4 Research-Backed UX Tips For a Conversion-Optimized Design

UX Design

The work of a web designer goes beyond just aesthetics. Usability and user experience is an equally, if not more, important part of a good web design.

While your business could probably survive with an ugly design that gets all of the UX principles right, it most certainly won’t survive with a beautiful design that breaks all of the UX principles. In this article, I explain how we can use Weber’s Law of Just Noticeable Difference, the Psychology principle of Sensory Adaptation, lessons from a recent Microsoft study as well as research on font usage, to have a more solid, conversion-optimized design:

Sensory Adaptation: The Phenomenon that Reveals What Color Converts Best

Let’s play a guessing game: what color converts best? Is it blue, green or red?

If you are like most people who have spent a good deal of time reading articles about conversion optimization, you are likely to say that it is the color red or the color orange. You might even start to bring up examples. But just pause a bit.

Amazon uses the color orange CTA button:

Facebook uses the color green CTA button:

Twitter uses the color blue CTA button:

Wait? “Green? Who doesn’t know that that color sucks for conversion?!” The fact remains that Facebook is a major brand that has spent billions on data science and conversion experience, and there’s no doubt that they know what they are doing. While Twitter, Facebook and Amazon act apparently differently, they are actually following a similar, proven Psychology principle that underlie why certain CTAs convert better than others: the Sensory Adaptation phenomenon.

In reality, there’s no best color to use for your CTA or key elements — heck, Twitter uses the white CTA color on their homepage (screenshot below).

Instead, there is a principle to follow: let your CTA stand out. A red CTA on a red design color scheme will perform worse compared to a white, blue or green CTA, and a blue CTA on a blue color scheme will perform worse compared to other colors.

In essence, the CTA that stands out the most will convert the most.

Sensory adaptation in Psychology explains our natural tendency to tune out stimulus we are familiar with after a while. That’s how we are biologically wired; once we’ve seen it for a while, we stop noticing it. A different CTA color, however, switches things up and breaks up familiarity, making you take notice. And that’s what boosts conversions.

The Microsoft Study: How Declining Attention Spans Influence Web Design

In a recent study to observe human attention span, in which it surveyed 2,000 people and monitored the brain activity of 112 more people with electroencephalograms (EEGs), Microsoft came to the conclusion that our attention span is rapidly declining. According to the study, we went from having an attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000 to having an attention span of eight seconds now.

To many web designers, this has no real implication for their work until they consider the following statistics:

  • A one second delay in site load time can cause a 7 percent loss in conversion.
  • A three-second delay in site load time can cause 40 percent of people to abandon a website.
  • 51 percent of shoppers cite a site’s slow loading times as the major reason they abandon a purchase.

While there are so many factors that influence website load speed, which is what I address when reviewing various web hosts on my site, the fact remains that web design plays a key role in how fast a website loads. Even if you have the best web host with the most powerful server configuration, a poorly designed website with the bloated code could result in users having to wait minutes to access a website.

Speed is one of the most important factors to consider when working on usability. Make speed a core consideration when designing your websites and you will have happier clients.

Weber’s Law: Let Changes be Incremental

There’s always an outrage over every major redesign. Just think about it, and no matter how good it is or how good it later turned out to be, people initially complained seriously about every major redesign. Why is this so? Because we are naturally averse to change.

Research has shown that people prefer an older, more familiar structure even if the newer one is better. For example, students who were given a newer curriculum that will make work much easier for them protested it because it is unfamiliar to them. This is revealing, and a critical factor to consider in your web design.

Weber’s Law of Just Noticeable Difference gives insights into how to deal with people’s natural aversion to change as a web designer. Since people naturally despise change, what if you can make changes without them knowing? Weber’s Law states that the slightest, tiniest changes are not easily noticeable. However, the difference has to reach a stage before it is noticed. Similarly, as a web designer, you can use this principle to make people more responsive to your design changes by making those changes gradual and iterative. They can’t protest what they don’t really notice. And when they finally notice, they’ve become accustomed to the completely new redesign. It will take more time but it will cease the protests.

Font Research: Is There a Best Font?

Some fonts are more appealing than others, and as designers, we all have our natural preferences and quirks when it comes to fonts. But is there really a best font? Not really, at least if we are to purely rely on research.

Research shows that people prefer simpler fonts, and they want these fonts large. That’s all that matter for all they could care about. In fact, when you actually consider this there’s a huge probability that it will indicate that your personal font preference makes your design more complicated.

