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As a web designer or design agency, you’ve learned to keep a close watch on design trends. They come and go as well as changes in digital design technology and how they affect your profession.

It isn’t always easy to keep up with the technology or with the trends. Or, for that matter, with the tools and resources you’ll need to keep up with.

It isn’t that the tools and resources aren’t there. It’s more like there’s an overabundance of them, making it difficult to take a deep dive to find what you want.

We’ve pulled together a nice little selection of the best sites, apps, tools, and resources. They will help streamline your work and show your skills. Check it out and let us know what you like and what else you’d like to see.

1. Elementor

Placing Elementor at the top of our list wasn’t a hard decision to make. It’s by most accounts the world’s leading page and website builder. Part of the reason is Elementor’s quick and powerful drag and drop feature combined with a host of widgets, templates, and other design aids.

Another reason for Elementor’s rise to the top is its ability to integrate with any theme and any plugin to give you unlimited design flexibility. You can design whatever comes to mind without those troublesome limitations or constraints that are common to so many themes. You can create your landing pages and websites without coding as well.

The Elementor UI is easy to work with, and important factor whenever production time is a potential issue. You can choose from the library of more than 100 templates or start from scratch and work from Elementor’s impressive selection of widgets as you build your site.

Elementor has recently added a Pop Up builder, an Advanced Forms feature, and hover and scroll animation capabilities to its toolkit.

2. AND CO from Fiverr

If you’re still managing your invoices manually, you’re spending a lot of time you could otherwise devote to more pressing business issues.

AND CO doesn’t simply take some of the load off your shoulders; it practically does your invoicing for you. Integrating seamlessly with its project management and time tracking features, AND CO automatically creates invoices when a project has been completed or a milestone has been reached.

You’ll be notified when it’s time to invoice again, when an invoice has been viewed by your client, and when payment has been made, so you can stay on top of your cash flow.

You can also use AND CO to create recurring invoices and have them automatically sent to clients or customers who you’re working with on a subscription basis.

Plus, AND CO’s payments feature allows you to setup your own PayMe page and have clients pay you online via their preferred payment method.

3. Houzez

Houzez is a long-time favorite of many realtors and agencies; the reason being that this specialty application has every function and feature a real estate agent typically needs, whether in the office or out showing properties.

Just when it looked as if nothing more needed to be added, the Houzez team came up with a host of new features; making what has been an outstanding realtor’s tool even more outstanding.

The favorites, advanced search, multiple listings formats, and a property management system are still there. What has been added are several new property page features including the Custom Fields Builder, multi-currency features, and a useful selection of featured listings options including scheduling showings for luxury homes.

Featured listings can be shown at the top, or you can arrange listings in any order you want to when you will be showing a number of properties to a client.

4. Uncode

Uncode has all the functionality and flexibility you need to build a breathtaking portfolio website in a few short hours. You can select one of Uncode’s templates and run with it or create a template of your own.

Visit their website and view the showcase of user-inspired websites. You’ll understand why this powerful, user-friendly theme is one of ThemeForest’s all-time top sellers with more than 50,000 sales.

5. TheGem — Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance WordPress Theme

TheGem was designed for those who are fully capable of creating the most modern and beautiful designs of all, i.e., creatives. Well-publicized on ThemeForest, TheGem gives it users very fast loading times, top performance and 100% flexibility (you can create any layout you can think of), and it’s super-intuitive to work with.

TheGem also scores 100% when it comes to customer satisfaction, thanks in part to its excellent customer support. It has in fact the highest 5-star rating of all the premium themes.

6. Amelia

You can hire several people to manage your customer appointments, including at least one who won’t mind working the graveyard shift. Or, you can simply go with Amelia. Amelia completely automates your appointment and booking system.

This software solution works around the clock, pairs appointments with employee availability, manages changes and cancellations, sends out reminders, and collects payments. Aside from occasionally clicking on a button to check status, you don’t have to do much of anything.

7. wpDataTables

wpDataTables is the best all-in-one plugin on the market for working with large amounts of complex data and presenting website users with colorful, informative, and responsive interactive tables and charts. It supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS SQL databases, and is the only software solution of its type to fully do so.

Key columns, rows, or cells can be highlighted or color-coded (conditional formatting). Tables and charts can be front-end edited for easy maintainability. wpDataTables currently boasts of 21,000+ happy users.

8. Round Icons Bundle — 38,000 icons and illustrations

Roundicons.com offers the world’s largest bundle of icons and illustrations. The bundle currently contains more than 38,000 premium, royalty-free icons and illustrations ready for downloading. More are added every month, and everything is yours for a one-time fee (use coupon code “GETBIG” to receive a 20% discount).

The bundle comes with a commercial use license.

9. Logic Hop — Personalized Marketing for WordPress

Logic Hop automatically collects data on the fly based on your display ads, pay-per-click activity, and user actions on your website. It then uses this information to assist you in personalizing your website to match the interests of potential leads and visitors.

Personalized websites generally perform much better, and if a 200% boost in conversions or sales sounds good to you, you should give Logic Hop a try. Logic Hop is easy to use and makes website personalization easy.

10. Mobirise

Mobirise is free, its offline, drag and drop only, and your websites or apps will be 100% mobile friendly and feature crazy-fast performance. That’s not a bad deal for something that’s not going to put a dent in your finances. Mobirise is free for commercial uses as well

A large selection of templates, themes, & website blocks comes with the package along with a huge library of icons, fonts, and images.

