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Many firms’ design and development decisions are increasingly oriented toward human-centered innovation. Instead of rushing goods to market, these firms are using a user-centered design approach.

Design and development teams build high-performing digital products or websites that uniquely meet customers’ demands by concentrating on the user experience. After all, a good web design is helpful in boosting the business reputation or user experience.

This post will define user-centered design, discuss its fundamental principles, and describe the user-centered design process.

What Is User-Centered Design?

To create an enjoyable solution to a problem, user-centered design is a collection of iterative design processes concentrating on the user’s needs at each step. In UCD, the expectations, objectives, and preferences of the user significantly impact design decisions.

Additionally, users are actively involved in the entire process from start to finish. User-centered design principles encourage designers to create products with users rather than just for them. This strategy typically includes user research, interviews, usability testing, and a massive amount of feedback gathering.

UCD Requires Four Fundamental Components:

  • Visibility: Can people see what your website is about and how to utilize it the moment they land on your page?
  • Availability: Is your website user-friendly? Can they swiftly locate information? They should be able to find call-to-action buttons, menus, filters, and search choices with ease.
  • Legibility: Is the text simple to read for users?
  • Language: Is the language simple to grasp for users? Do you avoid using industry jargon in your UX authoring, which might lead to confusion and hesitation?

What Is The Significance Of UCD?

User experience is important in product design, especially in digital products such as app design, web and interface design, and marketing. Customers want their lives to be simplified. A website, app, or product exists to fulfill a consumer. Hence its success is determined by their interaction with it.

The following are some of the advantages of a user-centered design strategy for a business:

  • Customers keep coming back for more
  • There would be an increase in sales
  • Creating polished, efficient, and widely available goods
  • Understanding challenges thoroughly to provide suitable solutions
  • Customers and teams working together
  • Avoiding typical blunders
  • Enhancing Competitiveness
  • Assisting them in comprehending their market

It offers consumers the following advantages:

  • Making their life easier
  • Fulfilling their desires
  • Companies making them feel heard and understood
  • Making them feel important in the creation of things they use
  • Providing answers to challenges they were unaware they had or could not imagine solutions to

Let’s dig in to learn more about the advantages of UCD.

Businesses can benefit from using the user-centered design approach in various ways. As you incorporate this into your web development, you can enjoy the following four main advantages.

1. Prevent Project Failure

Your company might find it simpler to incorporate improvements and ensure your product is in line with actual user needs if you have a continuous feedback process assessing how customers react to your product, like a website.

Customers feel like their needs are better represented in the finished product, which can increase engagement and strengthen the bond with the company.

2. Improve ROI

This method produces products that more accurately reflect user expectations. The procedure also lessens mistakes made by website users, for instance. When combined, these factors motivate users to convert from leads to paying clients, boosting return on investment.

3. Increase Development Efficiency

In user-centered design, the objectives of the various team members are aligned. This can help clarify the best course of action for all parties involved. A more targeted, goal-oriented development process may be encouraged by the regular evaluation process.

Additionally, businesses can engage stakeholders and explain how their efforts and methodologies will improve customer interactions by using an iterative life cycle during product development.

4. Up The Level Of Competition

Customers will more fully appreciate what you offer, improve their engagement with your product or website, and be more likely to purchase from you if your product is created with their needs and expectations in mind.

As a result, this may increase your ability to compete in your sector.

5. KPIs Are Included

Given your user needs and business objectives, how do you move from the first to the second? You can measure key performance indicators with this in mind once you know what user needs are essential for the overall goals.

For instance, productivity may be the focus of office software, shopper activity may be the focus of sales tools, and retention rates may be the focus of other apps. All of these are necessary steps toward achieving business values like profit and revenue.

Human-Centered Design Versus User-Centered Design

There is a significant difference between humans and users. Simply put, all users are humans; however, not all humans will use your product. Therefore, you must thoroughly understand your target market to produce a successful user-centered design.

Detailed research should be done on the problems and goals of your users. Then, talk to them and give them several chances to offer feedback. By doing this, you’ll create a user persona that is complete and that you can use to determine the priorities for your design.

It’s critical to understand that different user groups may have additional requirements, levels of technical expertise, and expectations for using products like the one you’ve made.

What crucial guidelines or principles should designers consider when adopting a user-centric design?

The Process Of User-Centered Design

Certain fundamental principles underpin user-centered design. While the development process is always iterative, no explicit methods for implementation are specified. The approach can be implemented in either a waterfall or an agile environment.

1. Contextualization

The first step is to analyze the environment in which users will use the product. What are the intended applications of the product for future users? Teams working on projects can get answers by watching and talking to potential users.

2. Outlining The Prerequisites

Specifying the requirements for the new product is the second step. In this step, user requirements are described while considering corporate needs.

3. Design

Once the requirements are established, the actual design process can begin. Designers typically start by producing a straightforward prototype, like one made of paper, then move on to digital wireframes and a finished prototype.

4. Analysis

The project team solicits feedback from potential users after creating a prototype. This is typically done for digital applications through in-depth user testing and qualitative research.

Do surveys and tests evaluate user satisfaction, effectiveness, and efficiency? With the new information, the project team goes back to step 2 or step 3 of the design process to improve the product. Once the user feedback is satisfied, these iterations continue while taking into account corporate frameworks (time and costs).

Top 10 User-Centered Design Principles

Principles of user-centered design attempt to guarantee that usability is the primary priority throughout the development process. These principles, if successfully followed, will ensure that user experience is fulfilled not just during the initial introduction of a product but also during its use.

Furthermore, each of the following principles may be tailored to match the specific requirements and interaction demands of any product.

