22 Amazing Gifts For Designers – 2019 Edition

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/1stwebdesigner/~3/peba5PyQO-E/

We have collected 22 fantastic Christmas gifts for all your creative web designer and graphic designer friends out there. While not exhaustive, these are some of the best gifts for designers available right now, just in time for your holiday shopping.

Ready? Let’s get started with our 2019 gift guide!

Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook

Rocketbook - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

The Rocketbook notebook provides a classic pen and paper experience, yet is built for the digital age. Although it feels like a traditional notebook, the Rocketbook is endlessly reusable and connected to all of your favorite designer’s relevant cloud services. When your designer friend writes using any pen from the Pilot Frixion line, their writing sticks to Rocketbook pages like regular paper. But add a drop of water… and the notebook erases like magic. Designed for those who want an endlessly reusable notebook to last for years, if not a lifetime, the Rocketbook has pages made with synthetic materials that provide an extremely smooth writing experience. Blast handwritten notes to popular cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, box, OneNote, Slack, iCloud, email and more using the free Rocketbook application for iOS and Android.


reMarkable – the Paper Tablet – 10.3″ Digital Notepad and E-reader

reMarkable - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

reMarkable is the first digital device that gives your favorite designer a pen-to-paper note-taking experience. reMarkable converts theirr hand-written notes to typed text, making them easy to refine, organize and share. With no backlight or glare, reMarkable offers a paper-like reading experience they won’t find on any LCD display. Annotate on their documents just like theywould on paper. Includes digital tools like undo, erase, move, and many more.


Wacom Intuos Pro Digital Graphic Drawing Tablet

Wacom Intuous Pro Drawing Tablet - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

The professional standard in creative pen tablets Wacom Intuos Pro sets a new standard for professional graphics tablets. The new Wacom Pro Pen 2 features impressive pressure sensitivity, tilt response and virtually lag free tracking. Your favorite designer will get natural creative control while they illustrate, edit or design digitally with Intuos Pro.


Wacom INTUOS4/CINTIQ21 Grip Pen

Wacom Intuous4 Grip Pen - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

Sketch and write on an Intuos tablet or Cintiq display comfortably with this Wacom Grip Pen stylus. It has a contoured body and ergonomic weight to help prevent wrist fatigue during extended use, and its tilt sensitivity provides a natural feel for accurate drawing. Maximize productivity with the programmable side switches and pressure-sensitive eraser.


Moleskine Pen+ Smart Writing Set Pen & Dotted Smart Notebook

Moleskine Smart Writing Set - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

Your favorite designer will watch their ideas travel off the page and evolve on screen. Part of the Smart Writing System, the Smart Writing Set is an instant-access kit containing a dotted layout Paper Tablet, Pen+ smart pen and Moleskine Notes app: everything needed to bring all the advantages of digital creativity to freehand notes and sketches.


Adobe Stock – Try Risk Free For 30 Days!

Adobe Stock Subscription - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

Give the gift that keeps on giving, starting with a risk-free 30-day trial! Find the perfect high-res, royalty-free, stock image to enhance your favorite designer’s next creative project. Preview watermarked images inside designs first. Then license, access and manage them directly within Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and other Adobe desktop apps.


Vaydeer USB 3.0 Wireless Charging Aluminum Monitor Stand Riser

Vaydeer Monitor Stand - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

Your favorite designer can create additional space on their desktop while adding USB 3.0 ports, wireless charging for your devices, and keyboard and mouse storage, all in a sleek and affordable package!


Sinstar 8 in 1 Aluminum Multi Port Adapter Type C Combo Hub

Sinstar Multi Port Adapter - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

This handy little device features three USB 3.0 ports, SD and Micro SD card slots, Ethernet, charging port, and 4K HDMI video output. The compact and easy-to-use design makes it simple to take the Type-C USB Hub with you anywhere you go. Your favorite designer won’t be far from the convenience of accessing their favorite USB devices.


Rhodia Webnotebook

Rhodia Webnotebook - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

The Rhodia Webnotebook has a leatherette cover with a glued spine. The Webnotebook is A5 in size and has 96 sheets with an elastic closure to keep the book closed. The Webnotebook has a coloured ribbon and expanding pocket.


Lemome A5 Hardcover Dot Grid Notebook with Pen Loop

Lemome Notebook - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

A popular choice for everyday use, designers can use it to capture ideas, drafts, and drawings. Never lose your pen again, since the strap holds the pen and fits securely onto the side of the notebook. You’ll never have to rummage around again for something to write. Thick premium paper means it’s perfect to write and draw on.


