Popular Design News of the Week: October 8, 2018 – October 14, 2018

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. Creating Horizontal Scrolling Containers the Right Way   Experts Reveal the Web Design Trends of 2018   The Future of Web Design is Less, not More   The Tofu Method: A Flexible Design System   Site Design: Mawla.io   Web Design: From Meh to Pretty Good in an Hour   Your CSS Layout Toolkit for 2019   Weak Passwords Banned in California from 2020   Total Number of Websites   Jrnal – Netflix for the Next Generation of News   My Web Design Checklist   Pitch   Some Great SaaS Visualizations   Static Site Generators Need Less Rigid Content APIs   Designing Design Systems   What to do When a Client Tries your Patience   7 Ways Web Graphics Can Make or Break your “Look”   The FAQ as Advice Column   Icon Design Considerations for iPhone X   Color Harmony Generator   The 3 Elements of Great UX Writing   14 HTML Resume Templates   The Psychology of Design   IRL Glasses Block all the Screens Around You   Wireframe: A High-quality Storytelling Podcast About Design   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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How to Hack a WP Theme for Maximum Customization

Due to its vast network of dedicated developers and support staff, WordPress is THE most popular content management system (CMS). Over the past 15 years, WordPress has put together a pool of themes, enhancements and plugins that make for simple installation within most hosting platforms and easy plug-and-go design work. This superior quality and dedication to providing great products and exceptional services is why WordPress dominates the internet with 60% control of all sites that utilize a CMS and 32% of all websites (source). No other CMS is even close to providing the same experience in terms of ease of use and breadth of capabilities. WP users rarely have to compromise. However, for non-developers, getting a WordPress theme to do exactly what you need can lead to roadblocks every once in a while. When this happens, you need to understand how to make simple hacks that can help customize your site to get the most out of your DIY website. Choosing the right WP theme Part of hacking your WordPress experience is setting yourself up for success with the right theme from the start. By focusing on these key points, you can select a quality WP theme that will meet your needs now and in the future. Know the developers – Knowing the source of your WordPress theme will give you a great idea of the overall quality of the theme from top to bottom. Many themes can look good in a preview and say all of the right things in terms of features, and then disappoint once you’ve installed in and started to fill in your information. Working with a well known and highly rated developer means that the theme you choose will likely include all of the great features and customization you need, but also that the theme will be well maintained long-term to account for necessary updates and minor fixes. Consider themes built by these top WordPress developers. Understand the features – When it comes to WordPress themes, it’s best not to judge a book by its cover. Rather, you need to get in to the nitty gritty details of what the theme will really look like and function like when it’s a blank slate instead of the cutesy screenshots that are shown in previews. How frequent are updates? – Even if a theme is from an up and coming developer that doesn’t have a known reputation, that doesn’t mean they won’t be highly responsive to customer queries and active with...

How to mock-up your designs

So you’ve created a knockout design—now it’s time to present it to your client. This is where mockups come in handy. A mockup is a full rendering of your design on one or more of the client’s products like labels, business cards, stationery and signage. A more complex mockup might show the client’s book on a bookshelf or in a reader’s hands, showing the world the product will inhabit. Design by MartisLupusAll in all, it’s a first look at how the design will work for the client and their customers, and a realization of your brand vision. Making an accurate mockup is important because it shows the client exactly what they can expect from the final product—provided the mockup’s done well. When a designer showcases an overly stylized mockup, the client gets a design deliverable that’s wildly different from what they expected. And if your mockup doesn’t accurately communicate the brand, it’s not planned out well enough. All of this is why we’ve created this guide to help you understand the concept, technicalities and pitfalls associated with designing mockups. Start your mockup early on in the design process
— It all starts the minute you sit down to design. Illustration by Asael VarasYou should start designing your mockup the moment you start working on your design. By thinking about your design as an actual product in the real world through each draft, you save yourself the work of having to translate it to a functional product later. If you’re designing a t-shirt, sketch it out on a human figure so you can see how your design will cling and stretch and drape on an actual human body. Now go a step further—what else are they wearing? Where are they wearing it? Why are they wearing it—is it part of a work uniform or is it something its wearer might dress up a bit for a night out? The same principle applies for something like packaging: think about the materials that will be used in the packaging and how it will actually be structured. Who’s buying the product? Why did they choose it over a competitor’s product? What’s their lifestyle like, what do they care about, why are they loyal to this brand? There’s a lot of information here. You see when you use the app, how you use it and that it’s something you can enjoy with a friend. App design by ufoface.Not only will these questions help you make an effective design, they will give you a head start on...

