Web Design & SEO: Everything Designers Should Know

UX design and a solid SEO strategy go hand in hand. Design is here to boost user experiences, inspire users to spend more time on your pages, and ensure they don’t leave your site frustrated. This way, it minimizes bounce rates and turns your visitors into leads and, ultimately, sales. However, designing a spotless website is pointless if it’s not visible on Google. This is where SEO shines. It increases your site’s exposure in the SERPs, drives greater traffic to it, and gives you the opportunity to delight a visitor with your gorgeous website design and quality content. When merged together, web design and SEO are indicators of your credibility and professionalism. So, let’s see how to combine them for a better online performance. The Basics of Implementing SEO and Web Design In the world of digital marketing, building your online presence on strong foundations is critical. If some basic aspects of your site are poorly managed, you cannot expect your web design or SEO to deliver exceptional results. Here are key elements of any strong web design:   Choosing a Domain Name   Stuffing your domain with a bunch of keywords won’t help. They look spammy and may hurt both your rankings and user experience. Remember that there are millions of domain names out there. So, your goal is to make your domain name catchy and memorable. It needs to be relevant to your business’ focus and be easy to spell and pronounce. To make your site easier to find, it’s always good to use your brand name as your domain name, too.   Investing in the Right Hosting Provider   Choosing the right hosting plan directly impacts your website speed, server performance, and uptime/downtime. These are all important UX factors Google considers while indexing and ranking your site.   Building Your Website Using a Reliable CMS   A solid CMS is one that is easy to use and manage. You should be able to design your site however you want, without taking additional courses in web design. It should also help you make your site mobile-friendly, add social media integrations effortlessly, and use various content management tools. The most popular CMS option is definitely WordPress, followed by Joomla, Drupal, TYPO3, and Squarespace. When choosing the right CMS for your business, ask yourself how it will impact your online performance. For example, does it allow you to...

Wrap your mind around Mid-Century Modern design

Even if you’re not familiar with its name or history, it’s very likely that you have yearned after a work of Mid-Century Modern design at one point or another—perhaps after watching an episode of Mad Men. Mid-century modern inspired illustration by VladanlandThe Mid-Century Modern design movement, which began somewhere around the late 1930s to 1940s, was a natural progression from Modernist movements that preceded it, such as Bauhaus and International style. It was also a response to the ostentatious Art Deco movement with a timeless nod to no-frills beauty and dedication to function. The only thing that has changed about Mid-Century Modern design since its heyday is the circumstances that made the design desirable and necessary. Mid-Century Modern design, or Mid-Mod, reached peak popularity following World War II and continued to grow until the 1970s. Illustration modelled after the handmade advertisements of the 1950s by Tradition StudioThe design goes hand in hand with post-war America, as it was used to address the new societal needs of the time like housing for a population that was now more likely to commute to an office than a war zone. Houses needed to be built practically, optimizing space in both urban and suburban areas. This mid-20th century focus on domestic spaces led to a design revival in furniture and architecture and then seamlessly spread to other forms of design, and to the globe. It’s sleek, distinctive and accessible style became inseparable with the appearance of the times. What defines Mid-Century Modern design?
— Logo and brand identity for a modeling agency capturing the colors, fashion and vintage feel of Mid-Mod by betiobca Mid-Mod prioritizes a less-is-more attitude and function over form. Whatever ornamentation there is is generally minimal and serves a function within the space. Vintage mid-century designs tend to be expensive but the intention behind the original designs was to be accessible for all. As for the designs—they’re horizontally aligned and have clean, clearly defined lines that curve softly.  Organic influences remain through a crucial connection to nature while new materials such as plastic are embraced. Within spaces, this comes to life through open, airy designs. In interiors and architecture wood is seen side by side with glass, plastic, vinyl and metal. Bright hues and soft geometric curves are visible in...

