Top 4 Cloud Computing Languages To Learn Now!

cloud-computing-languages-to-learn-now

Top 4 Cloud Computing Languages To Learn Now!

The Cloud is here, and it’s here to stay. And if you love programming, script-writing, and earning the cushy income that skill set can award you, you’ve probably looked into coding on cloud-based platforms. And while you might think that the Cloud you’ve chosen to work on might limit you… think again! The cloud can accommodate just about any language, depending on the interface you’re running.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of some of the most in-demand programming languages for the cloud. If you don’t know them now, you should probably start learning! As hot as they are now, it’s likely that the growth of big data and machine learning will only make them more so.

Learning SQL:
SQL is still the king of coding languages, and the price-points of SQL developers and database admins is all but proof. In a time when the US median income for a household is about $52,000, SQL-savvy coders can earn an average of $92,000. With the rise in big data (which usually means bigger databases), and the continuing reign of SQL as one of the most common languages out there, job security is nearly guaranteed into the future (a worthwhile perk, in the ever-changing tech industry). But beyond that, there can be a lot of personal pleasure in SQL coding. At its heart, writing SQL is basically creating processes which automate themselves. If you’ve even been frustrated to tears by needing to manually create reports or datasets, this might be the language for you.

cloud-computing-languages-to-learn-now

Learning R:
R is a programming language which sees a lot of use in the area of data analysis and software development. Especially if the sciences intrigues you, this could be a hot language to learn: it’s incredible in-demand with scientific investigators, and has had a recent surge in popularity no doubt related to the rise in data-related work and positions. If data-mining is your bag, there’s nothing better. Couple that with the fact that it has many business applications and the fact that being able to program in R is considered one of the highest-paying skillsets to have and you probably agree that you should be learning it now!

Python:
If you’re all about lofty goals and raising the bar, Python might be the cloud programming language for you! Some of the most popular IaaS management softwares are written in Python, and it’s an incredibly marketable skill which is applicable to many different environments. Though it’s easy to learn, it’s more elegant than similar languages like Php and Ruby. And, as with the other languages, it’s a money maker. The average salary of a Python developer is over 6 figures.

Learning Clojure:
Clojure is based on JVM, and in the opinion of most coders proficient in its use, is mature, stable, and easy to learn. It’s a Lisp, with all of the advantages that entails, and is built with concurrency in mind: meaning immutable data and less problems! If you’re a little slapdash with your coding, that means that Clojure helps protect you from yourself. And, like the above languages, it’s perfect for processing a great deal of data.

The Bottom Line:
There are hundreds of languages out there which can be used on the cloud, from Deadfish to Scala. But if you’re going to pick a new one to learn for developing on the cloud, you might as well pick one which has a lot of applications, offers substantial job security, and can make you a lot of money. For those looking to expand their skillset or jump into the field, SQL, R, Python, and Clojure are our top 4!

Read More at Top 4 Cloud Computing Languages To Learn Now!

Read More…

Are You Looking for a Pleasant Experience with a WordPress Theme?

4

Stress is an unwelcome partner when you are designing a website. Some design tools, including WordPress themes, can create stressful experiences. They are, at times simply difficult to use.

Problems you may encounter with such a product can eat up valuable time, and take that time away from what you should be doing – design. Technical problems also take the fun out of web design, to the point where a project becomes a chore, and you can’t wait to finish it.

This kind of theme may have bugs, a steep learning curve, or seems designed by developers for other developers. It’s time to take a breath and start searching for something better.

This theme could be your answer. Not only does it have the features and functionality you need. Its easy-to-use, intuitive, integrated front-end builder, is actually enjoyable.

1

A web designer taking a relaxed walk in the park after working with a difficult WP theme.

 

Intuitiveness in a WP Theme is a Sign of Good Code in the Back End

Intuitiveness and simplicity can often be difficult to find in a WordPress theme for one very good reason –these kind of themes are hard to code. Bugs create technical issues. Bloated code can as well, but in most cases it is simply inefficient, and it tends to be a resource hog.

