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Top New CMS Plugins, November 2020

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

Let’s get started…

WordPress

404 Page Editor

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

UnusedCSS Power-Up

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

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

Simple Redirects

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

HTML Validation

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

Just Highlight

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

DeviantArt Embed

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

Static Optimizer

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

RankBear

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

Table of Contents Block

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

Markease For WooCommerce

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

Craft CMS

Image Toolbox

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

Element Panel

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

Shopify 

VStore Shoppable Videos

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

ProofMotion Video Testimonials

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

Real ID

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

Joomla

Accessibility

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

Reading Time

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

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

6 of the Best API Testing Tools in the Market

API test is a significant part of a successful Continuous Integration/ DevOps practice. As per Google Trends, the interest in Web/ API services tests has been progressively growing over the few decades. According to SmartBear research over 3,372 software professionals in API test over 2019, 91 percent of participants either presently have, or thinking to have a formal API test procedure in place in the coming future. Around 45 percent of API testers reported that their company already automated 50% or more of test projects. Moreover, by more than 75 percent of companies across industries, API quality is considered a top priority.

With APIs more and more becoming crucial elements for software development, it has become critically essential for programmers and developers to carry out API testing. API test is a procedure that concentrates on identifying whether an API that has been developed meets up the expected threshold concerning security, reliability, performance, and functionality. As these tests are crucially vital, you need to make use of the top API testing tools out there. 

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Accélérez les décisions pour tenir le coup en ces temps de disruption sans précédent

Le climat économique et social actuel a mis les entreprises de toutes tailles face à des défis inédits. Notre époque n’avait encore jamais connu de tels chamboulements, à la fois internes et externes. Les directeurs et services financiers, qui s’efforcent de bien gouverner leur entreprise, vivent sans doute les moments les plus difficiles de leur carrière.

À l’heure actuelle, le directeur financier et surtout l’équipe de planification et d’analyse financières doivent continuer d’avancer malgré de nombreuses incertitudes, notamment :

  • l’impact des perturbations des canaux de ventes sur le chiffre d’affaires
  • la gestion du flux de trésorerie et des liquidités
  • la gestion des dépenses et la maîtrise des coûts
  • les projections financières optimistes et les conseils basés sur des suppositions floues

Incertitudes et choix à faire

Pour le service de planification et d’analyse financières, ce ne sont pas des questions isolées, mais tout un ensemble de problèmes et de doutes qu’il faut gérer de manière globale. Faut-il puiser dans une ligne de crédit pour préserver la fluidité du fonds de roulement ? Le flux de trésorerie et les liquidités actuels permettront-ils de couvrir les dépenses à court terme ainsi que les initiatives de capital actuelles et à venir ? Peut-on bénéficier des programmes gouvernementaux d’aide salariale ? Que dire aux actionnaires sur les prévisions du solde de l’année ? Existe-t-il des moyens d’aider nos clients à réussir ?

Ces questions se posent aux services financiers, mais aussi à l’ensemble de l’entreprise, dont les différentes équipes se penchent sur les budgets et les tactiques envisageables.

  • Les programmes actuels tiennent-ils compte du marketing ?
  • La chaîne logistique est-elle confrontée à des disruptions ?
  • Quelles sont les conséquences pour la planification de la demande
  • Quelles sont les suggestions des RH concernant les niveaux d’effectifs actuels, et quels effets auront-elles sur les résultats ?

Il faut regrouper tous ces budgets et modèles individuels en une vue unique pour pouvoir comprendre les interdépendances.

Planification d’entreprise collaborative pour éliminer les silos

Un paradigme de planification moderne permettrait de résoudre facilement ces problèmes : la planification d’entreprise collaborative. Elle consiste entre autres à éliminer les silos, et ainsi à relier instantanément toutes sortes de plans. Les finances disposent donc d’un aperçu réel de la santé financière actuelle pour ne prodiguer que les conseils les plus avisés. Par exemple, elles peuvent évaluer l’impact d’un plan commercial sur les campagnes marketing, ou relier un processus S&OP (ventes et opérations) rapproché à un plan financier. Un analyste peut déterminer quel plan d’effectifs pourrait impacter la productivité des collaborateurs et la trésorerie.

