Category Archives: Web Design

15 Free Photoshop & Sketch Admin Dashboard UI Templates

In recent years, much has changed in the way web users interact with dashboard data and complete simple backend tasks. Layouts are more spacious and mobile-friendly, colors are simpler, typography is highly-readable, interactive charts make data much easier to digest, and advancements in technology have made completing tasks much quicker.

The admin panels of 2017 are setting a high usability standard and raising the bar in creative interaction design.

If you’re looking for HTML and CSS dashboard templates, you might like to take a look at these Bootstrap-powered Dashboard templates. Or, if you’re looking for some admin panel design inspiration, try this post. But if you’re looking for dashboard templates in PSD or Sketch formats, then stick around, this is the collection for you!

All of the below dashboard templates are free to download and use (check the license, though, they do sometimes change), and are available in either Photoshop or Sketch formats. Hopefully, they will give you some fresh ideas for your own designs.

Buvud eCommerce Dashboard UI/UX Kit (Photoshop PSD) Designed by Anton Kalik

Buvud eCommerce Dashboard UI/UX Kit psd photoshop

Flat Course Admin Dashboard (Skectch) Designed by Hoang Nguyen

free template Flat Course Admin Dashboard sketch

Kavina Dashboard Analytics Template (Photoshop PSD) Designed by Septiandika Pratama

free admin dashboard template psd photoshop Kavina Analytics

UInugge Dashboard Design (Photoshop PSD)

free admin dashboard template psd photoshop UInugge

Admin Dashboard Free Template (Photoshop PSD) Designed by Aaron Sananes

Admin Dashboard Free Template psd

ThemePanda Responsive Dashboard Design (Photoshop PSD) Designed by Raaz Das

ThemePanda Responsive Dashboard Design psd photoshop

Smart Admin Dashboard UI (Photoshop PSD) Designed by Mushfiq

Smart Admin Dashboard UI psd

Dashboard Freebie (Sketch App) Designed by Ante Matijaca

Dashboard Freebie sketch template

Morph-UI Flat Dashboard UI Kit (PNG & Photoshop PSD) Designed by Morphosis

Morph-UI Flat Dashboard UI Kit free png psd

Analytics Dashboard UI Kit (Photoshop PSD) Designed by Balkan Brothers

Analytics Dashboard UI Kit free template

Admin Dashboard UI Freebie (Photoshop PSD & Sketch App) Designed by Sergiu Firez

Admin Dashboard UI Freebie template

Clean Dashboard (Sketch App) Designed by Padam Boora

Clean Dashboard template freebie

Data Analytics Dasboard (Sketch App) Designed by Tonda Kus

Data Analytics Dasboard template skecth free

eCommerce Dashboard Admin (Photoshop PSD) Designed by Bagus Fikri

eCommerce Dashboard Admin free template psd photoshop

Dribbble Stats Dashboard (Photoshop Photoshop PSD) Designed by Dany Rizky

Dribbble Stats Dashboard psd free photoshop

Merkury Dashboard Template (Photoshop PSD) Designed by Symu

Merkury Dashboard Template freebie web admin photoshop psd

FokiraDash Dashboard UI Template (Photoshop PSD) Designed by Eftakher Alam

FokiraDash Dashboard UI Template admin psd photoshop

Dashboard UI Elements (Photoshop PSD) Designed by Craftwork

Dashboard UI Elements psd admin

Free Dashboard (Photoshop PSD) Designed by Malte Westedt

Free Dashboard template admin psd photoshop

The post 15 Free Photoshop & Sketch Admin Dashboard UI Templates appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.


Source: Speckyboy

15 Free Gesture and Interaction Icon Sets for Mobile App Designers

With the rapid rise in popularity of touch devices, from mobile phones and tablets to the many laptops and monitors that support touch, developers need to find a quick way of explaining the many touch-enabled interactions that add extra functionality and improve the experience and productivity of many of the latest applications to new users. Many developers use gesture icon sets, or interaction icons, to teach new users how to use their app.

In this short post, we have collected 15 free gesture icon sets for you. The gesture icons come in many different styles, sizes and, most importantly, formats. And just like all free resources, please do check the license, they can change from time-to-time.

If you’re looking for more icons, you might also like to take a look at the top 50 free icon sets for web design.

