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Do You Need to Know React as a WordPress Developer?

Original Source: https://www.sitepoint.com/do-you-need-to-know-react-as-a-wordpress-developer/

This article on whether you need to know React as a WordPress developer was originally published by Torque Magazine, and is reproduced here with permission.

The new WordPress content editing system Gutenberg will be powering the WordPress post editor in WordPress 5.0. Gutenberg is a “block-based” editor. When creating content, everything is a block. If you have a post that is one paragraph, one header, and then two paragraphs, that’s four blocks.

Gutenberg comes with a set of default “core” blocks — paragraph, header, recent posts, image, blockquote, etc. If you’re using Gutenberg to create content, you use those blocks or custom blocks that are provided by WordPress plugins you install on your site.

Gutenberg is a JavaScript-driven interface. Specifically, it is built using Facebook’s open-source user interface library “React”. This post explains a little bit about creating your own custom blocks for use in the Gutenberg editor using JavaScript. You do not have to use JavaScript to create blocks. Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) recently announced a neat looking system for creating custom blocks with PHP.

What Is React?

In front-end development, the least performant things you do are reading and writing from the DOM. A very hard thing to do, consistently across browsers, is referencing and updating the DOM. React provides a better system for this, by implementing a reactive programming model and a virtual DOM abstraction.

Instead of interacting with the DOM directly, for example using jQuery.html() or jQuery.val(), React creates a virtual representation of the DOM. We call this a virtual DOM or VDOM. The VDOM is a JavaScript object that represents the structure of the DOM. Whenever your React code communicates to React a change in any of the data, the VDOM is recalculated. After that React calculates the difference between the DOM as it existed before the change and after the change. Then React (really ReactDOM or React Native) updates just the parts of the DOM that needs changed. How it does this doesn’t matter really.

How Is React Being Used in Gutenberg?

React is a library for creating reusable components. Because they are reusable, we can compose interfaces out of components. It is an open-source project created at Facebook.

Everything is a block. Text, images, galleries, widgets, shortcodes, and even chunks of custom HTML, no matter if it’s added by plugins or otherwise. You should only have to learn to master a single interface: the block interface, and then you know how to do everything. – Gutenberg Handbook

Blocks are the basic unit of Gutenberg. We compose content out of one or more blocks.

Components are the atomic unit of React, we compose React apps out of components. Gutenberg is created with React, so each block is composed of one or more components.

It’s important to note, and I’ll cover this more in this series of posts, but Gutenberg adds a thin abstraction layer over React. In our Gutenberg code, we’ll use wp.createElement instead of React.createElement. It works the same, but when React’s API changes, WordPress can decide when to support those changes and provide a backward-compatibility wrapper or decided not to.

This is good planning for the future, but for now, it’s just React.

The post Do You Need to Know React as a WordPress Developer? appeared first on SitePoint.

Designing Experiences To Improve Mental Health

Original Source: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/10/designing-experiences-improving-mental-health/

Designing Experiences To Improve Mental Health

Designing Experiences To Improve Mental Health

Marli Mesibov

2018-10-12T14:00:30+02:00
2018-10-12T13:29:39+00:00

Did you know that a simple search for “depression” on the iPhone App Store brings up 198 results? In the Android Play Store, it brings up 239. The categories range from “Medical” to “Health & Fitness” to “Lifestyle.” The apps themselves offer everything from “depressing wallpaper” to “mood tracker” to “life coach.” We are approaching a golden age of digital therapeutics and design for mental health — if we as UX practitioners do our jobs well.

Given the plethora of apps available, you might assume that there are already dozens of wonderful digital therapies available for people struggling with mental health disorders. But — according to initial studies by clinical psychologists — you would be wrong. Most apps are useless at best, and harmful at worst, due primarily to a disconnect between the designers building the apps and the patients and providers in the field of mental health.

As of July 2017, 28% of digital health apps on the App Store were focused on mental health and behavioral disorders.

As of July 2017, 28% of digital health apps on the App Store were focused on mental health and behavioral disorders. (Large preview)

Some apps (mostly within the Lifestyle category) are harmless but useless. Emo Wallpaper, for example, is appropriately named and makes no claims to treat mental illness. It is intended as entertainment for people who are having a tough day. But there are more dangerous examples. One of the worst (since removed from the App Store) was iBipolar, which recommended that people in the middle of a manic episode drink hard liquor to help them sleep. Not only is this bad advice — alcohol does not lead to healthy sleep — but alcoholism is a problem for many people with bipolar disorder. The app was actively harmful.

Prescription drugs are regulated by the FDA, while mobile apps are not. How can we as UX designers create better apps to improve mental health treatment?

Are Apps The Answer?

Approximately one in five American adults experience mental illness each year. For some people, this can refer to a temporary depressive episode brought on by grief, such as the death of a loved one, or severe anxiety caused by external factors like a stressful job. For nearly 1 in 25 Americans (about 10 million people) it’s a chronic condition, such as bipolar disorder, chronic depression, or schizophrenia. Yet only about 40% of people experiencing mental illness are receiving treatment.

