Articles

Build Virtual Tours of Houses and Parks with Open Source Software

When I use map apps such as Google Maps, I often use Street View to display more detailed views of a street or inside of a building.  Although Google Street View is fantastic, there are many use cases where I want to control the development pipeline and assets without having to upload images to Street View. 

To control and optimize your business workflow, you can use open-source Marzipano to build virtual tours yourself and host the tours on your own web site.  This tutorial explains how to build the tour with open source software and host it for free on GitHub Pages. The technology and techniques can scale to large cloud businesses and are in production at commercial sites.   This tutorial focuses on a minimal simplified site to get you started with the basic concepts in minutes.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

You Won’t Win SEO With Hacks, Here Are 3 Winning SEO Strategies

The world of search engine optimization was born with all sorts of different hacks and shortcuts that many people use in an effort to grow their business.

Knowing effective SEO tricks would be incredibly profitable, but unfortunately it’s not that easy

This becomes evident as soon as you do a Google search about anything SEO-related, only to find pages and more pages replete with blog posts and videos disclosing all the tips and tricks you “need to know” in order to achieve the best SEO results, in the fastest way possible.

Knowing effective SEO tricks would be incredibly profitable, but unfortunately it’s not that easy.

In its essence, SEO isn’t about hacks, shortcuts, and hidden optimizations, but rather about resource allocation. Keep reading to learn why!

Be Careful About Over-Reliance on Hacks

Before we start talking about resources, it’s important to understand why the quick and easy SEO hacks we’ve all read about online aren’t as reliable as they might seem.

The reality is that yes, there are some traditional hacks and optimization tactics that many people swear by. However, SEO has become way too competitive for these hacks to still work.

Think about it: anyone can learn about these hacks and shortcuts in a matter of seconds, which means that anyone can use them, which means that they’re not going to help your website stand out. By way of example, when thinking about keyword usage, many websites simply decide to put them everywhere on their website, without actually planning and strategizing. Perhaps years ago, doing so would lead to excellent results, but that’s not the case anymore.

What I want to go over, and what I mean with this article, is that when developing your SEO plan, you should think less about hacks, and try to focus on strategy and resources instead.

As tempting as they might be, most SEO hacks won’t really go that far.

What does go far are those strategies and resource allocation decisions, which you can master as long as you know three things:

  • Who your competitors are;
  • What you have;
  • and What strengths you can double down on.

Base Your SEO Strategies on Your Business’s Resources

So, SEO is about resource allocation – we know that now…but what exactly does that mean?

Well, this logic is based on something you might have heard of before, and that is the three pillars of SEO.

As a refresher, everything in SEO revolves around three pillars:

  • Link building and referring domains;
  • Content development and content marketing;
  • Technical SEO.

Many businesses have a limited digital marketing budget and, as if that wasn’t enough, their SEO budget tends to be even more restricted.

This means that we can’t try every hack out there or do every campaign we can come up with, hoping it will lead to positive results. On the contrary, it means we need to be methodical and understand which strategies have the most potential and are actually worth exploring.

In summary, there’s one big challenge that every SEO team and company experiences, and that is the limitation of resources versus possible operations, and that leads us to a question: what mix of SEO pillars will give us a good shot at ranking high and surpassing our competitors?

Develop Your SEO Strategies Based on Your Inherent Strengths

The mistake that a lot of business owners make after reading SEO articles or hearing about amazing case studies is that they try and copy the strategies they learned about, from beginning to end.

However, contextually, each case study or article could refer to a strategy that was specifically optimized for a different type of business.

So, although copying what other successful businesses can work in certain situations when speaking about SEO, it’s best to borrow ideas and use the ones that fit your inherent strengths.

Based on the pillars of SEO that we discussed earlier, there are three strong points that a company can have:

If You Have a Strong Network…

Some businesses don’t have the resources to create an in-house content development team or outsource writing services.

However, they have another strong suit, which lies in their ability to go out into their community, speak, and be heard. They can do this because they have built a strong network over the years and, in cases like this, what we often do is use a backlinking approach.

When working with businesses that have a strong community presence, go out and double down on their network. Pitch their relevant contacts for guest speakership and guest posts, building thought leadership, while also driving links to their website.

If You’re Not That Popular But Are Good With Words…

Right now, some of you might be thinking: “Yeah, well, that’s easy when you’ve built the exposure, but not all of us are lucky enough to be well-known”.

Listen, I get it, we’ve all been in that position.

