Cleveland Product Photography

Portfolio Spotlight: Zerust Website

Website Development & Product Photography – Zerust Portfolio Item

Zerust, a company located in Twinsburg, Ohio, has a long history of developing, manufacturing and marketing rust and corrosion prevention products to a wide variety of customers across the globe. This exciting company came to us looking for a new site for their AntiRust Technology products. Along with designing and developing their new site on a modern, responsive CMS, we additionally coordinated product photography for their new No-Rust Non-Slip Drawer Liner.

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Cleveland Product Photography

Product Photography

Cleveland Product Photography

Cleveland Product Photography

To see more concepts and learn more about the project:

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For two decades, your friends here at Go Media have pushed the boundaries of design technology with inspirational creativity. The best of Cleveland product photography, web design, logo design & graphic design can be explored in Go Media’s portfolio. If you’re ready to start your next project – request a quote. We’d love to hear from you!

How Crawl Speed Affects Your Search Engine Ranking

Crawl Speed and Search Ranking

Internet users don’t want to waste any time typing in your URL and you can’t really blame them. They want a fast and seamless experience and that is why they favor search engines like Google. And to show up there, on the booming avenues of the internet, you need to get your pages crawled and indexed.

In other words, you have to face the technical side of SEO, one that often gets neglected and unsolved. However, this effort is the only way to lay the solid groundwork and elevate your website’s usability, speed, and visibility. So, you must be able to appease the internet deities and delight its users at the same time.

Get your priorities straight

Make no mistake: crawl speed can make or break your internet presence. Although officially not a ranking factor, it has a profound impact on SEO. It affects all other aspects of your strategies and determines their ultimate success. All in all, not having your pages crawled and indexed undermines your SEO aspirations.

It is not an overstatement to say that this can be an utter disaster for websites that update content on the regular basis and want to get it in front of users as soon as possible. Therefore, before pondering your content marketing and social media strategy, you might want to take a look at what is going on “under the hood” of your website.

Make it snappy

First off, note that there is a strong correlation between your web speed and crawl speed.

In case you have a sluggish internet presence, the crawl speed of Google bots can be hampered. Namely, Google has expressed discontent with high-response times for requests made to the website. Its officials admitted that they differentiate between sites that are really slow and those that have normal load times. If it takes two seconds to fetch a single URL, then the number of URLs that bots crawl is severely limited.

This indirectly, yet substantially impedes your ranking. Of course, optimizing on a millisecond level doesn’t change anything. But, if you improve response time by one second you can make a real difference in terms of how quickly Google picks up new content and related updates.

Strengthen the supporting pillars

In the eyes of a Googlebot, a speedy website is a reflection of a healthy server infrastructure. This is to say that it receives a positive signal, one that indicates the possibility of grasping more content over the same number of connections. On the other hand, 5xx errors and connection timeouts serve as red flags that reveal server deficiencies. In the wake of the latter scenario, crawl speed slows down.

In the mobile world, speed plays an even more pivotal role. Google has announced that as of July 2018, it will use mobile site speed as a ranking signal. All pages will be measured in the light of this criterion, regardless of whether they belong to a dedicated or a responsive site. Slow websites will be penalized and fast ones will be awarded better ranking. This seismic shift will be introduced by an algorithm change called “Speed Update”.

So, take action now to brace yourself for the mobile-first digital world. You will have to figure out the exact moment when the tide of change hits your pages. To do that, you can access your server logs and see if there is an increase in crawling activity of Google’s smartphone variant (accompanied by the decrease in the activity of the desktop counterpart).

Full speed ahead

Furthermore, website speed testing is a must.

There are various instruments to do this, so take your pick. Also, make sure to use SEO audit tool to gauge the SEO-friendliness of your pages and uncover any technical issues and errors that could hamper your ranking. Make it easier for your search engines to crawl your pages faster and you will be able to forward your overall optimization strategy.

In the case of mobile pages, you can utilize Search Console to estimate how your pages hold up. To be more precise, a “Smartphone” tab, which you can find under ”Crawl Errors,” allows you to identify any problems that encumber your mobile pages. “Fetch on Google” is another key feature that gives you insights into how Google bots see your website. Use the acquired knowledge to make the necessary adjustments.

Of course, there are some other things you can do to improve crawl speed. The list of solutions goes on and involves activities such as minimizing the downtime, creating an XML sitemap, and taking advantage of robot.txt files. So, go on, explore all avenues, and make an effort to cover all the technical bases.

Get a move on

If you are serious about taking your organic visibility to the next level, you have to enable search engines to efficiently crawl and index your pages. This is a real game-changer in the domain of SEO.

Thus, familiarize yourself with the way crawling process plays out. Realize that Google algorithm chances stem from shifting user preferences and trends such as the explosion smartphone-based online browsing. Make crawling a breeze for bots and let your pages run like clockwork.

You should be able to drive an immense amount of traffic your way and advance by leaps and bounds towards the forefront of the SERPs.

How to Create a Book Cover Design

Let’s create a striking history book cover about antique war stories with the Hard to Kill Vector Pack

How to Create a Book Cover Design

Well hello there dear readers! Simon here, ready to walk you through my process to create a striking book cover with our latest vector pack release, the hard to kill vector pack. We’ll look at the pack elements, how to pick, choose, and arrange them to craft a design.

Purchase the Pack

The brief

Our role today is to create a book cover for a collection of ancient warrior stories. The collection includes stories from antique Athens and Sparta. We’ll need to have a good centerpiece graphic element, as well as include the two parts title: “Ancient warrior stories – Vol. 01: Athens & Sparta.”

Building our concept

While the pre-made designs included in the pack are striking, they don’t quite fit the intent. They are more suited for apparel applications.

We need something striking, but less focused on a lettering element, and more on a visual element. The Spartan helmet will do just fine for that.

The shield will provide a good supporting visual element to anchor the helmet in the frame.

The two circular frames elements will provide additional ornamentation.

We’ll probably add another thing here and there, to tie everything together, but these will be the core of our piece. We’ll also use League Spartan, from the League of Moveable Type, to set our title.

Oh, and for the color scheme? We’ll stick to the white/dark gray/light gray of the pack itself. It’ll challenge us to keep things efficient to maintain legibility, and impact.

Let’s get this show on the road

Step zero: document setup

We’re working on a book cover, assembled from vector elements. We’ll work in Illustrator, in a 6″x9″ format. Note that the color mode has been switched to RGB, to match the color mode of the vector assets.

Step one: background elements!

That one is easy. We need to create a rectangle in a dark gray (#231f20) that covers the whole canvas.

Step two: the warrior helmet and shield

Let’s start with the helmet. Let’s paste it at the center of our document (X: 3″, Y: 4.5″), sized at 4.5″ wide. Let’s reflect it on a vertical axis so it “looks” to the right (right click > Reflect).

Let’s remember to organize/rename our layers, and groups, right away to keep our document clean.

Let’s add the whole shield element (including pattern) into our document. It should be pasted behind the helmet, centered in the document, and sized at 4.9″ wide.

