The only thing certain about technology is that it is constantly changing. The same is true with Internet design. The preferred way to present information has become through graphics. This trend is giving graphic designers a field day. However, at the same time, it requires them to constantly invest in new tools and resources. In the end, they have to keep up with the competition.
Collaboration via business trips and over the phone is becoming passé as well. This is another area in which designers require the latest in collaboration-assisting tools. They need to do so if they are to meet ever more stringent project deadlines.
The good news is that most of these new tools are both easy to work with and affordable. So, this might be a perfect time to shed some old favorites that aren’t really getting the job done. See what 2018 has to offer.
Mason allows you to build, edit, and manage your front-end experiences from a central platform—all without the need for code. It enables your team to do the same, thereby speeding up collaboration and making it more efficient.
Once you’ve incorporated a Mason feature into a website or app, downstream clients, developers, or marketers can edit it when needed, avoiding the need to initiate a new development cycle. Since these features, consisting of pre-coded blocks, are designed and developed with reusability in mind, you’ll never find yourself wasting time reinventing the wheel.
Mason offers solutions for experiences ranging from user login to password reset to social sign-in to content feeds and more—front-end experiences virtually every web product needs. And, they’re insanely secure: Data is sent directly from a client’s server to your own via encrypted transactions, so you and the client are the only ones that will see your data.
The pre-packaged solutions Mason provides address common product requirements and are completely customizable; create a fully branded login flow and deploy it, live inside your app, in literal minutes. In addition, this modular content will make page management much simpler for every page you create. Mason’s modular content is a win for you, for your team, and for your users. Try it free today!
Working from a single platform can have its advantages but doing so is not without limitations. Since Mobirise is an offline builder you’re not tied down to a platform, you have total control over your work, and you can host your site anywhere you choose to.
To see what Mobirise can do for you, simply visit the site and download your copy. It’s free for both personal and commercial use. Everything is drag and drop with no coding required, and since Mobirise is built around a Bootstrap 4 or Google AMP framework, your websites and apps will be lightning fast and 100% mobile friendly.
This is an ideal tool for creating small or medium-size websites, portfolios, landing pages, and promo sites. Since it’s so intuitive to use, it’s perfect for non-techies as well, for anyone who prefers a visual approach to design, and for fast prototyping. Read the rest of this entry »
Web designers have a full plate when it comes to trying to keep up to date with the latest trends. This is especially true in 2018. These days, several different approaches to web design have surfaced.
It takes time to acquaint yourself with each of these trends. This is the time you would rather spend doing actual design work. You can stick to the tried and true and ignore the latest trends. The problem is you run the risk of having the competition leave you in the dust.
With each emerging trend, the competitive bar is raised a bit higher. This makes your work that much more difficult.
The good news is there is a WordPress theme that has always kept up with the latest creative trends. It incorporated them into its selection of more than 330 professionally-designed pre-built websites.
Here are examples of how Be Theme has put 8 recent trends to good use.
How Be Theme Has Put Current Design Trends into Practice
Design Trend #1: Illustration & Graphic Art
Custom art is the current rage in website design and is expected to continue to be so for some time to come. Designers and their clients have taken vintage watercolor illustrations to heart. This is due to the feelings of comfort and relaxation they generate. These are coupled with a sense of nostalgia.
The use of bold fonts plays an important role. It helps to get a message across without taking anything away from the illustrations.
Design Trend #2: Light, Shadow & Smoke
There is much that can be accomplished in the art of creative design. You can experiment with light and shadow. When you’ve achieved the look you want, add smoke to the mix and see what happens. Typically, your design will take on a completely different look.
“Time is money” may be a business cliché, but its truth is not to be denied. How you use your time when working for a company can influence your salary and your job security. How you do so if you are self-employed can impact your earnings.
One way to use time most efficiently is to schedule tasks and track the time spent on them. Another way is to automate recurring tasks instead of performing them manually. You can automatically prepare and send invoices, for example. Time used efficiently usually translates into time saved and increased productivity.
Somewhat ironically, the best way to save time and/or use it more efficiently and effectively is to back off a bit. It is better to put forth a little less effort, instead of simply working harder.
