A Web Designer’s Guide to Simple Solutions

If you’ve been working as a web designer for awhile, you may find yourself in an interesting position: Resident Expert/Guru. Friends, family, colleagues and clients will ask you for advice regarding the web or other technology-related topics.

I’ve been asked for advice and opinions on all sorts of matters over the past 20+ years. Even when I was the youngest person in the office, for some reason people sought out my perspective. I never quite understood why. Perhaps it was because the web was fairly new then and not a lot of people really understood it. Technology was also just beginning to shape our lives in ways we couldn’t yet imagine.

After awhile, I stopped questioning the reasons behind it all and just enjoyed helping others. If I know something that can help make someone’s day easier, I’m glad to do it.

Don’t Believe the Hype

The downside of being appointed a guru is that you might start to actually believe it yourself. Not that you become a narcissist of any sort. It’s just that, when everyone’s asking for your help, you might get the idea that you know more than you really do. That can have some nasty side-effects.

Don’t Believe the Hype

For one, it’s easy to overcomplicate things. Recently I had a request from a client that seemed to me that it would be an arduous task. My initial thought was that I’d need to carry out several steps to make it all happen. As it turns out, absolutely none of it worked.

I reached out to a tech support rep and they provided an answer that was far simpler than mine – and it worked perfectly. My first reaction was, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

I’d completely outsmarted myself. Somehow, I approached the task in exactly the wrong way.

The Lesson: Think of the simplest possible solution to whatever challenge you face.

It’s Not Always Rocket Science

When you’re used to dealing with difficult problems on a regular basis, you start to see everything through that lens. You may think, “If it’s something that I have to deal with, then it must be hard and complicated.”

It’s Not Always Rocket Science

Maybe it has a relation to something you dealt with in the past. It could be the same software or even the same client who had a really complex problem. That can lead to feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all (“Oh, no. Not another issue with XYZ!”). Perhaps you’re not thinking as clearly as you’d like.

The truth is that each challenge you face is its own separate entity. That doesn’t mean that you can’t reference your past experiences. It just means that you don’t need to pile old problems on top of new ones – stressing yourself out before you even get started.

With that in mind, it helps to have a process for your problem-solving endeavors:

1. Define the Challenge
Don’t worry about the solution just yet. This is all about going back to basics. Identify what the task at hand is before you go any further. This will allow you to create some separation from past dealings.

2. Find the Simplest Solution
Now that you have a clear definition in your head of just what the task is, you can start to think of a way to handle it. You may have several ideas in mind. Choose the one you believe to be the simplest. It’s fine to jot down other ideas just in case you need to come back to them later on.

3. Implementation
It’s time to get to work using the solution you chose in Step 2. Give it an honest effort. If it worked – great! If not, you can always revisit the previous step and try to find another way to get things done.

Keeping It Simple (and Real)

Problem-solving can be one of the most tedious aspects of this job. And there is real pressure when others are regularly looking to you for answers. It’s easy to lose yourself in the moment and feel like you’re never going to figure things out.

By simplifying your thinking, you might find that the solutions come to mind a bit easier. With that, your stress levels will also be lowered.

A quick three-step process won’t by itself solve all of your problems. But it will give you a solid place to start.

The post A Web Designer’s Guide to Simple Solutions appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.


Source: Speckyboy

14 Great WordPress Themes to Use in 2017

You’re reading 14 Great WordPress Themes to Use in 2017, originally posted on Designmodo. If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to follow on Twitter, Facebook, Google+!

Great WordPress Themes to Use in 2017

Purchasing a WordPress theme tends to be a time-consuming chore that at times can be overwhelming. To cut down time, you need to establish a series of criteria. Having done that, go down our list of 14 WordPress themes that we believe are the best on the market as we go into 2017. Core criteria to consider:  An Aesthetically […]



Source: Designmodo

User Feedback in UX

Think about that reassuring vibration that occurs after you flip your iPhone’s ringer switch to “off” – so you know the action you intended took place successfully. What about the infamous intercept voice: “If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again.” when you’ve left a phone line hanging or dialed an incorrect number?

The welcoming “You’ve got mail” from an AOL message. The shrill dinging when you’ve left a car door ajar. Even the cascade of digital cards filling the computer screen after you’ve won a game of Solitaire.

All of these are examples of user feedback, without which many everyday digital actions would be very confusing.

As overly-methodic as some of these may seem to us, the ability to provide constructive, relevant feedback is vital to fostering a positive user experience in website design, no matter how subtle. In any situation, the application of bad feedback, or lack of useful feedback, can escalate into unnecessary confusion.

