The new Node.js/React solution Matterwiki refurbishes the genre of Wiki software. It’s pretty, it’s easy to use, and it’s modern. On top of that, Matterwiki is open source, so it’s free, too. A dream come true…
You think Wikis are dead? Sure, the hype is over. About ten years ago, Wikis were the best thing since sliced bread. After all, the idea is still tempting.
Take any organization, let’s say the ad agency SmithMeyer Inc. In this agency, a lot of knowledge is circulating the heads of the employees. A lot of said knowledge is needed for the daily work, and some of it is simply nice to have. Now, if there were a central place, outside of the individual heads, that accumulated all the knowledge, this would undoubtedly be precious.
Especially considering the fluctuation in the ad branch, a central knowledge deposit is worth considering. This way, Smith doesn’t have to tutor the third new member this quarter but can save a lot by directing him to the well-taken care of Wiki. The new member would also feel a bit more autonomous and would be able to shine much faster.
As you can see, Wikis are still a very good idea even today. However, if you as an author have already dealt with the Wikipedia, the world’s largest Wiki system, you’ll know that the attractivity of this type of system is about the same as that of strong tooth pain.Enter Matterwiki
Nishant Arora from the Indian Bangalore thought the same. Started as a school project, Nishant has been developing Matterwiki, a slim version of a Wiki software for teams, intensively since summer 2016. Matterwiki probably provides the prettiest Wiki that I’ve seen up to this point.
Matterwiki simplifies the Wiki concept a lot. While you can set up any desired number of contributors, the entire order, and sorting works via “topics.” Each Wiki entry is assigned to a topic; there are no other criteria.Matterwiki: Sorting by Topics (Screenshot: Matterwiki)
To write the entries, a visual editor is provided instead of a markdown editor, which is common in other Wikis. I have been writing in Markdown for almost ten years now, but I know how uncommon this markup language is. Outside of the tech bubble, nobody uses it. As a Wiki is not primary made for techies, using a standard WYSIWYG editor surely lowers the inhibition threshold, as well as reservations against the system.Matterwiki: WYSIWYG Editor (Screenshot: Matterwiki)
Matterwiki stores a prominent, and fully transparent version history, so it can always be tracked who made which changes, where they were made, as well as when they were made. At the moment, Matterwiki does not have a search function. But Nishant is already working on it and has announced the introduction of the quest for the next version, which is supposed to be released in the course of February 2017.Matterwiki: History to the Left of the Text (Screenshot: Matterwiki)
I found out about Matterwiki due to it being featured on Producthunt.
Good design is already difficult enough when it has to be done on a page with something to display. However, things get even harder when you have to create pages with nothing to see on them. Like an empty inbox (hehe, good one), or a download window without downloads, for example. Empty States collects this type of pages to help you get going.Empty Stat.es Collects Empty Pages as Best Practices
Empty Stat.es is an entirely unobtrusive collection of all different types of blank pages. Error messages, a particular kind of blank page, have an entire category dedicated to them. That’s good because error pages need a special, target-oriented design, but of course, as a Noupe reader, you already knew that. If not, just read this article with plenty of examples.
Of course, websites that serve the purpose of presenting a brand, or your freelancer portfolio, only have one error page at most, with no other empty pages. But as soon as you go ahead and create a native, or web app that has the slightest amount of data to process, you’ll face the problem. On Empty Stat.es, you can see how your colleagues have solved their respective problems.Let the Empty Page be Noble, Helpful and Good (Goethe)
Aside from obvious, rather profane solutions, you’ll also find some helpful, as well as funny approaches. As you scroll through the examples, you’ll notice that there’s a pattern. Of course, the design is always different, but one thing stays the same in all of them.
The user is always taken by the hand, making sure that the page doesn’t have to be empty during the next visit. Whether it’s the tour planning app that suggests planning the first trip right away or the sleep tracker that asks you to track the first snooze. The empty page leads the user to the core of the app using a call to action.
It’s understandable that you as the developer of a mail app don’t expect your users to ever reach the status “inbox zero.” But don’t forgo the design for this unlikely contingency ;-)No Way! (Screenshot: Noupe)
Empty Stat.es divides the gallery into categories that match the respective target resolutions. This makes it easy to sort by examples for smartphones, tablets, or desktops. While the additional category “Games Console” exists, there’s only one screenshot in there as of right now. Maybe you’d like to help fill it.
Anyone can help building the empty page gallery, as these can easily be submitted via the contact form with a screenshot upload. If you mention your Twitter handle, it will also be published as a link.
Users can either explore the gallery by browsing the categories, or by using the free text search function. “Random” presents a random empty page. Tumblr provides the platform’s technology.
The SaaS trend has been unabated for years now. Developers are happy about that; users aren’t. Now, the trend is also making its way to the developers of WordPress plugins. Let’s see what the up- and downsides are.WordPress Plugin as SaaS: Not All New
I’m sure you know one of the oldest SaaS plugins for WordPress: Akismet. Akismet simply connects your blog to the API of Automattic’s spam preventer.Akismet: SaaS Veteran Made By Automattic. (Screenshot: Noupe)
The entire logic, especially the algorithm that provides the spam detection, doesn’t run on your blog. That’s good, because otherwise, your server’s performance would most likely suffer. The spam detector’s logic would be pretty vulnerable as well, as it would only have to be extracted from the plugin code via reverse engineering. VaultPress, the backup plugin, made by the same people, works as a SaaS, the long version being “Software as a Service.”SaaS in General: A Concept Asserts Itself
SaaS solutions offer the advantage of higher cost efficiency for larger installations. Instead of one-time license fees per user, the client pays significantly lower, monthly fees which can definitely accumulate over one or two years, matching or even exceeding the original purchase cost. However, the monthly burden is light. For the most part, the fees also include continuous support, meaning functional updates, expansions, as well as the necessary support. This way, the customer always receives an up-to-date version of the product.
Since the client normally only has to run a small part of the SaaS solution’s functionality locally, using applications that require particular processing power is possible as well. To achieve that, the SaaS providers use scalable platforms, like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft’s Azure. These platforms make sure that performance and storage can be scaled infinitely – an ability that the local computer does not have. This lets the application become as powerful as you want it to, as there are no physical limits.
Nonetheless, customers still have mixed feelings towards the concept. The desire to own something that you pay for is still spread too widely. However, this desire has already been softened over the years, with the triumphal march of streaming services being a significant factor in the media section. Today, the problem is more rooted in the private section, where many potential customers still prefer a one-time payment over paying every month.
Disadvantages from the customer’s point of view would be the necessity of a permanent, stable internet connection, as well as the related security concerns. A possible total failure in case of bankruptcy of the SaaS provider can not be written off either.SaaS: a Reliable Internet Connection Should be Granted. (Photo: Pixabay)
The SaaS provider, on the other hand, enjoys better control over his product, as well as the ability to implement changes, and improvements at any time, without having to stick to update cycles. Overall, the provider has a lot more sovereignty over his product than before. By expanding his solution, the provider always has the option of upselling, meaning additional offers being made to the existing customers.
The liquidity effect of the SaaS solution should not be underestimated either. Over the period X, the customers will pay their usage fees on a regular basis. This type of numbers is perfect for any bank and grants planning security for the respective periods of time. On the other hand, the SaaS provider has to finance any investment into the infrastructure with the usage fees. Especially in the beginning, this risk is not to be taken lightly, while it basically doesn’t exist when selling stand-alone plugins running on client hardware.WordPress and SaaS: WTF?
As mentioned before, SaaS for WordPress plugins is not an entirely new concept. And, in fact, the model can make sense for many commercial plugins, but it makes much less sense for others. In general, the SaaS model allows for more powerful functional add-ons than the previous model of installing a bunch of PHP files with the complete program code. That should be undisputed.
The concept of “pension-like” income seems to be the key reason as to why this solution is so attractive to WordPress developers. Of course, it is somewhat unfair to call it pension-like income, as that would imply payment without service. With SaaS plugins, developers are likely to be busier than ever before. That’s because, with monthly fees, the clients expect a consistently high value in return. Nonetheless, the perspective of getting paid each month is increasingly fascinating for freelance developers.What’s the Deal With the Idea to Design WordPress Plugins as SaaS Solutions? Returning Income
Over the course of a year, a monthly usage fee adds up to a nice amount of money that you may not have been able to demand as a single payment. It’s very likely that a SaaS model will get you more money for your plugin than before. For the first time, you can make clear liquidity plans. Calculate how many subscribers you need to cover your yearly costs. There’s something to be said for that.Making Money by Time Passing – It’s Not That Simple. (Photo: Pixabay) Protection From Piracy
You don’t give out your code, so you can be sure that nobody can steal it. This is an essential factor if you create plugins for a living. Reverse engineering of plugins is not that hard, but it’s an entirely different thing with “real software.”Easier Development
You do what you want, whenever you want to. At most, your customers may be happy if you hyperactively push out new features. Nobody has to install updates anymore, and you don’t need to care about the security of old versions. Life can be so simple.
