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

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

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

Check all these 10 excellent deals for designers below:

1. Amelia

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

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

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

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

2. wpDataTables

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

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

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

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

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

3. Trafft

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

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

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

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

4. WordLift

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

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

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

5. Total WordPress Theme

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

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

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

6. TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose & WooCommerce Theme

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

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

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

7. Mobirise Website Builder Software

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

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

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

8. Embed Instagram Feed

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

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

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

9. Getillustrations Web and App Illustrations Bundle

 

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

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

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

10. Rey Theme

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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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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Having the right WordPress plugins on hand can do wonders for your business or online presence. WordPress offers a vast collection to choose from.

There are so many of them. However, finding those that get the best reviews and can do the most for you can be a challenge.

A plugin can give you additional functionality. It could otherwise be difficult or overly expensive to realize with your website by itself. A glance at the 10 top WordPress plugins described below can provide a powerful case in point.

Your website’s purpose or niche will usually dictate the types of essential WordPress plugins you would do well to invest in. The right ones can make your website a genuine powerhouse and, by extension, your business as well.

1. Amelia

Amelia is an excellent choice for beauty, healthcare, fitness, consulting, and businesses that might be saddled down with a manual or semi-manual booking system by saving them and their clients time while eliminating booking mistakes that often occur in those manual systems.

  • Clients can book appointments online 24/7, change or cancel their appointments, and receive reminders of upcoming appointments and other notifications via SMS or email.
  • Amelia enables business owners or department managers to track and manage employee schedules and time off.
  • Amelia can manage bookings for appointments, book tickets for events, and manage group bookings, all at multiple locations. There are no limits on the number of appointments that can be managed.
  • Booking forms can be customized to best serve a business’s needs and match its brand.

Amelia fully supports WooCommerce with PayPal, Stripe, Mollie, and RazorPay payments. Click on the banner to learn more about this time and money-saving plugin.

2. wpDataTables

wpDataTables is a premier WordPress table and chart building plugin that features virtually everything you are apt to need to build any table or chart you want.

Creating a table that is by any definition complex often requires tools that may not necessarily be easy to come by. wpDataTables uses four chart-building engines, one or more of which should suit you perfectly.

They are:

  • Google Charts
  • Highcharts
  • Charts.js
  • Apex Charts

For both table and chart building, wpDataTables can connect you to multiple database sources, including –

  • MySQL
  • MS SQL
  • PostgreSQL

wpDataTables can process data that exists in the commonly used formats and features various sorting and filtering options that allow you to create a host of different table types.

Both tables and charts are editable and responsive and, thanks to the wpDataTables conditional formatting feature, can highlight and color-code critical information.

Click to learn more.

3. Site Kit by Google

While your website’s performance might exceed your wildest dreams, it is more likely that there are areas that need improvement before your wishes can be met. 

Determining those areas can be a challenge, but Site Kit offers a one-stop solution to deploy, manage, and get insights from critical Google tools to make your site a success by making those critical tools available to WordPress.

They provide:

  • stats displayed on your WordPress dashboard from multiple Google tools
  • quick Google tool setup without your having to edit your site’s source code  
  • key metrics and insights for your entire site and individual posts, and
  • easy-to-manage, granular permissions across WordPress and different Google products

Site Kit shows you how many people have found your site, how users navigate it, etc.

Click on the banner to learn more about what Site Kit could do for you.

4. Tablesome –  WordPress Table Plugin With Form Automation

Tablesome is a WordPress form database and form automation plugin that you can use to store entries from WordPress forms to a database. It can be integrated with popular forms – Contact Form 7 DB, WPForms entries, Forminator database, Elementor Form submissions, etc.

After saving, you can:

  • Edit, auto-delete, and export entries to tools such as MailChimp, Google Sheets, Salesforce, etc.,
  • Display WordPress form entries on frontend pages
  • Automatically export contact data using the Mailchimp WordPress Integration

5. TheDock

TheDock eliminates the need to search for just the right WordPress theme by enabling you to create your own – which can be more fun anyway.

