Win a Free Year of Hosting Giveaway

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We often run across marketing competitions, giveaways, and raffles, but sometimes it’s a little difficult to know a good one when you see one. Well, I’m happy to let you know about one we’re helping to support that can get you Online Hosting from Inmotion Hosting, for an entire year for free. With hosting prices going up as online demand increases, and physical server space decreases, a service we recently reviewed here. Whether you’re tired of misleading and unhelpful support, or need a service that won’t demand your first born as payment for mediocre service, a year of free hosting the superior levels of service is a big deal whether you’re just starting out, or have an established website in need of stable hosting and a reduced cost, this is the giveaway you’re looking for.

 

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Click here for more information!

Read More at Win a Free Year of Hosting Giveaway

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/free-1-year-of-hosting-giveaway/

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Interview with DocSend’s Dave Koslow

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DocSend Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Mobile Visionary

 

In June of 2007, the iPhone was released by Apple, creating a technological revolution that would change the direction technology was in. A year earlier, in June of 2006, David Koslow was a Stanford Computer Science Intern at Palm, working on the Palm OS browser, Blazer. When completing his Masters with a focus in Human-Computer Interaction, Dave worked as an intern at Google, working as part of the Google Alerts team, where he worked on back-end database optimization.

 

When Dave finished his studies Stanford in 2008, Apple had changed the world with their mobile device, and Dave already had his finger on the pulse of the industry. Dave dedicated himself for the next four years at Greystripe, a rich media ad network, where he flew through the ranks and led their engineering team in pursuit of success. Dave found success there, and even authored Greystripe’s native advertising SDK for iOS as well their cross-platform mobile video ad format. He would leave GreyStripe after four of incredible success to reach out into the world for himself.

 

In March of 2013, Dave co-founded DocSend, a sales acceleration platform that makes salespeople more effective by enabling them to track, control, send, and present sales materials with real-time document analytics. Since then he has continued to operate with DocSend as the Chief Product Officer, delineating high-level product vision and tirelessly need-finding with customers to surface opportunities. Here Dave continues to define his legacy as one of the true innovators in the industry of product design.

 

What’s your opinion on the current trends?

 

“You know I think when we, and by we I mean we collectively in the product design community, saw when there was that shift broadly to flat design, there were definitely things that were lost along the way. I think it felt like a kind of knee jerk reaction. And the fact is that we lost gradients, and the affordances of certain things being interactive. It’s been nice to see trends like material design more recently moving past that and making things like buttons once again appear interactive. And so I think that it was kind of interesting that history has us going back and forth, oscillating from things that are very skeuomorphic, like having a notebook look like a notebook, or having a desktop look like a desktop, and then moving to something more abstract, and then responding with ‘Well now we’ve tipped the scales too far in one direction’, and then we go back and forth.

 

And I’d like to think that over time, we’re kind of getting closer to something that strikes that perfect balance, between being visually compelling but also having those affordances so that you have an expectation of how to interact with it. One of the things I think is interesting, and I don’t know maybe this comes across as a nitpick, but we’ve been able to benefit for so many years on the desktop web, that having things like hover states and we haven’t quite gotten there yet on mobile.”

 

Why has it taken so long for mobile optimization to become an important factor, and push for more than just integration? With mobile technology growing every year, when will we see a unified design “language”?

 

“I think that we’re making good strides, and of course there is the favorite buzzword of ‘responsive design’. The fact of the matter is, there are just so few things you can code in mobile, and just have it work on desktop. So even with something like Bootstrap, you still have to go into your browser, open the inspectors, set up all the different screen sizes, have a look at how things actually will work, not to mention the fact, do the actual interaction patterns continue to make sense, even in a layout that looks good on mobile? And to be perfectly honest, I’m cautiously optimistic, but I do believe there is a sort of art to designing anything. I think that there needs to be a necessary manual process that actually goes in and patches up the design after the fact. But even with that way, whether you’re on mobile first or you’re on desktop first, you’re going to have to make a decision where you’re going to spend your energy, especially when you look at it from the view of an early stage start up, where you can only afford to focus on one, and I think for a while mobile was kind of the thing that came second. And I think that we had a bit of a knee jerk reaction to that. A lot of companies came out of the gates that are mobile-first. And so what we end up with is all sorts of services that are out there on the market that are mobile-first, and I think there were more companies that were on the market mobile-first then there was a need. I think we’re starting to see what happens when things go one way and not the other, and we’re seeing a rubber band effect where it’s starting to come back from that, and is making us ask some fundamental questions, ‘What about this application would requires that it be a mobile-first app?’”

 

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DocSend has innovated the way people do business.

 

Where do you see the industry’s direction going towards?