Once the shield properly in placed, we need to adjust the color of its background fill to match the color of our document’s background color (#231f20). The shape in question is the black path at the bottom of the group.

Here’s the result after a quick shot of the eyedropper tool (I).

We’re moving forward, nicely, but the shield’s pattern showing through the helmet’s open areas creates visual tensions. To remedy that, we are going to create a background fill shape by using offset path. With the helmet highlighted, let’s head to Object > Path > Offset path. The dialog box will allow us to create the shape that matches the helmet with an extra 0.25″ added to its edges. Note the round joins for a softer feel.

The function creates a new path, that is the same color than the one used a base. We need to change the color of that path to our background color as well (#231f20).

With that done, and with some layer clean-up later, this is where we’re at.

Step three: the circular frame elements

Adding these in is nothing trickier than giving them their own layer, proper size, and proper order. Let’s start with the more complex of the two, with the pointy elements.

After creating a layer for them placed below the helmet and shield one, it needs to be pasted in centered, and sized at 6.383″ wide.

The second frame is to be pasted behind the first one, centered, and sized at 7.25″ wide.

The various black areas of that second frame need to be changed to our background color (#231f20).

Step four: the text

Adding the text is a walk in the park, thanks to the type on a path tool. Let’s start by creating a centered circle with a diameter of 7.65″ in a new layer.

We’re typing our first part of the title (“ANCIENT WARRIOR STORIES”) on that circle. It’s set in white-colored League Spartan, sized 18 points tall, centered, and tracked at 250.

After creating a second circle, we can add the second part of our title (“VOL. 01: ATHENS & SPARTA”).

The issue we have is the alignment of the text object on its circular path.

The good news is that after double-clicking on the type on a path tool icon in the main toolbar…

….we get access to this option panel, that allows us to change the alignment to ascender, which in turns makes things look a lot better.

With that done, we’re almost done with our cover, as the main elements are in place.

Step five: some fluff for good measure

While our cover’s main elements are in place, the corners are slightly empty at the moment. It can give the impression that our content is floating in the middle of the page. Let’s add some corners elements to visually close the frame around the center piece. The corners of this element will do.

After ungrouping the piece/releasing the compound path, we’ll be able to select the corners in question separately from the rest.

After a bit of clean-up, and selective grouping, we obtain each individual corner element.

They should be pasted at 0.25″ in each direction of the corners, and sized at 1″ wide.

And because we’ve properly named our layers/vector objects, this is what our file organization looks like.

Step six: leveraging our texture library to add a final layer of substance to the mix

To properly wrap this piece up, we are going to add three textures to it to give it some “meat.” First, let’s save a high resolution PSD file of our piece (File > Export > Export as). Note the checked Use artboard box, to trim the elements that are outside the bounds of our canvas.

A few technical notes and reminders

As we embark on the texture side of things, it’s a good time to remember a few base rules, and processes:

  1. Don’t know what a clipped layer is? Glad you asked! This means that the layer is only visible/applies to the layer directly below it. You can very quickly do this by holding ALT down on your keyboard and clicking between the two layers. Here’s a quick demonstration.
  2. Every time we’ll work with textures, we’ll follow this simple process: place as smart object, sharpen1, desaturate, enhance contrast with levels, and modify the blending mode.
  3. Placing the textures as smart objects, and using adjustment layers to tweak them, allows us to stick to a non-destructive workflow. We’ve explored in depth the numerous pros and few cons of such a workflow in this past tutorial: “How to Use Textures The Right Way.”

Notes: 1 – accessed through the Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen menu.

Let’s start with a texture from our vintage paper texture, vol. 01 set.

The texture is vintage-paper-textures-volume-01-sbh-001.jpg.

It’s placed in our PSD file as a smart object, sized up to 165%, rotated 90°, and sharpened.

After being desaturated with a clipped hue/adjustment layer, we’ll be enhancing its contrast with a clipped levels adjustment layer.

And after changing the texture’s blending mode to soft light @ 75% opacity, we’re achieving the first part of our texture effect.

Next is a vignette. I strongly recommend using this lossless vignette technique, found via Design Panoply (#6). The color of my shape layer is our trusty dark gray, #231f20.

Note the 150 pixels feathering value.

After changing the vignette shape blending mode to soft light @ 50% opacity, our effect is achieved.

The last texture we’ll add to the piece is from our photocopy noise texture set.

The texture is the first one in the pack, photocopy-noise-textures-001-sbh.jpg.

That texture is placed centered, and sized up to 100%.

We’re using levels to make the white specks of dust really “pop.”

The result, after changing the texture’s blending mode to screen @ 100%, is quite satisfactory.

And here’s a last look at our layer palette in Photoshop.

Let’s wrap this party up!

Phew, we’re all done! Look at this cover. Let’s mock it up for the client presentation.

I hope that you enjoyed following along the tutorial as much as I enjoyed creating it, and that your outcome matches the goals you set for yourself before diving in.

Did I leave anything unclear? Any suggestions? Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below! I’ll be happy to help.

The hard to kill vector pack is now available! Go grab it! If you already have, I hope you enjoy it, and that this tutorial gave you a sense of what you’ll be able to accomplish with it.

Purchase the Pack

And on that note, I’ll see you next time. Cheers!

Essential Questions to Ask an SEO Firm Before Hiring It

So your business has a website, and it’s not doing well in the SERPs. That is to be expected if you haven’t really done SEO on it because you have no idea how to do it, or you do have an understanding of SEO, but your efforts are simply too basic to have an impact.

When you’re facing this situation, and you need to make your brand visible to more people, the only real way to go about it is if you hire an SEO firm to optimize your website for you.
Hiring an experienced and reliable SEO firm, however, is trickier than you think. After all, not all SEO professionals are equal. Not all of them can be trusted either. When searching for an SEO to which you’d entrust your website’s fate in the search engines, there are several questions you need to ask to make sure you’re hiring the right people. Here are some of those questions.

Can you guarantee that my website will be on top of the SERPs?
This is a trick question. You could have started with any other question, but this should be a good first question to ask because if the company answered in the affirmative, you could end the whole thing right then and there. That’s because there is no such thing as guaranteed SEO results, much less guaranteed number one rank in the SERPs. Full control of how sites rank is with the search engines, so if an SEO company makes such a guarantee, you know they’re lying to you.

How long will it take you to get my site ranked on Google?
This is another trick question. You can end the interview immediately if the SEO consultant says that he or she can do it in a month.
Just like guaranteed SEO results, there is no such thing as quick SEO results. It could take anywhere between four to six months for any campaign by a legitimate and reputable SEO company to bear fruit. Ditch any prospective SEO firm that says they can do it faster than that.

Can I have a list of your clients, past and present?
Some SEOs may not be open to the idea of sharing a list of clients, but a client list can help you gauge how good the company is when it comes to SEO. You can do your own due diligence on clients’ sites and see for yourself if the work the SEO guy you’re talking to has helped boost their ranking, among other things.