Touch Gestures Icons By Jeff Portaro (100 Icons, AI, EPS, CSH, PSD, PNG, SVG)

Touch Gestures Icons mobile app development designer

Touch Gesture Icons By Mobile Tuxedo (48 Icons, PSD, EPS, PNG)

Touch Gesture Icons mobile app development designer

Gesture Icons By Frexy (38 Icons, EPS, SVG)

Gesture Icons mobile app development designer

Gesty By Mariusz Ostrowski (43×8 Icons, AI, CSH, SVG, EPS)

Gesty gesture icon set mobile app development designer

Free Gesture Icon Set By Rena One (14 Icons, PSD, AI, PNG)

Free Gesture Icon Set mobile app development designer

Gesture Icons By Theme Raid (50 Icons, AI)

Gesture Icons mobile app development designer

Hand Gesture Icons By Abdus (12 Icons, PSD)

Hand Gesture Icons mobile app development designer

Gesture & Transition Icons By NOGA (19 Icons, Sketch)

Gesture & Transition Icons mobile app development designer

Free Touch Gestures By Tom Loots (9 Icons, AI)

Free Touch Gestures mobile app development designer

Flat Hands Illustration Vector (AI, EPS)

Flat Hands Illustration Vector mobile app development designer

UX Gesture Icons By Gaoyoungor (12 Icons, PSD)

UX Gesture Icons mobile app development designer

iPhone Gestures By Julian Burford (12 Icons, AI)

Gestures free icon set mobile app development designer

iPhone Gestures By Suleiman Leadbitter (12 Icons, Sketch)

iPhone Gestures icons mobile app development designer

Hand Gesture Pack By Tom Johnson

Hand Gesture Pack mobile app development designer

Material Design Hand Gestures By Oxygenna (8 Icons, PSD, PNG)

Material Design Hand Gestures mobile app development designer

Righteous Gestures By Martin Cajzer (56 Icons, AI, PSD)

Righteous Gestures icon sets mobile app development designer

The post 15 Free Gesture and Interaction Icon Sets for Mobile App Designers appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.


Source: Speckyboy

Discovering Resilient Web Design with Jeremy Keith

If you’re interested in where the web is headed, you have to look to its past. With Jeremy Keith’s new book, Resilient Web Design, the veteran designer digs into the web’s humble beginnings and the lessons it has taught.

While those lessons are indeed fascinating in their own light, Keith shows us how they’ve led us to a new way to approach web design. The journey wasn’t always easy (there were those of us who were a little slow to adapt – counting yours truly) but, as the book shows, it’s clearly been worthwhile.

Jeremy was kind of enough to chat with us about his design background, his affection for web history and how we can utilize the concept of Progressive Enhancement in our work.

Resilient Web Design by Jeremy Keith


Q: Please do tell us about your background in web design. Are there any particular areas you specialize in?

Jeremy Keith: I made my first website back in 1996, I think. Or maybe it was 1997. I can’t recall exactly. I was living in southern Germany at the time, selling bread in a bakery by day and playing in a band on the side. We decided the band should have a website, and I said I’d have a go at that. I ended up really enjoying it, and I was hooked.

Then people in other bands asked me to make websites for them too. So, early on I guess I specialised in band websites. Then I started freelancing, and moved to Brighton in 2000. From then on I did a bit of everything so I wouldn’t say I’ve got any particular specialisation these days. At Clearleft we work with all kinds of clients on all sorts of projects.


Q: In the book, you really dig into the history of web design. Could you tell us a little bit about the research you conducted and what, if anything, that may have surprised you?

JK: I’m such a sucker for the history of the web, the internet, and computing in general. I didn’t do too much specific research for this book, but for years I’ve been linking to interesting web history stuff, and reading books on the topic.

“Weaving The Web” by Tim Berners-Lee is an obvious touchstone. “Where Wizards Stay Up Late” by Katie Hefner is a wonderful book on the origins of the ARPANET and Internet.

Brian Kardell has written a series of posts on his blog called A Brief(ish) History of the Web Universe—I love those.

There’s also a web history community group at the W3C. It’s a very low-traffic list, but it occasionally brings up some real gems.

In terms of surprises along the way, I definitely had a “huh!” moment when I first went to CERN. I knew I’d be blown away by all the science going on (and I was), and I knew I’d be blown away by being at the birthplace of the web (and I was), but I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by the *way* work gets done there. There’s almost no hierarchy! It feels like one big hack day …but a hack day on the fundamental questions of science.