 

“I’m very optimistic. I think that the way that software has advanced over the past twenty years, and additionally the way that infrastructure and cloud computing has advanced, in the past ten years, has made it so software can be written so that getting from zero to an MVP has never been faster. All of these off-the-shelf components are already there at your disposal and it’s up to you to kind of put the pieces together and create a novel application. The beauty of that is you don’t have to spend a ton of time coming up with your own real-time messaging framework, for example. You don’t have to spend all this time developing your own error reporting service.  All of that stuff is available right now through a variety of best-in-class services that really allow you to get off the ground quickly. And from a design standpoint, we’re maybe about ten or fifteen years behind. It’s still the early days, and I think that Bootstrap has been a wonderful tool for so many people. Starting DocSend, for example, we had bootstrap in place from the start, as well as these icon sets at our disposal. We could go and integrate it into our application, that actually is pretty darn good looking, really quickly. There’s just this stuff that wasn’t possible before, and I think what we’ll continue to see in the next handful of years is just further and further elaboration on that, that will develop into having more creative spirits get involved, and help establish a feedback loop that will lead to designs off-the-shelf that you can then use to go from zero to MVP incredibly quickly.”

 

What would you like to tell someone who is just starting, or have a desire to start getting into design?

 

“You know Ira Glass said something about his early days broadcasting. And I’m totally going to misquote him but, he basically said something to the extent of, Whenever you’re getting started in something, the best thing you could possibly do is to produce a high volume of work. And you’re going to look at it, and think, I suck at it, and you’re going to think it’s not good enough, and you’re going to keep at it, and you’re going to suck a little bit less. It will continue to get better, and that frustration will drive you forward. And so long as you can embrace the frustration, and make it a positive force in your feedback loop, it will drive you to continue creating and get back up and continue to produce a high volume of work. That’s going to be your way forward. Just do it, over and over, and over again.”

 

What one Sci-Fi technology would you want to have right now, and what would you do with it?

 

“Okay I’m going to answer this without sounding too cheesy, but I would say the lifeblood of what I do is rooted in understanding the customer. Getting inside their head, asking them questions, understanding what keeps them up at night. What’s the first thing they do when they come into the office, the first thing you do in the morning? What are the challenges? If I could have some way of doing a bit more than swapping shoes with them, to really for a moment experience life from their perspective, that would be incredible. An empathy machine.”

 

If you could give the person you were when you began on your career one piece of advice, what would you tell yourself?

 

“I think you’re never going to know everything. So you might as well just go ahead and get started, and give it your best shot. Because we can be preparing for the future our entire lives and never get to that point where we take the plunge and move forward from preparing to actually doing it. I think, especially when I was going to school at Stanford, ‘Wow, I’m just so far behind.’ I remember one summer in college I actually read the O’Reilly book on HTML from cover to cover. And like, who does that? Why would you do that? That’s how deeply I felt I had all this ground to cover, that I had to catch up. And you can really get into your head, that feeling of inadequacy, that you have all this stuff you have to cover until you know those things. That you’re not ready to get started. The fact of the matter is you are never going to know all the things. You’re never going to check all the checkboxes. And the best thing, the best way is to get out there, give it your all, and learn from your mistakes. And get back up, get back in there, and keep going.”

 

 

Read More at Interview with DocSend’s Dave Koslow

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/docsends-dave-koslow/

Deliver Exceptionally Responsive Customer Support: Introducing Respond by Buffer

As social media has evolved, our use of social networks has changed: We’ve found new ways to use Twitter, Facebook, and more to share, to communicate, to talk about our favorite things.

We engage more than ever with brands and businesses – brands and business like you and yours!

At Buffer, we’ve been fortunate to have a front row seat to watch this evolution of social media for businesses, as it’s expanded from an engaging channel for marketing and community into many new channels, including one that’s especially near and dear to us: customer service.

And we’re so excited to share with you: Today marks the public release of our brand new customer service tool, Respond!

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We’d love for you to be among the first to experience the real-time support experience with Respond. Click above to get started right away, and continue reading for the full story behind the product and all the unique ways that Respond supports you and your audience!

Respond public launch

How Respond Helps You Deliver Exceptional Support

Having been big fans of the Respondly product before the acquisition and now daily users of Respond over the past three months, we’ve had the great opportunity to experience Respond’s benefits first-hand in how it helps us support our community.

Here are some of our most-loved parts about Respond.

Respond displays your community’s tweets in a real-time tweet inbox. The list of new messages—both tweets and DMs—runs down the left column. Each particular message opens into the panel on the right.

This intuitive layout gives the Twitter stream an inbox feel where you can reply, archive, keep track of conversations, and—excitedly—reach inbox zero!

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From the message panel, you can perform every significant action you may need to assist, engage, and support the person you’re chatting with. In Respond, you can:

  • Reply
  • Like
  • Follow
  • Archive

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You can also tag a conversation for Follow Up — if you need to hunt down an answer maybe, or if you’d love to circle back on a conversation later to see how things sorted out — and you’ll receive a reminder later on at whatever custom timeframe you’ve set.