Among TheDock’s many features, a few key ones include –

  • A comprehensive, option-rich Design System
  • A responsive design system that ensures your site looks great on all screens.
  • Designer, developer, and editing collaboration support. 
  • Clean, readable code.

6. Slider Revolution

Beginners and mid-level designers can sometimes have difficulty finding ways to WOW their clients with professional-level visuals.

Slider Revolution changes all that by bridging the gap between what clients want and what you can provide with its –

  • 200 designed-to-impress website and slider templates
  • 25+ powerful addons and brand new WebGL slide animations
  • ability to import dynamic content from WooCommerce and social media outlets.

7. LayerSlider

More than a simple slider-builder, LayerSlider is an animation and website-building tool you can use to improve any website’s look and feel through eye-catching animations, contemporary graphics, and interactive features.

This is made possible in part through the use of –

  • 160+ website, slider, and popup templates
  • LayerSlider’s modern and intuitive editing interface

Plus, you can count on professional one-on-one customer support.

8. Download Monitor

The Download Monitor plugin helps you sell your digital products by offering a ready solution for tracking file downloads, gating content to generate leads, build your audience, and ask users for personal information in exchange for valuable content.

Download Monitor lets you –

  • add any type of file you need to your website
  • link a page to all your channels and promote your social media networks
  • place ads – and more.

9. Ads Pro – Multi-Purpose WordPress Ad Manager

The biggest ad manager for WordPress, Ads Pro gives you everything necessary to manage and sell ads.

Ads Pro’s admin panel makes managing ads straightforward for you and your users.

  • Key ad features include 25+ ad templates and 20+ ad display options.
  • CPC, CPM, CPD billing and PayPal, Stripe, and bank transfer payment methods are built-in.
  • Geo-Targeting lets you show/hide ad spaces based on countries, provinces, cities, and Zip Codes.

10. Ultimate Membership Pro

If selling content is your objective, Ultimate Membership Pro is the tool you’ll want to take your website and convert it into a powerful content selling platform.

The Ultimate Membership Pro plugin enables you to –

  • Create unlimited subscription levels, including free, trial, and paid member subscriptions
  • Control customer access to content based on their subscriptions
  • Send emails to welcome new members and send notifications and reminders to regular subscribers.

The WordPress plugin directory is already stuffed with almost 60,000 plugins. This guide has been published to narrow things down to 10 top WordPress plugins for your use.

We consulted with experts to create this list of excellent plugins for WordPress. It can help you with content strategy, SEO, site security, and even social media marketing.

Installing plugins and getting the functionality they provide can add immense value to your use of WordPress.

 

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

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User Experience (UX) design and User Interface (UI) design are two terms people sometimes mistakenly use interchangeably. While aspects of each are interconnected, there are distinct differences between UI/UX design.

According to Internet Live Stats, there are over 1.9 billion websites, but not all are active at the same time. No matter how you slice it, there’s a lot of competition to grab and keep user attention. Good UX is just part of the equation. For a genuinely stellar site, you must also offer an excellent interface.

Learning the ins and outs of good UI and UX requires a bit of knowledge of how the two differ and what works. Although they weave in and out of the same design, they are different.

What Is the Biggest Difference Between Good UX and UI?

UI is the functionality of the design and what users see. How do they interact with various elements? UX is more the way things come together — both visual and interactive features — to create a feel for the user. You can certainly see why people confuse the two as they both apply to interacting with a website or app.

Top design firms often have team members specializing in each discipline. However, UX designers are also aware of UI, and UI designers are also mindful of UX. How can you ensure you’re offering excellent UI/UX design while covering the full spectrum of requirements for each?

Ensuring Effective UX Design

Good UX design increases conversion rates by 400% or more. The site visitor walks away feeling understood and not frustrated. What are some of the most important aspects of good UX design?

