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Designing for usability

Designers and Developers are often too quick to decide that they have the right solution to certain usability and design problems. A lot of the time we create something expecting our users to conform, change their habits and change the way they would normally use an interface to suit the one we have designed. This should not be the case. I don't mean to be critical of designers, but we often get caught up in spending a lot of time designing interfaces that are visually appealing without putting enough focus on how they work. I see many examples of this on...

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Getting Things Done

How often do you put things off? When you know you’ve got a morning to get through a huge list of important tasks do you find yourself getting distracted by pointless and meaningless things? Getting Things Done by David Allen is a productivity method which describes how to organise all the bits of information in our head in such a way so that we can focus on actually doing tasks rather than remembering and recalling the tasks that need to be done. The problem of procrastination The cause of procrastination has long been debated amongst psychologists. Some believe the pleasure principle may be...

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Its Better to Meta

Sometimes so much energy is put into the <body> tag of a site, that the little one above it (the <head>) can be overlooked. Mainly because it’s work is behind the scenes. Invisible. But no more! It’s time for the <head> to shine, and one way to make your site grab onto the throat of that thing we call the World Wide Web, is to get the most we can out of that little element… the <meta> This article aims to outline some of the well-known and some of the less-well-known metas out there and how they can help your website get noticed....

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Goal Directed Design

Take a minute to have a think about all the products you use in your daily life, I'm guessing the majority have some kind of digital interface. Now think about how many of these interfaces frustrate or annoy you at some stage during the day. I believe (and I'm not alone) that the main reason for these niggles is down to a lack of design process or one which doesn't consider the user or the context in which they are using the product. Design as an afterthought The traditional route of software development is one where design is introduced after product requirements...

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The Importance of Testing

GCD Technologies is a software company that creates it’s own software as well as writing software for clients. It doesn’t matter who we write software for, it always gets tested. Unfortunately the level of testing can vary from project to project and correlates closely to budget. We perform most of the testing ourselves, but we also encourage our customers to become involved as much as possible. In an ideal world all software would be tested to the same comprehensive level, but in the real world limited budget and timescales can impact on the amount of testing that can be performed. The...

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Flexible Objects

Following on from the previous post looking at an overview of CSS architecture, it's time to outline the approach we've been taking and why we love it so much. For a long time we've been tweaking at what we call the web-prototype: a starting point for building our websites. The point of it is to encourage good practices and good design patterns without limiting or causing our work to look "samey". Recently we started looking seriously into using some ideas based on Object orientated CSS architectures. Greg, in the previous blog, outlined these as well as the advantages of "Atomic design". It...

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A new approach to CSS architecture

Until we began to use SASS a few years ago we had been working from a set of stylesheets loosely based upon the popular Blueprint CSS framework. The introduction of SASS into our workflow gave us the impetus to rethink the way we use CSS in a big way. The explosion of mobile devices has given birth to a huge number of new CSS frameworks. This new wave of solutions seem more thoughtful and considered than their predecessors and most of them are based on a few key concepts. OOCSS Object-orientated CSS is more of a mindset than anything else. CSS can...

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Core Graphics errors when calling -[UIImage resizableImageWithCapInsets:]

On a recent iOS project, we noticed a stream of very polite but quite ominous error messages appearing in the application logs when the app was run on a device. (I thought “This notice is a courtesy…” was a nice touch.) There were a few things to note about these messages: The errors were only logged when running the app on device - not the simulator. The messages refer to a series of Core Graphics function calls, but without any context as to when or where the errors were happening. Core Graphics is the core drawing framework in iOS and OS X,...

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GCD welcomes Craig and Cahir

This week we welcomed our two newest members to the team. Craig and Cahir join us as support engineers and are a welcome addition to the staff here at GCD. Craig is working his way towards a degree in Computing Systems at the University of Ulster, he has a keen interest web, software and mobile development and is likely to get plenty of opportunites to expand his knowledge and get his hands dirty writing plenty of code. Cahir studied Physics at the University of Liverpool as an undergrad then moved on to complete a conversion Masters in Software Development at Queens. Cahir...

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Element Collages

I've never been comfortable with jumping straight into the browser when designing websites. I get the benefits of this approach but I've always found that mock ups are the best way to communicate an idea to a client in the quickest way possible. It seems I'm not alone with this way of thinking. Samantha Warren launched her idea for style tiles recently, with plently of praise from the web design community. Dan Mall introduced the idea of element collages, and if you hop over to the superfriendly site you can see the entire design process for the...

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Get to know us

We are a small digital development company working out of Lisburn, Northern Ireland.

We help build innovative digital experiences for our customers.

If you'd like to work with us then please get in touch.