A theme creators’ experience can tell you a great deal about what you might reasonably expect in terms of its performance. Experienced developers know how to make your life simpler, if they have worked with more than one coding languages. You don’t have to become a developer to make a tool work for you.

For example, Kallyas’ creators have several years of experience on WP and Joomla themes. That tells you that with Kallyas, they have delivered a theme that is simple, adaptable, intuitive, and enjoyable to use.

4

    An example of a well-designed, intuitive homepage for an eCommerce website.

With Kallyas, you can focus on design, without having to worry about delivering a website that includes code your client has no need for. Kallyas’ experienced creators have taken care of that issue. They have provided you with a customizable theme that features smart, optimized, efficient code.

 

How Could an Integrated Front-end Builder Increase the Quality of Your Work?

If you are a web developer, a front-end builder may not seem like such a big deal. You are used to writing your own code, and managing everything from the back end. That is what you do, and there is no real need to change.

If you happen to be a web designer, the chances are your coding expertise is somewhere between slim and none. Any need to write code, as a part of your design activity, will simply slow you down.

3

The intuitive interface of an integrated front-end WP visual builder.

Front-end builders are noted for being great time-savers, and productivity boosters. They can also have a positive impact on the quality of your deliverables. The reason is simple. If you are spending time going back and forth between the front end and the back end, you can lose focus on the consistency of your design.

Kallyas builder’s simple, fast, steps are the keys to producing higher quality work:

  • Drag and drop your element (images, video, or text),
  • edit it, and
  • select your settings, save, and close

Another benefit of a WP integrated front end builder: if your client wants changes on the layout, you can make them in seconds. No stress, no hassle, and a more enjoyable experience.

Check out this video to see the integrated, front-end builder in action:

 

Loading Time Matters

As a web designer, you should not have to be concerned about accessing and managing the resources needed to build a page or a website. Your WordPress theme should perform that task for you, that is why you are paying for this product. If it does so efficiently, both you and the user will have beautiful, intuitive, and stress-free experiences.

2

When you enter a page built on a regular WordPress theme, your device isn’t going to receive only the elements that make up the page. It will also receive other elements. Those other elements are unnecessary, and only serve to clog up the code.

The result? Slower page loading times, and impatient users (Note: remember that mobile users are not noted for their patience).

Kallyas solved that problem when it designed and developed its integrated, front-end builder. Thanks to this WordPress theme’s front end builder, the only elements that are received when loading a page, are those that are needed.

Quit Fighting Code, and Make Web Design More Enjoyable

You’ve been told that working harder and longer does not always produce high quality results. Quite the opposite is often true. If you can perform your web design activities in a relaxed manner, you’ll be able to focus on the creative work. And that will be reflected in the quality of your work.

Experienced creatives seek out tools and methods that don’t interfere with their preferred style of work. Kallyas, with its intuitive front end builder, will provide you with all necessary element to get the job done.

5

Check Kallyas out. Read more about why this WP theme is so easy and relaxing to work with. Kallyas promises not to disappoint in terms of code agility, resource optimization, and UI quality.

Kallyas is a WP theme you won’t regret investing in.

 

Read More at Are You Looking for a Pleasant Experience with a WordPress Theme?

Read More…

Adobe Muse Quick Tip #1 – Page Expansion

Muse For You - Quick Tip #1 - Page Expansion - Adobe Muse CC

Adobe Muse Quick Tip #1 – Page Expansion. No Coding Skills Required.

Muse For You - Adobe Muse CC Adobe Muse CC Logo

In the 2015.1 release of Adobe Muse in early February we were introduced to fluid-width breakpoints. This allowed you to create a responsive website in Adobe Muse and change the layout of the website on different breakpoints. Most of us loved it and some of us were struggling with wrapping our heads around the concept of breakpoints. One thing that is great about Adobe Muse is the easy learning curve, and when breakpoints were introduced it kind of made the curve a bit steeper :D.