Feedback Principles

When providing feedback to a user, it’s important to consider the context in which they’re receiving feedback. This includes the physical context – where on the screen are you giving feedback? – and the emotional context – are you providing positive or negative feedback?

Physical Context

Since we expect websites to respond to our input, it is important that this feedback is provided in a place where it’s obvious. If an item is added to a shopping cart, for instance, any relevant input (1 item added to your cart!) should be provided near the place where their action took place. Quietly updating a cart total in an entirely different part of the page is much less useful.


REI.com provides physical feedback that your “add to cart” action was successful by providing a drop down message.

Another useful application of user feedback in context is if someone made mistakes while filling out a form. Providing a clear visual label and explanation for each necessary correction is much more helpful than simply providing a list of all their errors at the top or bottom of the form.

Errors have ramifications that extend beyond the physical context, and appropriate use of emotional context is just as important to create a positive user experience and leave a lasting impression of a brand.

Emotional Context

Creating content for a website can sometimes be an emotional rollercoaster. While oftentimes we’re providing good news, in other situations we are forced to give feedback about something that didn’t go as planned.

Error states, particularly credit card declines, downtime notifications and legal policies all require some degree of empathy – you wouldn’t inform a customer that their flight was canceled with the same tone that you’d use to congratulate them on winning a sweepstake, would you?


The IMDB 404 page provides a series of movie-themed quotes that helps you understand what happened.

Feedback Implementations

Here are a few feedback implementations that our web development team find most useful to include in our projects. So useful, in fact, that each is applied to the framework on which we build our websites. They are integral not only to user experience, but also to retaining customer attention, trust in an organization’s brand, and a positive number of conversions.

The Load Status Indicator

The frustration of not seeing a reaction after clicking on something is most apparent on slower connections and addressed efficiently by designing a load status indicator (LSI) which animates while you wait, to indicate the request is in progress. Even better, an LSI can be customized for each web project.

We’ve made it a standard practice to design an LSI for each of our projects, one that is unique to the brand’s colors and overall website style. The design also encourages its use as an emotional feedback tool, a smooth animation that will induce a sense calm during the user’s moment of transition.

As with all user feedback, it is important to take some care with the application of an LSI. If a load status indicator shows up before any significant time has passed, it can be distracting or lead to an impression that things are progressing more slowly. Because of this, we only show an LSI after a few hundred milliseconds have passed.

Progress Bars

In cases when a file may take upwards of a few seconds to process, we apply progress bars. The progress bar would update as the file loads and then alert the user if there was an issue by providing an error state if the upload was, for some reason, unsuccessful.

To provide better user feedback, we progressively enhance the progress bars on our sites. For users on older browsers that can’t detect progress of your upload, we provide a striped bar (also known as a barber pole) to show that something is happening – essentially an LSI catered specifically for file uploads.

When our users are on a modern browser we provide more information such as updating the actual progress of the upload, providing thumbnails when images are being uploaded and queue additional files so that, when uploading a larger number of files, the user still sees progress, rather than spreading their available upstream bandwidth across all files. These cues increase user confidence that the task is proceeding and working as intended.

Hover Events

In the early years of the web, it was evident what a link was; that royal blue underlined text was an almost-universal visual pattern. Now that custom-styling of elements is the status quo, this visual pattern has been diluted, and hover events are a helpful feedback tool for users with a mouse.

They will alert the user that they have the ability to interact with whatever it is they are hovering their cursor over, such as an image, text link or button.


Image hover events help the user understand that they can interact with an element.

On mobile devices, however, hover states fall short. To activate the element, most of the time a user would have to tap once to trigger the hover event, then again a second time to carry out the action – a case when less feedback is more helpful.

Error Messages

It is important to provide context-appropriate error messages for user input forms with text catered to the level of sensitivity the situation warrants. These input forms include feedback about fields that were required but not filled out or information that wasn’t formatted correctly.

We offer that feedback as soon as they leave the field, so if you type an invalid email, it instantly alerts you there is an error. To further guide users, when a form is submitted we scroll users to the place on the page where the first error was encountered and, in some cases, a popup message fixed to the element at fault so users can easily find and remedy their mistakes, eliminating any unnecessary frustration.

Form Labels

In many of our forms, we provide a simple placeholder label before a user has provided information, so they are aware what that field is for.

Then, once they begin to type, we move the label to an adjacent position so that the purpose of their information is preserved in case they are filling out a longer form or are interrupted mid-task, making it easier to resume.

