Rules to Successfully Launch New Websites

2016-06-30

Launching a new site soon, but not sure if it’s going to go smooth? Maybe you have a history of getting in way too deep with website design only to reach a wall that stops you from moving forward. Setbacks, miscommunication, and missed deadlines are your biggest nightmare when building a new website.

What’s the best approach to launch a new website with success?

2016-06-30

Identify Mistakes

Don’t make the same mistakes twice. Before you ever dive into a redesign, take a good look at the website you currently have and identify the worst. Are there things that are just plain wrong? These days, you can develop a website design that becomes obsolete in less than a year. It’s probably not your fault, but it’s time to change all the mistakes left on your website.

Something that my team had to fix before our last website redesign was the blog feed location. The blog feed was running from the homepage instead of the subfolder /blog/, which created a mess before we ever started working on the new website redesign. We did our research and concluded it was best to move blog articles to the /blog/ subfolder with 301 redirects before we began building the new website.

Create a Plan

Know what you’re getting yourself into long before you begin. Launching websites is not an easy task, and it takes a lot more careful planning, time, and attention than you may think. Create a plan that outlines all work needed to be done, and get the conversation started with your team. Sometimes this is best done by conducting a meeting in which every department (design, programming, content, social, administrative) can communicate the total workload for each part of the website design and development.

Once all changes that need to be made are identified, it will be much easier to get a much clearer picture of what the website will look like when finished and what steps it might take to get there.

Map Your Work

Give yourself more direction by constructing a roadmap. After you’ve come up with a rough plan including each department’s workload, a general roadmap of your website design procedure will give everyone on your team a better understanding of timelines. Some aspects of your redesign will naturally begin with a programmer, a designer, and copywriter, but eventually, one person will be waiting on the next to supply content to be uploaded.

A map will outline key aspects of your workflow, and help you identify components that must be finished before the next part of the project can even be initiated. It helps to start with a website design checklist to assure that, when you do set tasks for everyone, nothing is overlooked.

Considering Blocks & Setbacks

Murphy’s law states — if there’s anything that can go wrong, it will. Considering this, you might want to allow yourself a few extra days or weeks for specific parts of your website redesign. Rushing through a website redesign is a quick way to pile on the stress and raise your blood pressure. It’s best to reach one conclusion before you begin — there will be setbacks. If you don’t see them coming, they turn into “blocks” that keep the website from launching on the deadline. To avoid being blindsided by blocks and losing momentum, take the time to consider everything that could possibly go wrong when building out your new website.

Set Steps & Deadlines

Once you’ve gotten the big picture out of the way, it’s time to set tasks, dates, and begin. Your website design should begin just after you’ve outlined the steps needed to finish the design and tasks needed to accomplish each step. All tasks and steps should have their own set of deadlines that move the project along. Keeping all parts of the project moving forward and finishing each step on time will assure your website is ready on launch day.

Promote the Launch

If you’re confident in your ability to publish a working site, then start promoting your website long before launch day arrives. Once you know launch day is in sight, set up a series of posts to complete a redesign launch campaign, and drive more traffic to your website.

The Testing Phase

Time to test your website before launch to assure everything works. Our web developer builds out new redesigns by first using a dev server then transferring the final product upon completion. This means that he has much more flexibility when programming the redesign since it’s not automatically affecting the live website. The testing phase of development assures that your website is going to work, and there are no broken elements before launch day.

Launch Day

By the time lauch day rolls around, you should be confident your website is finally FIN. Launch day is a time for celebration. If you haven’t already, start promoting your website redesign launch as soon as you are certain the website is up and running and most importantly works. Give everyone on your team a high five, and be happy because you launched a new website, and holy crap, it works!

Do you use these rules when launching new websites? Please leave a comment, and share this article with your network.

SOURCES:

Website Timeline: A Plan for Success

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Drawing a Speech Bubble Icon in Adobe XD

Dansky_Learn How to Draw a Speech Bubble Icon in Adobe XD

In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to draw a speech bubble icon in Adobe Experience Design CC (Adobe XD).

The Steps (1-8)

1. Create a New Artboard.

2. Select the Ellipse Tool, Left-click anywhere on the artboard and hold Shift to draw a circle.

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3. Next, select the Rectangle Tool, Left-click and hold Shift to draw a square. Make sure that the square is about 1/5 the size of the circle created in Step 2.

4. With the Selection Tool, Double-click the newly created square to edit, and select the top-right anchor point. Hit Delete or Backspace to remove this anchor point. This will leave you with a three-sided shape.

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5. Position the three-sided triangle shape in the bottom-left corner of the circle. Double-click the bottom-left anchor point to edit, and use the Left/Down arrow keys to move this anchor point downwards and towards the left. Whilst this can be done using the mouse, currently dragging the anchor point using the mouse does not snap it to a 45 degree angle, and so using the arrow keys (in turn, one after the other) ensures that as you adjust the ‘point’ on the triangle, it remains balanced without being skewed out of shape.

6. Once you are happy with the proportions of your triangle shape, adjust the overall size by Left-clicking and holding Alt + Shift on any one of the corner anchor points to scale the shape upwards/downwards from the centre.

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7. When you are happy with the shape and size of your speech bubble, Left-click and hold Shift to select both the circle and the triangle shapes, and in the Pathfinder Options in the Property Inspector, select the Add option. This will combine the two shapes into one complete speech bubble shape.

8. Select a Fill colour of your choice (for this tutorial, the Fill colour is set to white #FFFFFF) and also adjust the Colour and Width of the Border. For this tutorial, the Border Width is set to 30 pixels.

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The Keyboard Waffle Iron Giveaway

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Do you love waffles? Do you love keyboards? We sure do!

