12 Tips to Improve Your Web Design Skills in 2021

There are many reasons you might be wanting to improve your design skills this year. Perhaps you have extra time on your hands and want to put it to good use. Or maybe you’re new to web design and finding that there’s a lot you still don’t know how to do. It could also be that you recognize that the web is changing, and your skills could use some refreshing to keep up.

Whatever the reason, there are many ways to level up your web design skills in 2021. Here are 12 ideas to get you started:

Tip 1: Niche Down If You Haven’t Already

Jack-of-all-trades designers might be able to say “yes” to everyone. However, they’re going to be stretched very thin as they attempt to strengthen every skill needed to keep up with demand.

It’s much easier to become a trusted designer and to improve your skills if you have a smaller and more specific skill set to develop.

Just keep in mind that niching down doesn’t necessarily mean focusing on a particular industry. For instance, you might choose to be a UX designer instead of a web designer. Or you might specialize in designing ecommerce websites instead of monetized blogs. Just find something that you’re passionate about and will be good at doing, and zero-in on the skills needed for it.

Tip 2: Play Around in the Sandbox

Local development environments are useful for staging websites, doing redesigns, and testing updates safely away from live sites. But you can also use them for experimenting with new design techniques, trends, templates, plugins, and more.

Local by Flywheel is the one I prefer to use:

Here’s a good exercise to start with:

Take a website you like — something you’ve looked at in awe and couldn’t imagine ever building on your own. Then, put yourself to the test. See if you can recreate it in your sandbox.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t figure it out right away. Consult your resources and give yourself time to make sense of what’s going on and implement it with the available skills and tools.

Tip 3: Redesign One of Your First Projects

There’s always a clear evolution in a designer’s skill set, from the day they begin designing to the present day. And that’s a good thing. If your work doesn’t improve or change with time, then you’re going to have a lot of catching up to do when the stagnation begins to hurt your business.

Want to see how much progress you’ve made so far? Revisit one of your first projects and look at it with fresh eyes. I bet you’ll see a big change in how you design today from how you designed that site then.

Now, ask yourself what you would do differently. And then, go to your sandbox and do the redesign.

Tip 4: Work on a Passion Project

A friend of mine is taking a UX design course and needed some users to run through a prototype he created for the class. He could create anything he wanted, so he designed an app related to his other love: Music.

While he could’ve easily thrown together some carbon copy of Spotify or SoundCloud, he came up with a completely new concept. And it was really impressive, to the point where I urged him to put it into production and see if he could list it in the app stores.

I think it’s when we’re really passionate about something that we’re willing to push past our limits. So, carve out some time to tackle that passion project you’ve been toying around with and see where it takes you.

Tip 5: Share Your Designs on Dribbble and Ask for Feedback

One of the reasons UX designers do user testing is how valuable users’ raw input is. While it would be nice to think that design is a completely subjective matter, that isn’t really the case when usability becomes compromised due to design choices.

Understanding what users like and dislike is an important part of taking your design skills to the next level. And a good way to do that is to share your designs on Dribbble.

Here’s an example of UI8 asking for feedback:

Tip 6: Create a Design Toolbox

I’m a huge fan of automation and shortcuts powering things behind the scenes in business.

After all, one of the reasons you become a web designer is so you can design, right? When you’re bogged down with administrative and logistical tasks, that’s time spent away from doing what you enjoy.

One way in which you can streamline your backend processes is by putting together a design toolbox. Your preferred CMS. Flexible templates or apps you use from project to project. Website testing tools. And so on.

As you do this, it’ll force you to examine how you build websites. Are you really working as efficiently as possible? Are there newer apps or systems that’ll help you design better sites? And as you improve your design toolbox, you’ll improve your design skills.

Tip 7: Subscribe to Your Favorite Blogs

I have a hard time recommending this one, only because I’m reluctant to sign up for yet another newsletter. That said, I do see the value in subscribing to some blog newsletters as I don’t always remember to revisit their websites and check out the latest content.

What I’d suggest you do is pick one or two design blogs that have a good variety of content and publish regularly. And then pick one small business or freelance blog.

WebdesignerDepot, of course, is a good one to start with as it comes at a good frequency, recommends great reads from all around the web, and is fluff-free:

I’d also recommend signing up for one that’s focused on your niche as well as one for business.

