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Users expect websites to load quickly. As a result, companies like Amazon and Target spend millions of dollars optimizing their sites to make them load as fast as possible because there is a direct correlation between site speed and conversions.

Websites typically don’t have load bars, so a user waiting for a site to load cannot know that it will be one more second or even that the site will load at all.

The best load time for a website is 0 seconds, an instantaneous load. However, that’s not possible with current technology. So how fast is fast enough? What will users really accept? Take our website speed quiz and see if you know…

Featured image via Unsplash.

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Welcome to our guide to the best new websites this month. If subtle, minimal sites are your thing, either look away now or prepare to have your preconceptions challenged because this month, we are going maximalist.

Lots of elements fill up the screen, lots of color, lots of big fonts, lots of illustration, and plenty of in-your-face personality. This is a tricky style to get right: if elements are not chosen and placed well, the result is simply annoying clutter. If done well, the result can be impactful and memorable.

[And Happy Independence Day to all of our American readers!]

screenagers & the incredible machine

screenagers & the incredible machine’s site puts illustration front and center, creating a look that evokes various mystic ideas. It sounds strange, but it works.

Anna Jóna

This prelaunch teaser site for Anna Jóna café and cinema has an elegant yet modern feel.

Hardpops

This site for Hardpops (alcoholic) ice pops takes its cue from the product flavors, and the bright, fruity colors give it a real zing.

Daniel Spatzek

Daniel Spatzek’s portfolio site takes the rules-are-made-to-be-broken approach. The result has attitude and a nice touch of humor.

Ander Agency

Plenty of color, large type, and illustration make a bold statement for Ander Agency’s single-page site.

Pretty Damn Quick

Colorful illustration on this site for Pretty Damn Quick’s Shopify app creates an impression of friendliness about the company and ease of use of the product itself.

Know Your Beetle

Know Your Beetle is a showcase page for Kaploom creative studio. Color and type combinations make a big impact.

WTFFF

While many of the sites featured here have a sense of fun about them, WTFFF tackles a somber subject: online sexual abuse and harassment. Artwork and audio create an immersive experience in which five young people share their experiences with the aim of helping others.

BelArosa Chalet

Full-screen illustrations with a hint of vintage style create an ideal impression of what future guests can expect from the currently under construction BelArosa Chalet.

Paradam

The color scheme on the Paradam site is on the pastel end of the scale, but there is still lots going on to entrance the eye.

Tilton Group

The scrolling color panels on the Tilton Group site are a thing to behold.

Fresco

Fresco uses a standard layout design, but the colors and quarter-circles instantly lift it.

Museum of Pink Art

Museum of Pink Art is an immersive experience celebrating the color pink. Undoubtedly worth a virtual wander around.

Icons by Menu

OK, this somewhat more minimalist site slipped through the net, but Icons by Menu is so pleasing to look at and use that we had to include it.

GlareDB

With an illustration that could be ideally at home on an Arthur C. Clarke book jacket and that rich, deep red background, this site for Glare DB is a world away from what might be expected.

Alex Beige

While the overall style and accent illustrations are pleasing on Alex Beige’s site, the Our Team section is guaranteed to raise a smile and stick in the user’s mind.

Snickerdoodle

Careful spacing means busy elements (like on scroll animated illustrations) don’t become overwhelming on the Snickerdoodle site.

Grisly’s Cosmic Black

The site for Grisly’s Cosmic Black is fun, bright, and joyful. Plus, it’s nice to see an alcohol site going a bit further than the usual ‘drink responsibly’ and actually providing helpful links.

The Perennial

Not just floorplans and (lots of) images, but virtual walkthroughs too. The Perennial doesn’t feel like a standard office building.

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An unreliable, semi-broken and unresponsive website is an excellent way to lose leads and visitors — regardless of how aesthetically pleasing or well-designed, the visual elements are.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen more initiative to deliver faster internet to regions of the world that were previously devoid of it. With online communities expanding and more people becoming receptive to online shopping, ensuring your site’s dependability is now more important than ever. 

One way to achieve this is by employing uptime and downtime monitoring tools. This guide will examine the best ways to get alerts when something goes wrong and your website falters.

Why Is Website Uptime Monitoring Important?

Downtime is bound to occur occasionally. Nonetheless, the goal is to minimize it. The longer the downtime occurs, the more traffic and potential clients you lose. A dysfunctional website is also detrimental to your credibility and reputation. People may associate your website’s unreliability with your real-world products or services.

