Articles

Is Change Positive for Web Designers?

As a web designer, you’re constantly being bombarded with messages that tell you to acquire new skills, try new tools, and keep on hustling.

But if you’re constantly changing things up, does it do the opposite of what you originally set out to do? In other words, if you always have to start over, is it possible to ever really achieve anything?

I think it ultimately depends on why you’re making the change.

When Change Is the Right Move for Web Designers

One of the reasons I despise New Year’s resolutions is because it’s change for the sake of change:

It’s a new year, so it’s time to get all hyped up about this one thing I need to change about myself!

There’s a reason why so many resolutions fail by February. When you force a change, it’s really hard to stay invested in it, especially if it’s something you’ve chosen to do because everyone else has.

Change should be driven by necessity.

That said, when it comes time to make changes as a web designer, is it ever really necessary? Or are you learning new skills, trying new tools, or switching up your client list simply because it’s what you believe you have to do?

It’s important to be open to change, but you should only invest your time, money, or effort when it’s the absolute right move for you. Here are some ways you’ll know when that’s the case:

Learn New Skills To…

…Round Out the Basics

If you’re a new designer and there are gaps in your education and training (and I don’t mean formally, just in general), then there’s no reason to hesitate in spending time to acquire those skills.

This doesn’t just go for basic skills as a web designer or as a coder. This also goes for skills you need to become a successful freelancer.

…Add Evergreen Skills to Future-Proof Your Position

As you move up in your career, you’ll eventually find other skills worth learning. Just make sure they’ll help you move the needle.

The best way to do that is to focus on acquiring evergreen skills that’ll always be useful to you, no matter what stage you’re at in your career or how the design landscape changes. They should also go beyond the average skill set of a designer, so they help you stand out further from the pack.

… Create a Better Situation for Yourself

The web is constantly evolving, which means that your responsibilities and skills as a web designer will have to change in order to adapt. Whenever one of these shake-ups occurs, you should either be ready to master the needed skill right away or, better yet, have been working on it beforehand.

Take, Google’s mobile-first indexing, for instance. It announced it was going to be making this shift years before website rankings were impacted. Designers had plenty of time to not only learn what was needed to design for the mobile-first web, but to get all their existing clients’ sites in shape for it.

Adopt New Tools When…

…Your Existing Ones Are Slowing You Down

If you’re doing a lot of things from-scratch (like writing emails to clients or creating contracts), that’s a good sign your toolbox needs some improvement.

As a web designer, you should be focused on creating, not on the tedious details involved in running a business or communicating with clients. That’s just not a good use of your time. A lot of this stuff can easily be automated with tools and templates.

…You’re Turning Down Business

In some cases, it’s the right thing to say “no” to prospective clients — like when they’re a bad fit or can’t afford your rates. However, there are other times when you desperately want to be able to say “yes”, but you don’t have the capacity for the job or you’re unable to cover the full scope of what they need.

This is where new tools come in handy. For instance, let’s say you’ve been approached by a ecommerce company that not only wants you to build a new store, but also needs it fully optimized for search (it’s not the first time this has happened either). Rather than turn something like that down, you may find that the addition of an SEO tool to your toolbox is all you need to be able to say “yes”.

…You Have Extra Room in Your Budget

Obviously, you don’t want to throw away money on a bunch of tools simply because a ton of people are talking about them. But you’ll eventually get to a point where the tools that served you well in the first year of business need to be replaced.

If you get to a point where you have extra time to experiment and there’s room in your budget for upgraded tools, go ahead and assess what you currently have and test out replacement solutions that will help you work better, faster, and smarter.

Look for New Business Opportunities If…

…You’re Not Doing Well

“Well” here is subjective. For instance:

  • If you’re not doing well financially, you probably need to look for more clients;
  • If you’re not doing well in terms of how you get along with clients, you should explore a niche that’s a better fit;
  • If you’re not happy with your job because burnout and stress have overtaken your life, then you might consider exploring other avenues of work.

When something has been amiss for awhile, the last thing you should do is lean into it and hope it gets better.

…The Web is Changing

Notice a trend here? Each of these changes (skills, tools, and now business opportunities) is often driven by the fact that the web is always changing. And as the web changes, you have to be ready to evolve.

In terms of business opportunities, what you’ll realistically need to do is look for new kinds of design work as technologies make your job obsolete. Take website builders like Wix or Shopify, for example. As business owners and entrepreneurs take it upon themselves to build their own websites, more and more web designers will need to find other kinds of clients and jobs to take on.

…You Want to Diversify Your Income

This is something many web designers are doing already as they’ve discovered how beneficial it is to have predictable recurring revenue streams.

But even if you’ve already found one way to diversify and stabilize your income (like by offering website maintenance services), you may become interested in exploring other opportunities along the way. If you have the capacity to pursue them, then go for it.

Is Change a Good Idea?

As you can see, change can be a very good thing for a web designer, their business, and their clients. However, there should be a very good reason for the change and you need to prepare yourself for how it’s going to impact what you’re doing now before implementing it. No amount of change can happen without some level of sacrifice.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

20 Unmissable Websites, July 2020

After six months of uncertainty 2020 is finally beginning to find a style of its own. There are nods to Brutalism, a delightful blending of 80s pastels with 90s primaries, and the font style of choice is anything but geometric sans-serif.

In this month’s collection of the freshest sites from the past four weeks you’ll find tons of new portfolios, from big agencies to freelancers, and some amazing primal scream therapy. Enjoy!

Looks Like You Need Iceland

Looks Like You Need Iceland is an incredible site that asks you to record a scream, that they’ll broadcast for you into the wide open spaces of Iceland as therapy. And then perhaps you’ll visit Iceland for real. It’s brilliant marketing for the Iceland tourist board.

