web design

Tips and tricks: 7 design tips to attract more visitors to your websites

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Ensuring your client is happy with your website design is only the first step. Once it’s out in the world, your site is competing for attention with millions of others, and you need to find ways to encourage visitors to stay longer and keep coming back.

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Tips and tricks: 5 Web Design Trends on the Decline

As technology changes from year to year, so too does design – and from one year to the next, it’s normal to see certain web design trends fading out of style while others become more popular. There are lots of new exciting trends on the horizon – like the use of single page design with parallax scrolling, flat design, or video backgrounds – but ever wondered what those new trends might be replacing? If so, check out the list below. It contains 5 trends that will most likely be fading into the background in 2014.

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App of the week: PhoneGap

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PhoneGap represents a tremendous opportunity for web designers and developers. With it, you can apply your existing skill set for creating web pages and applications with HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript to create mobile apps that can be sold in the popular app marketplaces. PhoneGap makes app development for mobile devices more accessible to a broader pool of developers — including web designers who don’t handle all that much code.

Before I go any further, let me briefly explain how PhoneGap works. PhoneGap wraps your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code so that it can be installed as an app across a wide variety of supported platforms. It also provides a means (via an API) of accessing device features such as the camera, accelerometer, and more. In this way, PhoneGap gives developers the ability to create a full-featured mobile app using web technologies.

Even with PhoneGap, it can still be a big leap to go from building web pages to building apps, so it is a good idea to plan ahead for this transition. Some of the questions a designer or developer should ask when moving from browser to mobile app development are:

  • Can I reuse my existing web site code? If so, how?
  • How do I design for multiple form factors and operating systems while maintaining a common code base?
  • How do I handle the range of display destinations, including standard, high-density, and others?
  • What is the process for generating and deploying apps on multiple platforms?

Fortunately, PhoneGap is widely used and there are many examples of successful apps developed by designers and developers who have already successfully tackled these issues.

This article looks at one such example, an app for OfferzNow created by Enlighten (see Video 1), and describes their process for building a PhoneGap app for both iOS and Android using Adobe Illustrator CC, Adobe Photoshop CC, and Adobe Dreamweaver CC.

Tips and Tricks: Create responsive sites easily with Statamic

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Statamic is a flat-file content management system with a focus on simplifying content creation and publication. It’s the brainchild of Jack McDade and Mubashar Iqbal, and it features a fully responsive backend with a frontend to match.

“A main design challenge is readable code documentation on small screens,” says McDade. “At some point there’s only so much you can do, but being able to scroll blocks horizontally is important. We’re still testing, iterating, and improving, but are happy with where things are headed.”

Tips and Tricks: Get started with web typography

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Typography is the art of arranging type into a legible, aesthetically pleasing and design-appropriate layout. In print this is set in stone; the reader can’t change the way the text appears once it’s been printed.

On the web, however, users can adapt their browser settings to increase or decrease the default font size, overwrite font-size choices the designer has made, or change colours to increase contrast. Consequently, you might think that effective typography isn’t possible on the web.

But not only is it possible; in many ways the web offers superior options to traditional typography. Not because as a designer you have finer control over how type is arranged or positioned, but because the web allows users to control the appearance of type to suit their own particular needs.

  • Check out our favourite web fonts – and they don’t cost a penny

That doesn’t mean, of course that as a designer you can abscond your responsibility to present beautiful type with carefully considered positioning and properties – many of the rules from print apply to the web. If you need a refresher in that, then you’ll find a rundown of the basics of typography in our article What is typography, but here we’re going to look at the specifics of what web typography (as opposed to print typography) demands…