Popular Design News of the Week: February 25, 2019 – March 3, 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. 28 Epic Memes for Graphic Designers   Zest Icons   When is a Button not a Button?   A Comprehensive (and Honest) List of UX Clichés   5 “hacks” to Drastically Improve your Designs   Forghetti — Forget your Passwords. Forever.   The Underlying Principles of Branding and Design in Email   How to Create a SaaS Landing Page that Converts   Site Design: Adtrak Agency   An Interview with Stanley Wood, Head of UX at Volvo   Logo Psychology: How to Design Logos that Inspire Trust   Why Designers Should Understand Code   UI Design: How Golden Ratio Works in User Interfaces   The Dribbble Experiment   Color Spaces   Absurd Design – Free Surrealist Illustrations for Landing Pages   Mint, a New HTTP Library for Elixir   How a Good UX Designer Can Save a Startup   Here are the Winners of Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ Photo Contest   20+ Best Free Photoshop Actions 2019   Six Tips for Better Web Typography   5 Essential Design Tools for 2019   Amino: Live CSS Editor for Chrome   Site Design: Nicky Tesla   11 Must-Watch Conference Talks that will Inspire You for 2019   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 design for virtual reality: basics and best practices for VR design

Reality’s fine most of the time, but there’s room for improvement. As fun as driving a fast car is, wouldn’t you rather be flying through the air like a bird? What we’re saying is, reality’s a great place to live, but every now and then we’d like to visit places a little more unrealistic. And judging by the rise of VR design over the last few years, plenty of other people agree. Virtual reality design: the future of ecommerce or the future of gimmicks? By PHACE.For designers, the arrival of virtual reality poses some unique challenges. There’s very little precedent to draw on when it comes to designing for a virtual reality space, but at the same time, that leaves room for innovation and new possibilities for greatness. The question is: how do you make that transition? This article helps out with that. We take a ground-up approach to explaining VR design, starting with the essentials and ending with some best practices. Who knew playing god could get so technical? What is VR design?
— If you think the Sensorama of the early 1960s looks silly, imagine what your grandchildren are going to say about the Oculus Rift. Via Wikimedia Commons.VR design is the creation of a simulated world, which people can experience and immerse themselves in using hardware, like headsets. Virtual reality as we know it today actually has a long history. With origins dating back decades, we see it used for practical applications like NASA flight simulations and for entertainment like the sensational Sensorama. But never in history has virtual reality ever been so achievable—and profitable. Recent tech advances in VR have many predicting it will eventually permeate all industries. Evangelists suggest its most beneficial applications to be: educational aids for students physical therapy psychological treatment, like reacclimating people with PTSD cancer research image modeling for architects (or rearranging your living room) employee training empathy training, like the gender-swapping in The Machine to Be Another a new artistic medium remote communication virtual tourism archeological research a more immersive website, potentially changing the way we browse the web There’s also the documented benefits on personal growth and introspection—yes, you read that right. A Stanford study showed that users who saw themselves aged 70 years in a VR mirror later set aside “significantly...

How to Make Gamification Work on the Web

The somewhat controversial topic of the usefulness of gamification in business has been sparking debates recently. One claim is that it’s a great business tool that helps engage and retain clients, as well as lead them in the right direction. The opposite view holds that there are few real successes in gamification. Today we’re going to the consider the case for gamification in interactive design, and illustrate it with some great examples. The ABCs of Gamification Gamification applies game elements, game mechanics and game thinking into non-game processes, like apps or websites, in an effort to make them more fun and engaging. However, it’s important to point out that gamification does not equal gaming or creating games for businesses. It simply borrows game features. According to Statista calculations, the gamification market is expected to grow from the $4.91bn it was valued in 2016 to almost $12bn by 2021. The impressive gamification statistics doesn’t end at that. 40% of top organizations in the world are using gamification as their primary mechanism to transform business operations. The faith in this business tool is so big that some experts believe that by 2020 gamification will be widespread. The main components that game mechanics are based on are the following: Motivation — The reason users have to care, act or behave in a certain way; Mastery — A set of rules, skills and knowledge users need to have to complete the task; Triggers — The implementation of opportunities for users to fulfill their motivation. Motivation is the first important element in this chain. It gives users a reason to behave a certain way, to take a desired action, complete that training or adopt a healthier lifestyle. Studying how users behave and how to motivate them to take a desired action has a lot to do with behavior design. The principles of Burrhus Frederic Skinner and his Operant Conditioning Chamber lay the basis for studies on how to influence a certain human behavior in order to design a certain habit. Next follows the How or Mastery — game mechanics can’t be based purely on a random luck, skills, knowledge or some rules needed to be involved in gamification as well. For a successful gamified experience, users need to feel a sense of achievement and improvement. That they are leveling up their skills. It should trigger a feeling of achieving something or...

