Weekly News for Designers № 488

Debugging CSS Grid Part 1: Understanding implicit tracks – Learn the difference between explicit and implicit grid.
Debugging CSS Grid Part 1: Understanding implicit tracks

Understanding grid placement through building a HTML periodical table – A fun demo that teaches the tricks behind CSS Grid placement.
Understanding grid placement through building a HTML periodical table

Animating Links – Ways to add some cool effects to links, along with the pros and cons of doing so.
Animating Links

5 steps for including motion design in your system – Don’t forget about animation when documenting your design system.
5 steps for including motion design in your system

Building a JavaScript guitar pedalboard – Rock out with this amazing JavaScript sound app.
Building a JavaScript guitar pedalboard

The Basic Guide to the CSS Box Model – A look at how content, padding, border and margins affect box size.
The Basic Guide to the CSS Box Model

How to create clipped, blurred background images in CSS – Use CSS filters to create special effects that are limited to a specific area of an image.
How to create clipped, blurred background images in CSS

Mid-Century Modern Illustration: Creating A Cover Book With Illustrator And InDesign – Create a cover design inspired by the styles of the 1950s.
Mid-Century Modern Illustration: Creating A Cover Book With Illustrator And InDesign

Found Color – A gallery that explores the beauty of “accidental” color schemes.
Found Color

Why Do We Need Logos? Logo Design in The Light of Human Psychology – A look at the reasons why logos are an incredibly important part of branding.
Why Do We Need Logos? Logo Design in The Light of Human Psychology

Animating CSS Grid Rows and Columns – Using this new feature to make grid rows and columns stand out.
Animating CSS Grid Rows and Columns

Fontanello – A browser extension that displays typographic styles via right-click.
Fontanello

How to create a Sticky Hero section – Use this tutorial to build a very unique “sticky” hero section that displays content upon scrolling.
How to create a Sticky Hero section

UI Animation in React – Leverage the popular JavaScript library to enhance your UI elements with animation.
UI Animation in React

PHP in 2019 – A look at how PHP has evolved to its current state.
PHP in 2019

The State of Fluid Web Typography – Why hasn’t fluid typography seen higher adoption rates?
The State of Fluid Web Typography

Is ‘the fold’ still a thing in today’s scrolling and skimming culture? – They used to tell us to put the important stuff “above the fold”. Is that still relevant?
Is 'the fold' still a thing in today’s scrolling and skimming culture?

Material Icons Library – 1000+ free icons that are compatible with top graphic tools.
Material Icons Library

Polyplane – A browser built especially for creating responsive websites and apps.
Polyplane

Things That Come Back to Haunt Web Designers – How to avoid mistakes that could haunt you for years to come.
Things That Come Back to Haunt Web Designers

10 Free Online Education Landing Page Templates – Build a stunning online education website with one of these free templates, available in AI and EPS formats.
10 Free Online Education Landing Page Templates

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The post Weekly News for Designers № 488 appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Why I Charge the Same for Building Websites Designed by Someone Else

As a web designer, the vast majority of my new projects are original creations. The process goes a little something like this: I create a mockup, make revisions until my client is happy, then move on to building the website (usually with WordPress).

But there are occasions where I receive a mockup from another designer, then build a custom WordPress theme to match. While this makes up a relatively small portion of my business, I generally end up building around a half-dozen sites like this each year.

From a distance, you may look at each of these scenarios and conclude that the latter would cost significantly less than the former. However, that’s not usually the case. In fact, I tend to charge around the same fee, regardless of who created the mockup.

A closer look at the challenges involved will explain why:

A Similar Investment of Time

Everyone has their own unique style and works in the way that suits them. That being said, taking someone else’s vision and making it a reality (err, virtual reality) isn’t easy. Just ask any developer who’s had to take a PSD or Sketch mockup and make a pixel-perfect recreation across browsers and devices.

This is especially challenging when the original designer isn’t a member of your organization. In these cases, there are no established procedures for, say, naming (or even ordering) PSD layers or spacing out design elements to fit within a specific layout system.

The fallout from this is that a great deal of time is spent trying make heads or tails of the document on my screen. If the designer has included notes, that can be a big help. But even then, there are still details to hunt down.

Granted, some designers are more organized than others. The more they implement things such as clear labeling or even a list of fonts, the easier the process of building the website.

Designing something on your own, however, is a smoother ride (at least, it should be). And it seems like any difference in time spent actually doing design work versus deciphering the work of others is negligible.

If the time spent is nearly equal, then the cost should reflect that fact.

Frustrated woman looking at computer screen.

More People to Please

Not only do we face the added complexity of interpreting someone else’s work, there is also an additional layer of scrutiny. In this scenario, we’re not only looking to satisfy the client, but we’re also obligated to do right by the designer, as well.

