My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #26

flatiron school

My name is Mason Ellwood, and I’m currently working on Flatiron School’s Online Full Stack Web Development Program. Each week, I’ll be writing about my experience, what I’m learning, and tips on learning to code.

Today I would like to touch on one of the most widely used tool, and in my opinion one of the the most important tools in development I have came across, Version Control, GIT, and GIThub.

 

“The past is never where you think you left it” – Katherine Anne Porter

When I first started using GIT and GitHub I really had no idea how to use the thing, other than I had to know to use it. I did not understand the necessity of storing a repo for my code, and for a lot of the implementation processes I had done in the past, it seemed mundane. Until a few years ago something happened. My computer crashed…..

There went all the code I had been working on, all the images, templates, everything. Poof. So I did what any sane person would do in the early 2000’s. I spent way too much money on portable hard drives. I bought two 512GB portable hard drives. And BAM my problem was solved. On these I could hold everything, images, code, movies, you name it. And it was safe in my drawer at home.

But like every great Disney movie, one day, for no apparent reason at all, everything decides to take a turn for the worse. My hard drive decided to stop working. SO BACK TO SQUARE ONE!

Through these poor experiences, i have begun my hunt for alternative sources to backup and save my data. This is where I fell in love with GIThub. Though this tool, I was able to read, write, and save code online in a public or private repo which was accessible and writable from anywhere. Version control has allowed to me better understand my own code, and comment what I did and why I did something better and faster than any other method I have found.

Version control is the process of storing multiple versions of a single project, allowing each version to be recalled at a later date. This is useful because it allows you to easily rollback to a previous version of your application, saving you extensive time and extra work. It is also useful for testing and implementing new versions you may have written without messing up for original database.

So there are two types of version control. The first is local version control. This stores all the information locally on your machine. This is great for personal projects, but not so great if you want to collaborate with a team; storing all your files within a local repository. A repository is a big folder that stores all the files of a particular project. And GIT.. GIT is the version control system you will use, which has become the most widely used version control system in the industry.

In the next post, I will get into how to create and set up this environment locally. Then after this basic setup is complete, how to sync that to a remote repository on Github, where you will be able to push, pull, and play with your code you are working on. The Flatiron School does a great job at explaining this concept. For the longest time, things just were not quite clicking. But through the lessons at The Flatiron School, I have been able to better understand the concept of version control and how it is used.

Read More at My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #26

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/my-journey-of-learning-programming-through-flatiron-school-26/

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The Simple Facebook Posting Strategy That Helped us 3x Our Reach and Engagement

In October of 2016 we dramatically changed our Facebook posting strategy.

A gradual, but noticeable shift in many social media algorithms and an influx of brand advertising on Facebook meant that it was important for us to either start experimenting or we’d continue to see a decline in organic reach and engagement.

Getting your content seen on Facebook is no small task. Especially when you consider all the content shared to Facebook every 20 minutes:

  • 1 million links are shared
  • 4.86 million photos are uploaded
  • 763,888 status updates are sent out

We needed to make a change.

We cut our posting frequency by more than 50% on Facebook and began to truly focus on quality over quantity. What happened next, even the most optimistic social media manager couldn’t have expected:

Our Facebook reach and engagement began to increase even though we were posting less!

Here are some of the headline stats:

  • Reach has more than trebled from 44,000 to more than 150,000 people per week on Facebook
  • Average daily engagements with our content on Facebook have risen from ~500 to more than 1,000
  • More and more of our posts are reaching between 5,000-20,000 people (before we made the change, many of our posts were reaching less than 2,000 people)

I’m super excited to share the data behind this growth with you and take you behind the scenes of our latest Facebook posting strategy.

Let’s dive in!

Data: How posting less increased our reach, engagement, and impact

Posts per day

Most of last year (Jan-Oct 2016), we were posting a lot to social media, especially on Facebook. A quick sift through our data shows that we were sharing more than 125 posts across our social media channels (25-40 posts to Facebook alone) on a weekly basis.

Here’s a look a quick our average Facebook Posts per day between January 2016 and April 2017:

Average Facebook Posts Per Day Visualization

Data Source: Buffer

Reach

Part of our thinking was that we could adapt to the ever-changing social media algorithms by simply posting more. It makes sense, right? Theoretically, the more we post, the more that our reach would add up over the course of a week, month, and even the year.

But, what actually happened was quite the opposite. The more we posted to Facebook the less reach we received on each one of our posts. This graph shows the significant drop in reach during our peak posting times (~4 times per day around July/August, 2016):

Average Facebook Daily Reach Visualization

Data Source: Buffer

However, notice what starts to happen right around October 2016. Our Facebook reach begins to increase at nearly the same time that we began to experiment with our Facebook posting strategy. Not only that, but reach continues to grow as we move into 2017 and beyond.

Today, we’re reaching more than 150,000 people per week on Facebook, compared to the 44,000 or so people that we were reaching during most of 2016.

And the fun doesn’t stop there!

Engagement

In addition to reach, our Facebook engagement began to increase at the same pace. This chart shows our average daily engagement since January 2016:

Average Facebook Daily Engagement Graph

Data Source: Buffer

For me, this was a ground-breaking and exciting revelation.

  1. I didn’t have to post as much to Facebook (more on our new Facebook posting strategy below)
  2. It gave me the opportunity to focus on other creative projects like creating videos, launching the Buffer Podcast, and growing our Instagram account.

The other unexpected thing that happened (as the chart above shows) was that the number of posts that reached more than 60,000 people and received more than 2,500 unique engagements nearly doubled. That was a massive shift from 2016 when were only reached more than 60,000 people with a single post once.

However, this next chart is my favorite one of all.

Overall impact

It’s great to have individual data points as a reference, but I wanted to get a big-picture view of what was happening after the Facebook posting strategy change. To do so, I downloaded all Facebook post data using Buffer from January 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017. No small feat!

I then combined the data in Excel and sorted the posts into four reach buckets:

  • 0-1,999
  • 2,000-4,999
  • 5,000-19,999
  • 20,000+

The results were shockingly awesome – here’s a quick look at the data:

Facebook Average Monthly Post Reach (Comparison)

Data Source: Buffer

The most surprising of all was how many posts were reaching less than 2,000 people on a consistent basis before October. Before this point, I hadn’t realized just how poor many of our posts were really performing. The more we posted, the worse they did! Between February and March, more than 100 posts reached less than 2,000 people.

Take a look what happens to the other categories of reach as time goes on. Posts reaching 2,000-5,000 people stay fairly consistent (which is understandable), but posts reaching 5,000-19,999 and 20,000+ gradually begin to increase and are currently trending upward as of today.

In the next few sections, I’d love to share why this was an important (and counterintuitive) change to our Facebook posting strategy as well as exactly what we’re doing today to ensure these results continue.

Why we stopped posting everything to Facebook

Not every post is the right fit for Facebook

As many social media managers know, it’s a consistent challenge to send out lots of quality content to Facebook every single week. There’s the creation process, the copywriting and scheduling, the monitoring, the engagement with your community – the list goes on and on.

Yet intuition tells us that the more we post the more engagement and reach we’ll get. It makes total sense (at least we thought it did!).

Facebook Posting Strategy - Wait, but why

What we found, however, is that the opposite happens with engagement and reach. When trying to fill the queue with content for the simple sake of posting and having a presence on Facebook, content tends to become diluted and lost in the news feed.

For us, posting less didn’t even seem like a viable option at the time. We have a ton of great content going out on the Social and Open Blog each week – were we supposed to stop posting that all-together?