How will you do your link building?
Link building is an integral part of any SEO strategy, and you should know how they plan to go about it for your website. You need to make sure that their link building strategy is in keeping with Google’s guidelines. You wouldn’t want the SEO firm that you hire to put your website at risk of getting penalized by building spammy links. If anything, they should assure you that the backlinks they will get are high-quality ones.

How’s your local SEO?
If your business is a small, brick-and-mortar type, you will certainly want the SEO firm you will hire to be adept at local SEO so you can attract customers in the area where you operate. The SEO consultant should tell you how he or she intends to get your site listed in the local listings of the major search engines, as well as tweaking the title tags and meta description of your website to include the city and state where your business is located.

Will you be making technical changes to my site?
More often than not, an SEO consultant will need to tweak some of the coding on your website. If this is the case, the SEO firm should tell you exactly the kind of changes that will be implemented. In most cases, clients would require their SEO to ask permission first before making any changes, so if this is more comfortable for you, then make sure the SEO you hire will be clear on that requirement.

What do you know about our industry?
If you’re in the HVAC industry, you would want an SEO firm that has a least a surface knowledge about air conditioners and heaters. They don’t really have to be experts at it though. They just have to know what works well for the HVAC industry so they can come up with the appropriate content and build the appropriate links, among other things. It would also be great if your SEO has other clients within your industry, as it means the company already has a network with assets in place, all of which would be of use to your own business.

How, and how often, should we communicate?
The communication styles of SEO consultants are as varied as the modes of communication available to the both of you, so it’s important that you hire an SEO whose approach to communication jibes with yours. If possible, ask prospective SEO consultants if they can communicate with you the way you want, whether in person, by phone, email, texting, or Skype. You also need to express how often you want status updates so you can both decide on the ideal frequency for both parties.
Considering how busy you both would be, we recommend that you use tools like Asana or even Basecamp to make mapping out the tasks and providing reports and updates even easier.

How much will your services cost?
Of course, you need to know how much the whole thing is going to cost you. You have to find out the payment terms as well because some SEOs prefer to be paid by the hour, while some want it to be done by project. The actual cost is going to vary widely depending on the size of the project or how complex the work is going to be.
These are just some of the most basic questions you need to ask an SEO firm before deciding to hire. When you finally make your choice, there will be many more questions you can ask as you go along, all to help you get the best results possible.

Should Your Business Consider Investing in Satellite Technology?

Satellite technology changed the world dramatically after the first experiment in the late 1950s. Today, people communicate in real-time around the globe, view a specific location via Google Earth or beam a signal from one corner of the globe to another. Satellites get smaller and more powerful with time similar to the advances in computers.

The advances in communication alone are staggering. Fifty years ago, people were not able to watch an interview with someone in Jerusalem in real time. Today, with a minor delay between the person speaking and the stream arriving, we see what is going on at almost any point on the globe at any time thanks to satellites.

Investment in space companies is growing and with good reason. The advancements are astounding — from launching rockets into space to reusable booster experimentation to reducing the size of satellites. In the last 18 years, space startups attracted over $13.3 billion from investors. Much of the growth in coming years will be in satellite technology. There are six main reasons your business should consider investing in satellite technology.

1. Edge Over Competitors

Launching your own personal satellite into space, typically low-orbit, lets you collect data about a specific area. This can give you an edge over competitors who don’t have access to this information. The cost of these personal amateur satellites is rapidly decreasing. What was once government domain is now in the hands of anyone. For example, a small cube satellite, called a CubeSat, may only cost a company $3,000 to launch into orbit.

Larger corporations will benefit from that ability to privatize their own communication channels. No longer will they have to rely on outdated and expensive telephone companies, but they can launch their own systems to use for everything from connecting a computer network around the world to teleconferencing capabilities. Chrysler and Hughes have a contract for a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) system that will allow the company to transmit data more easily.

2. Information to Grow

Another advantage to investing in satellite technology is the actual analysis capabilities of the information you collect. Imagine a real estate investment group having access to how many people are flowing into an area over time. This would allow that group to see where to build new condos or where shopping complexes are most needed.

While you can do some of this analysis from the ground, getting these stats from orbit gives you another piece of the puzzle and allows you to make more informed decisions about the future of your business.

3. Offer Supportive Products

Another way your company can invest in satellite technology is through offering supportive services. For example, one of the concerns with CubeSats is the thermal challenges. A way to overcome that challenge is through heat sinks or embedded radiators to reduce the heat. Knowing what products to offer and how to best support satellite technology requires partnering with the companies building mini satellites and thoroughly studying the issue.

4. Invest Financially

Perhaps you aren’t quite ready to launch your own mini satellite into orbit or create a new product to provide support for those who do. However, you can still invest in satellite technology financially.

Any type of business can provide financial support for a local entrepreneur looking to launch into space or further develop this technology. Alternately, you can invest in a large company or donate funds for research — which may be tax deductible if the organization is non-profit.

5. Be Ready for the Changes

Knowing what satellites provide can also allow your business to look toward the future and figure out how you might prepare for the coming technological changes. One way to figure out what satellites will offer is by looking at what they have offered. As the cost of equipment continues to drop, enhanced communication will follow.

Imagine a world with a wireless Internet that anyone anywhere can connect to, even those in very rural locations. Not only would it be easier than ever before to connect and have face-to-face conversations, but the network will become more reliable with less dropped communication or some of the delays experienced today.

6. Support the Environment

Has your business committed to the environment? If your goal is to leave a small carbon footprint, you can take things a step further and actually improve the environment by using satellite technology to spot issues before they grow too large.

Imagine that there is an oil spill in an area near your company headquarters. With satellite imagery, you can see how far the spill reaches and make a plan for the best way to begin cleanup. Perhaps you run a dog food company, so your commitment is to go in and save as much of the wildlife as possible. With satellite technology, you can pinpoint the areas of the spill and the areas where wildlife is located. Then you can make a plan to rescue as many creatures as possible.

Invest in Satellite Technology

Technology advances at such a rapid pace in the twenty-first century that it can be hard to keep pace. Companies that don’t stay on top of advances tend to fall rapidly behind. Satellites are the future of data and now is the time to invest in this technology, particularly if you work in the IT or technology sectors. If you don’t invest, you can be certain your competitors will.

Email Marketing for Designers: Getting Started Tips

Digital marketing – and the internet in general – has made marketing much more accessible. The same digital marketing instruments used by big corporations are now available to small businesses and professionals, including you as a designer. It is easy to reach thousands of potential customers, even when you’re on a relatively limited budget.

Aside from social media and content marketing, you can also turn to email marketing to expand the reach of your digital marketing campaign. Before you get started with building your own email marketing list, however, here are the best tips and tricks to get you started.

Freebies!

People don’t just sign up for a newsletter without a good reason. In fact, today’s audience are more selective when choosing newsletters and mailing lists to sign up for. To get them interested, you need to offer something valuable in return.

