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Popular Productivity Apps for Design Teams and Designers

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Without a lot of effort on your part, there are several things you can do to increase your productivity.

Apps have been created for a nearly unlimited number of different uses. Whatever an app is used for, it often makes a given task easier. No matter what your line of work, an app exists that can make some facet of that work easier, and make you more productive.

For the web designer, there’s an app in this listing that speeds up workflow by making prototyping faster and more efficient. Project leaders will find apps that can perform mundane or repetitive project or task management activities, do time tracking, or make collaborating more efficient.

There are also things you can do to boost your productivity by changing your everyday work routine.

Active Collab

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Active Collab is a one-stop-shop project management app for designers and design teams. With this app, you will spend less time managing your projects and more time delivering results.

Active Collab has a flexible project overview. You can lay your projects out on a Gantt-like timeline, and then organize your tasks as you would cards on a Kanban board. It lets you centralize your team collaboration activities in one place, making it easier for everyone to stay up-to-date.

With many available integrations, Active Collab can easily pull information from other apps. This means that your team members are not restricted to using a certain set of tools. You can also include clients and give them access to your design projects. Thus, they can see what you’re working on, eliminating hundreds of email exchanges that slow you down.

Active Collab has proven to be valuable to more than 200.000 users.

Have complete control over your work, keep track of time spent on tasks, generate custom reports, and invoice your work in a few seconds. Try it free for 30 days!

Wake

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Wake is the fastest way for designers to share work with their team.  Quickly share work, see what your team is working on, and keep the conversation going. With Wake, you can upload and share sketches, screenshots, or other work, without ever interrupting your Photoshop, Sketch, or Illustrator design flow.

For example, you can use Wake’s iOS app to capture notebook or whiteboard content and instantly share it with your team. The app allows you to share and see project feedback on the go.

This ability to share work without interrupting workflow makes the entire design process more transparent for your entire team, even those outside of design. With Wake, work can be shared publicly, so everyone knows what everyone is working on; or shared privately with selected individuals or stakeholders. Read the rest of this entry »

The Best Design to Code Services for You in 2017

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Given a choice, web designers prefer to focus on the aesthetics of web design. What they produce doesn’t always have to look all that gorgeous however. What’s more important is that it’s user-friendly, cross-browser compatible, fast loading, and semantic.

Incorporating these nuts-and-bolts features into a website can be tedious, and not always a lot of fun when creative design is your thing. Having a Photoshop mockup that you can hand over to a developer can be a big help. The developer can then convert your design to HTML/CSS.

If you would rather not take time to code your designs, or you don’t possess the skills to do so, it’s best to get some expert help to get the job done. While there’s no shortage of coding services, you want to choose one that will be do your design justice. And, also, give you a product that will faithfully carry out its intended purpose.

PSD to Many Things

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PSD to Manythings is a team of richly-talented, highly-experienced professionals that provide reasonably priced frontend solutions. Serving agencies, design studios, and freelancers, this service will treat your designs with care, and deliver groundbreaking responsive HTML5/CSS3 websites to your doorstep.

The PSD to Manythings team will code up your website to perform on devices ranging from Android phones to 27-inch iMacs. The markup code delivered is W3C validated, and SEO friendly.

Besides PSD to HTML5 and PSD to Responsive HTML5, their services include PSD to Twitter Bootstrap, PSD to WordPress, PSD to WooCommerce, PSD to E-mail Newsletter. They also convert Sketch to HTML, and PSD to SquareSpace.

You won’t be subjected to a sales pitch to purchase something you don’t need, and the team prides itself on on-time deliveries. Deadlines quoted take into account QA, testing, and development. Their pricing is competitive, and they have a no-questions-asked, money back guarantee. Customer support is always available through live chat, over the phone, or by e-mail.

Direct Basing

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Direct Basing provides development solutions that can help you speed up your workflow. Companies and agencies will save money by handing designs over to Direct Basing rather than pay costly salaries to full-time developers. Freelancers can make more money by being able to take on additional design work instead of spending their time slicing and coding.

Services include PSD to HTML5, WordPress, Email and Joomla.

Request a free price indication, upload your project (Dropbox or WeTransfer), receive their no-obligation offer, and one of more of their 40 skilled developers, located in several time zones, will get started. Your project will be delivered on time, but only after it has undergone a rigorous check for errors.

