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User Experience is a crucial consideration for any web developer or designer; the only way to ensure that you’re delivering a successful website is to ensure that the end-user or customer will feel comfortable using it. 

A strong user experience increases your client’s chances of successful audience engagement and conversions.

What you might not realize, however, is that the strategies you use to enhance UX as a web developer or designer can also influence how the search engines respond to a website. 

Though many designers assume that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the work of a copywriter or content producer, there are design elements to consider too. 

After all, the definition of optimization is “the action of making the best version of a resource.”

So, how are UX and SEO connected?

Adding UX to a Successful SEO Strategy

SEO used to be easy. To stand out on the search results, you just needed to stuff a page full of as many keywords and phrases as possible. Now, it’s a little more complicated. 

Leaders in search engine development, like Google and Bing, know that they need to offer their customers excellent experiences to keep them. In this new experience-focused landscape, SEO and UX share common goals. 

Search engines don’t just want to provide customers with any answers to their questions. Instead, Google and its competitors are using everything from artificial intelligence to machine learning algorithms to ensure that search results are accurate, relevant, and engaging. 

In the same way, user experience is about providing users with easy access to the information and resources they want. 

Now that SEO is a multi-disciplined approach, UX is just one of the essential tools that makes it possible for developers to optimize their websites properly. 

Where UX Developers Influence SEO 

There are plenty of connections between UX and site indexability

We all know that since 2018, site speed has become a crucial ranking factor for companies in search of better search results. As a developer, it’s up to you to ensure that there aren’t too many elements weighing a website down that would prevent it from delivering fast results. 

Bounce rate is another critical factor in search engine ranking algorithms. When customers click on a website, Google wants to see that they get the answers they want. If your navigation is difficult to understand, or the correct information isn’t easy to see on a page, end-users will just hit the back button. 

Let’s take a closer look at how developers can influence SEO with their UX strategies. 

1. Site Navigation and Ease of Use

It’s no secret that today’s digital consumers crave easy-to-use sites.

A complex website with pages ranking for different terms might seem like an excellent idea for SEO. However, from a UX perspective, the easier it is to navigate your website, the more your end-users will benefit. 

According to a study from Ahrefs, well-optimized pages that rank for several keywords can be more beneficial than dozens of pages ranking for similar terms. At the same time, if the search engines have difficulty crawling all your pages due to a poor site navigation strategy, then some pages won’t get indexed. 

So, how do you improve navigation and SEO at once? Follow the proper structure for your site first, categories and subcategories on the retail page help customers find exactly what they need. A solid internal linking structure allows the crawlers to examine your website and index each essential page individually.

Keep navigation simple when designing a website for both UX and SEO potential. 

2. User-Friendly Page Layouts

There are countless cases where poor layout design and formatting disrupts SEO potential. For example, cluttering a page with too much information makes it tougher to read and index. At the same time, if your pages aren’t attractive and easy to navigate, customers are more likely to hit the back button. 

If customers come to a website and immediately leave it again, this tells the search engines that they’re not finding what they need on those pages. That means Google will bump you to a lower position on the SERPs. 

So, how do you make your layouts more UX and SEO-friendly?

  • Get your category pages right: Say you’re creating a blog page for your client. They want to list all of their blogs on one main page while linking to separate locations for each article. A design that puts a large chunk of content from each blog on the main page can be problematic for UX and SEO. It means your customers have to scroll further to find what they need. At the same time, the search engines never know which words to rank that main page for. On the other hand, listing blogs on smaller cards, as Fabrik does in this example, makes sorting through content easier. 
  • Leverage headers and tags: Your customers and the search engines habitually “scan” your pages. When trying to improve UX and SEO simultaneously, you must ensure that it’s easy to find crucial information quickly. Header 1 or H1 tags can help by showing your audience your website’s critical sections. Title tags also give search engines more information on the term you want to rank for. Organizing your content into a structure that draws the eye down the page also means your customers are more likely to stay on your website for longer. That shows the search engines that you have quality, relevant content. 
  • Make the most of images and videos: Visual media isn’t just an excellent way to engage your audience. With videos and pictures, you can convey more vital information in a quick and convenient format. This leads to greater satisfaction from your audience from a UX perspective. However, visual content is also great for SEO. You can optimize every image with alt text and meta descriptions. That means you have a higher chance of ranking both in the main search results and the image searches on Google. 

3. Using Search Data to Inform Site Architecture

Today, SEO is less about building hundreds of landing pages for individual queries. Now, it’s more important to take a simple, de-cluttered approach with your website. SEO can determine what kind of architecture you need to create for a successful website. 

For instance, say you wanted to rank for eCommerce SEO. There are tons of related words that connect to that primary search term. Rather than making dozens of different pages that try to rank for distinct phrases, you can cover a lot of other ideas at once with a larger, more detailed piece of content. 

If a topic is too big to cover everything on a single page, then you might decide to create something called “pillar” content out of your main terms. This involves using one main page where you discuss all of the topics you will cover. Then, you design several smaller sub-pages that link back to that central pillar. 