Best Apps to Improve Productivity For Design Teams in 2019

We live in a world that often seems to be preoccupied with doing things faster and better. In other words, preoccupied with ever-increasing productivity. Faster and better is good, but it can also take a toll. The digital age has brought with it a host of powerful productivity tools to help us manage our projects. However, it has also brought with it more to do, and less time to do it in. How do we deal with this mixed blessing and curse? By being on the lookout for the best productivity tools out there. And, religiously following productivity tips that will help us in our work and in life in general. We’ve done our research to find what we believe are the top productivity apps going into 2019. We’ve supplemented them with 5 tried-and-tested productivity tips. These are not only common sense but can easily become habit-forming. We’ll start with: Mason Mason is a different kind of animal than you generally associate with productivity tools. It’s true that Mason makes managing certain tasks easier and enables you to do other tasks faster. What Mason doesn’t do is make some of the tasks you’re used to doing because you feel they’re imperative easier by managing them for you. Mason simply ignores them! Mason helps teams work together to design, build, and deploy pixel-perfect features for post-deployed apps, and enables them to do so quickly and economically. What these teams do not have to do is rely on prototyping exercises, QA inspections, documentation, and coding. Mason creates HTML/CSS on the spot, obviating the necessity for coding and freeing up developers to work on larger, more complex projects. Mason also eliminates having to wait for the next deployment cycle to deliver a app feature. Any authorized person with a Mason account can install a new feature in an application that’s already in a post-deployment mode. There’s much to like about this somewhat out-of-the-ordinary productivity tool. We suggest a closer look. Proto.io Prototyping is often useful and at times essential, whether it is a small app feature, or a more complex software that is being designed. Proto.io’s editor and beautifully crafted UI components can be used to design low-fidelity or high-fidelity prototypes from scratch, and Proto.io can prove to be indispensable for teams that subscribe to a rapid prototyping approach. No coding or special design skills are required to use...

10 Inspiring Websites with Gorgeous Animations

There’s nothing more awe-inspiring than a website with amazing animations. It’s like a webpage come to life inside your computer, and with animations, a designer can really show off their skills. If you’re planning on including movement in your own website, you’ll definitely want to see these amazing animations from talented web designers and developers. Les Animals Les Animals nails the transitional animations in this one, each fluid movement easing you into a new frame. Just click and drag to start exploring a little world, and see all the breathtaking 3D environments through a small lens. The Hunt for the Cheshire Cat This site is just marvelous. At first it uses only slight mouse panning animations, but as you go deeper, you’ll find yourself immersed in a 3D city that you can travel through and look around in. Scrolling advances you through the city and into various other environments. 60 FPS The centerpiece of this animation is definitely the rippling gold and silver logo, always in the background. It’s subtle, but unique and beautiful. More than that, each UI element appears with a smooth effect. And here’s a cool effect you might not have noticed: the background logo on every page responds to your mouse cursor as you hover it! Spire This website is packed with all sorts of little animations. Interactive 3D objects, various hover animations, small animations that idly loop in the background – you’ll need to explore to find them all. The sliding text and elements offers a natural transition as you look through all of the pages here. Nico Cherubin Animations with personality are the best, and you’ll know as soon as you enter this site that the creator loves web development and technology. One awesome feature from this site is, when you’re on a project page, the ability to hold the spacebar to see a video of the website in action. Pelizzari Studio Whoever designed these animations definitely knew what they were doing. If you’re going for a simple, but responsive and elegant effect, you’ll love this. Every single page pops with its use of animation, as images slide in or zoom out as you scroll. It’s simply a joy to navigate. Active Theory Navigating this site feels like walking through city streets. Flying down dark alleys lit by bright colors, looking through pages with backgrounds that look like they come from a late-night town, the...

