Design From the Beach: How to Work and Travel
Are you experiencing full wanderlust with a side order of burnout in the first week of the new year? Has the post-holiday gloom got you down? Are you starting a new decade in your office, wondering if you’ll make it to the next? Would you love to see a bit of the world before you’re too old to enjoy it?
Here’s the good (great) news: one of the best things about being a web professional is that we can pretty much work from anywhere — as long as there is solid Wi-Fi.
So, with this unmatched sense of utility, it begs the question: why not take advantage of that rare freedom?
A change of scenery can mean a lot, especially if you’re starting to feel worn-out in your current situation. Novelty has been highlighted as one of the key features needed to keep people motivated and engaged in their work. And, if novelty can’t easily be found in your career — it can definitely be found in your environment; that’s where travel gets its appeal.
Short-term vacations are often not enough to diminish pent up stress and tick that novelty box. It’s no secret that, upon return, the recuperative benefits of vacation quickly give way to the same level of work burnout experienced before the trip, regardless of whether you’re working for yourself or someone else. The better way to deal with this situation is to figure out how to integrate the short-term novelty and relaxation of going on vacation into an everyday practice. Meditation is the oft-cited means to achieve this end. However, if you haven’t quite yet reached the ability to meditatively separate yourself from all your worldly desires and anxieties like a zenmaster — a cowork/travel programme might be a more attainable solution.
There are a wide variety of ways to get you the environmental novelty you need (perhaps without leaving the friendly confines of your own country), and still allow you to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
From snazzy offices in Silicon Valley to cozy hideaways located mere steps away from the beaches of Phuket, the opportunities are indeed endless. Here are just a few good options available to you:
Work Abroad Programmes
Sometimes the idea of going abroad by yourself seems like more trouble than it’s worth. Navigating more complex items like long-term housing, tours to remote locations, extended visa arrangements, or cultivating a new support network, can feel quite daunting.
Over the years,...
12 Free eCommerce WordPress Themes For Online Stores
Online shopping and ease of internet access have led to more active participation in launching their online business. On the other hand, the ease of internet access has allowed a significant increase in users who browse such eCommerce websites by many folds. Anyone who wants to build an eCommerce website needs to ensure their website is strong enough to withstand heavy traffic and not crash. Optimizing websites is essential for getting high traffic. It is not possible to build such a big website from scratch, economically. There are numerous options when it comes to creating an eCommerce website which include using pre-built Shopify themes, Bigcommerce themes or WordPress themes. If you choose to go the WordPress route, there are many free eCommerce WordPress Themes that are powerful enough to get your eCommerce website running in no time.
WordPress and WooCommerce:
Since other services offer secure website making solutions as well, it is essential to understand why choosing WordPress makes more sense. Firstly, WordPress has the most extensive range of collection of themes that are dedicated to eCommerce use. Secondly, it has a convenient plugin that makes eCommerce very simple- WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is a plugin that allows the user to transition an ordinary website into an efficient selling goldmine. It enables the user to add specific required pages for any eCommerce website such as Product pages. Product Pages have the capacity of showing important details like Product Images, Descriptions, Prices and Specifications. Such a compilation of all relevant content regarding the product at one place helps a customer get quick information about the product. It presses on all buying points, hence the chance of conversion increases. You then get the ability to let your potential customers add a product to their cart and continue browsing for more products. They can immediately checkout and make their payment on completion.
The best advantage of WooCommerce is that it brings all these technicalities down to such an extent that even a beginner at web design would easily be able to implement them in their free eCommerce WordPress theme.
Now that we have a brief about why WordPress is best suited for an eCommerce website, let us look at the 12 free eCommerce WordPress Themes that you can try out today:
Leto is a great free eCommerce WordPress Theme that...
The best graphic design software of 2020
Graphic design is all about the software. Sure, a talented designer can make something beautiful out of Microsoft Paint. But the intuitive controls and flexibility of a good program can make all the difference. So, which graphic design software is right for you?
