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8 Awesome Black Friday 2020 Deals for Designers (Up to 94% Off!)

If you’re interested in a sneak peek of this year’s best Black Friday deals, stick around. You’ll find a few web designers’ favorites, including a stellar deal or two.

This year, more than a few of the popular retail outlets are shifting away from the traditional “camp out all night and bust open the doors when the store opens” shopping model. You might just prefer this less chaotic, ecommerce approach.

All of us are trying to adjust to what may eventually become a “new normal”. We may not like some aspects of this new normal, but there are bright spots as well.

More shoppers are likely going to shop online because of the coronavirus. That means you don’t have to fight the crowds while desperately attempting to socially distance. The shelves aren’t as apt to go bare, and shopping is easy, convenient, and safe.

1. Slider Revolution

You will find the Slider Revolution plugin incorporated in a host of WordPress theme tools and products. This premium plugin can in fact boast of more than 7 million users around the globe.

What you may not be aware of is that it is much more than just a WordPress slider. With it in your web design toolbox, you can in fact create just about anything you can imagine.

Expect to find:

  • A stunning selection of elements including sliders and carousels;
  • Attention-getting hero sections designed to make your home pages really stand out;
  • Single-page websites with layouts unlike anything you’ve seen before;
  • Modular structuring that allows you to rearrange and reuse sections however you choose and the ability to mix and match modules with any WordPress content;
  • Add-ons whose cutting edge features push the boundaries of web design possibilities.

There’s more of course. To celebrate Black Friday and Cyber Monday you can NOW get any Slider Revolution subscription plan or one-time payment at a 33% discount.

Just click on the banner and use the BLACKFRIDAY code at checkout.

2. Amelia

When done manually, booking and managing appointments can be tedious and subject to mistakes and errors. Amelia provides an automated booking process that is oh-so easy to work with and is error free; just what you need to help you acquire more happy customers.

Key features of Amelia’s fully responsive design include:

  • A dashboard system that enables you to track approved and pending appointments, booking changes, and revenue;
  • Zoom Integration, Google Calendar, and Outlook Calendar sync;
  • The ability to accept and easily manage recurring appointments that customers can schedule;
  • Front-end customer and employee appointment and event managing and backend appointment adding, editing, and rescheduling;
  • Email notifications for pending and approved appointments and events.

And much more that will save you loads of energy and a ton of time. Give Amelia a try, and if you like what you see (and you will), take advantage of the 30% Black Friday discount.

3. wpDataTables

wpDataTables 3.0, with its fresh, new look, gives you a host of different ways to generate attractive, customizable, and responsive tables and charts, and a host of different ways to present them.

  • Tables can be created from most data sources, the most common being MySQL query, PHP array, Google Spreadsheet, Excel files CSV files, and JSON and XML inputs;
  • A working knowledge of SQL is not required!
  • Addons include Gravity Forms, Formidable Forms, Report Builder, and Powerful Filter;
  • wpDataTables users can generate Tables and Charts quickly from massive amounts of data (saving hours of effort);
  • Tables and charts are customizable and maintainable (editable once placed in use);
  • Tables can be created manually if you wish.

Click on the banner now and take advantage of wpDataTables 30% Black Friday discount on all licenses and addons.

4. TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance WordPress Theme

In TheGem, the ultimate WordPress multipurpose toolbox, you will find:

  • A rich selection of 400+ premium pre-built multi-page and one-page websites, all available for Elementor and WPBakery page builders;
  • The ability to mix and match any of this demos, layouts and page sections to create your own unique look;
  • Extended WooCommerce layouts & tools for making online shops, which convert better;
  • TheGem Blocks: an ultimate tool for building webpages at the speed of light.

And much more. Just click on the banner and check this 5-star product out.

5. Mobirise Website Builder

Creating a Google-friendly can take time, unless you have Mobirise at your fingertips, in which case you have a number of helpful tools to speed things up.

  • No coding, it’s all drag and drop;
  • 3,600+ website templates are at your disposal plus sliders, popups, forms, and more;
  • Many eCommerce features, including a shopping cart;
  • Latest Google Amp and Bootstrap4;
  • You can download Mobirise for free.

And, because it’s Black Friday, everything is yours at a 94% discount!

6. Get Illustrations

Get Illustrations offers royalty free and landing page Illustrations ready to drag and drop into your web design. You’ll have access to:

  • An extensive library of 4000+ illustrations with more added every week;
  • A wealth of design formats, including AI, PNG, SVG, Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch;
  • Free updates and new illustrations weekly (included in the bundle).

Click on the banner and use the Coupon Code BLACKDEAL for your 30% discount.

7. XStore | Responsive Multi-Purpose WooCommerce WordPress Theme

For anyone planning on creating an eCommerce store, the XStore name says it all. Key features you’ll find in this powerful and flexible WooCommerce theme include:

  • More than 95 good-to-go-shops plus a full AJAX shop to get you started;
  • 300+ pre-defined shop/page sections, a header builder, and a single product page builder;
  • Elementor, WPBakery and $510+ worth of premium plugins.

Click on the banner and sign up to become one of XStore’s 55,000+ happy customers.

