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.
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’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 »
Best of Themes is a showcase website where you can browse thousands of free and paid themes quickly, so you can focus what matters. We had always the problem of finding a matching theme to our product. The current process is amazingly time consuming and consists of going to each theme provider, clicking on each theme and checking the demos; mind you only themeforest has 8000 themes only for wordpress. One can do probably 20-30 trials before giving up and picking up the most common ones.
So, to solve the problem they made this platform, a curated collection of free and commercial themes added daily, with a screenshot of their most important pages together for both mobile and desktop to quickly browse through. Today we have 936 Themes, 14548 pages indexed, and total of 16443 screenshots on the platform.
License: License Free
The web apps below in combination with these productivity tips will help you improve your workflow. So here they are:
Clarify Expected Outcomes. Just as can often be more than a single solution to an ambiguous requirement, expectations that are not put forth clearly can lead to unexpected or unintended results.
Encourage Open Communications. When team members are feel they cannot ask questions and discuss problems and concerns openly and it will lead to problems somewhere in the workflow.
Give Team Members Autonomy. This creates higher morale, and leads to better performance; even when the leash must be kept short.
Rethink Meetings – Structure meeting agendas to support the team effort.
Reserve Downtime. Use the tomato approach; intersperse time performing work with scheduled periods of downtime; everyone benefits when downtime is judiciously scheduled.
Hold to the following Team Management Principles, while practicing the productivity tips:
- Use a scheduling system that blocks off the hours where the focus is on work, and the hours to be set aside for downtime.
- Apprise your team members of your project’s overall progress. It keeps them accountable, and it keeps them in the loop.
- Clearly communicate your overtime needs to your reports. This is true both when overtime will be expected, and when there will be no need for it.
- Don’t micromanage. Assume your reports are experts at what they are supposed to be doing. Give them the resources they need, and let them get on with it.
Read the rest of this entry »
If you are reading this article, you most likely have worked with a tech company or startup. You’ve noticed that this niche has its own rules. And you probably had to answer some hard questions. What’s the audience’s main treat? What’s the suited design style for tech clients? Do web design trends matter in this domain?
We gathered some answers to those questions that will help you in the future. We’ve also analyzed ten tech related pre-built websites. Using them will save you valuable time.
When Designing for Tech Companies, Following Current Trends is Essential
The educated Internet user will quickly decide if your website is hot or not. Trends are not only a matter of fashion, but using them transmits a message of freshness and coolness. Here are some of the most important trends that you should follow when designing for tech companies:
– Use Flat Icons – Drop the shadows, skip the gradients, and avoid the clever special effects. In other words, go “all Apple”. It’s the best way to engage your tech client’s clients – simple is best.
When working on a tech-related website, it’s all about fine touches.
– Use Bold Colors. You may have your favorite color schemes, but be prepared to let them go. Bold colors are hot for these types of websites. Look for color combinations that are fresh, dynamic, but not too noisy.
– Work on Your Own Data Visualization. Using data-driven elements needs to be your goal. Tech clients feel a need to communicate various types of data on their website. With data driven elements you can work on your own visualization schemes and not those that involve working with other software.
– Typography. in-browser fonts that are built for all screens, to be precise. Needless to say, an expressive, typography font should be delivered to all types of screens. Read the rest of this entry »
First of all, how exactly do you intend to present your design, or elements of it, to others, or test the UX? With a prototype of course, but there are also wireframes and mockups to consider. All three serve a purpose, but they are not one and the same. The problem is, the names are used often incorrectly.
So, let’s set things straight so you’ll know what to try and buy.
- A wireframe is a low-fidelity depiction of a design. A wireframe can say a lot about a design, but it is a static model. A wireframe cannot simulate a product’s look and feel.
- A mockup is one step up. A mockup typically provides much more information than a wireframe. Although interactive elements can be embedded in a mockup, it is a static representation. As such, a mockup is suitable for seeking feedback, but not for UI testing.
- A prototype is dynamic. A prototype will not only simulate the proposed end product, or certain functions of it. It will simulate the look and feel of the proposed design, and serve as a platform for usability testing.
Most designers create their prototypes in a three-step process.
1) They sketch out page flows. These show how a user might navigate the site or application.
2) They produce low-fidelity versions of each page which are individually tested for usability.
3) From lessons learned from testing, the high-fidelity, interactive prototype is created.
