How to Design Great Microcontent for a Website

Microcontent is imagery, written copy or videos/gifs that can be consumed in less than 30 seconds. Infographics, video clips, images/illustrations, graphs, text blurbs, memes, short listicles, email subjects, webpage titles are all considered as microscopy. A concise way of presenting data is proven to be more beneficial and effective especially when designing for a fast moving world. Microcontent is usually optimized for social networks. Single images, short snippets of memes, 6-second videos that can easily be shared on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest are all examples of micro-content. Different social networks have different aesthetic norms – content should be adjusted to accordingly to fit the norms of a particular platform. There are two types of microcontent – 1. Small clusters of words that often make up the tiniest bits of the framework that provide information and direction as to how to use a website or an app can be termed as a micro-copy. It could be labeled information or copy on CTA buttons. 2. Images or gifs that lead the user to a URL is also a popular type of micro-content. When designing micro-content, it is important to think of them as fragments. It should be short, easy to understand and inviting. In this article, we will discuss the two types of micro-content, how to put them together and some website demos that use micro-content effectively. So scroll down to learn more about how best to create better, more usable pieces of content that will make your work better. Words Micro-content helps drive the tone, navigational elements and the connection you feel with the site. To use the site effectively, you have to be able to understand the micro-content within each of these elements. The way text inside these elements is written has an impact on the overall effectiveness of the website. This can be achieved by using simple phrases and language, paying attention to verbs and words, considering the tone and making sure it matches the rest of the content, instructions should be clickable. When in doubt stick to commonly used phrases. There is a reason why they work, its mostly because they are easily understandable. Images Images should be used in conjunction with words. They should complement each other. Imagery should be used the same way you would use an infographic on social media. It should be broken down into tidbits for...

How to Create Your Own Font

Have you ever wanted to make your own font? Maybe you need an extra personal touch for a design project, or perhaps you want to sell fonts commercially. Either way, there are solutions out there that can help you get started. All you need is an idea, good handwriting, and some font creation software! Designing the Font Firstly, if you would rather generate or build a font than create your own from scratch, try out an app like Prototypo or Fontstruct. To begin creating a font, you have a few decisions to make. The first should be easy: Serif, sans serif, script (calligraphy), decorative or symbol type? There’s all sorts of sub-types, but this is a good beginning. Start studying fonts you like. What makes them look so good? Why do you like them? You don’t want to copy, but you may want to start putting together references and sketching out early drafts. What is this font for? A public or personal project? If it’s for yourself, you may only need to design the basic alphabet and some symbols. But if you’re releasing this font commercially, you’ll want to include many symbols and characters. You might also want to consider including other typeface families like bold, italic, thin, light, condensed and so on. But if this is your first font, don’t worry about that and start simple. Once you have an idea, start practicing by hand! Draw the letters over and over until you’re happy with the design. What you do next depends on your preferences. You can scan your handwritten work and trace it in a program like Illustrator or Photoshop, or you can skip right to font creation software. Either way, you will need a program to help you compile the font. Here are a handful of the best. Calligraphr If you want a quick, easy and free solution to creating fonts, Calligraphr might be what you need. Just fill out the template and you’ll have a font that looks like your handwriting! There’s even a quick test version, no registration required, for when you need to make a font fast. You can use what you create commercially without credit, but to access features like special characters, variants and ligatures, you’ll have to upgrade your account. FontForge FontForge is free, open source font design software. You’ll be drawing your letters right in the program. If you’ve used vector graphics programs before, you’ll get the hang of it quickly. And since it’s open source, you can...

