Web Design Don’ts (And How to Fix Them)
Now more than ever, a website is the first point of connection between product/content creators and potential users. Because a face-to-face interaction is out of the picture, credibility and connection must be established in other ways. Whether you’re using a web builder, or building things from scratch,.
The best sites or app designs provide users with straightforward navigation, a personal connection and pleasing visuals, but all too many websites fall short. These are some of the most common web design flaws and some ways to avoid them.
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Some websites seem to operate under the assumption that they might run out of space. All information is packed in using a small font size. This overwhelms users and causes them to check out.
Large chunks of text create a phenomenon called “TL; DR”, or “Too Long; Didn’t Read”. Web users have endless choices of what content to consume and want to engage with it efficiently. Here are some tips for avoiding “TL;DR”
Instead of crowding all possible information on your front page. Think about what different users might be looking for and separate it into individual pages linked by an easy to navigate menu.
When possible, use bulleted lists instead of paragraphs to create an easily scanned page.
Use a larger font size. Users are willing to scroll indefinitely if they are engaged, so feel free to take up space.
Photo Faux Pas
There are several ways your website’s images can damage credibility. Corny “clip-art” animations and graphics tell users that you designed your site in the late nineties (this is especially true of any image with a big white square behind it).
The same goes for badly Photoshopped images, low resolution photos and unconvincing stock photos.
Use real, high quality images whenever possible. DSLR cameras are easy to find and even smartphones often can take beautiful high resolution images.
Use images purposefully and sparingly. Cluttered photos are just as bad as cluttered text. And one meaningful and appealing photo is always better than a big pile of uninspired images.
DIY! Personalized hand-drawn illustrations can create a connection with users and make them feel at home. If you...
The 10 best freelance beer label designers for hire in 2018
Think about the difference between the imagery on your favorite craft beer and a can of PBR or Coors Light. One says “this is cheap and acceptable.” The other says “time, skill and dedication went into producing a quality brew.” If you’re a craft brewer, you naturally want to put the best label possible on the beers you create.
Working with a top quality designer will guarantee that you get the perfect label for your beer. Take a look at our top 10 freelance beer label designers to hire this year:
How to get the best beer label design
You’re probably familiar with the concept of hiring a freelance designer. It’s a great way to get label design done, but it’s not the only way! If you’re thinking of creating a beer label, consider hosting a design contest.
In a design contest, you write a brief describing what you need in your label, and designers from all over the world submit concepts based on the brief. You then choose finalists, give feedback to hone the designs and ultimately choose your favorite label. If you want lots of ideas and need to see a variety of different design styles, we recommend a design contest.
Learn more about beer label design contests –>
But if you already have a clear idea of your beer label’s art style and direction, hiring a freelancer is a great choice because it’ll get you to the finished product quicker.
The 10 best freelance beer label designers to hire in 2018
— Wooden Horse Top Level 5.0 ( 197 ) Product label Logo design Product packaging Other design Poster Postcard, flyer or print Illustration or graphics Other packaging or label Logo & brand identity pack T-shirt Brochure Signage Other business or advertising...
Collection of Free Printable UI/UX Templates
Every design project should start with basic wireframing and prototyping. This is the important process of fleshing out ideas and getting them down on paper to see which direction to take your project.
Some designers prefer digital wireframing with UI kits because they’re simpler and easier to translate into pixel-perfect interfaces. But paper wireframing gives you more control and freedom to try new things.
If you’re itching to dive into paper wireframing these printable templates should help you on your way. Most of these templates focus on mobile app design but you’ll find a few browser-based templates for website wireframing too.
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The printable Sneakpeekit grid styles work for pretty much every UI/UX project. The default grid doesn’t force any specific style so you can use it for mobile apps or larger websites. Or anything inbetween.
But Sneakpeekit also has alternative templates for things like browser grids or lengthier smartphone grids for long responsive layouts.
I recommend this kit as the best starting point because it’s so versatile and easy to customize. These UI kit wireframing templates pretty much work for anything. Plus they’re all free and support the standard A3/A4 paper size.
From tablets to smartphones to large blank pages with no strict direction, the Sneakpeekit set has something for every project.
2. UI Stencils
Another printable kit you might like is the freebie pack from UI Stencils. This site offers a bunch of sketching sheets and sketchbooks that you can buy, however they released this kit for free.
The entire pack comes in traditional letter size along with A4 for larger printers.
It comes in a few different styles with options for responsive websites, mobile apps, full browser interfaces and one large grid system. The latter can even be used for icon design or more complex design projects built on a grid.
Well worth bookmarking if you would ever use this kit on future projects.
3. Sketch Sheets
On the Sketch Sheets website you’ll find a slew of custom printable templates for the most common devices. iPhones, iPads, Nexus phones, web browsers and even the Apple Watches are all featured.
One nice addition to this pack is support for...
What Can Photography Teach Us About Web Design?
