Category Archives: internet

Designing a Great Icon For Your Mobile App

Every day thousands of people browse the App Store and Play Store in search of utilities and entertainment. Behind every search and download is desire – a desire to solve a problem.

Products icons play a critical role in the process of search&download – in a world of short attention spans and many, many options, designers need to capture a users attention with just a few pixels on a tiny square canvas.

Every product needs a beautiful and memorable sign that attracts attention in the market and stands out on the home screen. Below you can see a few examples created by Fireart Studio.

But what exactly do you do if you need to design an icon for a mobile app that your users will notice and remember? Let’s take a look at some of the best principles of mobile app icon design.

Clarity

Clarity is an essential characteristic of a great interface. A pictogram is the first opportunity to communicate, at a glance, a product’s purpose. When they are unclear, there’s a high risk of confusion – when people are unable to correctly identify what a pictogram is supposed to represent, it just won’t work for them.

Tips:

  • Symbolism is key. People often associate pictograms with specific objects or actions based on previous experience. For example, in the Western world, the symbol of an envelope is commonly used to represent mail – both in digital and in physical spaces. It’s possible to use such associations to create potent visual signifiers for users.
  • Check competitors. If you have a hard time finding ideas on how to design a mobile application icon, take inspiration from products in your niche. Your competitors have probably already found the most obvious way to represent the primary function of a product.
  • Deconstruct user’s preferences. When designing any visual element, it’s important to consider what your target audience like or don’t like it. If you can conduct user testing, you can ask users directly by showing them different options. Try out several variations of your design to find the one users like the most.

Scalability

We should design a mobile app icon to make it crystal clear on every screen resolution.

Tips:

  • Avoid fancy graphics effects. Don’t include photographic details, 3D perspectives and drop shadows because they are hard to discern at a small screen.
  • Don’t use a lot of details. While on larger displays you have enough real estate to show large graphics and impressive visual effects, on a small screen such elements can become blurry.
  • Avoid using words. There’s no need to include promo words like “Free” or a product’s name. Use words only when they’re essential or part of a logo.

This icon isn’t legible – how it looks on home screen and Notification Center.

  • Check against a variety of backgrounds. While you can’t predict what wallpaper users will choose for their home screen, you still should check that your design works for edge cases – check your icon against a pure black, utterly white and colored backgrounds.
  • Test on real devices. What looks good on a desktop screen might not be so good on mobile, so testing on a real device is essential.

Memorability

Memorability is about making something that stands out. If it stands out, it has a better chance of being noticed by users.

Tips:

  • Complexity is the enemy of memorability. The more details you add, the less recognizable the object you design will be. Try removing elements until the concept starts to deteriorate.
  • Test your icon on the screen. Do a quick test to figure out if the image stands out on the screen – just place it on a grid of pictograms, and you’ll see whether or not it stands out.

The 1Password icon has great recognizability.

Consistency

Think of your pictogram design as an extension of what your product is all about. It’s possible to create a connection between this small graphics object and entire experience – both logical connection (convey the meaning) and visual relationship (colors, textures, idea).

Tip: One way to ensure consistency is to use a styleguide (for example, to keep the color palette of your interface and icon in line).

Clear has a similar color scheme for both icon and interface.

Platform Recommendations

Just like any other GUI part, pictograms require following platform conventions. Consider iOS Human Interface Guidelines if you want to create a graphical symbol for iOS and Material Design guidelines for Android products.

Conclusion

Without any doubt, it’s possible to tell a great story in a wonderfully restricted canvas. Take the time to design beautiful and engaging graphics that perfectly represents your product’s purpose.

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10 Inspiring Examples of Branding Presentation Design

Presentations are a crucial aspect of any branding project. They allow you to present your finished designs in the best light possible, looking to make the greatest impact on the client.

It also helps them to understand the direction, as well as envisage how it would look in production. As a result, it’s crucial these branding presentations are designed with great care and fit perfectly with the project styling and direction.

In this article, we take a look at a selection of the most inspiring examples of branding presentation design.

Success Story

Success Story Branding Presentation Design inspiration

Mention’s branding presentation applies some vibrant and appealing overlay effects to the full-size imagery upon their cover designs. It allows them to maintain a consistent accent color throughout the presentation.

Rebranding B&H

Rebranding B&H Branding Presentation Design inspiration

This simple but effective rebranding project is presented perfectly through the design proposal and business card mockups.

Vertical

Vertical Branding Presentation Design inspiration

In one of the more detailed examples, this presentation is comprehensive in its detail but maintains a consistent color scheme and structure through the use of grid lines.

Branding Exploration Process

Branding Exploration Process Branding Presentation Design inspiration

Kickpush’s highly visual presentation design uses full-color and graphical backgrounds throughout. It contrasts with the content effectively and is high impact.

Twisto Brand Book

Twisto Brand Book Branding Presentation Design inspiration

This beautiful branding project continues the use of purple and green colors throughout the presentation. The repeating background patterns are a perfect addition and provide an example of how the branding can be applied in production.

Melissa

Melissa Branding Presentation Design inspiration

Melissa’s branding presentation is highly visual but with similarly detailed explanation throughout. It applies multiple instances of patterned imagery and related text to further expand upon her vision for the brand.

Branding Showcase Layout

Branding Showcase Layout Branding Presentation Design inspiration

This minimal branding presentation is succinct and allows the visuals to communicate without a great deal of explanation. It makes for an easy-to-understand approach which is described through mockups and photography.

