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15 Best Photography WordPress Themes

Modern WordPress themes provide various ways for displaying photography and design works. There are hundreds of photography and portfolio themes created each year, each with its own unique features.Picking the best photography WordPress theme out of the thousands of options online is difficult. That’s why we at SpyreStudios created this collection of the finest WP themes for photography and portfolios. This themes list will be updated monthly with some of the most unique and feature-packed photography themes from across the Web.

Beaudry

Beaudry

Created by: dinosaurstew

Price: $55

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

Beaudry is a Genesis child theme targeted at photographers that has a stunning magazine style and beautiful photo galleries to showcase your work. Beaudry’s sleek menu combines elegant serif and sans serif typography which give the theme an editorial feel. The theme comes with eight page templates, including a landing page, an about page, a services page, and a full-width page. Some of the features of Beaudry are the option to upload your own logo, complete mobile responsiveness, tons of widget areas, and custom color palette. The theme is also eCommerce-ready so you can start selling your work right away.

Shutterbird

Shutterbird

Created by: GT3themes

Price: $49

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

Shutterbird is a WordPress theme that’s entirely tailored to suit the needs of the modern photographer. The theme has a powerful page builder and an awesome theme options panel that allows admins to effortlessly customize their website. Shutterbird has tons of image display styles, including four custom sliders and six gallery types, that allow you to completely personalize the theme’s looks. Galleries also allow the option for password protection. The theme is SEO-friendly and it’s optimized for a high-speed browsing experience.

Spark

Spark

Created by: Visualmodo

Price: $59

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

Spark is an intricate portfolio theme for WordPress that offers a striking user experience with a captivating video background, sleek sans serif typography, and multiple page sections. Spark has tons of options for customizations. Along with five elegant portfolio page styles to choose from, the theme also provides typography and color options. The theme also comes with 40+ shortcode elements, a WYSIWYG front-end editor and a neat visual composer for backend page editing. Spark is also translation ready, has an integrated eCommerce plugin, a side menu option, and supports Contact Form 7.

Killeen

Killeen

Created by: FastWP

Price: $49

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

Killeen is a Bootstrap WordPress theme with a visual approach. It has a dark layout and a grid gallery for photos or a design portfolio. The masonry gallery combines both photos and posts which make the website easy for browsing multiple content types without switching to separate galleries and blogs. The theme comes with 4000+ Retina-ready vector icons

Exposure

Exposure

Created by: ThemeFuse

Price: $59

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

Exposure is a gorgeous photography theme by ThemeFuse. It has a sophisticated style with beautifully crafted slider and page elements that are perfectly combined with a bold serif font. The theme’s classical looks makes it ideal for wedding and family photography but its unique design can match any photography style. The theme has three built-in page styles, plenty of shortcodes, a handy events calendar, and a WooCommerce shop.

Fotos

Fotos

Created by: wiloke

Price: $29

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

Fotos is one of the cheapest and most feature-packed photography themes you can get your hands on. It has a unique above-the-fold section with a side menu that sticks to the top when navigating around the site. Fotos comes with 10 stunning home page layouts and six photo galleries. The optimized photo gallery allows easy upload of unlimited amounts of photos. The theme is also compatible with Redux, Visual Composer, and MailChimp.

Napoli

Napoli

Created by: fox-themes

Price: $39

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

Napoli is very new on the market and it’s already gathering a huge fan base. The theme starts cheap and ends at the price of $49 after 13 December 2016 but that’s not the only thing that makes the crowd go wild. Currently, Napoli has 5 gallery styles and 10 hover animations that make the photo displays live and engaging. There are also two album page types and about us pages but that’s not all. Fox-Themes want to continually upgrade their theme with new features and constantly accept feature suggestions.

Grand Photography

GrandPhotography

Created by: ThemeGoods

Price: $59

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

GrandPhotography is a feature-rich photography theme that offers every feature you could possibly imagine. The 144+ predesign pages and templates can help you turn this theme into anything your heart desires. The theme’s video parallax and parallax scrolling are optimized at 60fps which provide a smooth scrolling experience. For an easier customization, the theme offers a live content builder with responsive preview. GrandPhotography also has 6 menu layouts, 9 single portfolio templates, and 10 blog layouts. The bulk image uploader makes uploading a breeze while the infinite scroll optimizes the photo browsing experience by ditching any unnecessary user actions.

Umbrella

Umbrella

Created by: _nK

Price: $57

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

Umbrella is another masterpiece on the WordPress photography theme scene. The front page features a full-screen image slider with an unusual menu style that stretches in all corners of the screen. Combined with a beautiful photo, this design choice provokes visitors to take a closer look at the image as a whole and acts as a minimalist text frame that beautifully compliments the photo. About has a one-of-a-kind layout that creatively mixes large photography with an editorial text design. The theme has a fast AJAX loading, a live content builder, ACF PRO, and a 100% responsive, retina-ready design.

Oshine

Oshine

Created by: envirra

Price: $49

Download: here.

Live preview: here

Oshine is so highly customizable the team had to create 27 demo home page versions to showcase the full potential of the theme. Oshine is a creative multi-purpose WordPress theme with multiple page layouts. Few of the many features of the theme are the WooCommerce integration, a facilitated multilingual plugin, a premium slider plugin, a one-click import, and an easy-to-use visual page builder.

John Black Photography

John Black

Created by: GT3themes

Price: $39

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

JohnBlack is a fullscreen photography theme with multiple skins and slider types. The theme can be either dark or light and can display your photography portfolio in a grid, flow, packery or ribbon gallery. John Black has 18 unique page layouts along with a video background, an E-commerce page, a services page, about us page, and two amazing blog styles. The theme is also translation-ready, SEO-optimized, and comes with a neat GT3 page builder.