Photographers and web designers might seem like their jobs are 100% different. One is focused on traveling to locations, capturing moments, and working with humans and cameras while the other is focused on developing an online location, manipulating code and handling client demands. However, photographers and web designers aren’t that different. Both work creatively and technically to create something special and new, something that will tell a story for a business or a personal client. Both must be highly professional, highly skilled, and aware of trends and expectations. Both must harness their craft to make something from nothing. There are also several facets of photography that you, as a web designer, might learn from. We’ll review those today:
How to balance colors
Photography is about manipulating the light and the atmosphere of a photo to get the colors just right. Photographers have to make sure this works out so that colors don’t wash out their subject or blend poorly. They may not have total control of the colors in the frame, but they can make sure the final image plays to their strengths. Similarly, your web design client very likely has the color palette in mind that they would like you to use when developing their website. However, your professional opinion comes into play when you consider where to place those colors in the menu, sidebars, font colors, and other elements of the site. Knowing how to contrast light and dark colors, keep a balance throughout the site, and make sure every element is legible and attractive will make you a better designer. This skill could make or break your web design portfolio, even if you don’t have total control over the colors your clients choose.
How to compose and layout an image
If all of the interest in a photo is on one side, the photo will feel imbalanced and the layout will be all wrong. If there are elements in a photo that are crooked, partially in-frame, or which demand too much attention, the photo will feel off. Websites are the same way. If all of the visual interest is in the far-right side bar, the website will appear off. If the website’s visitors don’t know how to find things, or feel overwhelmed, your client will not be happy – their visitors will be leaving in droves. Composition is everything for any visual artist.
How to lean on small details
A great photographer knows how to hone in on...
Free logo ebook: learn how to get the perfect logo for your brand
Your logo is the face of your brand. It’s the first thing people will see—and hopefully remember—so you need to get it just right. No pressure!
Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone. We’re here for you each step of the way to help you figure out the process of creating a great logo. Download the free logo ebook and we’ll walk you through the whole process, from the conceptual stage to picking a design option that’s the right fit for you, so you end up with the perfect logo to put on your products, your business cards—or anywhere you want, really.
If you want an outstanding logo for your brand, you’ll need to pinpoint your brand identity, understand the basics of logo design and know your options when it comes to designing your logo. The logo ebook covers it all. Check your inbox We've just sent you your free logo ebook.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
1. How a logo can improve your business
What a logo does for your brand and why you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a great logo.
2. Defining your brand
Questions to ask yourself before designing your logo and tips for planning and inspiration.
3. Essential design principles for making logos
The core design principles you need to know about and how to pick the right logo style to fit your brand.
4. The 7 types of logos
Learn all about the different types of logos and find out which one works best for you.
5. Picking the right colors, shapes and fonts
Find out what different color choices, shapes and typography say about your brand.
6. Navigating the design process
Understand your options for getting your logo designed, plus tips for brief writing and file handover and a final checklist.
No matter what your business is all about and how you’re planning to get your logo designed, this ebook will teach you what to look out for during the process—so you end up with a logo that perfectly fits your brand’s identity and style,...
7 Ways To Design for a Global Audience
Before you ever sit down to design a website for a client, you develop user personas that are representative of their target audience. Once you’ve established an identity for the main user (or users), you can more easily shape an experience that caters to their needs and motivations.
But what do you do when the target audience isn’t so clearly defined into one or two neatly packaged personas?
Take a website like Zappos, for instance.
Zappos serves customers all over the world. So, how does one go about designing a website for an unidentifiable audience? Granted, you would know they’re interested in purchasing shoes and accessories online, but that’s about it.
Today, I’d like to address the matter of geography in web design as it’s an important one to consider and could have a significant impact on your conversion rate if not handled properly.
How to Design for a Global Audience
You might think it’s easier to design a website that appeals to international consumers than, say, one that targets users in a smaller geographic region. After all, if you’re not focused on targeting one segment of the population, then anything goes, right?
Not so fast…
Great care must be taken when designing a website that’s meant to appeal to an international audience. Here are 7 ways in which you can safely design for and appeal to a broader, global audience:
1. Make Translation Easy
Unless your website speaks directly to an audience located in a region of the world that speaks the same language, it’s better to plan for a space on your site that allows for quick translation. For many websites, a language/country widget appears in one of the four corners of the site—in the header or the footer.
Ideally, so long as visitors can find it easily, it doesn’t matter where you add it to the design.
For instance, this is the Smart car website:
In the bottom-left corner of the page, users can select their Country/Region. This makes the site go from something like this in English:
To something like this for Russian speakers:
Not only does this translate the website for users, but it also provides them with localized information, targeted at their geographic location.
2. Keep Design Minimal
Because you’re designing for a large, international audience, you have to be very careful with certain design factors that might not be perceived the same way from country to country. (I’ll discuss...
10 Pure CSS Call-To-Action Button Collections
Every website and landing page should have a clear call-to-action button. This encourages the user to click and perform an action, whether to make a purchase, start a trial, or sign up for an account.
There is no single best way to design a CTA and you can use many different styles, from large gradients to ghost buttons, and everything inbetween. But other factors like color, size, and position also have an affect on usability.