You’ll also like to hear that the cloud server you want to use is the only relevant environment that your SaaS has to run on. For the first time, it doesn’t matter what environment requirements your clients have – a dream come true.Feedback and Usage Data
As of right now, you don’t know anything about your customers. You don’t know where your plugin is being used. You don’t know the size of the page that it serves. You don’t know if it works smoothly and if the occurring errors are critical or not. You don’t know anything, except for the fact that you sold it.
Of course, all of this changes once you design your plugin as a SaaS. Doing so gives you access to all the things you didn’t have access to before. And these aren’t irrelevant either. Essentially, you get a kind of automatic feedback from usage data. You can see the weaknesses of your plugin, and if it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to in any regard.
Another aspect is just as important. You get target group metrics. You have access to more than sheer addresses. You can effectively look into the needs of your potential clients, allowing you to further develop your product based on secured data. This begins with you seeing what type of website typically uses your plugin, and to what extent. I wouldn’t even be surprised if you discovered one or two features that nobody ever uses.Why Wouldn’t You Offer WordPress Plugins as SaaS?
Of course, there are plugins, like Akismet as mentioned earlier, that can’t be realized as Saas if you don’t want to make compromises regarding the scope of service, and the performance. This phenomenon only applies to a minority of possible plugins, though. Thus, in most of the cases, you won’t have to compare and weigh the advantages and disadvantages.One’s Fate Lies in God’s Hand in SaaS and At Sea (Alteration). (Photo: Pixabay) Risk of Customer Acceptance Regarding the Price
Not everyone will like renting a plugin. Thus, an excellent communication strategy is required to convince potential buyers. This may be a general truth that applies at all times. But it’s also important that your product allows for the believable development of this type of strategy.
If you developed an exotic plugin that allows your customers to import a remote file format, to execute a particular action that may be required once a year, you’d have a tough time trying to come up with a reasonable strategy that leads to a constant income. In that case, you should identify your target audience, and sell your plugin via one-time payment.Risk of Customer Acceptance Regarding Data Protection
When your plugin processes information, that doesn’t necessarily happen on your customers’ servers. For you, this is beneficial, as you don’t have to worry about processor power and storage space. However, you’re the one who pays for AWS or Azure, or any other platform service provider when running your plugins as SaaS.
Depending on what type of information is being processed, your clients will only feel safe if it’s made clear, who stores the data, as well as where, and why it’s stored. A server location within the customer’s country should lower the acceptance threshold, but a particular suspicion could remain. You can’t really influence this psychological question. But it has the potential to massively affect the sales of your plugin.Conclusion: WordPress Plugins as Saas? Yes, But…
I think it should be pretty clear that the idea to offer WordPress plugins as SaaS neither is clearly amazing nor completely dumb. As always, the truth is somewhere in between and heavily depends on the factors of each individual case. In general, it can be said that SaaS becomes increasingly more relevant the more features the plugin offers. If, on top of that, there are aspects of machine learning included, there’s no way around SaaS. Overall, all aspects brought up in this article have to be applied to the own idea, and then be weighed.
If you can imagine a smooth entry into the world of SaaS, you should definitely check out Freemius. They basically offer a narrow-gauge SaaS out of the box.Further Reading:
Color Supply is a new web app, that makes it easier for you to find harmonious color combinations. This is achieved due to a heavily visual approach, and the immediate display of possible results in the selected colors. This way, you quickly gain an impression of what fits, and what won’t work as well.Color Supply by Design by Numbers
According to himself, Mason, the creator of Color Supply, has over ten years of experience as a professional designer. He names a few noteworthy references, including Disney, Visa, and Coca Cola.
On his website, “Design by Numbers“, he provides profound courses, and ebooks on design topics. After I was able to take a look into one of his ebooks, I can say that Mason knows what he’s talking about.Color Supply: Harmonious Color Palettes in No Time
Color Supply is a very clean web app with the central element being a classic color circle comprised of 12 color fields. Use your mouse to define your desired color combination. Here, you can assume that the colors will always harmonize, as Mason provides different harmony theories.Color Supply: the Central Control Element. (Screenshot: Noupe)
With standard settings, you’ll always get the direct complementary colors. It’s also possible to select three colors placed right next to each other (analogous colors), or the triad, where the selection of three colors is done via an isosceles triangle, as well as the square, which defines the colors in the four corner points.
Next, you’ll find the actual combination options for the selected basic colors to the right of the color circle. After all, the 12 color fields don’t represent the entirety of the respective color values.Color Supply: Examples for the Application of the Selected Colors. (Screenshot: Noupe)
Below the color circle, four icons with the respective color scheme selected are displayed. You’ll also find an according pattern, as well as presentations of the possible color gradients. All of these details are being created based on the chosen color values.
Thus, play around with the selection until you find your desired combination. As the web app works entirely lag free, this is actually fun. I should also mention that the colors are named by their hex values. This way, no intermediate steps via Photoshop, or other editors are necessary to use the colors in web design.Color Supply: Hex Values and Possible Color Gradients. (Screenshot: Noupe) Free Book Chapter and Best Practice Color Combinations
It’s also noteworthy that some of the color combinations were manually created by more or less well-known designers and illustrators. So, if you’re a fan of the school XY, you’ll be happy to see that illustrator Z gives you access to his best practice. I prefer relying on my own skills.
Last but not least, I want to let you know that you can get the chapter about colors from Mason’s ebook as a free PDF file, as soon as you sign up for his email newsletter. The chapter consists of a total of 24 pages. Here, Mason explains the individual harmony theories that you can use in Color Supply, and provides several fitting examples from the world of web design. This is definitely useful.
Long story short: Play around with the color circle, or get inspiration from fellow designers. In any case, Color Supply belongs into your toolbox.
My SaaS company, MeisterLabs, did its first usability test this year on our mindmapping product MindMeister. It was an eye-opening experience for a team that focuses on designing beautiful and easy to use software. It also forced us to think harder about our design philosophy and the hard questions that SaaS designers have to answer, one way or another.1. Where do you land on the Snapchat-Word continuum?
Part of the usability test involved eye-tracking software that allowed us to see what parts of the interface people were looking at.
Despite all the innovations on interface design and UX that we’ve seen over the last years, it quickly became apparent that when people get stuck in software, they invariably look up. As in: they are checking the place where Microsoft Word or Outlook typically have a big multi-tab collection of text elements, icons and random drop down menus, also known as The Ribbon.
This, of course, means every SaaS designer needs to make a choice about where they want to position themselves: on the Snapchat end of the continuum, where users are supposed to figure things out and try to remember the secret combos that unlock certain pages and functionalities – or on the Microsoft end of things, where elements are expectedly found at the top of the interface.
In the more scientific terms of Don Norman’s classic “The Design of Everyday Things“, this is the battle between affordances (all the useful things that a product can do for a user) and the signifier (the interface elements that inform the user where they can push, pull, click or dial).
The light of a lamp is the affordance. The light switch is the signifier.
Industrial designers have decades of experience in frustrating users by hiding signifiers because they find minimalism more beautiful. The result is that you can’t find the light switch (hidden in the wallpaper), can’t open the kitchen cabinet (you have to push the edge, not pull), or you can’t get water from the tap (you have to wave at the tap in exactly the right spot).
In software, we’re evolving in the same direction. Quora user Ivan Boyko recently made a good case about the arrival of flat design, and how it ruined the accessibility of the web. Yes, flat design is prettier, but it also leaves less room for signifiers like the glass edge that showed you which buttons were clickable in iOS. The consequence is that today, you have to just know which buttons in iOS are clickable and which ones aren’t (Read the piece here, it’s interesting – pictures below taken from the original Quora post).
While I agree that flat design can make software a bit more challenging to use, I’m convinced that software design needs to err on the side of innovation and minimalism. Our industry is better off following the lead of bold companies like Snapchat or Apple. Ditching the headphone jack will be uncomfortable for a while. But it will be replaced by something simpler and leaner, forcing other companies to follow suit.2. How does you interface grow with the user?
Then there’s the opposite problem: how do you avoid a design that is too simple for advanced users?
It’s quite clear that your software needs to be easy to understand for beginners. In the app industry, we know that a mere 16% of users will return to an app for a third try if the first two experiences were glitchy or unsuccessful. So you have to nail that first experience.
But new users will quickly become more sophisticated. They want to do more. They want to add images. They want to present their content to others or share their content. They want to create links between their content. Maybe they like your software so much that they’ll find use cases that push your interface to its very limits. A good problem to have, no doubt, but still a challenge we need to solve.
