404s: How to Turn An Error State Into A Conversation Starter

Sometimes 404s happen. This article suggests using 404s (and other error states) as opportunities to drive a positive action. Check it out!

Bad stuff sometimes happens to good designers. But rather than unpacking the near endless challenges you face, this article is focused on the value good design has in these situations.

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To support or the cost of not supporting

Treating your clients just how you'd like to be treated is key to successful support. Helping solve issues and working through problems are essential to maintaining strong relationships and ensuring satisfaction!

Before I dive into the meaning of support, I would like to tell you something about myself, so that you can have the full picture! Oh and, the following story was my talk at WordCamp Belgrade! Before I even thought of being a member of any kind of support, I was a front end developer, who was building websites on Drupal and WordPress. I can’t say that it was going badly as much as I got sick of it. The usual stuff when dealing with clients; educating them, bargaining, put this color, make it pop, make it flash etc. Pretty much standard things. At one point, a friend of mine approached me with an idea. It went like this (more or less):

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!important CSS Declarations: How and When to Use Them

The !important CSS declaration is extremely powerful but like they say, with great power comes great responsibility! Check out this article to find out when you should and shouldn't be using !important.

!important declarations are best reserved for special needs and users who want to make web content more accessible by easily overriding default user agent or author stylesheets. So you should do your best to give your CSS proper forethought and avoid using !important wherever possible. Even in many of the uses described above, the inclusion of !important is not always necessary.

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Website Security – Simple Steps to Take

A very handy list of some simple things you can do to protect your website. We'd add to that list using security plugins for Wordpress such as Sucuri and Wordfence.

You know you want to be secure, so you start to check out this weird security thing. Brute force? You can handle that; good passwords, limit login attempts, maybe even two factor authentication. Then you suddenly become aware of cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection (SQLi), cross-site request forgery (CSRF), remote code execution (RCE), and potentially so many more that you’re simply terrified. You begin to buy into “ignorance is bliss”. But website security doesn’t have to be scary.

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4 Things Your Home Page Needs to Stand Out

Give your users a reason to stay on your website! Check out this article to find out how you can stand out online.

“As long as I have a web presence, I’m good to go.” So say a lot of business owners out there who think that having any old website is better than not having one at all. And you know, that’s true to some degree. Even a poorly designed site will give potential customers a way to reach you, which is something I suppose. But more often than not, bad design – bad home page design, in particular – can cause people to click the “back” button in a nanosecond. Whether you like to think so or not, design plays an essential role in how your site is perceived. And that split second perception can determine a whole lot of things. Like whether or not a prospect stays on your site or clicks back. Or a visitor clicks on links in your navigation menu. To get your site’s home page on the right track, here are 4 things you should consider including.

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New Website Checklist: Nonprofit Communications Before and After Launch

It's often easy to get so caught up with figuring out the ins and outs of your new site, that you'll forget to tell anyone about it! This article has some great tips for transitioning both your own team and your visitors into your new web experience.

Crafting a communications plan for your website launch helps make sure that no one is left out in the cold during this busy time. Identifying key audiences, proactively providing them with information and then celebrating a new tool that advances your cause should be at the heart of your marketing team’s new website checklist.

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Disable Comments Without Deleting Them (WordPress)

For those looking for information on disabling comments on WordPress - check out this article.

I have recently discovered how difficult it is to temporarily remove all comments site wide, without deleting these comments forever. This website receives a massive number of comments; a huge number that are spam, a large number that are real (but do not add to the conversation, or the article as a whole), and a small number that are generally insightful and create conversation. The management of these comments take up a large number of man hours, and I am simply unsure whether my time is justified.

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Every Website Will Break (Eventually)

While it is tempting to think that your new web site will last forever, the simple fact is that you will face issues down the track. That's why it's important not only to build sites which are future-proofed as much as possible, but to ensure that you have plans and strategies in place to maintain the code and infrastructure behind your site.

Recently, after a spate of websites I maintain faced a variety of problems, I came to a stark realization: Every website I’ve ever worked on is probably going to break at some point.