It really got me thinking about the environments in which breakthroughs happen—Bletchley Park, CERN, Xerox Parc …maybe there’s another book to be written about the “scenius” of those places.


Q: One of the more fun aspects of the book is your retelling of the old HTML hacks (single pixel images, table-based layouts, etc.), the original browser wars and our clinging to fixed-width layouts.

Do you feel that time period was a necessary step in getting to where we are today in terms of how we build websites?

JK: Oh, yes! Spacer gifs and table layouts were hacks, but they were necessary hacks. The alternative was to have no decent graphic design on the web at all. Designers couldn’t be expected to just sit and wait for standards to come along.

That said, once we do finally get a standardised solution, that’s when it’s time to put the hacks away. I think we’re going to see this pattern repeat as we move to HTTP2. Concatenation, sprites, and other performance tricks that work great today will become anti-patterns in the future.

If you build pages with the idea that parts other than HTML are optional, you'll create a better and stronger web page.


Q: The practice of Progressive Enhancement, along with people’s misconceptions of it, are something you discussed quite a bit. You allude to the fact that some designers (I include myself in this) are creatures of habit and not always open to change their processes.

In your opinion, how does using Progressive Enhancement change the way a designer approaches building a site?

JK: Progressive enhancement is pretty much entirely about *approaching* the practice of web design and development. That’s both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it means it can be applied to almost everything, from a simple component to an entire website. But, on the other hand, because it isn’t about a specific technology, there aren’t really any progressive enhancement tools.

That can seem like a real shame; that you can’t just download and install some software to get up and running with progressive enhancement. But on a longer timescale, it’s good news. Software comes and goes. Tools come and go. But a way of approaching your work can last a lifetime. That’s quite powerful.


Q: One of the challenges of being a web designer seems to be learning to adapt as things change.

What advice would you give to designers, both new and experienced, with regards to keeping up with these ever-evolving techniques?

JK: I think it can be useful to distinguish between the different timescales that tools and techniques operate at. For instance, when it comes to design, principles of contrast, colour, and whitespace are close to timeless. But trends with textures and type treatments can literally change by the season. That’s okay …as long as you’re aware of those different timescales.

Likewise, some approaches to web development—ways of structuring code; employing progressive enhancement—those can last for the long haul. But build-tools, frameworks, and libraries can change all the time.

I guess the pattern here is that broad principles and approaches can be long-lasting, whereas specific implementations and tools come and go. With that in mind, you can devote your energies accordingly—building up some long-term muscles, while at the same time checking out the latest hot new dev tool, knowing that it won’t be around forever.


Q: You mention the use of Photoshop, and how it’s not necessarily the best tool for creating mockups.

What tools do you prefer to use for layout and then building out a site?

JK: I didn’t mean to pick on Photoshop specifically. After all, it was never actually intended for mocking up web pages.

Rather than asking what the best tool is for creating a mock-up, I think the first question to ask is who the mock-up is for. If you’re designing for sign-off, then you want to make the mock-up as beautiful as possible and Photoshop will work just fine. But if you’re designing for handover to development, then that’s a completely different audience. Maybe a tool like Sketch is better. Of course, what tends to happen is that a mock-up created for one purpose (sign off) ends up getting reused for a different purpose (handover for development). That leads to frustration all around.

There’s a third reason to create a mock-up: when you trying to get ideas out of your head. In that situation—where nobody else might ever need to see the results—use whatever tool you like.

Personally, I’m a big fan of paper and pen—its cheapness allows you to get ideas down nice and quickly. Then when you need more fidelity, you can move into a graphic design tool like Photoshop or Sketch, but I think there are diminishing returns on staying too long in that phase. Getting designs into web browsers and in front of people is the only way to really tell how well a design is working.

Jeremy Keith


Q: Do you have any future plans to write a follow-up to Resilient Web Design? What’s next for you?

JK: When people talk about writing a book, what they’re usually saying is “I’d really like to have written a book”, not “I’d really like to go through the process of writing.” It took me a year and a half of mostly procrastinating to get Resilient Web Design written (and that’s a really short book), so I don’t think there’ll be a follow-up any time soon. That said, I’m very pleased with the end result so while I may not have enjoyed doing the writing, I very much enjoy having written.

