Category Archives: Featured

Facebook Messenger App Gets A Brand New Look

The popular social networking platform made yet another important change that was not formally announced. Facebook made a move that has probably been planned for a long time: the platform just changed the entire messaging experience by integrating the Messenger app into its desktop version. Reactions of all kinds soon appeared online.

The change brought to Messenger app was spotted by most users, especially that this time it seems to be more than just a simple beta “test.” When we look at the home page, we notice that the Messenger icon in the blue navigation bar at the top of the screen has replaced the old inbox icon; when you click on it, you go to a radically overhauled inbox, similar to a Messenger.com.

Judging by the public statements made by its representatives, Facebook needed to go more mobile. The platform is also meant to help its users by presenting them with relevant information which can be more easily accessed. Indeed, the following features of the newest Facebook Messenger version can be quite useful:

  • The new “home page” divided into modules/panes allows you to see a list of the most recent messages and the friends you chat most frequently with are highlighted in the “Favorites” module below.
  • You can now easily find a particular conversation, change the chat’s color, edit nicknames.
  • The new “Active Now” module allows you to see when your friends are available, and the “Birthdays” module will remind you of your friends’ birthdays.
  • The new Messenger includes in-built emoji, stickers and GIF buttons, and, what is more important, payment options to transfer money to contacts, and video games.
  • The new Messenger is easier to use because it gives you the possibility to reorganize your chat threads based on your favorites and active users so that you might get to important chats faster, and get immediate responses back.

 

On the other hand, numerous users were not pleased with the new changes, stating that the old inbox layout was better and asking how they can switch back to the old Messenger (which is not possible).

The features people mostly complained about are:

  • The possibility to see your other messages on the side. This can be quite distracting and inconvenient, especially when you have lots of messages from your admiring fans and exes
  • The extra space for ads that was added on the right side can be disturbing
  • The bigger version of the inbox covers half of the message screen now and this can also make the app harder to use
  • the message box only scrolls to the right, so users can’t easily see the whole message to guide the feel of the message or easily check for typos. That can be frustrating.
  • When users try to copy parts of a conversation and save it in word, this is not possible anymore. Also, the date and time of the messages can’t be copied at all
  • Users now can’t write longer messages without their paragraphs being truncated in the composer
  • Messages can’t be filtered by “unread”
  • Photo sharing needs improvement
  • Currently, you don’t have the ability to delete individual messages within a conversation

What users generally complained about most is the fact that Facebook complicated things unnecessarily, without doing usability studies or testing the changes in focus groups first. The loss of the inbox layout shook most users which openly expressed their complaints online. People are also discontent with the fact that the Messenger app, originally designed for mobile, is now being forced upon desktop and laptop users without choice.

In reply, David Marcus, the vice president of messaging products at Facebook, stated that the changes were meant to harmonize the user experience across all platforms, especially when the app is used by 1 billion+ people primarily on mobile. Clearly, the Messaging app needed to feel and look more mobile.

Mr. Marcus also claimed that what Facebook was actually trying to do with the New app is add more value to messaging, to make it more relevant and more interesting than before. And he promised his team would look into the features that people are not currently pleased with.

Stan Chudnovsky, head of product for Messaging at Facebook, also stated that the only change brought to the network is the introduction of the new modules, which actually put together different messages or different people. Messages have been displayed in chronological order since the beginning of the smartphone era.

The Facebook representative also claimed that there is more in store for Messenger: new modules will be progressively introduced to the app because people deserve an enriched messaging experience. The need for innovation is undeniable, especially in this field. It looks like you’re going to have to keep your eyes on your smartphones to see what the platform offers you next.

Facebook’s intent is apparently to revolutionize messaging communication, but will these new changes convince the public?

What do you think about the new update? Let us know in the comment section bellow.

 

Read More at Facebook Messenger App Gets A Brand New Look


Source: Web Design Ledger

My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #11

My name is Mason Ellwood, and I’m currently working on Flatiron School’s Online Full Stack Web Development Program. Each week, I’ll be writing about my experience, what I’m learning, and tips on learning to code.

Last week I was reading on wired that the next big blue collar job was going to be coding. I did not really know what to think of this. At first glance, programming lost its luster of being an untapped needed career, making me (a programmer) replaceable. This has always been the case but the recent boom of programmers is scary when entering a profession, competing against some of the smartest people in the industry.

On Wednesday I went to meet up with my weekly trivia team, and a new guy came who was a “full stack” developer. He used that term loosely because of the “what the heck does that entail” title that holds. But he kind of reaffirmed my fear of the article and agreed. Sure he said but this is no different than any other career now. It seems like everyone is fighting to stay ahead of the curve and automate as many processes as they can. Because technology has become such a cornerstone for many companies, automating and maintenance surly would follow. But because of this the need for “maintenance” increases especially within the dev community.

He agreed with the article, but development turning into the lusterless career path is not true. The need for developers is greater now that it has ever been. Being apart of the growing community of developers is a great place to be right now. And the need for “you” in a company setting is only going to become more prevalent.

