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Data mesh. This oft-talked-about architecture has no shortage of blog posts, conference talks, podcasts, and discussions. One thing that you may have found lacking is a concrete guide on precisely how to get started building your own data mesh implementation. We have you covered. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to build a data mesh using event streams, highlighting our design decisions, and the key benefits and challenges you’ll need to consider along the way. In fact, we’ll go one better: we’ve built a data mesh prototype for you to check out on your own to see what this would look like in action, or fork to bootstrap a data mesh for your own organization. 

Data mesh is technology agnostic so there are a few different ways you can go about building one. The canonical approach is to build the mesh using event streaming technology that provides a secure, governed, real-time mechanism for moving data between different points in the mesh. 

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When you hear the word “leadership,” do you think of a particular person?

If you’d been asked that question anytime before the 1900s, chances are you’d think of an accomplished politician or a battle-tested general. These were the people leading society for most of recorded history. Today, you might have someone else in mind.

Since the industrial era, the US has birthed a pantheon of founders who’ve arguably led our society as much as any statesman or president. We put Rockefeller and Ford right next to Lincoln and Jefferson. Think about it; these guys haven’t just changed the US; they’ve changed how the entire world lives and does business.

Founders of successful companies today command even larger amounts of capital and power than JD and Henry. With the rise of social media, they are often thrust to the forefront of their brands and the public, whether they like it or not. Some manage the responsibility better than others.

In my opinion, the best businesses use all that capital, manpower, and name recognition to do more than simply make a profit. By leading with authenticity, inspiring positive action, and influencing their brand’s vision for innovation – they try to make a change.

I wanted to take a minute to reflect on some modern founder-led brands I think are doing a killer job of creating unique, world-changing businesses and company cultures. I also want to discuss the lessons I have learned from them.

Elon Musk – Tesla

When talking about founder-led brands of the 21st century, it’s hard to pass over electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla and its outspoken CEO, Elon Musk. Love him or loathe him, he belongs in any conversation on influential founders.

While Musk isn’t technically the founder of Tesla, he is one hundred percent responsible for the company’s direction over the past decade. I think two of the strongest leadership points for Musk are his focus on branding and innovation.

Tesla created showrooms and charging stations long before his business had the sales to justify the expense. People saw the name Tesla everywhere, got curious about it, and now that’s paying off big time. Tesla today is at the forefront of the EV industry while all the other car companies play catch-up.

Behind the scenes, Tesla was also early to create a vertically-integrated supply chain – giving it almost complete control over its product and logistics. That’s another feature with a hefty upfront price tag but paid off when the pandemic hit. Now the biggest automakers in the world are rushing to copy that model.

Musk arguably even convinced China to deregulate foreign ownership of automotive companies. That’s hard to prove. However, China changed its rules around foreign ownership of EV companies shortly after he refused to enter the country.

Arguably, Tesla today is one of the frontrunners in redefining how traditional companies run. Musk is known to hate bureaucracy and traditional hierarchies. He hires other people to take care of bureaucratic processes for him.

Musk is also known for hiring relatively young, hard-working employees into high-power management positions in the company and letting them prove themselves. That inspires extreme loyalty from his employees from an early age. Musk’s focus on efficiency and rejection of traditional hierarchies has sparked a small revolution in tech companies.

Finally, I respect Musk because he has goals beyond showing year-over-year growth to shareholders. That’s hard to do day in and day out.

Sara Blakely – Spanx

Sara Blakely is an example of a founder with her hands in every part of her business, from product creation to sales. Most importantly, she created an authentic company culture with values she felt the business world lacked.

For those who know her story, Spanx very nearly didn’t happen. Blakely pitched her slimming undergarment to multiple women’s brands run by men. Most told her it would never work.

It might seem silly now, but men used to think they knew women’s fashion better than women. It wasn’t until one executive gave Blakely’s product to his daughters to try out that he agreed to start stocking Spanx. It’s a great example of how businesses can make a lot of money by listening to their customers.

Besides founding a women’s clothing company that sells products women want, Blakely strived to bring “feminine energy” into the workplace. I saw this poignant quote from her in an article:

“Twenty-one years ago when I started Spanx, I ended up in the paper in Atlanta, and I was at a cocktail party and a couple of guys came up to me and they said, ‘Sara, we read about you. Congratulations! We heard you invented something.’ And I said, ‘Yes I did, I’m so excited.’ They said, ‘Business is war,’ and then they pat me on the shoulder and they kind of laughed at each other. I went back home to my apartment that night. I was 29 and I just thought, I’m not going to war. I’m going to do this very differently. I’m going to honor a lot of feminine principles — intuition, empathy, kindness. Just allowing myself to be vulnerable through this process. And of course, a lot of the masculine energy has helped me also — it was a balance. But I wasn’t going to do it by squashing the feminine.”

Blakely worked hard to create a sales-oriented company culture that was purposely welcoming from that point forward. She regularly scheduled “oops meetings” where employees could stand up and say how they messed up and turn it into a funny story. At Spanx, it was okay to make mistakes and learn from them.