Resilient Web Design was a bit unusual for me because it’s not about a specific technology. My previous books have been on topics like JavaScript, Ajax, and HTML5. Those books, by the very nature, tend to go out of date over time. I’m hoping that Resilient Web Design will have a longer shelf life.

What usually happens is that I wish that a good book existed on a particular topic that excites me—JavaScript, Ajax, HTML5—until I realise that if I want it to exist, I’ll have to write it. That might happen again. Like, right now, I’m very, very excited about service workers and strategies for making websites work offline. Maybe I’ll end up having to write a book about that.

Thanks to Jeremy Keith for talking design with us! Resilient Web Design is his free web book and it is a fantastic read. Also, be sure to visit Adactio – Jeremy’s personal blog.

The post Discovering Resilient Web Design with Jeremy Keith appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.


Source: Speckyboy

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

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

5 Tips on Hiring the Best Web Designer

You’re reading 5 Tips on Hiring the Best Web Designer, originally posted on Designmodo. If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to follow on Twitter, Facebook, Google+!

5 Tips on Hiring the Best Web Designer

Hiring a web design can be an exciting process. When I talk about hiring a web design in this post, the advice can be applied in a variety of ways. First, it could mean hiring a single, usually freelance, designer for a job you need to be done. It could also refer to a web […]



Source: Designmodo

How to Be the Web Design Client Your Designer Deserves

Web designers and their clients are supposed to build a relationship over time. A good design is built on a foundation of creative collaboration and mutual understanding.

When business owners feel like their websites aren’t built to specs, it’s the result of a disconnect between the designer and client. Sometimes, it’s the designer’s fault; other times, it’s the client’s. Here are a few tips for creating a lasting relationship (and a beautiful website) with your site designer.

Learn How to Communicate Your Ideas

Being clear and concise with your ideas is the most important thing you can do. If you can’t articulate the concept of your business clearly, the website will suffer. In the worst-case scenario, the site will confuse your brand, which leads to failed marketing and eventually (if not corrected) a failed business.

Your site designer needs some room for creativity, but if you don’t give him or her some sort of starting point, your website will be as muddled as the instructions you provided. It’s your designer’s job to take some basic information about your business and use it to guide the creative process of building your site. You should be able to provide the following information:

  • Business goals and objectives.
  • Ideal customers or at least a rough idea of them.
  • Brand specific guidelines, including colors, logos, and other criteria.
  • The overall personality you want your site to convey.

This type of information isn’t hard to identify; you’ll likely find most of it in your original business plan. Using this information, a web designer will be able to generate a few great ideas for your site. You can then work together to develop the seed of an idea for your site and expand upon it until it’s realized. The key is working together; your designer can’t do it alone. This brings us to concept number two: feedback.


Image Source: etraining.communitydoor.org.au

Offer Feedback – But Only When Asked

Be prepared to offer useful feedback throughout the design process. Almost all designers provide regular progress reports to their clients. They’ll host the site on their own server for you to explore. It’s available to you 24/7 so you can check on progress whenever you want. Designers want feedback, but only when they ask for it. Don’t worry; they will.

Try to avoid giving unprompted feedback; it’ll disrupt the creative process. Your designer might already be in the middle of making changes, but you just can’t see them yet.

Instead, make a list of helpful feedback so it’ll be available when your designer asks for it. Whether it’s a font you don’t like, a different shade of green you want used, or some other change, you should be prepared to ask for it when the time comes. Keep in mind that designers aren’t robots. They need regular feedback to make sure you’re both on the same page.

It can be helpful to set up weekly or monthly meetings with your designer to share some feedback and reconnect on your goals. This can keep him or her accountable, and it involves you in the creative process without being too overpowering. While the designer is likely to ask for feedback as some point, remember that if you wait until the site is finished to voice your complaints, neither of you will be very happy.


Image Source: elearninginfographics.com

Content Creation Is Up to You, Not Your Designer

Web designers shape the infrastructure and look of your website to show off your content, but they don’t design it. Creating material for your website is your responsibility. A web designer will make sure it looks fantastic and works well, but they can’t do everything. Many clients make the mistake of providing sample content as a placeholder for the real thing. This can be detrimental to the creative process. Designers will have to go back and remodel the site, and they won’t have much information to work with.