Riverlane

The abstract 3D animation on Riverlane’s site is a stunning introduction to a topic that’s hard to visualize. The rest of the site is equally well done, with great typography, slick brand assets, and a professional engaging tone.

Monokai

Wimer Hazenberg’s site features a simple pixelated text column. But scroll down the page and keep an eye on the awesome text dissolve effect, it transforms this simple design.

I Weigh Community

The I Weigh Community is a non-profit community activism initiative helmed by Jameela Jamil. It’s devoted to radical inclusivity, and it promotes its message on its site with striking graphics and bold, expressive typography.

WAKA WAKA

Waka Waka is a design studio specializing in wooden furniture. The noise effect and the mid-century typography evoke the radical design of 60 years ago. The random rotations on the thumbnail hovers are delightfully disruptive.

Dataveyes

Dataveyes is an information design studio that works with large datasets to give meaning to complex information. Its site features beautiful, full-screen animations that illustrate the type of information it specializes in.

Year & Day

Year & Day is an ecommerce site that sells ceramics, glassware, and other choice pieces of tableware. It’s a colorful collection that perfectly complements your food and the stunning site takes its cues from the collection.

Dunderville

Dunderville is a motion design studio with an impressive portfolio of animation and live action films. Its site features a tactile paper fold detail, and as you would expect, some superb text, and vector animations.

André Venâncio

It’s been months since we last saw a creative developer’s site with a liquid effect. André Venâncio revisits the idea with a cool oil bubble effect, hover over the thumbnails to see it.

Thomas Prior

It’s not all 60s revivalism, pastels, and cute animations. There will always be room for minimalism, and nothing suits this style as well as portfolios for photographers; Thomas Prior’s site is a prime example.

Serra

Serra’s site features a really beautiful high-contrast typeface that sits apart from the usual sans-serif. The product page is all colored product photography. It exudes luxury and distinction in a saturated marketplace.

VYBES

VYBES is a CBD drink made in LA. Its site evokes the Californian spirit with baby pink brand colors and sun-bleached photography. It’s a cool, and ever so slightly Brutalist look for what is essentially a health drink.

Karina Sirqueira

We love the simplicity of Karina Sirqueira’s portfolio. The desaturated rainbow leads to a simple slideshow of projects, and it’s refreshing to see a minimal site that uses bold serif-based typography. The content feels fresh and honest too.

Smalls

Smalls produces healthy food for cats. The site, is packed with adorable pictures of kitties, which if you’re a cat person, is guaranteed to draw you in. There’s a definite Brutalist style to the site, and lots of color too.

Wildist

There’s a clear aesthetic beginning to emerge in 2020, with pastels creating a soft background for desaturated primaries, and Wildist gets it exactly right with this youthful, site that features just enough animation to bring it to life.

Kristen Kwong

We’ve seen a lot of OS-style sites recently, but Kristen Kwong’s is one of the slickest. It manages to take a simple metaphor for interaction and transform it with a vintage color scheme.

Stojo

Continuing the Miami-meets-Brutalism trend this month is the site for Stojo, a collapsable cup and bottle. The pastel shades block out a disrupted grid, but for our money it works better on mobile. The vintage typeface is a nice touch.

Hoang Nguyen

Hoang Nguyen’s site features a surreal 3D scene with mountains, a spinning planet, floating islands, a waterfall, and a floating dragon-boy. Click around the site and the scene transforms.

SMTH / Sam Smith

Sam Smith’s portfolio has a cool magazine style to it, with a nice blocky background on the text and a personality packed animated avatar taking centre stage.

Then I Met You

Then I met You is a site promoting a range of skincare products. In this case, the usual pastel colors are replaced with an 80s-style gradient. Watch the products as you scroll, the lighting changes creating an awesome, subtle 3D effect.

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

20 Unmissable Websites, July 2020

After six months of uncertainty 2020 is finally beginning to find a style of its own. There are nods to Brutalism, a delightful blending of 80s pastels with 90s primaries, and the font style of choice is anything but geometric sans-serif.

In this month’s collection of the freshest sites from the past four weeks you’ll find tons of new portfolios, from big agencies to freelancers, and some amazing primal scream therapy. Enjoy!

Looks Like You Need Iceland

Looks Like You Need Iceland is an incredible site that asks you to record a scream, that they’ll broadcast for you into the wide open spaces of Iceland as therapy. And then perhaps you’ll visit Iceland for real. It’s brilliant marketing for the Iceland tourist board.

Riverlane

The abstract 3D animation on Riverlane’s site is a stunning introduction to a topic that’s hard to visualize. The rest of the site is equally well done, with great typography, slick brand assets, and a professional engaging tone.

Monokai

Wimer Hazenberg’s site features a simple pixelated text column. But scroll down the page and keep an eye on the awesome text dissolve effect, it transforms this simple design.

I Weigh Community

The I Weigh Community is a non-profit community activism initiative helmed by Jameela Jamil. It’s devoted to radical inclusivity, and it promotes its message on its site with striking graphics and bold, expressive typography.

WAKA WAKA

Waka Waka is a design studio specializing in wooden furniture. The noise effect and the mid-century typography evoke the radical design of 60 years ago. The random rotations on the thumbnail hovers are delightfully disruptive.

Dataveyes

Dataveyes is an information design studio that works with large datasets to give meaning to complex information. Its site features beautiful, full-screen animations that illustrate the type of information it specializes in.

Year & Day

Year & Day is an ecommerce site that sells ceramics, glassware, and other choice pieces of tableware. It’s a colorful collection that perfectly complements your food and the stunning site takes its cues from the collection.

Dunderville

Dunderville is a motion design studio with an impressive portfolio of animation and live action films. Its site features a tactile paper fold detail, and as you would expect, some superb text, and vector animations.

André Venâncio

It’s been months since we last saw a creative developer’s site with a liquid effect. André Venâncio revisits the idea with a cool oil bubble effect, hover over the thumbnails to see it.