Field Notes Signature Series Notebook 2-Pack

Field Notes - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

What designer doesn’t want Field Notes? Field Notes Signature Series Notebook 2-Packs are available in two versions: Cream covered books with plain ruled paper inside, or gray covered sketch books with plain paper inside. The covers are gently debossed with just a tint of ink. Inside you’ll find 72 pages of very high quality white Strathmore Premium Wove paper. The ruled pack has a fine application of gray lines on the pages.


Pantone: 10 Notebooks

Pantone Notebooks - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

Ten petite journals feature Pantone’s iconic color chip design in ten sumptuous shades. Grid-dot interior pages and a sturdy slipcase make these notebooks eminently practical and chic for on-the-go note-taking when used solo, and an eye-catching object for desktop display when grouped together.


Envato Elements

Envato Elements - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

Another gift that keeps on giving! One affordable subscription provides access to 1,800,000+ assets, including graphics, video, audio, presentation templates, photos, fonts, WordPress themes and plugins, and so much more. Sign up the designer you care about and they will forever be grateful!


Bellroy Classic Pouch

Bellroy Classic Pouch - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

The Classic Pouch is the humble sidekick that can make a big difference to your favorite designer’s day. They’ll never again leave behind their pen, charger, gum or lip balm, just because they can’t keep track of their essentials. And they won’t rummage around their bag looking for them, either. The Classic Pouch is the place to keep them in one place (and in the right place). An everyday pouch for keeping daily essentials in one spot — cables, cosmetics, toiletries, tools and more!


Vintage Typography Notecards

Vintage Typography Cards - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

Discovered in vintage typographic manuals, the specimens featured on these elegant cards range from one-of-a-kind hand-drawn samples to classic favorites used in the early decades of the twentieth century. The back of each card features a minihistory of the typeface’s origins and use.


Fifty Type Specimens: From the Collection of Tobias Frere-Jones

Fifty Type Specimens - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

Fifty Type Specimens is a collection of postcards with stunning images of typography, for inspiration, correspondence, or display. Cards feature classic letterforms, pages from specimen books, and crops of gorgeous letters presented in a box with the feel of an old specimen book. Historic typefaces, selected by renowned designer Tobias Frere-Jones, are organized into four geographic categories by thumb tabs: Germany, France, United States, and the United Kingdom.


UI PROGO Stainless Steel Stencils

UI Progo Stencils - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

Premium quality materials with innovative design to create the ultimate tool for stenciling. With icons that are large enough to actually use, these stencils are a must-have for all designers, artists, students, and journaling enthusiasts. Complete with the latest social media icons, these stencils give you what you need to create the perfect design you have in mind. Made to be portable, you can take them with you to work, the office, or class.


2020 Stendig Wall, Office, and Home Calendar

Stendig Wall calendar - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

This calendar is special. It is much more than just a wall calendar: It is a masterpiece of art. This is the original, genuine and authentic work of the great Massimo Vignelli, designed in 1966. This modern calendar has withstood the test of time. Year after year designers, architects, doctors, lawyers, and many others purchase this calendar to let guests in their home or office know one thing: “I have style”.


Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills

Creative Workshop - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

80 creative challenges that will help designers achieve a breadth of stronger design solutions, in various media, within any set time period. Exercises range from creating a typeface in an hour to designing a paper robot in an afternoon to designing web pages and other interactive experiences. Each exercise includes compelling visual solutions from other designers and background stories to help your favorite designer increase their capacity to innovate.


A Few Minutes of Design: 52 Activities to Spark Your Creativity

A Few Minutes of Design - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

This colorful, handy card deck presents fifty-two exercises and activities to jump-start your favorite designer’s creative juices, free them from creative block, start a new project, or finish an existing one. Each exercise offers insight into the innumerable small decisions involved in design: How to establish a pattern, continue a series, how to say it without words, how to name a project, what fits, and what doesn’t? These cards benefit established practicing designers or creatives in any field with activities that are sometimes playful, sometimes challenging, but always enlightening. Each activity is estimated to take 15 minutes.


Meggs’ History of Graphic Design

Meggs History of Graphic Design - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

Meggs’ History of Graphic Design is the industry’s unparalleled, award-winning reference. With over 1,400 high-quality images throughout, this visually stunning text will guide your favorite designer through a saga of artistic innovators, breakthrough technologies, and groundbreaking developments that define the graphic design field. The initial publication of this book was heralded as a publishing landmark, and author Philip B. Meggs is credited with significantly shaping the academic field of graphic design.