11. WhatFontIs.com

You’ve come across a super-cool font you simply have to have, but you don’t know its name or where you can access it. AI to the rescue! WhatFontIs features an automated AI system that scans a 550,000-font database and comes up with your answer in a matter of seconds.

In the unlikely chance WhatFontIs can’t find precisely the font you’re looking for, you’ll be provided with several nearly-identical fonts to select from. Nearly identical is most often more than good enough.

12. Savah App

There are prototyping tools that are very good, and there’s Savah App which is as good as it gets. Savah will transform your designs into attractive, realistic prototypes suitable for feedback, rapid prototyping, user testing, and design approval and buy off.

It’s a powerful collaboration tool as well and its built-in design workflow and approval system will save you tons of time. Savah can be integrated with Sketch App and auto-synced with Dropbox.

13. HelpJet

HelpJet enables you to automate customer support, or if you prefer, keep your support staff to a minimum size since many customers like to talk to real people. For commonly-asked questions, you’ll enjoy having the HelpJet knowledge base available to give instant answers to customer questions 24/7.

Your staff won’t have to be answering the same questions ad nauseum, and your customers won’t have to wait to have those same questions answered. Money saved and happier customers!

14. Goodie

Goodie joins web designers and end users directly with a web developer. You receive a price estimation and you can skip all the hassle and get a website featuring squeaky-clean code and have it done quickly.

The only thing required of you is to provide Goodie with a design. Let them take care of the rest.

15. 8b Website Builder

8b is fresh, fun, and futuristic. This brand new website builder with its cool UI allows you to create your websites on any device, whether at home, work, or on the go. Its 250+ website sections and 16 started templates will get projects off to a fast start, and thanks to the latest Google AMP, your sites will be super-fast and 100% mobile friendly.

You can link to your own domain or use 8b.io with unlimited pages and bandwidth. No paid plans yet; 8b is free.

Conclusion

If you’re trying to keep up with digital design technology, and the latest digital trends, this collection of 15 tools, themes, and resources should be a godsend. You only need one or two to boost your creations to a new level.

As an absolute minimum you should give the free ones a try. You’ve nothing to lose, and we’re betting that if you try them, you’ll keep and use them.

The post How many of these 15 web design tools & resources have you tried? appeared first on Hongkiat.

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It’s a competitive job market we hunt jobs in and sorry to say, resumes created in MSWord are just not going to cut it anymore. These days, particularly if you are creative, you need an outstanding resume to make an impression on potential employers. When a prospective client looks at your resume, everything you put into your resume is doing all the selling for you.

Not only do you have to ensure that what you put into your resume convinces them that you are the best candidate for the job, you need to create a resume that not only shows them what you can do, but how you are not afraid to break boundaries, and try out new ideas.

Today, I’d like to share with you a collection of 30 outstanding resume designs that come in many forms: infographic designs, booklets, business cards, postcards, personal branding material, posters, website designs and more. Feeling the pressure yet? Perhaps it is time to spruce up your own resume design.

Recommended Reading: 7 Great Ways To Get Your Resume Noticed

If you need more design ideas, check out some of our published posts below:

#1 @Charlotte Allen #2 @Roberta Cicerone #3 @Syril Bobadilla #4 @Julien Renvoye #5 @CodeGrape #6 @Jered Odegard #7 @Nico Lopez #8 @Camila Soto #9 @Stefania Capellupo #10 @Teesha Masson #11 @Mathew Lynch #12 @Paula Del Mas #13 @Rebecca Fisk #14 @Felix Baky #15 @Lucrezia Urtis #16 @Caseda #17 @Carlos Bedoya #18 @Simone Primo #19 @Lim Zhiyang #20 @Martinez-Mercader #21 @Matthew Stucky #22 @Maria Gabriella Aronne #23 @Candice Witpas #24 @Marianne Riegelnegg #25 @jamiemurphey #26 @Varun Sudhakar #27 @Francesco Rivieccio #28 @Gary Corr #29 @Marco Bertoletti #30 @Anton Yermolov

The post 30 Beautiful Resume Designs For Your Inspiration appeared first on Hongkiat.

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It’s time again for us to share fresh resources for our fellow web developers. Our collection in this round involves multiple type of tools from several programming languages. But primarly, we have several tools that can help you write better codes.

For example, we have a PHP library that’s able to evaluate your code quality, a PHP library that can automatically refactor your code (how awesome is that?), and a dead-simply to use JavaScript library to perform end-to-end testing. Without further ado, let’s see the full list below.

CSS Grid Generator

This tool, created by Sarah Drasner, will make creating CSS grid more intuitive. It helps you to save time when creating complex layout such as composing overlapping grid areas. The tool will generate the code where you can copy and paste to your website.

Inside Look at Modern Browser

A comprehensive insight from Google to explore how modern browsers work. This gives you a glimpse on the browser internals such as how it utilises CPU, GPU, and Memory. This resource may help on writing performant codes. The illustration from Mariko Kosaka makes it pleasant and easy to understand.

Zdog

Another fantastic from Metafizzy. Zdog is JavaScript library that allows you to draw 3D polymorphic shapes through HTML Canvas which then can be composed into a meaningful figures like, for example, Mario Bros. Metafizzy is also known for his other fantastic JavaScript library such as Isotope, Flickity, and Packery

UIBot App

UIBot is a tool to generate user interface of an admin dashboard. Simply click on the button, and the tool will generate a new variant of layout and colors. It might not end up being the UI in your project, but it may still be a handy tool to drive an inspiration from.