Recommended reading: Mental Health: Let’s Talk About It

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The reasons vary. For some, they are undiagnosed or may refuse treatment. They may struggle with the stigma attached to mental illness. But for many, there is a lack of access. The association Mental Health America has studied and reported on what “limited access” means, and identified four systemic barriers:

Lack of insurance or inadequate insurance;
Lack of available treatment providers:
Lack of available treatment types (inpatient treatment, individual therapy, intensive community services);
Insufficient finances to cover costs — including, copays, uncovered treatment types, or when providers do not take insurance.

Access to Care Map, from Mental Health America

Access to Care Map, from Mental Health America (Large preview)

With that in mind, it would appear that a mobile-based solution is the obvious answer. And yet there are plenty of inherent challenges. Key among them is the gap between the clinicians treating patients and the UX practitioners working on mental health design.

Bridge The Gap Between Clinicians And Designers

About two years ago, I began research in the mental health design space. As a UX practitioner who focuses in health care, I wanted to learn how people struggling with mental health issues differed from people struggling with other chronic illnesses. I thought the work would entail an audit of the App Store and Play Store, a few weeks of interviewing clinicians to learn about the space, and then perhaps building an app with my team.

Instead, the work has continued ever since. At the time I interviewed ten clinicians, four behavior change designers, and five UX designers who had designed apps in the mental health space. But from these interviews I learned that there are two reasons why the design for mental health is lagging behind design for other healthcare needs. Those two reasons have changed my entire perspective on what we need to do to improve design in the space. It resulted in the creation of a few guidelines which I now hope to popularize.

Here is an overview of the research I conducted, and the two themes that emerged.

The Research

I initially assumed there were no apps available. And yet my audit of the App Store and Play Store uncovered hundreds of existing apps. Obviously, building an app was not the problem. But I began to wonder: why aren’t these apps used? (Few were downloaded, and I had never heard of any of them — for all that I work in the healthcare space!) And why are those that are used unsuccessful? To find that out, I needed more research.

Over the course of a few months, I interviewed therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. On the design side, I interviewed behavior change analysts, UX designers, and anyone I could find who had been involved in designing an app to improve mental health.

Some questions I asked the designers included:

What do you feel is missing from the field of mental health, if anything?
What are some of the top challenges you face when designing for people with mental health challenges?
What examples exist of poorly designed interventions for mental health? What examples exist of well-designed interventions?
If they had designed an app: What was the goal of the intervention you designed?

How did you test it?
Who did you test it with?
Was it successful? Why/why not?

Meanwhile, some of the questions I asked clinicians were:

How do you diagnose a patient’s mental health?
What barriers exist to patients’ improving their mental health?
What technology currently helps patients improve or deal with their mental health/illness?
How can technology benefit your patients?
What are one or two important pieces of advice you wish more people knew when creating applications/tools to help improve mental health from afar?

After the interviews, I came away with two new understandings:

Problem #1: Designers Don’t Know What Clinicians Know

Many designers told me they were starting from scratch. They did research with patients and learned what patients thought they needed from an app. But very few spoke with healthcare providers. As a result, the designers were missing the clinical expertise.

For example, a clinician shared with me that:

“What people say they want is not often what they want.”

Broadly, patients want to feel better. In a user interview, they might say they want to take their medication, or follow a meal plan, or meet some other goal. So the designer builds an app that allows them to set goals and deadlines. But as the clinician explained it:

“Change is scary, so when [patients] find out that feeling better requires change, that is a barrier.”

The app was designed to meet what patients said they needed, not what clinical expertise shows they will respond to.

When I asked one psychiatrist what apps she might recommend to her patients, she said:

“I wish I knew what I could recommend. Nothing is clearly safe, evidence-based, and tested.”

She explained to me that she once recommended a suicide hotline, but that it made people wait on hold for 20 minutes. After that experience, she said, “never again.”

When it comes to mobile apps, the risk is even greater — she worries that an app may have good intentions, but it might not be right for a particular patient. Or it may have the right elements, but the language could be inadvertently guilt-inducing or triggering.

In short, the mental health world does not need more apps, or more technology. As psychiatrist and Digital Psychiatry Director John Torous said in a recent article:

“Digital tools like fitness trackers present great opportunity to improve care […but…] they need to be utilized in the right way.”

In other words, patients need apps their providers have helped to build, and validate as useful.

Recommended reading: Dealing With Loud And Silent Burnout

Problem #2: Design Moves Fast

I already knew that designers move fast. It’s part of the tech world’s MO — just think of Facebook’s motto, “move fast and break things.” The catch is that second part: when we move fast, we break things. This is great when we’re breaking through assumptions, or breaking features that would otherwise cause issues post-launch. But it’s very bad when the things we might break are people.

To quote Sara Holoubek, founder and CEO of Luminary Labs:

“[I]t’s one thing to move fast and break things with a consumer internet app. It’s another thing when tech is used to improve human life.”