The source code is well structured, so any customer having programming knowledge can easily adjust it when needed.  Read the rest of this entry »

Treat Yourself to the Best Tools and Platforms for Your 2017 Projects

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There are so many website builders on the market, that separating the good ones from the not quite so good ones can be a challenge. Finding the best of the bunch is an even bigger challenge. Affordability and ease of use are important. Even more important is finding a tool or platform that promotes customizability, flexibility, and guarantees you can build a site that will deliver an excellent user experience.

– You need a tool or platform that emphasizes simple and flexible content management. Doing so will allow your projects to proceed faster and more smoothly.

– You want to be able to build websites that are user friendly, and can outcompete the competition. For both to happen, they need to be responsive, and address the needs of mobile device users.

– Look for a platform that is rich in widgets. The more there are, the more functionality you can build into your sites.

– Don’t forget to insist on the ability to easily integrate your sites with social media. That’s where much of the action is today.

SnapPages

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Take a platform that already makes building and managing a website a snap, and redesign it from the ground up, and you really have something. That’s the case with SnapPages. With its latest release, 3.0, it’s easier than ever to create and manage modern, responsive websites.

Professionally-created, customizable design templates help you get your projects off to a quick start. Once you’re up and running, the SnapPages team will attend to your web hosting and server needs.

The focus is on what users want and need most, as opposed to loading this platform down with a multiplicity of features; resulting in by most accounts, the best website-building editor on the market. The drag and drop editor is optimized for touchscreen use, so you can make quick changes while on the go with your laptop or tablet.

SnapPages works lightning fast, plus you can safely store your files in the cloud. If you’re a blogger, there’s a spam-filtering app that will save you time monitoring comments, and social plugins allow you to integrate your websites with social media. Read the rest of this entry »

9 Best WordPress Plugins To Use in 2017

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WordPress has many pluses, but it’s not necessarily the most glamorous platform to work with. Still customize it with themes and plugins to fit a designer’s needs has made it the most popular CMS.

Plugins are great to have access to when you need to embed certain functions into your websites. There are a great many to choose from, and you can even have one developed that is customized to fit a particular need.

The main problem with plugins is the sheer number that are available. When you look for one to fill a special need, you may come across several that seem to fill the bill. Finding the best of the lot can be a challenge. To make life a little easier, we’ve chosen some of the best WordPress plugins out there that you can use to add key functionality to your websites.

9 Top WordPress Plugins

wpDataTables

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wpDataTables provides a host of data management functionalities. For instance, tables you create with it can be made editable. Editing in wpDataTables is no more difficult than editing in Excel, and the tables can be very large. wpDataTables can work quickly when confronted with large amounts of data. All the data management functions associated with a given table are handled by the MySQL server.

The tables you create will be natively responsive, so you needn’t be concerned as to how they will display on various device types. Furthermore, the tables you create can be used as sources for creating charts. Just as the tables themselves are editable, the charts can be changed in real time to reflect up-to-date data and results.

A truly beneficial feature of wpDataTables is the ability to highlight cells, rows, and columns of data, in relationship to their content. By visiting the website, you can view the full range of this plugin’s features and capabilities.

Content Timeline

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Content Timeline is a handy WordPress plugin to have if you want to display content in a sliding timeline. Content Timeline is responsive, and since it’s fully customizable, you can drag and drop to sort, add, or delete items of content as you like.

Should you need to edit an item in a timeline, you can edit it in its own window. 12 customizable Card Layouts are included to add a cool look to your timelines, or you can create a card from scratch.

Features you can easily incorporate into your timelines, include Swipe functionality, sorting by year, month or category (great for timelines of your posts), and dynamic loading of new posts. Content Timeline even makes it possible to display your posts in a slider. Users have given this plugin nearly solid 5-star ratings. Read the rest of this entry »

Looking for the Best WordPress Themes for 2017?

Posted · Category: Best Collections

Looking for the right WordPress theme can be a chore if this is your first attempt, or if you’re not exactly sure what you should be looking for. The economics are such, that premium themes are usually no more expensive than those having somewhat less to offer.

It’s worth noting that today’s typical user isn’t simply looking for a website. He or she is looking for an experience. That is what the following WordPress themes can help you achieve with your design efforts. Why we have listed them as the “Best for 2017”?

They have the following key characteristics in common:

– They feature aesthetically pleasing designs. That means they have staying power.

– They produce SEO friendly results. Your websites should get their fair share, or more, of traffic.

– They are easy to customize. You have the flexibility you want, and you’ll save heaps of time.