Something New for Sidecar

Something New for Sidecar Branding Presentation Design inspiration

This presentation for PayTouch is inspiring in the way that it presents a unique slide for each branding concept. Each is carefully considered, and it presents a multitude of visions and approaches to the client.

One More Time

One More Time Branding Presentation Design inspiration

This beautiful dark theme is heavily reliant on visuals, with minimal use of typography. The red accent for the title text works perfectly against the maroon galaxy background.

uLikeIT Keynote Slides

uLikeIT Keynote Slides Branding Presentation Design inspiration

This Keynote branding presentation utilizes a master slide to apply consistent design elements across all slides. The color scheme is beautifully consistent throughout, as are the background visuals, despite differing image selections.

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Essential Documents for Freelance Web Designers

The act of becoming a freelancer often comes from having a true passion for your work. Many of us are consumed with keeping up with the latest technologies and keeping clients happy. But the fact is that we’re also running a business – something that can be easy to overlook.

My own personal freelance journey started out this way. I had absolutely no idea how to keep things organized or even what responsibilities were involved. My main goal was just to have fun and be creative. Little did I know that I was playing a bit of a dangerous game.

Like many people, I learned as time went on. The downside was that it usually took a mistake or miscommunication to get me to that point. It wasn’t exactly taking the easy route.

Now, I’m here to help you be both better organized and protected against potential problems. Here’s a list of important documents you should be utilizing (like contracts) and ideas for things you should keep track of (like income). Each one represents an important facet of running a freelance design business. Plus, I’ll link to some free resources you can use to get off to a running start.

Proposals

Proposals

Scope creep is one of the most dreaded aspects of doing freelance work. Clients often ask for an inch and then end up taking a mile. So it’s important that you have a well-written proposal that outlines exactly what you’re going to do (and not do) for any given project.

Still, there are times when unexpected things pop up. Quite often a client will fail to mention a certain requirement. You can prepare for those items by stating that anything not mentioned in the proposal will incur extra fees. Just make sure you provide your client with a heads-up before charging extra.

Contracts

Contracts

While it’s great to believe in the honesty and kindness of people, contracts are still a necessity for freelancers. At the very basic level, they create a binding agreement on how much you’ll be paid for a project and the terms of how you will work on that project. Now, from there we can get into all sorts of technicalities and legalese. Anyone who has made a large purchase like a car or a home can attest to how complicated and confusing a contract can be. In fact, that may be what scares many designers away from using them.

But contracts don’t have to be overly complicated. Frankly, they can be as simplistic as you like. Just know that a simple document may not protect you against as many possible scenarios. Leave out the wrong detail and a litigious ex-client could try and take advantage.

So, when deciding on what terms and protections should be included in your contract, it makes sense to consult with a legal expert. Above all, they’re the best resource for knowing what you need. But it’s understandable that expert advice isn’t always within our budgets.

Beyond that, also take a look at the services you offer and think about all of the things that could possibly go wrong. When you know what’s possible, you’ll have a better idea of what you need to protect against.

Accounting Data

Accounting Data

Working on your own is no excuse for not keeping track of finances. You’ll want to keep a running tally of your income, business expenses (hold on to those receipts!) and invoices that you’ve sent out to clients. This information is crucial in several ways.

First, your ability to accurately pay taxes depends upon having the proper records. Second, this data will give you an overall picture of how well you’re doing. You can’t possibly make informed business decisions without first knowing where you stand.

There are a number of ways to organize information. You could go all out on spending for an accounting suite. You’ll find some excellent online services, along with more traditional software that can do the job. However, it could also be as simple as maintaining a few spreadsheets. It might not be as high-tech, but it’s a fairly painless method for maintaining records (that’s how I started out).

Project Notes

Project Notes

One of the great challenges of working on multiple projects is remembering all of the small details when switching from task to task. A busy mind may more easily forget things that are vital to the success of a project.

One sure-fire way to remember it all is by taking notes. If you want to start small, simply type them into a text editor. That way, you’ll have a resource to come back to when you’re ready to pick up where you left off.

If you’re extra busy and need a more robust solution, a task management service like Trello can be your best friend. Not only can you add project notes, but you can also keep up with other important items such as deadlines. Plus, these types of tools often include collaboration features to help you share progress with clients.

Emergency Information

Emergency Information

This is something that we freelancers often ignore. But what happens if something happens to us? Some important information may be stored inside our brains that others will need to access. It’s a sensitive issue but one that a responsible business owner should address.

The idea is to pick a trusted source or two and create a document that contains the things they will need to know if you’re unable to run your business. I know, people tell you never share passwords, etc. That’s understandable. But when you work alone, there has to be a safe way to share vital information in the case of an emergency.

You could keep a paper document in a safe place like a lockbox or a bank’s safe deposit box. If you want to handle things digitally, an encrypted file (to which only your trusted source(s) have the key) is also a viable option. Either way, provide the information they’ll need to help your clients access anything you are currently managing.

Free Resources

Now that you know what type of documents are essential to running a freelance design business, here are some free resources to get you on the right track. Just remember – they’re not a substitute for professional advice. But they can help you get where you want to go.

A Freelancer’s Guide to Basic Bookkeeping
This resource will show you what you should keep track of and how to do so efficiently.

Contract Killer
An open source contract geared towards web design projects. Bonus points for being written in plain English.