This is probably the hardest question for a software designer: How can I design software that meets the user with functionality at exactly the right moment in their customer journey?
This remains one of the most challenging questions for me personally: when you’re working on an app for more than a decade, the temptation can arise to complicate things – and maybe overcomplicate them.
One thing I do know is that software with different modes or states are not the answer. In my previous job, I had to help users with software systems. My first question was always: “Please tell me what mode your system is in?” People never knew the answer to that – they always needed to look it up.3. What is the reward?
This is one question that you need to be able to answer clearly – whether you launched your product yesterday or you’ve been on the market for ten years.
In his bestselling book Hooked, entrepreneur and design expert Nir Eyal tries to explain how some companies create products that you just can’t put down. The golden standard are of course products like Facebook, which studies have proven our brain wants to check every 31 seconds.
What is it that makes you fall in love with these products? One of the main attractions of truly “habit-forming” products, Eyal concludes, is that they reward the actions they trigger.
Rewards can be anything. The only thing really required is that your user experiences a small, almost imperceptible boost of pleasure. In other words: the feeling you get when you finish assembling a piece of IKEA furniture.
For example, Eyal points out that LinkedIn provides users with reward when they input more details about themselves into the professional networking platform. A graphic pops up that illustrates how close to complete your profile is, building incentive in users to finish what they started. When you’ve provided enough information, LinkedIn lets you know that your profile has reached “All Star” status. Eyal says that the graphic increases the likelihood of users to open a premium account (and thus launch into the investment phase).
Knowing your product’s reward will allow you to reduce the time your user needs to get that very first boost – and reducing your ‘time to wow’ will increase the likelihood of bringing the user back a second time.4. Are you future proof?
Finally, there’s the question: How will we survive the onslaught of new technologies that launch every day?
Augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence (the list goes on …) will change how users interact with content: they’ll be able to verbally access information (no more UI required!) or experience it in 3D (UI everywhere around you!).
The main difference seems to me the fact that the workspace will include the entire field of vision rather than a 24 inch slice of it. But that will probably be compensated partly by the fact that hand gestures aren’t as granular as the pointer of a mouse.
And at the same time the fundamentals will remain. We follow the 98 percent rule – in any productivity tool, about 98 percent of the UI should be reserved for the user’s content. This principle is at the core of MindMeister and our second product, MeisterTask. Stuffing the entire field of vision with possible action buttons will be just as confusing as offering a nine tab ribbon with 25 clickable items per tab. The more things change, the more they stay the same. I look forward to discussing software design with you in the comments or on Twitter: @mhollauf
This is not new to all of us. Here at Noupe, we’ve already published a couple of cartoons on the topic. Internationally, hashtags like #nospecwork represent the battle against the exploitation of creative work. A new study from the United Kingdom displays a level of this plague that I didn’t know of.
The operators of the rather new design collaboration tool Approve.io from Manchester commissioned a study that was supposed to figure out the numbers to the spec work problem. During November and December of 2016, more than 1,000 freelancers in creative jobs were polled. They were asked to state how often they get asked for free work, and how often they actually agree to this proposal.
The final results showed that, on average, 7 out of 10 creative workers have already been asked for free work, and one of these ten people has actually worked for free.
The summary already sounds very dramatic, but it gets even worse when looking at individual professions. About 9 of 10 photographers were already asked to work for free.Which Job Categories are Asked For Free Work Especially Often? Occupation % of the surveyed people that were asked to work for free % of the surveyed people that actually worked for free Photographers 87% 16% Graphic Designers 85% 9% Copywriters 83% 14% Illustrators 81% 8% Journalists 78% 6% Filmmakers 75% 7% Frontend Developers 74% 5% Backend Developers 71% 4% Average 70% 9%
The shown average consists of all occupation groups included in the survey, so it also contains some that are not on the list above. The attentive reader will have noticed that the average of the named groups can’t be 70%. (Source: Approve.io)
Going deeper into the details of the study, the image differentiates even further. Apparently, the potential “commissioners” are driven by two assumptions. According to those assumptions, it is okay to demand free work from women, and people that are younger than 25. While the share of women is significantly higher than the percentage of men, the share of people under 25 is twice as high.
According to the study creators, the reason for the rapid progress of creative exploitation seems to be social media. They have created a meaningful infographic on this, showing how blatant sales billionaires try to reinterpret other people’s work for their benefit.(Quelle: Approve.io – Blogpost on the Graphic)
The offered “rewards” were the usual classics. A bottle of champagne if the story gets published. “Exposure” to the large brand’s followers, and the vague promise to be considered for paid commissions, if you prove yourself for free.
As always, and often, Noupe recommends: Stay away from free, or heavily discounted work. Once a price has been broken, you won’t get it fixed again.
By now, Unsplash can call itself one of the largest, and most vivid photo communities out there. In the beginning of 2017, it was announced that Unsplash was hived off to become its own company. Now, a significant feature update that will further boost the platform’s growth has been released.Unsplash and the Unexpected Success
It all began with a regular Tumblr blog, to which a man called Mikael Cho uploaded ten free images every ten days. This was in the spring of 2013. Soon, the success descended on Cho and his allies. A few weeks ago, I wrote down the stations relating to the spinoff of Unsplash Inc. in this article.
A few weeks after the company’s inception, Mikael Cho turns to his supporters via email, and Medium article again, announcing a large update of the service. You may remember that, in the beginning, there were no categories or a search function. Of course, all of that is available today.
Now, Unsplash takes the next step, which is a step towards becoming a social network, which is a logical step with a self-conception as a community. Unsplash introduces the following features:Feature #1: Unsplash Following
Now, it’s possible to follow other members. This way, an according stream will give you live information on what the people you follow are currently doing on the platform. This ranges from liking to adding new photos. Your following-stream will display all of these activities in a clean way.
In the stream, images are displayed as a grid, which saves space while making it look modern and more pleasant. The feature is called Photogrid, and there’s an in-depth presentation right here. Photogrid is the new type of presentation for the following stream, and all other future streams, except for the traditional home, and news streams.Unsplash: Photogrid, the New Compact Display in the Following Stream. (Screenshot: Noupe)
According to Unsplash, the unique advantage of the following function is that photos can be spread a lot faster than before. Photographers don’t have to wait for their new images to be discovered, and, depending on the amount of followers, enjoy immediate interactions.
Aside from the option to follow individual members, you will be asked to name at least three categories of images that you’re especially interested in upon starting to use the following function. I chose “People,” “Technology,” and “Street Photography.”Unsplash Following: Choose at Least Three Categories That You Want to Follow. (Screenshot: Noupe)
Based on these categories, Unsplash suggested a solid dozen of photographers that mainly bustle in these sections. I followed all of them. Let’s see how that turns out.Unsplash Following: Unsplash Gives You Suggestions For People to Follow Based on the Chosen Topics. (Screenshot: Noupe)
The following stream is already available in my Unsplash account. What about you?Feature #2: Unsplash Notifications
Unsplash notifications work like notifications on Google+. On the top right, next to your profile icon, you’ll find the new bell icon. However, it is not available in my profile yet. According to Mikael Cho, this feature is currently being rolled out internationally. This might take some patience.Unsplash Notifications: Small Notifier on the Top Right Behind the Bell. (Screenshot: Unsplash)
A click on the bell opens a small notification overlay. Here, you’ll see new followers, who likes your photos, which collections your image was added to, and more. According to Cho, notifications were one of the most requested new features.Feature #3: Unsplash Stories
Unsplash Stories lets photographers provide more information on their photos. If a story is available for a photo, you can access it by simply scrolling down on the photo’s detail page.Unsplash Stories: Expanded Presentation Options for Photographers. (Screenshot: Unsplash)
I have tried it with a dozen of new images, but I couldn’t find a single story. Generally speaking, the idea of providing context to the sheer image is exciting to me. This serves the community idea.The Rest: Unsplash S and Local
Unsplash S is not literally a feature, but rather a promise of fast performance. In the background, the code is constantly being tweaked. In comparison to previous versions of the service, the success up to this point is impressive. In my browser, Unsplash runs entirely smoothly. Using it is fun.
Unsplash Local is not a new feature either, but instead, it’s the promise to unite the community at a local level. This is also supposed to be done via local events in different parts of the world, like Switzerland and Japan. Events can range from photo walks, workshops, or plain community parties.Conclusion: Unsplash Has a Lot of Plans
The most recent feature update moves Unsplash closer to communities like 500px. However, Unsplash offers the invaluable advantage that all images are free to use. This is not the case for most of the competition.
The social aspects of the service are sure to cause further growth. It’s also safe to assume that the commitment of the users will increase drastically as well.
Today marks the beginning of a small series, in which we’ll present the best premium plugins for WordPress. Plugins that are worth spending money on, as they are much better, and much more useful than their free counterparts. We’ll start with the social media plugin “Blog2Social” which has convinced me after an in-depth test.