Muse For You - Quick Tip #1 - Page Expansion - Adobe Muse CC

I tend to go the easy route when designing websites. The easy route for me is having 100% width elements that automatically change size as you re-size the browser. This makes the element responsive, and I don’t have to add breakpoints. In the video tutorial above I go over using the “Page Expansion” option that allows you to make elements across the browser 100% width, so you can have a responsive website without adding a lot of breakpoints and cluttering up the website. It is a great alternative and works really well with the Adobe Muse responsive width and height options.

Happy Musing :).

Read More at Adobe Muse Quick Tip #1 – Page Expansion

Read More…

7 Ways to Get More Freelance Clients Than You Can Handle

Best-Freelance-Websites-to-find-Jobs

Best-Freelance-Websites-to-find-JobsResearch shows that over 53 million Americans currently work as freelancers, and an estimated half of the American workforce will be freelancers by 2020. However, all is not necessarily rosy for freelancers; it has been revealed that finding work and achieving income stability are the top barriers for freelancers.

If you work as a freelancer, you’re probably struggling to get clients. With over 53 million Americans freelancing, and more expected to join soon, you simply can’t fold your arms and watch and hope to get freelance clients. With the following seven techniques, you can proactively work to get more freelance clients than you can handle.

  1. Leverage Your Products to Promote Your Services

Many freelance designers and developers create free themes, plugins, graphic packs and other  useful products for other people to use, and there isn’t much benefit they derive from this.

If you have a plugin that thousands of people are installing and you are not advertising your services in it, you are missing out. For example, if you have a plugin that helps people optimize their database, you can include a note in the plugin page that you offer consulting aimed at helping people boost their site speed. If you have a plugin aimed at helping people make their site mobile responsive, you can also note that you offer web design help.

Even if your products are paid, it doesn’t hurt to include a note to let people know that you are a freelancer that they can hire for their design needs.

  1. Partner With Other Freelancers to Get Jobs

If you are a freelance web designer, there’s every probability that your clients will want content for their website when it is finally ready. Since you are not a freelance writer, it is impossible for you to do this job. A mistake most freelancers make is that they let this offer go and forget about it. Instead, you can be creative by partnering with other freelancers and establish a relationship in which you send each other work you cannot do; for example, a freelance designer partners with a freelance writer, and the designer sends his clients to the writer if they have writing jobs. The freelance writer does the same and sends his clients to the designer if they have design jobs.

If done strategically, this alone can serve as a source of more jobs than you can handle for you.

  1. Partner With Agencies to Get Jobs

Also in line with partnering with other freelancers is partnering with agencies. The only difference is that agencies are more likely to have more job offers than individual freelancers.

You can identify SEO agencies, writing agencies and other agencies, and convince them to start offering design services to their clients while you do the work; they charge their clients more, they pay you a part of it and both you and the agency win.

  1. Leverage Content Marketing to Get Clients by Blogging

Interestingly, many freelance web designers and developers have set up countless blogs for other people but they do not have one of their own.

According to data from Hubspot, businesses that blog generate significantly more leads than businesses that do not blog. It doesn’t take much effort to realize why this is the case; blogging — in essence, publishing content — means search engines have something to index and rank when people ask questions online. In turn, the people who read this content, if impressed, are potential clients that can use your services. Once you start your blog, use the following techniques to leverage your blog to boost your client portfolio:

  • Create in-depth tutorials about what your potential clients are struggling with
  • Do occasional critiques of some of the major organizations in the industry of your potential clients
  • Try to have articles published on other relevant blogs that link back to you
  • Make it clear on your blog, and in your bio in your articles, that you are a freelancer looking for work
  1. Leverage Freelance Job Boards

Freelance job boards are one of the most popular means freelancers use to get jobs, but a mistake many people make is assuming that you can only get job offers on popular, and often overcrowded, job boards like Upwork.