Blakely wanted everything about her product to be fun, including the way it was sold. She created a mandatory boot camp for salespeople, which, among other things, requires employees to perform standup comedy. Little things like that resonated with people and made Spanx synonymous with “fun.” Even famous actresses were flashing their Spanx on the red carpet.

The lesson we can all learn from Spanx and Blakely is that fun and positive energy are great marketing tools for any business. Many companies try to push a fun culture publicly without any authentic leadership that genuinely exemplifies that narrative, they won’t have the same effect. Blakely’s story of Spanx is not just a story of the brand but a story of her life and the experiences that shaped her vision and goals.

Jack Dorsey – Block (FKA Square)

While better known for founding Twitter, Jack Dorsey has recently been in the news for his move to solely running payment processing business Block. I admire Dorsey because he radically encourages his teams to think differently about how they work.

Dorsey is known for optimizing ways to stay productive and focused throughout the day. He manages through unconventional tactics like communicating only through voice memos on his phone that he runs through transcription apps. He says this prevents him from being sidetracked by distractions on his computer. I think that kind of mindfulness is necessary now more than ever.

Dorsey tries to bring this level of focus to his interactions with his employees too. I saw a great quote from him in this article discussing computer-less meetings at Block.

“When phones are down and laptops are closed, the team can discuss any issue at hand without distraction. We can actually focus and not just spend an hour together but make that time meaningful — and if that time is 15 minutes, then it’s 15 minutes and then we move on with our lives.”

Besides limiting distractions, Dorsey is known to walk five miles to work daily, theme each day, and create detailed agendas and goals for each team meeting. In his former company, Twitter, the culture was frequently described as a space where employees could speak freely to management about things they wanted to change.

On that subject, Dorsey has been known to push hard for employee control in his companies. Perhaps ironically, he was also quoted saying he wants Twitter to break away from its co-founders’- vision and control, calling founder-led companies “severely limiting.” However, it still seems he has some sort of vision for the world that he wants to bring around via Block.

His business goals are visionary, pushing the boundaries of innovation in the financial world.

Dorsey is a known cryptocurrency enthusiast but had pushback from the Twitter team, including his CFO, about making a crypto-centric product. His move to payments processor, Block, seems to be a bid to follow his passion and exert his vision on the world.

Block has since made headlines for being extremely bullish on cryptocurrencies, while many have expressed doubts. Dorsey even changed the business’s name to Block to better reflect its focus on blockchain and famously purchased $50 million worth of Bitcoin in 2020. All the while, Dorsey has been quietly creating arms of his business in the hopes of improving BTC’s usefulness. That may pay off down the line.

Melanie Perkins – Canva

I identify strongly with Melanie Perkins, co-founder of graphic design SaaS, Canva. Besides being roughly the same age, we both came from nondescript beginnings with no background in entrepreneurship or tech.

Canva is an excellent example of a business created by becoming intimately familiar with a customer problem and executing. Perkins spent years teaching people how to use design platforms like Adobe Creative Suite because they were so complicated. Taking that knowledge, she started a simple product to help customers create high school yearbooks. That expanded into a super app covering every aspect of design.

This super-app has unlocked a way for millions to learn design and produce high-quality content at any skill level. The cost to use Canva is many times lower than anything else on the market.

While Canva is an amazing product, what I like most about Perkins is that she believes business serves a higher purpose than maximizing profits.

When she was suddenly thrust into the limelight with a $40 billion valuation, people were even more impressed by Perkins’ philanthropic goals. She vowed to donate a 30 percent stake in Canva to a charity dedicated to eliminating poverty (about $12 billion). She is also known to regularly fundraise for 25,000 different nonprofits through her app. She doesn’t just inspire people with words, but by actions, she’s actually taking.

Canva is very public about its ethos. I like their values because they are general yet avoid the jargon many companies fall into. They are:

  • To be a force for good and empower others;
  • Pursue excellence;
  • Be a good human;
  • Make complex things simple;
  • Set crazy big goals and make them happen.

Besides revolutionizing how modern businesses design and harness goodwill marketing, Canva was also one of the forerunners of the remote work trend.

Most of Canva’s “Canvanauts” worked from homes worldwide even before the pandemic. Canva showed a lot of tired old businesses that you could still run a successful company without having employees in the office 24/7.

How I Try to Learn From the Best

Finally, I want to talk about what I am trying to contribute to my team and society with my current business, startup acquisition marketplace, MicroAcquire.

As I’ve mentioned, I think it is very much on myself as a founder to set the tone of my business – and that starts with who I hire. When I’m searching for new employees to join the “#Micromafia” I not only look for productive workers, I look for people I genuinely enjoy spending time with. It’s the best feeling in the world to go to meetings where you leave thinking, “That was really fun.”

Besides creating a great team, I’ve tried to address another problem I see again and again at major tech companies: employee burnout. There’s a reason the average tenure of a tech employee is three years.

I love working on startups. It’s like playing a video game for me, and it’s probably why I’m a founder. That said, I know my employees don’t always feel the same way. As CEO, I make sure my team knows I want them to live their lives outside of MicroAcquire.

On the business side of things, I take cues from the best. Like Musk and Dorsey, I want to preemptively create features that I know our customers will love. I knew people wanted an easy way to sell their startups because I wished I’d had one back when I was doing it.