For clients and businesses that feel like they don’t have the brand equity or exposure to develop a strong backlinking strategy, opt for another route, and invest much more on content (and/or technical SEO, see below).

If the client has a team who’s ready to put its head down and get to work, then focus on producing a lot of content for their website.

Ultimately, the goal is to build a content library that is thorough and expansive, and that provides the client with more opportunities for keyword rankings, while also reinforcing the relevance of their website for those specific SEO keywords.

If Technical Knowledge is Your Forte…

You may not like (or have time) to write and you may not have a strong community presence, but if you have advanced technical skills and the ability to create a strong website quickly, then there’s another approach you can take.

This leads us into the third pillar of SEO: technical SEO.

This solution is indicated for technical teams that can create large websites, databases and user experiences in no time, and it is typically adopted by tech startups that are trying to create an app that provides user value.

First and foremost, winning at technical SEO requires strong technical skills that will allow you to build the web assets that you need, but that’s not all. It also requires you to understand how you can double down on these skills and manage large websites in the rather complex Google ecosystem.

So you need, for example, to know how you can get Google to notice and properly index the new pages you create on your website, even if you already have 100,000 pre-existing pages.

Or to ensure that each of your new pages is properly optimized for the best keywords.

Needless to say, using technical SEO does become a complex operation. However, when done right, it can lead your SEO to grow by sheer size, with the hopes that certain relevant keywords will start to rank for your business naturally.

Conclusion: Your Strategy Will Probably Be a Combination of the Three Pillars

When it comes to SEO, honing in on your strengths and accepting the fact that you can’t do everything is definitely the way to go.

When you’re running an SEO campaign, you should always focus on what you’re good at, know your resources, and augment what you already master – and that will put you in the right direction.

By focusing your resources on any of the pillars of SEO (or even a mix of them), you substantially increase your chances of achieving long-term success, which will not happen if you go for hacks and shortcuts instead.

A long-term, highly-organized, resource-allocated SEO strategy won’t only guarantee continuous success, but it can ultimately become self-sustaining, meaning that it will allow you to keep growing and growing, becoming an organic part of your marketing plan.

I’ve seen a lot of people try SEO hacks for two weeks, only to realize that they didn’t work and that their efforts had been in vain. 

It’s unfortunate because by doing so, you’re turning your back on a marketing channel that is very valuable to a lot of people, and these hacks trick people into thinking it’ll be overnight.

So remember, resource allocation over hacks and shortcuts!

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

12 Best Google Design & Development Tools

Google resembles an iceberg: there’s the part above the water we can see and use everyday; there’s also the part beneath the water, that we don’t see and know little about.

While many of us are concerned about the aspects of Google we don’t see — the parts that threaten our privacy, or monopolize the web — there’s no denying that Google offers some amazing products and tools, many of them free, all from the convenience of a single login.

Today we’re going to take a look at 12 tools from Google that really do bring something positive to the table.

1. Polymer

Polymer is an open-source JavaScript library from Google for building web applications using Web Components. The platform comes with a ton of libraries and tools to help designers and developers unlock the web’s potential by taking advantage of features like HTTP/2, Web Components, and Service Workers. 

The main feature of Polymer is Web Components. With Web Components, you can share custom elements to any site, work seamlessly with any browser’s built-in elements, and effectively use frameworks of all kinds. Products like LitElement (a simple base class for creating fast, lightweight web components) and PWA Starter Kit make Polymer easy to use. If you like, you can build your app entirely out of Web Components.

2. Lighthouse

Google Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. The software allows you to audit web pages for performance, SEO, accessibility, and more. You can run Lighthouse using ChromeDevTools, directly from the command line, or as a Node module. 

To use Lighthouse in Google Chrome, just go to the URL you want to audit (you can audit any URL on the web), open ChromeDevTools, and click the Audits tab. After you have run the audit, Lighthouse will give you an in-depth report on the web page. 

With these reports, you will see which parts of your web page you need to optimize. Each report has a reference doc that explains why that audit is important and also shows you the steps you can take to fix it. 

You can also use Lighthouse CL to prevent regression on your sites. Using Lighthouse Viewer, you can view and share reports online. You can also share reports as JSON or GitHub Gists. 

Lighthouse also comes with a feature called Stack Packs that allows Lighthouse to detect what platform a site is built on. It also displays specific stack-based recommendations.

3. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the gold standard of analytics services. Google analytics can be installed on your site for free with a small amount of JavaScript and allows you to see all kinds of details about your site visitors, like what browser they’re using, and where they’re from.

By using Google Analytics you can make decisions about your site based on science, and therefore be somewhat confident that the decisions you make will result in the outcome you are expecting.

4. Flutter

Flutter is Google’s UI toolkit for building natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. The toolkit is open source and free to use. The best part of Flutter is that it works with existing code. 

The toolkit has a layered architecture that allows for full customization, which results in fast rendering and flexible designs. It also comes with fully-customizable widgets that allow you to build native interfaces in minutes. With these widgets, you will be able to add platform features such as scrolling, navigation, icons, and fonts to provide a full native performance on both iOS and Android.

Flutter also has a feature called hot reload that allows you to easily build UIs, add new features, and fix bugs faster. You can also compile Flutter code to native ARM machine code using Dart native compilers. 

5. Google API Explorer

Google has a huge library of APIs that are available to developers but finding these APIs can be difficult. Google API Explorer makes it easy for developers to locate any API. On the Google API Explorer web page, you will see a complete list of the entire API library. You can easily scroll through the list or use the search box to filter through the API list. 

The best part of Google API Explorer is that each link to a reference page comes with more details on how to use the API. API Explorer is an excellent way to try out methods in the Monitoring API without having to write any code.

6. Puppeteer

Puppeteer is a project from the Google Chrome team. The platform enables web developers to control a Chrome (or any other Chrome DevTools Protocol based browser) and execute common actions, much like in a real browser. Puppeteer is also a Node library and it provides a high-level API for working with headless Chrome. It is also a useful tool for scraping, testing, and automating web pages. 

Here are some things you can do with Puppeteer: generate screenshots and PDFs of pages, UI testing, test Chrome Extensions, automate form submission, generate pre-rendered content, and crawl Single-Page Applications. 

7. Codelabs

Google Developer Codelabs is a handy tool for beginner developers and even advanced developers who want to improve their knowledge. Codelabs provide a guided, tutorial, hands-on coding experience. Codelabs’ site is broken down into several tutorial sessions on different topics. 

With the tutorials on Codelabs, you can learn how to build applications from scratch. Some of the tutorial categories include Augmented reality, TensorFlow, Analytics, Virtual Analytics, G Suite, Search, Google Compute Engine, and Google APIs on iOS. 

8. Color Tool

Color Tool makes it easy for web designers to create, share, and apply colors to their UI. It also measures the accessibility level for any color combination before exporting to the palette. The tool comes with 6 user interfaces and offers over 250 colors to choose from. 

The tool is also very easy to use. All you need to do is pick a color and apply it to the primary color scheme; switch to the secondary color scheme, and pick another color. You can also switch to Custom to pick your own colors. After you have selected all your colors, use the Accessibility feature to check if all is good before exporting it to your palette. 

9. Workbox

Workbox is a set of JavaScript libraries and Node modules. The JavaScript libraries make it easy to add offline support to web apps. The Node modules make it easy to cache assets and offer other features to help users build Progressive Web Apps. Some of these features include pre-caching, runtime caching, request routing, background sync, debugging, and greater flexibility than sw-precache and sw-toolbox. 

With Workbox, you can add a quick rule that enables you to cache Google fonts, images, JavaScript, and CSS files. Caching these files will make your web page to run faster and also consume less storage. You can also pre-cache your files in your web app using their CLI, Node module, or webpack plugin. 

10. PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights is a handy tool from Google Developers that analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions on how to make the page faster. It gives reports on the performance of a web page on both desktop and mobile devices. At the top of the report, PageSpeed Insights provides a score that summarizes the page’s performance. 

11. AMP on Google

AMP pages load faster and also look better than standard HTML pages on mobile devices. AMP on Google allows you to enhance your AMP pages across Google. It is a web component framework that allows you to create user-first websites, ads, emails, and stories. One benefit of AMP is that it allows your web pages to load almost instantly across all devices and platforms hence improving the user’s experience. 

12. Window Resizer

When creating websites, it is important that developers test them for responsive design – this is where Window Resizer comes in. Window Resizer is a Chrome extension that resizes the browser window so that you can test your responsive design on different screen resolutions. The common screen sizes offered are desktop, laptop, and mobile, but you can also add custom screen sizes. 