1. Create a Good Structure

What is the hierarchy of your site? What is the first thing the user sees when they pull it up? How do they navigate from one page to the next? A well-designed website classifies different aspects of the page, and new content naturally falls into the appropriate category as it grows.

When creating a structure for your site, think about how it might expand in the next five years. You want the hierarchy to work from day one, but you also want to think through significant shifts in the content you might see down the road.

Even your navigational hierarchy should accommodate new areas easily. Plan for the unexpected, so you know how to work it into the overall design when you must.

2. Choose Beautiful Aesthetics

You have a few seconds to make an excellent impression on your site visitors. Take the time to make sure your design functions and is visually appealing. Your color palette should work, images should be crisp and relevant, and typography should be readable and engaging.

Step back from your computer and look at your design from a distance. Does anything stand out that isn’t pleasing to the eye? Get feedback from visitors about what they like and dislike. Since the focus is on user experience, your best source of constructive criticism is from your target audience. Listen to their concerns and ideas.

3. Communicate With Site Visitors

Most experts agree that users want an element of interactivity on sites and apps. People want to know you hear them and get a response. Some ideas include adding a live chat option to your site or engaging in SMS customer support.

Put yourself in their shoes. A customer may visit your site for the first time, having never heard of your brand. They have no reason to trust you or that you’ll follow through on your promises. Potential leads may have a few questions before parting with their hard-earned dollars.

Adding various ways to communicate shows them you’ll be there should they have a problem. It’s much easier to trust a company when you know you can phone, engage in live chat or shoot off an email and get an almost immediate response.

4. Add Clear Direction

Excellent UX is intuitive. You should add calls to action (CTAs) and images pointing the user where they should go next. You can use graphics of arrows, people looking or pointing toward the next step, words, or CTA buttons.

Get feedback on how clear the directions are and tweak them as needed. The user should never have to stop and ponder what to do next. Everything on the page should guide them toward the ultimate goal.

5. Break Down Complex Data

Every industry has complicated data that is difficult for non-experts to understand. Part of good UX is breaking down complex information and sharing it in a simplified way.

One example might be the registration process. Instead of just showing text, a good UX designer would number the steps. Visualizations help add to understanding.

Embracing Effective UI Design

User Interface impacts UX and involves how the design works. The UI designer thinks through visitor expectations and then creates an interface that isn’t frustrating. UI works within the framework of a website to develop functional features. User experience isn’t the complete focus of UI, but it does tie into the planning phases. What are some elements of good UI design?

1. Set Standards

For a design to have good UI, it must perform as expected. Have you ever clicked on a button, and nothing happened? Determine how you want things to work and the minimum acceptable standards for your site.

For example, what happens when someone clicks on a link or button? How does the user know their action created the expected result? Consistency is crucial to how a site performs.

2. Choose the Right Colors

While UX designers look at the emotional impact of various colors, UI designers look at whether the shades match branding and how well the different ones contrast for readability and usability. UI/UX design often bridges a single designer’s work, so the employee ensures everything works as intended, both emotionally and functionally.

You may work with another designer to make the site aesthetically pleasing while also tapping into the emotions driving users. For example, some people love blue, so a blue button can have positive results.

UX and UI designers utilize split testing to see which users respond best to. Then, make adjustments as indicated by how site visitors respond.

3. Focus on Cognitive Matters

According to the Interaction Design Foundation, people can only retain around five things in their short-term memory. Designers should work with recognition instead, as users tend to rely on cues to find what they need.

UI designers may develop an intuitive navigation system and then use the same cues on every page, such as placement, color, and language. Users can then recognize the system without having to memorize it.

4. Prevent Errors

Your job is to ensure errors are kept to a minimum when designing a website or app. One of the most significant parts of a designer’s job is testing and retesting.

Think about all the potential problems a user might run into, such as broken links, images not showing, or incomplete actions. How can you keep those problems from occurring in the first place?

Error prevention is particularly vital when designing software as a service (SaaS) or apps. Users grow frustrated quickly and will find another solution rather than troubleshooting an issue. You’re much better off avoiding the error in the first place.

