Tips To Improve Your E-Commerce Website Design

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Designrfix/~3/mEmE-aGzG_w/tips-to-improve-your-e-commerce-website-design

Is your e-commerce web design no more interesting? Is it not earning revenues as earlier?  What does it indicate?  The time has come to improve your e-commerce website design. You need to consider what to include in your e-commerce website design so that your business stands out from the crowd.  It is a big concern […]

The post Tips To Improve Your E-Commerce Website Design appeared first on designrfix.com.

Passive Income Methods for Designers

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Designrfix/~3/5ZH-pZiLjzU/passive-income-methods-for-designers

Image source: Pixabay.com If you are a designer who is looking to increase his or her revenue, finding extra work or creating a project of your own should not be that big of a problem. It all comes down to your experience and willingness to learn new things, but you already have a big advantage […]

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Things You Can Do With CSS Today

Original Source: https://smashingmagazine.com/2021/02/things-you-can-do-with-css-today/

CSS is great and getting better all the time. Over recent years, especially, it has evolved really fast, too. Understandably, some of the really handy powers CSS gives you might have slipped you by because of this, so in this article, I’m going to show you some really handy stuff you can do with modern CSS today, and also share some stuff that we can look forward to in the future.

Let’s dig in.

Masonry Layout

Masonry layouts became very popular with Pinterest, Tumblr and Unsplash, and up until recently, we tended to rely on JavaScript to assist with our layout, which is almost never a good idea.

Sure, you can use CSS multicol pretty darn effectively to achieve a masonry layout, but that approach can be problematic with tabbed-focus as it lays content out in columns. This creates a disconnect between the visual layout and the tabbing index.

Fast forward to today (well, very shortly in the future) and a masonry layout is pretty trivial, thanks to an update to CSS Grid. Here’s a complete masonry layout, with gutters, in 6 lines of CSS:

.masonry {
display: grid;
grid-template-columns: repeat(4, 1fr);
grid-template-rows: masonry;
grid-gap: 1rem;
}

The magic is in grid-template-rows set as masonry, which turns it into the “masonry axis”, thus providing the “filled in” layout we’ve all come accustomed to.

Let’s expand on this and explore a quick demo of creating a responsive masonry layout. Using a slightly modified version of the above CSS, we can replace the grid-template-columns line to use this auto grid method instead:

.masonry {
display: grid;
grid-template-columns: repeat(auto-fill, minmax(16rem, 1fr));
grid-template-rows: masonry;
grid-gap: 1rem;
}

The minmax() function allows us to define what the smallest size is for our items, which for us, is 16rem. Then we tell minmax() what the maximum size should be for each item. We declare that as 1fr, which takes 1 portion of the remaining available space.

This definition of grid-template-columns allows our layout to break and stack if it runs out of horizontal space which the masonry axis then automatically sorts our remaining elements for us.

Note: Right now, masonry is only working in Firefox Nightly, or behind a flag, but the grid layout will still work perfectly in non-supporting browsers, making it a decent progressive enhancement target.

You can also read this great article, too.

Resources

Content-visibility on web.dev
Another video explaining what happens under the hood
A handy article with some useful notes to know about content-visibility

Wrapping Up And What’s Coming Up

That’s a pretty cool new CSS, right? There’s loads more arriving soon and loads in the long-term pipeline too. We can look forward to Media Queries Level 5 which let us target the current ambient light level and whether or not the user prefers reduced data.

We’ve also got CSS Nesting in draft, which will give us Sass-like nesting capabilities like this:

.my-element {
background: red;

& p {
background: yellow;
}
}

We’re getting even more control too, with font metrics override descriptors and Cascade Level 5, which introduces layers to the cascade. Prototyping is happening with container queries too!

Lastly, there are some cool new tricks on the horizon, like scroll-linked animations, which will open the door wide-open to a new generation of creative work on the web.

In conclusion, the present and future of CSS are very bright indeed and if you take a pragmatic, progressive approach to your CSS: things will continue to get better and better on your projects too.

