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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.

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


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Popular Design News of the Week: February 15, 2021 – February 21, 2021

Everyday design fans submit incredible industry stories to our sister-site, Webdesigner News. Our colleagues sift through it, selecting the very best stories from the design, UX, tech, and development worlds and posting them live on the site.

The best way to keep up with the most important stories for web professionals is to subscribe to Webdesigner News or check out the site regularly. However, in case you missed a day this week, here’s a handy compilation of the top curated stories from the last seven days. Enjoy!

The New Trello – Going Beyond the Board

Flameshot – Superb Screenshot Tool

GitHub Surf – Open repositories in a VSCode Environment

The Never-Ending Job of Selling Design Systems

The Secret Ingredients to Design

What Saul Bass Can Teach Us About Web Design

2021 Planner for Notion – A Smart Notion Workspace

Ideas for CSS Button Hover Animations

Ray.so – Create Beautiful Images of Your Code

Variable Font Reveals The Full Horror of The Climate Crisis

Design Systems For Figma: Year In The Life Of A Material Design Advocate

Interface Market – An Extensive Collection of App UI Kits

DogeHouse – Open-Source Audio Chat on the Web

Interaction Design is More Than Just User Flows and Clicks

Design Trends 2021

Straw.Page – Extremely Simple Website Builder

The Impact of Web Design and SEO Conversion Rates

Powerful Microinteractions to Improve Your Prototypes

What’s New in Ecommerce, February 2021

Colortopia – The Easiest Way to Find Colors

5 Simple Design Patterns to Improve Your Website

TextBuddy for macOS – A Swiss Army Knife for Plain Text

Upcoming Interesting JavaScript ES2021 (ES12) Features

WordPress 5.7: Big ol’ jQuery Update

JavaScript reducer – A Simple, Yet Powerful Array Method

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Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Poll: Is Minimalism a Dead Trend Walking?

Since the skeuomorphism of the early 00s, the design trend of choice has been minimalism. In fact, minimalism has been de rigueur for substantially longer than that.

You can make a fair case that minimalism was the defining theme of the 20th century. Beginning with the widespread adoption of grotesque typefaces in mass advertising the century before, continuing through the less-is-more philosophies of the middle part of the century, and culminating in the luxury of 80s and 90s consumerism.

Minimalism has been central to the design practice of almost every designer that we recognize as a designer. It underpins the definition of the discipline itself.

With the weight of such illustrious history, it’s no wonder that the fledgling web — and in the scale of history, the web is still a very new phenomenon — adopted minimalism.

And then there’s the fact that a minimalist approach works on the web. Multiple viewports, multiple connection speeds, multiple user journeys, all of these things are so much easier to handle if you reduce the number of visual components that have to adapt to each context.

And yet, despite this, an increasing number of designers are abandoning minimalism in favor of a more flamboyant approach where form is function. It’s clearly happening. What’s not clear is whether this is a short-lived, stylistic fad or something altogether more fundamental. In other words, are designers about to abandon grids, or are they just slapping some gradients on an otherwise minimal design?

Featured image via Pexels.

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The post Poll: Is Minimalism a Dead Trend Walking? first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.


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Beyond Observability: Putting Intelligence in Modern Monitoring

If you’re paying attention to anything that’s happening in the development world, you’re likely familiar with the term “observability.” We’re seeing more and more monitoring companies from all different backgrounds jumping on the term to describe their solutions, many claiming their observability tool to be the factor that will take businesses to the next level.

Growing out-of-control system engineering, observability allows dev teams to unify and study the behaviors of various IT systems through the external outputs of the internal systems. In the case of software, that’s log events, distributed tracing, and time-series metrics. By unifying the data streaming through today’s complex IT environments, it certainly gives SREs and DevOps practitioners a leg up from traditional monitoring. But the data alone is no longer enough.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Popular Design News of the Week: February 8, 2021 – February 14, 2021

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers.

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Google’s Next Big Chrome Update Will Rewrite the Rules of the Web

10 Best Alternatives to Google Analytics in 2021

Gamification in UX Design: Designing Fun Experiences for Serious

UI Design Trends for Web and Mobile We Start 2021 With

Getting The Most Out Of Git

Appreciating the Unsung Heroes of WordPress

Simple CSS Line Hover Animations for Links

How to Kill a Unicorn

Animating a CSS Gradient Border

Color Spark – A Color Scheme Plugin for Figma

QuickLens – Inspect the UI Like a Pro

6 Important WordPress Gutenberg Updates to Be Aware Of

23 Exciting New Tools for Designers, February 2021

A UX Guide to Optimize Conversions

13 UX Tips That Will Improve Your Website’s SEO

Don’t Offer a Free Plan

The 25 Best Single Page Web Designs

Illustration Kit – Premium Open Source Illustrations Updated Daily

DesignOps: Just a New Buzzword?