(One of my favorite features is the semantic followup instructions: If you tell Respond to remind you “tomorrow,” it’ll know precisely what you mean!)

For tracking all the important conversations that matter to you, chances are you might want to stay on top of keywords, phrases, or hashtags, too. Respond includes custom search queries so that all the results from these searches appear in real-time alongside your tweets.

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Respond was built for teams—and tested by teams! Some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley use it for Twitter support, including Slack, WordPress, Product Hunt, and Stripe. With this in mind, we’ve done our best to build out team features that we feel will make a world of difference to working effectively and efficiently together.

  • Team signatures
  • Double-reply prevention
  • Assign conversations

Oh, and Respond integrates with Slack! Woop!

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Respond for individuals and Respond for teams

One of the really interesting discussions we’ve had here during the launch planning is thinking about what Respond does best: Is it a customer service tool or is it a social monitoring tool?

Why not both!

We’ve found that users tend to find great value from Respond, using it in either way. Our product roadmap is looking to support both paths also, with an initial focus on making Respond a perfect experience for teams.

We’d love for everyone to be able to try Respond! We’re happy to offer two different pricing plans at launch:

  1. The Free plan for individuals
  2. The Pro plan for teams – $39 per user per month

There’s a neat checklist of what each plan includes here, if you’re interested in seeing more.

In addition to these two plans, we’re looking into ways to best support Enterprise customers as well, and we’d love to chat further with you if this feels like it might be you.

Additional FAQs

What social networks does Respond work with?

We’re really excited to offer a full support experience for Twitter, and we’re currently exploring how Respond might fit with other networks, Facebook being chief among them!

Is there a free trial?

No, we don’t have a free trial at the moment. We’re hoping you might get a great taste for the simplicity and benefits of Respond with the Free plan. If there’s any additional detail we can pass along about the Pro plan features, we’d be very happy to!

Can I get to Respond from my Buffer dashboard?

Great question! At the moment, the two products are separate from one another, and each can be accessed from its own URL – https://buffer.com for Buffer and https://respond.buffer.com for Respond.

Is Respond integrated into Buffer? Will it be?

For now, we’ve chosen to keep Buffer and Respond as separate products. Would love any of your thoughts on that!

How Respond came to be: The full story, from acquisition to launch

Respond has been an incredible, whirlwind product experience for us at Buffer, from acquiring the customer service tool Respondly in December (big thanks to Tim and the Respondly team!), to onboarding private beta testers in January, to the public beta release today.

We’re couldn’t be more thrilled for the chance to include Respond among the Buffer family of products.

On the day of the acquisition announcement, we shared this vision for the future of Buffer:

In the long run, what we hope to build at Buffer is the essential social media tool. Our goal: No matter how many other great tools (and there are many!) you might want to use, we hope Buffer is a key part of your mix to deliver great experiences and results on social media.

Respond feels like a natural fit with this purpose. In addition to building Buffer as the premier marketing tool for you to manage your social media, we’re also hoping for Respond to become the premier tool for you and your customer service team.

Since the acquisition announcement, we’ve been working with a clear focus of making Respond a must-have, standalone tool for delivering exceptional support experiences. It’s an amazing journey we’re embarked upon and are excited to continue.

  • We’ve learned a ton from experiences like #bufferchat and how Respond can best scale to handle over 3,000 tweets in an hour — we’re grateful for the chance to keep improving there!
  • We’ve given early access to some incredible companies like Slack, Product Hunt, and WordPress, and learned from how they support their audiences of millions
  • We’ve checked in with Respond’s 18,000 beta signups to make sure we’re building the best Respond possible

What we’re excited to release today is a premier, standalone tool to help you reach out to your customers, reply to their questions, monitor what’s being said about you and do so in a fast and reliable way to deliver a great experience for your community.

Respond is a social-first support experience. We want you to feel empowered to dive into conversations and questions in real-time, so we built the dashboard and interface with speed, interactivity, and engagement in mind. Instead of ticket numbers or wait times, Respond is all about what your customers need right now and helping you deliver ultra-responsive support.

We feel this helps set apart Respond in a really unique way and that the timing of a tool like this couldn’t be better. In particular, the timing with Respond seems to have felt quite ideal for a number of reasons:

1. How Respond helps us set the standard for customer support

At Buffer, it has been our stated mission to:

Build the simplest, most powerful social media tool on the market and to set the standard for customer support.

During the very first days of Buffer in the fall of 2010, our co-founder Joel started delivering happiness, answering questions on Twitter, and proactively reaching out to new customers. Customer service has been part of Buffer’s DNA ever since, and it feels incredible to now have a product that supports this mission.