Pantone Postcard Box: 100 Postcards

Pantone Postcards - Gifts For Designers - 1st Web Designer

With a palette drawn from the systems of Pantone, each postcard in this set of 100 offers a different bold hue to brighten up your favorite designer’s mail.


The Evolution of JavaScript Tooling: A Modern Developer’s Guide

Original Source: https://www.sitepoint.com/javascript-tooling-evolution-modern-developers-guide/?utm_source=rss

The Evolution of JavaScript Tooling: A Modern Developer’s Guide

This article was created in partnership with Sencha. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.

JavaScript application source code has traditionally been hard to understand, due to code being spread across JavaScript, HTML, and CSS files, as well as events and data flowing through a number of non intuitive paths. Like all software, the JavaScript development environment includes bundlers, package managers, version control systems, and test tools. Each of these requires some learning curve.

Inconsistencies and incompatibilities between browsers have historically required various tweaks and special cases to be sprinkled around the code, and very often fixing a bug in one browser breaks something on another browser. As a result, development teams struggle to create and maintain high quality, large-scale applications while the demand for what they do soars, especially at the enterprise-application level where business impact has replaced “How many lines of code have you laid down?”

To deal with this complexity, the open-source community as well as commercial companies have created various frameworks and libraries, but these frameworks and libraries have become ever more complicated as they add more and more features in an attempt to make it easier for the developer. Still, frameworks and libraries offer significant advantages to developers and can also organize and even reduce complexity.

This guide discusses some of the more popular frameworks and libraries that have been created to ease the burden of writing complex user interface (UI) code and how enterprise applications, especially data-intensive apps, can benefit from using these frameworks and UI components to deliver applications faster, with better quality, and yet stay within any development shop’s budget.

Complexity of Modern Web Development

Andrew S. Tanenbaum, the inventor of Minix (a precursor to Linux often used to bring up new computer chips and systems), once said1, “The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from.” Browsers followed a number of standards, but not all of them, and many just went their own way.

That’s where the trouble started — the so-called “Browser Wars.” How each browser displayed the data from these websites could be quite different. Browser incompatibilities still exist today, and one could say they are a little worse because the Web has gone mobile.

Developing in today’s world means being as compatible as possible with as many of the popular web browsers as possible, including mobile and tablet.

What about mobile?

Learning Android Java (Android) can be difficult if the developer hasn’t been brought up with Java. For Apple iOS, Objective C is a mashup of the C programming language and Smalltalk, which is different but not entirely alien to C++ developers. (After all, object-oriented concepts are similar.) But given the coming of (Apple) Swift and a new paradigm, “protocol-oriented programming,” Objective C has a questionable future.

In contrast, the JavaScript world, through techniques such as React Native or Progressive Web Apps, allows for development of cross-platform apps that look like native apps and are performant. From a business perspective, an enterprise can gain a number of advantages by only using one tool set to build sophisticated web and mobile apps.

Constant change causes consternation

The JavaScript world is particularly rich in how much functionality and how many packages are available. The number is staggering. The number of key technologies that help developers create applications faster is also large, but the rate of change in this field causes what’s called “JavaScript churn,” or just churn. For example, when Angular moved from version 1 to 2 (and again from 3 to 4), the incompatibilities required serious porting time. Until we embrace emerging Web Components standards, not everything will interoperate with everything else.

One thing that can be said is that investing in old technologies not backed by standards can be career-limiting, thus the importance of ECMA and ECMAScript standards as well as adherence to more or less common design patterns (most programming is still, even to this day, maintenance of existing code rather than fresh new starts and architectures). Using commonly used design patterns like Model-View-Controller (MVC), Model-View-Viewmodel (MVVM), and Flux means that your code can be modified and maintained more easily than if you invent an entirely new paradigm.

Having large ecosystems and using popular, robust, well-supported tools is one strategy proven year after year to yield positive results for the company and the developer’s career, and having industry-common or industry-standard libraries means that you can find teammates to help with the development and testing. Modern development methodologies practically demand the use of frameworks, reusable libraries, and well-designed APIs and components.

