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Most of web technologies are full of buzzwords which are not always properly defined.  This also applies to user interaction, user experience (UI/UX) design.  I would think it is clear and common sense, however it is not to many people.  One shocking moment I remember at a hackathon was meeting graphic designers that say they do UI/UX.  When I asked them about that, they didn’t even know the differences between CSS and JavaScript.  You really should know the basics such as HTML and CSS so you can at least communicate your ideas.  To briefly explain: HTML represents the content, CSS represents the styles, and JavaScript the actions/behaviors.  Furthermore if you are all about “interaction”, you need to know JavaScript.  Should you want to transition from web design into development so you can make your graphics interactive, this becomes a challenging task.

The thing about JavaScript is, that has evolved. Not the actual language, but rather its usage due to “loose typing”, which can be an article on its own.  So if you have heard about JavaScript, you have probably heard about its frameworks like jQuery, MooTools, Protoype, ExtJS, etc – with jQuery being the most popular. Its popularity stems from jQuery’s ease-of-use, cross-browser compatibility, and extending plugins.  Other growth factors include the additions of UI widgets, touch features for mobile and adoption by big companies.  Using jQuery is as simple as two functional steps: ‘Get an Element’ -> ‘Due something with it’.

With that being said “user interaction” is about manipulating web elements and jQuery is made just for that.  With one line of code you can do what takes several using JavaScript.  Once you learn jQuery and its fundamentals, you can find a plethora of plugins in the directory for free. Personally, I like visual special effects so I sought out optical flares that beam over title like you see in sci-fi movies and games. While searching, I couldn’t find any animations of flares for the web so it was a great opportunity to create one. If you’re new to user interaction design and want to learn jQuery fast, this course has 14 five-star reviews. A great thing about coding in jQuery is, that you don’t need a web server. Just type in a text editor and open the file in your web browser to see the results.

Get started now – learn jQuery to bring your user experiences and interfaces to life!

Tom Rutka

Tom Rutka

UI Developer
Tom is a UI developer specializing in user interaction and front-end performance. His past work includes government projects such as the Secretary of State travel map and USPS' e-commerce store. While living in Brazil he developed a tour management application. He speaks three languages and likes to study the psychology behind human-computer interaction.
Tom Rutka

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