say about them: “Symbolicons have been my go-to icon set at Dribbble for the last several years....I can’t recommend them enough.”

Created by Jory Raphael, many of the icons sets are free (like the Star Wars set above), but he also provides icon bundles starting at $69. Take part in his Kickstarter option and get 6,000 icons for $120. Perfect for UI design, web design, app design, and possibly even your latest kitchen redesign.


100 Questions

100 Questions Designers Always Ask

No, this isn’t a post about 100 questions that designers are always asking, rather the ones designers need to ask themselves, the user, and the client in order to design smarter.

From “Is the user technologically-savvy?” to “What’s a sign that things are working?”, the co-founder of UX Power Tools, Jon Moore, has come up with a list that’s good enough to print out, frame, and place on your desk.

But probably a bookmark would suffice.


flex-500w-opt

CSS Grid Gotchas And Stumbling Blocks

Last March, CSS Grid shipped into production versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari within weeks of each other.

Web developer, speaker, and the mind behind Grid by Example, Rachel Andrew tries to answer some many of the questions users of CSS Grid have in this terrific Smashing Magazine article. (It will actually be part of a series.)

If you’re asking yourself questions like, “Why use Grid instead of Flexbox?” and “Can I nest grids?” it’s worth a read.

Speaking of which, as with so many Smashing blog posts, the comments are worth reading as well!

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