Conclusion

Frustration is the killer to satisfactory user interaction, and many times, so avoidable! Implementing proper feedback in your design projects can not only secure a successful conversion rate but also solidify the confidence customers feel about the company’s brand as a whole.

As designer and author Josh Clark aptly writes, “Our job is to help our users translate their intent into action.” The more we can guide users through our interfaces and provide clear feedback about their progress, the more success, and fewer frustrations, we can create.

The post User Feedback in UX appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.


Source: Speckyboy

My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #6

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.

Throughout my learning to program career, it seems like all I have and will be doing is learning and never actually be able to start my carrer. That seems like a stupid sentence, but a lot of the time it seems like the list of things I NEED to know does not stop. Every job listing you need to know 20 different abstract languages to even get your foot in the door, and I am constantly under qualified or lack enough experience to even land an interview. To put it frankly; that sucks. So where is the standard, what do I NEED to know, and what will actually be used on a daily basis; because if in my head I am constantly juggling 20 different language’s syntax on a daily basis, I may be over my head… I was discussing this with one of my good friends Paul Jackson who works in IT, and he helped me set everything straight. He said “If you master a language OOP (Object-oriented programming) concepts it will show in your work. Companies just want you to contribute in a certain way rather than to be an expert in all.”

As Eli eloquently touched on, most job postings come from a “pissed off IT manager” and a human resource person who both do not really know what they want. After the IT manager dumps tons of data on the human resource manager, he then writes a convoluted list of requirements that the developer needs to meet. When in actuality they only need you to do a few tasks, not all 20 “requirements” that are listed on the job posting. Thinking about the development world in this sense has better helped me personally prepare what I NEED to know to have a better chance at landing a developer job once I have completed the coursework for Flatiron Schools.

Alright let’s get into it, what is a Command Line Application! A Command Line Application, often referred to as a CLI (Command Line Interface) Application, are applications you interact with entirely through the terminal of shell. This includes no use of graphics or visual interface beyond what you see in the terminal. This birthed the software revolution!

“Write programs to handle text streams, because that is the universal interface”

– Douglas Mellroy, creator of UNIX Operating System

They are often times the most powerful interfaces you will interact with on a daily basis. This including GIT, Learn (the software Flatiron School is founded on), and Ruby’s CLI application interface. There are many more, but we will not talk about those.

So how do you use the CLI application logic with Ruby…. All files should follow a similar file structure with the top level directory being: bin, lib, config, spec, and something like app. You may also see .learn (specific to Flatiron Schools), .rspec, Gemfile, Rakefile, or program files like ttt.rb. If you are working in your terminal you can also use the bash command ls -lah which will show the list of files in your current directory, including hidden files (files starting in a period).

You can also use ls -a which displays all files including hidden files as well.

Inside the bin/ folder we generally want to place all the code that is relatable to running our actual program.

Inside the config/ folder you will place all the application environments. This includes all required files to initialize the environment of your program. These files connect to your database, and ensures your test suite has access to the files that contain the code it is testing.

Your lib/ folder is where a majority of your code lives. Within these files defines what your program can do.

Your spec/ folder is where test files go. These are written tests that makes sure your code behaves as expected.

Within the root directory of your Ruby program you may also file, if needed, your .rspec, .learn, GEMFILE, Gemfile.lock, Rakefile dependent on necessity.

Using Ruby’s CLI Application process, you are able to create dynamic programs that are able to capture user inputs to produces an interactive program. This follows a basic workflow:

  • Greet the user
  • Asks the user for input
  • Compares and stores the input
  • Do something with the input

As you can see by my beautiful artwork, running this program will first run files in bin/ and which are the instructions of how to execute. The file workflow sounds something like this.

  • Include the files need to execute (lib/hello-ruby-program.rb)
  • Greet user
  • Asks user for input
  • Captures that input using #gets
  • Uses user input to do something else, setting it to the value of name which is in the method of greeting
  • Sends that value to the lib/hello-ruby-program.rb
  • Execute method with user inputted value
  • Display return value to the terminal.

Using this logic allow users to input a value directly to the terminal, with a return value displayed to the user.

Calling the gets method captures the last thing the user typed into the terminal, which can be set to a variable. Calling gets freezes the program until user inputs some value.

Comment below if you need any further explanation on what was covered before, and I will do my best to elaborate.