Design Contracts for Freelance Web Designers
Includes a customizable proposal, terms and conditions, invoice, past due and collections letter.

Docracy Web Design Documents
Docracy is a treasure trove of open source legal documents. You’ll find plenty of options for whatever you need. Also see their Freelance and Designer topics for more guidance.

The Freelance Contract
A contract generator that also enables you to manage the entire process online, this tool requires a free account with Freelancers Union. Also check out the Limited Use Contract Template.

Your Business: Documented

Your Business: Documented

Being a freelancer can be a very fulfilling experience. But it’s not always fun and games. To do it right, you need to take responsibility for your business. Keeping it well-documented will help you stay organized and protect you from worst-case scenarios. It may take some extra effort to get things started, but the process quickly becomes second nature.

It’s worthwhile to review your business practices and make sure that you’re doing all you can to stay safe and efficient. Making positive changes can result in a less stressful, more successful freelance business.

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10 Beautifully Designed Web Design Agency Sites for Inspiration

Web design agencies are tasked with the tough assignment of producing a site design that communicates their skill levels through various visuals and elements. They are often judged as much on their website design as they are on their portfolio of work. It’s a critical aspect of generating work and conveying a high level of design skill.

As such, agency sites are often meticulously designed with even the very smallest of details being paid considerable attention to. This, in turn, means that the sites present some of the most forward-thinking and exciting designs in the web design industry.

In this article, we are going to round up ten of the most beautifully designed and polished web design agency sites around today.

R&D

 Web Design Agency Sites Inspiration

R&D’s agency website combines a spacious layout with a unique and vibrant green background. This contributes to the visual impact and makes for a memorable website design.

Mast

 Web Design Agency Sites Inspiration

Mast’s website is very minimal but uses beautifully composed imagery and overlapping navigation elements.

A Day Out

 Web Design Agency Sites Inspiration

This agency website by A Day Out is incredibly unique and impactful. It uses large cutouts with plenty of imagery and large capitalized typographic elements.

Lg2

 Web Design Agency Sites Inspiration

Lg2’s website implements an unusual navigation layout which spans the border of the central content area. The animated visuals within the ‘2’ are an eye-catching addition.

Mathematic

 Web Design Agency Sites Inspiration

Mathematic’s website is highly-focused on visuals. The slider spans the entirety of the hero section, creating an immersive experience perfect for showcasing their work.

Phoenix

 Web Design Agency Sites Inspiration

This website from Phoenix offers one of the most unique layout directions of all. The typography is seemingly sporadic but provides great effect as it overlaps the rotating imagery.

2LG

 Web Design Agency Sites Inspiration

2LG’s agency website uses an immersive loading graphic which consists of their logo overlaying a colorful image. The site then transitions seamlessly into a refined homepage with minimal graphics and typography.

Designgoat

 Web Design Agency Sites Inspiration

This agency site design from Designgoat is similarly sporadic in the way it has approached its laying out of imagery. The result has a brutalist-style feel to it and offers a beautifully unique look when combined with the red highlights and text.

Gin Lane

 Web Design Agency Sites Inspiration

Gin Lane’s simple website uses beautiful serif type against a muted gradient background. The hero leads perfectly into the rest of the homepage design.

P22

 Web Design Agency Sites Inspiration

P22 has approached its agency web design with a combination of minimalism and brutalism. The bordered logo text is attractive and counters the filled typography used in the remainder of the monochrome design.

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Top 10 Free Bootstrap UI Kits For Customizing Your Layouts

You can build some incredible stuff with Bootstrap. If you search the web, you’ll find hundreds of code snippets, addons, and starter templates to help you craft amazing layouts.

But the default Bootstrap design is dull and overused. Why not add a custom UI kit into the mix?

You’ll be running on Bootstrap while also re-styling your site with a unique look. This collection should get you started with some kick-ass open source Bootstrap UI kits for that custom aesthetic you always wanted.

1. Material Design for Bootstrap

material design bs3 uikit

If you’ve been keeping up with design news then you’ll know material design is huge. And what a better way to use material design than by combining it with Bootstrap?

Thankfully other designers had the exact same thought and built Material Design for Bootstrap.

This open-source toolkit lets you quickly prototype material web apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript all running on top of the Bootstrap foundation.

You have full access to BS3 Sass mixins, custom code libraries, and components, all of which are restyled for a material design slant. Pretty cool if you’re into Google’s design patterns.

2. Bootflat

bootflat ui kit

Here’s a UI kit similar to material design but without all the material-y UX stuff.

Bootflat is quite possibly the cleanest CSS kit you’ll find. It works on top of the latest version of Bootstrap 3.x and may be updated for the newer BS4.

With Bootflat you have full access to all page elements & components, plus this works in all major browsers with legacy support dating back to IE8.

Also this comes with a free PSD of all the Bootflat elements. You can use this to mockup a design in Photoshop before ever touching a line of code.

3. Drunken Parrot Lite

drunken parrot ui kit

With a name like Drunken Parrot you may not know what to expect. But this free Bootstrap theme is actually pretty cool with loads of incredible components at your disposal.

This also comes with a free PSD kit along with the HTML/CSS code so you can mockup your layout first. I definitely like the aesthetics because they feel so natural. I’d say they can work on basically any website.

Only downside? Drunken Parrot is a freemium kit meaning it offers a free version with fewer features, and a pro version with everything. But don’t let this stop you from testing the free version. It’s got a beautiful design that’s hard to find elsewhere.

