Category Archives: internet

12 Instagram Accounts For UI & UX Design Inspiration

Instagram is one of the best sites to find quality UX inspiration. But you need to know who to follow and which hashtags are worth browsing.

I’m hoping this article will set you on the right path with a collection of the 12 best UX accounts on Instagram. These are all very active and perfect for anyone breaking into the field, or looking to expand their reach with more Instagram inspiration.

1. @ux_ui_wireframes

uiux wireframe instagram

My absolute favorite account is @ux_ui_wireframes and it’s been around for years now.

New posts are frequently added, and many of them are sourced from designer accounts through hashtags. So this works like a curation resource where the account owner connects with other designers and asks if they can republish the photo on their account.

Naturally this draws more attention to the designer’s work and gives you a bunch of diverse UX inspiration. Cool stuff!

2. @uxdesignmastery

ux design mastery

Here’s another one I really like that’s pushing just about 100k followers.

The @uxdesignmastery account comes from the main website offering tutorials and courses on this topic. So their photos are meant to guide you towards the site and increase users while offering some cool inspiration.

New UX designers will find this incredibly valuable since the website is chock full of knowledge. But even if you just follow the Instagram account you can still learn a lot from their uploads.

3. @wireflow

wireflow instagram page

The team at @wireflow have their own Instagram account for publishing custom wireframes, prototypes, and storyboards for user flows.

Again this is managed by the main site which promotes their tool for simple flowchart management. It’s actually a great tool because you can use it freely on the web and the results are instantaneous in your browser.

But their Instagram account goes beyond digital work to include a lot of hand-drawn wireframes and user flows. Excellent for people who prefer classic methods of brainstorming.

4. @uxpiration

uxpiration instagram

With a following of 12k designers and growing fast, one of my favorite newer accounts is @uxpiration.

It’s built solely to promote designers and help get work out there for ideas. This account almost takes on a communal feel giving back to the overall design community.

Well worth following if you want UX, UI, or general design inspiration.

5. @uxdesigns

uxdesigns instagram

Looking for animated interface designs? Then you’ll want to follow the @uxdesigns Instagram page.

A lot of these photos are pulled from Dribbble where designers share UX animations and custom interfaces. They’re all tagged properly so you can usually find the original designer pretty quickly.

But this is one feature I like about Instagram’s support for GIFs, and it shows just how useful this account is.

6. @humble_ux

humble ux instagram

For a good mix of digital and traditional, check out @humble_ux.

It has almost 20,000 followers and over 150 posts with many new ones added every week. The photos come from the Humble UX team who curate shots from around the web and share a few of their own too.

Most designs are sketches or brainstorms on a whiteboard, so you’ll see a lot of traditional mediums. This is great for all types of UX from mobile to websites and even desktop apps too.

7. @uiuxgifs

uiuxgifs instagram

Here’s a premiere animation UX account that everyone should know about.

@uiuxgifs only publishes animated designs that feature logos, icons, or interfaces in motion. It’s a fairly large account with over 50,000 followers and they update constantly.

But the thing to note is that they publish a lot more than just interfaces. Many of their posts do center around logos and icons that animate separate from any interface, so this may not be as relevant to strict UX designers.

8. @uitrends

uitrends instagram

On the flip side here’s an account that only focuses on interfaces. The @uitrends Instagram is full of custom designs and even redesigns from popular websites.

Many of these are sourced from Dribbble so they all have that Dribbblification look to them.

But there are some gems mixed in, and you can find a lot of quality inspiration on this page. Plus they frequently update so it’s an excellent resource to browse for design ideas.

9. @interaction_design_foundation

interaction design Instagram

The Interaction Design Foundation offers lessons and courses in UX design along with free articles for beginners. It’s a massive resource with a ton of great learning materials on the topic of user experience.

So naturally they have an Instagram account and it’s got a lot of posts in there.

As of this writing it totals over 1,330 posts and has just above 16,000 followers. This is one of the few Instagram accounts that mixes UX inspiration along with photos featuring tips, advice, infographics, statistics, and quotes from UX designers.

I definitely recommend this account for adding some variety to your feed.

10. @wittydigital

wittydigital instagram

The team at @wittydigital run a gorgeous digital design account with over 50,000 followers.

I’m not sure who updates this account but it is the official one for Witty Digital’s agency. It’s a massive international design firm with operations from Hong Kong to the Israel.

But their Instagram account is packed full of animated UX pieces and some really inspiring design concepts. Well worth following if you love animated GIF designs.

11. @Uidesignpatterns

uidesignpatterns instagram

@Uidesignpatterns is quite possibly the largest Instagram account on design work.

It totals a massive 167,000 followers with only about 600 posts. These posts come from designers from all over the world, and you can even tag your content on Instagram to have them feature your work.

Each post includes a mention to the designer so you can browse around and find people who may inspire your work. Plus this account is really made for designers, and you can tell by some of the humorous posts they do.

12. @instaui

instaui instagram

Last but certainly not least is @instaui. This one’s also pretty large with over 50k followers and new posts every day or so.

One thing to note is that despite their username they don’t always post UI designs. There are lots of digital illustrations, vector icons, logo designs, and general graphic design pieces.

But this is still a really cool Instagram account if you’re looking for general design ideas and want to follow active accounts that update on the regular.

And if you want to try finding even more accounts, check out the #uxdesign hashtag. If you dig deep enough, you’re bound to find more profiles worth following.

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10 Essential WooCommerce Plugins for Managing Your Store

What makes WooCommerce such a compelling eCommerce platform is that, just like other WordPress plugins, it can be extended to perform more and more tasks. For example, complex functionality (advanced reporting, rewards programs, etc.) that used to be reserved for high-end SaaS providers is now within everyone’s reach.

