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What’s the Best Way to Share Your Work Online?

Original Source: https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2019/08/whats-the-best-way-to-share-your-work-online/

Thankfully, you no longer have to rely on a resume to try to communicate how talented you are to others.

Your skills as a freelancer should be shared with others through visual media. It makes a lot more sense than writing up a one page summary that says, “I graduated from so-and-so university in 2010 and worked as a designer for XYZ Agency for three years.” Yes, your history is important, but not as much as what you’re able to do with the knowledge and skills acquired over that time period.

Whether you’re a web designer, graphic designer, web developer, photographer, or another type of digital creative, there’s a lot of value in being able to show off your work online.

However, with all of the different ways there are to share your work and expertise, which channels will guarantee a return? And is that all that should matter when sharing your work online?

The Pros and Cons of Sharing Your Work

While there are dozens of places that make it easy for designers and developers to share their work, as well as other samples they’ve created, many of them won’t be worth your time. It could be because the audience reach isn’t ideal, because they make you pay to share your work, or because it requires too much effort to pitch your idea or work in the first place.

If you want to share your work and get something out of it (which you really should), these are the channels you should focus on:

1. Your Website

First and foremost, your work needs to be published to your website. That’s non-negotiable. However, you should be selective of what you show and how you show it. You should also consider what format you want to share your work and expertise because you have a lot more flexibility with a website.

For example, this is the Work page for Semiqolon:

It’s not just a block of client logos that show off who this agency has worked for nor is it a lifeless case studies page with screenshots of websites they’ve designed. These are in-depth, well-written case studies that show their process and results.

Another place to show off your expertise is your blog:

This is where you take the knowledge you’ve acquired and turn it into actionable references for anyone looking to leverage your expertise. This is less about promoting your work and more about promoting your knowledge.

Pros

You have 100% control over what you share;
There are no distractions from competitors;
Professionally written and designed content provide no-nonsense proof to prospects that you can do what you promise.

Cons

It takes time to create case studies and blog posts;
You have to optimize for search and actively share with others if you want people to see it;
Because writing is a heavy component, what you write needs to be done well.

2. Social Media

You can do a lot of things on social media. However, there’s no universal use case that applies to all social media channels.

For instance, LinkedIn is a good place to share authoritative content and make professional connections. But it’s probably not the best place to share photos of your work.

On the other hand, a platform like Instagram would be perfect for that. Web developer Andriy Haydash (@the_web_expert) has a great example of how to do this:

First, he uses his bio to succinctly explain what he does as a web developer and shows people to his website.

Next, his feed is full of development samples:

The trouble a lot of designers and developers run into is that they merge the personal with the professional. But how many prospective clients are going to want to see you running around the beach with your kids or dog? If you’ve pointed them towards Instagram as a professional reference, then the expectation is that you’ll show your work there.

So, when sharing your samples on social media, choose platforms that are geared towards visuals (e.g. Instagram and Pinterest). Then, make sure you create a channel specifically dedicated to your brand.

Pros

Social media is free and easy to use;
It requires significantly less work to publish samples of your work than other channels do.

Cons

Many people just use social media to make connections. Not to have someone’s work pushed in their face.
You can build a reputation by sharing high-quality content, but no more than 20% of those promotions should be your own on certain platforms.

3. Codepad

Unlike a code-sharing/storage platform like Github which is mainly a place to collaborate, Codepad enables developers to create client-friendly demos. If you’re in the business of designing custom features and functionality, and you don’t mind sharing your code with other developers, this is a good place to do so.

What’s more, you can use Codepad to create extensive collections of demos as Avan C. has done here:

This gives you the chance to show off what you’re good at without having to create extensive case studies for your website. It also allows you to add value to the web development community by sharing code snippets they can use.

Pros

Share your custom-made snippets and demos for other developers to use and repurpose;
Create a collection of demos you can show to clients to demonstrate your vision without having to waste your time building something they don’t understand or want.

Cons

Clients probably aren’t looking for you on Codepad or might be too intimidated to enter a website where developers share code;
You can’t share snippets or demos from client work you’ve done, so this means publishing stuff you’ve created in your spare time (if you have any).

4. Behance

If you’re looking for an external website to show off your portfolio of work, Behance is a fantastic choice.

Just keep in mind that it’s not enough to create high-quality graphics of your project. If you want people to find your work and explore it, you have to properly optimize your project with a description, tools used, and tags.

Here’s an example of a project Navid Fard contributed to:

There’s a lot of engagement with this project: 9,609 views, 1,024 likes, 56 comments.

This aspect of Behance is great for allowing your work to become a source of inspiration for other designers and developers. But there’s another benefit to using Behance:

Personal profiles on Behance show off various projects you’ve contributed to, how much love the Behance community has shown the work, and also provides people with the ability to follow and get in touch.

