15 Critical Website Fixes to Make Before Launching a Mobile App

Your target market has gone mobile. Mobile users spend up to 12% of their time browsing on their device, which works out to 87 hours a month or 1,044 hours a year spent on their phone; 90% of that time is spent using mobile apps. Which is why having a mobile app can be so valuable for your business. No wonder everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. Even 67% of small businesses now have a mobile app. The problem is, many apps are just awful extensions of already bad websites. While you might feel the urge to dive straight into developing your own and racing it to the market, it’s a huge mistake. Mobile apps are a gateway to your site. So trying to implement them without some critical website optimization can directly impact the amount of time and money it takes to create the app. Here are 15 website tweaks you should make before considering a mobile app. Speed Optimization Speed is critical to the user experience. Which means that if you want your website and your mobile app to provide a great user experience, the first thing you need to do is optimize your site speed. Here are the tweaks you need to make, to do so: 1. Minify Minification reduces the size of your website CSS, JavaScript, and HTML content. It works by removing any unnecessary website code, such as: Unnecessary code in your JavaScript; Unused spaces in your CSS; Unnecessary line-breaks in your HTML. If you use WordPress, there are plenty of plugins available that will take care of this process for you, including Fast Velocity Minify and Autoptimize. 2. Compress Text compression can also boost speed, especially on text-heavy websites such as blogs. Most Content Delivery Networks support the sending of compressed files so you can set up default compression through a tool such as Gzip. If you don’t host your own website, you can use Check GZIP Compression to see if compression is already set up. If it’s not, the easiest way to install it is through a plugin such as W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache or WP Rocket. 3. Maximize Caching HTTP caching is when a browser stores copies of resources so that they can be re-accessed faster. Using an HTTP cache header, you can define when, how, and how long a response should be cached. You can configure your server to attach the HTTP Cache-Control header and modify it for how long you want data cached. One way to do this is to add the header directly...

10 Excellent WordPress Plugins to Use This Year

You’ll find yourself in situations where you want to add some functionality into a website. However, it isn’t readily available on WordPress or in the WordPress theme you’re using. You can assign the task to a developer or do it yourself if you have the time and the expertise. Plugins usually offer a better solution. There are thousands of WordPress plugins on the market. Thus, your chances of finding what you need are quite favorable. Plugins typically come in three flavors – OK, pretty good, and best in class. Limiting your choice to the best in class category pays dividends. But the search can time consuming since the number tends to be quite small. Our selection of 10 of the best in class WordPress plugins for 2019 should make your search easier. One or two of these premier plugins will provide a solution to a problem you currently face. Amelia When Amelia’s authors created this plugin, they created a cool and innovative way to make small business owners and web designer’s clients happy. Amelia automates a business’s appointment booking and management process to make it extremely reliable, highly efficient, and a real time saver. This WordPress booking and appointments plugin gives businesses an almost instantaneous return on their investment. It also reduces management and employee stress and keeps a business’s clientele satisfied with the service they receive. Amelia is a perfect match for businesses like health and fitness centers, consulting firms, and beauty parlors and spas; businesses that rely heavily on an efficiently managed client booking and appointments process. This flawless booking specialist can make appointments 24/7 so clients are never kept waiting. Appointments are made to fit in with employee availability, Amelia takes care of appointment changes and cancellations, send appointment reminder e-mails, and accepts online payments. Amelia’s automated system relieves managers and employees of having to take and manage every booking and allows them to devote more time to their core roles and responsibilities. wpDataTables Listing the table and chart-building features and functionalities the wpDataTables plugin brings to the table would take up far more room that has been allocated to this review. Needless to say, wpDataTables is the most comprehensive table and chart-building WordPress tool on the market today. What can this all-in-...