Popular UX/UI Tools That Designers Are Using

It’s no secret that design errors or imperfections can be expensive to correct. This is if not caught before a design is handed over for development and eventual deployment. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on software bug detection and renewal. Yet, the law of diminishing returns will eventually come into play. Only a tiny fraction of any bugs that may remain are likely to cause the software to misbehave. It is vital to detect and resolve shortcoming in a product’s design early. A variety of potential problems and the associated remedial costs can be avoided. This is particularly true with usability features. This is why prototyping tools and UX and UI tools and resources have such a positive impact on a website’s or app’s success. We recommend the following UX/UI tools and resources. They represent the best of their respective types and functions. 1. Mason           Mason lets teams build UI and UX features at the front end at lightning speed, and since Mason integrates these newly-created features into a system’s existing codebase, development and deployment cycles can be significantly shortened, and in some cases bypassed completely. Mason also eliminates the need for wireframing or prototyping tools to build these front-end features. Clients do not have to wait for the traditional design-build-deploy cycle to unfold. Teams using Mason can offer super-fast response and quick turnarounds when a fix is required to a software or digital system already in service, and the solutions they provide will consistently be secure, extensible, and robust. Mason also provides an easy-to-work-with system that organizes and manages large libraries of front-end experiences. As powerful as Mason is, it is in many respects a “lightweight” system that is only there when you trigger it, and it won’t wear your sites or apps down with extraneous features or components. 2. UXPin           UXPin is leading the way in bridging the design-development gap. With this code-based design tool, you don’t have to fake interactions by linking whatever you draw. Teams use UXPin for all phases of the design process, including collaboration, and handoff. This design tool gives them access to dozens of built-in UI libraries, to  cut and paste elements into...

Web Design & Development Games to Test Your Skills

There are a ton of ways to learn web design and development. Some people prefer video courses, while others love reading books and webpages and applying the knowledge themselves. Another way to learn is through online games! These will test your design skills, correct you when you’re wrong, and teach you basic concepts. If you love learning through doing, make sure to try these games! Can’t Unsee This game walks you through various simple design choices, prompting you to pick the one that looks correct and explaining why one is wrong and one is right. You can click a button to directly compare the images, making it easy to understand the difference. This will test your eye for subtle designs. At the end, see how you rank against other players! Kern Type Kerning is the spacing between letters, and an important skill for typographers and designers to learn. This kerning minigame will let you drag around the letters, then compare them to the solutions of a pro designer. Shape Type Another one for typographers, Shape Type tests your ability to accurately and beautifully shape letters in a design. You can easily compare your work to the designer’s with fluid transition animations that show you where you might have gone wrong. The Bezier Game If you make vector graphics, fonts, or CSS animations, you might have encountered Bezier curves. The Bezier Game will help teach you to work with this tool by taking you through various shapes, lines, and circles to fill out with curves. By the end you should have a better understanding of how Bezier curves work. Color Ready to brush up on your color identification skills? This tests your ability to distinguish hues, saturation, complementary, analogous, triadic, and tetradic colors. Pixactly How good are you at measuring pixels by instinct? Pixactly helps you measure lengths and widths in pixels by prompting you to draw boxes of a specified height. Anyone who works with HTML and CSS will like this tool. Hex Invaders Do you know your hex codes? With all the online hex generator tools, many people neglect the learning their hex codes, but it’s still a good skill to have. Hex Invaders teaches you hex color codes by having you shoot the alien that corresponds to the color code shown on the screen. Flexbox Froggy Time to brush up on some CSS. With the justify-content property, you need to guide the frogs to their...

Should You Be Building Progressive Web Apps?

Take a close look at Monetate’s Ecommerce Quarterly Report for Q2 2018 and you might not be happy about the state of mobile websites it depicts. The good news is that smartphones drive significantly more traffic to websites than all other devices with 52.73%: But conversions? Ehhhh… Smartphone conversions lag behind all other devices with 2.03%. It’s not just conversion rates that are low either. There are also fewer pages looked at, which means engagement rates suffer on the mobile web, too. It’s no wonder, then, why businesses want to create mobile apps. According to a Criteo Mobile Commerce Growth report from 2017, mobile apps convert at a rate of 3x their web counterparts. That said, no matter how well users convert on mobile apps, the cost to build and maintain one is out of reach for many businesses. So, what do you do when your client wants to capitalize on this mobile-first world? Tell them to be content with the mobile web for now? Nope! It’s time to turn their attention to progressive web apps. What Is a Progressive Web App? In the simplest of terms, progressive web apps (or PWAs) bridge the gap between the mobile web and mobile apps. They take a basic set of components — an app shell, service workers, and app manifest — then serve them through HTTPS to give users the convenience of the mobile web within an app-like experience. Google has a bunch of starter guides that will walk you through the process of building a PWA from-scratch, in case you’re interested in learning more. PWAs are: Secure They must run through HTTPS, which makes them inherently more secure than mobile websites that don’t always have SSL certificates in place. Fast According to this infographic published by AppInstitute, progressive web apps are 15x faster than native mobile apps. Unlike mobile apps that tend to drain battery power and bandwidth, PWAs don’t have that problem since they’re served over the web. Searchable Users don’t have to dig through an app store to find a PWA. They can find them in their mobile search browser as this search for Flipkart’s PWA demonstrates: That also means less work for you. Prepping information and screenshots for an app store listing takes time. If you’re already doing SEO for your clients’ websites, then you can just use that for your PWA. And working with each of the individual app store’s rules and timelines (because you have to...