Popularity of Modern Frameworks and Libraries

Stack Overflow, an incredibly popular developers website used for questions and answers (#57 according to Alexa as of January 2019), tracks a great deal of data on the popularity of various technologies and has become a go-to source for developers. Their most recent survey continued to show the incredible popularity of both JavaScript and JavaScript libraries and frameworks:

NPM Downloads of Popular Front-end LibrariesNPM Downloads of Popular Frontend Libraries. (Source)

According to Stack Overflow, based on the type of tags assigned to questions, the top eight most discussed topics on the site are JavaScript, Java, C#, PHP, Android, Python, jQuery and HTML — not C, C++, or more exotic languages like Ocaml or Haskell. If you’re building websites, you’re very likely going to want to use technologies that are popular because the number of open-source and commercial/supported products provides you with the ability to code and test more quickly, resulting in faster time to market.

What this means to developers is that the JavaScript world continues to lead all others in the number of developers, and while older technologies like jQuery are still popular, clearly React and Angular are important and continue growing. The newcomer, Vue, is also becoming more and more popular.

Selecting Angular, React, or Vue

Angular versus React versus Vue — there are so many open-source tools. Add to that libraries like Backbone.js and a hundred others. How can developers update their knowledge of so many? Which one should they choose? To some extent this decision is choosing text editors: it’s a personal choice, it’s fiercely defended, and in the end each might actually work for you.

If your main concern is popularity so you don’t get boxed into learning a complicated, rich programming environment only to see support wither away, then React is clearly “winning” as the long-term trend line shows. But popularity is only one attribute in a long shopping list of important decision factors.

Long-term trend lines of various popular frameworks and librariesLong-term trend lines of various popular frameworks and libraries. (Source)

The post The Evolution of JavaScript Tooling: A Modern Developer’s Guide appeared first on SitePoint.

Should Your Portfolio Site Be A PWA?

Original Source: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2019/12/should-your-portfolio-site-be-pwa/

Should Your Portfolio Site Be A PWA?

Should Your Portfolio Site Be A PWA?

Suzanne Scacca


This is going to seem like an odd thing to suggest, considering how much work is required to build a progressive web app instead of a responsive website. But, for many of you, your portfolio site should be built as a PWA.

There are a number of benefits to doing this, which I’ll outline below, but the bottom line is this:

If you want to spend less time looking for clients, applying to design gigs and convincing prospects to hire you, a PWA would be a wise investment for your business.

Why Do Web Designers Need to Build PWAs for Themselves?

If you’ve spoken to clients about building PWAs for their businesses, then you know the usual selling points:

A progressive web app is inherently fast, reliable and engaging.

But for a web designer or developer, there are other reasons to build a PWA for your business.

Reason #1: Show and Tell

When it comes to selling clients on a PWA, you have to remember that the concept is still relatively new, at least in terms of public awareness.

Remember when we made the shift from mobile “friendly” websites to responsive? You couldn’t just summarize what a responsive website was and then expect clients to be okay with paying more than they would for a non-responsive site. You had to actually show them the difference in terms of design and, more importantly, demonstrate the benefits.

More or less, I think consumers are familiar with responsive design today, even if they don’t know it by name. Just look at the statistics on how many more people visit websites on mobile devices or how Google rewards mobile-first sites. This wouldn’t be possible without responsive design.

For PWAs, it’s going to take some time for consumers to truly understand what they are and what value they add to the web. And I think that will naturally start to happen as more PWAs appear.

For now though, your prospects are going to need more than an assurance that PWAs are the future of the web. And they most definitely will need the benefits broken down into terms they understand (so that means no talk of service workers, caching or desktop presence).

One of the best ways to sell prospects on a PWA without overcomplicating it is to say, “Our website is a PWA.” Not only is this a great way to introduce the PWA as something they’re already familiar with, but it’s basically like saying:

We’re not trying to sell you some hot new trend. We actually walk the walk.

And when you do open up the conversation this way, their response should hopefully be something like:

Wow! I was wondering how you got XYZ to happen.

Take Mutual Mobile, for example.

Let’s say a prospective client found the PWA in search results and decided to poke around the portfolio to see what kind of work the consultancy had done in the past.

This is what they would see:

Mutual Mobile PWA bottom sticky bar

The Mutual Mobile PWA includes a social share sticky bar on the portfolio pages. (Source: Mutual Mobile) (Large preview)

In addition to the sticky header that keeps the logo ever-present along with the menu, there’s a new bottom bar that appears on this page.

This sticky bottom bar serves a number of purposes:

The number of shares works as social proof.
The quick links to social media encourage visitors to share the page with others, especially if they know someone who’s in need of a designer.
The email icon makes it easy to send a copy of the page to themselves or to someone else — again, serving as a referral or reminder that this page is worth following up on.

This isn’t the only place where the bottom bar appears on the Mutual Mobile site. As you might’ve guessed, it also shows up on the blog — a place where engagement and sharing should be happening.