Enter The Keyboard Waffle Iron Giveaway to win this geek-chic waffle iron by Chris Dimino.

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The Keyboard Waffle Iron is designed from the waffle-out. It features a unique wide format plate that creates a delicious Belgian-style waffle in the shape of your beloved computer keyboard. It also features a comfortable heat-resistant bakelite curved handle for easy flipping.

All of this in a simple and sleek design that compliments your kitchen. Just add heat, batter, and toppings!

Whether on your kitchen stove, backyard BBQ, or outdoor camping grill, you can make great waffles just about anywhere! The Keyboard Waffle Iron’s slim and “wireless” design makes for easy toting to your next brunch, tailgate, or QWERTY club meeting.

In this case, playing with your food is HIGHLY recommended!

Winners will be announced on July 15th! Good luck!

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30 Premium Responsive WordPress Themes – Part 2

Interna-WordPress-Theme--838x1024

This article is a kind of sequel showcasing 30 more premium Responsive WordPress Themes you might like to take a look at. Click here to browse the first batch of WordPress themes.

So, what do we have for you today? 30 stylish WordPress themes that fit different business niches. All themes  are easy to customize, so you don’t even need to have extensive coding skills to alter your WordPress site. It goes without saying that all WordPress themes listed below are cross-browser compatible and 100% responsive, which makes it possible to visit and enjoy your web page from any modern mobile device. The themes are also search engine friendly; thus you will always be able to optimize your website so that more clients are able to learn about the goods and services your company provides on the Internet.

Are you ready to browse 30 top-class premium responsive WordPress Themes right now? We hope that one of them will be ideal for promoting your business and you will take the lead position in your niche. Or maybe you’ll find a perfect design for your client’s website here.

1. Interna WordPress Theme

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Interna is a responsive WordPress Theme which was created for an architectural company. This stylish theme has a lot of nice features like parallax scrolling effect, stick-to-top menu, drag and drop content editor, etc. Btw, Interna can be used for a multi language site as it is WPML ready. The theme has Cherry Framework at its core that offers solid Bootstrap options, numerous shortcodes and widgets and a simple way to update the current design with Parent/Child theme possibilities. Finally, the theme comes with 24/7 free lifetime support.

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2. Effective IT Solutions WordPress Theme

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Here is a minimalist responsive WordPress theme which will be perfect for an IT company. This SEO friendly theme has a stylish slider, a parallax effect, a drag and drop content editor, a working contact form, and lots of other features.

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3. Style Park WordPress Theme

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This is the brightest theme in our responsive WordPress Themes collection. Its combination of neon colors and metro-style blocks will differentiate your fashion blog from the competitors. The theme is packed with a huge set of premium widgets which will help you build feature rich and versatile layouts. WordPress live customizer, Bootstrap, valid and well documented code, 24/7 free support are just a few things that you’ll get with this WP theme. In fact, Style Park is a GPL WordPress theme, meaning you can use it many times.

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4. Page Down Responsive WordPress Theme

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Page Down is a responsive WordPress theme that is suitable for design agencies and business sites. Its transparent header seamlessly blends with the layout. The projects are categorized. Contact form is available right on the home page. The theme has a clean design, a minimal layout, and a stylish responsive slider.

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5. CorpoRational WordPress Theme

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This business WordPress theme comes with a MotoPress editor plugin, which will help you process and edit your website. Drag and drop elements the way you like and enjoy the process of managing your site layout in a visual mode.

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6. Clean Folio Responsive WordPress Theme

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This bright theme is a great option for creative designers who want to be different from their competitors. The author skillfully uses white space, so that the page looks really professional.

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7. Bit News WordPress Theme

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The theme is an ideal option for a news portal. It is delivered with a set of premium widgets (like posts carousel, simple slider, image grid, category tiles, and so on) to build feature-rich and versatile layouts.

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8. Multimedia WordPress Theme

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The next theme on our Responsive WordPress Themes list is ‘Multimedia’. It is coded with valid XHTML + CSS, which will provide flawless performance of your future website.

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9. Editorso WordPress Theme

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Unlike many of the Responsive WordPress Themes, this one, for a journalist blog, doesn’t require any coding skills from you. You will cope with installation, fine-tuning and maintenance without difficulty as all these factors are being executed via a user-friendly interface with tons of settings. Btw, Editorso is a GPL WordPress theme, which means it can be used to build more than one WordPress site.

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10. DailySports WordPress Theme

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Dark layouts always capture users’ eyes, so it’s an ideal option for a sport news portal. The theme is 100% GPL, built with Bootstrap, SEO friendly and has valid and well documented code.

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11. Kustrix WordPress Theme

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This fashion theme is customized with the help of WordPress live customizer. This feature gives you the ability to customize your website with just a few clicks and see the changes in real time.

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12. OnePage Responsive WordPress Theme

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This is a trendy one page WordPress theme for a web design agency. Featured posts from the blog are placed into the slider (the second one on the home page), so you will be able not only to present your company online, but also to build a loyal community around it. OnePage has minimalist design and a stunning motion slider.

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13. TripTastic WordPress Theme

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This is a wonderful responsive WordPress theme for a travel blog. It is well documented and has clean code, but 24/7 effective and friendly support is always ready to solve any issue you might encounter.

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14. Concept WordPress Theme

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The theme is great for any design agency or business site. It has a clean and minimal layout and scroll motion slider. The theme is Search Engine Optimized and crossbrowser compatible.

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15. HostPro WordPress Theme

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This theme, designed in flat style, has Infographic elements in the layout. Additionally, you can choose between multiple slider plugins (including Cherry Simple Slider and Premium MotoPress Slider) when crafting your theme. They allow you to assemble professional looking slides of text, images and videos, boosting them with cool transition effects.