Once again, this helps the search engines to navigate your website and index your pages while assisting the customers in finding the correct information. At the same time, you combine more pages on a website and remove anything that might be detracting from your site’s authority or not offering enough value. 

4. Improving Website SERP Listings

It’s easy to forget as a developer that a customer’s first experience with a website won’t always happen on that site’s homepage. Usually, when your customers are looking for solutions to a problem, they’ll find your website on the search engine results instead. 

This means that you need to ensure that you make the right impression here:

There are a few ways that developers can ensure the search engine listings they create for their clients are up to scratch. For instance, a reasonable title tag for each page that includes appropriate keywords is excellent for SEO and UX. A title tag lets your customers know they’re in the right place and helps them find the information they need. 

Remember, around eight out of ten users on search engines say that they’ll click a title if it’s compelling. 

Another component you have control over as a developer or designer is the “rich snippet.” Rich snippets are the informative chunks of content that Google adds to a search listing to help it stand out. You can use rich snippet plugins on a website to tell Google what kind of extra information you want to include on a page. 

For instance, you might want a company’s ratings to show up on your search results, so customers can see how trustworthy they are:

5. Local Business Rankings

When you’re creating a website for a company, it’s easy to forget about local rankings. We see the digital world as a way of reaching countless people worldwide. Local orders are easier to overlook when you have a global scope to work with. 

However, as a developer, you can boost a company’s chances of attracting the right local audience and boosting its credibility. For instance, you can start by ensuring that the correct directory information appears on your client’s website and social media profiles.

Another option is to create dedicated location pages for each area the company serves. This will make it easier for clients to find the contact details they need for their specific location. 

At the same time, pages that have been carefully optimized to rank for specific locations will earn more attention, specifically from search engines. The more of the search engine landscape your client can cover, the more chances they have to attract new customers and leads. 

Combing SEO and UX

In a world where experience is crucial for every business, it’s no wonder that UX and SEO are blending more closely together. There are a lot of areas where SEO and UX work in harmony together if you know where to find them. Improving your client’s SEO ranking with UX doesn’t just mean ensuring that their pages load quickly anymore. 

Simple strategies, like making sure a call-to-action button is clickable on a mobile page, can simultaneously boost a website’s UX potential and SEO performance. At the same time, adding images and alt text to a website provides search engines with more information while adding context to your content. 

The key to success is understanding how SEO and UX work together. If you look at SEO and UX as part of the same comprehensive strategy to give end-users a better online experience, achieving the right design goals is much easier. 

Of course, just like any strategy, it’s also worth making sure that you take the time to track the results of your UX and SEO campaigns. Examine which systems help you, and examine customers from an SEO perspective with design and development strategies.

 

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Learning how to design an MVP webpage or website could be one of the best things you can do as a site creator in today’s digital world.

In a fast-paced landscape, where customer preferences and technology are constantly changing, most companies don’t have time to dedicate months or years to each web project. The longer you take to complete your website, the more likely your creation will be outdated by the time you hit “publish.” That’s why countless creators are beginning to take a different approach.

To avoid wasting time, money, and effort on something that doesn’t deliver a significant return on investment, designers are now building “Minimum Viable Products,” or “MVPs.”

Here’s what you need to know about creating your MVP webpage.

What is MVP Web Design?

Typically, the “MVP” development process is most common in the app or software creation world. It refers to when a developer builds the simplest version of a technology capable of achieving specific goals. For instance, if a company wanted to create an ecommerce app, they would design a simple tool capable of listing products, enabling payments, and tracking orders.

After launching the MVP product, the company or developer would check to ensure it had the right impact on the target market and generated positive results. Using feedback and analytics, the developer would then begin to add new features one at a time.

MVP design aims to ensure you’re developing the best, most valuable product for your audience while getting your solution to market as quickly as possible.

The same strategy in MVP app and software design can also apply to website creation. Rather than building a highly complicated website with multiple features straightaway, the designer would focus on creating a single page equipped with the essential elements.

For instance, instead of building an entire site for your online course, you may develop a single-page website where customers can learn about the system, sign up, and pay for their membership. The great thing about an MVP web page is it allows companies to start advertising their solution, product, or service quickly, with the minimum initial investment.

How to Create an MVP Web Page

Creating an MVP web page is similar to designing any Minimum Viable Product. Throughout the project, the focus will be on keeping the development process simple while collecting as much feedback as possible.

Here’s how you’d get started with an MVP web page.

Step 1: Planning

Planning is an important stage in any web design project. It’s particularly crucial in the MVP landscape, where you need to define the most critical features of your webpage or website to ensure it’s “viable” for your needs. The initial planning stage can sometimes be the lengthiest part of the process, depending on the amount of research you need to do.

For the most part, web designers and companies will begin by conducting market research. This means examining crucial concepts intended to drive your strategy, such as:

  • Your target audience: Who are you trying to target with this web page, and what will they need from your site? A user persona can be helpful if you don’t already have one.
  • Competitors: Who are your main competitors in this space, and what do their web pages offer? Which features do you need to replicate or avoid?
  • Goal setting: What is the main objective of this web page? What do you need it to do, and what might it need to accomplish in the future?