Depending upon how web-savvy the designer is (and the abilities of the developer), there could be any number of revisions and roadblocks during the build. I often run into issues such as odd positioning of elements or items that would lack compatibility with older browsers. There may also be discrepancies with regards to expected functionality and accessibility.

Even if you get past those detours, you still have a client waiting at the end of the line who has their own list of requirements. As just about any web professional who’s worked with clients can tell you, just because something was approved initially does not mean that there won’t be a big list of changes to contend with.

Working one-on-one with a client can be difficult, but you do stand a better chance of figuring out their needs. The more stakeholders who are involved, the harder it is to get them all happy and on the same page.

People gathered at a desk for a meeting.

It’s More Than Meets the Eye

The bottom line is that, even if the design you’re provided with looks nice, there could still be a number of unexpected hurdles to get over. A significant amount of time can be spent clearing each one. This directly affects the cost.

While some clients may scoff at the pricing, the process of taking someone else’s design and turning it into a fully-functional website is no less of a feat than creating your own design from scratch.

My intent is not to diminish the value of creating that design yourself – there’s immense value in doing so. It takes creativity matched with a keen understanding of best practices.

It’s just that, working with another designer’s creation takes a unique set of talents in its own right. In some ways, I’ve found it to be a more difficult task.

So, if you’re faced with a client who hands you a mockup and expects a deep discount, don’t give in. Explain the challenges involved and the time it takes to do the job right. In the end, you’ll have more than earned your money.

The post Why I Charge the Same for Building Websites Designed by Someone Else appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

How Many WordPress Plugins Are Too Many?

It seems like one the existential questions of our time – at least, for web designers. But for years, many of us have been trying to figure out the “right” number of WordPress plugins to use within a website.

I hate to break it to anyone who likes nice, round figures: There is no specific number. No threshold that defines you as either a pro or poser. I know, some people define their success by using a minuscule number of plugins. If you can get away with doing so, you get much respect from me.

For the rest of us, plugins are a tempting proposition. They can take care of so many tasks – large and small. And they’re only a few clicks away.

But add too many and it can weigh down your site’s performance. Not to mention that every single thing you install adds another layer of complexity to the mix.

While there is no one-size-fits-all number of plugins you can or should run, there are some ways to tell if you’re past the limit. Here are a few factors to help you make that determination.

The Hosting Environment

Computing power and network bandwidth are incredibly important factors in terms of performance. Yet, most often the only control designers have over them is when choosing a host (if one hasn’t already been chosen for us). If you have a choice, look for a provider that offers lots of both.

Beyond raw power, the server’s OS and related software also play a role. You’ll want to ensure you’re running PHP 7.x, as that’s been proven much faster than previous versions. Server-based caching and load balancing can provide a big boost if your host offers them.

As important as anything, though, is the type of hosting account you have. If it’s low-end shared hosting, you’re probably not going to get the same bang for your buck that you’d get with a higher-end VPS or dedicated setup. The more dedicated resources your site has, the more well-coded plugins you may be able to get away with using.

Cloud server diagram.

Plugin Quality and Optimization

One of the truisms of code is that there is more than one way to make something work. But we also know that some techniques work a whole lot better than others. Consistent quality is so important as all it takes is one resource-hogging plugin to slow everything to a crawl.

The best way to figure out if a plugin has performance problems is to test it. There are a number of third-party testing suites out there that can provide you with a great picture – literally. You can access colorful graphs and charts that will tell you which plugins are taking the most time and resources on your site.

However, those of us with budgetary restrictions may not be able to afford this type of subscription service. Many are aimed at the enterprise market and are priced as such.

But all is not lost. To do some testing on the cheap, the free Query Monitor plugin will provide some insight into how your plugins, database, scripts and styles are performing. It also points out any PHP errors, which can be a factor in degraded performance.

If you do see that a specific plugin isn’t performing well, then that opens the door to testing out an alternative or digging deeper (which we’ll get to later).

Query Monitor report screen.

A Plugin’s Purpose

A WordPress plugin can mean many things to many people. Not everyone will use them in the same way. And so developers often build plugins in a way that they feel will improve their chances of attracting users. Sometimes the result is a plugin that ends up being a bit like a Swiss army knife, with multiple functionalities included.

While a plugin that does a bit of everything can be great, it can also cause some bloat. On the other side of the coin, you’ll find that some plugins are rather small in scope and size – choosing to focus on just one particular feature.

The debate can be had of whether it’s better to run one plugin that does 20 things, or 20 plugins that each do one thing. Again, there really is no easy answer. It becomes a matter of testing performance.

One thing in favor of the Swiss army knife is that it could make troubleshooting easier. The more plugins you have to keep track of, the harder it can be to pinpoint issues.

Settings Matter

One often-overlooked area of plugin performance is in paying attention to its settings. Some plugins run very quickly when tuned a certain way, while sputtering in other configurations.

