9 Fictional Websites Reviewed

There’s a moment that every tech nerd in every corner of the tech industry knows all too well. It’s that moment when you see that some movie or TV show has decided that your area of tech is relevant to the story, and by golly they plan to butcher it in the cheapest and most simplified way possible. (This is your yearly reminder that CSI: Cyber was a thing, and that NCIS once had two people type on the same keyboard to “hack faster”.) Oh dear God…why? Thankfully, the representation of web design hasn’t been nearly as ham-fisted as that of information security. Sure, there are plenty of badly designed websites in movies and TV, but it’s getting better. Some may hate to hear this, but we probably have pre-made templates and frameworks to thank for that, because it now requires less effort to create a passable-looking prop site. For the heck of it, I went down memory lane (and did some Googling, if you must know) to list some of the best and worst web design that our fictional universes have to offer. Some of them exist only in fleeting screenshots of shows, while others have real, live builds up right now. Some exist in both worlds. Here they are, for your enjoyment. (Note: Some of these are old, and not all have working HTTPS. Just sayin’.) 1. Chumhum Ah, The Good Wife. Was it a bit soap-ish? Yes. Was it also littered with stunning performances by amazing actors? Was the sometimes-over-the-top drama balanced by interesting characters, and genuinely hilarious moments? Yes to all of that. Protagonist Alicia Florrick represents a tech company or two in the show, and many plot points revolve around web technology and the information age. One of the most notorious examples is that of Chumhum, a Google stand-in that copies the dead-simple aesthetic, but adds a cuddly mascot. The screenshot featured here is of a live mockup that is integrated with DuckDuckGo, a search engine with a mascot of its own. My ranking: I can’t fault the UX or aesthetics for much beyond maybe the small height of the text box. I mean, how complicated do you want your search? 2. Trask Industries In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Trask Industries is a corporation dedicated to dealing with “the mutant menace”. For all that, their website looks like a fairly standard corporate presentation-style site with a heavy emphasis on background video and simple animation. My ranking: It’s a bit...

The Keys to Advertising Your Web Design Business

If you’ve just started a new business, congratulations! Once you have your site up and running, now comes the real challenge: advertising. You may not even know where to begin, so here’s a quick guide on how to spread the word and get your name out there. Advertisement Banners One of the easiest ways to advertise your business is with an online banner. These little rectangles don’t pull in many clicks, but they’re cheap. It can help immensely to advertise on relevant websites, and people may remember a good ad even if they don’t click right then. You can use a service like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads or BlogAds. Just make sure to design a banner that’s memorable – not annoying or distracting. You are a designer, after all! The Freelance Designer Toolbox
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DOWNLOAD NOW Social Media Want to know the best part of social media advertising? It’s free, assuming you don’t hire someone to do it for you! It’s also surprisingly effective. Generic social media accounts may fail, but if you put a bit of personality behind it, you‘ll find your business soaring. Interact first, promote your business second. Take time to share curated content, partner with other businesses, share fun but relevant videos and images, give a behind-the-scenes look into web design life and use personal branding; people trust the individual more than the business. Directories Get your business listed in a directory. Yelp, White Pages, Foursquare and any other relevant site you think will help. Many of these are free, so do your research. Don’t forget Google My Business, which adds a helpful little box on the right of search results that lists relevant information. Email Marketing Email marketing is highly effective – when done correctly. If done incorrectly, the only place you’ll be marketing to is the spam folder. So grow your email list in legal ways, not by purchasing lists, but by offering an incentive for people to give you their info. Coupons, tips, eBooks, the list goes on. Personalize your emails so they get sent to the right people. Customers who’ve used your services before could get special rewards, while you can focus on converting those who haven’t. Autoresponders can automate the whole process. Here’s a more in-depth guide if you’re confused. Email marketing services...