Freebies are great incentives that will get people excited about signing up for your newsletter. Here on Go Media we offer free PSDs and other bonuses to new subscribers while releasing additional freebies to keep old subscribers interested.

The goal of offering freebies is adding value to the newsletter. The freebies you offer don’t have to be something expensive or difficult to make. Instead, focus on offering something that the subscribers can actually benefit from.

Don’t Forget Maintenance

Maintaining the health of your email list is just as important as attracting new subscribers and expanding your reach. Email marketing, just like SEO and social media marketing, is not something you can do once and forget. Sufficient maintenance is required for the mailing list to remain effective.

Fortunately, you have more maintenance tools at your disposal these days. Most email marketing systems can automatically detect bounce emails and invalid email addresses. You no longer have to remove bad addresses manually from the list.

You also have tools like theemailfinder.co helping you verify email addresses and validating your recipients. Email validation is something that needs to be a part of your email marketing campaign, especially if you’re targeting business customers and key decision makers.

Be Consistent

The biggest challenge of them all, however, is maintaining consistency. This is a crucial part of running a successful email marketing campaign. Instead of sending a lot of content at once, it is much better to send one email every two weeks.

Consistency leads to better user engagement, which will then lead to higher conversion. You need to create an environment where recipients know when to expect a new email from you, and the way to do that is by maintaining a consistent delivery schedule.

If one email every two weeks is too difficult of a standard to meet, stick with one email every month. Don’t worry too much about the frequency of your newsletter and invest more energy into boosting the value of every email you send out to subscribers.

Remember these three tips when you’re starting a new mailing list, and you can build a successful list from the beginning. It won’t be long before you experience the true value of having an effective mailing list and engaged recipients.

The User Interface (UI) Designer’s Toolbox

Best UI Design Tools

This article will primarily be on the software used specifically within the interface design discipline, focusing on the creation of page layouts, simple interactive prototyping, and design assets.

A modern user interface designer has a number of options in regards to what software or tools that they use. These include classic tools like the whiteboards and sketchbooks to a number of software that can accomplish anything from site-mapping, page layouts or even interaction animations. What software should be used depends on the requirements of the project, and typically a single project uses a wide array of software and tools to convey the UI designer’s thoughts, ideas and research.

Whiteboards and Sketchbooks: The Classics

Oftentimes the classic tools are the most effective. When starting a digital project being able to quickly work through ideas and concepts to allow for a team quickly discover points of discussion and any potential roadblocks to the production process. To create these rapidly evolving and changing definition level items it helps to get all of the project stakeholders together and do a whiteboarding workshop. Whiteboarding is the method of using a whiteboard to rapidly draw up different layouts, organizational structures, and workflows, allowing the team to quickly try out solutions. If the whole team can’t be available or whiteboarding isn’t an option, quickly sketching (pencil and paper) concepts and discussing them with your team in order to ensure you are moving forward with the best possible solution.

The Adobe Creative Suite: The Standard

The software suite that needs no introduction, as if you are reading this post you are certainly familiar with it, The Adobe Creative Suite. Adobe has cornered the market on graphic design software for as long as I have been in the industry. It is the primary focus of most graphic design programs and the name Adobe is ubiquitous in the field of Graphic Design. As interface design was starting out, most designers created their layouts in Photoshop or Illustrator, and while there were several workarounds to make them work these programs were created with specific goals in mind, primarily dealing with the creation of designs for Print mediums. Certainly these softwares still have their uses, namely in the creation of image assets for digital products and I still haven’t found a replacement for Illustrator when it comes to the creation of icons and logos. Adobe XD is Adobe’s attempt at creating an interface design software from the ground up, but it leaves much to be desired, which brings us to…

Sketch And Invision: The New Standard

In my experience drafting UI job descriptions and looking over job postings and seeing what companies are looking for in their UI designers, the new standard for the industry has shifted from the primary focus from the creative suite to an understanding of the combination of Sketch and Invision. These two software, when integrated into a workflow, can quickly produce interactive prototypes without having to develop anything into code, allowing the digital product team to move through iterations quicker and update designs without having to redevelop the codebase. Sketch is a software that was built with interface design in mind, and as such Sketch provides the ability to efficiently layout pages using a combination of the best features from photoshop and illustrator. Invision allows the designer to take those layouts and make them interactive, giving the team and client something to click through, test and quickly iterate on to produce a better quality of work.

What’s Next?

One of the most important aspects of being a successful user interface designer is ensuring that you maintain an understanding of the best tools to create the best assets for your digital project. As the design software landscape evolves, it allows designers to create assets that better convey their ideas to their clients. It is entirely possible that the most useful tools in any UI designer’s toolbox haven’t even been created yet.

Why Your Business’s Site Needs Before and Afters

Photographs of before and afters allow you to highlight the difference your product makes in the lives of your customers. They serve as a visual testimonial of what you can accomplish for the consumer as a company.

If you aren’t already using some form of visual content marketing, you’re missing out. Most people skim over the text on a page, reading only 20 to 28 percent of the words. However, a visual makes an impression in milliseconds, so adding before and afters makes a quick impact on your target audience.

Other reasons your site needs before and afters include the following.

1. Earn Social Media Attention

There are about 1.96 billion people on social media. Although not everyone will be interested in your product, a portion will be. Before and after photos give you the opportunity to showcase what your company can do on social media. The side-by-side look at before and after is a powerful testimony about your brand.

2. Give Customers Creative Ideas

Before and after photos can help your target audience be more creative in the ways they utilize your product. For example, if you sell a home improvement product, you may offer a lot of different options for the homeowner. By providing before photos of how bad a home looked and after photos of how fresh and new it is, you also offer ideas for how the customer can apply your product in the best way.

Take a look at how Global Home Improvement integrates before and after photos to show what adding new windows to your home can do for your home’s overall curb appeal and interior design. Some of the photos are quite dramatic, showing a home go from outdated and drab to modern and amazing.

3. Provide Weekly Reveals

You can create a lot of excitement by doing a weekly reveal of results as time passes. This strategy works particularly well for sites that focus on weight loss or other big image changes that take time to accomplish.

For example, if you sold a weight loss product or service, you would ask one of your customers to share weekly photos of their progress. You would then do a weekly or even monthly photo reveal of the results. This method can get other users excited about what’s possible with your product.

4. Showcase Inspirational Results

Another way to utilize before and afters is by sharing dramatic photos that show inspirational results. The best photos to use in these cases are ones that show a dramatic difference. If the difference is only slight, then the before and afters might not translate as well for the first-time site visitor. On the other hand, if the results are dramatic, that same visitor will be wowed. Online before and after photos are one of the top things that inspire people to lose weight.

Take a look at the dramatic before and after photos used on the Anderson Dental website. In the first image, the person’s teeth are yellowed and uneven. In the second image, the teeth are white, straight and nearly perfect. This type of dramatic imagery shows potential patients what the dentist can do for them as well.