How to bring Japanese design into your creative work

Japanese design proudly makes reference to thousands of years of traditional Japanese arts while also being contemporary and modern. The style’s clear, strong voice ranges from simple design, geometrics and spots of color to loud mascots, cute patterns and cartoons. From minimalism to pop, we can see Japanese design’s influence all over the West and beyond. Let’s take a look and see how you can bring Japanese design inspiration into your own work! A short history of Japanese design
— Japanese design in general has been heavily influenced by the world around it. Japan is a country with a very diverse artisan craft tradition. Ceramics, woodcut prints, calligraphy, origami, kabuki theatre, and more recently manga and anime are just some of the arts developed there. These art forms have influenced Western Art and Design for hundreds of years—Japanese woodblock prints, for example, influenced many famous Western artists, such as Gustav Klimt and Vincent Van Gogh. A Hokusai woman in contrast to Gustav Klimt. Note the similarity of the patterns. Via Wikipedia.See the fluid movement of the wave of Hokusai influencing the movement in the sky of Van Gogh. Via Wikipedia.The 1600s—1800s Advertising poster from the Edo period. Via The Ad Museum Tokyo.In the Edo period (1603-1868), Japan flourished economically and culturally. Design and creativity flourished, too. Japanese advertisers were pioneers in the way they marketed products and services, creating mass-scale posters, graphics infused with typography, and quirky illustrations of the stars of the day—sumo wrestlers and and popular kabuki theater actors. They were using influencer marketing hundreds of years before Instagram even existed! Ukiyo-e, an important genre of Japanese art of woodblock prints and paintings, also developed during this period. It featured common themes of female beauty, kabuki, sumo wrestlers, folk tales, and landscapes. Because it was easily printed, ukiyo-e became vastly distributed and quickly gained popularity. Ukiyo-e later evolved into modern illustrations, which evolved into mangas, anime, and even video games. With a more pop aesthetic and larger color palette, these new styles hugely influenced the west through cartoons, comic novels and toys. The late 1800s In the Meiji Era (1868-1912), Japan opened its borders to the rest of the world, welcoming trade and the exchange of...

18 Best Photoshop Addons for Designers

Photoshop is a powerful tool that can be used to create, edit, customize photos, artworks, and graphics. Designers tend to spend a lot of time using this tool so implementing photoshop add ons can help you work more efficiently and improve your overall workflow. If you are looking to convert your artwork or imagery into stylized graphics and are not sure about how to create it from scratch, then these actions can help you save a lot of time. There are plenty of photoshop add-ons to choose from. Finding the right one that meets your projects needs can be time-consuming. We have put together a list of interesting effects and actions that can be applied to a wide variety of projects so you don’t have to spend countless hours on the internet. 1. Holographic Text effects If you are looking to present your text in holographic shape or form, then try this add on. This comes with the following features – 10 different styles, 10 PSD files, smart objects, well-organized files that are fully editable. 2. Neon sign effects This add on helps you apply neon effects to your text, artwork or a logo. In order to use them, you will have to update the smart objects and click save. Inside this package you will find 9 PSD files, 1 Ai file, 1 Asl file, fully editable smart object files and 9 different pre-made neon signs. 3. Watercolor photoshop action Looking to create watercolor artworks from your images? This action lets you do just that. This plugin gives you access to layered files to help you customize and edit the artwork in your own way. This action comes with its own video tutorial and the layered pages give you more creative control. 4. Handrawn Photoshop action This plugin lets you create realistic hand-drawn images. Paint over the areas that you want to use and press play. This comes with a video tutorial, so when in doubt just watch the tutorial and try again. 5. Engraving lines With this action, you are able to turn any image into an engraved artwork. It is flexible and easy to use. Appearance can be adjusted as needed. 6. Newspaper Art This action turns your image into letter forms. The overall effect is that of a newspaper journal. If you have any questions just head over to the help center and browse through the well documented FAQs and recommendations. 7. Art Effex...