Respond also happens to be the product that helps us achieve our vision for support. We use Respond on a daily basis, helping us connect and assist our awesome Twitter audience of more than 485,000.

How huge has support been for us? (And Respond in particular.) Here’re some numbers:

  • We have a team of 21 people who work exclusively on delivering happiness to customers.
  • We aim to answer emails and tweets within 60 minutes.
  • We respond to 350 emails and 300 tweets per day. (During our busiest times we’re fortunate to start a new Twitter conversation every minute!)
  • We send 170 outreach messages per day to people who are interested in Buffer

With Respond, we want everyone to feel capable of doing great support on social media. Having the right tool can feel a bit like having a super power! This has been the case for us with Respond, and we’re delighted to let you in on the fun as well.

2. A social media strategy now involves more than marketing

Did you know: Only 20% of top retailers answer customer questions on Twitter. Kudos to that 20% because they are doing it right! People—customers—are using social media in more ways than before, and with that boost in use comes a whole host of expectations, conversations, and opportunities.

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It’s no longer enough just to post consistently (though that’s still a huge difference-maker!).

We feel that today’s social media strategy requires more, starting with a way to respond to the people who’re reaching out.

From what we’ve seen, Facebook and Twitter are more than just marketing channels. They are engagement channels. Here’s another amazing stat: Over 80% of inbound social customer service requests happen on Twitter. That’s a huge percentage of your audience looking to connect with you on social!

We’ve found that you can engage to a certain degree with your marketing strategies. We believe that you can engage even further with a social-first support plan, too.

3. As the Buffer team grows, so do the opportunities

When Buffer started five years ago, social media looked a lot different. Facebook and Twitter were private companies, yet to have their IPOs. Neither was as fully embedded into society and culture the way they are today.

A lot has changed for social media, and a lot has changed for Buffer.

We started as a team of two, Joel and Leo, and we’re now a team of 80. In the past six months, we’ve doubled in size, adding 40 new team members (and keen to hire still more!).

And as the team has grown, we’ve felt confident that we can build out an amazing product experience not only for the Buffer product, but also for new areas like our image creation tool Pablo and, now, with Respond.

We’re grateful for the chance to have a full team—product, engineers, data, customer development, support—solely focused on delivering a great experience for you with Respond.

What’s next for Respond …

We’re building toward a tool that is great for everyone: teams, individuals, personal brands, and more. And certainly would love to welcome all types of users and teams to try Respond and see how the fit feels. (We’d love any feedback and input from you as well!)

We know that big companies have certain needs also, and we’re building out enterprise options at the moment. If that feels like you, definitely drop us a line and we’d love to chat!

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Thanks so much for the chance to serve you and your support team.

Happy Responding!

Image sources: Pablo, Placeit

The post Deliver Exceptionally Responsive Customer Support: Introducing Respond by Buffer appeared first on Social.

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/hello-respond

Image Compression and Web Performance

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Images compression and web performance

 

The performance of your website is very important; a fast website have readers which sticks around, online seller which sells more and it’s a major criterion in SEO ranking. The website speed enhancement is not about a button to press and voila! It’s a bit more complex but main speed monitoring tools like Dareboost or GTMetrix agreed on the fact that the heavy resource to load are usually images.

Here’s a shortlist that you should keep in mind about image optimization when you’re building a website.

 

To begin with images

 

Adapt the image size to fit your content

 

Display image at its natural size, do not use HTML resize. A scaled image is an image that has been scaled to match its displayed size. It happens usually when you’re using handles to resize an image in a WYSIWYG editor.

Seems basic but it can generate a lot of impact regarding loading time. Experienced webdesigner knows this fact, but nothing could be less certain in the case of final clients that update content every day.

 

 

 

Image size and screen resolution

 

“Pixel dimensions measure the total number of pixels along an image’s width and height. Resolution is the fineness of detail in a bitmap image and is measured in pixels per inch (ppi). The more pixels per inch, the greater the resolution. Generally, an image with a higher resolution produces a better printed image quality.” Reference: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/image-size-resolution.html

 

On a web display environment, the resolution has no effect on the image visual quality but it has on image weight. If you load two images, same size, let’s say 250px x 250px on a webpage @72dpi and @300dpi, the final screen display will be visually similar but not the weight. Higher resolution will be interesting only for the print or if you resize the image. For example, to print it on an A4 paper support.

 

Avoid loading massive image amount on the same page

 

Regarding image gallery or blog views, there’s also something you can do. Don’t load thousands of images on the same page, even little thumbnails. Consider using a progressive loading script, Facebook, Flickr and all social media are using it. A web page witch uses those scripts will defer the media loading until you scroll down and call the display of those media.

 

 

 

Image specifications and screen

 

Raster and vector images

A raster image is made of pixels; a vector image is made of basic geometric shapes.