5. Excel in Your Industry

Some industries lend themselves to before and after photos more so than others. However, any type of business can utilize before and afters. If you sell a weight loss product, provide medical procedures or complete home improvement projects, before and after photos may seem almost integral to your website. Other industry experts who might benefit from before and afters include website designers showing a site before and after fixing it.

Another idea is to dig a bit deeper and provide customer testimonials and case studies that highlight just what your business can accomplish for customers. Sometimes, the before and after photo will be obvious, such as showing the improvement in a newsletter’s format. But sometimes it won’t be as obvious, such as displaying a simple photo of a happy consumer after your company has helped them.

6. Create a Connection

Before and after photos can help forge a connection with the consumer. People tend to look at photos and put themselves in the same situation as the people in them. This process creates an instant connection between your website and the consumer, allowing the potential client to see how your product might work for him.

Merrie’s Organizing Mania features photos of homes before the organizer began her work and after. This side-by-side shows a dramatic difference in cluttered garages and rooms in the home. Imagery like this shows the consumer what the service might do for their home as well. It allows them to picture how their house might look after being organized.

7. Gain Interest

Without visuals, your website can turn pretty bland. Visual elements enable the consumer to skim and still gain valuable insight without stopping and reading every bit of text on the page. Before and after photos add a lot of interest to your website and give the user something to share with others.

Should You Add Before and Afters?

Whether before and afters work best for your site or not is ultimately up to you and based on what your site visitors respond to, but most people find them helpful. Look for creative ways to show off what your business provides. Even if you share only one or two before and afters, they’ll act as a testimony to just what you’re capable of accomplishing for consumers.

Digital-Marketing-2018

Digital Marketing in 2018: How to Boost Customer Satisfaction

With the rise of the web, people’s approach to making purchases has changed significantly. They are now aware of how important they are to small businesses trying to survive in such a competitive marketplace. And, in return for their loyalty, they expect you to provide them with the exceptional buying experience and they won’t accept anything less than that.

Your customers not interested in your products only. Namely, they want to know the story behind your brand, as well. They expect you to answer their questions fast, connect with them on social networks, and create relevant and interesting content. They don’t want to waste their time, either. If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, they will abandon it and look for your competitors. The same goes for your navigation, mobile-friendliness, content, and the overall visual appeal of your site.

Given all these facts, here is how you should do digital marketing in 2018.

Prepare for the Google Mobile-First Index

If you haven’t heard yet that Google has finally rolled out their mobile-first index, then you’re living under a rock. This has become one of the hottest news in the digital marketing sphere, but what does it actually mean? From now on, Google will focus on the mobile version of your site when indexing it.

So, make sure you optimize your site for mobile searchers. After all, 60% of all web searches are done via mobile devices. Make your keywords longer and more conversational to optimize them for voice search. Use Google’s AMPs to speed up your site significantly. Your navigation should be simpler, while all important elements of your website should be above the fold. For additional information, take a look at what Google says about preparing your site for the mobile-first index.

Show Appreciation

Do you know that an average U.S. household participates in about 29 loyalty programs? They love them for different reasons- some join these programs to save money, while others want to receive a reward for their loyalty. For some, the availability of rewards programs is the major factor that determines whether they will buy from you or not.

Now, loyalty programs vary and you need to choose the option that works for your target audience. You could give them points or vouchers that can be later redeemed at your stores or offer them exclusive deals for every purchase or referral they make. However, recent studies point out that people have labeled financial rewards or highly targeted incentives far more enticing. So, to make customized loyalty programs, you could offer personalized visa gift cards, with your customers’ names on them or even organize a contest and let them win your premium products.

Focus on User-Generated Content

Let’s face it- people trust other customers more than you. According to the Local Customer Review Survey, 85% of them trust online reviews as much as their friends, while 73% of them will trust your business more if your customers’ reviews are positive.

In light of statistics like this, it’s obvious that user-generated content (UGC) is one of those tactics you simply cannot allow to ignore. After all, it’s your customers that sell your products today.

Use your social networks to invite people to share their own videos of your products or services.

Boost the visibility of this content by sharing it regularly and creating dedicated hashtags.

Most importantly, you need to know what works for each of the social networks you use. Share live stories and videos on Facebook, post photos on Twitter, while the user-generated content your Instagram account could be the combination of these forms of UGC.  

Use Social Networks to Offer Instant Feedback

In the past, your communication with your customers was based on phone calls and emails. However, the times have changed and, today, your communication channels cannot be observed in isolation. All instant messaging apps, video conferencing tools, social networks, email providers, and telemarketing strategies are highly intertwined, creating what we call the omnichannel approach to communication.

Today, your customers can move from one device to another uninterruptedly. They can find your phone number on your site and call you instantly, not having to switch between different apps. They can scan your QR code that will lead them to the piece of content they want to read or a product they want to buy. They can stumble upon your business on social networks, read the reviews, ask questions, and follow the link to your site to learn more about you.

If you’re too busy answering your customers’ messages regularly, then hire someone to do so for you. Even better, use a chatbot. Even this is still a pretty new concept, chatbots are predicted to revolutionize the digital marketing industry in 2018. Namely, these AI-powered tools have become smarter and more intuitive. They will provide your customers with relevant, real-time feedback and, at the same time, do all repetitive and time-consuming tasks for you.

You can use social media monitoring tools to keep track of your brand or product mentions. Whenever someone mentions you, you’ll get notified. This is called social listening and it’s immensely important in providing your customers with real-time customers services and collecting their feedback.

Create Interactive Content

Gone are the days when you could write a 1000-word blog post and generate a bunch of links, shares, and comments. We’re living in the era of augmented reality and people expect your content to surprise and excite them. So, update your content strategy with interactive content, the one your customers can actively participate in, such as polls and quizzes. Don’t forget about visual content, especially videos, as they’re expected to account for 82% of the total internet traffic by 2020.  

Tell your Customers a Story

You’re not doing content marketing for SEO purposes solely. You’re creating your content for your customers. And, to engage them and get them emotionally involved, each article you write needs to have a good story to back it.

That’s what storytelling is about.

Namely, 92% of people emphasized that they expect all major brands to create ads that feel like stories. Stories share a real-life experience, add the human element to your brand promotion, and evoke nostalgia and empathy. Most importantly, as they don’t seem overly promotional, they will take your relationship with your customers to a completely new, more personal level.

Over to You

Digital marketing is not about promoting your business and ranking higher on Google. It’s also about building and nurturing strong relationships with your target audience. That’s exactly what will set you apart from a sea of businesses similar to yours.

Hope these tips help!

Portfolio Spotlight: Très Chic Salon Branding

Website Color Choice for your Industry

What Color Scheme Works Best for Your Industry

Website color choice is never an easy decision. Do you stick with your company colors or go with a color scheme that has maximum impact on site visitors? There is a science to figuring out the psychology behind various color choices and the impact they have on people.

The hypothalamus reacts to color, and hormones release which trigger emotions. The emotions, in turn, impact your behavior, including shopping behavior. Somewhere between 62 and 90 percent of the decisions to purchase something is based solely on color. Using the right colors can increase your conversions and help you make an emotional connection with consumers.