During your next redesign, focus on a simple font type that is at least 16px in size. It probably won’t make your design very fancy, but people would love it and find it very usable!

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My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #20

My name is Mason Ellwood, and I’m currently working on Flatiron School’s Online Full Stack Web Development Program. Each week, I’ll be writing about my experience, what I’m learning, and tips on learning to code.

Within this post, I will cover something that I tend to dread. Backtracking. For me while learning, especially with code, there is always a small portion that does not quite make sense…. And with this, moving forward, the lessons build upon those concepts and the more and more you move forward, the more the material does not quite stick.

Usually, when this happens, I move forward anyways, full well knowing that what I just read does not quite make sense. But in my head, I’m assuming that the next lesson will clarify the previous. I then continue this cycle of confusion until is it too late. But like always, I move forward. This is the predicament that I am in right now. I am so far along in the lessons that I’m not sure how to proceed on a lot of the lessons, without reviewing someone else’s code. I am unsure where I took a hard left turn, but I did…

Moving backward and reestablishing by base knowledge, where my knowledge base cracked, is something I do not like doing. But I know the importance of this.

In school, especially in a subject that I was not too fond of, I would twiddle my thumbs and figured I would study like hell for the test. Which sadly works incredibly well. It probably should not but it does.

When learning a trade skill, like programming it is important to absorb all the material. When something does not make sense take a step back and establish yourself before you move forward. It is easy to not want to do this because it feels like progress is not being made. But what I found out is that, if you do not do this, when you know full well it is needed, you will have to backtrack even further than you thought you had to.

This is the position that I am in right now with The Flatiron Schools….

Somewhere along the way, I missed a core concept. Something did not stick, and I can’t quite pinpoint where exactly that was, but it happened. I am now working through ORM and Active Record, and any OO Ruby they ask me to write is fought with a lot of confusion and pain.

Working through the material that I have previously completed has been greatly beneficial to myself and Ruby is becoming more second nature.

Work slowly, and absorb. Learning is not a race and should not be treated as a race. When something doesn’t make sense ask questions and understand what exactly that is that does not make sense. I keep thinking to myself. Someone at the end of all this training is going to pay me to write code for a career. If I don’t know to do something, that is too bad… because that’s your job. 

I have learned to take my time, understand and absorb, then practice application to meet the knowledge goals I have set for myself.

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Check Out 9 Unique Be Pre-Built Websites and Their New Installer

Be’s New Pre-Built Installer

The old Be pre-installer had a lot going for it. For one thing, you could install a pre-built website with a single click, and immediately begin editing. That’s still the case of course. Up to that point, however, the installer has some shortcomings. Selecting and previewing pre-built websites was not an efficient process, nor were you given any indication whether you had the right plugins in place to get the performance you expected.

                                    The old installer’s UX left something to be desired.

To find a pre-built website that would work for you, required scrolling through a large (and every increasing) selection of themes. If what you found wasn’t exactly the right choice, you had to repeat the process. You also had to guess whether you had the right plugins at the time of installment.

Fixes were made to create an intuitive, more pleasant to work with, UX.

  • Fix #1No more scrolling. Thumbnails of all 250+ pre-built websites can be viewed in the admin area. To get a live preview of a theme, simply click on its thumbnail. It’s no longer necessary to switch to and fro between Be’s presentation page and the admin area.

                          The new Be pre-built website installer. Scrolling issue solved.

  • Fix #2. A live search and filter option makes selecting a pre-built website even faster and easier. You’ll come to appreciate this feature even more as the number of pre-built websites continues to grow at a clip of several per month. The filter option lets you check out several potential candidates, and select the best fit without having to repeat the process several times.
  • Fix #3. This one can save you some time and trouble. When you’ve selected a pre-built website, and are ready to preview and install it, the new installer will show you which plugins are needed for it to perform just as in the preview. It will also show which of the necessary plugins are already installed, and give you the option to install missing ones.

                        See the plugins each pre-built website needs for it to work properly.

  • Fix #4. You no longer have to import the entire pre-built website. This new feature enables you to import the page options, the content, or both, and you can select only those pages you need.

                         You install what you need, and only what you need, from a pre-built website.

This video shows how the new installer operates:

 

A Review of the 9 Latest Pre-Built Websites

Be Sports Club

Health and fitness centers, sports centers, and gyms like to advertise themselves as being current in terms of facilities and training services. This modern Be Sports Club design, with its cool special effects, provides a sound basis for a website that will serve this purpose.

