What is the beauty of having a top-quality prototyping system at your disposal? We know – you may have no idea of the effectiveness of your proposed design until you see it up and running.
Prototyping can also make the design process more efficient! It can also speed it up, often significantly.
A prototype, whether it’s lo-fi or hi-fi, can show you want works and what doesn’t. This is especially relevant for the early stages of the design process. Prototypes give you, and your client, opportunities to explore options. Making necessary changes before proceeding will be a breeze!
Choosing any software design or development tool can be a gamble. But if you limit yourself to top-tier systems, like those described here, you’ll win every time.
A prototyping tool is a must for today’s web designers, and can be a useful tool for developers and product managers as well. When you can do your prototyping and your design work on the same platform, as is the case with Proto.io, you get an even better deal.
Proto.io is extremely user friendly. No coding is necessary, nor does it require any special design skills. Once it’s up and running, you can either start designing from scratch, or upload your existing design files and begin to solicit feedback and/or finalize your design.
Proto.io lets you build a low-fidelity prototype, mockup, or wireframe early on, so you can solicit feedback on your design concept, and see if you’re on the right track. Later, a high-fidelity prototype will enable you to user test a mobile app that looks and feels like the real thing, or verify your design is ready for approval and signoff. You can also make use of rapid prototyping to speed the design process up.
The Systems plan from UXPin offers a complete end-to-end UX design solution for design and product teams.
UXPin includes design systems, responsive prototyping, documentation, developer handoff, and advanced collaboration. It also integrates with Photoshop, Sketch, JIRA, and Slack for a connected workflow.
A sample workflow could be:
1. Create your design system with Sketch or UXPin assets.
2. Add metadata to design system elements so important information follows along when you use the elements.
3. Quickly design a prototype in UXPin with elements and Symbols from your design system – or import from Photoshop and Sketch.
4. Get feedback from your team and iterate in UXPin.
5. Generate specs, CSS, and style guides for developers.
By bringing all these steps under one roof, UXPin makes it much easier to run an Agile design process. Definitely worth a try. Read the rest of this entry »
If a seemingly unending stream of client revisions is starting to get to you, it is time to do something about it. In fact, this something can also be appealing to your clients.
You shouldn’t be stuck with the same project week after week while neglecting other projects. There is also no need to scramble to meet deadlines! It is time to get control of the situation.
What you need is a WordPress theme that easily adapts to any client’s needs. It is easily cutting down the number of revisions and saving you valuable time in the process. That WordPress theme is Be Theme.
1. Let Be Theme help you deliver exactly what your clients need.
Be Theme is loaded with the web-building features you need. It is also an answer to your unending stream of revisions dilemma. Be Theme’s superb selection of more than 260 prebuilt websites is here to help.
Individually, they meet the highest standards of the niche they represent. You will easily find one that features the desired design structure and functionality. Plus, you can have a website up and running in as little as 4 hours.
This beautiful, responsive pre-built website was designed with the end user in mind. It provides a great starting point to create a website for a client with online courses to offer, or has other uses for an eLearning platform. Despite its generous use of whitespace, this pre-built website will support a high amount of content.
Have you been putting off a website project for some time right now? Do you feel like you don’t have the necessary tools or resources to do it well? Now it is high time to get that site designed and up and running,
It doesn’t matter what it is you may have been lacking. The options on the following list of tools and resources will satisfy your needs. At least one of the offerings should be just what you need. More than likely, several will prove to be helpful.
The same applies if you have the tools you need, but you’re simply looking for new ways to build better websites. Here you’ll find tools and resources that can be fast, efficient, and user-friendly. All can be used by beginners and experts alike – so, no more procrastinating!
If you need to create a low-fidelity prototype to share yourthoughts as to the direction you’re headingwith teammates or clients,Proto.io is just the prototyping tool for you.
If what you needto create is a high-to-ultra-high prototype that features the look and feel of the real thing on any PC or mobile device, the solution is the same – Proto.io.
Designers, entrepreneurs, developers, and project managers can all benefit by having this excellent prototyping tool. The latest version, Proto.io 6, has been redesigned to make it more intuitive and easier to use.
