Conversational web forms and easy interactions

You may have missed it but the internet is a huge chat room. Everything is about conversations and interactions.

Creating Friendlier, “Conversational” Web Forms

Web forms are constantly a hot topic when it comes to web design and user interaction. The reasons for this are vast, but one of the more obvious reasons is that forms are the most basic way for a user to input information into your application. I

In this article, we’ll discuss a few techniques that allow your forms to respond to the user’s input, while helping to obscure unnecessarily confusing or overwhelming elements.

Let’s get started!

Designing for Easy Interaction

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Success in interaction design is largely a matter of following established patterns, so people can apply what they already know to new contexts. Using known and well-established interactive controls goes a long way in designing for easy interaction.

There are specific considerations that will help make controls more usable for people using assistive technologies. And there are design considerations that make interaction more usable and enjoyable for everyone, including people with disabilities.

Identify and describe interactive elements.

What Will A Great Website Do For You?

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In short – a great website will make your business perform better.

Your website can:

  • Lead new customers to your door
  • Increase sales
  • Extend your brand reach and recognition
  • Decrease customer service time
  • Become a “hub” for communication and social media

We focus on the purpose of your website within your business.

LABELS: MANAGING USER EXPECTATIONS

Users have expectations — it’s surprising, I know. Users expect a button to perform an action: submit a form, open a new page or edit content. No discovery needed, this user expectation is pretty standard and not limited to the digital world only. As a designer, this user expectation is pretty simple to create.Have an action for the user to perform? Just add a button. Almost every user interface (UI) component has some kind of built-in user expectation and for the most part we all do a great job at matching overall UI components with their user goal and expectation.

However, the button itself is not the only item that can make or break what the user expects to happen. An improperly labeled button will not only create a question about what the button is (they may never even use it), but will also change what the user expects to happen when they do press it.

Labels make a huge difference in any user experience design.

Whether we like it or not, the heroes of the story are the web users so we make sure their expectations are as closely met. They will dicate your webbie’s effectiveness so better get on the good side.

(via Choc Chip Digital)

What makes a great designer?

What better way is there to begin a discussion on web design but with a giveaway? Check it out, who knows, you might be the one that will come up with what the “judges” are looking for! So go on, see for yourself and start creating!

STARTUP DESIGN FRAMEWORK GIVEAWAY

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In this giveaway you can win one of three Startup Design Frameworks by Designmodo, worth $249 each.

The Startup Design Framework contains components and complex blocks which can be applied to almost any design. All of these components are made in the same style, and can easily be integrated into projects, allowing you to create hundreds of solutions for your future projects without investing too much time.

You can create websites with full mobile support!

What Makes a Great Designer?

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It’s the beginning of a brand new year. This signifies for many a time to change habits and behaviors and attempt to be a better person. It’s a time where people like to re-evaluate their lifestyles and try to remove the gunk. It’s a time where people become motivated to be better at whatever they do.

As designers, we are no different. Some of us want to start a business or dive deep into the life of full-time freelancing. Some of us want to seek recognition for our work and some of us just want to learn a new skill. Whatever it may be, we are all motivated and trying to figure out ways to go from good to great.

Being a great designer requires some creative thinking…

7 Vital Elements of a Good Web Design Portfolio

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How do you show prospective design clients what you can do?

The best way to show clients what you can do is to show them what you’ve already done. Direct them to your online portfolio.

If you’re a new freelance web designer, creating an online portfolio is one of the very first things that you need to do.

Why you need to keep your site updated
 Maintaining a website means consistently applying changes to keep up with the latest online trends and technology to be able to provide the best user experience.

Many companies focus more on how to get traffic to their websites. Ideally, this traffic will be converted into business. However, if your website is not updated, there’s a good chance that it will not perform properly with the current technology and may cause visitors to leave your site even before they had the chance to see your products and get to know your brand.