Be Productions

It’s dark background and smooth parallax scroll effect makes this pre-built website suitable for many purposes. It will serve nicely as a foundation on which to build an advertising agency’s or motion graphics studio’s website. Note how the page’s colors and message stand out against the dark background.

Be Diet

To be effective, a food-related website should feature large, high-quality images that are almost good enough to eat. The Muffin Builder designers went to considerable lengths to make that happen in the case of Be Diet. The images are backed up by a cool selection of special effects.

Be Boutique

If you’re not sure how to make a background video work effectively in your website designs, let Be Boutique show you the way. This pre-built website is also a great starting point to build an engaging, but not overly showy, portfolio.

Be Stone

The Be Stone pre-built website conveys a special message. There’s no reason to have to put up with a company website that is dull, uninteresting, or downright awful looking. Give Be Stone a try the next time you’re commissioned to build a modern, slick looking website for a business.

Be Guest House

Real estate agents go to great lengths to make their properties as fabulous looking as possible. The same is true for individuals who have a guest house or cabin to rent. Be Guest House provides a great starting point for building a website for either customer type.

Be Wildlife

Although Be Wildlife may be destined for a wildlife photographer’s website, it can be put to good use for any professional photographer or photographic studio. This pre-built website makes great use of fixed layouts, in combination with a clever slider and parallax effects.

Be Restaurant

This is a good example of a website that will make visitors want to reach for the phone to make a reservation. As is the case with Be Wildlife, Be Restaurant puts slider effects to very good use. Including people in the hero image is also a good approach.

Be Furniture

Images play a key role in every one of this selection of latest pre-built websites. Be Furniture is no different, and the concept it presents can make it easier for you to build a website any furniture store client will love.

 

An Overview of Be Theme’s Features

  • For starters – Over 250 Pre-Built Websites You’ll seldom have any difficulty in finding a pre-built website that matches what you envision; plus, you can build virtually any website from almost any theme you select.
  • Muffin Builder – Working in conjunction with the options panel, this page builder makes customizing a theme and editing a page, easy – without any need for coding.
  • Layout Configuration – Building a website page when starting with a blank canvas has never been easier; no more need for cookie cutter-looking websites with this feature at your fingertips.
  • 200+ Shortcodes – Add cool features and functionality to your web pages, without having to write a line a code.
  • Advanced Typography – Use Google fonts, or upload your own special fonts; Use any style, weight, or size you want.
  • Parallax Effect/ Video Background – These are just two of the many special effects that come with the Be Theme package.
  • Lifetime Updates – With your Be license, you can look forward to receiving the latest pre-built website releases each month.

And More:

Be’s customer support is first class in every respect, plus you’ll have video tutorials and other useful information to help you along the way. You’ll also be joining 62,000+ satisfied Be users when you purchase a license to use this Themeforest best seller.

Click here to discover even more about Be Theme.

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20 Amazing Website Concepts with Breathtaking Typography

Despite the design you created for a website, whether the images, colors or sounds you choose, people immediately look at the text. People tend to look at the text to find what they are looking for and accomplish the purpose of opening the site. Knowing this fact, you need to pay more attention to typography in web design.

In this post I’ve have put together 20 amazing creative website concepts with breathtaking typography for your inspiration. Scroll down, enjoy the designs, and don’t hesitate to leave your feedback in the comment field below.

Bald Eagle Landing Page

bald-eagle

Estiosa

estiosa

HIGH

high-design

Client Comp

client-comp

Roney Gibson

roney-gibson

Exploring The North Face

north-fate

Teaori / Web site design

teaori

Trego Touring (guided bicycle tours)

touring

Merge Virtual Reality

visual-reality

Columbia Clothing X Matterhorn – Expedition 2017

columbia-design

REEF

typography-web-design

Minimalistic E-Commerce Website

e-commerce-minimalistic

Sportify App Landing Page

sportify-concept

BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 – website

bmw-motorrad

Ambassador Page Layout

ambassador

Dirtdays Trail Finder Concept

dirtdays

Cherry Blossom Landing Page

cherry-blossom

Green Chameleon Unused Home Screen

green-chameleon

Step Inside Burma Live!

burma

Gallery concept

gallery-concept

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9 Graphic Design Trends You Need To Be Aware of in 2017

Packaging-trends-2017

Here are 2017’s graphic design trends you need to follow. We are covering packaging trends, typography trends, layouts and even cinemagrahs.