When you provide designers with real content, such as site copy, images, and videos, they’ll get a better understanding of your brand. They’ll be able to lay out and design your website based on the tone of the material you’ll be displaying. This makes the overall website more cohesive and helps ensure it’s delivered to you on time.

Relax and Trust Your Designer’s Judgment

Trust your designer. These professionals build entire careers on creating websites. You wouldn’t want someone micromanaging your work, would you? It can be easy to imagine your designer as a wistful artist who does everything on a whim, but that’s not the case. Designers are experts; they know what they’re doing, and they know what’s good for your business website.

That’s not to say they’re always right, but it does mean you should generally trust their judgment. If your designer wants to educate you about a process, let them. Most designers want to make managing a website easier for you. They want you to understand the fundamentals of design so you understand the value of their work. Plus, it makes you an enlightened customer. Keep an open mind; relax, and let your web designer guide you through the process.


Source: Devlounge.net

Stay Positive and Have Fun With It

Designing a website is an exciting step, so try to have fun with it! Aim to keep a positive attitude and be understanding. There may come a point where you’ll need to have to have a difficult conversation with your designer. Maybe you just can’t stand the layout or you really want to include something on your site – but your designer likely won’t be thrilled about it.

Either way, a disagreement could pop up. However, if you stay friendly and positive even when you’re putting your foot down, your designer will be happier working on your site. And that will show in the finished piece.

Don’t Expect Good Design to be Cheap

Above all else, always remember that you get what you pay for. This is true for all things in life, but particularly true when it comes to subjective careers, such as art and design. You’re paying a designer to take a raw concept and refine it into a tangible result. If you’re not prepared to pay for their talent and technical expertise, you can pretty much expect to be disappointed.

Use common sense when researching designers. A web designer who costs $10 an hour is inexpensive for a reason – generally a lack of experience. Even if your website turns out beautifully, it’ll flounder if it doesn’t portray your business correctly. That’s why good designers are paid the big bucks. They have that magical something that allows them to translate good design into your design. You wouldn’t let an inexperienced carpenter build a luxury home for you, right?


Image Source: bluleadz.com

After reading all this, developing a good client/designer relationship may seem complicated. But it’s like any other relationship. A successful partnership should be built on trust, communication, and respect. When something works, celebrate. When something doesn’t, discuss it with your designer in a productive manner.

Be prepared to offer concrete examples of what you like and what you don’t like. Be fair with your feedback, and try not to waste your time or the designer’s. Mostly, be cooperative. After all, it’s a collaborative endeavor, and collaboration takes more than one person.

The post How to Be the Web Design Client Your Designer Deserves appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.


Source: Speckyboy

How To Handle Ethical Disagreements With Your Clients

Sometimes, you may get a client who wants you to do something that you’re just not comfortable with. We all want to please our clients, but how do you please a client who, say, really wants you to directly copy another company’s logo design or sales copy? Or who wants you to do something malicious to a competitor’s online reputation, Google ranking, et cetera?

It doesn’t matter what the unethical thing is or your reason for not wanting to do it – it’s always a pain to deal with and handle in a professional and courteous manner. Luckily, there is a reliable process many freelancers can use to stop these types of clients from getting out of control, and often prevent ethical issues from coming up in the first place.

Opting Out

First, it’s important to remember that the best option in situations like these is to simply have more options and avoid these types of projects altogether. Clients who are shady are almost always more trouble than they’re worth, and if the unethical activity can be traced back to you in any way, you’ll find yourself with more trouble on your hands than you ever wanted.

If you have other potential clients you can work with, you can simply fire these bad apples and send them (politely) on their way things start to get moldy. But how do you determine who’s on the level before you take on a project?

Spotting The Red Flags

Many times, you can use your natural intuition to determine whether or not a client will present ethical dilemmas before you begin working with them. It can be as simple as a “vibe” – just a weird feeling you get when talking to them, or the dodgy way in which they answer your questions.

I’ve turned down work from clients before who just had an oddness about them that I couldn’t explain. I didn’t know why they made me uncomfortable; simply that they did and I wanted nothing to do with their project. In more than one case, I found out later that they were, in fact, up to no good. Freelancer: 1, disaster: 0.

Other times, it can be the type of work a client asks you to do that sets off the alarm bells. Reputation management, radical brand redesigns, or conflict de-escalation with third parties like angry customers or threatening competitors, while not unethical by themselves, can be signs that your client might want to handle these problems in ways that aren’t entirely above board.

