Skip to main content

Spur: A free Web app that lets Web designers get back to basics



From the house of ZURB, creators of such apps as Bounce, Notable, Reel and Strike, comes another Web app called Spur. It’s a free app that aims to help Web designers return to basics and ensure that they adhere to the purest of design principles.

The folk at ZURB, above all else, seem to be interested in making tools that they themselves have a need for. Therefore, they tend to be targeted for a niche audience, but usually demonstrate a very keen understanding of what that audience requires from the product.

In this case, Spur gives website owners and designers seven tools to help measure the design of their website. These are all classic design methodologies — such as viewing your layout in grayscale to see if the design still works — and they have been transformed into simple benchmarks for you to use.

When you load a website in Spur, seven large buttons across the top let you access the various tools, while the Original button to the far right reverts the webpage to its original state. Here’s a summary of the various tools available:

  • Grayscale: It drains the colour from your website so you can judge whether the contrast is still OK and the various elements pop out as desired.
  • Intersections: It allows you to draw grid lines on the page to “show its focal points”.
  • Contrast: It bumps up the contrast of the page so you can figure out which areas are most visible to a user at first glance.
  • Blur: With the contents of the website blurred, can you still get some valuable information out of it?
  • Mirror: This tool laterally inverts the page, so you can focus on the layout with the text rendered unreadable.
  • Rotate: The rotate tool flips your website on its axis. It can help you judge if the site is still attractive if someone is viewing it on a handheld device and others look at it from a 90º angle.
  • 50% Zoom: This tool reduces the size of the site by half, so you can figure out if the design still works at the reduced size.

If there is one thing I can point to and say that needs work, it’s that the app loads websites a little too slow and does not always preserve the original layout. In the screenshot above, you can see that it had difficulty with the layout of images next to the articles on The Next Web’s homepage. Hopefully, these are just teething troubles and will be sorted out as the app matures.

The classic design principles mentioned above apply universally to every good, clean design and Spur helps you ensure that you are adhering to them. And since it is also free, if you are a graphic designer, there is no reason you shouldn’t at least give it a shot.

Spur: A free Web app that lets Web designers get back to basics
Fri, 09 Sep 2011 10:14:34 GMT

Popular posts from this blog

Apple Launches Web Tool to Deregister Phone Numbers from iMessage

Apple today released a new web tool for users to deregister their phone number from iMessage in the event they switched to a non-Apple device. To deregister a phone number from iMessage, users simply enter their phone number in Apple's web tool, receive a free text message containing a code, and submit the code to complete the process. Users who still have their original iPhone can also transfer their SIM card back to the device and go to Settings -> Messages to turn iMessage off. 

Users switching from an iPhone to another device were often unable to receive SMS messages from another iPhone due to their phone number still being linked to iMessage. These specific errors with iMessage have been a well-known issue since 2011, which is when the messaging service debuted with iOS 5. They were also made even more apparent this past May, where a server glitch caused widespread message delivery problems. Apple was even sued over the matter in a California court, although the company cla…

Microsoft acquires iPhone email app Acompli

After accidentally announcing it a little early, Microsoft is officially confirming it has acquired email startup Acompli. The surprise acquisition means Microsoft is picking up a powerful email client for iPhone and Android in another move that further cements CEO Satya Nadella’s focus on cross-platform technologies. The Verge’s Casey Newton called Acompl "the Outlook for iPhone that Microsoft hasn’t yet built," and it seems Microsoft was equally impressed with the powerhouse email app. "We’re excited about what’s possible as we build on the app’s success and bring it together with work currently in progress by the Outlook team," the company said in a statement. "Our goal is to deliver fantastic cross-platform apps that support the variety of email services people use today and help them accomplish more." Recode first reportedthat Microsoft would make its latest acquisition official today; the company is said to be paying over $200 million for Acompli. A…

Apple will disconnect ‘obsolete’ first-gen Apple TV from iTunes in May

Apple has announced today it will drop iTunes support for some older devices from May 25. This includes the first generation Apple TV, and also any PC running Windows XP or Vista. The company is introducing new security changes which will prevent those devices from using the latest version of iTunes.
Apple says that the original Apple TV is an "obsolete Apple product" and will not be updated to support security changes. Only those with the second generation of Apple TV or later will be able to access the iTunes store.
Windows XP or Vista users won't be able to use the latest version of iTunes, but older Windows computers can still use previous versions without support from Apple. Those who do so, however, won't be able to make new purchases or re-download previous purchases on that computer. If you're on on XP or Vista, you'll need to upgrade to Windows 7 or later to continue using iTunes normally.
The writing was already on the wall for these devices: Wi…