8. Kalium – Creative Theme For Multiple Uses

Kalium is an easy-to-use, easily maintainable multipurpose theme for WordPress users that is always updated to use the latest WordPress standards.

  • Kalium provides its users with a host of professionally-designed pre-built demos and elements;
  • Many plugins such as: Slider Revolution, WPBakery, Elementor, Layer Slider, Advanced Custom Fields PRO, Product Filter for WooCommerce, Product Size Guide,WooCommerce and other premium plugins are included.

Kalium is responsive, GDPR compliant, and gives you full eCommerce and top-quality customer support. It has a 5-star rating after 36k sales on ThemeForest – seriously impressive!

***** 

If you hit the retail stores remember to social distance.

Or, if you would rather take a brief break from the demands of Covid-19, take advantage of one or more of the above ecommerce sales. As you can see, there are some excellent ones!

 

[– This is a sponsored post –]

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Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Top New CMS Plugins, November 2020

Since there are so many CMS plugins out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the best ones for your website. We’ve done the research for you; this list contains the top new CMS plugins for November 2020. You’ll find useful plugins for WordPress, Craft, Shopify, and Joomla.

Let’s get started…

WordPress

404 Page Editor

404 Page Editor is a simple WordPress plugin that helps you add custom text to the default 404 page on your website. The plugin comes with seasonal and industry-related 404 templates. One useful feature of the plugin is that it backups your current 404 page before changing it. So you can restore the backup page anytime you choose. The plugin duplicates your current 404.php page to wp-content/uploads/404-page-editor/ so you can easily find it. You can also change the text on the plugin to fit your local dialect. 

UnusedCSS Power-Up

Most WordPress themes and plugins load their CSS in the wrong areas of your website. This can slow down your site. A slow website will reduce user experience and lead to increased bounce rates.

UnusedCSS will help reduce the size of your website’s CSS files by up to 95%. The best part is that the plugin works automatically. It will remove any unused CSS when visitors view any page on your website. UnusedCSS will automatically reduce your website’s load times by reducing your CSS files and page size. The plugin also optimizes the performance of other WordPress plugins and extensions. UnusedCSS also works with WooCommerce themes and plugins.

Simple Redirects

Simple Redirects is a WordPress plugin that helps you to automatically redirect requests to another page on your site or any other place on the web. The plugin allows you to easily redirect users from your old web pages to new pages using 301 or 302 redirects. You don’t have to worry about losing backlinks or page rank. Any incoming links to the old web page will be automatically passed along to the new page. The page rank on the old page is also transferred to the new page. The plugin is useful when migrating a WordPress site when don’t want to retain the URL structure. 

HTML Validation

HTML Validation plugin helps you identify any HTML validation errors on your website. The plugin works automatically in the background of your website and will send you regular reports. There is a progress bar on the report screen to show you the progress of the scan. The plugin uses WordPress Cron to scan the content of your website. There is also an option for the plugin to automatically fix any HTML validation issues on your website. You can also choose to fix the issues manually. 

Just Highlight

Just Highlight is a simple WordPress plugin that helps you highlight text in your posts or pages. You can use this plugin to highlight any portion of the page you want to draw the reader’s attention to. You can highlight the background of the page and also add animation to the highlighted text. In the WordPress admin area, you can change the speed and color of the animation. The plugin is compatible with Gutenberg, and the WordPress classic editor. 

DeviantArt Embed

DeviantArt Embed is a simple plugin that helps you embed any work from Deviant Art into a post. The plugin provides a block for the WordPress block editor so you can easily embed the image. It uses a DeviantArt oEmbed API to pull the images and their descriptions, and creates an embedded image. 

Static Optimizer

Static Optimizer is a static file optimization plugin that serves and optimizes static files on your website. The plugin will help you increase your website speed by automatically compressing your static files. It is easy to set up, you just need an API key to get started. Other useful features that the plugin offers include automatic JS and CSS minification, automatic image optimization, and processing of responsive images. You don’t have to worry about losing your files if their server is down. The plugin automatically backs up your files and will load your original files when their servers are down (either because of an upgrade, maintenance, or outage).  By default, only images are compressed when you activate the plugin; you can also choose to optimize fonts, CSS, and JS files. 

RankBear

RankBear is a keyword rank tracker plugin that helps you analyze your SEO efforts. With RankBear, you can track the keywords for each of the posts and pages on your site. While the plugin has a paid plan, you can track up to five keywords for free. On the free plan, you will receive weekly reports on each keyword you are tracking. You can search for the rank and volume of a keyword in every location supported by the Google search engine. RankBear is a lightweight software-as-a-service plugin hosted by Amazon Cloud Services. The plugin also offers the option to download the keyword reports to CSV. 

Table of Contents Block

Table of Contents Block is a plugin that allows you to easily create a Table of Contents for your WordPress posts. The plugin is lightweight and will automatically add a Table of Content in your website’s posts and pages. You can select the heading tags you want to add to the Table of Content. It also has a dedicated support team to assist you. The plugin works fine with all standard WordPress themes. 