Like Spanx and Tesla, I also strongly believe in the power of innovative branding – and I make sure we spend in areas that will give us significant returns down the line.

For example, we’ve made it easy to get MicroAcquire merchandise online completely free. The extra exposure we get from tech people rocking MicroAcquire t-shirts is more than worth the cost. We also created our own media publication Bootstrappers.com to tell the founder stories we thought major publications had missed. That’s been a huge hit with our customers, who also happen to be founders. These people traditionally have had to spam inboxes and pay for press because they didn’t raise billions in funding.

Finally, like Blakely and Perkins, I also want to actively listen to customer feedback and make sure we create a necessary and desired product. That’s why I make sure we’re constantly engaging with our community both on our website and social media. Many of the features we’ve added are just things we’ve heard mentioned multiple times from customers.

So far, I love the community we’ve created online and in the office. I don’t claim to have the winning formula, but I feel we are making a real difference out there. We’re lucky to live in a world with so many smart people getting their ideas out and making a positive change in the world.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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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. 

 

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Are you a creative person looking for the perfect career path to take? If so, there are not many more creative professions than that of a web designer.

However, becoming a web designer can be challenging, especially if you do not know where to start. For example, do you need to attend college to become a web designer? And what kind of computer and software do you need to own to be successful as a web designer?

This guide aims to answer all these questions and show you the steps you need to follow to build a career in web design.

Web Designer: Main Skills and Responsibilities

Generally speaking, a web designer is a professional who creates, manages, and maintains content for the web. Nothing is left out from designing pages and visual elements via programming languages and creating user-friendly websites.

Web Designer (Hard and Soft) Skills:

  • UX, UI, and visual design knowledge (web fonts, colors, etc.)
  • Management of design software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop)
  • Coding knowledge (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.)
  • Time management
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving and teamwork skills
  • Research skills

Web Designer Responsibilities:

  • Plan and create web pages
  • Design appealing layouts
  • Use codes to create user-friendly pages
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Listen and advise clients
  • Able to work as part of a team and effectively solve occurring problems
  • Analyze the client’s niche, explore new web design opportunities/ innovative digital marketing approaches

If you feel overwhelmed reading this table, don’t be! You do not have to master all of the above skills. No one expects you to either. Becoming a top-notch web designer takes some dedication, but ultimately it’s nothing more than a series of steps. Let’s dive deeper into them.

Becoming a Web Designer: 7 Essential Steps

1. Gaining the Knowledge Needed: Theory and Certifications

Let’s start with the most common question, “Do I need to go to college to become a web designer?” Research shows that more than 65% of web designers are self-taught (fully or partially). Of course, that does not mean you can jump into design from the start.

Instead, we recommend that you learn some essential web design elements and how to use them in your future projects. This includes UX (user experience), UI (user interface), protocols, and patterns. The same goes for technical knowledge like programming languages, frameworks, and design software.

2. Developing Certain Skills

So, there are numerous aspects you can explore regarding technical skills. To be specific, your first steps in web design include developing the following skills: 

  1. Theory and certifications: Learning the theory to understand how the web and the market work
  2. Web design tools: Finding the web design tools you need to start designing (.e.g Webflow, Sketch, Figma). This will allow you to learn how to prototype web design mock-ups.
  3. Graphic design tools: Becoming familiar with software like Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.
  4. Programming languages: Especially if you think of becoming a freelance web designer, you should at least learn how to use fundamental languages (HTML, JavaScript, CSS).
  5. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Learning how to optimize your web pages to rank on search engines is crucial.  

3. Mastering Web Design Software 

What software do you need as a beginner to start creating web designs? There are numerous apps that will help you gradually enter the fascinating world of web design. 

When it comes to CMS platforms, WordPress is by far the most popular in the market. The good thing about WordPress is that it is very beginner-friendly and comes with thousands of pre-built themes and plugins that you can use when creating a website.

But the same is true for InVision Studio. Unlike WordPress, InVision Studio is specifically designed to help web designers prototype and design a website. Finally, when it comes to graphic design software, we recommend you start with Photoshop (for creating visual samples and prints) and Sketch (for UI designs). 

4. Learning How Much Computing Power you Need

Although online CMS platforms like WordPress do not require special hardware, that’s not true for web design and graphic design software. To be precise, both InVision Studio and Photoshop have quite demanding system requirements. 

Still, a mid-range desktop or an entry-level gaming laptop can easily handle such applications. You need a reliable CPU, 8 GB RAM, and a dedicated graphics card.

I find working with two screens perfect when it comes to prototyping. You do not need to spend thousands of dollars to buy a laptop or desktop for web design.

5. Practice, Practice, and Practice

As with any other profession, practice makes perfect in web design. Therefore, the good idea is to get involved with personal web design projects before you start seeking clients or applying for job offers. This way, you can gradually acquire the technical skills you need.

Also, by working on some personal projects first, you can build a professional portfolio.

6. Creating a Professional Portfolio

If you want to draw attention to your talent, you should have a comprehensive portfolio as a web designer. This way, potential customers to trust you by having a look at your work and previous experience.