And that’s where we discovered one key distinction in our Facebook posting strategy: Even though our content may be quality (and awesome), not every post is right for Facebook.

Which leads me to our current strategy…

Our current Facebook posting strategy

The big change to our strategy all started with the counter-intuitive realization that:

“Even though our content may be quality (and awesome), not every post is right for Facebook.”

This was quite tough as I wanted to share all of the great things that our team was writing on our blogs. It all deserved to be shared with our community, but it was becoming clear that it was affecting our content across the board. So I established a quick rule-of-thumb question to help decide what I should post to Facebook:

Entertainment + Educational = Edu-tainment

Edu-tainment: Education + Entertainment

I’ve found that generally speaking, the most popular posts across Facebook can be categorized as Edu-tainment. They are either entertaining or educational. For example, silly GIFs might fall into the entertainment category, while data, how-tos, and infographics fall into the educational category.

The best posts of all tend to have a mix of both entertainment and education and those are the ones I’m constantly on the hunt for on social media.

Finding and sharing “Edu-tainment” content is our overarching strategy, which helps clarify everything that should be posted under the following Facebook posting strategies:

One or two posts per day maximum

The main reason why I believe we’re seeing such a dramatic increase in reach and engagement is that we’re only posting one or two pieces of content per day on Facebook.

This serves two valuable purposes:

  1. It forces us to only share the best of the best content because we literally have limited space
  2. It allows the Facebook algorithm to focus on delivering one piece of content (vs. multiple) to our audience

I encourage you to experiment with only posting once or twice per day on Facebook. You might be surprised at how quickly your best content filters to the top. Limiting the quantity of posts encourages a deep focus on posting quality, which sends positive signals to the Facebook algorithm.

Curated content

Another great strategy for us has been posting an increased amount of curated content to our Facebook page. Previously, we used to shy away from curated content because it didn’t directly affect the bottom-line: traffic, subscriptions, sales, etc.

I’ll be the first to admit that I couldn’t have been more off here.

Sorting our Facebook posts by “Most Reach” over the last several months shows exactly the impact it has had on our Page and growth:

Facebook Curated Content Strategy Overview

The posts highlighted in a blue rectangle are all pieces of curated content. In other words, 7 of 11 of our most successful posts throughout the last 14 months are curated (not created by Buffer). These posts have combined to reach more than 750,000 people, averaging to about 107,000 people per post.

Curated content may not “directly” affect our bottom line, but it plays a significant role in reach, engagement (likes, comments, shares) and page growth. Which, in time, allows us to deliver Buffer content – content that does drive the bottom line – to a larger, more engaged audience.

Focusing on brand awareness and engagement

Focusing on brand awareness and engagement vs. driving traffic to our website has become a staple of our strategy as well.

We’ve witnessed a shift in many social media networks over the last year. It used to be that brands and businesses could post links to their blog posts and watch the traffic flow in. And while that’s still the case for many publishers, savvy marketers can benefit from thinking about their content strategy as a whole – focusing on both direct traffic as well as engagement.

Posting content that aims to drive engagement only helps to build an activate Facebook audience. Overtime, that audience will go to you as a trusted source of Edu-tainment. Then, right when you need them most, you can deliver a piece of brand content that will help move the bottom line. Here’s a quick example of a recent engagement-only post:

Facebook Posting Strategy - Engagement Focus

  • Reach: 211,631
  • Likes: 8,362
  • Comments: 281
  • Shares: 872

This post also brought more than 1,000 new Likes to our Page – many of whom continue to Like and engage with our Page today.

Boosted Posts

Last, but not least, I’d love to address how important Facebook boosted posts have been in increasing reach and engagement on our Page. It is worth noting that our daily budget has not changed over the period of the last year. I.e., our reach and engagement did not increase because of an increased advertising budget.

Currently, we spend roughly $40 per day boosting our best-performing content on Facebook.

The only difference between last year and this year is the quality of content that has been available to boost.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-marketing-budget

Boosting posts takes content that’s already performing well and amplifies it on a huge scale. As that implies, the key is to focus on boosting great content, not necessarily posts that aren’t doing well and “forcing” them with advertising dollars.

Doing so will ensure that your money is spend in the best way possible.

Over to you

Thanks for reading! Have you experienced something similar with reach and engagement on Facebook? Or, maybe you have a few posting strategies that I missed above?

I’d love to continue the conversation with you in the comments below!

What has been the best success you’ve found in terms of a Facebook posting strategy? What are your top tips for increasing reach and engagement on Facebook?

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-posting-strategy

9 Free Minimalistic Fonts To Use On Your Next Project

Butler Free font example1

“The world is full of beautiful fonts—choosing the right one for your next project can be a daunting task.”

– Gary Hustwit

 

Regardless if it’s about print, logo, packaging or web design, minimalistic fonts are an integral part of the process for every designer who wants to create eye-catching, effective and memorable graphic design projects. In modern design trends, the typography has gained more and more importance, as each project requires a different font in order to match with the general visual design and convey the right message to the audience.

Every designer loves freebies and there are so many free fonts released out there, that is hard to keep track all of them Therefore, we have rounded up 9 of our favorite free fonts to help you.

1. Entra

Entra free font

 

 

Entra is an original and unusual looking font that was designed for usage in logos and eye-catching headlines. With a quite unique combination, the secret of this font lies in between sharp corners and rounded shapes, Entra is a modern looking cap-only font. Designed by Gatis Vilaks and Wild Ones Design, this font is free for personal and commercial use.

Free for personal and commercial usage.

Download this minimalistic font here 

 

2. Ubuntu

Ubuntu font

 

 

The Ubuntu typeface has been specially created to complement the Ubuntu tone of voice. It has a contemporary style and contains characteristics unique to the Ubuntu brand that convey a precise, reliable and free attitude.

The Ubuntu Font Family is a set of matching new libre/open fonts. The typeface is sans-serif, uses OpenType features and is manually hinted for clarity on desktop and mobile computing screens. The technical font design work and implementation is being undertaken by Dalton Maag. Both the final font Truetype/OpenType files and the design files used to produce the font family are distributed under an open license

Free minimalistic font for personal and commercial usage.

Download the font here 

 

3. Crimson Text

 

Crimson Text Font

 

This free font family has been created specifically for book production and it is inspired by old-time, Garamond-esque book typefaces. Crimson Text is the work of German-born, Toronto-based designer Sebastian Kosch, who says he was inspired by the work of Jan Tschichold, Robert Slimbach and Jonathan Hoefler. 

It’s also the favorite free aesthetic font of Taylor Palmer, a senior UX designer based out of Utah, USA. “Crimson is a sophisticated serif that makes a nice alternative to traditional Garamond-esque typefaces,” he says. “It also has a very expressive italic, which pairs nicely with strong, geometric sans-serifs like Futura or Avenir.”

Free for personal and commercial usage.

Download the font here

 

4. Comfortaa

 

comfortaa free font

 

Comfortaa is a rounded geometric sans-serif type design intended for large sizes. Created by Johan Aakerlund, it’s a simple, minimalistic font, which includes a large number of different characters and symbols. Part of the Google Font Improvements Project, the latest updates to the family include the addition of a Cyrillic character set and support for Vietnamese. David Airey, a graphic designer and occasional writer in Northern Ireland, is among its admirers. “For a recent identity project, I used Comfortaa as the base for a bespoke wordmark. The before and after are really quite different, but Johan’s work gave me a great foundation, and the client loves the result.”

Free for personal and commercial usage.