That is precisely what the following apps will enable you to do. 1. FreshBooks
Small, service-oriented businesses will find the FreshBooks app a particularly useful tool to use for expense management, time tracking and invoicing activities.
FreshBooks has proposal-generating capabilities that really improve productivity as they provide a framework where project outlines, timelines and scope can be detailed. These proposals can then be automatically converted into invoices with a single click. Having an established format and style within such a framework is a big timesaver, and with FreshBooks changes are easily made whenever necessary.
Expense tracking is another common small business need. FreshBooks makes it easy and takes the process a step further with the ability to take smartphone photos of receipts that are stored in the user’s database for expensing and adding to invoices. Expense and time tracking functionalities create output that is easily added to invoices. These invoices are personalized with your logo, color scheme, custom terms and conditions and more. It takes 30 seconds or less to prepare and easily send an invoice from directly in the FreshBooks app. Once an invoice is sent, you will receive an alert when the recipient views it. Read the rest of this entry »
Success breeds success. It’s an adage, but recent scientific studies have shown that once you achieve some success, more is apt to follow. That’s also true of WordPress, the premier website and blog creating platform.
WordPress’s popularity continues to grow. More web design entrepreneurs and companies are turning out more themes and plugins. WordPress happily supports these.
You might even be tempted to say that WordPress has become too successful. This can happen when you realize there are thousands of themes and plugins to choose from. Some are better suited to your needs than others, but you really don’t have the time or patience to try them all.
We’ve chosen 9 of the best on the market to help you out. Pick one, two, or all nine. Be prepared to be amazed at the design features you can easily incorporate into your website.
The data management tasks involved in building a well-structured, easy-to-comprehend table or chart can be formidable. This is especially so when you’re dealing with large amounts of complex data. You not only need to know what data to present, and how to present it, but how to come up with a result that is precisely what users need and are looking for.
wpDataTables is a best-selling WordPress plugin that does all the difficult work for you and does so in minutes instead of hours or even days. You should be prepared to be amazed at the power and flexibility this premier plugin brings to the table. wpDataTables accepts data from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats, and produces colorful, responsive, and easily maintainable tables and charts without any need for coding on your part.
This is a must-have plugin if you work with large amounts of statistical, scientific, or financial data, if you have a product inventory or catalog to manage, or if you simply have large amounts of data you need to keep organized.
LayerSlider is a premium multi-purpose animation platform that can do much more than simply add pleasing slider effects to your websites or blogs. With this versatile plugin, you cannot only create sliders from a variety of different layouts, but you can generate slideshows, animated popups and page blocks, image galleries, and even landing pages and complete websites.
LayerSlider is device friendly, so your image galleries, sliders, slideshows, etc., will be displayed correctly on desktops, tablets, and smartphones alike. Insofar as slide layouts are concerned, you can choose among full width, full size, hero scene, and OS native fullscreen.
Thanks to the visual drag and drop editor, neither coding nor special technical skills are needed to put into play everything LayerSlider offers. You can expect excellent support, extensively-detailed documentation, and regular updates over the product’s lifetime. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the typical tasks almost each site creator eventually needs to solve is a requirement to display huge amounts of data to the site visitors in a readable and interactive manner. A classic solution is organising the data in a table.
If you deal with data management on your website, you should know about wpDataTables. This is the number one WordPress plugin for tables and charts. wpDataTables takes any amount of data and organizes it on your website. It does so quickly and efficiently so you can avoid five major issues.
Major Issue #1: Wasting time organizing data
Putting together a price list or product catalog on your site can be time-consuming. You will sometimes need to manually craft a table or chart. Then, you might need to align it to fit the page, and then to pour in all the data to form neatly organized columns. This process can be a giant waste of time.
Solution: wpDataTables will spare you a lot of time as well as frustration! It will manage your data for you in a matter of minutes.
For example, you might already have a table in Excel, Google Spreadsheet or MySQL. In this case, you can create a table on your WordPress site with wpDataTables in a couple of clicks.