Read More at My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #6


Source: Web Design Ledger

Envato Market in 60 Seconds: Author Ratings

In this super-quick video I’ll introduce you to Envato Market’s author ratings. Author ratings are important because they communicate the quality of your items, whilst serving as a metric of customer satisfaction.

Author Ratings

 

You can find your author rating on the right side of your profile page–for more details open the Reviews tab. Here you’ll find reviews for all your items, including detailed information about which buyers left each review and when. You can choose to leave replies if you feel they’re needed.

author rating
United Themes’ author rating, visible on profile page

In addition to the general ratings, individual items can also be rated. To see an item’s rating, visit its item page where you’ll see the Item Rating box in the sidebar. Here you’ll also see a more information toggle to give you a rating breakdown.

item rating
Item rating for Avada theme

Opening the Reviews tab (which is only visible to the item author) from this point will give you all the ratings for that specific item.

Useful Links


Source: Webdesign Tuts+

How Functional Animation Helps Improve User Experience




 


 

Since humans are visually driven creatures, the impact of imagery only increases with the help of animation. Our eyes innately pay attention to moving objects, and animation is like eye candy — catchy and bright elements that call attention to and help differentiate an app from its competitors.


How Functional Animation Helps Improve User Experience

As of late, more and more designers are incorporating animation as a functional element that enhances the user experience. Animation is no longer just for delight; it is one of the most important tools for successful interaction.

The post How Functional Animation Helps Improve User Experience appeared first on Smashing Magazine.


Source: Smashing Magazine

How to Create Perfectly Centered Text With Flexbox

There’s nothing particularly impressive about horizontally centering your content; you’ve been doing it for years. But what about vertically centering your variable-height content? In this video from my course, 6 Flexbox Projects for Web Designers, you’ll learn how Flexbox tackles this problem with minimal effort. 

How to Create Perfectly Centered Content With Flexbox

 

Introducing the Project in CodePen

In this tutorial, I’ll show you just how easy it is using the Flexbox model to horizontally and vertically center any piece of content that you want to center. 

Start by going to the starting pen for this project on CodePen, and click on Fork to open a new copy. We’ll make our changes to this new copy. 

Let’s look at the HTML first.

Flexbox starting HTML

So what we’ve got here is a banner, and all of it’s contained in a div with a class of banner. Inside that we have another div with a class of banner-text. And then we have an h1, h3, and h6 element that contains all of our text. So all three of those text elements are contained within this div that has a class of banner-text

Then inside our CSS, we’ve set up the banner.

Starting CSS

If we jump down to the banner class, we’ve set our text color to white. We’ve created a background image. We’ve positioned it, and sized it, and set its height to 300 pixels. And we’ve applied some styles to the three text elements that are inside our banner, our h1, h3, and h6.

We’ve set the margins to zero so that they’re nice and snug right next to each other, and we’ve set a text shadow behind that text. And then there are other rules as well that you can look through. 

The Old Way of Centering Text

What I want to show you at this point is the way that I used to vertically and horizontally align our text.

Horizontally aligning our text is very easy to do. So we could just go into the rule for our three headings, h1, h3, and h6, inside our banner, and simply set the text-align to center

The hard part is vertically centering our text.

If you just have one line of text, you can easily vertically center it by setting the line height to be the same height as the container. So our container is the banner itself which is 300 pixels tall, so if we only had one line of text we could set our line height to 300 pixels and that text would be vertically centered.

But what if you have several lines of text? What if you have a paragraph of text? What if you have a mixture of text and images, and you want a whole block of content to be vertically centered? 

Well, the way I used to do it is just to eyeball it. So I would create a new rule for .banner-text and play with it a little bit, increasing the top padding to various different values until it looked right.

But the old-fashioned way is not always reliable because what if somebody overrides your text sizes to the point where it’s not centered anymore? You don’t have full control over it that way.

Centering Text With Flexbox

Flexbox allows us to vertically center our text much more easily and more accurately than the old-fashioned way. 

When we use the Flexbox model, we don’t even need a rule for the banner-text class. All we need to do is we need to deal with the flex container, which is going to be our banner class.

The banner class represents the div that is the parent of that text. So inside the rule for the banner class, we’re going to set our display to flex

Then inside our banner rule, after display: flex, let’s do a couple more things. Let’s add justify-content: center, which is how we’re going to horizontally center everything. 

And then the last thing we need to do is figure out how to center things vertically.

So we can align items along the main axis using justify-content. But we can align items along the cross axis using another property called align-items

If we made it flex-start, the text would appear at the top. If we changed it to flex-end, it would be at the bottom. We also have access to the same value of center, which will vertically center our text. 