When creating a portfolio, make sure to showcase all aspects of your work and make it user-friendly. In other words, think of your online portfolio representing your talent and treat it accordingly.

7. Choosing the Web Designer Type That Best Suits Your Needs and Preferences

Last but not least, before working as a web designer, you should know that there are three main types of web designers: Freelance web designers, Agency web designers, and In-house web designers.

If you prefer to be self-employed and believe that you have the required soft skills, freelancing is probably the best path.

On the other hand, working for an agency or a company is usually easier (especially for beginners) and will provide you with a stable income. But, in the end, it all depends on your needs and preferences.

Wrap Up

Being a web designer can be an exciting career. As long as you have the necessary dedication and willingness, nothing will stand in your way.

Learning different aspects of the profession and mastering specific software will only make you better. All you need to do is respond positively to (and ask for) incoming feedback and practice!

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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A breakdown of a simple app, from UI design to deployment, that shows off why coding is a magic tool for designers.

Figma, Adobe XD, Photoshop, Wacom Tablet, sketchbook… all tools for interfaces and web designers, yes? Take 2 minutes, and try to remember why you want to become a designer and why you enjoy designing stuff.

Chances are it’s because you like to create; you’re a creative person. Maybe you started with artistic experiences as a child, then turned that creative energy into problem-solving while continuing to express it visually: You became a designer, a creative problem solver.

Today, I’ll try to show you how coding is an underrated tool to express your creative problem-solving mindset by building a real SVG generator from scratch. So let’s get into it!

Step 1: Don’t get an idea; solve a problem

We didn’t go into deep business considerations here, but seeing problems you face and deciding to solve them yourself is a great way to start.

During client work, I needed some SVG waves for illustrations. So I looked for a wave generator: There were a ton of wavy colorful wave generators with parametric inputs but no simple, perfect sine waves generator. I decided to draw it on my math tool GeoGebra and then export it to SVG.

Okay, but not fast. And we like to get our jobs done quickly. But wait… Why don’t we create a perfect sine waves generator? Without equations & boring math software to open, just a curve and an export button. You got it, now let’s design it.

Quick tips: If you are looking for a problem, look for memes in your field. They always show a deep, painful, well-known problem.

Step 2: Design the solution simple as possible

Two main rules: First rule, think about who will use it; the second rule, predict what they expect from how it works. So who? Front-end developers. What are they waiting for? A curve that can be edited with direct feedback and an export button.

Wireframe design

High-Fi design

A quick tip: You can grab the Figma design of the app for more technical tips on the design.

Step 3: Build it for real

As a designer, stopping at step two is perfectly fine. But imagine if you could build what you design! You already know you can create everything you want.

You can see coding as a way to translate your UI that will surely end with a .com application that is usable by everyone. This is why “best languages” don’t matter; coding is just a tool to express your creativity and build stuff for others. And as a designer, a creative person, this might sound…interesting.

UI to functionnal app

UI to functional app

Every web app interface can be translated from UI design to code with HTML/CSS/JS. There is how we can see the role of each of those 3 “languages”:

HTML: I want a button.

CSS: I want my button to look rounded.

JS: I want something to happen when I click on my button.

To build our app, I’ll use Svelte. Svelte is a JavaScript compiler that allows us to use all those three “languages” in one place. So, let’s see how code can translate our UI to functional things.

HTML button code

“Hey web browser, I want a button named “exportButton” and everything in a function named “downloadSVGpath” to be carried out when someone clicks on the button :) Thanks”

CSS style button code

“Hey web browser, I want you to apply these style rules to my basic HTML button: I want a beautiful rounded corner at 16px, a mouse pointer when we hover it, I don’t want any borders, but I want a cool color gradient as a background color. Then, I want the font inside the button to have its color set to #fcfcfc and use the Inter typeface (bold, please). Like my Figma design, I also want to center stuff in the button and add padding. Oh, and add a subtle shadow :) Thanks.”

Drawing SVG curve function

“Hey, web browser, each time our slider moves, I want to run this function: I want you to draw a curve inside a frame that I have defined inside my HTML code. I also want my curve stroke to look rounded at each cap and have a color and width I’ve defined inside variables. You will take the sine function parameters from the stored values of the sliders. Finally, while your x variable hasn’t reached the total width in the x-axis of our frame, you will solve the y-axis point position of the sine equation and draw the curve :) Thanks.”

Quick tips: You can grab the source code files of the app to explore them.

Summary

  • Coding is just a tool that allows us to translate our very visual metaphors into something that everybody can use. How cool is that?!
  • Coding helps us to envision our design goals and forces us to see beyond the visual range: how is my button will be supposed to work? How does it look when hovering? How my popup modal can be designed for mobile devices?
  • Coding allows us to create the weird idea we designed “just for fun” instead of pushing the design case study into our portfolio under the “personal project” tag.
  • Coding shows us how much work is required to achieve what we designed. So we can better understand our design clients’ needs, challenges, and resource management.
  • Coding is flexible. You can replicate the Netflix website pixel perfect with pure HTML/CSS, the Vue Framework, or any other Web framework.

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Do you find yourself stuck when finding new web design clients? Whether you own a web design company or work as a freelancer, expanding your audience and attracting clients can be challenging.