10 Beautiful Examples of Motion Design in Web Design

Motion design has seen a substantial rise to prominence within the web design industry over the last few years. Most landing pages and award-winning website designs incorporate some aspect of motion, whether that be through illustrations, video, animated GIFs, or even subtle custom emotes. Some websites even use motion design with their products, for example Apple who use vertical scrolling as a trigger for applying motion to their product mockups. There are some remarkable examples which show just what can be achieved when applying elements of motion design to a website. In this article we are going to round up a selection of the very best. Your Web Designer Toolbox
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DOWNLOAD NOW Pipefy Pipefy uses motion design in the hero section of its website. It displays a user interface demo of their product with a hypothetical user interacting with and showcasing the platform. Figma Figma’s main selling point is design collaboration. As such, it demos this using effective screen capture video footage in the hero section. ZenDesk ZenDesk’s Answer Bot is demoed on their website using a minimal and simple example of motion design. Museum of Science + Industry The Museum of Science + Industry uses motion graphics and video in the hero section of their website to illustrate each active exhibition. It adds a great deal of visual interest and effect. Adidas Adidas Climazone’s landing page uses motion design via user scrolling as the trigger. As the the user makes their way down the page the graphics and images morph and change. Stripe Sigma In possibly the most impressive example of all, Stripe uses motion design in multiple instances. The hero section uses a video to illustrate the product in action, while below a scrolling ticker of FAQ cards makes its way from right to left, changing color over time. Snappd Snappd’s homepage scrolls through a selection of video stories. When one lines up with the iPhone mockup, it triggers the video to play. ZKIPSTER ZKIPSTER uses one of the more traditional implementations of motion design: a full size background video. It does so with great effect, applying a filter on top for greater contrast and subtlety. Shopify Shopify uses motion through its product imagery. In this instance, the user’s scroll...

10 Beautifully Designed Web Design Agency Sites

Web design agencies are tasked with the tough assignment of producing a site design that communicates their skill levels through various visuals and elements. They are often judged as much on their website design as they are on their portfolio of work. It’s a critical aspect of generating work and conveying a high level of design skill. As such, agency sites are often meticulously designed with even the very smallest of details being paid considerable attention to. This, in turn, means that the sites present some of the most forward-thinking and exciting designs in the web design industry. In this article, we are going to round up ten of the most beautifully designed and polished web design agency sites around today. Your Web Designer Toolbox
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DOWNLOAD NOW R&D R&D’s agency website combines a spacious layout with a unique and vibrant green background. This contributes to the visual impact and makes for a memorable website design. Mast Mast’s website is very minimal but uses beautifully composed imagery and overlapping navigation elements. A Day Out This agency website by A Day Out is incredibly unique and impactful. It uses large cutouts with plenty of imagery and large capitalized typographic elements. Lg2 Lg2’s website implements an unusual navigation layout which spans the border of the central content area. The animated visuals within the ‘2’ are an eye-catching addition. Mathematic Mathematic’s website is highly-focused on visuals. The slider spans the entirety of the hero section, creating an immersive experience perfect for showcasing their work. Phoenix This website from Phoenix offers one of the most unique layout directions of all. The typography is seemingly sporadic but provides great effect as it overlaps the rotating imagery. 2LG 2LG’s agency website uses an immersive loading graphic which consists of their logo overlaying a colorful image. The site then transitions seamlessly into a refined homepage with minimal graphics and typography. Designgoat This agency site design from Designgoat is similarly sporadic in the way it has approached its laying out of imagery. The result has a brutalist-style feel to it and offers a beautifully unique look when combined with the red highlights and...

The 12 Best Colors For Your Brand (and What They Mean)