– They offer top-quality support; levels of support you have every right to expect.

14 Themes to Get 2017 Off to a Great Start

Be Theme – Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme

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If you’re looking for a premium WP theme that’s loaded with features, easy to use, and capable of producing any website type or style, Be Theme fills the bill on all counts.

Be is popular, and it’s the biggest WP theme on the market. It’s packed with the features and capabilities you need to give your clients precisely what they want, and their customers the experiences they seek.

Highlights include the fast and efficient Muffin Builder 3 and Visual Composer page builders, plus an options panel, shortcode generator, and 200+ shortcodes that enable you to design to the minutest level without any need for coding. You’ll also have header, grid, and portfolio options galore to work with.

The feature that really defines Be, and accounts for much of its popularity, is the selection of 230+ pre-built websites. These professionally designed websites are modern, they are customizable, they contain the elements required to create an engaging, user-friendly UX, and they serve as concepts and starting points for you design activity.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Can Be Better Than Monstroid Multi-Purpose WP Theme? Maybe Monstroid 2? Preorder It With a Huge Discount Right Now!

Posted · Category: Best Collections

This article will be interesting to all Monstroid fans, all curious nerds who want to be the first and know about all innovations and inventions taking place in web design and development field, and just to thrifty entrepreneurs who never pass by a lucrative bargain.

2016 was a special year for TemplateMonster.com. The guys improved their products considerably, so now they match even higher quality standards. The team made deeper niche analysis, totally overhauled Cherry Framework, developed their own WordPress plugins, and switched to the GPL license.

Monstroid 2 can be called a result of all these as well as other positive changes.

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This product combines the best practices of company work and makes an outstanding start for 2017.
TemplateMonster gives you a brilliant opportunity to try out this multi-purpose WordPress theme before the official release. Pre-order it for a reduced price now, and they’ll send Monstroid 2 alpha version right to your mailbox.
Want to pre-order Monstroid 2 right now? Click here.
To view its live demo follow this link.

Read on to know more details about this remarkable product. Read the rest of this entry »

20 Best eCommerce Themes of Winter 2017

Posted · Category: Best Collections

No doubt online stores are forcing out the ordinary shops out of business. However the abundance of the former on the web makes the competition extremely tough. So deciding to launch your online store you should take into consideration lots of details to make it more appealing for the customers than the stores of your competitors. If you think that the most important thing is sleek catchy design, you are wrong. It is important, but far not paramount. The main thing for your website to be popular is to be customer-oriented and user-friendly. If it takes hours to find the item needed or the buying process takes too many steps, or your store looks broken when browsing through mobile devices no one will pay attention to your cool animations, parallax scrolling or trendy design. You should always think of your customer. If you focus on selling your product you will gain nothing. If you think of what your customers want, they will feel it and appreciate it. There are lots of eCommerce templates to choose from: Magento, OpenCart, responsive PrestaShop themes, WooCommerce, etc. Each of them has its own peculiarities, but all of them are user-friendly and easy to work with.

For this roundup we have hand-picked 20 bestselling eCommerce templates of this winter, which are excellent examples of client-oriented websites. All of them are provided by one of the world’s leading template providers, TemplateMonster. This is not just a brand. This is a guarantee of professional approach in everything up to the tiniest detail. The themes are extremely feature-rich, making it easy to create a user-friendly and fully functional website. Sleek up-to-date design corresponds with all latest tendencies and trends. Being highly flexible each of the themes can be adjusted to your needs and goals.

StoreFlex – Multipurpose OpenCart Template

StoreFlex is a successful solution for any eCommerce project. Its stunning design is supported by powerful functionality creating a perfect combination for any website. The template goes with clipart for 20 product types, which enables you to use 10 different topics in one pack. StoreFlex is extremely flexible. Use intuitive layout builder, experiment with varied skins and color schemes to give your website a unique look. Full RTL support and multi-currency makes it easy to expand your business to international market. Lookbook presentation, promo banner, deal of the day, smart product filtering and other features make the template extremely functional and user-friendly.

Details |  Demo

Magetique – Multipurpose Magento 2 Template

Magetique is not just another Magento template. It is the most comprehensive theme that runs on Magento 2 and boasts impeccable design and advanced functionality. It comes with 5 layouts to fit specific needs of niche business. More than 20 Magento extensions aim to facilitate your life and make the browsing experience more user-friendly. Instead of using endless dropdowns, make use of powerful mega menu, which allows you to arrange all you categories, add banners, images, etc. Parallax scrolling and video integration will add dynamics to your website and help to present your products in an original way. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Ways Freelancers Can Increase Productivity with Pre-Built Websites

Posted · Category: Best Collections

As a freelance web designer, you no doubt enjoy working to your own schedules. And not having to commute to work, or a boss that likes micromanaging are also good perks.