Markease For WooCommerce

Markeaze is an all-in-one communication plugin that allows you to add live chat to your online stores. The plugin will help you improve your customer service by decreasing your response times. With the plugin, you can collect your visitor’s contact information via a widget. This feature is useful in building a subscriber database. You can also use the plugin to track customer behavior on your site, inform customers about new products, help customers with active orders, and collect customer feedback. You can also use the auto-reply function to answer commonly asked questions. 

Craft CMS

Image Toolbox

Image Toolbox is a Craft CMS plugin that offers image-related tools for your templates. The plugin will automatically create a WebP variant of the images you upload. It also has a fallback for browsers that do not support WebP images. Other useful features the plugin offers include automatic creation of placeholder images and generation of responsive images with multiple variants. The plugin also supports Imager-X (or old Imager). 

Element Panel

Element Panel plugin allows you to add elements and an eager-loading panel to the debug toolbar. This feature will help you benchmark your templates in Craft CMS. For elements, the panel has a dashboard that shows how many elements are populated. It also shows how many elements are duplicates. The plugin also shows you how many eager-loading elements are detected. Duplicate elements are grouped by field name. 

Shopify 

VStore Shoppable Videos

VStore Shoppable Videos is a Shopify plugin that allows your customers to shop directly from your videos. The plugin allows you to embed your products into any video. Since videos have a high engagement rate, this plugin will significantly improve your store’s conversion rates. 

ProofMotion Video Testimonials

ProofMotion Video Testimonials plugin helps you to easily collect video testimonials. The plugin sends an automated email or SMS requests to customers asking for their satisfaction feedback after making a purchase. The responses are analyzed to determine whether the customer had a negative or positive experience. Customers that offer negative feedback are sent to customer care to help them with the problem they encountered. Happy customers are prompted to make video testimonials of their positive shopping experience. ProofMotion guides the customer through the interview so they can give the best testimonial. They also offer an on-site widget so you can easily share your testimonials. 

Real ID

Real ID is a Shopify plugin that allows you to verify customers’ real identity using a photo ID and facial biometrics. The plugin is perfect for orders that have an age restriction, verifying flagged fraud goods, and selling expensive goods. Real ID will help you identify whether a government-issued-ID is fake during fulfilment. All the customer needs to do is take a selfie on their phone. This way, even if a customer has access to a stolen physical ID, they won’t still be able to make any purchase. The plugin can verify documents such as passports, visas, national IDs, driver licenses, and more. Real ID will help you handle GDPR compliance. The plugin is available in hundreds of countries around the world. 

Joomla

Accessibility

Accessibility is a Joomla plugin that allows your website visitors to easily access your website content. The plugin will remove any barrier between the visitor and your Joomla site. There is no coding required and you can customize the plugin directly from the module manager. The plugin has a useful feature called Dyslexic Readability; this feature allows your visitors to set the entire document font to a dyslexic-friendly font. Visitors can also grayscale the page, resize the fonts, and resize the word space. From the backend module, you can add any custom CSS and JS. The plugin is also available in 12 different languages. 

Reading Time

Reading Time is a simple plugin that will help you easily show the reading time of your Joomla articles. The plugin is easy to set up and does not require any coding. You can customize every parameter, including the text, in minutes. You can also choose to exclude categories, articles, and menu items. Reading Time also allows you to easily add custom CSS code from the plugin parameters. 

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Exciting New Tools for Designers, November 2020

In the spirit of fall feasts, this month’s collection of tools and resources is a smorgasbord of sorts. You’ll find everything from web tools to icon libraries to animation tools to great free fonts. Let’s dig in.

Here’s what new for designers this month.

The Good Line-Height

The Good Line-Height is the tool you won’t be able to live without after using it a few times. The tool calculates the ideal line-height for every text size in a typographic scale so that everything always fits the baseline grid. Set the font size, multiplier, and grid row height to get started.

Link-to-QR

Link-to-QR makes creating quick codes a breeze. Paste in your link and the tool creates an immediate QR code that you can download or share. Pick a color and transparency, plus size, and you are done.

Quarkly

Quarkly allows you to create websites and web apps both using a mouse and typing code – you get all the pros of responsive editing, but can also open the code editor at any time and manually edit anything and it all synchronizes. The tool is built for design control and is in beta.

UnSpam.email

Unspam.email is an online spam tester tool for emails. Improve deliverability with the free email tester. The service analyzes the main aspects of an email and returns a spam score and predicts results with a heat map of your email newsletter.

Filmstrip

Filmstrip allows you to create or import keyframe animations, make adjustments, and export them for web playback. It’s a quick and easy tool for modern web animation.

CSS Background Patterns

CSS Background Patterns is packed with groovy designs that you can adjust and turn into just the right background for your web project. Set the colors, opacity, and spacing; then pick a pattern; preview it right on the screen; and then snag the CSS. You can also submit your own patterns.

Neonpad

Neonpad is a simple – but fun – plain text editor in neon colors. Switch hues for a different writing experience. Use it small or expand to full browser size.

Link Hover Animation

Link Hover Animation is a nifty twist on a hover state. The animation draws a circle around the link!

Tint and Shade Generator

Tint and Shade Generator helps you make the most of any hex color. Start with a base color palette and use it to generate complementary colors for gradients, borders, backgrounds, or shadows.

Pure CSS Product Card

Pure CSS Product Card by Adam Kuhn is a lovely example of an e-commerce design that you can learn from. The card is appealing and functional.

