Do Video Backgrounds Hurt or Help Your Website’s UX?

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Many top-ranked websites and brands unrolled video backgrounds in 2015, and as a modern website design trend, it might be one of the more popular options during that year. But while video backgrounds might look cool, there might be some very significant UX reasons to keep them off websites. So before you follow the herd and add background videos to some of your website’s pages, consider the following pros and cons.

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Con: Video Slows Down a Website

Visitors are incredibly likely to click away from slow pages, and even just a few milliseconds of added load time can increase your website’s bounce rate. Sure, there are a few tricks which can help you mitigate how slow adding background videos make your website, but at the end of the day, it will likely still be slower.

Con: Video Can Be Distracting

If there’s a lot of text to read on a website to explain what it’s about, having a large video can be distracting, and take up so much space above the fold that readers need to scroll to see what your website is about, or what it’s offering. As more and more website visitors are coming from mobile devices, this can be another hassle which causes them to click away. To help a video be less distracting, ensure that it’s just a short loop, 30 seconds or less, and remove the appearance of the video controls!

Con: Poor Contrast With Callout Text

Especially if you’re using rich video, callout or headline text can become more difficult to read when it’s placed over video content. If you do decide to use a video, ensure that it’s one on which your callout text contrasts well and really “pops”. An easy way to accomplish this is to put a color overlay atop the video.

Con: Irritating Audio

Especially if someone comes to your website on a mobile device, surprise auto-starting audio can be embarrassing! Always make certain that a video’s audio function is muted when you embed it. And if a video absolutely needs sound, make certain that audio must be engaged by the visitor.

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Pro: Communicates Complex Topics

Videos can be used to communicate complex topics well, or to demonstrate a great experience. A great use of using video to accomplish this is to use a short video to show how one might use the service your website is advertising, or to show panning shots of what your website is about. This is particularly great for experiential marketing. Most website visitors far prefer watching an informative video to reading informative text.

Pro: SEO Value

Especially if the video is produced in-house and cross-posted on different video sharing sites, videos can have a significant SEO value. That value is magnified the more views that video has, so promoting your video on a page that many visitors can see can have an impressive positive effect. You can compound that by posting the video transcript using services like Speechpad and Verbalink.

Pro: Cutting Edge Design

Many visitors believe that video backgrounds are cutting-edge (no matter how easy they are to technically implement) so it can translate to a positive brand experience. Trust in a website and brand is one of the number one reasons which visitors do (or don’t) engage, and videos are a powerful way to establish your brand as forward-thinking and tech-savvy.

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Always Test Your Implementation

Whether you’re thinking of adding new opt-in functions, background video, or a new style of landing page, at the end of the day you should always split-test the change before fully implementing it across your website. If you think that using background videos might do well by your website, design specific alternate pages to test and promote, and see how your own visitors respond.

 

 

 

 

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Adobe Illustrator Tips for Beginners Based on a Newbie Experience

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Learning a new tool or software could be quite an overwhelming experience for a beginner. It is not like old days were there were few known softwares with limited functionalities, and a newbie could easily get a step-by-step tutorial to master them.

With hundreds of apps and a wide range of client requirements, it is sometimes quite perplexing for a beginner to figure out where to start, what to learn and what they are allowed to skip.

In the case of Adobe Illustrator, there are so many things to learn and master, but I have some tips and tricks rolled up my sleeves that could take you through a quick road (a short-cut course) to understanding Adobe Illustrator.

Master the Pen ToolILLUSTRATORS_PEN_TOOL

The Pen Tool could be a little bit daunting if you are a newbie. But as they say, a pen is mightier than the sword, Adobe Illustrator proves it right! It will take you a little while to master it, but once you have, you can do anything in the Illustrator. You can come up with some pretty neat vector graphics without using this tool, but I would recommend pushing yourself and learning it. It would be worth it, I promise!

Go for Clipping Masks

Clipping masks have multiple uses, and in many instances they are a life saver. They save time and limit a group of shapes, paths, patterns, or whatever you need to limit, to a specific area.

Learn Pathfinder Panel00_Panel

If you are required to create shapes that are made out of other shapes, this panel has a lot of options that enable you to create the shape you need. It is highly useful in flat designs and basic shapes.

Once you become a pro at it, you could take one step more and try learning the Shape Builder Tool.

Make Customized Brushes

Adobe Illustrator helps you make your own brushes and use them like you want to.

Go for Layers Panel ZenLayers

Being organized is a big plus when it comes to managing work, and Layers Panel Zen lets you have a fuss-free design. You can name your layers and remove the colors and resources that are no longer used in the file. It may not directly benefit the user (unless you are delivering the vector file as an end-result), it is highly recommended to organize your vector files and have a cleaner look at layers.