How Do UX and UI Work Together?

You’ve likely already figured out how closely UX and UI entwine to create a usable experience. The UX designer pays attention to function and interactivity, and the UI designer thinks through how the interface looks.

UX pays attention to the flow of the website and where users start, go next and end up. On the other end, UI figures out how the elements look to the viewer and where everything is placed.

The UX team may decide to add an extra button to the page. The UI team must determine where to place it, if any sizing needs must occur, and how it impacts usability on desktop and mobile devices.

Although each has a different function, user experience and user interface must work together to create a usable site the target audience responds to. You can’t have excellent UX without excellent UI, and vice versa. The best designers consider both and implement them to their fullest potential.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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The year’s winding down as everyone segues into a much-needed holiday R&R. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome new tools and resources for website design projects.

Check them out, and hit the ground running in January. Here’s what’s new for designers this holiday period. Enjoy!

Fancy Border Radius Generator

Fancy Border Radius Generator is a fun tool that allows you to create exciting shapes for elements. Use the included templates or create your own border shapes and then export the CSS/HTML for a variety of uses.

Pulsetic

Pulsetic answers the question: “Is your website down?” Get website downtime alerts by phone call, SMS, email, or Slack. Create beautiful status pages and incident management reports and keep visitors (and your team) updated.

Ffflux SVG Generator

Ffflux SVG Generator makes it easy to generate fluid and organic-feeling gradients. You can use the resulting graphics as backgrounds to elements on a page to give a colorful fluid look to page elements. Choose colors and styles, then save or copy your SVG for use.

Fable

Fable is a web-based motion design platform to help you tell moving stories. It’s designed to be easy enough for beginners to use but has tools that even the most experienced motion designers can appreciate. This is a premium tool, but you can try it free.

Modern Fluid Typography Editor

Modern Fluid Typography Editor takes the guesswork out of sizing and scale for type sizes on different screens. Set a few preferences and see ranges your type styles should fall in. This typography calculator is visual and easy to use.

Emoji to Scale

Emoji to Scale is a fun look at emojis in a real-world relationship to each other. Make sure to also note the Pokemon to Scale project, which is just as much fun.

Page Flip Text Effect

Page Flip Text Effect is a fun and straightforward PSD asset that adds a nice element to design projects. Everyone can use some fun, colorful animation, right?

Nanonets

Nanonets is a practical tool for automated table extraction. You can snag tables from PDFs, scanned files, and images. Then capture relevant data stored in tabular structures on any document and convert to JSON Excel, or CSV and download.

Browsers.page

Browsers.page shows browser name and version, matched with a list of the browsers you support as a company or project. It’s a visual reminder to update if you are working with some browser lag. It’s a free tool and includes a frontend API.

UKO UI

UKO UI is a Figma dashboard and design system bundle packed with components and pages to build from. It’s free for personal use.

Floating UI

Floating UI is a low-level library for positioning “floating” elements like tooltips, popovers, dropdowns, menus, and more. Since these types of elements float on top of the UI without disrupting the flow of content, challenges arise when positioning them. It exposes primitives, which enable a floating element to be positioned next to a given reference element while appearing in view for the user.

Style-Dictionary-Play

Style-Dictionary-Play lets you experiment with a style dictionary in your browser with a live preview and mobile and desktop views. It’s an open-source tool and allows for URL project sharing, and you can use it without logging in or signing up.

Airplane Runbooks

Airplane Runbooks makes it easy to turn small amounts of code into complex internal workflows. Model onboarding flows, admin operations, cron-like schedules, and more and share with your team. It’s like Zapier but for first-party operations that touch prod data.

Shoelace

Shoelace is a forward-thinking library of web components that works with any framework. It’s fully customizable – and has a dark mode. It’s built with accessibility in mind, and the open-source tool is packed with components.