2017 is the year we return to the organic roots and we will see a return to the natural. In terms of colors, the start has been given by Pantone (as every year, in fact), who has crowned the color for 2017 as Greenery, based on it’s meaning of new beginning, freshness and environmentalism.
green-design-trends

Manifesting as a “fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring”, Greenery envelops the notion of breathing, reinvigorating and appreciating the great outdoors.

That said, let’s take a closer look at the graphic design trends that define 2017. Most of them influence both print and web design, but some of them are just for the web.

 

Bright, Bold and Vibrant colors

 

In the past few years, many designers have used safe and easy to digest color schemes, in order to create very clean and controlled designs. We saw many lights and neutral colors like white, grays and black dominating the layouts. But in 2017 we expect bright, vibrant and bold colors. This trend has started earlier in 2016, through a variety of design elements, but it’s expected to really pick up its speed this year. As Pantone crowned the color of the year as Greenery, we expect to see the designers using more colors found in nature and intensifying them. With photography, the trend is to use bold and saturated images.

graphic-design-trends-images

In terms of graphic design, this doesn’t mean that should be a color revolution in every company. But using bright colors with traditional neutral backgrounds, companies can give their branding a fresh new look without deviating too far from what they made great.      
Graphic-design-trends-graphics
Graphic-design-trends-examples

 

Color transitions

 

Staying in the same register, the color transitions is one of the biggest design trends right now. Started in 2016 and rising quickly after, this trend is everywhere, from logo to buttons or picture overlays. As some of the big brands decided to change their logos and images from flat color to multi-colored transitions, we are expecting to see more companies adopting this trend, both for print and web design.    

Graphic-design-trends-logos

Graphic-design-trends-2017

 

Pattern and geometric shapes

 

This trend started in 2016 and it will definitely also continue in 2017. As flat design was a very welcome addendum to the graphics last year, helping to simplify the visuals and improve user experience, we expect to see it growing and expanding this year. I’ve stated at the beginning of this post that in 2017 will be a return to the natural, therefore, I’ll expect to see more nature-inspired patterns, like marble, precious stones and plants. Painterly patterns contrasted with simple typography will also bring a crafts vibe to printed media.

Graphic-design-trends-paterns

graphic-design-trends-2017-paterns

 

For packaging and brand design, bringing together the best qualities of flat design and pattern will create vibrant, colorful products, which feel both ultra-contemporary and artistic.
Pattern-graphic-design-trends
Paterns-colors-graphic-design-trends-2017

On the other hand, the pattern doesn’t have to be just about multiple colors or symmetry. Just bringing more visual to graphics using organic line pattern, will make the designs feel completely on-trend this year.
Graphic-design-trends-packaging

Packaging-trends-2017

 

Minimalism

 

For those who love simplicity and functionality given by the minimalism, here is the good news: tracing its roots back to the early part of the 20th century, and for some, even further, minimalism is today more popular as ever. As the intentional white space means more breathability and reduced focal points, the simple way of communication of the message through design has led to adoption of the minimalism in many brand and design trends.  Inspired by Scandinavian design, ultra-minimal typography and layouts will still feel cutting-edge this year, and brands who opt for this visual approach will appear elegant and refined. If you need a touch of color, you should consider adding a subtle metallic foiling as the only embellishment you need, while keeping your palette restricted and strong.

2017-minimalism-trends

Minimalistic-packagin

 

Minimalistic-packagin-2017

 

Modern retro

 

By its very definition, modern-retro has been around for a while. Modern flare added to retro designs, typefaces and color palettes makes an interesting fusion of old and new. The key in this trend is both authenticities, as well as simplifying and modernizing any particular element that stood out from any time in the past. In 2016 we saw the popularity of modern-retro designs rising and finding its own way onto logo designs, print layout, web and packaging design. In terms of colors, maybe we’ll see some changes, meaning shifting from the muted browns and grays of 2016’s most vintage designs to candy colors. But for sure, the preference for this graphic design trend will continue to grow in 2017 and we haven’t seen all yet.retro-packaging-design

retro-packagin-examples

Modular layouts

 

Functioning to break up a text and put it into manageable chunks, modular isn’t a quiet new trend, but it’s popularity has increased in the last past years. Regardless if we are talking about print or web design, most times, using a long block of text is boring and you risk losing the readers. Especially for the web, the graphic designers have figured out that making the information more manageable makes more people interact with it. The modular design is not just a great management tool, but it also can look professional when it’s done well. We expect to see more modular layouts this year, both in print and web design.

modular-design

modular design trends

 

 

Bold photography and sleek text

 

At this moment, this trend is pretty much a staple in the world of graphic designers, because the mix between bold photography and sleek text communicates a clear message without boring the audience.  “Bold and sleek” works very well both for people with a short attention span, as well as for those who don’t want to spend too much time looking for the main information and get straight to the point. If they are done well, the photography and text tend to work together and create some great contrast and brilliant borders, streaming class and excitement.     