Accesibility Insights

A browser extension to evaluate your website for Accessibility issues (a11y) and provides guidelines on how to fix those issues. The extension is available as a Chrome and Microsoft Edge extension.

NightwatchJS

A JavaScript library that simplifies an end-to-end testing. NightwatchJS utilises the standard W3C WebDriver API to connect and interact with the browsers to perform the test. It support numerous drivers including the WebDriver services including GeckoDriver to run test on Firefox browser, ChromeDriver, and SafariDriver.

Playroom

Playroom is a unique tool. In a nutshell, it’s something like the tool to layout design system or component library but it also provides a preview section that emulates the component in various viewport size. It’s a pretty handy tool to display how your component or layout change in granular level.

Pylon

PylonCSS is unlike any other CSS library out there. Instead of a set of classes, it provides a set of custom component. This allows you to wrap your website in a more expressive way similar to iOS. For example, we can use <hstack> to create a horizontal stack of elements, or <vstack> to create vertical stack.

Vant

Vant is a collection mobile UI component built on Vue.js. Collection is pretty vast with 55+ components and growing. It support TypeScript, SSR (Server Side Rendering), and i18n, which means you can translate the component to locale languages.

Robo

Many of you might be familiar with setting up a task runner with Gulp and Grunt to automate workflows during development such as concatinating files, minifing CSS and JavaScript, etc. These tools are build with Node.js. Now, what if I told you that you can do the same with PHP. Meet Robo a task runner for PHP

Readme Generator

Having a README.md file is an integral part of an open-source project. But if you feel like creating a proper and beutiful readme file can be a daunting task, you can try using this tool to streamline the process on creating one.

CSS Wand

CSSWand is a collection of beautiful effects with built purely with HTML and CSS. It provides the code to copy and paste it on to your website.

Gitmoji

We’re seeing an increasing trend on using emoji in a git commit message. Check this reference, Gitmoji, to see which proper emoji to use in your commit message.

Gitfolio

Gitfolio is a tool that allows you to build a portfolio site based on your Github profiles as well as create a blog. A great to create your site quickly.

PHPInsights

PHPInsights is a tool to analyse your PHP code quality. It checks the use of Classess, Abstract, Interface, the code complexity, and some code styling. You can run it during development or within your CI pipelines to keep your overall code quality in check. It’s also compatible with popular PHP platform such as Laravel, WordPress, and Magento out of the box.

Rector

Rector stands for Reconstructor, is a tool to automate code refactoring of your PHP codebase to a more modern PHP practices. It can be installed through Composer or use the Docker image then it’s as easy as typing the command rector and let it do the hardwork for you.

Ngx Admin

Ngx Admin is a free admin dashboard built on top of Angular, Bootstrap and Nebular, one of popular Angular UI components. It comes with 3 theme design out-of-the-box: light, dark, and corporate, but of course you can extend the theme to your own taste. Ngx Admin free both for personal and commercial projects.

RemixIcon

A nice collection of icons. Each icon in the collection comes with several variants instead of just one or two, and it also comes with 2 styles: lined and filled. There are 1574 icons in total as of this writing. You can download the icons in SVG, icon fonts, as well as in PowerPoint and Keynote format.

RFS (Responsive Font Size)

RFS is a CSS library that automatically scale font size appropriately based on the viewport size. The library is meant to use with a CSS processors and so it’s available in all the popular pre-processors including Less, Sass, Stylus, as well as PostCSS.

WP Scripts

WP Scripts is a collection of reusable utility scripts to develop WordPress. It contains with a pre-defined recommended configuration out-of-the-box so you can start working on the project instead of tinkering with the configurations all-day. Once installed, you will have the access to wp-scripts command line which you can use to perform a build command to compile codes, the test command to perform end-to-end testing, and a few more commands.

The post Fresh Resources for Web Designers and Developers (June 2019) appeared first on Hongkiat.

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When building a responsive website we’ll need to test it in multiple screen-sizes to make sure that the site layout is rendered properly on those varying screen-sizes. We can use screen-size and device emulator in Chrome which is pretty handy. However, nothing beats testing the website on a real device since it provides an environment that’s as close as to our users.

Testing on multiple devices also pose a problem though. Say we have three devices to test the site on, we may end up having to constantly refresh each browser in every of these devices everytime we’ve just made a change which, as you can imagine, is cumbersome.

The idea of synchronized testing has emerged to address this situation and make the workflow more streamlined. There is a Grunt plugin called BrowserSync to perform this, and we are going to show you how to deploy it in your project, in this post.

Recommended Reading: Viewport Emulation With Chrome’s Device Metrics

BrowserSync is open-source and actively developed. It is cross-platform. You can use it in Windows, OS X and Linux. Ghostlab, on the other hand, is only available in OS X and Windows. BrowserSync is free which helps if you have little to no budget to work with.

Without further ado, let’s see how BrowserSync works.

Installation

To start off, we are going to use Grunt. We will need to make sure that the grunt-cli is installed as well the plugin, Grunt BrowserSync. This plugin syncs a number of interactions that occur on the website including page scrolling, populating form fields, and clicking on links.