Les finances doivent aussi pouvoir prendre des décisions rapides. Grâce à la planification d’entreprise collaborative, le service financier n’est pas tenu de suivre les plans établis. Aujourd’hui, on ne peut plus travailler dans un environnement où les plus mauvais services financiers repoussent les décisions parce qu’ils utilisent des feuilles de calcul et outils de planification obsolètes. Si au contraire ils disposent des technologies adéquates, ils pourront instantanément simuler l’impact de plusieurs scénarios. Les outils d’analyse modernes associés aux outils d’analyse prédictive et au Machine Learning leur permettront de suivre les recommandations pour obtenir les meilleurs résultats. Quant aux tableaux de bord et à la visualisation intégrée, ils offrent aux utilisateurs finaux un reporting en temps réel et une expérience esthétiquement agréable avec un risque d’erreur minimal, contrairement aux feuilles de calcul.

Une discussion instantanée pour une prise de décision rapide

Enfin, la plupart des organisations, y compris les services financiers, ont étendu leur capacité de travail à l’espace virtuel ; elles ne sont plus limitées par les murs de l’entreprise. La planification d’entreprise collaborative encourage la discussion instantanée pendant la planification et la prévision. Les problèmes géopolitiques ont eu des répercussions extraordinaires sur les prix des marchandises. Une situation qui, tout comme les problèmes liés à la pandémie, nécessite une collaboration et un consensus immédiats. Les décisions doivent être prises sans délai, sans le soutien des réunions, messages vocaux ou fils d’e-mails.

Avec la planification d’entreprise collaborative, les services financiers peuvent guider leur entreprise pour l’aider à obtenir les meilleurs résultats et à continuer d’avancer dans le bon sens malgré les difficultés du moment. La planification d’entreprise collaborative permet aux finances de comprendre tous les aspects de leur entreprise, de recommander et d’évaluer divers scénarios, de prendre les bonnes décisions, et de se positionner comme les véritables leaders de l’entreprise.

Pour en savoir plus, lisez ce rapport de Ventana Research intitulé « Planification d’entreprise collaborative : Améliorer la valeur opérationnelle de la planification et de la budgétisation à l’échelle de l’entreprise ».

À propos de Pras Chatterjee

Pras Chatterjee est directeur marketing produits principal pour la planification et l’analyse chez SAP, en particulier pour les solutions SAP Analytics Cloud et SAP Business Planning and Consolidation. Avant de rejoindre le service Marketing produits, Pras était directeur du cabinet SAP EPM et responsable des services SAP Business Analytics en Amérique du Nord. Il a également été architecte de solutions pour SAP, spécialisé dans la planification et les consolidations dans le monde entier. Comptable agréé, Pras a travaillé au service financier de diverses sociétés de logiciels, dont plusieurs entreprises du Fortune 500.

The post Accélérez les décisions pour tenir le coup en ces temps de disruption sans précédent appeared first on SAP France News.

Source de l’article sur sap.com

Why I am coding?

I started coding when I was 8 years old, and I am 46 today. This implies I’ve got 38 years of software development experience, roughly 25 as a professional – And to be honest with you, the answer to the above question is actually « drugs ». But before you dismiss this article, let me elaborate on what exactly I mean.

According to research into the human brain, there exists several altered states of consciousness. For instance, lucid dreaming, once thought to be a superstitious belief in the equivalent of unicorns and fairies, have been proven to exist over the last 2 decades. Similar experiments have proven the existence of « flow ». Flow again, is almost the exact same state of mind humans get as they are micro dosing on LSD. For the record, don’t micro dose on LSD – It’s much smarter to do as I do … ;)

Source de l’article sur DZONE

The Ultimate 10 UX Influencers to Follow

The digital world is a place of constant change. Just as you get used to a new design trend, another one appears, forcing you to rethink the way that you approach each client project. 

As a web designer, it’s up to you to make sure that you have your finger on the pulse on the latest transformations in the industry. However, it can be challenging to know for sure which trends you should be taking seriously, and which you can simply ignore. 

One option to refine and enhance your design journey is to pay attention to influencers. 

Influencers aren’t just there to guide customers into making purchasing decisions. These people are thought-leaders in their field. They spend all of their time tracking down ideas and concepts that really work. That way, they can maintain a successful reputation online.

