In Defense of the Word “User”

Recently-ish, there has been a small but noticeable backlash to the word “user”. Yeah, the word for people who do, in fact, use our websites, web apps, and products. Now, the word isn’t going anywhere, and if you like the word, no one’s saying you must stop using it. I mean, some people are saying that, but you have no obligation to actually do what they say. So why does it matter? Why would I die on this hill? Because I think this discussion perfectly outlines the fraught relationship our industry has with words and buzzwords. Designers struggle to the complex emotional interactions between human being and interface. Developers struggle to convey math and layers upon layers of abstract-seeming logic. And don’t get me started on what happens when we try to take these concepts and reduce them to job titles… We change job titles almost as fast as we change JavaScript Frameworks So what’s going on with “user”? Some people consider the word outdated, which is a fair opinion to have. Some go so far as to call the current use of the word unethical, which I think might be a bit much. Some think it’s not nearly specific enough a word to use in your code, which I think is exactly right. Now, our language does need to change and evolve with the times. That’s a part of life, and there’s no getting away from it. However at times our industry can get a little too eager to jump from one bandwagon or trend to the next without seriously considering the consequences. We change job titles almost as fast as we change JavaScript Frameworks. We tire of a buzzword, and so we start hunting for a new one, often without seriously asking ourselves these important questions: Why would we really make this change? What do we stand to lose? What do we stand to gain? Why Would We Really Make This Change? Taking “user” for an example: arguments against the word range from “it doesn’t reflect the relationship we have with our customers”, to “Saying ‘user’ strips a person of their circumstances…”. Then there was a mention of how the term “drug user” comes with negative connotations, and the insinuation that the negativity of that use of the word could leak into our use of the word. I’m not going to argue these points individually, because some of them are definitely subjective and personal. If anyone thinks changing the word is going to make them a better designer, there’s no reason...

Showcase of Line Art Logos & Illustrations

In this age of minimalism and simplicity in graphic design, it’s no wonder that line art is becoming so popular. You can find it everywhere online, from logos to icons and even full-fledged illustrations. Line art may be so well-liked because there’s many ways of creating it. Some artists make only the simplest of drawings, while others go all in with complex designs and all the bells and whistles. Either way, it appeals to all lovers of minimalism. A few constants unite all line art, however: basic lines, curves and shapes, small color palettes, and little-to-no shading. These are what make the simplistic style so beautiful. Need some inspiration for your next graphic or web design project? Thinking about including line art? This is all the convincing you’ll need. Take a look at these fifteen examples of amazing line art illustrations. You’ll be floored by what you see. Evrgreen Co. Tag System by Steve Wolf Adventure Capitalist 3 by Jordan Wilson Revelstoke BC by Steve Wolf Sendero Provisions Co by Steve Wolf Nature Badge by Alfrey Davilla | vaneltia Holiday Greeting Card by Yiwen Lu TrailHeaDX poster by Brian Steely This one is not for the kids by Brian Steely It’s My Park Day 2015 by Marc Ferrino Jenn & Nate Wedding Invite by Nate Koehler California by Patrick Moriarty Campfire Badge by Patrick Moriarty UFO Scene by Liam Ashurst Fangs by Liam Ashurst Mountain Scene by Liam Ashurst Simplistic Line Art Designs There were so many fantastic illustrations here! All provided a unique take on what line art can be. Some were truly minimalistic, with only a few lines and one or two colors. Each stroke of the brush in this type of design is important to conveying the image you want people to see. Others were complex with hundreds of complicated, painstakingly made lines. And some went super fancy with pretty gradients, tiny detailing, and extra accent colors. But every one remains a perfect example of what you can do with this seemingly simplistic art style. There are no limits to line art – clean icons or elaborate decorations are all within possibility if you know what you’re going for. Which did you prefer in these images: simple or complicated line art design?