All bloggers and website operators have one thing in common: they want to be found, and they want their content to be read. A very important part of a promotion strategy is posting the articles on the social media channels.
A plugin that takes care of these posts for you once an article was published can be helpful. There are many plugins that do that, such as Jetpack, for example.
However, using a plugin can also come with a bunch of disadvantages.Why Most Social Media Plugins Suck
These three things heavily restrict your range. The postings on social media should be customized so that you set yourself apart from your competition. Users are more likely to click customized content.
Your range gets a significant boost as soon as you fuel your social media accounts during the most optimal times. We’ve already written about that before:
Imagine there was a plugin that automatically posts your articles on social media at the right times. Every social media account would get its post at the time where the most users are online.
On top of that, every post would be adjusted to the requirements of the respective networks. Every article could receive a unique teaser, a custom image, and specific hashtags and links.
To your followers, all of this would feel as if you manually wrote each post on social media. You think there was no way this exists? Blog2Social makes all of this possible!
Here Are Some of the Advantages:
A Video is Worth a Thousand Words:Blog2Social Supports the Following Networks
Aside from the “regular” social media, Blog2Social also supports blogs, business, image, and social bookmark networks. For example:
After the download and installation, the plugin needs to be set up in the settings. To be able to use the full scope of functions, a premium license is needed.Testing the Premium Functions for Free for 30 Days
You don’t have to buy a pig in a poke since you get to check the premium functions for free for 30 days. You don’t have to give any payment data; the license expires automatically.
Register on the website of Blog2Social to receive your test license via email.Setting Up and Using Blog2Social
On the Blog2Social „Settings“ page you can check the option to use the link-shortener and activate auto-posting by default (General). The “Best Time Settings” show pre-defined time windows suggesting best times to post. You can edit the suggested times and save them for the “My times” button on the “Custom Scheduling & Sharing” page. On the “Network Settings” you choose your preferred posting format for your Facebook posts.1 – The Settings
After the installation, go into the settings and tick the selection box for the link shortener. The Blog2Social shortener transforms your links, and publishes them on social media in that shortened form.
If you choose this option, you prevent that the networks deny frequently repeated posts with the same links. The b2s.pm shortener generates a new link for each social media post. This is important if you want to post your articles multiple times on the same networks.
On the right side of the settings, you enter your test license or your premium license. The second option in the settings lets you define the times on which your posts will be published.
I recommend using the “Best Time Scheduler.” This tool is a premium feature that always posts your social media posts during the times when the most people are online on each respective network.
This Increases Your Article’s Range Significantly.
Blog2Social provides a complete time scheme for the best times to share on the different social media channels. If you choose this option, the calculated time frames are displayed below the respective networks. You are able to edit these times, or create a custom time scheme for sharing your blog posts from scratch.2 – Connecting Networks Connect all of your networks, pages, and groups in just a few clicks.
Set up your accounts under the menu item “Networks.” The plugin’s premium version provides a lot more sharing options. You can not only connect your profiles but also link pages and groups that you’re active in.
This feature can be useful when it comes to Google+ or Xing, as many users of these networks are very active in groups.
Additionally, a premium license also allows you to connect, and supply multiple accounts per network, which can be very handy especially for highly active social media users.3 – Customizing and Sharing Posts Sharing Individual Posts Made Easy With Blog2Social. Assigning Unique Texts to Each Network
The menu item “Dashboard” displays your blog posts. It only takes one look to see if, and when your posts have been shared. A click on the button “Share on Social Media” opens a new window, where you can customize your posts before sharing.
Here, you get to write a unique text for each social network, as well as add hashtags, and links. On the right side of this window, you have the option to deselect social media accounts that you don’t want to post on anymore. A click on the respective profile turns off the account.The Image Selection
When you scroll all the way down, you get to the picture selection. Here, you can choose if you want to transfer images. You also get to select which images will be posted.
Once you set everything, all there’s left to do is to click “Share.” Now, your blog posts will either be posted at the times you defined or at the best times as identified by Blog2Social.Sharing Immediately After Releasing an Article
The plugin adds a new button to the “Publish” field on the “Publish Post” page of your WordPress.
Blog2Social provides two general options for sharing your blog posts on social media:
1. Custom Sharing & Scheduling to customize your posts individually in one easy step and to schedule your post or to publish immediately;
2. Auto-Posting to automatically share your blog posts whenever you publish a new post.
The plugin really excels when it comes to its premium functions.
Here are all the advantages of the premium version at a glance:
The smart license for only 69 Euro a year should be sufficient for the majority of users. The pro license is suitable for smaller multi-author blogs with up to five users.
Blog2Social is the most elaborate social media plugin that I have tested so far. I purchased the premium (smart) license, and I can only recommend it.
It comes as no surprise that in today’s fast-paced world where applications and websites are generated at the speed of light rapid prototyping has become a commonplace. The GUIs, icons, vectors, mockups, templates and photography stocks have occupied not only its niche in the market but also won the love of the creative folks’ thanks to its versatility, viability, and usefulness. Among all this rich diversity of available graphical stuff, the GUI packages are one of those that skillfully balance between the ready-made solutions like website templates and raw material like icons or standalone mockups. These “Lego” bricks that have an ability to quickly and painlessly change its color, theme, and style will give you a head start in any work. 1-2-3 and your idea is on a digital sheet of paper in the Photoshop or Sketch environment. Whether you need to build an application or landing page for this application, the ready-made starter kit is an effective solution nowadays.
2016 was rich in free UI packs. Though like in 2015, the designers preferred to give away tools for building mobile applications rather than website interfaces; nevertheless, we managed to find some exceptional GUI sets for web prototyping. Together with the app screens, concept applications, the range of elements inherent to iOS systems, they complete our collection.Elegant Material UI Kit Moon Wireframe Kit Global Store. E-commerce Free PSD UI KIT iOS 10 GUI Mercatus UI Kit Slides Design Resources Landing page for restaurant | 37 free .psd blocks Amsterdam – UI Kit mOnochrome Landing – Free UI Kit EarthShift – UI Kit Stella – Blog UI Kit Kauf – Web UI Kit Sweety iOS UI Kit Freeland – UI Kit 55 Elements Deadline UI Kit iOS UI Kit for Adobe Project Comet (Experience Design) UI Kit: Carlyle Joocy: A Free UI Kit Pearl UI Kit Vincent iOS 9.3 iPhone UI Kit for Illustrator and Sketch iOS9 GUI iOS9 GUI for Sketch Travel Blog UI Kit The tvOS GUI Kit macOS UI Kit for Sketch Material UI Kit Chat UI Google Material Design UI Kit Fade App UI Kit #DoEpicShit Free UI Kit Wirebase Eppe UI Kit Material Design Wireframe Kit v_02 Messaging Design UI Kit Guacamole – UI Kit Instagram UI Kit Creastore – UI Kit 10 Login Screens Mobile UI Kit Aerea – UI Kit Avital Mobile UI Kit Daily UI – 30 Elements Free Modern and Clean iOS movie App UI Kit “Miam” is a free IOS UI Kit for your cooking apps iOS 10 Complete UI (Sketch + PSD for iPhone 5, 6 and 6 Plus) Subscribe Box – Free UI Kit iOS 10 GUI Snap – Mobile UI Kit Kavina Dashboard Analytics Light Version Free Dashboard Design 50 PSDs UI Web style UI Kit Dashboard UI Design Mobile Apps Inspirational UI Elements Inspirational UI Elements vol.2 Set of Micro Wireframes for a Web App Dashboard Template Calendar UI UI Starter Kit Fruitos – Creative App Desogn Mini Wireframes White Social Leads App Taxi Mobile App UI Design Simple UI Nike Futuristic UI Concept Music Player UI Kit Daily UI – 30 elements Clean and Modern iOS UI Kit Wyre – Web Layout Flowcharts Elton UI Kit Chart UI Kit Free UI PSD Mobile App Fashion & Ecommerce ver 2.0 Crisp eCommerce UI Kit Free UI Kit Fitness App UI Kit Tremble UI Kit iOS9 GUI Kit in Vector Platforma iOS and web wireframe kits Edacious Free UI Kit Cards Cinema UI Kit Move – Mobile UI Kit Bricks Hooked UI Kit for Adobe XD Touch Bar UI Kit Flat UI Delivery App Banking UI Kit 20 Splash Screens Phenix UI Kit CRM Dashboard UI Fashion App Freebie UI for eCommerce Mobile App Small UI Kit UI Kit Facebok Analytics UI Pack TapNews – Free Mobile UI Kit
Welcome back to our series featuring the most exceptional free stuff that was given away in 2016. Today’s post is dedicated to free PSD website templates. The entire previous year designers around the Globe shared with the community freebies that were made with the mainstream in mind. Our collection is a reflection of web design trends that ruled the roost in 2016.
