The slave

Technology wants me to stay up to date, get excited, never miss a thing, never miss anything. Grow my network, subscribe, signup now, start my trial now, go premium now, learn more, like more, follow more, share, stare, fade to black.

It also wants to inform me, notify me, engage me, remind me, suggest to me, send me newsletter, access my phonebook, know my location, access my location, follow my every step, blind me with ads, target ads for me, block my ad-blocker for me. Get my data, store my data, use my data, sell my data, feast off of my data.

It wants to isolate me, imprison me, keep me addicted to its shiny plastic and pixels. Sell me a new version, not much different from the version I have. Only more expensive. It wants to be in my hands, in my head, in my vein, on my wrists, over my eyes. It wants me to hold it, touch it, stare at it, sleep with it, talk to it, because I don’t know how to talk to people anymore. It wants me to take photos of a moment instead of enjoying it. To eat news for breakfast, software updates for lunch and promotional emails for dinner. To type a message to a person next to me. To use emojis instead of language. To drive me around, to drive me crazy, to drive me far away from reality. To do things instead of me until I atrophy – physically, mentally and socially.

To calcify my empathy. To cement my senses. To vehemently fill my insides until there’s noting humane left inside my skin. And to apply filters to my dry skin shell so that I don’t see how ugly it has became.

How (not) to get feedback from users

What do you think about xyz feature? What can we improve so that the product fits your needs? What would you change on this screen?

Asking users for an opinion about our design might be the quickest way to get feedback, but it is arguably the worst way to do it. Furthermore, taking opinions or requests as facts and translating them directly into a design can be terribly misleading.

In reality, people are often not very good at articulating their needs and wants, let alone their latent needs or factors that influence their behaviour. Their abilities to understand why they are doing something are poor and their abilities to predict their own behaviour in different circumstances are even worse. Most of their decisions are made unconsciously so this should not come as a surprise.

There is another problem with people. They sometimes make things up. They might criticise our design heavily because they feel they are helping us this way, even though it is obvious they complete tasks with ease. Or they might feel uncomfortable telling us that they don’t like our product, so they lie. Or they just don’t know, so they make up the answer to fit the current context.

Here is an example. During a research for one of our projects we interviewed a participant, seasoned sports coach, who was talking about his skills, students and busy daily schedule. But when we observed him later, we discovered that his perception didn’t entirely matched the reality. And this wasn’t an isolated case. Should we have only listened to what these people were saying, we would have come to wrong conclusions. In another example, our client was asking potential customers whether they would need xyz functionality and most of them were confident they need it. The functionality was implemented. But when my team came onboard we realised that the functionality has not been used at all. Not only our client wasted resources to build the functionality, they also needed to invest more into fixing the problem this functionality has made.

Takeaway here is that opinions are completely unreliable. Instead of basing our decisions on what others say, we should focus our efforts on discovering authentic behaviours and stories through indirect research. Usability testing, for instance, is a relatively cheap method used to discover problems with existing designs. It helps us understand what users actually do when interacting with our design, rather than what they say they do. Ethnography studies helps us discover deepest insights about people: how they live and work, what motivates them, what are their needs, problems, intentions, beliefs and values. Through observation, contextual inquiry or diary studies (to name a few) we can inform a design process with valuable information that cannot be discovered with other methods.

This is nothing now, but sadly we need to keep saying it, again and again. Consequences of relying on opinions, attitudes or customer requests are hazardous: useless products, loss of money, dissatisfied users. Investing into a proper research, even lightweight one, can pave the way for creating products that perform better for us and our users.

Tabula rasa

All the clients want answers. They want one answer, to be more precise. The right, the perfect, the ultimate answer. That’s why they hire you, from their point of view. Your boss, managers, peers — they all want answers.

It’s tempting to immediately respond to a challenge and provide an answer and prove your expertise, but giving an answer without understanding the problem won’t help anyone make better design. Restrain yourself and ask questions first.

When I’m faced with a new challenge, I clear up my mind and behave like a 3 year old. As if I have never heard of the subject before. You know when kids ask you dozens of “Whys” until they are able to digest the concept and leave satisfied with your answer? “Dad, why is the Sun yellow? Why does the fire rage on the Sun? What is nuclear reaction? Are other Suns yellow?” And just when you thought you explained everything: “Dad, why is then Rigel blue?” It is this naivety that I need in order to understand the problem space to the extent that it becomes meaningful for me. I see naivety as an essential skill, the one that we lose while we are growing up. If naivety sounds bad to you, think about it as curiosity.