Explore Swatch Libraries

Download Material Design Swatches For Photoshop and Illustrator

The Swatch Libraries come with all versions of Adobe Illustrator. It makes you fall in love with colors – you can select skin tone palettes to cool textures. Just go to the Swatches Panel, into the drill-down menu. From there select Open Swatch Library and voila!

Learn Pattern Options:add_pattern_options

Pattern options are fun, even if you don’t use them too often, it is good to know about them. There are a lot of cool things you can do with a pattern option. How about creating your own textures? There is a high probability that once you get the hang of it, you won’t feel like leaving it. Learning them will surely bump up your Adobe Illustrator skills.

Save your Vector:

As obvious as this may sound, saving your vector for the web is something that is often lightly taken. It is a simple two-step procedure that many of newbies often mess up with.

  1. The artboard needs to expose all the artwork you want to save. Use the Artboard Tool (Shift – O) to achieve this.
  2. Go to File and then Save for Web. Select the type of file (jpg, png, gif, etc) and done!

 

Don’t lose hope

This may sound like a generic tip (and it really is), but for the newbies who want to learn Adobe Illustrator, this is something that needs to be constantly kept in mind. Getting into vector art is something that’s pretty cool and creative, but it requires determination and patience to learn any new skill.

There will be times when you would question your decision to get into Adobe Illustrator, and then there would be moments when you feel like banging your head on the keyboard. But then, there will also be those moments of glory when you finally achieve learning a panel or saving a basic vector, and it would give you nothing but motivation to move on.

Welcome help

This last tip is something that makes you learn and evolve. It is okay to ask for help when things don’t go your way. Check out online communities, blogs and social media to learn more about Adobe Illustrator. Vector art has grown in the past many years and is still growing.

With these above mentioned 10 tips for beginners using Adobe Illustrator, you can definitely learn a new tool without getting frustrated with the amount of random information you see online. A new skill is always good, and this one will definitely help you in the long run.

 

Olympia Powell is the freelance writer, artist and web promoter.  Started working as a freelance writer cause of huge  love for the  art of writing and literature. Works as a website promoter and a writer at Essay-writer.club  Having some free time paints paintings, works with ceramics and just tries to make some art.  Twitter ID: @olympia_powell

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Excellent UX/UI Apps And Tools for Designers

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As you go down this list, you’ll find multipurpose tools that can handle your most important tasks; tools with useful but somewhat unique features; and tools dedicated to specific activities. Whatever you need, you should find it here.

Once you’ve made your selection, you’ll be the owner of one of the best UX/UI tools on the market. Seeking the best is always a wise investment, since it tends to lead to greater productivity and higher quality products. Several of these tools feature capabilities in an oft-neglected area, an area where some web designers fear to tread – usability testing.

Take a quick look at this checklist first; to make certain you get what you need.

  • Get the right tool for the job; whether that job is website or app design, information storage, or flowcharting.
  • Look for a tool with strong collaboration and feedback capabilities.
  • Don’t forget usability testing. Select a tool that makes this crucial activity easy to perform.
  • Look for a tool that is just right for the size of your team or project.

 

InVision

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If the best product design and collaboration platform available is at the top of your wish list, your search ends here.

InVision features all of the design, collaboration, and testing capabilities a web designer or small team needs. Large teams and complex projects haven’t been neglected, though. InVision Enterprise has everything large, interdepartmental teams need to create, iterate, and gather feedback on clickable, high-fidelity prototypes—including unlimited projects and unlimited team members.
InVision’s usability testing features go far beyond enabling you to display your prototype on a real device in the hopes users will provide you with some feedback. If you select this tool, you will inherit some truly powerful qualitative usability testing capabilities. You’ll see and hear what users are saying, which is what truly valuable usability testing is all about. With feedback like this, you will be in a far better position to make smart changes.
As a bonus, the first prototype you create is free. As an added, long term bonus, all of your design and testing efforts can be accomplished without a single line of code.

 

Proto.io

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UI/UX design can be a rewarding career, but things can become a bit frustrating when you or your team is being called upon to turn out high-fidelity mobile prototypes in rapid-fire succession, while keeping interested stakeholders in the loop at all times.

Proto.io is a great investment for those who seem to be juggling too many priorities at once.

This UX/UI tool makes it easy to quickly create feature-rich, interactive, animated prototypes, and bridge any potential communication gaps while doing so. You don’t need to go to programming school either. Proto.io does what you want done without any requirement for coding.

Use this tool’s native UI elements for iOS, Windows mobile, or Android, import your own design elements, or use some of both. Big boys like ESPN and Disney are Proto.io fans, and you will become one as well once you’ve tried it.

 

Appsee Mobile App UX Analytics

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Given a choice between quantitative and qualitative usability test results, knowledgeable web designers generally pick the latter.

Qualitative measurements are what Appsee Mobile App Analytics does best, and this UX/UI tool does them very well indeed.