For instance, I’ve worked with a popular security plugin (which I won’t name, but you may be able to guess) for a number of years. One of its core features is a “Live” mode that lets you see users currently browsing your website. It’s a seriously cool feature, but can also hinder performance on a busy site.

Turning this feature off boosts performance quite noticeably. And while using the plugin may mean taking a small performance hit otherwise, the added security is worth the tradeoff. But knowing how to set it up properly is half the battle.

A settings control panel.

It’s All About Balance, Not Specific Numbers

As we’ve seen, there are a number of factors that can affect how plugins perform on a WordPress website. It’s the plugins themselves, how they interact with each other, how well they’ve been optimized and the server they’re installed on.

It’s rare to find two sites that are configured exactly the same. Therefore, the ideal number of plugins will vary for pretty much everyone. We can drive ourselves crazy trying to get our site down to only x number of plugins. I’d argue that it’s a waste of time to even worry about the number.

Rather, using plugins (or even custom code you’ve written yourself) is about getting the functionality you need and being willing to live with whatever tradeoffs that come with it.

Sometimes, a plugin will provide great functionality and terrible performance. In that case, you might want to look for a competitive product that is more balanced. Or it could be a matter of turning off certain features that are causing problems. The only way to know for sure is to test and retest.

In the end, the goal is to use only the plugins you need, while optimizing the ones you have to the fullest extent.

The post How Many WordPress Plugins Are Too Many? appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Top 15 Tools and Resources for Web Designers and Agencies Sponsored

Design trends come and go. This makes it imperative for web designers and design agencies to keep a close watch. They need to know the tools and resources they’re using to make certain everything is up to date.

Your tools and resources might appear to be keeping up with changing technologies. Yet, improved tools and more suitable resources keep popping up. So many, in fact, that it can at times become downright annoying trying to decide which tools to keep. and which to replace with something newer.

We can’t stop the flood of new tools and improved resources, nor would we want to. We can, however, make life a little easier for you. We are recommending several of the best tools, apps, and resources out there.

Elementor

Elementor

Elementor is the ultimate & free WordPress page builder. With over 2M active installs, it’s the most advanced drag & drop editor out there, used by professionals worldwide to create high-end designs in no time, without coding. Elementor comes with many built-in widgets to help you quickly build any part of your website: images, text, sliders, icons, testimonials, social media, animation and more.

Elementor works perfectly with almost any theme and plugin and will not slow down your existing website. You can start from a blank canvas or choose from over one hundred pre-designed templates that can be inserted to any page. The Pro version comes with super cool features like pop-ups, forms and theme builder which lets you design the header, footer and archive pages of your site.

AND CO from Fiverr

AND CO from Fiverr

The average freelancer spends almost one day per week on non-billable work—like invoices, expenses, tracking payments, and following up clients whenever a payment is overdue. But when you’re paid for your expertise, time really is money. If you can save time by automating the running your business, you can spend more time doing the work that puts money in your pocket.

That’s where an invoicing software like AND CO from Fiverr comes in. AND CO automatically generates invoices based on your contracts, proposals, and time tracking—all of which are available in the one platform.

Get reminders when it’s time to invoice again, receive alerts when your client views your invoice, and accept online payments directly through your personal PayMe page. Set up recurring invoices so you can invoice clients with subscriptions without lifting a finger.

Say goodbye to manual invoicing. With AND CO, you don’t need to spend more than 20 seconds sending an invoice, so you’ll have more time to do the work you love.

Houzez

Houzez

Houzez has been on the market for some time and has gained a solid reputation for providing realtors and real estate agencies with the tools they need to conduct business, both in the office and while on the go.

Advanced property search features, listings options, and Houzez’ property management system are user’s favorites, along with the fact that Houzez is drag and drop based which makes modification and customization easy.

Just when it was beginning to look like everything a user needed had already been invented and installed, the Houzez design team came up with a host of new features. While there are too many to list here, a Custom Fields Builder, multi-currency features, multiple show scheduling and luxury home show scheduling, listings sort options, and a variety of property display gallery formats are among the new features.

Uncode

Uncode

This powerful, user-friendly creative multiuse theme has all the functionality needed to create a breathtaking portfolio to showcase your work in a few brief hours. With Uncode, there’s no need to worry about coding, nor do you need to start from scratch.

The best way to see what Uncode can do for you is to browse their collection of user-created websites. You’ll be impressed and inspired by what you see.

TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance WordPress Theme

TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance WordPress Theme

TheGem was designed and developed to be the ultimate toolbox of web design styles, features and elements, and its authors appear to have hit it right on the mark. With TheGem you won’t waste time coding. You can spend that time exploring your creativity.