Sourcing information and motivation from the following UX influencers could help you to create some truly amazing websites in 2020: 

1. Andrew Kucheriavy 

Andrew Kucheriavy is the phenomenal co-founder and CEO of a company named Intechnic. Andrew was one of the first people in the world to be given the “Master in User Experience” award. This means that he’s an excellent person to pay attention to if you want help understanding the ins and outs of user experience design

As one of the leading visionaries in UX, business strategy, and inbound marketing, Andrew has a lot of useful information to offer professionals and learners alike. Andrew is particularly active on Twitter, where he’s constantly sharing insights on design and marketing. You can also find input from Andrew on the Intechnic blog. 

2. Jeff Veen 

Another must-follow for designers who want to learn more about understanding their audience and their position in the marketplace, Jeff Veen is a leader in UX and product design. Veen got his start with the founding team for Wired, before he created the Adaptive Path company for UX consulting. Jeff Veen is also known for being responsible for various aspects of Google Analytics. 

Over the years, Jeff has expanded his knowledge in the design space, and mentored various companies, from WordPress to Medium. He also has a fantastic podcast that you can listen to for guidance when you’re on the go. 

3. Jared Spool 

Jared Spool has been tackling the most common issues of user experience since before the term “UX” was even a thing. Excelling in the design world since 1978, Jared has become one of the biggest and most recognizable names in the user experience environment. He’s the founder of the User Interface Engineering consulting firm. The company concentrates on helping companies to improve their site and product usability. 

Jared offers plenty of handy information to stock up on in his Twitter feed. Additionally, you can find plenty of helpful links to blogs and articles that he has published around the web on Twitter too. He’s followed by Hubgets, PICUS, and many other leading brands. Make sure that you check out his collection of industry-leading talks on UIE. 

4. Jen Romano Bergstrom

An experimental psychologist, User Experience Research coach, and UX specialist, Jen is one of the most impressive women in the web design world. She helped to create the unique experiences that customers can access on Instagram and Facebook. Additionally, she has a specialist knowledge of eye-tracking on the web. You can even check out Jen’s books on eye-tracking and usability testing

When she’s not writing books or researching user experience, Jen is blogging and tweeting about usability and researching new strategies in the web design space. It’s definitely worth keeping up with Jen on Twitter, particularly if you want to be the first to know about her upcoming seminars and learning sessions. 

5. Katie Dill 

Katie Dill is the former Director of Experience for Airbnb, so you know that she knows her way around some unique experiences. With an expertise in working with companies that harness new technologies and UX design, Katie Dill is at the forefront of the user experience landscape. Dill attends various UX conferences throughout the year, and publishes a range of fantastic videos on YouTube. 

You can find blogs and articles from Katie published on the web; however, you’ll be able to get the most input from her by following Katie on her Twitter account. 

6. Khoi Vinh 

Khoi Vinh is one of the most friendly and unique UX bloggers and influencers on the market today. He knows how to talk to people in a way that’s interesting and engaging – even about more complicated topics in UX design. Vinh is a principle designer at Adobe, and he has his own podcast called Wireframe. However, he still finds time to keep his followers engaged on Twitter. 

Over the years, Khoi has worked as a Design Director for Etsy and the New York Times. Vinh also wrote a book called “Ordering Disorder” which examines grid principles in web design. According to Fast Company, he’s one of the most influential designers in America. Additionally, Khoi has a brilliant blog where you can check out all of his latest insights into UX design. 

7. Cory Lebson

Cory Lebson is a veteran in the world of web design and user experience. With more than 2 decades of experience in the landscape, Cory has his own dedicated UX consulting firm named Lebsontech. Lebson and his company concentrate on offering UX training, mentoring, and user experience strategy support to customers. Cory also regularly speaks on topics regarding UX career development, user experience, information architecture and more. 

Cory is an excellent influencer to follow on Twitter, where you’ll find him sharing various UX tricks and tips. You can also check out Cory’s handbook on UX careers, or find him publishing content on the Lebsontech blog too. 

8. Lizzie Dyson

Another amazing woman in the industry of UX, Lizzie Dyson is changing the experience landscape as we know it. Although she’s a relatively new figure in the web design world, she’s recognized world-wide for her amazing insights into the world of web development. Lizzie also helped to create a new group specifically for women that want to get involved in web design. 