Top Free Extensions for VS Code

Microsoft’s VS (Visual Studio) Code is a free, open source code editor that is gaining in popularity. It’s very lightweight, flexible and yet still packs some powerful features. Plus, it supports just about every major programming language, including PHP, JavaScript, C++ and a whole lot more. You might even be surprised to learn that VS Code is also cross-platform. Not only does it work on Windows, but versions for both Linux and Mac are also available for download. But perhaps the coolest feature of all is the massive extension marketplace. There are free extensions available to support new languages, debug your code or add a variety of other custom functionality. This enables you to customize the editing experience to better meet your needs. Today, we’ll introduce you to some of the very best VS Code extensions out there. Let’s get started! GitLens While Git functionality is already built into VS Code, GitLens aims to “supercharge” the editor with even more version control goodies. It offers deeper insight into code, showing you when it was changed and who changed it. You can even compare different branches, tags and commits. Overall, this extension will make version control a more visual experience. Beautify Are you very particular about syntax highlighting? If so, Beautify is just the extension you need. It takes advantage of VS Code’s already existing use of Online JavaScript Beautifier, but allows you to easily make changes to its styles. This means you can set elements like indenting, line wrap and other minutiae to your heart’s content. ESLint JavaScript can be quite difficult to debug. But the ESLint extension for VS Code can make the process much easier. It helps by pointing out potential problems in your code before you even execute it. Better still, the extension lets you create your own linting rules. Debugger for Chrome For developers who’d rather troubleshoot code during runtime, Debugger for Chrome will help you get the job done. There are a number of handy features, including the ability to set breakpoints in your code, watches and a console. Plus, you can choose to run an instance of Chrome within VS Code or attach the debugger to a seperately running instance of the browser. React Native Tools React is among the most buzzworthy JS libraries out there – so much so that the new WordPress block editor (aka Gutenberg) is built on it. If...

19 Contemporary Font Pairings for 2019

Typography is a fundamental part of design, it enables the designer to create a variety of moods and effects by using various font styles. There are thousands of different styles available, so the task of finding the correct one to suit your project can often appear very difficult. There are numerous tools online that offer assistance in selecting the correct font pairings. Here’s one we built ourselves. Using this handy font combination tool we have compiled a list of 19 contemporary font pairings for 2019. All of these fonts can be downloaded for free from Google Fonts. 1. Playfair Display with Source Sans Pro This would have to be our top font combination for 2019. With it’s more traditional style, Playfair Display is both elegant and unique; it was designed by Claus Eggers Sorense, and can be paired with a variety of simple fonts, however, we think that Source Sans Pro is a perfect match, its thin lines and simple text make it a perfect combination for the more stylish Playfair Display. Mount Barker By Callum Jackson 2. Merriweather with Oswald A very versatile font, Merriweather can be adjusted both width and height, which always makes for a popular style. A sans-serif font, like Oswald, with its simple lines, assists in highlighting the detailed serif of Merriweather. Remarkable Rocks by Ben Goode 3. Montserrat with Merriweather Streamlined, simple fonts are always top of the list, because they work well in just about any design style. Montserrat was designed by Julieta Ulanovsky, and can be highlighted with a serif font such as Merriweather. Uraidla By Ben Goode 4. Raleway with Lato A stylish font that gives a modern twist, Raleway, can be complimented with another sans-serif font, like Lato. It has thin, simple lines and does not detract away from the more interesting shapes of Raleway. Dolphin Beach by Ben Goode 5. Elsie with Roboto A lovely feminine font, originally designed to celebrate the world of women. Elsie, is an adorable font style, with its gentle serifs and flowing lettering.  With such an interesting font, a subtle font needs to be paired with it, like for example Roboto, because it doesn’t detract from the seed font. Two Hands Wines by South Australian Tourism Commission 6. Dancing Script with Josefin Sans A very memorable font that creates a feeling of movement and intrigue, Dancing Script should be paired with a sans-serif font...