Bilgge – a Privacy-paranoid Free Service for your Notes and Secrets

How to Deal With Designers in 10 Easy Steps

Website Optimization Checklist: Your Go-To Guide to SEO

JavaScript Minification Benchmarks

Framer is Dead · A Love Letter to my Prototyping Tool of Choice

The Differences in Web Hosting (Go with the Happy Path)

Pixelplace.io – One Giant Pixel Canvas That Anyone Can Draw On

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The post Popular Design News of the Week: February 8, 2021 – February 14, 2021 first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Load Average: An Indicator for Only CPU Demand?

Load Average‘ is an age-old metric reported in various operating systems. It’s often assumed as a metric to indicate the CPU demand only. However, that is not the case. ‘Load Average’ not only indicates CPU demand, but also the I/O demand (i.e., network read/write, file read/write, disk read/write). To prove this theory, we conducted this simple case study.

Load Average Study

To validate this theory, we leveraged BuggyApp. BuggyApp is an open-source Java project that can simulate various performance problems. When you launch BuggyApp with the following arguments, it will cause high disk I/O operations on the host.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

5 Web Design Trends and Ideas for 2021

One of the few bright spots in 2020 has been the creativity companies and individuals alike have exhibited in dealing with what, at times, seemed to be overwhelming problems.

The world of web design was no different. Designers and agencies had to adapt and implement new color schemes or design new shopping experiences, which made some of the previous design trends not fit for the current design problems.

We’ll take a look at these newest design trends and the rationale behind them. As we do so, we’ll also take a look at some of BeTheme’s 600+ pre-built sites that have already put them to good use.

1. Comforting Color Palettes Lighten the Load

In years past, bolder color schemes were one of the hallmarks of web design trends. Their purpose was to quickly engage a visitor and prompt him or her to respond emotionally.

Given all the drama and turmoil we were subjected to through most of 2020, we’ve come to welcome the use of toned-down colors in marketing instead of the bolder, brasher, and more “in-your-face” color schemes. 

Bellroy’s website puts toned-down colors to good use. This company’s product line of wallets, bags, and the like, are designed to keep people’s belongings organized, safe, and secure. A wild color scheme simply wouldn’t be fitting.

How, then, are brightly-colored products dealt with? Thanks to judicious uses of white space and background photos, this website still emphasizes a toned-down color palette.

The BeSpa pre-built website is another example of a color scheme that almost immediately puts the mind at ease.

Calm and soothing? Yes.

Boring? Definitely not.

Comfort and security are the emotional drivers in this example.

2. Seamlessly Intermingle and Balance Physical and Digital Imagery

People confined to their homes because of Covid-based restrictions spent many more hours looking at their screens in 2020. Online programming began to take on the appearance of a reality show that blurred the boundaries between the real and the digital.

Whereas web designers tended in the past to rely on either photos or illustrations in their designs, these same designers have started to integrate these blurring effects into their designs, with results that range from amusing and quirky to highly informative.

Check out this example from fashion designer Constance Burke

It’s not every day you see real models wearing hand-drawn fashion sketches. But it’s just one example of how the physical can be blended with the digital.

The BeSki pre-built site does the same blending of the two, but in a totally different way:

The sections’ designs switch from predominantly physical to largely digital and back again, an excellent approach that provides a maximum amount of useful information.

It’s also worth noting how snowbanks are effectively used to seamlessly transition from one section to the next.

3. Create Well-Organized and Helpful Shopping Experiences

More people spending more time at home has created a surge in online shopping. As a result, many online store owners are now feeling the effects of increased competition.

Consumers look for brands they believe they can trust. At the same time, they want their online shopping experiences to be as quick and painless as possible. They look for (and expect) quick and effective product search capabilities, helpful and effective product displays, one-page product descriptions, and the like.

Walgreen’s product page design is especially well-suited for 2021 ecommerce shoppers: 

Everything shoppers usually need to know is presented above-the-fold. They can easily proceed to the next step or scroll down for reviews or additional product specifications. 