Here you will manage to find website templates with the outstanding layered aesthetics, powerful geometric vibe, strict, and on the contrary, flexible structures, trendy split layouts, cards, Material Design-inspired touches and much more. As for the coloring, despite the celeb pair of rose and quartz, various shades of purple and blue along with the ageless and resilient light color scheme dominated the entire last year. And that’s not all; gradients and provocative color choices were quite popular as well, giving the interfaces a cutting-edge feel and excited the minds of the others.
Of course, we could not help but include templates that stuck to a traditional route: those that opted for the time-proven three-column layouts or long one-column pages with a calm and serene atmosphere or business-like flair.
Dive into our list and see what we have prepared for you.Discover Greece – Travel Agency free PSD web template SKOKOV Profit – Free Business PSD Template Hotelin Luna 404 Page Selene PSD Template Travel Landing Page Archi Next Website Corporate Web Design Template OUCN PSD Template Shopy Zest Celta Landing Page Clemo Website Template Futyle Online Store Unum Rage – Digital Agency Template PSD Template for Business Free Psd CV & Portfolio Theme Landing Page Personal – Free One Page Website Agencia Brandly Mastering – eBook landing page PSD template Panorama App – Landing page PSD template Black and White Portfolio Ohmyshop – Responsive web shop template MeshApp – flat mobile app landing page Suada – trendy mobile app PSD template Colingz – personal diary PSD template Clean PSD template for surfing websites Portfolio Site Westa FREE PSD Template and Mobile App Krunch Agency Landing Page eCommerce Landing Page 404 Page Honor – Unity Free PSD Eclipse Purple Website Template Financial PSD Website Template Tork – Free PSD Template Free PSD Design Of Bologna One Page Mobile Application Landing – Freebie Sketch Sellerbailout Template DIZAINO – One Page Free PSD Templat Wireframe Landing Page Free PSD SilveHype – Free Fashion Sketch Template ETERNIA: Multipurpose Website Template PSD Barmy PSD Template Simple E-commerce Web Template Free PSD Bike Sport – Freebie PSD Template Mino Free PSD Blog Template Sarabanda – PSD Template Landing page Wireframe PSD Responsive Website Interstellar Home Page UI Theme Free PSD Landing | WeatherApp Error Pages UInugget Free PSD Template OPEKKHA – Coming Soon Template A Landing Page (DuckPack) Personal Portfolio Website Theme Free PSD History Bits Magazine Psd Template Hotel Booking Website Template PSD Car Accessories Ecommerce Web Template Free PSD BEIGE – Fashion Website Design Personal Site Landing Page Mockup Travel Landing Page Aie – Free app landing page template Landgig – Landing page template free psd Dating Site Holver Nipro Agency Free PSD Template Minimal Agency Landing Page Msn Mistiri – Construction Free PSD Template Uinity Fashion Template Single page product website Free PSD / Snow – Minimal & Clean Portfolio Albedo – Free Personal Onepager PSD Template Bon Apetit (free PSD) Explore the City – Landing Page Agency Website 10 Free PSD website templates to get any design project started Landing Page Colingz – Personal Website Template Treehouse Web Template Stuff – Furniture eCommerce PSD Template Sathee – Fashion eCommerce PSD Template Global Media Themeunix FreeBie PSD Template Design Ave FREE Ecommerce Website Template PSD Pasco: A free PSD multipurpose template Bakery PSD Website Template Montreal Creative Portfolio PSD Web Theme Sneak – Simple Portfolio PSD Website Template Nord – Simple App Landing One Page Template Gato Website Template App Landing Page Quotime Free PSD Template Tajam: PSD website template for agencies
SEO only seems like a minefield from the outside. It’s also a lot less dynamic than it is often suggested. Basically, it’s wheels are only set into motion when Google makes changes to its algorithm. You don’t need to worry about these changes if you keep a few things in mind. This year, they are the following:SEO-Technique #1: More Backlinks Via Great Content Backlinks
Just recently, we’ve talked about backlinks here at Noupe. Backlinks are, and always will be, the essential part of your SEO strategy. Nothing improves your ranking more than a great backlink profile.
As already mentioned in said article, the focus is on the word “great.” A backlink profile is great, when the links don’t originate from the red light districts of the web, but rather come from proven and respected experts, and influencers on the topic. You can contribute to that yourself by a), asking this group of people for the favor of placing a link, or b), offering them a guest article on the topic, which lets you put a backlink yourself.Great Content
Of course, the chances of a) or b) are directly connected to the content you provide. Here’s where the second counting of the word “great” comes into play. I’ve found a superb infographic on the topic that I want to share with you.The 10 Steps to Great Content: The Epic Content Cycle: 10 Steps to 10X Content (Source: Smartblogger.com)
By the way, with this infographic, its makers have already created “great content” that will get them backlinks, from us, for example. That’s how it works!
These days, great content is not great by simply covering a topic in detail. You should certainly do that, to begin with, and you’ll notice that this simple rule is already widely ignored by most competitors. So, you’re already on the right track by covering your topic more in-depth than others. There’s a lot of discussion about the question if your content has to have at least 1,000, or 2,000, or even more words to be recognized as relevant by our beloved Mountain View search engine operator.
I recommend not forcing yourself to hit a word goal. The length of your text depends on the topic. Once you’ve exhausted it, the text is finished. There’s no point in finding filler content, just to hit certain lengths. The opposite is the case, as this only lowers the relevance of your content, and your text won’t be considered great anymore either. This moves you further away from your goal of backlink generation than it moves you towards it.
As the bar for great content rises year after year, you shouldn’t stick to greatness concerning content, but also step up your game regarding design. As an example for a rather simple upgrade via design, I can recommend the “Epic Guide to Employee Management.” Aside from that, the entire portfolio of possible interactions is available to you. The more meaningful user action you can implement, the better. But keep the word “meaningful” in mind here.A Good Example For Design-Assisted Storytelling. (Screenshot: Noupe)
I recommend you include multi-media content into your articles. Aside from videos, this can also be VR content, such as 360-degree videos. In general, interactive elements get you a lot of attention.SEO-Technique #2: Get Your Website Technology to the Level of Development Full Compatibility With Mobile Devices
“Mobile-friendly” is the name of Google’s newest ranking factor. This simply means that sites that are fully usable on mobile devices make them appear as more relevant in the search results. Usually, this results in a higher ranking. Read our article on the topic.HTTPS: Encrypted Transfer Via SSL
The future update of the Chrome browser will notify users when an accessed page does not encrypt the transferred content. This will jar the trust of some visitors. Pages with encrypted transfer will also rank higher. It’s about time to deal with the topic. For that reason, we wrote this article, which also presents a practical, free solution. WordPress users will be especially interested in this article.Data Security is Important. (Photo: Pixabay) Loading Time Optimization
The loading time of a website is a ranking factor as well. The faster your page loads, the better you look under Google’s strict judgment. The performance optimization is an exceptionally wide topic. We wrote an entire series of articles for WordPress users, and the first part can be found here. If you’re looking for a tool that can help you with the optimization, this one is the post for you.SEO-Technique #3: Good Care, Doc! Evergreen Content
Every page site operator knows this phenomenon. Rather few, mostly older posts consistently get the most traffic. You could call them your crown jewels. Take care of them accordingly.
Evergreen content also ages with time. Update your critical posts on a regular basis. Don’t change the URL in the process, but place an update note at the bottom of the post. This tells the search engine that it’s still the good old post, and the reader knows how old the content really is.
Of course, we’ve got an article on that topic as well.Internal Link Structure
The topic “internal links” is related to the topic “evergreen content.” You should place links towards the evergreen content, and link related articles away from them, allowing your page ranking to stabilize. High-relevance values of individual pages are basically transmitted to other pages. This is called link juice.
This article on Noupe takes an in-depth look at the topic of internal link placement.Merge Multiple Smaller Ones to One Large Post
If you focus on supplying your niche, you’ll certainly have published smaller pieces of content from time to time. For some time, it was recommended to put out more, but shorter articles than one long article. For a while, even a length of 350 words was circulating as optimal.Multiple Small Parts Can Be Connected to Become One. (Photo: Pixabay)
Take another look at the topic “great content” further up. You’ll see that short posts are not always the way to go. Instead, write long, exhausting articles. Of course, you can also apply this principle when taking care of your content.
Pick out your shorter, less successful posts that deal with one topic, and turn them into one giant post. Whether you should keep the original URL of the most successful post, or if a new URL makes more sense, depends on the actual statistics.