Tutorial: Coloring with Code

Coloring with Code is an excellent tutorial by the team at Codrops that will help you create beautiful, inspiring, and unique color palettes/combinations, all from the comfort of your favorite text editor. It’s practical and easy to follow along as you work through the steps on your own.

Stytch

Stytch is a full-stack authentication and authorization platform whose APIs make it simple to seamlessly onboard, authenticate and engage users. Improve security and user experience by going passwordless with this premium tool.

Highlight

Highlight keeps web apps stable. With pixel-perfect session replay, you’ll get complete visibility into issues and interactions that are slowing down users. You can start using this premium tool in minutes, and it works on every framework.

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User experience design is something that most of us associate with websites. But why isn’t it something we extend beyond the website?

Here’s why I ask this:

As a consumer, it’s so rare that your only interaction with a brand is through its website. Take an ecommerce site, for example. You buy a product from it, and then what happens?

  • You get a confirmation email;
  • You get another email when the package ships;
  • You might get another email or SMS notification when the package is delivered;
  • You retrieve the package and open it;
  • You open up your purchase and use it.

These are all an extension of that initial user experience on the site. If there’s just one hiccup along the way, it could easily erode the trust and happiness you felt after quickly finding and buying what you needed on the site.

So, what I’d like to do today is look at 10 areas where UX design should extend beyond the website to ensure that the frictionless experience started there remains untarnished.

Extending UX Design Beyond the Website

As a web designer, you might be thinking that this part of the user experience doesn’t fall under the umbrella of your responsibilities. And you may be right about that.

For brands to truly be successful and profitable, someone needs to carefully examine the bigger picture and ensure that the user experience is flawless no matter how far away from the site it is. At the very least, you should share the UX research and strategy you do for a client’s site so their team can ensure it carries over to other areas of the business.

Here are some things to think about:

1. Mobile App

It’s not uncommon for websites to have mobile app counterparts these days. The layout doesn’t need to be identical since mobile users tend to behave differently than those on desktop.

That said, an app shouldn’t force users accustomed to the desktop experience to re-learn how to navigate or engage with the brand. So, the branding, UI design, speed, security, and navigation all need to be on par with what’s already been established in terms of usability.

2. Email

Most websites have a direct connection to email. For example, blog newsletters, purchase confirmation emails, and lead generation follow-ups all start on the website.

Consumers are well aware that when they hand over their email address, they will receive an email in return. In many cases, those emails are welcomed when they’re done right. But if something feels off, that bridge could easily burn between brand and consumer.

To preserve the UX, emails should come with the following:

  • The same branding and visual style as the website;
  • A personalized subject line, greeting, or offer;
  • Consistent messaging as the site, especially when it comes to the CTA.

Another thing to remember is that email isn’t the time to inject dark patterns into the experience. So, the “Unsubscribe” option should be in an easy-to-spot area and a sharply contrasting font color.

3. Social Media

Social media is another channel that’s commonly connected to a website. While you can’t control the aesthetics of social media websites themselves, the visuals and messaging in posts need to be on-brand.

That means that things like memes and emojis — which are popular means of communication on social — should only be used if they’re normally part of the brand identity. If not, you’ll need to find other ways to communicate engagingly.

Another part of the user experience to think about is customer support. Social media is a lot like going into a store. If someone has an issue with what they bought or the service they received, there will be many people around to witness the complaint. Social media only amplifies that — so the quality of customer care needs to be consistent with how the brand handles it everywhere else.

4. SMS

Not every brand will need to be connected to customers via text messaging. eCommerce companies, news sites, and personal services providers likely will, though.

However a brand uses SMS, the same UX guidelines apply here as they do across all other channels:

  • Keep messages concise;
  • Make sure they’re relevant and valuable;
  • Use branded messaging and design;
  • Don’t abuse the privilege and send too many;
  • Make it easy to opt out.

Basically, if you can’t make it a valuable extension of the brand’s offering, don’t use it.