1. Use Simple Language

Professional Web Designer strives to provide the most readable discourse for the user while creating a product. This involves clarifying vocabulary, eliminating jargon, and simply providing information pertinent to the work.

Presenting users with irrelevant information throughout their use of the product taints its usefulness. Furthermore, basic language helps the user finish the work without being overwhelmed or confused.

2. Feedback

Users expect a reaction to all of their actions. This might involve modifying the look of the screen after completing an activity. If the job is finished after some time, it should display a loading page to notify the user that the task is in process.

Keeping the user informed throughout the process reassures them and keeps them on track with their job.

3. Maintaining Consistency

Keeping the product consistent is essential in ensuring an ideal user experience. Consistency affects how customers approach a product, and the time it takes to learn how to use it.

From the start of the project until its completion, the consistent philosophy underpinning the UCD process should be maintained. If the interface design needs to be updated, it is critical to maintaining consistency across new features to stay beneficial to the user.

4. Give The Complete User Control

Consumers are already aware of their requirements. They should be able to use a product with minimal effort and depend on the product’s help to accomplish the rest.

By removing the effort from the job, the user can do it quickly while keeping control of their activities.

5. Describe The Situation

Before developing a product, the designer must first investigate the ideal user and their wants. The designers can gain a comprehensive sense of some of the issues these people experience by studying their lifestyles.

Many of these observations are conducted through interviews. These interviews provide the designer with information on the exact goals that users want to attain and how they want to achieve them.

6. Examine the Design

Designers undertake usability testing with actual users of their product at this stage in the UCD process. This stage provides designers with insight into how consumers will interact with the product and how to modify it to suit them better.

It is advised that this stage be completed as quickly as feasible. The sooner customers provide input, the faster designers can comprehend their product from the user’s perspective.

7. Create Designs That Are Specific To The Needs Of The User

The design team must examine the distinctive features of their intended demographic as well as frequent real-world activities while beginning the design process. Furthermore, the product should be appropriate for the environment in which it will be utilized the most.

Making a product that needs a lot of work from the user reduces its usability and usefulness, ultimately defeating the objective of UCD.

8. The Design Process Is Iterative

Because user-centered design is based on putting the user first, the product team should constantly be working to improve the user experience. By introducing changes gradually, you will gain a better understanding of your target audience.

9. Adequate Navigational Tools

An essential component of the user experience is the capability to navigate between pages of your website and return to the previous one. Make sure users know where they are on your website and how to leave any pages they don’t want to see.

Customers can better understand how to navigate your page by giving them features like a navigation map, for instance. Make it simple for customers to change their order without leaving the current page if they buy clothing and discover they need a different size once they reach the checkout page.

10. Unflawed System

Customers should find it easy to navigate between your website’s pages and accomplish their goals. If they make a mistake, be there to help them fix it so they can achieve their goal.

The form may ask for specific, essential fields, such as the square footage, and may also include a gentle reminder or an alert that appears if the user accidentally leaves a required field blank.

Customers may feel more comfortable responding to your prompts and participating in a conversation if you ask questions one at a time and offer automated responses for each response.

Wrapping Up

User-centered design is more than just making a good product. It goes further than that. You demonstrate your motivations and intentions by putting your users in the spotlight. You’re demonstrating that it’s not all about meeting deadlines or turning a profit. Instead, you’re telling your users that you understand what they want and prioritize their needs.

It should come as no surprise that the most effective teams are user-centric. Knowing your customer is essential for success in any industry, including design. Create products that put the user first, and you will create products that people will love.

You can build a more robust, user-friendly website that is better equipped to respond to user needs and expectations by incorporating the User Centered Design process into your product design. However, it’s crucial to collaborate with a specialist who can apply these techniques and produce the result you’ve envisioned.

 

Featured image by pch.vector on Freepik

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Looking to save big and make your web design job easier at the same?

This carefully picked list includes top-tier quality items that have already been used by hundreds of thousands of people like you.

From WordPress themes, plugins, web apps, website builders, and illustrations, this list has everything for everyone.

Check all these 10 excellent deals for designers below:

1. Amelia

Amelia is a WordPress booking plugin that saves businesses time and money from the beginning by replacing their manual or semi-automated appointment and event booking operations with a fully automated one.

Amelia is easy to set up and use. Fitness centers, consulting organizations, training institutions, beauty salons and spas, photographers, medical centers, and other businesses that rely heavily on client and customer appointment or event bookings will profit from using it.

  • Clients can go online to make appointments 24/7, change or cancel appointments, and make payments. They can also purchase tickets for events and add special requirements.
  • Amelia automatically sends notifications, reminders, and follow-ups by SMS, WhatsApp, and email (reducing no-shows while keeping clients aware of upcoming special sessions or events).
  • Amelia also manages group appointments, packages of appointments, employees’ schedules, special days, and days offs.
  • All the above can be managed at one or multiple locations from a single dashboard.

Amelia integrates with Google Calendar, Google Meet, Zoom, and Outlook Calendar. Click on the banner to learn more about what this amazing application could do for your business.

2. wpDataTables

Creating an informative table or chart for your website can be pretty labor-intensive.

  • You may have to work with and organize copious amounts of data.
  • You need to avoid compromising your website’s design at the expense of getting the tables or charts you want.
  • Your tables and charts may need to be responsive, editable, informative, and readable.

wpDataTables plugin does all the above for you and more. It is packed with powerful table and chart-building features that include –

  • 4 chart-building engines: Google Charts, Chart.js, Apex Charts, and Highcharts
  • The ability to accept data from multiple database sources and in numerous standard formats
  • The ability to highlight critical data, or color code data using Conditional Formatting
  • A wealth of powerful data filtering and sorting features
  • Live data from Google spreadsheets or JSON API

wpDataTables integrates seamlessly with Avada, Divi, Elementor, Gutenberg, and WPBakery. Click on the banner to learn even more about this popular WordPress plugin.