Free Favicon Maker

Free Favicon Maker allows you to create a simple SVG or PNG favicon in a few clicks. You can set a style that includes a letter or emoji, font and size, color, and edge type and you are ready to snag the HTML or download the SVG or PNG file.

Ultimate Free iOS Icon Pack

The Ultimate Free iOS Icon Pack is a collection of 100 minimal icons in an Apple style. With black and white version of each icon and original PSD files, you can create sleek icons for your iPhone screen in minutes. And it’s completely free! No email address or registration required.

Phosphor Icon Family

Phosphor is a flexible icon family for all the things you need icons for including diagrams and presentations. There are plenty of arrows, chats, circles, clocks, office elements, lists, business logos, and more. Everything is in a line style, filled, or with duotone color. Everything is free but donations are accepted.

3,000 Hands

3,000 Hands is a kit of hands that includes plenty of gestures and style in six skin tones and with 10 angles of every gesture. They have a 3D-ish shape and are in an easy to use PNG format. This kit has everything you need from a set of hand icons.

Radix Icons

Radix Icons is a set of 15px by 15px icons for tiny spaces. They are in a line style and are available in a variety of formats including Figma, Sketch, iconJar, SVG, npm installation, or GitHub.

Deepnote

Deepnote is a new kind of data science notebook. It is Jupyter-compatible with real-time collaboration and running in the cloud and designed for data science teams.

ZzFXM Tiny JavaScript Music Generator

ZzFXM is a tiny JavaScript function that generates stereo music tracks from patterns of note and instrument data. Instrument samples are created using a modified version of the super-tiny ZzFX sound generator by Frank Force. It is designed for size-limited productions.

Image Tiles Scroll Animation

Image Tiles Scroll Animation is a different type of scrolling pattern using Locomotive Scroll. The grid creates a smooth animation in a fun and modern style.

Bubbles

Bubbles is a Chrome extension that allows you to collaborate by clicking anywhere on your screen and then dropping a comment to start a conversation with anyone. This is a nice option for work from home teams.

Tyrus

Tyrus is a toolkit from the design team at Airbnb to help illustrators make the most out of their design businesses. It is broken into sections to help you with design briefs, originality, deadlines, and feedback.

PatchGirl

PatchGirl is an automated QA tool for developers. You can combine SQL and HTTP queries to build any possible state of your database.

Apparel

Apparel is a beautiful premium typeface family with plenty of versatility in a modern serif style. It is a contemporary, classy, and fresh serif typeface with a laid-back. Its medium-large x-height makes it ideal for headlines and brand identity design.

Christmas Story

Christmas Story is a nice solution if you are already starting to think ahead to holiday projects or cards. The long swashes and tails are elaborate and fun.

Nafta

Nafta is a fun handwriting style font that has a marker-style stroke. It’s a modern take on the popular Sharpie font. It includes all uppercase letters.

Safira

Safira is a wide and modern sans with ligatures and a stylish feel. The rounded ball terminals are especially elegant.

Shine Brighter Sans

Shine Brighter Sans is a super-thin sans-serif with a light attitude. The limited character set combined with its light weight is best for display use.

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Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

How to Design a Contact Page That Drives Engagement

How can your customer reach you? If a client arrives on your website after searching on Google, what can they do to take the next step in a relationship with your brand, without buying anything?

One of the primary aims of any website is to drive conversions. However, it usually takes between 5 and 8 touchpoints to generate a viable sales lead. People don’t want to convert straight away.

Since building a relationship with customers is crucial to success, it makes sense that the contact page would be an essential part of driving results. Unfortunately, a lot of website owners pay virtually no attention to that page. They ask their designer to create a page with their address and phone number on – and that’s it.

What many business owners don’t realize, is that the contact page is the door to deeper, more lucrative relationships with potential prospects. The design of this essential website element needs to be fantastic to drive results.

So, where do you start?

Defining a Well-Designed Contact Page

Let’s start with the basics, what makes a great contact page?

The complete answer to that question depends on the target audience. Some customers will want to see fun and friendly contact pages, complete with social media sharing buttons. Others will want to see a map that shows them exactly how to reach an office or business.

There are a few golden rules to keep in mind, of course. Contact pages should be:

  • Easy to find: Don’t hide the link to the contact page on the website footer. Make it easy for customers to find out how they can get in touch.
  • Simple: Don’t put too much content on this page or it will overwhelm your audience. Just let them know where they can go to get answers to various questions.
  • Professional: Even if you have a friendly brand personality, your contact form still needs to be grammatically correct and well-designed to show a professional edge.
  • Convenient: Make your phone number clickable so customers can use it on Skype. The same can apply for your email address. Provide easy access to social media profiles, and if you have a contact form – keep it short and sweet.
  • Informative: Include all of your contact information in the same place. This may include your address, a map to your location, social media pages, email addresses, and even forums.
  • Accurate: Ensure that the information on your contact page matches the information listed elsewhere. Check directories and Google my Business listings to be sure.
  • Attractive: Yes, a contact page needs to look good too. Plenty of white space will make essential information stand out. A good layout will guide the eye through the page.
  • Consistent: Make sure the contact form on your website matches the brand personality that appears on all of your other pages.