All these actions will be reflected in the other browsers and devices as they are happening. Type the following command to install BrowserSync in your working directory:

npm install grunt --save-dev
npm install grunt-browser-sync --save-dev
Configuration

Once installed, load BrowserSync within the Gruntfile.js, this way.

module.exports = function (grunt) {
    grunt.initConfig({
        browserSync: {
            bsFiles: {
                src : [ 'index.html', './css/*.css' ]
            },
            ghostMode: {
                clicks: true,
                forms: true,
                scroll: true
            },
            options: {
                server: {
                    baseDir: "./"
                }
            }
        }
    });

    // load npm tasks
    grunt.loadNpmTasks( 'grunt-browser-sync' );

    // define default task
    grunt.registerTask( 'default', ['browserSync'] );
}

This configuration will monitor the style.css as well as the index.html, and automatically refresh the browser when it detects a change on these files. We also enable ghostMode to sync interactions on the website such as scrolling, and clicking.

It’s all set. Now, we run the grunt to initiate the browserSync task that we’ve already set in the config.

grunt

Unlike the older version, the new BrowserSync will now setup everything for use including the static server and provides the URLs where it lives to reload our site.

And you can see from the following animated GIF, all updates, changes, and interactions are synced in real time in the browser as change the index.html and style.css.

Further Resources

Here are more resources to dig further into Grunt and “Synchronized Testing”.

The post How to Test Website Across Multiple Browsers and Devices Synchronously appeared first on Hongkiat.

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The Web has changed a lot compared to when I just got started in this industry. Native Web API are more standardized across the browsers, and new CSS and JavaScript specification are introduced. These enable developers to build new tools surrounding these features.

In this round of this series, you’ll find front-end web development tools such one to load prefetch links, a library to lazy load images, videos, and iframes, and a library to create a file uploader easily. Let’s jump in to see the full list.

CSSFX

A collection of special visual effects that apply to button, input, and a loader. These effects are built purely with CSS with very minimal CSS and HTML, and you can apply the effect by simply copying and pasting the code.

Fusuma

Fusuma is a tool that allows you to create presentation using Markdown file and syntax. It’s connected to the native browser Presentation API so it can deliver the similar experience as the presentation tool like PowerPoint and Keynote.

Svelte

Svelte is a tool that allows you to build web apps. Unlike React.js and Vue.js that will enforce you to write your web apps in a special or proprietary sytanx and use so called Virtual DOM, it will do just with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript sytax. It’s a quite interesting approach of building web app.

Frontity

As React.js is included in WordPress 5.0 to empower Gutenberg, we can also immediately use it to power up our plugin or theme front-end. Frontity is a tool that will allows us to do just that; building a modern WordPress theme with React.js. The project is currently in early stage. You can follow the progress in their Github repository.

Quicklnk

This tool is Google Chrome team initiative to make website loads as fast as possible by prefetching links within the viewport. Quick link is designed as a drop-in library with very minimal configuration. You can simply add the library to your page and execute the link, and that’s all.

Lit Element

A JavaScript library from Polymer to create custom native Web Component. It enables creating the custom component easily and provide polyfill for the browsers that does not support custom components yet.

Brevis

A CSS framework designed for scalable applications. Unlike a framework like Bootstrap which comes with some opiniated UI components, Brevis simply set “specification” which rule out the CSS reference, naming convention, some patterns, and palletes. It does not assumes the UI you’re going to build.

CSS Transform Playground

A handy tool to visualize CSS Transform. The tool support 2D and 3D transformations including Rotation, Scale, Perspective, and Skew. It’s a great tool to learn how CSS Transform works.

Fontanello

A browser extension for Google Chrome and Firefox to get the typographic information of selected text. The information includes the font-family, font-weight, font-size, and color.

GradPad

A pretty tool to generate CSS gradients. It provides some controllers that allow you to customize the gradient output such as adding gradient composition, change their color and opacity, and drag their position.

React95

A collection of React.js UI components that resembles the Windows 95 UI. You can find the Buttons, Date Picker, Table, Tabs, and Tooltips. Feeling nostalgic?

Medium Zoom

A JavaScript library to implements the same image zoom effect as seen on Medium. Quite fancy!

Flexulator

Flexbox is one of powerful module in CSS3 to create page layout, but it could sometimes be confusing. This tool would help by visualizing it in real time as you change the Flex properties configuration.

Micromodal

A lightweight JavaScript library to create a popup modal. Built with Accesibility in mind, Micromodal complies with the WAI-ARIA standard guideline for a modal interface. It’s an overall small JavaScript library with a powerful features.

Yall.js

Yall.js is a JavaScript library to enable “lazy” loading on your images, videos, and iframe. It’s also able to lazy-load image attached a background through CSS. Despite these powerful features, Yall.js supports many modern browser, surprisingly, including the Internet Explorer 11.

Autonumeric

As the name implies, AutoNumeric.js, is a JavaScript library that allows you to format numerical data automatically as you type in the input. It does not require any dependencies which help it maintains fast performance and easy to integrate into a framework. AutoNumeric.js is available in an official Vue.js module, as well as other frameworks.

TextBlock

An advanced JavaScript library that allows you adjust typographical features like size, leading, and grades for a continuously responsive typography on your website.

Uppy

Uppy is an advanced file uploader library which allows you to upload files from many different sources including Dropbox, Instagram, Google Drive and of course your computer. On top of that it also supports multiple upload destinations. You transfer the upload to an Amazon S3 bucket, Tus, aside of uploading to your own server.

Formation

Formation is a Shell script to run on your new macOS to streamline installation to some of the most common tools and apps that you will need works and digital needs, including browser (Chrome and Firefox), package and version manager like NVM and Yarn, and many other things.

NerdsFont

A collection of fonts for your nerd soul. The collection aggragates from some popular fonts with nerdy characters such FontAwesome, Powerlines, Devicons, Octicons, Font Linux to name a few. NerdsFont also patched these fonts to be compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS.