3D Abstract & Colorful Shapes

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/abduzeedo/~3/vW_LPS6hzRk/3d-abstract-colorful-shapes

3D Abstract & Colorful Shapes
3D Abstract & Colorful Shapes

abduzeedo01.27.21

Danny Ivan shared a set of 3D colorful images created in Maxon Cinema 4D as well as Photoshop. Titled Abstract Shapes 1.0 the collection as the name suggests some abstract forms that look perfect for a wallpaper to be used on your computer or phone. I’d even just print it and frame it on a wall. 

Image may contain: art, screenshot and shapeImage may contain: art, shape and creativityImage may contain: abstract, screenshot and colorfulnessImage may contain: abstract and artImage may contain: abstract, curve and artImage may contain: abstract, green and art

Make sure to follow Danny on

Instagram
twitter


From Design To Developer-Friendly React Code In Minutes With Anima

Original Source: https://smashingmagazine.com/2021/01/design-developer-friendly-react-code-animaapp/

The promise of seamless design to code translation goes back to the early WYSIWYG page builders. Despite the admirable goal, their biggest flaw (among many) was the horrible code that they generated. Skepticism remains to this day and whenever this idea reappears, the biggest concerns are always related to the quality and maintainability of the code.

This is about to change as new products have made great leaps in the right direction. Their ultimate goal is to automate the design to code process, but not at the cost of code quality. One of these products, Anima, is trying to finally bridge the gap by providing a fully-fledged design to development platform.

What’s Anima?

Anima is a design-to-development tool. It aims to turn the design handoff process into a continuous collaboration. Designers can use Anima to create fully responsive prototypes that look and work exactly like the finished product (no coding required). Developers, in turn, can take these designs and export them into developer-friendly React/HTML code. Instead of coding UI from scratch, they are free to focus on logic and architecture.

It does that with the help of a plugin that connects directly to your design tool and allows you to configure designs and sync them to Anima’s web platform. That’s where the rest of the team can access the prototype, discuss it, and pick useful specs or assets. Aside from the collaboration functionality, it gives developers a headstart thanks to the generated code.

This could make a big difference in the traditional back and forth dance that goes between designers and developers. It keeps everything in one place, in sync, and allows both sides to make changes using either code or design tools.

Installing The Plugin And Setting Up A Project

Getting started with Anima is simple. You first need to create an account and then install the plugin. While I’ll be using Figma for this walkthrough, Anima supports all of the major design tools: Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD.

Anima for Sketch
Anima for Figma
Anima for Adobe XD

Once this is done, make sure you create a project on Anima’s platform — that’s where our designs will appear when we sync them.

The plugin itself is separated into three main sections, each with a list of options. Most of what we’ll be doing is simply selecting one of those options and then applying a specific layer or frame in Figma.

Creating A Responsive Prototype

For the purpose of the article, we have designed an onboarding experience that will be transformed into an interactive prototype. So far we have prepared screens for the three most common breakpoints and we have linked them together using Figma’s prototyping features.

One of the interesting things we can achieve with Anima is making prototypes that fit all screen sizes. Traditional prototypes made of clickable images are static and often fail under different screen sizes.

To do that, click on “Breakpoints” option and Anima will ask you for the frames that you want to connect. Select all of the frames to add them as breakpoints. Then confirm your selection by clicking on “Done”.

Once you are ready, click on “Preview in browser” to see the result. That’s when Anima will convert your designs into code.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the prototype is now transformed into HTML and CSS. All the content is selectable and reflows as the screen is resized. This is most visible when you select the “Responsive” mode in the prototype previewer and play with different screen sizes.

To achieve smoother transitions, it’s important to use Figma’s constraint features when designing your components. Make sure to also check the box “Use Figma Constraints” in the “Layout” section of the plugin.

Bring Your Designs To Life With Smart Layers

We can take things a little bit further. Since Anima converts designs into code, the possibilities are endless for the things we can add to make our prototype more realistic.

Animations and hover effects would be a great way to make the prototype more alive and to impress stakeholders. Anima offers a variety of options that can be applied to any layer or component. In our case, we’ll select the headline layer, then choose the “Entrance animation” and “Fade In”. In the delay field, we’ll add 0.5.