In reality, there are many popular alternatives to sites like Upwork; not only are these sites less crowded, making it easier for you to get jobs, but they also often result in clients that pay more. They provide opportunities for designers, developers, writers and other freelancers.

Some top sites like this include CloudPeeps and Twago. A simple Google search will reveal many more.

  1. Have a Waiting List for Clients

Pretty much every freelancer goes through the “feast or famine cycle.” The feast or famine cycle is a period where you have a lot of client opportunities at a time and little to none at other times; for most freelance writers, it happens every year. Sometimes, they have more work than they can handle and have to turn work down. At other times, however, they barely have enough work to keep food on the table.

The solution to avoiding this and ensuring that you have work all year round is to create a waiting list; whenever you have more work than you can handle, instead of having to turn clients away, you simply ask clients to sign up to your waiting list and tell them that you will reach out to them once you’re available for more work.

By doing this, you are getting permission from the clients you couldn’t work with to reach out to them when you are finally ready. While not all of them will eventually work with you, a good portion will, and this will ensure you have consistent work at all times.

  1. Strategic Cold Pitching

Finally, mastering the art of strategic cold pitching will help you get more jobs than you know what to do with, season in and season out.

You will notice my emphasis on “strategic.” We all get those cold pitches that we immediately regard as spam, and our reaction is either to send them to the spam or trash folder. You don’t want to be lumped in the same category as these people.

Here are some tips to help you get results through strategic cold pitching:

  • First establish your credibility; if you’ve been featured in a major place, or if you’ve worked for a famous person, start by referencing this fact.
  • Make it clear that you know the person you are pitching; through their site, social media or elsewhere. If you’re a stranger, you’ll probably be ignored.
  • Tell them about the service you want to offer.
  • End by letting them know you’re open to questions/concerns they have.
  • If you don’t hear back after a while, follow up.

Read More at 7 Ways to Get More Freelance Clients Than You Can Handle

Read More…

Introducing the Web Design Ledger Shop

Web Design Ledger shop logo

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new online shop! The Web Design Ledger shop is packed with great deals on everything from gadgets and gear to software, web services, and online courses. We even have special sections dedicated to design and development to ensure you save money on the items you need to do what you love.

Web Design Ledger shop

 

Deals have limited lifespans so signing up for an account is a great way to stay up-to-date. As an added bonus, the shop will offer a number of freebies you won’t want to miss out on. All you need to do is login and share the offer with your friends.

A few of our staff’s favorite items currently in the shop are:

These are just a few of the awesome products you can find in the Web Design Ledger shop. To kick-off off today’s launch, we’re offering readers 10% off their first purchase with code WDLShop10. This code is good to July 31st at 11:59 pm PST, so hurry and claim your discount today!

Read More at Introducing the Web Design Ledger Shop

Read More…

How to Skew a Circular Symbol in Illustrator

Dansky_Learn How to Draw a Skewed Symbol in Adobe Illustrator

In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to draw and skew a circular symbol in Adobe Illustrator.

The Steps (1-11)

1. Create a New Document.

2. Select the Ellipse Tool, Left-click and hold Shift to draw a circle. Remove any Fill and apply a Stroke width of your choice. For this tutorial, I’ve used a Stroke Width of 30 pixels, and given the colour black #000000.

skew-circular-symbol-adobe-illustrator-1

3. In the Stroke Palette, select the box labeled Dashed Line, select 0 for the Dash, and approximately 65 for the Gap. Also select Round as the Cap. If done correctly, you should now have a circle made up of a dotted stroke.

4. Once you are happy with the size and spacing of your dotted stroke, go to Object > Expand, and click OK.

skew-circular-symbol-adobe-illustrator-2

5. Left-click on the circle, and holding Alt + Shift, scale up from the centre and also create a larger copy of the dotted circle.

6. Repeat Step 5 as many times as you like, depending on the number of rings you wish to include in your design.

skew-circular-symbol-adobe-illustrator-3

7. Drag over all shapes with your mouse to select everything on the artboard, and Left-click in the Gradient Palette to apply the default black/white gradient.