While we humans can interpret tabulated information and usability test results presented in neat, color-coded graphs, we are primarily visually-oriented creatures. We rely heavily on what we see and hear. Quantitative usability data may have its place, but qualitative data is much easier to work with and provides more useful results.

Appsee data is based on visual user journeys, results of touch heatmap testing, and user session recordings; a rather personal kind of testing.

As you start using this tool, you will find it’s like having an experienced tour guide taking you around and showing you useful and important information you need to achieve a perfect UX.

 

PowerMockup

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If you are a big fan of PowerPoint, and you would like to improve on its prototyping capabilities, all you need to do is add PowerMockup to your design toolkit.

It’s a simple matter to select design elements from PowerMockup’s huge library, and drag and drop them onto PowerPoint slides.

You can then apply PowerPoint’s slideshow and animation features to showcase your interactive prototypes to others. You are always welcome to add your own shapes to PowerMockup’s ever-expanding library; for your own use and to share with others.

 

Pidoco

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Pidoco is a web-based, drag and drop UX/UI tool that you’ll find to be incredibly useful for your web and mobile app design work.

The fact that professional web designers located throughout 50 different countries have made Picodo a UX/UI tool of choice, tells you its creators must be doing a lot of things right.

Pidoco’s features include a 400+ icon/design element library, live browser and mobile app preview capability, click and touch interactions, and a great deal more. It is by far one of the most advanced prototyping tools on the market.

 

Lucidchart

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With Lucidchart, you can create interactive mockups of websites in minutes if not sooner, but this cloud-based tool has much more to offer the UX/UI designer.

It is an excellent tool to have at your disposal if, in addition to wireframe and mockup design, you have a need for flowcharting and diagramming.

In addition, its clever keyboard shortcuts and master page features help you avoid reinventing the wheel time and again because of their reusable design-saving capabilities.

 

Loop11

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If usability testing has never been your strong suit, or if it is an area where you have tended to be a reluctant participant, Loop11 will change all of that.

Loop11 is dedicated to usability testing. This incredibly useful tool can manage a large number of test participants (up to 999 per test), and it will provide you with invaluable path analysis data and clickstream and heatmap test results.

Loop11 is an invaluable tool to have for use during prototyping or when refining a final design.

 

Form Analytics by UseItBetter

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If you have ever been unsuccessful at filling out an online form because of a system glitch, you know how irritated it can be.

Forms Analytics by UseItBetter helps users avoid these situations with its ability to quickly drill down to the source of a form or form field problem. With Forms Analytics at your side, you won’t have to worry about users abandoning one of your forms, and perhaps abandoning the website as well. This is a handy tool to have if many of your designs include forms, and a real time saver as well.

 

Patternry

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You don’t build prototypes with Patternry. So why would you want to include it in your design toolkit?

The answer is simple. Patternry is used to build online toolkits, and as such, it is an incredible time saver.

What this tool will do for you is enable you to avoid doing time-consuming, repetitive tasks, and allow you to apply reusable design elements and blocks rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel. This is one of the more useful tools you are apt to come across. It is highly recommended that you give it a second look.

 

Notism Collaboration

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Notism Collaboration combines the best in web and mobile prototyping with an effective, powerful, and reliable collaboration capability. The result is an ideal tool for use by large teams or organizations where effective sharing, reviewing, and discussing design and video work among project members is crucial.

On videos you can even leave feedback on the timeline.

Notism provides more than a communications channel. Notism’s prototyping features are not to be overlooked either. They are extremely efficient, effective, and easy to use.

 

Final thoughts

It will be difficult if not impossible, to make a poor choice, or a wrong choice, from this list of the 10 UX/UI tools. There is something here for everyone, whether it is a multipurpose tool with strong prototyping and collaboration features, a tool dedicated to qualitative usability testing, one specifically created for PowerPoint users, or one of the other specialty tools.

You may even find one or two you haven’t thought of, but will soon begin to wonder how you every got along without it.

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Basic Animation for Web Design

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The world of animation for web design is vast and somewhat complex. Professional animators undergo quite a bit of training and work for years to master their craft. But animation can be found in much more than cartoons. Print work and other static mediums don’t have the luxury but web design is the perfect outlet for digital animated effects.

animation drawing desk

This post will cover a series of useful animation principles as they relate to web design. The methods used by Disney to animate a character would be far too complex for use on the web. As a digital designer you really don’t need to spend your life studying animation. The basic principles should suffice and provide enough of a starting point to learn how to design your own animated effects for buttons, icons, slideshows, and other web widgets.

Squash & Stretch

Traditional animation is the cornerstone of all other forms from 3D to UI design. One of the 12 main principles of animation is squash & stretch. These behaviors give items a sense of weight based on how they interact with other items. Take a look at this stretchy cube demo built entirely in CSS.

squash stretch animation css3

The stretching effect doesn’t always need to be overdone like the example above. When you take realism into account even a minor squash/stretch motion can be noticeable.