Technology dictates online trends…

The bottom line is to not keep yourself locked into the past. Learn to explore, experience and well, be open to changes because it’s the only way to go.

(via Vandelay Design)


How to handle difficult clients

Don’t you just hate difficult clients? They don’t listen to your recommendations and impose on you more than you signed up for. They demand like you’re a slave and worse, a lot of them pay cheap. But what distinguishes web programmers (and any other professional for that matter) is the ability to respond properly, accordingly and with integrity.

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Mastering Difficult Web-Design Clients

Every web designer has been there at least one time in his career (and possibly many more): Your client is an overbearing and ultra – difficult person who stubbornly insists on what he wants even though it’s unreasonable, and you as the designer know better. So what do you do? Pull your hair out, gnash your teeth and scream? If it makes you feel better, go ahead, but once you calm down, you’ll understand that there’s a way to bring difficult clients in line.

Dealing with difficult web – design clients can be tricky and possibly hazardous. 

What You Need to Know Before You Expose That Bad Client

If you’ve had a bad experience with a client, you may have thought about using your blog or social media to shame them. The practice of client shaming seems to be growing. Just in the past month, I’ve seen at least four blog posts and social media complaints about companies who did everything from not paying the freelancer to using the freelancer’s work without permission. And let’s face it, it some cases making a client’s transgressions public can feel pretty good to a frustrated freelance web designer.

You should be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of doing so before you decide to publicly expose a bad freelance client.

Income Stability Tips for Freelancers

Freelancing could be the best choice ever, if it weren’t for income instability. However, if you know how to avoid drastic income fluctuations and build a solid income base, freelancing will work for you like a charm.Unlike when you work on a salary, with freelancing your income is usually subject to huge fluctuations. If the month is busy and you can fill your schedule with projects that pay well, you might make more than you would make in a quarter or in a half a year in a 5 to 9 job.

If you build your business on solid foundations, chances are you won’t be starving

How to Rock Your Business Phone Calls

As a web designer, how do you feel about business phone calls? Your answer probably depends on your personality. Some people love to talk on the phone. Others dread phone calls. If you’re busy, an unexpected phone call can disrupt your day. If you’re a bit on the shy side, talking to a client on the phone may make you nervous. Love them or hate them–business phone calls are an important part of running your web design business. That’s not going to change any time soon.

There are some steps you can take to make your business phone calls go more smoothly.

So how did that go for you? Striking the right balance is the challenge we have to face. I deal it with by listing my priorities (pay for my child’s school fees, bills, providing for my wife and kids, etc.) so that when I speak to the client in question, I might have already simmered down. The most important lesson here is knowing how to respond. That mean, demanding client just might be your most loyal customer yet!

(via Vandelay Design)

Making your design work

The most important thing about a design is not how it looks, although that is important too and cannot be disregarded. But we all know that in what we do, the most important thing is to make sure it’s going to work.

Bigger websites, better planning

There’s been a lot of talk this year about making websites simpler for visitors and creating engaging content, but the process is more complex than how it looks.

In fact, what may seem simpler on screen may actually be bigger and bulkier within.

The latest data from HTTP Archive shows that the average web page has grown in file size 26% in the past six months and 151% in the last three years. Web pages that were at a maximum of 1246 KB in spring are now around 1575 KB on the average.

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Know more on how you can plan well for bigger, more complex websites here.

Creating a Simple Responsive HTML Email

In this tutorial I will show you how to create a simple responsive HTML email which will work in every email client, including all the new smartphone mail clients and apps. It uses minimal media queries and a fluid width approach to ensure maximum compatibility.

Media Queries: Only Half the Solution

There was a time when media queries were quite enough to get responsive emails working in iOS and Android mail applications, both of which support media queries.

Since then, there has been a proliferation of mail applications created for both iOS and Android platforms, with varying degrees of support for responsive email development methods.

Continue reading ‘Creating a simple responsive HTML email here.’