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16. Freelancer Responsive WordPress Theme

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This responsive WordPress theme can be used by design agencies. It has a sticky navigation menu that stays before your eyes as long as you are on the site. Company projects are presented in a grid and supplied with hover effect.

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17. Fashion Spot WordPress Theme

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A very glamorous WordPress theme for fashion sites. By the way, you can use more than 80 handy shortcodes for post output, elements, grids, lists, tabs, video and audio, Google map, and much more.

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18. Pixel WordPress Theme

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This neat design will be a perfect fit for any creative agency. Responsive slider and masonry layout will help you present your work in a modern stylish manner.

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19. Samuray WordPress Theme

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If you are choosing among responsive WordPress Themes for security sites, you should seriously check out this one. You will be able to build a unique and stylish site for any kind of business with a variety of custom pre-designed page templates.

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20. Deltex WordPress Theme

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This is a solid business theme with transparent header and lowered main menu. It is supplied with WPML, which makes it easier to run a multilingual WordPress site with a single install. With WPML you can modify pages, posts, custom types, menus and the theme’s text and they will be displayed properly in every language.

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21. Architecture WordPress Theme

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This is a responsive and retina ready architectural theme that includes PSD source files. That means the theme is fully customizable and is optimized to be used equally well by experts and beginners.

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22. Redwoods Responsive WordPress Theme

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This theme brings on a surge of sweet nostalgia. Happy kids photos, picturesque landscapes, decorative border stitching take site visitors back to their childhood, when their parents used to send them to summer camps and then they would come back home with lots of pleasant memories of that unforgettable experience.

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23. Design Studio WordPress Theme

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This theme for a web design studio will help you present your works in the best possible way. It is built on Cherry Framework 4, which provides hassle-free installation of your theme, Bootstrap options, shortcodes, widgets and so much more…

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24. Adv WordPress Theme

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If you are looking for a trendy theme for an advertising agency among responsive WordPress Themes, here is a good one to consider. It gives you the freedom to use unique types of posts for a variety of information, like customer testimonials, team bio posts, company services description, etc. In short, every page of your website will be special. All you need to do is choose from a list of available post formats.

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25. Monstroid – Multipurpose WordPress Theme

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This is one of the best responsive WordPress Themes featured here. Monstroid is a multipurpose theme, which means that you can make whatever you need out of it (a blog, an online portfolio, a news site, a corporate site or even a web shop). It is supplied with all necessary tools for the purpose.

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26. VPress Responsive WordPress Theme

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The theme was created for video blogs and video design companies. Videos on the web page are categorized and have tabbed navigation for users’ convenience.

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27. Vegetexia Responsive WordPress Theme

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You can place all your information on healthy diet on a clean vegetarian blog. This nice eye-pleasing WordPress theme is packed with a huge set of premium widgets allowing you to build feature-rich and versatile layouts.

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28. Vector WordPress Theme

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This responsive WordPress theme has an uncommon navigation. You can use a vertical main menu, placed on the white text block together with logo, social icons and copyrights. Actually, the theme’s home page appears as a full screen slider showing HD images that capture users’ attention.

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29. AutoTowing WordPress Theme

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The theme is retina ready, so it will perform and look great even on displays with high pixel density. This will help you keep your site up to date for many years.

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30. Creator Responsive WordPress Theme

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This responsive WordPress theme has a very impressive slider and intuitive navigation. You can use not only the main menu, but also promo banners to research website pages and their content.

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So, these were 30 elegant premium responsive WordPress Themes for different kinds of businesses. Liked anything? Please leave us a comment! Do you think we’ve missed any extraordinary template? You are welcome to make your additions to our list.

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Suicide Squad Character Morphing in Adobe Muse

Muse For You - Suicide Squad Character Morphing - Adobe Muse CC

Morph SVG elements in Adobe Muse. No Coding Skills Required.

Muse For You - Adobe Muse CC Adobe Muse CC Logo Greensock Logo

Most have us have seen the colorful trailer of the new Suicide Squad movie. We’ve seen Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, and lets not forget the joker played by Jared Leto who looks deviously insane. You might be asking…why am I reading about this in a web design article? Great question.

I was recently invited to be a guest speaker at the Adobe Max – Creativity Conference on November 2nd to November 4th. I will be talking about Adobe Muse and my session is titled “Adobe Muse Power User Tips and Tricks.” One of the keynote speakers there is going to be Jared Leto who plays the Joker in the new Suicide Squad movie that comes out Friday, August 5th. This gave me the idea to use the new Muse Morph Widget to morph the characters from the Suicide Squad movie.

Muse For You - Suicide Squad Character Morphing - Adobe Muse CC

In the video above I go through the whole process from start to finish on how to morph the characters. I am using the new Muse Morph Widget Powered by Greensock’s MorphSVGPlugin Technology. The widget can be found at http://museforyoushop.com. This widget allows you to easily Morph SVG elements in Adobe Muse. No coding skills required. I also use Adobe Illustrator to set up the SVG elements (characters). Watch the video above to see how to use the widget and where to access it.

Happy Musing :).

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How to Blur Backgrounds in Adobe XD

Dansky_Learn How to Quickly Blur Backgrounds in Adobe XD

In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to quickly blur backgrounds in Adobe Experience Design CC (Adobe XD).

The Steps (1-8)

1. Create a New Artboard. For this tutorial, we’ll be using the iPad artboard, with the orientation being adjusted to Landscape in the Property Inspector.

2. Select the Rectangle Tool, Left-click and Drag to create a four-sided shape that is the same width and height as your artboard.