As a freelancer, I’d vote for the Freelancers’ Union newsletter. There’s always something timely and useful in there.

Tip 8: Listen to a Podcast

I just adopted a second dog, so I’ve spent a lot more time on walks while house-training her. At first, I was stressed about it because it was time spent away from work. However, I started to fill that time with podcasts and found that it helped me work better for the rest of the day.

One reason is that I’ve been listening to work-related podcasts, which are always chock full of helpful tips. Another reason is that it gives my eyes a rest from looking at the screen so that when I come back 15 or so minutes later, I feel refreshed and ready to go.

Rebekah Carter has a good set of web design podcast recommendations to get you started.

Tip 9: Take a Free Online Design Course

There’s an overabundance of information online. If you want to brush up on CSS, there are hundreds of YouTube courses that cover it. If you want to learn how to use a new WordPress plugin, you’ll find dozens of great tutorials across various online course platforms, YouTube channels, and even people’s blogs.

There’s no need to go back to school to become a better designer. Here are five places where you’re bound to find free courses for web designers.

Tip 10: Read a Book on Design Principles or Theory

It’s easy to lose sight of design principles when your clients are clamoring for a website that will make them a lot of money, get them a lot of readers, and so on. Sure, you can design a UI and UX that works, but do you remember why the design choices you made are effective?

Choose a book — just one to start — that’ll help you reconnect with the roots of good web design. Not only will you get a good refresher on web design principles or design theory, but you might learn something brand new.

Here are some of my favorite books for web designers:

Tip 11: Find Your People

Now more than ever, finding a community of like-minded web designers, developers, or freelancers is important. It’s not just about having a group of people to vent to when clients drive you nuts (though that’s great, too).

It’s about finding a group that brings something new to the table and enriches your understanding of web design and what it means to be a web designer.

If you’re on Facebook or LinkedIn, start there. There are tons of web design and freelance groups that have productive discussions every day. If you prefer to meet up with local designers and developers, check out Meetup.

You may be surprised by how many groups there are and the kinds of meetups they have planned.

Tip 12: Attend a Virtual Conference

Did any of you attend a design conference last year? I did. I virtually attended Adobe MAX — from the comfort of my home, in my pajamas, for three days.

I scheduled my assignments around the sessions I wanted to attend and didn’t have to pick one over the other (i.e., “Do I make money or do I learn something new?”).

Some of the sessions showed us how to do more with Adobe’s tools, while some of them featured design and business leaders who shared personal insights on how to work more effectively. It was a great way to shake up my normal routine and to get a ton of information about the future of web design in a short period of time.

Which of These Tips Will You Use to Improve Your Design Skills?

Like I said before, there’s a lot you can do to improve your design skills. Just be careful not to overdo it.

Pick one or two things on this list to start with. If you have more time in your schedule and you’re excited about what you’ve learned so far, add a couple more.

Just take it slowly. Your brain will only be able to absorb so much at once. Plus, the last thing you want is to burn yourself out on skills training and not have the energy to complete your work.


Featured image via Unsplash.


The post 12 Tips to Improve Your Web Design Skills in 2021 first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

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AWS HIPAA Compliance Best Practices Checklist

Nowadays, most medical providers across the globe tend to implement cloud-based architecture for their medical services. And it’s not surprising, especially considering today’s pandemic reality; medical software is a must. However, to build a highly secure solution to deliver medical services, you must abide by the US 1996 law, namely the HIPAA Security Rule. This legislation represents a set of required and adequate protections for managing electronic confidential patient information and avoiding its disclosure without prior patient’s knowledge and even consent.

So, if you want to develop a medical solution and make your healthcare services cloud-based, you will have to apply the latest technologies for maintaining data compliance. To build cloud-based apps according to the Privacy Rule, most healthcare providers apply Amazon Web Services (AWS) due to its increased agility, security, and innovation potential.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Getting Started With AWS Monitoring

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the most popular public cloud, with 175 services and counting. A key element of a successful cloud operation is gaining visibility into what is running where, what issues are occurring, and dealing with them, preferably automatically.

