Why does design have to be complicated? As I scour the internet it is becoming apparent that a lot of effort is going into allowing designers to focus on the design or the ‘arty’ and fun side of it. Effort is being taken to ensure that the laborious process of the coding that goes hand in hand with internet design is taken care of automatically.
The idea is nothing new. This is exactly why we have ‘What You See Is What You Get’ editors (WYSIWYG) editors in the first place. These are in many forms, ranging from desktop software, integrated into online content management system and even every email website has these. Now this approach is now being extended to span other fields of design. I came across two excellent examples recently.
The Divine Project:
The popularity of WordPress as a content management system is undeniable. With the growing number of well designed themes available, Wordpress is now used to power a wide range of websites and we probably don’t know it. With the functionality taken care of, designers are tasked with designing new themes to make their website stand out from the crowd. Sounds easy enough? Not really. Once a design is done, the implementation of marrying design to the WordPress backend can sometimes be a match made in hell. To simply the entire process we have the Divine Project. A unique plugin for Photoshop, it allows you to design WordPress layouts and automatically code the theme elements. You needn’t know any PHP, it’s just a case of making slices and assigning behaviours from a menu. The final output is a packaged theme which can then be installed like any other theme. Simplifying the entire process so that you can focus on creating vibrant and stunning designs. You can read more about it here.
I decided that I should try my hand at creating a comic strip based around advertising. Though I can draw, I don’t have the time or patience to draw multiple frames of a comic strip. My first solution was to look for a free Avatar creator and use the avatars and Photoshop to create my comic strip. Suddenly out of inspiration I decided to check if there was any free software available that made making comics easy. A quick search lead me to Pixton. An amazing site for people who want to take a quick shot at creating comics. The entire site uses a flash interface to create your own characters, set up your scene and build your own strip. An excellent tool if you want to make comics or visual storyboards. Go check it out here.
I am sure there are a myriad of other applications out there which allow people to focus on the design output and not get our hands messy with the code.