Photo Me

Photome

Created by: ThemeGoods

Price: $59

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

Photome is a photography WordPress theme with 8 page demos and 50+ photo gallery and design portfolio templates. The one-click demo install makes for an easy customization even without a complete personal portfolio. Along with a sleek one-page layout, the theme has 8 blog templates to choose from. The integrated Revolution slider guarantees high user engagement while the SEO-optimized code will ensure your site is easily crawlable by search engines.

Borano

Borano

Created by: FastWP

Price: $49

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

Borano is a WordPress theme crafted for photographers and creatives who want to showcase their visual work. The horizontal and justified galleries provide an elegant image display. The theme supports keyboard and mouse wheel navigation which makes image browsing much more enjoyable. Borano has a smart photo grid and a filterable portfolio. It has 5 project page layouts, light and dark themes, and comes with plenty of video tutorials to help you get started with customization.

Kepler

Kepler

Created by: envirra

Price: $49

Download: here.

Live preview: here.

Kepler is a modern portfolio and photography theme with a minimalist design. The theme offers 40+ page styles, including various gallery and portfolio layouts. Admins can also lock specific galleries with a password and easily translate their website with RTL support. The theme allows self-hosted video and audio. It also provides instant search for quicker browsing. The built-in page composer offers live customization of galleries, blog posts, and portfolio pages.

Panama

Panama

Created by: Peenapo

Price: $49

Download: here.

Live preview: here

Panama comes with 6 homepage templates: Slider, Agency, Personal, Parallax, Fashion, and Creative. Each one has a completely unique feel and a full-screen image background. Panama has a great Mega Menu included in the theme along with 5 captivating gallery layouts to display your best work. It also supports music background which can make image browsing an even more delightful experience. The theme has a child theme support and multiple blog layouts. It also has a before / after image effect and image copyright protection. Every photo in Panama has a separate page with custom meta information which, if filled correctly, will boost your site’s performance in search engines. The Peenapo Page Builder allows quick layout creation. Photographers can also lock content with a password and take advantage of the floating columns portfolio effect when displaying their work.

More WordPress theme suggestions:

10 BuddyPress-Powered WordPress Themes

10 Quirky and Creative WordPress Themes

 

The post 15 Best Photography WordPress Themes appeared first on SpyreStudios.

8 Resource Websites For Newsletter Design Inspiration

Email is a leading communication channel with nearly 4 billion email accounts worldwide. Over 91% of consumers check their email on a daily basis which makes email campaigns a top competitor for user engagement in the advertising sector. Even though 35% of email recipients open email based solely on the subject line, the newsletter design and copy are the only thing that can prevent users from bouncing back and unsubscribing.

Choosing the best email marketing services is one way to ensure your email campaign will get the attention it deserves. What makes your email truly stand out from the rest is its design. There are billions of emails sent each day but hunting down the good ones is a difficult task. Luckily, the 8 websites below have made it easy for designers and marketing experts to browse the finest newsletter designs and use them for their inspiration.

#1: Email-Gallery

Email Gallery

Email Gallery is one of the many cool projects of the California-based designer Min Kim along with Endless Icons and Endless Photos. The site offers thousands of email designs as an inspiration for its visitors. The newsletter snapshots are separated in over 35 categories. They can also be filtered by color and by column count.

#2: HTML Email Gallery

Html Email Gallery

Originally created back in 2007, the site was one of the first in its kind that offered users a curated gallery of HTML email designs. Ten years later, HTML Email Gallery has evolved into an easily searchable that provides filtering by company name, accent colors, email type, season, product, and more. The site owner urges creatives to submit their newsletter designs to the site and contribute to developing the gallery, so if you already have some email designs of your own, don’t hesitate to drop him a line.

#3: Really Good Emails

Really Good Emails

Really Good Emails is an online gallery of handpicked newsletter designs that got a huge response from the Product Hunt audience more than three years ago. Today, the website still stands as one of the people’s go-to place for email design inspiration. The founder, Mathew Smith, works on organizing the gallery with other self-proclaimed email geeks. The result is a huge collection of over 450 app newsletter designs, 150 welcome emails, 200 promotional email examples, and thousands of other amazing projects separated into 84 categories. The team also accepts submits and has a great sense of humor. Check out their About Me page to see for yourself and have a good laugh.

#4: Mailer Lite

MailerLite

Mailer Lite is a company with an inspiring story and an email gallery of personal projects that will make you fall in love with newsletter design all over again. Their newsletter collection features only designs made by their team but it’s definitely worth checking out. Their designs are well-balanced with a great choice of imagery and typography. They come in 19 categories, among which you can find some excellent examples of animated design.

#5: Beautiful Email Newsletters

Beautiful-Email-Newsletters

They describe themselves as the number one HTML email gallery in the world and their massive collection of top-notch newsletters backs their statement up. The team welcomes new submissions hosts some great competitions that can motivate you to step up your game and design some great projects to brag with. Ben, the main curator behind Beautiful Email Newsletters, also shares a handpicked selection of email marketing resources that will help you learn the nuts and bolts of managing a newsletter campaign.

#6: Mailchimp

Mailchimp

With over 12 million users, sending awesome emails each day, Mailchimp is one of the world’s most popular email marketing tools. Their inspiration gallery displays a collection of the finest newsletter designs created with Mailchimp’s handy design tool. The website has a rather clean category section with 14 main categories which makes it way easier to browse than other email galleries.

#7: Email Monks

Email Monks

Email Monks is a design agency with an exceptional collection of newsletter designs. Their gallery is a showcase of more than 35 thousand email templates and landing pages that have been created to date by the team. Their newsletter gallery features designs for some of the world’s top brand, like Starbucks, Mango, Food52, Brit+Co, and more. Although you won’t be able to filter designs by style or type, you’ll find yourself endlessly scrolling through their mesmerizing collection, enchanted by the lovely designs.