What is animation: a guide to its history and modern use in design

There was a point in everyone’s life when animation was just the coolest thing you’d ever seen. Whether it was a Disney movie as a kid or maybe a 3D game cutscene that blew you away, there was always something spectacular when imaginary characters move and act as in real life. And don’t think that power went unnoticed by graphic designers. Design by šaškaIn the digital era, animation can do more than just entertain children with a boat-driving mouse. It’s an effective tool for visual communication. Of course, it offers a whole new medium for expression and creativity, but on a more practical level, the movement of animation attracts more attention than static images. And considering the restraints of live footage, sometimes an animation of a bouncing ball works best. In this article, we give an all-encompassing animation overview. We discuss animation for designers and give some techniques from the heyday of cartoons a much-needed update for the modern era. We also showcase the business side of animation, explaining how it can improve both the UX of your website and the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns. So without further ado, let’s get moving! What is animation?
— Animation is the capturing of sequential, static images—drawings or photos of inanimate objects—and playing them in rapid succession to mimic real world motion. If you’ve ever seen a flip book, you know how it works.   But chances are, when you ask “what is animation?” you want something more than a technical definition. Where did it come from? What’s the appeal? Although the idea of sequential art dates back thousands of years—more, depending on your interpretation of cave paintings—animation as we know it was only made possible by the invention of the film strip. However, the optics behind animation has been known since the early 1800s, as we see from Simon von Stampfer’s phénakisticope (1833) below. On of the first animation on film was actually hand-painted by the French artist and inventor Charles-Émile Reynaud on his Praxinoscope—one of the stepping-stone inventions that led to the film camera. Professor Stampfer’s stroboscopic disc. Via Wikimedia Commons.For the first part of the 1900s, artists from all over the world experimented with animation, such as the recently...

9 Best Project Management WordPress Themes

WordPress is arguably one of the best platforms for blogging and web development.  If you are looking to get your website up and running, it is useful to use themes that are catered towards your business. When considering a project management theme, there are a number of things to consider – track invoices, expenses, create projects, assign tasks to name a few. In this article, we will be showcasing some of the best project management WP themes. With the help of these third-party plugins and themes, users are able to customize their sites more easily and get the support they need to run and maintain the site. 1. Segments Segments is a popular WP theme used many many business owners. It’s advanced CRM is designed in a way to simplify the processes for companies. It has built-in features that let you customize invoices, captures leads and notifies you about them. One of the best parts about using this theme is that you don’t have to log into word press to customize your site. This theme allows you to process all your data management on the front end. You can create a new project, send it as a pdf to an employee, assign tasks, track your expenses, customize invoices, collect and make a list of your leads and turn them into potential customers. It is built to be fully responsive and can be purchased on Themeforest and doesn’t come with hidden costs or any monthly fee. 2. Woffice WOffice is a multipurpose theme that is popular among Business and government intranets, community or school networks. It can be easily customized and comes with a built-in drag and drop builder. This theme allows you to manage your projects easily,  lets you integrate WordPress notification into your slack channel, customize your dashboard, create a member directory, and keep a track of your calendar and events. It is used by more than 8000 intranets and extranets worldwide and offers tech support in 3 different languages. 3. Superba This theme is specifically built for photographers. It offers a variety of features – album pages, taxonomy and splash pages to name a few.  Album pages are created to pull images from other project albums, media library can have their own taxonomy enabling them to be easily tagged and filtered in album pages, while splash pages can be customized to create your own introductory pages. You are able...