3. Trafft

To automate a booking operation, you might need one tool to book appointments, one to accept payments, another to manage employee schedules, and so on. Of course, if your business provides services at multiple locations, then you would multiply the number of tools times the number of locations, and you’ll be good to go.

Or, you could go with Trafft, a single tool with which you can manage all of the above, at multiple locations, all from a single platform.

  • Clients can book appointments online 24/7.
  • They can make payments online using PayPal, Stripe, Mollie, or Authorize .net.
  • Trafft sends reminders and notifications automatically via email or SMS.
  • Trafft integrates smoothly with Google Calendar, Google Meet, Outlook, and Zoom.

Click on the banner to learn about all of Trafft’s booking capabilities. You’ll be impressed.

4. WordLift

WordLift helps your website speak the language of Google. This way, your content will be discovered by users, giving you more organic traffic and helping your business website achieve excellent rankings.

  • WordLift uses AI to transform unstructured content into structured data that search engines can understand.
  • WordLift creates a knowledge graph, automates SEO tasks, and analyzes search intent.

Other features include automatic schema markup, content recommendation widgets, WooCommerce, and Image SEO, all designed to improve user engagement.

5. Total WordPress Theme

Three words summarize Total: flexible, easy, and complete. This aptly named WordPress theme is WooCommerce compatible and has everything you need to create one-of-a-kind sites.

  • Total puts excellent selections of demos, templates, and postcards at your fingertips.
  • The popular Slider Revolution plugin is included, as is Total’s flexible drag-and-drop page builder.

The 50% Black Friday discount is automatically applied when you order.

6. TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose & WooCommerce Theme

TheGem – the versatile WordPress website builder – offers unlimited customizations, plenty of design & marketing focused features, an extended library of pre-built designs, and the fastest loading times: 

  • You have ready access to a rich selection of 400+ pre-built websites in outstanding design quality 
  • It enables you to build every part of your website right away in Elementor or WPBakery: headers & footers, WooCommerce pages, blogs, mega menus, popups, and much more.
  • You’ll love the 5-star user support, just as have 60,000 others.

TheGem can be yours at a 40% Black Friday discount.

7. Mobirise Website Builder Software

The best offline website builder for 2022 is free to use. That is in itself a great bargain. Mobirise’s team has sweetened the pot by offering a 33% Black Friday discount for their All-in-One Kit with its 175 premium themes and extensions.

  • Mobirise is strictly drag-and-drop and features huge selections of blocks, templates, icons, and images.
  • Your site is yours to host anywhere you want

More than 2 million sites have already been created using Mobirise.

8. Embed Instagram Feed

Instagram offers a terrific way to promote your business’s products or services. Its focus on visual communication makes it an extremely effective marketing tool.

  • It takes but three simple steps to embed Instagram into your website.
  • A variety of display options are available.
  • Your feed will be fully responsive and compatible with mobile devices.

An Instagram feed is yours at a 33% Black Friday discount.

9. Getillustrations Web and App Illustrations Bundle

 

Getillustrations is loaded with trendy illustrations you can pick and choose from, download once, and use forever.

  • Selecting one or more of the 13,000 different illustrations in over 100 categories can definitely add spice to your web designs.
  • Illustrations come in PNG, SVG, Ai, Figma, and Sketch formats and Getillustrations adds new ones every week.

Use the EliteDesigners25 code to get your 25% Black Friday discount.

10. Rey Theme

Rey is an innovative WooCommerce theme that is loaded with WooCommerce-friendly features and is easy to set up and use.

  • Key WooCommerce features include filtering, search, templating, and navigation.
  • Rey’s smart search helps site visitors find exactly what they want
  • Quickview and Ajax search is also available

Headers are customized for eCommerce, and visitors will appreciate Rey’s helpful cart, wish list, and checkout features.

Black Friday is not far off. Before you know it, many producers of WordPress themes, tools, and services will be offering tempting discounts.

Even if you come across a deal that appeals to you, it doesn’t hurt to look around to see if you can find a better one.

Keep in mind that the quality of a product or service is more important than its reduced price. It’s always best to pick and choose carefully. So, we’ve put together this list of the best Black Friday deals for 2022 to help you do just that.

 

[- This is a sponsored post on behalf of BAW media -]

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The post They’Re Live! 10 Great Black Friday 2022 Deals for Designers and Agencies first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

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This article will demonstrate the heterogeneous systems integration and building of the BI system and mainly talk about the DELTA load issues and how to overcome them. How can we compare the source table and target table when we cannot find a proper way to identify the changes in the source table using the SSIS ETL Tool?

Systems Used

  • SAP S/4HANA is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software package meant to cover all day-to-day processes of an enterprise, e.g., order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, finance & controlling request-to-service, and core capabilities. SAP HANA is a column-oriented, in-memory relational database that combines OLAP and OLTP operations into a single system.
  • SAP Landscape Transformation (SLT) Replication is a trigger-based data replication method in the HANA system. It is a perfect solution for replicating real-time data or schedule-based replication from SAP and non-SAP sources.
  • Azure SQL Database is a fully managed platform as a service (PaaS) database engine that handles most of the management functions offered by the database, including backups, patching, upgrading, and monitoring, with minimal user involvement.
  • SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is a platform for building enterprise-level data integration and transformation solutions. SSIS is used to integrate and establish the pipeline for ETL and solve complex business problems by copying or downloading files, loading data warehouses, cleansing, and mining data.
  • Power BI is an interactive data visualization software developed by Microsoft with a primary focus on business intelligence.