You work hard to improve your skills, and to keep up with the latest trends. As a result, you have little difficulty in finding clients and good, well-paying assignments.

It’s not uncommon for freelancers to take on so much work that, as far as their ability to deliver high-quality work on time, time after time, the wheels start to come off. If you’ve fallen into the trap of working longer hours, but you are still missing deadlines, and even losing a client or two on occasion, read on.

There are ways to quickly resolve your situation.

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There’s only one person capable of improving your productivity; that person is you.

To find the solution, you must pinpoint the problems and understand their causes:

  • Wasting hours installing WordPress themes? Solution: use a better tool; working with this popular theme takes only minutes.
  • Wasting time working with difficult clients? Solution: There are plenty of easy to work with clients out there.
  • Not prioritizing tasks? Solution: Brush up on your time management skills.

These problems can stem from a common cause – your mindset. You may have nurtured a habit of forcing your way through difficult situations, rather than working to avoid them. Turning things around is not hard to do; the solutions are there. Read the rest of this entry »

Some of The Best Black Friday Deals Are Already Here

Posted · Category: Best Collections

Black Friday is a super time to take advantage of bargains in household items and consumer electronics. But what about bargains for web designers?

As it turns out, web designers haven’t been left out of the picture. You can see from this selection of design aids, UI kits, stock photos, and WP themes. There is, in fact, something here for just about everyone.

The driving force behind Black Friday is to get shoppers into the stores. It’s not much different with online stores. But web designers often benefit by looking where they haven’t looked before.

Especially when bargains on high-quality products are the rule, as is the case with these Black Friday specials.

Themefuse

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ThemeFuse has a selection of over 30 high-quality WordPress themes to choose from. On Black Friday only, any of these themes can be yours at a 40% discount. These themes are exactly what designers and developers look for when they are called upon to create original websites for their clients; and called upon to do so on short notice.

These themes cover all the common website types, including presentation websites, blogs, e-commerce websites, and portfolios. Theme topics range from business, children, and automotive, to travel, food, health & beauty and everything in between. Their flagship theme is called The Core, a multi-purpose WP theme that comes with more than 20 demos already created that can be imported with 1 click.

You can test drive any of these WP themes before you purchase. This includes the Black Friday discounts. Just be sure to make the purchases you want before the deadline has passed. You’ll like what you see in the original and creative theme designs, and you’ll appreciate how easy they are to use.

Dreamstime

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Millions of stock photos and videos at a 50% discount may be difficult to imagine, but that is what Dreamstime is offering on Black Friday, and through Cyber Monday. Dreamstime’s inventory is highly organized.

The Smart Advanced Search system guarantees that it won’t take you any time at all to drill down to your favorite subcategories and topics, and pick out a few choice images at a bargain price. You have 20,000 RF images that you can download for free along the way.

Dreamstime draws upon professional contributors who add thousands of fresh files every day. Once you’ve sampled what this stock photo resource offers, you’ll be tempted to become a regular customer.

You can be assured that quality will never be an issue, since Dreamstime has been a media provider to 95% of the Fortune 500 companies.

Proto.io

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Proto.io is regarded throughout the web design community as an industry-leading prototyping platform for designers representing all experience levels.

Black Friday through December 2 has been set aside as an opportunity for you to purchase an annual subscription to this premium design tool at a 30% discount. The promo code is BLACKFRIDAY2016. This Black Friday special is available to both new and existing customers.

Design teams and freelancers alike work with Proto.io to enhance the workflows of their design processes from the wireframe and mockup phases through to user testing their high-fidelity, interactive prototypes. Proto.io is extremely easy to use. No coding skills or special technical skills are required on your part.

Here is your chance to purchase a premium design tool at a special Black Friday price. Start with a free trial and then upgrade using their promo code until December 2.

Visual Hierarchy

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Web designers have for a long time looked upon Visual Hierarchy as a source for purchasing high quality design tools. On Black Friday, you can join many of these same designers in choosing VH’s top selling products and other useful items at up to 60% off the regular price!