How to use Keywords for SEO and Web Sustainability

Keyword optimization is a well-known strategy for helping people find your content, both through search engines and when searching within a website. But did you know that by following SEO best practices you could also be making your website greener? That’s because web servers and devices that consumers use to browse the internet both use electricity. A lot of electricity. And most electricity is generated by sources that are not renewable or clean.

The more findable content is, the less irrelevant content a person needs to go through to find what they are looking for. Fewer pages loaded means fewer server requests are being made, and that fewer photos and videos are being loaded. In some cases, the customer may also end up spending a little less time on their phone, tablet or computer. All of that results in tiny energy savings, and those savings add up.

Click here to read on ‘using keywords for SEO and web sustainability’.

How to Deal Effectively with Drastic Deadlines

Do you have a deadline problem? No matter how much time you have to do a project, do you always feel rushed? Do you frequently deal with deadlines that seem too drastic?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone in your deadline struggles. Most freelancers have trouble with deadlines at some point in their freelancing career. Web designers and developers are no different. In fact, most of them deal with tight deadlines all the time.

Here’s how you can ‘deal effectivity with drastic deadlines.

Deadlines are great. One meme circulating says deadline is the best motivation, that’s true at some point. But the problem with it is that you don’t want to be rushed into launching a project with half-baked goods. You want to be confident with your work so efficiency is key.

Video backgrounds, Gumby Framework and the web design community

I don’t know about you but I might have already been consumed by the holidays. So I’m going to make this quick and easy and lay out these interesting links for you to go through.

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11 Great Examples of Video Backgrounds in Web Design

Video backgrounds were certainly very popular during 2013. And since this trend is still staying strong among designers, we decided to gather a few examples of websites using this approach to grab the attention of their visitors.

The key with video backgrounds is to properly optimize so you speed up load times without sacrificing quality.

Check out the ‘examples of video backgrounds in web design’ here.

10 Resources To Help You Become More Active in the Web Design Community

Designers as well as developers have always been a close-knit group (there always seems to be a problem you need help with, right?), but online interaction and presence amongst this industry has just recently started growing over the last few years.

While social media and forums became a necessity quickly for many professions—marketers, writers, sales representatives, etc.—it wasn’t something the development and design community jumped on right away. Now that this is changing, it’s more important than ever to get involved.

The question then becomes easy: If I’m a developer and/or designer and want to be more active in the online community, where do I even start?

Know where to ‘start becoming more active in the web design community’ here.

Building a Complete Website With the Gumby Framework

In this, our final video tutorial on Gumby, we’re going to put all we’ve learned into practice. We’re going to build a complete website using Gumby’s semantic grid, parallax effects, toggles and switches, covering workflow best practices as we go. There’s plenty to cover, so let’s get started!


Get started on Gumby framework here.

Edit your website yourself

Your site can include a full-featured e-commerce store for selling online. This can include secure credit card payments, paypal, stock control, sales reports, automatic delivery of downloadable products and more.

And just like the main part of your site, the product listings are easy to edit so you can change prices or update a photo any time you like.

Each website comes with an admin login and password which enables you to easily edit the content, add new pages images and links as often as you like.

If you want a website that you can edit yourself, check this out!

Did the exploring birth into a beginning? I would surely hope so. Enjoy the holidays!

(via Web design tuts)

 

 

Public speaking, bad projects, accounting and side projects – for Web designers

If there’s one great thing for a skillful web developer to contribute, it’s to share his knowledge to other aspiring web designers. But going up front and opening your mouth is a totally different story when you have to do it in front of a crowd. So brace up and go through these tips.

15+ Step-By-Step Public Speaking Tips for Web Designers and FreelancersImage

You may think that as a freelance web designer you don’t need to worry about public speaking. What you don’t know is that there are plenty of speaking opportunities for web designers. Here are just a few of them:

  • Meetups

  • Professional organizations

  • Client presentations

With all of these opportunities, public speaking is great addition to your marketing arsenal. It’s also a good way to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

More on Public Speaking tips for web designers here. 