#8: Campaign Monitor

CampaignMonitor

Тhis email design showcase displays the top 100 out of the 4 million newsletters that are sent each year through Campaign Monitor. The gallery is not constantly curated but it’s a great starting point for your newsletter design inspiration. It features some really good examples of photography, type, and copy tied up together to create truly engaging email designs that deliver top results.

Get more newsletter design inspiration:

Get Inspired With These 10 Gorgeous Newsletter Designs

Color-Infused E-mail Designs For The Perfect Spring Newsletter

The post 8 Resource Websites For Newsletter Design Inspiration appeared first on SpyreStudios.

10 Jolly Christmas Card Designs

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

It’s hard not to hum Christmas songs even though there are four weeks until the merry day finally arrives. With Christmas being just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start prepping those Xmas cards you usually rush into signing just the day before Christmas Eve.

Christmas Card Designs

This colorful collection of Christmas card designs can help you switch into a festive mood and inspire you to create your own special cards and invitations. Here are 10 of the most unique and beautiful card designs that are sure to bring joy to whomever you decide to send them.

#1: Fleurs de Noel Christmas Invitation + Menu Design

Fleurs de Noel

Check it out: Paperless Post

This gorgeous illustrated Christmas invitation by Paperless Post has the perfect balance between color and white space. The hand-drawn Christmas wreath beautifully compliments the cursive and sans serif types that are elegantly arranged in the center of the card. Since this invitation design comes with a neat menu on the back, it’s a perfect choice for a Christmas dinner invitation.

#2: Red Line Vintage Christmas Card

Xmas card

Check it out: Minted

Created by: Eric Beckett

Red and white are two of the main colors in the Christmas color palette. Eric Beckett’s beautiful line illustrations are beautifully entangled with the text. The main headline is framed by a circular shape with arched text. The ornamented corners of the main frame give an elegant finish to the design.

#3: Christmas Card Design With a Photo Background

Green Xmas Card

Check it out: A Pair Of Pears

Created by: Jake & Jamie Bartlett

If you’re looking for a way to incorporate your family photo into a Christmas invitation, Jake and Jamie Bartlett’s Christmas card design has a great solution for you. The design of main Christmas card features a hand-illustrated text surrounded by swirls and doodles that give off a playful look. The illustrations are placed on a darker background that features a mesmerizing close-up of a pine tree. The family photo is placed on the back of the two-fold card.

#4: Christmas Rose Holiday Card

Handdrawn rose Xmas card

Check it out: Paper Raven Co.

Created by: Erin McManness

Erin’s dazzling Christmas card creatively combines rose buds, mistletoe, and pine tree branches into a unique design. The hard-drawn bright red flowers give the design a touch of European beauty, making this card both intriguing and undeniably cute.

#5: Black Christmas Card With Gold Foil

Square Christmas card

Check it out: Paper Culture

This minimalist gold foil Christmas card has a dramatic look and an unusual shape. The thin lines and elegant sans serif type make it a great choice for formal events. Although this card design is targeted at businesses, at can be a great pick for personal occasions, as well.

#6: Merry Christmas Handdrawn Card

Xmas Card design

Check it out: Illustration.

Created by: Margaret Bergart

If you’re looking for a Christmas card design with a splash of color and a playful style this merry Christmas card by Margaret Bergart might be an ideal option. The design mixes various shades of green and red along with minimalist line art pinecone illustrations.

#7: “Warm & Fuzzy Holiday Wishes” Christmas Card

Christmas card design

Check it out: Lily and Val

Created by: Valerie McKeehan

Lily and Val’s chalkboard Christmas card design is both sweet and incredibly gorgeous. The chalkboard motive makes this design suitable for teacher greeting cards and family Xmas invitations. The cute gloves illustration in the center perfectly compliments the text.

#8: Abstract Designer Christmas Card

Abstract Xmas Card

Check it out: Behance

Created by: Alex Lorenzo

Most Christmas cards have a classic festive look with hand-drawn elements and calligraphy headings that radiate joy. Although it’s pretty different from the rest, this abstract Christmas card by Alex Lorenzo is special in it’s own way. It has a sophisticated designer look that cleverly mixes texture, realistic illustrations, and type.

#9: Minimalist Christmas Card Design

Christmas card design

Check it out: Cocorrina

Created by: Corina Nika

When you have a keen eye for art and a steady hand, only a few strokes of the brush might be enough to draw a masterpiece. Corina Nika’s Christmas card features a pretty tree with gold dotted elements that represent the Xmas lights.

#10: Illustrated Christmas Card

Christmas Card © American Greetings.

Christmas Card © American Greetings

Check it out: Neiko Art

Designer: Neiko Ng

Finally, we’re going to finish this showcase with a classic Christmas card design. The colorful illustrations and sweet birds that are joyfully chirping in the Christmas Eve create a fuzzy and cheerful feeling.

Find Christmas design inspiration here:

30+ Last Minute (Digital) Christmas Gift Ideas For Creatives

2015’s Collection of The Most Fabulous Free Holiday Designs

The post 10 Jolly Christmas Card Designs appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Page Loading: 4 Ways To Decrease Load Time

In the age of big data, data analytics has become a core business activity, with endless different metrics to monitor. These varied numbers help us track conversion rates by platform, measure employee performance through calling data, and determine if our content is performing to its highest potential. With so much data to sift through, it’s not surprising that some numbers, such as page load speed, slip through the cracks.