Even so, shopkeepers don’t always need something complicated. In fact, they often need to add more basic functionality that makes life easier for both them and their customers. And plugin authors have excelled at extending WooCommerce in this area, as well.

Here are 10 plugins that you can use to build the WooCommerce store you’ve always wanted:

WooCommerce Wallet

WooCommerce Wallet is an interesting solution for shops who want to allow customers to keep a balance on hand.

Customers can deposit funds, earn cash back and even request a refund. The plugin also allows for partial payments which could be handy for big-ticket items. Site admins can directly add funds to a user’s account from the back end, as well.

WooCommerce Wallet

WooCommerce Ultimate Reports

WooCommerce Ultimate Reports serves a very important need. It generates a variety of reports to help you make sense of your sales. You can view reports for product variations, taxes, inventory, and coupon use, along with various profit types.

Overall, there are 55+ reports included. Data can also be exported to XLS, CSV and PDF formats. Finding trends and analyzing data isn’t a strongpoint of WooCommerce out-of-the-box, so adding it in is critical.

WooCommerce Ultimate Reports

XL WooCommerce Sales Triggers

While XL WooCommerce Sales Triggers doesn’t add big-time functionality, it does specialize in adding the little details that help to drive sales. Many of the seven included sales triggers are staples of major eCommerce retailers.

The Countdown Timer, Stock Alert and Potential Savings encourage action. The Most Recent Sales Activity, Guarantees, Best Sellers and Satisfaction Rate increase consumer confidence. They may be little things, but they can add up to something big.

XL WooCommerce Sales Triggers

WooCommerce Ultimate Points and Rewards

WooCommerce Ultimate Points and Rewards enables you to set up a rather sophisticated customer rewards program.

You can reward customers based on their purchases, referrals, posting comments or just for signing up. As an admin, you can assign cash value to points and customers can then redeem them via a coupon. Various settings allow for tweaking the program to meet your specific needs.

WooCommerce Ultimate Points and Rewards

WooCommerce Products List Pro

While WooCommerce looks great by default, creating a custom product layout can provide a huge boost to UX. WooCommerce Products List Pro provides an attractive and highly-customizable product listing table for your shop. You’ll be able to create custom lists and filter products in numerous ways.

Choose which product data you want to display with your listing. A simple Shortcode can be generated so you can display your lists anywhere. Developers will like that the plugin includes several hooks and filters for even further tweaking.

WooCommerce Products List Pro

WooCommerce Product Variations Layouts

Taking custom layouts one step further, WooCommerce Product Variations Layouts makes variable products much more attractive. Variable products require the user to select options – think of a T-Shirt with multiple sizing and color options.

Their default layout consists of boring old HTML select boxes. This plugin lets you display them in a more visual way. Choose from Table, Grid, List or Boxed layout. The result is better usability and maybe even better sales.

WooCommerce Product Variations Layouts

WooCommerce Support Ticket System

If you’re running an online shop, then you need to think about how you want to handle customer support. WooCommerce Support Ticket System is a clever plugin that integrates both orders and customers with support tickets.

Also included is Pay Per Ticket, which allows you to sell blocks of support tickets for premium service. Tickets can include front-end formatting via TinyMCE and customers can even upload attachments.

WooCommerce Support Ticket System

Stock Synchronization for WooCommerce

Stock Synchronization for WooCommerce allows for automatically synching product inventory from an outside source.

This provides a whole lot of convenience for shops that sell in multiple places with the same inventory. Syncing occurs through a remote CSV file (Google Drive, Dropbox and password-protected files are supported). Set synchronization to run hourly, daily or twice daily.

Stock Synchronization for WooCommerce

WooCommerce Simple Bulk Discounts

Offering bulk purchase discounts is a great way to create loyalty. With WooCommerce Simple Bulk Discounts, shopkeepers can create custom percentage or fixed bulk discounts.

Discount rules can be set on a per-product basis. You can even assign bulk discounts based on a user’s role. For example, you might set things up so that only registered customers have access to a deal.

WooCommerce Simple Bulk Discounts

ARG Multistep Checkout for WooCommerce

ARG Multistep Checkout for WooCommerce enables you to customize and enhance the checkout process.

The multistep process can do wonders for UX and can be customized to achieve the look you want. The tabbed layout is responsive and is ready for tweaking. Colors, button and label text can be easily changed. Specific steps can be hidden if desired.

ARG Multistep Checkout for WooCommerce

Power Up Your WooCommerce Shop

If you’re using WooCommerce to power your online store, you have an almost unlimited selection of additional functionality to choose from. The plugins above are only a small sampling of what is available.

No matter what type of shop you run or the type of features you want to implement, chances are that there is a WooCommerce extension out there to make it happen.

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10 Fascinating Examples of Wireframes in Web Design

For most web designers the first phase of any given web project is wireframing. It allows the designer to map out exactly how the structure of the website can work, as well as the general layout direction of important elements such as navigations, forms, and content sections.

Each designer often has their own unique way of producing these wireframes. Many work off paper, while others prefer to go straight into creating them on a computer using tools like Balsamiq, Figma or Sketch. Either way, the results are often fascinating, and more often than not are visually impressive despite their supposed roughness and simplicity.

Wireframes by Brandon Wimberly

Brandon uses a web browser template printed onto dot grid paper. From there he uses carefully constructed lines to build very uniform and accurate wireframes for exploring how a website will scale from desktop to mobile devices.

Wireframes

Lead Edge Hi-Fi Wireframe by Vando Sanchez

Vando’s wireframes for Lead Edge Hi-Fi have been created on a computer and use mainly dummy text with just the primary titles and taglines filled in accurately. Simple 2D mockups are used in place of realistic device mockups, and background and visual elements are filled with a block color at this stage.

