Category: Design

DesignDevelopment

Create icons from any font character in Metro Studio 2

I’ve been using Metro Studio 2 from Syncfusion for a while now to create beautiful looking Metro styled icons for Website, Windows Phone and Windows 8 development projects.

Today I got an email from Syncfusion about the ability to create icons from any font character. This is awesome stuff and I just wanted to share this with you.

If you haven’t tried Metro Studio 2, then head over and download it. It’s free and a tool I recommend every designer and developer should have in their toolbox.

Enjoy!

MetroStudio

Download

http://www.syncfusion.com/downloads/metrostudio

DesignDevelopmentMobile

Article on Responsive Design

Good post on Response Design

Read more…

Enjoy!

References

Blog post:
http://www.kendoui.com/blogs/teamblog/posts/13-01-22/responsive_design_with_twitter_bootstrap.aspx

Six Revisions 25 examples:
http://sixrevisions.com/design-showcase-inspiration/responsive-webdesign-examples/

DesignDevelopment

iOS, iPhone and iPad Storyboarding

Three new sets of storyboarding shapes are now available for iOS, iPhone and iPad.

These shape libraries are available with the Storyboarding functionality that is included with Visual Studio 2012 Premium, Ultimate and Test Professional products.

Here are a sample of the icons included with these shape libraries…

Common iOS Icons

iPhone controls

iPad controls

You can read more about Storyboarding functionality in my blog post  an introduction to PowerPoint storyboarding.

Downloading the Shapes

You can download these shape from the Visual Studio Gallery.

DesignDevelopment

An Introduction to PowerPoint Storyboarding (Visual Studio 2012 Features)

One of the new features introduced in Visual Studio 2012 is an add-in for PowerPoint that allows you to do Storyboarding.

PowerPoint Storyboarding allows you to quickly and easily put together an interface design, whether it be for a website, a mobile device, Windows 8, or a desktop application, and then get the necessary feedback from your stakeholders. And since it’s PowerPoint, then even your stakeholders can easily make changes and show you exactly what they want.

NOTE: This feature is only available for Visual Studio Premium and Ultimate users.

Let’s Get Started

Start by going to the Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 program folder and select PowerPoint Storyboarding as shown here:

image

This will launch PowerPoint with a blank slide and take you to the Storyboarding tab. You will notice the Storyboard Shapes to the right of your slide and provide all kinds of shapes for your interface design. These shapes are also searchable via the search box.

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Here is a sample slide of what can be accomplished:

storyboading sample

Managing Shapes

One of the neat features found in PowerPoint Storyboarding is the ability to manage your custom shapes as well as export them for other team members to use.

Additionally you can also download community shapes by going to Visual Studio Gallery and downloading any of the available shapes. Most are free, but at the time of this post…there was 1 paid set of shapes.

Once you’ve downloaded a set of shapes, you can import them from the Import Shapes button found in the Shapes section:

image

Team Integration

If you’re using Team Foundation Server, then you can link your storyboard to one or more requirements/user stories with the Storyboard Links button:

image

NOTE: If you’re not using Team Foundation Server, then there is now a free Team Foundation Server Express 2012 edition, which can be used by up to 5 developers. You can download it from Visual Studio Download page.

product_ex_tfs-tile

So there is no reason not to be using Team Foundation Server .Smile

Further Reading (Documentation)

I found the following links pretty good at documenting Storyboards and providing greater details:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh409276(VS.110).aspx

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh301773(VS.110).aspx

CloudDatabaseDesignDevelopment

Top 12 of Visual Studio 2012

I’ve been using Visual Studio 2012 for just over a week now and I’m really liking all the new features and functionality that comes with it. However I’m still not a huge fan of the new light/dark themes. I would like to use the Dark theme, but find it’s just too dark. It would be nice if they made it a few shades lighter.

Anyway I came across the following blog post on Jason Zander’s blog about the Top 12 of Visual Studio 2012 and I thought I would share it.

In summary, with Visual Studio 2012 you can:

  1. Develop for Windows 8
  2. Develop for the Web
  3. Developer for Windows Phone 8
  4. Develop for Windows Azure
  5. Develop Business Applications
  6. Develop Games and other 3D Applications
  7. Take advantage of the latest language enhancements
  8. Performance, Reliability and Compatibility Improvements
  9. New IDE Productivity Features
  10. Improve your code quality with enhanced testing tools
  11. Reduce cycle times using tools for agile practices
  12. Deliver Cloud-Based Services with Smoother Collaboration between Operations and Engineering

Checkout Jason Zander’s blog post for the full article the Top 12 of Visual Studio 2012.

If you have access to Visual Studio 2012, I highly recommend you give it a try. You can always work in both Visual Studio 2010 and 2012 as they are backwards compatible with one another.

Happy Coding!

DesignDevelopmentTechnology

Capturing User Feedback with UserVoice

twitter_avatar_UserVoice_normal

Recently I setup a UserVoice Feedback and Help Desktop account for one of my software products. This is a fantastic service that allows your users to submit feedback and improvement suggestions on your product. Your users can then rate the importance of the feedback and you get to interact with them by accepting it, etc.

“Surveys are great, but your audience has ideas and feedback that don’t fit a multiple-choice form. UserVoice Feedback™ makes it easy to collect this feedback – prioritized by votes – from your customers via a simple feedback forum.” 

They have different plans to choose from and also offer a completely free plan that you can get started with in seconds.

They also offer a feedback widget which you can easily add to your website, which allows your users to submit feedback directly from your website without having to leave your site or login to another system.

sshot-229

Clicking on this widget brings up the feedback UI as shown here:

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Your users can then start submitting feedback and as they type, matching content will be displayed so they can see what’s already submitting and won’t submit something that already exists.

If you’re interested in your users feedback and ideas to improve your products, then you should consider using UserVoice’s Feedback Management Software.

DesignDevelopment

Custom Chrome Window Glyphs

If your looking to create a custom chrome window in Winform or WPF, you should take a look at the ‘Marlett’ font that is available on your system.

This font contains the actual glyphs used in Windows for the Minimize, Maximize, Restore and Close buttons.

Using this font makes it really easy to reuse these glyphs in a custom chrome window, instead of custom images that is typically used.

To get started, assign your buttons the Marlett font.

Next, assign the text value for each of the buttons the following…

  • Close button, use the text r (lowercase R)
  • Minimize button, use 0 (zero)
  • Maximize button, use 1 (one)
  • Restore button, use 2 (two)

You can take a look at the Marlett font in the Windows Character Map or here for more details.

Here is an example of what the Windows buttons would look like using this font…