Commons usage of vector images on the web is for:

–       Logo design

–       Icons

So a raster image will be dependent on resolution, if you to enlarge or reduce a raster image, you’ll shrink pixels.  Vector images do retain appearance regardless of size.

 

Types of compression algorithms: lossy and lossless

 

This is also something you can find in the recommendation of Google and in speed testing tools. There’s several scripts to do image compression on the web. We can distinguish:

  • Lossy compression
  • Lossless compression

Lossless and Lossy image compression terms determine, in a file compression, if all original data can be recovered when the file is uncompressed. With lossless compression, all of the information can be completely restored after uncompressing. With a Lossy compression some data can be lost because, for example, on a .png image, quantization of color reduces the color number.

OK, but why would I take the risk to make Lossy compression, even if I can save a lot of loading time?

Lossy and lossless choice

 

The point is that the image Lossy compression is far effective than the Lossless one, especially for a web usage. Check the landscape images bellow before and after a Lossy compression. Quality is similar and images weight goes from 254KB to 39KB. At the opposite, a Lossless compression goes from 254KB to 180KB. For a final usage of an image, Lossy compression seems really better.

 

 

 

Cropping and resizing images in Photoshop

 

When you’re building a website from a Photoshop design, one big part of your job is to find the best format and compression to apply on images. Finding the best export ratio between weight and quality is the key. As Photoshop is applying a global compression on all the image area, it’s quite complex to have both light and high quality images.

 

 

Considering 30 images per page creation that includes the content and theme design images, how much time do you spend on image export? The process is quite long and include several tries at compression levels.

Considering that, you can use a tool to compress final image during the creation process or let a CMS extension doing the job automatically.

 

Image compression tools

 

There’s some image compression services on the market.

–       ImageRecycle is offering the largest range of CMS integrations (WordPress, Joomla, Shopify, Magento) and both Lossy and Lossless image compression + resizing. The compression tool can also be used on a custom project using an API. ImageRecycle got unique features comparing to competitors like PDF compression, website audit report, 1-month image backup/restore: https://www.imagerecycle.com

A free trial of 100MB of content optimization is available, then prices start from $7 for 1GB of content with unlimited and free sub accounts.

–       Kraken provides a WordPress plugin and an API to compresses images + make resizing. A free trial of 50MB of content optimization is available.

–       TinyPNG: provides an API plus a WordPress and Magento plugin.

 

ImageRecycle online optimizer preview

To compress you images/PDF you can drag’n drop content in the uploader or use the URL of the page and get a zip file of all the images.

 

PDF report

Paste your website URL, get a PDF report in your mailbox with the detail of the images that can be compressed, pretty useful for clients.

 

In conclusion

Images usually represent 50-70% of your website content, then the first time a page is loaded is mainly determined by the image weight. This is even more important on mobile because connection is usually slower.

Keep a nice looking and fast website, optimize images!

Read More at Image Compression and Web Performance

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/image-compression-web-performance/

Fabric: Twitter’s New App For Developers

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Twitter has recently released a new app meant exclusively for developers, named Fabric. This app also happens to be the first one that Twitter has developed from scratch; other apps such as Vine and Periscope are basically acquisitions.

Strictly speaking, Fabric is a collection of tools and resources meant for developers who wish to check up on the status and progress of their apps. In other words, Fabric lets you monitor the performance of your mobile applications keep track of error logs and debugging records, among other things.

To quote Twitter’s description of Fabric:

The Fabric mobile app makes it easy for you to know what’s going on with your app. We sift through millions of events every day to intelligently give you the most important information. And starting today, our real-time alerting system will send you a push notification when something critical is affecting your app.

This application offers you real time updates and push notifications related to the performance of your apps. As such, you can stay updated about the performance of your applications even when you are on the go and not at your desk.

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When dealing with bug reports, Fabric offers you details such as user behaviour, real-time performance metrics, crash logs and other things, such as detailed breakdown of devices and mobile platforms.

Fabric is available both in the Apple App Store and Google Play. To learn more about Fabric, visit the official website.

What do you think of the new Fabric app by Twitter meant exclusively for developers? Share your views in the comments below!

Read More at Fabric: Twitter’s New App For Developers

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/fabric-twitter-new-app-for-developers/

Nominate your works to The A’ Design Competition – Entries Due Soon

A’ Design Award is the World’s leading international design competition. The A’ Design Awards are organized in all creative fields to highlight the greatest designs from all countries in all disciplines. Entries to the A’ Design Awards are peer-reviewed and anonymously judged by an influential jury panel of leading scholars, prominent press members and experienced professionals. The A’ Design Award is an opportunity for popularity, prestige, promotion and international recognition to The A’ Design Award Winners through the A’ Design Prize which is granted to the awarded designs.