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

20 Unmissable Websites, July 2020

After six months of uncertainty 2020 is finally beginning to find a style of its own. There are nods to Brutalism, a delightful blending of 80s pastels with 90s primaries, and the font style of choice is anything but geometric sans-serif.

In this month’s collection of the freshest sites from the past four weeks you’ll find tons of new portfolios, from big agencies to freelancers, and some amazing primal scream therapy. Enjoy!

Looks Like You Need Iceland

Looks Like You Need Iceland is an incredible site that asks you to record a scream, that they’ll broadcast for you into the wide open spaces of Iceland as therapy. And then perhaps you’ll visit Iceland for real. It’s brilliant marketing for the Iceland tourist board.

Riverlane

The abstract 3D animation on Riverlane’s site is a stunning introduction to a topic that’s hard to visualize. The rest of the site is equally well done, with great typography, slick brand assets, and a professional engaging tone.

Monokai

Wimer Hazenberg’s site features a simple pixelated text column. But scroll down the page and keep an eye on the awesome text dissolve effect, it transforms this simple design.

I Weigh Community

The I Weigh Community is a non-profit community activism initiative helmed by Jameela Jamil. It’s devoted to radical inclusivity, and it promotes its message on its site with striking graphics and bold, expressive typography.

WAKA WAKA

Waka Waka is a design studio specializing in wooden furniture. The noise effect and the mid-century typography evoke the radical design of 60 years ago. The random rotations on the thumbnail hovers are delightfully disruptive.

Dataveyes

Dataveyes is an information design studio that works with large datasets to give meaning to complex information. Its site features beautiful, full-screen animations that illustrate the type of information it specializes in.

Year & Day

Year & Day is an ecommerce site that sells ceramics, glassware, and other choice pieces of tableware. It’s a colorful collection that perfectly complements your food and the stunning site takes its cues from the collection.

Dunderville

Dunderville is a motion design studio with an impressive portfolio of animation and live action films. Its site features a tactile paper fold detail, and as you would expect, some superb text, and vector animations.

André Venâncio

It’s been months since we last saw a creative developer’s site with a liquid effect. André Venâncio revisits the idea with a cool oil bubble effect, hover over the thumbnails to see it.

Thomas Prior

It’s not all 60s revivalism, pastels, and cute animations. There will always be room for minimalism, and nothing suits this style as well as portfolios for photographers; Thomas Prior’s site is a prime example.

Serra

Serra’s site features a really beautiful high-contrast typeface that sits apart from the usual sans-serif. The product page is all colored product photography. It exudes luxury and distinction in a saturated marketplace.

VYBES

VYBES is a CBD drink made in LA. Its site evokes the Californian spirit with baby pink brand colors and sun-bleached photography. It’s a cool, and ever so slightly Brutalist look for what is essentially a health drink.

Karina Sirqueira

We love the simplicity of Karina Sirqueira’s portfolio. The desaturated rainbow leads to a simple slideshow of projects, and it’s refreshing to see a minimal site that uses bold serif-based typography. The content feels fresh and honest too.

Smalls

Smalls produces healthy food for cats. The site, is packed with adorable pictures of kitties, which if you’re a cat person, is guaranteed to draw you in. There’s a definite Brutalist style to the site, and lots of color too.

Wildist

There’s a clear aesthetic beginning to emerge in 2020, with pastels creating a soft background for desaturated primaries, and Wildist gets it exactly right with this youthful, site that features just enough animation to bring it to life.

Kristen Kwong

We’ve seen a lot of OS-style sites recently, but Kristen Kwong’s is one of the slickest. It manages to take a simple metaphor for interaction and transform it with a vintage color scheme.

Stojo

Continuing the Miami-meets-Brutalism trend this month is the site for Stojo, a collapsable cup and bottle. The pastel shades block out a disrupted grid, but for our money it works better on mobile. The vintage typeface is a nice touch.

Hoang Nguyen

Hoang Nguyen’s site features a surreal 3D scene with mountains, a spinning planet, floating islands, a waterfall, and a floating dragon-boy. Click around the site and the scene transforms.

SMTH / Sam Smith

Sam Smith’s portfolio has a cool magazine style to it, with a nice blocky background on the text and a personality packed animated avatar taking centre stage.

Then I Met You

Then I met You is a site promoting a range of skincare products. In this case, the usual pastel colors are replaced with an 80s-style gradient. Watch the products as you scroll, the lighting changes creating an awesome, subtle 3D effect.

