FREE High Resolution Metal and Cement Backgrounds (Bonus! Pattern File for Photoshop)

Shot at an old radar station for that rustic feeling!

Free Metal and Cement Backgrounds

Enjoy some FREE high resolution metal and cement backgrounds for you next project! I shot these at an old abandoned radar station in Northeastern California. The inside of the place is thrashed, but you could enjoy a warmer than not night in the winter up there. Gunshot holes in the metal and cement really add to the flavor of this spot. I’ve left the images alone, ie no processing, so that you can manipulate as you find fit. They are all around 1.5mb / 2000px size wise. I hope that you can get some good use out of them. I really like the texture on the paint peeling metal doors.

BUT WAIT! THERE IS MORE! Free with this incredible set of metalmentness is a Pattern file (.pat) for Photoshop! Now that is cool. Enjoy!

Extra Time Asking Questions and Dialing in Work Specs is Worth It

Add an hour, gain a bunch of client trust!

Digital Clock Showing 5:37pm

When you are working with clients, big or small, it is really important that you are speaking the clients lingo. Taking an extra hour refining the finer points of the work agreement with the client will save both of you the possible headaches of a “misunderstanding” after the work has begun adding time to your design that is harder to recoup costs for. Layout the basic needs and nail down the clients big “wants” before moving into features you know are necessary for a high quality site or application. Learning to slow down and take that extra time will benefit everyone in the long run. Make it part of your plan initially every time.

Free Super Simple Screen Size Mockup PSD

Three screen size mockups for responsive design

Super Simple Screen Size Mockup PSD

I mockup responsive designs in Photoshop to get  a quick feeling of what a sample responsive design might look like on the desktop, tablet and smartphone. Often times I just need some quick templates, so I made these three mockups. Though a lot of the talk is about designing in the browser, which I find really fun (strangely enough), using Photoshop to get the visual out of my head and into something I can actually view tends to really help me. I hope you can benefit from them also. Enjoy!

Business Card Cover Up

Around 90% of the Worlds Population is Right Handed.

Business Card with ThumbI just had this random thought when looking into making some new business cards to hand out. Make sure your contact information is not on the bottom right, or even center right since most of the people in the world are right handed. Better than that, just put it dead center in the card to make sure and catch 99.9% of the folks you interact with (add braille and you’ve caught the entire audience!).

This might not be such a big deal, but I’m pretty sure I have always picked up a business card with my right hand and held it with my thumb over the bottom right corner… so why not do it better. Vertical business cards are most likely out of the game in this instance, unless you push the text up toward the top and put your logo or white space on the bottom half-inch or inch of the card.

I like to see website and business name up top, with contact info below. Simple, bold and easy to read. Add a logo, or better yet a good picture of your face, for some flare and call it good. You are handing out your identity in the interaction with the customer, they are just remembering you with your business card.

Quick last thought, adding some braille or some sandpaper on the bottom right would be a cool addition for the thumb to touch. Make it a letter, word or even just an outline of your logo. Anything to be a little more memorable.

Accessible Everywhere

Accessibility is part of the design.

I wish I had a copy of the first geo-cities page I created. Man, it was amazing! Dancing Calvin and Hobbs with some crazy background:url(‘steal-your-face.gif’) and some links to other sites that folks had made. It was the mid 90′s. The web was running at 56k in most homes and folks weren’t sure what the web was about. Spring forward 15 or so years and my home can be 70 degrees in the winter time when I get home by just clicking the “arriving in 30 minutes” button on the web / app interfaced automation software running my life. All of this is design and all of it can be accessible to all on all devices. (more…)

Get Skeleton EMs Style Sheet

EMs are relative measurements less affected by user zoom levels.

Skeleton is an extremely barebones responsive themework for a designer to quickly put together a responsive website. I was recently at the excellent An Event Apart (if you haven’t been and are into design, GO!) and listened to Luke Wroblewski speak on mobile. He brought up the em vs px thought with users zooming within the browser. I encounter this all the time with our corporate browser being IE8.

The standard css that is included in the Skeleton package is done in Pixles (PX), but I wanted a site that would resize correctly when the user not only viewed their site on any device, but used the zoom features found in browsers. Well, well… That’s interesting. Setting your responsive design up with EMs, you can avoid some of the confusion and give the user something that looks better no matter the zoom level.

Download the EM’ed version of the excellent GetSkeleton stylesheets.

Avalanche App for Android

Evaluate surrounding conditions for safer backcountry travel.

I am a skier. Unless it’s bulletproof blue ice, I love being out there. In the past 6 years or so my focus has become more backcountry oriented due to many factors… the main one taking a job out of the Tahoe Basin and away from the easy lift served resorts with el cheapo season passes. I’ve grown to love being out and about in the woods skiing lines that not many others, if any others, have ever skied.

The backcountry is a different environment. I am responsible for me out there and knowing conditions surrounding me is crucial to my knowledge in making decisions on whether or not to ski certain areas after certain storm cycles. Needing an easy way to check Avalanche Center reports, I developed the Avalanche Conditions Report App for the Android Smartphone.

The Avalanche Conditions Report app is in constant development with new features added as requests and ideas flow. All of the major avalanche centers reports will be available. A simple weather report with maps and a few educational tutorials are built in. Check it out if you are into skiing the backcountry and need a quick way to better assess the days tour.