Pros

Gives you a place to share client work as well as stuff you’ve done on your own, so you can show off a wider, bolder range of content if you want;
Engagement rates are readily available, so you can see how many people viewed your project, liked it, and commented on it;
You have a shareable to send to clients you want to work with or employers you want to work for.

Cons

Need to get client permission before you share their intellectual property here;
Have to do some work to optimize each project in order for people to find it;
Your projects have to compete for attention against similar-looking work.

So, Is It a Good Idea to Share Your Work?

Yes! It’s a great idea to share your work online.

However, it’s important to manage your expectations. The channels above — while great places to share samples — can take awhile to get you in front of a sizable and worthwhile audience. Especially if you’re competing side-by-side against similar looking creations.

You also need to be very careful with copyright and security. Sharing clients’ work online is fine if they’ve given you permission to do so. If you’re sharing work you’ve done in your free time, that’s risky as well, but more so because of the possibility of theft.

But there are pluses and minuses to everything you do in marketing your business. And sharing your work can really help you gain exposure, establish credibility, and more effectively sell your services.

 

Source

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;}

Pitching Your Writing To Publications

Original Source: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2019/08/pitching-writing-publications/

Pitching Your Writing To Publications

Pitching Your Writing To Publications

Rachel Andrew

2019-08-19T14:00:59+02:00
2019-08-20T11:35:37+00:00

Recently, I had a chat with Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert over on the Shoptalk Podcast about writing for publications such as Smashing Magazine and CSS-Tricks. One of the things we talked about was submitting ideas to publications — something that can feel quite daunting even as an experienced writer.

In this article, I’m going to go through the process for pitching, heavily based on my own experience as a writer and as Editor in Chief of Smashing. However, I’ve also taken a look at the guidelines for other publications in order to help you find the right places to pitch your article ideas.

Do Your Research

Read existing articles on the site that you would like to write for. Who do they seem to be aimed at? What tone of voice do the writers take? Does the publication tend to publish news pieces, opinion, or how-to tutorials? Check to see if there are already other pieces which are on the same subject as your idea, i.e. will your piece add to the conversation already started by those articles? If you can show that you are aware of existing content on a particular subject, and explain how you will reference it or add to that information, the editor will know you have done some research.

Research more widely; are there already good pieces on the subject that an editor will consider your piece to be a repeat of? There is always space for a new take on an issue, but in general, publications want fresh material. You should be ready to explain how your piece will reference this earlier work and build upon it, or introduce the subject to a new audience.

A good example from our own archives is the piece, “Replacing jQuery With Vue.js”. There are a lot of introductions to Vue.js, however, this piece was squarely aimed at the web developer who knows jQuery. It introduced the subject in a familiar way specifically for the target audience.

Find The Submission Guide

The next thing to do is to find the submission information on the site you want to write for. Most publications will have information about who to contact and what information to include. From my point of view, simply following that information and demonstrating you have done some research puts you pretty high up the queue to be taken seriously. At Smashing Magazine, we have a link to the guide to writing for us right there on the contact form. I’d estimate that only 20% of people read and follow those instructions.

Screenshot of the Smashing Contact FormThe link to our submission guide on our Contact Us page.

When you submit your idea, it is up to you to sell it to the publication. Why should I run with your idea over the many others that will show up today? Spending time over your submissions will make a huge difference in how many pieces you have accepted.

Different publications have different requirements. At Smashing Magazine, we ask you to send an outline first, along with some information about you so that we can understand your expertise in the subject matter. We’re very keen to feature new voices, and so we’ll accept pieces from writers who haven’t got a huge string of writing credentials.

The information we request helps us to decide if you are likely to be able to deliver a coherent piece. As our articles are technical in nature (often tutorials), I find that an outline is the best way to quickly see the shape of the proposal and the scope it will cover. A good outline will include the main headings or sections of the article, along with an explanation of what will be taught in that section.

For many other publications, a common request is for you to send a pitch for the article. This would typically be a couple of paragraphs explaining the direction your piece will take. Once again, check the submission guide for any specific details that publication is interested to see.

The Verge has an excellent submission guide which explains exactly what they want to see in a pitch:

“A good pitch contains a story, a narrative backbone. Pitches should clearly and concisely convey the story you plan to write and why it matters. The best pitches display promising pre-reporting and deep knowledge of the topic as well as a sense of the angle or insight you plan to pursue. If your story depends on access to a person or company, you should say whether you have obtained it already (and if not, what your prospects are). Pitches should also be written in the style you expect to write the story.”

— “How To Pitch The Verge,” The Verge

A List Apart explains what they will accept in their contribution page:

“… a rough draft, a partial draft, or a short pitch (a paragraph or two summarizing your argument and why it matters to our readers) paired with an outline. The more complete your submission is, the better feedback we can give you.”

— “Write For Us,” A List Apart

The Slate has a list of Do’s and Don’ts for pitching:

“Do distill your idea into a pitch, even if you have a full draft already written. If you happen to have a draft ready, feel free to attach it, but please make sure you still include a full pitch describing the piece in the body of the email.”