Or, by clicking Add New you can have a new table in two seconds flat. After that, all that is left is organizing your data and optimizing your design with just a few clicks.
Here is exactly what you can do.
Use any type of input source. This can be MySQL, Excel, CSV, Google Spreadsheet, XML, JSON or Serialized PHP array
Upload files, no matter how complex or massive it is
Copy, save to Excel or save to CSV (Table tools feature)
Sort your tables (Enable sorting feature)
Limit the table’s width (Limit table layout feature)
Define how many entries are displayed on a page (Display length feature)
Calculating the sum, average, maximum or minimum of all values in numeric columns (Calculation functions feature)
Use foreign keys for MySQL-based tables.
Preview your table to make sure the structure is flawless (Preview feature)
Major Issue #2: Needing five different plugins
Typically, you would need multiple plugins when you work with complex data. That means time spent learning how each and everyone works.
It might be hard to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of different plugins. What is more, merging them is a huge headache. Some plugins may cause conflicts when installed on same WordPress installation.
Solution: Using wpDataTables you can create and organize your information anyway you want.
You can also use the built-in Chart Creation Wizard to turn your data into a graph or chart. It only takes a few clicks.
Three render engines can be used; Google Charts, Highcharts, and Chart.js. Also, you can easily insert a form on your website. To do this, you can take advantage of a wpDataTables add-on that integrates Gravity Forms.
Here are some of the most appreciated features of the Gravity Forms integration add-on.
Show any form fields as table columns.
Display all the entry’s additional information (IP, DateTime, User ID) in a table.
Configure the output (display all records, only last XX records etc)
Show or hide deleted entries.
Use all of wpDataTables power once you create the form – sort, search, filter, and navigate through Gravity forms data as through any other wpDataTable.
Major Issue #3: Ruining the design of your website
Adding a major amount of data can compromise the design of your site. The design is the first thing to go when organizing a large quantity of data. Often you risk a well-organized, but an ugly-looking table that takes over your site.
Solution: wpDataTables allows you to adjust the table design to your liking.
You can do a lot with wpDataTables for matching your style. This includes quick colors, font size, editing columns to its appropriate type.
Major Issue #4: Having a hard time navigating the data
The most important thing in data management is easy navigation.
You want any visitor to your website to be able to find the precise thing they are looking for. Even if you have millions of rows.
Solution: wpDataTables has put extra effort into the filtering features. This allows creating an easy and intuitive navigation experience.
What you can do with the plugin:
Display a filter below each column (Advanced filtering feature)
Create a filter within the form (Filter in the form feature)
If you wish for an even better navigation and filtering experience you can use Powerful Filters. A multifunctional addon. It will extend default functionalities in several ways.
Cascade Filtering – filter values in order from left to right. Selection in each filter will enable next one and narrow down the options in it.
Independent Cascade Filtering. Lose the restriction to define filter values from left to right. Any filter narrows down all others.
Hide Table before filtering – keep the table hidden until a selection is made in the filter.
Search Button – make the table apply filters only when the Search button is clicked.
Major Issue #5: Taking forever to load a page due to the massive amount of data
The trouble is that loading a page with a large amount of data can take forever. All your efforts to organize your massive data will be for nothing if it takes a long time to load. No one wants to wait longer than a few seconds before they move on from your page.
Solution: wpDataTables automatically creates responsive mega tables.
Here’s what you can do, even with a huge amount of data:
Display your table differently on various devices. (Responsive feature)
Hide table until full page is loaded. (Optional feature)
Scroll the table horizontally (Scrollable feature)
Do you think wpDataTables is for you?
With wpDataTables, you never have to worry about writing code. 16,000 people have chosen this plugin because of its time-saving functionality. Even without tech skills, it is rated high as an easy to use the plugin. So, if you need to gather and publish data in all its forms, you can easily use wpDataTables to manage them.
You can use the plugin to create and organize:
Why waste time with messy, ugly charts when you can use this simple plugin and addons? All the headache causing tech issues can be removed from your day.
wpDataTables relieves the struggle of displaying massive amounts of data. There will be no need to compromise load speed, navigation or design. You can have the website of your dreams with less mess and fuss.