The key to MVP web page planning is ensuring you look holistically at your project without thinking too far ahead. The site you create should be capable of scaling and expanding in the future, but it shouldn’t have too many features from day one.

Step 2: Creating Your Feature List

Once you’ve done your research and formed the foundations of your plan, it’s time to list all the features your MVP web page needs to have. Unfortunately, this is where the process can get a little complicated. It’s easy to start adding capabilities and components that aren’t necessary to make your site more exciting or competitive.

As worrying as it can feel to release a very basic web page, remember your focus is on rapid growth and development. With this in mind, concentrate on narrowing your feature lists down into:

  • Initial must-have capabilities: First, decide what your web page can’t thrive without. If the primary goal of your page is to sell software subscriptions, then you’ll need to implement tools for collecting member information and payments.
  • Next stage functionality: Consider the features you might add once you’ve confirmed your webpage is effective. This will allow you to ensure you’re creating a platform that can expand to suit future needs.
  • Possible future requirements: You can also list features that might be helpful in the future but don’t necessarily need to be implemented immediately. For instance, if you’re selling an online course, you might create a separate page where people can sign up to learn about future lessons.

Step 3: Finding the Right Software

Next, you’ll need to decide how to build your web page. There are several options available to today’s designers. An open-source solution is usually the best route for designers who need to create something specific from scratch. However, if the factor that makes your solution “viable” is unique, you may need access to code to bring your idea to life.

Alternatively, if you’re building a basic webpage capable of something like collecting customer email addresses or facilitating transactions, you might be able to use an off-the-shelf tool. CMS services for web designers can reduce the work and expense involved in creating a minimum viable product.

For instance, you might use a tool like Wix or Squarespace to edit a pre-existing template and simply drag-and-drop the features you need into the right places. On the other hand, if you’re planning on adding more functionality to your site down the line, it’s worth checking if any builder you will use has the right level of flexibility. Many tools will allow you access to code, advanced features, and essential module-based building functions.

Step 4: Implement Your Analytics

One of the essential parts of an MVP workflow is feedback. When you roll out your MVP, you’ll be looking for insights, guidance, and analytics to help you decide what your next steps are going to be. As a result, MVP workflows are based heavily on experimentation.

This means you’re going to need the right analytical tools in place to track crucial information. You can implement tools for collecting customer feedback directly. It’s also worth having a system in place for tracking metrics like:

  • Conversion rate;
  • Traffic numbers;
  • User behavior;
  • Most used/least used features;
  • Technical site performance;
  • Bounce rate;
  • Average time spent on the page.

While Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools for collecting insights in the MVP website design world, various other options are available. You can even find tools with in-built heatmaps to see how people navigate your site more effectively.

It’s also worth having A/B testing components in place. This will allow you to test the different “new” features you add to your web pages over time and examine how they influence your conversions and support your goals. For example, you can use A/B testing to explore the impact of everything from CTA button colors to webpage copy and offers.

Creating Your MVP Web Page

In the fast-paced web development and design world, the old-fashioned and slow approach to designing web pages is growing increasingly less common. Instead, an MVP strategy may be the best bet for companies looking to go to market faster, collect insights from their target audience, and accelerate growth.

Though getting used to this design strategy initially can be challenging, it can save you significant time, resources, and money in the long term.

 

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Starting your own business is a process with a fair share of challenges. Even in the web design world, where you can potentially minimize costs by working from home and collaborating with freelance contractors, many expenses exist. 

To run a successful web design business, you need enough money to invest in everything from skilled colleagues to resources (like fonts and themes), software subscriptions, and technology tools. Finding a way to fund your company can be the most complicated part of ensuring its success.

For most new companies, the easiest option to generate opportunities is “bootstrapping.” Learning how to bootstrap a web design business means knowing how to bring your business to life with virtually no starting capital. 

Here’s how to get started.

What is Bootstrapping? 

Successful bootstrappers take an idea, such as creating a web design company and create a fantastic company without the backing of investors. It takes significant dedication, commitment, and single-mindedness to accomplish your goals, but some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, like Steve Jobs and Sam Walton, got their start this way. 

The term “bootstrapping” comes from the phrase “to pull yourself up by the bootstraps,” which indicates overcoming challenges on your own without any external support. 

The pros and cons of bootstrapping include:

Pros:

  • Full control: Bootstrapping allows entrepreneurs to retain full ownership over their business. Alternatively, engaging with investors means allowing other professionals to own a portion of your company or make a share of the decisions. 
  • Innovation: Business owners in a bootstrapping model are forced to invest in agile and innovative business models. You must develop processes to produce immediate, lasting cash flow from day one. 
  • Accomplishment: Building something from the ground up creates a powerful sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. 
  • Ownership: You won’t have to sell any equity in your business to other investors, which means you can benefit fully from the company as it grows.