This latest version features such niceties as single-click sharing, new state transitions, interactive design patterns, and a new app for iOS and Android that offers enhanced experiences of previewing your prototypes on mobile apps.
Gestures supported include tap and double tap, tap hold and tap hold release, touch, swipe (left or right, up or down), pan, right click, and mouse over. Proto.io also gives you the options of uploading information from Sketch, Photoshop, or Dropbox.
SITE123 has all the web-building features you’d expect to see in a premier WordPress theme, such a rich choice of responsive designs, a WYSIWYG editor that displays changes as you make them, and an intuitive interface that enables you to arrange and customize design modules in the dashboard.
There’s a pair of useful features that you won’t find in many of the popular website building tools that might prompt you to give SITE123 a closer look.
One is a built-in app market that allows your customers to integrate external applications in to their websites, thus boosting their usability. These external applications could consist of analytics tools, live support chat, booking, and more.
The second feature is a multilingual tool that allows you to create a website in the language, or languages, or your choice – a great idea for a client who serves a global market.
Designers who turn to Xfive.co for web development services eventually conclude that this company not only provides quality service and support, but must be a fun place to work as well. Xfive.co, formerly XHTML, has been up and running for just over 10 years. They are an Australian-based company, with offices in Melbourne, San Francisco, and Krakow.
The Xfive brand is typified by high fives all around for a job well done, which is all the time. That’s the company culture. They care about you as a customer, and they prefer to work with you as a partner. Microsoft, Twitter, and eBay are among the many thousands of clients, which also include startups and small business, and individual and freelance web designers.
Do you or your client have a well-established or a startup? If your answer is positive, then I bet you strive to acquire new customers and retain the existing ones.
In today’s business environment, a carefully constructed, optimally-planned website is essential. If you hope to make the search for clients a successful one, chances you need a high-quality website.
The following WordPress themes are designed to give you the necessary website-building tools. The themes listed were chosen not just by chance. They are perfect for the creation of the websites for startups or small businesses. More specifically, they aim to help increase sales and revenue.
As you browse through this list, you’ll more than likely find more than one theme that will serve you well. Deciding which one to use will be a breeze. Since these are all premium themes, it’s highly unlikely you’ll regret the choice you make.
How is this theme good for startups and small businesses?
With Be Theme, there’s more than one answer to that question. There are over 260 reasons why this theme is a great choice for building a startup or small business website.
Be Theme is responsive, WooCommerce ready, and loaded with page-building options and special effects. You can have a website up and running in a few, short hours, and you won’t have to write a line of code.
The core feature is the large selection (260+ and growing) of pre-built websites. Each is professionally designed, and most of them are multi-page. In addition to providing users with excellent layout concepts, these pre-built websites have the functionality you’ll need embedded in them.
It only takes a single click to install a pre-built website, after which you can put Be’s Muffin Builder and Options Panel to work. If you choose to start a page from scratch, the Layout Configurator and Shortcodes Generator provide the needed tools. Read the rest of this entry »
The need to manage huge amounts of website data can become a formidable task. One you generally don’t look forward to. It’s just not numbers either. Statistics, labels, categories, and other important data types often come into play.
An obvious solution is to invest in a data management tool or plugin. Unless what you buy is intuitive to use, you may have to put everything else on hold while you figure out how it works.
wpDataTables is so easy to use, that you might be fooled into thinking that this plugin can read your mind to see what you want done. That’s not really the case of course. Still, with wpDataTables you can organize any amount of data into interactive, responsive, and easily editable tables and charts. And you can do this without any need for coding whatsoever.
1. Exciting New wpDataTables 2.0 Features
wpDataTables 2.0 brings more than 20 new features to the table, along with major improvements in many of the more popular 1.0 features – in response to what customers have asked for.
The wpDataTables team improved the plugin, not only by the addition of new features, but by fixing several small bugs, and doing what was needed to make this easy-to-use tool, even easier to use. Read the rest of this entry »
As a web designer, you should also devote yourself to managing the accounting affairs of your business. You may feel that you’re in a strange territory.