Which design software is right for you? We’re taking a closer look at the most popular options. Illustration by VladanlandFor designers, software becomes an extension of their artistic abilities. They memorize keyboard shortcuts, become familiar with layouts and generally treat their favorite software as a second language. Having an intuitive and flexible program is important.
So, which design software should you choose? Are you looking for the flexibility and expensiveness of Photoshop, or are you looking for something more simple—and inexpensive?
Don’t fret. We’ve reached out to some of our favorite designers to get their opinions on the best graphic design software of 2020. Here’s what we found.
Best paid graphic design programs
Image via Engadget Adobe Photoshop is easily the most recognizable of the graphic design software. From basic cropping that your grandmother could figure out to more complex raster designs, when it comes to image manipulation Photoshop can do it all. Photoshop is known for classic features like the pen tool, layers and masks, but the most recent version adds some cool tricks such as a Frame tool for easy masking and a new Content-Aware Fill workspace. With a potentially limitless skill ceiling, Photoshop is a great graphic design language to start learning. When it comes to image manipulation Photoshop can do it all.
Best used for: image editing
Cost: Adobe now offers a subscription service for its products with a 30-day trial available. The Photography plan for individuals (lightroom, lightroom classic, Photoshop, 20GB of cloud storage) comes in at $9.99/month, with the full Creative Cloud costing $52.99/month. However, there are different prices for students and teachers, businesses and teachers, and schools and universities.
Skill level required: beginner to advanced
Nearly limitless skill ceiling
Integrated stock library
Plenty of design tools for image editing
Interface can be tough to get used to
Can’t create true vector files
Image via Stack...
Does Diversity in Photos Affect UX?
Inclusive web design is more than just building a website that’s accessible for impaired individuals. Inclusivity means creating an environment (physical or digital) that’s welcoming of all people regardless of their: Age; Race; Ethnicity; Gender; Sexual orientation; Socioeconomic status; Body shape; Physical or mental impairment; And so on…
But let’s be honest: it’s not always easy to find photos that feel inclusive — whether they come from stock photo websites or your clients.
Today, I’m going to examine the state of diversity in stock photography and then I’m going to provide you with some alternative options so you don’t feel as stifled or limited by what you’ve traditionally worked with.
Is Diversity in Website Imagery Still an Issue?
There was a time when this was the kind of imagery we were accustomed to on the web:
But this video of Emilia Clarke (and Vanity Fair) poking fun at business stock photography was only just filmed in 2018. So, does that mean we still have a problem on our hands when it comes to the quality and diversity of stock photography?
Cheesiness aside, there does still appear to be a systemic problem with diversity when it comes to stock photography.
I went to the most popular stock photography sites and ran a search for “business”. These were some of the photos from the first page of results:
I think some of these sites are doing a much better job than they were in the past in terms of aggregating diverse-looking photos.
That said, there’s still a lot of white-washing here. And, not just that, but look at the focus of many of these seemingly diverse photos. Many of the speakers, bosses, handshakes, people looking over others’ shoulders… are white men.
Then, there’s the office spaces themselves that don’t quite look diverse either. I mean, you know this. I know this. Right now, I’m working from the kitchen of an Airbnb I’m renting for four months. What does your work environment look like? Does it look similar to those sleek high rises or swanky coffee shops often featured in stock photos?
Part of the problem may be that marketers are only just starting to make a concerted effort towards more diverse representation.
A Shutterstock survey from 2017 asked marketers in the US, UK, and Australia about inclusion of diverse visuals in their campaigns. Each market was asked different...
How to Find and Rectify Malicious Redirected Links
A malicious redirect code is usually inserted into your website with a plan to redirect the site visitor to other websites. Attackers often place these malicious redirects into a website intending to create marketing impressions. However, the problem comes when these redirections cause more damaging effects. Some damages can include vulnerabilities in the computer of the site visitor. This happens through web-based scripts that install malware on vulnerable machines. Therefore, it is vital to remove any malicious redirect from your site. In this how-to guide, we will explain the best ways to identify and remove malicious redirects from your website.