Search Enumerables 

So picking up where we left off. Every method in Ruby must return a value. When we iterate or enumerate over a collection with #each, its return value is always the original constant. With this in mind, if we want to display the changed array values, dependent on what your method does, you may need to add an empty array ( new_array = [ ] ) to shovel ( << ) those values into.

There are many forms of #each, that can enact different outcomes. A few of the others are:

  • #select => When you invoke #select on a collection, the return value will be a new array containing all the elements of the collection that causes the block to pass a return value as true.
  • #detect/#find => #detect and #find can be used interchangeably. This will return only return the first element that makes the block true.  
  • #reject => #reject will return an array with the elements that return a false value

These listed above are all apart of the family of search enumerators whose purpose is to help you refine a collection to only matching elements.

A few that I use most often, I have found, is #each, #collect or #map (which are interchangeable), and each_with_index. A little more about enumerators can be found, and a quick reference that I have found very useful, is located here (http://ruby-doc.org/core-2.2.0/Enumerator.html). You will use these all the time, and I know how important this concept is. Locating and changing information based within your set of data is a key to programming. Essentially programming is the pushing and pulling of data and data manipulation. Being able to quickly and effectively iterate through data will increase your chances of landing a job, and becoming an officiant “blue collar worker” – as Wired so eloquently stated.

Read More at My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #11


Source: Web Design Ledger

The 25 Most Creative Valentine’s Day Ads Design

First things first, I would like to say Happy Valentine’s Day to all the couples out there. For those of you who don’t have a significant other in your life, Happy Independence Day!
Valentine’s Day is certainly a celebration that we are very fond of. What started as a fertility celebration in Ancient Rome, now has become a 448 million dollars celebration where people around the world are eating approximately 58 million pounds (263.083.57 Kg) of chocolate. Now, major corporations and retailers are taking full advantage of this pink and chocolatey monster Valentine’s Day has become, and they are all fighting for a piece of exposure.
Luckily for us, this means that people with more money than Romania’s GDP are going all in and spend tons of money on creative ad campaigns.

You probably don’t have their kind of money but this Valentine’s Day ads might be just the right thing you need in order to inspire you this Halloween.

So without further ado, here are the 25 most creative Valentine’s Day Ads Design.

 

Dom Francisco

 

Ikea

 

Virgin mobile

 

Wurst

 

Schick

 

Up & Down Apparel

 

Kolner Zoo

 

SexyAvenue

 

Supreb

 

 

Corazon

 

Yemekspeti

 

Adria

 

Nissan

 

Heineken

 

Heineken

 

Conrad treasury

 

Levis

 

Orko’ss

 

Splash

 

Wellington Zoo

 

Vodafone

 

La Benedicta

Durex

 

Nakshatra

 

Conclusion

Of course, there are more creative Valentine’s Day ads out there and you probably saw some. If you think you can pin point a creative ad that we haven’t mentioned, drop a comment bellow and we’ll get it featured.

Read More at The 25 Most Creative Valentine’s Day Ads Design


Source: Web Design Ledger

The Ultimate Guide To Color Contrast.

The colors you choose while designing a website, poster or any other type of image will have a huge impact on whether or not the overall design is successful. After all, there is a lot of psychology behind the colors that people are attracted to, and designers need to incorporate this into everything they do.

Color contrast plays a very valuable role, but it is often overlooked, undervalued and misunderstood. To avoid this problem, you must learn more about color contrast, including how and why you should use it. Once you go beyond the basics of knowing that red and orange aren’t good colors to create contrast but black and white are, you can begin to develop an enhanced aesthetic that will please clients and viewers.

 

Why is Color Contrast So Useful?

Color contrast, in a nutshell, provides visual intrigue and keeps viewers interested. Consider for a moment how boring it would be if an entire poster was made from one color or only included shades from the same color family. Although there are some instances when this does work from an artistic perspective, it’s not an approach that is likely to grab someone’s attention when they’re perusing store shelves, looking at movie posters or surfing the web. Therefore, it’s wise to use contrasting colors whenever appropriate.

For example, think about the classic Coca-Cola can. If the entire thing was red, it wouldn’t stand out nearly as much as it does. The white writing truly pops off of the red background, which grabs attention and is instantly recognizable. This contrast is visually stunning, and it stands out from its competitors.

How to Best Use Color Contrast

The color choices you make must depend largely on the format that you’re using. The Coca-Cola can provides a great way to explain this process. In a physical product such as a can of soda, the red background works. It also stands out well in print advertising, on TV commercials and much more. But what if you were to attempt to design a website with these same colors?

To put it as bluntly as possible, a solid red website page background with white text on top would be atrocious. A full red background will work, though, if you put a text box on top of it that has a lighter color such as white or tan. From there, you’d most likely want to use black text in the text box to create another layer of contrast. Not only will this approach be more eye-catching but it will also enable people to read the text. Remember: black text on red is very difficult to read.

Other examples of contrasting color combinations that won’t work well on the web and may also be almost indecipherable in other formats include light green on medium green, green on red and red on blue. Instead, consider using white on green and yellow or white on blue. If you must put text on a solid red background, it’s best to use white just like Coca-Cola.