So this align-items property is the exact same thing as the justify-content property, but it goes along the cross axis instead of the main axis. When we create a flex container using display: flex, by default it is set to a row instead of a column, so that our main axis is our horizontal axis. So the justify-content is going to go along our horizontal axis, and the align-items property goes along the cross axis, which is, in this case, the vertical axis. 

Here’s how it looks in the end:

You can find all the code for the finished effect on CodePen.

Watch the Full Course

The CSS Flexbox model is starting to see more widespread use and is now supported in all major browsers. In the full course, 6 Flexbox Projects for Web Designers, we’ll build upon my earlier CSS: Flexbox Essentials course and outline six practical CSS projects for everyday use.

We’ve also built a comprehensive guide to help you learn CSS online, whether you’re just getting started with the basics or you want to explore more advanced CSS. Check out Learn CSS: The Complete Guide.


Source: Webdesign Tuts+

14 Useful WordPress Themes for Your 2017 Projects

Looking for a WordPress theme?

The options seem endless; and it can be a bit overwhelming. Any old theme won’t do. You want one that enables you to build awesome websites, while providing the best value for your money.

What to look for:

  • An Aesthetically Pleasing Design: If you plan on being in business for a while, be sure to select a modern, aesthetically pleasing theme that won’t need major changes over the long term.
  • SEO Friendliness: Getting plenty of traffic is all-important, but it’s only going to happen if your website is SEO friendly. Select a theme that displays this capability.
  • Easy Customization: A theme that is easy to customize will give you plenty of design flexibility. And will save you tons of time in the process. Why pay for a product that puts you in a creative straitjacket?
  • Quality Support: Getting a response to a problem via email within 3-5 business days is not quality support. Look for a theme that gets you in touch with a customer service rep right away, or promises a rapid response. Forums and videos are helpful too.

Be Theme – Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme

Be Theme Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme

Be Theme, the biggest WordPress theme ever, is also one of the most versatile and popular. It has every feature you’ve come to look for in a multi-purpose theme, plus several you won’t find in most other WP themes.

Be’s showcase feature is its more than 230 pre-built websites to choose from. They cover all the common website types, as well as the major business niches. Each of these pre-built websites is professionally designed in terms of their appearance and functionality. They are aesthetically pleasing and modern in appearance, and they provide a solid foundation for creating an engaging UX.

With Muffin Builder 3 and Visual Composers as your page-building options, along with 200+ shortcodes, there’s no need for coding, no matter how much detail you include in your design. Other Be Theme features include 20 customizable header styles, SEO ready, Retina Ready, and Responsive, plus its powerful Admin Panel and the practically limitless selection of design options.

The Core – Multi Purpose WordPress Theme

The Core  Multi Purpose WordPress Theme

The Core is another multi-purpose WordPress theme that has much to offer. Its users love how its backend Advanced Visual Builder not only makes website building intuitive, but gives them complete, real-time control throughout the design process.

The Core comes with 20+ thematic demos, each of which can be installed with a single click, along with The Core Main. The Core Main is a multipurpose demo that you’ll find many uses for. The other demo designs have been carefully crafted for use in building a particular website type, theme, or industry.

Other key features include three sliders and an excellent selection of shortcodes that, along with the visual builder, eliminates any need for coding. The Core is Responsive, and WooCommerce and Retina ready. The three purchase plans include the lifetime plan, an excellent buy if you intend to become a long-term, heavy user.

Enfold – Multi-Purpose Theme

Enfold - Multi-Purpose Theme

The fact that Enfold is a ThemeForest best-rated top seller says a great deal. ThemeForest is well known for its line of high-quality products. Enfold is an extremely versatile WordPress theme.

Enfold offers a top-notch selection of quality demos. While you can import any one of them with a single click, an especially attractive feature is the ability to combine features from several demos as your design unfolds. Many users rely mainly on the Enfold default demo to get the job done, but the ability to borrow elements from other demos is still there.

Quality support is something you should expect when selecting a WP theme. You’ll receive nothing less than top support from the Enfold team and from ThemeForest. You’ll get the proper answers to your questions, and whatever assistance you may need, and in good time. ThemeForest also offers a hosted version of Enfold.

Hestia PRO

Hestia PRO

If onepage websites are you forte, Hestia PRO will be an excellent choice. Hesta PRO is a onepage Material Design theme. Given its multiplicity of features and functions however, it fully qualifies as a multi-purpose theme.