The “A’ Design Prize” includes everything a designer needs “A’ Design Prize” is made of : design excellence certificate, invitation to the exclusive gala-night in Italy, both online and physical exhibition of awarded works, poster of awarded projects, hardcover printed best projects’ yearbook publication, 3D printed metal award trophy, international press campaign, interview with the award winning designer, press kit preparation and distribution, Award-winning design mark, pitching award winning designs to press members worldwide, media appearances through design award press partners, inclusion in World Design Rankings, inclusion in design business network and more.

A’ Design Award has been established to promote and recognize the best design works in all countries and in all creative disciplines. The main objective of the A’ Design Award is to create a global awareness and understanding for good design practices and principles by recognizing the best designs in all countries and in all creative fields. The ultimate aim of the Award & Competition is to push designers, companies and institutions worldwide to create superior products and projects that advance society.

Every year, original design work that focus on innovation, design and creativity from across the globe are awarded with the A’ Design Award. Entries to A’ Design Award are accepted in categories such as Architectural Design, Graphics Design, Product Design, and more. The complete list of competition categories are available here.

Submissions are accepted every year until the design award deadline of February 28th and results are announced every year on April 15, at the end of World Design Days. Designers from across the globe are invited to join the accolades by signing-up their greatest design works, projects and products. Learn more about The A’ Design Competition and see past winners at Awarded Designs listing which is a showcase of good design work worldwide.

Enter Your Works today to The A’ Design Competition : Enter Your Best Design Work.

Below we have selected some award winning designs that you might like:

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Tsingtao 1903 by Wangtao – Platinum A’ Interior Space, Retail and Exhibition Design Award in 2015

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Ane by Troy Backhouse – Platinum A’ Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design Award in 2015

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Ice Krakow by Ingarden & Ewý Architects – Platinum A’ Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award in 2015

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Calendar 2015 “town” by Katsumi Tamura – Platinum A’ Graphics and Visual Communication Design Award in 2015

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Santander World by Jose Angel Cicero – Platinum A’ Arts, Crafts and Ready-Made Design Award in 2015

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Barb Perfume by Roma Lazarev – Platinum A’ Packaging Design Award in 2015

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Pepsi Metlife Stadium by PepsiCo Design and Innovation – Platinum A’ Advertising, Marketing and Communication Design Award in 2015

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Air Touch by LKK Innovation Design Group – Platinum A’ Home Appliances Design Award in 2015

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Sony Semiconductor Branding by Katsumi Tamura – Golden A’ Advertising, Marketing and Communication Design Award in 2015

b8a37cd2d921523a26f90771a2db3a419020b4f9-t710Stumbras Premium Organic by Edvardas Kavarskas – Golden A’ Packaging Design Award in 2015

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Sarp 46m by SARP YACHT – Golden A’ Yacht and Marine Vessels Design Award in 2015

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Torchia by Hakan Gürsu – Golden A’ Energy Products and Devices Design Award in 2015

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Tetris by studiomk27 – Golden A’ Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award in 2015

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Robo Ming by LKK Innovation Design Group – Golden A’ Digital and Electronic Devices Design Award in 2015

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Lenovo A740 by Johnson Li – Golden A’ Digital and Electronic Devices Design Award in 2015

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Cobra by Stefania Vola – Golden A’ Lighting Products and Projects Design Award in 2013

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Patakukkonen Rye Pie by Packlab – Platinum A’ Packaging Design Award in 2014

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Switch by Native Union Design Lab – Golden A’ Digital and Electronic Devices Design Award in 2013

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Calendar 2013 “farm” by Katsumi Tamura – Platinum A’ Graphics and Visual Communication Design Award in 2013

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Illusion by Adriana de Barros – Platinum A’ Digital and Broadcasting Media Design Award in 2014

Hope, you liked the designs above. We will be publishing a selection of award winning projects on April 15. To have an opportunity to get your work published, featured and promoted, remember to nominate it before the deadline. Present Your Works today to The A’ Design Award : Enter Your Best Design Work.

Read More at Nominate your works to The A’ Design Competition – Entries Due Soon

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/nominate-your-works-to-the-a-design-competition-entries-due-soon/

Seven Valuable Website and Portfolio Building Tools

7

The purpose of this article is to help you find the best website builder for your particular situation. Given the number of web design tools on the market, finding just the right one can be a challenge. We’ve used the following criteria to greatly simplify your search effort and make your purchasing decisions less complicated.

These satisfy the following criteria:

  • Ease of Use – The learning curve of a tool used to create a website does not have to be a steep one. The opposite should be true, as is the case with those tools listed here.
  • Customization – More and more features do not always lead to easier customization. Fewer, but totally adequate features, is often better.
  • Portability – Why hire a developer to make changes to your site, or find you have to work from a new platform, when the tools you have will do the job?
  • Cost – Free is always nice; but these extremely affordable premium tools will give you a generous ROI.

Several of these drag and drop tools are especially useful for creating portfolios, although each one is up to the task.