The Ladies that UX monthly meet-up welcomes a community of women into the digital landscape, helping them to learn and expand their skills. Lizzie regularly publishes content online as part of Ladies that UX. Additionally, she appears on the Talk UX feed – an annual design and tech conference held for women around the world. 

9. Chris Messina 

Chris Messina is a product designer and a technical master who understands what it takes to avoid disappointing your users. With more than a decade of experience in the UX design landscape, Messina has worked for a variety of big-name brands, including Google and Uber. He is best known as the inventor of the hashtag!

Chris is a highly skilled individual who understands the unique elements that engage customers and keep people coming back for more on a website. You can see Chris speaking at a selection of leading conferences around the world. Check out some of his talks on YouTube or track down his schedule of upcoming talks here. Chris also has a variety of fantastic articles on Medium to read too. 

10. Elizabeth Churchill

Last, but definitely not least, Elizabeth Churchill is a UX leader with an outstanding background in psychology, research science, psychology, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, human interaction with computers and more. She knows her way around everything from cognitive economics, to everyday web design. Churchill also acts as the director of UX for Google Material Design. 

A powerhouse of innovation and information, Churchill has more than 50 patents to her name. She’s also the vice president of the Association for Computing Machinery too. When she’s not sharing information on Twitter, Elizabeth also has a regular column that you can tune into on the ACM Interactions magazine. 

Who Are You Following in 2020?

Whether you’re looking for inspiration, guidance, or information, the right influencers can deliver some excellent insights into the world of web design. There are plenty of thought leaders out there in the realm of user experience that can transform the way that you approach your client projects. You might even discover a new favourite podcast to listen to, or an amazing series of videos that help you to harness new talents. 

Influencers are more than just tools for digital marketing; they’re an excellent source of guidance for growing UX designers too.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

7 All-Too-Common Landing Page Errors You Must Avoid

And it does this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year without ever asking for a pay raise.

But this is true only if your website landing page is designed well, maintained, and optimized to the gills. The art and science of a flawless landing page is beyond the scope of a single article, but we can start with helping you spot seven of the most common – and damaging – trouble spots.

1. Unclear Value Statement

Typically, new visitors to your page will only stay on it 3 to 15 seconds before they get distracted. In that span of time, you must offer a clear and visible reason to stick around and interact with the page.

That reason is your value statement. What value do your readers get in exchange for the time you ask them to spend? High-quality content is a must (and hopefully a given), but you also need to pull them in so they experience that content.

Does your landing page do that? If yes, great! If no, you should fix that. If you’re not sure, ask yourself:

  • Is there a compelling, visible headline that expresses the end benefits clearly and succinctly?
  • Is there a subheadline explaining your offering in more detail?
  • Are there supporting graphics that pull the eye toward your headline and subheadline?

If there aren’t, add them now.

2. Poor Signposting

Your landing page isn’t just there to be pretty. It’s meant to convince people to take action. If you don’t make it easy to find your call to action, most viewers won’t look for it.

deliver enough value to make it worth the hassle

You must make it clear — in as succinct and efficient terms as possible — why the action you want a reader to take will deliver enough value to make it worth the hassle. Tell them, in words that stand out from the rest of the page, what you want them to do next and what they’ll receive for doing so.

Improving your signposting stats by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a clear understanding of what the next step in a visitor’s customer journey should be?
  • Is it easy to find and take that step on your website?
  • Does your copy make a clear and compelling argument in favor of taking that step?

If you can answer yes to all three questions, your signposting is likely good (or at least good enough for now). If not, now you know what you have to do to improve it.

3. Slow Loading Time

Remember that 3 to 15-second maximum time limit we mentioned earlier? That span includes time spent waiting for your landing page to load, and every microsecond of that wait increases a reader’s likelihood of bailing on the whole thing. You must get your loading time to be as quick as possible.

Viewers who exit your landing page early – including while still waiting for it to load – increase your site’s bounce rate. Higher bounce rates reduce your rankings on Google and other search engines, meaning a page that loads too slowly not only impresses fewer viewers, but it also gets fewer viewers overall.