This flexible website building tool features an abundance of multi-purpose design concepts, flexible page layouts, demo pages, and includes a multitude of ready-to-go WooCommerce stores!

Amelia

Amelia

This user-friendly and powerful plugin was designed and developed for businesses that rely heavily on accepting and managing client and customer appointments and bookings. Everything is automatic and everything is done online (human intervention is of course allowed).

Amelia will make appointments 24/7, match customer requests to employee availability, manage changes and cancellations, send reminders, and collect payments. For the less than a year, Amelia has 2000+ active users and 4.8+ user rating.

Mobirise

Mobirise

Some web designers prefer online builders, and some prefer offline builders. If you belong to the latter group, you’ll love the way Mobirise gives you total control over your projects. Drag and drop only means that you won’t have to concern yourself with coding.

Since Mobirise is based on Bootstrap4 or Google AMP, your websites and apps will be super-fast and 100% mobile friendly. Mobirise is free for both personal and commercial uses.

wpDataTables

wpDataTables

There are over 21,000+ users out there who won’t hesitate to tell you they’ve found the best all-in-one solution for working with large amounts of data and presenting it in colorful, informative, and editable tables and charts.

With the wpDataTables plugin, you can manage thousands or even millions of rows of data in seconds; including MySQL, MS SQL, and PostgreSQL database queries. wpDataTables integrates with the leading form builder plugins.

Logic Hop – Personalized Marketing for WordPress

Logic Hop – Personalized Marketing for WordPress

Any website that does a great job of delivering a message is almost certain to perform well. Statistics show that personalized messages based on visitors’ actions will do at least twice as well.

Logic Hop for WordPress makes it easy to personalize messages based on UTM codes, geolocation, on-site actions, and more. By using Logic Hop your clients will see higher conversions and have a better ROI. Make your clients happy with personalization.

Round Icons Bundle – 38,000 icons and illustrations

Round Icons Bundle – 38,000 icons and illustrations

Roundicons’ Bundle places 38,000 premium royalty-free icons at your fingertips. They are yours to download for a one-time fee, and the number will just keep growing (the estimate is 10,000 new icons per year).

This icon bundle comes with a commercial use license. If you believe the world’s largest icon bundle would be a great resource to have, use coupon code “GETBIG” when you order for a 20% discount.

Goodie

Goodie

With Goodie, end-clients can skip the usual design-build-launch steps and deal directly with the developers. If your small business in need of a website, or a web designer that’s particularly fussy about careful coding, all you need to do is give Goodie your design, and Goodie will to the rest.

Goodie will keep the lines of communication open to ensure you’ll get exactly what you want and expect.

8b Website Builder

8b Website Builder

8b is about as new as a website builder can be (January 2019 launch). It’s futuristic and super simple in its design, and it’s super simple to use. You’re not stuck on one computer platform either.

With 8b, you can do some of your website design at home or at work on your desktop, some on a laptop, and some on a mobile device when you’re out and about. Check 8b out while it’s still free.

Savah App

Savah App

The Savah App is an advanced prototyping tool that gives you a powerful cross-company collaboration platform at the same time. Savah features a built-in design workflow and approval system, and it allows you to get visual feedback from team members and project stakeholders for all of your web and mobile app projects.

Affordable monthly paid plans are available, and you can also purchase an annual plan at a 30% discount.

WhatFontIs.com

WhatFontIs.com

You’ve come across the ideal font for use in your design. Problem is; you don’t know its name, so you don’t know how to search for it. When you’re facing a needle in a haystack situation, it’s time to call on an artificial intelligence system for help; which is precisely what www.WhatFontIs.com is all about.

Upload your mystery font image, and WhatFontIs will search its database of 550,000 commercial and free fonts and answer your query in seconds.

HelpJet

HelpJet

HelpJet translates to lightning fast customer service. HelpJet gives you a self-service knowledge base you can install that’s designed to drastically reduce the number of customer support tickets and customer wait times while helping you keep your support team small in size.

The HelpJet knowledge base has the answers to the most common questions, or answers to any questions you care to input. No coding is required.

Conclusion

15 great tools and resources. You obviously don’t need them all. Even one could make your day and transform a good website design into something awesome.

Whichever tools or resources you choose; you can rest assured they follow the latest design trends. They will keep you up with or ahead of the pack.

The post Top 15 Tools and Resources for Web Designers and Agencies <span class=”sponsored_text”>Sponsored</span> appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

10 Free Online Education Landing Page Templates (AI & EPS)

Today, we have for you a fantastic collection of landing page templates for creating online education websites. Each of the ten templates comes with a unique education-related illustration, a beautifully flat color scheme, and all of the templates have been designed with simplicity in mind so are all perfect for modern web design.

The templates come in both AI and EPS formats, and you can, of course, use them in your personal and commercial projects. These templates have been designed by our friends at Freepik. Scroll down for the free download button.