This combination works great for display ads, social media promotions, and graphics where a small amount of information needs to be conveyed instantly.
typography trends 2017

Typography trends bold

 

Cinemagraphs

 

Cinemagraphs are an incredible, simple and effective answer to one of the marketing’s toughest problem: time. As marketers should do and use every possible tool to grab the audience’s attention in a very short and exciting way, cinemagraphs are the perfect tool for doing this. They aren’t the regular gifs we see all around the web. Cinemagraphs are still images with minor element moving in them. This technique makes simply photos look more realistic and bring them to life. With more and more competition between marketers, we expect to see cinemagraphs coming to screens in 2017.

         cinemagaphs

 

cinemagraphs design trends

 

Material design

Material design may be the biggest and boldest of the design trends of this year. Google has created this style guide trying to simplify the way designers design and users interact with the Internet. The core concepts of this trend are “material as a metaphor; bold, graphic, intentional; and motion provides meaning.”

This means the visual aesthetic communicates clearly with the user. By drawing inspiration from real-world materials—particularly paper and ink— the designs are grounded in reality, yet lightweight and minimalistic. Paper is tactile, casts shadows, but is also incredibly flexible, so, designing with these principles in mind, you’re weaving together the fabric of the Internet and add depth to your design.

By using bold colors, contrast and typography in your design, you should guide the user’s behavior and influence your audience to act the way you desire. Google’s Material Design aesthetic is very similar to Flat Design 2.0, but it takes intentionality to another level.

  

 Grpahic-design-trends-2017-website

 

Have we missed something? Let us know in the comments bellow.
Also, check these awesome web design trends to be aware of in 2017.

 

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My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #19

My name is Mason Ellwood, and I’m currently working on Flatiron School’s Online Full Stack Web Development Program. Each week, I’ll be writing about my experience, what I’m learning, and tips on learning to code.

Back at it, SQL! Last post we created a database and learned how to add information to the database using a .txt file. Let’s learn a little more about SQL and a few rules to follow.

So when creating a table you need to make sure to include a name and at least one column. Remember from last post, we use a create statement by including a name and a data type. This allows SQL to know the kind of data that will be stored there. This allows you to have control over your data. Because the main purpose of SQL is to store a large amount of data, you should be very concerned with storing, accessing, and acting upon the data that you are storing. This makes defining your data very important.

Defining your data, or typing gives the ability to perform all kinds of operations with predictable results. Without typing, our data would be a mess or confusing; so we don’t want to do that haha.

Because we are using SQLite we will continue to explicitly talk about rules directly related to it. So anyways, SQLite only has four basic categories for defining data

  • TEXT: Any alphanumerical character which we want to represent as plain text. And example of this is the body of a paragraph, this would be considered TEXT.
  • INTEGER: Anything we want to represent as a whole number. Keep in mind, if it is a number and contains no letter or special characters or decimal points, then we should use an INTEGER.
  • REAL: Anything that is a decimal point. Example being 1.3, this would be considered REAL. In terms of decimal point, SQLite will only hold numbers that are 13 characters in length.
  • BLOB: This is generally used to hold binary code, so far in the lessons, we have not used this, so I am unsure at an example i can give you all.

The above creates a database. Then creates a cats table with an id, name, age, and breed column. Running .schema will display your database table structure to make sure you did this correctly,

As you review this, take notice that we use the INSERT INTO command, followed by the name of the table to which we want to add data to. In the parentheses, we put column names that we will fill with data.

Once your database if setup correctly, we can then add information to it!

This adds information about the cat Maru to your table. To retrieve your data to make sure that you have added it correctly, run the code below.

The * character is equivalent to all. Basically saying select and display all from the cats table.

Cool! Now you know how to create a database, add information to your database, and display that added data to the use (being you). Please post a comment and let me know if you have any questions regarding the material covered.