4. Flat UI

flat ui kit

Designmodo’s Flat UI kit offers a unique take on flat design with Bootstrap. This comes as part of Designmodo’s library of resources, many of which cost money. But Flat UI is their freebie release.

You’ll find custom design styles for everything: on/off switches, tabbed widgets, dropdowns, checkboxes, form fields, you name it.

The demo page has everything in the kit so you can see how it looks. To grab a copy for yourself just visit the GitHub repo.

5. Metro UI

metro ui kit bootstrap

Along with Google’s material style is the Microsoft metro style. It’s another newer design language that works on the typical “windows” design with flat panes for interface elements.

With the Metro UI library you’ll have full access to a customizable set of components for your Bootstrap layouts. These can work for practically any page, and they’re super easy to use.

Take a peek at the examples page to see how this looks. You’ll also notice the project’s navigation mimics the traditional Bootstrap nav with pages for components and base CSS styles.

6. Design Blocks

froala bootstrap kit

The Froala Design Blocks kit works a little differently than most. This works on little block elements for pages that use Bootstrap, so it’s like an open source library of BS3/BS4 code components.

These “blocks” are really just custom page elements with different styles. Footers, headers, navigation menus, forms, plus a bunch of other categories.

This works well for building a widgetized Bootstrap layout, but it’s not a cohesive theme.

Still an awesome project and 100% free for life.

7. Get Shit Done

get shit done ui kit bootstrap

The team at Creative Tim often release crazy freebies for the design community. One of the best is the Get Shit Done UI kit designed for Bootstrap.

It currently sits at over 40,000 downloads and gets infrequent updates to go along with changes to the Bootstrap library.

Take a peek at the live examples page to see how all the components look together. It’s a beautiful design that feels so far away from Bootstrap it’s almost like a completely custom UI kit!

8. Now UI Kit

now ui kit framework

Here’s another gorgeous UI kit designed by the folks at Creative Tim. With the Now UI Kit you get a bunch of awesome features and a stellar aesthetic, but this one’s designed specifically for BS4.

I haven’t found a BS3 version of this kit, so it’s pretty much solely for the newest version of Bootstrap. You can tell it’s already got quite a following with 20k total downloads in less than a year.

Again this has a live preview page showcasing all the custom elements like on/off switches, checkboxes, radios, tabs, nav menus, everything.

Note Creative Tim does run this as a freemium kit, so it has a pro version with hundreds of extra components. But if you don’t need all that extra stuff you can totally get by with the free version.

9. Flatto UI Kit

flatto ui kit bootstrap

I rarely find UI kits for the web that support mobile interfaces. But the Flatto UI Kit is one such example that’s absolutely phenomenal.

If you take a look at the preview page you’ll find a bunch of custom mobile UI elements like title bars, back buttons, and sliding hamburger menus.

The flat design style is really cool and feels unique compared to the other flat UI kits. Check it out if you’re looking for a mix of mobile and web styles all running on Bootstrap.

10. Availity

availity ui kit webapp

Currently the Availity UI kit is made for all BS3 layouts. But with the beta release of Bootstrap it’s likely that Availity will be updated to support BS4 too.

It’s a pretty small framework, and it comes with a unique design. It mimics a lot of Bootstrap traits like gradients and semi-3D styles on buttons, while also restyling them for a refreshing twist.

You can see more on the components page inside the Availity documentation. This even comes with extra icon webfonts and custom JS scripts all packaged together.

Availity isn’t the prettiest UI kit for Bootstrap, but it is one of the most comprehensive with support for every page element you can imagine.

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10 Free Website Optimization eBooks & Online Guides For Improving Site Speed

Every metric you can measure on your site will give you an optimized loading time. Everything from usability to search engine rankings improve with a faster site.

There is no catch-all process to optimization. There are certain things you can do, like minifying your code or optimizing images to reduce file size.

But overall you’ll need to try a lot of things to ultimately reduce your page load speed. And the best place to start is with online guides solely built for web developers who want faster pages. Take a look over this collection and see if any of these resources can help you master the art of page speed optimization.

Essential Image Optimization

image optim guide

The Essential Image Optimization ebook is a fantastic primer on reworking your images for performance.

Google engineer Addy Osmani wrote this free ebook as a resource for all developers, designers, and server admins. The goal is to prove just how much image optimization can affect page speed.

With the right tools and processes you can radically improve your page load times. It won’t take much effort, and you can even get started with just a few simple changes. For example, WordPress users might try the SmushIt plugin that runs automatically and free of charge.

There’s a lot you can do for image optimization and this ebook is the best place to start.

Git-Tower Web Optimization Tips

gittower optimization guide

The team at Git-Tower published a massive guide to website optimization. This guide is really the bee’s knees on everything you could possibly want to do to your site.

It’s broken into sections almost like long chapters on various topics. They all follow a similar formula covering essential optimization topics:

  • Testing performance
  • Working with images
  • Reducing HTTP requests
  • Optimizing your code
  • Caching files

This guide also comes with a handy cheat sheet in PDF form. You can follow along while you make changes on your site, tracking performance as you go.

Ultimate Web Optimization Guide

A while back the team at Hongkiat wrote this optimization guide for the web. It’s still one of my favorites because it covers basically everything you should do for a faster site.

This talks about updating your server speed, your images, your HTTP requests, caching, CDN setup, everything.