5 Secrets of Image-Rich Websites

When was the last time you visited a website with no images? As web designers, we love adding images to our designs because images are memorable and give us a direct channel of communication to the audience’s brain. Also, images are universal and processed by our brains faster than text. That’s partly why the “story” medium (short-form videos with effects and overlays) and emojis attract engagement. But something else has also been happening since “web 2.0” came along. The high usage of images all over the web, some fueled by user-generated content, is creating a problem for web designers who now must deliver rich experiences in the face of an ever-increasing number of images. In the following sections, we’ll discuss in detail five things to keep in mind when designing smart, image-rich websites in the modern era. 1. Enhance Performance Whenever someone thinks about images on the web, their content, resolution, and style immediately come to mind. But the most important factor for delivering superior UX of images is actually performance, which is even more important than the image itself. That’s because most visitors to your site won’t bother to wait for your images to load. a slow-loading ecommerce website that clocks $1,000 in revenue per day loses $250,000 in sales every year In short, image-rich websites can’t afford to be slow. For every second of increase in load time, there’s a 7-percent reduction in conversions. That means that a slow-loading ecommerce website that clocks $1,000 in revenue per day loses $250,000 in sales every year. Big companies like Ryanair and Marks & Spencer had massive website redesigns that failed abominably because of critical performance issues. So be sure to keep in mind that a user-centered website is, first and foremost, performance based. You can enhance performance in many ways, here’s a good place to start. Use optimized and responsive images. Show the users the image only when and exactly how they need it. Below are three essential tips. Tip 1: Use Sprite Sheets One of the oldest tricks for speeding up load times on the web. Loading multiple images takes time and resources. However, loading a single image and displaying its components is much faster because doing so reduces the number of server requests and optimizes bandwidth. With Cascading Image Style Sheet (CSS) sprites, the browser loads just one image...

Image Optimization in Advanced Web Development

Web-quality imagery is always a balancing act between using the smallest possible file size while providing good image quality. Embedding a photo straight off your DSLR may look nice, but it will slow your website’s load to a crawl, while an over-compressed image may improve the speed of your site yet discredit the design and overall aesthetic. For the two types of image assets we predominantly deal with – photos and icons/illustrations – we perform a mixture of image quality checks and compression techniques that work well in most case scenarios. Your Web Designer Toolbox
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DOWNLOAD NOW File Types and When to Use Them There are three image file types we use when building websites: .jpg .png and .svg. JPGs are best used for photos such as landscapes, scenery or people. For imagery in content, such as a blog article image, we aim for 20-70kb. Larger background photos can get up to 500kb, but 200kb is a good average. JPGs are lossy (they recompress and degrade the image quality each time you export), and they don’t manage gradients very well. If you have a gradient in an image, sometimes you can separate the image into two cuts so that you can render the gradient in a separate background using CSS gradients instead. PNGs are best for assets such as logos and icons because they support transparency and because logo and icons often use a more limited color palette – since PNGs achieve compression through a reduction in the number of colors. A PNG can be lossy, but we typically use lossless, meaning every pixel is saved exactly without degrading the color palette, resulting in a higher-quality image. SVGs have the best quality of all and are used for vector art due to their scalability. We often use them with logos, however, SVGs do create more work for the browser to render and can create sluggishness as the page loads, so the quality of your image should always be balanced against its complexity. As an example of when we use PNGs and SVGs, compare the logos for Silver Screen Insider and Bozeman Websites. For the former, we used an SVG. For Bozeman Websites, because of the complexity introduced with CSS animation when a user scrolls down, we chose to use PNGs instead so as not to compromise browser performance. Sometimes the best...