In this article, I’ll discuss the basics of AWS monitoring, including Amazon services that can assist with monitoring, key metrics to watch for the most popular Amazon services, and a special focus on monitoring EC2 environments, which are the basis for most Amazon deployments.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Streaming Data From Files Into Multi-Broker Kafka Clusters

There are multiple ways to ingest data streams into the Apache Kafka topic and subsequently deliver to various types of consumers who are hooked to the topic. The stream of data that collects continuously from the topic by consumers, passes through multiple data pipelines and then stream processing engines like Apache Spark, Apache Flink, Amazon Kinesis, etc and eventually landed upon the real-time applications to deliver a final data-driven decision. From finances, manufacturing, insurance, telecom, healthcare, commerce, and more, real-time applications are becoming the best solution for organizations to take immediate action, gain insights from the updated data. In the present day, Apache Kafka shapes the central nervous system that brings data from all aspects of the business to the large information operational hubs where choices are made.

The text files contain unformatted ASCII text and are commonly used for the storage of information. Each line of the file represents a data record and can be updated continuously to store. Every insert of a new line or lines on the text file can be considered as new data insertion on the file. Henceforth, every addition of a new line or lines on the text file continuously either by humans or applications (no modification on the already inserted line)and subsequently moves or sends to a different location can be considered as data streaming from the file. Every addition of a new line or row in the text file can be analyzed continuously by exporting the new line/lines to the Kafka topic and importing them by consumers that hooks up with the topic.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Vector Similarity Search Hides in Plain View

Imagine a room with a wall of screens displaying closed-circuit video feeds from dozens of cameras, like a security office in a film. In the movies, there is often a guard responsible for keeping an eye on the screens that inevitably falls asleep, allowing something bad to happen. Although intuition and other distinctly “people skills” are useful in security, most would agree that the human attention span isn’t well-suited for always-on, 24/7 video monitoring. Of course, footage can always be reviewed after something happens, but it’s easy to see the security value of detecting something out of the ordinary as it unfolds.

Several cameras capturing different scenes.
Cameras capture our every move, but who watches them?

Now imagine a video artificial intelligence (AI) application capable of processing thousands of camera feeds in real-time. The AI constantly compares new footage to historical footage, then classifies anomalous events by their threat level. Humans are still involved, both to manage the system as well as review and respond to potential threats, but AI takes over where we fall short. This isn’t a hypothetical situation: from smart police drones to intelligent doorbells sold by Amazon and Google, AI-powered surveillance solutions are becoming increasingly sophisticated, affordable, and ubiquitous.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Exploring Kubernetes With Gigi Sayfan

You have probably read about Kubernetes, and maybe even dipped your toes in and used it in a side project or even at work. But understanding what Kubernetes is all about, how to use it effectively, and what the best practices are requires much more effort. Kubernetes is a big open-source project and ecosystem with a lot of code and a lot of functionality. Kubernetes came out of Google, but joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and became the clear leader in the space of container-based applications.

Let’s hear from Gigi Sayfan, author of the bestseller Mastering Kubernetes, Third Edition, about his methodologies and the approach he followed to create a powerful resource to acquaint learners all over the globe with the fundamentals and more advanced concepts of Kubernetes.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Take Part in the Developer Economics Survey – 20th Edition

DZone is proud to announce that we have partnered with Slash Data to invite our community members to take part in the latest, global Developer Economics survey. Every year, over 30,000 developers across the globe take part to share their perspectives. The research is leveraged by companies to help make better developer products and experiences. It is your chance to have your needs and concerns heard by the companies providing you with tools, products, and services.

What’s in it for You?

An Interesting Survey With Lots of Prizes

Answer fun questions about the type of projects you’re working on, your favorite languages, tools, technologies, or platforms. In return, the survey will reward you with prize draws worth in total over $17,000 USD. You can win new dev gear to upgrade your workstation, courses and licenses to learn something new, Amazon vouchers, and more. 

Source de l’article sur DZONE

NoSQL Is Dead, Long Live NoSQL

Dynamo accelerated the NoSQL revolution that’s driving the database industry.

Recently, Amazon announced PartiQL – A SQL-Compatible Query Language for their flagship NoSQL database Amazon DynamoDB. This has brought the NoSQL “re:evolution” full circle. It’s wonderful to see the collaborative research from UCSD and Couchbase enabling the industry to move forward.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

L’expérience client future : l’IA comme intermédiaire

L’intelligence artificielle (IA) s’impose comme le nouvel intermédiaire entre les entreprises et les clients dans la décision d’achat.