With web developers charging an average of $200 per hour, high-quality websites can be expensive to build and maintain. Nevertheless, it’s often worth the investment. However, an unreliable website can backfire on you. Instead of attracting more customers, it could potentially repel them. This can result in lost revenue.

An uptime monitoring solution can help you prevent or reduce these losses. It verifies if your website is up and functional and notifies you if it’s not. This allows you to troubleshoot the issue and get your website back up and running as soon as you’re alerted. The most common issues behind your website’s downtime include: 

  • Server faults;
  • Network outages;
  • Power outage;
  • Traffic spikes;
  • Cyberattacks;
  • Domain name issues;
  • An erroneous web application deployment;
  • Increased server loads;
  • DNS Resolve issues;
  • Human error.

Thus, you must employ a dependable tool that detects downtime or any interruptions related to your website as soon as they occur. They are must-have tools for web designers, developers, and network administrators. However, not all of them are built the same. So how do you identify the best uptime monitoring tools?

Essential Features of Uptime Monitoring Tools

Uptime monitoring tools typically detect interruptions by running network tests such as pings and trace routes. You could practically monitor your website’s uptime by constantly running these tests yourself. 

However, this isn’t an efficient way to monitor your website’s uptime. A comprehensive uptime monitoring tool will automatically monitor your website’s uptime in the background. It will then alert you through various channels as soon as it senses that your website may be down. 

Furthermore, high-quality uptime monitoring solutions tend to offer additional information regarding your website’s uptime/downtime and its performance. These tools commonly feature dashboards, status pages, badges, exportable records, etc., to help you keep track of your site’s overall health.

9 Best Features of an Uptime Monitoring Solution

The ideal uptime monitoring tool or service should feature: 

  1. Website security features that notify of and repel potential cyber attacks;
  2. 24/7 uninterrupted background website monitoring;
  3. Multi-channel alerts (email, SMS, push notifications, instant messages, social media, etc.);
  4. Report generation;
  5. 24/7 customer support available through different channels (email, phone, chat, etc.);
  6. Be capable of monitoring multiple websites and proxies at the same time;
  7. Offer insights and suggestions to improve your website’s performance;
  8. Be affordable;
  9. High customizability should allow you to choose which features to enable and disable.

Another optional feature to look out for is public status pages that your clients can access to determine if all your services are up and running. GetWeave is an excellent example of this. The website features a well-organized systems status page where customers can check if all of Weave’s services are functional. 

Nevertheless, you can use the above information as a buying guide when assessing potential uptime monitoring tools. The rest of this guide will supply a few suggestions as to which tools you should use for your website.

3 Best Website Uptime Monitoring Tools 

Some of the best uptime monitoring tools for website downtime alerts include:

1. Uptrends

Uptrends isn’t just a downtime detection tool; it’s a complete web performance monitoring solution. It will notify you as soon as it detects any disturbance in your website’s performance. It features highly customizable checks. For instance, you can set performance check limits for load times. Uptrends will notify you instantly if your website takes too long to load.

You can also configure from which locations you want it to monitor your website. Uptrends will then point you to where your website usually suffers performance dips in the real world. 

The service uses multiple communication channels to send users notifications: email, phone calls, and SMS. Alternatively, you can download one of Uptrend’s mobile applications and receive push notifications. Additionally, you can integrate Uptrends with messaging and communication applications such as PagerDuty, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.   

Another impressive Uptrend feature is its ability to emulate your website’s performance on different browsers. It runs Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge on its servers. Thus, you can compare how your website runs on these web browsers without installing them on your servers or computer. 

Uptrends supplies users with various charts, reports, and graphs to help identify sudden spikes or dips. Waterfall reports display the complete page-load from the initial request to the last download. This allows you to compare the history of your website’s performance element by element. It comes with three price plans whose costs depend on the number of monitors you would like. Starting at $16.21 (at the time of writing) the Starter Plan is the most affordable.

2. Oh Dear

Oh Dear is a slightly cheaper option than Uptrends, with the most affordable plan starting at $12 per month (at the time of writing). However, while Uptrends offers a 30-day free trial, Oh Dear only provides a 12-day trial period. Nevertheless, Oh Dear’s interface is a lot cleaner and more minimal. 

Since Oh Dear runs servers in different locations across the globe, it can track how your website performs in various regions. Oh Dear will scan through your website and index all the pages. If it detects any issues, it will alert you immediately. 