8. Next, select two colours of your choice, and drag each of the these colours in turn, to either end of the Gradient Slider. Each of the circles that make up your design should now have a gradient individually applied to them, with the two colours that you selected.

skew-circular-symbol-adobe-illustrator-4

9. To make the gradient flow through the entire shape as a whole (rather than each circle individually), go to Object > Compound Path, and select Make.

10. Lastly, to distort the shape, go to Effect > Distort, and select Free Distort. Adjust the anchor points in the preview box until you are happy and click OK.

11. To edit the distorted shape, select the Free Distort effect listed in the Appearance Palette.

skew-circular-symbol-adobe-illustrator-5

Download Adobe Illustrator.

Read More at How to Skew a Circular Symbol in Illustrator

Read More…

CSS Hero: Customize WordPress Themes Easily

css hero

It is common knowledge that there are a large number of WordPress themes out there that can lend your website or blog a unique look. You can opt for a simple free WordPress theme, or go with a premium theme, or even select a framework or starter theme and build your own.

In other words, the possibilities are endless when it comes to WordPress themes, and so are the potentials for customization.

However, there is a small downside to this advantage too: you are not the only one with access to premium or free WordPress themes. As such, for every website that you make, there might be hundreds others built with the same theme.

So, how do you truly tweak the appearance of your website so that it stands out?

css hero

Of course, the answer is that you customize your WordPress theme. But what if you are not comfortable coding? Or, what if you do not have the time to code a child theme or make changes to functions and hooks?

If any of the above questions sound like something you can relate with, this post has all the answers you need! Today, we present to you a unique solution that lets you do more with your WordPress themes: CSS Hero.

CSS Hero: Customize WordPress Themes Easily

CSS Hero is a premium WordPress plugin that allows you to design your own WordPress theme without writing a single line of code.

Sounds fancy? Imagine it to be a visual page builder, on steroids. CSS Hero works by allowing you to select and modify elements of your website. The editor is displayed on the front end of your website and customizing each element is as simple as point and click.

Using CSS Hero is extremely simple! Just upload and activate the plugin, and you are good to get started with customizing your website.

Customizations are applied separately to your original theme styles by generating an additional CSS stylesheet that works on top of and in assonance with your theme’s actual stylesheet. And before you ask, yes, you do have the ability to undo the changes that you make via CSS Hero. All changes are saved therein, which means you can upgrade your WordPress theme without worrying about losing the changes.

css hero in action

But there is more to CSS Hero than just point, click, edit, save. In fact, it allows full control on every element of your WordPress theme. CSS Hero currently works with and supports more WordPress themes than I can ever count, and the list is growing as we speak — other than popular free and premium themes, it is also compatible with frameworks such as Genesis, Thematic, etc. Also, if you have other plugins on your site, WooCommerce or Wordfence or likewise, CSS Hero plays well with all of them.

Major Features

CSS Hero has a long list of tools and features in its arsenal, such as:

  • A huge collection of Google Fonts
  • Color Picker to experiment with and make background changes
  • Easy editing of element sizes such as margins and sliders
  • Special effects like shadows and transitions as well as animations
  • Easy undo by keeping track of your editing history
  • CSS Hero is ready for the mobile web: it supports responsive design
  • Outputs clean, legible CSS stylesheets

But, wait, the above features are present in virtually every other visual editor for WordPress, isn’t it?

Well, there is more. Some exclusive CSS Hero features, shall we?

  • Live Device Mode: Lets you adjust and customize your theme the way you want it to look across devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, etc.
  • Cross-App Color Picker: Lets you pick colors from other apps right within the editor.
  • Detailed History: When I mentioned easy undo of changes, I did not mean one change or two. You can browse through the detailed steps and undo selectively.
  • CSS Hero Inspector: Inspector is a CSS Hero plugin which allows additional control on code generated by CSS Hero. Relying on CSSLint, it performs syntax checks on the code, so that you can easily refine, edit, and even remove CSS code and stylesheets or add your own.
  • Rocket Mode: CSS Hero comes with an experimental feature named Rocket Mode. It tries to guess the CSS selectors from your WordPress theme, all by itself. Thus, if you ever manage to run a theme that CSS Hero does not officially support, you can still edit that given theme with no hassles, as Rocket Mode can “guess” the CSS selectors by itself.