Lead Edge Hi-Fi Wireframe

Shopify Exploratory Wireframes by Janna Hagan

Janna Hagan’s beautiful wireframes for Shopify are higher fidelity with most of the layout design finalized and even some visuals beginning to be introduced.

Shopify Exploratory Wireframes

Wireframes by Andre Picard

Andre Picard looks to a whiteboard when working on the initial wireframing stage of a web design project. This allows for quick and easy edits as well as easy feedback and collaboration around the office.

Wireframes

<h2 Wireframe x 78 by Melody Rose

Melody’s 78 wireframes for this web design project are incredibly cohesive through the consistent use of shapes to define different content types and elements such as user avatars. The palette is kept within two to three simple gray tones.

Wireframe x 78

Sketching a New Project by Tim Knight

Tim Knight’s wireframes are toward the more simple and high-speed wireframing approach – very useful when approaching the foremost stages of a project or mapping ideas out for a client in a meeting or on a call.

Sketching a New Project

Morphomics Website Mid Fidelity Wireframe by Lauren League

Lauren’s mid-fidelity wireframes for the morphomics website are considerably complex in having to solve a data visualization problem. They use a well-structured template with filled-in content blocks and crossed rectangles for image placeholders.

Morphomics Website Mid Fidelity Wireframe

Back To My Body Dashboard Diary Wireframe by Alyoop

The Back To My Body Wireframes by Alyoop are toward the more simple style of digital mockups. They use a simple gray color palette and icon placeholders for user avatar and content imagery. Text placeholders are used throughout for elements such as the logo and pie chart.

Back To My Body Dashboard Diary Wireframe

Spreedly Marketing Website Wireframes by Dane Wesolko

Spreedly’s marketing website uses a high-fidelity digital wireframe in Sketch app which has defined most of the content layout and color, leaving only the visuals and imagery to be integrated.

Spreedly Marketing Website Wireframes

Newspaper Website Wireframe by Ziya Fenn

Ziya’s newspaper website mid-fidelity wireframe is very well-refined and one of the most visually attractive wireframes I have come across. Much of the typographic elements and direction have been defined, and the layout is visually impressive in its structure and tessellating block form.

Newspaper Website Wireframe

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Top 15 JavaScript Plugins for Extending Your Web Forms

You can add tons of cool features onto your site with JavaScript. But there are so many libraries and plugins to choose from, it can be a drag finding the best options.

If you’re designing custom forms like user signups/logins, contact pages, or settings pages, these plugins can add some extra dynamic features to jazz up your static input fields.

JCF Forms

jcf javascript forms

One of my favorite JS form plugins is JCF Forms created by the team at PSD2HTML. The cryptic JCF acronym stands for JavaScript Custom Forms and it lives up to its name.

You’re able to customize default select menus, range sliders, input fields, upload forms, pretty much everything you’d need in a form.

This is totally free and built on jQuery so it should be no trouble to setup. You can also find more docs and info on the official GitHub repo if you want to learn more.

iCheck

icheck plugin boxes

Checkboxes and radio buttons are a staple of web forms. But they’re also the toughest to customize, and the default styles look very bland.

Thankfully the iCheck plugin is super easy to setup and customize without much JS knowledge. This works on jQuery and comes with a handful of pre-designed themes you can edit with ease.

But aside from looks, this plugin also supports keyboard inputs, 32 custom options and almost a dozen callback methods to handle user behaviors.

Parsley.js

parsleyjs library

If you prefer vanilla JS then you might like Parsley, a free JS-based form validation library. This is totally free to download and it’s one of the most complete plugins made for data validation.

Parsley is unique in that it doesn’t require complex regular expressions to get it working. It comes with built-in validators for all types of inputs like phone numbers, credit cards, addresses, and emails.

Check out the examples page to see if Parsley could be right for you.

FloatLabel.js

floatlabeljs plugin

I don’t mind placeholder text but I vastly prefer the FloatLabel.js technique over anything else. This creates a placeholder for default fields but moves the text just above the field once it’s focused & filled in.

This way you can add information to the field with ease and still keep the form label in clear view.

Note that this is a jQuery plugin so it does require a copy of that library. But setup is pretty simple and you can follow the instructions from GitHub to get this running smoothly.

Tooltipster

tooltipster plugin

Complex forms do well with tooltips guiding the user along the way. That’s the beauty of Tooltipster, a free jQuery plugin that lets you add tooltips anywhere on the screen.

You can define these tooltips based on user behaviors like hover, click, focus, or while entering text into a field. You can also customize their styles and animations while connecting these tooltips into Ajax requests or callback methods.

Flexselect

flexselect plugin

If you don’t like the default HTML select menu style then take a look at Flexselect. This free jQuery plugin restyles all select menus into dropdown panels tied to input fields.

These can blend much nicer into a typical layout, and they do feel easier to use.

Note the setup is a little tricky because this plugin has a couple of dependencies, but it’s also flexible enough to customize and restyle to your liking.

Fort.js

fort.js plugin

Some web sites display progress bars at the top of the screen to show completion of a form. This is more useful on lengthy forms where the user might want to know how soon they’ll be done.

With Fort.js you can quickly add this effect to your site with just a few lines of code. The plugin is totally free and works with any number of input fields.

Also check out the live demo to see how this would look on a real page.

Switchery

ios switchery plugin

The classic iOS-style switch redefined toggle inputs. Those original on/off switches got a redesign in iOS 7 which led to libraries like Switchery.

This free open source plugin lets you create on/off toggles in the same style as iOS 7 inputs. Each switch works on a checkbox where the user clicks to either check(on) or uncheck(off) a setting.