The post Fresh Resources for Web Designers and Developers (May 2019) appeared first on Hongkiat.

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Any web-related project requires the use of icons. Creating icons for each project you have is not only impractical because it is time-consuming work but also insane! There are already tons of amazing icons sets available for free download, all over the Web. All you have to do is locate those high-quality enough to make it into your project.

Well, we’ve gone and done the legwork for you – all you have to do is take your pick. Below, are 20 free vector icon sets that will fit any kind of project you might have in mind. You will be able to find icon sets perfect for business, fashion, food, mobile apps, weather, flat design and more.

Recommended Reading: 50 Websites For Free Vector Images Download

To download the icon set you want, click into the link. Can’t find what you want? Here are 70 more icon sets you can download for free.

#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15

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The World Wide Web celebrated its 25th birthday on March 11 2014 and during its evolution, web design has also advanced in leaps and bounds. No longer do we have to put up with endless clunky text and low-resolution images.

Today’s informative, innovative and easy-to-navigate websites are so commonplace that you’ve probably forgotten what websites looked like back in the 1990’s.

So, let’s take a look at the websites of three major brands, how it was back then and how they look now, to exactly how web design has changed over the years. The journey that they’ve gone through may lead to some inspiration for your own website design adventures.

Recommended Reading: Web Design – 20 Hottest Trends To Watch Out For In 2014

Apple

We take a look at Apple’s main page designs through the decades, courtesy of the Wayback Machine.

1997

In its favour, the Apple web design in 1997 included the logo, provided succinct information, and had a clear navigation bar on the left hand side. However, it didn’t have the flair we associate with Apple today; the font is very basic, the sidebar takes up a lot of space and distracts the viewer, and the overall design is crowded.

1999 – 2002

Then, Apple created a professional web homepage design that was so simplistically memorable it formed the basis of all future designs. It featured an eye-catching banner photo supplemented by a few select images below.

Each and every one of these used white space to the maximum effect, whether it was of the latest product or a satisfied client. A simple top navigation bar helped vistors find their favourite product easily.

2003 – 2006

During this time, the clean design remained but Apple started to deviate with a black background as well. Either way, the stark backgrounds of the homepages showcased the products very effectively.

And the use of quirky one liners, such as “Introducing Mighty Mouse” reflected Apple’s daring nature.

2007 – 2010

The 2007 homepage design got rid of the lower sections altogether – no doubt so that the mobile phone could create an even bigger impact. This continued in 2008 and 2009, but when the iPad was introduced in 2010, the majority of the homepage was devoted to Apple’s newest baby.

2011 – 2013

The main design elements haven’t changed at all. The 2013 web design for the iPad Air does deserve a special mention however – when a product’s unique selling point is its thinness, what better way to show this to the world than with this unusually angled image?

Now

Today’s web design is still based on the simple approach used since the late 90’s. The main photo is compelling but no longer is the product shown in isolation and is instead shown in the hands of real people.

The font is modern and the limited colour palette of complementary colours looks highly professional.

The navigation bar is now firmly fixed at the top of the page to make navigation simple. In addition to using clever words to encourage click throughs (“What will your verse be?”), the four bottom sections show the visitor exactly what information can be found within them, accessible with a simple click.

What did they do well?

Instead of focusing on the hard sell, they focus more on people’s emotions and the concept of inclusive story telling. Web designers who want to create a similar impact with their new websites should showcase their products using real people.

The more customers can imagine themselves using the product, and can see how it will benefit their lifestyle, the more likely they are to purchase it.

GAP

Next up, we look at another major brand, this time in the fashion industry.

1997

Hats off to the designers for getting a clear message across through their design. The top navigation bar, instead of a sidebar, gives more space to showcase the products, and the overall look is clean and simple.

On the downside though, the web designers’ brief was probably to really emphasise that customers could purchase their favourite GAP clothes online as indicated by the logo appearing twice, and the phrases ‘online store’ and ‘shop online’ being crammed into one small homepage.

2000 – 2009

By 2000, the web design evolved for the better. It was clearly branded with the GAP logo with the use of an attractive main image and a modest navigation bar at the top. But let’s keep an eye on the navigation bar as time goes forward.

In 2004, the main image worked well as did the GAP logo, now encapsulated in a bright blue box to give it more prominence. But where were the navigation options? Right at the bottom via click-through links. Definitely a step backwards.

The navigation bar was back at the top of the homepage in 2006. The company now supplied clothes for kids illustrated by the use of child models in the photos. Beneath the main banner photo were 4 different sections promoting a variety of incentives. Unfortunately, the design of each didn’t showcase any connection, leading to a messy and confusing mix, which isn’t easy on the eyes.

In 2009, the main navigation options were cunningly placed in a completely new location – within the main image. Whilst we applaud innovative design, the majority of customers expect to navigate from the edges of a homepage – commonly via bars at the top or less frequently, to the left.

The more difficult it is for the customer to find what they want, the more likely they are to bounce off the website.

2010 – 2012

GAP finally got the hang of it by 2010. The navigation bar was firmly at the top of the page and has stayed there ever since. The 2010 homepage was also a huge improvement as it used a really eye-catching and well-designed collage of fashionable models.

Perhaps the use of more images on the homepage was a hit with visitors as this persisted in the web designs of 2011 and 2012. However, both of these fell horribly short of target. There was no clear strategy in the overall design, the photos didn’t gel together and the variety of colors were overwhelming.