Oh Dear also features a continuous certificate monitoring function. Site owners who are concerned with their website’s security may find this feature to be especially useful. It will verify your SSL certificate expiration dates and alert you of any changes.  

Oh Dear’s public status page enables your clients to keep track of your website’s availability.

Oh Dear uses email and SMS text messages to alert site owners of any issues. It also features integrations with communications and social media applications such as Telegram, Discord, Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc. Oh Dear ensures that messages are as detailed and user-friendly. This makes it easier to troubleshoot and find the origin of your problem. Oh Dear is more than a worthy alternative to Uptrends. 

3. WP Umbrella

WP Umbrella is a little different from the previous entries. It’s intended to help users manage and monitor multiple WordPress sites. Thus, it is far more particularized in its approach to website uptime monitoring. Again, as is the primary function of the uptime monitoring tool, it offers a real-time alert system that will contact you through email, SMS, Slack, etc. 

WP Umbrella employs a simple minimal UI. Its main screen consists of a dashboard that allows you to view all your WordPress websites. By default, this dashboard features four columns: Site, Uptime, Speed, and Issues.

WP Umbrella will alert you of any outdated or erroneous plugins or themes. While it doesn’t offer dedicated public status pages, it does have a client report generation feature. You can automatically send these reports to your various subscribers or clients when your website is down. 

WP Umbrella is the most affordable option on this list. Users are charged $1.99 per month (at the time of writing) for each website monitored. In addition, WP Umbrella offers a 14-day trial and does not require your credit card details. It’s an excellent option for anyone running a WordPress website or two.

Conclusion

This guide has only explored three possible uptime monitoring solutions. They won’t only assist you in detecting downtimes, they can also help you find the reason your site may be slow.

These solutions are an excellent place to start. But there are many other options coming to market all the time. You may find that this is the first step to converting more leads and reducing your bounce rate. 

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There are a lot of dark, retro vibes trending in website design right now. Although there are still some light projects popping up – including a pastel trend below – a lot of what we are seeing has a quite moody feel.

Here’s what’s trending in design this month.

Pastel Color Palettes

Let’s start with the trend with a lighter feel – pastel color palettes. While much of the web is trending toward dark aesthetics, there’s a segment that’s going in the exact opposite direction. Those sites feature soft, pastel color palettes that serve as a balance to all the super dark websites out there.

One thing about this website design trend is that it jumps out because of the stark contrast with all of the dark color palettes out there.

Each of these designs seems to use a pastel color palette as the basis for a background. A blur effect is paired with the colors to use pastels in a way that has a natural feel without appearing too feminine or light.

Robust uses blue and earth tones for a pastel background that feels modern and strong when paired with the hard-edged headline font.

Atmos uses a light pastel theme that takes you through the clouds with blues, and pinks, and purples. The pastel color scheme works well with the content which is airline-themed and makes you feel like you are flying through the sky. The colors are also soft enough to provide an easy reading experience.

Klezma is another design with the same pastel background with graduated color. The peach tones are fairly neutral and give plenty of room to the content.

Fonts with a Distinct Retro Look

Every one of these websites uses a typeface with a similar look and feel. This retro headline style is trending in a major way.

The best way to use this design element is for short words. This typeface design isn’t meant for a lot of words or when readability is a high priority.

This style is all about creating a specific kind of vibe for your website. The typefaces in this trend have a quite retro look and feel with an almost 1960s or ’70s feel to them. The rest of the design mimics this feel as well with colors and surrounding elements that contribute to the overall look.

A couple of common elements here include the use of all capitals font sets and letterforms that include odd shapes and lines.

Sretks not only uses a retro typeface but bends and twists it a bit too to add to the old-school feel. The background color helps add to the groovy vibe.

Barge 166 uses a retro typeface with the same design feel as the other examples but with a sharper, more serif-style edge. It’s easier to read but still carries a retro look and feel. Use a typeface similar to this if you want to capture that retro font style for a trending look while maintaining as much readability as possible. This option works best for multiple lines of words in a large size.

Picky Joe uses a retro typeface with rounded letters and a bit of a tilt to the characters to create a distinct feel. This is definitely a style that has to be used sparingly but can be a fun option, depending on the content of your website design.

Dark “Product” Sites

Dark mode design is probably the biggest design trend of 2022. Everywhere you look, websites are using dark color palettes and styles. Designers are creating more projects with a dark/light toggle so users can control their experience.