10 Real-World Reasons Designers Should Know SEO

For web designers today, creating a website can mean a whole lot than just functionality, usability and aesthetic appeal. Today, every new-born website requires a thorough integration of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) protocols to become crawlable and get indexed by search engines such as Google. A good website can attract great amounts of traffic. However, to make sure your traffic is relevant, geo-specific, and hails from the target segment, you must utilize SEO properly. According to one piece of HubSpot research, 77% of people research a brand before getting in touch with it. This means your site design, structure, content, and marketing practices must be spot on if you want spectacular search results! Both off-page and on-page SEO are imperative to the ranking process for any website on Google. Here, we are going to discuss why web designers should know about on-page SEO well enough to create a website that not only attracts visitors, but also ranks on top of Google search engine result pages (SERPs). 1. Higher Rankings On-page SEO involves many elements such as HTTP status code, URLs and their friendliness with the search engine. Other aspects include the correct addition of meta tags, descriptions and further heading tags on your search link on Google SERPs. All of these elements make a huge difference in on-page SEO. Therefore, a web designer who knows these details must know when to apply them in the right order so that the website receives higher rankings on Google. 2. Greater Search Accuracy With the growing number of internet users, the demand of the data has also increased. There are so many brands for a similar product, over hundreds of online stores, and numerous branches of the same brand. Before any potential customer makes an appearance in a store, they are highly likely to search them on the internet. The statistics clearly support this as 18% more shoppers prefer Google over Amazon for searching a product and 136% of times a search engine is preferred over other websites for the same purpose. Similarly, local searches lead 50% of the mobile users to take a tour to the nearby store within 24 hours. This further necessitates web designers to readily know about on-page SEO so that the client’s business page is more visible on web. 3. More Mobile Traffic The state of inbound reporting suggests that generating traffic is one of the main...

Looking Back at the Awwwards 2018 Websites of the Month

Every year without fail, Awwwards.com picks the very best websites to hand out a Site of the Month award, based on design, usability, creativity, content, and mobile-friendliness. While it’s true that many website owners prefer the ease and accessibility of CMS software – particularly when they can have a review of the best platforms – many more hold the desire to push the envelope regarding what’s possible on the World Wide Web. To celebrate the website owners who wish to create beautiful, useful, and innovative online pages, we’ll take a look at some of the best Site of the Month winners from 2018 according to Awwwards.com. Oat The Goat – June 2018 Using WebGL, this is a gorgeous little animated storybook that was created by New Zealand’s Ministry of Education to combat bullying. Though the story is short and sweet, the interactive options, sound effects, and decision-based elements are a real delight. The animated website doesn’t exactly allow for freedom of choice, as you’re told what to pick in terms of Oat The Goat’s path, and any decision you make when meeting other characters will only allow for progression when the correct answer is chosen. In short, it’s an easy 5-minute story which you can’t get wrong, but does look fantastic and will be hugely engaging for kids. Nike React – May 2018 For a website promoting a new type of running shoe from Nike, we have to be honest… we expected better than this. The Nike React shoes are supposedly made using foam that is lighter, more durable, and spreads the impact more evenly than any of the company’s previous shoes. That’s all well and good, but the website? Perhaps designed for the younger audiences or bored office workers, the site starts out with good intentions, allowing the user to design a runner. As the sound is more annoying than anything else, it’s best to switch it off and focus on the visual elements. We’re given only three options for design, which is to choose two soft items, a running style, and then the color of your Nike React shoes. Once compiled, you’re given an odd human-shaped thing to look at, one that’s made from teddy bears and bouncing balls. The site’s look is somewhat amusing, yet hardly worthy of a second go or a recommendation to a friend. More design options would have been preferable and with less of a childish look to it all. 2018 Foosball World Cup – July 2018 The FIFA 2018...