You can spice up any settings page or profile page by swapping out simple checkboxes for these on/off toggles.

jQuery CC Validator

credit card validation plugin

Ecommerce shops have to deal with credit card validation and handling sensitive inputs. Data security is a whole separate topic but this jQuery CC Validator is by far the best plugin for validation.

It’s totally free, and open source, running on top of the jQuery library. It’s super easy to setup, and the live demo shows just how much you can do with this incredible plugin.

Rangeslider.js

rangeslider js plugin

One of the newer features in HTML5 is the range input. This lets the user slide an input bar and select a range of numeric data.

But the default style is pretty basic so plugins like Rangeslider.js have grown in popularity.

This free jQuery plugin works as a polyfill of the HTML5 range slider. For browsers which don’t support it, you’ll still get the classic range input, so this is perfect for all web & mobile browsers.

BS3 Datepicker

bootstrap datetime picker plugin

You can find tons of free Bootstrap frameworks out there for awesome web templates. And the same goes for plugins that add functionality onto the Bootstrap library.

One such example is the BS3 Datepicker made for custom web forms.

There is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution for date picking. But this plugin offers a genuine interface that most people will understand how to use even at a glance. Plus it’s fully designed around the Bootstrap styles, so it blends right in.

Flatpickr

flatpickr plugin

If you want a datepicker that’s a little easier to setup check out Flatpickr. This free plugin uses pure JavaScript to create a full date/time picker with tons of optional features.

The demo page is a great place to check out and see what this thing can do. It uses a simple JavaScript animation along with a basic drop shadow effect to blend into any layout.

Anyone who needs a date/time picker with lots of room for customization will get a lot out of this plugin.

jQuery File Uploads

jquery file upload plugin

Handling user file uploads is by far the most complex form task. You need to create an input that works on all devices, but also accepts specific types of files and knows how to process them on the backend.

This plugin fits nicely with other libraries like jQuery and Angular so it’s really the best choice for anything related to file uploads.

Just note this does take some effort to configure so you’ll need to know your way around JavaScript.

Ideal Forms

idealforms plugin

In the newest version of Ideal Forms 3 you’ll find a host of great features like auto-form validation and custom form designs.

These designs include checkboxes, radio buttons, input fields, calendar UIs, and even support for 3rd party plugins.

The setup process is very lengthy but gives you dozens of extra form features with one library. Take a look at the GitHub setup guide for more details.

jQuery Autotab

jquery autotab plugin

Last but certainly not least is the jQuery Autotab plugin by Matthew Miller. This lets you define a certain length for any form input so it’ll auto-tab onto the next form once completed.

It works best for fields that require a set number of characters like phone numbers or birthdays. Check out the live demo to see how this works and if it could help to extend your web forms.

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How to Eliminate Endless Client Revisions? 260+ Pre-Built Websites Will Help

The problem might be you, or your client, or the tools you’re using. Chances are, it’s a mix of the final two; since you’re an experienced, knowledgeable website designer. But what can you do about it?

Here’s a practical solution.

Be Theme Will Deliver Exactly What Your Clients Need – Time After Time

The solution lies in a WordPress theme that’s a Top 5 ThemeForest best-seller – Be Theme. The secret of Be Theme‘s success is based on its many powerful core features. But, it is due in large part to its 260+ pre-built websites you can access with one click.

It’s easy to find one (or more) of these pre-build websites that’s a perfect match to your client’s needs. This is irrespective of the niche or industry involved. It’s quite possible to have a fully responsive (and revision-proof) website up and running in about 4 hours.

See how easy it is to install Be Theme with this cool 40-second video:

Here Are 10 Beautiful Be Theme Templates Web Designers Will Love

For clients who sell online courses: Be eLearning

For clients who sell online courses: Be eLearning

Here’s a clean, well-structured website that’s an ideal choice for an online learning business of organization.

Be eLearning provides an excellent match for filling the needs of a client who is attempting to establish an eLearning platform.

For small business owners: Be Craftbeer

For small business owners: Be Craftbeer

Any client in the business of selling a handcrafted product should be more than pleased with a website design based on this pre-built website. Its large, attention-grabbing images are accompanied by some ingenious JavaScript effects, and eye-popping navigation and CTA buttons.

For interior designers and architects: Be Tiles

For interior designers and architects: Be Tiles

It often takes a somewhat unique website style to effectively showcase a client’s visual offerings. This pre-built website, Be Tiles, can easily serve as the basis for an interior design agency’s or architects’ website.

The elements necessary to create a stunning portfolio are easily available.

For clients working in creative industries: Be Artist

For clients working in creative industries: Be Artist

A website design for an artist or creative type needs to showcase that person’s work in a way that spotlights the creativity involved. The image or images would be provided by the client, but it’s up to the web designer to present them in a way that captures the attention of a visitor.

Be Artist makes that happen.

For clients working in the catering industry: Be Burger

For clients working in the catering industry: Be Burger

The food may be mouth-watering delicious, but most food service and catering websites tend to be rather bland in appearance.

This pre-built website, with its clean structure, easy-to-order forms, and images that are good enough to eat, will help you deliver a website that gives your client a definite edge over the competition.

For clients in the fitness & wellness industry: Be Sports club

For clients in the fitness & wellness industry: Be Sports club

This Be Sports Club pre-built website’s dynamic appearance is a perfect fit for the niche it represents. It’s modern, interactive, and features attention-getting special effects in its interior pages.

This is another example of a pre-built website that will enable you to deliver a product that’s not revision prone.