Granted not everyone has the patience to go through all these things. It’ll take a lot of effort to switch servers and setup a CDN. Even though both of those things can radically improve performance, most people want a guide to help them along.

Take a look at this guide and see what you can glean from the writing. If you notice any sections that catch your eye be sure to Google for more info.

Top 10 Website Optimizations

top10 optimization ebook

Here’s a cool ebook on web performance released for free by Hostbaby. It covers 10 of the most important web optimization techniques you can use to radically improve your page speed.

The ebook does require an email submit which may annoy some people. But you can always unsubscribe from any lists you get added to, and the book is free forever regardless of if you subscribe or not.

Throughout the book you’ll learn not just the areas to optimize, but how to perform those optimizations and how to get the most from your efforts.

21 Expert Tips to an Ultra-Fast WordPress Site

siteground wp ebook

SiteGround has a similar ebook focused more on WordPress performance. This is a little more niche compared to general site optimization. Yet it’s incredibly useful since 27% of the Internet runs on WordPress.

The ebook is called 21 Expert Tips to an Ultra-Fast WordPress Site and it’s a great read for any WP users.

The tips in this ebook are gold, and they cover a lot of WP optimization tips for advanced caching and page testing. Probably the best guide to WP optimization you’ll find.

Again this does require an email submit to gain access, but it’s not difficult to unsubscribe later. I’ll say this is one ebook that’s worth submitting your email for – or you can just use a throwaway. Whatever works.

Web Page Size, Speed, and Performance

website speed performance ebook

Tech publisher O’Reilly has a massive book library totaling well into the thousands of titles. They release dozens of new books every year, most of them selling for a pretty penny.

But you can find a lot of free ebooks on their site released as 100% free guides, or as freemium previews to larger books.

One free guide I really like is Web Page Size, Speed, and Performance. This one’s easy to read and teaches you how to slim down your code to work well across all devices.

You’ll learn how to measure site speed, track down slow page assets, and how to optimize them to lift your site’s performance to new heights.

Static Site Generators

static site generator ebook

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about static websites. Mostly surrounding static site generators like Jekyll.

These types of sites load crazy fast because there’s no database and no backend code to run. It’s all frontend assets, most of which can be delivered through a CDN. O’Reilly’s free ebook Static Site Generators can help you start down this path.

It’s a quick read but offers more than enough info to get you hooked on the static site frenzy.

Real User Measurements

real user measurements ebook

Page speed optimization isn’t performed in a vacuum. It’s primarily done to enhance the user experience and keep people on your page.

Real User Measurements is yet another O’Reilly ebook teaching you how to measure valuable aspects of user performance. You’ll learn about active and passive monitoring tools along with different workflows you can adopt while optimizing your site.

There is no perfect process for measuring user behavior. But this book offers a solid intro to the field of user experience with a focus on website speed and optimization.

CDNs for Dummies

cdn guide

I couldn’t find a free ebook covering CDNs but I did find this awesome guide from Woorkup. It’s 100% free although it doesn’t go into as much detail on the more technical stuff.

This is still a genuinely useful intro to the process of managing a CDN. You’ll learn how it works, why it helps with site speed, and what you can do to setup a CDN for your own site.

I also recommend reading this comparison guide which gives a truly honest assessment of the CDN marketplace. I used this guide to help me pick the best CDN for my site, and it’ll help you understand why the CDN you choose is vital to your site’s performance.

Image File Format Comparison Chart

image file format guide

Lastly I want to share this image comparison guide detailing all the different file formats you can pick from.

It’s not the most valuable guide out there, but it does compare a lot of useful features you’ll want to consider before exporting graphics. It discusses the pros & cons of each image format. And it shares image format properties like lossless compression, transparency support, and native browser support.

If you’re still not sure whether a PNG or SVG is the best choice for your homepage graphics then this guide is worth bookmarking.

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10 Beautiful Examples of Motion Design in Mobile Apps

Interactions are a smaller detail of mobile design but can make a tremendous difference to the overall user experience of an application.

In the past few years it has become an integral part of any mobile design process. Interactions are often initiated by a tap or swipe, or other interactive action. The interaction encompasses the result of this trigger. Think tapping a floating action button on Android. The interaction might be an animation of the button icon, and multiple menu items sliding out from the top.

In this article we are going to look at 10 beautiful examples of mobile interaction design across both iOS and Android.

Chat Interaction

Chat Interaction Motion Design in Mobile Design

In this example, a unique interaction is applied to the lower left floating action button. Upon tapping, a set of four option expands within easy reach of the user’s hand.

Music App UI & Interaction

Music App UI Interaction Motion Design in Mobile Design

This music app incorporates some beautiful interaction animations to transition between popular music and now playing.

Event Cards iOS Interaction

Event Cards iOS Interaction Motion Design in Mobile Design

This events app design furthers the beautiful user interface by adding some animations and transitional effects for browsing through the event cards. The result is visually appealing and very intuitive to use.

Jelly Button iInteraction

elly Button iInteraction Motion Design in Mobile Design

This more complex design includes multiple instances of interaction design. The expand icon, sliders, gender illustrations, and skill set filters all use subtle animations and transitions to present a polished user interface.

Album Radial Interaction

Album Radial Interaction Motion Design in Mobile Design

In one of the more novel examples, this music app uses animation to replicate the visuals from a traditional record player. The artwork rotates slowly and produces a very attractive and satisfying user interface.