This type of animation gives life to the page because it’s meant to be a replication of physics. When using exaggerated features the animation feels more cartoony, but still relies on a foundation of gravity and mass.

Consider using this effect for elements that need some elasticity. Buttons, menus, or even slideshows with image thumbnails can be squashed & stretched. These animations are created through the use of easing functions which are primarily built into JavaScript libraries.

Velocity.js and Snabbt.js are two choices worthy of consideration. If you’re looking for pure CSS3 animation then check out Animate.css instead.

Objects in Motion

All forms of animation require some type of motion. This may seem obvious but the subject of motion is vast and requires careful attention to detail. When focusing on web elements you’ll want to create motion in a manner best suited to each individual item.

For example, a larger block element could be seen as heavier and thus move slower along the page. On the contrary little tiny buttons might quickly pop onto the page like pieces of candy. Timing is very important because it distinguishes how the object is moving.

sozo desig homepage layout

SOZO Design uses a clean animated header for some dynamic typographic elements. Text will fade out and move into view rather quickly. Their layout also uses a hamburger navigation which relies on animated links sliding into view from offscreen.

Most of these features are naturally smooth. I actually like their style because it’s noticeable yet not too overbearing. Good animation shouldn’t steal thunder from the design itself, but rather compliment the design as an extra feature.

Easing for Natural Motion

Easing effects are used to distinguish custom animation from a linear style. These can be displayed as data points graphing time and motion to create a custom effect. Linear easing moves in a straight, even-tempered line all the way through.

But many other pre-built styles exist and it’s even possible to create your own from scratch. Take a peek at the Easings.net webpage to see a handful of easing styles live in action.

easings website testing demo page

Motion feels natural when it blends into the design and fits with the object being animated. If an element behaves like it’s made of gummy material then it should be somewhat bouncy and flamboyant. Easing styles range from delicately slow to frenetically quick.

As you practice web animation you’ll start to get the hang of how certain objects behave. Weight, friction, and an object’s “material” play a role in animated effects. Sometimes these can change for different items but other times they’ll stay the same across the board. The Google Material Design animation page covers the basics for their own design language.

twitter bell icon animation

The above screenshot is from a simple animated GIF of the Twitter bell icon. It’s designed in the Google material design language which is defined by flat icons and simple animated effects. Easing is slightly different for the bell and the notification popup, yet they both seem to work together harmoniously.

Intuition plays a large role in animation. Trust your gut, and more importantly your eye, to let you know when something looks right or wrong.

Consistent Effects

Taking a look at the overall composition you’ll want to stay true to the design. Website animation only feels right if it can blend into the design style. For example it’s a good idea to avoid large bouncy buttons on a funeral home layout.

Aside from matching the website’s theme you’ll also want to match similar effects. Consider all the different styles of animation from sliding, swinging, bouncing, fading… the list goes on. It’s your job to determine which effects go well together in a single layout.

ingen io data homepage layout

Take for example the heavily-animated landing page found on i.ngen.io. Their homepage is one of the most dynamic features on the entire website. Each menu link uses a distinct hover effect which is simply beautiful. Although each one is invariably different, they all feel like one group of links animated in a similar fashion.

There is no surefire way to master consistency other than practice. The same can be said about learning how to view composition in web design – you’ll pick up ideas the more you practice. Start by replicating animated effects from other websites and eventually you learn how to incorporate relevant ideas into your own work.

Further Reading

If you want to learn more about animation on the web try skimming through a few of these links. Modern design techniques have made animation much easier than ever before, and there’s plenty of free information to go around. If you have a passion for digital animation then you’ll enjoy finding ways to created motion in your web projects.

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WordPress For iOS 6.1 is Now Available

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WordPress for iOS 6.1 is now available, and it comes with several new bug fixes and improvements, including geotagging support and comment moderation gestures. 

With the help of gestures on the notification screen, you can now swipe left and right to approve and disapprove comments. Furthermore, you can geotag your posts by typing addresses and locations in the search box. It’s just one of the many new features WordPress for iOS offers.

Also, Jetpack users can make use of Publicize features from within the app now.

wordpress-ios

This new release also comes with bug fixes and a lot more. The geotagging feature, quite obviously is directed more towards personal blogs and folks who like to blog about their travels. The comment moderation enhancements, however, will come handy for many users with busy websites.

You can follow the development updates on the GitHub page of the WordPress for iOS app. Alternatively, you can report bugs and seek help in the support forums.

Download the WordPress for iOS 6.1 app from here.

If you are an iOS user, have you tried the WordPress app yet? What are your thoughts? Share your views in the comments below!

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The Essential Guide for Preparing a Design for Coding

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Too many website building activities focus on handing a design over to a coder, answering any questions the coder may have, and then sitting back and waiting for the deliverable.