Business Requirement

Let us first talk about the business requirements. We have more than 20 different Point-of-Sale (POS) data from other online retailers like Target, Walmart, Amazon, Macy’s, Kohl’s, JC Penney, etc. Apart from this, the primary business transactions will happen in SAP S/4HANA, and business users will require the BI reports for analysis purposes.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Whether you’ve worked with a few WordPress themes to design websites or worked with many of them, you’ll no doubt agree that plenty of WordPress themes that are visually gorgeous on the front end can be terribly unattractive and extremely awkward to use on the backend. 

Working with a WordPress theme can sometimes be difficult, but it can be different.

Want proof? Look no further than with BeTheme. 

BeTheme, with 260,000+ sales and counting and a 4.83-star user rating, is one of the top 5 best-selling WordPress themes of all time.

In this article, we’ll show you one of the many reasons why this is the case by focusing on how BeTheme’s backend is designed to make web design tasks more manageable.

Enhance your workflow experience with a WordPress theme backend that won’t stress you out 

Once you install BeTheme, you’ll almost immediately notice it’s different. Instead of a drab and often unintuitive WordPress backend, you’ll suddenly be confronted with a clean, well-organized dashboard and toolset.

You haven’t actually lost anything. WordPress, with its impressive assortment of content management tools, is still there. Be’s backend is a visually appealing space in which you will take pleasure to work.

If only the rest of WordPress could follow suit.

If you haven’t worked with BeTheme recently (or at all), why not let us walk you through several of its most helpful backend features.

Starting with:

1. Dashboard Design

BeTheme’s dashboard is conveniently located directly beneath the main WordPress Dashboard link. So you won’t waste time sifting through the sidebar trying to find your theme’s settings, and everything displayed in the dashboard is designed to help you get the most out of your WordPress theme. 

Clicking on the BeTheme or the Dashboard link gives you immediate access to the following: 

  • Theme registration information
  • BeTheme’s step-by-step website creator
  • A Navigation bar that directs you to BeTheme’s frequently used tools
  • Plugin status and updates and new features announcements
  • The latest additions to BeTheme’s ever-growing library of pre-built websites
  • Beloved BeTheme integrations

It takes a minute to fully appreciate how helpful this dashboard will be. 

BeTheme

2. Dark/Light Mode

Research on dark mode benefits is inconclusive. But since so many people seem to like it, it is offered as an option in many popular apps and devices.

Dark mode users will tell you that they experience less eye strain, they sleep better, and their device’s batteries last longer than is the case with light mode.

BeTheme’s backend offers a dark mode option, and you are encouraged to try it.

If you feel it beneficial, so much the better, and you needn’t concern yourself with what the research indicated, or didn’t indicate.

BeTheme

3. Step-by-Step Website Creator

When you first install a WordPress theme, it’s not uncommon to spend some time trying to figure out what to do next. The theme’s advertisements may highlight a selection of impressive demos, but where are they more exactly?

Of course, you’ll eventually find them, but is whatever difficulty you may have encountered necessary?

BeTheme removes that impediment. 

You will notice the Setup Wizard under BeTheme (and in the dashboard as well.) Click on the wizard, and with its step-by-step website, you can: 

  • Give your website a name.
  • Select the page builder you want to work with and choose your preferred editing mode.
  • Pick an ideal pre-built website based on your new website’s industry or niche.
  • Easily replace existing content with your own.

The entire process of loading your brand-new site and page builder into WordPress takes a minute (or more like 30 seconds once you are used to it).

BeTheme

4. Pre-Built Site Previews

With BeTheme, you can choose from more than 650 pre-built websites. New ones are being added as we speak, and they’re delightfully easy to find. Just look under the dashboard’s Websites link or Pre-built Websites in BeTheme’s sidebar menu, and there they are!

You’ll be familiarized with the available design aids and options in no time, and you’ll find it easy to incorporate the latest design trends into your websites. BeTheme has even placed previews of its newest pre-built websites in your dashboard to help you along.

You may choose one of the latest pre-built websites to work with, or you might find one or more others you particularly like. Pre-built sites you do not plan to work with can still be sources of inspiration.

Whatever your choices, you’ll find it easy to incorporate the latest trends into website designs.

BeTheme

5. Plugin Manager

BeTheme’s Plugins area differs from what you see in the WordPress plugins area. You’ll find several of these differences to be particularly helpful in that BeTheme’s plugins manager enables you to: 

  • View the active plugins you’ve installed.
  • Update plugins when necessary.
  • Install and activate plugins only when it’s required.

The last item is essential in that plugins do not appear in the WordPress plugin manager until you have installed them. Not having to install plugins you will not need will help keep your website operating at a high level of performance.

BeTheme

6. BeTheme Support

WordPress is a powerful content management system and an extremely popular one. It may, in fact, be the most powerful and popular system of its type.

WordPress is also community-driven to a considerable extent, which can sometimes create user inconvenience. As a user, you might sometimes have to dig to find answers to your questions or get help when needed.

You don’t have to experience that inconvenience to get support from BeTheme.

To gain access to BeTheme’s support center, you need go no further than BeTheme’s sidebar or dashboard to access self-support options or open a ticket for direct assistance.

BeTheme

7. Theme Options

Plenty of well-known WordPress themes have theme settings customization capabilities. With BeTheme, it’s easy to set brand colors, choose custom fonts, and establish global layouts. The same holds for configuring responsiveness, performance, and accessibility, all of which are essential for optimizing UX and search engine functionalities.