Signup Interaction

Signup Interaction Motion Design in Mobile Design

This sign up form uses some subtle but highly effective transitional effects between clicking primary buttons and filling in data.

Playlist Radial Interaction

Playlist Radial Interaction Motion Design in Mobile Design

This music app uses interaction design to explore some alternative options for browsing playlists. The result is an innovative and highly visual menu which stays within reach of the user’s thumb at all times.

Login Interaction

Login Interaction Motion Design in Mobile Design

This mobile login screen uses some perfectly executed paper-turning animation effects as the fields are completed for each step.

Freelancing App Interaction

Freelancing App Interaction Motion Design in Mobile Design

This interactive navigation concept revolves around a circular point at the bottom of the screen. From there, the radial menu is expanded and the individual screens are also expanded with great visual effect.

Application Process Interaction

Application Process Interaction Motion Design in Mobile Design

This app shows how the most subtle of interaction designs can produce the most satisfying results. As the time slider is increases, the plant glows larger and gives the user visual feedback on their input.

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13 Ideas for Designing Websites that Small Businesses Will Love

Planning to add small businesses to your list of clients?

Those already doing so, know how fierce the competition can be.

Pitching your web design skills to new clients can take lots of time and energy. This is especially so if those potential clients are somewhat skeptical.

  • The act of putting a winning proposal together can take up hours of your time,
  • and, for your proposal to be a winning one, you need to find a way to outsell your competitors

The good news is, attracting clients by showing them how you can meet their needs isn’t all that difficult.

How to Target Several Different Types of Businesses at Once, Using Be Theme

Have you been looking for a SaaS silver bullet to help you pitch your services to the clients? If yes, then you have been wasting your time. In fact, many of your competitors are also flailing around to find a winning strategy.

It’s probably time to rethink your strategy.

There’s certainly no shortage of potential clients. Many niche businesses are making the transition from brick-and-mortar to the online world. Many are also considering doing so. Currently, there are at least 13 business niches in need of someone to help them build an online presence.

So, how can you tap into this mother lode of business opportunities?

Obviously, you must take the right approach. It could be one that most website builders may not be familiar with. In this case, expect your potential clients to take advantage of your services.

Having so many different niches to choose from might appear to create a problem for you. The truth is, you don’t have to constrain yourself to specializing in one or two niches. With Be Theme, you can successfully take on all 13 niches, and more if you wish. Be Theme offers you as many as 280+ small business pre-built websites!

It’s simply a matter of picking a template that suits your client’s business.

With Be Theme, you’re getting a top 5 Themeforest bestseller, as well as the biggest of all the WordPress themes. Its 280+ pre-built websites accompany an easy to work with the one-click installer. Finding the perfect template and putting it to work, takes no time at all.

13 Be Theme Templates You Can Use for Small Business Owners

Check out one or more of the following templates in detail. You will understand how easy it is to build beautiful and high-performing websites. You will be able to do so for a variety of small businesses.

Each of these templates is completely customizable. Moreover, each contains the functionality for the type of business it represents.

All you need to do is to provide is the appropriate content! Just go with something you’ll typically coordinate with your client.

1. For Food Stores Be Salmon

  • The large food images will engage and entice visitors
  • Note the positive effect the interactive menu provides
  • The effective presentation of customers’ testimonials is also key

2. For Car Services BeDetailing2

  • The professional, bold look perfectly suits this niche
  • Note the use of before & after images
  • The price listing for services offered is nicely presented

3. For Event Planners BeMeeting

  • Your client will appreciate the intuitive meetings and events menu
  • as well as an eye-catching countdown clock
  • This template provides a “Clean” design for easy navigation

4. For Salons & Spas BeManicure

  • The luxurious imagery is perfect for this niche
  • The integrated eShop gets your client’s online business up and running in no time
  • The soft design emphasizes both products & services

5. For Online Clothes Shops BeDenim

  • The bold imagery & color combinations apply; whether it’s silk, or denim
  • The integrated eShop makes shopping easy
  • The intuitive icons promote easy navigation

6. For Musicians and Music Producers BeHipHop

  • Hip design Your client would expect nothing less
  • Watch and listen to the integrated video & audio player
  • And, there’s a blog section for concert & album release announcements

7. For Cafes & Tea Houses BeCafe2

  • Large images inside the online menu; something your competitors will likely overlook
  • A cool photo gallery
  • The generous About Us page makes a small business stand out

8. For Catering Businesses BeVegetables

  • The interactive product presentation makes ordering easy,
  • as do the crystal-clear CTA buttons
  • Professional price listing gives the visitor plenty of options

9. For Visual Artists BeDrawing

  • The impressive gallery is exactly what a creative business needs
  • The overall design is clean and simple
  • An integrated presentation video adds to the overall UX

10. For Courses and Webinars BeTraining

  • The template features a standard intuitive menu for eLearning platforms
  • The large video thumbnails are attention-getters
  • Easy navigation through the events calendar benefits the user

11. For Nutrition & Fitness Businesses BeDiet

  • Large, high-quality food images always attract attention
  • Visitors will appreciate the special recipe sections integrated in the main menu
  • A beautifully-designed blog provides an added touch

12. For Medical Care BeClinic2

  • The sharp, simple design emphasizes professionalism
  • Easy navigation thanks to a clean template structure
  • Perfect content organization makes for easy reading

13. For Interior Designers BeCarpenter2

  • Note the impressive use of architectural patterns
  • Large, detailed images focus on the product
  • A professional presentation video enhances the UX

Here’s How You Can Attract This Type of Clients

It’s not necessary to throw out a bid, and hope for the best. There are better ways to present your proposal to a business owner or a prospective client.