Why does something as small as page load speed matter for your business? A slow website is one of the surest ways to lose customers. Simply put, your clients aren’t going to wait around for your landing page to load.

According to Google resources, if your site takes more than 2 seconds to load, in the world of ecommerce, that’s too slow. Here’s what you can do to speed things up.

Check Your Pages

Your standard site analytics software may give you an average page load speed as part of its overall output, but don’t rely on that data alone. Instead, run your pages through a site analysis using Pingdom, Speedtest, Yslow, or one of the many other site speed testers. These sites will not only tell you how long it takes your website to load from both desktop and mobile platforms, but also make suggestions as to what you can change to make them load more quickly.

If your tests reveal that your mobile pages are especially slow, you might want to test out Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP strips down websites to their necessities and these pages load 85% faster than standard mobile pages. Customers don’t need all the bells and whistles on a mobile page, they just need a site that functions well and quickly.

 

Ultimate List of HTML5 Resources for Web Designers and Developers

 

Boost Your Hosting

There are a lot of different options for hosting a website, and many people choose the cheapest option, a type of shared server plan. This can significantly slow down your website depending on the other sites sharing that server. To boost your page speed, switch to a dedicated server or to a virtual private server. This will help your page move much more quickly.

Weed Your Website

If you’re using a WordPress site, one common cause of slow page load times is overuse of plugins. In fact, you don’t even need to be using that many plugins for them to become a problem. Instead, the simple fact that you once installed a plugin and left it to languish somewhere in your site’s code is enough to cause your site to lag.

Take some time to uninstall old WordPress plugins that you aren’t using and to reconsider the ones you keep active. Are these actively improving your website or are they simply slowing things down? The fewer unnecessary plugins your site uses, the faster it will load.

Photo Finish

Finally, large photos are a leading cause of slow site load times, so take a look at your website’s media choices. Optimize your image formats using both PNG-8, GIF, or JPEG formats and implement GZIP compression if possible. Not all sites support GZIP, but compressing photos is a great way to maintain image quality without sacrificing space and speed.

When it comes to site load times, every millisecond counts. That’s why you should put in the time necessary to speed up your site as much as possible. As many top websites prove, it’s possible to create an effective, aesthetically pleasing site that’s also faster than the competition.

The post Page Loading: 4 Ways To Decrease Load Time appeared first on SpyreStudios.

10 Tutorials That Can Get You Started With Sketch

Sketch app is famous for being one of the fastest growing design tools in the industry. But its fame and glory didn’t go without a few hitches. Despite being an undeniable winner on the vector design scene, it’s also infamous for making its users pay for tutorials.

The Twitter discussion, featured at SketchTalk puts some light over the myths behind this statement but the question remains – are there any good SketchApp tutorials that users can use for free?

Free Beginner Tutorials for Sketch

The users’ undisguised disappointment doesn’t mean every single SketchApp tutorial will cost you an arm and leg. In fact, there are hundreds of free tutorials that can get you started with Sketch 3. And believe me, once you get a hold of the basics, you’ll learn that your time, efforts, and eventual expenses for migrating to Sketch will be significantly outrun by the advantages of this new design software.

To provide you with a better understanding of the techniques and principles of the Sketch design environment, I’ve prepared you a list of handpicked design tutorials. They will guide you through the fundamentals of the software and aid you in completing tasks as simple as setting up your workboard or as complex as creating a whole new design project from scratch. Let’s get started.

How to Build a Pattern Library in Sketch

Tutorial link: CreativeBloq

Created by: Richard Child

What you’ll learn: 

In order to ensure your website design is consistent and easy to change, you need to know how to create your pattern library in Sketch. The pattern library is a collection of design elements, like navigation, headings, forms, etc. that can be reused to design pages. When changing the qualities of repeatable components of your design in other conventional design software you’ll need to make separate changes to each object. What Sketch’s Symbols feature does is allow you to create a library of reusable elements that you can change simultaneously. The designer Richard Child will guide you through the fundaments of working with the Sketch pattern library.

Draw in Sketch With a Limited Set of Shapes

Sketch tutorial

Tutorial link: Medium

Created by: Yuki Erqiudao

One thing that makes vector design software so incredibly easy to use is the freedom it provides users in terms of content creation methods. Yuki Erqiudao, designer at Mind Labs shared his insights on creating illustrations in Sketch only with the use of rectangles, circles, and lines. Once you get familiar with the vector design environment, you’ll notice that it’s actually ridiculously easy to create illustrations with a flat design approach. This article will get you through all the basics, including a good load of shortcuts, to help you design your own illustrations in Sketch.

Guide to Login Form Interface Design For Beginners

Sketch tutorial

Tutorial link: Web Design Tutsplus

Created by: Armando Sotoca

Creating a login form is on the to-do list of almost every designer but that’s not the reason why this tutorial is so special. Armando Sotoca took the time to explain in detail every small step of the design process. From creating an artboard to managing the Inspector panel, and designing the basics of the layout, the author will guide you through every single action you need to take to create your own login form without leaving your questions unanswered.

Organizing Sketch 3 For iOS

Sketch 3 Tutorial

Tutorial link: Medium

Created by: Timur Nurutdinov

Since its initial launch, Sketch has developed tremendously. Its newest version has introduced numerous innovative features that allow users to take advantage of a bitmap design environment, use Symbols to facilitate the design of repeatable elements, export design files in an effortless way, and more. Timur’s Sketch tutorial will guide you through all of the above and go beyond that, providing you with valuable tips on managing your creative workspace with Sketch 3 for iOS.

Other honorable mentions:

Design a Colorful Switch

Sketch tutorial

Sebastien Gabriel‘s detailed tutorial will show you every single step of the process of creating a colorful switch icon in Sketch. You can check out his tutorial at Google Design.