Thomas Prior

It’s not all 60s revivalism, pastels, and cute animations. There will always be room for minimalism, and nothing suits this style as well as portfolios for photographers; Thomas Prior’s site is a prime example.

Serra

Serra’s site features a really beautiful high-contrast typeface that sits apart from the usual sans-serif. The product page is all colored product photography. It exudes luxury and distinction in a saturated marketplace.

VYBES

VYBES is a CBD drink made in LA. Its site evokes the Californian spirit with baby pink brand colors and sun-bleached photography. It’s a cool, and ever so slightly Brutalist look for what is essentially a health drink.

Karina Sirqueira

We love the simplicity of Karina Sirqueira’s portfolio. The desaturated rainbow leads to a simple slideshow of projects, and it’s refreshing to see a minimal site that uses bold serif-based typography. The content feels fresh and honest too.

Smalls

Smalls produces healthy food for cats. The site, is packed with adorable pictures of kitties, which if you’re a cat person, is guaranteed to draw you in. There’s a definite Brutalist style to the site, and lots of color too.

Wildist

There’s a clear aesthetic beginning to emerge in 2020, with pastels creating a soft background for desaturated primaries, and Wildist gets it exactly right with this youthful, site that features just enough animation to bring it to life.

Kristen Kwong

We’ve seen a lot of OS-style sites recently, but Kristen Kwong’s is one of the slickest. It manages to take a simple metaphor for interaction and transform it with a vintage color scheme.

Stojo

Continuing the Miami-meets-Brutalism trend this month is the site for Stojo, a collapsable cup and bottle. The pastel shades block out a disrupted grid, but for our money it works better on mobile. The vintage typeface is a nice touch.

Hoang Nguyen

Hoang Nguyen’s site features a surreal 3D scene with mountains, a spinning planet, floating islands, a waterfall, and a floating dragon-boy. Click around the site and the scene transforms.

SMTH / Sam Smith

Sam Smith’s portfolio has a cool magazine style to it, with a nice blocky background on the text and a personality packed animated avatar taking centre stage.

Then I Met You

Then I met You is a site promoting a range of skincare products. In this case, the usual pastel colors are replaced with an 80s-style gradient. Watch the products as you scroll, the lighting changes creating an awesome, subtle 3D effect.

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

How to Improve Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and SEO

Contentful; Webster’s Dictionary defines “contentful” as… not found. Clearly someone made up this word, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

The world of user experience metrics is moving quickly, so new terminology is needed. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is one of a number of metrics measuring the render time of content on a web page.

What is Largest Contentful Paint?

Google defines LCP as “the render time of the largest content element visible within the viewport.” For what we are talking about in this blog, we will consider “content” to be an image, typically a JPEG or PNG file. In most cases, “largest” points to a hero image that is “above the fold” and is one of the first images people will notice when loading the page. Applying optimization to this largest content is critical to improving LCP.

It is probably more instructive to view LCP relative to other metrics. For example, First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Visually Complete book end LCP.

Each metric has its pros and cons, but LCP is a happy medium. LCP marks when web page loading starts to have a substantial impact on user experience.

In Google’s opinion, to provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading. Poor values are anything greater than 4 seconds.

How Does Largest Contentful Paint Impact Lighthouse Scores and SEO?

LCP is now part of several “Core Web Vitals” scores that Google will measure in its ranking algorithm. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.

In the case of the overall Google Lighthouse score, LCP represents 25% weighting on the performance score of Lighthouse version 6.0. This makes LCP the most important Core Web Vitals metric in determining the performance score.

While Google has indicated that content is still the most important factor in SEO ranking, a better user experience (as measured by Core Web Vitals) will generate higher rankings in a crowded field. If there are many websites competing for the top search engine spots, then Largest Contentful Paint will play a critical factor in rankings.

How to Improve Largest Contentful Paint

Now that you know that LCP is important, what can you do to improve it by making content load faster? Google provides a number of suggestions, but the most effective technique is to optimize content for the device requesting it.

For example, a website includes an 800kb JPEG image that is intended for high resolution desktops. On a smartphone, that would be optimized down to less than 100kb, with no perceptible impact on quality. LCP can improve by more than 60% — or several seconds — through this single optimization.

Find Savings in Largest Contentful Paint by using Image Speed Test

Image Speed Test is a great tool offered by ImageEngine.io that provides an analysis of LCP improvement opportunities. Just paste in the URL of the web page you are interested in optimizing, and the test will show you:

  • Image Payload Reduction
  • Speed Index
  • Largest Contentful Paint
  • Page Load Time (Visually Complete)

It also provides a video of the web page loading with and without optimizations. Finally, it analyses each image to provide an estimate of payload savings. In this case, the “largest content” on the page is this image. With optimizations, the image payload is reduced by 94%. That delivers a huge improvement in LCP.

How Does ImageEngine Improve LCP

ImageEngine is an image content delivery network (CDN) service that makes image optimization simple. Basically, for each image on the page, the image CDN will:

  1. Detect the device model requesting the web page;
  2. Optimize the image in terms of size, compression, image format;
  3. Deliver via a CDN edge server that is geographically closest to the user.

ImageEngine improves web performance for every image on the page, including the largest. You can learn more about ImageEngine here, and also sign up for a free trial.

Best Practices: Preconnect

In addition to using an image CDN like ImageEngine, a few other best practices can improve LCP. Using the resource hints to provide a preconnect for your content can streamline the download process.

For example, putting the following link statement in the HTML will accelerate the download process. The link statement will make the browser connect to the third party as early as possible so that download can start sooner. ImageEngine’s optimizations make each image download smaller and faster, but preconnect save time in the connection phase.