Conclusion: There’s a lot to do, so get started. Remember that you can’t avoid technological changes if you want to be successful. You depend on the technological side to work, as otherwise, the content side can’t be relevant. Google has placed visibility before being seen. Once you’ve got the technology covered, focus on the creation of great content. Create from scratch, or from existing content. That doesn’t matter as long as you create.
WP-VR-View is a WordPress plugin that allows you to embed 360-degree videos, and photospheres into your site. Once done, you can show your visitors VR elements on desktop as well as on mobile devices. Google’s Cardboard is also supported.WP-VR-View is Based on the Google Library VR View
WP-VR-View by Alexander Tumanov, a developer from Bishkek in the Kirghizian Republic, is an add-on for the Google library VR View. Thus you can be sure that all sources from the library specification will work as well in WP-VR-View.
Alexander provides a short video that shows all application cases, as well as the respective procedures:
The integration of photospheres or 360-degree videos is done via shortcode. The plugin takes care of the rest. If you don’t want to, or can’t remember the shortcodes, just use the respective buttons in the visual editor TinyMCE.Buttons in TinyMCE. (Screenshot: Alexander Tumanov)
Clicking one of the two buttons opens a dialogue window that lets you define some basic settings. All that is required is the URL to the VR content. Keep in mind that content that already exists in your media library can not be added as usual. Instead, you have to copy the content URL from your media library and paste it into the options dialog.Options Dialog for the Integration of VR Elements. (Screenshot: Alexander Tumanov) WP-VR-View: Controls Via Mouse and Gestures
On the desktop, the content is controlled via mouse. At the bottom right of each element, you’ll find a plus icon that allows you to switch to full-screen mode. To the left, there’s an icon to change to Cardboard mode. This splits the video into two windows, one meant for the left, and one for the right eye, respectively.Example Content With Control Symbols on the Bottom Right
In Cardboard mode, and generally, when viewing via smartphone, you’re moving within the virtual realities by moving the smartphone itself. Moving the smartphone to the right will make the field of view move accordingly. Aside from the reaction lag, which depends on the performance of the viewer device, this creates the impression of actually looking into a different direction.WP-VR-View is Available Via WordPress and Github
If you already want to experiment with VR in WordPress, WP-VR-View is the means of choice. The plugin is distributed under GPL as open source. In the WordPress plugin index, the older version 1.6 is provided, while on Github, you’ll already find the recent version 2.1, which Alexander completed only two weeks ago.
If you want it to be as simple as possible, install the plugin from the backend via install plugins. Here, type the term wp-vr-view into the search bar, and click enter. In the following search result, click the first plugin in the top left. You’ll see that there are other plugins that also use Google’s library to some extent. However, none of them get close to the number of installations that WP-VR-View has gained already. After you’ve installed, and activated the plugin in version 1.6, simply wait for the update notification to version 2.1.
When talking to a so-called SEO expert, you’ll get lost in the conversation pretty quickly. He will throw tons of technical terms around, all of which can not be interpreted logically. In the best case, you’ll be just as smart as you were at the beginning of the talk. So today, I want to break down the topic “backlinks” to the level that you really need.
This article is meant for the average site owner. It explicitly is not addressed to real or self-proclaimed experts in the SEO area. The article doesn’t cover all aspects, and does not deal with the details, and intricacies of the final few percent of SEO skills that could be talked about. Instead, it covers the absolute basic knowledge. I also try to stay as comprehensible as possible, even though this requires simplifications.What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are links that other site owners place on their page to link to your page. We speak of inbound links. The opposite are the outbound links, which you place from your page to the pages of other site owners. Each link that points to your page, and does not originate from your own website, is a backlink.What Are Backlinks Good For?
For Google, backlinks have always been an indicator of how relevant your site is. The concept is simple: the more site owners link your page, the better your content has to be. It’s somewhat like the principle of the wisdom of the many, also known as swarm intelligence.
So when Google recognizes that your website is linked by many others, this insight influences its ranking decision. The result is a better ranking of your site, which means that you’ll be higher up in the search results.
It has always been the highest goal of the SEO branch to push their customer’s linkbuilding forwards, meaning the creation of backlinks.Backlinks and the Manipulation Problem
Only a few years ago, a practice that was common then almost became extinct. Knowing the importance of backlinks regarding the ranking, people quickly developed strategies to abet this goal. There were a lot of things that ended up bringing the backlink as a ranking factor into discredit, ranging from link purchases to an own small page network with the purpose of reciprocal linking.
That’s because the underlying assumption was that a page received so many backlinks, because of how highly relevant its content was. However, when these backlinks sat under keywords that the receiver of the inbound links defined for himself, a good ranking was basically guaranteed.
Over the past years, Google adjusted its search algorithm several times, to detect manipulations and react to them. In the first stage, the search engineers manually punished a lot of link building networks, as well as link purchase agencies, and platforms to show that they don’t want to accept crude link building any longer. Quickly, websites with bought links found themselves very far down in the search results.
Today, the number of inbound links is still an important ranking factor, but it’s not the sole, most important one anymore. Now, Google tries to pay more attention to the quality of the content. Only after high-quality content is detected, the question if linking page owners think the same, and externally link to that content comes up. You could say that there’s another fact check to avoid manipulation now.Why Not All Backlinks Are Good
Bought links or links from your own site networks have negative effects on your ranking. Links to your page that got placed from the backstreets of the web also negatively affect your ranking. If there’s a significant amount of online casinos linking to your homeopathy page, this can’t get you good results. To a lower extent, the same goes for a site of a very different branch. Why should the ski teacher link to your diversified financial service website? There may be good, harmless reasons. However, these harmless reasons will rarely be the case.Negative SEO is Also Called Black Hat SEO. (Photo: Pixabay)
Of course, the bad boys of the web have also discovered the meaning of bad backlinks for the ranking of a website. For example, commissioned by one of your rivals, they could make sure that the number of your bad backlinks is driven up significantly.
Remember: Backlinks are still important, but they are not the panacea for good rankings. The best way to build good backlinks is to create good content, and to avoid shady cross-linking strategies. You should fight bad backlinks, too.
Affinity Designer has quickly built a formidable reputation as the fastest, smoothest, most precise professional graphic design app available. A coveted Apple Design Award, and thousands of 5 star customer reviews on the Mac App Store are testament to that.
It’s already proved revolutionary for creative professionals working on branding, icons, illustrations, concept art and print projects. With the latest features added in version 1.5, we’re changing the game for UI, UX and web designers too.
Here are 15 reasons why:1. The complete package
Affinity Designer is a fully-fledged professional graphic design application, not a one trick pony. This means it’s packed with all the tools necessary for end-to-end production of UI – from initial concepts to the creation of every asset to final device ready output.Fully Featured
Including all the tools you need in a professional vector design app, carefully considered and meticulously developed for designers like you.Fast
Watch all your adjustments, effects, transformations and brushes take effect in real time, with pan and zoom at up to 60fps, no matter how large the project.Accurate
Affinity Designer boasts the incredible ability to zoom in by more than 1 million per cent, and tools with the precision to match.Compatible
Integrates easily into your familiar workflow in any colour space, with the best PSD import engine and full support for SVG, EPS, PDF, PDF/X and FH files.2. Symbols taken to another level
New in v1.5, the Symbols feature allows you to have multiple instances of the same object, where editing one object will change all versions simultaneously. But it’s not as simple as that – Affinity Designer offers the most powerful toolset available for control and management of your symbols.Nested Symbols
Nested Symbols lets you build up intricate designs by using unlimited levels of symbols within symbols. At the same time, it keeps your workflow organised and manageable even with the most complicated work.In place, real time editing
Edit in place on a document and the changes will be updated instantaneously, in real time on every version. So when you’re designing for different devices, you can see immediately how different versions are going to look.Unlimited versions
Use attribute sync to attach or detach symbol properties allowing for customization of individual instances of your symbol. Whether it’s color, text, shape, size, stroke or effect, you maintain total control over which properties are shared and which of them stay unique.3. Designs that respond
The Constraints feature, new in v1.5, delivers the ability to control the position or size of an object relative to its container, making it possible to create reusable elements which perform in a pseudo-responsive fashion.
An invaluable addition when working on different device sizes or for responsive web design, it’s another Affinity Designer feature engineered to make your creative process as smooth as possible.4. Perfect pixels
One of the standout features of Affinity Designer is the seamless way in which it enables you to work with both vectors and pixels interchangeably in the same document. This completely removes the frustration of switching apps – your workflow is covered end-to-end.Comprehensive pixel editing tools
Our Pixel Persona allows you to switch to working with pixels on the same document at a single click and boasts an eye-popping array of selection tools and brushes to inspire raster creativity.Real-time pixel preview
Perfection is assured by viewing your work in pixel preview mode. This allows you to view vectors in both standard and retina resolution, giving you a completely live view of how your design will export.5. Amazing effects
Affinity Designer’s non-destructive workflow mean you can refine and polish your UI elements with customizable layer effects such as blurring, glows and drop shadows. Any combination of different effects, fills and strokes can be saved as styles too to quickly apply to other objects.6. Total precision
Full control over your grids and snapping options is one of the features which continually wows users of Affinity Designer.