As you can see, no visual editor plugin can actually beat CSS Hero. Oh, and did I mention it does not operate on the basis of “shortcodes” and custom tweaks that force you to stay loyal to it? It is just pure CSS — even if you remove CSS Hero, you can still have all the CSS code in the world to play with.

Animator Plugin For WordPress

CSS Hero also has a free Animator WordPress plugin. It works fully independent of the CSS Hero main plugin, and it lets you add CSS animations to your website without having to deal with any level of coding.

Pricing

CSS Hero offers three separate plans, so you can pick the one that best suits your needs:

  • Starter Plan: Costs $29 per year, and lets you work with one website. It does not include the CSS Inspector feature.
  • Personal Plan: Costs $59 per year, and lets you work with five different websites.
  • Pro Plan: Costs $199 per year, and lets you work with 999 websites.

CSS Hero also has a 30-day refund policy, so you have nothing to lose. Plus, all plans come with a year of premium grade support and upgrades. The Inspector feature, however, is part of the Pro and Personal plans only.

Conclusion

All said and done, CSS Hero is lightweight and easy to use WordPress plugin that is the definitive solution when it comes to customizing your WordPress themes using an easy and intuitive WYSIWYG interface.

If you already have some skills in terms of design, this plugin will make the overall process a lot quicker. However, if you are a total newbie, CSS Hero can still help you manifolds as it renders clean and well-coded CSS based on your customizations, thereby helping you learn CSS and the art of web design in a swift manner.

Even more so, it goes without saying that CSS Hero leaves no footprints. It uses resources only if you launch the live CSS editor; otherwise, it will not consume any server memory per se. As such, CSS Hero does not slow your website down, nor does it compel you to remain tied to it. All it does is output great CSS code that you can use as per your needs, even if you ever choose to migrate away from the plugin!

CSS Hero is a really impressive solution for folks who need to quickly and easily customize and tweak the appearance of their WordPress themes. See it in action on the live demo, or visit the CSS Hero homepage to learn more.

Read More at CSS Hero: Customize WordPress Themes Easily

Read More…

What Costs Should Website Development Budget Cover?

Website Development Budget

This is the question you are likely to be pondering, setting out for website development services. With all the possible benefits and desired functionality in mind, you definitely want your website to provide the greatest ROI possible. Take a closer look at the website development cost structure to make sure nothing slips your mind.

Website Development Budget

One-time expenses to take into account

Preliminary stage or ordering the meal

However invisible it may seem, precise requirement specification (including project cost and time estimation) is the first cost point. Yet only on paper, the website already needs investments. The more in detail you agree on the website’s functionality and look-and-feel from the very beginning, the fewer reworks will be needed once the solution is ready.

Website design or plating the dish

Website design prices vary based on the required components and supplied media content. For sure, re-using a template is a more cost-effective option than a custom design, but finding a template that will support your brand identity is not so easy.

In general, the website will need universal elements (such as buttons and icons) and content-specific parts. As for the latter, by providing your own multimedia content you cut down on the cost of creation or buying licensed stock images. Still, don’t overlook the need to additionally invest into integrating you multimedia into the overall website design.

Targeting mobile users, you may be considering a responsive design to guarantee convenient interaction with the website across a range of screens. Note that it’s necessary to cover the expenses for every screen size you’d like the website to be compatible with.

Website development or cooking the main course

Development costs depend on a website’s size and capabilities. What’s the number of pages: 10 or 210? Do you need custom functionality? And what about integration with the CRM, ERP, databases, mobile apps, etc.?