Best Practices: Minimize Blocking JavaScript and CSS

When JavaScript or CSS is “blocking” it means that the browser needs to parse and execute CSS and JavaScript in order to paint the final state of the page in the viewport.

Any website today relies heavily on both JavaScript and CSS, which means that it is almost impossible to avoid some render blocking resources. On a general note: be careful with what kind of CSS and JavaScript is referenced inside the <head> element. Make sure that only the strictly necessary resources are loaded in <head>. The rest can be deferred or loaded asynchronously.

When looking to improve the LCP specifically, there are some practices worth looking into more deeply.

Inline Critical CSS

It is not an easy task, but if the browser can avoid making a request to get the CSS needed to render the critical part of the page – usually the “above the fold” part – the LCP is likely to occur earlier. Also you will avoid content shifting around and maybe even a Flash of Unstyled Content (FOUC).

The critical CSS — the CSS needed by the browser to set up the structure and important styles of the part of the page shown above the fold — should in-inlined. This inlined CSS may also refer to background images, which of course should also be served by an Image CDN.

Do Not Use JavaScript to (lazy) Load Images

Many modern browsers natively support lazy loading, without the use of JavaScript. Because images usually are heavily involved in the performance of LCP, it is best practice to leave image loading to the browser and avoid adding JavaScript in order to lazy load images.

Lazy loading driven by JavaScript will add additional latency if the browser first has to load and parse JavaScript, then wait for it to execute, and then render images. This practice will also break the pre-parser in the browser.

If an image CDN is used to optimize images, then the benefits of lazy loading become much smaller. Especially large hero images that are above the fold have a large impact on LCP and will not benefit from being lazy loaded with JavaScript. It is best not to make JavaScript a blocking issue for rendering images, but rather rely on the browser’s own ability to select which images should be lazy loaded.

 

[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of ImageEngine –]

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

In Memory of Flash: 1996-2020

We are gathered here today….

Today I write in memory of Adobe Flash (née Macromedia), something that a bunch of people are actually too young to remember. I write this with love, longing, and a palpable sense of relief that it’s all over. I have come to praise Flash, to curse it, and finally to bury it.

We’ve been hearing about the death of Flash for a long time. We know it’s coming. December 2020 has been announced as the official timeframe for removal, but let’s be real about this: it’s dead. It’s super-dead. It’s people-are-selling-Flash-game-archives-on-Steam dead.

That last bit actually makes me happy, because Flash games were a huge part of my childhood, and the archives must be preserved. Before I’d ever heard of video cards, frames per second, and “git gud”, I was whiling away many an hour on disney.com, cartoonnetwork.com, MiniClip, Kongregate, and other sites, looking for games.

I think we’ve established in my previous work that even as a missionary kid, I did not have a social life.

The Internet itself gave me a way to reach out and see beyond my house, my city, and my world, and it was wonderful. Flash was a part of that era when the Internet felt new, fresh, and loaded with potential. Flash never sent anyone abuse, or death threats. Flash was for silly animations, and games that my parent’s computer could just barely handle, after half an hour of downloading.

I even built my first animated navigation menus in Flash, because I didn’t know any better. At all. But those menus looked exactly like the ones I’d designed in Photoshop, so that’s what mattered to me, young as I was.

That was a part of Flash’s charm, really.

What Flash Got Right

Flash Brought Online Multimedia into the Mainstream

Funny story, JavaScript was only about a year old when Flash was released. While HTML5 and JS are the de-facto technologies for getting things done now, Flash was, for many, the better option at launch. JS had inconsistent support across browsers, and didn’t come with a handy application that would let you draw and animate whatever you wanted.

It was (in part) Flash that opened up a world of online business possibilities, that made people realize the Internet had potential rivalling that of television. It brought a wave of financial and social investment that wouldn’t be seen again until the advent of mainstream social networks like MySpace.

The Internet was already big business, but Flash design became an industry unto itself.

Flash Was Responsive

Yeah, Flash websites could be reliably responsive (and still fancy!) before purely HTML-based sites pulled it off. Of course, it was called by other names back then, names like “Liquid Design”, or “Flex Design”. But you could reliably build a website in Flash, and you knew it would look good on everything from 800×600 monitors, to the devastatingly huge 1024×768 screens.

You know, before those darned kids with their “wide screens” took over. Even then, Flash still looked good, even if a bunch of people suddenly had to stop making their sites with a square-ish aspect ratio.

Flash Was Browser-Agnostic

On top of being pseudo-responsive, the plugin-based Flash player was almost guaranteed to work the same in every major browser. Back in a time when Netscape and Internet Explorer didn’t have anything that remotely resembled feature parity, the ability to guarantee a consistent website experience was to be treasured. When FireFox and Chrome came out, with IE lagging further behind, that didn’t change.

While the CSS Working Group and others fought long and hard for the web to become something usable, Flash skated by on its sheer convenience. If your site was built in Flash, you didn’t have to care which browsers supported the <marquee> tag, or whatever other ill-conceived gimmick was new and trendy.

Flash Popularized Streaming Video

Remember when YouTube had a Flash-based video player? Long before YouTube, pretty much every site with video was using Flash to play videos online. It started with some sites I probably shouldn’t mention around the kids, and then everyone was doing it.

Some of my fondest memories are of watching cartoon clips as a teenager. I’d never gotten to watch Gargoyles or Batman: The Animated Series as a young kid, those experience came via the Internet, and yes… Flash. Flash video players brought me Avatar: The Last Airbender, which never ever had a live action adaptation.

Anyway, my point: Flash made online video streaming happen. If you’ve ever loved a Netflix or Prime original show (bring back The Tick!), you can thank Macromedia.

What Flash Got Wrong

Obviously, not everything was rosy and golden. If it was, we’d have never moved on to bigger, better things. Flash had problems that ultimately killed it, giving me the chance, nay, the responsibility of eulogizing one of the Internet’s most important formative technologies.