For each field, we’ll add a glow effect on hover. Select the field layer, then “Hover effect” and choose “Glow”. Repeat the same for the button.

Now that we have applied all the changes, we can see that the prototype starts to feel like a real product.

One of the unique features that Anima offers is the ability to add live fields and forms to prototypes. Since we are designing an onboarding experience, this will actually be really useful for us. Data entry is one of the biggest churn points in any product experience and it’s really hard to test out ideas without taking it into account.

Similar to how we added the previous effects, we now select the field component and choose “Text field”. From there, we’ll have to choose the type of field that we need. If we choose a password field, for example, input will be hidden and Anima will add a show/hide functionality to the field.

As you can see, fields now work as intended. It’s also possible to gather all the data collected from those fields in a spreadsheet. Select the “Continue” button and then click on the “Submit Button” option in Anima. This will open an additional dialog, where we need to check the box “Add to Spreadsheet” and select redirect destinations in case of success or failure.

Next, we’ll add a Lottie animation for our success screen as it will be a great way to make the experience a bit more engaging. For that, we need to add a placeholder layer in the place of the animation, then select it and choose the “Video / GIF / Lottie” option in the plugin.

Then we’ll paste the URL of our Lottie animation and check the boxes of “Autoplay” and “No controls”. In our case, we don’t want to have any video player controls, since this is a success animation.

Apply the changes and open the preview mode to see the results. As you can see, when we fill out the fields and submit the form, we get redirected to our success page, with a looping animation.

Share Designs With The Rest Of The Team

Up until that point, we were working on a draft that was visible only to us. Now it’s time to share it with the rest of the team. The way to do this in the app is by clicking on “Preview in browser”, check how it looks, and if you’re satisfied, continue with “Sync”.

Everyone invited to the project will now have access to the designs and will be able to preview, leave comments, and inspect code.

Developers Can Get Reusable React Code

As mentioned earlier, as developers, we are usually skeptical of tools that generate code, mostly because writing something from scratch is always faster than refactoring something that was poorly written. To avoid this, Anima has adopted some best practices to keep the code clean, reusable, and concise.

When we switch to the “Code” mode, we can hover and inspect elements of our design. Whenever we select an element, we’ll see the generated code underneath. The default view is React, but we can also switch to HTML and CSS. We can also adjust preferences in the syntax and naming conventions.

The classes reuse the names of the layers within your design tool, but both designers and developers can rename the layers, too. Still, it’s important to agree on unified naming conventions that would be clear and straightforward to both designers and developers.

Even if we have left some layers unnamed, developers can actually override them and make changes when necessary. This experience reminds me of Chrome’s Inspect element feature, and all the changes are saved and synced with the project.

If you are using Vue or Angular, it’s expected that Anima will start supporting these frameworks in the near future as well.

Looking Forward

As we can see, the gap between design and code keeps bridging. For those who write code, using such a tool is very practical as it can reduce a lot of repetitive work in frontend. For those who design, it allows prototyping, collaboration and syncing that would be difficult to achieve with sending static images back-and-forth.

What’s already certain is that Anima eliminates a lot of wasteful activities in the hand-off process and allows both designers and developers to focus on what matters: building better products. I look forward to seeing what comes up next in Anima!

Twisted Colorful Spheres with Three.js

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tympanus/~3/Z_OBz7OKRNA/

I love blobs and I enjoy looking for interesting ways to change basic geometries with Three.js: bending a plane, twisting a box, or exploring a torus (like in this 10-min video tutorial). So this time, my love for shaping things will be the excuse to see what we can do with a sphere, transforming it using shaders. 

This tutorial will be brief, so we’ll skip the basic render/scene setup and focus on manipulating the sphere’s shape and colors, but if you want to know more about the setup check out these steps.

We’ll go with a more rounded than irregular shape, so the premise is to deform a sphere and use that same distortion to color it.

Vertex displacement

As you’ve probably been thinking, we’ll be using noise to deform the geometry by moving each vertex along the direction of its normal. Think of it as if we were pushing each vertex from the inside out with different strengths. I could elaborate more on this, but I rather point you to this article by The Spite aka Jaume Sanchez Elias, he explains this so well! I bet some of you have stumbled upon this article already.