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Online Education Landing Page Templates Preview

online education landing page template ai eps svg illustrator screenshot free freebie preview

Download & License

Download the Free Online Education Landing Page Templates

You are free to use these free landing page templates in both your personal and commercial projects.

The post 10 Free Online Education Landing Page Templates (AI & EPS) appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Things That Come Back to Haunt Web Designers

Making mistakes is part of the human experience. They go together like pizza and breadsticks. But the beauty of a mistake is that you have a chance to learn from it.

Still, the reality is that we usually don’t learn until that mistake properly blows up in our face. Even then, that one false move can come back to haunt us time and again. Once that happens, it can seem impossible to shake yourself from the clutches of such horror.

Perhaps the best (and only) defense is to avoid making that mistake in the first place. So, before you go about your daily business, stop and read our list of business and design-related actions that can come back to bite you in the future. It may just save you from some future headaches!

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Taking on Projects That Don’t Feel Right

Not every project or client is going to be the right one for you. And it seems like, quite often, you can spot a bad one right from the beginning.

Yet one of the most difficult things to learn in business is to trust your own instincts. Other factors, such as the need for money and to build out our portfolios get in the way and cloud our decision making.

Signing up to work on a project that looks like a disaster-in-waiting is something that can have detrimental effects to your business and health. Whether it’s because of the work itself, an untenable client, or both, it’s a bad situation. And unfortunately, there’s not often a graceful way to get out.

Therefore, it pays to think long and hard before agreeing to something you’re uncomfortable with. If you can’t see yourself cozying up to the project, it’s okay to say “no”.

A sign that reads "NO".

Failing to Comment Code or Document Changes

Have you ever written a piece of code and said to yourself, “I’ll remember it”? Even if you are blessed with a sharp memory, there is still a good chance that at least something will slip your mind. That makes future maintenance for you (or the next developer) much more difficult.

The same can be said for other changes, as well. For instance, maybe you need to temporarily remove a design element from a template or change some CSS. Not taking the time to document what you’ve done will typically come back to haunt you. You could waste precious time searching around for a past change or attempting to figure out that code you wrote a few years ago.

Over time, everything changes and there’s even a chance it could break. When that time comes, wouldn’t it be nice to have a detailed explanation of how things work? Do yourself a big favor and start documenting items large and small. Your future self with appreciate it!

A laptop computer with CSS code displayed.

Relying on the Unreliable

Web designers tend to put our faith in a lot of third-party products – everything from JavaScript libraries to WordPress plugins. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with this. Our job these days is to piece together websites from many disparate parts. This is just how things work…until they stop working.

Truth be told, virtually any outside piece of code we implement can become a weak link in the chain. However, it’s up to us to try and mitigate that risk as much as possible. How do we do this? By taking the time to research the products we use.

While no one is clairvoyant enough to know what’s going to happen, you can tell the difference between products that are well-maintained and those that aren’t.

Sometimes, we pick something simply because everyone else is buzzing about it – doing so without looking at factors like compatibility and release history. The danger in this is that, by the time we find out how poor the product is, something has already gone wrong.

So, before jumping on that bandwagon, do your homework. Look at support forums and changelogs. Test things out for potential weaknesses. A little extra effort up front can save you from having to remove that previously-hot item from every site you manage.

A broken window.

Not Standing up for Yourself

As the old saying goes, give people an inch and they’ll take a mile (or the metric system equivalent). It’s bad enough when you’re the nice person who lets a bunch of people go ahead of you at the coffee shop. But when you give in to a client, well, that’s a punishment you could relive over and over.

Acts such as doing work for them after hours or providing price breaks can boomerang on you. Respond to their message on a Saturday night, and some will take it to mean that it’s okay to reach you at that time. Charge way less than you normally would and they’ll expect that will always be the case.

It’s not all the client’s fault. People tend to base their behavior on the reaction of others. In other words, if you let them do it – they probably will take advantage and not think a thing about it.

Sometimes we have to tell ourselves that it’s good to hold the line on these types of things. That is, unless you want clients to routinely interrupt your dinner/binge-watching sessions.

Gladiator toy.

The Key to Avoiding Ghosts

Much like a game of PAC-MAN, a web designer needs to find a way to outrun those ghosts looking to haunt us. Strategically, just like in the classic video game, doing this requires making moves with the future in mind.

When you think about it, so many future problems can be prevented by avoiding lazy practices. Things like commenting code, researching software or even weighing the potential consequences of a project could save us from a whole lot of issues.

The good news is that each item mentioned here can be avoided, or at least mitigated to a certain degree. Learning from mistakes is great, but preventing them is even better.

The post Things That Come Back to Haunt Web Designers appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

A Look at Text Distortion Effects in Web Design

We all love typography. And when type is set in motion or spiced-up with some dynamic effects, we love it even more.