Download the font here

5. Butler

 

Butler Free font example Butler Free font example1

 

Inspired by a mix between both Dala Floda & the amazing Bodoni family, Butler is a free serif typeface. The main goal was to bring a bit of modernism to serif fonts by working on the curves of classical serif aesthetic fonts and adding an extra stencil family. Because of its highly contrasted typeface, this minimalist font is “great for posters, very big title, books and fancy stuff”. The Butler family contains a total of 334 characters, 7 regular weights and 7 stencil weights, text figures, ligatures, fractions and a lot more. It also suits many different languages with its added Free for personal and commercial usage.

Download the font here

 

6. Jaapokki

 

Jaapokki free font

Jaapokki free font1

 

Jaapokki has been created by Finnish designer Mikko Nuuttilaa. This beautiful sans-serif font features clean lines, two alternatives and large set of glyphs and it’s great for headlines, posters, logos and more. And Rob Hampson, head of design at The Bot Platform, is particularly attracted to the more unusual elements of this free aesthetic font family. Hampson explains: “I found Jaapokki around a year ago and instantly fell in love with it. In fact, it’s the font I chose to use on my personal website. It has a range of choices, with some being more experimental than others. For example, ‘alternative subtract’ [shown above] experiments with removing elements of the font. This is definitely one to use at larger sizes.”

Free for personal and commercial usage.

Download the font here

 

7. Clear Sans

 

Clear Sans Intel Free Font

Designed with on-screen legibility in mind, Clear Sans is a versatile OpenType font suitable for screen, print, and Web. It strikes a balance between contemporary, professional, and stylish expression and thoroughly functional purpose. It has a sophisticated and elegant personality at all sizes, though its thoughtful design becomes even more evident at the thin weight.

Clear Sans is notable for its minimized characters and slightly narrow proportions, making it a great choice for UI design, from short labels to long passages (it has, for instance, been adopted by Mozilla for the ‘Firefox for Android’ browser). Also, Michael Surtee (Typographica) gives credit to this minimalist font: “I was drawn to Clear Sans for its practical nature. The different weights …offer great options for both readability and contrast, making all sorts of type and numbers easy for users to digest.”

Created by Daniel Ratighan at Monotype under the direction of Intel, Clear Sans supports a wide range of languages using Latin, Cyrillic and Greek, and includes medium, regular, thin, and light weights with upright, italic, and bold styles.

Free for personal and commercial usage.

Download the font here

8. Source Sans Pro

Source sans Pro

 

 

 

Released in 2012, Source Sans Pro was the first open source type family for Adobe, and has proved to be wildly popular among the designers. It was envisioned as a classic grotesque typeface with a simple, unassuming design, intended to work well in user interfaces. Designed by Paul D. Hunt, who continues to work as a type designer at Adobe, Source Sans Pro has Source Serif Pro as complementary free aestetic font .

Source Sans Pro is one of the favorite free minimalist fonts of James Hollingworth, a senior-level digital designer and illustrator based near Bath, UK. “It’s such a solid, reliable font to use in design work,” he enthuses. “Being dyslexic myself, I find it a very easy font to read, and it works brilliantly in user interfaces.” 

Free for personal and commercial usage.

Download the free minimalist font here

 

9. Cormorant

 

Cormorant minimalist font Cormorant minimalist font

 

Cormorant is a display serif typeface inspired by the Garamond heritage. It was hand-drawn and produced by Christian Thalmann, (Catharsis Fonts), who describes it as containing “scandalously small counters, razor-sharp series, dangerously smooth curves, and flamboyantly tall accents”. The font is best used for headlines and poster text at large sizes, both on screen and in print, but is also highly legible at smaller text sizes.

The design goal of Cormorant was to distil the aesthetic font essence of Garamond, unfetter it from the limitations of metal printing, and allow it to bloom into its natural refined form at high definition.

Cormorant fonts come in three distinct master styles: The classic Cormorant Roman, the matching true italics, Cormorant Italic, and Cormorant Upright. Furthermore, in order to make it more accessible for users without OType savvyavvy applications, Cormorant Roman offers four variant styles:

  • Cormorant Garamond – offers larger counters and subtly more traditional Garamond shapes for a few key characters to achieve more reading comfort
  • Cormorant Infant  – the letters «a g y» and their derivatives are replaced by gentle schoolbook-style single-storey shapes; 
  • Cormorant SC –  the lowercase glyphs are replaced by small-caps
  • Cormorant Unicase  – a small-caps variant having some lowercase letterforms for an eye-catching futuristic look. 

Each style is available in a range of five weights: Light, Regular, Medium, Semibold, and Bold.

  • Free for personal and commercial usage.
  • Download the font here

 

Which one is your favorite minimalist font? Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments bellow.

Here are more awesome headline fonts.

Read More at 9 Free Minimalistic Fonts To Use On Your Next Project

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/9-free-minimalistic-fonts-to-use-on-your-next-project-free-fonts/

British Airways cancels flights after major IT outage


There’s travel chaos this bank holiday weekend, after British Airways canceled hundreds of flights as a result of a major IT systems outage. The issue, which the airline has described as a “major IT system failure” and a “global system outage, has caused “severe disruption” to British Airways’ worldwide operations. Passengers are unable to check in, and parts of the British Airways website is down. Hundreds of passengers are also sat on the tarmac, as outbound aircraft are unable to vacate gates. The airline has suspended all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick until 18:00 BST today. It’s not immediately clear…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web https://thenextweb.com/insider/2017/05/27/british-airways-cancels-flights-major-outage/

How to optimise your landing pages for multi-channel marketing

landing pages

Building a high-converting landing page isn’t easy.

Unfortunately, it’s not any easier when you’re designing a landing page for a multi-channel marketing campaign, with multiple devices, platforms, and points of origin to take into account.

But despite all of this complexity, many of the same simple values still apply.

Here are a few tips to help you optimize your multi-channel landing pages, following four of the most essential tenets of landing page optimization – a singular purpose, a clear offer, minimal resistance, and a structured journey.

Stick to just one goal

You’re trying to optimise a landing page for prospects from multiple marketing channels. So you need some kind of all-in-one wonder-page, right?

Wrong.

If you’re looking for a page that can cater to every type of casual visitor, then what you’re really thinking of is a home page.

An effective landing page is one that’s designed with a singular purpose.

It doesn’t matter if your prospects are arriving on different devices or have been led there from different platforms. They should all be there for the same reason, and your landing page should be focused on encouraging your visitors to take the one action you need them to take.

So to get your landing page as focused as possible, make sure you:

  • Remove all unnecessary links. Ideally, the only thing left that can be clicked should be the call to action (CTA) that takes them where you want them to go next.
  • Craft a concise and clear headline. Your visitors should immediately know what you’re about, what they’ll get and how they can get it.
  • Keep your landing page simple and uncluttered. Your prospects’ eyes should automatically be drawn to the relevant information and the CTA without any mental effort on their part.

brand-generatorThe graphic design tool Brand-Generator is a great example of a landing page that’s been distilled down to the bare minimum. There’s nowhere to scroll, and minimal text and a small explainer video other than the headline, sub-header and the CTA.

There’s just one extra place to click that doesn’t continue the sales pitch – the Log In button – but it’s clear that they’ve worked hard to make that link as close to invisible as they can.

In other words, they’ve designed their landing page around a singular goal, with an absolute minimum of options or distractions. Whether their visitors are arriving from an email campaign, a Google search or a TV advert, there’s only one thing for them to do: test out a heat-map of their own website.