Talking from experience: there are times when I can not find people interested in my work. If that’s the case for you right now, let me tell you not to worry.

This guide will analyze the best practices I use to attract new web design clients and how you can easily customize them to fit your needs and preferences. First, we will explore why it’s essential to use more than one way to acquire clients in 2022.

Why Should You Seek Innovative Ways to Attract Clients?

Let’s start with a personal conviction: There are enough customers to cover our niche’s supply. A common mistake most web designers make is looking in the wrong place.

Do not get me wrong, the quality of your work is always the most important thing. The better your services are, the more clients you will eventually get. But if you want to prove your talent online, you need to expand your audience.

Remember that the market is highly competitive. And so you need to follow certain steps and choose the best platforms. 

7 Best Ways To Attract Web Design Clients in 2022

Although there are many ways to attract web design clients online, some prove to be more effective than others. Let us explore them one by one:

1. Use Marketplaces for Freelancers Such as Upwork, Indeed

Whether you own your web studio or are just getting acquainted with being a freelance web designer, marketplaces for freelancers are a great way to attract new clients. The same goes for well-known web design job boards like Dribbble, Twine, and WordPress Jobs

But in general, marketplaces for freelancers are more effective as these platforms attract thousands of buyers/clients every day. The best way to attract clients is to create and polish your profile and respond to relevant job offers.

However, it is equally important to choose a platform that is not exploitative but also has numerous clients in the web design niche. Although Upwork and Indeed are the two most popular, several other platforms meet these requirements, including Freelancer, 99 Designs, Guru, Upstack, TopTal, and PeoplePerHour.

2. Search on LinkedIn

Many would argue that social media platforms are the best way to attract web design clients these days. While this is true to a certain extent, not all social networks have the same impact on professionals. I have found that LinkedIn is the number one platform that a web designer should invest time and effort into.

The reason is simple; the platform’s goal is to bring professionals together. So, if you create a top-notch LinkedIn profile, you can quickly expand your audience and find people interested in buying services. The process is quite simple because all you need to do is:

  1. Create a professional bio: Mention what you do and who are the people you can help via your services.
  2. Optimize your profile’s About (personal info, website and portfolio info, etc.) and Experience (previous projects) sections.
  3. Use the LinkedIn filters to connect with individuals and companies. 
  4. Personalize your invitations and respond via DMs to people inviting you.

This may sound like a lot of work, and believe me, it is. Still, if you want to attract more clients via social media platforms, LinkedIn is the best way to go. 

3. Pay Attention to your Portfolio and Website

Regardless of how many connections you have on LinkedIn, clients need to trust that you are the best person for a project before hiring you. And there’s no better way to do that than to have a comprehensive portfolio and website.

Websites like Dribble and WordPress allow you to create portfolio websites quickly and efficiently. As a web designer, you can treat your website like a personal project and use your UI and UX knowledge to outshine your competitors.

4. Create Social Proof

In a few words, social proof is a way to prove to new clients that they should mimic the behavior of your existing clients by hiring you for their project.

To do this, you can create a page with Google reviews, collect testimonials/references, take screenshots of your conversations with clients and capture their feedback. Then all you need to do is present them on your portfolio website, in your social media posts/stories, etc.

5. Use Word of Mouth

Apart from asking your existing clients for referrals, you should try to build a deep professional relationship with them. This will automatically help them to recommend your services through word of mouth.

In many cases, word of mouth has proven to be much more reliable than traditional advertising methods (email marketing, SEO tactics).

6. Speak at Events and Podcasts

Say you are an experienced web designer, and all you need is to expand your target audience. In this case, speaking at events is a fantastic way to build authority. Of course, becoming a public speaker is not easy, especially if you’re a beginner.

This is where podcasts come in handy. By appearing as a guest on podcasts (or webinars), you can easily get your name out there, connect with people interested in web design, and eventually attract new clients.

Start by finding communities (e.g., Facebook groups for web design) and communicate with active (or just interested) people in the web design niche.

7. Offer Free Advice to your Audience

Don’t get me wrong, I know that offering something for free is not the best thing. Still, by creating free content and offering free advice, you can make people take notice of your talent.

Likewise, answering questions on social media platforms and creating valuable content is a great way to convert your website/social media visitors into customers.

Wrap Up

Remember that the most important thing in attracting new clients is the quality of your work. This may sound obvious, but believe me, it’s more than just a rookie mistake.

Let’s close with this; the tips listed above will allow you to work harder but smarter. After all, that’s all you need to build authority as a web designer and attract new clients.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Acquiring a new customer is difficult, but retaining an existing one is even more challenging. Yet, statistics show that efforts focused on retention bring way more value. 

For instance, according to SmallBizGenius, 82% of companies agree that customer retention is cheaper than acquisition. Apart from that, 65% of a company’s revenue comes from existing clients, and increasing the investment in retention by only 5% already gives you a boost in profits by 25% to 95%. Impressive, right?

So what should you do to reach such results? 

One component that impacts brand-client relationships is website design. This article will give you three design tricks that will encourage your customers to come back to your site more and more. 