Of course, color contrast isn’t always used to call attention to text. If you’re looking to put two different contrasting colors together to draw the eye to something specific on the page, you can choose between dramatically different colors and the more subtle contrast that is caused by changes in shade, tint and saturation.

Trip Advisor does a nice job of using contrasting colors and white space to direct each user’s eyes to the most important aspects of their search results. The mixture of green and yellow is pleasing to the eye, and they kept the classic blue hyperlink color to make it easy for people to know where to click to learn more. Even better, they chose a bold yellow with black text for their “show prices” button, which stands out so much that people are virtually certain to engage with this call-to-action.   

 

Color-Blindness: What Every Designer Needs to Know

Approximately 8 percent of men worldwide suffer from some form of color-blindness. This condition is much rarer in women, but 1 out of every 17 people with color-blindness is female. In total, 4.5 percent of the world’s population does not see all colors as the rest of the world does.

This may seem like a small enough percentage that you wouldn’t cater to their needs. However, the reality is that in the U.K. alone, 2.7 million people are colorblind. This is something designers really need to consider, especially if they’re creating something that is targeted at men.

Red/green blindness is the most common version of color-blindness. What this means is that the red and green elements of any color will not have their true appearance to these individuals. For instance, a person with red/green blindness will perceive purple as blue. This happens because they’re unable to see the red tone that helps differentiate purple from blue.   

As you can imagine, this makes the process of choosing the perfect color contrast even more difficult. If you were to choose green as your primary background color or even as a font color, 4.5 percent of your intended viewing audience may not be able to accurately see everything. They may not even be able to read the words very well depending on the hue you chose and how severe their color-blindness is.

 

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, a color contrast should make both elements stand out, but especially the element that is most important. In other words, if you’re putting text on a colorful background or image, make sure that the words are easy to see and read. Keep your audience in mind and try to steer clear of color combinations that would make the final result difficult for people with color-blindness.

As always, take the time to check your designs from different browsers and devices. Additionally, don’t hesitate to ask a friend, colleague or family member to look at your work with fresh eyes and provide feedback.  

 

For some color contrast inspiration, check out this list of beatifully designed landign pages.
https://webdesignledger.com/19-best-designed-app-landing-pages/

Read More at The Ultimate Guide To Color Contrast.


Source: Web Design Ledger

10 of the Best Modern Poster Designs to Inspire Creativity

It Follows Poster

Posters offer a diverse canvas for graphic designers, and some of the very best are not only beautifully designed but also inspiring and thought-provoking. There are hundreds of stunning poster designs that are instantly eye-catching, but we’ve narrowed this list down to a few of the most intriguing examples from the current decade. Whether you prefer to be bold or understated, you’re certain to find something here that will get your creative juices flowing.

1. Stranger Things Poster

Stranger Things Poster

“Stranger Things” became a hugely popular show on Netflix thanks in part to the captivating poster that promoted it. Designer Kyle Lambert was able to expertly capture many of the most important elements and characters in a way that draws the viewer in without providing any spoilers.

One of the most brilliant things about this poster is that it provides a throwback to the 1980s style, which is the perfect complement for the feel of the show. Combine that with extremely accurate renderings of the actors and the overall emotive quality of the piece, and it’s no wonder that viewers flocked to Netflix.

2. Maze Runner: Scorch Trials Poster

Maze Runner Poster

Movie poster designers have the enormous task of making something stand out in a very crowded environment. After all, posters are everywhere at your local movie theater, and that can easily make them blend together unless a unique feature grabs your attention. “Maze Runner: Scorch Trials” quickly amassed blockbuster status in 2015, and this visually appealing poster almost certainly helped make that happen.

The use of negative space works extremely well here, and it also contrasts perfectly with the test tube shape in the middle. These subtle clues to the plot points may not even be picked up by most casual viewers, but they showcase a lot of skill on the designer’s part.

3. Silver Surfer Poster

Metropolis Poster

Silver surfer Poster

If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, then all of the designers who influenced Retro Heroes creator Grégoire Guillemin should definitely feel flattered. For example, the classic “Metropolis” poster was clearly the inspiration for this retro rendering of comic book character Silver Surfer. The poster draws you in because of the similarities, but it’s also set apart by the font choice and bold red color that frames two sides of the image.

4. It Follows Poster

It Follows Poster

 

“It Follows” surprised box office prediction experts by not only receiving rave critical reviews but also becoming a huge indie hit that brought in more than six times its miniscule budget. The strength of what started as a limited release is mostly attributed to word of mouth praise, but the film’s movie posters also deserve a lot of credit.

Graphic designer Akiko Stehrenberger draws viewers in instantly with the compelling usage of eyes staring straight at you. The foggy blank space is an intriguing addition because it makes the identity of the “It” a huge mystery, and this results in the viewer imagining the most terrible things possible.