VH is also a marketplace where web designers and developers can sell their own products, so you are always assured of finding items that are not found anywhere else. Black Friday is your chance to purchase anything from UI Kits to fonts and mockups at bargain prices.

Webflow

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Webflow is offering its fully responsive, CMS-ready website templates, at a 50% discount on Black Friday only. All you have to do is to use the discount code BLACKFRIDAY at the checkout.

You’ll find a host of website topics to choose from among the more than 100 Webflow templates, including templates for blogs and portfolios.

These templates, which feature standards-compliant HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, are completely customizable, and you can make them production-ready without having to write a single line of code.

Each of these templates also features pre-built, dynamic CMS collections, or you can add your own structures. 50% off on quality items like these is always a bargain.

Themify

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Themify is celebrating Black Friday through Cyber Monday in a big way. Promo code BLACKFRIDAY opens the door to a 50% discount on all Club memberships, WordPress themes, and plugins. There will also be a drawing in which 10 Master Club memberships will be given away for free.

Although the 50% discount does not apply, if you elect to join the Lifetime Master Club, with all its benefits, you can do so for only $249; a savings of $150. Use promo code BLACKFRIDAYLIFE to take advantage of this special offer.

Yep, these are some great deals!

There are Black Friday bargains here for new and old customers alike. This is an excellent chance for you to buy high-quality stock photos or other media items at half price. Or quality WordPress themes or website theme templates at large discounts.

If any of the businesses offering these promotions are new to you, give them a closer look. You might just decide to opt for something newer and better that what you’re using now; and at a bargain price.

 

5 Best Collaboration Tools That Will Improve Your Workflow

Posted · Category: Best Collections

A team leader’s role is to take a group of people who have diverse yet complementary skills, and variable degrees of experience, and mold them into a cohesive team.  And make them work together toward a common objective.

These same skills that can do so much when given proper direction can just as easily undermine the chances of a project’s success. If that direction is not there.

A good choice of project management and collaboration tools can play an important, and even a key role.

The right tools can make workflow proceed smoothly. Make the design process as a whole more transparent, and encourage collaboration among team members.

Freelancers can also benefit by having the right project or task management tools on hand.

Even the best tools can’t do everything. Team leaders need to get their teams working together with a common purpose in mind. Following these guidelines will help make that happen.

1) Constantly clarify team member roles. A lack of clarity or overlapping roles can only lead to confusion, oversights, and a duplication of effort.

2) Explicitly state responsibilities. Making the entire team, or even a small group, responsible for an action seldom works. Define and assign responsibilities at the individual level.

3) Identify who handles each decision. This can be done at an individual or on a group basis. In the latter case, how a decision is to be reached must be made clear.

4) Constantly review team and project goals. Doing so ensures everyone will stay focused.

5) Assign specific tools for specific functions. Don’t mix them up.

The following tools were selected because they will meet almost any team’s or individual’s specific need or needs.

 

Wake

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Sharing ideas without interrupting your workflow should not be complicated. This is where Wake shines. An example: Capture ideas or information in your notebook or on your whiteboard with Wake’s iPhone app, and share it with others. Instantly. The iPhone app also allows you to stay up-to-date on project happenings when you’re away from the office or on the go.

You can also upload and share screenshots, sketches, etc., without having to interrupt or leave your Illustrator, Sketch, or Photoshop session. If you want to share animations or videos of your prototypes –  it’s no problem.

Wake makes the design process more transparent for all parties concerned. You can share information publicly, or share it privately to a selected few. You can use Wake to show everyone what everyone is working on.

Sign up for a free 30-day trial and see if Wake is the right solution for you or for your team. Several plans are available, ranging from a $22/month starter plan, to a Pro Custom plan for heavy users.

 

InVision

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InVision’s prototyping, collaboration, and workflow capabilities are integrated within a single platform. This design-driven project management platform makes it possible for design teams and freelancers alike to prototype, share, review and modify, and user test their mobile and web products.

With InVision, you can upload a design file, and add animations, gestures, and transformations to create a high-fidelity, interactive prototype within 5 minutes. InVision also simplifies your feedback process by allowing team members and stakeholders to seamlessly comment on your designs in real time.

You can manage project screens and statuses from a single location, and notify team members when changes in status have occurred.

2 million designers have used InVision, ranging from freelancers and small design agencies, to large companies like General Motors, Nike, and Apple. Ask for the free trial that allows you to work with a single prototype, while you learn more about InVision’s features and functions. Read the rest of this entry »

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