There is one thing web designers like about multipurpose WordPress themes. It is that they can be used to build virtually any type of website. It can be for a creative type, a small business, a corporation, or a cause. A counter-argument is that multipurpose is a “jack of all trades, master of none”.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Multipurpose themes are more than capable of handling any web design task. The 15 described here can yield results you and your clients will be more than proud of.
The widespread popularity of these 2018 themes enjoy more than proves the point.
BeTheme is big. It’s big in terms of its selection of pre-built websites (more than 320), the number of core features you have access to (40 or so), and the number of satisfied users (thousands). The only small number associated with this premium multipurpose theme might be its ThemeForest best-seller ranking (it’s in the top 5).
Be’s large number of customizable pre-built websites is a blessing if you land a client that operates a business that could best be described as rather uncommon if not unique. You’ll feel doubly blessed if your work involves clients from a range of business type and niches.
Locating a pre-built website that’s a great match for a given client’s needs typically takes minutes, rather than consuming hours of your valuable time.
Be’s Muffin Builder and Options Panel, together with its impressive array of shortcodes will do most of the heavy lifting for you. It’s not uncommon to be able to have a completed website up and running and ready for delivery in roughly 4 hours.
Use the Total drag and drop front-end visual page builder and the WordPress Customizer to create your website, monetize it, and you’re ready to set up shop. While you can create any type of website for virtually any purpose, Total really shines when used in the design and creation of eCommerce sites.
Total is fully compatible with and supports the WooCommerce plugin and is bbPress compatible as well.
Total is delightfully easy for WordPress users to work with. You can view the demos on the WordPress dashboard and click to install any demo you intend to use. At the same time, you’ll be prompted to install any plugins that may be required. Then it’s simply a matter of putting your website or eCommerce shop together.
Total is one of the few multipurpose themes that takes developers’ needs into account. All the hooks, snippets, and filters developers look for are built it. Read the rest of this entry »
Beautiful web pages aren’t always enough to keep a visitor engaged. In fact, if a site’s UI and UX aren’t carefully designed, visitors aren’t apt to stay around for long.
Consequently, there’s a huge and ever-growing demand for UX designers. Salaries that are in keeping with the demand make the thought of diving into UX an attractive one.
If you’ve already gone this route, you need to understand the importance of having the proper UX tools. You need to know what they are, and what they do. These tools include support collaboration, prototyping, interactive design, and user testing.
User flow diagrams make up an important piece of the puzzle. So does the ability to tweak specific design elements. These can be changed during the design phase and after product deployment.
Here are 7 top UX tools, any one of which can make your work life a lot easier.
Mason’s simple visual interface enables you to design real digital and software features without having to resort to building mockups or prototypes, and the overhead expenses they sometimes entail when handed over to engineering for comments and feedback.
Mason allows you implement your design exactly as you built it, all without a single line of code. The QA process involved in ensuring that the final product matches the design is eliminated, and you can make edits and changes immediately via the Mason platform, and watch them go live in real-time.
This is a radically different way to build, modify, deploy, and maintain desktop and mobile features. Radically doesn’t mean complex or difficult either. Mason’s creators have followed the best design practices and solutions. Mason’s feature-building process is straightforward, and you’ll realize significant savings in time and overhead expenses, and the team collaboration process will be smoother and more efficient and effective.
Another of Mason’s benefits is that it doesn’t lock you into specific platforms or hosting environments. You can simply work with a tech stack that makes the most sense to you.
Most of you would agree that designers find it difficult to tell a story with their designs, and to communicate their design thinking process to convey the message they want. Not anymore. Overflow is the first-ever user flow diagramming tool created specifically for designers.
It gives designers and product managers the flexibility to present their ideas in an impactful way, by navigating between their screen designs comfortably and focusing on the details when needed. Overflow is a cross-platform tool that integrates seamlessly with the most popular design tools, allowing designers to design, present, share & print their user flows, all in one place.
So in other words, Overflow makes designers look good and keeps their audience captivated so that they can follow the story throughout the entire user journey.
