Create a Local Copy of a Website with HTTrack

I’ve recently been experimenting with HTTrack, an open-source utility that makes it possible to download a full copy of any website. HTTrack is essentially a web crawler, allowing users to retrieve every page of a website merely by pointing the tool to the site’s homepage.

From the HTTrack homepage:

“[HTTrack] allows you to download a World Wide Web site from the Internet to a local directory, building recursively all directories, getting HTML, images, and other files from the server to your computer. HTTrack arranges the original site’s relative link-structure.”

I thought I’d share my experience with it.
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3 Ways to Test for App Consistency

Over the Christmas holiday break, I had some spare time to try out a few new apps. Most of the apps I tried had a corresponding web portal to manage a user’s account and preferences. As a tester, I know that consistency is important. I like to pay attention to the consistency between an app and its web portal. What I noticed (and have read about other testers noticing the same thing) is that consistency between app and portal is not always great. And this was true with a couple of the apps I tried out.

Below are a few places where the apps I looked at struggled with consistency. By observing the problems, I’ll offer some tips on how to better test apps.
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Information Architecture: A Whole-Team Discipline

Information Architecture has exceptionally broad-reaching consequences. It affects the software we build, the business model behind it, and the way people interact on all sides of a product. No project can afford to leave team members out of the IA circle.

Fortunately, it can be very approachable.
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Using Project Design Principles to Set Priorities & Stay on Track

Giving and receiving design feedback in the product development process is difficult—so difficult that there are whole books written on the topic. Most software stakeholders don’t approach the software development process with an innate knowledge of how to effectively critique a design, and many designers do a poor job of teaching them how to do this at the beginning of a relationship. Read more on Using Project Design Principles to Set Priorities & Stay on Track…

6 More Helpful Sketch Shortcuts


To continue the good work that my colleague Bryan started last October, I have six more great Sketch shortcuts to add to the mix.

In the last couple of years, Sketch has almost completely replaced Photoshop as my go-to for UI build-out. Though it can still occasionally be fussy (I’m looking at you, SVG exports), it has all of the core features I need to quickly iterate and concept lovely, usable interfaces.
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Mind the Bus & Go on Red: Overcoming Biases and Assumptions

When I moved from the UK to the US, I had a number of things to get used to—strange accents, wrong spellings, incorrect pronunciations, lack of good bacon, the wrong sort of football…

One of the big things was driving on the wrong side of the road and getting into the car from the opposite side. I soon got used to it, but then came across all the traffic rules and laws that I didn’t know about. I’m used to roundabouts, not four-way stops—which, for a polite Brit, means I can get stuck there all day. Read more on Mind the Bus & Go on Red: Overcoming Biases and Assumptions…

Forget About the Orphans – Is it a Good Story?

My first job was with a company that made programs for typesetting books, so I was exposed to a whole new vocabulary and trade secrets: widows and orphans, kerning and leading, serif and san-serif, hanging punctuation, drop caps. Once I’d learnt the basic concepts and seen good and bad examples, it was difficult for me to read a book or a newspaper without first casting a critical eye over how it had been typeset.

This eye for detail came in useful when I became a tester. I was good at spotting typos, inconsistencies and ambiguities, ugly layouts, etc. The danger was that I could focus on these aspects and ignore other qualities that were more important to the user. Read more on Forget About the Orphans – Is it a Good Story?…

The Designer’s Question: Do I Need to Learn to Code?

It’s the constant, ever-present debate for a designer: Do I need to learn to code?

Well, the internet has shown that you can argue this many ways. If you work in branding and communications design or mostly in print, I think the obvious answer is no. But if you are a software product designer, creating designs that are implemented in code, the answer is yes, it’s probably in your best interest to know some code. I could be better at doing my job and understanding project constraints if I had a solid grasp of HTML, CSS, and eventually, JavaScript.
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How to Identify Embedded Fonts in a PDF

As a designer, I’m always curious about the font choices other designers make in their work. When I find a great design that uses an unfamiliar font, I like to do a bit of investigating to figure out what it is. This is easy enough with a web page, but getting a identifying fonts in a PDF presents more of a challenge. Read more on How to Identify Embedded Fonts in a PDF…