This visual concept is carried over to website designs that feature products as well. This is one of the last places the dark aesthetic had not touched. It’s been a bit of an unwritten rule that product images should be on white or light backgrounds to help make them easy to see and inspect digitally.

This design trend bucks that idea and features products on dark backgrounds – some with so little contrast that you almost have a hard time seeing the products. (Maybe these brands are banking on the idea that you already know them or are selling a lifestyle product.)

HQBC sells bike accessories such as glasses and helmets and the site has a sleek look and feel. You know it is cool from the second you land on it. The question though – is there enough visual information with the dark background to help you make a purchase? This design probably works because it only encourages you to find a physical location to make a purchase rather than buy online.

Doggystyle Shop also banks on the idea of you knowing the shopping experience or brand when you arrive. What the design does do though is put products on white backgrounds after you have clicked through far enough to make a commitment to buy. This helps you see the product well one final time before making a purchase. (The challenge is that it is three to four clicks in for the most part.)

FirstFit uses the design trend in a way that’s similar to the first example. They are showing a product, but not actually trying to convert sales on the website. Other links take you to more product information and content – using a lighter background and color scheme – and the dark background with the product serves mostly as a highly visual landing page that will help entice users to learn more. When it comes to dark mode and products, this seems to be the best option for most website designs.

Conclusion

The state of the world around us and our emotions can play hard into websites and other design projects. Some of the darker elements that are popular now may be a reflection of that or it could be more of a lean into dark mode schemes.

Either way, the web has a pretty dark feel right now.

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

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

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

Here’s how to get started.

What is Bootstrapping? 

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

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

The pros and cons of bootstrapping include:

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

How to Bootstrap Your Web Design Business: Step by Step

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

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

Step 1: Source Some Initial Funds

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

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

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

Step 2: Find a USP 

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

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

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

Step 3: Choose a Cash Flow Optimized Model 

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

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

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

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

Step 4: Keep Costs Low and Profits High

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

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

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

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

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

Step 5: Grow Cautiously

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

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

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

Good Luck Bootstrapping Your Business

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

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

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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UX laws are an invaluable tool, providing guidelines for designers that ensure we don’t have to continually reinvent the wheel when crafting experiences for the web.

However, UX laws tend to be devised by scientists and psychologists — people who are more than comfortable with the exceptions and allowances of academic language. By the time they filter down to us in the trenches, the language has invariably been over-simplified, and the wisdom behind the idea diluted.

Today we’re going to look at seven well-known and commonly cited rules of UX design that too many designers get wrong.

1. Jakob’s Law

Jakob’s Law, named for the UX researcher Jakob Nielsen, states that users spend most of their time on other sites and as a result prefer sites that work the same way as the sites they already know.

Jakob’s Law has often been used to limit experimentation and encourage the adoption of common design patterns in the name of usability.

However, the word ‘prefer’ is hugely loaded. While it’s true that a user will more easily understand a familiar design pattern, they do not necessarily prefer familiar experiences.

It has been widely proved that new experiences boost our mood and that new experiences improve our memory. If your goal is a memorable site that leaves users with a positive impression, introducing novelty is a sound decision.

2. Goal Gradient Hypothesis

The Goal Gradient Hypothesis assumes that the closer users are to their goal, the more likely they are to complete it.

It’s an attractive theory, especially in e-commerce, where it is often used to justify simplifying the initial purchase process and postponing complexity to move users along the funnel — a typical example is leaving shipping charges until the final step.

However, anyone who has studied e-commerce analytics will know that cart abandonment is a huge issue. In North America, shopping cart abandonment is as high as 74%.

We don’t always know what the user’s goals are, and they may not match ours. It may be that users are treating your shopping cart as a bookmark feature, it may be that they have a last-minute change of heart, or they may be horrified by the shipping charges.

While providing a user with an indication of their progress is demonstrably helpful, artificially inflating their proximity to your preferred goal may actually hinder conversions.

3. Miller’s Law

Never in the whole of human history has any scientific statement been as misunderstood as Miller’s Law.

Miller’s Law states that an average person can only hold seven, plus or minus two (i.e., 5–9) items in their working memory. This has frequently been used to restrict UI navigation to no more than five items.

However, Miller’s Law does not apply to items being displayed. While it’s true that too many options can lead to choice paralysis, a human being is capable of considering more than nine different items.

Miller’s Law only applies to UI elements like carousels, which have been widely discredited for other reasons.

4. Aesthetic-Usability Effect

Edmund Burke once said, “Beauty is the promise of happiness.” That belief is central to the Aesthetic-Usability Effect, which posits that users expect aesthetically pleasing designs to be more usable.