Mutual Mobile blog with social share

The Mutual Mobile blog includes a sticky bottom banner with social share buttons and counts. (Source: Mutual Mobile) (Large preview)

I’m particularly fond of this use of the bottom bar considering how difficult it can be to place social share icons on responsive websites. Either they sit at the very top or bottom of the post where they’re not likely to be seen or they’re added in as a hovering vertical bar which can compromise the readability of the content.

This might seem like such an insignificant feature of a PWA to highlight, but it can make a huge difference if your responsive site (or that of your client) is lacking in engagement.

Plus, the fact that the bottom bar only appears at certain times demonstrates this company’s understanding of how PWAs work and how to make the most of their app-like features.

That said, you don’t want to use your PWA to brag about your progressive web app development prowess.

Instead, simply present your PWA as an example of what can be done and then explain the value in using PWA-specific features to increase engagement and conversions.

And if you have a story to tell about why you built a PWA for your business that you know the prospect can relate to, don’t be afraid to bring it up. Storytelling is a really powerful sales tactic because it doesn’t feel like you’re selling at all. It’s more genuine.

Reason #2: Create Something DIY Builders Can’t

I’ve tested most of the major drag-and-drop builders and I get why business owners would consider this seemingly more cost-effective DIY approach now. A few years ago? No way. But these technologies really are getting better in terms of being able to “design” a professional-looking website. (Speed, security and functionality are a whole other story though.)

Knowing this and knowing the direction the web is going in, it would be a wise move for web designers to start transitioning their businesses over to PWAs. Not completely, at first. There are still clients who will be willing to pay a web designer to build a website for them (instead of trying and doing it on their own).

But if you can start advertising progressive web app design or development services on your site and then turn your website into a PWA, you’d put yourself in a great position. Not only would you be seen as a forward-thinking designer, but you’d be poised to work with a higher quality of client down the road.

And for the time being, you’d have a PWA that’s sure to impress as it carefully straddles the line between the convenience of a website and the sleekness of a native app.

Let me show you an example.

This is the PWA for Build in Amsterdam:

Build in Amsterdam walkthroughA walkthrough of the Build in Amsterdam Cases pages. (Source: Build in Amsterdam)

It’s simple enough in terms of content. There are only pages for Cases (which pulls double duty as the home page), About and Contact. Really, with the quality of cases and context about those cases provided, that’s really all this digital agency needs.

If you do decide to turn your portfolio site into a PWA, consider doing something similar. With fewer pages and a focus on delivering only the most pertinent information, the experience will feel just as efficient and streamlined as a native app.

Back to Build in Amsterdam:

The design is incredibly engaging. Every time one of the Cases images is clicked, it feels as though visitors are entering a new portal.

While a clear top and bottom banner aren’t clearly present as they would be in a mobile app, it’s just as easy to get around this app.

The menu button, for instance, is always available. But notice how a new set of navigational options appear along the bottom as the prospect moves down the page:

Build in Amsterdam bottom navigation

Build in Amsterdam utilizes the bottom banner to add custom navigation to its PWA. (Source: Build in Amsterdam) (Large preview)

The conveniently placed Back and Forward arrows direct prospects to other work samples. The center button then takes them back to the home/Cases page.

It’s not just the addition of navigational buttons that makes this PWA unique. It’s the style of transition in and out of pages that makes it a standout as well.

So, if you’re looking to make a really strong impression with prospective clients now, build yourself a PWA that will knock their socks off from the get-go. The longer you keep your web presence on the cutting edge of design, the more likely you’ll be seen as a design authority in the not so distant future (when everyone’s finally caught onto PWAs).

Reason #3: Make Conversion Smoother

I bet you wouldn’t mind letting your site do more selling on your behalf.

While you can certainly outfit your responsive website with contact forms, how do you convince visitors to take the leap? For starters, messaging and design need to really speak to them, so much so that they think:

This sounds like a great fit. How do I get in touch?

But rather than leave them to open the navigation and locate the Contact page (if it’s even there, since many companies now hide it in their footer), your contact form should be just one simple click away.

It’s not as though you can’t do this with a website. However, it’s the extra style provided by a PWA that’s going to get you more attention and engagement in the long run.

Take the Codigo PWA, for example.

Codigo home page to contact form conversionAn example walkthrough from the Codigo home page to conversion. (Source: Codigo)

The above is a walkthrough from the home page to the Works page. The transition through these pages is smooth, stylish and sure to catch the attention of someone looking for a web designer who can shake things up for their brand.