Choosing the right color for your brand and products can immediately affect how your customers view and respond to your products and services. By simply using the right colors you can persuade customers to buy your product. What colors are more attractive? Which colors evoke certain emotions? Certain colors are more attractive than others – not in the sense of being prettier or better looking, but in the sense of being magnetic to customers. Black, red and copper are regarded as some of the most noticeable colors to the human eye, during a purchase decision. Impulse buyers tend to go for orange, red and blue while tight budget shoppers tend to go for green or pink. When choosing brand color schemes that work for any industry, one has to first consider how people feel about different colors. Here are some of the best color palettes for brands and the kind of emotions they carry. These 12 colors have proven to increase sales, draw attention, and stay memorable for customers. Which Colors Should I Choose for My Brand? Fiery Crimson Red  Red is one among the most powerful colors for marketing but you’ll want to be careful. Poppy, candy apple red can be overused and denote the wrong kind of common vibe. Red is a primary color in the R.G.B as well as the C.M.Y.K color models, so it’s used a lot with the assumption that it plays well with others. Some of the emotions that red exerts are excitement, love, danger, passion, anger, and strength. This eye-catching color can be used for all industries but is commonly used in retail as well as the travel and fitness industries. By choosing a rich crimson or a regal and under-rated maroon, your brand will stand out among the Coca-Colas on the scene. A Deep Indigo Blue Blue is generally one of the three primary colors and can be viewed as trustworthy and cool. This color can be associated with faithfulness, maturity, harmony, distance, confidence, imagination, competence, trust, dependability, cold temperatures, security, and maybe even sadness. With such a multi-faceted range, it’s best to find a way to differentiate yourself. By choosing a deeper shade with a hint of purple, you’ll distance yourself from the navy and sky alternatives in your industry. This common color can be used as brand colors for a wide range of industries like healthcare, finance, business, travel, real estate, and entertainment. A Lush, Forest...

Top 10 web design tips to get the ideal website

Let’s be clear: web design is an involved discipline that can take a lifetime to master. As if that weren’t hard enough, it’s also a field that’s evolving every second as technology keeps advancing—imagine da Vinci’s frustration if people complained the Mona Lisa “looked old” after just five years. Web design is something that pretty much everyone on the managerial end of a business has to deal with, but only design professionals truly understand. If you want a great web design, you have to learn the basics, so you can communicate want you want. Even if you’re hiring a professional to design your page for you, you still need some background information to discern a talented web designer from a mediocre one and explain what you need them to do. We know how hard it is for non-designers to get the hang of this whole web design thing, so we created this handy guide to walk you through the basics. Here are the top ten web design tips you need to know about (plus some useful dos and don’ts), divided into three categories: Composition, Aesthetics and Functionality. Whether you’re hiring a designer or DIY-ing, check your final web design for these ten fundamentals. Composition
— 1. Clear out the clutter. First, let’s address one of the most common beginner mistakes in web design: a cluttered screen. Most people have a list of everything they want on their website, and without knowing any better, they just throw it all on screen—and on the same page. Web design by SlavianaBasically, every element you add to your web design waters down all the others. If you include too many distracting elements, your user doesn’t know where to look and you lose a coherent experience. By contrast, if you only include the necessary elements, those elements are more potent since they don’t have to share center stage. More white space means less clutter and that’s what really matters in a minimalist, clean web design. - Slaviana See how the home screen in the Intenz example by Top Level designer Slaviana features nothing but the essentials: navigation menu, logo, tagline, main call-to-action (CTA) and some sparse imagery for atmosphere and to show off the product. They feature other information of course, but present it later so their screens are never too crowded. It’s the visual equivalent of pacing. For a...

5 Ways to Design for a Local Audience

In a recent post, I discussed how caution needs to be taken when designing websites for a global audience. Different cultures perceive things like color quite differently from one another. Devices that might be popular in one region of the world might not be used in another. And the customs each country has—even for something as seemingly insignificant as filling out a contact form—can vary greatly. Needless to say, global web design needs to be greatly simplified and neutralized in order to appeal to a broader audience. Now, local design techniques, on the other hand, require much more attention to detail and personalization. In this article, I want to discuss 5 ways in which web design can be more aptly handled for a local audience, be it within a single city, or nation. How to Design for a Local Audience When it comes to designing locally, your goal is to tap into a very targeted audience in a highly distinguished geographic area. 1. Prioritize Intent In many cases, a website that targets local users is one that has a brick-and-mortar component. This means that you not only have to think about why your visitors have come to the site, but also how they intend on using it to complement the in-person experience (if at all). As such, many websites designed for a local audience place all the essentials in the header and above-the-fold. This ensures that, if there’s no time to waste, your website isn’t responsible for it. Let’s use Fusion Fitness Center as an example: The header alone gives local members of the gym most of the information they’d likely come to the website for. This is part of the whole Google Micro-Moments proposition. The navigation is the next piece users see. Again, it doesn’t waste time with About Us pages, Team bios, and so on. While that information may exist somewhere on the site, the focus is on what this local business can do to facilitate the in-person experience for its local members. And, if that’s not enough, the hero image at the top of the home page continues speaking to the local user. Never once does it falter and put the attention back on Fusion Fitness. It all remains on helping that user attain their goals. 2. Add a Map to the Home Page For businesses that aim to drive virtual traffic to their website and physical traffic to their local property, a map is an essential piece to include within the design of your website....