Take a look at the Tune Contact page:

It’s beautifully laid out, with clear information that’s easy to read. The company shows exactly why customers might want to get in touch and how they can reach out. As you scroll through the page, you’ll find additional office locations, email addresses for different teams (sales and support), and links to social media accounts too.

How to Drive Engagement on a Contact Us Page

A good contact page needs to look fantastic, showcase the company’s personality, and capture audience attention. However, there’s a big difference between a contact page that gets the job done, and one that convinces your audience they have to connect with you.

Here are some excellent ways to make your contact us page stand out.

Step 1: Using Color Correctly

Color and color psychology have a massive impact on user experience.

Studies constantly demonstrate the conversion powers of having the right shades on certain pages throughout your website. For instance, changing a CTA button from red to green can increase click-through rates by 27%.

However, every audience is different. The colors that drive engagement on a contact page for your company will depend on your target customer. A/B testing color palettes that match your brand personality is a good way to get started.

One interesting example of colors that make the right impact on a Contact Us page comes from Hubspot. Here, the brand maintains it’s brand color (orange), but it also introduces some new shades that convey trustworthiness and professionalism.

Blue is the most calming and credible color for any brand, The gradient that Hubspot uses here blends perfectly with its brand identity, allowing for a stunning contact page, with CTA buttons that still stand out.

Experiment with colors that can generate the right emotional response from your audience, but don’t ignore the golden rules of color in web design. You still need to showcase your brand identity, and you still need a way of making crucial information stand out.

Step 2: Humanizing the Customer Service Team

Some of the customers that arrive at a contact page are interested in your product or inspired by the potential of your service. Other customers will be looking for assistance because they’re frustrated with something or stressed out.

If you’ve ever had a problem with a product and wanted to reach out to the brand about it, you’ve probably noticed how annoying it is to find a blank contact page with nothing but an email address. The lack of effort and humanity in the contact page is enough to convince you that you probably won’t get a response.

But what if you add some happy smiling faces to the page?

Research indicates that brains are fine-tuned to recognize and appreciate human faces. Having a picture of your customer service team, or just any human being on your contact page makes you instantly more approachable. Your customers start to feel like they’re reaching out to a person – not an empty website.

Look at how engaging and personalized this contact page from Amber McCue looks:

Although you can show any human face on your contact page and potentially get results, showing your actual agents will be more likely to drive positive results. It’s a great way to showcase the authenticity and humanity of your team.

Step 3: Making it Easy to Find

A surprisingly large amount of the time, companies shove their contact information into the footer of their website, forcing customers to spend forever looking for them. However, your audience might not want to spend an age searching for your details if they’re in a hurry to get answers.

Stowing a contact page in a footer is also a problem for those visiting your website via mobile, as they might not be able to see all your footer details and links as well.

A Contact Us page doesn’t have to be a massive part of your website navigation if you don’t want it to be. However, it should be one of the first things your audience can see. Putting the information on the header of your website, or even sticking it to the top of the page as your users scroll is very helpful.

Zendesk makes it easy for customers to get in touch in multiple ways. First, the Contact section of the website is clear at the top of the page. Secondly, if you start scrolling through the Zendesk website, a “Get Help” button pops up, so you don’t have to scroll back to find assistance:

Remember, aside from making sure that your contact page appears in the right part of your website, it’s also worth ensuring that it’s easy to understand. Don’t use unusual terms like “Chat”, or “Chill with us”. Stick to tried-and-true options like Help, Contact, or Support.

Step 4: Making the Experience Relevant

There’s a reason why it’s practically impossible to find a one-size-fits-all contact page.

It’s because different customers need different things from your brand.

Some customers will be looking for the answer to a question; others will want to discuss something with your sales team. That’s why many companies are using adaptive contact pages that can change to suit the situation.

For instance, you may start by asking customers what they need help with. Zapier takes this approach with its Contact page:

By asking the client what they need straight away, Zapier can make sure that the visitor finds the right information, and the right number or email address for the appropriate agent. You can even scroll down the help page and look for something in the available help centre, using the search bar. Or you can click on View our experts to hire a Zapier pro.

Creating a dynamic and customized experience like this does a few things. First, it ensures that the customer will reach the right person to help them first-time around. This reduces the number of inappropriate calls your employees have to deal with, and the number of transfers.

Secondly, you deliver a better experience overall for your client, because they don’t have to repeat their issue to multiple people or start a massive email thread. They get the support they need immediately.

Dynamic contact pages can even save you some money and time. If clients decide to solve an issue themselves, using your resources, that’s great for your busy agents.

Step 5: Direct People to the Right Place

The central focus of your contact us page needs to be the available contact options. Centralizing the contact options on a page is an excellent way to make sure that they get the right amount of attention. Centralizing also means that your customers can spend less time searching for the contact details that they need, which is great for usability.

The Melonfree.com website uses a contact us form that’s centralized to immediately pull attention to the customer’s options for getting help.

Centralization isn’t the only way of using design principles to guide visitors on a contact page. According to Ray Hyman and Edmund Hick, increasing the number of choices on a page often increases the time it takes for people to make a decision.

