Poll: Which new HTML5 tags seem most interesting to you?

New HTML5 Elements
So many new tags to choose from!

One of the best things about HTML5 are all the new HTML5  tags. There’s the <canvas> tag and the <audio> and <video> tags. I love the new attributes of the <input> tag which allow your forms to collect data more effectively. (I know, these aren’t technically new tags, but they make the <input> tag so much more useful that I can’t leave them out.)

Before I tell you my favorite new HTML5 tag, why don’t you tell us yours? (I don’t want to bias your choice…) Just fill out the form below. And if your favorite tag isn’t listed, please post in the comments about your favorite tag. I’d love to know why you like the tag (or tags) you chose.

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I am one of those annoying people who has a hard time picking a “favorite” anything. Today I might like green and then tomorrow purple is my favorite color. But I think the most interesting new HTML5 tag is the <canvas> tag. I love this tag because it is so versatile.

With the <canvas> tag you can:

  • create animations
  • build online games
  • build a photo gallery or scrapbook
  • draw and paint on the web page
  • create fancy patterns and shapes
  • and so much more…

I love the <canvas> tag, but that’s not to say that tomorrow I might decide I love the <datalist> tag more. There is so much to love in HTML5. I love all the new HTML5 tags!

Poll: Do you use pen and paper to plan your designs?

I used to be big on pen and paper, and at many moments I still fall back on it. I write my journal in a blank journal so that I can play with pens and paint as well as pencils. But more and more I do a lot of my design plans on my computer.

drawing with pen and paper
Designing on paper is easy and quick

Some of the things I used to do only on paper were to plan out the basic layout. I would sketch the columns, put big boxes for the images, text, and other content. Then once I was happy with my sketch I’d get out my calculator (or a piece of scratch paper) and do math to see what kinds of grids I’d need to set up to create the layout that I wanted. But these days I do a lot of that on my computer.

I love my Wacom tablet. It lets me sketch my layouts just like I would on paper, but I don’t feel like I’m wasting paper when I cross something out or change the design mid-stream. For a site I’m working on now I’d have used at least ten pieces of paper, as I considered and threw out various designs.

But what I like best about prototyping on my computer is I can include dynamic elements like rollovers and flyouts directly. I don’t have to rely on my artistic abilities to represent a light box area or describe the animation effects. Instead, I can grab a library element and just slap it into my prototype. No, I almost never use the out-of-the-box library elements for my final designs (I love to tinker with things), but at least I can make my ideas clearer for the clients.

What about you? Do you still use pen(cil) and paper for your initial design work? If you do, how do you get it on the computer later? And if you don’t, what are your favorite tools or applications for doing your prototypes? Let me know in the comments below.

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And if you have a minute or two, could you fill out the simple survey in the right column? I’d really appreciate it!

How can I help you?

QuestionsI’m trying to determine what I should work on next. I have a number of opportunities and ideas, but I’d love to know what you want. Some of you may have noticed a new survey on my sidebar last week, and I’ve already replaced it with an even simpler, 2-question survey.

I would love to know how I can help you. What do you want to know? If you don’t want to fill in the survey, you can comment on this blog post. If you could have 15 minutes of my time, what would you ask me?

Please fill out this simple survey – it will take less than 5 minutes of your time.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Poll: How do you use your mobile devices?

use mobile device to take photosI met with Adobe a while ago, and one thing they said that surprised me was that most people use their mobile devices (tablets, phones, etc.) as consumption devices only. In other words, they only use them to view web pages, watch movies, listen to music, and so on. But they don’t use them to create.

Is that true for you? Personally, I have dozens of editors on my iPad that I use to write web designs and articles all the time. Plus I use my tablet for drawing and my phone for taking pictures. I find the mobile devices very creative, and much less messy than carrying around a portable art palette. 🙂

How do You Use Mobile Devices?

It’s hard for me to imagine how I lived without my tablet these days. What do you think? Feel free to comment below about how you use mobile devices.

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Some of the apps I use all the time are games, but when I’m not playing games or watching a Netflix binge-a-thon, I use:

  • Day One—This is a journaling app that you can use to write blog posts, I think. I’ve never used it for that, but I do write in it or take photos with it almost every day.
  • OneNote—This is another note taking app. I use it mostly for to do lists and reminders of things I want to take care of. But I also put in article ideas and web pages I want to remember to read again.
  • Transfer—I use this app to move pictures from my various devices to my laptop or computer. I know that iOS is supposed to do this automatically, but I can’t always get that to work. Transfer relieves a lot of my frustrations.
  • Diptic—This app is fun to use. It creates little collages of different photos. It comes with a lot of templates, and there are more to purchase if you need them.
  • Adobe Ideas—I use this to draw in all the time. I’ve also picked up Adobe Line, Photoshop Mix, and Adobe Sketch just recently, but I haven’t started using them yet.
  • Mindfulness Daily—I have been using this for the last 40-some-odd days, and I really like it. It’s a great way to practice mindfulness.

There are a bunch of other apps I have on my iPad, but those are ones I use nearly every day. I think I do use my iPad more for consumption than for creation, but I definitely use use mobile devices for both.

Poll: Do you use grid systems?

a gridA grid system is a system for web design based on a grid. It is a way of organizing your content on the page with a grid as the primary element.

Using a grid system is a great way to organize your pages. You can make the grid as large or as small as you want it and have as many columns or rows as you need.

Grids are a very formal way of designing web pages because they control the number of columns, rows, gutters between the columns and even the lines and spacing of the area around the grid.

Many people find grids very rigid for design because everything starts looking very square and boring. But when you get better at the use of grids you will learn how to break the grid to make your design more dynamic and effective.

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There are lots of frameworks that use grids, some of the more popular ones include:

  • Responsive Grid System – this is a scalable grid system that is more responsive and includes breakpoints to create different grids at different device sizes.
  • Responsive GS – this is much more of a framework to help you build your site, and it uses more HTML5 by example. It comes with some polyfills to help ensure your grids work correctly
  • Zen Grids – This is a system to let you use Sass to figure out all the sizes and position the elements appropriately. It means you have to install and understand Sass to use it. But Sass isn’t that hard. CSS is harder in many ways.
  • 960 Grid System – this assumes a width of 960 pixels which can be divided into many columns with variations of 12 columns and 16 columns.