Firstly, it was buggy and insecure: This is not necessarily a deal-breaker in the tech world, and Microsoft is doing just fine, thank you. Still, as Flash matured and the code-base expanded, the bugs became more pronounced. The fact that it was prone to myriad security issues made it a hard sell to any company that wanted to make money.

Which is, you know, all of them.

Secondly, it was SEO-unfriendly: Here was a more serious problem, sales-wise. While we’re mostly past the era when everyone and their dog was running a shady SEO company, search engines are still the lifeblood of most online businesses. Having a site that Google can’t index is just a no-go. By the time Google had managed to index SWF files, it was already too late.

Thirdly, its performance steadily got worse: With an expanding set of features and code, the Flash plugin just took more and more resources to run. Pair it with Chrome during that browser’s worst RAM-devouring days, and you have a problem.

Then, while desktops were getting more and more powerful just (I assume) to keep up with Flash, Apple went and introduced the iPhone. Flash. Sucked. On. Mobile. Even the vendors that went out of their way to include a Flash implementation on their smartphones almost never did it well.

It was so much of a hassle that when Apple officially dropped Flash support, the entire world said, “Okay, yeah, that’s fair.”

Side note: Flash always sucked on Linux. I’m just saying.

Ashes to Ashes…

Flash was, for its time, a good thing for the Internet as a whole. We’ve outgrown it now, but it would be reckless of us to ignore the good things it brought to the world. Like the creativity of a million amateur animators, and especially that one cartoon called “End of Ze World”.

Goodbye Flash, you sucked. And you were great. Rest in peace. Rest in pieces. Good riddance. I’ll miss you.

 

 

Featured image via Fabio Ballasina and Daniel Korpai.

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Grab Free SSL Certificates From ZeroSSL

Like it or not, we’re slowly edging towards a two-tier web: those sites that are secure, and…everything else.

There was a time on the web, when we didn’t have SSL certificates, and lots of people’s data got stolen. To address the problem, and regain users’ trust SSL certificates were introduced to secure sites handling sensitive data. And because they were initially a niche technology, you paid through the nose for them.

(An SSL certificate, for those that don’t know, is the difference between http:// and https://)

Then, thanks in part to privacy initiatives, and in part to high-profile data breaches, a few big players decided that all data should be protected. And the next thing you know, Google’s using SSL certificates as a ranking factor. And then suddenly browsers are warning people that non-SSL certified sites are insecure and they should “Get Out of Here!” And before long your hobby blog about cat-friendly board games is being billed hundreds of dollars a year just to be seen on the web.

Choosing whether to jump on the SSL bandwagon is simple: you have to have one. Finding an affordable SSL certificate, now that’s a challenge.

Most hosting companies will provide you with an SSL certificate as an add-on, and they’ll charge you anything up to $200 per year for it.

That’s why we’re blown away by ZeroSSL, because ZeroSSL is the first practical opportunity to grab an SSL certificate for your site, for free!

Get an SSL Certificate for Free

Now, it must be said that ZeroSSL isn’t the first place to offer a free SSL certificate. Plenty of hosts offer a “free” SSL certificate for the first year, when you pay for premium hosting. And there’s Let’s Encrypt which offers free certificates if you can work out how to access them.

ZeroSSL is just the first place to offer a genuinely free SSL certificate that you don’t need a post-grad degree in server engineering in order to use.

Get a Free SSL Certificate from ZeroSSL

Using ZeroSSL’s free-forever plan you can register three 90-day certificates entirely free. You’ll never need to pay for them, just renew every few months.

ZeroSSL also offers a variety of packages for simplifying your SSL management. The Basic package for example starts at $8/month and offers unlimited 90-day certificates, and even three 1-year certificates so you can renew annually and forget about them the rest of the time.

ZeroSSL also scales; if you need unlimited 1-year certificates — because you have, erm, unlimited websites? — that’s possible too.

Where ZeroSSL Excels

ZeroSSL offers a number of benefits over its competitors.

Firstly there’s the full-featured management console, that makes SSL management transparent. It sounds like a little thing, but with many other suppliers the first thing you know about your SSL certificate expiring is your site breaking.

ZeroSSL…makes managing your certificates…insanely easy.

ZeroSSL has an easy-to-use REST API, which can be used with the language of choice: PHP, Ruby, ASP, anything. It makes managing your certificates for multiple sites insanely easy.

Verifying SSL certificates can be confusing, and technically difficult. But ZeroSSL streamlines the process with automatic CSRs and one-step email validation (even for multiple domains) — considerably faster and easier than industry standard DNS validation. There’s even a one-click check to make sure your certificate is installed correctly.

Most importantly, ZeroSSL offers superb technical support on all of its paid plans. So if you’re one of the many people who started reading this post without fully understanding what an SSL certificate is, you can be confident that if you run into difficulties getting set up, there’s someone available 24/7 to dig you out of the hole.

Getting Started with ZeroSSL

If by now you’re planning to try ZeroSSL, the best place to start is the free-forever plan. ZeroSSL allows you to upgrade, downgrade, or cancel at any time, so it makes sense to start with the no-credit-card option and upscale if you need it.

Using ZeroSSL’s dashboard you can create a free 90-day SSL certificate in minutes, and the step-by-step installation instructions will guide you all the way through.

ZeroSSL’s 1-year certificates are the gold-standard of SSL protection

ZeroSSL auto-generates certificates in different formats depending on your choice of platform, to speed up installation.

You can register certificates for multiple domains — you will have to verify each domain individually, but it’s simple to setup. Premium plan users can even use wildcards, allowing you to secure a site with multiple sub-domains, from a single certificate.

ZeroSSL’s 1-year certificates are the gold-standard of SSL protection and are the option that most site owners will come to rely on.