When it comes to connecting with a brand, the right option for each customer will depend on the person and the situation they’re trying to overcome. For instance, a customer that needs to reset their password will probably be able to get the solution they need from an FAQ page.

On the other hand, someone who needs help using a new feature might need the guidance of a professional. To help guide customers to the right solution, Basecamp gives customers a variety of steps to follow to get the right solution fast.

The main purpose of the contact page is to help customers get the right answer with an informative form. However, there are unobtrusive alternative options available too. If all you’re looking for is a way to help yourself fix a problem, you can click on the help guides link before you ever scroll down to the form.

Step 6: Support the Contact Team Too

The best contact us pages aren’t just a great way to improve customer experience. Well-designed solutions also help the customer service team to save time and stay productive.

One of the primary metrics that companies consider when evaluating the success of a service team, is the number of replies required before an issue is resolved. However, if the initial question from a customer doesn’t contain enough information, this number often increases.

Using the design of the contact form to access the right information helps with:

  • Automatically routing people to the right team member: Companies can set up segmentation rules that automatically send certain emails to different employees based on keywords. You might have questions that go to the sales team, and separate queries that you direct straight to the customer service team.
  • Show appropriate support options and FAQs: Remember to give the audience a chance to help themselves before they reach out for extra support. Links to an FAQ page or self-service options can really reduce the pressure on a team. Some companies even add automated chatbots to the mix to help with self-service.
  • Prompt for extra context: Although not every customer will take advantage of an opportunity to add extra information to a form, some will. Adding a box to your contact form for “anything we need to know?” is a great way to generate more information. Ban.do includes a simple “question” box where customers can add as much detail as they like. An option to add screen shots or documents might be a nice touch too.

Building Your Own Contact Us Page

Every customer has their own specific set of needs. The right contact page for another business might not be the right one for you. That’s why it’s so important to take some time getting to know your customers and speaking to your support team.

When you’re planning your contact page, it helps to ask yourself some basic questions about what you want to achieve. For instance:

  • What kind of channels will our customers want to use to connect with us? Look at things like social media messaging, email, or phone calls. If you’ve got a relatively tech-savvy audience, then they might want to use things like instant messaging with chat bots too.
  • How can we direct clients to the appropriate channels in as little time as possible? Having a system in place to automatically route your customers to the right agent will reduce the time to resolution for your customers. The faster you solve problems, the better your reputation becomes.
  • What can we do to set customer expectations and build confidence before they speak to us? Designing a professional-looking contact page will increase customer confidence, while an FAQ section shows that you’re ready to answer common questions.
  • How can we showcase a unique brand personality without making the page complicated? Everything from using distinct brand colors on a contact page, to adding images and illustrations reminds customers that they’re in the right place.
  • What can we do to reduce the friction points in a customer’s path to contact? Avoid adding too many input options to a contact form and ensure that it’s easy to reach out when your clients have a problem.

Understanding exactly what your audience needs from you, and what they’re looking for when they come to your team for help reduces the effort involved for your client when they reach out for help. Remember, today’s digitally-savvy customers expect their interactions with companies to be as streamlined and simple as possible.

Make the Most of Your Contact Page

Contact pages are frequently an afterthought in the website design process. However, they’re one of the most valuable tools your company has. With a good contact page, you ensure that your customers can always reach you when they have problems. What’s more, you boost your chances of people wanting to reach out to the sales team too!

Good luck creating a contact page that encourages engagement from your target audience. Don’t forget to track your results from each design, and A/B test for optimization.

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Everything You Need to Know About Websites And Privacy Laws

When it comes to compliance, website developers need to keep their eyes on more than just ADA regulations and Section 508. Privacy laws are a big consideration and decisions on how to build privacy into a website start with architects. 

And that’s exactly what website developers (and designers!) are. They build up attractive, functional websites and apps for their clients. Yes, they work closely with clients, copywriters, vendors, and other professionals to get the job done, but the developers are the ones who put it all together. 

That’s why it’s critical that website developers are well-versed in marketing privacy laws — these regulations directly impact the end results of their work. But how does a website architect create a digital platform that honors both user privacy and the needs of their clients? 

What Privacy Laws Are Important For Web Developers?

The two biggest privacy laws that web developers need to keep tabs on are the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Each law has its own unique scope and provisions, but they both shifted the landscape in defining an individual’s rights to their personal data and set mechanisms for how these rights would be protected and enforced.

Each regulation also carries with it fines, fees, and legal measures for non-compliance. These can be substantial. And if that’s not enough, there’s an ever-increasing consumer demand for websites that prioritize privacy and security. Consider these statistics:

  • 82% of Americans surveyed say they are concerned about the security of their online data
  • 79% of adults claim they are very or somewhat worried about how companies use the data they collect about them
  • 63% of Americans believe they understand very little or nothing at all about privacy laws and regulations that are intended to protect their data

How Can Developers Implement These Laws?

Privacy by Design is Critical for Websites

Under GDPR, web developers are required to adopt the Privacy by Design framework, which is a multi-point methodology intended to standardize data protection measures. 