Unless you have given the coder design details down to the pixel level, and doable, and the coder knows his business well, the deliverable may leave something to be desired.

Design and coding are creative activities. It only makes sense that if the creativities of both parties can be shared, through a good workflow process and a strong collaborative effort characterized by timely feedback, the end result will be a superior design.

Let’s look into how this can be made to happen.

 

Planning a Project

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Plan, plan and plan again

Planning a project is not only important in itself, but it also provides the best opportunity for the designer and the coder to being working together.

Handing off a design to the coder along with a list of specific requirements, and awaiting the result, may work for a very small project; although it is not the best approach. Taking a similar approach with a large or complex project almost guarantees that the project will become a fiasco.

As a minimum, a project plan needs to be put in place. The plan should include cost and schedule estimates, and either reviews or provisions for timely communication and feedback.

We contacted Xfive to find out how they approach development work. We chose this 10-year old development agency because of the impressive development work they have done for a number of major corporations.

This is what COO Milosz Bezala had to say:

We believe the pre-development part of the project is almost as equally important as the development itself. In Xfive, we are dedicated to understanding the customer’s needs from the early discussions on the project, so that later on, our project management team can choose the proper solutions for each client.”

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Milosz Bazela and his team discussing a project

 

Tips for Preparing a Design for Coding

There are several things you can do up front to help the coder and keep the workflow moving along at a good pace.

Pixel-Perfect Design is Best – The coder can only go into as much detail as your requirements allow. Specifying precisely what you want saves everyone time. This includes providing exact details on such items as margins, paddings, colors, and font usage.

Follow Photoshop Etiquette – This can sometimes involve a good deal of housekeeping. Naming and structuring your files is critical. Take time to align text, images, and design elements properly. Remember that a misaligned element or any similar mistake will also be coded!

Keep the Lines of Communication Open – This significantly benefits the coder, especially when questions arise, if the coder has a suggestion, or you need to make a change. A minor change can create a major expense when it is late in the game.

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Developers preparing a roadmap for designers

Provide Design Information for Interactions – Make certain that design specifications for interactions such as sliders, hovering commands, and drop down menus are detailed and complete.

Understand Development Technologies –  You should understand enough about development practices to know which of your design features will be straightforward to implement; and which may not be.

 

Keeping Time on Your Side

It’s often the things you neglect to do that can make time your enemy. A lack of up-front planning, meaningful estimates to work with, or open communication channels, will have a negative impact on transparency. When this is the case, as the development process proceeds, sometimes in fits and starts, the clock can easily become your enemy.

This is how Xfive addresses the issue:

Although we have developed some pretty advanced time management skills during our ten-year experience, and each project has its Project manager, we only count the development time. This is because we believe that quality project management is not a service, but a norm.

If a customer is in a hurry, we either include additional developers, or discuss it with the team and add some extra-hours on the schedule. We believe in flexibility, since every project has its own traits. We try not to cause a situation when the time is running out because of our precise estimation process focus and the clear reporting on the burned hours on each task”.

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To deliver successfully, coders and project managers must collaborate closely

About Xfive

This 10-year old software development agency is an excellent source of information about workflow practices and designer-developer interaction. Xfive’s staff consists of professional software developers and project managers. This team offers its services to a worldwide clientele, and it is supported by offsite coders and freelancers.

A reason Xfive stands out among its competitors is its corporate culture.

The team sees themselves as an extension of the design customer it is supporting. Xfive’s culture is a caring and energetic one; a culture punctuated by high fives.

No matter the size of your project, feel free to ask the team for a quote. You’ll find yourself partnering with a development agency that cares, and is a pleasure to work with. You can also expect to receive quality, cost-effective deliverables – every time.

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Sketch 3.7.2 Has Been Released

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Sketch, the popular design tool for Mac users, has just released its newest version 3.7.2

Sketch 3.7.2 comes with several new features and bug fixes.

Here is a run-down of what it brings to the table:

  • New Symbols created from Artboards are now named after the Artboard, rather than being renamed to ‘Symbol’
  • SketchTool now dumps Symbol overrides as a dictionary instead of a string
  • Fixes a crash that could occur when swapping a Symbol instance in the Inspector
  • Fixes a crash that could occur when reverting changes
  • Fixes a bug where printing Artboards resulted in blank pages
  • Fixes a bug where Sketch would hang after choosing ‘Paste Here’, having copied a layer style
  • Fixes a bug where Symbol instance layer styles would not be applied to the Group created when detaching an instance from its Symbol
  • Fixes a bug where Symbol instances could end up detached when reordering pages

sketch

You can purchase and download or upgrade Sketch from the official website (note that it is no longer available in the App Store).