Of course, different industries should focus on different color choices. The right choice of color can create a tone, a sense of trust or even lend credibility to your website. While you can experiment with different combinations to stand out, it is important to know which colors associate with an industry and how to create a sense of trust in your brand from the minute a user lands on your page.

Here are five industries and the best color choices for those industries:

1. Restaurants

Most restaurant websites stick to a basic color palette that includes colors such as brown, red, white and black. You will see these colors appear over and over on food-themed sites. Of course, some trendy designers work in additional colors to grab interest, and this can work well, especially in such a crowded marketplace.

Food photographs tend to really pop on a black or white background, which is often one of the reasons for the choice of black and white. Red has long been associated with enticing people to hunger, although there is some debate about how effective that choice is today with more and more people aware of such tactics.

Experts advise staying away from the color blue for anything food related as it is a color often associated with poison. There are not many naturally blue foods, which may be why it doesn’t work well for restaurant websites.

Website Color Choice for your Industry

Fig restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina uses the basic approach of a black and white base. They add a pop of color through the image of one of their dishes and also show an image of a chef cooking and using a kitchen tool. The use of black and white lends a sense of trust in the establishment as it is a color scheme people are used to seeing and the pops of red and green in the food photograph draw attention.

2. Hospitality

Hospitality can encompass everything from hotels to salons. Hotels can actually increase bookings by using color psychology. The color brown lends a sense of comfort and home, but adding a pop of blue to the CTA button can draw visitors to book a room.

If creating a website for a salon or spa, using colors that put the person in mind of health and nature is a good choice. Consider using colors found in nature, such as green, brown and sky blue.

3. Medical

When creating a medical website, you want to evoke feelings of security and trust. The color blue is often seen as trustworthy. In addition, blue is a good choice because it’s a favorite color of both men and women. Many medical sites use white and blue color schemes. This keeps things simple, and the color blue makes the person feel secure.

For example, you wouldn’t use the color red, because people might associate red with blood. A color scheme of red and white might even scare potential patients away.

Website Color Choice for your Industry

Beltone, a hearing aid provider, uses very traditional colors of white and blue with a touch of gray to lend a sense of credibility to their website. A visitor can immediately see that this is likely a medical type website. Even the colors in the photograph mirror the blues and grays in the overall design. This works well for a site providing a medical device.

4. Construction

Construction websites tend to gravitate toward brown, orange and blue. While you do have a bit more of a range of colors you can utilize, it’s smart to think through the message you most want to convey. If you want to convey energy and excitement, then orange is a good choice. If you want the site visitor to think about the earth, then browns work well. If you want a more generic color choice that is fairly safe, go with blue, which also lends a sense of trust in you and your work.

Don’t be afraid to add plenty of white to any design. The use of white is fairly neutral. You can then add pops of color with your headings, photographs and your CTA.

5. Financial

Have you noticed that a lot of banks tend to use blue and white similar to what the medical sites use? Again, this invokes feelings of stability and trust. When you place your money with an institution, you definitely want that feeling of stability.

Green might seem like a natural choice when talking about money, however, people tend to associate green with nature. So, unless you’re an environmentally friendly banking company, you might want to utilize other colors.

Note how T. Rowe Price uses a variety of blues to add a sense of credibility and stability to their website. Even the image that takes up the background is fairly neutral, which places the emphasis on the pops of blue and the single CTA in orange. Note that the orange used in the CTA is rather subdued instead of a bright color that might appear more youthful and less serious.

Best Color Scheme for Your Industry

To figure out the best color scheme for your industry, spend some time studying competitor websites. You’ll likely begin to see a pattern. Combine that knowledge with the psychology behind color choices to come up with a scheme that works for your target audience. Don’t be afraid to add a pop of color on a CTA button and to do split testing and see what works best for conversions.

Marketing Personas Vs. User Experience Personas

Defining Digital Product Personas

Understanding who your users are when creating a digital product is of paramount importance for a user experience designer to design a successful product. But who are these users, and how does a digital product team begin to define them? This is done through the use of Personas. Persona is defined as “a role or character adopted by an author or actor to perform a role,” however within the field of digital product design, they have a slightly different focus.

A Digital Product Persona, instead of representing a role for an actor a persona represents a large group of similar users with a single individual. Personas (when used this way) are tools to allow the team to better empathize with the user groups, as the human condition allows us to better empathize with individuals, rather than large faceless groups. Digital Product Personas come in several varieties, depending on the goals of the project. Two of these persona types, Marketing Personas and User Experience Personas have sometimes been used interchangeably, leading to incorrect assumptions and flawed products.

What is a Marketing Persona?

Typically when people think of using personas within their digital product production they are using Marketing Personas. This persona type is focused primarily on the demographic information, business landscape understanding, and media consumption. Marketing personas are incredibly valuable when it comes to placing advertising, generating interest and tailoring content as the demographic information allows the team to understand where to access this user’s attention.

Unfortunately, many digital product teams stop here when creating their personas, and while this information can be crucially valuable when developing content plans and social media marketing, it lacks important nuances when it comes to understanding what the user needs to accomplish when using the future digital product. This leads teams to make incorrect assumptions and if the product isn’t properly validated through user testing later, these assumptions can make for flawed digital experiences.

How is a User Experience Persona different?

User experience personas build off the information gathered with the Marketing Persona and use that as a springboard to better understand their users. These personas are primarily focused on problems that the person is experiencing, what they do currently to alleviate the issue, and why these are even problems in the first place. For example, a marketing persona would say that construction workers need digital records on a job site because they are more efficient, whereas a UX persona would dig a bit deeper to find construction workers want to be more efficient on a job site so that they can spend more time working, less time with unorganized paper records and more time with their family. Now with that understanding, the business can position itself as the digital product that lets construction workers get home to their families quicker.

A simple way to understand the difference between a Marketing Persona and a User Experience Persona is this: a Marketing Persona is who that user group (as a person) is, whereas a UX Persona is what problems that user group faces and what the users (as people) do to confront those problems. By better understanding what those problems are by using a UX Persona, a digital product team can build a product that provides a more elegant solution and then the marketing team can use Marketing Personas to ensure that the potential users are introduced to the product.

5 Best Time Tracking Tools in 2018

Over the past couple of years, time tracking has become a big deal, as it very well should be. Though we’ve had these capabilities for quite a while, neither freelancers nor clients used the practicality of time tracking tools quite as much as they should have, often opening the way to invoice disputes and freelance time management issues.

These days, there are so many time tracking tools available that it’s become difficult to pick one. We took a look at what’s available on the market and picked our favorite apps, based on various freelancing needs.

Time Tracking Tools 2018

Toggl

Though this list is in no particular order, we had to include Toggl somewhere on it. Toggl has become one of the most popular time trackers for freelancers in recent years and it’s obvious to see why. The tool is available for almost all platforms and is very easy to use, although it isn’t a good choice for managing large teams or freelance designers working on various devices at once. Toggle does offer these options, but there are more competitive choices in that range today.