6 steps to make your web design accessible

We live in a world where we’re increasingly dependent on the internet for everything we do. Think about it: where did you find your last job? How did you apply for that job? How do you do your banking? Where do you do your shopping? How do you stay in touch with your friends and loved ones? We use the internet for nearly everything, and this isn’t going to change. App design by Spoon Lancer.The internet may be an ever-present resource for most people, but for those living with a disability, connectivity is not always a given. There are programs and devices that make it possible for people with disabilities to access your entire website, like screen readers, but these are only part of the solution. The other part of the equation is designing websites and apps in a way that makes them accessible for people with disabilities, either through the use of assistive devices or simply through thoughtful design. Why accessibility in web design is important
— This is the percentage of people on Earth who live with a disability of some type. Via Wikimedia Commons.According to data from 2012, close to one in five Americans lives with a disability of some type. Worldwide, approximately one billion people, or 15 percent of the world’s population, lives with a disability. Not all disabilities keep people from reading screens and using the internet. For example, these figures include individuals who rely on walkers and wheelchairs. But other conditions, like visual impairment, difficulty grasping objects, autism and deafness, just to name a few, can severely limit an individual’s ability to use a computer or smartphone without accommodations. Accessibility in web design: in some places, it’s a suggestion—in others, it’s the law
— If you’re in the United States, you’re probably familiar with the web compliance standards that are part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Lots of other countries around the world have similar compliance guidelines in place, like the Australia Disability Discrimination Act, Brazil’s Law on Accessibility and the European Union’s eEurope Action Plan. Many of the guidelines included in these laws and initiatives come from the global Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a set of guidelines created and maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) through its Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Enough acronyms for ya? The...

Understanding and Designing With a Grid System

Creating a structure for your designs can be difficult and time-consuming. Applying a grid system to your layout can help structure the contents better and improve your overall design process. It is a tried and tested technique that was first introduced for print layout. When you have a good system in place, you are bound to achieve consistency. Grids act as an invisible glue that holds all the elements in your design together. Grids can be applied to interactive design as well. When designing a web page, users like to see the same features laid out where they would expect to see them. It is one of the most effective ways to organize content on a page. About 90% of all the interactions are done using a screen. We are now easily able to browse websites and read information on a variety of devices – mobile phones, tablets, laptops, TVs and smartwatches to name a few. As designers, if you are not able to design taking multi-screen behavior into consideration, then you are going to run the risk of losing customers. To create enjoyable and delightful digital experiences, you have to be able to understand how to use grids effectively. This way you are able to structure the content and scale it across various devices and platforms. In this article, we will discuss the many uses of a grid system and the reasons why it would improve your design process 1. Organizing content One of the main reasons for a grid is to keep the different elements in a design organized. When you establish a grid system, you are setting up a structure for the elements in your design to align against.  When choosing a grid system, make sure to choose one that would work different elements in your design. Be that your type, imagery, or any other elements in your design. By doing this, you are bound to create a neat, clean and organize layout. Using them ensures clarity and consistency. This rule holds true when a grid system is applied to an interactive interface as well. An effective grid guides the eye of the user through various elements of the interface. This is especially true when they are used in digital products. Using them makes it easier for the viewer to find the next piece of information as well. 2. Grid System Improves the Design Process We are always looking to get things done quicker and more effectively. When it comes to designing a layout, grids help you do just...

New ActiveCollab is Here!

After months of development, New ActiveCollab, a pioneer of project management software with over a decade of experience, is finally here – the perfect start to 2019. ActiveCollab is a project management software that serves as a central hub for team communication, collaboration, and project planning. It enables complete management of projects by breaking them down into more actionable tasks. When tasks are assigned to team members and a date with automatic reminders is set, it ensures that missed deadlines will be a thing of the past – since everyone knows exactly what they are working on and when it needs to be done. The option to track time is invaluable in dealing with clients – they will be able to see precisely how much time was spent working on their projects, and those tracked time reports can be used to issue custom invoices. Their mission – to eliminate busywork and to help make Real Work happen. New ActiveCollab is a product that immeasurable love and care have been poured into, with every change, tweak, upgrade, new feature and addition being the result of careful planning and communication with customers. It is the collaborative success of dozens of people – developers, designers, marketers, customer care, etc. – each contributing their unique perspectives and special skills. Because of this, we can safely say that New ActiveCollab is not just the best-looking, most powerful version yet, but also – the most personal. Apart from the fresh, sleek, redesigned look, there are many other substantial improvements and changes all across the board. Here is a list of the most significant ones: A Brand New Look & Feel In new ActiveCollab, dozens of refinements that fix and improve the design were added – making the software much smoother and more enjoyable to use. There are also several new themes to choose from. This is much more than just a simple visual redesign – it is an evolution of ActiveCollab. A sleek, fluid tool that’s wonderful to behold and a joy to use. Task Dependencies With Automatic Rescheduling The biggest and most important – as well as most requested – New ActiveCollab feature. Using Task Dependencies, child tasks that are dependent on parent tasks can be set. This allows for greater control over tasks – in which order and when they will be completed, and it...