5. Air New Zealand Poster
Air New Zeland Poster

Retro designs have been popular for several years, but this usually means creating a new poster that has a retro styled image. Air New Zealand decided to go back to the past in 2016 for the 75th anniversary by rereleasing old posters instead that help showcase the history of aviation. This particular design features great usage of Technicolor for a vibrant appearance that makes flying look beautiful and glamorous.

6. Cross River Gorilla Poster(Endangered Species Line)

Cross River Gorilla Poster

There are more than 16,000 animals that are currently threatened with extinction, and the Cross River Gorilla is high on the priority list. With a population of approximately only 300 left on Earth, it’s important to conserve their habitat and to raise awareness of their plight.

Artist Sean Duggan decided to utilize a minimal design with a retro feel to put people face to face with an image of two of these gorillas. The decision to have a mother and baby gorilla looking straight at the viewer makes it hard not to feel sympathetic for their plight.

7. San Francisco Tourism Poster

San Francisco Tourism Poster

A tourism poster needs to depict at least one aspect of the area in question, and it should also intrigue and excite people. The Discover San Francisco poster may seem a bit cluttered at first, but it’s actually quite brilliant how the designer turned each letter into a recognizable part of the city’s charm and daily life. From the deeply slanted hilly roads to the intersection of Haight and Ashbury, all of the most tourism friendly places are represented.

8. The Blue Umbrella Poster

“The Blue Umbrella” is a short film from Pixar that was released with “Monsters University.” To promote their animated piece, Pixar produced this mesmerizing poster that easily captures attention. The umbrella itself is very kid-friendly with its happy expression. However, it’s the lines of the rain drops that draw us in every time we look at this poster. The implied motion is brilliantly executed, as is the juxtaposition between the color and typical mood of the word blue with the contented expression of the umbrella.  

9. The Foundation of Arts Ring of Fire Exhibit Poster

 

The Foundation of Arts Ring of Fire Exhibit Poster

This poster design wins big points for being fun, using a bold color to stand out and showcasing an extremely literal interpretation of its subject matter. As a poster for a music retrospective exhibition for Johnny Cash, it makes perfect sense to refer to one of his most famous songs. Bringing it to life by having a figure appear to be literally falling into a burning ring of fire was brilliant enough, but having that ring be the hole in Cash’s guitar really boosts the impact of this piece. Adding in the vintage feel and the eye-catching red background provided the proverbial icing on the cake.

10. The Secret of 4°C Poster

The Secret of 4°C Poster

 

Posters can be designed to sell something, to raise awareness, to motivate or to explore a graphic designer’s personal interests. The particular piece is educational and visually appealing. At a first glance, you might not realize that the image in the middle of the poster is a dewdrop.

Water achieves its heaviest state when it reaches 4° Celsius, and artist Jongwon Won used the gradient scale in an attempt to depict and explore the many stages that water goes through just before or after this specific temperature. Even without knowing this explanation, the design, use of color and well-placed white space is captivating.

 

There are, of course, thousands of other designs we could have chosen, but these 10 are a nice representative sample of some of the best work that has been produced during this decade. There are clearly some common themes between most of these pieces, and that’s a reflection on modern trends. Allow these to inspire you, and perhaps you’ll be the one to spark the next massive trend in poster graphic design.  

 

 

Read More at 10 of the Best Modern Poster Designs to Inspire Creativity


Source: Web Design Ledger

On-Site Search Feature. The Art Of Being Accessible.


Easy navigation is one of the most critical aspects of every website design.

After all, the vast majority of Internet users have only basic computer skills, so you need to ensure that they can find what they’re looking for. A navigation bar with descriptive page names is the first step toward keeping visitors engaged, but if you have a lot of details on your site, it’s vital to include an on-site search feature as well.

Keep in mind that you cannot rely on Google and other search engines to send visitors to the ideal page on your site. Instead, you need to operate as if they will always be directed to the home page and take steps to simplify the process of finding everything that’s kept on internal pages. Depending on the type of site you run, your on-site search could be very basic or advanced. Either way, the key is to make sure the average Internet user can get solid results with every search string.

The Benefits of a Constrained Search

People are used to being able to type in as little or as much as they want into Google’s search engine. This freedom often leads to less than stellar results, though, and that’s exactly what you want to avoid on your site. Instead, consider providing a search box that can only accept relevant data.

For example, the on-site search used by Addiction Helper is designed to help people in need quickly find access to treatment options. To make this process as smooth as possible, users can only enter their postcode or city name. This leads to accurate results based in or near the target area, which allows visitors to skip over any inapplicable information.

Of course, there are situations where constrained search needs to expand beyond a mere one or two options. Real estate sites such as Nick Marr, the House Shop provide a great example of when and how to expand a constrained search. The House Shop on-site search can be used with nothing more than a postcode or city name, but it can also be expanded to provide higher quality results. In other words, if someone specifically wants a two bedroom house within a certain price range, they can add those details to refine their search.

In either case, site visitors are able to access the details they need without looking through a virtually countless list of pages and choices. This is the main perk of using a constrained search. It ensures that everyone can find what they’re looking for quickly and with minimal computer skills. The simplicity of the process is actually what makes it the most powerful option for location based searching.