Designers are often up against deadlines. Some work for large healthcare companies that want to launch in time for a specific trade show, or before a competitor gets to market. This is very different from the world of health care, which tends to move very slowly, waiting for compliance or FDA approval, clinical trials, and multiple rounds of validation.

The challenge is adding the clinical expertise and knowledge to the design process, without hampering designers’ ability to move quickly.

Mental Health Design Guidelines

To that end, my team determined that we did not need to build a new app. After all, the mental health field is broad, and there is no one app that will reach everyone. What we need is to popularize the guidelines and communication methodologies that health providers know and use. We need to share that knowledge with designers.

During our clinical interviews, I noticed patterns. For example, though not every therapist said it the same way, they all mentioned how important friends, family, or community are for someone struggling with mental health issues. From this, we created a guideline called “Human.”

Thus, we created a set of six guidelines. Clinicians, researchers, behavior change analysts, and health writers have weighed in on the guidelines, and continue to refine them. They draw attention to six steps that any designer needs to follow in order to create an app that will live up to any provider’s standards.

HEALTH

Are you building a mental health app? Focus on HEALTH. (Large preview)

1. Human

As I noted above, there are systemic barriers to mental health care. For the many people who can’t afford or can’t find a therapist, mobile apps seem like a magical solution. 95% of Americans now own a cell phone! That means mobile apps could ostensibly make mental health care accessible to 95% of the population.

But technology is not the same as a human therapist, family member, or friend. As one behavior change specialist I interviewed shared, “The human-to-human connection is very important. In mental health, it is important to have a person who you can talk to and understand the other person is there for you.” Social support increases motivation, and people are vital for crises — although algorithms are working to identify a risk of suicide, the device alone is not enough to overcome the urge.

With that in mind, our first guideline is to be human. Encourage connection to external supports in addition to providing value in the app. And provide the ability to connect to a therapist or 9-1-1, as MY3 does.

The MY3 app encourages human connections. Having a therapist, friend, family member, or other human support correlates to lower rates of suicide and depression.

The MY3 app encourages human connections. Having a therapist, friend, family member, or other human support correlates to lower rates of suicide and depression. (Large preview)

2. Evidence-Based

Mental health professionals spend years training to treat mental health illnesses. Many professionals specialize in one or two specific types of treatment, such as talk therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), or other treatment frameworks.

These therapies have specific activities associated with them; they encourage patients to develop certain skills, and they even make specific language choices. Any designer building a mental health app needs to begin by choosing one of these evidence-based therapy styles to follow. What’s more, other designers and users can help evaluate UI and short-term efficacy, but make sure to also bring in clinicians to ensure the app is properly representing the therapy.

Our second guideline is: to be evidence-based. Keep problem #1 in mind: the clinicians know how to treat their patients. We as designers can’t simply replace clinical knowledge with effective UI. The two need to work hand in hand, as Pear Therapeutics THRIVETM app does.

Pear Therapeutics app is undergoing extensive research, including clinical trials with mental health professionals, and applying for FDA clearance.

Pear Therapeutics app is undergoing extensive research, including clinical trials with mental health professionals, and applying for FDA clearance. (Large preview)

3. Accepting

I frequently hear people talk about a favorite coach or friend who gave them “tough love.” Many people seem to see tough love as a way of accusing someone of failure, and thus prompting them to do better. (Perhaps our fictional film coaches are to blame.)

In reality, fear of failure is exactly what stops many people from trying something new. This includes seeking mental health treatment. To make matters worse, low motivation is a core symptom of many mental health illnesses. Thus, angry or accusatory language can truly harm people. Instead, our third guideline is to be accepting. Reinforce how capable a person is, and show empathy in how you communicate.

Sanofi’s RA Digital Companion is designed for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The app understands that many people with RA suffer from depression, and focuses on acceptance.

Sanofi’s RA Digital Companion app focuses on helpful resources and uses encouraging language.

Sanofi’s RA Digital Companion app focuses on helpful resources and uses encouraging language. (Large preview)

4. Lasting

When Pokémon Go launched, it became a nationwide craze just seven days later with an estimate of more than 65 million users. Yet the craze passed in only two months. The problem? Pokémon Go focused on short-term motivators, such as badges and gamification (as many apps do). To create a successful app that people use consistently, the motivation needs to become internal.

What does that mean? External motivators come from outside sources. Internal motivators connect to core values, such as “I want to succeed in my career” or “I care about my children.” These motivators can’t be taken away by another person, but they are not always clear. Our fourth guideline is to be lasting. This means that you should connect to an individual’s internal motivations, and help them feel responsible and in control, as Truth Initiative’s BecomeAnEX program does.

The BecomeAnEX app helps people quitting smoking to focus on their goals and internal motivators. It looks at the lasting benefits as well as how someone is feeling today, so that quitting becomes more than an impulse.