20 Freshest Web Designs, March 2019

Welcome to our roundup of the best websites launched (or relaunched with major updates) in the last four weeks. This month’s offering sees the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring, and many sites this month reflect that change with rich colors. To counter that, there’s some high-contrast black and white work on show. You’ll also find innovative uses of images and video. Enjoy! Takahisa Mitsumori A leading exponent of digital music, Takahisa Mitsumori is a Japanese musician now based in Berlin. His simple site blends minimalist Japanese graphic design, with a Swiss Design approach to create an intriguing visual interpretation of his sounds. Rejina Pyo A lot of designers acknowledge the merits of negative space, but how many truly embrace the concept? Rejina Pyo’s site is an exemplary example of how to use white space to frame images, giving the whole site a modern, sophisticated look. The Nue Co. With so much color on the web in recent months, its startling when you encounter a black and white, high-contrast approach. The Nue Co. uses a little subtle color in its product images, but the whole site is mostly black and white, and all the more impactful for it. Zhee-Shee Production Illustration is a huge trend for 2019, but so many designers are following the same patterns, resulting in derivative work. But not Zhee-Shee Production, whose charming, witty illustrations manage to straddle corporate interests, and pop culture. Lune Croissanterie Some people take themselves far too seriously, and Lune Croissanterie may fall into that trap. The Melbourne-based company isn’t a shop, or a factory, it’s an experience dedicated to the perfection of the croissant. It’s the most committed pastry site I’ve ever seen. Bruegel: Once in a Lifetime This magnificently animated site for an exhibition of works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, takes enormous liberties with the Flemish master’s artwork, but wonderfully captures the spirit of his anarchic, surprising, and honest depictions of everyday life. Uenoland Uenoland is a design conference taking place in Brooklyn from the 2nd to the 4th of May. Its one-page site has a design-centric Medium feel, with on-trend illustrations, and a clear type hierarchy. One of the few times when over-indulging design trends is an appropriate approach. Fluff Fluff Casual Cosmetics are on a mission to make you, look like you. Its...

10 Free Mobile UI Kits For Sketch

You can find plenty of free mockups online, but most cater to Photoshop users. In recent years Sketch has grown rapidly with tons of plugins and free tutorials to help beginners move into this alternative UI design software. This also means you’ll find tons of awesome Sketch freebies online ranging from complete mockups to detailed UI kits. And in this post, I’ve curated my top 10 picks for the best freebie UI kits for any Sketch user. All the Mobile UI Kits You Could Ask For
DOWNLOAD NOW iOS Design Kit Every new release of iOS prompts an updated GUI kit and this freebie is by far the most comprehensive one to date. It covers all the major elements for iPhone and iPad apps with free kits for most design software. You’ll find PSDs for Photoshop too, but you can download just the Sketch files with the same iOS-styled vector elements. These elements all come in @1x size, but since they’re vectors you can easily resize them without any quality loss. Google Now UI One of Google’s lesser-known projects is the Google Now prediction app. Designer Manu Akash created a variation of the Google Now UI as a Sketch freebie. This kit features a lot of the main application pages but also uses styles from the material design library. It’s a great freebie to keep saved if you want to design Android apps while following Google’s design styles. Blog Kit Free blogging platforms like Medium have changed the face of writing on the web. And this free blog UI kit shows what’s possible with a great mobile application UI following that same tactic. Designer Thomas Budiman created this blog/writing kit for Sketch with a focus on mobile app design. It spans many different types of interfaces like gallery pages, article archives, and signup/login forms for new users. Move Mobile UI Kit Move UI is a free mobile app mockup pack created by Czech designer Volodymyr Kurbatov. This pack doesn’t focus specifically on elements, but rather on screen designs and interfaces for different situations. But in these interfaces you’ll find all the common mobile elements like buttons, input fields, tabs, post archives, slideshows, and pretty much everything else you might use for a custom mobile application. This freebie is hosted on Gumroad so it works through their checkout system, but notice it’s a whopping $0, so it won’t cost you anything to download. Coffee Shop iOS Kit For a very...