Use Magic Mirror to Create a Poster Mockup

Sketch tutorial

In his tutorial, Marko Vuletič shows the basics of creating a fully-functioning poster mockup in Sketch. He will teach you how to use Magic Mirror, an image perspective transformation tool for Sketch and make your realistic poster mockup in just a few steps.

Create Your Own Sketch Plugin

Create Sketch plugin

Liu Liu, a UX designer at Google, shares an inspiring story and a whole tutorial on how he made his own Sketch plugin without being a code guru. He claims anyone can do it, as well, so why not give this one a try? You can read his tutorial here.

Best Practices for Using Sketch

Best practices for Sketch

Nick Woodman’s article is an honest and insightful guide through the fundamentals of using Sketch. Check out his seven best Sketch practices at his Medium blog.

 

Design Data With Sketch

Design charts and tables with Sketch

Ivo Mynttinen shares some time-saving techniques for designing tables and charts in Sketch. You can read his tutorial here.

Resizing Symbols in Sketch

Sketch tutorial

Jérémy Paul‘s handy tutorial will teach you how to rezise symbols in Sketch like a boss. His tutorial is especially useful for resposive web design as well as millions of other purposes. Read it here.

Craving more design tutorials? Read these:

Everything You Need to Know About Adobe Creative Cloud in 7 Tutorials

 

The 10 Best Parallax Design Tutorials Ever

 

 

 

The post 10 Tutorials That Can Get You Started With Sketch appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Convergence and Divergence: How UXAs and Designers Work Together as Frenemies to Build Beautiful Things

If you work day in and day out in close proximity to a UX designer and a UI designer, you know what I’m talking about when I say that there is always a creative tension between the two.

Whereas both resources share a common understanding that their job is to design for emotion, by creating “memorable and relatable web experiences that fully engage the reader and prepares them for the main sales pitch,” they often disagree about how and what emotional design really means. Or better said, they often disagree on the creative vision that will maximize customers’ positive emotions toward their digital product.

Why is that, you may ask? It’s a fair question.

Why are UX and UI designers behaving more like frenemies than like brothers and sisters with a common goal?

The answer is fairly simple, so at Y Media Labs we created the following visual representation to quickly illustrate the main differences between the two.

ux vs ui

Quiz time: what does this image suggest is the main difference between the two designers?

If you guessed “the two have completely different mindsets,” then you are correct.

User Experience designers define the end-to-end experience users engage in when using an application or a website. What often goes unnoticed is that UX work is a science. The output – how the information is laid out on the screen and how people interact with it – is the result of working closely with internal stakeholders to define and implement the business goals in a way that makes the most sense for the person who will end up using a specific feature.

A good UX designer is primarily concerned with a user being able to complete a specific task. Through research, user testing, sketching and prototyping, UX designers will make sure that a user can “do a specific thing” based on specific business goals in a seamless and intuitive fashion.

Like a scientist, the UXA needs to choose the quickest way to solve a problem out of a known list of paths that lead to the same result.

In contrast, User Interface designers take the output of a User Experience designer and turn it into a form of art. If the UX designer controls what a person does on a page or inside a flow or funnel, then the job of a UI designer is to define how that page/flow/funnel looks and feels.

A UI designer’s ultimate goal is to make people feel good while using a specific digital product. A great site or mobile app is not only functional and intuitive (a UX job), but it also feels darn good using it.

UI designers take prototypes and sketches to the next level by ensuring that customers feel completely in their element when navigating your website. It’s not just pretty pictures, warm backgrounds, and flat or material design. It’s creating a state of mind for the user to feel 100% confident when using a digital product.

To give a simple example, a UX resource may decide that on tapping a button a user is redirected to another page. A designer will visually signal to the user that they are going to another page through animations (spinning wheel) or changing the colors of a button to signal loading the next page.

A great designer thinks through every single interaction and provides small but critical cues to the user to visually signal what’s ultimately a very simple and warm message:

“Buddy, you’re on the right track, you’re doing great, keep going.

So what happens when UX and UI designers bring their separate mindsets to the table? By and large, they work well together and create beautiful digital experiences. But in the process of crafting this user experience, there is always a series of disagreements that commonly and repeatedly come to light.

These tension-causing divergent perspectives are the direct result of the different mindsets people in these roles have. Each creative team must find a way to ensure that their designers can feel like their points are taken into account and that their voices are heard. Different is not necessarily a bad thing in this case.

Yet all too often I see both UX and UI designers getting stressed out that the other person is trespassing on their territory. At the end of the day, we all must be mindful of what perspective the other person has, and we must work to find a middle ground that will allow the entire team to create the best possible digital product ever.

The post Convergence and Divergence: How UXAs and Designers Work Together as Frenemies to Build Beautiful Things appeared first on SpyreStudios.

10 Chrome Addons Every Dev Should Have

Improve your workflow and save time with this collection of Chrome extensions. No matter if you’re a web developer, designer, an SEO specialist, website analyzer, or you’re just curious to learn more, you’ll find all of these browser extensions incredibly useful.

Web Developer

Web developer

The first chrome extension that comes to mind when it comes to web development is Web Developer ( hence, the name ). It’s a super handy tool with a lot of cool features. Once, installed, it adds a toolbar that allows you to make different tweaks when viewing your site. It allows you to disable the popups, plugins, and JavaScript. You can also remove the cookies and see how your website appears when the CSS file doesn’t load up. You can also get some useful information and manage the images on the website along with doing some useful tests that would otherwise take more of your time to perform.

CSS Viewer

CSS viewer

 

Want a simple CSS property viewer? The CSS viewer addon is the tool for you. It creates a floating box that shows up a status report and information about the sections you’re hovering over with your mouse. It also indicates the font, color, text, background, and positioning of the attributes. This extension will provide you with a neat overview on the CSS of any website and swiftly provide you with the basic information you need to perform your CSS tweaks.