— “How To Pitch Slate,” The Slate

Including your pitch or outline in the body of the email is a common theme of pitch guidelines. Remember that your aim is to make it as easy as possible for the editor to think, “that looks interesting”.

Include A Short Biography

The editor doesn’t need your life story, however, a couple of sentences about you is helpful. This is especially useful if you are a newer writer who has subject matter expertise but fewer writing credentials. If you are proposing an article to me about moving a site from WordPress to Gatsby, and tell me that the article is based on your experience of doing this on a large site, that is more interesting to me than a more experienced writer who has just thought it would be a good topic to write about.

If you do have writing credits, a few relevant links are more helpful than a link to your entire portfolio.

When You Can’t Find A Submission Guide

Some publications will publish an email address or contact form for submissions, but have no obvious guide. In that case, assume that a short pitch as described above is appropriate. Include the pitch in the body of the email rather than an attachment, and make sure you include contact details in addition to your email address.

If you can’t find any information about submitting, then check to see if the publication is actually accepting external posts. Are all the articles written by staff? If unsure, then get in touch via a published contact method and ask if they accept pitches.

I’ve Already Written My Article, Why Should I Send An Outline Or Pitch?

We ask for an outline for a few reasons. Firstly, we’re a very small team. Each proposal is assessed by me, and I don’t have time in the day to read numerous 3000-word first draft proposals. In addition, we often have around 100 articles in the writing process at any one time. It’s quite likely that two authors will want to write on the same subject.

On receiving an outline, if it is going in a similar direction to something we already have in the pipeline, I can often spot something that would add to — rather than repeat — the other piece. We can then guide you towards that direction, and be able to accept the proposal where a completed piece may have been rejected as too similar.

If you are a new writer, the ability to structure an outline tells me a lot about your ability to deliver us something useful. We are going to spend time and energy working with you on your article, and I want to know it will be worthwhile for all of us.

If you are an experienced writer, the fact that you have read and worked with our guidelines tells me a lot about you as a professional. Are you going to be difficult for our editorial team to work with and refuse to make requested changes? Or are you keen to work with us to shape a piece that will be most useful and practical for the audience?

In The Verge submission guide included above, they ask you to “clearly and concisely” convey the story you plan to write. Your pitch shouldn’t be an article with bits removed or about the first two paragraphs. It’s literally a sales pitch for your proposed article; your job is to make the editor excited to read your full proposal! Some publications — in particular those that publish timely pieces on news topics — will ask you to attach your draft along with the pitch, however, you still need to get the editor to think it is worth opening that document.

Promoting Yourself Or Your Business

In many guides to self-promotion or bootstrapping the promotion of a startup, writing guest posts is something that will often be suggested. Be aware that the majority of publications are not going to publish an advert and pay you for the privilege.

Writing an article that refers to your product may be appropriate, as most of our expertise comes from doing the job that we do. It is worth being upfront when proposing a piece that would need to mention your product or the product of the company you work for. Explain how your idea will not be an advert for the company and that the product will only be mentioned in the context of the experience gained in your work.

Some publications will accept a trade of an article for some promotion. CSS-Tricks is one such publication, and describes what they are looking for as follows:

“The article is intended to promote something. In that case, no money changes hands. In this scenario, your pitch must be different from a sponsored post in that you aren’t just straight up pitching your product or service and that you’re writing a useful article about the web; it just so happens to be something that the promotion you’ll get from this article is valuable to you.”

— “Guest Posting,” CSS-Tricks

Writing for a popular publication will give you a byline, i.e. your credit as an author. That will generally give you at least one link to your own site. Writing well-received articles can be a way to build up your reputation and even introduce people to your products and services, but if you try and slide an advert in as an article, you can be sure that editors are very well used to spotting that!

Pitching The Same Idea To Multiple Publications

For time-sensitive pieces, you might be keen to spread the net. In that case, you should make publications aware of submitting that you have submitted it elsewhere. Otherwise, it is generally good practice to wait for a response before offering the piece to another publication. The Slate writes,

“Do be mindful if you pitch your idea to multiple publications. We try to reply to everyone in a timely manner, typically within one to two days. As a general rule, and if the story isn’t too timely, it’s best to wait that amount of time before sharing the pitch with another publication. If you do decide to cast a wide net, it’s always helpful to let us know ahead of time so we can respond accordingly.”

— “How To Pitch Slate,” The Slate

If Your Pitch Is Rejected

You will have ideas rejected. Sometimes, the editor will let you know why, but most often you’ll get a quick no, thanks. Try not to take these to heart; there are many reasons why the piece might be rejected that have nothing to do with the article idea or the quality of your proposal.