Improving your loading time is usually a job for your tech team or whoever in the office is responsible for overseeing your hosting service. That said, here are a few of the most important ways to optimize this important factor:

  • Optimize image size, file format, and compression;
  • Clean up your database by deleting saved drafts, old revisions, unused plugins, and similar virtual detritus;
  • Confirm that your WordPress theme (if applicable) is optimized for quick loading;
  • Use a content distribution network for file storage;
  • Analyze server response time with your hosting service, and work with them to reduce it;
  • Install tools that leverage browser caching;
  • Fix all your broken links;
  • Remove all render-blocking from JavaScript;
  • Reduce the number of redirects necessary to reach your page;
  • Optimize your code, especially in CSS, JavaScript, and HTML;
  • Enable file compression — except for on images;
  • Replace all PHP content with HTML wherever possible.

This is technical, detailed work, but it’s important. If you don’t have team members up to these tasks, it can be worth hiring an outside consulting company to do it for you.

4. Only One Landing Page

You have a good idea of your ideal customer’s hopes, fears, pain points, demographics, likes and dislikes, and other important information. If you have several different types of customers, you can’t use the same landing page for each of your customer groups. Each group has different characteristics that will prompt them to follow your call to action, so you don’t want to offer just one landing page.

Similarly, you also probably have more than one product or set of content and offerings to generate sales. Having only one landing page can lose leads because the page is only optimized for one of those products or content sets.

Ideally, you should have a unique landing page with a tailored offer for each of your customer models that would send those individuals to each of the products and content sets. An ad for professionals in their 30s making over $50,000 a year would lead to a landing page built for them, while an ad for heads of households working from home would lead to a landing page built for them.

Yes, that means a company with three profiles and four content sets would need 12 landing pages. And yes, it’s worth that kind of effort.

5. Insufficient Visuals

“A picture is worth 1,000 words” is ancient wisdom, but it’s far from true in the internet world – it’s actually worth more. A quick look at social media and blog performance will tell you many people will look at, enjoy, and share a photo or video, but not many will read an entire 1,000-word post on the same topic.

How well your landing page performs depends on the images you use and how you present them. Does your page’s layout conform to the best practices of visual web design:

  • Including images that emotionally reinforce the value expressions of your product’s core benefits;
  • Containing sufficient white space to not be intimidating;
  • Providing data images to indicate the worth of what you do;
  • Using visual design cues to lead the eye toward your conversion points;
  • Applying color gradients to highlight offers and your call to action;
  • Using infographics to replace the dreaded “wall of text”.

If you can say yes for half of these things, carry on. If not, this point may be among the better places to start with a landing page redesign.

6. Asking For Too Much, Too Soon

Craft a custom calls to action that meet all levels of interest, need, and desire

Not every landing page visitor is created equal. Some are hardcore fans and experts in what you do, ready for a 10,000-word white paper that dives deeply into the research supporting your use case. Others might have heard about your industry on an Instagram page and want to know the basics of what you do.

There’s nothing worse than going to a website and being asked for all of your personal information right away. If your call to action requires too much knowledge, too deep a commitment, or even too much personal information, consider scaling back. Otherwise, you risk turning away potential customers.

Better yet, go back to No. 5 above and build a new landing page for beginners and early-stage leads. Craft a custom calls to action that meet all levels of interest, need, and desire.

7. No Trust Elements

Offering some type of authentic customer referral or testimonial is important. It all boils down to the same thing: telling those who read your landing page that other people already like what you do and how you do it.

Examples of effective modern trust elements include:

  • Quotes from positive reviews next to a photo of the reviewer;
  • Screenshots of social media posts praising your company or product;
  • Short video interviews of happy clients;
  • Blurbs for industry thought leaders approving of you;
  • Images portraying business credentials and certifications;
  • Links to positive press coverage;
  • Logos of known business customers who buy and trust your brand.

Final Thought: What’s Next?

There isn’t one guaranteed way to turn a landing page from something full of holes into something perfect. But first, run an audit of your landing page using this list as a guide. Note which errors are there. Next, sort them in order of what takes the least time to fix to what takes the most time to fix.

Then, fix them in that order. We find that getting the quick fixes done builds excitement and momentum, whereas starting with a harder fix can mire down the whole process.