You may or may not be a “numbers person”. But, there are various tasks that you need to do. For example, submitting quotations and invoices. You might also have to provide information on discounts, and even track the time spent on various tasks. This seems far from what you do best – design.
Time tracking and invoicing go hand in hand; and having a good method for tracking your time, will save you time. By investing in a high-quality, easy to work with time tracking app, you find you have more time to do what you do best. You will also have more leisure time as well.
There’s plenty of time tracking, invoicing, and other project and business management software products on the market. Here are 10 of the best; guaranteed to give your productivity a definite boost.
FreshBooks is a cloud-based, intuitive invoicing app designed for use by small business owners. It is an effective tool for freelancers as well. FreshBooks does more than collect the details you need to include in your invoices. You can add your brand’s color scheme and logo; thereby giving each invoice a unique, professional look. When you submit an invoice (via email), this app informs you whether your client has seen it; obviating the need for a follow-up query.
FreshBooks even goes a few steps further. In fact, it has numerous features that will help you streamline the business side of your work. You can set it up to receive online payments, you can check the dashboard for an overview on how your business is doing, and late payment notifications can be automatically sent out. You can even use the FreshBooks mobile app to take pictures of receipts on your phone to better keep track of your expenses.
One more thing; FreshBooks also manages your invoice time tracking needs.
It’s human nature to forget when you did some of your past activities. This is especially bothersome when trying to track time. In such cases, no wonder why Timely has become one of the best-loved time tracking apps on the market. Its new feature, Memory, automatically tracks every file you work on, the start and end times of your tasks, the websites you visit or apps you use. All this information is organized and presented in an intelligent timeline.
Memory by Timely can tell you what you work on and for exactly how long. It also captures all you do in Trello, Gmail, Office365/Outlook Calendar, Github, etc. Best of all, no one, including your boss, a colleague, or anyone else but you can see your timeline. Read the rest of this entry »
Your website’s performance depends largely on the hosting service you’ve selected. If the service turns out to be inadequate, you may have to put up with slow page loading or capacity issues. Even downtime more than what you’re able to tolerate.
More and more business owners are becoming aware about the need of creating quality content.
Few of these owners understand the impact a hosting service can have on their website’s performance and uptime.
It’s natural to take pricing into account when selecting a hosting service. Still, pricing should always take a back seat to performance. It should never be the primary driver behind making a selection.
There are plenty of options hosting companies that would like to offer their services to you. This week, we’re going to take a close look and 5 of the very best.
SiteGround has grown from a 3-person startup in 2004 to a hosting company that currently employs over 400 people in five data centers located on three continents. They are pioneers in the art of developing own advanced web hosting security solutions. The result is extreme data and website protection that guarantees 99.99% uptime. SiteGround have also developed their own backup system that creates backups with minimal resource usage which allows rapid restore in times of need.
Their always run the latest software on their servers (Apache, PHP, MySQL etc.) and provide the latest speed and performance technology: SSD drives, NGINX, hhtp2, PHP7. On top of their in-house WordPress caching solution – the SuperCacher manages to improve a website’s performance. Their platform is built on top of the cutting edge LXC (Linux containers) technology. The overall effect from a customer’s standpoint is exceptional performance and stability.
SiteGround’s customer support team is available 24/7 with literally no hold times, and it helps resolve questions that go beyond web hosting. There is no coincidence that their overall service is officially recommended by WordPress.org. Read the rest of this entry »
Freelancing is not always a bed of roses. Freelancers enjoy more freedom in terms of their work habits, but that freedom can come with a price. They often face challenges that office-bound workers tend to avoid. More specifically, distractions and occasion lapses in discipline and self-control.
If these challenges are not faced head-on, a lessening in productivity can result. And this can lead to extended work hours, reduced income, or both.
Today, we are offering tips designed to help a web design freelancer meet and overcome these challenges, while enjoyiing a boost in productivity.
Tip #1) Get your projects off to a quick start with the latest Be Theme pre-built websites.
Don’t start from scratch like these guys who invented a new way of designing websites.
Be Themes’s pre-built websites make it possible for you to turn out work of the highest quality, and save a ton of time in the process. You can, for example, skip wireframing, prototyping, and best of all – coding.