There are so many powerful instruments that encourage us to let our imaginations run wild, so it’s not surprising that there is a rich diversity of solutions. It seems that the sky’s the limit when it comes to prettifying the headlines, taglines or just regular blocks of text.

Text distortion effects have recently caught our attention. The “glitch” effect is one of the brightest representatives of this direction. We can see it everywhere: it enhances backgrounds, animations, videos and of course headlines.

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Glitched Text by Lucas Bebber

Here, the artist offers a traditional realization that looks analog-like with some beautiful touches of noise. It was created only with the help of CSS, so it is lightweight and fast. The effect has some pauses so that text does not annoy us, but instead casually reminds us about itself. Neat and clean.

However, this is far from the only example. There are some other fantastic solutions where the distortion stands behind their beauty and overall impact. Let’s consider some of them.

Ants! by Bennett Feely

Using Blotter.js, a modern JavaScript API for drawing text effects with some aces in the hole, Bennet managed to bring his outstanding idea to life. Here, each symbol is composed of a hundred tiny irregular shapes that are set to chaotic motion. Together they remind us of a swarm of ants. The effect is not overwhelming, annoying or irritating. On the contrary, it is intriguing and visually appealing.

Underwater SVG Text by Katrine-Marie Burmeister

These days, water-inspired effects are incredibly popular among web developers. You can see various takes on water surfaces that prettify the backgrounds of hero areas. And typography is no exception. For those who follow the tendency, Katrine-Marie Burmeister has prepared a simple solution that gives any text a lovely underwater touch.

Distortion by Corentin

Let’s make things a bit more interactive and try to engage visitors with action. This artist’s idea is less extravagant than Bennet Feely’s and more intriguing than the previous one created by Katrine-Marie Burmeister. It has a liquid-like behavior that is revealed when the user hovers the mouse cursor over the lettering. It is simple, yet eye-catching.

Particle Text by Noname

This is another solution that requires the user’s interaction to show its irrepressible nature. Every letter is composed of numerous dots that begin to move in various directions when the mouse cursor touches them. It feels like you are going to blow them away. Still, there is some glue that ties everything together and does not allow the symbol to break up completely.

Text particle by Thibaud Goiffon

If the previous solution feels a bit gloomy, then this snippet will undoubtedly cheer you up with its bright appearance and playful mood.

Using thousands of solid circles of various size and color, Thibaud Goiffon has pulled off an outstanding concept. He has also provided the audience with a small control panel where they can change such variables as gravity, duration, speed, radius, and resolution. Play with settings to create your own artwork.

Dynamic 3D confetti text by Rachel Smith

This example has the same charisma as the previous one. It is a playground where you can add your own text. Each symbol is composed of numerous colorful triangles of various size. Here, the distortion effect is neat and delicate. The result is that the text looks elegant despite its bold appearance. Move it along the axes to explore it from various angles.

Spark Text SCSS by Tatsuya Azegami

Much like the project created by Corentin, this solution is intended to amuse the audience. Hover your mouse cursor over the text, and you will see a thin straight line pierce and blow each letter away like a sharp arrow. Of course, everything comes back to normal almost immediately. Nevertheless, this is enough to make an impression.

Squiggly Text by Lucas Bebber

Squiggly Text by Lucas Bebber looks a bit glitchy. Still, in essence, it is a squiggly effect. It feels like it is trembling with fear, so it will certainly come in handy for numerous Halloween-inspired websites. This is another pure CSS realization based on SVG filters. The solution was tested only in Chrome, but with some tricks, it can work in other popular browsers as well.

Text Distortion by Joshua Ward

This is another solution that requires user interaction. When the mouse cursor hits the text, a second layer appears. It consists of blue and pink colors that give each letter a mock 3D anaglyphic touch. It also has a slight vibrating effect that forces the text to pulsate, thereby unobtrusively drawing attention.

Text Scramble Effect by Justin Windle

Justin Windle has taken one of the most banal text effects to the next level. The rejuvenated typing effect looks simple-but-stylish here. The decoding portion of the effect is neat and nifty. It is so universal and elegant that it is easily suited to numerous projects.

If you’re looking for more scramble effects, then there are some other helpful code snippets. For example, you can try Text Distort by Will Naugle, which is reminiscent Justin’s work.

Text shuffle & distort fx by Blaz Kemperle requires users to scroll down to reveal the shuffling. Although both of them are based on the same concept, they still differ and have their own charm.

Distorted Reality

In some cases, text distortion is used to establish a playful atmosphere like in the example of Text particle by Thibaud Goiffon. Whereas, in others it sets up a businesslike atmosphere like we saw in Text shuffle & distort fx by Blaz Kemperle.