The BecomeAnEX app helps people quitting smoking to focus on their goals and internal motivators. It looks at the lasting benefits as well as how someone is feeling today, so that quitting becomes more than an impulse. (Large preview)

5. Tested

This should come as no surprise to any UX practitioner: testing is key! Clinicians and patients can and should be a part of the design process. Usability testing will help identify things you may not have considered, for example, someone having an anxiety attack may have trouble pressing small buttons. Or someone with schizophrenia having an auditory hallucination may struggle to focus on a busy page of text.

Obviously, our fifth guideline is: Be Tested. Ideally, clinical testing can become a part of more mental health apps, but even if it’s not an option usability testing should be. As noted above, design moves fast. Don’t let design move so fast that you make poor assumptions.

Recommended reading: How To Deliver A Successful UX Project In The Healthcare Sector

6. Holistic

Lastly, we found that many apps are isolated to accomplishing a single task. And that’s fine for something like Instagram — you post photos, or you look at photos. But mental health is intrinsically linked to how people see themselves. With that in mind, a successful intervention has to fit into a person’s daily life.

This is our sixth and final guideline: be holistic. One example of this is the app Happify. While it’s far from perfect, it does an excellent job of offering options. A gratitude journal may help for one time, and the community is helpful at other times.

For any designer working on an app, it’s important to note how an app becomes holistic: the key is to learn about the target audience. Be specific: gender, age, culture, and diagnoses all impact the way a person deals with a mental illness. That’s why researchers like Dr. Michael Addis focus on specific segments of the population, as he does in his book Invisible Men: Men’s Inner Lives and Consequences of Silence.

Happify learns a lot about you as an individual before recommending anything. They ask about things that may not seem important, because they understand the holistic nature of mental health.

Happify learns a lot about you as an individual before recommending anything. They ask about things that may not seem important, because they understand the holistic nature of mental health. (Large preview)

Moving Forward

There is an overarching theme to these guidelines: what works for you as a designer may not work for your end-user. Of course, that’s the tenant of UX! Yet somehow, when it comes to health care, we as UX professionals tend to forget this. We are not healthcare providers. And even those of us who have experience as patients have only our own experiences to draw on.

These guidelines are not perfect, but they are a start. Over time I hope to finesse them with additional insight from providers, as well as from the designers beginning to use them. We are on the cusp of a new world of digital health care, where designers and providers and patients must work hand-in-hand to create seamless experiences to promote health and well being.

For anyone interested in getting involved, I am continuing to work on new initiatives to continually improve design for mental health. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments, or learn more at Mad*Pow.

Smashing Editorial
(cc, ra, il)

Writing Perfect Web Design Proposals

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/1stwebdesigner/~3/52P5Uz2bfvQ/

If you’re a freelancer, then you’ve probably experienced the anxiety of staring at the blank white space where your cover letter or proposal needs to go. Not only do you have to sell yourself, but you have to show that you can do the work, that you understand the client’s needs, that you can fill them in a specific timeframe, and that you’ve specifically tailored your proposal to them.

Before I started being successful at getting freelancing gigs, I made the big mistake of having a generic pitch that I would copy and paste into each cover letter section of Upwork while applying to a bunch of jobs all at once.

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I hardly got any work because the clients could not only tell that I was just recycling something I’ve used before, but also could tell that I had not fully read their proposal. If you want them to take the time to hire and work with you, then you need to take the time upfront to invest in writing a solid proposal.

Maybe you’ve seen that 20 other people have already applied for the project you’re absolutely sure that you could easily and successfully accomplish.

Proposal Template by Darian Rosebrook

The competition for freelancing gigs is fierce, but at least half of those proposals were generic copy/paste applications, and the others were a sentence or two about how they’re qualified without much more detail.

We’ve compiled a set of tips to help you take the time to craft the perfect proposal that will get you your next freelancing gig. Remember: presentation is everything.

1. Read Through the Proposal and Take Notes

You’ll need to do your research before writing your proposal. Read through the entirety of their posting to determine several things:

What their timeline is
What their budget is (and if it’s even worth your time!)
What product their ultimately asking for
Who their target audience is
What skills they’re requiring or seeking
What previous projects they might want to see

Once you’ve done your due diligence in parsing apart their request, then you can set out to writing a proper proposal. Though we urge you not to use a generic, copy/pasted proposal, it is always a good idea to have a set outline for how to structure your proposals to make writing them faster while simultaneously demonstrating that you understand the needs of the client.

Once you get the job, it might be a good idea to have a standard form like this one you can send the client to show you’re professional and that you care about their input.

2. Create a Standard Form for Applying (But Only a Wireframe)

We recommend something like the following:

I am a(n) [specific word for what they’re looking for, like designer, writer, or developer] with [skills] and with experience in [jobs or projects specifically related to the kind of project they’ve established] which you can view here [provide links to your project]. I also have experience working with/for [their target audience, and what experience you have writing for them, etc.]. I can complete your project in [insert timeframe] for [your price point].