3. Next, Drag the image that you would like to blur, from your desktop or folder, into Adobe XD and on to the shape that we created in Step 2.

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4. Repeat Step 2 and create a second four-sided shape, that again, is equal to the width and height of your artboard.

5. Select a Fill colour of white or #FFFFFF for this new shape, and in the Property Inspector, select the tick box Background Blur – this will blur the image behind the shape.

6. The options that appear underneath (from top to bottom) are Blur Amount, Brightness and Opacity. The Blur Amount adjusts how ‘blurred’ your image underneath the selected shape will be, and goes up to +50. The Brightness adjusts how light and dark affects your image, and can be adjusted as low as -50, and as high as +50. The Opacity adjusts the amount of transparency for the shape created in Step 4, and how visible your image underneath is. Opacity ranges from 0-100%.

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7. Selecting a different Fill colour and adjusting the Opacity slider below, allows any colour to display transparently over the image as an overlay.

8. The Background Blur effect can also be toggled on/off at any time in the Property Inspector.

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Download Adobe Experience Design CC (Adobe XD).

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MOO’s Chad Jennings: Meaningful Design Starts with People

Chad Jennings Web Design Ledger Interview

“There will always be a new technology, such as virtual reality, or in the case of paper and packaging, the internet of things. That will certainly change the medium, but the hardest part will always be to create meaningful products and services. For me, this always starts with a person”.

Chad Jennings Web Design Ledger Interview

Chad Jennings, VP of Product Design at MOO

Chad Jennings, VP of Product Design at MOO, has throughout his nearly 20 years in the business arguably helped shape user-experience design into what it is today. From the beginning, the ever-evolving internet of things has ignited Chad’s creativity and approach to his work. Chad’s initial love of design came by way of computers – finding the design of interfaces much more of a draw than the underlying workings of the machine itself. He went on to study user-centered design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and began his UX/UI career working at firms Method and Smart Design. From here, he went on to found Blurb.com, an experience that would help shape his approach to designing physical products that are sold in a digital marketplace. Today, Chad finds himself in London leading product design for MOO, a brand loved by creative businesses and professionals for its customer-centric approach.

Throughout his career, Chad has watched design tools and mediums evolve but believes the core inspiration behind design remains the same – people. Chad and the product design team at MOO work tirelessly to keep customer desires as the driving force behind their work, approaching things with a human touch that can be hard to achieve online.  Read on to see how Chad and the MOO team come together to create their designs, and why he believes you should “eat a lot of cake”.

 MOO's Farrindgon, London office

MOO’s Farrindgon, London office

 

Let’s start from the beginning. You’ve worked for and co-founded some exciting companies over the course of your career. In doing so, you’ve managed an array of different teams (product, design, marketing, content, etc.) How did you end up in your current role at MOO?

I moved to San Francisco in ’99, and after stints building my own design chops and helping to form interaction design practices in the agency world at Method and Smart Design I had the amazing opportunity to co-found Blurb in 2005. Richard Moross, MOO’s founder and CEO launched MOO around the same time and so we crossed paths as part of the first wave of Web 2.0 companies. MOO and Blurb had many parallels including a brand loved by designers and photographers. In fact, both companies saw massive early growth in part because of our partnerships with Flickr, one of the first major photo-centered social networks.

So I admired MOO, especially the amazing brand Richard and the team crafted. I’d recently moved to London and when Richard asked me to lead Product at MOO, it was an easy decision. I also oversee physical product design and UX, which I love, as it keeps me grounded in the beautiful world of tactile design and artifacts. That said, I was also drawn to MOO for the opportunity to innovate in the digital space, most recently with the launch of Monogram, our iOS app to help you show your work, pitch your business, and share what you do.

What ultimately led you to focus on UX/UI?

I grew up a bit of a computer geek, coding BASIC, creating low-res games and playing text adventures on my Apple IIc (yes, I’m old). I started out studying computer science, but found my interest in the interface and psychology of how people used the computer, more than the underlying code. I love pinball and similarly was much more into the game design than the mechanical bits underneath. I was lucky enough to find my way to the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago which was one of the first programs to teach user-centered design. I found my calling there which brought together technology, business and design into what we now refer to as UX.  Steve Jobs once said “design is not just what it looks and feels like. It is how it works.” I think that is more important today than ever before.

MOO is the second company you’ve worked with that makes beautiful physical products that are sold exclusively online. How did your experience of co-founding Blurb influence how you approach UX/UI as a whole and your job at MOO?

Blurb actually had two designers on the founding team; myself and Brian Burkhart, now at Gensler. Brian’s background was in book packaging and graphic design. We were joined early by Alysha Naples, currently leading interaction design at Magic Leap. Our collaboration in defining a new brand and the physical and digital product experience at the same time was key to Blurb’s early success. Truly outstanding user experiences are seldom individually led, especially at Blurb and MOO, which are both characterized by fairly complex service design problems encompassing; e-commerce, design tools, a two-sided marketplace, packaging, and customized, on-demand premium physical products. That experience continues to influence me, and at MOO we’ve built a design-centered culture that draws really talented creative thinkers and makers. As a leader of both product management and UX, my job is to help clearly define customer problems and let the teams iterate on elegant solutions. I also believe user-centered methods drive easy-to-use, delightful products that have helped both Blurb and MOO stand out in rather competitive markets.

What are the challenges you face designing physical products that are sold online?

MOO serves both creative professionals and creative businesses who may value quality design and premium print, but not have the skills to translate that vision into a brand. For professionals, the biggest challenge is communicating our quality and innovation through photography, copy and brand. We offer two types of free sample packs; one for business cards, and another containing all of our printed products. We also have our ‘MOO Promise’ that is important for an online physical product provider, and states – “We’ve never thought ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ was the most inspiring phrase. We’d like you to be satisfied of course, but we’d prefer it if you were absolutely thrilled beyond words with your order.”