The main reasons I reject pitches are as follows:

Obvious Spam
This is the easy one. People wanting to publish a “guest post” on vague subjects, and people wanting “do-follow links”. We don’t tend to reply to these as they are essentially spam.
No Attempt At A Serious Outline
I can’t tell anything about an idea from two sentences or three bullet points, and if the author can’t spend the time to write an outline, I don’t think I want to have a team member working with them.
Not A Good Topic For Us
There are some outlines that I can’t ever see being a great fit for our readers.
An Attempt To Hide An Advert
In this case, I’ll suggest that you talk to our advertising team!
Difficult To Work With
Last but not least, authors who have behaved so badly during the pitch process that I can’t bring myself to inflict them on anyone else. Don’t be that person!

If I have a decent outline on a relevant subject in front of me, then one of two things are going to happen: I’ll accept the outline and get the author into the writing process or I’ll reply to the author because there is some reason why we can’t accept the outline as it is. That will usually be because the target audience or tone is wrong, or we already have a very similar piece in development.

Quite often in these scenarios, I will suggest changes or a different approach. Many of those initial soft rejections become an accepted idea, or the author comes back with a different idea that does indeed work.

Ultimately, those of us who need to fill a publication with content really want you to bring us good ideas. To open my inbox and find interesting pitches for Smashing is a genuine highlight of my day. So please do write for us.

Things To Do

Research the publication, and the type of articles they publish;
Read their submissions guide, and follow it;
Be upfront if you have sent the pitch to other publications;
Include a couple of sentences about you, and why you are the person to write the article. Link to some other relevant writing if you have it;
Be polite and friendly, but concise.

Things To Avoid

Sending a complete draft along with the words, “How do I publish this on your site?”;
Sending things in a format other than suggested in the submissions guide;
Pitching a piece that is already published somewhere else;
Pitching a hidden advert for your product or services;
Following up aggressively, or sending the pitch to multiple editors, Facebook messenger, and Twitter, in an attempt to get noticed. We publish a pitch contact, because we want pitches. It might take a day or two to follow up though!

More Pitching Tips

“How To Write A Pitch That Gets You Published,” Format
with tips for creatives pitching to magazines
“How To Successfully Pitch The New York Times (Or, Well, Anyone Else),” Tim Herrera, NiemanLab
some excellent tips on writing good pitches

Smashing Editorial
(il)

Skype users desperately want its old icon back

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CreativeBloq/~3/_MUcQqMmbtM/skype-users-desperately-want-its-old-icon-back

It's been a rough week for people who are overly attached to Android and iOS app icons. Not only were youngsters sent into a tailspin when Snapchat updated its icon, but now it's the turn of Skype users to go through the pain of watching their beloved app get a visual update.

That's because Skype has got a new icon on iPhones and iPads. It's part of a larger aesthetic overhaul of Microsoft Office icons, which has been in the works since last year. And while the new icon is arguably more noticeable than the Snapchat update, is this redesign a case of users getting angry over nothing?

Skype app icon

Expect to see the new icon shortly

In the redesign we can see that it's inverted the colours of the previous app icon, so now the S is white and the circular background is a blue gradient. The new Skype icon is in line with Microsoft's Fluent Design System and will roll out to all platforms in the next few weeks.

As is often the case with redesigns of familiar products, the new icon has provoked a negative reaction from users. Plenty were quick to point out that the new colour scheme makes the telecommunications application look suspiciously similar to Facebook Messenger. Meanwhile, others noticed that the sizing of the new icon made it appear bloated and overweight, leading to them to consider removing it from their devices altogether – a response Skype probably wasn't going for.

Let's just hope people aren't jumping ship too soon. The updated icon is part of a wider upgrade to the app that sees Microsoft fix some of the bugs that have plagued previous iterations. So while it might take a while to get used to the new icon, at least Skype will work better than before.

In the cut-throat and fickle world of communications apps though, maybe this will be the nail in the coffin for Skype. After all, it's been flagging behind Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger for some time now. Or perhaps new features, such as Microsoft's plan to allow Skype users to make VoIP calls to each other in the start of 2020, will give the app a new lease of life.

Related articles:

How to design app icons25 stunning iOS app icon designsHow to nail your social media strategy

Showcase of Beautiful Dashboard Design Inspiration

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/1stwebdesigner/~3/2G7z580hp-8/

UI design is a delicate, and often overlooked, art. A beautiful user interface is half of what makes a website great. The best UI combines amazing design and useful functionality to make an app or website simple and fun to navigate.

But if you’re a designer making your own website, finding examples to draw inspiration from can be difficult. You might stumble upon an amazing creation as you browse the web, but if you need some great dashboard UI inspiration right now, we’ve got something for you.

These 13 awesome examples showcase a variety of different dashboards. From simplistic user backends to info-packed analytics reports, striking dark design to elegant light UI, those creating menus and dashboards will find some beautiful inspiration in this collection.