So in code, it looks like this:

varying vec3 vNormal;

uniform float uTime;
uniform float uSpeed;
uniform float uNoiseDensity;
uniform float uNoiseStrength;

#pragma glslify: pnoise = require(glsl-noise/periodic/3d)

void main() {
float t = uTime * uSpeed;
// You can also use classic perlin noise or simplex noise,
// I’m using its periodic variant out of curiosity
float distortion = pnoise((normal + t), vec3(10.0) * uNoiseDensity) * uNoiseStrength;

// Disturb each vertex along the direction of its normal
vec3 pos = position + (normal * distortion);

vNormal = normal;

gl_Position = projectionMatrix * modelViewMatrix * vec4(pos, 1.0);
}

And now we should see a blobby sphere:

See the Pen
Vertex displacement by Mario (@marioecg)
on CodePen.

You can experiment and change its values to see how the blob changes. I know we’re going with a more subtle and rounded distortion, but feel free to go crazy with it; there are audio visualizers out there that deform a sphere to the point that you don’t even think it’s based on a sphere.

Now, this already looks interesting, but let’s add one more touch to it next.

Noitation

…is just a word I came up with to combine noise with rotation (ba dum tss), but yes! Adding some twirl to the mix makes things more compelling.

If you’ve ever played with Play-Doh as a child, you have surely molded a big chunk of clay into a ball, grab it with each hand, and twisted in opposite directions until the clay tore apart. This is kind of what we want to do (except for the breaking part).

To twist the sphere, we are going to generate a sine wave from top to bottom of the sphere. Then, we are going to use this top-bottom wave as a rotation for the current position. Since the values increase/decrease from top to bottom, the rotation is going to oscillate as well, creating a twist:

varying vec3 vNormal;

uniform float uTime;
uniform float uSpeed;
uniform float uNoiseDensity;
uniform float uNoiseStrength;
uniform float uFrequency;
uniform float uAmplitude;

#pragma glslify: pnoise = require(glsl-noise/periodic/3d)
#pragma glslify: rotateY = require(glsl-rotate/rotateY)

void main() {
float t = uTime * uSpeed;
// You can also use classic perlin noise or simplex noise,
// I’m using its periodic variant out of curiosity
float distortion = pnoise((normal + t), vec3(10.0) * uNoiseDensity) * uNoiseStrength;

// Disturb each vertex along the direction of its normal
vec3 pos = position + (normal * distortion);

// Create a sine wave from top to bottom of the sphere
// To increase the amount of waves, we’ll use uFrequency
// To make the waves bigger we’ll use uAmplitude
float angle = sin(uv.y * uFrequency + t) * uAmplitude;
pos = rotateY(pos, angle);

vNormal = normal;

gl_Position = projectionMatrix * modelViewMatrix * vec4(pos, 1.0);
}

Notice how the waves emerge from the top, it’s soothing. Some of you might find this movement therapeutic, so take some time to appreciate it and think about what we’ve learned so far…

See the Pen
Noitation by Mario (@marioecg)
on CodePen.

Alright! Now that you’re back let’s get on to the fragment shader.

Colorific

If you take a close look at the shaders before, you see, almost at the end, that we’ve been passing the normals to the fragment shader. Remember that we want to use the distortion to color the shape, so first let’s create a varying where we pass that distortion to:

varying float vDistort;

uniform float uTime;
uniform float uSpeed;
uniform float uNoiseDensity;
uniform float uNoiseStrength;
uniform float uFrequency;
uniform float uAmplitude;

#pragma glslify: pnoise = require(glsl-noise/periodic/3d)
#pragma glslify: rotateY = require(glsl-rotate/rotateY)

void main() {
float t = uTime * uSpeed;
// You can also use classic perlin noise or simplex noise,
// I’m using its periodic variant out of curiosity
float distortion = pnoise((normal + t), vec3(10.0) * uNoiseDensity) * uNoiseStrength;

// Disturb each vertex along the direction of its normal
vec3 pos = position + (normal * distortion);