One of the following prototyping aids should be just the right solution for you.
Prototyping Tools that can Streamline Your Design Activity
InVision enables designers, developers and their teams to produce high-fidelity prototypes to review, refine, and user test their web and mobile product designs, all without requiring a single line of code.
This prototyping and collaboration platform is highly recommended by Forbes, who has designated InVision as one of the premier cloud companies in the world. InVision’s always-on platform turns static designs into interactive prototypes, speeding up the collaboration and feedback process, saving you valuable time and money.
The project management tools you need to share information while maintaining version control are there as well. Pixel-perfect prototypes, that have the look and feel of the final app or website you’re envisioning, can be built with ease. You can also conduct an unlimited number of usability tests with real users at no charge.
Sign up for a free trial today, and you’ll discover why over 2 million users have adopted this platform. InVision is driving design for some of the world’s smartest companies, including Twitter, Shopify, and LinkedIn. Now is your chance to design better, smarter products more quickly.
Pidoco is easy to learn and easy to use. It’s a nice solution for a team that wants to get rolling quickly. If click-through wireframes are what you need, or even a sketch, or a low-fi prototype, this tool gets it done, but where it really shines lies in the creation of fully-interactive UX prototypes.
Pidoco’s smart template feature offers a building block approach that allows your prototyping activity to move along at a rapid rate. Exports and specs is another useful feature. You can create specification documents to give to your team, or to your client for signoff, with the click of a button, and you can export your prototypes as PNG or vector files, or even as HTML.
Whether it’s for a website or an app, Pidoco can definitely speed up your design process and workflow, and deliver better designs at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »
We are excited to bring your attention to the most recent update of Monstroid – a multipurpose WordPress theme packed with premade designs, tools for developers, plugins, and many other awesome features.
We have already featured Monstroid in one of our posts, and even hosted a giveaway. Today you have a unique opportunity to save 40% on this theme – learn the terms of the discount at the end of this post. Right now, we want to introduce you to what’s new in Update 1.1.3 for the owners of Monstroid.
5 New Child Themes to Choose From
In addition to 40+ existing child themes you receive 5 absolutely new designs suitable for a broad range of website topics. What these themes have in common is the professional code, attention to detail and rich functionality powered by numerous original Monstroid plugins. Check out all of them in our overview, or take a closer look at the entire gallery of child themes on the official website.
Hang Gliding is an image-rich WordPress theme with a full-width layout and a stick-to-top mega menu. The uppermost part of its homepage includes a large slider with a creative, minimalist navigation bar. The homepage itself is divided into separate content blocks, each serving its own specific purpose. Here you will find nicely designed company service lists illustrated with icons, contact forms, a timeline with the latest events covered on your website, social media buttons, and more. There is also a customizable Google Map, which can be used to indicate the location of your office to the clients.
LIVE DEMO | MORE INFO
Arch is a versatile responsive business WordPress theme created with architecture and real estate companies in mind. It boasts a wide responsive layout composed of flat and image-based content areas enhanced with various visual effects. You can change the color scheme or replace the images to make the design unique. This theme features clean lines, large fonts and buttons, integrated Google Maps and modern ghost buttons. The convenient menu is minimized into a hamburger button, and is supplemented with a back-to-top button. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you often find yourself struggling to find the right graphic asset to complete your projects? How does access to 5000+ highly curated fonts, graphics templates, icons, UI kits and much more for just one low monthly price sound?
Envato Elements promises all this and more. Just launched, it offers top quality handmade items created by a global network of independent designers. Regularly updated to include new content daily and plans to rapidly expand the item categories to match demand. Each item you download is covered by a broad commercial use license giving you peace of mind for client projects.
And if you decide it’s not for you simply cancel your subscription at any time.
Don’t miss your chance at special launch pricing just $29/month for unlimited downloads of all 5000+ items.
Have you ever stopped to look back at what your job was like 10 years ago? It’s common knowledge that web designers’ responsibilities have changed over the years.
In the past, you either needed some serious coding skills to be a website designer, or you had to rely on coding help from others. You needed creative skills as well. That need hasn’t changed. Your creativity is now focused on design and visualization, with a touch of marketing expertise thrown in. You also need to have a basic understanding of how WordPress works.
All this hasn’t made your work any easier. It may in fact be harder. To be competitive, you have to keep up with the the latest design trends and constantly work at improving your design skills.