Examples of Excellence in Modern Responsive Design

Over time, responsive design has matured quite nicely. In the beginning, it was just about providing something to accommodate different screens – even if it wasn’t all that great. But modern responsive design has unleashed a lot of creativity. Instead of thinking of small screens as a burden, many designers are finding new ways to embrace the challenge of creating something with both beauty and function. With that established history, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at a few sites that are really at the forefront of great responsive design. Here they are, complete with responsive views and some thoughts on what they bring to the table (or should I say, tablet?): Your Web Designer Toolbox
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DOWNLOAD NOW The Washington Post One of the great challenges of responsive design is taking a content-heavy website and making it work on smaller screens. The Washington Post does a fantastic job of making the most out of whatever screen real estate is available. While the desktop version takes advantage of a multi-column grid, the tablet (portrait) and phone versions handle the challenge of compressing content quite well. The dead-simple slide-out header navigation on small screens is to be commended for its ease of use. The experience is optimized for mobile while still feeling familiar. 99U 99U is Adobe’s online magazine for creative professionals. One of the aspects to love about this site is the utter simplicity of its layout on any screen size. The use of a light background and large black typography make everything easy to read from desktop to mobile. A unique feature to look for is that, on a mobile device, the site’s footer is actually hidden in the hamburger menu. This little trick saves some space and reserves it to maintain focus on the content. Vox Vox is a news site that takes a bit of a different route with mobile navigation. Instead of the ubiquitous hamburger menu, the standard text navigation bar shrinks down as the screen gets smaller. But instead of trying to squeeze several items in a small space, categories are gradually removed from the menu and hidden under a drop down menu called “More”. Etsy Perhaps no one designs to their audience better than Etsy. The crafty marketplace does responsive right, as well...

10 Instagram Accounts For UI & UX Design Inspiration

Instagram is one of the best sites to find quality UX inspiration. But you need to know who to follow and which hashtags are worth browsing. I’m hoping this article will set you on the right path with a collection of the 12 best UX accounts on Instagram. These are all very active and perfect for anyone breaking into the field, or looking to expand their reach with more Instagram inspiration. The UX Designer Toolbox
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DOWNLOAD NOW 1. @ux_ui_wireframes My absolute favorite account is @ux_ui_wireframes and it’s been around for years now. New posts are frequently added, and many of them are sourced from designer accounts through hashtags. So this works like a curation resource where the account owner connects with other designers and asks if they can republish the photo on their account. Naturally this draws more attention to the designer’s work and gives you a bunch of diverse UX inspiration. Cool stuff! 2. @uxdesignmastery Here’s another one I really like that’s pushing just about 100k followers. The @uxdesignmastery account comes from the main website offering tutorials and courses on this topic. So their photos are meant to guide you towards the site and increase users while offering some cool inspiration. New UX designers will find this incredibly valuable since the website is chock full of knowledge. But even if you just follow the Instagram account you can still learn a lot from their uploads. 3. @wireflow The team at @wireflow have their own Instagram account for publishing custom wireframes, prototypes, and storyboards for user flows. Again this is managed by the main site which promotes their tool for simple flowchart management. It’s actually a great tool because you can use it freely on the web and the results are instantaneous in your browser. But their Instagram account goes beyond digital work to include a lot of hand-drawn wireframes and user flows. Excellent for people who prefer classic methods of brainstorming. 4. @uxpiration With a following of 12k designers and growing fast, one of my favorite newer accounts is @uxpiration. It’s built solely to promote designers and help get work out there for ideas. This account almost takes on a communal feel giving back to the overall design community. Well worth following if you want UX, UI, or general...

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08 Dec 2018