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The secret to taking your project to the next level

A great project is more than a sum of its parts

High-quality creative assets (photography, illustration, 3D art) can take you a long way.If you spend X on design, why not spend Y on fantastic custom icons, or illustrations, or have a perfect photo shoot done?

If you spend X on design, why not spend Y on fantastic custom icons, or illustrations, or have a perfect photo shoot done?That will make your project worth not (X+Y), but 5X or 10X because it will take it to the next professional level. Something that will appear on the front pages of Behance or Dribbble. Do you realize that all these high-end projects stand out not only because of great

That will make your project worth not (X+Y), but 5X or 10X because it will take it to the next professional level. Something that will appear on the front pages of Behance or Dribbble. Do you realize that all these high-end projects stand out not only because of great design, but also because of quality source materials?If the funds are limited and don’t allow for custom solutions, even stock resources can also be helpful. It’s also nice to work with premium fonts. Just mention that as a possible option.

If the funds are limited and don’t allow for custom solutions, even stock resources can also be helpful. It’s also nice to work with premium fonts. Just mention that as a possible option.

Polish the UX

Add delightful interactive details into the app experience. Pull-to-refresh, active button states, progress spinners, screen transitions.Liven up the user experience with animations. When used tastefully, they can make your app unforgettable. It’s not about crazy stuff — it’s more about subtle transitions, like slide or fade effects.

Liven up the user experience with animations. When used tastefully, they can make your app unforgettable. It’s not about crazy stuff — it’s more about subtle transitions, like slide or fade effects.Or you can play in a different league and build entire UX around a specific interaction pattern or animation (think about those unfolding expandable areas, or flipping pages in Flipboard). This requires more advanced design

Or you can play in a different league and build entire UX around a specific interaction pattern or animation (think about those unfolding expandable areas, or flipping pages in Flipboard). This requires more advanced design thinking, but is certainly worth the effort.In an ideal world that would be the job of the interaction designer or UX expert, but who has that kind of budget?

In an ideal world that would be the job of the interaction designer or UX expert, but who has that kind of budget?Ask your designer if he has any additional ideas or fancy interaction patterns in mind. That doesn’t cost any money! It’s all about a few meaningful comments.

Ask your designer if he has any additional ideas or fancy interaction patterns in mind. That doesn’t cost any money! It’s all about a few meaningful comments.Moreover, I bet he will be happy to be treated as an expert in interaction design.

Moreover, I bet he will be happy to be treated as an expert in interaction design.

Ensure precise design implementation

I keep repeating this mantra to all clients. Modern minimalist layouts are extremely sensitive to positioning, font size, paragraph spacing, alignment, etc. More than ever! There are very few containers or decorations for the content. Interface elements are often hanging in open space. And they’d better be hanging accurately!In our responsive

In our responsive world people make fun of those who require “pixel-perfect” implementation.But “pixel-perfect” is not deprecated at all. It’s crucial!

But “pixel-perfect” is not deprecated at all. It’s crucial!It takes so much time to balance positioning in Photoshop, to introduce just the right amount of white space. Yet it all can be ruined with careless execution. There’s nothing accidental in a perfect user interface, not a single spacing value.

It takes so much time to balance positioning in Photoshop, to introduce just the right amount of white space. Yet it all can be ruined with careless execution. There’s nothing accidental in a perfect user interface, not a single spacing value.Even if it’s not about pixel measurements, any interface still functions upon basic design rules: precise alignment, positioning, and accurate typesetting.

Even if it’s not about pixel measurements, any interface still functions upon basic design rules: precise alignment, positioning, and accurate typesetting.Request some extra comments on that from your designer.

Request some extra comments on that from your designer.How exactly did he build this layout? Is there any grid system? How does it work? Are there any special things that developers should pay attention to? For example,

How exactly did he build this layout? Is there any grid system? How does it work? Are there any special things that developers should pay attention to? For example, vertical alignment of text blocks against round user photos. Or positioning of inline icons.Oh yes, such details take plenty of time! But it’s much worse to ruin design work that just cost you thousands of dollars.

Oh yes, such details take plenty of time! But it’s much worse to ruin design work that just cost you thousands of dollars.

Test thoroughly

Invest resources into quality assurance. Test your app thoroughly, even if by yourself. It’s the same as proofreading for any publishing product: absolutely essential, but frequently neglected.

Yet a small mistake can affect the entire experience and make your product look amateurish. Bring in your designer on the final stage of the project. His professional eye is worth a dozen eyes of beta-testers. He will help to find small mistakes in the visual layout: font rendering, positioning or spacing. Trust me, they happen very often, yet can only be pinpointed by an expert.The sharp eye of your designer comes as a bonus with the services you already purchased. Make use of that!

Bring in your designer on the final stage of the project. His professional eye is worth a dozen eyes of beta-testers. He will help to find small mistakes in the visual layout: font rendering, positioning or spacing. Trust me, they happen very often, yet can only be pinpointed by an expert.

The sharp eye of your designer comes as a bonus with the services you already purchased. Make use of that!

Real-life techniques

  • Consult your designer if involving other creatives will increase the value of the project. He can help you source the right professionals and oversee the entire production process.
  • Be open to purchasing premium assets for the project: fonts, stock photography or illustrations.
  • Ask your designer if he has any interaction ideas in mind. Discuss animations, transitions, and other details. Treat your designer as a UX expert.
  • Ask about the principles behind the delivered layout: grids, alignment, margins, fonts, spacing, etc.
  • Make sure the deployed version matches the design. Populate your app with the same content and lay the screenshot over the original layout.
  • Involve your designer in the testing process.
  • Track the testing issues accurately: don’t rely on email or Skype history. It doesn’t have to be specific software, a shared Google Docs spreadsheet will do the job.

Extract from Jane at UI Breakfast

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