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5 Steps to Making Sure Your Users Trust Your Website

Research by the Nielsen Norman Group suggests that the average Internet user will leave a web page within 10 to 20 seconds of arriving. Typically, the user will quickly scan the content of the page, get a rough idea of its intrinsic value, then decide whether to leave or stay. The challenge is encouraging the user to spend more time on your site. One of the key factors that determine how long a user stays on a site is how they perceive the website’s trustworthiness. If a user believes a website is credible, they are more likely to spend time thoroughly reading the site’s content and possibly browsing multiple pages. Of course, the longer they stay on the site, the more likely they are to make a purchase, click on an ad, sign-up to a newsletter, share an article or engage with your organisation in one way or another. This article will share five simple ways to make your website more trustworthy, helping you to retain more of your website’s visitors. These techniques are easy to implement and can significantly improve the effectiveness of your online presence!

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Creative Ways To Increase Landing Page Conversions

Let's be creative with the ways we direct our users! Make sure to create with purpose.

Landing pages are like fine works of art. Every detail must have a purpose. In other words, landing pages can’t just look good—they have to be thoughtful and strategic. This is why testing is crucial, as it provides insight into what’s working and what’s not.

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Don’t Design This at Home… 3 UI Disasters to Avoid

Here are some examples of UI Design mistakes you'll want to avoid.

Loathsome design captures the essence of frustration. Often, this comes about as a result of neglect—in an attempt to achieve one thing, something else must be left by the wayside. Why should you care about loathsome design practices? Because they are the type of decisions that can drive users from your sphere of influence, and into that of your competitors.

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Image Management Best Practices

As the web continues to evolve into an increasingly more visual place to be, image management is now more important than ever. Here's some of the best practices for managing images on websites.

There’s no debating the fact that including images on your website or mobile app draws the interest of users and leads to stronger engagement. For example, posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts, according to a WebDAM infographic. Use of attention-grabbing images is only going to grow. Consider that by 2018, 84% of communication will be visual, the infographic noted.

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Making the Most of Breadcrumbs in Web Design

Help your users keep track of where they are

If you are at all familiar with the story of Hansel and Gretel, then you know that they used breadcrumbs to mark their way so they could find their way home again. It didn’t work out too well for the kids because the birds ate them up, but it works fine in website design. Of course, there are no real breadcrumbs (or birds, for that matter) involved in breadcrumb navigation, but you get the picture. Breadcrumbs make up a kind of secondary navigation method that function a little like a progress bar. You will typically find it just below the main navigation bar.

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Designing for short attention spans

Designing for short attention spans seems to be a new challenge for designers. Extra value is now being placed on page loading times and user flow. Superior optimisation and user experience focused designs seem to be the key in keeping your audience around long enough for you to make a lasting impact and impression.

A recent study by Microsoft revealed that we’re experiencing progressively declining attention spans. The study, which surveyed 2,000 people and monitored brain activity of 112 others, found that we now have an attention span of eight seconds, compared to an attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000.

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The Excuses for Not Having a Website (Infographic)

It's really not as hard as it seems!

With 84% of American adults using the Internet, it’s surprising to think that many organizations today, particularly small businesses, still choose not to invest a bit of time and resources towards building their own website. The following infographic reveals common excuses why 46% of small businesses still don’t have a website, with counter-arguments for each excuse. If you need to talk to a prospective client who has apprehensions about having a website, why don’t you show them this infographic?

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The 8 Best Free Web Design Ebooks

Looking for some relevant reading? Here are some free ebooks to help you keep up with web design trends.

Improving your web design skills is a continuous, constant process, so it's important to track down useful resources to help you step up your game. In this article we'll explore some of the most useful free ebooks out there, which cover topics spanning from web design trends to CSS best practices.

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How to Effectively Use Whitespace in Web Design

Getting whitespace right can sometimes be a little tricky, but it's going to significantly improve your web design.

Have you ever found yourself gazing at a finished design thinking, ‘something’s missing’? More specifically, have you ever come to the conclusion that a design is ‘too empty’ or ‘too busy’? For us designers, it’s difficult to spend any appreciable time in our craft without running into this scenario. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise either. After all, the most basic principle of our work revolves around the creative removal of whitespace. Yet, despite it being at the very core of what we do, it never fails to be one of the more difficult aspects of design. How do you use whitespace effectively?

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8 myths about new domain names

I'll admit I was wary of a fair few of these myths, good to clarify how people are actually responding to the new TLDs

In most cases, ‘.com’ is either significantly more expensive or significantly longer and more obscure than just securing the name under a new gTLD. With all of the successes of sites using new gTLDs and the lack of SEO impact, focusing on your site’s UX and choosing a new gTLD that’s easy for users to remember is probably the right way to go.

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