I’ve hand-picked 10 of my favorite CTA designs, all built with pure CSS. If you’re looking for CTA inspiration, then you’re bound to find something in this collection.
1. Floating Button
Here’s one of the most unique styles I’ve seen and it’s certainly not common on the web. This floating button could become a staple for landing pages that mesh nicely with the design.
It uses a CSS3 drop shadow along with a repeating animation to create the floating effect. This all runs through CSS which makes it even easier to replicate for your own project.
Granted, the hover effect is a bit dull, although the actual button design itself more than makes up for this. Plus you can always expand the hover effect to include other CSS3 animations if you’re willing to push the envelope.
2. Green Circled CTA
You’ll find plenty of CTAs like this on landing pages promoting offers or ebooks. They often use the red hand-drawn circle effect to make it blend into the page and seem more natural to click.
What’s cool about this green CTA button is the hover effect animation. It works on both the button and the red squiggles in the background. Certainly not the effect you’d assume at first glance!
But for a real easy CTA, that’s sure to grab attention, you should try this out. And since the button uses pure CSS you can easily change the color scheme to match any layout.
3. Material Button
If you like working with Google’s material design then you’ll love this unique button set. It’s built in one single style but offers two different triggers: mouse hover and click.
The button snippet uses SCSS/Sass for CSS code, but you can compile it down into CSS right from CodePen. This makes it easier to copy/paste the code for personal use if you’re not a big Sass fan.
The animation effects mimic Google’s design guidelines, so this set is brilliant for any material web project you might be creating.
4. Colorful CTAs
Super small and easy-to-use best describes this button...
How to evaluate the quality of your design
How do you know when a design is good or bad? When the design is “pretty,” that means it’s good, right? So what does “pretty” mean? How do you know that your pretty isn’t your boss’s ugly?
Evaluating design quality can be subjective, and the criteria can change depending on the type or purpose of the design itself. But at the end of the day, designs are created to communicate a message and achieve specific outcomes. Looks are an important factor in this, but they alone won’t tell you if the design is effective.
Are you a good judge of design quality? Illustration by Daria V. In order to know whether your design is a winner, you need to understand the elements of good visual communication and judge the design against those rather than abstract, gut feelings. With that in mind, here are a few questions to consider when evaluating graphic design quality.
1. Does the design fulfill its purpose?
Let’s start with the basics: what does the design need to achieve? If it’s a logo design, it needs to represent and communicate a brand’s name. If it’s a landing page design, you may be trying to persuade users to click the “Purchase” button or sign up for an email list.
Design is all about solving problems with visual solutions—that’s why you need to make sure it presents all of the relevant information to communicate the message or compel the reader to take action. Content is still king, but you’ve got to strike the right balance between educating your audience about your brand and not overwhelming them with too much information in one design.
Landing page design by FaTiH For example, the purpose of the landing page design above is lead generation and brand awareness. It includes links to all relevant information about the upcoming product, with the most visual emphasis on capturing potential clients’ emails. It’s simple, effective, and solves the problem of engaging users by capturing their emails before the product launches. If a design achieves its most basic goal, then it’s an effective one.
2. Is the message easy to understand?
Design by MeellaA great design will ensure your message is instantly readable by guiding your audience’s eyes through the content. Good designs have a focal point such as a large, heavier headline (like the title on this book cover here)—something to catch a viewer’s eye and draw them in.
The visual hierarchy of a design...
How to Create an Agile UX Workflow
Agile used in sports means athletic, energetic, and limber. It is applied to gymnasts and Olympic athletes at the top of their game. It can be used to describe mental processes that are fast, flexible, and acute.
In the world of user experience design, agile refers to a number of processes that start with minimal overhead and combines teams of collaborators to complete a fluid sequence of tasks. The agile approach values interactions and individuals, customer collaboration, and a quick response to change.
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An agile workflow based on the Scrum model started out in software design. It starts with a team planning meeting in which all members break down processes and decide how many each member can commit to. They create a list of tasks that can be completed in a specified length of time, usually between two weeks and a month.
The scrum team codes and tests features for functionality during the first agile sprint, a brief time frame for intense work. They attend brief, daily scrum meetings facilitated by the ScrumMaster, who is like a coach. Team members share progress and brainstorm solutions to problems. Daily meetings keep the team synchronized throughout the sprint.
Image via prosoftnearshore.com.
At the end of the sprint, they review what they’ve created with stakeholders, receive feedback, and plan the next sprint. Feedback suggests revisions or changes that drive the next phase of development.
An agile workflow helps teams complete projects quickly, so industries like law and marketing have adopted similar methodologies. A UX workflow diagrams the steps from research and gathering user data, through usability testing just ahead of development.
Currently an estimated 69 percent of UX practitioners use an Agile UX workflow. Google’s methodology allows professionals to move from designing to testing in as little as a week, but each organization can modify stages to fit the best time frame for their project.
Transitioning to Agile UX Workflows
Teamwork speeds the process. Designers, developers, and managers create cross-functional teams so everyone is working on different aspects of the same problem concurrently. As a group and as individuals, each segment focuses on user activities, needs, and...