If you’re running an agency and you’re responsible for maintaining multiple client sites, ZeroSSL is made for you. ZeroSSL’s dashboard gives you one central location to monitor the status of all of your SSL certificates, and you can set expiry reminders to notify you by email when a certificate is about to expire.

Automated SSL Renewal with ZeroSSL

If that sounds too much work, and you’d like to automate your SSL certificates, ZeroSSL has you covered.

ZeroSSL works with both its own dedicated ACME Certbot, and more than ten other third-party ACME clients to fully automate your SSL certificates absolutely free, on a rolling 90-day schedule.

If you really know what you’re doing, you might even consider the ZeroSSL’s REST API. It enables certificate creation, validation, renewal, and management using HTTPS Get calls and JSON responses. The API handles millions of requests per month using 256-bit bank-level HTTPS encryption. You can access the API for free, and the Pro plan offers unlimited access.

Go Get Certified

There are millions of sites that drop traffic every month because they lack an SSL certificate.

Whatever your site, it’s not a question of whether you need an SSL certificate, it’s how you can affordably manage to create, install, and monitor a certificate.

ZeroSSL solves all of the problems of SSL certificate management, and for the majority of users, its free-forever plan is all you’ll ever need.

Head over to zerossl.com today to boost your traffic with a free SSL certificate.

 

[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of ZeroSSL –]

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Exciting New Tools for Designers, July 2020

Some of the changes we are seeing with where we work are starting to pop up in the type of new tools made for designers and developers. More tools with remote collaboration as a key feature are increasing in popularity. (You’ll find a few of those here.)

Here’s what new for designers this month.

Webdesign Toolbox

Webdesign Toolbox is a collection of tools, apps, and resources all in one location for designers and developers. The best part of this resource is that it is human-curated, so every tool is quality checked and makes the list because it has been tested and researched. Search the collection by design, dev, stock, typography, UX, or workflow tools (and more) and use them to help create more efficiently. The collection is constantly growing, too.

CodeStream

CodeStream might be the new-world workflow tool for web designers and developers. It is made for remote teams to review code right inside your IDE without breaking from development flow. You can post and review changes and comments are all independent of the code itself, even though they link to it.

Litur

Litur is a color management app for iOS. Use it to find and collect color swatches, create custom palettes, and even check color combinations against accessibility standards. The app can even generate color codes for you from swatches you find from a photo or image upload or create. The app works on mobile and desktop Mac devices and is a paid app.

Editor X

Editor X, which is still in beta, is a website building tool that combines advanced design and prototyping capabilities with secure web hosting and integrated business solutions. Go from an idea straight to production in a highly intuitive design workspace. The best feature might be exact design precision tools.

Grid Cheatsheet

Grid Cheatsheet is a visual and code-based set of “cheats” based on the W3C CSS Grid Specifications. What’s nice is it makes these guidelines easier to understand and use if reading through them makes you a little uneasy.

Tutorialist

Tutorialist brings together some of the best development tutorials on the web. All of the tutorials are free videos available on YouTube, and this project collects them all in one place.

Pure CSS Halftone Portrait from JPG

Pure CSS Halftone Portrait from JPG is a beautiful pen from Ana Tudor that shows how to change the visual representation of an image. The examples are brilliant and in true halftone fashion. The code snippet works with color, or black and white images as well.

VoiceText for Slack

VoiceText for Slack is another work from home productivity tool. Integrate it with Slack and send messages with text that’s transcribed right in your channels. It’s a free integration and supports 18 languages.

Feature Peek

Feature Peek is a developer tool that helps you get frontend staging environments on demand and gather team feedback earlier in the development process. It’s made for use with GitHub and works with a variety of other tools as well.

Formbutton

Formbutton is a simple and customizable pop-up form. (And we all know websites have plenty of them right now.) It connects to other services you already use, such as Google Sheets and MailChimp, and is simple to set up.

Blocksy Theme

Blocksy is a WordPress theme that’s made for non-coders. It’s a zippy and highly visual theme made for Gutenberg. It works with other builders and allows the user to customize pretty much everything visually. (There’s even a dark mode.) The theme is packed with tools and options and is a free download.

Oh My Startup Illustrations

Oh My Startup Illustrations is a set of vector illustrations in several categories featuring a popular style on many projects. Use the characters and scenes to create a semi-custom story for your startup project.

1mb

1mb is a code editor and host where you can create a static website with a custom domain and SSL included. The editor works in-browser and everything is saved in the cloud.

Linear

Linear is an issue tracking Mac app for teams. It’s designed to help streamline software projects, sprints, and tasks, and can integrate with standard tools such as Github, Figma, and Slack.

Hosting Checker

Hosting Checker solves a common issue – a client wants you to work on their website, but has no idea who hosts it. Hosting Checker shows the user hosting provider and IP address the website uses, along with where its server computers are located and the host’s contact details. It also claims to be 82% faster than other similar tools.

Spike

Spike alerts you to website incidents before customers. Create alerts and get a phone call, text message, email, or Slack notification right away. The tool provides unlimited alerts and integrations to you can stay on top of issues before they become real problems.

Magnus UI

Magnus UI is a framework that helps you building consistent user interfaces in React. It comes with plenty of components ready to use and you can customize the theme.

SpreadSimple

SpreadSimple uses data in Google Sheets to create styled websites with features such as filtering, search, sorting, cart, order collection via forms, and much more. Update the sheet and instantly see changes on the website.

WebP vs. JPEG

Google is starting to suggest using it’s WebP image format to decrease load times, because of the lighter file size. But is WebP better than the traditional JPEG? Developer Johannes Siipola tested the file types at different sizes to answer the question. The answer is a bit complicated, but sometimes it might be better; read the full analysis for more.

Oh Dear

Oh Dear is a website monitoring tool that can help you keep a check on websites. Monitor uptime, SSL certificates, broken links, and more with notifications that come right to you if there’s an issue.