Improving Open-Ended Searches

Web Design Ledger offers an example of the open-ended search feature that is more commonly used by most sites. In this particular instance, it makes the most sense not to constrain people to only one or two search options. However, open-ended on-site search can easily become an unwieldly beast that makes the process way too cumbersome for users. Therefore, it’s necessary to be careful with the parameters of the search feature.

 

 

What people want is to find the most relevant results for their search. If you were to search for “Adobe Illustrator” and receive a long list of results that don’t actually feature information on this software, you would quickly become frustrated and leave the website. Many sites have their search parameters set so widely that this is exactly what happens. Instead of learning from useful tutorials or quickly finding tips for beginners, a poorly defined on-site search could bring up dozens of instances of the word Adobe or illustrator without them having anything to do with each other.

To avoid this, your on-site search must be set up to look for the exact phrase first. Although the articles that aren’t related could still show up, they should be filtered to land underneath the most relevant results. The same process is important for eCommerce sites.

In the Adobe Illustrator example, the newest version of the software should come up first, followed by any recent books on this topic. Amazon typically does a good job of sorting by the latest releases, and they also often indicate which item in the search results is most popular. This method of sorting makes things much easier for consumers.

Consider Directing Searches to a Specific Page

After deciding if a constrained or open-search is best and tweaking the results to be as relevant as possible, you’ll need to decide if you want to skip the search results page altogether. Some sites direct each search to a specific URL instead of offering a long list of articles or products. This could mean making a landing page for each popular search term that has all of the details about the term in question. To clarify, if WebDesignLedger took this approach, they would have an internal link for /adobeillustrator that would be almost like a homepage for all of the articles about this software.

Another option, which is most applicable to eCommerce sites, would be to have the term direct people to the URL that the system deems most appropriate for their search. If you were to enter Adobe Illustrator in this scenario, you’d be taken directly to the sales page for this item. This can reduce the amount of time consumers spend looking, but it might also backfire because some people want to see multiple options and make their own decision.

Bottom Line for On-Site Searches

No matter what you decide to do with your on-site search feature, the most important factor is that it needs to actually work properly. If you put in a search term and get way too many unrelated results, be sure to tweak the engine. This isn’t the late 1990s anymore, and no one wants to see every instance of simple words such as “and” or “the” when they put in a long-term search string. Unfortunately, many on-site search engines still make this mistake, and it’s a big turn off for visitors. Avoiding this problem will provide the specific and more powerful results people want with every search engine experience.

Read More at On-Site Search Feature. The Art Of Being Accessible.


Source: Web Design Ledger

How will a Closed Internet And Net Neutrality Impact Web Design?

There are two things that enable the Internet to be a truly viable resource for businesses, hobbyists and everyone in between: open Internet access and net neutrality. Unfortunately, net neutrality has been in the crosshairs for many years. Additionally, President Donald J. Trump has spoken out several times in the past about his desire to close parts of the Internet. Not only would this dramatically change life as we all know it but it would also drive up prices and alter the web design industry.

What Does a Closed Internet Look Like?

Nations such as North Korea, Saudi Arabia and China have censored the Internet in a variety of ways. For example, the North Korean government controls every website that the country’s citizens can visit. Of course, only a few thousand of the 25 million residents are able to access the unbelievably dismal total of 28 sites that the government has deemed appropriate for public usage.   

China is another example of the dangers of allowing Internet censorship. The Chinese government filters searches, reroutes search terms to propaganda websites and erases all sites and information that don’t match up with their official version of events. In other words, if you’re in China and look up Tiananmen Square Massacre, you’re going to be rerouted to a site that offers a positive viewpoint of the Communist Party.

If all of this sounds uncomfortably similar to the concept of “alternative facts,” it’s time to pay closer attention to President Trump’s numerous comments on closing parts of the Internet. Although he has claimed that this would be done in an effort to block ISIS and other terrorist groups from recruiting via the Internet, he could just as easily flip the switch based on widespread dissent. The Communications Act of 1934 even appears to give Trump the authority to do so without any Congressional approval if he declares the U.S. to be in public peril or under the threat of war.   

As you can imagine, a closed Internet would drastically change the number and type of web design projects. Imagine for a moment that you were a web designer in North Korea. You’d have to be employed by the government to get any work at all, and with only 28 sites, there wouldn’t be room for a lot of designers.

This is the most drastic outlook, of course, and the U.S. reality of a closed Internet would probably be more akin to Saudi Arabia’s form of censorship that blocks 400,000 websites. Again, though, this would drastically reduce the need for web designers, and it would also make it necessary to create sites that are controversy free. Long gone would be the days of creative freedom, especially if you’re designing for a client who needs their website to stay up and uncensored. This would likely mean sticking to certain predetermined acceptable parameters for content and design.

What about Net Neutrality?

The U.S. Internet doesn’t need to be closed in order to render it less profitable for web designers and businesses. Net neutrality could be destroyed instead. There have been many battles fought over this concept already, and watchdogs are highly concerned with Trump’s selection of Ajit Pai for the role of Chief Communications Regulator.