 

Cornerstone

1

Cornerstone set a newer, higher page-builder standard with its 100% front-end editing capability. It demonstrated that it was possible to create quality websites more quickly, and with greater ease, and that web designers could have fun while doing so.

When it was first introduced as a powerful new feature included a major update of X Theme, a best-selling WordPress theme, Cornerstone made such an impact that Themeco will soon sell it as a standalone tool. Many website designers, even those who were happy with the tools they had, were not yet aware of how much easier and more efficient page building could be.

Cornerstone’s interactive preview and edit displays let you see the impact of your edits and changes in real time. Make changes on the fly, and you will immediately see the results, without having to resort to the edit, save, review, and change cycle – over and over again. There is much more to Cornerstone, but its front end page builder is enough to make this one of the best site-building tools you are apt to come across for a long time to come.

 

SnapPages

2

Simple and powerful. That’s SnapPages in a nutshell. This drag and drop page builder does what needs to be done, while meeting our customization criterion –  an absence of extraneous bells and whistles.

The HTML5 page builder makes website building a snap. The HTML5 designation simply means that this modern page builder was developed using clean, crisp code. There is no need for coding on your part when using SnapPages. You are given professionally designed, responsive pre-built websites to work with, along with templates and layouts that have been designed to get any project of to a quick start.

Better yet, SnapPages touchscreen functionality means you can do page building and editing from your tablet or touchscreen laptop should the occasion dictate, and cloud hosting ensures this tool will load quickly and respond to your commands instantaneously.

 

XPRS

3

XPRS by IMCreator can certainly claim to be one of the most innovative page builders in this list. Like the others, it works with layouts or themes, but what it does differently is it divides the themes into stripes. You can mix, match, and customize these stripes to produce attention-getting websites that will tempt visitors to stay a while.

Working with XPRS is a little like working with Lego blocks. You build what you want to, and you have fun doing it. The site creation process is super-fast.

You can build an eCommerce site that is completely free, and always responsive. Free is nice, but XPRS also has a paid-for plan that has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds. It’s their white label plan, and it’s for real. For a $250 fee you can build unlimited websites. If you are serving many different clients, here is an excellent way to get a great ROI. The commercial plan costs $7.95/month.

 

AllYou.net  

4

Well-structured, professional-looking portfolios can take a great deal of time and effort to put together. AllYou.net offers the perfect solution for creatives who are good at design, but tend to struggle when having to deal with difficult interfaces. This portfolio builder takes care of the structure and mechanics, allowing you to focus on presentation – it can help you there as well.

This drag and drop tool features a nice selection of customizable templates. Best of all, you’re invited to sign up for a free trial to find out how it will work for you.

 

Divi Builder

5

Divi Builder was originally a highlighted feature of Divi, a highly popular WordPress theme. When this page builder was added as a new feature, Divi’s popularity soared. Elegant Themes made the decision to market this tool as a portable, standalone page builder.

Divi Builder can be used with any WordPress theme. This highly innovative tool is not easy to describe in a few sentences. The best way to see what it offers is to visit the Elegant Themes Divi Builder website. The home page demo tells you everything you want to know. You will be impressed!

 

Themify Builder

6

Themify Builder may be the most powerful and easy-to-use page builder for WordPress. There are no limits to the different layouts you can design with this time-saving tool. Building a magnificent website will involve little more than following its drag, drop, and select process. You can watch your creation evolve without the necessity of adding code.

Themify Builder provides 40 pre-designed layouts to work with. Features especially useful for creating portfolios include animations, video, and parallax scrolling.

 

Portfoliobox

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Portfoliobox’s creators must have been thinking outside the box. Unlike many other page building tools, this page builder does not have a preset theme. By using different layouts, templates, and your own imagination, you can create thousands of different websites. No coding is required.

You can build blogs, portfolios, and any type of website including eCommerce websites. Open a free account to get started. You can think about signing up for a paid plan later.

 

You may have discovered that selecting among seven different website and portfolio tools can still be a bit difficult, especially when each tool is in its own way superior to anything else on the market.

Hopefully however, you have found a website and portfolio-building tool that suits your needs, or you have elected to use more than one of these products. Note that the portfolio-oriented tools can be used to create any website, and the other, general-purpose tools, are just fine for creating professional looking portfolios.

Read More at Seven Valuable Website and Portfolio Building Tools

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/34339-2/

Facebook Reactions: Meet Facebook’s New Supercharged ‘Like’ Button

Your Facebook newsfeed is about to get a whole lot more meaningful.

After nearly a year of testing in various markets around the globe, Facebook has now released their new, supercharged ‘like’ button.

For the first time, Facebook users globally can now react to status with more than just a thumbs up. Facebook Reactions enable you to express yourself with five additional emojis, alongside a “like.”