Use your judgement and listen to your gut when deciding which projects to take on. It might seem silly to turn away a client just from a feeling, but it can save you potentially years of headaches and legal problems. Plus, word to the wise: it’s often these kinds of clients who provide the biggest issues when it comes to payment as well.

Remember You’re The Expert

Sometimes, a request for something unethical can truly come out of nowhere. Everything is going fine, then suddenly your client springs a rotten request on you that you’re not sure how to handle.

In these situations, it’s likely that your client is less likely to be a crook, and more likely to simply be misguided on the direction they should be taking with the project. They see what’s working for their competitors, and they decide it’s not worth tampering with what’s clearly a winning formula. In other words, they have the right general idea, but need some help executing it in an original way.

It’s important to remind these types of clients – and yourself – that you were hired to apply your professional expertise to solve their business problems. Don’t be afraid to challenge your client’s assumptions as to what will be truly effective and why.

Point them to results you’ve achieved in the past that will show them that there are many ways to approach the dilemma that won’t violate anyone else’s intellectual property rights. Don’t just send them a new round of comps or revisions – take the time to explain what works, what doesn’t, and what will help them avoid a lawsuit.

Saying ‘I Told You So’

Ah, yes. Gloating. It’s not just for schoolchildren anymore. If you’ve done everything you can to convince a client to do the right thing, and they still refuse to see reason, it’s essential to be able to release yourself from liability if and when something goes horribly wrong. Here’s where having a record of all communication comes in handy.

Even if most of your exchange with the client happens in person and over the phone, always make transcribed copies of your recommendations, requests, and warnings, and ask the client to sign off or verify them via email.

Keep records of all the advice you provide and send a copy to your client, even if they end up completely ignoring you. That way, when their idea fails miserably, you can whip out your notes and show them that you warned them. Besides being satisfying to get a little revenge on a stubborn client, it makes it impossible for the client to hold you responsible for their poor behavior.

Hopefully, this will convince them that it’s always better to do things the right way rather than treading on someone else’s rights, but if not, at least you can walk away with a clean conscience and warn other freelancers you know to avoid that client at all costs.

What Do You Think?

Have you ever dealt with an unethical request from a client? What strategies worked for you when dealing with the outcome? Comment and let us know!

The post How To Handle Ethical Disagreements With Your Clients appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.


Source: Speckyboy

Super Deal: Mega Snow & Winter Bundle from Feingold Design – only $11!

This bundle contains 9 high-quality design products for your perfect winter time. Simulating photorealistic snow or fog for photography, web or print design has never been that easy. Various snow objects as well as 16 artistic snowflakes with transparent backgrounds will add a special touch to your Christmas and winter designs. The pack of winter photos and a frozen text effect rounds everything up, and is perfect for social media posts, bloggers or web shop owners.

Highlights:

  • Real Snow Brushes for Photoshop CS1+: This high resolution brush for Photoshop was created to paint falling and lying snow or photorealistic frozen effects. The snow flakes were cut out of real photographic material and can be used to create quite realistic snowscapes.
  • Real Snow Photo Overlays for Photoshop CS4+: Just drag one of the 4 different snow-layer folders on top of your photo. Each of the 4 preconfigured overlays consist of 8 different layers to control the amount and depth of snow.
  • Fog Effect for Photoshop CS4+: Realistic and lossless high quality fog effect prepared to fit for portrait, landscape, architecture or panorama photos. Easy to apply, just drag & drop the adjustment layer folder on top of your photo.
  • Frozen Text Effect for Photoshop CS4+:The Photoshop document provides simple adjustment settings for text layers to create frozen looking text. The effect is prepared for dark and bright backgrounds and comes fine-tuned in 7 different sizes (6pt to 180pt).
  • Snow Line Elements and Icicles : 27 photographic high-resolution snow line elements. Perfect to add more realistic snow to your web design, poster, greeting- or post card layouts. Cut out and prepared for easy use. Delivered in transparent PNG-files (38 files).
  • Seamless Snow Texture (1 JPG image file & PS Action): This seamless high-resolution snow texture was made to generate large snow surfaces. One JPG-file, 4717 × 3146 pixel, 300dpi. Including Photoshop Actions to generate large surfaces.
  • Abstract Snowflakes (16 transparent PNG image files): Want something special on your Christmas or business cards? This bundle includes 16 transparent snowflakes you can work with. Each flake is 2000 x 2000 pixel large (about 15 x 15 cm in print at 300 dpi).
  • Abstract Snowflake Generator for Photoshop CS4+: Paint your own individual snowflakes with the help of this PSD-file. You only paint one-twelfth of the snowflake and the Smart Object does the rest for you. Just paint with brushes into the Smart Object to get your 2000 x 2000 pixel snowflakes directly.
  • Winter & Snow Photo Pack (36 JPG image files): 36 winter photos matching a wide variety of snow related topics.