Apart from the number of pages, their content matters. Large multi-page websites, complex from the user perspective, can have simpler structure than smaller solutions with a bunch of custom elements. More advanced functionality without doubt costs more. Enhancing your business and enriching user experience, the following features will simultaneously raise the development total cost:

  • e-commerce tools (shopping cart, payment processing)
  • collaboration tools (forums, chats, contact forms)
  • admin features (membership, user management, database reports)
  • social media support (Facebook, Google+, Twitter), etc.

How about a money-saving tip? Getting started, define the functionality you need and split it into three groups:

  • must-haves for today
  • must-haves for tomorrow and
  • nice-to-have features

The website is supposed to get the job done. Period. Trendy features will let the website look cool and similar to the popular ones, as well as make set-up costs skyrocket. Planning growth and focusing on the current needs, you’ll stay on budget. Besides, consult with the service provider on the changes in requirements: perhaps, there’s a more cost-effective option to implement a desired idea.

Website redesign or a dinner with your own ingredients

Looking for these tempting minimum redevelopment costs, ensure you don’t get into a mousetrap. Apart from adding new functionality, quality website redesign implies preserving the assets you already have. This means redesign should embrace accurate content migration, keeping your SEO-equity, enhancing performance and scalability.

According to our internal research, content migration may take up to 50% of the overall development costs. Why so? You may choose a new CMS or go for content reformatting due to the prior use of WYSIWYG editors and multimedia that is highly dependent on the website’s layout.

Getting licenses or buying ready-made meals

Once you go for a CMS-based website (e.g. the one on Episerver CMS), the initial payment is extended with license fees. However, the use of powerful CMS systems helps to save money by reducing the development efforts required for complex websites.

What is more, license fees are not only about CMSs, some of the features, such as mailing or payment services based on specific software, are not always free.

Testing or tasting

One more cost point is website testing. For sure, developers involved in the website delivery will do some testing before the solution release. However, as the owner, you are interested in a website that is not only bug-free, but also convenient to the user and secure from intrusion. Then set your alarm clock for the testing time.

Usability testing will show whether the visitor finds your website convenient. Therefore it should be carried out before the solution launch. Ideally, the testing group’s members should be close to your target audience, even though this may increase the cost. Overall, be prepared for two-three rounds of usability testing to get a really user-friendly website.

Penetration testing is to be taken regularly, say, once a year, so as to reinforce existing security controls against a possible intrusion. The testing fees range depending on the time and amount of parameters tested.

On the whole, it’s not a good idea to get usability and penetration testing done by your website developers. Why not? Due to the lack of:

(a) Look from outside

As for usability testing, a person engaged in website design and development will not look at your website from the user perspective without bias, just due to having more knowledge, experience and desire to understand your website.

Penetration testers not engrossed in the website development, will not only use the latest tools, but also look more thoroughly for weak points and vulnerabilities.

(b) Specific expertise

The test results’ quality depends on the testers’ competencies. For usability testing that includes skills to make good tests and elaborate recommendations concerning usability issues. Penetration testing requires experience in defining the intruder model, vulnerabilities detection, visual demonstration of the possible damage and more.

Finally, before the solution is rolled out to the market, you will also need acceptance testing to be sure the website complies with your business requirements provided earlier in the preliminary stage.

Other cost factors or sprinkling the seasoning

Needless to say that delivery deadlines and solution complexity (both in terms of the design and functionality) will affect the total website cost. But there’re some other hidden factors to consider:

Internal team time lags

Make sure your team, involved in collaboration with the developers, reviews and gives feedback quickly. Otherwise, you’ll face additional costs just to cover the extra time spent on ineffective communication. In addition, try to focus on the truly valuable parameters, as nitpicking results in higher costs with almost invisible changes from a website visitor perspective.

Blurred project concept

Many companies provide a definite number of website design patterns, say two or three, as they allocate particular time for the planning stage. The customer’s ever-changing requirements lead to extra creative research and reworks, which results in higher delivery costs. Therefore, to save money, come up with a realistic concept of the future website and stick to it.