How to know if your site is infected
As a site owner, you may not be aware that your website is redirecting visitors. By the time you realize it, your customers may have already ending up visiting a not so pleasing website via a redirect while trying to visit your site. In as much as you may think everything is ok on your computer, site visitors using mobile platforms may still experience malicious activities. However, the redirects usually happen on some pages, but not others. At times, you may need to identify any malicious redirects, find out how to remove them and restore your site to normalcy.
Finding and removing harmful (malicious) redirects
Ensure you back up any site files in a secure place before you make changes to the data in your site, as well as the database. This process is vital for those who are unaware of their content management system’s (CMS) inner workings. You can find malicious redirects in any area of your site, including your database, site files, and so on.
Here is how you can find and rectify redirected malicious links:
Removing this redirect: The scripts can be removed via editing through the necessary tools.
Removing this redirect: You can remove this...
The 10 best dental website designers for hire in 2020
Having a professional website is crucial. This is true in any industry, but especially when it comes to dental websites where your success depends on your ability to show patients you’re their best choice for top-notch care.
A modern dental website design by Iconic GraphicsIf your dental website isn’t as polished as it could be, if it’s got bland stock photography or a generic template you got for free when you registered its domain or if it does nothing to communicate your unique brand, your website is costing you money. It’s costing you money in consultations not scheduled, appointments not booked and prospective patients having no idea you exist.
Dental practices aren’t the only ones in the dental field who need great websites. If you’re a dental supply company, an orthodontist or any other professional in the oral health world, take a look at our top picks for dental website designers.
We know it can be tough to find a designer to hire who’s not just great, but great at dental web design, so we made it easy by listing the best dental website designers we know all in one spot.
The 10 best dental website designers to hire in 2020
— 1 T6S Top Level 5.0 ( 89 ) Web page design Landing page design WordPress theme design Logo design Other web or app design App design Icon or button Postcard, flyer or print Other design Other business or advertising Banner ad Illustration or graphics Facebook cover Brochure Typesetting with imagery Stationery Product packaging...
12 Free and Premium Online Invoicing Apps for Freelance Web Designers
When you work as a freelance web designer or developer, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day functions of your business and forget about some of the administrative tasks you need to attend to. Invoicing comes to mind.
Or, maybe invoicing is just taking you way longer than it needs to. If you’re managing invoices manually, that can take up a lot of unnecessary time. It’s time that you could be spending creating websites and doing client work. You know, the stuff that actually makes you money?
That’s why it’s important to reduce the time you spend on administrative tasks as much as possible. One way to accomplish this is through the use of an invoicing app. Lucky for you, there are plenty of online invoicing apps to choose from, that make it super simple to manage invoices for your freelance web development business.
With both free and premium options available, you’ll be able to get up and running with invoicing automation in no-time – and level up the tools you use as your budget increases.
Free Online Invoicing Apps
AND.CO is a free app that makes it easy to send invoices and proposals with just a few clicks. With it, you can create custom invoices, accept payments, track expenses, track the time spent on a given task, and more.
Invoicera is another free invoicing app option for freelancers that greatly simplifies the invoicing process. Now, the free plan is only available to you if you have three clients or less, but it’s definitely a nice way to get your foot in the door with billing management. A few features include time tracking, workflows, and automatic billing.
Invoicely is a free-to-start using invoice app that makes it easy to not only invoice your clients, but also view business reports, accept credit card payments, as well as track time, mileage, expenses, and more.
ZipBooks bills itself (if you’ll pardon the pun) as simple accounting software and it lives up to that description beautifully. This app allows you to send invoices, accept payments, conduct reviews, view reports, and gain access to “smart insights” that help you to make better decisions about the future of your business.
Harvest is a super simple invoicing app that prioritizes the time-tracking feature above all else. But it does so in an interesting way in that this app applies insights to your time tracked, allowing...