If none of these errors exist on your landing page, congratulations. There’s still lots of work to do on your website and content marketing, but it’s not among these rookie mistakes.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Why AI & Automation Are Actually Friends to Design

Artificial intelligence. Just hearing the phrase has been a trigger for many in the technology world since that creepy Haley Joel Osment film circa 2001. But more recently, artificial intelligence and machine learning strike fear into the hearts of skilled workers for an entirely different reason: job security, or lack thereof.

Smart-home devices, streaming services, self-checkouts, even Google searches are ways that artificial intelligence has seeped into everyday life, exemplifying the abilities of computers and machines to master both simple and complex tasks. In some instances, these technological advancements make our lives easier, but for some people, their proliferation has meant job loss and skill replacement. There’s no wonder that when artificial intelligence starts being mentioned along with web design and site creation, the spidey senses of designers all over the world start tingling.

designers think outside the box, something that AI just can’t do

But let’s get real about what AI and automation really mean for designers for a second. Talented designers with busy schedules should view these advancements as virtual assistants. For some small businesses on a limited budget, the websites that artificial intelligence can pump out might be fine…for a while. However, as businesses grow, change, require updating and customization to adapt to their customer base, the expertise of creative and talented designers will always be needed. Even the best AI that we see today is limited by evaluating, replicating, and revising what already exists. It may be able to mix 1,000 different color schemes into 10 million potential combinations, but great designers think outside the box, something that AI just can’t do.

In fact, rather than being scared of automation, designers ought to embrace automation and artificial intelligence as a way to unleash their creative thinking. Delegate repetitive, straightforward tasks to the right software, and suddenly you have time to bring your best ideas to the table and push the boundaries of your own innovation. 

Where AI has Failed in Design

The ultimate goal of artificial intelligence and automation in design work is a grand vision that has yet to be realised.

Consider the case of The Grid, which began as a crowdfunding campaign in 2014. The “revolutionary” product posed itself as an artificial intelligence solution for building thoughtfully, yet automatically, designed websites in five minutes. Research “Reviews of the Grid” in any search engine and you’ll be met with scathing criticism with only some small praise sprinkled in. Most of the initial users cite underwhelming results, the feeling of being duped by the Grid’s marketing tactics, nonsensical placement of text, and ultimately, the Grid being a complete waste of money for the resulting product. Even at the low cost of $100, compared to hiring a talented designer, most users felt their investment was wasted.

For the AI capabilities that exist now, most small business owners, or those looking to put together a simple website, are better off using drag and drop site builders (Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, etc) that have been around for ages. Even so, there are plenty of businesses still willing to hire designers to take this simple task off their plate due to a lack of technical expertise or lack of time. And let’s be honest, are there even enough talented (keyword here!) designers out there to keep up with the millions of websites created every year, without each one working themselves to death? 

Where Automation Shines for Designers

Fortunately for good designers, it appears for now that the days of artificial intelligence completely taking over their jobs is a fantasy. However, what AI and automation do offer designers is a solid starting point for success, eliminating much of the lower-level grunt work that most designers would rather skip anyway.

Even well-received AI website builders like Firedrop still require a basic eye for design and specialised knowledge to produce truly unique, high-converting, and user-friendly websites. Tools and practices that designers should adopt are the artificial intelligence and automation resources that will help them do their jobs better, faster, and leave them with more time to focus on project elements that AI cannot accomplish on its own.

Bridging the Gap Between Designers and Developers

Well-established brands are likely to already have design systems in place that guide the creation of new elements across their digital profiles whether on social media, various mobile apps, or different sections of a website. But even in large corporations — excepting those who have perfected the process — there’s often a breakdown between a designer’s vision and resulting product from the developers. It stems from the basic difference in how they each approach their work and the limitations of the systems they use.

While component libraries — or even full design systems for that matter — won’t reconcile every question, they provide both developers and designers a source of truth to work from that both parties can understand. Design collaboration tools like Invision and Visme, specifically, keep designers and developers on the same page with automated version saving and code-friendly workflows.  

Understanding the Consumer

I don’t suggest using artificial intelligence to produce content for your site

Digging into and understanding the behaviours and habits of site users is a relatively new component of site design, but offers invaluable insights. Tools like HotJar, Mouseflow, or Smartlook make it simple to see holes or leaks in your conversion funnels, detect which page elements users are interacting with, and which they’re not interested in to refine the look and feel of a page for maximum conversions. Even though these tools provide the data, it still takes a keen eye and understanding of design to implement the right changes to improve site performance.