The origins of 7 graphic symbols we use everyday

We use thousands of symbols every day. We use them to communicate information and express emotions when we can’t find the words to describe our feelings. Symbols are pictures we use to tell stories, in business and life—and design. Illustration by OrangeCrushIn the design world, a symbol is a combination of graphic elements that can be used to represent a brand’s identity, communicating its story and influencing the way it is perceived by consumers. But how often do we consider the origins behind the graphic symbols we see everyday? In this article we’ll explore the history behind seven of the most widely-used graphic symbols. Understanding what a symbol is really all about can help you use it more strategically in your own work or in your company’s branding materials. 1. The ampersand
— Designers can’t get enough of the ampersand (&). The ampersand in the streets. Via Max Anderson.They dedicate books, blogs and fonts to the pretzel-like symbol. In his book, Just My Type, Simon Garfield called an ampersand “a tirelessly entertaining character, perhaps an uncle with too many tricks.” For designers, the symbol is an invitation to adventure, an opportunity to express creativity and play around. Tobias Frere-Jones nailed it in an article for Fast Company: “The ampersand is a dinosaur. It should have gone extinct a long time ago but has survived nonetheless. Visually, it’s a loner … usually, letters help to form one another, by setting precedents and providing contexts, but the ampersand doesn’t receive any of that support. That makes it hard to draw but, at the same time, opens an unusually large window for experimentation and risk.” The ampersand is all about togetherness. Think partnership, ties and wedding rings. A creatively designed ampersand in Oats & Ivy logo by nnorthCreated by the Ancient Romans, the ampersand made its debut on a wall in Pompeii. It  started out as a representation of the Latin word et, which translates to “and.” But the hard-to-write (seriously, try it) symbol didn’t receive its formal title of “ampersand” until the late 18th century when British schoolchildren began using it as the alphabet’s 27th letter after Z. When children spoke the English alphabet, they added per se—a Latin phrase that translates to “by itself”—before letters that could be used as a word by itself...

100 years of Bauhaus: what today’s famous logos would look like in Bauhaus style

It’s bold. It’s minimal. It’s functional. After a hundred years, Bauhaus design continues to inspire artists, graphic designers and architects across the globe. It outlasted a century’s worth of competing styles, survived the initial criticisms from traditionalists, and although the Nazis shut down the institution in 1933, the Bauhaus movement itself lives on to this day. Logo designed by Jaseng99And 2019 marks the 100th anniversary since this one-of-a-kind design revolution first started. To celebrate its impact, both then and now, we’ve asked our community of graphic designers to reimagine the most popular logos of today in the Bauhaus design style. Aside from being fun, educational and demonstrative of their skill, what our designers created just goes to show how the timeless principles of Bauhaus design still hold up after all this time. What is Bauhaus?
— The full history of Bauhaus design is as elaborate and colorful as the prevailing styles it unseated. To keep it short, here’s a quick, minimalist overview of the necessities, in true Bauhaus style. The Bauhaus signet reflects many of the movement’s principles: a minimalist approach, geometric leanings, plain colors, no embellishments, and a pleasing aesthetic.The time was 1919. The world was abuzz with the latest new tech disruptor—electricity—and it was changing the way everyday people lived their lives. Thanks to electricity and the industrial revolution, mass production quickly became the new norm. Artists were worried this new way of manufacturing was the end of art as we knew it, but a small community in Weimar, Germany, saw the situation from a different angle. Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus art school under the principle that form and function should work together, not separately. His school sought to merge the aesthetics of fine art with the practicality of modern industry—products that looked as good as they functioned. In the words of the founder himself: Let us together create the new building of the future which will be all in one: architecture and sculpture and painting. - Walter Gropius “The artist is a heightened manifestation of the craftsman. Let us form… a new guild of craftsmen without the class divisions that set out to raise an arrogant barrier between craftsmen and artists! Let us together create...

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