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Intense: Multipurpose HTML5 Template to Streamline Web Development

intense-ultimate-html5-template

Today, everyone seems to be nuts about faster web site building. Both professional developers and DIYers commonly opt for ready-made HTML5 templates, as they are enormous time-savers in web site development. However, many templates come only with standard features and pages that do not necessarily cover all of your needs. While you can save some time with a ready-made design, a limited feature pack still forces you to look for third-party functionality. TemplateMonster, a web design company with 14 years of experience, has come up with a solution to this problem. To overcome any limitations, its inventive team released Intense, a multipurpose HTML5 template with a zillion pages. Let’s explore this universal template in detail.

intense mlti-purpose HTML5 template

View Demo | More Info

Intense is a multipurpose HTML5 template meant for building corporate and personal sites, blogs, online stores, portfolios, landing pages, etc. In fact, all the pages are already pre-built for you. For your part, you just need to customize them a little bit. The template comes packed in an unexaggeratedly all-inclusive package, in which you can access 150+ HTML5 files, 150+ PSD files, 50+ shortcodes with 110+ components, child themes, and much more.

Free Lifetime Updates
The above-mentioned features represent the initial release of Intense. Later, this massive template will be subject to constant updates such as new pages, skins and child themes to embrace any possible niche. All the updates are completely free.

Free Lifetime Support
Just like any other product from TemplateMonster, Intense entitles you to free, lifetime support. You can contact a professional at any time, 24/7, and get detailed answers to all your questions.

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Huge Choice of Pre-Designed Pages

intense HTML5 template

With an incredibly wide choice of pre-designed pages, Intense allows for much faster website development. Instead of building each page from scratch, just swap the default content with yours, edit colors and fonts, and the page is ready to deliver your message. The pages included with the template package serve many purposes. There are both standard options such as contacts, about info, and FAQs and extras such as coming soon, maintenance, and appointment. You can also access a 404 template that will come in handy when visitors try to enter a non-existent or already deleted page.

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Multiple Niche Templates

intense-niche-templates

What makes Intense versatile for literally any user is a set of child themes. By means of these niche templates, it can embrace a wide range of industries. Whether you deal with finance or artwork, you will be able to find the skin already adapted to your specific activity. Currently, the package for Intense has 2 child themes, one for restaurants and one for photographers’ portfolios. But, as we’ve already mentioned, their number will constantly grow as a result of lifetime updates, to deliver a ready-made solution for almost any niche.

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20+ Blog Pages

intense-blog-pages

Blog integration helps engage customers and fill pages with keywords for better SEO rankings. This is why Intense HTML5 template is integrated with a blog and has 20+ blog pages for it. Whether you prefer a classic or modern style, grid or masonry structure, you can pick the most suitable layout type for your taste. There’s also a separate design to cover your upcoming or past events.

Would you like to complement your posts with tags, search, list of categories, archive or even social media feed? Intense fulfills this task through sidebars. You can optionally use layouts with a sidebar on the left, right and both sides. It’s also possible to leave your blog pages without any sidebars at all if you like. Each layout type comes with a ready-made solution for a single post page.

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15 Portfolio Pages

intense-portfolio-pages

When it comes to your portfolio presentation, Intense offers 15 pre-designed pages. Their layouts vary from wide and full-width to grid and masonry. Each layout is equipped with a filtering option, which lets customers explore your projects by categories. Depending on your preference, you can set up either vertical or horizontal categorization. Intense HTML5 template also has a ready-made layout to showcase a single project with images, videos, text, info about its author and related works.

To make your portfolio more engaging, Intense is supplied with 6 custom effects. On hover, they reveal some project details (its title, categories, short description, etc) and other elements (CTA button, commenting and rating options). The Apollo effect also gives a bluish tinge to the picture, while the classic one zooms in on the image. Each custom effect has its own mission.

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10+ eCommerce Shop Pages

intense HTML5 template

Intense is an eCommerce-ready HTML5 template packed with 10+ pre-designed shop pages. You can choose from grid and list layouts with a left, right or no sidebar. In the sidebar area, shoppers can switch between different categories, brands, colors and sizes of your merchandise.

To show each item individually, there is a ready-made single product page. Its layout features everything required to present a certain item in full. There is a product gallery, accordion with info details, available colors, sizes, quantity, price, and add-to-cart button. To show customers more, you can display related products right above the footer.

Online merchants can also make use of pre-designed checkout and cart view pages. The latter shows all the items in the cart and has options to remove some of them or add more. On the checkout page, customers fill in their billing and shipping details, check all the ordered items, and choose the payment type.

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Multiple Header and Footer Layouts

intense HTML5 template

The header is one of the most important layout areas, as it is the first thing visitors see when they enter your site. It can make or break your business introduction, which is why you must test different variations to choose the most effective one. With Intense, it’s easy-breezy. It provides numerous header types for experimentation, particularly a sidebar toggle, floated bar, top panel, etc. Moreover, you can choose from dark, light and sometimes transparent styles.