Regular costs to keep in mind

A website is not a one-off buy. To enjoy it up and running, you’ll have to make regular payments, either for merely staying online, or for updates to improve the website performance and remain competitive.

The former includes regular payments for the domain name and hosting just to reserve a place for your website in the Net, as well as fees for SEO to ensure your target customer can quickly pick up your website out of many. Unless you are savvy enough to engage in on-site content improvement, link building, keyword research, and optimization, chose a quality service provider to regularly, say, annually, carry out SEO website audit and optimization for you.

The latter, payments for maintenance, cover the bug fixing and updates to adjust to the changing environment, like a new browser launch, or the need for additional functionality to enhance UX and security level. Growing along with your business, the website will also require scalability and performance optimization to handle the soaring number of visitors and data amount.

Overall, to stay healthy, a websites needs money injections on an ongoing basis, which are likely to keep increasing. The larger your website becomes, the more data and visitors it processes, the more resources it requires to be active. Still, this money is just the necessary amount of fuel to keep your online vehicle moving.

Turnkey solution vs a cook-it-yourself approach

Let’s face it. Full cycle website development done by a tried and tested service provider will cost two-three times more than bringing together website parts delivered by small standalone companies. However, as a reward for extra payments you’ll get:

  • Worries off: no need to fit together the solution parts by yourself
  • Guarantee: confidence in the end solution quality
  • Consistency: for instance, the design won’t damage performance or search engine visibility
  • Valuable details in focus: as with content migration, no loss of users, traffic, URLs
  • Collaboration: your involvement in the development process to get the best-fit website
  • Thought-out processes: quick move through the development stages

Overall, despite the reduced initial costs, the construct-it-yourself approach will require from you sufficient IT industry knowledge. Otherwise, you can end up with spending more on reworks than on actual full-cycle development from the start.

Bringing it all together

Planning a website development budget, make sure it covers not only one-time costs, but also the hidden and regular expenses. For sure, you’ll be constantly enticed by the low-cost offerings, but stay skeptical.

In the end it’s up to you to decide whether to cook at home, get a snack in a fast-food cafe nearby, or dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant. However, not every diner will serve both quality and sophisticated dish, and amateurs won’t get the difference until they suffer indigestion.

By Vadzim Belski, Head of Web Development Department at ScienceSoft

Read More at What Costs Should Website Development Budget Cover?

Read More…

Create a Neon Text Effect in Illustrator

Dansky_How to Create Neon Text Effect

In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to create a neon text effect in Adobe Illustrator.

The Steps (1-8)

1. Create a New Document.

2. Select the Rectangle Tool, Left-click and Drag to draw a four-sided shape that covers the entire Width and Height of the artboard. Set the colour of this shape to black #000000.

create-neon-text-effect-adobe-illustrator-1

3. Select the Text Tool, Left-click anywhere on the artboard, type your text, and select a font of your choice.

4. Ensure that the text has a Fill colour of pink #E6007E, and go to Type > Create Outlines to convert the text into a shape.

create-neon-text-effect-adobe-illustrator-2

5. With the text selected, go to Object > Path > Offset Path, and set a minus/negative offset value (-5 for this tutorial) and click OK. The aim here is to create a copy of the text that is actually thinner, and fits inside of the original letters.

6. Give these thinner letters a lighter pink colour #EC8CC8.

create-neon-text-effect-adobe-illustrator-3

7. Next, select the darker pink letters and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur, and specify a value that gives a pink glow around each of the letters. Adjust the blur value depending on how much of a glow you would like around your letters.

8. You can also add a small amount of blur to the thinner light pink text too, in order to help it blend together with the other blurred letters more effectively (optional).

create-neon-text-effect-adobe-illustrator-4

Download Adobe Illustrator.

Read More at Create a Neon Text Effect in Illustrator

Read More…