This Craftbeer pre-built website features large, attractive images on every page. A parallax effect ensures that the emphasis is always on the product. The Muffin Group team knows how to attract customers. It shows!
eLearning has become super popular the last few years. If you have a business in this rapidly growing niche, depending on a so-so website would be a shame. This pre-built website design is fresh looking and easy to navigate.
This pre-built website looks as if its designer had a degree in architecture. The product is front and center, and the unique value proposition stands out clearly against the semi-dark background. Read the rest of this entry »
Multipurpose WordPress themes are typically quite versatile and flexible. Using them you can create any type of website, ranging from corporate and e-commerce sites to blogs and agency portfolios. Specialty themes also have their place. Sometimes they are a better choice for creating a specific website type or filling a specific need. You’ll find excellent examples of both types here.
Be Theme, the biggest WordPress theme ever, is packed with too many powerful and useful features to mention here. The short list includes a superb collection of 250+ stunning, customizable pre-built websites to act as excellent starting points for your design projects. Pick one, install it with one click, and let Be’s Muffin Builder and Options panel take it from there.
Did you know it’s possible to build a ready-to-go website in 4 minutes! Click here to find out how working with Be Theme can make that happen.
If you want to start a page from scratch, the Layout Configurator will get you started. Be is not only big in terms of its 250+ pre-websites, and its core features (40), but also in terms of the virtually unlimited variety of design options it provides. This premium WordPress theme is easy to learn, and easy to use; but should you have a question, or need a little assistance, Be’s world-class support team is there to help.
Pro is the most advanced website creator for WordPress. If you’re a pro, Pro is for you. If you’re not a pro, but aspire to be one, Pro is also for you. Pro can be described as powerful, modular, scalable, fast, optimized, extensible; or all the above.
Features include a trio of powerful, interconnected builders (Header, Content, & Footer). You can build simple to exceedingly complex header styles with ease.
You can rely on Pro’s drag and drop interface, optimized workflow, and other powerful content-building features to help you realize your website layout potential. As far as the often- neglected footer is concerned, this amazing multipurpose theme makes it oh so easy to create a footer that is a thing of beauty.
Pro is easy to use, but fasten your seatbelt. It’s a game changer!
The Core is big. It’s 20+ themes in 1, and growing. This multipurpose WordPress theme is packed with cool features, including the Advanced Visual Builder, plenty of shortcodes, multiple slider, header, and footer options, and 700+ fonts. And, that’s just for starters.
Its 20+ hand-built website demos addressing a variety of business and industry niches. Demo content is easy to auto-install, and when you purchase The Core, new demos will be yours to use, as they appear.
The Core is responsive, retina ready, and WooCommerce ready as well. There are plenty of animations you can use to add zing to your sites; you’ll find many uses for the custom Google Maps feature; and, there’s even a module for saving your work in the event of a system crash.
UI Design – UX Design: Tightly Coupled, But Not the Same
User interface (UI), and user experience (UX), are both critical elements in website design. The two terms are often confused, and are even used interchangeably by some; but they are not one and the same. Sure, it’s important to understand the differences between these two design elements when selecting tools to incorporate their features and attributes into your websites. Yet, many premium website and mobile application design tools take both into account.
The two can be summed up thusly:
The UI is a website’s presentation, and focuses on its look and feel. UI design is digital in nature, and may even involve coding in those cases where the boundary between design and development has become blurred.
The UX gives the website life, with a focus on usability and customer satisfaction. UX design is more closely related to market research. It does not involve digital techniques or coding.
More than a tool, InVision is a complete digital product design platform, with features and capabilities tailored to each stage of the design process. Brainstorm with Freehand, a limitless whiteboard for creative exploration. Test your UI with real users and get real-time, live feedback. Share your screens and prototypes with your entire team for centralized commentary, and integrate it all with your favorite tools to create a seamless, efficient workflow.
Clients, team members, and stakeholders can comment directly on your prototypes for clear and actionable feedback; then, any changes you make will automatically sync across everyone’s account, so you’ll never work on an old version ever again.Read the rest of this entry »