Airconnect

Airconnect is a Zoom video conferencing alternative that you can use for your brand with a custom header, colors, and portal for clients. The tool includes video calling as well as the ability for customers to access their data and automate your onboarding process.

Free Faces

Free Faces is a curated collection of free typefaces that you can browse and use in projects. Search by type style with visual results that include a download link.

All the Roll

All the Roll is a fun novelty font for just the right type of project. It includes 167 characters with swash characters that can be added before or after certain letters.

Backrush

Backrush is a handwriting-style typeface with easy strokes and a pen-like feel. It includes thicker letterforms with nice swashes and a full character set.

Thuner

Thuner is a slab display font with interesting quirks. It’s made for larger than life designs. It includes a full uppercase character set and numerals.

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

8 Design Secrets of B2B Vs B2C Websites

Web design clients come from a wide variety of backgrounds. One day, you’ll be designing a portfolio website for a voiceover artist, the next you’ll be creating a comprehensive ecommerce site for a leading retailer. In an ideal world, you’ll get to a point where you eventually specialize in a niche. However, you’ll need to master both avenues first.

The more time you spend in this industry, the more you’ll learn that every client comes with their own unique requirements and challenges to consider. However, there’s a particularly huge divide between the kind of web design projects you do for B2B clients, and the ones you do for B2C customers.

Both B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) websites need to be clear, concise, and aesthetically pleasing. They should always have a strong focus on user experience, and they need to work consistently across devices. However, being aware of the difference between B2B and B2C projects will help you to deliver better results to your customers.

Defining the Differences Between B2B and B2C Sites

Some web design trends remain consistent in any environment.

Whether you’re creating a site for a hairdresser, or a leading SaaS company, you’ll need to deliver responsive design, intuitive navigation, and excellent site security.

Your process is unlikely to differ from B2B to B2C much in terms of project milestones, phases, prototyping and wire-framing. The differences that arise between B2B and B2C projects often come in the approach you take to building certain elements.

Let’s take a closer look at the things you might need to consider:

1. The Target Audience

In any design project, it’s always important to keep the end customer in mind. Knowing your client’s target audience will help you to create both an image and a tone of voice that appeals to the right people.

B2B Websites

With B2B websites, you’ll be speaking to a range of highly-educated individuals who already have a general knowledge of your service. The aim here will be to show the end-user how you can help them achieve better results. For instance, m.io highlights “syncing communication” so you can “effortlessly chat” with your team.

The language and content of the website is all about highlighting the key benefits of the products, and the kind of outcomes that they can deliver. The Nielsen Norman Group reports that there’s often a lot of discussion between decision-makers when they’re checking out a B2B website.  

Designers need to work harder at convincing B2B buyers that they’re making the right decision. This is particularly true when you’re selling something like a software subscription that requires a lot of long—term investment.

B2C Websites

On the other hand, while B2B customers make decisions based on logic, information, and well-explained benefits, B2C customers are more influenced by emotion. They want quick solutions to their problems, and the opportunity to purchase from a brand that “understands” them.

Look at the Firebox website, for instance. It instantly highlights an ongoing sale at the top of the homepage, addressing any concerns a customer might have about price. That combined with a quirky layout full of authentic photos and bright colors means that customers are more inclined to take action.

2. The Purpose

Another factor that can vary from B2C to B2B websites, is the motive behind a customer’s purchase. Knowing what’s pushing a target audience to interact with a brand will help you to create a website that appeals to specific goals.

B2B Websites

B2B websites often aim to solve expensive and time-consuming problems for companies. To sell a decision-maker on the validity of a solution, it’s important to thoroughly explain what the solution is, how it works, and how it addressees a specific pain point.

Look at the Zoom website for instance, they don’t just tell people that they offer video conferencing, they address the practical applications of the platform:

B2C Websites

Consumers are a lot easier to appeal to in terms of emotional impact, because many of them come to a website looking to fulfill an urgent need. Because of this, many web designers can take advantage of things like urgency and demand to encourage conversions. For instance, look at this website from TravelZoo. It takes advantage of a customer’s desire to get away:

A B2B website needs to focus on providing information that helps companies to make more confident decisions. What’s more, with B2B sites, decisions are often made by several stakeholders, while B2C sites ask a single person to make a choice. A B2C website needs to address immediate concerns and connect with customers on an emotional level. B2C buyers still want to do their research on products or services, but the turnaround is much quicker, and often requires less information.

3. The Design Elements (Visual Appearance)

Just as the focus of your website design and the audience that you’re creating the experience for can differ from B2B to B2C websites, the visual elements of the design might change too.

B2B Websites

In most cases, B2B websites are all about presenting a highly professional and respectable image. You’ll notice a lot of safe and clear choices when it comes to typography and imagery. It’s unusual to see a B2B website that takes risks with things like illustrations and animations.

Look at the Green Geeks website for instance. Everything is laid out to encourage clarity and understanding. Information is easy to find, and there are no other issues that might distract a customer.

B2C Websites

On the other hand, B2C websites can be a little more daring. With so many different options to choose from, and most customers buying out of a sense of urgency or sudden demand, designers are under pressure to capture attention quick. This means that it’s much more likely to see large pieces of eye-catching imagery on B2C sites, with very little text.

Movement, like slideshows and animations often play more of a role here. Additionally, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to experiment more aggressively with color. Take a look at the Yotel website, for instance. There’s very little textual information here, but the appeal of the website is conveyed through sliding images:

4. Website Content

The way that information is conveyed on a B2B website is very different to the messages portrayed on a B2C site. Usually, everything from the language, to the amount of content that you use for these projects will differ drastically.