Match your messages

When it comes to multi-channel marketing, you should always follow the three Cs – choice, consistency and continuity.

Your prospects should be free to choose which channel they use to engage with you, and they should be able to continue their journey with your brand by switching channels without being inconvenienced.

But what’s perhaps most important is that your multi-channel marketing efforts are consistent.

If your adverts and email campaigns are promising “flexible project management software”, but your landing page headline is talking only about “collaboration tools”, your visitors are going to think they’ve arrived at the wrong place. They’ll go straight back to Google to find one of your competitors, instead.

Similarly, if you’re running a pay-per-click (PPC) advert to capture browsers who are searching for “cloud accounting app”, you’d better make sure that both your advert and your landing page include those keywords in their headlines and copy. If not, they’ll bounce – and you’ll have just paid for a wasted click.

Here are a couple of examples to show how much of a difference a simple thing like message matching can make to a prospect’s journey.

A quick search for “landing page builder” brings up a handful of adverts.

First up is Leadpages. Their advert in the search engine has the headline “Build Landing Pages”. A little dry, but so far, so good – the advert nearly matches the exact keyword phrase we were searching for.

landing-page-builder

Following the link, we find a landing page with the headline “The #1 Landing Page Builder”. It’s a perfect match, and we instantly know that we’ve arrived at a place that can give us what we want.

lead-pages

They’ve even added a little internal consistency within their own landing page, with a CTA button that matches the page’s headline: “Start Building Pages”. At that final critical moment of decision, we’ve been reassured of what we’re about to do, and what this landing page is offering us.

At every step of our journey with Leadpages – PPC advert, landing page headline, and CTA – we’ve had a consistent set of messages, confirming what’s been previously promised, using almost the same wording that we used to search for it.

It’s not just a case of avoiding confusion. This consistency makes us feel more confident in the landing page that we’re dealing with – Leadpages has managed to gain our trust.

On the other hand, the same search also offers us an advert for Easymarketer, with the advert headline “Master Email Marketing in 2017”. That might have something to do with what we’re looking for, but it can hardly be called a match.

Following that link, we arrive at a landing page with the headline “Builderall Email/Funnel Builder”.

BuilderallAside from the word “Builder”, this headline bears no resemblance to our search terms, and isn’t even close to the headline on their own Google advert.

It’s not immediately clear that we’ve arrived at a place that can give us what we want. We’re confused, possibly annoyed, and we’re ready to go back to Google.

Make it mobile-friendly

With more than 50% of all online sales coming from mobile devices, you need a landing page that can keep those mobile users happy.

Unfortunately, there’s a whole lot more to designing a mobile-friendly site than just getting the font size right.

Perfecting a mobile-friendly version of a landing page is a complex discipline, but there are a few critical points that any designer should keep in mind.

First, a mobile-friendly landing page needs to be fast.

According to Google, 53% of mobile visits are abandoned if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load – which means that a slow landing page is a crippling disadvantage to your conversions.

So keep your page lightweight.

Remove unnecessary images or scripts, and reduce the size or resolution of your images as much as you can – anything you can do to reduce the number of megabytes standing between your prospect and your desired outcome.

If you’re not sure where to begin, you can use Google’s handy site-tester to get a mobile-friendly score and a few suggestions for improvement.

Second, a mobile-friendly landing page needs to be thumb-friendly.

We all know what it’s like to struggle with a fiddly link on a mobile device – and if your visitors have to zoom in on every button or link, they’ll quickly back out to find a competitor who’s more accommodating to fat-fingered customers.

According to Google’s recommendations, the average pad size of an adult finger is around 10mm wide – and that means your tap targets need to be at least 7mm in size, with no other targets within 5mm.

Finally, a mobile-friendly landing page needs to be concise.

No matter how much you’re in love with it, that killer twelve-word headline you spent hours crafting might simply be too long for a mobile device.

Similarly, the average mobile user isn’t always browsing in the comfort of their own home. They’re on the move, with little free time and a myriad of distractions around them. So your online sales pitch needs to be brief: cut down the copy and the headline to the absolute minimum.

Control the journey with the fold

You’ve got a fast-loading site that’s been tailored to work well on different devices. Your graphics and links have all been adjusted, and your copy has been trimmed down to cater to the typical short attention span.

But there’s still one essential element of your visitors’ experiences that you haven’t addressed yet – the precise journey they’ll go through as they arrive on your site.

When everything you include in your landing page has been chosen to aid the conversion process, it can be hard to decide what should be relegated to the area below the fold. It’s not an exact science, and there’s still plenty of debate about the importance of the fold. But in general, it’s usually a safe bet if you:

  • Keep everything above the fold simple and inviting. Get your offer across to a new visitor immediately, without any other distractions.
  • Push dense text or complicated information below the fold. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm a prospect within the first few seconds.
  • Put your call-to-action (CTA) at the place where your visitors are most ready to commit. That might be above the fold, below the fold, or both. Don’t let the fold dictate where you put it – let the overall journey of your sales pitch decide the best place.
  • Use directional cues to encourage scrolling. It could be an animated arrow pointing down, or even a simple “find out more”.

WorkflowMax‘s landing page, for example, hasn’t followed the stereotypical approach to the fold.

workflow1They know that project management software isn’t something you just sign up for within the first few seconds.

Their prospects need to learn a little more about how the software works, or even to see it in action to get a feel for it. So to the right of the headline and imagery – where you might normally expect a sign-up form or a CTA – they’ve included a huge and highly clickable link to watch a short video.

workflow2The sign-up form and CTA are actually found immediately below the fold, represented by the horizontal red line below.

The natural progression is to arrive on the landing page and watch an introductory video showcasing the software’s features, and then be presented with a sign-up form after you’ve already been warmed up to the product.

And just in case there was any confusion about what to do after the video, the border of the main background image above the fold has been shaped into a downward-pointing arrow – an inoffensive and unobtrusive cue to move further down the page.

Of course, in a multi-channel marketing effort, you can’t rely on presenting the same above-the-fold experience to every user without a little extra configuration.

Your prospects will be arriving from all sorts of devices, and all sorts of screen resolutions. So make sure you test out how your landing page looks on different screens with tools like the Responsive Design Checker and the Fold Tester.

Putting it all into practice

Sadly, there’s no guaranteed formula for improving conversions on any landing page. The variables are too numerous, and human behaviour is far too erratic – and things only get more complicated when you’re dealing with prospects from multiple marketing channels.

With that said, you’d do well to keep the following rules of thumb in mind:

  • Pick a single goal and stick to it. It could be gathering email addresses, getting visitors on board with a free trial, or closing a sale. Stay focused and keep it simple – don’t let too many options distract your visitors away from the purpose of your landing page.
  • Always be clear and consistent. Make sure your headlines, offers, and CTAs all match up to the messages you use in your other platforms and channels. Confirm and reassure your prospects, and you’ll build trust and confidence in your business.
  • Make it easy for every user and every device. No matter where your potential customers are or how they’re engaging with you, you need to make it quick and painless to move from interest to action.
  • Plan out every step of their journey. Your job is to make your visitors feel comfortable and informed enough to commit to your business – not to overwhelm them at the start or blast them with a demanding CTA as soon as they arrive.

It’ll be a long journey to fully optimise a landing page, and you’ll need plenty of testing along the way before you arrive at the best combination of tweaks.

But with enough time and diligence, you’ll start to see the results of a multi-channel marketing campaign that really converts – and a landing page that’s doing most of the work for you.