The 10 types of video you can use to promote your brand

Sometimes a witty Facebook status or a cute Instagram Boomerang just isn’t enough to sell your brand. In order to level-up your marketing, you need to produce video content, and we’re here to tell you about all the types of video that can do just that. When you’re planning your video marketing strategy, picking the right type of video is a crucial decision. Illustration by OrangeCrushVideos capture the attention of your audience members longer and more thoroughly than any other advertising medium. Producing professional-quality video is essential not only because you can promote your business in a more dynamic way, but you can leverage your brand in places where still images and text cannot go—like a YouTube commercial block, for example. Video production is a lot of work, but it’s absolutely worth it once you have the final product. Before you get started, think about what kind of video you want to make. Here are the 10 types of video you can use in your video marketing strategy: 1. The spot
2. The explainer
3. The product demonstration
4. The company culture video
5. The behind-the-scenes video
6. The customer testimonial video
7. The employee portrait video
8. The web series
9. The branded mini-documentary
10. The branded short film
The spot
— The most classic kind of video you can produce is the 15- or 30-second commercial, commonly referred to as a “spot.” The content of a spot can widely vary depending on your brand and the story you want to tell, but the purpose of producing one is simply that it can be distributed virtually everywhere. You can show these videos in TV (or Hulu) commercial breaks, before YouTube videos, or even before the trailers start at the movies, for example. The keys to being successful with this type of video is to make it immediately engaging and to concisely tell your story within the relatively short runtime.  Additionally, a 15-30 second video is perfect for sharing on Facebook and Instagram. This not-too-short, not-too-long runtime hits the social media sweet spot. And chances are you’re probably going to be sharing and boosting your video on social media, rather than launching a cable TV commercial. Spots have been around for decades and (even despite the decline of traditional television viewing) will be prevalent forms of advertising for decades to come.
The explainer...

The 10 Best Free Icon Fonts For Web Designers

Open source web fonts let designers radically change their page designs and typographic styles. And some of these web fonts use icon sets to bring vector-based icons into CSS. If you’re looking for 100% free icon fonts for your website then this post has collected all of the best ones. Each icon pack is totally free with SVG vectors and webfont formats to include in your stylesheets and web pages. All the Icons, Fonts, Web Templates & Design Assets You Could Ask For
DOWNLOAD NOW 1. Captain Icon My personal favorite web font is the Captain Icon pack created by designer Mario del Valle. It’s a totally free open source project hosted on GitHub with vector files and web fonts. What I like most about this icon pack is the style. Each icon has a very unique design, and they’re all hand drawn from scratch. This makes them stand out far above the other more generic icon sets. But I don’t think Captain Icon works for every project. It’s best used on creative sites where a hand-drawn style fits with the layout. 2. Octicons GitHub recently open sourced their own icon pack called Octicons. This free icon set is currently in version 5.0 and includes dozens of icons with some basic symbols. These icons can be found scattered throughout the GitHub website. But they’re just simple enough that they can work on pretty much any interface. If you need a simple, lightweight icon font then Octicons won’t let you down. 3. Typicons With rounded corners and simpler outlines, the Typicons set is perfect for any site. It comes with 330+ unique icons all with a similar style. The pack is completely free and also available on GitHub. This means you can include the icons directly into your site and even make edits to them as needed. Few people know about Typicons but it’s one of the better icon web fonts available. They can even work for iOS with some minor adjustments and special code snippets. 4. Zondicons Zondicons are totally free and real easy to add into your site. Unfortunately these aren’t hosted on GitHub so they don’t have an update archive. But you can see all of the examples on the demo page including which CSS classes you need to get them working properly. The main Zondicons download link comes right from the website, so it’s hard to tell if they’ve ever been updated or if new icons were...