// Create a sine wave from top to bottom of the sphere
// To increase the amount of waves, we’ll use uFrequency
// To make the waves bigger we’ll use uAmplitude
float angle = sin(uv.y * uFrequency + t) * uAmplitude;
pos = rotateY(pos, angle);

vDistort = distortion; // Train goes to the fragment shader! Tchu tchuuu

gl_Position = projectionMatrix * modelViewMatrix * vec4(pos, 1.0);
}

And use vDistort to color the pixels instead:

varying float vDistort;

uniform float uIntensity;

void main() {
float distort = vDistort * uIntensity;

vec3 color = vec3(distort);

gl_FragColor = vec4(color, 1.0);
}

We should get a kind of twisted, smokey black and white color like so:

See the Pen
Colorific by Mario (@marioecg)
on CodePen.

With this basis, we’ll take it a step further and use it in conjunction with one of my favorite color functions out there.

Cospalette

Cosine palette is a very useful function to create and control color with code based on the brightness, contrast, oscillation of cosine, and phase of cosine. I encourage you to watch Char Stiles explain this further, which is soooo good. Final s/o to Inigo Quilez who wrote an article about this function some years ago; for those of you who haven’t stumbled upon his genius work, please do. I would love to write more about him, but I’ll save that for a poem.

Let’s use cospalette to input the distortion and see how it looks:

varying vec2 vUv;
varying float vDistort;

uniform float uIntensity;

vec3 cosPalette(float t, vec3 a, vec3 b, vec3 c, vec3 d) {
return a + b * cos(6.28318 * (c * t + d));
}

void main() {
float distort = vDistort * uIntensity;

// These values are my fav combination,
// they remind me of Zach Lieberman’s work.
// You can find more combos in the examples from IQ:
// https://iquilezles.org/www/articles/palettes/palettes.htm
// Experiment with these!
vec3 brightness = vec3(0.5, 0.5, 0.5);
vec3 contrast = vec3(0.5, 0.5, 0.5);
vec3 oscilation = vec3(1.0, 1.0, 1.0);
vec3 phase = vec3(0.0, 0.1, 0.2);

// Pass the distortion as input of cospalette
vec3 color = cosPalette(distort, brightness, contrast, oscilation, phase);

gl_FragColor = vec4(color, 1.0);
}

¡Liiistoooooo! See how the color palette behaves similar to the distortion because we’re using it as input. Swap it for vUv.x or vUv.y to see different results of the palette, or even better, come up with your own input!

See the Pen
Cospalette by Mario (@marioecg)
on CodePen.

And that’s it! I hope this short tutorial gave you some ideas to apply to anything you’re creating or inspired you to make something. Next time you use noise, stop and think if you can do something extra to make it more interesting and make sure to save Cospalette in your shader toolbelt.

Explore and have fun with this! And don’t forget to share it with me on Twitter. If you got any questions or suggestions, let me know.

I hope you learned something new. Till next time! 

References and Credits

Thanks to all the amazing people that put knowledge out in the world!

Simple color palettes by Inigo QuilezVertex displacement by The SpiteGLSL Shader Workshop by Char StilesGLSL Noise and GLSL RotateCreate a scene with Three.js

The post Twisted Colorful Spheres with Three.js appeared first on Codrops.

5 Steps for Design Thinking

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Designrfix/~3/dIF8–IFo_A/5-steps-for-design-thinking

What Exactly Design Thinking Mean? Design thinking is both a theory and a procedure, concerned about taking care of complex issues in a profoundly client driven way. It centers around people as a matter of first importance, trying to understand individuals’ needs and encourages successful solutions to address those issues. It depends vigorously on the […]

The post 5 Steps for Design Thinking appeared first on designrfix.com.

Popular Design News of the Week: January 18, 2021 – January 24, 2021

Original Source: https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2021/01/popular-design-news-of-the-week-january-18-2021-january-24-2021/

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers.