5. Phone

Any website that publishes its phone number should expect to receive calls from prospects and customers. While there’s nothing to design here visually, the experience of getting on the phone with a company should be consistent with what they experience elsewhere.

One way to do this is to design an easy-to-follow routing system. It should be simple for callers to figure out which number to choose. What’s more, there should be no endless loops. If a caller has exhausted the options, they should be immediately directed to a representative.

Another way to ensure consistency is to adhere to a script — that goes for call centers for enterprises as well as the local lawyer’s office. Every caller should be greeted with the same tone and handled in the same manner (depending on the situation, of course).

6. Ads

There are a lot of places where brands can advertise these days:

  • Google search;
  • Social media;
  • Ad networks;
  • TV;
  • Radio;
  • Podcasts;
  • Blogs;
  • Billboards;
  • Direct mail.

When designing an ad campaign, there should be consistent messaging, aesthetics (when relevant), and CTAs presented. If branding isn’t consistent from ad to ad, there may be a delay in consumers recognizing the brand or its offer. Or, worse, not recognizing it at all.

7. Packaging

For brands that sell products, you have to think about how the packaging will impact the user experience. There are two types of packages to consider, too.

The first is the product’s own packaging. Branding should be clear as day and consistent with the site they bought it from.

It should also be easy to open. There’s nothing more frustrating than finally getting your purchase, only to realize you need tools to get it out of the packaging.

You also have to think about packaging for products that get shipped.

The product should fit well within the packaging. A too-roomy package will feel downright wasteful. So will excessive bubble wrap and paper filler.

Having a shipping label present in the package is also important. If the website makes it easy to make a purchase, the package should offer a convenient way to return the product if they’re not happy.

8. Product

The product itself has to align with the expectations set by the website.

Take the example of a SaaS. You’ve built an awesome landing page and mobile app store page to promote it. It looks great, it loads fast, and it’s easy to get around. But if the SaaS itself is ugly, disorganized, slow, or otherwise just clunky, all of the work you did to market it will end up being just false advertising.

So, make sure the expectations set before and during purchase naturally carry over to the experience with the product.

9. Business Exterior

For brick-and-mortar companies, the business’s exterior matters just as much as what happens inside it.

The most obvious thing to focus on is the aesthetics of the building. Does it look attractive? Is it in a safe area? Is there clear signage around it? Is it easy to find?

But you also have to think about user experiences that take place outside of the building. For example, there’s now a rise in curbside pickup. There are tons of things that can affect how happy the customer is with the experience — like if the pickup area is hard to find, there are never enough spots or the associates who deliver the orders always seem to be in a foul mood.

The business’s exterior should always set a good impression for what takes place inside.

10. Business Interior

Here are some things to think about when it comes to “designing” business interiors for a good UX:

  • Decor;
  • Layout;
  • Signage;
  • Furnishings;
  • Product discoverability;
  • Availability (of products or people);
  • Quality of customer service;
  • Checkout process.

It doesn’t matter what the company does — whether it’s a large retailer like Walmart or your own freelance design business. If a business’s establishment doesn’t look good, operate flawlessly, or provide a good person-to-person experience, it’s going to be very hard to get people to return.

So, all those things you do to design a streamlined website journey should be applied to a bricks-and-mortar business’s interior.

Wrapping Up

Depending on the types of companies you build sites for, some of the channels and suggestions above might not be relevant. Hopefully, this has got you thinking about other ways you (and your clients) can extend the UX design and strategy from the website.

If you can maintain the high-quality user experience from channel to channel, your clients’ brands will get more business, grow their profitability, and see a rise in loyalty, too.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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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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Le bug est apparu après une mise à jour de l’application maison de Samsung. Les témoignages se concentrent autour des Galaxy S9, de Galaxy S9+ et Galaxy Note 8 mais d’autres modèles pourraient être concernés.
Source de l’article sur ZDNet

La version Web de l’application Messages permet donc de composer et d’envoyer des SMS depuis son ordinateur. Un gain de temps appréciable.
Source de l’article sur ZDNet