UNLIMITED DOWNLOADS: Email, admin, landing page & website templates

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Sprint Report Dashboard by Rafał Staromłyński

Example of Sprint Report Dashboard by Rafał Staromłyński

Paat Bank by Sarah-D

Example of Paat Bank by Sarah-D

Vector Trade Dashboard for Bitcoin

Example of Vector Trade Dashboard for Bitcoin

Product Analytics Management System Dashboard by Kostia Varhatiuk

Example of Product Analytics Management System Dashboard by Kostia Varhatiuk

Money Management Dashboard by Riko Sapto Dimo

Example of Money Management Dashboard by Riko Sapto Dimo

#Exploration – Dashboard by Dwinawan

Example of #Exploration - Dashboard by Dwinawan

User Dashboard UI KIT, Human Resources, Employer

Example of User Dashboard UI KIT, Human Resources, Employer

Cryptocurrency Exchange Dashboard by Den Klenkov

Example of Cryptocurrency Exchange Dashboard by Den Klenkov

Car Dashboard Interface by Aga Ciurysek

Example of Car Dashboard Interface by Aga Ciurysek

 

Product Analytics Management System Dashboard Dark Version by Kostia Varhatiuk

Example of Product Analytics Management System Dashboard Dark Version by Kostia Varhatiuk

Robo Advisor Web App by Michal Parulski

Example of Robo Advisor Web App by Michal Parulski

Dashboard UI Concept – Dark Theme

Example of Dashboard UI Concept - Dark Theme

Create Stunning Dashboard UI

Finding great sources of inspiration is a crucial step for any designer. Unless you’ve been making interfaces and outlines for many years, it’s a good idea to draw inspiration from other sources. That way you can see what works well in action and expand on it with your own unique style.

This list was compiled with variety in mind, so no matter what kind of dashboard UI you’re creating, you can find something to base your design off of. There are user backends, helpful interfaces, graphs and analytics, and everything in between.

We hope this compilation gave you the inspiration you needed to create a beautiful dashboard of your own.


Awesome Demos Roundup #7

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tympanus/~3/7RNE1cwYbrA/

So many awesome work has been done over the past month! There’s lots of demos and experiments that will make your jaw drop, that’s for sure. From procedurally generated CSS numbers to amazing CSS animations, there’s much to explore and wonder about.

We hope you enjoy this creative compilation!

Dandelion

Dandelion

Anime inspired self portrait

Anime-inspired-self-portrait

Walking Sprites Demo

Walking-Sprites-Demo

Ghibli Slider

Ghibli-Slider

∞ Loader animation

Loader-animation

Analog Clock in Three.js

Analog-Clock-in-Three

Toast Pop!

Toast-Pop

Wobbly underline

Wobbly-underline

Plasma

Plasma

Liquidfun

ShakeLiquidWindow

Kalli Hero

Kalli-Hero

Highway Race

Highway-Race

Cassie!

Cassie

anime.js grid staggering demo

AnimeJSStaggering

Distortion and Parallax Shader

DistortionParallaxShader

Fireworks

Fireworks

Grid Jr. (Web Audio API + Canvas visualizer)

Grid-Jr.-Web-Audio-API-+-Canvas-visualizer

Paint Drop Hover

Paint-Drop-Hover

Fishing Game

Fishing-Game

Clip Clop Clippity Clop

Clip-Clop-Clippity-Clop

Text by circles

Text-by-circles

Social Links Cube (PlayCanvas)

Social-Links-Cube-PlayCanvas

Color Search w/ React Hooks

Color-Search-wReact-Hooks

React Slider w/ Hover Effect

React-Slider-wHover-Effect

30 – 50 hogs

30—50-hogs

GLSL: 3D rotational spatial modification

GLSL-3D-rotational-spatial-modification

Procedurally Generated CSS Numbers

Procedurally-Generated-CSS-Numbers

Plibt

plibt

Glitched circles

glitched-circles

ThreeJS Hover Zoom Channel Displacement

ThreeJS-Hover-Zoom-Channel-Displacement

react-three-fiber: suspense + GLTF loader

threejs_PaulHenschel

Awesome Demos Roundup #7 was written by Mary Lou and published on Codrops.

Where to Find the Top Free Templates for Your CMS

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/1stwebdesigner/~3/ps6kI3ylCXI/

When you’re trying to choose a CMS, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Features, price, and overall quality are all things to pay attention to. But there might be one factor you’re not considering for your CMS: The free templates it has available.

Design is everything in a website. With premium themes being so expensive, you might not initially be able to afford one, so you’ll have to rely on the default templates provided to you.

Let’s go over some top CMS options with great free themes, so you can have a beautiful website without having to pay exorbitant amounts of money.

WordPress

Sanremo WordPress Theme

If you’re looking for sheer variety, WordPress is definitely the way to go. It comes with a handful of customizable light themes right on its website. These simple, photography-focused templates more than get the job done.

If you’re willing to pay for premium themes, you’ll discover WordPress’s true diversity. There are thousands of user-made themes out there. Sites like Envato Elements offer plenty of choices so do some searching to find what you need.