It does not need to look like this, but having a standard form is different from recycling the same proposal insofar as this way you have a quick and handy guide to turn to so you’re not working on a proposal for hours, while also being able to be original and specific in your proposal.

Don’t forget to be specific about your skill-set. Do you have 5 years of experience in graphic design, or did you get your B.A. in Professional Writing? Don’t make them sift through 300 pages of your skills – make it simple, easy to read, yet expansive enough that they see you can handle every component of their job.

Remember that the client has work to do, too. Communicate this to them and make sure you get what you need from them.

Soulmates Proposal by Charlie Isslander

3. Be Original and Specific

You don’t have to spend 40 hours a week writing one proposal, but you do need to spend more than a few seconds crafting something up if you really want the job.

Think about how much time the client spent in crafting their proposal and posting it to find people to help them – you should ideally be spending however much time you imagine they spent on their job posting as you do on your proposal.

Let us first reiterate: do not copy and paste. Yes, it’s an easy way to quickly get your name out there, but clients can see right through that. The worst offense is when you don’t even mention their project or what specifically about their project you could provide value for.

Your client will be able to see through your vague, generic proposal in a few seconds. Sometimes, this is such a problem that clients will request in their proposal for a freelancer to put words like “pineapple” or “unicorn” at the beginning of their proposal before submission to make sure they’ve read and understand everything about the job posting.

Showcase your work! If you don’t have many samples to send in, especially if you’re just getting started, then it would be a good investment of time and energy in developing some mock-ups to provide to a client when they ask. Better yet, don’t wait for them to ask – show them upfront! Get a website to direct your clients to in your proposal.

Redesign a few of your favorite websites, draw up a few logos for fake companies, write a few blog posts about anything – this will largely depend on what you do and what you’re applying for, but make sure you have something to prove you can do the job.

4. Present a Timeline

This is crucial, and is more than just saying that you could finish the job in two weeks. Be as specific as possible by parsing apart their project into smaller tasks and provide a timeline for each. For instance, you could say that research and brainstorming will take three days, with a little time for communication with the client on your ideas and working their feedback into it, and wireframing will take two days, and so on.

The client will appreciate not only that you’ve taken the time to adequately think about your commitments and their needs, but also will appreciate that you understand the complexities and nuances of what they’re asking. It will demonstrate your seriousness about the job, and will help the client better understand what working with you will be like, and what the greater process of the project will look like.

Last Thing

Remember that as a freelancer you’re selling yourself and your services, and you have to see yourself, your work, and what you provide as a business.

Don’t make your proposal five pages long. Keep it short, sweet, succinct, and economic. You want to be as specific and narrow as possible, as well as descriptive as possible when explaining your process and their project, while also being as succinct as possible so that they know quickly and immediately that you’re the right freelancer for the job.

Think about it this way: pick 3 skills, pick 3 recent projects, and break the timeline into at least 3 tasks for your client. Now go forth, and get working!

The biggest takeaway? A little extra time spent on a proposal can bring you much better contracts, meaning fewer jobs with higher payout. You can work less by working better.


Hiroshima Illustration Guidebook by IC4DESIGN inc.

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/abduzeedo/~3/HcCoO73o6rk/hiroshima-illustration-guidebook-ic4design-inc

Hiroshima Illustration Guidebook by IC4DESIGN inc.

Hiroshima Illustration Guidebook by IC4DESIGN inc.

AoiroStudio
Oct 12, 2018

I just came back from my week visiting Hiroshima including the island of Naoshima (Art Island). Departing from Okayama, it has been an incredible journey and one of the things you encounter when you are traveling in another country is the art & design (as a designer for the least). From the architecture, interior, tv advertisements…just everything. Among them, I stumbled across the work of IC4DESIGN inc., a two-team of illustrators based in Hiroshima, Japan. We are showcasing a series of illustrations they worked for the city’s guidebook. Check it out and for anyone who has been in Hiroshima. That represents Hiroshima very well, enjoy!

We made Hiroshima island.

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Hiroshima Illustration Guidebook by IC4DESIGN inc.Hiroshima Illustration Guidebook by IC4DESIGN inc.Hiroshima Illustration Guidebook by IC4DESIGN inc.Hiroshima Illustration Guidebook by IC4DESIGN inc.Hiroshima Illustration Guidebook by IC4DESIGN inc.Hiroshima Illustration Guidebook by IC4DESIGN inc.Hiroshima Illustration Guidebook by IC4DESIGN inc.Hiroshima Illustration Guidebook by IC4DESIGN inc.

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5 Secrets of Image-Rich Websites

Original Source: https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2018/10/5-secrets-of-image-rich-websites/

When was the last time you visited a website with no images?

As web designers, we love adding images to our designs because images are memorable and give us a direct channel of communication to the audience’s brain. Also, images are universal and processed by our brains faster than text. That’s partly why the “story” medium (short-form videos with effects and overlays) and emojis attract engagement.