But being naive doesn’t make me incompetent. On the contrary, it helps me remove limitations imposed by the expertise and accumulated knowledge and see further than I already know. Without asking dumb questions I could never understand how things can be improved. And it is only when I am able to digest the problem that I can move forward and start thinking about answers.

Speaking of answers, I am doubtful about the idea that designers solve problems by providing answers. Answer implies finality, immutability, I can’t equate design with that. I love how Frank Chimero explained it in this talk. He suggests that we provide responses instead of answers and I think it better reflects what we do (I suggest you to watch the video). There are simply no finite solutions to design problems. There are no strict answers.

So try not to be pressed with urge to answer. Ask questions instead and think about possible responses.

Digital and physical

I read books a lot, both physical and digital books, and I often question myself about the difference in experience in reading these two. There are some obvious differences like format, shape or weight, and obvious similarities like reading pages or bookmarking. I would like, however, to focus on one particular quality of a book... View Article

On writing again

More than 2 years ago I abandoned this blog because writing ceased to be a liberating activity and became a heavy burden. Unfortunately, it wasn’t only the writing. In part, it became a burden due to expectations of other people to which I failed to set an adequate response. Expectations to write consistently, to write... View Article

What type of design or layout require for good sales web page

The design of your business site could have a direct impact over the number of sales conversions you get. However, by encouraging the sales simply do not simply mean that you ignore the need of having good design over your website. The fact is in an online marketing effort, the conversion rate is the percentage or amount of people who simply go for casual viewing to take some action like sales or registration, which are promoted by the subtitles or via direct requests. Hence you could see the conversion happening when you are able to turn the site visitor into a lead and finally into a sale. Without the conversions a site will fail to work for the business and hence may not deliver you anything against the investment you have done on it, thus killing all your money and efforts, which you have put forward to get people over your site. Hence it’s important to know some of the key points to design a good web page, which can help to convert the visitors. Let’s check them out:

Design with clear visitor paths

In order to convert the site visitors into customer, your site design should have clear visitor paths. The visitors should be channeled to your main objective including towards the contact form or simply download the page or move to a shopping cart. Something you could create some aesthetically pleasing design layouts, but fail to incorporate these elements. The sites, which are able to convert a wide range of visitors into leads generally, feature bright colored calls for action. However, a number of designer end up committing a mistake of putting a larger than life size contact us button, which simply acts as a worst nightmare for the designers. Hence designing these pages could be called as a subjective thing; however, designing the sales web pages is termed as scientific, which is driven by statistics and could be improved by testing.

Show your products

Whenever you visit any brick and mortar store, you often first examine any product before buying it. You generally make your purchasing decision based upon the information you gather over there by touching, smelling, testing, etc. Though you may not find this feature over the online stores, yet you could fill this gap by putting other things by giving as much information as possible in the form of screenshots, images and text content. However, it is really surprising to see a number of sites, selling out different products including software fail to put these screenshots over the website. Though you may not be able to see and smell these products yet you could find information about these over the web in various ways.

The consumers coming over the online stores simply take decisions based on the products in which they appear. Since appearance could be called as a big indicator, which could be called as an aesthetic usability effect. But when these people see a very cluttered and complicated interface they may take an impression of an old, obsolete and hard to use platforms. On the contrary, if the consumers are able to see simple and attractive kind of interface with things properly organized, they will be more encouraged to get converted.

Add the AIDA element in your web design

AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action) is among the most popular strategy, which describes the number of steps involved in getting a sales conversion. Hence your design should be able to catch the attention of the potential customers. The moment you incorporate this element, you should be able to explain your products or services to them. To generate the interest the customers should be able to visualize your products through your website designs along with telling them the benefits of the same. With the help of benefits, you would be able to sell out the products effectively as customers would be able to understand the features of the products or services they want to avail over your website. In order to design such websites, you need to first visualize these elements like a customer and then incorporate in your designs with the help of different images, and graphic designs.

Provide the next actions element in your website design

Follow the ABC (always be closing) rule in your website design. If you want to design a site, which can sell out your products online, you also have to check the way you are going to close the deal over every web page. This simply doesn’t mean you end up putting a big button of ‘Buy Now’, but make sure to add them properly in such a way that customers do not have to search for the same. This could be done by adding the next action links at proper places without actually distracting the attention of your potential customers. These links can help your customers to reach out to a web page, where he or she can find more information about the product. Hence you could put the link with a phrase, all set to order, click here or learn more, shop now or even Take a tour, etc. Avoid leaving any dead end over the web page; make sure you keep on suggesting your visitors where they can move the next.