Check all the previews here.

Normally, this mega vector collection sells for $642 but for a limited time only, you can get Mega Snow & Winter Bundle for just $11 – That’s a monstrous savings of 98% off the regular price.Go here to get this awesome deal!

Read More at Super Deal: Mega Snow & Winter Bundle from Feingold Design – only $11!


Source: Web Design Ledger

10 Useful htaccess Code Snippets and Hacks

.htaccess is one file that every web admin should know and understand. At its basic level, it controls access to your sites directories. But there is much more that you can do, as the snippets in this post will show you.

If you you would like to learn the basics of .htaccess, you should check our Introduction to .htaccess article, which explains pretty well everything you will need to get you up and running.

You might also like these useful WordPress SQL Query Snippets or these snippets that make WordPress user-friendly for your clients.

So, here are some useful .htaccess snippets and hacks:

1. Controlling Access to Files and Directories

Password protection is one thing, but sometimes you may need to completely block users from having the option of accessing a particular file or directory. This usually happens with system folders, such as the includes folder for which applications will need access but no users will ever need the privilege.

To do this, paste this code onto an .htaccess file and and drop it in the directory:

deny from all

However, this will block access to everyone, including you. To grant yourself access you need to specify your IP address. Here is the code:


order deny,allow

deny from all

allow from xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx is your IP. If you replace the last three digits with 0/12 for example, this will specify a range of IPs within the same network, thus saving you the trouble to list all allowed IPs separately.

If you want to block access to a particular file, including .htaccess itself, use the following snippet instead:


<Files .htaccess>

order allow,deny

deny from all

</Files>

Similarly, if you want to allow given IPs, list them with allow from.

If you want to block access to particular file types, use this instead:


<FilesMatch ".(htaccess|htpasswd|ini|phps|fla|psd|log|sh)$">

Order Allow,Deny

Deny from all

</FilesMatch>

2. Disabling Directory Browsing

To prevent directory browsing, add this:

Options All -Indexes

However, if for some reason you want to enable directory browsing, change it to the following:

Options All +Indexes

3. Speeding-Up Load Times by Compressing Files

You can compress any type of file, not only images. For instance, to compress HTML files, use this:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html

To compress TEXT files, use this:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain

You can also compress JavaScript, or add compression to multiple file types with one command:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml

Alternatively, if you want to compress all of your JavaScript, HTML, and CSS files with GZIP, you can use this:


<IfModule mod_gzip.c>

mod_gzip_on Yes

mod_gzip_dechunk Yes

mod_gzip_item_include file .(html?|txt|css|js|php|pl)$

mod_gzip_item_include handler ^cgi-script$

mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text.*

mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/x-javascript.*

mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image.*

mod_gzip_item_exclude rspheader ^Content-Encoding:.*gzip.*

</IfModule>

4. Protect Your Site against Hotlinking

If you don’t want your images hotlinked, add this to your .htaccess file:


RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?yourdomain.com [NC]

RewriteRule .(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ - [NC,F,L]

Just replace yourdomain.com with your own and you are good to go.

5. Blocking Visitors Referred from a Particular Domain

If you have users from a particular domain you don’t welcome, you can ban them from your site. For instance, if your site gets listed in a place you don’t want traffic from (i.e. adult sites, blackhat sites, etc.), you can serve them with a 403 Forbidden page. You need to have mod_rewrite enabled but since it is usually on, you should be fine. Add this snippet:


<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} bannedurl1.com [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} bannedurl2.com [NC,OR]

RewriteRule .* - [F]

</ifModule>

You need to replace bannedurl1.com and bannedurl2.com etc. with the domain names you want to blacklist. You may want to use the [NC] flag because it specifies that the domain name you’ve entered isn’t case sensitive. The [F] flag specifies the action to take – in this case to show the 403 Forbidden error. If you want to ban multiple sites, use the [NC,OR] flag for every domain but the last and if you want to ban a single domain use only the [NC] flag.