1. Hang Out in their Facebook Groups

Let social media, especially Facebook, work to your advantage.

Search for the business and industry groups that you’ll be most comfortable serving. Yet, don’t unnecessarily limit yourself. Cafes, eLearning businesses, creatives, professionals, and event planning businesses await your proposals.

Don’t forget entrepreneurial groups either

Then it’s a matter of asking permission to post your services. Answer prospective client’s questions and offer suggestions. Also, you will need to demonstrate your expertise in web design for small businesses.

2. Send Them Cold Emails

The challenge here is to get a prospect to read your email and find it appealing enough to want to respond. For that to happen, there are a few simple steps you should follow:

First, identify the enterprise you would like to do business with.

Having done that, look it up on LinkedIn to identify a key person to contact.

  • Offer to help them! You can do so by providing the services required to establish an online presence. Or, perhaps you can offer them to improve a website they already have. Don’t forget to demonstrate how you’ll make it better.
  • Close on a pro-active note. Don’t ask them if they would like to discuss your offer. Rather, suggest setting up a time to talk more about what you can offer. Tell them you have some ideas you believe they would find helpful.

Don’t be stiff and formal, or act like you’re trying to close a deal. A much better approach is to sound natural. Just tell them you’re trying to help and would like the opportunity to do so.

Conclusion

You don’t have to go after the hottest companies in the marketplace. You might want to avoid a venture into where the competition is extremely fierce. Go where you see your services are truly needed.

There’s a host of small businesses wanting to establish an online presence.

As a start, you can focus on the 13 business types described here. By doing so, you’ll have 13 niches in which you’ll already have a head start over the competition.

Pitch prospective clients via email or Facebook groups

Scan Be Theme‘s 280+ pre-built websites to find the perfect template for the website, and you’re good to go.

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A SEO Checklist for Your WordPress Website

A website, no matter how amazing it looks or how great the content, isn’t worth much if people don’t know it exists. That’s why SEO generates a never-ending stream of hype. A well-optimized site is much more likely to be found through organic search.

If your site has been built with WordPress, then you’re already off to a great start with the optimization process. WordPress is built with SEO in mind and it’s flexible. That means you can build a SEO strategy that matches your particular needs.

But there are some things you need to be aware of when it comes to optimizing a WordPress website. Beyond the standard SEO practices, the open nature of the platform means that you’ll need to inspect your theme and plugins to ensure you have the best possible setup.

With that in mind, here is a handy SEO checklist for optimizing your WordPress website:

Check WordPress Settings

Check WordPress Settings

WordPress has a few settings that will certainly have an effect on SEO. But when you’re rushing to launch a site, it’s easy to forget about them. Before your site goes public, make sure to check out the following items:

Settings > General

Ensure that both the Site Title and Tagline fields are set correctly. While we usually set the Title while installing WordPress, the Tagline often stays set to the default “Just Another WordPress Site”. If you’re not paying attention, it will show up in your search listings. Feel free to either change the Tagline to something more relevant or delete it altogether.

Settings > Permalinks

WordPress generally comes with SEO friendly Permalinks already set. But it’s still worth fiddling around with to make sure you have the best setting for your type of site. The Post Name option is usually just fine. But if you publish often, Day and Name or Month and Name may be more appropriate.

Settings > Reading

While a site is still in development, often times we might block search engines…then forget to unblock them after launch. It’s best to check the Search Engine Visibility setting before launching your site – just in case.

Make Sure Your Theme Uses Proper Markup

Make Sure Your Theme Uses Proper Markup

A well-made WordPress theme can have a very positive impact when it comes to SEO. But older or poorly-coded themes could make it harder for search engines to appropriately index your content. Here are some items to look for in your theme:

HTML5 Semantic Markup

At the very basic level, you’re looking for a theme that contains HTML5 semantic markup. This means that content areas are marked with tags such as header, footer, article and aside. Navigation should be wrapped in a nav tag. And page/post titles should be wrapped in h1 headings.

The beauty of these tags is that they provide search engines with some context when analyzing your site.  While your site may not look differently to the naked eye, search bots will see this markup as a way to more efficiently index things.

Structured Data

On the higher end of the feature scale would be the inclusion of Schema.org structured data. Descriptive attributes are added to tags for things like events, reviews or even a person. Breadcrumb navigation is also quite useful here. This provides search engines with extra information that could be displayed in search results. For example, if you’ve ever noticed a star rating in a listing – that comes from structured data.

If you build your own WordPress themes, this is something fairly simple to strategically add in. But if you’re using a third-party theme, you’ll want to check to see if it’s included. No worries if it’s not in your theme, though. You can still add this data through various plugins.

Mobile Friendly Responsive Layout

Whether you build your own theme or use a third-party offering, it simply must work well on mobile devices. This is not only a usability issue; it also pertains to SEO as well. Google will mark sites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices in search results. That could cost you precious clicks and sales.

Install SEO-Boosting Plugins

Install SEO-Boosting Plugins

There are a number of great SEO related plugins for WordPress. Which one you choose really should come down to your needs and personal preference. Yoast SEO is a great all-around choice and has over 5 million active installs. All in One SEO Pack has over 3 million active installs and is also a solid pick. They’re two of the most well-known and popular plugins but they’re far from the only ones available.