Cons:

  • Risks: Self-funded businesses generally run out of funds faster and struggle to scale as quickly as other companies, limiting the brand’s ability to reach its potential.
  • Limited support: Traditional financing methods (like working with investors) also provide networking opportunities and support from specialists who want to see your company succeed. 
  • Pressure: Bootstrapping businesses need to be meticulous about everything from keeping books to making the right decisions for brand growth. 
  • Hard work: With limited resources, connections, and options, bootstrapping entrepreneurs need to work harder than most and take on more roles.

How to Bootstrap Your Web Design Business: Step by Step

Bootstrapping a web design business can be complicated, but it works for many companies if you follow the right strategy. The good news is web design companies generally don’t require as much initial capital as some other types of companies, like standard retail brands or companies with a need for brick and mortar offices.

However, there are still steps you’ll need to follow to ensure success.

Step 1: Source Some Initial Funds

While you might not work with investors when bootstrapping your web design business, you’ll still need some essential initial funds. To run a web design business, you won’t necessarily need a massive initial investment, but you will need something. 

To determine how much capital you need to raise from your income, savings, a line of credit, or other common bootstrapping sources, think about:

  • Where you’re going to work: The upfront costs of operating your own web design business will be a lot lower if you choose to work from home and with remote specialists. The less you have to pay for office space, the better.
  • Business fees: You may need to pay fees for registering your business name, hosting your own website for advertising, and dealing with any registration costs.
  • Equipment and software: Think about what you will use daily for web design. Subscription-based services like Adobe Creative Cloud can cost quite a bit to access. You’ll also need a good computer, and perhaps a tablet for sketching.

Step 2: Find a USP 

The easiest way to ensure a bootstrapped web design business is a success is to ensure you are offering specific clients something they genuinely need. In a service-based landscape like web design, you need to know what your customers want and offer something they can’t get elsewhere.

For instance, can you differentiate yourself from other web design companies by helping with modern trends like 360-degree video and XR-ready design? Can you build apps for companies from scratch and provide ongoing maintenance for the websites you make?

An excellent way to find your USP is to examine your competitors. Find out what other companies in your area are offering their customers, and listen to consumers in your industry when they talk about what they need from a website designer. 

Step 3: Choose a Cash Flow Optimized Model 

Since you’re relying only on your cash and the money you make from your web design business to fuel its growth, choosing a model optimized for consistent cash flow is essential. Bootstrapping a business often means you place most of the profit you gain from your company back into the development of the brand. 

With this in mind, consider how you’ll offer services and charge your customers. Are you going to ask for a portion of the fees up-front before starting a web design project? Can you provide your customers with subscription models to improve your revenue consistently?

For instance, you could provide help with ongoing maintenance, development, and support rather than just offering to build websites for companies. Another way to make additional income is with professional services, like consulting. 

Make sure there’s a market for the services you’ll offer before launching your business by examining the surrounding environments and services your competitors provide.

Step 4: Keep Costs Low and Profits High

Keeping costs low will be essential to ensuring your success when bootstrapping a business. Fortunately for web designers, it’s relatively easy to cut down on fees. For instance, WordPress is free to use for your development projects, making it an excellent choice for many web design strategies. 

You can also look into common free and cheap alternatives to web design tools online, like GIMP. Shop around for the things you will be paying ongoing fees with. For instance, it’s best to check out multiple vendors when looking for web hosting and marketing support. 

While keeping your costs low, it’s also essential to accelerate profits as much as possible. You can look for ways to boost customer retention by building stronger relationships with your clients and offering them deals on long-term subscriptions. 

If you have time outside of your web design business, you can also try taking on some side hustles. Options include:

  • Selling web design assets on sites like ThemeForest
  • Offering your services on a freelance basis with sites like Dribbble and Toptal
  • Designing and selling NFTs for the metaverse
  • Teaching web design or selling webinars

Step 5: Grow Cautiously

Finally, while the goal of successfully bootstrapping your web design business will be to grow as rapidly and consistently as possible, it’s important to be cautious. For instance, you’ll need to be able to afford the fees of every new designer you bring onto your team, so consider looking for freelancers and contractors rather than permanent hires.

Use organic channels for marketing your services, like blogging and content marketing which can help improve your SEO standing and attract attention among clients. Plus, encourage your customers to recommend your services to other brands. 

As new clients approach your business, ensure you only take on as many customers as you can reasonably handle. Compromising on quality will damage your relationships with customers and harm your reputation. 

Good Luck Bootstrapping Your Business

When you’re bootstrapping a business, you get the benefit of being able to eliminate any outside influences from your growth. You’re free to focus on building relationships with companies of your choice, and you get to make decisions about your growth. However, there are downsides, too, like significant stress and limited financial opportunities.

While bootstrapping your business is tough, if you manage to complete the process successfully, the results can be fantastic. 

 

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We had a great talk with Bjarne Stroustrup, the designer and original implementer of C++. He is also the author of The C++ Programming Language (Fourth Edition), A Tour of C++ (Second Edition), Programming: Principles and Practice Using C++ (Second Edition), and many popular academic publications.

Enjoy the full interview below!