BePestControl’s pre-built website uses a similar product design approach: 

In this example, the main selling points are up-front and are kept short and sweet. The shopper can either hit the ‘Add to Cart’ button or look below the button for additional information.

In both examples, a visitor doesn’t have to mull over what step to take next since one of the design objectives is to make the shopping experience as easy and as satisfying as possible.

4. Take Advantage of the Benefits of User-Controlled Video Content

Once upon a time, video content was “the thing” to incorporate in a website. Hero background videos proved to be particularly engaging, and “how-to” videos presented much more useful information than illustrations or blocks of text could.

On the other hand, Auto-play videos, those that started on their own, all too often had a tendency to irritate rather than inform, especially when their content didn’t address a visitor’s immediate concern.

Thanks to Zoom and similar video platforms that came into widespread use in 2020 and to website designs that include video “Play” buttons, users have become much more comfortable with the medium. As an example, Shoppers have been given total control over if or when they want to view a given video. 

This is the design approach Payoneer has taken: 

The white “Pay” button is impossible to miss, and while it is designed to encourage a visitor to watch a testimonial, doing so is completely optional.

The BeOptics pre-built website cleverly slips in a video play option as well: 

In this example, when visitors hover over the “See More” button, it lets them know that they have the option to watch the video if they want to learn more.

5. Trust Builders Should be Non-Negotiable Web Design Elements

There are various ways in which products are organized or showcased in brick and mortar businesses to instill trust. Helpful and friendly staff also contribute to instilling trust.

Some of these trust-builders are easily incorporated into eCommerce designs. Others, though more difficult to fit in, can usually be satisfactorily addressed.

Digital trust builders can include.

  • Logos (familiar, whimsical, innovative, engaging)
  • Portfolios and/or product pages
  • Customer reviews, product ratings, and client testimonials
  • Case studies and product or price comparisons
  • Safety and security seals, e.g., Better Business Bureau, PayPal checkout
  • Charts, graphs, counters, and other data visualization techniques
  • Proof of social, charitable, or community-related actions and contributions

Put, trust-building content will beat hard-sell techniques every time, especially if you would like your customer base to include referred and repeat customers.

Omaze, for example, gives people entries for prizes based on their donations while at the same time highlighting the good things it and its donors have brought about.

To help build trust, the site devotes space to highlighting publications that have featured Omaze and the work it has done and is doing.

Plus, it puts data visualization and non-profit testimonials into play to give visitors an added insight into what is going on behind the scenes: 

As you can see, it doesn’t have to be difficult to incorporate genuine trust-building content into your website designs.

BePortfolio is a great example of how you might go about doing this for a portfolio site, whether it’s your own or a site for a client:

The home page alone has plenty of space for including trust-building content:

  • A satisfied customer counter
  • Product usage case studies and testimonial
  • Portfolio highlights
  • Client and partnership logos

And it can only get better as a visitor moves through the site, but only if you’ve chosen to make that happen.

Have You Started to Take These New Web Design Trends to Heart?

We’re not suggesting that you throw the baby out with the bathwater, but some trends will need to be discarded to enable you to adjust to a new normal. Other 2020 design trends, like minimalism and headline topography, are likely to remain popular for years to come.

New trends that incorporate calming color palettes, image blending, more efficient eCommerce UX designs, user-controlled video, and trust-building elements should give your customers the feeling of comfort and security they will be seeking in 2021.

If you want to implement some or all of these new trends in your 2021 website designs, BeTheme’s 600+ pre-built sites make doing so an easy task.

 

[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of BeTheme –]

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Scale Salesforce Apps Using Microservices on Heroku

This is the eighth article documenting what I’ve learned from a series of 13 Trailhead Live video sessions on Modern App Development on Salesforce and Heroku. In these articles, we’re focusing on how to combine Salesforce with Heroku to build an “eCars” app—a sales and service application for a fictitious electric car company (“Pulsar”) that allows users to customize and buy cars, service techs to view live diagnostic info from the car, and more. In case you missed my previous article, you can find the link here.

Just as a quick reminder: I’ve been following this Trailhead Live video series to brush up and stay current on the latest app development trends on these platforms that are key for my career and business. I’ll be sharing each step for building the app, what I’ve learned, and my thoughts from each session. These series reviews are both for my own edification as well as for others who might benefit from this content.

Source de l’article sur DZONE