Alignment is easy with customizable grids and v1.5 now offers instant live feedback making it a breeze to guarantee the precision of your design.
What’s more, the Force Pixel Alignment snapping option is a treat for UI and web design, and the ability to save your favorite snapping configurations as presets is a huge time saver.7. Advanced typography
Whether you want to add eye-catching text for headlines or flow text along a curve, the full range of professional typography tools is baked into Affinity Designer. You have full control over all properties like kerning, leading and tracking, and all attributes can be saved to text styles to be re-used and edited instantly across your entire design.8. Asset management
Affinity Designer’s new asset management panel is another key element of a smoother workflow. It couldn’t be simpler – just drag and drop items into, or out of, the panel for easy access when you need them. Build up full galleries of objects, organized in your own folder structure, making them instantly available whatever project you are working on.9. Huge documents, zero lag
Affinity Designer has the most advanced memory management system available. Whether you are working on huge retina website mock-ups, or a project with hundreds of artboards, you can still pan and zoom at 60 fps, with all edits and adjustments happening in real time with no lag.10. Powerful export
Our dedicated Export persona puts everything you need for image export into one complete workspace. It’s never been easier to export all your elements in any size, resolution, and format, ideal when you’re creating designs for different display types. What’s more in v1.5 you can specify different folder locations for different elements in the same document, so re-exporting even the most complicated of projects is now a one click process. You can even automatically generate Xcode assets and Spine JSON from your designs to improve your workflow.11. Outline View
Instantly switch to a wireframe view of your design, even viewing in split screen if you wish. It’s really powerful way to see all the elements across all layers in your project and adds incredible efficiency to selecting the right target object in complicated multi-layered designs.12. Artboard-aware embedded document editing
One of the most impressive features of Affinity Designer is the ability to edit embedded documents in real time – seeing changes reflected instantly in your mock-up view.
Version 1.5 adds the much-requested feature of having artboard-aware embedded documents. This means you can now instantly switch between different screens or pages to see how every element of your design will look.13. Unlimited undo
We’ve got your back. Affinity Designer’s rich history means you can undo, or redo, more than 8,000 steps. In fact, the savable, shared history allows you to undo steps later even if you’re on a different machine, or working in a different Affinity app.
For extra peace of mind, Snapshots allows you to store documents at different stages, while the unobtrusive Auto Save protects you against unexpected interruptions.14. Free UI kit worth $58
Sergey Azovskiy’s incredible Grade UI kit is included for free with every purchase of Affinity Designer. Featuring 10 categories, 100+ icons, and an incredible 1000+ elements, this UI kit is something every creative should tuck away in their toolbox. Bought separately, it’s worth more than you pay for the app!15. No subscription. Just €49.99
Your purchase of Affinity Designer for a one-off payment includes free future updates too.AFFINITY DESIGNER Professional graphic design software
The CSS attribute clip-path allows you to make sure that not the entire content of a box is displayed in the browser by using complex clipping paths. This way, powerful effects are possible. The web app Clippy takes care of the coding for you. You compile your clipping paths visually and immediately see the result.The CSS Attribute clip-path
Clip-path is the successor of the attribute clip, expanding it significantly. Previously, clip only allowed for rectangular shapes. The newer attribute clip-path lets you create clipping paths of almost any desired shape.
Apart from basic shapes, such as circle, ellipse, or polygon, you can also use SVG graphics as shapes for the clipping paths. This reaches a new, previously impossible, flexibility in terms of presentation. As long as your shapes have the same amount of path points, you can also apply CSS animations and transitions to them, causing very subtle motion effects.Bennett Feely and His CSS Experiments
Regular readers already know Bennett Feely from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Two months ago, we presented his project Image Effects here. Image Effects is an example of the smart use of combinations, and repetitions of different modern CSS attributes, allowing you to create image effects that you would not have created with pure CSS up to this point. Image Effects is a visually working app as well, and it automatically generates the required code snippets for you.Clippy Provides an Intuitive Editor Interface. (Screenshot: Noupe)
Clippy works in a very similar way, but looks much more elegant, offering an appearance more oriented towards common interface editors. This makes getting started quite simple.
26 basic shapes are the perfect equipment for the first 1,000 steps. The button Custom Polygon takes you a couple of steps further, as it lets you build shapes that are as complex as you want them to be, by just placing path points within the image, that are automatically connected by Clippy.Clippy Provides 26 Basic Shapes and an Editor For Your Own Complex Shapes. (Screenshot: Noupe)
On the left, you’ll always find a preview, which can be resized by entering pixels on the right, below the shape selection. The background can be changed as well. Here, Bennett has provided four examples to choose from. However, entering a URL of your desired image enables you to load it into the background as well.
Below the preview window, there’s a permanent display of the current CSS code, which you copy into your project using the clipboard. On the basis of the displayed code, it’s also possible to switch over to Codepen and keep on experimenting there.Directly Continue to Edit Each Code Snippet Via Links to Codepen. (Screenshot: Noupe)
Bear in mind that Clippy only generates the code for the clipping path. You have to add the respective image yourself, and the text flow surrounding the shape has to be built manually as well. To do that, use the attributes from the shape- array, like shape-outside.
In Clippy, you decide if you want to use the browser prefix webkit, which makes sure that the code works in Apple’s Safari. As of right now, there is no browser that fully supports clip-path in its entirety. clip-path is not supported at all in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and Edge, as well as in Opera Mini. In Firefox you will want to enable clip-path by setting the appropriate settings flag as mentioned on Caniuse.
Of course, Clippy is free to use, and does not require you to setup an account.
Are you a user of Adobe’s photo lab Lightroom, and do you run a blog on the WordPress foundation? If yes, you have already met the majority of requirements to use the new free Lightroom plugin by Automattic.Time Saver For Photo Bloggers: Upload Directly from Lightroom
If your blog runs on WordPress.com, the cloud solution of the WordPress creators, there is nothing that stops you from using the Lightroom plugin. If you’re using a self-hosted variant, you’ll also need the Jetpack plugin, which we’ve already given some useful advice on here.Export and Upload Directly From Within Lightroom. (Screenshot: Automattic)
Another requirement for the successful operation is a Lightroom license, such as subscribers of the Creative Cloud should have, as Automattic’s Lightroom plugin is not a plugin for WordPress, but one for Lightroom. Once installed, it connects your Lightroom installation to one or multiple of your blogs. The respective target blog can be selected comfortably in the export dialog.The Lightroom Plugin Offers Many Settings
While exporting your photos from Lightroom, you get to define many different settings. This allows you to set the maximum resolution, as well as the compression rate, and a naming convention for the exported files. When it comes to resolution and compression, you can go all out. This assures that even HiDPI devices will always get to see the best version of your photos. WordPress takes care of the required cropping.Lightroom Plugin: the Export Dialogue. (Screenshot: Automattic)
However, you should definitely keep our tip on Optimus HQ in mind. This plugin compresses your uploads on the fly. You don’t have to do anything else.
During the export from Lightroom, the images can even be sharpened automatically. If your pictures have titles, or captions, WordPress will automatically keep them intact. The export and upload occurs in the background, without any action from you being needed.
If you’re already using Jetpack as it is, you already know that using it requires a WordPress.com account, even if you are self-hosted. If you didn’t know that, just go ahead and create one. It’s free and uncomplicated. For any concerns regarding data protection law, check out our article on Jetpack linked above.
Here, you’ll find the Lightroom plugin by Automattic available for download.
Noupe readers know that we really do love JotForm over here. Up until today we thought we couldn’t expect more but JotForm surprised us one more time. With JotForm 4 they are revolutionizing form design again.JotForm: Innovative Since 2006
JotForm is a dinosaur in terms of the web. It’s been ten years since they started out on their mission to provide the world with the best form builder available. Today JotForm is proud to have 2.5 million users working with their product.
We here at Noupe support JotForm since 2014. 2014 was the year where JotForm introduced their revamped form designer. They really got me excited that day. I wrote this article. Last autumn we gathered the top six reasons why designers should use JotForm and found a service that kept getting better and better still.
At that point, JotForm allowed you to create forms that
You might assume that such a feature-rich product should be hard to get accustomed to, but the opposite is the case. JotForm is almost intuitive to use, no learning curves involved.
I was totally satisfied with the feature set that was available last fall.JotForm 4, Next Generation Form Building
These days JotForm rolls out its newest iteration, JotForm 4. And I have to admit that I was skeptical at first. They created quite a buzz in the industry and before I got to know their latest offering I thought they were just beating the big drum for something only slightly altered from the version before.