Pai is a well-known critic of net neutrality, and he has already indicated that he plans to revisit FCC rules, including Internet regulations. If net neutrality is allowed to be destroyed, Internet providers may be able to openly and freely impose throttling, blocking and even discrimination. How would this impact website designers and the average Internet user? The costs are immeasurable at this point, but it’s clear that everything would become more expensive and cumbersome.

For example, website design and hosting companies such as SquareSpace and GoDaddy currently make the process of building and launching a website affordable for everyone. However, if net neutrality falls apart, small business owners, pop culture enthusiasts and other similar users may end up unable to retain a viable website presence. After all, how can a small business owner compete if traffic to their website is throttled because they or their customers cannot afford a larger high speed access fee?

Many Internet service providers have already been caught purposefully slowing down Internet access in certain cities and to high profile websites. In other words, the technology exists to basically extort business owners into paying more money if they want their site to load in a decent amount of time. When you consider the fact that 47 percent of consumers expect a website to fully load within 2 seconds, time quite literally becomes money. Surveys indicate that 40 percent of users leave sites that aren’t loaded within 3 seconds, and every second of delay causes a 7 percent reduction in conversions.  

The Bottom Line for Web Designers

In either scenario, creativity is going to be stifled, as will profits. It’s possible to put some nice unique touches on a site right now without going past the 2 to 3 seconds rule, but what happens if you’re designing for a small business and they already have a 2-second penalty imposed because they’re paying for a slower access speed? Anything beyond the most basic design elements will push them past the 3-second mark, and their profits will plummet.

As a result, more companies will fail and less businesses will need to hire a web designer. Additionally, discount hosting and design providers may no longer be able to turn a profit because so many small businesses and personal sites will become too expensive to maintain at a high enough speed.  

It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s poised to push the Internet into the hands of only the richest individuals and most successful companies. Web design would likely become a much more cut-throat industry with fewer openings, and frustrated consumers would seek out major sites that can afford to pay for faster access. It’s unclear at this time if a closed Internet or the death of net neutrality are truly on the horizon in the U.S., but all signs indicate that it’s time to become educated about what these things could mean for web designers and everyone else who relies on the Internet for the source of income.   

Read More at How will a Closed Internet And Net Neutrality Impact Web Design?


Source: Web Design Ledger

11 Fullscreen Menus in Adobe Muse

Muse For You - BIG Menu Widget Update - Adobe Muse CC - Web Design Ledger

Add a Fullscreen Menu to your Adobe Muse Website. No Coding Skills Required.

 Muse For You - Adobe Muse CC Adobe Muse CC Logo

A big part of a website is the navigation menu. Well designed menus can make navigating a website easier and more interesting. One of the first things I look for when looking at a website is where the menu is located and how it functions. Since the inception of web development menus keep evolving and getting more creative. I personally love menus that animate from different directions when you click on the menu button, and menus that cover the entire screen.

One of my first widgets was the BIG Menu Widget. It consists of 11 fullscreen menus that cover the entire website when clicking on the menu button. I have recently updated it to allow for custom open and close buttons. You can also rotate the open and close button on hover. There is now the ability to close the menu when clicking on the links as well which is very useful on a one page scrolling website. In the video tutorial above I go over the new features and updates to the BIG Menu Widget.

Here are the steps to add the BIG Menu Widget:

1. Install the widget by double clicking on the .mulib file. The widget will then install into the Adobe Muse library panel. If you do not see the library panel go to Window > Library.

2. From the library panel you will be able to select from 11 different fullscreen menus. To find the BIG Menu widgets quickly type in “BGMNU” in the library panel search bar.

3. Drag and drop a menu onto your Adobe Muse website. At first you will just say a 50×50 box with an exclamation point. This is because an open button image has not been added.

4. Add a custom open button image in the “Open Menu” section. You can change the size of the open button as well as enable rotation on hover. Within the widget folder there are icons to help you get started if you do not have your own custom icons.

5. Add a custom close button in the “Close Menu” section. You can change the size of the close button as well as enable rotation on hover.

Muse For You - BIG Menu Widget Update - Adobe Muse CC - Web Design Ledger

6. In the “Menu Styling” section you can select the color for the menu overlay as well as style the text for the links.

7. To change the font for the menu select the widget and use the built-in Adobe Muse “Text” option in the upper toolbar. From here you can select any web font from the fonts menu.

8. Select the amount of menu items for the menu in the “Menu Items” section. Here you can also set the text for the menu items and the links. You can link to an anchor point, internal page, or external page. There is a “Linking – More Info” section for reference on how to link the menu items.

9. Go to File > Preview Page in Browser to see how the menu looks.

10. Done!

Muse For You - BIG Menu Widget Update - Adobe Muse CC - Web Design Ledger

For more video tutorials and widgets for Adobe Muse visit http://museforyoushop.com.

Read More at 11 Fullscreen Menus in Adobe Muse


Source: Web Design Ledger

My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #8

My name is Mason Ellwood and I’m currently working on Flatiron School’s Online Full Stack Web Development Program. Each week, I’ll be writing about my experience, what I’m learning, and tips on learning to code.