 

About the Author:
Danny Molt has been involved in design for almost 25 years working with some of the top uk design and marketing agencies. Having launched several companies online and offline, he is currently head of digital marketing strategies for Print-Print Limited
You can contact him at on Twitter @DanMolt

Read More at How to optimise your landing pages for multi-channel marketing

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/how-to-optimise-your-landing-pages-for-multi-channel-marketing/

How to Use Instagram Search & Explore to Boost Your Instagram Marketing

Instagram places a big emphasis on search and discovery of content. It’s one of the few social media platforms with a Search and Explore tab in its app.

Being featured in the search results or in Instagram’s Explore section can be a great way to boost your success on the network with added exposure and the chance to reach new users who may not have otherwise seen your content.

There are also several other ways you can use Instagram’s Search and Explore for your business — finding the best hashtags to use, engaging your fans, and finding influencers to collaborate with.

In this post, you’ll learn all the ways you can use Instagram’s Search and Explore to help your business success on Instagram.

Instagram Search & Explore - A Complete Guide for Businesses

What you’ll learn about Instagram Search for your business

To make reading easier, this guide has been broken down into five chapters, each detailing a way of using Instagram Search or Explore for your business.

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How Instagram Search and Explore works

Let’s first understand what you can search and explore on Instagram. Tap the magnifying glass icon to go to the Search and Explore tab.

Search

Instagram Search

Simply tap on the search bar to start searching. You can search for the following:

  • Top (i.e. all of the below)
  • People (i.e. Other users on Instagram)
  • Tags (i.e. Hashtags)
  • Places (i.e. Location tags)

You can search using the Instagram website, too. The only difference is that you can’t search for keywords by categories (e.g. people or tags) on the website. A workaround is to add “@” or “#” before your keywords when you are searching for people or hashtags respectively.

Here’s how Instagram determines your search results:

The search results you see are based on a variety of factors, including the people you follow, who you’re connected to and what photos and videos you like on Instagram.

When you tap on a username in the search results, you’ll be brought to the user’s profile.

When you tap on a hashtag or a location tag, you’ll see photos with the hashtag or location tag. There’ll be nine top posts followed by all the photos starting from the most recent photo.

Explore

Instagram Explore

Below the search bar is the Explore section. This section helps you discover posts you might like based on your Instagram activities, according to Instagram.

Posts are selected automatically based on things like the people you follow or the posts you like. You may also see video channels, which can include posts from a mixture of hand-picked and automatically sourced accounts based on topics we think you’ll enjoy.

Now, let’s take an in-depth look at how you can use Instagram’s Search and Explore feature for your business.

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How to get featured on Instagram’s Search and Explore

Being featured in the search results or in the Explore section of your target audience can help to expose your brand to people outside of your follower base. You could also get more engagement on your posts and gain more followers.

To get featured on Instagram’s Search and Explore, try these four ideas:

1. Add a location tag and (nine) hashtags

For your posts and stories to appear in a search result, you’ll need to add a location tag or hashtags to your post.

To add a location tag to a post, tap on any of the suggested locations while you are composing the post. If the location you want to tag isn’t suggested, tap on “Add Location” to search for your preferred location. If you can’t find your location, you can create one.

Adding location tag to post

To add a location tag to a story, tap on the sticker option and then the location tag sticker.

Adding location tag to Instagram story

To add a hashtag to a post, simply type “#” and the relevant keyword, such as #landscape, #ootd, or #igfood.

Adding hashtag to post

To add a location tag to a story, tap on the sticker option and then the hashtag sticker. Or tap on the text option and type a hashtag. Instagram would recommend relevant hashtags as you type.

Adding hashtag to Instagram story

You can add up to 30 hashtags per post but TrackMaven found that Instagram posts with nine hashtags perform the best in terms of engagement.

TrackMaven Instagram Hashtag Study - Instagram posts with nine hashtags perform the best in terms of engagement

To find the best hashtags to use, you could try tools like Focalmark or Display Purposes. In the next section, you’ll also learn how to use Instagram Search to find the best hashtags to use.

2. Time your posts

When you tap into a search result, the latest post will appear first (apart from the top posts).

Most recent posts

To optimize your posts for Instagram search, you’d want to publish when your target audience are most active (when they are scrolling through Instagram and searching for posts).

This way, there’s a greater chance of your post appearing near the top of the search result when your target audience is finding photos and videos on Instagram.

If you have an Instagram business profile, you can find the day and the hour of a typical day when your followers are the most active, in your Instagram Insights.

Buffer's followers activity

If you do not have a business profile on Instagram, you can use free Instagram analytics tools like Union Metrics’ free Instagram account check up or WEBSTA to find your optimal posting time.

(We’re making an assumption that your followers’ activity is representative of your target audience’s activity, which I think is a safe assumption to make.)

3. Create great, relevant content

In a search result, the top nine posts take up the most prominent space.

Top posts

According to Instagram, the top posts are selected based on its popularity (i.e. engagements such as Likes, comments, and shares). So the best way to have your posts in the Top Posts section is to create great, relevant content that your followers will engage with.

(I thought it might be worth mentioning again that you’ll need to include a location tag or hashtag in your post for it to appear in a search result.)

Here’re a couple of tips for creating content that could become a top post:

  • Use high-resolution photos: We noticed that high-resolution photos on Instagram tend to get more Likes and comments.
  • Use a niche hashtag that your target audience follows: As there is less competition for the hashtag, there’s a higher chance of your post making it to the Top Posts section.

4. Go live

Instagram features the top live videos in the Search and Explore tab.

Featured live videos

Admittedly, having your live video featured on the Search and Explore tab might be much harder to achieve than the other tips above. But it’s definitely worth a try!

The featured live videos are the ones that are trending due to the number of viewers, engagement, and proximity to the user’s location.

Here’re some ideas on how you can use Instagram live video:

  • Office hours or Q&A sessions
  • Launches and announcements
  • Take people behind-the-scenes
  • Interviews, collaborations, and takeovers
  • Experimental content

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How to use Instagram Search to find the best hashtags

Including hashtags in your post or story increases the engagement level.

Including the right hashtags ensures that your post or story appears in your target audience’s search results or Explore section.

Here’re two ways of using Instagram Search to find the best hashtags to use:

1. Instagram Search results

When you enter a word or a phrase in the search box and select “Tags”, Instagram will show a list of hashtags related to the word or phrase (i.e. search results).

For example, a Korean restaurant owner could search for “korean food” and find the relevant hashtags in the search results:

Finding the best hashtags through Instagram Search

Instagram will also show the number of posts for each hashtag. That tells you how popular that hashtag is.

Allen Harper, a photographer who wrote about Instagram hashtag use, suggested avoiding vastly popular hashtags.

Some hashtags are vastly more popular than others; however, popularity doesn’t always translate to effectiveness. For example, you’ll notice that #photooftheday, #like4like, #instagood, #iphoneonly, etc. are extremely popular. Unfortunately, since so many users throw these similar tags on their images, it means that their photos are buried in the pool within seconds and become virtually undiscoverable.

They are also tags that are nonspecific to any field or niche. In other words, what few people may be browsing these pools could likely overlook your photo because it’s not necessarily what interests them. In addition, the popular tags usually have a lot of bots/spammers that use this tag on images—you’ll earn yourself a lot of spam comments on whatever photo you posted with said tags.

I’d also avoid using hashtags that are infrequently used as it likely means that few people are interested in the hashtags. You can check the frequency of use by searching for a hashtag and seeing how often there’s a post with the hashtag.