For clients in the travel and lodging industry: Be Hotel2

For clients in the travel and lodging industry: Be Hotel2

When you design a website for a client representing a hotel or destination resort, the best way to ensure that your client will be completely satisfied, is to submit a design that practically compels visitors to phone in to make a booking.

Be Hotel2 has the ingredients to make that a reality.

For restaurant or bistro owners: Be Restaurant

For restaurant or bistro owners: Be Restaurant

Very few eating establishments can boast of a website that has the appeal of this one. This pre-designed website is intended for clients representing anything from a Michelin-rated restaurant to a local café or neighborhood bistro.

It’s attractive, versatile, and features a stunning slider effect.

For your IT clients: Be VPN

For your IT clients: Be VPN

IT companies and teams prefer well-structured, carefully organized content in their websites. Those in the know, also like their websites to include a human touch.

Be VPN accomplishes all the above; an example of the innovative designs characteristic of Be Theme pre-built websites.

For clients who sell luxury products: Be Car

For clients who sell luxury products: Be Car

A client who sells luxury products will want a website which design befits the brand. In other words – a website that conveys a sense of luxury and elegance.

Be Car accomplishes this with its powerful hero image and a clean, modern look. It also features a clever use of white space and well-organized content blocks.

How Does Be Theme Rid You of a Ceaseless Stream of Client Revisions?

In summary, Be Theme accomplishes this in many ways, including these five:

  • The 260+ library of pre-built websites make finding a perfect match for a client’s needs an easy task;
  • The pre-built websites are easy to customize! You can easily surprise a client by delivering a complex website. The package includes text, images, video, and special effects, and in as little as 4 hours.
  • Your theme is a ThemeForest Top 5 best-seller! So, you know you’re working with a premier design tool – that will be reflected in the final product.
  • It’s easy to find a pre-built website that can be adapted to satisfy the most demanding client. It will also reduce the number of potential revisions to near zero.
  • Each pre-built website is crafted to meet the standards of the industry it addresses.

Conclusion

Finally, you can say to yourself, “enough is enough”! Simply select a tool that will keep revisions from piling up from this list.

It will be an easy task to pick a pre-built website that’s a perfect match to a client’s needs. Remember, you have more than 260 of those to choose from!

You’ll save a ton of time that you used to spend on an unending stream of revisions. The Be Theme’s one-click installer will save you another ton.

How does building a perfectly awesome website in 4 hours sound?

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Why Too Much Design Hurts Positive UX

While opinions from strong voices do a lot for a design, there are times when they actually impede the process. Ideas that come too late, are too complex/simple, or are contextually wrong will slow down the process and create more problems than they fix.

Julie Zhuo, product VP at Facebook, calls this “avoiding the camel.” It refers to the oft-cited notion that “a camel is a horse designed by committee.” In other words, you can expect a lot of odd humps and occasional spitting when you get 50 opinions in a room about a particular product.

This is interesting coming from Zhuo, who heads up product development for a website rooted in collaboration, opinions, advice, and criticism. So, here’s her caveat: there’s a difference between designing a horse by committee – which leads to the wrong outcome, a camel – and using true teamwork to create the best outcome possible.

Designing in isolation can be just as harmful to product development as getting too many opinions – if you’re expecting to emerge from an ivory tower with the perfect product in hand, think again. So how can you effectively toe the line between designing by committee and taking on a project alone?

The “Root” of Design Problems

The biggest challenges in designing by committee come in three forms:

  • A well-intentioned flurry of opinion may come from the wrong level.
  • Committees offer their opinion at the wrong time (for example, when it’s too late).
  • A stakeholder or other party may offer their opinion without background or context for why your team made certain decisions in the first place.

Why Do We Have “Design By Committee” in the First Place?

Committees are a mainstay in the corporate world. In a competitive business environment, businesses operate on the notion that the more eyes on the product, the less likely they will launch a product with a fatal law. It seems like sound logic – until we look at it in a practical application.

Designing by committee more often leads to too many mixed opinions – and a steady stream of finger pointing that encourages not collaboration toward a common goal but a lack of substance. When we elicit feedback from focus groups, consumers, and our great aunt Shirley, all we get is a lot of confusion. More often than not, designing by committee leads to a lot of features – but no core intuitive user experience.

We say when you have too many cooks in a kitchen, all you get is a mess. Yet, there are five star kitchens all over the world that produce stunning works of art that tantalize our taste buds – and they’re working in teams. How do we know what’s too many and what’s an art-worthy team?

If we had to highlight one, it would be that it’s a team of experts working collaboratively. A sous chef may offer a saucier an opinion about gravy, but they both went to culinary school and share similar expertise. You’ll notice they’re not giving taste tests to other patrons as they wheel their dishes out the door.

When Feedback Is Helpful – And How to Ask for It

Feedback can be helpful – at the right time and by the right people. Rather than “designing” by committee, here are some suggestions for getting clients, co-workers, and management involved in a manner that’s collaborative, not detrimental:

Collaborating with Management

When eliciting feedback from management, take the following steps:

  • Use data. Chances are, you’re going to butt heads with management about how certain features should work. In this case, data is your friend – use both quantitative measures, such as behavior data, and qualitative metrics like market research to drive your position. Data wins arguments and will allow members of management to make informed opinions that might translate into useful feedback.
  • Share early and often. One of the worst positions to be in is going down one path, and management telling you you’re totally off base. Here, you only have two options: throwing away all your old work (a waste of time and money) or trying to work all of management’s new requirements into your existing product (which can result in a sloppy effort). While it may be difficult to show what you know are rough iterations of your work, get into the habit of showing your work to management early in the process. It’s much easier to say, “How does this look to you? Am I headed in the right direction?” than it is to backpedal when management thinks you’re completely off the mark. This simple step helps your team stay aligned with management’s objectives.
  • Start with a broad scope. It’s much easier to explore multiple options in the beginning, showing many possible approaches and their pros and cons. Instead of presenting to management in a “yes” or “no” fashion with one idea, you could ask, “which is more intuitive to the user, A or B?”