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

UI Design Trends for 2021

 

10 White Label Tools for Web Designers

 

12 Content Marketing Trends to Keep an Eye in 2021

 

We Can do Better than Signal

 

I Wasted $40k on a Fantastic Startup Idea

 

Mnm – An Open Source Project to Replace Email and SMTP

 

Shuffle – An Online Editor for Busy Developers

 

New in Chrome 88: Aspect-ratio

 

Everything About React Server Components

 

8 Examples of Icon-Based Navigation, Enhanced with CSS and JavaScript

 

Amazing Free UI Illustrations and How to Use Them

 

Is it Time We Start Designing for Deviant Users?

 

7 B2B Web Design Tips to Craft an Eye-Catching Website

 

Legendaria Font

 

16 Things not to do While Designing Dashboards

 

How to Train your Design Dragon

 

Enterprise UX is Amazing

 

7 Visual Design Lessons from Dmitry Novikoff Based on Big Sur Icons

 

DIY UX Audit – Uncover 90% of the Usability Issues on your Website

 

Vector Pattern Generator – Customize Seamless Patterns for the Web

 

The Year in Illustration 2020

 

Design Trends Predictions for 2021

 

Twenty Twenty-One Theme Review: Well-Designed & Cutting-Edge

 

9 Best Code Editors for Editing WordPress Files

 

The State of Design in 2021

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

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;}

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20 Best New Websites, January 2021

Original Source: https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2021/01/20-best-new-websites-january-2021/

Here we are into a brand new year, and although we’re far from out of the woods yet, there is a feeling of renewed hope on many fronts.

In this first collection of the year, we have a mix of retrospectives, brand new ventures, and business as usual. There is an eclectic mix of styles on offer, from glossy and slick to minimalist and brutalist, but all confident and looking to a better world in the year ahead.

Clar

Brand strategists Clar have a simple but strong site. Aside from a few personnel profile shots and the odd bit of line animation, it is all text. The typography is good, and the use of color holds interest.

Ebb Dunedin

This boutique hotel, opening in March 2021 (COVID permitting), has bucked the usual luxury hotel trend and bravely gone for a more minimal design style to complement its interiors.

Aplós

Perfect for Dry January, Aplós is a new, non-alcoholic spirit that can be drunk on its own, with a mixer or in a cocktail. The site design and branding aesthetic is sophisticated calm.

Malala Fund COVID Initiative

Subtle color and simple line decorations keep this site for the Malala Fund’s COVID Initiative clean but warm and appealing.

Taubmans Chromatic Joy

This micro-site promoting Taubmans’ new paint color collection is bursting with color and makes a big nod to the Memphis style of the 1980s.

Myriad

Myriad video production agency’s site uses small amounts of bright colors really well. And they quote Eleanor Shellstrop.

The Ocean Cleanup

Cleaning all the plastic crap out of the oceanic garbage patches is a grim job, but it’s getting done, and The Ocean Cleanup site explains how and why in a not grim way.

Photo Vogue Festival

This site displaying the work and talks from Vogue Italia’s 2020 Photo Festival mixes a hand-drawn style with clean type and a strong grid.

Zero

Zero is a digital branding agency. Their site is glossy with lots of high-quality images, smooth transitions, and a clear structure. The background options are a fun touch.

Fluff

This site for cosmetics brand Fluff takes an old school approach to designing for different viewports — sticking a fullscreen background behind your mobile view for desktop sounds like a terrible idea, but here it works.

Patricia Urquiola

The new site for Patricia Urquiola design studio is bright, bold, and assured, inspiring confidence.

Breathing Room

Breathing Room describes itself as a volunteer creative coalition that designs spaces for black people to live without limits through art, design, and activism. The design radiates confidence and optimism.

A Year in Review

A microsite from Milkshake Studio, highlighting their work over the past year. Some good scrolling animation.

Umamiland

Umamiland is an animated interactive introduction to Japanese food, with links to Google search results for individual items or where to get them.

Acqua Carloforte

Carloforte is the town on the island of San Pietro, near Sardinia, and the scents of the island inspire the perfumes of Acqua Carloforte. Cue beautiful photography.

Eugene Ling

Eugen Ling’s portfolio site is simple and straightforward with little or no marketing-speak and a lovely, understated slider transition.