We believe strongly at MOO that good design works wonders and high-quality design should not only be available to professionals or those that can afford an agency. For non-designers, our online templates and creation tools need to be extremely easy to use and represent what they will receive in print. This is not always easy, especially as we explore innovations such as Printfinity (our patented technology that allows you to print a different photo or design on every MOO Business Card, Sticker or Postcard in a pack) and our recent launch of gold foil, spot gloss and raised spot gloss.

Take me through a day in the life of the UX/UI product team at MOO. How do you bring together the different teams (project managers/engineers/other designers) to ultimately bring to life MOO’s products?

The answer to this question is ever evolving as each team, problem and context changes over the course of a product lifecycle. That said, at MOO we have a few foundations all teams build upon. First, we always try to start with our customer. Who are they? What are their desires and pains? What jobs do they want our product to do for them? We use classic UX tools, such as personas, to help reinforce that we aren’t building products for ourselves.  

Next, all our product teams are built around a concept of cross-discipline “crews”. Crews vary in size from 5 people up to 15 people, but the goal is that each crew has everything they need to deliver and ship their product. Every crew tends to include product management, product design/UX, engineering, QA and in most instances a shared user researcher. We feel strongly this decentralized and embedded model of design org, where designers sit with their crew(s), is extremely important. It creates a strong feeling of ownership, allows for quick iterations, and design is part of the team. This is in contrast to the “agency” model which may be more efficient, but doesn’t empower strategic design or a co-ownership of the products.  Peter Merholz, one of the co-founders of Adaptive Path, has a book coming out soon titled the “Org Design for Design Orgs” where he proposes a hybrid “Centralized Partnership” model. The entire team recently had a workshop with Peter and were trying to shift how we work a bit. Like I said, always evolving.

In addition, the crews are (mostly) organized by the user journey. For example, we have crews devoted to the “Browse”, “Build”, and “Buy” experiences instead of the underlying tech. This keeps us all thinking about the overall user experience. Finally, each crew and the entire Org uses OKRs, which stand for “Objectives and Key Results”. Simplistically, an objective is the dream – a stretch goal or product theme – and the key result is how you plan on measuring success. Every crew crafts and commits to these each quarter. We then share these and align regularly. Given we now have 10+ crews all working on their section of the user journey, this alignment is extremely important.

How do you approach the task of designing products that will be the face of thousands of brands while maintaining the quality and feel MOO is known for?

From quite early on MOO recognized that building a strong brand was extremely important as a differentiator. Creating that trust takes years and a consistent commitment to quality design is what many companies lose as they grow. For my product team, we’re so lucky that we can focus on building the best products and digital experience, because we know we have amazing product marketing and comms design teams that are ready to scream and shout (in a uniquely MOO way) about the products. We move fast, but if it doesn’t meet our quality level it will never see the light of day.

We also spend a lot of time and effort creating truly unique features to help our customers, and MOO, stand out from the competition. MOO started with mini-cards, invented (and patented) Printfinity, launched our one-of-a-kind Luxe line, and most recently launched our Tailored collection (gold foil and spot gloss), as well as our Business Cards+ with NFC embedded technology, and Monogram app.   

For someone not familiar with MOO, how do you explain what sets the design of your products apart? In other words, why choose MOO?

There are many different elements that make MOO what it is today. We pride ourselves in being able to make great design accessible to all, whether that’s a single business owner operating from home, or a large enterprise with thousands of employees – and are constantly looking at technologies to help our customers achieve their design potential regardless of skillset. Design is at the heart of what we do, and that in itself sets us apart from our competitors. For design professionals, we offer a full upload option to bring their own designs to life, as well as plenty of inspiration on our site. For other customers, we have hundreds of stunning design templates that are easily customized on a user-friendly interface and can be ordered swiftly, as well as Printfinity. We strive to make things incredibly human at MOO, through little messages on cards and stickers included in our orders, the language we use when talking to customers on social channels and via email, as well as award-winning and down to earth customer service.

Do you have a favorite MOO product/project you’ve worked on recently?

Well, frankly, last year was a blast. We’ve begun a natural progression into the digital space, but are still making products true to the MOO brand and our mission. Last year we launched our internet-connected Paper+ platform. It features cards that are embedded with an NFC chip which triggers a digital action; like opening a webpage or starting a playlist, when tapped on an NFC-enabled device. Paper+ allows the user to change the action associated with each card at any time, even after printing, and see analytics of how it is used in the world. In March of this year we launched our first digital-only product, Monogram, which has really taken off especially with designers, photographers and artisan businesses. It’s an on-the-go portfolio app made from digital ‘cards’, allowing users to import images from their camera roll or Dropbox, as well as adding text and social links, and arranging the cards whichever way they choose. It’s a simple way to build new case studies and portfolios to present on a phone or share on the web. It is extremely important for us, as a business, that we continue to invent and we are always looking at how technology can help our customers and evolve our products.

Monogram app by MOO

Monogram, the iPhone app by MOO

 

What are the current challenges facing product UX/UI design? How do you see these challenges changing the industry?

I’ve now been designing interfaces for almost 20 years, and while the industry is always evolving, the fundamentals of quality design don’t really change much. There will always be a new technology, such as virtual reality, or in the case of paper and packaging, the internet of things. That will certainly change the medium, but the hardest part will always be to create meaningful products and services. For me this always starts with a person – their needs, pains and desires.  Keeping the customer (or potential customer) as the driving force in design is always easier said than done. I commonly ask in our design and product manager interviews when was the last time the person spoke with a customer. In many instances, unfortunately, the answer is never or at least not in the past year. As UX as a discipline has grown and attracted new people, I find it is less and less user-centric which I strongly believe drives innovation and more importantly, simple, elegant easy to use products.