Regardless of the plugin you choose, there are some standard features that you’ll want to have:

Optimize Individual Pages and Posts

SEO isn’t just about your home page. All of your content should be optimized in some way. A plugin that enables you to individually optimize each page and post is a great help. Things you’ll want to change include titles, keywords and descriptions. It’s also handy if you can individually turn off indexing for a specific piece of content.

Automatic Optimization

For the content you don’t necessarily want to fine-tune yourself, it’s nice if a plugin will do some of the work for you. A good SEO plugin will allow you to change title, description and permalink formulas to automatically tweak things in the background.

Add OpenGraph Data

OpenGraph data is imperative for allowing your content to be shared on social media. It grabs items such as page titles, featured images and excerpts for display on services like Facebook and Twitter. You’ll want use a plugin that adds these tags to your site and allows you to customize settings.

XML Sitemap

Submitting a XML sitemap to Google is an easy way to ensure that they can index your content. Look for the ability to both create sitemaps and customize what content is (and isn’t) included within them.

Analytics

Don’t forget about analytics! Whether you use Google’s service or someone else’s – add tracking code through a plugin or your theme. It’s the best way to find out whether your strategies are working.

These features may all be included in just one plugin, or you might use a combination of niche plugins to accomplish this functionality. Either way, your site should be taking advantage of each item on the list.

Best Practices in Content

Maintain Best Practices in Content

The same SEO best practices for content writing and markup still apply when using WordPress. Since there are plenty of resources on the subject, we won’t go into great detail here. But in general you’ll want to comb through your site and check for the following:

Proper Use of Heading Tags

This one still trips up some people because the classic WordPress editor doesn’t make it so obvious. Content writers will often separate distinct sections within a page with bolded text, rather than the more semantically-correct h2 tag. The new Gutenberg editor, slated for launch in WordPress 5.0 may help in that adding headings will be a bit more of an intuitive process.

Use Internal Links

When you have other related content within your site – link to it. It’s something recommended for SEO and also may encourage visitors to dig deeper into your content.

ALT Text for Images

Images within your content should contain alt attribute text. This is vital for accessibility and Google recommends it for SEO as well. If your site is rather large, you may want to use a plugin to help you find and assign descriptive text to save some time.

You Are Officially Optimized

You Are Officially Optimized

The combination of the right theme, plugins and content strategy can make your WordPress website fully optimized for search engines. And with so many outstanding tools available, you can mix and match to achieve your goals.

So, whether you’re launching a new site or maintaining an existing one, take the time to go through the checklist above to ensure you’re doing all you can with regards to SEO. A little bit of effort can make a huge difference in your results.

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10 Simple, Yet Beautiful iOS 11 App Icons

App icons for iOS have evolved considerably since its inception. Early on, there was a great focus on gradients, shadows, and highlights. The gradients have seen a resurgence since then, but with far more subtlety and creative use of color combinations.

Otherwise, iOS app icons are a far-cry from the graphically-intensive designs which used to be the standard across the App Store. Just as with the styling, there is also now a shift toward clean glyphs within icon apps. Previously we’d see anything from realistic 3D camera mockups to heavily-styled illustrations.

In this gallery we are going to review an inspiring selection of ten simple and beautiful app icons for iOS 11.

Midzi iOS App Icon

Midzi iOS 11 App Icons inspiration

Midzi’s simple iOS icon provides a perfect continuation of their branding. The design is high contrast, unique, and current.

sqAR iOS App Icon

sqAR iOS 11 App Icons inspiration

sqAR’s app icon is incredibly unique and incorporates some delightful small details. The logo mark is high contrast, and the overall visual is understated but attractive.

VideoFix iOS App Icon

VideoFix iOS 11 App Icons inspiration

Incorporating some eye-catching gradients, VideoFix’s iOS app icon is subtle but offers some depth and individuality.

Cryptonaut iOS App Icon

Cryptonaut iOS 11 App Icons inspiration

Cryptonaut’s app icon design is simple but perfectly executed. The bordered shapes are high contrast and form a recognizable and unique glyph.

Flinto App Icons

Flinto iOS 11 App Icons inspiration

Flinto’s iOS app icon is simple in form with some very subtle and precisely-executed details. These include borders and slight gradients to produce a depth effect.

Daily UI #6

Daily UI 6 iOS 11 App Icons inspiration

The color palette on this app icon instantly makes it unique. It adds the perfect amount of depth and shadowing to the simple glyph design.

Brush iOS Icon

Brush iOS 11 App Icons inspiration

This brush iOS icon is both playful and colorful. Despite its simplicity, it manages to create a sense of depth. The neon colors contrast excellently against the dark background.

Tenory Mobile App Icon

Tenory iOS 11 App Icons inspiration

In one of the simplest examples, this iOS 11 app icon for Tenory shows just how effective this approach can be. The glyph is perfectly crafted and accents beautifully against the vibrancy of the purple background.

App for Moms to be

App for Moms to be iOS 11 App Icons inspiration

This app icon utilizes pastel colors to create the most subtle of gradients. The glyph is beautifully-formed and contributes to a design that looks attractive throughout.

Monkey.Cool App Icon

Monkey.Cool iOS 11 App Icons inspiration

This app icon uses flat, rounded shapes to form a unique character design. The colors and alternate backgrounds are high impact while remaining simple and in keeping with iOS 11.

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