1. Rethink Your Website Structure

It is hard to imagine a website visitor who would spend more than five minutes (usually it’s way less) trying to figure out the navigation system on your website. If you have a loaded, complex site structure, you will not retain a customer. 

Take Craigslist, for instance. Its navigation is not user-friendly, not to mention that it took over 30 seconds to load when the acceptable average load time should be no more than 1.7 seconds:

Here’s what proper website navigation presupposes:

  • Subordination should not go deeper than three levels.
  • A website should include eight horizontal categories max. 
  • The structure should be symmetrical. 
  • The menu should not be overstuffed with too many locations. 

Since we mentioned Craigslist, let’s take a look at its competitor AdPost, which has a better website structure:

Instead of listing all the product categories on the front page, like Craigslist, AdPost added them to the search menu, thus making the design more user-friendly and making the navigation cleaner. 

2. Make Your Site Multilingual

If you have visitors coming to your website from around the world, you should not assume they know English. A survey by Weglot found some interesting results regarding the attitude of buyers to shopping on international websites:

  • 52% of websites are in English, but English reaches only 25% of global users.
  • 56% of visitors say the website information in their language is more important than the price.
  • 73% of customers say they prefer to shop on sites in their own language. 

So, there is no doubt that having your website localized to several languages can increase customer retention, especially considering the last stat. 

To understand the proper practices of making a website multilingual, look at the examples of the best language learning apps. For instance, Preply has a drop-down menu where you can choose from multiple language options, including Polish, Ukrainian, German, and many more:

Translating your website to different languages will help the visitor understand the value of your product better. However, before you invest in localization, make sure you study the data on customer behaviors to understand which languages your audience speaks. 

3. Invest in Custom Illustrations

Some companies don’t bother much with designing their websites, especially when it comes to custom elements, such as visuals. However, research has shown that the focus on branding in website design increases customer commitment and e-loyalty, as a result. 

Moreover, in the world of billions of websites, you need something that would help your business stand out. And custom illustrations are among those features that contribute to your site’s uniqueness. 

Just take a quick look at the Emiozaki Web site. It includes personalized illustrations and animation created in the form of a tablet that substitutes the navigation menu:

This website reflects the brand’s tone and style, and animation adds emotion to UX. Apart from that, it’s also an excellent example of structuring a website. 

Or, if you would like an example of a less loaded design, take a look at this personal portfolio by Victoire Douy. It also includes animations that add interactivity to the design. For instance, you can play with the shadow of the girl’s hand:

So, if you want your website to attract more customers and encourage them to hang out for longer, take the creative approach. Hiring an illustrator is, of course, costly, but it will help your site stand out. 

Wrapping Up

As you can see, you’ll have to put in a lot of work to bring forward website design that increases online customer retention. You just have to employ our three best practices. Let’s quickly recap them:

  • Rethink your website structure; it should make the navigation easier. 
  • Consider making your site multilingual; you’ll retain more international visitors. 
  • Invest in custom illustrations to help consumers differentiate your brand from your competitors. 

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A career as a web designer can be extremely lucrative. The average web designer in the US makes around $50-55,000 per year, equating to an hourly rate of around $25. Of course, not every designer will automatically get a full-time, high-paying job as soon as they earn their web design credentials.

Sometimes, you might need to generate a little extra cash, perhaps to supplement your part-time income or keep the lights on while you’re taking some new courses. You can even use your web design skills to earn some extra money on the side while working a standard 9-to-5.

Today, we will be looking at some of the most effective ways to make extra cash on your web design skills.

1. Freelance

Starting with the simplest option, working as a freelancer is one of the best ways to start making cash with your design skills. There are dozens of websites out there to help freelancers find clients these days. Some of the best options include:

  • Toptal: For web developers, designers, and software experts;
  • Upwork: For all kinds of design freelancing;
  • 99Designs: Excellent for selling your designs whenever you like;
  • Dribbble: Display your work and find new clients;
  • Behance: Sell everything from animations to videos;
  • Envato Studio: Sell packages for web design.

As a freelancer, you’ll be able to choose which hours you want to work, and which projects to work on. You can make money from all kinds of design skills this way, from making pages for a website to designing widgets and applications.

However, you’ll also be responsible for tracking down potential leads, building your portfolio, and managing your own taxes, so keep this in mind.

2. Sell Design Assets

As a web design professional, you’ll end up with a lot of assets over the years. Whether you’re working freelance or full-time, not every asset you create is going to be picked up by your customers. Sometimes, you’ll end up with unused content sitting on your computer.

Fortunately, you can leverage these assets for some extra cash. You can sell things like icons, backgrounds, UI assets, and more. You can even sell themes on sites like ThemeForest if you’ve built something your clients weren’t happy with.

There’s a market out there for just about every asset, from icons and PSD templates to documents, fonts, UI assets, backgrounds, and brushes. You might even build your own website where you can sell assets in the future.

3. Design and Sell NFTs

Feel like getting in on the cutting-edge of a new marketplace? NFTs are probably one of the hottest topics in the digital world today. As concepts like Web 3.0 and the metaverse gain traction, NFTs will only become more valuable.

Countless companies and innovators are looking for people to design their NFTs for them these days. If you don’t mind dedicating some of your free time to creating digital graphics, you’re in for a significant amount of earning potential.