B2B Websites

When designing for a B2B website, you’ll need to be careful with content, as you’ll be speaking to a very mixed audience. If your site caters to different industries, you’ll need to ensure that you show authority, without using too much jargon. Some companies even create different pages on their site for specific customers. The aspin.co.uk website covers the benefits from a company, sale and integration perspective:

Rather than try to talk to all business owners about their differing communication pains, G-Suite anticipates its audience and creates pages for each.

B2C Websites

Alternatively, B2C websites can make things a little simpler. For instance, on glossybox.co.uk, there’s no need to provide a ton of information for different types of shopper, designers can appeal to one audience, i.e. the “beauty addict”:

In both B2B and B2C websites, the aim of the content should always be to answer any questions that the end user might have.

5. CTA Buttons

Call to Action buttons are often a crucial part of the web design journey. However, it’s sometimes difficult to determine where they should be placed, or how many buttons you need.

B2B Websites

Because the decision to buy something won’t always happen immediately with a B2B website, these kinds of sites often use a variety of CTAs. For instance, you might have a “Request a Quote” button at the top of a page, as well as a Sign in button.

On the Klaviyo site, for instance, you can request a demo, sign up or log in:

You can place CTAs lower on the page with B2B websites too, as it’s more likely that your customers will be scrolling through the site to collect more information before they decide to buy.

B2C Websites

On the other hand, with B2C websites, you usually don’t need to give your visitors as many options. A single option to “Add to Cart”, or perhaps an extra choice to “Add to Favorites” is all your user will need. Customers need to instantly see what they need to do next as soon as they arrive on a page:

On the Evil Hair website, you immediately see how to add a product to your cart.

Remember, the sales process is a lot quicker with B2C customers. This means that you need your CTA buttons to be front and center as soon as someone clicks on a page.

6. Contact Forms

In a similar vein, the way that you design your contact forms will also depend on the end-user that the website wants to appeal to. There’s a very different process for getting in touch on a B2B website, compared to a B2C site.

B2B Websites

B2B websites often require longer contact forms, as clients need to collect additional information about a prospect’s position in a company, and what that company does. B2B companies need to share things like what they’re looking for in a service, and how many users they have, so a sales team knows what kind of demonstration to give.

As with any strategy for contact form design, you should always only include the fields that your client needs and no more. If you demand too much from any client, you could send them running in the opposite direction. Check out this straightforward option from Ironpaper, for instance:

The form addresses as many relevant questions as possible without overwhelming the customer. Because the site handles things like design, it makes sense that they would ask for a link to the company’s existing website.

B2C Websites

On a B2C website, there are very different approaches to contact forms. You may have a dedicated contact form on your website where people can get in touch if they have any questions. A FAQ page where customers can serve themselves is another great way to help your client stand out from the competition. Check out this option from River Island, for instance:

On the other hand, you might implement pop-up contact forms into a website if your client wants to collect emails for email marketing. In that case, it’s important to make sure that you’re only asking for the information you need, and nothing more.

The easier it is to sign up for a newsletter, the more likely it is that customers will do it. Being able to enter their name and email address and nothing else will make the signup seem less tasking.

7. Search Bars and Navigation

Whether you’re designing for B2B or B2C companies, navigation will always be a critical concern. End users need to find it easy to track down the information that they need about a company, whether they’re looking for a particular product or a blog.

B2B Websites

On a B2B website, the search bar often takes up a lot less prominence than it does on a B2C site. That’s because all of the information that a client needs, and the buttons they need to take their next steps, are already visible front-and-center.

As a designer, it will be your job to push as many people to convert as possible, by making the purchasing journey the most appealing path for visitors. For instance, on the Copper website, the “Try Free” buttons are much easier to see than “Continue with Google” or “Login”:

With B2B sites, the focus is on a very specific goal. Although navigation still needs to be available, it doesn’t need to be as obvious as it is on a B2C site.

B2C Websites

On the other hand, most B2C websites offer a wide range of products, and they’re perfectly happy for their customers to purchase anything, as long as they eventually convert. Because of this, they make navigation a much more significant part of the customer journey.

The search bar is often presented at the very top of the screen where customers can see it immediately. Additionally, there may be multiple pages within certain product categories, so that customers can browse through the items they’re most interested in. For instance, look at the homepage on the IWoot website:

The navigation elements in B2C websites need to be a lot more obvious, because consumers are more likely to use them when they’re searching through their options.

8. Social Proof and Testimonials

Finally, social proof is one of the things that will work well for improving conversions on any kind of website. When your customers aren’t sure whether or not they should buy from you, a review or testimonial could be just the thing to push them over the edge.

B2B Websites

On a B2B website, the decision-making process takes a lot longer. Because of this, it’s worth including as much social proof as possible in every part of the website. Client testimonials, reviews and ratings, and even high-profile company logos make all the difference. Many B2B websites include a page dedicated to case studies highlighting the success of other brands.

Your client might even go as far as to ask for a page that highlights their awards and recognition or showcases comparison tables that pit their products against the competition.

For instance, Authority Hacker has a “what the pros say about us” section as social proof:

B2C Websites

With a consumer website, you can include consumer ratings and reviews wherever you like. However, it’s most likely that you’ll want to have a place where customers can see the reviews of other clients on the product pages themselves. On the EMP website the company gives users the option to click on the star review section to jump to a different space on the page where testimonials are listed. This ensures that customers don’t have to scroll through a lot of excess information if they just want to add an item straight to their cart.

Designing for B2B vs B2C

In the world of web design, no two customers are ever the same. While you’ll need to adapt your processes to suit each customer you interact with, you can set your expectations in advance by learning the differences between B2B and B2C strategies.

 

Featured images by Chris Ross Harris and Mike Kononov.

Source

p img {display:inline-block; margin-right:10px;}
.alignleft {float:left;}
p.showcase {clear:both;}
body#browserfriendly p, body#podcast p, div#emailbody p{margin:0;}

Source de l’article sur