Final word

Designing the sales page is more of a science than adding bells and whistles in your website. The above points can help you in designing effective sales pages over your website.

10 Useful jQuery Resources for Web Developers

For web developers, pre-existing resources can be a major timesaver, or a major headache, depending on the quality of code, ease of use, and number of bugs.
One of the great things about the web these days is the availability of popular free web builders, free resources and plugins, and pre-made templates available.

However, it can be a bit difficult to sort through and find the best resources. So, to save you some time and supercharge your web development workflow, I’ve gathered up some jQuery resources for you.

Included are some of the most commonly needed resources, such as responsive grids, sliders, scrolling, and forms.

Mini AJAX Upload Form

In this tutorial we are going to create an AJAX file upload form, that will let visitors upload files from their browsers with drag/drop or by selecting them individually.

MixItUp

MixItUp is a light-weight but powerful jQuery plugin that provides beautiful animated filtering and sorting of categorized and ordered content. It plays nice with your existing HTML and CSS, making it a great choice for fluid, responsive layouts.

Audio Player: Responsive and Touch-Friendly

A responsive, touchable, native, usable, image and flashless lightweight audio player plugin!

jResponsive Is Great

A simple jQuery plugin that allows you to add a dynamically-resized layout to any page or element, customize the layout the way you want with or without top,right,left or bottom navigations.

FlexNav

FlexNav is a jQuery plugin that allows a device-agnostic approach for responsive menus.

Chardin.js

Chardin.js is an overlay jQuery plugin that allows easy overlaid instructions for apps.

ScrollUp

ScrollUp is a lightweight jQuery plugin to create a customisable Scroll to top feature that will work with any website, with ease.

iCheck

iCheck is created to avoid routine of reinventing the wheel when working with checkboxes and radio buttons. It provides an expected identical result for the huge number of browsers, devices and their versions. Callbacks and methods can be used to easily handle and make changes at customized inputs.

Unslider

A very lightweight, free to use, jQuery slider that uses HTML and CSS, has keyboard support and is responsive.

Nested

Nested is a jQuery plugin which allows you to create multi-column, dynamic grid layouts. Unlike other libraries and jQuery plugins similar to Nested, this is (as far I as I抳e know) the first script out there that allows you a complete gap-free layout.

How to Create a Website: 2 Hours Guide for Beginners

Hey there! If you have a couple of minutes, we’re offering you to invest them into something that will help you grow your business. Today we’ll speak about how you can create a website quickly and effortlessly – even if it’s your first attempt in building them. Interested? Then go ahead and absorb the tips we’re about to share with you.

But first thing is first. Let us introduce to you the all new MotoCMS HTML templates. Don’t worry – we’re not telling you to buy them (though not prohibiting either). What we’re going to be doing today is we’ll play with the free trial version of a business HTML template #40880 and will show you what awesome stuff you can do with it. That’s how it looks before we start editing it:

Business MotoCMS HTML Template

In case you’d like to test the system yourself you may do so by getting to the HTML templates section, choosing the design you like. Then click the ‘Try It Free’ button and get your free trial link to your email. Everything’s quite simple, so you can try to develop a fully functional website yourself.

Ok, back to our template. Here is the admin panel of the business HTML template. There are 3 toolbars to adjust theme settings ?they are placed on the left, right and at the top of the admin panel. By using them you can make changes to the template pages.

How to Create a Website If You Have HTML Template with CMS

The first thing everybody wants to see on a new website is their logo. Click it with the mouse pointer and choose another image to display as your company logo (upload your logo in PNG or JPG format). Adjust logo settings within the right toolbar.

How to Create a Website If You Have HTML Template with CMS

From the previous screen you can also see how easy it is to change the template’s header. Additionally we used the ‘Shape Object’ and filled it with light gray color, plus gradient. Select the ‘Object Placement’ to make it visible within the entire website/page layout/single page. Copy this ‘Shape object’ and place it as a theme’s footer as well.

Now, let’s proceed and customize the image gallery. Double click it and edit the slider properties (general settings, pagination, image description, image properties – all that kind of stuff). In our case all gallery images are aligned horizontally and we need to crop them. The ‘Image editor’ will do it within a few minutes without forcing you to use desktop graphic editors.