That said, a hashtag could have few posts also because it is used only by a niche community. This makes it a great choice if that’s the community you want to reach. So it’s best to check out the posts with the hashtag before deciding if it’s suitable for your post.

2. Related hashtags

When you tap on a hashtag search result, Instagram would suggest related hashtags near the top of the app.

For example, a running shoes shop owner could search for “runner”, tap on “#runner”, and see these suggestions:

Finding the best hashtags through related hashtags

From there, she could explore the related hashtags and check out how popular the hashtag is and how frequent it is being used. Sometimes, Instagram suggests related hashtags that don’t show up in the search results (method one above). So if you can’t find a hashtag you’d like to use with method one, try this method.
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How to use Instagram Search to engage your fans

Your fans could be posting about your business on Instagram without tagging your account. Because they didn’t tag your account, you might not find out.

But, if they are using your branded hashtag or your location tag, you can still find those posts and comment on them.

1. Engage fans who use your branded hashtags

If you have created hashtags for your brand and encouraged fans to use them, it’ll be great to follow up and interact with their posts or stories.

The common ways of interacting with such user-generated content are:

  • Liking it
  • Commenting on it
  • Re-posting it
  • Featuring it on a website

For instance, Alpenglow suggests its users include #alpenglowapp in their posts and it’d repost their photos.

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Taking it one step further…

You can also check out and engage with posts and stories with hashtags relevant to your brand.

For example, a cafe could check out hashtags such as #coffeeoftheday, #coffeetime, and #instacoffee.

If you want to leave comments, I believe it’s important to leave thoughtful comments. Leaving short, generic comments (e.g. Awesome!) and emoji comments (e.g. 🙌) can come off as being insincere since it’s common for Instagram bots to leave such comments.

Now that you can search for stories with hashtags, I think it’d be great to surprise fans with thoughtful comments on stories with hashtags relevant to your brand and especially hashtags you created for your brand. While the Instagram story search feature is new and people rarely receive comments on their stories, it feels great to seize the opportunity before this becomes a common practice.

2. Engage fans at your location

This tip is more suited for local businesses such as cafes, restaurants, and hotels than online businesses.

If you have location tag for your businesses, I’d recommend checking it regularly to see if your customers have posted photos or stories at your place. If they had, you can follow up and thank them or ask them if they have enjoyed the food, stay, or experience.

If you don’t have a location tag for your businesses, here’re the steps for creating one:

Step 1: Open the Facebook mobile app and tap “Check In”.

Step 2: Type your business name in the “Where are you?” field.

Step 3: Scroll down to the bottom of the list and tap “Add (your business name) in (your location)”.

Tap “Add (your business name) in (your location)”

Step 4: Select the most appropriate category for your business

Step 5: Fill in your exact address and a photo that represents your place.

Fill up your exact address and add a photo that represents your place

(Be careful when you are creating a place as you can’t edit it once you have created it.)

Step 6: Hit “Create”!

Taking it one step further…

You could even engage with people who are near your place.

Go to “Places” in the Search section and tap on “Near Current Location”.

Search near current location

Or you could search for nearby locations such as points of interest where your target audience might be hanging out (and taking photos for Instagram).

When you find relevant posts or stories, you could leave a thoughtful comment.

For example, when I was in Madrid for our 8th Buffer retreat, I posted the following photo and tagged the plaza outside of the hotel. The hotel found my photo (through the location tag, I believe) and left a nice comment on it:

me_madridhotel: Woow lovely pic!

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How to use Instagram Search to find influencers

The last way to use Instagram Search for your business is to find Instagram influencers you’d love to collaborate with.

A study by Dr. Jonah Berger from the Wharton School, and the Keller Fay Group, the leading authority on word of mouth marketing research, found that influencers can effectively sway consumer behavior.

82% of consumers are “highly likely” to follow a recommendation made by a micro–influencer, compared to 73% who are highly likely to act on a recommendation from an average person.

Consumers “highly likely" to follow a recommendation made by an influencer

Here’re five ways you could find such influencers on Instagram:

1. People search

The first way is to select the “People” category and search for profiles using relevant keywords.

For example, an eatery could search for “food” and see the following search results:

Influencer search through people search

This method can be great for local businesses as Instagram seems to personalize your search results based on your location and the profiles you follow. The three profiles mentioned above are all food bloggers in Singapore (where I’m based).

2. Followers search

The second way is to look through your follower list as you might have fans who are influencers.

If you have a small following, you could look at each of your followers. If you have too many followers to do that (yay!), Shane Barker recommends looking at the profiles with the keyword in their username or name.

Using Shane’s example, a clean food eatery like Righteous Food could look out for usernames with “food” or “foodie”, in its follower list.

Influencer search through follower list

3. Location tag and hashtag search

The third way is to search for relevant location tags and hashtags and check out the top posts’ profiles.

Searching for influencers through location tags is effective for local businesses while searching for influencers through hashtags is better for finding niche influencers such as fitness or food bloggers.

For example, a small business owner that sells running gears could search for “#instarunners” and see the following posts:

Influencer search through hashtag

Then, she could check out the top posts as those posts are more likely to be from users with a sizeable following. She could also look through the most recent posts if she’s looking at a niche hashtag.

4. Explore section

The fourth way is to use the Explore section which curates the most relevant Instagram posts for your account based on factors such as the people you follow and the posts you like.

This can be the most efficient method if you have been following people relevant to your business and interacting with posts relevant to your niche. Instagram has essentially done the search for you!

I use my Instagram account mainly for my hobby, triathlon, and this is an example of what I see in my Explore section (you could assume this is what a triathlon apparel retailer would see, too):

Influencer search through explore section

These are posts that are similar to posts I’ve Liked or from accounts similar to accounts I’ve interacted with. I could check out these profiles and see if any of them is suitable for a collaboration.

5. Similar accounts

The fifth way is to use Instagram’s recommendations for similar accounts.

When you have found a potential influencer partner and followed her, Instagram would suggest similar accounts for you to follow. If the suggestions don’t appear, you can tap on the downward arrow beside “Follow” or “Following” to see the suggestions.

For example, a fitness apparel retailer could follow a fitness blogger and see the following suggestions:

Similar Instagram accounts

This method is great if you have already found a suitable influencer partner and wish to find more influencers like her.

To learn more about what to look for in influencers and how to work with them, check out Shane Barker’s go-to guide to Instagram micro-influencers.
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How do you use Instagram Search?

These are the different ways you can use Instagram’s Search and Explore for your businesses:

  • Boost your brand awareness by getting featured
  • Find the best hashtags for your brand
  • Discover posts to engage with
  • Search for influencers to collaborate with

Are there other ways that I’ve missed? It’ll be great to hear from you if you know of other cool ways of using Instagram’s Search and Explore.

Image credit: Unsplash

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/instagram-search

How to Add Gradient Text to your Adobe Muse Website

Muse For You - Gradient Text Widget - Adobe Muse CC - Web Design Ledger

How to Add Gradient Text in Adobe Muse. No Coding Skills Required.

 Muse For You - Adobe Muse CC Adobe Muse CC Logo

Gradients can be a great touch when wanting to add more styling to your website. With a lot of UI and UX design these days we are seeing gradients everywhere. It is actually a real art and skill to make sure the right colors blend together and to give the user a unique visual representation of a product or brand. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun with gradients and looking at different ways to incorporate more advanced gradients into Adobe Muse. Adobe Muse has its own built-in gradient option but it only allows you to add two colors and make the gradient either horizontal or vertical. That is why I released the “Advanced Gradients” widget that allows you to add more than two colors to a gradient and to set the gradient angle from 0 to 360 degrees. I myself have been using it quite often to add more styling to sample pages I’ve been creating. I will talk more about the Advanced Gradients widget in another article.