Where do you find inspiration? Who in the industry do you follow?

We moved to London from Bay Area (shout out to Oakland!) over three years ago and we continue to find London and Europe to be an unbelievably inspiring place to live and explore. The museums, galleries and events are endless (Tate Modern, V&A, the Barbican are favorites) – and in London most are also free. You can just wander (and let your mind wander) which is when I find myself seeing patterns and connections in my work. It may be a bit hokey, but I also find much inspiration from my nine-year old daughter. Children see the world with a largely unfiltered and curious mind. She reminds me to be optimistic and believe in the inherent goodness of humans to make the world a better place.

As for specific people in the industry it depends a bit on what problem I’m working on at the moment. Currently at MOO we’re working through how to best collaborate across teams and quickly grow the product and design teams while keeping quality and delight at the center of what we make. I mentioned Peter’s book above, and we’re also referencing Christina Wodtke’s book “Radical Focus” as we try to make OKR’s work for us. Richard Moross, MOO’s founder, is also an incredible leader. It’s rare to have a CEO with such an eye for design and advocate for design and user experience a true market differentiator.   

What would you tell someone just getting started or looking to get into the design field?

Design is really about problem-solving. The more problems you solve (or attempt to solve) the better designer you become. I tend to tell new graduates to take a first job in a design consultancy (i.e. Method, IDEO, Smart Design) because it forces you to work on many design problems across a variety of industries. It also helps you hone your client management and storytelling skills. After a few years you’ll likely find moving in-house or to a start-up an easy and fulfilling switch, where you’ll be asked to focus (sometimes for years) on a market or customer. All those problems you solved and learned from early on coalesce into a powerful set of tools for building one of a kind brands and products. Also, don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun. Hire people who are extremely talented and give them freedom run. Take breaks. Eat a lot of cake.       

Read More at MOO’s Chad Jennings: Meaningful Design Starts with People

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Draw an Icon Badge and Shadow in Illustrator

Dansky_Learn How to Draw an Icon, Badge and Long Shadow in Adobe Illustrator

In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to draw an icon, badge and long shadow, in Adobe Illustrator.

The Steps (1-19)

1. Create a New Document.

2. Select the Polygon Tool from the Toolbar, Left-click anywhere on the artboard and specify 6 as the number of Sides.

3. Using the Rotate Tool and holding Shift (to rotate in 45 degree increments), rotate the newly created hexagon shape so that the ‘points’ are pointing both upwards and downwards.

draw-icon-badge-long-shadow-adobe-illustrator-1

4. With the hexagon selected, hold Shift and drag from any corner to increase or decrease the size of the shape. Give the shape a Fill colour of #1D71B8 and remove any strokes.

5. Select the Rectangle Tool, and draw a four-sided shape that fills the entire dimensions of your artboard. Go to Object > Arrange > Send to Back to ensure that this shape is behind the hexagon.

draw-icon-badge-long-shadow-adobe-illustrator-2

6. Select the Ellipse Tool, Left-click and hold Shift to draw a circle. Using the Direct Selection Tool, Left-click on the bottom-centre anchor point, and drag this anchor point downwards.

7. Hold left-click on the Pen Tool, to select the Anchor Point Tool. Left-click on the bottom-centre anchor point to convert the curved edges to straight edges.

8. Select the Ellipse Tool, Left-click and hold Shift to draw a circle. Position the circle in the upper half of the pin shape. Hold Shift to select both shapes, and in the Pathfinder Palette click Minus Front/Subtract to knock-out the circle from the pin shape. This will complete the location pin icon and transform it into a single shape.

draw-icon-badge-long-shadow-adobe-illustrator-3

9. Hold Shift to adjust the size of the location pin proportionally, and position this in the centre of the hexagon shape. Give the location pin the colour white, or #FFFFFF.

10. Select the hexagon, go to Effect > Stylize > Round Corners, and adjust the Radius to slightly round-off the corners of the hexagon shape.

draw-icon-badge-long-shadow-adobe-illustrator-4

11. Select the Pen Tool, Left-click on the bottom of the hexagon to place the first anchor point, move the mouse down and to the right (remaining in-line with the angle of the hexagon shape) and place the second anchor point. Place the third anchor point in-line with the opposite edge, and at a 90 degree angle to the second anchor point. Left-click again along the top-right edge of the hexagon to place the fourth anchor point. Lastly, Left-click on the first anchor point to complete the shape – this will form the drop shadow.

12. With the drop shadow shape selected, click the Gradient Slider within the Gradient Palette to apply the default black/white gradient as a Fill. Set the Angle of the gradient to approximately 144 degrees.

draw-icon-badge-long-shadow-adobe-illustrator-5

13. In the Transparency Palette, set the Blending Mode to Multiply (set to Normal by default). This will blend the drop shadow, in particular the white, into the lighter blue background.

14. On the Gradient Slider, move the white inwards from the edge to ensure that the gradient seamlessly blends into the background. The goal here is to avoid a ‘hard edge’ or ‘banding’.

15. Repeat Steps 11-14 to create a second drop shadow shape, this time for the location pin.

draw-icon-badge-long-shadow-adobe-illustrator-6

16. Once all shapes are completed, you can adjust the colours in more detail to ensure that the shapes/icons complement the background effectively. At this point the background colour was adjusted to #3689E1, and the hexagon shape to #0081D4.