Talking to Coworkers

If there’s one committee you can’t avoid, it’s your fellow workers. The key to effective collaboration with your coworkers is eliciting multiple perspectives from the onset. For example, while you may be thinking about intuitive design components, engineers may have trouble implementing them in a way that makes sense to a user.

If we think back to our restaurant example, we know an artful dish comes from collaboration between experts of different components – a chef designs a meal, a sous chef helps carry out the order, a saucier makes hors d’oeuvres and sauces, the line cooks prep the individual components, and so on. Together, this activity translates to a meal on your table – and you can bet they’re talking it out throughout the process.

Your digital product is no different. You can learn a lot simply by talking to different departments and seeing how well your vision will translate into reality. From there, you can make necessary tweaks that will develop into an intuitive, quality product.

Working with Clients

Clients are a necessary, but sometimes frustrating, part of the design process. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Take “the customer is always right” with a hefty grain of salt. In other words, give the customer what they want, but not necessarily everything they ask for. Don’t fall into the trap of letting the client design a product for you – remember, they hired you for your expertise and willingness to do what they cannot. One diplomatic way to accomplish this is by bringing a conversation back to the problem you’re trying to solve for them. Keep the emphasis on aligning the product with its goals and outcomes, not creating new solutions at each meeting.
  • Don’t go on the defensive. At the same time, you don’t want to shut down a conversation by repeating what you said, over and over again. If a client proposes something that runs counter to your idea, say, “it sounds like something isn’t working here for you. Where do you think we can improve?” This guides the conversation back to the current designs and away from thinking up new solutions on the spot.
  • Guide the conversation. It’s much easier to start a conversation with “today we’re looking for feedback regarding the site’s navigation,” then trying to keep a conversation on track later on. Try to minimize distractions and you’ll avoid confrontations down the road.

Balance Committee Thinking With Smart Help

Having several minds working on a project isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When executed correctly, a collaborative effort can lead to a good outcome. Knowing how to talk to key stakeholders in your project can make all the difference.

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10 Inspirational Examples of Colorful Graphs & Charts in Web Design

Graphs and charts are some of the most visually complex and difficult elements for designers to execute to a high standard. The range of different elements and requirement for cohesiveness make it all the more impressive when a great example is included in website design.

Some of the best examples incorporate plenty of color for visual differentiation, clean connecting lines and shapes, and easy-to-understand axis. When designed to a high standard, the results can have a dramatic impact on the overall visual design and user experience of the website.

Lab Board

Lab Board uses a beautiful consistent selection of colors, subtle gradients, and large drop shadows in their dashboard design.

Lab Board

SE Ranking

SE Ranking shows off their graphical user interface dashboard via the homepage. The graphs are simple and easy to understand, using a selection of light colors which complement each other perfectly.

SE Ranking

Dropbox Transparency

Dropbox’s Transparency web page highlights some interesting data on how many government requests they receive. The graph is designed beautifully with great color selection and separation, and a clearly defined key to match.

Dropbox Transparency

Shoplo

Shoplo’s website is impressive in its unique use of background elements and bright multitude of color throughout. The graphs used in their dashboard follow this trend using subtle gradients and strokes to outline data trends to the user.

Shoplo

Stripe Connect

Stripe Connect uses Gantt charts to illustrate how their platform can speed up several aspects of payment processing. The design is much simplified and uses a selection of brand colors to differentiate each aspect within the chart.

Stripe Connect

Appfigures

Appfigures’ tools present many challenges in the fact they have to often display an enormous quantity of data at once. They have solved this issue beautifully by incorporating transparency into the vibrant graph background colors.

Appfigures

CA Technologies

CA Technologies keeps it simple for the graphs within their website. It uses a blue stroke with an underlying gradient which fades out to the x-axis. The simplicity makes it extremely easy to understand and fits perfectly with their brand direction and user interface colors.

CA Technologies

Median for Mac

>Median for Mac’s website focuses on a screenshot of their Mac application with is almost entirely graph and chart based. The graph and chart designs are simple and keep the colors within those of the Median brand.

Median for Mac

Unamo

Unamo uses line graphs within their search engine optimisation software. The lines are plotted with circular strokes and use a beautiful on-brand, three-tone color system of green, purple and blue.

Unamo

Tapdaq

Tapdaq’s homepage also uses line graphs within the dashboard preview. The blue and purple line strokes compliment each other beautifully, while the fade-out gradient brings attention to the axis and overall volume of data.

Tapdaq

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Web Design Don’ts (And How to Fix Them)

Now more than ever, a website is the first point of connection between product/content creators and potential users. Because a face-to-face interaction is out of the picture, credibility and connection must be established in other ways. Whether you’re using a web builder, or building things from scratch,.

The best sites or app designs provide users with straightforward navigation, a personal connection and pleasing visuals, but all too many websites fall short. These are some of the most common web design flaws and some ways to avoid them.

Cluttered Fonts

Some websites seem to operate under the assumption that they might run out of space. All information is packed in using a small font size. This overwhelms users and causes them to check out.

Large chunks of text create a phenomenon called “TL; DR”, or “Too Long; Didn’t Read”. Web users have endless choices of what content to consume and want to engage with it efficiently. Here are some tips for avoiding “TL;DR”

  • Instead of crowding all possible information on your front page. Think about what different users might be looking for and separate it into individual pages linked by an easy to navigate menu.
  • When possible, use bulleted lists instead of paragraphs to create an easily scanned page.
  • Use a larger font size. Users are willing to scroll indefinitely if they are engaged, so feel free to take up space.

