The Rise and Fall of the Web Designer

In the first few years, I was putting all my time in development without the funds to hire a web designer. For the longest time my Gmail extension worked because it was bug free and I provided lots of features and options.

But Looks Matter

My uninstall survey started to indicate that users didn’t like the interface and were switching to other extensions, even though they knew my extension was superior! It was frustrating.

Know when to Google

Hiring someone or creating my own extension theme would have taken a lot of time, money and maintenance. So I Googled around and discovered the Material Design used in Polymer, a JavaScript library that would solve all of that.  The design also is also spreading across most of Google’s products from Android to Chrome. The benefits include:

  • Consistency among apps
  • Numerous free and scaleable icons
  • Spacing and ripple effects for touch displays
  • Beautiful dropdowns, sliding menus, and dialog boxes
  • Responsive Web Design which supports multiple devices
  • Accessibility (a11y) support for the visual or hearing impaired
  • Fluid animations
  • Cross browser compatibility

You can see the difference with the icons and spacing and when clicking around the smooth responses are instantly noticeable.

Before

After

Themes and more themes

For simpler extensions or websites you can choose from millions of free or paid themes. WordPress users are probably well aware of them, and you can combine them with Polymer if your site gets more complex.

TLDR

There are several other libraries and frameworks to chose from now, such as Angular and Bootstrap.

2 Replies to “The Rise and Fall of the Web Designer”

  1. Hi Jason, I wanted to post something to you. You might want to check this out since I’ve spent the better part of the past 9 hours trying to figure this out… and I’m not a developer. The ‘answer’ came quite by accident. Short version: Last night Chrome updated and my GMail Plus account would not load standard email. I kept getting ‘cookie’ and ‘redirected too many times’ errors, which was ludicrous. I could not get to standard email… and could only read gmail’s basic html email where ALL email came in at one time under one heading. (Smacking my head how we put up with that!) I unloaded a dozen extentions, including yours, reloaded… and still had problems. Somehow, during updating Chrome, the cookies for google.com must have been deleted. After being prompted on a site to allow keepa.com to be viewed, I added [*.]google.com to the allowed Cookies and I could then see my email. You should check this out. It might help someone else.

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