Let Business Name Generator Inspire You with AI

Choosing the right name for your business, service or website can be frustrating. It’s not uncommon to think of the “perfect” name, only to discover that it’s already being used. Or, on second thought, perhaps it just isn’t the right fit for you. This trial-and-error process slows down your progress and keeps you from getting things done. Wouldn’t it be great to speed up that process and have some help in finding that perfect name? It’s now possible with Business Name Generator – and it’s incredibly easy to use. Its powerful AI has built-in intelligent word recognition that will generate thousands of potential names, each one relevant to your industry. Plus, it searches through multiple domain extensions in order to show you what names are available. Instead of coming up with ideas on your own, you can now take inspiration from this free tool. Want to see how it works? Let’s take a look! Step 1: Enter Your Keywords To get started, enter a few keywords that relate to your business. You can be as general or specific as you like. Business Name Generator will use these words to determine what you do and the industry you’re in. From there, it will direct you to a results page that allows for further tweaking. Step 2: View the Results Your results page will show you the number of names generated, along with some other helpful information. For instance, you’ll also see a listing of suggested industries for your name, to which you can add or subtract. This will help you narrow down results to find even more relevant names. Plus, there are a few other important settings to know about: Character Count Optimize your results to include names that are of a desired length. Want to limit your name to no more than eight characters? Change the slider to the appropriate number and your revised list of names will be automatically generated. Insert Keyword Business Name Generator will place relevant a keyword from Step 1 with your name. You can choose to have it added before or after the name to get a better feel for how it fits. Step 3: Find Matching Domains See a name you like? Click on it and Business Name Generator will search for available domain names using a variety of different extensions. This is a huge timesaver and will help to ensure that both your business and domain names are a perfect match. If you’ve found a domain you love, you can even start the...

20 video production tutorials to teach you how to make a video

Want to start making videos, but not sure how to do it? Well, put your fears on pause and push record on your dreams, because we’re going to give you a close-up look at the best video production tutorials that will teach you the basics to create an awesome video. Navigating the process of video production is tough and the sheer amount of information out there can be overwhelming. We curated this list of tutorials for you, so you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Just bookmark this list and start working your way through these tutorials that cover the different stages of video production. Once you get to the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to create great videos yourself. 1. Basic video vocabulary
2. Pre-Production
– Planning
– Scheduling
– Finding a crew
– Scriptwriting
– Storyboarding
– Actors and casting
– Locations
– Rehearsal
3. Production
– General tips
– Shooting schedule
– Camera
– Lighting
– Sound
4. Post-Production
5. Distribution and marketing
1. Basic video vocabulary
— You can’t do video production without knowing the lingo. Start learning all the terms, crew members, and production roles, so you’ll save time by knowing who and how to ask for what you want. Here’s a quick tutorial with all the technical jargon you’ll need to know—in just eight minutes!
2. Pre-Production
— Planning Don’t set sail without a map, and don’t make a video without a plan. Traditional productions start with a Pre-Production (or Pre-Pro) Book, a big three-ring binder with sections for personnel, script, storyboards, actors, locations, art reference, calendar, crew, and post-production. Your “book” can be physical or digital, but make one, and distribute it to the key members of your team. You’ll have to do less micromanaging because everyone knows where they’re going and how they need to get there. Watch this tutorial for a checklist of things to think about as you build your plan. This video covers commercial video shoots, so you may need to scale back for smaller projects.
Scheduling In sailing, if we don’t get to our destination before our resources run out, we’re dead in the water. Literally. In video production, veering off schedule could mean your production will be doomed. Use a calendar to keep an overview and keep your momentum going with an idea of when your video...

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