In this article, I am going to be covering the “Gradient Text” widget. I haven’t seen gradient text as often as elements with gradients so I thought now would be the perfect time to introduce it. Gradient text looks really slick and it can add that extra bit of styling to make a website really stand out.

Muse For You - Gradient Text Widget - Adobe Muse CC - Web Design Ledger

Here is how to add the Gradient Text widget in Adobe Muse:

1. Install the widget by double clicking on the .mulib file.

2. Go to the Library Panel in Adobe Muse. If you do not see the Library Panel go to Window > Library.

3. Click, hold, and drag the widget onto your Adobe Muse website. The initial text will say “Muse For You,” and it will have a blue to green gradient.

4. Set the instance number for the widget in the “Instance” section. Each new gradient text with different styling properties should have a unique instance number.

5. Type the text you would like to apply a gradient to in the “Text” section.

6. Format the text within the “Text” section of the widget. Here you will find all the options to customize the size, letter spacing, line-height, text transform, alignment, and font weight of the text. To change the font type for the text select the widget and then go to the built-in Adobe Muse text option and select a web font from the drop-down.

7. Next, open the “Gradient” section. Here you can set the gradient angle, the first color, and the second color for the gradient. You can also adjust the gradient position and opacity for each color.

8. There is an “IE Fallback” section that allows you to select the color for the text on browsers that do not support gradient text. At the moment Internet Explorer browsers do not support gradient text. The Edge browser does support gradient text.

9. To make sure the gradient shows up well within the text make sure the widget container is not too large in width. Making the width of the widget container larger stretches out the gradient behind the text and makes the gradient not as visible. You can set the gradient width so it is very close to the left and right side of the text.

10. Done!

For more video tutorials and widgets for Adobe Muse visit http://museforyoushop.com.

Happy Musing!

Read More at How to Add Gradient Text to your Adobe Muse Website

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/how-to-add-gradient-text-to-your-adobe-muse-website/

My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #25

flatiron school

My name is Mason Ellwood, and I’m currently working on Flatiron School’s Online Full Stack Web Development Program. Each week, I’ll be writing about my experience, what I’m learning, and tips on learning to code.

Throughout my courses that I have taken within The Flatiron School so far, I have realized one major thing. Holy smokes I have a lot to learn…. It was like when I got my first web job roughly five years back. In my mind at that time, the internet was this small thing.

It is kind of like a car to people who do not work on cars. A cars sole purpose is to get you to point A or B. But once you dive a little deep into that thing that you spend a lot of your time in or doing, like the internet, it turns into this very complex thing that is dependent on a lot of other pieces to make it work effectively. And not just the steering wheel and the gas pedal.

Like this example, the internet in my eyes was finally being realized. I found out that everything I knew about the internet was basically the big toe. Not even that, but the tip of the toenail. And as I slowly hiked the toenail, I got a glimpse of what that was attached to. And then inched my way forward and saw what that was attached to, you get the point.

What I am trying to say is, development is not an easy profession to master. You have to be well versed, intuitive and have the range to see the bigger picture. Which like everything take a lot of stinking time. The legs that make up the internet are insane, but with patience and practice, you can learn to master them like anything else.

When I am greeted with a new problem, from getting loops to work to ad code implementation I would probably say I spend 90% of my time reading about how to solve the problem, and one roughly 10% of that time implementing. But like everything that is how it is. Preparation and planning, only after this, implementation can become a seamless extension of that.

When I first started programming, my biggest issue with it was that every circumstance was unique to the next. Conceptually everything was roughly the same, but the pieces never quite fit into each other, even though I just completed a very similar issue. There was this constant adaptation to the next situation, which made it feel like you never quite had a grasp on what the code was actually doing. But this has become easier. I see the code as tools now. And each object or block of code is a new puzzle piece, which brings everything closer to completing a task.

So to say that programming is easy, I would not say it is, but like everything, practice increases proficiency. The Flatiron School has enabled me to increase proficiency and helped me see how all this “stuff” connects to each other, bringing together the whole picture.

Read More at My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #25

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/my-journey-of-learning-programming-through-flatiron-school-25/

How Can Getting An UltraWide Monitor Change a Designer’s Life

UltraWide_Academy_00

UltraWide_Academy_00

Curve and Create‘ by @Littledrill featuring LG UltraWide Monitor 34UC98

 

A couple of months ago, we got the chance to test LG’s UltraWide monitor. To be frank, my expectations before the monitor arrived weren’t very high. I’m a typical mac user and I’m not much of a monitor user. But that was before I got to use an ultra wide monitor.

Besides the amazing and pixel-perfect quality of the images, the extra space has helped me out tremendously to split screen work. Right now, I have google docs on the right, while I read some of the monitor’s specs online to the left. The only disadvantage for me is that I’ve developed a gaming habit since I got the monitor. The refresh rate is amazing and the graphics are to die for. But we’ll get to that later.

Going back to productivity, it is actually proven that using a larger monitor helped participants complete tasks up to 52% faster, saving an average 2.5 hours each day, according to a study by the University of Utah.

Designers, architects, and photographers find wide monitors or dual monitors appealing.

The benefits of the ultra-wide monitor are as expansive as the displays themselves. Hands down, the best part of this monitor is the immersive feeling of it all. The 34-inch curved screen seems to suck you in and just fully submerge you into the screen content. The Monitor’s resolution is 3440X1440, which is almost 4x the resolution of standard HD monitors.

 

The LG is obviously a great choice for people from the creative industry and content creators. This is why LG has partnered with leading design institutions to provide UltraWide Monitors to help students produce work that’ll transform their industries, from architecture to product design.  

  
UltraWide_Academy_01

Parsons Making Center 3D Lab

 

The most recent partner in this grant program is The New School’s Parsons School for Design in New York City, which received a state-of-the-art computer lab featuring new LG 34” Class 21:9 UltraWide Monitors.

 

Designers are taking full advantage of this monitor.

The 21:9 UltraWide displays offer more visual information on screen at once, creating a workspace that enables designers to be more productive compared to the usual two-monitor setup. They also utilize sRGB over 99% IPS technology, that guarantees color accuracy with factory color calibration and eliminating frustrating color shifting and distortion that is common with traditional monitors.  It’s easy to adjust settings via the On-Screen Control and the monitors have a Screen Split function with 14 options for simple multitasking.

UltraWide Monitor

Parsons student experiences LG UltraWide Monitor

 

“Personally, I think creative professionals would definitely benefit from it,” said Joe, an illustration alumni from Parsons. “The monitor is basically the new drawing board. The color correction and what you see on screen should be exactly what you printed. And if you’re video editing, then there should be no lag whatsoever.”

 

People are already praising the new LG monitor. According to a survey of Parsons students, over 70 percent felt the UltraWide’s expansive display made multitasking easier and improved productivity.

UltraWide Monitor LG

Parsons Making Center Graphic Lab

 

“It’s  very wide and makes it easy to create 3D models or use Adobe Creative Suite, as the screen’s big enough to accommodate all the panels.” said Lorraine, a Product Design student.

 

It’s awesome to see corporations like LG making the lives of fellow designers and creative folk easier.
If you haven’t tried an ultra wide monitor yet, I definitely recommend it. It’s an amazing and immersive experience and most definitely would make you more productive.