Shopify

Jumpstart Shopify Theme

Shopify is an e-commerce CMS aimed primarily at larger businesses, so many of its premium themes can come out to almost $200. Luckily, there are also 10 free themes made by Shopify itself, all offering the elegance you’ll need to show off your new online store. They even come in multiple styles.

The CMS is also fairly popular, so you can expect to find free third-party Shopify themes online.

Webflow

Versus Webflow Theme

Webflow is a code-free CMS made for designers, so you’d expect their themes to be great – and you would be right. Their free themes are very distinctive from one another. Don’t expect the same bland template over and over again.

There’s quite a few more of them than other CMS competitors tend to offer as well, available in a range of categories. And since this platform focuses on design, you’ll be able to customize them as much as you want.

Squarespace

Bedford Squarespace Theme

If your website makes use of plenty of beautiful photography, any Squarespace template would work well for you. There are over twenty themes, all available on any Squarespace plan, and each one a great example of elegant design.

The one downside to Squarespace is that there are few third-party themes available, and a majority are premium. So, if you don’t like any of the free default themes, it may be best to pick a different CMS.

Drupal

YG Glow Drupal Theme

This free and open source CMS was created by a dedicated community of developers, and they haven’t neglected to fill out the theme project with nearly 3,000 free templates.

The problem is that it isn’t very friendly to navigate. Many themes lack demos or even screenshots, so your only option is to download each one to see if you like it.

Luckily, Drupal Free Themes was created to fix this issue. This site has a clean layout and is much less confusing to navigate, and every theme comes with a demo and a list of dependencies. If you love Drupal for its features but struggle to find a good theme, you can now have the best of both worlds.

The Best CMS Templates

There are many CMS options with awesome free templates out there, and this is just a handful of them. Which should you choose?

Shopify and Squarespace offer elegant templates with no fuss. They’re good choices if you just want a beautiful theme right out the gate. Webflow also has great themes, and has a high degree of customization available as well with its design-focused CMS.

Drupal and WordPress both share a large community that’s made thousands of themes. Drupal hosts them right on its website, though its themes tend to be simpler and made with functionality in mind. WordPress themes often have a larger focus on beauty and design.

Whatever you choose, remember that you’ll be rewarded if you’re willing to do some digging. Almost every CMS has a community creating third-party themes that are entirely free to download. You just have to be able to find them.


What Every Dev Company Needs to Know about NoOps Development

Original Source: https://www.sitepoint.com/noops-development/?utm_source=rss

It seems like everything is getting automated these days.

And I mean everything.

Who would’ve thought that we’d be automating development teams, though?

69% of development companies agree that process and automation improvement is a top priority, so it makes sense we’re heading in this direction.

This rise of automation has formed a new development model known as NoOps, which stands for no operations.

The name means that this approach involves no operations input, cutting out the “operate” step of the continuous development model.

Continuous development model

That’s right. The developers are capable of launching, testing, and fixing apps on the fly without any interruptions or downtime.

Follow along as I further cover what NoOps is, the benefits of using it, and how to implement it.

What is NoOps?

NoOps is a new development approach that involves relieving developers of needing to constantly work with operations members, speeding up deployment time, testing, and workflow.

It stems from the previously popular model of developers and operations teams working closely called DevOps.

Instead of working together, service providers give development teams the proper cloud infrastructure, patching, backups, and resources to work on their own.

Traditional DevOps vs NoOps

That means programmers no longer require feedback and approval during development, and can operate completely independently.

This also allows the operations department of a company to focus on what they do best: project management, talent acquisition, and so on.

However, NoOps is typically most beneficial for startups that begin with this continuous development model. It is much more difficult to switch to NoOps when you have existing environments, pipelines, and deployment procedures.

As an example, NoOps does not work well for enterprises that are still stuck with a monolithic legacy application. This would require a re-write of most of their codebase to make it fit with the NoOps ideology.

Additionally, if a company adopts NoOps later in the business cycle, they may have to shrink the size of their operations team.

If a startup launches with a NoOps model from the beginning, they have the potential of staying lean for longer. The saved resources can be put towards other aspects of business growth, like marketing.

What Are the Benefits of NoOps?

There are many benefits to be gained by adopting a NoOps model. The first of which is that it maximizes development time.

The post What Every Dev Company Needs to Know about NoOps Development appeared first on SitePoint.

Colossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, China

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/abduzeedo/~3/Vei-cWKzEFs/colossal-construction-upcoming-culture-center-changzhou-china

Colossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, China
Colossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, China

AoiroStudioAug 15, 2019

Kris Provoost has shared via his Behance, the colossal ‘under construction’ site of the upcoming Changzhou culture center located in the southern Jiangsu province, China. Picture a total floor area of 365,000 sq.m, which according to Archdaily is going to be six times the size of the Louvre in Paris. Designed by Gerkan, Marg & Partners, an international architectural company based in Hamburg, Germany. The Changzhou Culture Center is due for completion in 2020, for now let us admire the current development mesmerized by the following collection of architecture photography and photojournalism by Kris.