20 Best New Portfolios, March 2019

It’s March, dear Readers, and here in Monterrey, the weather can’t seem to make up its darned mind. Is it Spring? Early Summer? Are we getting a plague of groundhogs? None can tell. On the whole, it would be best to stay inside, grab a nice beverage that could be hot or cold depending on your weather, and browse through some portfolios. We’ve got a rather varied mix, and a continuation of the amorphous blob trend, which I’m still not tired of. Enjoy! Note: I’m judging these sites by how good they look to me. If they’re creative and original, or classic but really well-done, it’s all good to me. Sometimes, UX and accessibility suffer. For example, many of these sites depend on JavaScript to display their content at all; this is a Bad Idea, kids. If you find an idea you like and want to adapt to your own site, remember to implement it responsibly. John Henry Müller John Henry Müller’s portfolio does several things very right. For one, the way responsive typography is handled makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Secondly, I love the way testimonials are sprinkled throughout the home page, between other things. And hey, anyone who can get a good review from both Zeldman and their own mother deserves to be on this list. Platform: Static Site Victor Vergara If you’re going to go all out on animation and flashy stuff, do it like Victor Vergara. The site loads fast, the 3D objects are kept simple, and they the animations run smoothly. The whole aesthetic of the site plays heavily into the retro-3D feel, and it looks fantastic. As presentational sites go, it’s good. Just go ahead and assume that I’ve done some griping about fallbacks, but otherwise it’s beautiful. Platform: Static Site (I think) Peak Peak has achieved something simple yet wonderful with diagonal lines, silhouettes, and a cool (as in mostly blue) color scheme that I absolutely adore. Plus, they’re actually pulling off the logo-in-the-sidebar layout that it took me ages to get right. Platform: WordPress Designerpart Designerpart reminds me of the old days where everything had to look like a shiny vector, but in a good way. This time, they use shiny vector blobs in the background as a motif, and while I think they could have made some of the text on top a bit darker, the whole effect is nostalgic and modern at the same time. Is it weird that I’ve come to love “blobs” as a trend? Platform:...

Popular Design News of the Week: March 4, 2019 – March 10, 2019

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers.  The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week. Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news. WDRfree – Free Web Design Resources Library   Site Design: Superrb   Stop Using Responsive Design   The Google Cemetery – A List of Dead Google Products and Why They Died   CSS Selectors Cheatsheet   Website Speed Guide   You are Killing Me with your Tiny Fonts   Site Design: Mixpanel   Introducing Latitude: Flexport’s Design System   Effective Use of Gradients in Design   20 CSS Color Palettes   This is the Best Ad Blocker We’ve Seen (and Heard)   The Top Ten Fonts of 2018 at YouWorkForThem   Accessible Brand Colors   The Bottleneck of the Web   Best Practices: Component, Styles, and Shared Libraries   The Dark Side of the Grid   Introducing Storybook 5.0   Stay User-oriented up to the 404 Page   28 Design Tools in 28 Days   EditorConfig: Consistent Coding Styles Across Various Editors and IDEs   Best Free Photo Editing Software 2019   5 Awesome Tips to Grow your Business with Instagram   One Minute of Silence for Digital Design   There are 7 Types of Logo Designs   Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News. Add Realistic Chalk and Sketch Lettering Effects with Sketch’it – only $5!

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Web Design Skills That Will Be In Demand in 2019

A web designer in a nutshell is an individual who develops material for the web. In this digital era, establishing a captivating web presence is crucial. The design of your website alludes to your brand. Potential clients will not spend the time to check out your content if they do not find your website aesthetically pleasing. Essentially, every business needs individuals with great web design skills to help them in achieving the intended business goals by leveraging the use of the Internet. Baseline Importance of Web Design Ranking on search engines (SEO) Search Engine Optimization is on the mind of every business. This is literally getting your web page listed on the very first page of any search engine, Google being the most popular. You and I know that if you don’t find something on the first page of Google, it probably doesn’t exist. Rarely do people ever go looking on page 2 and beyond. Web design when correctly applied is able to assist a business to rank highly on search engines. This is however only possible if the code that was used while designing the page is SEO friendly. There is grueling competition in terms of SEO and if web design can give a business an upper hand, I strongly suggest that you take it. Outwitting the Competition More often than not, in a certain industry, it is most likely that there is barely any differentiating factor among the companies. The website is where the magic happens. A great web designer has the capacity to redefine the parameters and place one company miles ahead of the rest in the minds of the consumers. It’s said winning isn’t everything but it sure feels good and everyone likes associating with the winning team. Web design can definitely make you the winning team. Functionality Is there a person in this world who likes to struggle? Life in itself is a real maze. Your website could have the highest quality available but if the intended consumers are unable to navigate with ease, then your web designer has absolutely missed the point. The web designer should have an intuitive understanding of the potential consumers’ needs. This will propel the designer into creating a website that optimizes the customer experience. So if your website right now has the best content but low traffic and even lower conversion rates, you might need to relook its functionality. Web Design Skills in Demand...

