Web design essential apps

Swatch website

Easily create swatches with Halipixel

Every designer has their own toolset. With different styles and working methods, added the the insane wealth of options available for tasks, we all find a core set of apps to aid our day to day business. Here’s my current list of must haves, check them out and let me know what you use below… Continue reading

Telling a story: why we love user-stories for requirements capture


User stories are the de facto standard for expressing user requirements and have been for at least 10 years, at least in Agile web development projects. They might be a little informal for air traffic control systems or the US military but let’s not worry about that too much.

For everyday business systems the user story is a great way to express what the user will want out of a piece of software and I want to say a bit about how we use them at SSA and what we’ve learned about using the story in a commercial web build. Continue reading

Wireframe or Straight build?

Wireframe software MockFlow

Does this explain your idea fully? mockup from MockFlow

The massive choice of online software for fast, easy website mockups have provided web designers and UX consultants great options and alternatives, but are these already becoming an outdated concept? Indeed this Handcrafted article and  its pastry box inspiration suggest a quick sketch and straight to build are a more efficient strategy for client communication and fast project control. This has coincided with designers also asking if Photoshop is outdated for giving reliable resolution mockups and proving less useful in the web design process, so just how would the client rather develop their visions? Continue reading

The backlog – a replacement for ‘the specification’

The backlog, in Agile terminology, is the list of requirements (or ‘stories’) that are yet to be developed. It can contain the must-haves, the should-haves, the nice-to-haves and everything in between (what is doesn’t contain are any items that should not be worked on: these are put ‘on ice’ and are stored, as you would expect, in the ‘icebox’).

Some of our clients didn’t like the word ‘backlog’ at first because they thought it implied that the project was behind schedule. That’s a fair point. Out of curiosity, looking up the dictionary definition we get two quite different senses of the word. Continue reading