UltraWide_Academy_04

Parsons Making Center 3D Lab

Samuel, who is studying illustration said “I think the 21:9 monitor is the future of screens.  You are putting yourself inside the screen as it curves around you. It’s user oriented. It’s ergonomic. This brings full immersion; the future of virtual reality.”

For 2017, LG is considering a range different specialized schools — including institutes for photography, film and design — to receive the UltraWide Academy Sponsorship Program, furthering its commitment to giving talented individuals the freedom and comfort to create.

 

Read More at How Can Getting An UltraWide Monitor Change a Designer’s Life

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/can-getting-ultrawide-monitor-change-designers-life/

Microsoft Is Redesigning Windows 10 And We Love It

Fluent Design System - Material

Although Microsoft revealed a lot during its Build developer conference that took place in Seattle last week, for the developers, the most expected news was the announcement of the Windows 10’s biggest UI refresh:  Windows 10 “Fall Creators Update”. As the name implies, this update will come up later this year; because Microsoft didn’t want to say the exact date of this launch, I think it’s a fair bet to assume they will put it for all Windows 10 users somewhere in September.

There are many updates in the Fall Creators update, but perhaps the most notable is for the former Project Neon; except that now, it has another name: The Microsoft Fluent Design System. Given that the name is a mouthful, let’s all go ahead and agree to name it on short, Fluent.

Fluent not just brings a new aesthetic philosophy but also aims to give developers the access to a single design language that will work across all devices. According to Kevin Gallo, Microsoft’s VP for Windows Developer Platform, the team wanted to build a system that would help the developers write more “delightful” applications.

This update will actually come up with a number of few features that will change the way you use Windows device and possibly your smartphone. The Fluent’s overall design principles want to create a design language that looks light, feature layers and depth and animations, as well as materials. Because of its support for materials, Fluent will also bring back some translucency, which Windows app lost in the recent iterations of the operating system.     

In Gallo’s view, what makes it stand apart from the competition is that Fluent is meant to work well both in 2D and 3D environments. This is something Microsoft is very interested in, given its investment into HoloLens and the overall “mixed reality” ecosystem. According to Gallo, “the way we define this is that we wanted a design system that allows you to build for all devices”. Taking into consideration that Fluent is optimized for a wide range of use cases, it’s at least somewhat comparable with Google’s Material Design, in that both adopt a flat design philosophy.

For a quick view, you can check out Microsoft’s intro video below before we dive in.
Fluent is an aesthetic philosophy, made up of five primary aesthetic components. Here is the synopsis:

 

Light has a way of drawing out attention, being warm and inviting, fluid and purposeful. Light creates atmosphere, by adding an element of illumination to apps – particularly useful for mixed reality, in which illuminating where you’re gazing serves as a pointer, and helps separate UI elements from virtual environments.

light microsoft

Depth adds z-axis information to the UI for things like parallax effects and some extra pizzazz in mixed and virtual experiences. It helps establish a relationship between UI elements, adds some polish to animations, and can increase the sense of space within an app.

depth microsoft design

Fluent Design System - Depth

Motion adds animations that interconnect as you navigate throughout an app’s UI. It helps establish continuity as you move between pages, selections, and tasks. The seamless transitions keep you focused on the story and bringing experiences to life.

motion design

 

Material controls ‘physical’ properties of UI elements. It can help take the full advantage of the available screen space to celebrate content, bringing a sense of lightweight, ephemeral user experience.  The first of these is a frosted acrylic look, with modifiable characteristics. Materials can also dictate how the UI can “bend, stretch, bounce, shatter, and glide” as you interact with them, something that will likely play a greater role as mixed reality becomes more prominent.

Fluent Design System - Material

Scale affects how apps reshape and present themselves across different devices. Scale allows us expand our toolbox for more dimensions, inviting innovation across new device form factors. We can scale our design system from 2D to 3D, inviting innovations across new forms. The adoption of these responsive design concepts makes resizing windows much more useful than it was once.

 

These appear to be general concepts rather than hard-and fast rules.

But if you expect to see how Fluent will dramatically reinvent Windows 10 with the Fall Creators Update out of hand, you’ll be disappointed. Microsoft says only some Fluent elements will be found in the Windows 10 Creators Update, as the system was (and perhaps is) still being developed. When the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update ships later this year, the transition to Fluent won’t be complete yet. According to Aaron Woodman, a senior marketing director at Microsoft, “it’s going to be a long journey”.  So, you’ll start to see some elements of it this year, but Microsoft is describing Fluent as a series of ‘waves,’ each introducing new features and visual elements.

 

Fluent will be launched in gradual “waves”

Microsoft mention two “waves” for launching Fluent, but the graphic shown during the presentation seems to indicate at least five waves on the way; and still it’s not clear the timing for each wave. They could be launched with every new release of Windows 10, or the features will be made available as they come.   

Fluent-Design-Wave

Some of these features have already rolled out

You might’ve already seen some elements of Fluent if you have paid close attention to Microsoft’s first-party apps. The People, Calculator, Voice Recorder and Groove apps, are already showing off some of the cool lighting effects, transparent materials, and fancy animations.

 

Discovering Fluent Wave 1

Fluent Wave 1 seems to focus on five new specific effects for developers: Reveal Highlight, Acrylic Material, Connected Animations, Conscious Controls, Perspective Parallax. Most of these aren’t particularly revolutionary, and some of these effects could already be achieved, but Microsoft will feature these elements directly into Windows to give the regular users a cleaner more cohesive look and to ease the work of developers.

You can already find Reveal Highlight in some of Microsoft’s first-party apps mentioned earlier. It shows up as a glowing effect that highlights different buttons you can interact with. It helps show what you’re pointing at when using mixed reality apps, or when you’re hovering over a screen with a stylus.

acryllic-video recorder

Microsoft said that more materials are planned, but for now, they will start with just one: “Acrylic”. This is a translucent, generated material that uses Gaussian blur combined with noise to create a sort of plastic-like effect. Moreover, there are different types of acrylic materials you can use to establish design hierarchies or just prettify things a bit. They can also be assigned colors or match your current Windows theme.

Connected Animations: Adds seamless transitions for individual UI elements as you navigate around an app. For example, tap on an album in Groove, and the album cover will animate into place instead of instantly changing.

Conscious controls are a bit more of a vague concept than specific addition, but they are UI elements that can adapt to different device types and appear only as you need them. For example, scroll bars only appear when you hover over them, rather than taking up permanent space on the side of the window. And in the example shown below, tapping on the text box in Edge with a pen automatically displays a handwriting box.

Part of Fluent ‘Depth’ pillar, Perspective Parallax essentially puts different UI elements on different planes of the Z-axis, in order to help establishing some interaction hierarchy. Background might scroll slower than foreground elements, creating some parallax, which in turns adds a sense of depth.

These are just the features expected to roll up with the Fluent’s Wave 1, but there are also few concepts for future versions of Windows 10. Some of the new features already are, some of the concepts that flashed by during Microsoft’s demo reel are much more interesting and dramatic departures from the current aesthetic.

 

The message is clear: Fluent isn’t just something for Windows 10, but rather something that will likely permeate throughout the company – much like Material Design has shaped Google. In the future, we’re likely to see Microsoft branding evolve from the current totally flat design to something with a bit more variety and motion. It seems the company wants to make Fluent a pioneering UI for all 3D interfaces.

In any case, it’s crystal clear that we’ll be hearing about Fluent for quite some time – Microsoft is just getting started. 

Read More at Microsoft Is Redesigning Windows 10 And We Love It

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/microsoft-is-redesigning-its-platform-we-love-it/