Boy, was I wrong. JotForm 4 really is a revolution in form building and design. All the features we already loved have improved. More lovable features have been added. Let me highlight my favorites.
Should you not have the time to read on, watch the following video. It’s only two and a half minutes long and will give you a solid impression of what to expect as well:Mobile Form Building and Design
JotForm has already been able to create forms that work flawlessly on any device. From version 4 on you can not only build forms for mobile devices, you can even build them from mobile devices.
I don’t know whether you are going to roam the forests busy building web forms from now on but if you’d wanted to you could. Technically the option of building complex forms from smartphones is not trivial. So cudos to the JotForm team for making this possible.Offline Editing and Real-Time Collaboration
Should you lose the web connection while roaming the woods, don’t worry. JotForm 4 will synchronize all your edits the next time the internet connection reappears. No longer lost work, thanks to continuous storing and offline support. Yes, you read that right. Continuous saving is one of the new features as well.JotForm 4: Offline Editing. (Image: JotForm)
This allows for an elaborate revision history that lets users view a history of revisions made to any form and easily revert back to a previous version with a single click which will then be written into the revision history as well ;-)
Collaboration has been possible before, but with JotForm 4 it becomes real-time collaboration. You can now work on forms with your team much like in Google Docs. Changes are immediately synced team-wide. Everyone always works with the most recent version of the form.JotForm 4: Real-time Collaboration. (Photo: JotForm) Tighter Integration of Form Designer and Theme Store
The Form Designer has been the most attractive addition to the feature range of JotForm back in 2014. Shortly after that JotForm introduced the Theme Store that we covered in this article. Form Designer allowed you to prettify your forms and create a kind of template from that design. The template could then be sold or given away through the Theme Store which basically is a market place for common and not so common form needs.JotForm 4: Form Designer is now fully integrated into the Builder. (Screenshot: JotForm)
JotForm 4 makes both the Form Designer and the Theme Store directly accessible from within the form builder. You no longer need to switch views too reach either of these which makes for a much smoother work flow.Updated and Improved Functionality
Besides these shiny new additions to the feature set JotForm revamped some of their functions to streamline the product even more.Smoother Drag and Drop
Dragging form fields from one area to another has been improved for a smoother experience, including between different pages in a single form.JotForm 4 brings a smoother drag and drop experience. (Screenshot: JotForm) In-Page Preview
Previously, users could preview a form within a smaller pop-up. With JotForm 4 form previews now display in the same window in their full size, and can be toggled on and off with a single click.User Friendliness
From the insights of 18 months of user testing data, JotForm incorporated the best aspects and improved the overall design and UI experience.Improved Pagination
Instead of adding a Page Break field in order to separate a form into multiple pages, users can now add new pages to their forms with a single click.Improved Wizards
All of JotForm’s wizards have been updated for greater ease of use. Form Settings, Conditional Logic, Emails, Integrations, and Thank You Page wizards are now located on their own tab for easier updating. Also placed into a separate tab are wizards for Quick Share, Embed, and Platforms. In-page wizards, such as Payment and Question Properties, have been updated for readability and organization.JotForm 4: Improved Integrations Panel. (Screenshot: JotForm) New Features, Old Pricing
It was always a plus of JotForm that price-wise they did keep in mind that forms are just forms. Their offering has always been moderately priced and this does not change even with the massively improved JotForm 4.
All the paid plans are permeable, so you can start with the Free Plan to see whether the product is for you and upgrade from there to Bronze for 19 USD to Silver for 39 USD to Gold for 99 USD. The plans are priced as a monthly recurring subscription which you can cancel at any time. That’s what I call fair.
Now go and see for yourself. I told you, it’s free. No risk involved.
The problem is not as severe as it was several years ago. Nonetheless, even today, too many people are still surfing using an outdated browser. If your website is very up to date in terms of web standards, these people won’t be able to enjoy that. So, before they get angry at you, just give them a friendly notification that they are surfing on yesteryear’s tech.Sorry, But Your Browser is Ancient.
The integration and activation of the solution only takes a few minutes. You could adjust the appearance, but as it’s already designed in modern flat style, it should already be handsome enough for the most application cases out of the box.
Now, if the page is accessed with a modern browser, nothing happens. If a user visits from an outdated browser, a header will give him a friendly notification that there’s a newer version for his browser. If the user clicks on the notification, the following, politically correct, overview will be displayed.
It’s important to know that the solution targets desktop browsers, and can only be used for those. Before you criticize that, you should ask yourself if there are outdated browsers on mobile devices. Not really, right? Okay, maybe if you’re still rocking Android 2.01, but if that’s the case, web usage is not your biggest problem anyway.Outdated On All Levels
“Outdated Browser” is a solution by the Portuguese design agency Buro, and is available for download and participation on Github. Users of self-hosted WordPress installations can directly use the tool as a plugin, making the integration easier. For the sake of completeness, I should mention that there are other ready-made modules, for Ruby, Drupal, Magento, Contao, and Yii2.
Photos again? Of course, you need them all the time. Today, I’ve got a solid photo pack with 75 pictures of people reflecting touching moods for you. The Emotional People Photo Pack offers 75 completely free images of high quality and resolution.Fancy Crave: Two Free High-Resolution Photos a Day
The Emotional People Photo Pack is provided by the photographer Igor Ovsyannykov, who has been running the photo service Fancy Cave since the beginning of last year. Day by day, he consistently expands his supply with two new high-resolution photos. All of his photos are under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0), which basically translates to the public domain, meaning that all images may be used for private, commercial, and customer projects, without any attribution.Examples From the Emotional People Photo Pack
As you probably expected, the Emotional People Photo Pack deals with people. But it’s not about simple photos of humans. Instead, the focus is on the expression of emotions. Solitude is a big topic, but humility and happiness are also expressed in some photos. Although people and their feelings are the focus of each image, Igor has also endeavored to capture harmonious environments. Thus, some of the backgrounds consist of breathtaking landscapes and places from all around the world.Even More Examples From the Emotional People Photo Pack
The total package with 75 photos weighs 187 MB and is offered for download as a Zip archive. The process is taken care of by the portal Gumroad, which is usually used as a sales platform. In this case, you need to enter the value 0 in the field “Name a Fair Price,” and click on “I Want This.” Of course, you can also enter any amount you see fit. Igor won’t decline that. Enter your email address in the following step. You can download the package right after. In this case, a disposable address would do the trick as well.
The Emotional People Photo Pack is free, free to use, and of high quality and resolution. I don’t know a reason why you shouldn’t load it into your toolbox.
Creating a website from scratch can be an enjoyable, interesting and engaging job. Though, along with compelling and thought-provoking tasks that as a rule make your day, there are stages of prototyping that can easily ruin all the fun with its banality and boring pieces of work that should be done. Unfortunately these “party poopers” occur here and there and pretty much everywhere; there is no way to avoid them, but there is a way to make them less tedious and time-consuming. The Web is teeming with numerous online problem-solvers that transform such tasks into a delightful pastime. And today we are going to share with you a dozen of tools for enhancing your everyday work.Kernel.CSS
This lightweight framework is intended to assist developers in building various kinds of projects. It works equally well whether you need to prototype a website or application.Flexbox Patterns
CJ Cenizal has assembled a collection of practical examples in which flexbox lays in the core of the functionality. There are code snippets of tabs, site header, feature list, card group, etc. While all the solutions are considered to be practical, not all of them can be easily put into the play; some of them require tiny enhancements to bring benefits.Date Dropper
If you seek a powerful date picker solution for your interface, then we got you covered. Try out the Date dropper. Along with standard features that are essential for such plugins, it has a translation mode that lets you create an ideal interface for your audience.Vidlery
Animations are everywhere. It is a huge trend nowadays. If your budget does not allow ordering unique “living illustration”, you can resort to some free options available on Vidlery. The latter offers a small collection of free short animations from different categories.CMS.js
CSSPeeper is a Chrome extension that makes the life of designers and developers a bit easier. It gives you instant access to color values, typography or object sizes used on the website, showing styles in a friendly manner.Clippy
Need to make complex shapes using only CSS possibilities, then you will certainly appreciate this online tool. It has a handy interface where you can quickly create custom clip-paths or use predefined polygons.Awsm.css
Igor Adamenko shares with the community his custom-made CSS library that establishes a solid foundation with a neat semantic HTML markup for any web project. It leverages only HTML5 tags.Masonry
Masonry is a great solution when you want to build a grid-like structure such as gallery or portfolio section. Its primary task is to arrange elements and preserve as much space as possible, thereby producing an optimal and densely-packed layout.Vaunt
Getting the most out of a clustering algorithm, this simple application derives dominant colors from any image without a hitch. All the shades are available in several formats; just copy the required ones to the clipboard.