But something else has also been happening since “web 2.0” came along. The high usage of images all over the web, some fueled by user-generated content, is creating a problem for web designers who now must deliver rich experiences in the face of an ever-increasing number of images.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss in detail five things to keep in mind when designing smart, image-rich websites in the modern era.

1. Enhance Performance

Whenever someone thinks about images on the web, their content, resolution, and style immediately come to mind. But the most important factor for delivering superior UX of images is actually performance, which is even more important than the image itself. That’s because most visitors to your site won’t bother to wait for your images to load.

a slow-loading ecommerce website that clocks $1,000 in revenue per day loses $250,000 in sales every year

In short, image-rich websites can’t afford to be slow. For every second of increase in load time, there’s a 7-percent reduction in conversions. That means that a slow-loading ecommerce website that clocks $1,000 in revenue per day loses $250,000 in sales every year.

Big companies like Ryanair and Marks & Spencer had massive website redesigns that failed abominably because of critical performance issues. So be sure to keep in mind that a user-centered website is, first and foremost, performance based. You can enhance performance in many ways, here’s a good place to start.

Use optimized and responsive images. Show the users the image only when and exactly how they need it. Below are three essential tips.

Tip 1: Use Sprite Sheets

One of the oldest tricks for speeding up load times on the web. Loading multiple images takes time and resources. However, loading a single image and displaying its components is much faster because doing so reduces the number of server requests and optimizes bandwidth.

With Cascading Image Style Sheet (CSS) sprites, the browser loads just one image, say, a row of social-media icons, displaying only portions of it in the relevant places.

A good recent example of such a technique is The Guardian’s World Cup 2018 infographic. At the outset, the page ran into a problem with the large amount of images to show: 32 competing teams, each with over 20 players. As a solution, the website leverages CSS sprites to show the players for each of the teams. See the page below that displays all 23 players of the Spanish team, the page source being only one single image, which loads superfast.

Tip 2: Lazy-Load Images

Another critical issue, especially in the case of a multitude of images, is lazy loading. The principle is simple: Load an image only when it is visible in the viewport of the browser instead of having the visitor wait by loading the entire collection of images.

For a classic example, scroll down the Unsplash home page.

Tip 3: Load a Site Skeleton First

Images never show up in advance, which is why you must account for perceived performance.

Loading a basic skeleton version of a website before its images creates a better experience for visitors. They are then aware of  what to expect and, in some cases, can even start to interact with the site (before images load).

Consider the loading sequence of Klook:

Here, for each image, the browser first loads a light version of the site (with a white backdrop) and then the actual background image. Such an approach might seem fast or trivial to some, but keep in mind that performance varies across connections and devices.

(If you are working with React or Vue, you can use this cool tool to create skeleton components.)

2. Treat Images as Part of the Design

This rule might seem obvious but is frequently overlooked. Images are an integral part of the design and, as such, must be taken into account. Because designs serve a goal, the related images and composition of the page must support that goal.

Design Images to Complement

Remember to identify and prioritize the goals of the page. Whether your objective is to solicit newsletter signups or offer a catalog for browsing, your images must complement the intended purpose.

As an example, Essential Phone’s landing page displays a single, eye-catching image of the product. The yellow Buy Now button prominently stands out, steering the visitor’s attention to the intended action. Because the image shows the product itself, it’s never cut off, nor does it serve as a background to the text.

Have Images Take the Back Seat

Even though image-focused designs often deliver better results, be sure to follow the basic usability principles because those designs do not guarantee success. For example, you might overlook the visual hierarchy by assigning equal weightage to both the primary and secondary elements.

MetaLab is a design agency that specializes in designing interfaces. When first displayed, its single-fold landing page shows only a solid-color background with minimal text, mainly the names of its clientele. However, as soon as you mouse over a company name, the background subtly changes, displaying a contextual image. That means no more suffering through context switching each time. Such a home-page design ably conveys the message that MetaLab’s clientele is impressively extensive.

3. Let Text and Images Be Friends

Displaying both text and images on the same page can be a tricky business. The challenge is to find that perfect balance of text and imagery for your website.

Place Text on a Soft Background Overlay

Placing text on a soft background overlay is one of the simplest techniques for presenting contrasting images and text. Indiegogo’s landing page is a vintage example, on which the title and description are displayed atop a soft, dark overlay on an image of each of the products offered on the site. The text is easy to read with no sacrifice in visual appeal.

Blend Text and Images

Airbnb adopts a fantastic visual blend of text and images for their home-listing page.

The images for the home categories contain the wording inside the images themselves, enabling the designer to play with hiding the text between overlay objects in the photographs. (See “Family”) Such an approach works seamlessly, demonstrating that text and image need not be separate entities.

(A side note on accessibility: Keep in mind that using text in images also means no keywords for search engines except for those specified in the images’ alt tags, causing problems in accessibility unless you use the aria-label tags. Your final choice depends on the design context and your page’s objective.)