With the text distortion effect, you can bring various emotions to a project, throw a spotlight on the headline and save the interface from looking trivial. It does not require much effort to create something similar for your next project, yet it will certainly add to the user experience and overall impression.

The post A Look at Text Distortion Effects in Web Design appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Weekly News for Designers № 487

Beautifully Designed Examples of Asymmetrical Split Screens in Web Design – An interesting new take on the split screen design trend.
Beautifully Designed Examples of Asymmetrical Split Screens in Web Design

Windows Terminal – Straight from Microsoft, the new command line tool supports tabs, rich text and more.
Windows Terminal

A Designer’s Guide to Animating Icons with CSS – View examples of how you can bring movement to SVG icons.
A Designer's Guide to Animating Icons with CSS

Star Wars Imperial Styleguide – If you’re looking to design with the Empire in mind, check this out first! Otherwise, the consequences will be severe.
Star Wars Imperial Styleguide

The Beauty of Colorful Shapes in Brand Identity – How color, combined with geometric shapes, bring life to your brand.
The Beauty of Colorful Shapes in Brand Identity

CSS Transform Functions Visualizer – Build and test 2D and 3D transforms within your browser.
CSS Transform Functions Visualizer

Improving third-party web performance at The Telegraph – A look at how one publication approached third-party script performance.
Improving third-party web performance at The Telegraph

flight – An animated icon pack built for the web, iOS and Android.
flight

Data Populator – A Sketch/Adobe XD plugin that will populate your mockups with meaningful data.
Data Populator

Getting Answers to Your Web Development Questions – A guide to getting the help you need in forums and other technical support settings.
Getting Answers to Your Web Development Questions

SB Admin 2 – A free, HTML/CSS admin theme that users Bootstrap 4.
SB Admin 2

How to Speed Up Website With <LINK> Tag – Techniques for fetching what users want ahead of time to improve performance.
How to Speed Up Website With <LINK> Tag

One of the world’s largest retailers just debuted its own shape-shifting typeface – Get the details behind the new Alibaba Sans font.
One of the world’s largest retailers just debuted its own shape-shifting typeface

Hybrid Lazy Loading: A Progressive Migration To Native Lazy Loading – How to progressively replace JavaScript-based lazy loading.
Hybrid Lazy Loading: A Progressive Migration To Native Lazy Loading

What My Old Design Projects Have Taught Me – How reviewing your past reveals progress.
What My Old Design Projects Have Taught Me

Create a responsive grid layout with no media queries, using CSS Grid – A layout that works on all devices, without the extra work.
Create a responsive grid layout with no media queries, using CSS Grid

Overlay Scrollbars – A JavaScript plugin that hides native scroll bars and replaces them with custom-styled versions.
Overlay Scrollbars

Color Dot – A free font that is composed entirely of colored circles.
Color Dot

House Slant – A free brush stroke font that is perfect for web and print use.
House Slant

Follow Speckyboy on Twitter or Facebook for a daily does of web design resources and freebies.

The post Weekly News for Designers № 487 appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Reasons to Stick with WordPress

Sometimes, even the best of friends can have a disagreement. That’s the sort of vibe that WordPress and its community have been dealing with for quite some time. There’s still a lot of love, but it goes along with some undertones of frustration.

No, it’s not everyone who feels this way. It may not even be the vast majority of those who use the software. But, ever since the process behind the building and release of the Gutenberg block editor (and continuing with some dashboard drama), there seems to be a bit of a trust issue. Some have voiced displeasure with the direction of WordPress and tend to think that there are ulterior motives for various changes that have occurred.

This tension has even led some folks to abandon the CMS altogether and jump onto the bandwagon of an alternative. The drama is real in some corners of the community.

While acknowledging the issues, I can confidently say that I have zero plans to move to another CMS. Why? Here are but a few reasons…

The Software is Still Amazing

At one time in its history, WordPress was but a small up-and-comer. That’s changed quite a bit in recent years, as it has become the dominant CMS on the web. Therefore, as WordPress has gotten bigger, the stakes have gotten higher.

With that growth comes a lot of pressure to keep pushing things forward. As the software adds new features and changes our workflow, it’s only natural that some friction within the community comes to a head. Change is difficult and not everyone’s going to agree (I am no different, as I’ve had my own share of gripes).

That said, WordPress is still the software that has enabled so many of us to make a living. At its core are the features and flexibility that we love.

And even with all of the Gutenberg-related fears that the sky was falling, it didn’t. The controversial new editor (a pretty decent one, at that) is a far cry from any sort of self-sabotage. WordPress still works much the same as it has (and exactly the same, if you opt for the Classic editor).

The reality is that nothing stays the same forever. So, we can either choose to move along with progress or stay in the past. The bottom line is that WordPress still gets the job done quite well.