The problem with most theme options is that they can only be modified from the main WordPress dashboard. So if, while designing on a page, you suddenly realize a portion of its design hasn’t been configured correctly, or you’re dissatisfied with any design segment, you’ll have to save your changes and go to your theme’s backend to make the necessary fixes.

From the BeTheme dashboard inside the BeBuilder BeTheme, you can modify your Theme Options without having to interrupt your workflow.

BeTheme

8. White-Label Mode

A final feature of the BeTheme WordPress theme’s backend you should become familiar with is BeCustom. This critical feature is located under BeTheme in the sidebar.

BeCustom enables you to access some white-label regions in BeTheme. 

  You can use BeCustom to:

  • Substitute Be’s branding with your business’s branding to reinforce your name with your clients.
  • Disable any features your clients have no use for and deny access to any features you do not want them to modify while at the same time making the WordPress theme’s backend easier to work with.
  • Create an extra user-friendly and secure WordPress login.
  • Customize the dashboard’s “Welcome” message.

BeTheme

Make Your WordPress Design Projects Simple to Handle With BeTheme

Is there anything BeTheme doesn’t do?

Most likely, but nothing that would adversely impact your design effort.

This multipurpose WordPress theme’s hundreds of pre-built websites will help you get virtually any website project off to a rapid start and headed in the right direction.

BeTheme features the fastest and most powerful page builder for WordPress.

You will have total control over every feature and facet of your website’s UI.

In short, BeTheme offers the finest way to manage any web design project within WordPress.

 

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

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The post Why Do WordPress Theme Backends Have to Suck? (Hint: They Don’t!) first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

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The majority of web products use AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), where elements on the page are loaded at varying time intervals. This can lead to timing issues when automation testing is performed using the Selenium framework. What if a test is run on a WebElement that is not present in the DOM? The findElement function will raise ElementNotVisibleException.

Here are other scenarios that can cause issues in Selenium due to the dynamic loading of elements:

Source de l’article sur DZONE

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

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

How to Create Simple CSS Grid System

Why are You Running?

15+ VS Code Extensions for Web Developers

10 of the Biggest SEO Mistakes [Infographic]

SVG Loading Animations

AI Pixel Art Human Face

VSLook – Customize the Look of your VSCode

One Line of CSS to Add Basic Dark/light Mode

Basicons – Basic Icons for Product Design & Development

Touch-first Cursor: Round Pointers Vs Mouse Arrows

7 UX Laws You’re Probably Getting Wrong

“Google” Programmers – How One Idiot Hired a Couple More Idiots

Bunny Fonts – Privacy Respecting Drop-in Replacement for Google Fonts

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The post Popular Design News of the Week: June 20, 2022 – June 26, 2022 first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

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WordPress has made it easy for everyone to launch a blog, but even though launching a blog isn’t a difficult task any longer, driving traffic to your blog certainly is!

In this article, I’ll share some tried and tested strategies that have worked well for my clients’ blogs. You do not have to be an expert or a marketing guru to get traffic to your WordPress website. Follow the helpful tips I share in this article and watch the visitors start pouring in.

Tip 1: Use Powerful Headlines

The first thing related to your blog that a user reads in the search engine results is your article headlines. Of course, nobody wants to click on a boring article title. But a powerful headline stands out from the rest and gets you more clicks. 

In most themes, your article headlines are translated into meta titles for the pages. Meta titles indicate the topic of your articles to Google and other search engines. 

Tip 2: Build an Email List

Consider offering your visitors a newsletter signup form through which they can subscribe and get notified about new posts on your blog. You can offer them an incentive for free to persuade them to subscribe to your blog. It can be anything from an e-book, membership, useful templates, or an e-course. 

Building an email list gives access to the inboxes of your visitors. You can share your blog content with this prospective audience every time you post a new article. This will help you get consistent traffic to your WordPress blog.

Tip 3: Use Free Giveaways and Contests

Free giveaways work as an incentive for your WordPress blog visitors. To offer an entry to your blog’s free giveaway, you can ask your visitors for an email subscription, comment on your blog posts, share it on their social media channels, and ask for other such things. 

The trick is to think about the actions of your visitors that will increase traffic to your blog and provide them with one or multiple giveaway entries for such actions. 

Tip 4: Optimize For Keywords

All successful bloggers optimize their content for keywords. You need to perform proper keyword research to find sentences and words that your target audience is typing in Google and other top search engines. 

Instead of guessing the keywords for your articles, consider using some helpful tools like SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool and Google Ads Keyword Planner. This way, you can find the terms people are genuinely interested in and the keywords that do not have too much competition.

You must ensure to choose the keywords that have some excellent traffic volume but, at the same time, have less competition. Such keywords will help in the better ranking of each of your articles.

Tip 5: Optimize WordPress Site Speed

It has been proven that loading time is a ranking factor for SEO, as Google tends to assume that fast sites are high-quality sites.

Signing up for a hosting provider specializing in WordPress guarantees you get the best optimization features for your WordPress site. However, that alone is not enough because you need a hosting provider that can also handle a high volume of visitors.

Optimizing your WordPress website will help in the faster loading of your blog pages. Images are generally the biggest culprit in slowing down your website. So you must first optimize them through an image optimization plugin like Smush, Imagify, or Optimus. 

Enabling caching on your WordPress blog will considerably improve its speed. You can store your website data locally with caching, thereby reducing your server load to a large extent. Your website will, therefore, load faster on your visitors’ end, especially when they are repeat visitors.

Tip 6: Take Advantage of Social Media

Try building your presence on some of the top platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Post multiple times a day on these websites and share your blog articles.