In the simplest terms that I can think of. To me, programming workflow (if you look at it in a broad sense) is very similar to a game most of you have played once in your life.

I know it is probably not the same one you have played when you were a kid, but bare with me. So with this game, you have a beginning point. to. You have to navigate through the different options (or pipe placement) to reach the outcome you want, the purpose. With this you can can navigate to the same end point in a few different ways, but all reach the same conclusion. Or they will navigate away from the expected output to a defined end point, where you have to either start over, or travel to a different outcome. As a programmer you have to be able to envision all possible outcomes from a single start point and what conditions need to be met to retrieve the outcome you want to meet to proceed.

Conditionals are one of the foundations of programming. If “something” is met, then do “something” else, and travel through the possible outcomes to reach the user’s goal.

Ruby conditional’s control the flow of the program that you are building. This includes if, else, and elsif.

This workflow looks something like this:

  • If (condition to be met)

    • code to run if condition is met
  • else
    • code to run if condition is not met
  • end

 

You can also add an elsif statement, which creating more conditional statements that could possibly be met. You can add as many elsif statements as you would like.

The control flow structure is a language feature which disrupts the normal progression to the next statement and conditionally or unconditionally branches to another location in your source code. This is controlled through if, elsif, and else returning true or false.

So far with the school I feel I have made some real progress. The school has been very enjoyable so far and I am learning and grown as a programmer immensely. When I started, I thought this would be very similar to other web courses I have gone through, which I am very grateful that is not the case. The Flatiron School really pushes you to think, and allows the student to write many different options for an acceptable correct answer.

Each lesson is setup with its own test suite, that basically checks that the output of your methods are correct but leaves it up to you to figure out the best possible way to retrieve and display that value. I have a long way to go, but I am amazed by the progress I have made so far and really looking forward to the other sections I will be dealing with soon.

Read More at My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #8


Source: Web Design Ledger

How To Boost Your Freelance Web Design Career By Building a Network


Hey there freelance web designer – you’re leaving money on the table!

We all know about the struggles of starting a career in freelance web design. You’re probably not aware of the right places to look for work, you might be underselling your services – maybe even working for free to build up a nice portfolio. You still have to build confidence to start charging a decent rate. It’s tough, but we keep at it to be able to succeed when we’ve built a good name for ourselves.

Eventually you learn – you start making good contacts and the work starts rolling in. If you’ve worked hard enough and made enough good contacts, you might now start to struggle in a different (much more positive) way.

You start to struggle to fit all of the work you have in your day. And this is the point where you start leaving money on the table – you start to refuse work simply because you don’t have enough time to service all of your clients.

Yet – it doesn’t have to be this way – there’s a little trick we’re going to show you today which will boost your freelancing web design revenue. At the same time, done right, you can possibly starting working less hours rather than more.

The dangers of refusing freelance web design work

If you’re in a position that you are struggling to keep up with work coming your way – well done! You’ve done such a great sales and marketing job, that clients are clamouring to get just a little bit of your time.

It’s a fantastic position to be in. One that most of your peers envy.

You’re not only filling all your hours – you can actually start choosing who to work with or the jobs you take.

If there is a client or a job which you don’t want to work on, do a little magic with the numbers when writing your web design proposal. Double or triple your rate – that way, your client will either get discouraged by the price. If they’re not sufficiently discouraged you’re going to get a nice windfall from that client or piece of work.

You’re not refusing outright a job which you’d rather not be working on. You’re just earning more money from it.

You can actually start charging better rates overall should you want to. That will automatically shrink your client base, because the ones who might have initially been attracted to your (cheaper) prices would now start shirking away.

There is a problem with both these approaches though.

They work well as long as there is a bounty of work. If times get tough, you will have alienated quite a few of your clients. These clients would by then have moved on and you’re unlikely to win them back. The fact that you snubbed them when you had better clients or jobs will be a turn off to them, even if you actually ask them very very nicely.

Let’s face it, they’ll think, if you snubbed them once, you’ll do it again.

So what’s a better approach?

Don’t refuse them – outsource the work to your own network of web design freelancers.

Establish your own network of web design / development freelancers

Whilst building your own network of clients, there is another piece of networking you should be doing – establishing a network of freelancers which operate in the same or similar niches as you do.

If you’re a web designer, you should network with:

  • Other web designers for when you are overwhelmed with work
  • Web developers for when you need to customize stuff
  • Designers for all creative work
  • Photographers / video or other online content providers

You get the idea.

Same goes for any content writer or anybody working in a niche related to the web design niche. Network with freelancers doing web design so that you’ll be able to take all of the work which comes along.

That way, when and if a client comes for the full package, you can provide them with the all of the services they need.

Heck you can even actually pitch a whole package if you see that your client has that specific need.

Stop doing the work you hate – start working on the things you love.

We’re in the day and age of digital workers. Freelance web designers have the luxury of working from anywhere – infact quite a few of them do. More than that, you can outsource the work to countries where labour is cheaper.