Architecture & Photography
Colossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaImage courtesy by Kris Provoost

About Kris Provoost

Kris is an architect currently based in Hong Kong, he is also an incredible architecture photographer. Make sure to follow his work via his Behance.

Personal site
Behance
Instagram


Collective #540

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tympanus/~3/MP5ZgHsrxdU/

C540_paint

Largest Contentful Paint

Philip Walton explains how to make it easier to know when a page’s important content has loaded using the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) API.

Read it

C540_designdomain

This content is sponsored via Thought Leaders
Get a Free .design Domain Name For a Year

Thinking of building your portfolio? .design is like .com, but it’s more relevant to what you do as a designer. Includes free SiteBuilder.

Learn more

C540_heroku

Create and Deploy a Node.js, Express, & PostgreSQL REST API to Heroku

Learn how to create a local REST API with Node using an Express server and PostgreSQL database in this tutorial by Tania Rascia.

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C540_youtubeembed

Lazy load embedded YouTube videos

Arthur Corenzan shows a smart way to embed a YouTube video using the srcdoc attribute. Remy Sharp also adds IE11 support to this solution.

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C540_extracss

Extra.css

A CSS Houdini library giving some cool features to your site (turn on Experimental Web Platform features or use Chrome Canary to see the effects). By Una Kravets.

Check it out

C540_tipscss

Design Principles for Developers: Processes and CSS Tips for Better Web Design

Andrew Spencer practical guide with helpful tips for creating better web experiences.

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C540_layout

Inspired Design Decisions: Ernest Journal

In this third instalment of Inspired Design Decisions, Andy Clarke will teach you how to use frameworks to create layouts as engaging as in the well-known Ernest Journal.

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C540_harryroberts

Time to First Byte: What It Is and Why It Matters

Learn all about the “Time to First Byte” (TTFB) metric in this article by Harry Roberts.

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C540_generativenumber

Procedurally Generated CSS Numbers

An awesome demo made by Adam Kuhn.

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C540_async

Async Generator Functions in JavaScript

Valeri Karpov explains what async generator functions are and shows some practical examples.

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C540_scrollintoview

Quick tip: using scrollIntoView() to show added elements to a container with overflow

A great tip by Christian Heilmann on using scrollIntoView.

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C540_vanillajs

Building an extensible app or library with vanilla JS

Chris Ferdinandi shares some insights on building a modular and extensible vanilla JavaScipt application.

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C540_accessibilityamp

Amphora.

Ethan Marcotte discovers some accessibility issues with the AMP Story format.

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C540_dash

Dashblock

Turn any website into an API with this machine learning powered tool.

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C540_inter

The birth of Inter

Learn how the new open-source typeface used by GitHub and Mozilla came to be in this article by Carmel DeAmicis.

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C540_displacement

ThreeJS Hover Zoom Channel Displacement

An amazing channel displacement demo by TheFrost.

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C540_paulreact-three-fiber/three.js train app

Paul Henschel’s interesting experiment based on a SwiftUI train app. Read more about it in this tweet.

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C540_gitrevise

Introducing git-revise

Nika Layzell introduces git-revise, a new tool to overcome the downsides of git rebase -i.

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C540_wordpress

Crash Course: Headless WordPress with WPGraphQL, ACF, and React

A crash course where you’ll learn the basics of how to get a simple headless WordPress setup with WPGraphQL and React.

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C540_metaprogramming

Metaprogramming in JavaScript with jscodeshift

Kacper Kula’s article on how to analyze and modify your programs using Facebook’s jscodeshift.

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C540_jam

JAMstack Templates: How to Launch Fast, CMS-Powered Static Sites

Francois Lanthier Nadeau shares the results of a JAMstack site challenge with lots of insights.

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C540_switch

Stop Misusing Toggle Switches

Some useful advice on when to use toggle switches and when to avoid them.

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C540_circle

Circles #3457

A mesmerizing animated circles demo by Dan Wilson.

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C540_dotnet

Uno Platform

In case you missed it: Uno let’s you build mobile, desktop and WebAssembly apps with C# and XAML.

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Collective #540 was written by Pedro Botelho and published on Codrops.

Do Design Sprints Work (and Are They Worth It)?

Original Source: https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2019/08/do-design-sprints-work-and-are-they-worth-it/

Truth be told, there’s a lot of value that comes from doing design sprints. However, it’s not as simple as adopting Google Vision’s original system and instantly being able to create better digital products or getting greater consumer buy-in. 

Let’s take a look at what design sprints are, why they can be valuable, but why you also might need to steer clear of them. 

What Is a Design Sprint?

In basic terms, the design process looks like this:

A design sprint, looks like this instead:

Essentially, it removes the build and launch phases of the typical design workflow, so that design teams can get to a validated concept more quickly. 