Building privacy into websites shouldn’t happen at the end stages. It should start with how the websites are conceptualized in the first place. Here are points to prioritize:

  • Minimize that data you’re collecting and pseudonymize it to protect data privacy
  • Are you capturing consent? How? Where?
  • Integrating security measures to protect data — anytime you capture data or implement a third party product, a security risk is born.
  • Knowing where you’re introducing privacy and data sharing notices
  • Implement just-in-time notices to provide consumers transparency and build trust 
  • Giving your users the opportunity to manage their personal data

Let’s look at these a little more closely…

Data Minimization is the Goal

Data minimization is an important principle embedded in GDPR. Data minimization itself is a pretty straightforward concept: organizations should limit how much personal data they collect and only process the information necessary to accomplish their business purposes. Once the data is no longer useful, it should be deleted. 

For web developers, this means several things. When it comes to building websites, forms, cookies, and other methods should only ask for essential information. For example, if you are creating a pop-up to collect email addresses, don’t ask for their location unless it’s relevant to the email list and better serving their needs.

How and Where Do You Introduce Privacy Policies and Notices?

Let’s say you take data minimization seriously. That’s great! Now you need to put those data collection practices into words and share them with your customers. 

Privacy policies and notices are a big part of both GDPR and CCPA. Both the CCPA and the GDPR mandate that your privacy policy detail why you’re collecting information and how it will be used, as well as what the individual’s rights are and how they can exercise them. 

CCPA takes a slightly different angle, requiring privacy policies to disclose if the business sells personal data and what third parties have access to the data. CCPA also dictates that privacy policies and notices are current, updated at least annually.  (Nota bene: GDPR also asks for updated privacy documents, but doesn’t specify frequency.) 

How does this translate from policy into web development?

  • If you’re collecting data to improve user experience, allow for targeted ads, or sharing information with third-parties, this information will need to be included in a privacy notice. Remember, CCPA works with a broad definition of selling data, so you may need to account for a “Do Not Sell” link on your home page. 
  • Considering using data beyond these purposes? Plan to obtain explicit user consent for each additional purpose.
  • What’s your plan for the data after the user gives it to you? Where is it stored? Who has access to it? How long are you keeping it? These are all questions that a website developer should consider, and that needs to go into a privacy notice. 

Just-in-Time Notices for Transparency and Trust

Part of Privacy by Design is the use of individual components of your website to create transparency and support compliance. From a development and design perspective, this means you should always be looking for ways to communicate the hows and whys of data collection. 

Yes, your privacy policies and notices aid in this, but going beyond these pieces is important. Customers recognize when businesses go the extra mile for them, after all. 

So consider implementing just-in-time notices at points where users enter their information. These notices are a chance to share your data collection practices with your users. It’s transparent! It’s open! It aids in consumer awareness! 

Keep Users in the Loop

Want to win over your customers? Make it as easy as possible for them to manage their personal data and how it’s being used. This starts with making sure they are aware of why you’re requesting their information and how you’re planning on using it for the website. You should also:

  • Get user consent — clear and unambiguous user consent — prior to gathering any data at all. This includes cookies.  
  • Don’t pre-tick boxes for consent. Just don’t. (It’s bad practice AND it’s against GDPR.)
  • Link to all legal documents on the site. Users should be required to agree to them before using the service. 
  • Want to send marketing communications like email newsletters to your customers? Make sure they agree to this. Expressly. 

One helpful tool for keeping users in the loop is a marketing preference center. A marketing preference center allows users easy access to their information. From there, they can manage, edit, and delete their information at their discretion.  

Bonus? A marketing preference center is an excellent point at which to communicate a business’ commitment to privacy. While users will pick up this through all the discrete elements of privacy on your website, putting it all into one hub that also allows users control over their data really reinforces this message. 

Remember, it’s not just on the consumer to manage their data. Web developers should commit to managing the data in their systems. This means they should:  

  • Maintain accurate and clean records of users’ data consent preferences
  • Send regular reminders to users to update their personal information in your system
  • If a user deletes their account, promptly delete all of their personal information  
  • If your client goes out of business or is sold, they should delete all personal information in their system

Make it User Friendly

A final point: making your websites user friendly is important regardless of privacy compliance. Users expect websites that don’t make them think deeply about, or worry about, their privacy. Make it accessible and easy. Don’t make people figure it out on their own.

Give them value for sharing their data

Your users don’t have to share their data. They’re choosing to. So in exchange for their personal information, make sure you’re using it to provide a user-friendly website. Offer them a secure, enjoyable experience.  

But don’t ask for more than you need

Let’s loop back around to this point again. While consumer data can help you build a better website, don’t plan your websites around it and don’t demand data to create a good experience. 

Usability, web design, and website security; all of these things benefit from consumer data. But privacy laws should always guide how any personal data is collected and used, and respect for consumers’ individual rights, and honoring their privacy should be top-of-mind for web developers. 

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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The Quest for Convenient and Efficient Speech Recognition


Introduction

A few years ago, speech recognition technology was a punchline in many a sitcom’s jokes. Understandably, the technology was in its infancy prone to errors. Now, reaching new levels of maturity and wide acceptance, Amazon’s Alexa is just one example of this, the technology is now being implemented in novel ways. The need for developing APIs has now evolved from making the technology work to how it can be done conveniently and efficiently.