10 Ways to Say “No” to Bad Clients (How to Refuse Bad Projects)

We freelancers are well aware that there are bad clients out there. There have been plenty of posts describing how to identify a bad web design client or a bad web design project. We’ve even mentioned bad projects on this blog in this post for new freelancers. There are also plenty of posts encouraging freelancers to say “no” to bad clients.

However, there aren’t too many posts that explain how to turn bad work offers down. And turning work down is harder than you might think (as any freelancer who has ever accepted a bad project will tell you).

Learn how to say no to bad clients here.

Basic Accounting Tips for Freelance Web Designers

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How do you feel about accounting? How much do you even know about what kind of accounting records you need to keep?

If you’re like most web designers, Bookkeeping isn’t your favorite part of freelancing. But keeping accurate records is an important part of running a business.

It’s so important, in fact, that keeping good accounting records sometimes means the difference between freelancing success and freelancing failure.

Click here for more on accounting for web designers.

13 Side Projects for Fun and Profit

As web designer, you already work hard. You may feel that you’re doing all that you can possibly do. And that’s perfectly all right.

But many freelancers are taking on side projects–sometimes for fun, and sometimes for money.

Continue reading ’13 side projects for fun and profit’ here.

In my case, I take side projects to break monotony. When things get tedious, it’s a sign for me that everything’s gone extremely routine and it just zaps out the very essence of the craft, if you get what I mean. What about you? Why do you take side projects?

Mobile Apps and Business Cards

I’m dressing down this week and just offer you no more than these helpful sites that I hope serve to inspire you to create or to think which I think are crucial for any web designer. So here goes:

13 Beautiful Mobile App Websites

Mobile app websites, when properly designed, are a great source of design inspiration. From beautiful images to excellent use of white space, typography, and colors, it seems that designers will go the extra mile to create something nice and unique to promote their app. So for this post, we’ve gathered some beautiful examples of mobile app sites that will certainly give you some ideas for your next project. Enjoy.

Cinch

Whether you’re redecorating your home, gardening, furniture shopping, parenting or raising pets — Cinch has the people with great advice to make every decision easier. Just tap in a question, and we’ll connect you to people with the best advice.

Click here to see `13 beautiful mobile app websites.’

25 Tutorials for Business Card Design

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For those who primarily focus on web design, designing for print can be a little bit intimidating at first. If you’ve been wanting to design your own business cards but have been hesitant to make the jump to designing for print, you may find it to be helpful to follow a tutorial.

There are a lot of tutorials available that will lead you through the process of designing a print-ready business cards. Following a few tutorials will teach you the basics, and then of course you can use that knowledge to create a more personalized design of your own.

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For more on ’25 tutorials for business card design’, click here.

Lyza Danger Gardner on Building the Web Everywhere: Never Heard of It

About a year ago, I was on a conference call. The customer was a Fortune 500 company with a correspondingly enormous web presence, and they wanted some help validating that their new Sass architecture would result in CSS that would perform well across devices.

One of their developers was giving an informal presentation about their progress. He said something to me that I can paraphrase as: “Sass’s new placeholder syntax is pretty great, isn’t it?”

There was a stutter and a pause, that sound of windy emptiness on the call, while I gathered my wits.

Curious to know the rest? Go here.

Build your biz the best website!

Having a great website will help you make the best of the opportunities you have online. Now that everything is on the web, having a website is a must for every budding or booming business.

But it can’t be just any website, it has to be the best one for you. To achieve this, you need to partner with a team who, not only knows how to build great, functionable websites, but a team who knows how the web works and how to make your business function well on the web.

Here’s more on how to build the best website for your biz.

So there you go. Like I said, I’m keeping it simple this week and cutting down on my yak. Know that my fingers are forming a salute as I bid you a great week ahead!

(via Choc Chip Digital)