Below each sample, prospects find big red Back and Forward buttons. This makes it easy to quickly navigate through various works. If they prefer to backtrack to the main page, they can use the “Back to Work” button that’s always available in the top-left corner.

Down past the big red buttons is where Codigo invites prospects to get in touch. This call-to-action isn’t done in a traditional manner though. Instead of one big CTA that says “Let’s Chat”, the options are broken up as follows:


This allows the agency to ask a specific set of questions based on what the prospect actually needs in terms of mobile app development. And, again, the transition between screens is highly engaging. What’s more, the transitions happen super fast, so there’s no lag time that causes prospects to wonder if that’s how slow their own app would be.

Overall, it’s setting a really strong impression for what a PWA can be.

As you know, PWAs integrate really well with the features of our phones, so don’t feel like you have to put all your focus into a contact form if a click-to-call, click-to-text or click-to-email button would be better. Just find the right CTA and then program your PWA to simplify and streamline those actions for you.

Wrapping Up

I know this probably wasn’t what you wanted to hear, especially when you’re already too busy trying to drum up and complete paid work for clients. But you know how it is:

It’s difficult finding time to work on your business because no one’s paying you to do it. But when you finally do, you’ll be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner.

And as we move into a new decade, there’s no better time than the present to look at your website and figure out what needs to be done in order to future-proof it. From what we know about the mobile-first web and how powerful PWAs are for engagement and conversion, that’s likely where your website is headed sooner or later. So, why not expedite things and get it done now?

Further Reading on SmashingMag:

An Extensive Guide To PWAs
Will PWAs Replace Native Mobile Apps?
How To Integrate Social Media Into Mobile Web Design
Can You Make More Money With A Mobile App Or A PWA?

Smashing Editorial
(ra, yk, il)

Is The F-Pattern Still Relevant in Web Design?

Original Source: https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2019/12/is-the-f-pattern-still-relevant-in-web-design/

It’s always good to have a set of guidelines to follow when designing a website — especially if you have little to no user data to go on.

Over the years, we’ve been introduced to tons of these guidelines and design trends; some of which have fallen out of favor while others have persisted over the years. One of those web design guidelines that’s persisted is the F-pattern.

But is it still relevant today, what with mobile-first design practices?

What Is The F-Pattern?

When we refer to patterns like the F-pattern, Gutenberg layout, or layer-cake pattern in web design, what we’re talking about is how readers scan the content on a page. And thanks to heat mapping technology and research from organizations like Nielsen Norman Group (going back to 2006), we have proof of its existence.

As you can see from these eye-tracking studies from NNG, the F-pattern isn’t always an explicit “F” shape.

Instead, it refers to a general reading pattern whereby certain parts of the page are read in full — usually at the top and somewhere in the middle. In some cases, readers may stop to peruse additional sections of the page, making the pattern look more like the letter “E”. The rest of the page, for the most part, gets lightly scanned along the left-hand margin.

This principle actually applies to both desktop and mobile screens.

Although mobile devices have a smaller horizontal space, readers still have a tendency to focus on the top section, scan down the page a bit, read a bit more, and then scan down to the end. Again, it won’t look like a traditional “F” shape, but the concept is the same.

Is the F-pattern Still Relevant?

Essentially, this is the message the F-pattern has taught web designers and copywriters: “No one’s going to look at everything you’ve done, so just put the good stuff at the top.”

It seems like a pessimistic way to approach web design, doesn’t it?

The fact of the matter is, it is a pessimistic approach. At the time it was devised, however, we didn’t know any better. We were looking at the data and thinking, “Okay, this is how our users behave. We must create websites to suit that behavior.”

But the best web designers don’t just kick back and let visitors take the reins. They take control of the experience from start to finish, so that visitors don’t have to figure out where to go or what to do next. Designers carefully craft a design and lay out content in a way that draws visitors into a website and takes them on a journey.

When NNG revisited its report on the F-shaped pattern in 2017, this is the conclusion it came to:

“When writers and designers have not taken any steps to direct the user to the most relevant, interesting, or helpful information, users will then find their own path. In the absence of any signals to guide the eye, they will choose the path of minimum effort and will spend most of their fixations close to where they start reading (which is usually the top left most word on a page of text).”

Basically, our visitors are only resort to reading a page using the F-pattern when we’ve provided a subpar experience.

So, to answer the question above: No, the F-pattern isn’t still relevant.

What Should Web Designers Do Instead?