L’IA s’impose dans l’expérience client

La complexité de la vie moderne soumet notre cerveau à une vraie surcharge cognitive. Pour y remédier, les clients se tournent vers les IA et se fient à leurs recommandations, délaissant les interactions traditionnelles avec les marques.

Ainsi acceptons-nous volontiers les recommandations de Netflix pour les séries, de Spotify pour la musique ou les résultats affichés par Google. Nous faisons tellement confiance à ces suggestions que 35% des achats sur Amazon et 75% des visionnages sur Netflix sont issus des recommandations du Machine Learning, selon McKinsey (1).

Pourquoi ? Parce que, dans l’expérience, les clients distinguent de plus en plus les aspects routiniers des aspects riches de sens (voir « Donner du sens à l’expérience »). Et à mesure que la précision et l’utilité des IA augmentent, les clients délèguent les décisions qu’ils jugent « sans importance ». Certaines entreprises se voient alors coupées de leurs clients et forcées de composer avec des IA agissant comme des gardiens.

Les IA relèguent les entreprises en arrière-plan de plusieurs façons :

Les IA effectuent de plus en plus de tâches

Les IA étant capables de regrouper, d’indexer et d’analyser des montagnes de données, les clients ont de plus en plus confiance dans leur capacité à interpréter leurs préférences personnelles et à faire des choix à leur place. Aux recherches en arrière-plan réalisées par les IA s’ajouteront bientôt les achats en arrière-plan.

Les IA, nouvelles audiences à conquérir

Le marketing émotionnel peut susciter la fidélité chez les humains mais pas chez les IA. À mesure que les clients confieront les décisions d’achat de routine aux IA, les entreprises auront besoin de nouvelles stratégies pour conquérir ces nouvelles audiences automatisées.

Les frontières entre les tâches vont disparaître

On regroupe souvent les tâches ménagères et administratives en catégories, comme le nettoyage de la maison ou le paiement des factures. Mais avec des IA qui prennent en charge différentes tâches à la fois, ces frontières disparaîtront. Les entreprises incapables de s’adapter à ce changement dans la façon d’appréhender les tâches perdront des clients.

Comment votre entreprise peut-elle s’adapter ?

Devenez l’intermédiaire IA de votre secteur

Créez une intelligence artificielle spécialisée qui apporte des connaissances uniques à vos clients. Appropriez-vous les fonctionnalités des IA pour mettre ces connaissances et compétences spécialisées à disposition des clients, directement et par le biais d’IA généralistes.

Proposez des produits optimisés par l’IA

Au fur et à mesure que les points de contact avec les clients seront relégués au second plan, les produits joueront un rôle plus central en tant qu’ambassadeurs de la marque. Le Big Data, l’IoT et le Machine Learning permettent d’améliorer l’expérience client en augmentant la satisfaction, en réduisant la charge cognitive et en éliminant les actions inutiles. Trouvez des moyens de créer un lien avec vos clients par le biais des produits.

Optimisez votre visibilité auprès des IA

Les systèmes basés sur l’IA constitueront le prochain « espace linéaire » numérique où optimiser le placement des produits. Cette discipline d’optimisation est encore balbutiante mais vous pouvez déjà vous appuyer sur votre équipe de référenceurs SEO afin de prendre le leadership dès le début. Des descriptions factuelles de vos produits et services contribueront à votre succès auprès des IA.

Améliorez les interactions avec vos clients

Utilisez des outils basés sur l’IA pour animer les interactions avec vos clients en fournissant aux collaborateurs de 1ère ligne des informations client et des suggestions de messages. Par exemple, les outils d’analyse et le Machine Learning peuvent servir à offrir aux collaborateurs une visibilité approfondie sur chaque client, améliorant ainsi la personnalisation des interactions.

Publié en anglais sur


(1) Ian MacKenzie, Chris Meyer et Steve Noble, « How Retailers Can Keep Up with Consumers » (Comment les détaillants peuvent répondre aux besoins des clients), McKinsey & Co., octobre 2013,

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Vers une vraie logistique responsable ?

Comment assurer des livraisons dans des délais toujours plus serrés, tout en maîtrisant son impact sur la société et la planète ? Une meilleure exploitation des données peut aider à allier les impératifs d’agilité, de résilience et de responsabilité environnementale et sociale.

Dans le secteur du transport, les impacts sociaux et environnementaux restent encore mal pris en compte. Et pourtant, les travaux du Grenelle II auraient dû favoriser l’émergence d’une industrie du transport plus vertueuse.