5 ways to use interactive content to increase conversions

Conversion rates represent the end-all goal of digital marketing experts and SEO. As such, content creators, writers and designers are often tasked with high-end creative problems to solve. How do you attract more eyes to a website and retain them as loyal customers? Enter interactive content, the type which can engage a visitor and keep them occupied long enough to sway their decision in your favor. Illustration by OrangeCrushWhat makes interactive content stand out from static visuals we see on the web lies in its interactivity. Namely, interactive content requires the target audience to “interact” with the content you created. This can be anything from quizzes or tools (like this logo color generator) to interactive charts or unique web design solutions. Interactive Elements in a Website Design Increase User Engagement. Via 99designs.According to Snap App, 88% of marketers agree that interactive content does differentiate them from the competition. It’s also worth noting that interactive content leads to 4-5 times more page views than static content due to its “flashy” and approachable nature. But how can you use interactive content effectively and what ways are there to implement it? Let’s take a look at why interactive content is worth investing in, as well as how you can best realize its potential for your brand. The benefits of interactive content
— Unleashed creativity Static visuals often rely on tried and tested design methodology to move things along. Interactive content requires segmented, step-by-step thinking and a different approach to design as a whole. This means that it allows for far more creative freedom in crafting the best marketing campaign or website for your client. Wider audience reach Whether your target demographic consists of teens, students or the elderly, interactive content will surely cater to their needs. The reason for this is simple: interactive content relies on our inner child to seal the deal between the viewer and the content itself. Clicking on that one shiny button and receiving a reward, albeit a small one, can provide the customer with a sense of satisfaction strong enough to incentivize conversion. Better SEO ranking Jumping over to the technical side of digital content for a moment, let’s discuss SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) factors in your website’s popularity, traffic and conversions quite a bit....

Bannersnack is an Online Design Tool for Professionals

Banner ads made simple – That’s the Bannersnack promise, and the app delivers on that promise. Any new tool in your design arsenal must excel in areas where other programs are lacking. Bannersnack reduces your time investment when making animated and static banner ads or social media headers and other images. Banner Ad Problems Designers must address a range of issues when designing banner ads: Clients want everything done today Clients want multiple sizes of banners All banners must be responsive Clients require banners in numerous formats Animated banners are challenging to make Finding templates to base a design on Clients want you to use their fonts and photos You need analytics and heatmaps Bannersnack addresses each of these problems and allows you to meet client expectations quickly and efficiently. Check out Bannersnack for yourself to see everything it can do. (Hint: All of the above) Short Deadlines All things are possible if you use the right tools. Bannersnack lets you produce more designs in less time, meaning you earn more and clients are happy with your fast turnaround time. Template-based design can save you hours on a project, while the results are of similar quality to designing from scratch. There are thousands of Bannersnack templates, and each has been created by professionals. You can search by user category to narrow the choice and quickly find a template you can adapt by using your own photo and font choice. Bannersnack’s templates cover a wide variety of banner ads and social media posts.   When you examine the templates above, the quality of the designs leaps off the screen at you. These templates will work, and no client will know you haven’t done their project from scratch. Sets of Banner Ads A Pro-Bannersnack subscription includes the use of an ultra-simple banner generator tool that lets you produce sets of different-sized ads based on one design. Imagine the time this would save you. Imagine how happy your client will be when you send a link to preview your work in a seemingly impossible timeframe. Check out this preview to watch a quick ad generator in action. Responsive Ads Everything you design in Bannersnack is responsive. This allows your users to see ads that are optimized for their device and screen size. Straightforward Animations Just as video is more effective than still images, animated...

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20 Apr 2019