Photo Faux Pas

There are several ways your website’s images can damage credibility. Corny “clip-art” animations and graphics tell users that you designed your site in the late nineties (this is especially true of any image with a big white square behind it).

The same goes for badly Photoshopped images, low resolution photos and unconvincing stock photos.

  • Use real, high quality images whenever possible. DSLR cameras are easy to find and even smartphones often can take beautiful high resolution images.
  • Use images purposefully and sparingly. Cluttered photos are just as bad as cluttered text. And one meaningful and appealing photo is always better than a big pile of uninspired images.
  • DIY! Personalized hand-drawn illustrations can create a connection with users and make them feel at home. If you are someone that has the skills and access to a drawing tablet, this can be a great personal touch.

Un-scalable

In established markets like the United States and Canada, mobile devices are the primary web browsing tool for between 60 and 70 percent of users. In emerging markets like Indonesia it is upwards of 90 percent.

Yet, many websites are still almost impossible to navigate using a mobile device. If upwards of 60 percent of your users can’t easily move through your site, you will lose them to the next listed site on Google. Even if your site is technically usable but difficult to manage, you risk losing visitors.

But there is an easy fix! Website templates for WordPress are cheap and easy to use. Not only do these templates automatically adjust your site for different screen sizes. They have the added benefit of providing access to a whole world of apps and backgrounds that can be plugged right into your site.

Confusing Layout

A good website is a user-focused website. If your users are required to poke through 10 different pages to find what they are looking for they won’t be returning to your site.

All too many websites bury important information at the very bottom of a page or in an area of the site that takes multiple steps to access. Your content should be as easy to reach as possible.

  • Go menu crazy. Great sites often have three menus, one across the top, one down the side, and another that users can open by tapping open. Do whatever it takes to organize as much relevant information on the homepage as you can.
  • New stuff first. A dynamic website is always adding and improving content and that stuff should take center stage. A blog style homepage is a great way to get the most up to date and innovative content in front of users before they start clicking around.

Keeping in mind mobile users, creating a clean and navigable layout and avoiding unnecessary media applications are all ways to create a great website. By maintaining a user-friendly site, you will be able to keep current users happy while building your base. And don’t be worried – if you need a redesign, there’s still time.

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Uncode – The Pixel Perfect Theme for Creative Professionals

Are you one of the designers who work so much on client work that you don’t have time to design your own portfolio?

There’s nothing wrong with having plenty of assignments. Your inability to present yourself as a true professional makes it more difficult for you to bring in better and more lucrative work. You should have an eye-catching and engaging portfolio

If you don’t have the time or the skills to write code and create a portfolio, there’s one theme already out there for you.

The Theme in Question? Uncode.

Why take the time and effort to create a run-of-the-mill portfolio, when you have Uncode? It’s a pixel-perfect, creative WordPress theme to help you build a breathtaking one?

You don’t have to worry about writing code, or staring at a blank canvas hoping for a burst of inspiration. Uncode has what you need, including templates to help you get your effort underway. Then, it’s a matter of uploading your content and hitting “Publish”.

Better yet, the latest release, Uncode 1.6, offers a host of brand new features.

Uncode’s Exciting New Features

The team behind Uncode put Version 1.6 together. They did so with the intent of making it easier for creative professionals to showcase their own work. In this way, your portfolio won’t have to interfere with the work you do for their clients.

Here’s a sampling:

WooCommerce Single Product Features

Uncode’s integration with WooCommerce is nothing new. Still, the team added support for WooCommerce 3.1 to ensure you won’t encounter any issues with the plugin.

Custom designed options for product pages have also been added. They include a product zoom option, product carousel and stack layout modes. Besides those, they also added a custom width layout control.

More Design Options

Creatives will love the new Layout Management Options. Along with some clever off-grid options, they include shadow control and border radius. All in all, these options expand your layout-building possibilities to almost anything.

The Post Module Lateral Thumbnails Options will appeal to bloggers, photographers, and marketers. They have the ability to create unique blog styles and impressive portfolio and product layouts.

The Centered Mobile Menu option makes it easy to create a menu that mimics the mobile devices’ overlay style. With this and the above options, Uncode ensures your portfolio, blog, or online shop will always look great on mobile devices.

You can define your grid ‘By Matrix‘. What does that mean? The variations you choose in the Single Block tab will apply to positions within the grid rather than to specific elements. This is an interesting feature. When you’ll add a new element, all the existing ones will automatically shift to compensate without altering your current layout.

If you’re a photographer, the Justify Gallery Layout is something that you’ve been expecting. It’s an elegant solution for professional photography sites that was inspired by Flickr and the Google Images search layout.

A lot of people have been asking for a grid that fits the screen perfectly. And now, it is available. The Fluid Metro layout helps you build a layout that fits the screen perfectly.

Buttons galore! Looking for a specific button type? Uncode has it; whether it’s a “ghost button” a classic, flat, colored button, or a button requiring custom typography.

Uncode’s Horizontal Drop-Down Menu Options give you extra control over shadow drop-down and mega menu options. Their features allow you to animate the drop-down’s input.

Uncode’s Time-Tested Features from Earlier Releases

In this case, time-tested features consist of those that have helped convert more than 24,000 ideas into reality. These features have naturally been retained, and some have undergone continual improvement.

Visual Composer is universally popular, as is WordPress. Uncode has tailored the former, and enhanced some of the features of the latter. In this way, there’s virtually no limit on what you can do with either.

The theme’s use of Content Blocks only makes organizing your content easier. It also allows you to incorporate show-stopping media in your website.