CWC Tokyo

Cross World Connections is an Illustration and Creative Agency based in Japan and represents illustrators from all over the world.

Lions Good News

Following the cancellation of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in 2020, this site was set up to highlight good news in creativity during the pandemic. A carousel of paper flyers forms the main navigation and creates a lo-fi, DIY feel.

G!theimagineers

G!theimagineers is a production studio for events and entertainment. White lines on black, horizontal concertina navigation, and lots of circles.

Sgrappa

Sgrappa is handmade grappa with attitude, and this site has an uncompromising, in your face vibe.

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;}

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6 Best Ecommerce Solutions for 2021

Original Source: https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2021/01/6-best-ecommerce-solutions-for-2021/

It’s never been easier to set up an ecommerce store and start selling. There are a dizzying array of ecommerce solutions available in 2021, and most are feature-rich and competitively priced.

Ecommerce sites are notoriously difficult to migrate from platform to platform, so more often than not, you’ll be committed to your chosen solution for years. The key when choosing an ecommerce solution to maximize your return on investment, is to consider not just what your business needs today but what it will need tomorrow.

There are two basic approaches to ecommerce. The first is a dedicated platform that handles everything. The second is a plugin that adds ecommerce features to an existing CMS. Both approaches have benefits and drawbacks.

1. Shopify: Best for Almost Everyone

Shopify is a well-known, well-liked, and reliable dedicated ecommerce platform. As a system for getting a business off the ground and selling fast, it is peerless.

Shopify jealously guards developer access, with templates and plugins pre-vetted. Unlike some marketplaces, you can be confident that there are no hidden surprises in your shiny new store.

And because Shopify has passed the point of market saturation, it’s worthwhile for big players to provide their own plugins; credit services like Klarna and shipping companies like netParcel can be integrated with a few clicks.

The admin panel is a touch complex, as Shopify is designed to allow a single account to be linked to multiple stores. But once you’re set up and familiar with where to find everything, it’s a slick, streamlined business management system.

Whenever a client says, “we want to start selling online.” My first thought is, “Shopify.” And for 90% of clients, it’s the right choice.

And that’s where this roundup should end…except there’s still that 10% because Shopify isn’t perfect.

For a start, an all-in-one platform doesn’t suit everyone. If you already have a website you’re happy with, you’ll either need to migrate or lease a dedicated domain for your store.

Shopify’s platform is very secure, which inspires confidence in buyers, but the price of that security is a lack of flexibility in the design.

Then there’s the infamous variant limit. Shopify allows 100 variants on a product. Almost every client runs into that wall at some point. Let’s say you’re selling a T-shirt: male and female cuts are two variants; now add long or short sleeves, that’s four variants; now add seven sizes from XXS to XXL, that’s 28 variants; if you have more than three color options, you’ve passed the 100 variant limit. There are plugins that will allow you to side-step this issue, but they’re a messy hack that hampers UX for both customer and business.

Shopify should certainly be on every new store owner’s shortlist, but there are other options.

2. WooCommerce: Best for WordPress Users

If you’re one of the millions of businesses with a pre-existing site built on WordPress, then adapting it with a plugin is the fastest way to get up and running with ecommerce.

WooCommerce is regularly recommended as “Best for WordPress Users,” which is a back-handed compliment that belies the fact that WooCommerce reportedly powers 30% of all ecommerce stores. If running with the crowd appeals to you — and if you’re using WordPress, it presumably does — then you’re in the right place.

WordPress has a gargantuan plugin range. As such, there are other plugins that will allow you to sell through a WordPress site. The principle benefit of WooCommerce is that as the largest provider, most other plugins and themes are thoroughly tested with it for compatibility issues; most professional WordPress add-ons will tell you if they’re compatible with WooCommerce. If your business is benefitting from leveraging WordPress’ unrivaled ecosystem, it can continue to do so with WooCommerce.

The downside to WooCommerce is that you’re working in the same dashboard as the CMS that runs your content. That can quickly become unmanageable.

WooCommerce also struggles as inventories grow — every product added will slow things a little — it’s ideally suited to small stores selling a few items for supplementary income.