Designers often use this as a justification for grey-on-grey text, slick animations, and minimal navigation.

Critical to understanding this is that just because users expect a design to be usable does not mean that it is or that they will find it so. Expectations can quickly be dashed, and disappointment often compounds negative experiences.

5. Peak-End Rule

The Peak-End Rule states that users judge an experience based on how they felt at the peak and the end, rather than an average of the experience.

Designers commonly use the Peak-End Rule to focus design resources on the primary goal of each experience (e.g. adding an item to a cart) and the closing experience (e.g. paying for the item).

However, while the Peak-End Law is perfectly valid, it cannot apply to open experiences like websites when it is impossible to identify a user’s starting or ending point.

Additionally, it is easy to see every interaction on a website as a peak and even easier to make assumptions as to which peak is most important. As such, while designing for peaks is attractive, it’s more important to design for exceptions.

6. Fitts’ Law

In the 1950s, Paul Fitts demonstrated that the distance to, and size of a target, affect the error rate of selecting that target. In other words, it’s harder to tap a small button and exponentially harder to tap a small button that is further away.

UX designers commonly apply this law when considering mobile breakpoints due to the relatively small viewport. However, mobile viewports tend not to be large enough for any distance to affect tap accuracy.

Fitts’ Law can be applied to desktop breakpoints, as the distances on a large monitor can be enough to have an impact. However, the majority of large viewports use a mouse, which allows for positional corrections before tapping.

Tappable targets should be large enough to be easily selected, spaced sufficiently, and tab-selection should be enabled. But distance has minimal impact on web design.

7. Occam’s Razor

No collection of UX laws would be complete without Occam’s Razor; unfortunately, this is another law that is commonly misapplied.

Occam’s Razor states that given any choice, the option with the least assumptions (note: not necessarily the simplest, as it is often misquoted) is the correct choice.

In an industry in which we have numerous options to test, measure, and analyze our user interfaces, you shouldn’t need to make assumptions. Even when we don’t need extensive UX testing, we can make decisions based on other designers’ findings.

Occam’s Razor is a classic design trap: the key to avoiding it is to recognize that it’s not your assumptions that matter, it’s the users’. As such, Occam’s Razor applies to a user’s experience, not a design process.

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This week, Microsoft officially ended support for Internet Explorer.

Victorious in the first browser war with then-rival Netscape Navigator, IE was only finally surpassed by Google’s Chrome. Whereas once huge numbers of sites would warn users to switch to IE, by the end Microsoft’s biggest app was a virtual pariah.

Over the course of its lifetime, Internet Explorer has revolutionized the web with its freeware model and support for emerging technologies. But how much do you really know about it? Let’s find out…

Featured image via Unsplash.

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

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

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

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

1. Price

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

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

2. No Experience Doesn’t Mean No Skill

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

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

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

3. They Will Prioritize Your Job

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

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

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

4. You Will Foster Loyalty

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

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

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

5. They’re Eager to Learn

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

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

6. No Project Is Too Small

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

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

7. Everyone Starts Somewhere

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

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

Summary

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

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

 

Featured image via Pexels.

Source

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De spécialiste de l’ingénierie industrielle, ATS accélère sa transformation numérique et lance sur le marché un portfolio de nouveaux services digitaux notamment sur base de solutions SAP Cloud PLM et Assets (de l’Ingénierie à la machine as a service). Un acteur OT et IT, capable d’accompagner les organisations dans leur voyage vers l’industrie 4.0.

ATS, c’est avant tout une aventure familiale, démarrée en 1989 au Creusot. L’histoire d’un spécialiste en ingénierie industrielle (ATS Engineering), mais aussi en conception et réalisation de moyens de production automatisés (ATS Solutions). L’entreprise compte aujourd’hui 200 collaborateurs, pour un chiffre d’affaires annuel d’environ 20 millions d’euros.

“La quatrième révolution industrielle nous donne l’opportunité de transformer l’industrie, en la rendant à la fois plus performante et plus attractive. Notre ambition est d’accompagner dans leur transformation les femmes et les hommes (end-users) opérant sur des sites industriels, en apportant de nouveaux outils et services pour remettre l’Homme au centre et réinventer l’expérience Homme-machine.” Explique Rodolphe Roy, Président d’ATS. “Faire grandir l’Humain pour amener plaisir et reconnaissance dans l’industrie : Un élément crucial pour booster l’attractivité et attirer de nouveaux talents.”