You must also include social sharing buttons with your blog posts to make sharing easier for your audience. It will allow your blog visitors to share your post on different social platforms. This dramatically increases the chances of your blog post going viral.

Tip 7: Internal Linking Strategy

The only key here is to link articles that are closely related to each other. Your visitors might be interested in such related content and read more of your blog posts, thereby increasing your page views. It also increases the chances of visitors sharing your blog content since they find it valuable.

Tip 8: Be a Guest Blogger

Guest blogging involves creating content for other websites for mutual benefits. It helps you establish your authority in the blogging world while attracting more visitors to your WordPress website. 

Becoming a guest blogger allows you to spread the word about your blog to a new set of audiences and bring in organic traffic. It expands your work portfolio and helps build or enhance your online reputation.

Tip 9: Pay for Traffic

Consider using Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Microsoft advertising, and other top advertising platforms when paying to bring traffic to your blog. Be aware of your blog audience and use the most suitable criteria to target it. 

I’d recommend setting a weekly budget for paid ads and tracking the ad performance at the end of the week.

If you are satisfied with the traffic results, use the same criteria for the next week. On the other hand, if the ad performance is not as per your expectations, try different criteria to reach your target audience.

Conclusion

Getting traffic to your WordPress blog is an incentive for all the hard work that you do in creating content and managing your website. It builds a name for your blog and improves its search engine ranking. All this leads to better user engagement and revenue.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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WordPress is by far the world’s most popular CMS. Not only does it dominate the CMS market with a 64% market share, but it also powers 39.6% of all websites. It has taken the internet by storm by democratizing the web for all. Now, anyone can build, manage, and host a successful website without needing a college degree or coding expertise.

However, while WordPress is great at managing many technical aspects, it still can’t do everything for you. Built mostly on PHP, there are often concerns regarding how performant WordPress is. And, with performance impacting everything from bounce rates to SEO rankings to conversions, it’s something that should be on your radar too.

If you don’t know it yet, images are one of the main causes of slow-loading websites. In recent years, WordPress has stepped up its efforts to try and help users with image optimization out-of-the-box.

Still, as we’ll show, it’s not a total solution, and there is still plenty you can do to deliver better experiences on your WordPress website through image optimization.

What is WordPress Image Optimization? Why is it Important?

Simply put, image optimization is anything you do to make images load faster on your website pages. Almost all websites that use images can benefit from some form of image optimization, even those using WordPress.

Why?

Well, performance is a hugely significant factor when it comes to the competitiveness of your website today.

Google has also made performance an increasingly important factor when it comes to SEO rankings. In fact, performance is a direct ranking signal that carries significant weight.

Google’s Page Experience Update that went live in 2021 has been the biggest move in that direction yet. Soon, Google might even use visual indicators in SERP results to distinguish high-performing websites from the rest.

In Google’s own words, “These signals measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page and contribute to our ongoing work to ensure people get the most helpful and enjoyable experiences from the web.”

So, Why Should We Target Images For Performance Optimization?

According to Google, images are the largest contributor to page weight. Google has also singled out image optimization specifically as the factor with the most untapped potential for performance optimization.

This problem isn’t going away soon. According to data by the HTTP Archive, there are roughly 967.5 KB bytes of image data on desktop web pages and 866.3 KB of image data on mobile pages. This is an increase of 16.1% and 38.8%, respectively, over the last five years.

Thanks to popular e-commerce tools like Woocommerce, it’s estimated that up to 28% of all online sales happen on WordPress websites.

And don’t forget, images are both a key part of conveying information to the user and integral to the design of your website. If they take significantly longer to load than your text, for example, it will negatively impact the user experience in a variety of ways.

In summary, optimized images help your WordPress website by:

  • Improving user satisfaction.
  • Improving various traffic metrics, like bounce rates, time-on-page, etc.
  • Boosting your SEO rankings.
  • Contributing to higher conversions (and sales).

How Does Image Optimization in WordPress Work?

WordPress is so popular because it’s a CMS (content management system) that allows anyone to build, design, and manage a website without any coding or advanced technical experience. Advanced features can be installed with just a few clicks, thanks to plugins, and you rarely have to touch the code behind your website unless you want to make some unique modifications.

In short, using a CMS like WordPress shields you from many of the day-to-day technicalities of running a website.

WordPress Image Optimization: What It Can Do

As we mentioned, one of the main reasons WordPress is so popular is because it takes care of many of the technical aspects of running a website. With that in mind, many think that WordPress should also automatically take care of image optimization without them having to get involved at all.

Unfortunately, that’s not really the case.

True, WordPress does offer some built-in image optimization. Whenever you upload an image to WordPress, it currently compresses the quality to about 82% of the original (since v4.5).

In v4.4, WordPress also introduced responsive image syntax using the srcset attribute. This creates four breakpoints for each image you upload according to the default WordPress image sizes:

  • 150px square for thumbnails
  • 300px width for medium images
  • 768px max-width for medium_large images
  • 1024px max-width for large images.

Here you can see an example of the actual responsive syntax code generated by WordPress:

<img loading="lazy" src="https://bleedingcosmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/33-1024x683.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-9" width="610" height="406" srcset="https://bleedingcosmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/33-1024x683.jpg 1024w, https://bleedingcosmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/33-300x200.jpg 300w, https://bleedingcosmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/33-768x512.jpg 768w, https://bleedingcosmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/33-1536x1024.jpg 1536w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">

Depending on the screen size of the device from which a user visits your webpage, WordPress will let the browser pick the most appropriately sized image. For example, the smallest version for mobile displays or the largest for 4K Retina screens, like those of a Mac.