Combine Text and Images as a Single Interactive Unit

The landing page of the 2018 film Sorry to Bother You shows the image of each member of the cast only on a mouseover of the member’s name, simultaneously lazy-loading the image. Although the text is composed of live text (list element), it uses a styled font and color along with the images’ drop shadow to make the presentation look like one piece of art (or movie). The line between image and text is blurry.

Showing the right image at the right time embodies a playful and engaging user experience.

4. Apply the Right Layout

As we’re aware, user experience largely hinges on the layout of the website. For media-rich websites, the common layout choice is usually the grid. That’s because the grid’s pattern immaculately shows a list of images, also each one of them side by side.

The sections below describe the three main grid types with an example for each of them.

Apply a Classic Grid

A classic grid is one that contains square image-thumbs in equal sizes. It brings forth a sense of balance and harmony and is suitable for pages in which images are not the lead items for scanning. A list of cards is an option for a classic grid. Think of common use cases like YouTube and Dribbble.

Apply a Brutalist Grid

Below is an example of a portfolio site that does not adhere to the all-too-familiar grid layout while still focusing on content. Marcus Eriksson is a sought-after photographer whose clientele includes top brands like Nike and ESPN. His website features an unconventional grid layout that draws the viewer’s attention to the content without sacrificing usability. The site also lazy-loads pretty nicely.

Use this pattern if you want your visitors to focus on several individual images. The chaotic layout is very engaging and has an element of surprise. Beware, however, that  some images might “get lost on the way” from all the racket.

Apply a Masonry Grid

The Art Palette experiment from Google Art & Culture breaks down popular artwork into their fundamental color palettes. Inversely, it can also display artforms based on a color palette of your choice.

For our purpose, the Art Palette site is inspiring. It’s a good example of a masonry grid, showing different sizes of images while keeping them “in order.” That’s an optimal way of displaying numerous images while keeping their original aspect ratio.

(You can build your own masonry grid with this plugin.)

A side note on performance: Remember the skeleton technique mentioned earlier? The Art Palette site takes it up a notch by initially loading a lazily-loaded, dominant color block and then progressively loading low quality image placeholders (LQIP). A highly recommended move!

5. Add Motion for a Purpose

The element of motion adds to a website’s visual flair. However, just like with text, when tackling a large quantity of images, ensure that both motion and images work together.

Some best practices of motion design principles are noted in Google’s Material Design. Below are some examples of how to employ animation to support UX in websites.

Announce Layout Changes

In many cases, layout changes are unsettling for visitors, as if the ground was shifting as everything on the page changes location. Animation can help soften the changes for your visitors.

Consider this example, which displays images in a classic grid. On a mouseover of an image, a subtle motion gently nudges the visitor’s attention to that element. In other words, the animation deftly steers the visitor from the grid layout to a single-image one. Simple, yet brilliantly effective.

Load With Ease

Another interesting example is Uber’s design website. Because the main user action is simply scrolling down the page, which triggers image loading, the website enriches the browsing experience with smooth transitions and subtle animations, concurrently presenting the related information in a clear, easily-accessible manner.

Switch Images

Fubiz softens switches between images in an image gallery with animation techniques, displaying a peek inside each and every image on the post.

Incorporate Animation to Tell a Story

A final example: Avocode’s 2017 design report, in which each page has a story to share along with illustrations created by some of the world’s top design talent. The report acts as a comic strip, with each illustration built and animated to reinforce the key findings of the report.

Don’t Forget the Advantages of Video

Here is a good rule of thumb: If you can post videos instead of images, do it. See this example of a Nike product gallery, in which one of the items, disguised as an image, is, in fact, a video. An image is shown until the video is loaded so the shopper’s experience is not abstracted.

Conclusion

Having to tackle the display of a massive amount of images or visual media doesn’t mean that you should ignore design principles. Designing a trendy website without taking into account user experience invariably fails. Planning images as part of your website’s goal, enforcing performance, and incorporating animation can make all the difference between a spectacular experience and a boring one.

[Special thanks to Sourav Kundu and Mickey Aharony for helping with this article.]

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Create Sites Easily with WP Page Builder

Original Source: https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2018/10/create-sites-easily-with-wp-page-builder/

There’s little doubt that WordPress is one of the biggest web technologies in the world, powering around a third of the web, and growing all the time. Until recently WordPress was only for the initiated, those developers who’d spent years learning how to dig into the source code and tinker, without breaking their whole site.

In the last few years WordPress has been revolutionized by the introduction of page builders, applications that allow anyone—even someone with no design or coding knowledge—to create a professional standard WordPress site on the fly. Today, we’re talking about one of the most lightweight options on the market, with performance that outstrips many rival tools: WP Page Builder.

WP Page Builder is the perfect tool for web professionals who want to branch into WordPress, but don’t want to hire expensive designers or developers. Thanks to its intuitive drag and drop interface, WP Page Builder allows you to quickly and easily develop websites for your, or your clients’ businesses, with none of the hassle of old-school WordPress development.

Real-Time Frontend Customization for Everyone

There’s absolutely no need to hire a designer, or developer, to work with WP Page Builder. Simply create a page in WordPress, and drop your content wherever you want it.