The Hidden Costs of Minimalism in Design

Minimalism is a trend that has largely defined the best part of the last decade. Its rise to prominence came as a reaction to the abundance of heavy styling which preceded it. It offered a simpler and cleaner design direction for websites and interfaces. Web and app designs became less complex in terms of styling, speeding up development time and resulting in digital products that loaded quicker. As a design direction, minimalism has been around for a long time. Whether you look back at product design and companies like Braun, or to modernist architects like Mies van der Rohe, designers have always looked to simple forms for inspiration. designers have always looked to simple forms for inspiration In more recent times, it was the introduction of iOS 7 which really pushed designers away from the rich styles and effects we had become so accustomed to. Apple looked to create an interface that reflected the design of the Apple product hardware itself. The result included buttons replaced with thin ambiguous icons, little differentiation between elements, and a general lack of any sort of feeling: it was stark and severe. Since then, iOS has made some improvements while still opting for a direction that strips back as much detailing as possible. Apple is always an intriguing example when it comes to minimalism in general. It brings up important questions surrounding aesthetics and user experience. As a company, their sales rely heavily on a reductionist technique. They sell products through apparent simplicity; creating something that anyone can look at and understand how it works and how to use it. Decisions like the removal of the headphone jack, I/O ports, and home button are all long-term decisions to work further toward this goal. This is what Apple was founded upon and why it created beautiful user-friendly products like the iMac G3. Apple’s mice and keyboards are beautiful, but offer some of the very worst ergonomics to have ever been designed But as you begin to look deeper into Apple’s minimalist design direction, it becomes clear that the aesthetics are by far the most important consideration to drive sales, and something of an obsession. Apple’s minimalist approach to product and software design is very much ‘one size fits all’. At a product and software level, this comes at a cost to user experience. For example, Apple’s mice and keyboards are...

Avoiding Burnout: The Working After Hours Rulebook

We’ve all been there. Those situations where there is too much to do and not enough time to get it done. It’s a common problem in just about all fields, but it seems especially so for freelancers. Because, when you’re working solo, everything rests on your shoulders. Therefore, the temptation to work after normal business hours is strong. And while it can result in making some serious progress on your workload, it can also stress you out. Working when seemingly everyone else is relaxing can feel a bit unavoidable. Maybe it’s just part of the lifestyle we’ve chosen for ourselves. Even so, if we’re going to do this, it would be helpful to set some ground rules. This way, we can stay on the good side of that fine line between productivity and exhaustion. With that in mind, here are some basic guidelines to follow when it comes to burning that midnight oil: Do Extra Work Only When You Have To The working life of a freelance designer is very much feast or famine. Sometimes you have so much work piled up that you may need a small miracle to get it all done. But there are also times where you’ll be sitting there with virtually nothing to do. The funny thing is that, even when you don’t have a million things going on, it can still feel like you just have to be productive. Don’t fall into that trap. Take advantage of the slow times to do things outside of work. Making yourself sit through work sessions purely out of a sense of duty is actually counter-productive. Instead, give yourself the freedom to get out and have some fun. When your workload gets insane again, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the challenge. Set Aside Specific Times to Work Just as you have a daily work schedule, you should also do the same when it comes to overtime. Otherwise, you may find yourself having to decide whether to binge-watch your favorite show or fire up the laptop and write some code. While that may seem like a harmless decision, having some downtime for your brain is important. Wrapping yourself up in work 24/7 is unhealthy and can lead to an eventual burnout. The healthier alternative is to schedule in some time to tackle that extra work. Pick a time that’s relatively quiet and allot yourself a specific number of hours to get it done. For instance, you might set aside a weekend morning between 8:00 – 11:00 am. This way, you know when you’re going to work and when you’...

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22 Mar 2019