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Moving from studying design into the big wide world of web design is a daunting process. It’s a competitive and dynamic industry that’s growing all the time. It’s estimated that between 2020 and 2030, web designer jobs in the US will increase by 13%. One of the most challenging aspects of starting a career in web design is getting hired, especially as a freelancer. 

The first thing that most clients and agencies look for is usually your level of professional experience. They want to work with someone who, while perhaps not a veteran, has at least a few years of experience. This can lead to a lot of frustration for new designers. After all, how are you supposed to get experience if nobody hires you? 

Moreover, clients and agencies miss out on promising candidates when they pass up on skilled designers just because they don’t have experience. 

Here’s why we should all give zero-experience designers a chance.

1. Price

Professional web design doesn’t come cheap, and for a good reason. Most freelancers who have been in the business for many years have built a solid reputation for themselves and have no shortage of work. Web design agencies have a higher degree of accountability and a quality guarantee, which is why hiring their services can cost more. 

If you’re looking to get design work done on a tight budget, you’ll have better luck contacting someone with little or no experience. However, they’re most likely looking to build up their portfolio and will gladly offer you competitive rates.

2. No Experience Doesn’t Mean No Skill

Clients often assume that anything produced by an inexperienced designer will be sub-par or unusable. While it is true that an extensive portfolio is a good sign, it isn’t the only reason to hire someone. 

New web designers may not be as well versed in business, but many of them are still highly skilled and motivated individuals with a lot to offer. 

Whether self-taught or college graduates, they have devoted countless hours to becoming good at what they do. Instead of passing on a zero-experience candidate, give them a chance to show you what they can do with a mock-up. If you’re still dubious, then go with someone else. But you never know what someone has to offer until you put them to the test.

3. They Will Prioritize Your Job

As we’ve already established, finding work as a fresh-faced web designer can be challenging. This means that those with little to no experience are more likely to have time to devote entirely to your project, as they won’t be splitting their focus.

Agencies and well-established freelancers usually juggle several different projects at a time, meaning they will take longer to produce a result. If they happen to be working on a higher-paying job simultaneously with yours, you can guess which one they’ll prioritize. 

It’s always comforting to know that the person handling your design work is focused on you and you alone. You know your project won’t be on the back burner or forgotten about. 

4. You Will Foster Loyalty

This applies more to big web design agencies. New designers know their lack of experience counts against them, even for entry-level positions. If you choose to look past that and hire them anyway, they won’t forget it in a hurry. 

Once you’ve hired them, you have all the time in the world to help them learn the ropes. Include them in projects headed up by more experienced designers, give them lower priority jobs, and create an environment where their technical skills can flourish. 

Everyone has to start somewhere, and you can bet that they will remember who decided to give them an opportunity when nobody else would. A few years later, when they’ve found their feet in the industry, you’ll have a skilled, experienced designer with something you can’t buy: loyalty. 

5. They’re Eager to Learn

Industry veterans eventually become somewhat set in their ways. They develop their unique style and way of doing things, and while this isn’t bad, it’s different from someone freshly entering the industry for the first time. 

New designers are ‌much more eager to take instruction and expand their repertoire according to your needs. They have the time, energy, and motivation to learn new skills and may have a different approach to projects simply because they have not yet learned otherwise.

6. No Project Is Too Small

Not every job is going to be massive and high paying. People need web designers for small business sites, event pages, small ad campaigns, and other similar projects. Established designers looking for bigger fish will often pass up these kinds of jobs. But they are ideal for new designers who need to build their portfolio website.

On the other hand, new designers will usually take any opportunity to make money and gain experience. If your project isn’t massively complex or high stakes, use it as an opportunity to give someone a chance to showcase their skills. 

7. Everyone Starts Somewhere

No designer starts their career with experience, and many work in other design-related jobs for some time before they begin to do what they’re genuinely passionate about. Industries that make it hard for entry-level professionals to find work often discourage them from pursuing their goals. While philanthropy might not be high on the list of priorities for clients or agencies who want the best in the business, it’s always good to remember that growing industry means recognizing potential. 

Not every newbie will ‌be a prodigy. But without people out there willing to give them a chance, even the most gifted designer will eventually lose heart. 

Summary

In short, experience isn’t everything. While it is a vital asset to any designer, there is certainly room in the industry to allow those with potential to grow. 

So, next time you’re looking for new hires or someone to take on a freelance gig, remember what it’s like to be the new guy and consider hiring someone less experienced. You will sometimes find the brightest gems where you least expect them.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Automation is the theme of this month’s collection of exciting new tools for designers and developers. There are tools to make your images better, tools to create illustrations, and tools to make your workflow more efficient. Plus, a whole host of tools that are just plain fun.

Here’s what is new for designers this month…

designstripe

designstripe lets you create beautiful illustrations with no design skills. Drag and drop different elements into place, then customize them for your brand.

DesignMaestro

DesignMaestro is a free keyboard extension app that lets you automate the tasks you repeat daily. Set up a macro with a keyboard shortcut, and tap the shortcut to perform the action.

Ghost 5.0

Ghost is one of the best personal blogging platforms around, and version 5 enhances it with custom code, support for video, and performance upgrades.