Site content is another way that artificial intelligence has the potential to improve our understanding of customer behaviour and improve site performance for individual users. I don’t suggest using artificial intelligence to produce content for your site, no matter how much the results have improved. However, static landing pages or a single set of further reading recommendations are unlikely to appeal to the majority of site visitors. Artificial intelligence tools like CliClap and Personyze instantly collect and analyse consumer data to provide dynamic, personalised experiences that drive more leads and encourage conversions. Creative designers will also learn from this data to improve customer experience with other pages or elements throughout the site.

Removing Distracting, Time-Sucking Administrative Tasks

Because “artificial intelligence” has become a term with such negative connotations, we often overlook the simple way that AI actually makes our work lives better and easier. Machine learning in email filtering is a great example of this. Consider a simple interface like a Gmail inbox. We have the option to mark certain senders as spam or as important, and our inbox learns that type of communication is and isn’t useful to the user. Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, and more all take cues from the user behaviour of liking a certain song, artists, or genre of music to build customised playlists. There are a myriad of ways that artificial intelligence and its branches of disciplines merge with our everyday lives. 

Some of the most useful automations for business, and especially for designers, are related to the administrative tasks that frequently take time away or distract from more pressing projects. A perfect example of automation that can relieve stress and cut down on mindless work is an email autoresponder. I’ve always found that having time blocked off in my calendar to tackle complex or important projects helps me to focus on the task at hand and be more efficient. In order to more effectively block out my time, closing my email and setting an autoresponder to reply to all incoming emails serves two purposes: 

  1. Lets those trying to get in touch with me know that I only check my email at certain times of the day and that my response may not be immediate — tempering their expectations of when they might hear from me.
  2. Relieves my personal stress of being tethered to my inbox, splitting my focus, and also saves the time of having to initially respond to each email individually. 

This is just one simple way to use automation in your email, although there are many others to explore.

While Zapier isn’t the only workflow automation service on the market, it’s probably the most well known. Workflow automation reduces time spent on mind-numbing, repetitive tasks and helps designers connect apps that might not natively work together. Do you keep a task list in Todoist? Set up a Zap, then create a task in Todoist anytime someone mentions you on Asana or assigns you a task in Trello.

This is especially helpful for freelance designers who work with multiple clients across various project management platforms. The potential for automation to relieve unnecessary mental overhead for designers is nearly limitless.

Don’t be Afraid of AI, Embrace It

The bottom line of this brief overview of artificial intelligence and automation in design is that this emerging technology isn’t something designers should be scared of. In fact, it’s something to welcome with open arms because ultimately it can make our jobs, and our lives, better. Leave the monotonous tasks of collecting and analysing huge amounts of data or administrative minutiae to the machines; they can handle it.

Save the interesting, creative, abstract work for the talented designers who can turn AI recommendations into unique and intuitive digital experiences. Making the relationship between artificial intelligence and design symbiotic will yield the best results for every entity involved: the business, the AI, and yes, even the designer.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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20 Freshest Web Designs, September 2020

This month we’re going big and bold. Oversized type, strong colors, in-your-face layouts, and little touches of playfulness exude confidence and make a statement. There are some quieter moments too, with thoughtful illustration and more gentle use of color. Animation still features strongly in the details, with circles proving popular in rollover effects. Enjoy.

Fledge

Fledge is a film production company based in Belgium. Their site uses split screen with looped text scrolling in opposite directions on each side. A minimal color palette adds extra punch.

2ºC Earth

2ºC Earth is a beautiful and also scary website that explores the effects of rising global temperatures by focusing on 5 specific locations. Some stunning photography and subtle use of sound take you to these locations as they are now, then show what they could become. The experience is both immersive and unsettling.

pill&pillow

Unlike many digital studios who use the design of their own site to demonstrate their skills, pill&pillow have taken a very basic approach. It is very self-assured, and it works. Random colored strikethroughs on visited links add a nice touch of playfulness.