Previewing the WordPress Twenty Nineteen Theme

Winter is coming, and so is WordPress 5.0. From some of the chatter about Gutenberg—the new content editor in WordPress—you might be led to believe that it’s worse than White Walkers. Others of us are more cautiously optimistic. We can all agree on two things: dragons are cool, and a lot of theme developers are going to have some work to do. The WordPress developers themselves are leading the way with a brand new theme they’re calling Twenty Nineteen… because 2018 is almost over, I guess. It is intended to provide flexibility and customizability, and maybe to compete with Medium. What? Don’t tell me you don’t see similarities. But really, there are two clear priorities: Priority One: Gutenberg Integration Clearly the devs want to show off what Gutenberg can do, and put their best foot forward in that arena. They want us to see what we can do with Gutenberg’s layout tools, so they have refrained from doing too much layout themselves. We get a big single column; and inside that, we get the content area, and everything it now offers. What it offers is—if the screenshots are anything to go by—is not overly impressive, but not bad either. As a nice side addition, they’ve used SASS to implement both front-end and back-end CSS. They want the content to look pretty much the same in the editor as it does on the front end. I am particularly interested in seeing how well this works, as it could mean big things both for designers who love WordPress as a platform, and for our clients. Priority Two: Going Beyond the Blog WordPress will never abandon their blog-centered user base, but they’ve been adding more and more goodies for those developers that love to stretch the CMS to its limits. Until now, all default themes have been, first and foremost, blogging themes. With Gutenberg’s integration coming, it seems that they’ve decided to expand their horizons in the theme-building department, in deference to everyone who uses WordPress as a more traditional CMS. This is reflected in the screenshots they provide of a typical business site: Technical Bits We will, hopefully, get to find out how well it all works on November 19th of this year, when WordPress 5.0 comes out. They’ve got a shortened development cycle, though, so it may be delayed if they run into significant bugs. You can try out a testing version here: https://github.com/WordPress/twentynineteen You can find...

Stand Out with These Free Resume Templates

Creating the perfect resume isn’t easy, but a great one is all but required to land a job. While your skills and experiences are what really counts, if you fail to exhibit them well, it won’t matter. It’s all in the presentation! And if your experience is lacking in some areas, a well-crafted resume can make a huge difference. So, it’s important to craft a something that will help you nail that dream job. But it’s not that easy to just make a great resume from scratch. So, we’ve compiled some amazing resume templates – great whether you want to add your own unique touch or use them as-is. Your Web Designer Toolbox
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DOWNLOAD NOW Hloom Tired of resume templates that don’t work in the program you like? Hloom has templates for Word, OpenOffice, Google Docs, Photoshop, Adobe InDesign and LaTex! Whether you like the old-fashioned Microsoft Word or do your resumes in an art program, Hloom has something for you. Each type of resume (simple, modern, portfolio) has its own library, too. There are hundreds of templates to try, so start browsing! Freesumes There are all sorts of Word resumes available on this website. There are resumes with stylish dark themes, bold colors, room for a portrait, icons, interesting layouts and more! And of course, you have your typical basic resume with just enough design flair to make it interesting to look at. Hand in one of these resumes if you want to stand out from the crowd, even if subtly! 26+ Best Resume Formats Here’s a sweet list of unique resumes that can suit just about any situation. They’re in all sorts of formats including Adobe InDesign, PDF, Doc and more! Teachers, engineers, students and anyone can find a template they love in this list. Resume Genius Templates These simple but effective templates really pack a punch. Each one follows this core principle: A resume’s job is to convey information efficiently. A few colors, easy-to-read sections, and perfectly formatted text makes for elegant resumes. There are even Mac OS X optimized versions in each bundle! In short, these templates get the job done (and get you the job). Canva Templates Canva has thousands of templates for just about anything, and job resumes are no exception. Just use Canva’s extensive online editor to easily replace text and add sections. Then,...

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08 Dec 2018