Finding just the right WordPress website builder to fit you needs can take time. First, you must determine what it is you want. Then you must take the time to research what’s available. Your research may require the skills of a Sherlock Holmes since you often need to read between the lines or request a trial offer to determine what a website builder is genuinely capable of.
Even then, you may have to settle for a compromise. The product may be of superior quality but is lacking in one or more important features; or it may be loaded down with features (including many you may never use), but you’ll have to sit through six hours of tutorials before you can even get it operational.
You can avoid all the searching, researching, free trials, and trying to live without certain features by going with #1 – Elementor.
1. Why Choose Elementor?
Elementor makes website building painless and effortless, but it does so without placing any design constraints on its users. It does what you tell it to without ever begging for a line of code to help get the job done.
This #1 WordPress website builder gives you all the design flexibility you’ll ever need. Whether you come across a client who has no idea what to ask for, or a very demanding, fabulously- creative client, neither one will be a problem for you.
You have full control over customizing your layouts, full access to the necessary design elements and features, you do your design work on the frontend, and you can see the results of your efforts instantly and in real time.
Elementor 2.0 is even better! 2.0 will be released incrementally over the remainder of 2018 with some great surprises in store. Elementor’s 600,000+ customer base is expected to increase dramatically. Read the rest of this entry »
Keeping a small business running is hard work. You have projects to negotiate, emails to answer, and deadlines to meet. You have to find the time to explore new trends and methods. Sometimes, you have to take whatever time it takes to learn how to use new tools of your trade effectively.
When you add accounting to the mix, you may begin to feel as if your sanity is hanging in the balance.
Sending invoices and chasing down and collecting payments might not be easy. Also, tracking income and expenses and preparing tax returns all take time. This is where FreshBooks comes in.
1. What is FreshBooks and What Does It Do?
FreshBooks is a software accounting solution that makes billing a quick, painless process. You will have the time you save by being able to avoid having to handle billing manually. It can better be devoted to the work you enjoy doing.
FreshBooks is a creation of Mike McDerment. Mike is a web designer. He realized the billing process was time-consuming. Once he realized how much, be decided to do something about it. Mike also wanted to avoid mistakes, large or small, that could get him into trouble.
He set about building a simple software application that can solve this problem. His app that relieves freelancers and small business owners of these tedious tasks. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, over 10 million people are using FreshBooks. They are managing their invoicing, payments, and time tracking tasks. Read the rest of this entry »
The longer you can keep a visitor tuned into your website the better. But the time needed to fully engage a visitor is quite short.
If your website UX isn’t up to snuff, you’ll be fortunate if a visitor sticks around more than 5 seconds. That isn’t much time to sell a product or service, or even get your message across.
You might have the skills and tools to create a UX you can be proud of. Yet, your efforts can come to naught if you make any of the 5 mistakes described in this article.
Avoid them at all costs.
For Continued Success in 2018, Avoid These 5 UX Mistakes Like the Plague
UX Mistake #1 – Practicing Diversity in Your Online Presence Rather than Consistency
Do not show your visitors all the different styles you can use when you design web pages. Web users prefer consistency. They like to know that page 4 belongs to the same website as does page 1.
Stick to the same color scheme throughout your web, mobile, social media presence. The same applies to fonts. Keep the number and sizes of fonts to 2 or less and 4 or less, respectively; as shown in this BeDecor example.
You should also avoid using unnecessary or superfluous font weights. They contribute little if anything and can slow page loading down. As illustrated in BeYoga2, readability is best when the line height is the same. The good use of white space is also important.
UX Mistake #2 – Giving Speed a Higher Priority than UX
Your typical user generally has a quite short attention span. That’s one reason to avoid slow loading pages. But, it’s more important for a site to feature a UX that attracts and engages visitors and keeps them engaged. BeCompany is an excellent example of such a website.
Speed won’t help much either if a website is cluttered. This tends to distract a visitor or make the experience downright unpleasant. You might be uncertain as for how best to balance speed with UX. In this case, start your project with a pre-built website like BeBirthday. It’s already optimized for speed and UX, so you won’t have to worry about the issue. Read the rest of this entry »