Yep

Yep is a new search engine from the makers of Ahrefs. Built from the ground up, Yep will give 90% of its ad revenue to content creators.

The CTO Field Guide

The CTO Field Guide is a free ebook for anyone newly promoted to a technology officer role or looking for a tech leadership role. It’s a simple guide to making the most of your first 90 days on the job.

ASCII Art Paint

ASCII Art Paint is a free, open-source web app for creating images made up of text characters and hieroglyphs. It’s a great way to add pictures to text-only formats.

Effekt

Make your own fun, wallpaper art at up to 8k resolution using Effekt, a mix between an image editor and a visual toy.

Animatiss

Animatiss is a fantastic collection of CSS animations that you can use for free. Tailor the speed of the animation, preview it, then copy and paste the code into your project.

Skiff

Skiff Mail is an email app that features end-to-end encryption. This means your email stays private and secure, so you’re free to discuss sensitive matters.

Super Designer Tools

Super Designer is a collection of design tools for performing simple tasks. There’s a background generator, a pattern generator, a blob generator, and more—all free to use.

Web UI

Web UI is a collection of UI kits and templates for Figma and Adobe XD. Most designs are free to download and use for projects, and some require payment.

Free Online Background Remover

Use this free online background remover to quickly and easily delete the background of photos, leaving you free to paste the foreground over flat colors, gradients, or even different backgrounds.

Untitled UI Icons

Untitled UI Icons is a set of clean, consistent, and neutral icons made for Figma in Figma. There are 3,500 icons in total. The line style is free to download.

OS

Turn your Mac or iPhone into an old-school Macintosh with this retro wallpaper and icon set, and transport yourself back to 1984. OS is a premium download.

Shrink.media

Shrink.media is a free app for web, iOS, and Android that lets you reduce the size of your image file size and dimensions to reduce its footprint.

3D Avatars

This big library of 3D avatars is perfect for any project that needs staff images. There are different ethnicities, clothing, facial expressions, and accessories, so you never run out of options.

Felt

Felt is a modern map maker for the web that gives you more control, more design options, and easier sharing than Google maps.

SureScan

SureScan is a helpful app that hunts through terms and conditions for dubious conditions on your behalf, so you can spend your time doing something less boring.

Reform

Reform is a no-code form builder that you can use to create clean, branded forms for your business without any design or code skills.

Copy Foundry

Discover how the best brands evolve their messaging over time with Copy Foundry, a brand positioning, and copywriting library to help your products stand out.

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As a website designer, your professional life revolves around crucial questions that might help you to deliver better results for your clients.

Which widgets are essential to driving conversions? What kind of checkout page elements do you need to include? Should there be a video or slideshow on that product page?

One of the biggest queries that we face when building landing pages to encourage sales is whether a CTA (call to action) button needs to be above or below the fold. 

Answering the question: “Where should the CTA go?” correctly could make or break your client’s chances of a sale. Unfortunately, this particular concern has been the source of a raging debate for many years now. Everyone has their own opinion about CTAs and where they belong.

Today, we’re going to cover the benefits and issues with placing a CTA above the fold.

Should You Place a CTA Above the Fold? 

Starting with a quick refresher, the term “above the fold” refers to any area of a website seen on a screen when a user arrives on a webpage. The content that appears above and below the fold may differ depending on the device you’re visiting a website with. 

Experts in the design and digital marketing world have frequently claimed that if you want to get the best results with a CTA, you need to place it above the fold. 

This strategy makes a lot of sense. If your CTA is above the fold, then your chances of it being seen are significantly higher. Some customers might not want to scroll to the bottom of a page to find out what they need to do next in their buyer journey. 

Additionally, according to the NN group, the 100 pixels that appeared above the fold were seen 102% more often than the pixels underneath the fold. Eye-tracking technology learned that more often than not, you’ll get more engagement above the fold. 

Just look at this landing page from Lyft, for instance, you immediately see what you need to do next:

It’s not just a single study that has touted the benefits of an above-the-fold CTA, either. 

Another report into the “importance of being seen” found that above-the-fold ads and CTAs had a 73% rate of visibility compared to only 44% for those below the fold

So, with stats like that to think about, why would you ever consider using a below-the-fold CTA? 

When to Place a CTA Below the Fold

As with most things in web design, there is an exception to the rule. 

Yes, above the fold, CTAs will be better for you most of the time. However, there are times when you might need to think outside of the box. 

Most people think that placing a CTA below the fold practically guarantees that it won’t be seen. However, if you’re creating a website page or landing page that includes a lot of vital information, your audience will need to scroll. 

For instance, if you’re creating a page where someone can download an app to engage with a business they already know about, it makes sense to speed the journey along with an above-the-fold CTA. However, if you’re trying to convince someone to sign up for your webinar, you might need to tell them what that webinar is all about first. That’s where a below-the-fold CTA comes in handy. 

Customers might not have a lot of time in their busy schedules for scrolling these days. However, they still need the right information before they can make a decision about what to do next with your brand. According to Marketing Experiments, below the fold, CTA buttons can result in a 20% increase in conversions. However, this conversion boost only happens when you’re providing valuable, engaging, and persuasive content.