That said, the design sprint process is anything but quick and simple. 

How Does a Design Sprint Actually Work?

It’s a heavily structured, multi-day process that enables design teams to:

Research the problem, opportunity, and/or market. (This depends on what you’re trying to build – e.g. website, app, new feature for an existing product, etc.);
Formulate a hypothesis;
Visualize the concept through storyboarding;
Prototype the solution;
Test it with real users.

Teams is the operative word here. A design sprint is a highly involved process that normally takes place over an entire week — and it’s the collaboration of each team member that allows the process to be successful in the end. 

A design sprint team can include anywhere between four and eight people, though it’s suggested that the ideal team include the following: 

Facilitator: the person who organizes and manages the sprint;
Decisionmaker: the CEO or other executive who makes the final call;
Designer: the person who builds the prototype and product;
Marketer: the marketing director or coordinator who’s in charge of selling the product or feature to the public;
Cost manager: the financial lead who keeps track of the budget and projections;
Customer service lead: the person who knows the target audience and their pains best.

At the end of the sprint, this team should come up with: 

Answers to the core questions they started the process with;
A robust set of findings, including storyboards, user flows and journey maps, notes, etc;
A prototype;
A report that details findings from user testing;
Validation of the hypothesis and prototype;
A plan for implementation or a decision to return to the drawing board. 

Because it’s such a strict system, there’s little leeway for flexibility here. But if followed to a T, sprints are expected to produce amazing results.

What Are the Benefits of Design Sprints? 

Are you wondering what the big deal is? After all, you probably already have a web design workflow that works well and that clients have been pleased with the results of, right? 

There are a number of reasons why design teams are willing to dedicate five days to a design sprint: 

You save time and money since you test a solution with prototypes rather than create a full product or feature. 
You reduce the chance of failure as you only pursue problems with viable solutions that are then validated by users.
It allows for greater innovation as you have a team of contributors working towards the same goal as opposed to working on their portions in isolation.
Real users get their hands on the prototype and can provide valuable data not just for this product, but for the brand as a whole as well as for future concepts.
Because the team is fully involved and accountable to the sprint, they feel more invested in the product and motivated to go above and beyond in developing the perfect solution.
It’s easier to get approval from decision-makers as they’re involved in the sprint.

All in all, a design sprint enables teams to more confidently build digital solutions that both clients and users are happy about in the end. That said, a design sprint isn’t a cure-all for web designers and agencies. 

Why a Design Sprint Might Not Be a Good Idea

Okay, so you’ve seen all of the good that the structure and five-day commitment can do for you. But does that mean a design sprint is right for your next project? 

Here are some things that might keep this seemingly flawless system from producing positive results: 

1. You Have No Data To Start With

A design sprint cannot start on an assumption or a complete shot in the dark. It’s a huge commitment that you and your team are going to make, and it’s not one that you want to gamble with on a hunch. 

2. You Already Know The Answer To The Problem

The whole point of a design sprint is to systematically define a problem, hypothesize a solution, and then test the validity of it. But if you already know the answer to the problem, there’s no reason to waste your time with this problem-solving process.

3. The Problem is Too Small/Big

In this case, size matters very much. Five days might seem like enough time to tackle any problem — especially if you’re not working on anything else that week — but it can lead to major waste or exceeded scope if you don’t plot the timeline accordingly. 

4. You Don’t Have Enough Team Members

Since design sprints need to have between four and eight team members to work, it’s not feasible for solo freelance designers or small design teams to run design sprints. You’ll especially feel that pressure when it comes time to recruit test users and analyze the results.

5. It’s Costly

Unless you work for a bustling design agency that can afford to take that many people off of active projects for a week, the design sprint process will be too costly. You might be able to produce amazing results for that one click, but that’s an entire week without other paid work getting done.

6. It’s Too Difficult To Commit To

Let’s say you’re in a position to do design sprints. Is everyone on your team fully committed to the five-day process or is it going to be a struggle to get everyone in the same room and off of their mobile devices (which aren’t allowed)? This especially goes for the top-level executive who calls the final shot, but whose life is usually full of conflicting commitments and distractions. 

7. There Are Too Many Decision-Makers

The problem with bringing together so many talented people from different areas of the company is the matter of hierarchy. If they’re used to being the decision-maker when it comes to things like marketing and finance, who’s to say they’re going to enter this new process and be okay relinquishing that role to the ultimate decision-maker? Unless you have a facilitator who’s confident enough to wrangle all the egos and keep order, this could be a big problem. 

Wrap-Up

As a designer, you take a lot of pride in your work, which is why the idea of adopting a process that promises positive results is appealing. 

The only thing is, design sprints weren’t really built for freelancers or small businesses. They were built for large agencies that have the time, money, and resources to commit to such a huge undertaking. That’s not to say you can’t adopt the best practices used within the process now or start working towards integrating design sprints into your business. But design sprints aren’t a magic bullet, and they don’t scale well.

 

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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