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20 Free Photorealistic iPhone Mockups for Your Mobile Designs

Since we all know how important it is to create a good presentation to showcase your project to a client, here I have put together a list of free photorealistic iPhone mockups to help you do just that. These mockups are crafted in PSD files, so you can easily change the main element on the photo which is your design.

You can showcase an app or mobile version of a site using these iPhone mockups. This list includes PSD mockups with red, gold, space gray and silver iPhones which you can download for free. Just scroll down and choose your favorite iPhone Mockup.

Red iPhone Mockup

table-red-iphone

Woman reading on iPhone Mockup

woman-reading-on-iphone-mockup

White iPhone on black Leather Mockup Set

white-iphone-on-black-leather-mockup-set

iPhone and iPad Presentation Mockups

iphone-and-ipad-presentation

Female Hand holding iPhone 6 Mockup

one-hand-iphone-6-mockup

White iPad and iPhone on Floor Mockup

white-iphone-on-floor

White iPhone in Hand Mockup

white-iphone-in-hand-mockup

App Screen/UI Showcase Mockup PSD

app-screen-mockup

Free Light iPhone Mockup

light-iphone-mockup

Iphone7 Mockup Free Download

iphone-seven-mockup

Free Man Carrying Smart Phone & Tablet Mock-up

man-ipad-iphone-sofa

iPhone 6 PLUS Template Mockup [PSD]


light-white-iphone-mockup

Health Tracker in iPhone Mockup

hand-mockup-iphone

iPhone in Car Mockup

night-card-hand-iphone

Black iPhone on MacBook Mockup

black-iphone-on-macbook

Black iPhone 7 on Desk Mockup

black-iphone-7

Black iPhone in male Hand Mockup

black-iphone-in-male-hand

Free Awesome iPhone 6+ Mockup

awesome-iphone-6-mockup

Man looking at iPhone Mockup

man-looking-at-iphone-mockup

iPhone 7 Plus on Desk Mockup

iphone-7-plus-on-desk-mockup

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How To Jumpstart Your Career In The Creative Industry

If you’re stuck in a non-creative job that you completely uninspiring, the idea of becoming a professional designer and working for yourself while creating beautiful projects for interesting clients might seem like a fantasy. But

thanks to the practically infinite number of educational resources online, becoming a professional creative is now more accessible than ever.

 

No matter how many resources the internet has to offer, the process can still seem daunting. So we spoke with two of the design mentors at RookieUp to hear how they transitioned into the creative industry and to get their tips and pointers for finding your creative niche and developing your skills. Danielle Eastberg was a systems engineer at Lockheed Martin and is now a Visual UX Designer at Audible. Caryle Cunniff was a professional Irish Dancer before attending a UX Bootcamp and landing a job as a Senior UX Designer at Amazon.

Danielle Eastberg

Find your creative passion and jump in head first

The first thing you should do is explore what areas of the creative world you’re naturally drawn to. Watch YouTube videos and online courses about visual design, UX design, Illustration, and more to find the creative skillset that appeals to you the most. Think about why you’re interested in a creative career and hone in on what field will let you focus on that interest. Are you fascinated by the impact that a logo can have on your perception of a brand, or do you get most excited when the User Experience of a new app is elegant and intuitive?

Danielle “was filling up [her] nights and weekends learning Photoshop and web design, taking weekend workshops and teaching [herself] online.” She knew that design was something she was passionate about so she “set up a plan to save money and within a year, [she] left [her] job and went back to school at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.” Carlye took a slightly different educational path, instead of applying to a bootcamp at General Assembly. “[she] was fortunate enough to take a 3-month intensive UX Design Bootcamp program with General Assembly. This type of learning environment allowed [her] to completely focus on learning the new skills [she] needed, and forced [her] to jump into the new career – even if that leap way scary.”

Danielle Eastberg

Spend as much time as you can surrounded by experienced creatives

No matter how many courses you take online, studies show that the most effective way to learn is through 1-1 education with experienced professionals in your field. Having someone nearby that you can receive feedback from is hugely impactful, especially when you’re just getting started. Danielle emphasizes this point: “Be around other designers! Having teachers and mentors who know what to look for and know what feedback to give you are incredible when you are starting out. You also start learning how to have a “design eye” and everything can become inspiration.”

Create! Create! Create!