Now

It seems that GAP has finally taken stock of all its previous efforts and created a website that has a range of great design elements in one pleasing homepage. This website is designed to appeal to the younger generation with its urban feel and choice of main image. The words ‘LIVED IN’ is interestingly split into three parts which captures the visitor’s attention.

The navigation bar is still at the top of the page providing an easy shortcut to each type of clothing and the search function allows the visitor to find what they really want. The shopping bag sits on the top right hand corner, making it easier for customers to plan their purchase(s), as they move from page to page.

What did they do well?

GAP has gone through a host of web designs to be where it is today, but now designers of e-commerce websites could well follow this example to create an user-friendly online purchasing experience. It’s not always about showing the product from every angle; clever use of lifestyle photos can help the visitor imagine how the product will enhance their life.

Heineken

Lastly, lt’s see how Heineken fairs in web design branding. Images retrieved from Wayback Machine.

1997

The website works well in terms of branding and being eye-catching but by offering the website visitor a huge amount of buttons and options, they most likely caused confusion as to what customers should do next.

There is no clear navigation, way too many fonts, and frankly, the ones superimposed directly on the water droplets are hard to read.

2010 – 2012

By 2010, the Heineken web design had reached the heights of perfection we associate with it today. At first glance, the homepage seems simple but the dark green background uses an effective mix of geometrical shapes and an interesting condensation-drenched star alongside the beer bottle recognised the world over.

Today’s trend for very simple navigation buttons was apparent even then, each supplemented by a visual icon.

The web designs of 2011 and 2012 follow the same formula of clarity. But they also introduced Heineken’s innovative approach of using videos and association to high-profile movies to help sell more beer!

Now

Each and every page on this website are superbly designed using some great, unique fonts, and thankfully the Heineken green has been continuously toned down since the 1997 version. The web pages are so uncluttered, they are positively minimalistic.

This is then complemented by the several videos featured in their web design – a moving image can tell a thousand words. Instead of a regular drop down navigation bar with options, a thumbnail image of each item is shown instead making it more fun.

What did they do well?

The overall design is modern, lively and bound to appeal to 20 something’s as much as Heineken-loving 60 something’s. The videos fit in perfectly with today’s social media madness and are more likely to be shared, increasing brand recognition across the world.

Web Design Then

From the earlier examples, back in the 90’s, even the biggest companies’ websites appeared amateurish, poorly designed and a far cry from today’s sophisticated web designs.

This can be explained by the fact that web designers faced far more technological limitations 25 years ago such as ridiculously slow internet and limited font options as well as insufficient data about what made a website experience pleasurable for the visitor.

Design trends that died out

As web designers gain more tools at their disposal to create more sophisticated and professional-looking websites, some trends couldn’t survive the conditions and has since faded from use. These include:

  1. Flash animation – Flash animation on a homepage may be considered dynamic a few years ago but visitors got bored. Flash animation looks cheap and tacky, website visitors don’t like it, and search engine optimization is made trickier when the home page has a flash intro. It’s not for modern website design.
  2. Background Music – Wonderful beats and ballads, great idea. Jingles that jangle with the nerves, not so much (the 90’s users would know how this feels). Silence is golden when it comes to today’s web design.
  3. Excessive Content – Some companies felt their website require plenty of pages explaining in fine detail about their company, their philosophy and their products. Truth is, too much info can be confusing and be downright annoying – most of us just want the bare facts. In 2014, minimalistic design, and the use of photos and icons replace text-heavy pages.
What Works Today

Today’s most popular and effective websites are truly captivating and memorable, often using evocative images or plenty of humour. They are well-structured and encourage the visitor to make a purchase at every turn. Every website should follow some basic rules to help it get closer to perfection. But if web designers really want to keep up with the times, here are some essential key elements:

  1. Fixed navigation bars – These might be a fairly new trend but they make complete sense. The visitor can browse to their heart’s content and never lose sight of where they are.
  2. Unique font – Using an unusual or unique font can really help a website sell its message. Web designers shouldn’t settle for the same-old ones when new and exciting fonts await.
  3. Sliders – The trend for sliding banner photos is a great one. Each image is large and can really impress the visitor. And as the images automatically change, the viewer is treated to a range of great visuals without having to do a thing.
  4. Personalized Photos – Unless absolutely necessary, web designers should avoid stock photos and opt for personalised professional photos to do the website justice and make it more unique.
  5. Call-To-Action buttons– Why settle for boring ‘Contact Us’ buttons when there are a wealth of interesting buttons to choose from? The more captivating the button, the more likely the visitor is to click on it.
  6. Infinite scroll / card designs – Pinterest may have lead the way with this type of web design, but it is being embraced by many companies, as it is a great way to present individual nuggets of information.
  7. Flat design vs skeuomorphism – Whether you prefer the flat design so loved by Microsoft (think minimalistic simple icons) or skeuomorphism, which uses more traditional 3D effects, the great news is that both are trending right now.
  8. Web ribbons– Love them or hate them, these 3D ribbons, designed to hug an information box or photo, just look nice and give a professional finish to any design

Recommended Reading: Web Design: 20 Hottest Trends To Watch Out For In 2014.

Conclusion

Web designers should also bear in mind the most ingenious and important shift in web design over the past quarter of a century, which is making the website experience as pleasurable as possible. With a lot of brands competing against each other, websites imparting simple facts no longer cut it.

Nowadays, the most popular websites are those that entertain or amaze whilst providing relevant information. The web designs of Apple, Gap and Heineken illustrate this innovative approach perfectly. 25 years of the World Wide Web has taken web design to heights that were never considered a possibility back in 1989. And who knows how far website design will soar over the next 25 years!