While this may seem impressive, it’s only a fraction of what can be achieved using a proper image optimization solution, as we’ll show later.

Lastly, WordPress implemented HTML native default lazy loading for all images starting with version 5.5.

So, in short, WordPress offers the following image optimization capabilities baked-in:

  • Quality compression (limited)
  • Responsive syntax (up to 4 breakpoints)
  • Lazy loading

WordPress Image Optimization: What it Cannot Do

There are other issues many have with both the implementation of image compression and responsive syntax as it’s used by WordPress. This leads to some users even purposefully deactivating WordPress’ built-in image optimization so they can fully take control of it themselves.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • WordPress uses a very basic form of quality compression. It does not use advanced technologies like AI and machine learning algorithms to compress images while maintaining maximum visual quality. It’s also lossy compression, so the quality is lost for good. You can clearly see the difference between an original HD image and the compressed version created by WordPress.
  • WordPress only compresses most images by up to 20%, while advanced image optimization tools can reduce all image sizes intelligently by up to 80%.
  • Responsive syntax can provide significant performance improvements over simply uploading a single HD image to be served on all devices and screens. However, it’s still only limited to a set number of breakpoints (typically 3 or 4). Since it’s not dynamic, a whole spectrum of possible image sizes is not created or used.
  • Responsive syntax code is not scalable and can quickly lead to code that’s bloated, messy, and hard to read.
  • WordPress doesn’t accelerate image delivery by automatically caching and serving them via a global CDN, although this can be done using other tools.

Another important optimization feature that WordPress does not have is auto-conversion to next-gen image file formats. Different image formats offer different performance benefits on different devices. Some formats also enable higher levels of compression while maintaining visual fidelity.

Next-gen formats like WebP, AVIF, and JPEG-2000 are considered to be the most optimal formats on compatible devices. For example, until recently, WebP would be the optimal choice on Chrome browsers, while JPEG-4000 would be optimal on Safari browsers.

However, WordPress will simply serve images in the same formats in which they were originally uploaded to all visitors.

How to Measure the Image Performance of a WordPress Website?

As the undisputed king of search engines, we’ll base most of our performance metrics on guidelines established by Google.

Along with its various performance updates, Google has released a number of guidelines for developers as well as the tools to test and improve their websites according to said guidelines.

Google introduced Core Web Vitals as the primary metrics for measuring a web page’s performance and its effect on the user experience. Thus, Core Web Vitals are referred to as “user-centric performance metrics.” They are an attempt to give developers a testable and quantifiable way to measure an elusive and abstract concept such as “user experience.”

Combined with a number of other factors, Core Web Vitals constitute a major part of the overall page experience signal:

You can find a complete introduction to Core Web Vitals here. However, they currently consist of three main metrics:

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): The time it takes the largest above-the-fold element on your page to load. This is typically a full-sized image or hero section.
  • FID (First Input Delay): The delay from the moment a user first interacts with an element on the page until it becomes responsive.
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): The visual stability with which the elements on a page load.

Here is an illustration of how these metrics are scored:

While these are the three most important metrics to optimize, they are not the only ones. Google still measures other metrics like the FCP (First Contentful Paint), SI (Speed Index), as well as the TTFB (Time to First Byte), TBT (Total Blocking Time), and TTI (Time to Interactive).

A number of these metrics are directly affected by the images used on your web pages. For example, LCP, FCP, and SI are direct indicators of how fast the content of your web page loads and depends on the overall byte size of the page. However, it can also indirectly affect FID by keeping the main thread busy with rendering large amounts of image content or the perceived CLS by delaying the time it takes large images to load.

These metrics apply to all websites, whether they are custom-made or built using a CMS like WordPress.

When using tools like Lighthouse or PageSpeed Insights, you’ll also get scored based on other flags Google deems important. Some of them are specific to images, such as properly sizing images and serving images in next-gen formats.

If you only use built-in WordPress image optimization, you’ll get flagged for the following opportunities for improvement:

Some of the audits it will pass, however, are deferring offscreen images (lazy loading) and efficiently coding images (due to compression):

A Better Way to Optimize WordPress Images: ImageEngine

Billions of websites are all vying for prime real estate on Google SERPs, as well as the attention of an increasingly fussy internet-using public. Every inch matters when it comes to giving your website a competitive advantage.

So, how can you eliminate those remaining performance flags and deliver highly optimized images that will keep both your visitors and Google happy?

Sure, you could manually optimize images using software like PhotoShop or GIMP. However, that will take you hours for each new batch of images. Plus, you still won’t benefit from any automated adaptive optimization.

A more reasonable solution in today’s fast-paced climate is to use a tool developed specifically for maximum image optimization: an image CDN like ImageEngine.

ImageEngine is an automated, cloud-based image optimization service using device detection as well as intelligent image compression using the power of AI and machine learning. It can reduce image payloads by up to 80% while maintaining visual quality and accelerating delivery around the world thanks to its CDN with geographically dispersed PoPs.

Why is ImageEngine Image Optimization Better Than WordPress?

When making a head-to-head comparison, here are the reasons why ImageEngine can deliver better performance:

  • Device Detection: ImageEngine features built-in device detection. This means it picks up what device a visitor to your website is using and tailors its optimization strategy to what’s best for that specific device.
  • Client hints: By supporting client hints, ImageEngine has access to even more information regarding the device and browser to make better optimization decisions.
  • Next-gen formats: Based on optimal settings, ImageEngine automatically converts and serves images in next-gen formats like WebP, AVIF, JPEG2000, and MP4 (for GIFs).
  • Save data header: When a Chrome user has save-data mode enabled, ImageEngine will automatically compress images more aggressively to save on data transfer.
  • CDN with dedicated edge servers: ImageEngine will automatically cache and serve your optimized image assets using its global CDN. Each edge server has device awareness built-in to bring down latency and accelerate delivery. You can also choose to prioritize specific regions.