If you learn enough about the NFT landscape and blockchain, you could even create your own NFTs. However, this would probably require a lot of time and research. You can learn more about the NFT design and art landscape here.

4. Become a Consultant

Don’t have time to build endless new websites right now? No problem, just help other people build their sites instead. Consultants are people in any industry with expertise and insights they can share to support other people. As a web design consultant, you can offer your expertise to other upcoming freelance designers or business leaders.

You’ll need to invest some time into building your personal brand as a consultant. This means developing your social media pages (like LinkedIn) and creating a portfolio. It also helps to have an air of thought leadership. This usually means you’ll need to share at least some content online.

Consulting can be an excellent way to share your skills with other people without having to do all the work of building a design course.

5. Teach Web Design

On the other hand, if you like the idea of being a teacher, you can make money almost passively with web design courses and webinars these days. While you do have the option of selling one-on-one education to students, this will usually take up a lot of your time.

If your focus right now is on a side hustle to increase your earnings, it’s often much easier to use a site like Udemy or Skillshare. The great thing about teaching web design these days, it’s much easier than you might expect. The majority of solutions on the web allow you to drip content to your clients automatically. This means you only have to create the content once.

You can create a handful of videos, quizzes, and downloadable assets, and make money off your educational resources while you sleep.

6. Create a Web Design Blog

Blogging is still a surprisingly lucrative way to make money. If you have a creative streak and you know how to write about web design in a way other people can understand, you can turn this into an excellent side hustle.

Start by building your own website using your design skills, then start publishing regular blogs with the content you know your customers would be interested in. It’s a good idea to cover a range of topics, from Photoshop, to how to design widgets and more. You can even share reviews of various web design tools and add affiliate links to earn money that way.

Make sure you use SEO strategies to improve your chances of customers actually seeing your blog and promote your content as often as you can across social media. Once you have your blog, you can make money from it by:

  • Working as an affiliate and promoting design products;
  • Showing banner ads or sponsored posts on your website;
  • Selling digital products through your blog (like themes).

If you decide to take the affiliate route, here are some excellent programs to consider.

7. Contribute to other Websites

If you don’t have time to launch your own website and build a following for your blog, you can still make money from writing in other ways. Becoming a freelance web design writer means you can sell your blogs and content to other leading publications.

Many popular websites are constantly looking for new content to add to their blog. If you develop a strong relationship with some of these site owners, you could get yourself a regular gig.

Contributing to other sites as a writer helps you to develop your thought leadership. Many companies will even allow you to link back to your social media pages or profile.

At the same time, you get to earn some extra money writing about things you enjoy.

8. Sell Themes and Templates

A lot of web designers today rely on other themes and templates created for WordPress to help them build their websites. Access to themes and templates can make building a new website a much easier, straightforward process.

If you’ve got some excellent coding prowess, you can develop and sell a host of website themes and templates, and sell them wherever you choose. As mentioned above, there are a number of websites available for selling web design assets. Alternatively, you can sell your own packages and templates on your website, depending on your needs.

If you create a particularly valuable theme, you can actually earn a full-time passive income over time. Placing your themes and templates on marketplace sites will also get you a lot of attention from potential clients in the future.

9. Flip Websites

If you’ve ever seen one of those shows where someone buys a house, makes it look great, and then sells it for a higher price, you’ll understand the basic premise of flipping websites. The idea is to purchase an existing website for a low price (preferably with a good domain name), then fix it up to sell on a website selling directory.

If you want to earn a decent amount of money for your website, you’ll need to dedicate a decent amount of time to building traffic, improving the appearance of the site, and so on. However, it can be fun to take on these projects in your free time if you’re looking for a way to hone your skills.

You might learn some important lessons about how to make websites more profitable while you’re flipping your various sites, which could make you more appealing to customers in the long term.

10. Write a Book

Similar to flipping websites or producing an income from a high-traffic blog, writing a book isn’t something that’s going to give you a lot of extra income overnight. However, it can be an excellent source of passive income in time if you know how to use this strategy correctly.

If you have a specialist skill in web design, or you serve a specific niche, you can generate a lot of attention for an eBook or physical book sharing plenty of accurate and specific information. Remember, writing about web design, in general, will usually make it harder to earn money because there’s already a lot of competition out there.

Writing a book is a fantastic way to create a possible extra source of income as a side hustle, and it can also make you more credible if you decide to go full-time with your web design skills in the future. It’s definitely more impressive to present yourself to clients as a published author.

Remember to advertise your book whenever you can to improve your chances of additional sales.

Find Your Side Hustle

Web design skills are highly sought after in various parts of the digital world. If you’re willing to devote a little time and creativity to exploring the various avenues above, they can all deliver an excellent source of income to you and your potential business. All you need to do is figure out which side hustle makes the most sense for you.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all. In some cases, you might even be able to run multiple side hustles at the same time, particularly if you’re using strategies for passive income, like writing your own book or selling your own course.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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Leader européen du popcorn, Nataïs souhaitait moderniser son ERP SAP ECC. La société a choisi l’ERP SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Private Edition, déployée avec le concours des équipes de STMS, à travers l’offre RISE with SAP.