17. Select the background shape, and click the Gradient Slider in the Gradient Palette. Drag the latest background colour swatch #3689E1 on top of the white swatch on the Gradient Slider.

18. Create a new colour swatch #2D4496, and drag this on top of the black swatch in the Gradient Slider.

19. Set the gradient’s Angle to 0 degrees so that it runs horizontally from left to right.

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Download Adobe Illustrator.

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Top 30 Responsive Joomla 3 Templates

Ricardo-Joomla-Template

The article is a showcase of dazzling responsive Joomla 3 Templates. All of them were carefully handpicked, so you’ll have 30 + of the latest designs on which to feast your eyes. By the way, there are a couple of free Joomla templates that are also featured in the article. This way it becomes even more intriguing, doesn’t it? So who might benefit from responsive Joomla 3 templates? Everybody who wants to keep their Joomla websites / blogs / online stores up to date.

Some of the incredible features of Joomla 3 templates are: Responsive Nature; Bootstrap; Easy Customization Options; Pre-designed Pages (Home, About, Contact (with Google map), FAQ, Blog, Forum, Gallery, Portfolio and others); Compatibility with VirtueMart (this feature allows you to build eCommerce websites).

Of course we’ve mentioned just a few reasons why you might like the responsive Joomla 3 Templates featured below. The list can be continued by describing the pleasures of Megamenu, Parallax, Sliders and others, but you’d better have a look at each template yourself.

Wegy Joomla 3 Template

Wegy Joomla 3 template
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Wegy is a multipurpose Joomla 3 template meaning you can use it to build a Joomla website/blog/portfolio or even an eCommerce site. It is responsive and includes 14 pre-designed pages, like Home, About, Contact (with Google map), FAQ, etc. Wegy is available in a few colors and some of its key features are: megamenu, parallax, Bootstrap, 10+ modules and RTL. Actually, it’s one of the best Joomla templates which have been recently released.

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Proconsult Joomla 3 Template

Proconsult-Joomla-Template

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The next item on the list of the responsive Joomla 3 templates is a perfect fit for a business company of any size. It has a hidden menu, which is a trend nowadays. So, the users should click the blue hamburger icon at the top right corner of the web page to see the main menu links.

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Holderlin Joomla 3 Template

Business style Joomla 3 Template
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Here is one more of the multiple Responsive Joomla Templates for business companies. It comes with social login feature, which lets your customers log-in using their Facebook or Google account details in a neat dropdown.

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Interior and Furniture Joomla 3 Template

Interior-and-Furniture-Joomla-Template
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This stylish black and white interior and furniture Joomla template draws customers’ attention to the important information, with the help of bright red elements. They guide your eyes through the page and don’t make you wonder where to look first, which is good for conversion.

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CareerExpress Joomla 3 Template

Career Express Joomla 3 Templates
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The template was developed for staffing agencies. It looks business-like and trustworthy. Parallax effect will give your Joomla site’s visitors the feel of true immersion and an illusion of depth in 2D virtual environments.

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88 Channel Joomla 3 Template

88-Channel-Joomla-Template
Responsive Joomla 3 templates like this one have magnetic appeal. Slider, featuring huge HD images together with video background, tells the story of your company in a beautiful, memorable way.

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Apparel Responsive Joomla 3 Template

Apparel-Responsive-Joomla-Template
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This apparel Joomla template has a very fashionable look. Apart from background video and parallax effect, it’s supplied with color switcher, which allows you to change the palette of your Joomla site’s interfaces with a click.

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Corporate Consulting Joomla 3 Template

Corporate-Consulting-Joomla-Template
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Here is a template for business consulting companies designed in bluish colors. The author masterly uses white space to focus visitors’ attention on the website’s content. Main menu is sticky, so it constantly stays before the users’ eyes, making navigation swift and easy.

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Business Responsive Joomla 3 Template

Business-Responsive-Joomla-Templates
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Responsive Joomla 3 templates are great for many kinds of websites. This one will definitely meet the requirements of Joomla sites built for business companies. A set of UI elements included with the template’s package allows you easily to add any type of content to your site with lots of UI elements from lists, block quotes and accordions to pricing tables, progress bars and counters.

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High Fashion Joomla 3 Template

High Fashion Joomla 3 Template
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This “in vogue” template made in gray scale possesses a really elegant layout. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It is extremely feature-rich as well. The template comes with parallax effect, slider, mega menu, Google map, theme color switcher, newsletter subscription, contact form, social login, 14 pre-designed pages, additional pages, UI elements and so on.

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Jacob Joomla 3 Template

Jacob-Joomla-Template
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The template was developed for freelance writers, but can be used as a personal portfolio of any creative artist. Texts on the web pages are very concise, they have big headings that draw visitors’ attention. Background images are large and of high quality. They tell the writer’s story better than any words.

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Re conetta Joomla 3 Template

Re-conetta-Joomla-Templates
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This appetizing template for an Italian restaurant differs from the majority of similar responsive Joomla 3 templates, thanks to its highly professional design. Frames and borders create clear hierarchy on the page. The theme comes with all fully customizable PSD files, optimized to be used equally well by experts and beginners.

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Cargoland Joomla 3 Template

Cargoland-Joomla-Template
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This template is great for transportation and delivery companies. Its simple built-in contact form allows customers to get in touch with the company, inquire about more information relating to its services and leave their feedback after using them. This is the way communities are being built around websites.

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IceKai Joomla 3 Template

IceKai-Joomla-Template
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This Ice Cream Joomla template is designed in a playful childish style. It has a sticky menu and two sliders on the home page. They demonstrate the company’s best products, which are accompanied by brief descriptions.