That gives you the opportunity to markup the work of others. To have a bit of an analogy, in essence, you will be the Quality Assurance manager in a factory of “manual labourers”.

Or the architect at a construction site. You won’t be dumping the concrete. You will, on the other hand, be testing that the quality of the concrete is good enough for your (web)site.

Rather than being the manual labourer yourself, you define the requirements and make sure these requirements are rigorously met, on time and at the right budget.

You’re simply the project manager of the jobs you’re unable to do, whilst still doing the jobs you enjoy doing.

Use the 80-20 rule as your guiding principle.

If you are able to spend 80% of your time doing the work you love and the other 20% of your time, managing your network of freelancers, you’re going to easily double the amount of hours you could be charging for.

This will drastically boost your revenue potential.

If you do freelance web design and enjoy designing pages, but don’t really like doing coding, you’ll need to have a bunch of WordPress developers ready for hiring. You can then outsource the development work to these designers and you can keep working on work you love doing best.

How to create a network of cheaper freelancer web designers

The biggest challenge in all of this is to actually build a reliable network of web design related freelancers.

Let me tell you a bit of story.

We tend to get quite busy publishing content at DART Creations – so when we do to need development work, we typically outsource to our trusted developers.

Yet finding reliable WordPress developers was not a pleasant experience for us.

We tried hiring developers first on a few of the most popular freelancing websites out there. We set up a project and a budget and waited for the offers to start pouring in. They did of course – from all sorts of people, the ones with great reviews and exorbitant prices and the ones with fewer reviews and more decent prices.

We chose somebody who seemed to be a good balance between good reviews and prices.

Our first hiree turned out to completely “borrow” code from another plugin.

Our second hiree wasn’t very responsive – although we agreed a timeline, we had to remind, nag and eventually beg for the code to be submitted.

The quality of the resulting code left much to be desired.

They had asked for payment outside of escrow services and trying to recover any money after that mess required chargebacks on credit cards. In a few words – too much hassle.

(Lesson learnt: never make payments outside of an escrow service – even if it’s more expensive, you’re protected against poor work)

The tried and tested way to hire freelancers

1. Physical networking

Working online has it’s benefits. Yet, there is something about meeting a person face-to-face where you can make an instant judgement on whether that person is reliable or not.

Get in touch with your peers in real-life as much as possible and network. Go to web design, WordPress and development conferences – and always network as much as possible.

Don’t stick to a single group of people with whom you “make friends”. Meet as much as possible with different people, always with a lookout to acquiring new contacts.

Attend local developer meetups with the same thing in mind. Wherever there is a gathering of people who operate in your niche, go and make contacts.

2. Online networking

Whilst physical networking is great – you should still network online. Find online groups of peers. Whether your favourite online hangout is Facebook, Google+, reddit, or some forum, always keep networking online. The more groups / conversations you join, the larger the possibilities of networking.

Give back to the online communities you join.

That way when you do stuff to network, you’ll be known as “the one who helps often”.

3. Vet freelance web designers and developers before going all out

You should never assign somebody to important jobs unless you’ve already tested them out on smaller jobs.

Essentially, if you don’t know a person, you really can’t be sure about the quality of work they provide, their timeliness, their communication efficiency.

Reviews can guide you, but you’ll find that quite a few reviews might be skewed and not provide a true picture of the actual skill set of the person you are hiring.

You’ll need to slowly get to know the person you are hiring by giving them a small task. This task should not be crucial to the success of a project. It should be a piece of work which you can afford to trash and give to somebody else.

4. If you’re in a hurry – hire multiple freelancers for the same job

When you’re pressed for time with a tight deadline for a piece of work and don’t have the time to vet a new hiree, there is a tried and tested way to mitigate your risk.

Rather than hiring a single developer, you should hire multiple developers (or whatever the task you need to do is).

You’re going to pay a premium for this, but you should see this as an investment in future projects. It is also a better guarantee of a good result.

Probable scenario – one hiree does not deliver or deliver sub-par work (work is thrown away, hire is abandoned). Second hiree provides good quality work.

Best-case scenario – both hirees provide excellent quality work. You’ll still have to throw away one of the results, but you’ve found two excellent freelancers for your network which you’ll be able to use in future projects.

Worst-case scenario – both hirees deliver poor quality work. You’ll have to abandon both hirees and their work and in all likelihood you’re going to have to perform some contingency planning.

A way to mitigate the worst case scenario is give the hirees a due date which is a week or two before the project deadline. That allows you some leeway to find a replacement, although you’re going to have to pay through the nose this time to make sure the quality is top-notch and the project is delivered on time.

Make hay while the sun shines

As long as you’ve got work coming in, creating a network of freelancers working around your web design is an excellent way to boost your freelancing web design revenue. Given that they are freelancers, with no fixed commitment, you’re not risking much in reality.

It’s a win-win situation for you.

Stop leaving money on the table. You never know when the good times will dry up.

 

Read More at How To Boost Your Freelance Web Design Career By Building a Network


Source: Web Design Ledger