The finishing touch of your site is just as important as its introduction, which is why Intense offers various footer types. For example, the default version of the footer has a logo, social icons, subscription form, useful links, and latest news. Using the second variant, you can show your logo, address details, testimonials, social icons, and contact form. Each footer layout has its own set of elements, so choose the right one depending on the info you want to highlight in the end.

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150+ HTML5 Files
The initial release of this powerful template contains a total of 150+ HTML5 files. Such a huge number of ready-made solutions allows you to create any layout you can imagine within a few moments.

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150+ PSD Files
Along with 150+ HTML5 files, you will get a set of 150+ PSDs, which is cool stuff for designers. These layered PSD files can easily be edited in Photoshop.

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50+ Shortcodes
What also adds to the usability of Intense is a set of 50+ scalable shortcodes with more than 110 components. Feel free to use them to supply your site with different content and functionality.

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Extended Bootstrap Toolkit

intense-extended-bootstrap-toolkit

Powered by Bootstrap, Intense comes with the main components of this framework, but isn’t confined only to them. In addition to the standard components, the template offers an extended Bootstrap toolkit with elements that the framework lacks, but all the developers long for. They include alerts, animations, counters, dividers, timers, infographics, and much more. There are also 2,000+ font icons for various purposes, e.g. payment, currency, gender, and form control, to name a few. With Intense, you will have all the essentials at hand, without the need to browse the web for the missing parts.

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Flexible RD Audio & Video Players
No text and imagery can create as strong an impact on customers as podcasts and videos. To make your site more impactful, Intense is integrated with audio and video players.

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Social Integration
Social networks are known as powerful traffic drivers, which is why Intense was developed as a fully-fledged solution for social media integration. It features multiple social widgets, from Twitter and Facebook feeds to Instagram and Flickr galleries. Unlike many other HTML5 templates, Intense embeds these widgets into the layout elegantly so that they are able to blend well with its entire design.

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What Customers Say about Intense

intense-reviews
Do you wonder what people who’ve already used Intense think about it? In general, they left positive remarks about the template. You can check some of them yourself in this screenshot below.

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Final Words about the Intense HTML5 Template

intense HTML5 template

With Intense, you can build a site of any type easily and quickly. Everything you’ll need for this is already included in the template’s package – pre-designed pages, layered PSD files, child themes, premium plugins, shortcodes, social widgets, standard and extra Bootstrap components. This huge package of this HTML5 template will also grow over time, providing you with more new pages, child themes and other features for free.

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Some Of The Best Sketch App Freebies For Designers

music-app-free-ui-kit-for-sketch

If you’re a UI designer, and you have yet to hop on board the free Sketch App Express, you’ve been missing out on a UI solution that is taking the design world by storm. Sketch is in some ways similar to Photoshop, but it is cheaper and better. Bohemian Coding’s Sketch 3 is better yet. It has deservedly been called the latest and greatest tool available for UI digital design; as is evident by its continual increase in market share.

If you are a newcomer to the web design world, a free Sketch app newbie, a Photoshop user who would like to make a change for the better, or a developer who would like to add UI design to your skill set, give this wonderful design tool a try. Before you do so, be sure to check out the selection of free Sketch App resources and free Sketch designs you’ll find at the end of this article.

Music App FREE UI Kit for Sketch

Blog UI Kit

Fair UI Kit FreebieView premium version

Recipe UI Kit for Sketch

Max UI Kit FreebieView premium version

Apple Watch GUI Sketch

Wild Full Website Freebie

Android Music Player

Routes UI Kit FreebieView premium version

Icon Set

iOS 9 UI Template for Sketch

Phoenix UI: Vol 1 – for iPhone 6

Free Building Icons

iOS Music Identifier

Shopping Card

8 Minimal Weather Icons

Planner Dashboard Concept

Dompet – Wallet App

Course Dashboard for Sketch

Attractions Map Freebie

Flight UI Freebie

Sketch iOS App Analytics

Spotify Material Design

Sketch Icons

Fashion UI Kit for Sketch

Office Icons for Sketch

Clean UI Kit

Outdoor Icons

Movie Dashboard

Freebie UI Screens

Wind Turbine Apps

Quotes app (Sketch freebie)

CrowdPlayer Sketch Freebie

Sketch for Beginners

The use of vector-based drawing is the best and the most effective approach to website, icon, or interface design. Sketch is a vector drawing app that has been created for precisely these purposes. With Sketch, you can not only edit vector-based drawings, but you can also edit bitmaps, including blur and color corrections.

As a UI designer, you’ll appreciate the solutions this tool has in store for you. Since it is a single-window App, whatever design element or feature you may need when using it is always within easy reach. Multiple fills per layer is supported, as is text styling and rendering.