The upside is that Toggl offers plenty of options in its free version for small freelancers or those just getting started. For those working with larger teams or who have more projects to toggle than they can count off the top of their head, the full package paid version of this time tracking app may be the best choice.

Hubstaff

Speaking of teams and robust time tracking tools created for managing more complex projects and teams, Hubstaff has it all covered. This extensive tool is much more than just a time tracking app and includes screenshots, activity levels, setting of limits for each team member and project, GPS and location, invoicing, and even a payroll system that allows team leaders to pay freelancers with just one click when all is said and done.

Obviously, this is a tool for top tier freelancers or small agencies who manage entire teams of freelance designers. As further proof that Hubstaff was built with growing teams in mind, one of its best features is the scalable pricing they offer, including the option to make users active or inactive – and pay accordingly – making freelance time management incredibly easy for project managers.   

Upwork Desktop App

Instead of randomly listing just any time tracking tools available, we’re making another exception on this list, to include time management tips for freelancers and remote team project managers. The Upwork Desktop App is, needless to say, exclusively linked to Upwork, the most popular freelancing network today. The platform’s time tracking and work diary features are also exactly what has made it so popular, creating trust for employers and ensuring that freelancers get paid.

Getting paid once a job is done is a plague that freelancers have had to deal with forever. Using time tracking tools for bothe time management and to record work hours is essential, but adding a system in which getting paid is almost guaranteed turns it into a full package deal. Using Upwork is highly recommended for freelancers who are just getting started, along with all of its tools and its time tracking desktop app.

Qbserve

Qbserve, an automatic time tracker for Mac that includes team management and invoicing, is a more recent favorite and a dream come true for busy design pros and freelancers of all types. Typically, busy freelancers will forget to turn on their time trackers or switch between projects, while time management at work or in the home office becomes more important than ever. And that’s just if the freelancers are working independently. Add a team to all of those projects and busy schedule, and things really turn into a nightmare.

The team behind Qbserve seems to have thought of everything and provided a solution to it. Qbserve keeps track of activities on a Mac and provides constant feedback on productivity, helping freelancers and remote teams to develop better work and time management habits. It can also automatically generate invoices based on data, along with a slew of other settings that can be adjusted for design freelancers who want to focus more on work and less on managing stuff and typing up reports and invoices.

Timely

Less a time tracking tool and more of an all around time management tracker, Timely links directly to your calendar and planned events to help attain an overview of your work hours, downtime and everything else going on. Essentially, your schedule becomes your time tracker.

In this app that combines scheduling and time tracking in one place, freelancers can use their calendar and the app to out different times of your day to work on different projects, then use the app to pick a project or task, start the timer and get to work. Obviously, this isn’t a tool for managing remote teams, but for the individual freelancer, it literally allows designers to see which hours made money and which went to waste.

Hope you find these tools! You may also like our post on Must-Have Tools for Digital Marketers

Conveying a User’s Context through Storyboarding

How Storyboarding can play an integral part in Digital Product Design

A big part of being a successful user experience designer is building an understanding of who your potential users are. In fact, the most important tool in any UX designer’s toolbox is a soft skill that they don’t teach in any school, its empathy. Being able to put themselves in a user’s shoes goes a long way to building a successful product, but being able to communicate those emphatic ideas to project stakeholders can be a challenge. One tool for conveying these concepts to the team at whole is storyboarding.

What is a Storyboard?

Typically when someone thinks of a storyboard it is within the context of a motion picture or television show. In the case of movies, storyboards are simple graphic representations of key moments within a scene that convey the story. They are placed in a sequential timeline with notes that highlight key aspects of the shot, this allows the director a very simple way to convey the scenes narrative without having to go through and shoot it in its entirety. Storyboarding sessions include multiple members of the film’s team and its simple format allows for quick iteration to ensure that the story is being told in the clearest means. But what does being a good storyteller have to do with digital product design?

Storyboarding and Empathy

Why Storytelling is Important

Understanding your user’s personal story is important, but why convey it using a method from the film industry? Why not just relay the information to the team in a simple word document or spreadsheet, why bother creating a storyboard? To answer those questions simply, using a storyboard is a more effective means to communicate to your team. First off, a story is much more powerful than a list of facts, studies have shown that stories are much more (22 times) memorable than just plain facts. Another common adage heard is a picture is worth a thousand words, and the imagery of your story can add impact and additional meaning to your user’s narrative. It is important to remember that although a team’s user experience designer may be a master of building user empathy for themselves, a storyboard is a means to convey those concepts to key stakeholders and these ideas go a long way when building user empathy within the whole digital product team.

Using Storyboards in Digital Product Design

Using storyboards when creating a digital product serves to ensure that the team is building empathy with the users that will be using the product. Storyboards using within product design should not be confused with user journeys or red routes, which are the paths of the user through the screens of the digital product. Instead, storyboards serve as the means of telling the story of the user’s life outside of the digital product and what problems or issues have led to the user using the final product or serve as the story of how the user came to learn about the product and begin using it within their lives. Basically, storyboards provide the context within the user’s life where there is a need that your digital product can fulfill.

Storyboards are the tool with which a user experience designer can ensure the digital product team is able to understand your user’s story and the context in which they use the end product. Storyboarding as a means of conveying user empathy will allow all stakeholders to better understand the impacts of the digital product that is being built and help ensure that the end product solves the needs of the user’s it was created for.

Where to Find and How to Choose Web Design Online Courses

Online education is the future of learning. It solves the problem of not having any usable skill and provides unmatched possibilities for everyone wanting to learn something new. Web design is among the most popular skills learned online, as thousands of people around the world earn a certificate in this area every week using a membership software.

In today’s article, we’re going to talk about everything related to online courses of web design, including types, sources, and selection. With an average salary of web designer of $49,000, the occupation becomes more and more popular.

Hope this guide will be helpful to you to make a great choice of a course and begin your journey in this exciting field.

How Getting Online Education Affects My Employment Chances?

The web has courses for everyone, whether you are a beginner or an experienced designer. They cover all areas of the field, including responsive design, UX, web design essentials, and lots more. However, there are still lots of traditional schools and universities that teach web design.

Naturally, those wondering whether to choose online education begin questioning the credibility of this option. If you’re wondering, too, here is the list of advantages of taking an online course:

  • You don’t have to put your life on hold to attend school
  • Online courses provide a comparable quality of education
  • Many online courses provide certificates recognized by most employers
  • Taking an online course is a much more affordable option
  • You don’t have to quit your job to pursue a degree online
  • You can learn anywhere with an Internet connection

“Because of these reasons, thousands of people choose to learn online,” says Bruce Wilkins, an online educator from A-writer. While getting traditional education remains a great option in terms of increasing your chances of employment, online education can have the same effect.

You just have to choose a known, proven course that provides relevant knowledge. Need some help with that? Read further.