Le numérique, nouveau pilier d’ATS

Le premier jalon de la transformation d’ATS est posé en 2011, lorsque Rodolphe Roy en devient l’actionnaire unique. En 2017, une fois le rachat sécurisé, la transformation du groupe peut commencer, avec comme nouvel axe le numérique.

La société est dans le même temps repérée par BPI France, qui l’invite à rejoindre le programme accélérateur PME/PMI, puis la French Fab, le porte-drapeau de l’industrie française en tant qu’ambassadeur pour la Bourgogne. Ce programme accélérateur pousse également ATS à aller au-delà de l’OT pour proposer des services IT à ses clients et remettre l’innovation au centre de sa transformation.

Des LAB’Innovation sont ainsi déployés sur chacun des sites d’ATS, afin de permettre à tous les collaborateurs de l’entreprise d’explorer et d’innover avec de nouvelles technologies digitales, comme le cloud, l’ingénierie collaborative en Réalité Virtuelle, l’impression 3D ou encore la capture de la réalité. Le tout en lien avec les clients et partenaires de l’entreprise.

« Notre langue maternelle est l’OT, mais nous avons fait IT seconde langue, ce qui nous permet d’accompagner les industriels dans leur transformation numérique. Nous avons pour vocation à être la courroie de distribution entre ces deux mondes. »

Il est vrai qu’en tant que concepteur de moyens de production automatisés, et connectés, ATS Solutions apporte déjà un savoir-faire à mi-chemin entre OT et IT, pour le compte de clients prestigieux comme Air Liquide, Arkema, Schneider Electric ou encore le CEA.

ATS Connect, l’intégrateur OT/IT des industriels

“Avec ATS Solutions, nous proposons aux industriels des nouveaux moyens de production (CAPEX) automatisés, connectés et flexibles, rappelle Rodolphe Roy. Toutefois, nous étions un peu frustrés de ne pas pouvoir les accompagner dans leurs phases d’exploitation (OPEX), ni dans leurs projets de numérisation de leurs parcs machines existants.”

“Notre nouvelle activité portée par ATS Connect répond à cela, mais pas seulement : nous accélérons sur l’accompagnement à la transition énergétique et environnementale des industriels, jusqu’aux projets de villes intelligentes (smart city).” Complète Jordan Lecat, COO d’ATS Connect.

ATS Connect est chargée de porter les projets de connexion digitale des équipements. Cela commence par un audit 4.0 du moyen de production, des échanges systématiques avec les utilisateurs finaux pour identifier leurs points de douleurs. Nous traitons ensuite la collecte des données et le traitement de l’information pour créer les bons outils de suivi de performance et de maintenance. Le tout en faisant appel au besoin à des technologies innovantes capables de projeter les entreprises dans le monde de l’industrie 4.0. À ce titre, ATS Connect devient un intégrateur de bout en bout de solutions OT/IT.

SAP, éditeur clé pour ATS

Autre jalon de la transformation d’ATS, la rencontre avec SAP en 2018. ATS voit dans les solutions Cloud Public PLM et Assets, respectivement SAP Enterprise Product Development (SAP EPD) et SAP Intelligent Asset Management (SAP AIM) associé à SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), une plate-forme ouverte et collaborative de choix pour gérer les équipements des industriels et porter des projets avancés, comme la mise en place de jumeaux numériques connectés. Cette plateforme Cloud devient ainsi un catalyseur pour le développement commercial des nouveaux services numériques d’ATS Connect.

« ATS Connect se positionne clairement comme offreur de solutions Industrie 4.0, explique Jordan Lecat. Nous collectons la data, que nous faisons remonter sur la plate-forme Cloud SAP, afin de proposer des services innovants à nos clients. Par exemple de la maintenance prédictive. Avec ATS Connect, nous pouvons enfin proposer une gestion de bout en bout des moyens de production des industriels. »

Dans le cadre du partenariat entre SAP et le Collectif Continuité Numérique, ATS Connect participe par ailleurs au développement de démonstrateurs Industrie 4.0 autour des jumeaux numériques, lesquels sont déployés sur les Experience Centers SAP de Paris et Barcelone. ATS rejoint ainsi l’écosystème SAP relatif à l’industrie du futur. « Ceci nous rend d’autant plus fiers que nous partageons les valeurs et ambitions portées par SAP et ses Experience Centers : Meet, Inspire, Engage. »

 

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