Nataïs est une entreprise peu connue du grand public, et pourtant devenue en moins de trente ans le leader européen du marché du popcorn. La société adopte une logique de filière, allant de la semence au produit fini, avec des produits distribués en vrac ou fabriqués et conditionnés pour le compte de grandes enseignes.

Des centaines de millions de grains de popcorn préparés par Nataïs éclatent chaque jour dans les cinémas, foires, fêtes foraines et magasins du monde entier. Mais aussi dans les cuisines, Nataïs ayant produit plus de 210 millions de sachets micro-ondables en 2021.

Nataïs réalise un chiffre d’affaires annuel d’environ 60 millions d’euros, dont 90% à l’export, ses produits étant distribués dans plus de 50 pays. Nataïs compte 140 salariés et s’appuie sur un réseau de 240 agriculteurs locaux qui l’alimentent en maïs et que l’entreprise accompagne en retour dans leurs efforts en matière de développement durable et d’écoresponsabilité. L’ensemble de la « Popcorn family » partage un objectif ambitieux, celui d’être la 1re filière popcorn à atteindre la neutralité carbone, et ce à horizon 2025.

Objectif : moderniser un ERP SAP vieillissant

« Cela fait maintenant plus d’une décennie que nous travaillons avec un ERP SAP, utilisé par une centaine de personnes, confie Célia Ehmann, en charge du périmètre SI au sein de l’entreprise. En septembre 2021, nous avons lancé le projet Caribou, visant à moderniser notre ERP, au travers d’une migration vers l’ERP SAP S/4HANA. »

Nataïs ne voulait pas attendre le dernier moment pour basculer vers le nouvel ERP SAP. D’autant plus que certains projets de développement avaient été mis en pause dans l’attente de la bascule vers SAP S/4HANA.

STMS, qui avait déjà collaboré avec l’entreprise sur d’autres projets, a été choisi pour mener à bien cette migration. Lors de la présentation faite par STMS, Nataïs a eu l’opportunité de découvrir les solutions cloud de SAP, dont l’offre RISE with SAP. « Nous ne savions pas qu’il était possible de basculer en mode cloud. Cette présentation nous a donc permis d’aborder la question du cloud, et de l’offre RISE with SAP. »

En l’occurrence, le cloud permet d’apporter une réponse intéressante aux questions de licensing et de coût d’acquisition de SAP S/4HANA soulevées par l’entreprise gersoise. « Le licensing classique proposé par SAP n’est pas adapté à une PME comme la nôtre. Les avantages apportés par le cloud ont été ici décisifs. »

Après avoir éclairci certains points, comme le périmètre précis de la solution, la compréhension des FUE (Full Users Equivalents), les possibilités de connexion avec les autres applications de l’entreprise, ou encore les moyens de mettre en place un lien internet de secours Internet pour son futur ERP, Nataïs a décidé d’opter pour l’ERP SAP S/4HANA Cloud Private Edition, via l’offre RISE with SAP.

Un triple projet : SAP HANA, SAP S/4HANA et Cloud

Le projet a été lancé en fin d’année 2021. Ou plutôt les projets, Nataïs ayant décidé de basculer de SAP ECC vers SAP S/4HANA, mais également vers la base de données SAP HANA et vers le cloud.

« Concernant l’ERP, nous avons mené un audit en amont pour déterminer ce qu’il fallait modifier ou améliorer en priorité, explique Célia Ehmann. Nous n’avons rien changé du périmètre du système, mais cela nous a permis de définir une feuille de route de développement pour notre nouvel ERP. Nous allons conserver certains spécifiques, même si nous allons profiter du projet pour évaluer les efforts requis afin de basculer certains processus vers les standards préconisés par SAP. »

Le passage à la base de données SAP HANA ne sera pas un problème pour Nataïs, la taille de la base de données utilisée par son ERP SAP ECC restant raisonnable. « Nous allons toutefois mener quelques opérations de nettoyage et d’optimisation, lorsque cela fait sens. » La gestion des infrastructures ne posera pas plus de problèmes à Nataïs. « Je vois bien passer des échanges entre STMS, SAP et nos autres prestataires IT, mais ce sont eux qui se chargent de tous ces sujets techniques. »

Go live programmé pour le 4 mai 2022

La phase de recette a démarré le 15 mars, avec comme objectif un go live le 4 mai 2022. Si la migration est réalisée à périmètre constant, quelques changements notables seront appliqués au nouveau SI. « Nous allons refondre les droits d’accès, afin de sécuriser les rôles et autorisations de chacun. Nous allons également déployer plusieurs tuiles Fiori, relatives notamment à des KPI nous intéressant. Enfin, nous allons traiter quelques sujets liés à mobilité, lesquels devraient faciliter la vie de nos collaborateurs en logistique et approvisionnement maïs notamment.

Avant même sa finalisation, ce projet s’est d’ores et déjà traduit par un premier bénéfice : « Il nous a permis de former et animer une équipe d’utilisateurs clés dynamiques, qui partagent et échangent aujourd’hui leurs bonnes pratiques, et sont moteurs sur des projets d’optimisation de nos processus », conclut Célia Ehmann.

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