Accessibility

Moving beyond the technology’s threat to privacy one of the greatest virtues of speech recognition technology is its accessibility. In providing the disabled with a technology that allows interaction and interfacing with other technologies, speech recognition has become a technology at the forefront of providing accessibility and promoting inclusivity. For the workplace, the benefits range from more productive employees to promoting greater diversity amongst the workforce.

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!

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5 Biggest Challenges Web Design Agencies Face

With billions of internet users worldwide spending several hours online each day, the online presence of brands is now a necessary avenue for building, boosting, and maintaining positive value and attracting and interacting with customers. 

This has created increasing pressure for web design agencies when creating and managing websites. This pressure is multiplied by all the projects that web design agencies have to handle at one time. This is because different clients demand different things for their websites, whether it’s a signature feature or specialized functionality. 

Hence, it’s vital that the tools the agencies use to work are simple enough and suited to the tasks they have to accomplish in order to build and maintain these projects. Having the right tools can increase efficiency and effectiveness in managing websites.

Challenges in Modern Web Design

Building a website with all the essentials in mind is always easier said than done. Websites have to be both functional and easy on the eyes to invite traffic, disseminate information, or appeal a product or service to a target audience, and all while having an attractive and convenient interface.

The good news is that it’s perfectly possible to design a quality website and without spending a fortune to do so. Below are some of the challenges that web design agencies face when trying to deliver and reconcile efficient user experience and effective user interface in web design.

1. Appealing User Experience

Designing a good website means ensuring that the user experience is appealing to a general audience, but this is one of the most difficult parts of web design. Agencies must be careful not to turn off users with a confusing user experience. For instance, making important information difficult to find on web pages, using technical jargon that ordinary users wouldn’t understand, and focusing too much on the design rather than the overall experience are a few big mistakes that no designer should ever commit.

Instead, web design agencies should focus not only on making the design look good but also on making the experience smooth and fast for the regular site visitor. This includes improving design elements to make navigation easier as well as optimizing webpage load speeds.

2. Working With a Budget

It’s common for the client and the web design agency’s budgets to not line up at all times. Either the client will find the project quote too high, or the designer will find the client’s budget too low. The cost of a web design project can vary greatly, depending on what needs to be done. 

Although having to build a good website on a budget may be difficult, it’s important for both parties to come up with a set amount before the project even starts. The client should always specify what they want to achieve and how much they’re willing to pay to get it, and the agency should let the client know beforehand if this is possible.

3. Integrating Third-Party Functionality

Sometimes, clients may make requests for third-party functions that may not be easily integrated into the site. To prevent this, web design agencies should always consider integration when building a site. Most businesses and companies now have at least one social media account, so it doesn’t make sense for their site to remain disconnected.

When a website visitor shares an excerpt on a social media site like Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, other people who can see their posts may become interested in visiting the original post on the website. Properly integrating third-party applications and functions into a website can get it more online presence and popularity.

4. Suitability to Different Devices

There are many devices that people can use to access the web. From smartphones to desktop computers, from cars to game consoles, and even wristwatches and digital cameras, all of these can be web-enabled as long as there’s an available internet connection. 

Websites nowadays should always be compatible with any of the devices people might use to go to the website. They should look pleasing and load fast regardless of what device a visitor is using.

5. Security of Personal Information

Most websites require personal or financial information, whether for account verification, for website subscription, or something else. Websites should be designed with personal security in mind, which is even more important since hacking has been on the rise since the coronavirus hit.

One of the biggest threats that websites face today is phishing, or when an attacker will pretend to be a trusted contact and attempt to compel you to click a malicious link. Another is ransomware, or where cybercriminals hold customer data for ransom and attempt to extort online business owners. Yet one more is SQL injections, or where hackers will attempt to execute malicious SQL commands in your website’s database. 

The best practices in regards to web design to mitigate these risks include third-party plugins and themes, keeping all of your software up to date, setting your web applications so they run the fewest privileges possible, and utilizing SSL certificates and HTTPS protocols. 

Adopting Site-Building Platforms

Gone are the days where you had to be technologically gifted to design a website from scratch, usually through manual HTML codes. Back then, you had to know your way around the web if you wanted to set-up and manage a site of your own.

Now, there are a lot of good website builders that allow you to create websites in a faster period of time. Even web design agencies now make use of such builders in order to make the job easier and more convenient. Not to mention, it allows agencies to focus on the design alone.

Although these platforms offer predesigned templates based on the most common purposes of websites, they normally allow the user to white label the website into the branding specific to the business or agenda of the website owner. The text styles, colors, and sizes coordinated to the website’s theme, and colors can be designed specifically to match the business or organization’s image and identity. 

Simply put, creating websites through a web builder platform can provide web design agencies with easy-to-understand tools that their teams and members can all uniformly use to more effectively and more efficiently handle all their projects.

With services that allow mobile optimization, site management, and even drag-and-drop editing, web design agencies can now better manage their projects and finish with their tasks more quickly.

Not only that, by using white labelling, services can conserve their time and energy into focusing on creating the best website for their client. With all the website builders currently available on the market today, just picking the right one can give web design agencies the best tools to use when creating, designing, and maintaining websites. 

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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