How to Create a Website If You Have HTML Template with CMS

When double clicking the ‘Main Menu’ we edit the menu tabs (the CMS allows to add or remove menu items, to check click actions and labels) and their settings (general settings, main menu style, submenu style, submenu area style). Now let抯 duplicate the menu and place the copy to the footer ?just like many business websites do.
Ok, we know that right now this may seem like too much info or that things are complicated. Well they’re not. This is very easy once you see it yourself and click around these admin panel tools.

How to Create a Website If You Have HTML Template with CMS

As you probably remember there were 3 info sections right under the image slider of the default website template. How about we drag and drop these sections and line them up vertically? It’s really fun to group all layers to replace them at once.

When working with MotoCMS HTML templates you’ll regularly need to customize colors of fonts, frames and other objects. We used the ‘Color Picker’ to apply the same shades of colors to different objects.

How to Create a Website If You Have HTML Template with CMS

By using these simple tips we edit other web pages (and you can do it too). When everything’s done we change Website title that will be displayed in browser tabs when people enter the site. Go to ‘Preferences’ => ‘Website Preferences’ and make these changes. By the way, there you can activate the ‘Under Construction’ mode, enter Google Analytics tracking code, protect pages and popups with the secure password, etc.

How to Create a Website If You Have HTML Template with CMS

At the end let us show you how to embed YouTube videos to the site. We’ll place the video on the ‘Solutions’ page, but you can choose whatever page that you want. Just click ‘Video’ => ‘YouTube’ within the left toolbar of the admin panel. Now you’re in the ‘Media library’ (the place where all media files are visible) ?there are several buttons of popular social websites that you can upload files from – like You Tube, Flickr, Picasa and others. So make a choice and type the subject of a video that you want into the search field. Click the ‘Add’ button and double click the video to enjoy it on your site. That’s how simple it is!

For now that be all that we wanted to show you in the HTML templates editing. The drag and drop layout builder from MotoCMS allows you to operate it like you do with any usual text or graphic editor. Perhaps it’s the best feature of MotoCMS HTML templates because even a teenager can work with it.

P.S.: Don’t forget to click the ‘Save Page’ button from time to time. Remember, this simple action has already saved a lot of projects from disappearing.

But enough of talking! Let’s now take a look at the website we’ve created!


Business Website Created with MotoCMS HTML Template

Nice, huh? You may always take a look at the complete set of features of the HTML web templates from MotoCMS yourself and test these templates – there are a lot of things to play with. In case you’ll face any troubles you can always come back and read this stuff once again. However, all the HTML templates are rather simple to use, so you’ll easily cope with them.

Good luck friends! Perhaps next time you will the one teaching someone how to create cool designs with MotoCMS HTML themes. Go for it, we wish you the best of luck!

How Web Design Can Help In Marketing And Communication

How Web Design Can Help In Marketing And Communication

When you start a business and you create a website for letting people know about your business, it is crucial that you decide who your target audience are. This is the area where marketing and communication design plays a crucial role. Carrying out marketing and communication design for a particular site might help you distinguish which measures are effective for your target audience.

The Role of Web Design in Effective Marketing And Communication

The experienced web designer has a clear idea about the group of people who are of the same age or a specific cultural domain which functions as the target audience of your business. The web designer also has the capability or knowledge about the tendencies of the target audience.

Web designers have a clear knowledge about the kind of site they are going to design. For instance, the elements that they usually take into account for business-to-business website designing may be substantially different from that of a customer-oriented website like a hospitality website or retail website.

While working on the marketing and communication design, the designer cautiously thinks about espousing the techniques which will make sure that as a whole the design and feel of the site don’t collide with the preciseness of the subject matter of the site, the brightness of it, and also the simplicity of navigating it. This is particularly true for a business-to-business (B2B) site.

In addition, designers also take into account the measures for reputation protection of the enterprise or person to which the site belongs. This is important to ensure that they are showcased in a positive manner. Designers can also create social networking profiles which will be more helpful in communicating with your customers. Your viral marketing potentials can also be enhanced in this way.

Efficient communication design: why is it important to boost marketing?

Efficiency in communication is something indispensable for any business to survive and do well. Efficient communication is absolutely significant in the field of web design since carrying out communication activities with an art director, customer, or web developer might determine the fruitfulness of a particular venture. There is not much ambiguity that innovativeness is not always presumption. Nonetheless, if it is a question of representing your products and services to the clients, you have to be frank and transparent in your communication with the customers.