40 famous graphic design companies from around the world
Design is a skill which many companies can acquire, but only the truly gifted graphic design companies will take it to the next level. In an industry as seriously competitive as graphic design, it can be difficult to establish a name brand.
Even so, there are several graphic design companies and design agencies around the world that have managed to cut through the clutter and garner international prestige. Their A-list clients, diverse portfolios and prominence both locally and globally have made them some of the most sought-after, most famous graphic design companies on the planet.
Here are the 40 most famous graphic design companies in the industry to date, listed in no particular order:
“The world’s largest independently owned design studio,” Pentagram is owned and run equally by 25 partners—all of whom are leaders in the design industry. Their star-studded list of past and present partners includes names like Alan Fletcher, Bob Gill, Paula Scher and Michael Bierut.
Locations: Austin, Berlin, New York and San Francisco
Notable clients: Planned Parenthood, Rolls-Royce, Saks Fifth Avenue, Starbucks, The Guggenheim, United Airlines, Verizon, Walgreens, Warner Brothers, Windows
Services offered: brand identity, book design, campaigns, data visualization, digital design, editorial design, environmental graphics, exhibition design, film and motion graphics, industrial/product design, interiors and architecture, naming, packaging, sound design
Warner Brothers brand identity by Pentagram 2. Landor
In their own words, Landor is “the world’s preeminent brand consulting firm.” Headquartered in San Francisco and operating offices in 25 world-class cities, this design giant has one of the most enviable client lists on the planet.
Headquarters: San Francisco
Locations: Bangkok, Beijing, Cape Town, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dubai, Geneva, Guangzhou, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, Milan, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo
Notable clients: Apple, Australian Open, BMW, British Airways, FedEx, Kellogg’s, Kraft, P&G, PepsiCo, Volkswagen
Services offered: adaptation and implementation, brand architecture, brand engagement, brand identity, brand innovation, experiences and environments, interactive and new media, insights and analytics, naming...
The Art of Persuasion: How to Handle Clients With Mad Ideas
We’ve all been there. It’s 4pm on a Friday afternoon, you’re already in your “weekend outfit” (underwear and hoody combo) and you get an email. It’s Client X: Hey, erm, I’ve just had a couple of thoughts, can we talk?
Wearily, you reach for the phone.
Sure enough, the “couple of thoughts” become a rambling monologue on the virtues of asymmetric grid layout, mouse-controllable content and parallax scrolling (“that shouldn’t be too hard, right?”) which lasts for 90 minutes. They basically want this, on their budget of $1200.
If that wasn’t bad enough, of course you also know that what they’re asking for — even if you could deliver it on time and in budget — will make no sense at all to their users.
Don’t panic, here’s what you can do.
1. Make a Connection
Believe it or not, from a certain angle, there’s probably method to their madness. By discovering it, you’ll not only unlock ways to solve the problem, but develop your working relationship in a positive direction too.
Have you ever wondered why Client X wants their app to auto-play “We are the Champions” every time it loads? Maybe they’re trying to send a positive message about their company or looking for a lighthearted feel. Have they seen something similar that actually works? Are they trying to express their personality through the work they’re asking you to do?
In his book Nonviolent Communication, psychologist Marshall Rosenberg argues we can find resolution to any conflict by addressing the needs that underlie it, and urges us to start by acknowledging the other person’s reality.
Here’s how it works: don’t argue. At least not yet. Let them talk. Ask questions. Acknowledge what they’re saying. Listen. At the same time, try to build up a picture of what’s important to them at the emotional level. When you do talk, reflect back what you’ve understood. You’ll probably find the situation calms right down.
Maybe this seems time consuming. It is. But then again, so are those rambling “wouldn’t it be great if we…” phone-calls. You may as well put them to some use…
2. Sell Your Vision
From another perspective, in trying to persuade someone out of their mad idea, you’re really trying to sell them your own. As such, the psychology of selling has a lot to offer you, if that’s your cup of tea. Just remember: Your ability to sell is only as good as your understanding of the client. If you try to use a one-size-...