How to Choose Online Web Design Courses

To make a final selection of a course, you should consider the following factors:

  • Credibility of the source
  • Cost
  • Learning Method

Each of them is equally important; for example, your budget determines whether you seek paid or free courses while credibility of the source may affect the chance of employment. Also, your preferred learning style such as visual has a significant effect on knowledge retention, so choose a course with appropriate materials.

Here’s a list of well-known websites with online web design courses for every budget and skill. All of them have 4+ stars rating given by learners.

Course Title: Make a Website

Source: CodeAcademy

Cost: Free (pro versions available)

In-Demand Skills: yes

Certificate: yes

CodeAcademy is a well-known US-based online learning platform that provides web design knowledge for both beginners and experts. It has both free and paid courses (average price of a paid course is $199). The skills provided by CodeAcademy are relevant and updated, so you can be sure that you’ll do well on your first job.

Course Title: Responsive Web Design Fundamentals

Source: Class Central

Cost: Free

In-Demand Skills: yes

Certificate: yes

Class Central is another popular source of knowledge related to web design and development. This class in particular is taught by a web developer from Google, and it great for those starting their way in responsive web design. It is totally free and self-paced, and uses a lot of visuals to represent the information.

Course Title: Web Design for Everybody (Basics of Web Development and Coding) Specialization

Source: Coursera

Cost: Free

In-Demand Skills: yes

Certificate: yes

Created by the University of Michigan, this course offers a self-paced, customized approach to learning web design. It requires no previous experience in web design and 2-4 hours/week to complete. After completing the course, you’ll know the basics of web design; also, you’ll be able to create a responsive website that uses a wide range of tools to make it as user-friendly as possible.

Course Title: Diploma in Web Design

Source: Alison

Cost: Free

In-Demand Skills: yes

Certificate: diploma

This course is designed for both beginner and intermediate web designers and provides a comprehensive approach to learning. The skills taught in Diploma in Web Design include HTML, Adobe Dreamweaver, CSS, and other basics. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to create a website, add content, use background styles, CSS, fonts, and use Adobe Dreamweaver to create a site with Flash, JavaScript, and HTML.  If you score 80 percent or higher in each course assessments, you’ll able to purchase an official certificate.

Takeaways

Choosing a great web design course requires some consideration; for example, it’s better to choose a well-known platform that provides an approach that fits your learning style and good feedback from learners.

In this article, only free courses were provided so you can make a good start without burning a hole in your pocket while still being able to purchase an official certificate to provide to potential employers.

Hope you’ll make a great choice!

Check Out What’s Trending in Mobile App Design in 2018

A quarter of 2018 has already passed, and we have already witnessed the introduction of many new functionalities and upgrades in smartphones. All these changes certainly affect the trends in the design of the mobile apps. Both the UX and UI designs are witnessing newer and improvised trends and they will continue to flourish in the coming days as well. Here we are sharing a few upcoming trends of 2018 That all mobile app developers and designers need to look into.

Mobile App Design Trends 2018

Going for the minimalist approach

Distraction-free apps are actually the need of the hour. The constant flow of data is making the users overloaded with information. People find themselves much involved in other works rather than doing the work they set to do. So, in order to make the user more focused on their task or action, creating distraction-free apps is most likely the most appropriate design trend for 2018. Some apps have already started focusing on building a UX that provides a seamless non-intrusive design with full automation and control of the user over their smart devices.

Redesigning of the gradient

In both Android and iOS apps, some app designers are opting for gradients of user interfaces that have a retro 16-bit quality to them and this trend dictates the utilization of each dot by designers, thus taking pixel art to the extreme and gives an edge of OLED displays or high definition resolution to new generation smartphones. This allows you to include pictorial natural backgrounds, simple and soothing gradients, gradients reinforced with a single colour of different intensities, and combinations of different prints and interfaces. 2018 will witness the growth in the variety of these gradients.

Background transparency

The transparency level of the different components and interfaces of the app is being adjusted to create a glassy look and provide a unique feel to the overall design. This helps in the layering of the different parts of a single interface on top of each other and creates fascinating and artistic visual effects in the interface of the apps.

Experiments with typography

The text-based information given in the app plays an important part in the design of the app. Designers are on a lookout for different ways to compete over the typography as mobile UX is gaining momentum. Based on the devices on which the app will be used, the typeface, white spaces, and content hierarchy, designers are experimenting with most apps.

Crispier icon pattern variations

As with typography, different icon patterns, are also being experimented a lot. In the relatively small screens of mobile devices, the graphic designers need to make the most out of the low-resolution environment by figuring out completely new ways to use that space as excessively large icons may lead to performance issues. For this they are experimenting with a wide range spanning from colourful illustrations to simple hand-drawn icons and from minimal icons to gradient icons.  

Material design themes

While earlier flat design dominated the pack, the material design has gained popularity on almost every platform now as it provides a greater amount of creativity for experimentation to the designers. It is predicted, however, that more apps are likely to adopt a combination of flat and material design in order to make advantage of both.

Dynamic illustrations

The use of custom gifs and illustrations has gained more popularity this year as visual stuff attracts more attention because of its self-explanatory and user-engaging ability to get the desired task done. Mobile app designers are paying more attention to dynamic visual details and it is likely that mobile app designs will witness a more proactive approach to micro-interactions in the times to come.

AR/VR focus

These technologies are still being explored but have managed to make their way into apps developed for various industries. A multitude of new opportunities for designers lie inherent in these technologies and can be very instrumental in upgrading the current apps as well.

AI empowered designs with touch and facial logins

While touch and facial login technologies have already been implemented in Android, iOS, and mobile browsers and many users are quite comfortable with it now. The demand for apps integrated with this technology is ever-increasing. Simple touch logins or facial recognition apps based on facial IDs are in demand by banking and finance sectors. Apple Pay has already adopted this feature to make cashless transactions easier and many other mainstream apps are expected to offer the ability to log into their accounts with their own visage to the users this year.

Integration of audio interfaces and smart devices

Digital assistants providing audio input are more likely to find their way to the mainstream apps and intelligent apps with voice-activated assistance and thinking design. They can support smart home devices and are expected to enable audio interfaces for smart devices.

Overlap of cards and grids

A personalized experience can be generated using cards and grids and most designers fancy this kind of interaction model. It is not only an excellent content organizer that divides content into distinct sections but also makes it easier to scan. The overall design is made more creative, minimal, and natural by means of gesture-based navigation with 3D cards used by some apps.

Cross-platform design

Apps are now being designed to support multiple devices and multiple platforms. This is making the designers take much care while planning the design that is responsive on multiple platforms and devices.

To wrap up

The basic idea governing the mobile app design trends in 2018 is simplicity and comprehensibility, while providing a great UX, modern, convenient, and easy interface to the user. This has made mobile app development very dynamic with the rapid advancements in technology this year. The introduction of upgrades and new functionalities in various devices and platforms has further increased the necessity of mobile app developers and designers to stay updated with the recent trends. While some of these have now become the must-know rules, you may come up with your own style and turn out to be a trendsetter.