This is an ideal tool for anyone involved in iOS, Android, or Web design. It has the features you need, yet it requires only 41 MB of disk space; a minuscule amount compared to the 16 GB Photoshop requires.

Sketch gets you off to a perfect start. The instant you open it you’ll be presented with an infinite canvas. You don’t have to set up a canvas size, or specify the units you’ll be working with before you can get started. Sketch is not much different from any OS X app. You are presented with a familiar user interface that features a Toolbar and a Navigator and Inspector. There is never a need to go through a series of setups and maneuverings just to produce a basic design. You can simply choose among the Sketch app freebies to help you get started.

Comparing Sketch’s requirements for disk space to those of Photoshop might lead you to think that Sketch is a drastically pared-down adaptation of the latter. That is simply not true. When you first power up Sketch, what you will experience is a squeaky-clean, well structured, and uncluttered interface. This app is a tightly-focused piece of software, which is vastly different than being a pared down version of anything. It is also a joy to work with. Sketch gives you the features you need – and nothing more.

When an app doesn’t have every feature or capability you need, there is often a simple solution. It’s called a plugin. Free Sketch app resources and Sketch plugins make up for anything you might find lacking, and more. One design guru put off using any of the available plugins until he was completely comfortable with the app. He later related that the decision to do so was a huge mistake, since many of the plugins turned out to be tremendous time savers.

It’s Almost Ridiculously Simple to Work With

A stripped-down, pared-down, tightly-focused, and concentrated applications can be simply summed up as being one that is straightforward, clear-cut, and easy to use. As we mentioned earlier, Sketch does not have a lot of interface clutter you have to fight your way through. If you are in the habit of working in Zen mode, where focus and clarity of purpose prevails, you’ll love Sketch.

Smaller Files Are Time-Savers

As any veteran Photoshop user will tell you, working on large-scale web projects can involve working with a numbers of files, files that can be 100s of MB in size, with each one assigned to a screen you happen to be working on. This involves a good deal of juggling and switching among files, and any revisions you may incorporate will only add to the workload.

With Sketch’s infinite canvas, all of your Art-boards, as its screen designs are labeled, can reside in a single file. With Sketch, those hard drive-busting issues, resulting from outsized files, will become a thing of the past.

Vectors, Vectors Everywhere

Every single design element you produce within Sketch is a vector. For a UI designer, the use of vectors is essential. This is particularly true when your designs are destined to fit different screen sizes, where having the ability to rapidly resize elements without any loss in quality is a must.

Sketch is also “pixel-aware”. Whenever you create a shape, it will always snap to the nearest pixel – no blurry lines, no half pixels. If you need to switch from a vector to a pixel view – no problem.

The Joys of Exporting and Slicing

Exporting and slicing design assets can be a joy for Photoshop users, but only for those who are in love with difficult and painful processes. Exporting an element from a Sketch Art-board involves but a couple of clicks – a process that hardly could be described as painful, but one that is definitely a joy to perform.

Choose your element, click Export, and select SVG, PNG, or some other format. That’s all there is to it. Sketch has you covered for displaying your assets on all different devices.

CSS Anyone?

Bohemian Coding embraces CSS logic when they designed and developed Sketch. What this means to the user is that there is a lot less baggage to have to deal with than is the case with similar apps that do not rely heavily on CSS. The way Sketch operates is more in tune with the way in which today’s designers and developers go about their work. Sketch’s front-end coding mindset “feels” neater; but that is something you’ll want to discover for yourself.

A Work in Progress

Because of its newness, Sketch is still a work in progress. It has nevertheless become the go-to web design app for an ever-increasing number of designers, and it’s only going to improve. Features such as One Project, One File, an Inspector that understands math, and a design presentation where everything is a vector by default, will speed up your workflow and make your life easier.

Try a few of the free Sketch designs, and we guarantee this app will become your responsive web design tool of choice.

If you’re not yet convinced – check out the following Sketch app freebies.

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App Store Now Offers Business Advice To Developers

app-store-developer

Apple has recently updated its App Store Developer site and added a new section that talks about best practices and business growth ideas for freelance developers.

This new section aims to feature analysis, articles and videos to help app developers enhance their profit margin by building apps for iOS. 

The ‘Discovery’ sub-section talks about how the App Store is curated, and ways in which you can help your app excel in the store and be discovered by potential users. Similarly, the ‘Using the Freemium Model’ sub-section talks about how to generate a steady flow of revenue using in-app purchases. The ‘Business Model’ sub-section too focuses more the same aspect, and lets you pick the best one between free, freemium, paid and paymium models for your apps.

app-store-developer

There are also sub-sections meant to help aspiring developers learn more about app analytics and insights, and so on. Considering the fact that the App Store has a lot many freelance app developers creating apps for the iOS devices, this new section on the Developer site will surely prove useful for such app makers and developers.

Learn more about the new App Store Developer site here.

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