It’s important to recognize that visitors are bound to scan your website. Everyone’s so short on time and patience these days that it’s become a natural way of engaging with the web.

That said, there’s a difference between scanning a web page to see if it’s worth reading and scanning a web page simply to get it over and done with (which is essentially what the F-pattern encourages).

Knowing this, web designers should create pages that encourage scanning — to start, anyway. Pages that contain:

Short sentences and paragraphs;
Headers and subheaders to give a quick and informative tease of what’s to come;
Elements that create natural pauses, like bulletpoints, images, bolded text, hyperlinks, bountiful spacing, etc.

If you can keep visitors from encountering intimidating walls of text, they’ll be more likely to go from scanning the page to reading it… instead of scanning it and closing out the browser.

I’d also recommend not focusing so much on reading patterns. Unless you’re spending a lot of time designing text-heavy pages, they’re not going to apply as much.

Instead, focus on designing an experience that’s welcoming and encouraging, and makes it easy for your visitors to go from Point A to Point B. If you direct them to the most valuable bits of your website, they’ll follow you.


Featured image via Unsplash.


p img {display:inline-block; margin-right:10px;}
.alignleft {float:left;}
p.showcase {clear:both;}
body#browserfriendly p, body#podcast p, div#emailbody p{margin:0;}

How to Pick the Perfect Website Template

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Designrfix/~3/FGM-vjf3tTA/how-to-pick-the-perfect-website-template

When you think of building a new site or rebranding an existing one, you almost immediately think of website templates! And that’s when you would usually fall into the rabbit hole. People like to debate their website template choices forever, instead of focusing on their marketing funnel, optimizing their marketing campaigns, or doing other cool […]

The post How to Pick the Perfect Website Template appeared first on designrfix.com.

CSS Preprocessors Compared: Sass vs. LESS

Original Source: https://www.hongkiat.com/blog/sass-vs-less/

There are popuplar CSS Pre-processors LESS and Sass. CSS Preprocessor primarily intends to make authoring CSS more dynamic, organized and productive by bringing several programming features into the…

Visit hongkiat.com for full content.

Adobe XD vs. Sketch vs. Figma – Comparing Top UI Design Tools of 2019

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/1stwebdesigner/~3/GJmCAvXucSo/

Among the biggest developments of interest to web designers in 2019 was the explosion of UI design tools. These apps signal a transition in how we create modern user interfaces. It might be that the days of creating PSD mockups in Photoshop are coming to a close.

Not convinced? Both Sketch and Figma have developed loyal followings over the past few years. But perhaps the biggest development is that Adobe, the design software behemoth, jumped into the game with its XD product. This shows that the way we work is indeed shifting towards more specialized tools.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at each of these “big three” applications. We’ll cover some core features as well as other factors that may influence which one is the best fit for your needs.

Your Web Designer Toolbox
Unlimited Downloads: 500,000+ Web Templates, Icon Sets, Themes & Design Assets


What Makes UI Design Tools Unique?

For many years, web designers used the aforementioned Adobe Photoshop to create website mockups. This was preferable to jumping right into code in that it allowed us to build a highly-detailed interface and easily make edits – without having to tear apart HTML, CSS and the like.

While that can still be an effective workflow, this new breed of applications has features that are specific to web design. UI elements such as navigation and buttons are interactive – you can see hover effects or click through to other pages.

In addition, the interfaces built with a UI design app are often responsive. This means that you can see how they work at different viewports. You no longer need to build out an entirely separate PSD file for phones, tablets and desktop devices.

And there are a ton of premade UI kits and templates available, providing a head start on the design process.

In essence, you’re no longer creating a static screen, but a fully-immersive prototype.

Now, let’s look at the apps!

A design system displayed on a screen.


The first of these newfangled tools to hit the market, Sketch was initially released back in 2010. This gave the app a head start over the others in this roundup. Thus, it also means there are a ton of resources available.

There is a library of various extensions that bring new capabilities and enhance workflow. Functionality can range from tweaking various design elements to tying in with stock photography services for easier imports.

Among its top features, you’ll find:

Vector image editing;
Responsive designs via Smart Layouts;
Support for variable fonts;
Collaboration with colleagues and clients;
Easily add text and image-based data to your demo;
Sketch Cloud service for sharing your creations;
Libraries for sharing resources (symbols, images, text, styles) across documents;
The ability to create and use templates;
A massive number of available plugins;

Sketch is a desktop app that offers a free 30-day trial, but otherwise costs $99 for a commercial license. Yearly renewals are available at a discounted price.