Check out this example from the Boston Globe, for instance:

The Fold Isn’t Everything in Web Design

The fold is often an essential consideration in web design. 

However, it’s not all you need to think about when you’re deciding where to place sign-up forms and valuable CTA buttons. 

According to the Nielsen Norman group, the content that appears at the top of the page will always influence user experience. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to place your CTA there. What you do need to do is ensure that whatever you have above the fold is promising enough to engage your visitor and make them scroll. 

Put simply, what’s above and below the fold does matter, but your focus should be on taking advantage of customer motivation, rather than worrying exclusively about an imaginary line. 

When deciding where a CTA belongs, you need to think about motivation. 

How motivated is your prospect to click on a button? How desirable is your offering at that time, and how much does your visitor already know about the thing they’re being offered?

If you’re going to need to provide more information before your customer wants to convert, then a below-the-fold CTA makes more sense. 

If you’ve already provided all the information that your customer needs and a prospect is visiting from an advertisement or another page on the website, then above the fold should be exceptional. 

The Truth About Designing for The Fold

The reality for web designers today is that achieving higher conversion rates doesn’t really have that much to do with whether a CTA is above or below the fold.

What’s important is whether your buttons come under the right amount of copy that answers the correct questions for an audience. 

Remember, when visitors come to a website, they’re looking for different things. There are visitors that:

  • Already know your brand and value your offering: These people are often clicking into your landing pages from other marketing campaigns where they’ve learned about the brand or offer. You can give these prospects a CTA immediately so they can continue down the buyer’s funnel as fast as possible. 
  • Are uncertain about your offering and need to know a bit more: These people need some extra information. They might have a concern that needs to be addressed before they’re willing to spend their money. You might not need much copy here, which means that a CTA may still appear above the fold. 
  • Are brand new to your website: These prospects need a reasonable amount of copy. They don’t know what you’re offering or why it’s valuable to them. Because of this, you may need to wait to push them into action until you’ve delivered the right copy. 

In some cases, you may even place multiple CTAs on the same page. Some people will have a general understanding of the technology and what it does. This means that they’ll be happy to click on the button at the top of the fold. 

On the other hand, there could also be visitors arriving on the same page that don’t understand what the benefits of real-time personalization are. This means that you need to elaborate a little on what you have to offer. A simple one-line explanation isn’t enough here.  

Figuring Out Where to Place a CTA

Deciding where to place different elements of a website is a common challenge for web designers. Despite tons of blogs out there, that claim “above the fold” is always the best option for any conversion rate optimization, the truth is a little more complicated. 

The critical thing to remember as a web designer is that a CTA button asks a customer for commitment. Even if the CTA allows someone to download a free demo or sign-up for a newsletter without spending any money, it requires a customer to start a relationship with a brand. 

In a world where customers are less trusting of companies than ever, it doesn’t make sense to push them into a relationship too quickly. Asking for a commitment from a target audience before they’ve had the chance to see what’s “in it for them” is not a good idea. 

Jump in too quickly, and you’re likely to rub people the wrong way. 

Go Out and Master the Fold

The issue for today’s designers isn’t figuring out whether a button needs to be visible from the moment someone arrives on a page. Instead, you need to think about whether visitors are finding the CTA at a time when they’re ready to take action. 

You can only answer the question “where should the CTA go?” after you’ve carefully analyzed the project that you’re working on. 

Remember, above the fold isn’t always the answer. 

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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The term “web design” refers to the process of planning, organizing, and editing content online. On the surface, it seems like a simple enough concept. However, the reality is what we consider “web design” can change over time, influenced by our perception of the “web.” 

In 2022, a professional web designer might create custom websites from scratch, but they may also be responsible for: 

  • UX Design: Creating elements focused on user experience
  • App design: Building digital components of a website or online experience.
  • Theme design: Creating visual tools for supplementing web design. 

Web design isn’t just about making a site look attractive anymore. The definition goes beyond the aesthetic to include a complete consideration of the functionality, performance, and abilities of countless assets we engage within the digital world.

What is Web Design? The Definition Today

Web design is the practice responsible for creating a website’s overall look and feel or web asset (such as web and mobile apps). It involves the process of planning and building elements of your project, from structure and layout choices to graphics and presentation. 

Web design has various components that work together to create the final “experience” of a website, including graphic design, interface design, user experience design, search engine optimization, content creation, etc. These elements determine how a web asset looks, feels and performs on various devices. 

Though the definition of web design in 2022 has evolved, it’s still different from web development, which refers to the actual coding which makes a website work. When you’re building a website, you’ll need web design and web development. 

Elements of Web Design in 2022 

When designing a website, modern designers need to consider two overlapping concepts: the overall appearance of the website and its functionality. The proper connection between these elements will maximize the site’s overall performance and usability, and make a design more memorable (for all of the right reasons). 

Let’s break down the elements of web design into its visual and functional components.