« Ce texte misait sur la bonne volonté des acteurs du secteur, mais sans mettre en place le minimum nécessaire de contrôles, d’obligations, voire de sanctions, regrette Philippe Mangeard, président et fondateur de l’agence de notation du transport TK’Blue. Résultat, moins de 15 % des opérateurs du secteur jouent aujourd’hui le jeu. »

Problème, les donneurs d’ordres que sont les entreprises oublient souvent le maillon transport dans leur calcul d’impact environnemental et sociétal. « Et pourtant, le transport peut représenter entre 10 % et 40 % de l’empreinte globale d’une entreprise », rappelle Philippe Mangeard.

Prendre en compte l’expérience client

Avec l’économie d’expérience, la logistique ne peut être mise de côté. En effet, même si une entreprise fait le maximum pour satisfaire son client, une livraison mal réalisée (retard, produit abîmé…) réduira tous ses efforts à néant. La problématique est d’autant plus difficile à résoudre que le client devient de plus en plus exigeant : il veut être livré rapidement, mais tout en disposant d’informations claires sur les méthodes de livraison, lui permettant ainsi – s’il le souhaite – d’opter pour un mode de transport responsable.

« Du côté des entreprises, des technologies permettent d’optimiser le chargement des camions, les trajets et les plans de transport, même si l’on peut regretter qu’elles ne soient pas encore très répandues, analyse Alexis Fournier, directeur AI Strategy chez Dataïku. Mais côté client, la technologie ne suffira pas : des initiatives globales sont nécessaires. »

Sous l’impulsion des clients, des acteurs de la grande distribution, certains industriels et des géants du web, comme Amazon, commencent à se pencher sur cette question. Un standard est en train de naître, lequel permettra de définir un cahier des charges précis dédié au transport.

Savoir exploiter les données

L’optimisation du transport passe plus que jamais par la data : les ordres de transport, bien évidemment, mais également des données de terrain, comme la position des camions, la télémétrie des véhicules, voire de l’IoT, pour suivre avec plus de précision encore les colis. Bien exploitées, ces données vont permettre de maximiser le remplissage des camions et d’optimiser les plans de transport.

À ceci s’ajoutent des données tierces : calendrier des vacances scolaires, données météo, conditions de circulation… « Ces informations viennent nourrir le jeu de données d’origine et permettent d’améliorer la qualité des prévisions », explique Alexis Fournier. Le Machine Learning peut alors aider à anticiper la variabilité de la demande ainsi que les difficultés de livraison. Et éviter ainsi que certains camions ne rentrent partiellement chargés, un phénomène redouté lors des opérations de livraison à domicile. »

Afin de maximiser le remplissage des camions, une logique de réseau doit également voir le jour, pour mettre en commun les capacités de transport, y compris entre compétiteurs. Mais pour concrétiser cette notion de mutualisation des moyens, il est impératif que la donnée circule.

Débloquer les données des opérateurs

Grâce à des solutions intelligentes, comme celles de SAP, Microsoft ou Dataïku, les entreprises sont prêtes pour une exploitation des données de transport. À condition toutefois que celles-ci remontent ! Les grands opérateurs du monde du transport tardent en effet à ouvrir leurs données.

Comment une entreprise peut évaluer ses émissions globales, si elle ne connaît pas le mode de transport utilisé ? Entre un camion et une camionnette, les nuisances peuvent en effet être multipliées par 40. De plus, 20 % à 30 % des camions tournent à vide et un pourcentage non négligeable de véhicules s’avère trop polluant face aux normes actuelles. Sans ces informations, le producteur, comme le consommateur, avancent à l’aveuglette.

Mais le marché s’est subitement renversé en 2020, avec une offre de transport devenue supérieure à la demande. L’occasion pour les donneurs d’ordres de choisir leurs transporteurs en fonction de leur capacité à faire remonter des données de terrain. « Libérez la data, plaide Philippe Mangeard. Les plates-formes de traitement des données sont en place et la conjoncture fait que les entreprises sont aujourd’hui en position d’exiger la remontée de ces informations de terrain. Lorsque ce sera le cas, tout le monde sera gagnant, prédit le président de TK’Blue. »

En savoir plus sur la gestion de la chaîne logistique


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