The WordPress Post Edit Screen

The Community is Like No Other

The best communities are made up of people who have a variety of experiences, backgrounds and opinions. The WordPress community just so happens to be a very diverse one – and that’s part of what makes it fun to be a part of.

Go to a meetup or a WordCamp and you’ll meet both expert developers and novice users. Not to mention a healthy mix of freelancers, corporate IT professionals and bloggers of all subjects. It’s not “professionals-only” and open to anyone who wants to learn more about the software. Indeed, the WordPress community is a reflection of greater society.

But diversity isn’t its only strength. There’s also a culture of sharing knowledge and a general comradery that makes you want to pay it forward.

Much like the software it celebrates, the WordPress community isn’t perfect. But the good certainly outweighs the bad in my view.

People Joining Hands

The Ecosystem Remains Strong

There are plenty of other content management systems out there – many of them are quite good in their own right. Some may even outperform WordPress in specific areas.

But what separates WordPress from most everyone else is both its core extensibility and enormous library of plugins. Any type of functionality you’re after has likely been built already.

If not, there are plenty of resources and documentation out there to help you build it yourself. Not into the whole DIY thing? Then the strong development community provides plenty of opportunities to hire a qualified person to build it for you.

That doesn’t mean every developer knows what they’re doing, nor that every plugin is of the highest quality. But the quality is out there, if you know where to look. And no one can match the array of choices available.

A WordPress Cupcake

The Future Looks Bright

When you invest your time in learning and implementing a CMS, you’re essentially betting that it will be with you for a while. The hope is that the software will grow with you and have the ability to meet your needs as they evolve.

What you absolutely don’t want to see is a product clinging to a paper-thin market with very little chance for growth. More often than not, it leads to a piece of software that either isn’t going to be there or will become seriously outdated down the line.

Time and again, WordPress has been able to rise to the challenge for a large number of users. The fact that it has been around for over 15 years (or more like 100 in “web years”) means that it has had to adapt to numerous changes in the industry. The transition hasn’t always been perfect, but it has been on the right side of the curve overall.

Odds are that WordPress will continue to move along with whatever is next in web design and development. As long as there is a massive user base and a dedicated community, it’s hard for me to imagine using anything else.

The post Reasons to Stick with WordPress appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Personalize the User Experience with the Free IP Geolocation API Sponsored

We all want to provide users with the best experience possible. Whether we’re building a website or mobile app, serving up relevant content and features is vital to long-term success.

However, this is virtually impossible to achieve without actionable information. If we don’t know who our users are, we can’t create a truly customized experience.

This is what makes Geolocation data so important. By knowing where a user is located, along with other associated details, we’re able to tailor things to better meet their needs.

And with the free, open-source IP Geolocation API, accessing this data has never been easier or more budget-friendly. Let’s take a look at what this tool does and how you can leverage it to improve UX.

IP Geolocation API home page.

Real-Time Data from a Free JSON API

IP Geolocation API makes it possible to get user information in real time. The type of data provided will help you make informed decisions when it comes to what users can see and do in your application. This free JSON API includes:

Detailed User Reports

You get more than just the basics with IP Geolocation API – you gain access to a number of details that are crucial for everything from a news site to eCommerce.

Info such as continent, country, time zone, currency, languages and latitude/longitude allow you to create a highly-custom experience.

Powerful Network

Thanks to integration with CloudFlare IP Geolocation, IP Geolocation API can handle large amounts of traffic. It can asynchronously manage thousands of requests per second without skipping a beat.

You can be confident that even busy applications will handle requests smoothly. Experiencing a traffic spike? No problem.

Rock-Solid Data, Conveniently Packaged

IP Geolocation API leverages ISO standard data that is highly accurate and reliable. Plus, everything is packaged as JSON objects. This makes it easy to access just the data you need.

Support for IPv4 and IPv6

Regardless of which IP version you use, you can be sure that the user data you collect is up-to-date. Geolocation data is refreshed monthly from the MaxMind Geolite2 database.

Self-Hosting Available via Heroku

Need more control? IP Geolocation API can be deployed as an app on the Heroku cloud platform. All it takes is a single click and a free account from Heroku. From there, you can manage and customize the API to better meet your needs.

IP Geolocation API feature information.

Get to Know Your Users

It’s amazing what you can do with the right information. You can take the guesswork out of serving users content that is relevant to them. You can provide an extra layer of automation to your applications that users may not notice, but will certainly appreciate.

Why? Because, from their perspective, things just work.

IP Geolocation API provides you with the pathway for achieving this level of functionality. It’s powerful, accurate and easy to implement. It provides you with the kind of actionable information required to increase key metrics. Best of all, it’s completely free and open source.

Creating a better user experience is right within your reach. Get started with IP Geolocation API and harness the power of knowing your users.

The post Personalize the User Experience with the Free IP Geolocation API <span class=”sponsored_text”>Sponsored</span> appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.