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Ricardo Joomla 3 Template

Ricardo-Joomla-Template
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And here is another one of the responsive Joomla 3 templates for restaurants. The author accentuates the way dishes are presented. They are featured in a slider. Place your mouse cursor over any image you like and read more info about the delicacy on the plate.

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Travel Joomla 3 Template

Travel Joomla 3 template

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This beautiful holiday template will help travel Joomla sites sell their tours much more efficiently. It is delivered with detailed documentation that covers all the ins and outs of the theme. Use it wisely and you’ll be able to squeeze the most out of the future website’s functionality.

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New House Joomla 3 Template

New-House-Joomla-3-Templates

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This modern Joomla template with impressive slider and background video is a great solution for real estate companies. Large, browser-sized videos considerably improve visual experience on your web page. They affect the mood and atmosphere onsite or demonstrate the offered product in action. This way you can tell a story that will be fun to view as opposed to static pages.

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Martinez Joomla 3 Template

Martinez-Joomla-Template

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This solid industrial template is very content rich. However, the text is neatly styled with the help of lists, icons, pictures and tabs. Main menu sticks to the top of the page as you start to scroll. The embedded video and parallax effect make web page viewing enjoyable.

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Dentist Joomla 3 Template

Dentist Joomla 3 template

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This template for dental clinics can be used for weight loss, pharmaceutical and medical Joomla sites. The combination of white background and light-green elements creates a positive atmosphere on the site. Satisfied customers’ testimonials add credibility to the enterprise.

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Hostax Joomla 3 Template

Hostax-Joomla-Template

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This template is an ideal fit for a hosting provider. It is designed in grey and blue colors. Flat style makes the theme look up-to-date. Site navigation is very intuitive. Pricing plans are simple and understandable, which is extremely important.

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Charixy Joomla 3 Template

Charixy-Joomla-Template

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This Joomla template with an appealing layout is good for charity organizations. Its main menu is in a lowered position. It is placed right under the slider, but when you start scrolling down it stays at the top of the page all the time. There is a neat round button for immediate donations on the home page.

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Invex24 Joomla 3 Template

Invex24-Joomla-Templates

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The template is suitable for investment and financial companies. It has a minimalist layout with lots of white space. The arrangement of its elements allows the visitors’ attention to focus on the essential content. There is a ‘back to top’ button at the bottom right corner of the page, so the user can just click it instead of scrolling all the way back.

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Design Joomla 3 Template

Joomla 3 Template for a design studio

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If you like polygons and video presentations, this theme is an ideal variant for your design company. Portfolio is also presented in a memorable way. All theme images have hover effects; they interact with the viewer and encourage him/her to explore further.

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Hotel Joomla 3 Template

Hotel-Suite-Joomla-Template

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Thanks to Parallax effect, this Joomla template will immerse the user in an atmosphere of luxury, rest and relaxation. Please notice the amazing HD images of hotel views and transparent blocks that seamlessly blend with the rest of the layout.

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Cars News Joomla 3 Template

Cars-News-Joomla-Template

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This type of layout will be highly appreciated by people loving speed, cars and bikes. Photos of the top-class cars showcased in the slider are very appealing. Bright red elements give readers a clear notion of the website’s architecture, so they intuitively understand where to look first.

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Web Studio Joomla 3Template

Web-Studio-Joomla-3-Templates

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This is a template with perfect balance of black and white colors. It offers Bootstrap efficiency and scales your site with a single code base, from phones to tablets to desktops with CSS media queries. It goes without saying that you get extensive documentation for common HTML elements and dozens of custom HTML and CSS components.

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Natural Stone Joomla 3 Template

Natural-Stone-Floor-Joomla-Template

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This dark Joomla template can be used for flooring, home interior and exterior companies. It is compatible with all popular browsers and there is no need to manually test anything. Do changes to your website and be sure that its look and performance will be equally perfect in all of them.

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DatingRoom Joomla 3 Template

Dating Joomla template

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This is the most romantic template of all dating responsive Joomla 3 templates you’ve ever seen. Cute photos of loving couples and parallax effect let you become immersed in the atmosphere of youth, beauty and flirtation. Font icons were used in the layout design. These scalable graphic elements can be adjusted to different sizes without loss of quality.

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Fast Web Joomla 3Template

Fast-Web-Joomla-Template

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Internet providers will derive maximum benefit from this high-end template. A set of monster UI elements is included in the template’s kit. That gives you the opportunity to add any type of content to your site with block quotes, accordions, pricing tables, progress bars and counters.

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Health Joomla 3 Template

Health Diagnostic Laboratory Joomla 3 Template

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The unusual, pleasant, light-lilac color scheme of the template will attract users’ attention. Cool hover effects that interact with the visitors will make UX much better. The theme has an ‘Advanced search’ function allowing visitors to find any product in seconds. The feature is included right in the package.

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Bonus for the most patient readers!
2 Free Joomla Templates

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Interior & Furniture Free Joomla Template

Interior-&-Furniture-Free-Joomla-Template

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This free Joomla template looks exactly like premium responsive Joomla 3 templates. The only difference is that you can download it free of charge. The template is easy to install, it looks stylish and could become a perfect design for your future Joomla website.

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Family Center Free Joomla Template

Family-Center-Free-Joomla-Template

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A bright and cheerful family template free Joomla template that can easily be turned into unique Joomla sites. Slider, amazing photo gallery and streaming video make the theme even more eye-catching. Don’t want to pay for website design? Take advantage of this brilliant opportunity.

Wrap up

You have just browsed 30+ Responsive Joomla 3 Templates, both premium and free. Take your pick and use the selected templates to create one-of-a-kind Joomla sites. If we have missed some chic template, please let us know at the comment section.

Read More at Top 30 Responsive Joomla 3 Templates

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