3. BigCommerce: Best for Growth

BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform similar to Shopify, but whereas Shopify is geared towards newer stores, BigCommerce caters to established businesses with larger turnovers.

The same pros and cons of a dedicated ecommerce solution that applied to Shopify also apply to BigCommerce. One of the considerable downsides is that you have less control over your front-end code. This means that you’re swapping short-term convenience for long-term performance. Templates, themes, and plugins — regardless of the platform they’re tied to — typically take 18 months to catch up with best practices, leaving you trailing behind competitors.

BigCommerce addresses this shortcoming with something Shopify does not: a headless option. A headless ecommerce platform is effectively a dedicated API for your own store.

Enabling a headless approach means that BigCommerce can be integrated anywhere, on any technology stack you prefer. And yes, that includes WordPress. What’s more, being headless means you can easily migrate your frontend without rebuilding your backend.

BigCommerce also provides BigCommerce Essentials, which is aimed at entry-level stores. It’s a good way to get your feet wet, but it’s not BigCommerce’s real strength.

If you have the anticipated turnover to justify BigCommerce, it’s a flexible and robust choice that you won’t have to reconsider for years.

4. Magento: Best for Burning Budgets

If you have a development team at your disposal and a healthy budget to throw at your new store, then Magento could be the option for you.

You can do almost anything with a Magento store; it excels at custom solutions.

Magento’s main offering is its enterprise-level solution. You’ll have to approach a sales rep for a quote — yep, if you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford it. Magento has the track-record and the client list to appeal to boards of directors for whom a 15-strong development team is a footnote in their budget.

That’s not to say that a Magento store has to be expensive; Magento even offers a free open source option. But if you’re not heavily investing in a custom solution, you’re not leveraging the platform’s key strengths.

5. Craft Commerce: Best for Custom Solutions

If you’re in the market for a custom solution, and you don’t have the budget for something like Magento, then Craft Commerce is ideally positioned.

Like WooCommerce for WordPress, Craft Commerce is a plugin for Craft CMS that transforms it into an ecommerce store.

Unlike WordPress, Craft CMS doesn’t have a theme feature. Every Craft Commerce store is custom built using a simple templating language called Twig. The main benefit of the approach is that bespoke solutions are fast and relatively cheap to produce, with none of the code bloat of platforms or WordPress.

Because your site is custom coded, you have complete control over your frontend, allowing you to iterate UX and SEO.

You will need a Craft developer to set up Craft Commerce because the learning curve is steeper than a CMS like WordPress. However, once you’re setup, Craft sites are among the simplest to own and manage.

6. Stripe: Best for Outliers

Ecommerce solutions market themselves on different strengths, but the nature of design patterns means they almost all follow a similar customer journey: search for an item, add the item to a cart, review the cart, checkout. Like any business, they want to maximize their market share, which means delivering a solution that caters to the most common business models.

Occasionally a project happens along that doesn’t fit that business model. Perhaps you’re selling a product that’s uniquely priced for each customer. Perhaps you’re selling by auction. Perhaps you don’t want to bill the customer until a certain point in the future.

Whatever your reason, the greatest customization level — breaking out of the standard ecommerce journey — can be managed with direct integration with Stripe.

Stripe is a powerful payment processor that handles the actual financial transaction for numerous ecommerce solutions. Developers love Stripe; its API is excellent, it’s documentation is a joy, it’s a powerful system rendered usable by relentless iteration.

However, this approach is not for the faint-hearted. This is a completely custom build. Nothing is provided except for the financial transaction itself. Every aspect of your site will need to be built from scratch, which means hefty development costs before seeing any return on investment.

The Best eCommerce Solution in 2021

The best ecommerce solution is defined by three factors: the size of your store, the anticipated growth, and the degree of custom design and features you want or need.

Shopify is the choice of most successful small stores because you can be selling inside a day. For businesses with an existing presence and a smaller turnover, those on WordPress will be happy with WooCommerce. For larger stores planning long-term growth, BigCommerce’s headless option is ideal. Craft Commerce is a solid performer that marries low costs with flexibility for businesses that need a custom approach.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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