The new Reactions are: ‘love,’ ‘haha,’ ‘wow,’ ‘sad,’ and ‘angry.’

emojis

Curious to learn more about this change? Let’s dive in.

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About the change

Reactions, is an extension of the Like button, to give you more ways to express your feelings towards a post in a quick and easy way.

To add a Reaction, hold down the Like button on mobile or hover over the Like button on desktop to see the Reaction image options, then tap either Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry.

Here’s how the hover works on desktop:

Fb-reactions

And on mobile:
fb-reactions-mobile

On the process of rolling out this change, Facebook product manager, Sammi Krug explains:

We understand that this is a big change, and want to be thoughtful about rolling this out. For more than a year we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most. We also looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using to determine which reactions to offer.

Even though there are now five extra ways to react to a status, the ‘like’ still holds to number one spot.

As you scroll through your Newsfeed, you’ll still the ‘Like’ call to action on every post. Now though, instead of telling you how many people “Liked’ something, Facebook tells you how many people “reacted.” 

During the testing period, Facebook learned a great deal about how people would like to react to the content in their feed.

Originally, “yay” was also included as a Reaction, but Facebook discovered that “yay” could also convey other positive emotions such as “love” and “haha, and the data showed it was used much less in testing that the other Reactions. As such, “yay” was removed.

Given the long-lasting rumours of a “Dislike” button, this update feels like something Facebook users have been longing after for a while.

Facebook is used to share an emotional range of posts, and often, a “like” wasn’t entirely fitting to every post you wanted to react to. Mark Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on this topic as rumours of a “Dislike” button started to circle in 2015:

Over the years of people asking for this, what we kind of have come to understand is that people aren’t looking for an ability to down vote other people’s posts, what they really want is to be able to express empathy.

Not every moment is a good moment and if you are sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events, like the refugees crisis that touches you or if a family member passed away, then it may not feel comfortable to ‘like’ that post. But your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you, so I do think it’s important to give people more options.

With Reactions being rolled out across both individual and business pages, this feels like an excellent opportunity to dive into what Facebook Reactions could mean for anyone running a brand page.

What Reactions could mean for brands

It certainly feels like Reactions could be a significant update for brands on Facebook.

Just hours after Facebook Reactions were released globally, Chevrolet became the first brands to incorporate the ‘like’ button extension into one of their advertising campaigns.

The one minute video, posted on Chevrolet’s Facebook page, allows customers to display their ‘love’ for the latest Chevrolet release. Check out the video below:

 

 

3 ways Facebook Reactions could affect brands

1. New ways to measure sentiment

Reactions will offer a new way to measure sentiment and gauge exactly how an audience is reacting to your Page’s content or a sponsored post. 

“Reactions gives businesses a really crisp way of understanding on a multi-dimensional level how people are feeling about the things that they’re posting,” Richard Sim, Facebook’s director of monetization product marketing, explained to AdAge.

This update will also bring a refresh to Facebook insights, with brands able to see Reaction counts within Facebook’s page insights tool.

2. Better understanding of customers

Previously, Facebook users had a few options if they saw a piece of brand content in their news feed:

  1. Ignore it
  2. Like it
  3. Share it (if they really love it)
  4. Comment on it (either positively or negatively)

Reactions open up multiple new ways for users to share their feelings towards content.

For example, if you’re seeing a lot of haha Reactions it may become clear that your audience finds your content amusing – this is context you previously wouldn’t find with the “like” only button.

3. A decrease in comments

Reactions is designed to make it easier for users to react to posts without having to type a comment.

Comments have always been a way to keep an eye on how your audience have reacted to a post and qualitatively measure performance. With this update, I could see a sharp decrease in comments as Reactions will provide users with more ways to convey their feelings without having to type and leave a comment.

With this update, I could see a sharp decrease in comments as Reactions will provide users with more ways to convey their feelings without having to type and leave a comment. This may also lead to more quantitive ways to measure user emotions through data.

Could Reactions eventually factor into the news feed algorithm?

Facebook is always looking for new ways to improve their news feed algorithm and speaking to AdAge, Richard Sim explained:

“Over time we do expect to have a better understanding of how these different Reactions impact what people want to see in their news feed. So it’s very possible that loves or hahas may be treated differently. We’re going to learn this as we’re going through testing.”

Could we see Reactions factored into the algorithm in the future? Maybe, but I wouldn’t expect it to happen anytime soon. I fully expect Facebook to be meticulous with the data here and fully test any updates before rolling them out to the news feed algorithm.

Over to you

Thanks for reading! I’m super excited about the update and can’t wait to dig into the Facebook insights data for our Buffer page.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this update. What do you think about Reactions? How can you see this update affecting brands on Facebook?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

The post Facebook Reactions: Meet Facebook’s New Supercharged ‘Like’ Button appeared first on Social.

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-reactions