Top 10 Free Resources For Learning React.js

The frontend ecosystem is dominated by React.js. It’s one of the fastest rising JavaScript frameworks on the web with no signs of slowing down, and there’s plenty of job opportunities for a skilled React developer. But this library comes with a steep learning curve which can take weeks or months to understand. The best way to learn is to practice building stuff, but these free guides can help you learn a bit quicker and offer some structure to your React practice sessions. Your Designer Toolbox
Unlimited Downloads: 500,000+ Web Templates, Icon Sets, Themes & Design Assets
DOWNLOAD NOW Egghead The Egghead website has tons of courses on many different JS libraries. Some of these courses have a mix of free and premium videos, but many are totally free which is great for newbie developers. I recommend their React Fundamentals course which is free and spans 60 minutes over a few dozen videos. It’s definitely an intro course, but it’ll cover a lot of crucial subjects that you’ll have to learn to pick up React. Egghead video quality is also exquisite so this is definitely a site to bookmark for other courses too. React JS Crash Course (YouTube) There are dozens of React.js video tutorials on YouTube so it’s tough knowing where to start. This React Crash Course video covers all the basics including MVC architecture and the very foundational structure of React.js applications. This video is just over 1 hour long and it’s certainly not a complete guide, but I think it’s a solid introduction to the library if you have no prior experience and little-to-no idea what React even does. FB React Docs If you go searching for free React resources you’ll undoubtedly stumble onto the Facebook documentation. These docs can be terse and difficult to work through initially, but the quality is great and the writing is aimed towards people who don’t know much (or anything) about React development. I specifically recommend this tutorial. It’s a true guided tutorial rather than a documentation overview, but you should try reading through both since there’s a lot of knowledge you need to absorb. To-Do App With React All the tutorials on are phenomenal. The writing, the results, and the actual code quality equates to the best self-taught guides you’ll find online. Out of all their guides I specifically recommend their simple to-do app since it guides you...

Popular Design News of the Week: March 18, 2019 – March 24, 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. I Used the Web for a Day on Internet Explorer 8   HTML Periodic Table   Killed by Google   The Bottleneck Nobody Talks About   Google Maps Web Starts Getting a Material Design Makeover   Mock   An Introduction to Web Components   Everything You Need to Know About Loading Animations   iMac Gets a 2x Performance Boost   Eight Tips for Improving Contact Form Conversions   Top 18 Free CSS3 Resources to Build Fast, Lightweight Websites   Building Accessible Websites and Apps is a Moral Obligation   The Books I Recommend to Designers   Cutting the Interface for Good   How to Convince your Team to Adopt CSS Grid   Typography in Design Systems   This Resume Does not Exist   Google Unveils New Gaming Platform, Stadia   How to Scale your Web Design Business   A Look at an Original iPhone Prototype   Consistency and Drudgery in UI Design   Ways to Look at the Color Black   3 Methods to Influence and Change Users’ Behavior   Who was Garamond, Anyway? The History Behind 5 Classic Typefaces   How Art Direction will Help You Create Masterful Web Interfaces   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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Deal: Download 30 Images From DepositPhotos for Just $19

In an increasingly competitive market, every freelancer and agency needs a way to stand out from the crowd. One of the simplest options is to commit to only ever working with quality assets; not least high-quality stock images. Quality stock images help your design stand out by reducing the high cost of art direction. Stock images can be used for banners, background images, to add a human touch to otherwise impersonal user experiences; often, they’re used less in production sites, and instead used as visual placeholders when pitching designs to clients. However you use them, the key is to ensure that you have a reliable, professional-grade source. DepositPhotos has one of the largest libraries of stock images online, with over 100 million premium quality images; perfect for designers looking to supplement their existing toolbox. With so many to choose from, it’s all but certain you’ll find the ideal shot. You’ll even find high-quality vector illustrations available, so you can embrace 2019’s illustration trend. All DepositPhotos images are royalty-free, meaning that there’s no geographic or time limit on using them, and they’re good to go in personal or commercial projects. This incredible deal from our sister site,, gives you 30 downloads for just $19; that’s an amazing saving of $131, or 87% off the regular retail price! Crucially the downloads are not time-limited, and there’s no monthly quota. Simply purchase this deal, and then use the credits to download the images you need, when you need them. Not only does this deal mean you’ll be paying just $0.63 per image, but you can even download the new “super” size image, DepositPhotos’ largest ever format. There are many places to grab stock images from, but why compromise your designs when you can download professional images at such a vastly reduced price? Head over to MightyDeals to grab this awesome offer today. Add Realistic Chalk and Sketch Lettering Effects with Sketch’it – only $5!

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20 Apr 2019