The real-time front-end customization means that you will see exactly what you’re coding—yes, coding, because WP Page Builder generates all the code a professional developer would write, and inserts it for you.

And should you get lost at any point, Themeum’s simple to understand documentation, and friendly customer support will get you back on track.

Responsive Design with Flexible Layouts

Themeum’s WP Page Builder uses a flexible row-column layout structure, which is perfect for responsive design. Flexibly add rows and columns of content, and adjust the sizing and spacing as you like. Everything you add will be flexible across all viewport sizes, so your site will look perfect no matter what device it’s previewed on.

Feature-Rich Add-Ons

There are 30+ add-ons included with WP Page Builder, including:

Post Grid – ideal for posting a scannable grid of post thumbnails to introduce your content;
Accordion – a vertical open/close menu that’s great for discovering options;
Form – everyone needs forms for collecting information from your new-found customers;
Carousel – present your content in an attractive animated slider that users will love;
Pricing Table – the simplest way to present your pricing to new customers in a format they’ll recognize and understand;
Testimonial Carousel – boast about how great your company is, with animated reviews from other customers;
Video Popup – show videos in a pop-up modal so they don’t interfere with the rest of your content;
Flip Box – present content in an attractive 3D style, using both sides of a card;
Feature Box – easily highlight the main features of your company for customers;
and a whole load more…

In fact, WP Page Builder features so many add-ons, you can produce just about any content you can imagine. And more add-ons are being introduced all the time.

Rich Libraries

The library system allow you to design blocks within your design, and save them for reuse. Just design a section of your site, save it to the library, then access it at any time to use the same design block on any other page of your site. It’s a huge productivity gain that will help you generate sites faster, and turn projects around more quickly.

Predesigned Templates and Blocks

WP Page Builder includes a gamut of predesigned templates, so you can get a head-start on your build by selecting a template you like and modifying it to fit your preferences.

To make your flow even faster, WP Page Builder includes a host of professionally designed blocks, ready to drag and drop into your page. Simply select the block you want, drag and drop it onto your page, and it will be ready instantly.

WP Page Builder’s front-end customization is even compatible with your themes—even themes from 3rd parties—so you can really boost your site development by starting with a ready-made design from Themeum, or another provider, then customize using WP Page Builder.

Be Empowered by WP Page Builder

WP Page Builder is a professional quality drag and drop site builder, with a whole heap of add-ons to keep you happy. The visually intuitive site editor, the total lack of coding, and the predesigned blocks and templates, mean that even novices can use it.

With the library system for rapid builds, and the simple one-click duplication system, it’s a super-fast solution for anyone who wants to build a great website without hiring an expensive designer or developer.

 

[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of Themeum –]

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Beautiful Brand Identity for Colono

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/abduzeedo/~3/-jhV0Tl3TyY/beautiful-brand-identity-colono

Beautiful Brand Identity for Colono

Beautiful Brand Identity for Colono

abduzeedo
Oct 10, 2018

When people ask why we run Abduzeedo, our answer is always, we are always looking for things that inspire us. We are also trying to find new projects before they get featured on other publications. There are some projects that we have to share even after they get featured because they are too good. That’s the case of the brand identity project created by the awesome people at atipo ®.

Colono is a culinary project based in Vienna that is mainly dedicated to the import of food from the Iberian peninsula to Austria. Through a direct collaboration with the producer from “colono” they  are responsible for getting the best product to the main restaurants, catering services and delicatessen. in addition, in order to publicize its own line of groceries the firm has opened, in 2018, its first physical store in the center of Vienna under the concept “groceries-bar-gourmet”.

For the project, Colono (‘settler’ in english) was our name proposal; direct reference to the person who is established in another territory and the grocery stores, commercial establishments that sell various food products (and that take their name from the set of imports brought from the former spanish colonies).

The journey made by the products is the guiding thread of the whole identity and it is represented in the different pieces and packaging through a red line that connects two imaginary points.

Brand Identity

The logo is composed with the Retiro font, elegant didona of spanish airs that perfectly communicates the origin and the select character of the products. in contrast, as a secondary font it is used a monospaced that brings freshness and a contemporary air.

The palette of colors is sober and elegant and seeks to convey the gourmet nature of the project and, in turn, enhance the prominence of the typography where only the red color present in the lines of the graphics stands out above all else.

The set forms a distinctive and faithful identity to a project proud of its origin, but that flees from the clichés and declares itself in love with the product that selects and commercializes.

 

In addition to selected products from different origins, Colono wants to enhance their own range of groceries. the same as the identity, the design of the packaging is eminently typographic and is marked by the red line that invites the consumer to discover the origin of each product.

 

 

The premises, an update of the grocery stores, developed by Serrano + Barquero, is a place where you can buy and also “tapear”  –basically dishes made with preserves, salted fish and pickles– the products in their bar-gourmet. Cozy atmosphere, noble materials and dark tones for a place that pays homage to the product.

 

branding