Uncode’s large array of templates enables you to find the one that you need. Then you can customize it to produce a website, blog, or photography gallery that is engaging, eye-catching, or in some way truly unique. If that doesn’t happen to be the case, you can easily create your own template from scratch.

You have 6+ Menu Style Options to choose from. This gives you the opportunity to play around and see what makes the most sense, or lends itself best to a great-looking website. Each of these styles is simple, intuitive, and make it easy for users to navigate to where they want to go.

The Adaptive Images feature takes the worry out of how your images will appear on your website, irrespective of the device being used. Your visitor’s screen size is automatically detected, enabling your website’s images to be appropriately re-scaled to display correctly.

Finally, one of the features creative professionals appreciate is Uncode’s cool selection of Blog and Portfolio Layouts. It can be fun to try them all out; after which you can choose a favorite and run with it. Don’t worry if you should change your mind; you can change your layout any time.

So, what is It that Makes Uncode the Perfect Theme for Creatives?

One reason is that the entire theme was designed from the beginning with the needs of creative professionals in mind:

  • The tailored version of Visual Composer enables you to build any layout without writing code.
  • Multiple design options are in place that allow you to achieve precisely the website look you want.
  • Special blog and portfolio options are in place to showcase your work.
  • A centered mobile menu showcases your website on mobile devices.
  • A generous customers showcase that gets you inspired and saves you time.

Conclusion

If you’re a creative professional who has struggled to get your work to stand out from the crowd, Uncode will help you solve that problem. And get more clients too. With Uncode, you can build a beautiful portfolio, start a blog in a few short hours.

Everything you need is there and ready to be used: special layouts, beautiful design, and other options, and amazing customer support to top it off.

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10 Powerful All-in-One iOS Mobile App Templates

Building a mobile app for iOS is a great way to increase both brand awareness and sales. But, it can be expensive to hire a developer and time-consuming if you’re not intimately familiar with the build process.

That’s the beauty of all-in-one app templates. They come with popular features built right in and many are quite easy to customize. Templates are available for a wide-array of uses, as well.

Note that some templates require that you have access to a computer running Mac OS X, among other tools. Please see each template’s description at the link provided for a full requirements list.

Woopy

woopy is a universal (works on both phones and tablets) listings/chat app template for iOS. It allows users to register and post classified sales ads.

Users can upload up to three photos and a 10 second video description for each item. Buyers and sellers can also chat with each other directly through the app.

woopy

Mokets

Mokets is a mobile ecommerce app that makes selling your products easy. The template comes with a product and data management back end that can be accessed through a web browser.

With support for multiple shops, each one can have its own administrator. Customers can register for an account and like, review or favorite products within the store. Stripe payment gateway is built in.

Mokets

BeoNews

BeoNews will turn your WordPress website into a native iOS app (Android support is also available). Utilizing the WordPress REST API, this app template will grab the contents of your website and display it using React.

The app can handle your site’s multimedia content and supports both Facebook and Google social login. Push notifications can be created through your website using a plugin.

BeoNews

Store Finder

Store Finder is aimed at anyone who wants to help users find multiple locations via their mobile device. Stores, restaurants or any organization with more than one location can benefit.

Locations can be added without the need to release an updated version of your app. You can add images, contact information, social sharing and reviews to each location. The recently added Routes feature will guide customers right to your front door.

Store Finder

Radio Play

Radio Play will take your mp3, pls, m3u, aac or other compatible audio stream and allow listeners to tune in through their iOS device.

The app will display scrolling song and artist info, allow listeners to share songs on social media and works with AdMob mobile ads to help you generate revenue. Plus, it’s universal, meaning the app will display on iPads as well as iPhones.

Radio Play

My Social Network

My Social Network could be a great solution for those who need to set up a small, private network of friends or colleagues. Features like real time messaging and post feeds are there to help teams communicate. But there is also the ability to send ‘gifts’ to friends and make in-app purchases.

So whether for fun or business, you have the functionality you need. A web-based admin panel lets you control user accounts and posts. Also included is a public-facing website that can be used as an alternative to the iOS app.

My Social Network

ChurchYangu

ChurchYangu is an app template with the aim of helping churches live stream their services to iOS devices. The app can be fully customized and comes with detailed documentation.

Graphics are included to help you achieve the look you want. Videos can be brought in from outside services such as YouTube or Vimeo. Audio files can also be embedded.

ChurchYangu

Notepad

Notepad provides an easy way for users to take notes on their iOS device. Users can take notes with text, video, audio and photos. There’s also a password protected mode, notifications and notes can be shared via social media.

The app can be customized with your branding and includes PNG/PSD files. This could be an interesting template for organizations looking to personalize it towards internal note-taking. Sales calls, maintenance visits, etc. would be an ideal use.

Notepad

SuperView

SuperView is a solution aimed to bring your single page web application to iOS. It can be customized via a single configuration file. The app template features responsive HTML5, push notifications, social login, an offline mode, in-app purchases and geolocation functionality. AdMob is also integrated, allowing for further monetization.

SuperView

Pro Shot

Pro Shot is a photo editor app template. Users can take advantage of powerful features like tint, temperature, custom text, stickers and exposure – all of which can be done in the live camera view. There are lots of other filters and adjustments available as well.

Photos can be easily shared via social media. It’s a universal app and will work on iPads as well as iPhones. Allows for in-app purchases and supports AdMob to help you bring in extra cash.

Pro Shot

Save Money and Time on App Development

Whether you’re looking to bring in some passive income or better promote your brand, the templates above will help you achieve your goals.

Since they already have many of the most vital and popular functionality baked in, you’ll only have to make a few relatively small customizations to match your brand. The cost and time savings of this approach will do wonders for both your budget and your sanity.

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