Web designers offer assistance in developing tailor-made database and web applications that play a key role in producing better results against affordable expenses.

Services offered by designers include end-to-end email marketing services, featuring planning , development, and implementation of e-newsletters and email promotions. Tailor-made apps are used to fulfill the unique needs of your target audience and in this way, your task of managing a business campaign gets easier.

Web designers work on the following areas to help flourish your business:

  • Branding
  • Advertisements
  • Graphic design
  • Marketing
  • Logo designing
  • Web designing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Online advertising
  • Web videos
  • Social media
  • Commercials

They can help you generate marketing and communication strategies that delineate the advertising and marketing objectives of overcoming challenges in promoting your products. They will co-operate with you in this regard on various web and graphic design projects.

So, web design is important in communication, which ultimately helps you sustain and become successful.

6 Resources for Color Inspiration

The colors that are used on a website have a subtle but powerful effect on the way a brand is perceived. Blue is a popular choice for banking or law sites because it projects a sense of security and calm, while red is frequently seen on sale banners, because looking at it makes viewers feel more energized. And these reactions aren’t just guesswork or speculation. Studies have been done to show, for instance, that the color yellow causes peoples’ metabolism to speed up, and their serotonin levels to rise.

But while it’s obvious that color can have a powerful impact, it can also be hard to harness that influence. While most basic colors are fairly reliable in evoking ideas or feelings, it’s difficult to pinpoint anything other than general perceptions. So it’s important to be able to experiment with how colors work together in different palettes, proportions, and applications. Luckily, there are tons of sophisticated tools out there for finding, editing, and perfecting the right color palette for any project.

1. Designspiration is a great source for finding color inspiration in every type of design.

Designspiration

If you don’t have many preconceptions for what your color palette needs to be, this site is a great place to begin. You can browse through an inclusive assortment of images that are pulled from all areas of design (logos, packaging, architecture, and more) to find and save color schemes that appeal to you. Or go a step farther and use their color searching tool: after choosing up to five hues from a palette, the site will generate any results that share that combination of colors. Results can be refined by categories or keywords.

2. For a task that’s just as much about patterns or gradients as it is about color, try using ColRD.

ColRD

This site also has many different categories to browse through, but the focus is narrower: rather than being a source for generalized inspiration, ColRD has divided its offerings into palettes, gradients, and patterns, as well as images.

All of the images on the site are freely downloadable, or you can save them to your online collection. But where ColRD really shines is in its palette and gradient sections, both of which allow you to edit the entries through a group of sliders controlling the RGB spectrum as well as the luminance, saturation, and hue. You also get access to a CSS code snippet, making it especially useful for working with gradients in web design.

3. Use Color Explorer for working exclusively and comprehensively with color palettes.

Color Explorer

This site offers a plethora of options for finding the perfect color palette; you can browse their library and edit from there, or you can upload an image and extract hues from it. Their virtual color libraries allow you to pinpoint the hex codes for a project that requires using exact colors. Best of all, their Color Matching tool allows you to quickly create harmonizing palettes based on classic color theory methods such as the complementary or triadic systems.

4. Or try Adobe Kuler for a simpler, more streamlined way of working with palettes.

Adobe Kuler

If you don’t need of a wealth of tools, but are looking for a simple way to find and edit color palettes, Kuler offers a simple interface, tons of palettes, and integration with your Adobe Creative Suite. You can search palettes by name and subject, but it’s especially useful for searching by hex number, which is great for when you already have one or two hues already picked out.

5. If you have a color palette in mind but need to find complementary stock photography, use Shutterstock Spectrum.

Shutterstock Spectrum

The quickest and most intuitive way to find stock images by color, this site is a cinch to use: after entering your keywords, you can alter your selections by color using an RGB spectrum slider until you’ve found just the right photo for your needs.

6. Or if your project calls for using free photography, a useful alternative can be found in TinEye Labs.

TinEye Labs

Use this website as a shortcut to finding just the right color combinations within Flickr’s creative commons imagery. The interface lets you get even more specific than with Shutterstock Spectrum; not only can you choose up to five colors to search with, you can also specify the ratios between colors that you’d like represented. However, the site offers no means of further refining by topic.

Color is a complicated topic that needs a lot of investigation to get just right. But by using a combination of these sites in your work, you should be well on your way towards achieving just the right palette for the affects you hope to achieve.