Do as many projects as you possibly can in order to build a portfolio. It doesn’t need to be client work, but it should be as varied as possible so you can grow different skills and show potential clients your breadth of experience. According to Danielle, “of course a portfolio is great, but it doesn’t have to be work from a specific company or client. Concept work (any project you make up and explore on your own) is great to show your skills and have discussion points of your interests.”

 

Be sure to challenge yourself when coming up with new projects. Pick a problem you see and try to solve it rather than just doing the same type of practice projects over and over. Danielle says that she would “rather see someone with critical design skills than someone with a long client list.”

Immerse yourself in the language of your creative field

Portfolio work is crucial, but being able to confidently speak in the language of your new field could make the difference between winning or losing a new client. Surrounding yourself with people in your field can help with this, but if you don’t live in a city with an active creative community, try to become an active contributor in online design communities like this and this.

 

According to Danielle, “the most helpful thing was to build a design vocabulary so that [she] could speak intelligently during interviews. Companies will often give you a work sample and ask you what to improve—you need to practice a lot to be able to see and give those pointers on the spot.” Carlye agrees, suggesting that you “need to have a portfolio, and real-world experience will certainly help, but I think more important is your ability to translate your former job skills into your new field. You can learn Photoshop and interaction design, but those skills are worthless if you are a poor communicator or can’t work with ambiguity.”

Find a mentor

Having an experienced person you can turn to with questions, requests for feedback, and frustration is one of the most important—and difficult—things to think about when you’re learning a new creative skill. If you live in a city with a creative community, check out your local Meetups to meet relevant design professionals. Some cities even have AIGA chapters with official mentorship programs. You can also reach out to people in the industry you respect to ask if they’d be willing to give you feedback or advice. If you’re having trouble finding a mentor in your area, you can find a community of mentors on RookieUp to help guide your creative journey.

Carlye’s creative education was significantly improved by mentors:

My instructors at General Assembly both served as amazing mentors for me during the process. I literally came to class the first day, surrounded by people who were switching from careers in Product Management or Visual Design – I couldn’t even draw a rectangle in Photoshop, so it seemed like they were all miles ahead of me. My instructors were incredibly encouraging. That constant belief that I was going to be fine did wonders for my motivation.”

Caryle Cunniff

Take risks. Don’t be afraid of failure.

 

Finally, it’s important to remember that risk-taking is a part of the process. Entering a new field alongside people with decades of experience can be terrifying, but remember that everyone was in your shoes at some point. The only way to get better is to apply yourself to your new skill and try to learn as much as possible from the people around you. Danielle’s favorite quote is “Jump, and the net will appear.” She emphasized that “changing careers can be scary and it’s not always a linear path to happiness, but things do have a way of working out. The resources are there for you if you want them. Why not answer those “what ifs” and find out what you’re made of?”

Carlye “struggled with the idea that [she] was not ready to be a designer throughout the process of making a career switch. [She] still struggle with that imposter syndrome at times, even in the position [she’s] in now. Design, by definition, is problem-solving, so every time [she’s] given a new problem [she] panics a little bit. But it always gets solved, that’s what is so fun about design. That panic is part of the process, so when you’re learning, try and embrace it.

So if you’re ready to make the move, dive in head first! The worst thing that can happen is that you learn a new skill or hobby, and the best thing that can happen is that you find a new lifelong passion that you can grow into a successful career. If you want to talk with someone who’s been in your shoes before and can help you accomplish all of your creative goals, check out RookieUp. To chat with the mentors featured in this article, book a session with Danielle here and Carlye here.

Rookieup

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Preparing for an E-Commerce Store Launch: E-Commerce Deployment Checklist

ecommerce website

It’s no secret that e-commerce sales are growing faster than physical sales; especially during typical shopping periods. To score Black Friday deals in recent years, shoppers had to venture out of their house during the dark hours of the morning, wait in line and battle jostling crowds to get their hands on the hottest items of the season.

But now, an increasing number of shoppers are choosing to skip the hassle and check every box on their holiday gift list from the comfort of their own home.

A survey from the National Retail Federation found that over 103 million Americans shopped online during the weekend of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, while just under 102 million Americans visited physical stores. The tides are turning, and e-commerce is poised to continue revolutionizing the commercial landscape.

But new challenges face e-commerce business owners as they decide how—and when—to deploy flash sales, feature updates, and product launches. A physical store would never shut its lights off and turn eager shoppers away in the middle of a huge sale. But e-commerce stores who fail to prepare for their deployments risk downtime because of an error. As Inc. points out, downtime does not just result in lost sales. Only 22 percent of the total revenue damage comes from missed sales; 37 percent stems from damage to your brand’s reputation.