Wappalyzer

Wappalyzer

If you need further more information about the backend of the website you’re browsing, you should definitely check out Wappalyzer. This handy Chrome extension will reveal the content management platform the website is using. It will also show information about the web servers and the currently installed analytics tools and JavaScript frameworks. Wappalyzer can successfully identify the software that’s installed on any website and will provide you with a handy solution for website analysis in comparison to other online tools.

Ghostery

Ghostery

To detect trackers and various embedded snippets on a given website, you need to get your hands on yet another great tool. It’s called Ghostery. It will allow you to see what plugins and tracking software are installed on the website. It will also provide you with the option to switch them off and on, or block them completely. Since Ghostery protects its users’ privacy, it requires no registration whatsoever. So, go ahead – install it and reveal what tracking tools do other web developers and website owners use on their websites.

Grammarly

Grammarly

The holy grail of correct grammar use – Grammarly with change the way you write completely. True, it may not look like it’s entirely connected to web development. It’s more suitable for writers but if you’ve spotted some embarrassing typos on your website, you probably know why this tool is so important. It will check almost any typing box you load up on your browser, including various WYSIWYG text editors. It will help you correct the error on the spot. The only downside to this amazing tool is that it doesn’t work with Google Docs. Yet. Fingers crossed!

WriteWell

WriteWell

Now that you know how important it is to use correct grammar and spelling you probably wonder what tool can you use when it comes to writing in Google Docs. The answer is WriteWell. It is an award-winning writing software and productivity browser extension which can help you handle any writing project with ease. If you like to save you website copy on Google documents you’ll find this extension incredibly valuable. It will provide you with various tips of writing, show you phrase samples and help you write well.

Usersnap

Usersnap

When you’re working on a web project it’s important that you get feedback from other web developers, general users, and professionals in different areas. There are multiple tools to do so. What Usersnap does is simplify the feedback process and turn it into a quick e-mail response with image snapping that goes directly into your profile archive. So when a friend or colleague asks you for feedback, you can take a snapshot, point out the perks and disadvantages of the website with visual examples, send your tips and then go back to your previous feedback with a single mouse click.

iMacros

Imagine how much time you’d save by creating macros and automate your website testing process. This is possible with the iMacros extension for Chrome. It lets you record your actions and save them immediately. This tool will do the repeatable actions for you and save you lots of time.

Windows Resizer

Windows Resizer

Having a responsive website is essential for the user experience and the position of your site in the SERP. There’s no doubt in that. But before you go and test your site on every single device you can find, do yourself a favor and install the Windows Resizer extension. It will allow you to quickly resize the window of your browser to any screen size and test the responsiveness of the website you’re browsing.

Clear Cache

ClearCache

How many time have you made changes to your site only to reveal that nothing actually appears as it should when you reload the page? You’ve probably figured it out quickly but regardless, pumping Ctrl + F5 has a better alternative now – the Clear Cache Chrome extension. It adds a neat little button in the add-ons bar that you can click anytime you want to clear the cache of the page you’re viewing.

Grab some more useful tools here:

Web Design Tools You Wish You Knew About Earlier

7 Web Design Wireframing Tools

 

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Why All Web Developers Need To Be Up-to-speed on Security in 2017

Countless businesses, organizations and even individual professionals rely on web developers in order to create and maintain a quality site. While an attractive, informative and full-featured site is often essential when it comes to online sales revenue, customer and client interaction and digital promotional efforts, businesses that fail to address the potential risks associated with online security could be making a very serious misstep. Addressing the most common and costly digital threats can help to ensure organizations are able to reduce the risk of a data breach that could cause lasting harm to their brand, image or customer relations.

Creating and Maintaining a More Secure Digital Infrastructure

A breach or other issue caused by malware, an unauthorized user or other preventable situation can be a more serious concern than many businesses may realize. Investing in digital infrastructure that affords greater security can greatly reduce the risk of personal, professional and even financial information that may be compromised or placed at risk due to a data breach. Failing to assess, update or upgrade their digital workspace and environment could be nothing short of a disaster, one that no business can afford to overlook.

Related: Front End Security is a thing, and you should be concerned about it (WDW)

Infrastructure security is a concern that often encompasses many aspects of a business. Common issues with digital infrastructure that may leave businesses exposed to an unacceptable level of risk may include:

• Failing to properly configure, track or manage systems and mobile devices used by staff and associates
• Relying on outdated hardware, software or applications that suffer from a known security flaw
• Ineffective use of existing security resources or failing to make online security a top priority

Assessing the current state of a network and the digital working environment used by employees may turn up several potential issues and areas that may require further attention or improvement.

Related: How to Find a Backdoor in a Hacked WordPress Site and Fix It (WpBeginner)

 

 

Security Concerns Related to Third-party Web Services

From email and social media platforms to cloud computing and off-site data storage, third-party web services are a key asset within today’s increasingly digital marketplace. While these services can provide businesses with cost-effective solutions, enhance communication resources and the means to conduct more effective advertising or marketing campaigns, utilizing them can often entail a degree of risk. Assessing all third-party services and addressing their potential to compromise digital security is no longer a concern that businesses and commercial organizations can afford to overlook.

While the risk factors of dealing with third party services may differ from one provider to the next, some of the most serious concerns typically include:

• Compromised account and financial information in the event a service provider suffers a data breach
• Malware that may be introduced through use of an unsecured service, platform or application
• Increased risk of exposure due to services that have been improperly integrated into the existing infrastructure

When it comes to enhancing digital and online security, the potential issues and risk factors associated with third-party service providers are never concerns that should go overlooked.