Have an opinion on the subject? Share them with us below.

Editor’s note: This post is written by Dmitri Logounov for Hongkiat.com.Dmitri is the founder of New Design Group Inc in Toronto, a web design company focused on defining effective branding strategies for a variety of businesses and delivering imaginative solutions that work.

The post Changing The Face Of Web Design: A Case Study of 25 Years appeared first on Hongkiat.

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CSS Image Sprite is a method of combining several images into one image file to reduce HTTP requests and optimize web load performance. There are many ways and handy tools to do this, or else you can also do it traditionally with Photoshop.

But, through all my experience of dealing with CSS Image Sprite, there is no other way that much easier than using Sprite Function for Compass. So, let’s take a look at how it works.

Recommended Reading: Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets: Using Compass In Sass

Starting Compass

Before working with Compass codes, we need to create Compass project watch it. So, every time there is a change in the project including the images and the .scss, Compass will compile it into the proper form.

Let’s open your Terminal or Command Prompt (if you are on Windows), and run the following commands.

compass create /path/to/project
cd /path/to/project
compass watch
Combining Images

As we mentioned above, you can use Photoshop to manually join the images or you can also use some handy tools, such as SpriteBox. Compass integrates this feature in the Function. Let’s say we have the following icons under images/browsers/<images>.png folders.

To join those icons in Compass, we can use @import rule and then direct it to the image folders followed by the image extension through the .scss stylesheet, like so

@import "browsers/*.png";

After saving the file, Compass will combine those images and generate new image files, as follows.

Layout Orientation

Furthermore, we can also set the sprite orientation. As you can see in the screenshot above, the images are arranged vertically by default. In case vertical orientation does not fit the circumstances, we can direct them horizontally or diagonally with the following variable $<map>-layout: horizontal; or $<map>-layout: horizontal; replace the <map> with the folder name where you saved the images.

Horizontal

$browsers-layout:horizontal;
@import "browsers/*.png";

Diagonal

$browsers-layout:vertical;
@import "browsers/*.png";
Adding Image in the Stylesheet

Once we have done combining the image, we add the image in the stylesheet through background image. Traditionally we will do it this way.

.chrome { 
	background-position: 0 0; width: 128px; height: 128px; 
} 
.firefox { 
	background-position: 0 -133px; width: 128px; height: 128px; 
} 
.ie { 
	background-position: 0 -266px; width: 128px; height: 128px; 
} 
.opera { 
	background-position: 0 -399px; width: 128px; height: 128px; 
} 
.safari { 
	background-position: 0 -532px; width: 128px; height: 128px; 
} 

In Compass, we have a couple of ways that are much simpler. First, we can generate something like those CSS rules with this syntax @include all-<map>-sprites;. Replace the <map> with the folders where we store the images.

@include  all-browsers-sprites;

This line above when compiled to regular CSS generates the background image definition as well as each of the position, as shown below.

.browsers-sprite, .browsers-chrome, .browsers-firefox, .browsers-ie, .browsers-opera, .browsers-safari {
  background: url('/images/browsers-sad8e949931.png') no-repeat;
}
.browsers-chrome {
	background-position: 0 0;
}
.browsers-firefox {
	background-position: 0 -128px;
}
.browsers-ie {
	background-position: 0 -256px;
}
.browsers-opera {
	background-position: 0 -384px;
}
.browsers-safari {
	background-position: 0 -512px;
}

Or, we can also add background image individually to particular selectors with this syntax @include <map>-sprite(image-naem);; as in previous codes replace the <map> with the folder where we store these images. Here is an example.

li {
	@include browsers-sprite(safari);
}

Then, Compass is clever enough to identify the background position, without us having to specify it explicitly. In regular CSS, that line above will turn into

.browsers-sprite, li {
  background: url('/images/browsers-sad8e949931.png') no-repeat;
}
li {
	background-position: 0 -512px;
}
Specifying Container Dimension

The last thing we need to do is specifying the container height and width that contain the image. We commonly do it in traditional way by manually inspecting the image width and height (most likely through image info or image properties).

With Compass, we can utilize this function <map>-sprite-height(image-name) or <map>-sprite-width(image-name) to retrieve the image width and height. In this example, we will retrieve one of the image width and height and store the value variables as well assign the background image with @include directive.

$height: browsers-sprite-height(safari);
$width: browsers-sprite-width(safari);
li {
	display: inline-block;
	height: $height;
	width: $width;
	@include browsers-sprite(safari);
}

When we compile these codes above, it turns into the following in regular CSS.

.browsers-sprite, li {
	background: url('/images/browsers-sad8e949931.png') no-repeat;
}
li {
	display: inline-block;
	height: 128px;
	width: 128px;
	background-position: 0 -512px;
}
Conclusion

There are actually a few other useful functions from Compass to use along with, but these are all the essential functions to create CSS Image Sprite with Compass. Still, if you are unfamiliar with this subject, we reccommend you to follow our previous post series about Sass and Compass. We hope you find this post to be useful.

The post Creating CSS Image Sprite with Compass appeared first on Hongkiat.

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How many times have you struggled to find one specific problem messing up your CSS layout? From missing closing tags to improperly nested siblings, CSS issues are a dime a dozen. And with this CSS layout debugger, the process just got a lot easier.

This one line of code will traverse the DOM and outline each element with a different color. This way you can better visualize how your CSS is working (or not working) and quickly spot problem areas.