You have the tools you need, but it’s how you use them that adds value to a project.
Read this article to discover how buying a 0.28$ website, like this one, will be the smartest purchase you’ll make this month.
When you buy a WordPress theme, are you really paying attention to the value for money?
A WordPress theme can be one of the most useful products you can buy to build a website. WordPress themes relieve you of most of the technical aspects of building a website. And you can concentrate on creativity, making smart design choices, and working with your clients.
Most WP themes do this for you, but some contain features you don’t need. Or features you need, but require hours of learning. For efficiency’s sake, you would greatly prefer a WP theme that offers most of what you need, and little or nothing more.
That’s what value for money is all about. Purchasing a product that offers the most in efficiency and effectiveness. In other words, a smart buy. Read the rest of this entry »
Choosing an eCommerce theme puts you on the right track for building a quality online store. But making that choice is only half the battle. The look and feel of your online store is critical. Your eCommerce theme can perform the tasks to make that happen, but you have to tell it what you want done.
What do you need to consider when designing your online store?
- Give your store a familiar look. This makes it easier for shoppers to go where they want to go. Krug’s first law of usability puts it nicely – “Don’t make me think.” Don’t make your visitors have to think in order to find their way around your store.
- Don’t overdo your homepage banner. A knockout banner is nice, but it’s really unnecessary. If it’s too loud or flashy, it will simply drive customers away.
- Think about how you want to display your products. A traditional or conventional display tends to work best. Make sure the product images are compatible with the website’s style and brand.
- Think mobile first. Half of your potential customers do their shopping from mobile devices, and before long, the majority will be doing so. Make their visit a pleasant one.
- Make owning a lightweight, fast eCommerce theme a priority. It will be easier to work with, and it will help you build fast and reliable websites.
XStore-Responsive WooCommerce Theme
If it’s a priority to find a theme that gets the job done, yet is delightfully easy to work with, XStore is an excellent choice. It is also an excellent choice if you plan to take Krug’s first law of usability to heart. If you spend a few moments browsing their demos, it’s apparent that this theme’s authors have done just that.
That is why the demos have such a familiar look. Familiarity gives your shop a trustworthy, professional appearance, plus your customers don’t have to think. By hovering over one or more of the demos, you should be able to come up with some great ideas for how you want your own store to look.
XStore is responsive, RTL-ready, and Visual Composer compatible. It is also 100% WooCommerce compatible. You’ll like working with its Theme Options feature. It gives you the flexibility to build whatever is on your mind. Support is excellent, and video tutorials are there to assist you with installation and settings management.
Merchandiser is minimalist, fast, and reliable. The exact opposite of an over bloated theme that tends to be loaded down with functionality, bells, and whistles that you have no need for. Merchandiser’s authors follow the principle that simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication – and it shows. Merchandiser is packed with features, but only as many as you need – nothing more.
The Theme Customizer/Visual Composer Drag and Drop Page Builder features combine to create a potent web-building force. Visitors to your online shop will appreciate features like the off-canvas shopping cart and off-canvas quick view, along with the ability to choose how they want to view your products as they shop.
Merchandiser gives you the ability to sell anything online, including digital products, or you can open an affiliate business if you wish. It all happens with simplicity in mind. Read the rest of this entry »
Your assignment is to create a website for a creative agency, perhaps the one you work for. Hence, your goal is to design a website that will attract and engage potential clients and customers. And have them beating on the door.
You need to address what these potential customers expect from a creative agency. They obviously expect quality work. And they expect creativity. Whether the agency in question is a web design, marketing campaign, or PR agency.
A creative agency’s capabilities need to reflect its website. If the agency is legitimately capable of doing the impossible, its website should reflect it. And that could be a challenge.
Fortunately, all you need, besides some creative skills of your own, is a design tool to make your designs as creative as possible. Use a pixel-perfect theme, like this one, and you are on your way to satisfying the most pretentious and demanding clients. Or your boss.
Uncode’s Creative Agency concept
The Top 5 Most Important Pages and Areas in a Creative Agency’s Website
Your creative agency’s homepage should be awesome to look at. That would seem to be a reasonable expectation for this type of a business. What is even more important yet, is your homepage needs to tell a visitor who you are and what you do – instantly. Read the rest of this entry »