 

Network, Website and Application Configuration and Monitoring

Network security is of paramount importance for developers, service providers and other commercial organizations seeking to protect their data. Lacking the staff, manpower or experience needed to accurately and effectively assess, identify and address any network security concerns could prove to be nothing short of a disaster. From hiring additional IT staff to utilizing VPS hosting options, there are numerous ways that organizations may be able to beef-up their network security.

Related: What do beginner web developers need to know about web security? (Quora)

There are several ways that developers may be able to assist clients who may have concerns regarding their level of digital security, such as:

• Selecting a secure host
• Utilizing a firewall or selecting the best VPS hosting options
• Scan an assess sites in order to discover possible vulnerabilities
• Hire a digital security expert
• Utilizing strong encryption and password policies

Constant vigilance may be required in order to ensure that sites and networks are kept both safe and secure. Seeking out additional security resources can allow hosting services, developers and commercial organizations to address, prevent and resolve numerous risk factors.

 

Keeping Pace With Changing Technology and Emerging Trends

Like many other services and businesses, developers can quickly find themselves at a real disadvantage should they begin to fall behind the times. Potential threats and security risks can change rapidly, and the resources and solutions that are effective today could become all but useless in the days ahead. Making an effort to maintain a more up to date, well-rounded and comprehensive understanding of potential digital threats and the resources that are best able to address them ensures that developers will be able to take more effective action in their efforts to promote and maintain a superior degree of security.

Related: How Can Security Keep Pace with DevOps? (CloudTP)

Web developers who neglect security concerns or who fail to familiarize themselves with the changing landscape and shifting trends that will be seen in 2017 could be making a serious misstep. From creating the right digital workspace to providing clients with tips on how to improve user habits or create more secure workflow processes, their are numerous ways to reduce the risk of a data breach or other issue. Developers and other professionals who maintain a current understanding of today’s biggest risks as well as the changes and trends that may be just over the horizon will be far more likely to enjoy success in the coming year.

The post Why All Web Developers Need To Be Up-to-speed on Security in 2017 appeared first on SpyreStudios.

3 Tricks to Make Transferring Your Website Happen Smoother

It can be daunting to migrate a website to a new server, hosting company, or hosting package. There are so many things to consider, from the prospect of downtime to the nightmare of losing files or potentially corrupting key databases. Though the prospect of transferring a website fills some website owners with a sense of dread, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, there are three handy tricks that will minimize downtime and help to ensure a smooth transition that most users will barely notice, if they notice anything at all. By keeping these tricks in mind, website owners can preserve their website’s integrity, search engine performance, and built-in audience, without even breaking a sweat.

1. Run Two Simultaneous Websites for a While

There’s an impulse that most website owners face when switching between hosts, packages, or servers: Cancel the old plan immediately and save money during the transfer process. This sounds good in theory, but it’s actually not a great move when ensuring the smooth transfer of a website. In fact, it can have dire consequences for a website and could lead to lost files and database information. This could result in significant downtime, compromising of user accounts, and much more. So, how is this problem avoided?

The trick is to keep the old site and host activated for as long as is necessary to ensure a full and complete transition to a new server. While it may seem silly to pay for two hosting packages or servers at one time, this is actually a smart move for several reasons. Consider a few of the benefits that come from running two sites simultaneously as the transfer process unfolds:

Time for Testing: Running two sites simultaneously allows for comprehensive testing of all pages, files, and databases contained within the full scope of the website. It’s easy to compare both sites side-by-side, making adjustments as necessary so that file paths and links remain completely intact.
Longer Transition Time: Don’t succumb to the myth that a website must be transferred under cover of darkness, all in one night. That’s just not practical for most websites, regardless of their size and scope. By keeping the old site active while the new one is setup, website owners have a longer period of time to transfer files and make sure everything is in place. A slow, measured approach is the best one for website continuity.
No Lost Files: It’s easy to forget a file or directory folder when transferring websites, but a longer transition and testing period will reduce the likelihood of that occurring. It’ll be easier to notice a missing file if there’s at least a few days of testing and simultaneous operation.

 

10 Essential WordPress Plugins You Need in Your Tool-set

 

2. Use a Web-Based Control Panel to Download Complete Backups

Website owners who are new to running a website or transferring its contents to a new server might believe that they have to open their FTP client and individually download each file and folder from the old site, and then upload those items in an equally slow and painful way. While this is certainly one method of getting the job done, it’s likely the slowest and the most prone to error. That’s why companies like cPanel have created comprehensive backup and restoration tools that can be used during website transfers.

Backups work in a pretty simple way: When a backup is requested via cPanel or another web-based site control panel, the server zips all of the site’s files and folders into a highly compact, compressed file. This compressed file makes it easy to transfer the site’s contents, since it requires only one upload to get the job done.

When the file is uploaded via the cPanel backup tool to the new website’s server, cPanel will automatically decompress the file and place all of its files and folders where they belong. In addition to making the transfer process easier, using a compressed backup file also ensures that an identical folder structure is preserved on the new server, which means there’s a greatly reduced likelihood of lost pages and “404” errors. This same backup process can be used with each MySQL database utilized by the website.

3. Verify the Integrity of All Files and Databases

Whether files are moved individually or via a compressed backup tool, one thing is consistent across both methods: Files are prone to corruption during the big move. This isn’t something that happens very often, but it’s certainly within the realm of the possible. Why does this matter? Well, a corrupted file can lead to “page not found” errors, and a corrupted database could lead to large chunks of content or user data being lost for good. The key to avoiding these nightmare scenarios is to comprehensively test the website and scan its databases.