Visual Elements of Web Design

Visual elements of web design influence how a design looks. The various visual components of a design should still follow the basic principles of graphic design. In other words, designers should be thinking about contrast, balance, unity, and alignment simultaneously. The visual elements of web design include: 

  • Written copy and fonts: A website’s appearance and the text on the site often go hand in hand. Designers need to work together with content writers to ensure written copy makes sense structurally and uses the correct fonts for legibility. 
  • Colors: Colors for web design are usually chosen based on factors like color psychology, which demonstrates a color’s ability to affect how someone feels, and branding. Most brands have specific colors they use consistently throughout their visual assets; this helps create a sense of cohesion and unity in designs.
  • Layout and spacing: Layout and spacing influence how content is arranged in an app, website, or another visual asset. The right layout helps to create a visual hierarchy, guiding a viewer through a page and drawing their attention to the correct information in order. Spacing helps to separate components on a page and create legibility. 
  • Images, icons, and shapes: Images, icons, and shapes help convey significant amounts of information. The right ideas and icons can strengthen a brand message, direct a customer’s attention using a web app, and bring context to a design. 
  • Videos and animations: Videos and animations are becoming increasingly common in today’s web design strategies. Videos can include 360-degree videos, which help immerse someone in a space, video streams, and short content clips.

Functional Elements of Web Design

Functional elements in web design are the practical components designers need to consider to ensure websites and assets work as they’re supposed to. A website, app, or any other web asset needs to function correctly to be accessible to users.

Functional elements of web design may include:

  • Navigation: The navigation elements of a website or app are among the main components determining whether a site is functioning properly and ensuring a good user experience. Audiences need to be able to move around the app or website quickly. 
  • User interactions: Your site visitors may have multiple ways of communicating with your web app or website, depending on their device. You’ll need to make sure people can scroll and swipe on smartphones and tablets and click on desktops. If your website has VR or AR elements, you’ll also need to consider these immersive components in your design.
  • Speed and performance: While web development elements can also influence a web design’s speed or performance, it’s also essential for a designer to show elements of the composition don’t weigh down the functionality. Designs need to load quickly and correspond with the demands of browsers on various devices.
  • Structure: A website’s structure plays a critical role in user experience and SEO requirements. Users need to easily navigate through a website without encountering any issues like getting lost or ending up on broken pages.
  • Compatibility: A good design should look perfect on all devices, from a wide range of browsers to the various devices users might leverage today. 

What Does Good Web Design Look Like in 2022?

More than ever, achieving high-quality web design is crucial to success in any industry or landscape. More than half of the world’s population is active online. If you’re not appealing to this audience correctly, you’re missing out on endless opportunities.

Notably, while elements of good web design can be subjective, such as which themes or colors someone might prefer for their website, the underlying foundations of strong web design are the same for everyone in 2022.  

Good web design is any design that looks good, performs as it should, and delivers the best possible experience to your target audience. Effective web design should include components like:

  • Effective use of white space for organization and structure.
  • Clearly presented choices and navigation options for the user.
  • Clear calls to action to drive user activities from one page to another.
  • Limited distractions and a straightforward user journey. 
  • No clutter or unnecessary components irrelevant to the needs of the user. 
  • Responsive, flexible design accessible on any browser or device.
  • High-quality content and images are designed to hook a reader’s attention.
  • Appropriately sized fonts and legible typography.
  • A good balance between images and text on a page. 

Other elements like eye-catching imagery and professional photography can help your web design stand out. Using the right building blocks, like a strong color palette and the right shapes or icons in your design is helpful. 

Of course, there is some scope for variation in good web design. A web designer in 2022 needs to be able to adapt their use of the various essential elements of design to suit a specific target audience or the unique identity of a brand.

What Doesn’t Work for Web Design in 2022?

Just as web design elements seem to appear consistently in all excellent examples, there are also parts of web design we’ve left behind over the years. Simpler, more straightforward designs have replaced cluttered spaces, flashing images, and endless animations. 

The focus in 2022 is on creating an experience that’s simple, engaging, and intuitive, capable of speaking to the right audience without confusion or being visually overwhelming. In most cases, some of the top components to avoid include:

  • Clunky performance: Non-responsive website design, slow pages, and other examples of clunky functionality are a no-go in 2022. Websites need to be quick and responsive.
  • Distracting content: Flashing images, animations, and complex backgrounds are a thing of the past for a good reason. Websites today need to be clean, simple, and clear. Any elements which don’t add to the value of the design should be removed.
  • Generic content: Filler text, irrelevant stock photos, unclear buttons, and links can be removed from today’s website designs. A web design should be specific to the audience’s needs and the brand’s identity. Generic components don’t work.

Creating Web Designs in 2022

Today, the underlying definition of web design has a lot of similarities to the definition we’ve known for several years already. Creating a great website or web asset still requires focusing on user experience, aesthetic appeal, and functionality. However, today’s web designers generally have more components and different devices. 

Web design in 2022 is about creating high-quality experiences for customers that can support various environments and devices. The best web designs are aesthetically appealing, functionally reliable, and capable of adhering to the latest trends in web creation, like augmented reality, 360-degree video, and ultra-high resolution. 

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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