Hesta PRO is Responsive and WooCommerce ready. You’ll also discover that its layouts are glamourous. It’s a great choice for startups.

Houzez – Real Estate WordPress Theme

Houzez - Real Estate WordPress Theme

While any web designer can use a multi-purpose theme, many are better served by a specialty theme like Houzez, that focuses on a certain business niche or industry. As its name implies, Houzez is a WP theme destined for real estate agents and agencies. Its interior pages are specifically designed to fit the needs of the real estate industry.

Divi 3.0

Divi 3.0

Divi has, since its launch, been an Elegant Themes top seller, and with the release of Divi 3.0 it’s popularity has soared. Much of that is due Divi Builder, its state-of-the-art page building tool.

You’ll find plenty of use for the 20+ pre-made layouts as well, plus the feature that lets you preview device type displays and adjust your design accordingly.

KLEO – Pro Community Focused, Multi-Purpose BuddyPress Theme

KLEO - Pro Community Focused Multi-Purpose BuddyPress Theme

KLEO was BuddyPress’s top-rated theme in 2016, and its popularity should only increase in 2017. KLEO is a community-oriented theme that can boast of such features as a Facebook login, Pricing and Price Comparison tables, a Geo Directory, and an e-learning system. KLEO’s advanced page builder and modular approach make building a portfolio, blog, or shop almost ridiculously easy.

Uncode – Creative Multiuse WordPress Theme

Uncode - Creative Multiuse WordPress Theme

You should have a workable concept in mind before you start to design a website. This is where Uncode sparkles. Uncode offers several concept categories, blog, classic, shop, etc., with several concepts in each category. The Enhanced Visual Composer, Adaptive Images, and Advanced Grid System, along with many other features, allow you to turn any of these engaging concepts into a sparkling website, portfolio, or shop.

TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance WordPress Theme

TheGem - Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance WordPress Theme

TheGem has been called by some the “Swiss Army Knife” of WP themes. It is so loaded with features, and so flexible, that it would be difficult to image a website type that you could not create with it. In addition to more than 40 design concepts, there are 150 awesome demo pages to work with, along with a host of navigation settings and styles.

Ultra WordPress Theme

Ultra WordPress Theme

Ultra, Themify’s most powerful WP theme, is a genuine time saver if you’re in the market for a great theme for creating client sites. Its pre-made demo sites and single-click demo setup provide the content, menus, widgets, and other features you need to get your design off to a rapid start.

Another impressive feature is Ultra’s selection of design skins, with which you can make your websites truly unique in their appearance.

Impreza WordPress Theme

Impreza WordPress Theme

Impreza is impressing! It has every feature you would expect to find in a premium WordPress theme. Rather than a selection of headers to choose from, Impreza lets you design your own with its visual header builder, plus 14 templates to help you along. There are, of course, a host of other impressive features as well.

Test drive it for free; and see how small details can make a big impression.

XStore – Responsive WooCommerce Theme

XStore - Responsive WooCommerce Theme

XStore is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a theme that makes e-commerce look easy. This king-size theme was created with one thing in mind; to help you and others create professional-looking online shops that are guaranteed to gain user trust. XStore is user friendly, and the shops you can build using it will provide a friendly UX as well. All this, and you don’t even need special technical skills or coding skills.

Kalium WordPress Theme

Kalium WordPress Theme

If the minimalist look is a favored design trend of yours, Kalium should be right up your alley. Kalium’s hallmark feature is its selection of modern, minimalist demos. There are many other great features too, including shortcodes, bonus elements, unlimited options, and popular plugins (including Visual Composer). Kalium also supports a host of plugins that are not included.

TheFox Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme

TheFox Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme

TheFox WordPress theme has been designed to the minutest detail. It’s the smartest WordPress theme on ThemeForest. It’s new, for real, multi-purpose, super flexible, and clever like a fox in the way it helps you create one outstanding website after another. Features include 30+ design demos, 250+ design details, Visual Composer with custom modules, and premium plugins. Check out TheFox Business demo and/or the Trending demo.

Wrapping it Up

If you’re looking for a multi-purpose theme, you’ll find it here, the same is true if you need a dedicated e-commerce theme, a onepage theme, or one dedicated to the real estate niche. Whichever you choose, expect to receive a quality product, with excellent support.

If you feel we’ve left something out, let us know. There’s a host of good WP themes out there; we simply chose those we believe to be the best of the lot.

The post 14 Useful WordPress Themes for Your 2017 Projects 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.


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