GitHub allows developers to save little bits of code called Gists. These are all open source and free to save for your own use. That’s why this CSS debugger is so useful. It combines the modern prowess of Chrome DevTools with the simplicity of browser bookmarklets.

To use this code, you should first copy whichever version you like the best from the Gist page. Then, you paste that code into your Terminal window and run it. You should end up with a result like this:

Now, it is possible to save this code as a bookmarklet in your browser toolbar. But if you’re a Chrome user you can save this JS code as a code snippet which is much easier to run.

This code snippet can be recalled over and over at the click of a button. You can parse every page, full of these colorful CSS outlines, for DOM elements of parents and children alike.

However, you shouldn’t feel limited only to Chrome. This snippet works for all major browsers, including Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer.

And for anyone curious to learn how this works, you can check out the annotated version with comments for each line of code.

This Gist is full of related user comments and updates from other developers helping to make it smaller and more efficient. But in its current state, this is one of the simplest ways to debug any DOM with a single line of code.

Read Also: How to Refactor CSS – A Guide

The post This CSS Layout Debugger Will Be Developer’s Next Best Friend appeared first on Hongkiat.

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These days, it’s easier than ever to share your creations with the world. There are numerous companies out there who make it their mission to help you sell digital products of any kind, including music, videos, ebooks and designs to your audience. Most of them will make sure your premium products will get as many product views as possible, but in return they’ll take a big piece of your revenue pie.

Today we’re going to talk about marketplaces where designers can sell the design assets to their fellow designers. The first two places that come to your mind when you hear this is probably Envato and Creative Market. But what about the marketplaces that don’t take away your power to control the pricing of your products and allow you to take most of your profits?

Here are 9 such non-exclusive marketplaces that may help you reach new audiences.

1. Sellfy

Sellfy is one of those places that started out as one of the online services to sell digital products and expanded by opening their own digital goods marketplace in November. While they do accept digital goods in a variety of categories, including eBooks, audio, video and software, their biggest category is web design. One of the most compelling benefits of Sellfy is that you can offer “social discounts” to customers who share your products via social networks. They take a 5% fee per sale.

2. Iconfinder

Iconfinder started out as an icon aggregator and search engine, but has recently morphed into an icon marketplace. With more than 400,000 icons in stock, Iconfinder is the place for designers, developers and other creative professionals to find premium icons for their next creative project.

The payments received are pooled together and distributed on a monthly basis, hence there will be a month’s delay before you can receive your money. Minimum cash-out is USD100.

3. Picfair

Picfair is an image marketplace where photographers can sell their photos, choose their own price and keep all copyright. What separates this marketplace from others is the fact that there is only one single license that is used for every photo.

Picfair also has an advanced search by tag or topic functionality, which makes it easier for buyers to find a suitable image for their needs. Picture info includes image resolution, the date it was taken, and the model of the camera used. PicFair takes 20% commission on top of your sales price plus a small payment processing fee.

4. Luvly

Luvly.co is another non-exclusive marketplace for graphic design assets, with a style that can be described as cute, girly or feminine. The strong collection of beautiful digital designs includes vectors, fonts, clipart, wordpress themes and blogger templates.

One aspect that distinguishes this marketplace from others is its DIY and scrapbook bias. Fees range from 20-40%, depending on sales volume.

5. Fantero

Fantero.com is a virtual content marketplace within the design and freelance communities. It’s collection of over 2 million digital items by over 100,000 users.

The marketplace originated as a place for photographers to sell their stock photos, but over time expanded its specialization into web design templates, sound loops & effects, music, flash and video files as well as 3D models and scripts. A minimum of USD50 is required to cash out and fees range from 25-50%, depending on sales volume.

6. MotionElements

MotionElements is the marketplace where you can sell your 2d/3d animation, stock video clips, video backgrounds and other stock motion elements. Because of the MotionElements’ exclusive dedication to the stock motion elements, they are able to provide highly relevant search function.

The categorical search helps with queries such as background, front view, keyed top layer or camera view. They charge a 30-50% fee based on exclusivity of the elements. Payments roll out once a month, on the 15th.

7. MOJO Marketplace

MOJO marketplace offers premium products to build, brand and grow your website. This includes themes, plugins as well as graphics and logos.

They offer a wide variety of website graphics suitable for both website or print projects. Designers can upload their logo designs, business cards, vector graphics, font sets and stock graphics to MOJO marketplace.

The marketplace has partenerd with a lot of hosting companies that provide premium distribution opportunities for the products in their marketplace. They take a 50% cut from each sale.

8. Canva

Canva.com is an simple graphic design software that allows everyone to create their own designs for Web or print. They rely heavily on pre-made design templates, including infographics, banners, flyers, photo collages, album covers and social media graphics among many others.

Designers can then release their designs for use. Payment is fixed at $1 per one-time-use license. Professional designers are welcome to submit their own layouts for Canva users to use in their designs. Canva’s royalty rate stands at 35% per sale.

9. Shapeways

Shapeways is a 3D printing marketplace and 3D printing service. Designers are invited to upload their 3D printable files and Shapeways will take care of the rest. This includes printing out the item, shipping it to the buyer and settling any disputes in case there are any problems with the product. There is a 3.5% transaction fee on top of your markup.

Editor’s note: This is written for Hongkiat.com by George Vauvenargues. George is a writer and designer with over 4 years of experience in both fields.

The post 9 Indie Marketplaces to Sell Your Designs appeared first on Hongkiat.

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