So, the key differentiator is that ImageEngine can tailor optimizing images for what’s optimal for each of your visitors. ImageEngine is particularly good at serving mobile visitors thanks to WURFL device detection, which can dynamically resize images according to most devices and screen sizes in use today. As of now, this is a completely unique capability that none of its competitors offer.

It allows for far better and more fine-tuned optimization than WordPress’ across-the-board approach to compression and responsive syntax.

If you want, you could turn off WordPress responsive syntax and compression, and you would still experience a performance increase using ImageEngine. However, ImageEngine also plays nice with responsive syntax, so it’s not completely necessary unless you want to serve the highest-fidelity/low-byte-size images possible.

How Does ImageEngine Work with WordPress?

The process ImageEngine uses to integrate with WordPress can be broken down into a few easy steps:

  • Sign up for an ImageEngine account: ImageEngine offers three pricing plans depending on the scale and features you need as well as a no-commitment 30-day free trial.
  • Specify your image origin: This tells ImageEngine where to find the original versions of your images. For a WordPress website, you can just use your domain, e.g., https://mywordpresswebsite.com. ImageEngine will then automatically pull the images you’ve uploaded to your WordPress website.

  • Copy the Delivery Address: After you create an account and specify your image origin, ImageEngine will provide you with a Delivery Address. A Delivery Address is your own unique address that will be used in your <img> tags to point back to the ImageEngine service. Delivery Addresses may be on a shared domain (imgeng.in) or customized using a domain that you own. A Delivery Address typically looks something like {random_string}.cdn.imgeng.in. If your images are uploaded to the default WordPress folder /wp-content/uploads/, you can access your optimized images from ImageEngine simply by changing your website domain. For example, by typing {imageengine_domain}.cdn.imgeng.in/wp-content/uploads/myimage.jpg into your browser, you’ll see the optimized version of that image. Just press the copy button next to the Delivery Address and use it in the next step configuring the plugin.

  • Install the ImageEngine Optimizer CDN plugin: The plugin is completely free and can be installed just like any other plugin from the WordPress repository.
  • Configure and enable ImageEngine Plugin in WordPress: Just go to the plugin under “ImageEngine” in the main navigation menu. Then, copy and paste in your ImageEngine “Delivery Address,” tick the “Enabled” checkbox, and click “Save Changes” to enable ImageEngine:

Now, all ImageEngine basically does is replace your WordPress website domain in image URLs with your new ImageEngine Delivery Address. This makes it a simple, lightweight, and non-interfering plugin that works great with most other plugins and themes. It also doesn’t add unnecessary complexity or weight to your WordPress website pages.

ImageEngine vs Built-in WordPress Image Optimization

So, now let’s get down to business by testing the performance improvement you can expect from using ImageEngine to optimize your image assets.

To do this test, we set up a basic WordPress page containing a number of high-quality images. I then used PageSpeed Insights and the Lighthouse Performance Calculator to get the performance scores before and after using ImageEngine.

Importantly, we conducted this test from a mobile-first perspective. Not only has mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic globally, but Google themselves have committed to mobile-first indexing as a result.

Here is a PageSpeed score using the Lighthouse calculator for WordPress with no image optimization:

As we can see, both Core Web Vitals and other important metrics were flagged as “needs improvement.” Specifically, the LCP, FCP, and TBT. In this case, both the LCP and FCP were a high-res featured image at the top of the page.

If we go to the opportunities for improvement highlighted by PageSpeed, we see where the issues come from. We could still save as much as 4.2s of loading time by properly resizing images and a further 2.7s by serving them in next-gen formats:

So, now let’s see how much ImageEngine can improve on that.

The same test run on my WordPress website using ImageEngine got the following results:

As you can see, we now have a 100 PageSpeed score. I saved roughly 2.5s on the SI (~86%) as well as roughly 1.7s on the LCP (~60%). There was also a slight improvement in the FCP.

Not only will you enjoy a stronger page experience signal from Google, but this represents a tangible difference to visitors regarding the speed with which your website loads. That difference will lead to lower bounce rates, increased user satisfaction, and more conversions.

There was also a 53% overall reduction in the total image payload. This is impressive, considering that it’s on top of WordPress’ built-in compression and responsive syntax.

Conclusion

So, as someone with a WordPress website, what can you take away from this?

Well, first of all, WordPress does feature some basic image optimization. And while not perfect, it should help you offer reasonable levels of performance, even if you use a lot of image content.

However, the caveat is that WordPress applies aggressive, across-the-board compression, which will lead to a noticeable reduction in visual quality. If you use WordPress for any type of website where premium quality images are important, this is a concern — for example, as a photography portfolio, exhibition, or image marketplace like Shutterstock.

By using ImageEngine, you can reduce image payloads and accelerate delivery even further without compromising too harshly on visual quality. What’s more, ImageEngine’s adaptive image optimization technology will provide greater improvements to more of your visitors, regardless of what device(s) they use to browse the web.

Whether or not you still want to use WordPress’ built-in optimizations, ImageEngine will deliver significant improvements to your user experience, traffic metrics, and even conversions.

Plus, true to the spirit of WordPress, it’s extremely simple to set up without any advanced configuration. Just sign up for ImageEngine in 3 easy steps, install the plugin, integrate ImageEngine by copy/pasting your image domain, and you’re good to go.

 

[ This is a sponsored post on behalf of ImageEngine ]

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