6. Blocking Requests from Particular User Agents

If your log files show particular user agents (bots or spiders) you can add a few lines to .htaccess and deny them access to your site:


RewriteEngine On  
RewriteBase /  
SetEnvIfNoCase Referer "^$" bad_user
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^badbot1" bad_user
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^badbot2" bad_user
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "^badbot3" bad_user
Deny from env=bad_user

Replace badbot1, badbot1, etc. with the names of bots from your log files. This should keep such programs away from your site.

7. Caching Files

Another way to speed your site’s load times is via file caching. Here is what you need to add in order to cache files:


<FilesMatch ".(flv|gif|jpg|jpeg|png|ico|swf|js|css|pdf)$">

Header set Cache-Control "max-age=2592000"

</FilesMatch>

You can add more file types (or remove some of them) to the sequence of files listed in this example – do what suits you. You can also use max-age to specify the amount of time in seconds that your files will live in the cache.

8. Disabling Caching for Particular File Types

If you don’t want to cache particular file types, it is easier not to include them in the cache sequence. However, sometimes files might get cached even if you you don’t explicitly list them there and in this case you may want to disable caching only for them. Most often you will want to disable caching for dynamic files, such as scripts. Here is how to do it:


<FilesMatch ".(pl|php|cgi|spl|scgi|fcgi)$">

Header unset Cache-Control

</FilesMatch>

Just pipe the files you want caching disabled for and this is it.

9. Bypassing the Download Dialogue

By default, when you try to download a file from a Web server, you get a dialogue that asks you if you want to save the file or open it. This dialogue is especially irritating with large media files or PDFs. If the files you have uploaded to your server are for downloads, you can save users the trouble and proceed straight to download. Here is what you need to set in .htaccess:


AddType application/octet-stream .pdf

AddType application/octet-stream .zip

AddType application/octet-stream .mp3

10. Renaming an .htaccess File

If for some reason, mostly security-related, you want to rename your .htaccess file, it is very easy to do it. In theory, renaming an .htaccess file shouldn’t cause problems with the applications running on your server but if by chance you notice such issues after you rename the file, just rename it back to its original name.


AccessFileName htac.cess

You also need to update any entries in the file itself or everywhere .htaccess is mentioned, otherwise you will be getting lots of errors.

11. Changing a Default Index Page

If you want your index page to be something different from the default index.html, index.php, index.htm, etc. this is very easy to do. Here is what you need to add to .htaccess:


DirectoryIndex mypage.html

Replace mypage.html with the actual URL of the page you want to use as index and you are done.

12. Redirecting to a Secure https Connection

If you are using https and you want to redirect users to the secure pages of your site, use this:


RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !on
RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI}

13. Restricting File Upload Limits in PHP, Maximum Size of Post Data, Max Script Execution Time, etc.

.htaccess allows you to set some values that directly affect your PHP applications. For instance, if you want to impose upload limits in PHP, so that you don’t run out of hosting space because of large files, use this:

php_value upload_max_filesize 15M

Of course, you can set the value to anything you deem appropriate – 15M (MB) in this example isn’t fixed in stone. You can also restrict the maximum post size for uploading in PHP, To do it, add this:

php_value post_max_size 10M

Similarly, you can change 10M to any value that suits you. If you don’t want scripts to execute forever, you can limit their execution time with the help of the following:

php_value max_execution_time 240

240 is the number of seconds before the script will be terminated and as you guess, it could be any value. Finally, if you want to limit the time a script can parse input data, use this:

php_value max_input_time 180

And set any value in seconds that suits you.

14. Disguising File Types

Sometimes you wouldn’t like users, to know the file types of the files on your site. One way to hide this information is if you disguise them. For instance, you can make all your files look as if they are HTML or PHP files:


ForceType application/x-httpd-php
ForceType application/x-httpd-php

There is much more that can be done with .htaccess. For instance, you can set automatic translation of your site’s pages, or set the server timezone, or remove the www from URLs, or use fancy directory listings, etc. In any case, before you start experiments with .htaccess, always backup the original .htaccess, so if things don’t go as planned, you have a working copy to revert to.

The post 10 Useful htaccess Code Snippets and Hacks appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.


Source: Speckyboy