Ferrum Pipe

Metal fencing is not the most interesting of subjects to most of us, but this site for Ferrum Pipe is surprisingly appealing. On scroll animation and some off-grid image layout brings life to what would normally be, well, a bit dull.

Lucciano’s

With its focus on mouth-watering photography and videography, the site for gelato makers Luccianos, will have you checking your freezer for any leftover salted caramel or stracciatella. The zoom on rollover is a nice effect, and the use of circles with ice cream color backgrounds for rollover text reinforces the gelato theme.

Björn Wieland

UI designer and artist Björn Wieland has created a portfolio site with a simple, relaxed feel and pleasing transitions. It feels simple, but behind the scenes there is quite a lot going on.

Coloursmith

Coloursmith is a tool from Taubmans paint company which allows you to create a custom paint color by uploading a photo. You name your color and can add a story, then you order a test pot. colors are presented well, in different light and with suggestions for complementary colors.

Finn 

Finn make diet supplements for dogs. Their site is fun, modern and clean. Bright colors and an illustration that manages to be cute but not too cutesy make a bold impression.

Highcourt

Highcourt is a new private membership leisure club set to open in New York in spring 2021. Dark blue text on cream gives a softer edge than black on white. The background color changes on scroll are pleasing, and simple line illustrations with occasional gentle animation add to the overall sense of calm.

Elevence

Elevence is the company of product designer Kazuo Kobayashi. The site uses only black, white, and grays allowing the color photos of his work to really stand out. Circular thumbnails are used to good effect, appearing on rollover.

Playtype

Playtype is a Danish type foundry whose site seems to fit their name. It has a playful, almost chaotic feel, with bright blocks of color and occasional animation. Some pretty nice typefaces too.

Neri Oxman 

Neri Oxman is many things: architect, scientist, engineer, inventor, and designer. This site feels like a really beautiful coffee table art book that you want to pick up and look through every so often. There are some nice details too, like the lens ‘reveal’ effect on rollover in a few places.

Modern Recovery

Modern Recovery is a project by sobriety program Tempest. The interactive illustration encourages exploration, to discover different stages of recovery from alcohol abuse and insights from others who have followed the program. The aim is to change our social attitudes towards alcohol and not drinking.

Bliss

Have you clicked on the link to visit Bliss Search? Yes, the link is correct, no you haven’t been redirected to a Google search results page. This Australian digital marketing company have copied the appearance of different well-known sites for their pages — Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tinder all make an appearance. The humor in this approach shows confidence, and makes it memorable.

Miilkiina

Miilkiina describe themselves as a digital media space and creative agency. Punchy typography, with great use of blackletter, well chosen images, and a strong header video give this home page an in-your-face edge.

Ukrainian Railroad Ladies

Ukrainian Railroad Ladies is a book by photographer Sasha Maslov. Its subjects are the, mostly, women who work as traffic controllers and safety officers at railroad crossings in Ukraine. It’s a simple site — outsized type, black and white, basic image grid, only very brief text — but it is effective in its simplicity.

Una Europa

Una Europa is an alliance of 8 European universities with the aim of offering joint research and study programs. There is some playful scrolling behavior with geometric shapes moving and changing color that enlivens what could otherwise be quite a dry site.

Bureau Cool

There’s a bit of an old school feel about the site of digital design studio Bureau Cool, with its recent traffic animation. The changing backgrounds on scroll are a nice touch.

Gridspace

Gridspace is a multimedia entertainment studio based in Montreal, and their website is a visual feast. Lots of movement, lots of video, some good use of sideways scrolling.

Nolii

Nolii make cases and accessories for iPhone that work together. The sorbet color palette complements the product colors and the block layout provides a visual reflection of the interlocking of the different products.

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The Importance of Machine Learning Security for Chatbots

Artificial Intelligence is a growing industry powered by advancements from large tech companies, new startups, and university research teams alike. While AI technology is advancing at a good pace, the regulations and failsafes around machine learning security are an entirely different story.

Failure to protect your ML models from cyber attacks such as data poisoning can be extremely costly. Chatbot vulnerabilities can even result in the theft of private user data. In this article, we’ll look at the importance of machine learning cyber security. Furthermore, we’ll explain how Scanta, an ML security company, protects Chatbots through their Virtual Assistant Shield. 

Source de l’article sur DZONE