One big caveat here is that Sketch is only available for macOS. If you’re using Windows or Linux, you won’t be able to join in the fun.

The Sketch home page.


First released in 2016, Figma is a browser-based application that touts a collaborative approach to design. The advantage here is that you can easily access it on the go, regardless of your operating system.

Plus, when you share projects with others, you’re doing so with a live link. This means that you won’t have to first export to a PDF or other image. What they’re seeing is exactly what you’ve created.

In addition, Figma has been built to support real-time collaboration. Team members can communicate with each other and manage their own project tasks. The included version history allows you to roll back changes, if needed.

Beyond that, you’ll find:

The ability to create consistent styles and apply them across projects;
Copy CSS directly from design files;
A library of searchable assets;
User permissions;
Create animated, interactive prototypes;
Auto Layout feature for responsive designs;
A plugin library, and the ability to create your own plugins;

Figma has a free plan that allows for 3 projects, 2 editors and a 30-day version history. Full-featured commercial plans start at $12 per month (billed annually).

The Figma home page.

Adobe XD

Now, to the new-ish kid on the block. Adobe XD, which was released out of beta back in October 2017, is aimed at designers who want to create websites, mobile apps or even games. It sports a built-in system for collaboration, called “Coediting”, and the ability for clients and colleagues to provide feedback.

Like its competitors, XD enables you to reuse design components again and again. You can also edit a component once and push it to all instances, allowing for better consistency in your design.

Perhaps the biggest plus here is the fact that Adobe XD plays nicely with other Adobe apps. You can, for instance, open and edit images in Photoshop directly from XD (just right-click the image to open it). Any changes you make to the image will automatically be reflected in XD as well. It also imports files from Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and even Sketch.

Other features worth exploring include:

States allow you to edit design components based on user interactions, such as hover or click;
Easily replicate design elements;
Adobe Fonts integration;
Create interactions and triggers for your prototypes;
Preview mobile apps on real devices via a companion app;
Document history allows you to roll back to previous versions;
Developer-friendly assets like CSS, colors, downloadable assets;
Extensions that bolster functionality and tie in with third-party services;

Adobe XD is subscription-based software. It requires either a full Creative Cloud membership or, you can choose to subscribe to XD by itself for $9.99 per month. If you want to give it a try first, there is a free XD Starter Plan that will let you experiment with some limitations. You can run the application on macOS or Windows.

The Adobe XD home page.

Making the Right Choice

Each of these tools has their own compelling set of features. In that way, it’s hard to say that you’ll go wrong with any of them.

But, to narrow down your options, think about how and where you plan to use the app. For example, if you are a Windows user, you won’t be able to use Sketch. If you prefer something browser-based and/or use Linux, then Figma is your choice. If you’re a Mac user who wants something with a lot of template and plugin choices, Sketch is the winner. Loyal Adobe customers will love the interoperability of XD.

Otherwise, you’ll find a number of similarities. Each app has at least some ability for collaboration. They all create vector graphics and offer asset libraries. All are adept at creating a design system. Plus, they are all extensible to one degree or another.

Regardless of what direction you go, you can be sure of one thing. You’ll be on the cutting edge of web design.

92% Off: Get the How to Start a Podcast Bundle for Only $19

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Designrfix/~3/vSBdbn8V1ZE/89-off-get-the-how-to-start-a-podcast-bundle-for-only-29

So you’ve been listening to podcasts, and realized how popular they have become. Now, you are toying with the idea of starting a podcast. The problem is that, there is a reluctant voice inside your head asking, “Can I really do this? Where do I start? Would someone even listen to my podcast?” Don’t fret. […]

The post 92% Off: Get the How to Start a Podcast Bundle for Only $19 appeared first on designrfix.com.

How to Fix Slow WiFi Connection

Original Source: https://www.hongkiat.com/blog/fixing-slow-wifi/

Slow WiFi speed can be really confusing, rather downright annoying, as there is no single answer to fix it. There are numerous reasons why your WiFi may be working on a speed slower than intended. It…

Visit hongkiat.com for full content.

How To Derive More Value From Web Design And Digital Marketing

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Designrfix/~3/rStPfWoyZQw/how-to-derive-more-value-from-web-design-and-digital-marketing

The process of marketing has changed a lot in recent years. The traditional form of marketing has been replaced by modern technology. Digital marketing and the SEO Agency have made a new form of marketing possible. This type of marketing strategy not only helps to increase sales but also helps to make a lot of changes in […]

The post How To Derive More Value From Web Design And Digital Marketing appeared first on designrfix.com.