What can your burgeoning e-commerce store do, before deployments, to make sure everything goes smoothly for your store and your customers?

It all starts with a platform. When you’re considering building your e-commerce store on platforms like Shopify or Magento, choosing scalable e-commerce architecture that can accommodate your large deployments will save you headaches down the line. Because in the end, all your savvy e-mail and social marketing hype will go down the drain if your site crashes due to traffic spikes on product launch day.

Next, you’ll want to manually test your deployments before they roll out. It’s important to double check that the updates on your online store don’t affect your customers’ ability to shop and pay. As EConsultancy writes, payment processes are commonly affected during deployments. It only makes sense to test your integrations before doing a full roll out so you know what to expect. Your original goal with a deployment may be to update all the ways that customers can pay, which is a positive improvement. More flexibility in the customer checkout means one happy customer! But a simple mistake in this area can unwittingly take your store out of commission and make it impossible for anyone to convert.

To prepare for an e-commerce deployment, it’s wise to ramp up communication leading up to the big event. Every team needs to be in the know every step of the way so they can monitor, improve and fix issues as needed. For example, rolling out a major site update right before employees head home for the weekend is a recipe for disaster. You don’t want a Friday-afternoon glitch to cut into next week’s sales, especially since Monday is traditionally the biggest online shopping day of the week, as Time reports. Implement and monitor deployments when all hands are on deck, and keep everyone informed on possible hiccups so your company can correct problems as they arise.

Smooth e-commerce deployments help your site evolve over time. As an entrepreneur, you know how important it is for your brand to grow and change in positive ways. Updating the features and product offerings in your stores can be nerve-wracking, as can planning for the moment that your biggest flash sale of the year goes live. With the right platform and a preparation checklist, your e-commerce business will be ready to make the most of every opportunity.

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My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #18

My name is Mason Ellwood, and I’m currently working on Flatiron School’s Online Full Stack Web Development Program. Each week, I’ll be writing about my experience, what I’m learning, and tips on learning to code.

Last post we talked about SQL, SQLite, and creating a database. This allowed us to get a little more comfortable when working with the database and what exactly it is and what that looks like all written within terminal command. But more often than not we will be writing SQL commands directly within a text editor.

SQL Database and Text Editors

To be able to write SQL in our text editor and execute that SQL against a specific database, you will have to create files in your text editor that have the .sql extension. With this extension applied will indicate that the file holds valid SQL code. Once code is written you will then execute the file directly against the database.

First, create your database:

Then create your file with the extension of .sql, this is where you put all your data that you want to add to your database.

Then with the syntax specified below, shovel the information from the created file to the database that you would like to add to.

To make sure, access the database that you have created (.sqlite2 database name) and run .schema. This allows you to make sure that the information added is indeed actually there.

With this you will now be able to integrate your files with your database.

But before I talk anymore about this I want to touch on life and staying on track. This may sound like something that has been spoken about time and time again, and there does not need to be anymore said about it. Or at least that’s what I thought about it, until one of these derailing events happened to me. Staying on course, maintaining focus on a goal, and pushing through to get to meet that goal can be easier said than done when one of these derailing events happen to you personally.

I will not get into what directly has happened to me recently, knowing that they would not like that, and for my own privacy. But basically it was something that could not be resolved quickly while taking a lot of energy across the whole family to resolve. When this happened, my life and progress across all projects halted. How could it with my mind somewhere else, and energy being placed elsewhere. But through this I learned how to manage myself through extraneous events.

My school which is online and self-paced started falling. I currently do not have a job, which makes my full time “job” The Flatiron School. But there is no penalty for skipping a day of class or taking some time off. So when family issues occurred, school was the first thing to be phased out, because family is more important. This pushed me further behind in school and progressing to my personal goal of completing school.

So how do I treat school as a mandatory job, while being a self-paced activity?

Something that I have had to do is force myself to take a step back. Allow myself space from that is going on at home, and work to progress for my future self. Please do not think that, what I am saying is to remove yourself from any issues and be absent from family functions. But if you believe that “this school” is necessary to your growth in your personal career, or necessary to job placement. That you should also set it as a precedence in your life, just as you do all important functions currently in your life. Just because it is self-paced does not mean it should be treated as self-paced.

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