Tools like phpMyAdmin make it easy to look at a database’s rows, columns, and cells, verifying that information transferred properly when it was moved to the new server. Furthermore, simply using the site’s software, like WordPress, will quickly reveal if database or file corruption issues are preventing the site from working properly.

This is another key reason to make sure that two simultaneous sites, one old and one new, are running during the transfer process. By being able to compare, contrast, and test, big problems can be solved early. Then, when the new site is fully functional and its contents are identical to the old site, website owners can change a few DNS records at night and ensure a mostly seamless transition to the new website or end users.

Transfer Your Website: A Surprisingly Simple Process

Starting to transfer your website seems daunting at the outset, but it certainly doesn’t have to be daunting at all. With careful planning, website owners can ensure the redundancy of their site during an extended transfer period, ensure a bit of database and file testing after things have been moved over, and transition end users to the new site only when it’s completely ready. This will preserve traffic, user engagement levels, and search engine performance, which are essential in today’s highly competitive world of online discussion and commerce.

The post 3 Tricks to Make Transferring Your Website Happen Smoother appeared first on SpyreStudios.

10 BuddyPress-Powered WordPress Themes

BuddyPress is a powerful solution for building intranet and extranet community websites. The wide variety of bbPress WordPress themes available online makes it easy for web developers to effortlessly build almost any type of social network. This article shows 10 of the best BuddyPress-powered WP themes you can use to set up your very own social hub.

Social MarketPlace

Social MarketPlace

Source: BuddyBoss

Price: $179

Social MarketPlace creatively combines the functionalities of BuddyPress and WC Vendors to provide a smart solution for developers who’d like to build a multifunctional social e-commerce hub. In order words, Social MarketPlace can allow developers to build their own little Etsy on an easy-to-use, highly customizable platform like WordPress. Users in the website can customize their shop front and their brand in a variety of ways while the Vendor dashboard provides them a complete overview of their store’s performance.

Woffice

Woffice

Source: ThemeForest

Creators: Alkaweb

Price: $75

Woffice is a powerful BuddyPress theme that offers web developers a number of possibilities for customization. The theme comes with a broad functionality spectrum that makes it an irresistible choice when it comes to building a fully functioning professional community hub or business portal. With Woffice, you can seamlessly create inner directories, site forums, expand towards e-commerce use and take advantage of the chat and messaging options that come with the theme. Woffice also has a project management system and custom user role setting that can help devs in setting up a website with compelling functionality.

Socialize

Socialize

Source: ThemeForest

Creators: GhostPool

Price: $59

Have you ever wanted to create your very own social network? With the help of a BuddyPress WordPress-based theme, you can now build a community hub for your friends and family. You can go even further by building a professional business network or niche-specific social hub. Socialize is a multipurpose theme that has been especially designed for bbPress. It provides developers with all of the most important functionalities that can help them set up their own community website. The theme offers multiple design layouts and works with Visual Composer to allow a seamless design process.

Sweet Date

SweetDate

Source: ThemeForest

Creators: SeventhQueen

Price: 59$

Does matchmaking come naturally to you? No matter if you feel destined to help others discover their true soulmate or you’re drawn by the pure challenge of building a dating site that actually works, Sweet Date is the ultimate solution. The theme provides all the required functionalities that make a dating website truly amazing. The instant Axaj Search allows users to quickly find the people and pages they are looking for. They can effortlessly customize their own profile and see the live status of online and offline users. The love hopefuls can also swiftly attach photos, albums and even music to their profile pages. The integrated WooCommerce even allows them to sell their own digital and physical goods. How you’ll customize your dating site with Sweet Date is up to you!

Score

ScoreSource: ThemeForest

Creators: GhostPool

Price: $20

Another score for GhostPool here! Built by the creators of Socialize, this theme provides the ultimate solution for developers who wish to create their own review website. Score is a bbPress theme that offers an awesome review system. It allows both the post author and the users to review posts. Reviews can be easily sorted by date, title, user ratings, and more. It also allows users to upvote and downvote any user comment. The theme is translation-ready and has a clean code. The creators want you to know the theme won’t be updated anymore but regardless, it’s a great 20-dollar catch!

Salutation

Salutation

Source: ThemeForest

 

Creators: Parallelus

Price: $76

Yet another great BuddyPress theme. It has a clean design and a  fully customizable layout. It comes with Slider Revolution and a complete set of tutorials that can help you set up your community website.

Flix

Flix

Source: ThemeForest

Creators: Bebel

Price: $64

Flix is a BuddyPress blogging theme with a whole ton of features to play with. Flix is a White Label theme with extensive documentation that has Mailchimp, SmartTab and Shortcode Builder integrated within the code. It has a fast loading time so it provides a flawless user experience.

Monarch

Monarch

Source: ThemeForest

Creators: ThemeKitten

Price: $49

If you’re looking for great design and a load of community building features, Monarch is the theme for you. It has multiple page layout designs, including a timeline page, widget page, masonry homepage along with activity streams and customizable user pages. But that’s just a small portion of what this theme offers. See it for yourself and unleash its full potential.

Thrive

Thrive

Source: ThemeForest

Creators: dunhakdis

Price: $67

Thrive provides a paramount solution for web developers who’d like to get into the social network creation business by offering a powerful intranet and extranet community theme. The theme provides developers with a load of features, like task management, event planning, messaging, e-learning, file sharing, and even e-commerce.

BuddyApp

BuddyApp

Source: ThemeForest

Creators: SeventhQueen

Price: $64

Another great theme by SeventhQueen, BuddyApp is built with a Mobile First approach and provides a great solution for private community building. It has an integrated Ajax search, live notifications, smart customization, live chat, and lots more.

Get more WordPress theme inspiration:

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10 Quirky and Creative WordPress Themes

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