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

20 Unmissable Websites, July 2020

After six months of uncertainty 2020 is finally beginning to find a style of its own. There are nods to Brutalism, a delightful blending of 80s pastels with 90s primaries, and the font style of choice is anything but geometric sans-serif.

In this month’s collection of the freshest sites from the past four weeks you’ll find tons of new portfolios, from big agencies to freelancers, and some amazing primal scream therapy. Enjoy!

Looks Like You Need Iceland

Looks Like You Need Iceland is an incredible site that asks you to record a scream, that they’ll broadcast for you into the wide open spaces of Iceland as therapy. And then perhaps you’ll visit Iceland for real. It’s brilliant marketing for the Iceland tourist board.

Riverlane

The abstract 3D animation on Riverlane’s site is a stunning introduction to a topic that’s hard to visualize. The rest of the site is equally well done, with great typography, slick brand assets, and a professional engaging tone.

Monokai

Wimer Hazenberg’s site features a simple pixelated text column. But scroll down the page and keep an eye on the awesome text dissolve effect, it transforms this simple design.

I Weigh Community

The I Weigh Community is a non-profit community activism initiative helmed by Jameela Jamil. It’s devoted to radical inclusivity, and it promotes its message on its site with striking graphics and bold, expressive typography.

WAKA WAKA

Waka Waka is a design studio specializing in wooden furniture. The noise effect and the mid-century typography evoke the radical design of 60 years ago. The random rotations on the thumbnail hovers are delightfully disruptive.

Dataveyes

Dataveyes is an information design studio that works with large datasets to give meaning to complex information. Its site features beautiful, full-screen animations that illustrate the type of information it specializes in.

Year & Day

Year & Day is an ecommerce site that sells ceramics, glassware, and other choice pieces of tableware. It’s a colorful collection that perfectly complements your food and the stunning site takes its cues from the collection.

Dunderville

Dunderville is a motion design studio with an impressive portfolio of animation and live action films. Its site features a tactile paper fold detail, and as you would expect, some superb text, and vector animations.

André Venâncio

It’s been months since we last saw a creative developer’s site with a liquid effect. André Venâncio revisits the idea with a cool oil bubble effect, hover over the thumbnails to see it.

Thomas Prior

It’s not all 60s revivalism, pastels, and cute animations. There will always be room for minimalism, and nothing suits this style as well as portfolios for photographers; Thomas Prior’s site is a prime example.

Serra

Serra’s site features a really beautiful high-contrast typeface that sits apart from the usual sans-serif. The product page is all colored product photography. It exudes luxury and distinction in a saturated marketplace.

VYBES

VYBES is a CBD drink made in LA. Its site evokes the Californian spirit with baby pink brand colors and sun-bleached photography. It’s a cool, and ever so slightly Brutalist look for what is essentially a health drink.

Karina Sirqueira

We love the simplicity of Karina Sirqueira’s portfolio. The desaturated rainbow leads to a simple slideshow of projects, and it’s refreshing to see a minimal site that uses bold serif-based typography. The content feels fresh and honest too.

Smalls

Smalls produces healthy food for cats. The site, is packed with adorable pictures of kitties, which if you’re a cat person, is guaranteed to draw you in. There’s a definite Brutalist style to the site, and lots of color too.

Wildist

There’s a clear aesthetic beginning to emerge in 2020, with pastels creating a soft background for desaturated primaries, and Wildist gets it exactly right with this youthful, site that features just enough animation to bring it to life.

Kristen Kwong

We’ve seen a lot of OS-style sites recently, but Kristen Kwong’s is one of the slickest. It manages to take a simple metaphor for interaction and transform it with a vintage color scheme.

Stojo

Continuing the Miami-meets-Brutalism trend this month is the site for Stojo, a collapsable cup and bottle. The pastel shades block out a disrupted grid, but for our money it works better on mobile. The vintage typeface is a nice touch.

Hoang Nguyen

Hoang Nguyen’s site features a surreal 3D scene with mountains, a spinning planet, floating islands, a waterfall, and a floating dragon-boy. Click around the site and the scene transforms.

SMTH / Sam Smith

Sam Smith’s portfolio has a cool magazine style to it, with a nice blocky background on the text and a personality packed animated avatar taking centre stage.

Then I Met You

Then I met You is a site promoting a range of skincare products. In this case, the usual pastel colors are replaced with an 80s-style gradient. Watch the products as you scroll, the lighting changes creating an awesome, subtle 3D effect.

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot