Mesmerizing Graphics in Video Games

games graphics

Art comes in a variety of mediums, and the graphic elements in video games are no exception. Every year, video game designers create stunning, beautiful scenes and characters that are truly breathtaking. At Webdesignledger, we have quite of few self-proclaimed “gamers” who know the in and outs of spectacular video game graphics and the design elements involved. The graphic details and animations will transport you into another world.

The artistic expertise and technical competence needed to create a successful video game deserve to be acknowledged. We know video games, and we take pride in it. Check out some of these amazing video games with stunning graphics that we play just to stare at.

Hohokum

The breathtaking features of Hohokum can easier be observed than described. Hohokum takes you to a colorful world full of monsters and intricate details. This video game is categorized as an “art” video game. In Hohokum, the player controls a long, worm-like creature to explore whimsical worlds with no real plotline or objective. There is no way to “correctly” play this game, as the object is to enjoy the beautiful worlds and artistic designs. The game was created by developer Honeyslug and was released for the Playstation 3.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn was released in 2017 for the PlayStation 4 by Guerilla Games. This action role-playing game transports you to a post-apocalyptic world where you navigate a world overrun by machines as a female hunter. The visual aesthetics will have you questioning if this a live-action movie as you explore the open world. The transitions between night and day in this game create beautiful, storybook scenes. You will discover mountains, forests, cities, and a variety of weather patterns. Horizon Zero Dawn is a captivating third-person game that will make you call in sick from work to experience.

The Unfinished Swan

The Unfinished Swan is a video game that deserves praise from a design perspective because the player is in charge of creating and designing the world. In the beginning, you start with nothing, a white space. Objects only start to take shape after you have splashed black paint all over the canvas. This creates an elegant soothing aesthetic, where most of the world is in black and white until you are able to add color yourself.

 

The Unfinished Swan is an adventure game with a defined plot and a first-person player. This abstract game is visually stunning, where the player can live their own Van Gogh fantasies. The Unfinished Swan was originally released for the PlayStation 3 by Giant Sparrow, and then remastered and released for the PlayStation 4 in 2014.

Journey

Journey is an indie game published by Sony in 2012 for the Playstation 3, but the amazing graphics and addicting gameplay have stood the test of time. It has won dozens of awards and critical acclaim for its beautiful representation of the desert.  The warm colors and lighting throughout the world are hypnotizing, while the gameplay itself is seamless. Travel through the earth with a hooded figure, communicating with other humans and creatures only through song. The beautiful graphics of Journey won IGN’s Game of the Year in 2012.

Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus holds a special place in our hearts because it was released almost 12 years ago and then remastered in HD this year. The game is an action-adventure game by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 2. This gem is regarded in the industry as the first video game to ever consider graphics as an art form. The minimalist landscape designs, emotional journey, and immersive gameplay will immediately win you over.

The expansive landscape, now in HD, is nothing compared to the intricacy of the 16 humongous Colossi the main character must destroy. This game relies on amazing graphics and simple gameplay. There are no dungeons and no other characters other than you, the player. You can play it on the Playstation 4.

Wind Waker

The Legend of Zelda Franchise has been gracing us with their brilliant video game designs for over 30 years, and Wind Waker was no exception. Wind Waker is special because it was the first video game to adopt a cartoonish aesthetic. Some people were taken back by the childish graphics, while others marveled at the seamless graphics and beautiful setting. Experience a vast ocean as you travel by a small boat to dozens of islands, each one containing a secret. The game received critical acclaim for the style and format. The action-adventure game was remastered in HD for the WiiU in 2013.

Read More at Mesmerizing Graphics in Video Games

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/mesmerizing-graphics-video-games/

9 Easy-To-Use Accent Walls That Make Huge Statement

accent walls

An accent wall is a perfect way to make a statement in your home or office. If done correctly, accent walls can become the centerpiece of your home and contribute design elements that are trendy, yet classic. Designing an accent wall allows you to let your creative side take over; you can use contrasting colors, original patterns, or textured prints.

 

We will admit, however, that designing and installing an accent wall can be intimidating. To help you ease into your first accent wall adventure, we have gathered the perfect collection of accent walls that are easy to use and will amp up your next interior design project.

1. Beachwood

This coastal wood accent wall is the perfect way to make your beach-themed living room or bedroom feel nautical and classic. The pastels combined with a weathered gray allows any room to feel chic yet rustic. The best part? It is peel-and-stick! You can find this amazing coastal accent wall at Birch Lane.

2. Marble

In case you missed it, we are obsessed with marble. Marble accent walls create a contemporary look that appears expensive and timeless. Don’t shy away from using marble in your living room or kitchen, it can be both elegant and edgy. You can find a realistic marble wallpaper at Hayneedle.

3. Industrial Brick

You don’t have to live in a modern warehouse to get that industrial feel. You can use a fake brick hardboard wall panel or stucco. Believe it or not, local hardware stores carry brick panels that look and feel like real brick. We personally like this classic version of Kingston Brick from Home Depot.

4. Basket Weave

A 3D basket-weave pattern is a bold way to add texture and patterns to your room. You can buy these individually and paint them any color you want before installing. Basket-weave accent walls are fun to install and truly stand-out. You can score these in a pack of 10 from Overstock.

5. Classic Striped Accent Wall

If installing raised textures is not your speed, you can keep it classic and simple by painting bold stripes for your accent wall. We like a classic black and white stripe, but you can use your imagination when choosing contrasting colors.

6. Reclaimed Wood

The best thing about a reclaimed wood accent wall is that it can fit a modern theme or a country farmhouse theme. The natural wood colors can be paired with just about anything. This particular reclaimed wood accent wall from Hayneedle is printed on vinyl-coated paper and
comes in a pack with 8 panels.

7. Geometric Wallpaper

Wallpaper is an easy way to incorporate modern designs and pops of color without having to paint them yourself. We are obsessed with geometric patterns for an accent wall because it creates a sleek, warm feeling that attracts the eye. You can find this one and other geometric wallpapers from I Love Wallpaper.

8. Tile

Tile accent walls are the perfect design element to use in a modern bathroom. You can stick with the classic subway tile or go for a daring pattern and color palette. Whichever style you prefer, tile accent walls are easy to install and fun to incorporate in any room.

9. Murals

Wall murals bring any room to life. You can take any scenery, image, picture, or painting and create the perfect accent wall. We personally like city skylines and nature themes for an accent wall because it adds depth and color to an otherwise boring room. There are many websites that will help you create a mural. From there, you can apply the mural using an adhesive.

Read More at 9 Easy-To-Use Accent Walls That Make Huge Statement

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/9-easy-use-accent-walls-make-huge-statement/

Study: developers are more likely to be self-employed in the UK than anywhere else


Stack Overflow has published its 2018 UK & Ireland Developer Hiring Landscape, which examines trends in talent, recruitment, and developer demographics. As is the always the case with Stack Overflow research, it includes several fascinating insights. The one that caught my attention, however, is the rate of self-employment across the UK workforce. Nearly 12 percent of UK and Ireland-based coders work for themselves. According to Stack Overflow, this is higher than the US (7 percent) and the global average (10 percent). So, what’s driving this trend towards self-employment? Stack Overflow doesn’t offer any theories, but I have some of my…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web https://thenextweb.com/dd/2018/05/30/study-developers-are-more-likely-to-be-self-employed-in-the-uk-than-anywhere-else/

How to Use Pinterest: The Insider Guide for Businesses (With Strategies From the Pinterest Team)

Pinterest is one of the world’s leading platforms for sharing ideas and finding inspiration.

Over 200 million people flock to the social network each month to discover new products, recipes, destinations, articles, influencers, and so much more.

But Pinterest isn’t just for individual users like you and me.

It also represents a huge opportunity for businesses and brands looking to build an engaged audience and drive valuable traffic to their website:

  • More than 52% of Pinterest users report that Pinterest helps them find items to buy; and
  • 61% say they’ve discovered new brands and products from Promoted Pins.

Today, we’re excited to share with you exactly how to use Pinterest for business.

During an exclusive Facebook Live event with the Pinterest team, we learned more than 100 insider strategies and this article contains the very best of those ideas.

Let’s dive in!

How to use Pinterest: The insider guide for businesses

How To Use Pinterest - The Insider Guide for Businesses

Table of contents

Feel free to skip around as you please!

Looking for more insider tips? We recently hosted an exclusive Facebook Live event with the Pinterest team all about how you can succeed as a business on Pinterest. Brian Peters from Buffer along with Aaron Ru and Leon Lin from Pinterest shared tons of proven top tip and strategies to get the most out of Pinterest.

http://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbufferapp%2Fvideos%2F2034538683285235%2F&show_text=0&width=560

How to use Pinterest for business: Overview


Pinterest functionality is a lot different than what you might see on other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. And it’s constantly evolving!

Let’s start with a quick overview of the various features and terminology you’ll need to know in how to use Pinterest to the fullest.

Pins:

Pins are a central part of the Pinterest experience and they are how users discover new content.

As Pinterest puts it, “Pins are visual bookmarks that you collect on boards. You can save Pins you find on Pinterest or add new ones from your favorite websites.”

What is a Pinterest Pin?

Each Pin typically contains an image, infographic, or video and a link back to the original source.

Boards:

I like to think of Pinterest boards as a virtual version of an old-school cork board – allowing users to save their favorite pieces of content (Pins) in one place.

Pinterest explains, “Boards are where you save and organize your Pins. You can make boards for anything and everything—save your recipes to one board and your dream vacation destinations to another.”

What is a Pinterest Board?

Boards allow businesses and brands to curate their favorite content based on hundreds of topics and interests that users can quickly browse.

Repin:

Even if businesses aren’t creating original content for Pinterest, they can still add a ton of value to their followers through Repins.

A Repin is when a user adds a Pin to their own board while browsing Pinterest. It’s important to remember that when a user Repins an original Pin, the user who first pinned the image will also get credit.

What is a Pinterest Repin?

Keep in mind that Repins maintain the original source link of the content no matter how many times it has been Repinned.

Promoted Pins:

Like many other social networks, Pinterest provides businesses with a robust set of advertising tools to get their content in front of new users. In Pinterest’s case, they are called Promoted Pins.

Promoted Pins are Pins that businesses pay to appear where users are likely to notice them. The Promoted Pins a user sees are based on interests and activity on the platform (or because you visited an advertiser’s site or app).

What is a Pinterest Promoted Pin?

Fun fact: 1 out of 2 Pinterest users have made a purchase after seeing a Promoted Pin.

How to use Pinterest for business: Getting started


If you’re just getting started with how to use Pinterest or you’re wondering how you can take advantage of exciting new features for businesses, this section will help get you up and running in no time.

1. Create a Pinterest business account

There are two options to create a Pinterest business account. First, you can covert an existing personal account into a business account. Business accounts are better for marketing because they come with extra features, like Pinterest Analytics and Promoted Pins.

The second option is to create a business account from scratch:

Creating a Pinterest Business Account

Enter your business information such as email, name, website URL, and then hit “create account.”

Either way, we highly recommend creating a business account to get the most out of Pinterest.

2. Complete your Pinterest profile

Once you’ve created a new business account, there’s still some work to do to make sure it’s optimized for success.

Completing your profile is the next key step in ensuring that your account is discoverable and looks legitimate to users on Pinterest.

Complete Pinterest Profile

Make sure that your business name, profile picture, username, and description all match your brand identity across other social media networks.

3. Claim your business website

Claiming your website on Pinterest unlocks a host of great features including: analytics, a featured logo, early access to tools, and more.

Claim Website on Pinterest

To claim your website, you need to be able to edit your website’s HTML code. Here’s a easy-to-follow guide from Pinterest on how to quickly claim your website.

4. Create your first Pinterest Board

We’ll get into how to use Pinterest best-practices later n this guide, but for now I wanted to quickly show you how to create and organize your first board(s) so that you can start Pinning!

Head to your Pinterest profile and click on “Boards.” From there, click on the red “plus” symbol to create your first Board:

Create a Pinterest Board

Next, choose a name for your board and select if you would like to make the board “secret.”

How to Create a Pinterest Board

Only you (and anyone you invite) can see your secret Pins and boards. Secret Pins and boards won’t appear in the home feed, in search or anywhere else around Pinterest.

Setting your boards to “secret” will allow you to fill them with great content before ever sharing them with the world.

Once your board is created, there’s one more step before it’s ready to go. Hover over your newly created board and select the small “pencil icon” to edit your board’s settings:

How to Create a Pinterest Board Step 3

You can edit the individual settings for each board including: name, category, description, cover image, and more.

Filling out these details for each board will help with SEO (discoverability) as well as providing users with additional context about your account content.

5. Create your first Pin

Now that you have your board(s) in place, it’s time to start Pinning!

Here’s a quick breakdown of the various ways to Pin and Repin content on Pinterest.

Pinterest browser button

One of the easiest ways to Pin content to your boards from around the web is with the Pinterest browser button. Once installed, simply select the Pinterest button on your browser, choose and image to Pin, and select a board.

Pinterest Browser Button

Buffer Extension for Pinterest

One of my favorite ways to share content to Pinterest is with the Buffer Chrome Extension.

The Buffer Chrome Extension allows me to quickly customize and schedule Pins to my Pinterest account from anywhere on the web:

Buffer Pinterest Extension

Buffer will automatically add the Pins to your queue based on the schedule you have created. And Buffer will also share insights into how your Pins are performing once they are sent out.

I’ve found this saves me a ton of time and allows me to plan my Pinterest content days/weeks/months in advance.

We’d love for you to give Buffer for Pinterest a try for free!

Manually Pin your content

You can also create Pins from scratch manually.

To do so, choose the board that you would like to Pin to. Then, select “Create a Pin:”

Create a Pin on Pinterest

From there, you’ll be able to add Pin details such as the website URL, description, and featured image:

Create a Pin for Pinterest

Manually Pinning content is a great option as well if you’re in a pinch, but I prefer the Pinterest Browser Button or Buffer Extension in order to stay consistent on Pinterest and maximize results.

How to use Pinterest for business: Best-practices


We had the pleasure of chatting with Pinterest team members Aaron Ru and Leon Lin about how to use Pinterest for business.

Needless to say, they had a plethora of insider information to share!

Let’s start with some high-level advice on getting the most out of your Pinterest business account. Then, we’ll move into more specific strategies for Pins and boards.

Share your best ideas

The number one thing you can do to be successful on Pinterest is to focus on sharing your best ideas. According to Pinterest:

“The best Pins represent the best ideas – they’re inspirational and actionable. Create Pins that have a clear audience, and are engaging for that audience.”

Key takeaway: Inspirational and actionable.

How to Use Pinterest for Business

People come to Pinterest to find ideas from brands and businesses (like you), and they’re actively looking for new ideas and inspiration from great accounts.

Find your audience on Pinterest

Like many other social media networks, focusing on a niche group of highly-engaged users will produce far greater results than targeting a broad, unspecified audience.

If you focus on sharing consistent content within your niche, people will start to look to you as a continual source of inspiration and information. Focusing on a niche audience will also produce favorable results within the Pinterest algorithm.

As the Pinterest team puts it, “Our system will then do the work of showing your content to more people who might also be interested in your Pins.”

Check out the latest pins from our friends over at Canva:

Canva Latest Pinterest Pins

Every new Pin is focused on the specific theme of design. Now, anytime a user needs some design inspiration, they know they can go to Canva directly on Pinterest.

Be patient, stick with it

Unlike social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where engagement and reach typically happen within the first 24 to 48 hours, content on Pinterest will continue to grow over the course of days, weeks, months, and even years.

In that regard, Pinterest is one of the most powerful social media networks for long-term growth and sustainable traffic to your website – a major advantage!

The Pinterest team’s biggest piece of advice when it comes to long-term growth:

How to Use Pinterest for Business Marketing

“Be patient and stick with it. Publishing consistently over consecutive months is the best way to build a dedicated audience.”

How to use Pinterest for business: The art of the Pin


The Pinterest team shared more than 75 tips, tricks, and strategies on how to use Pinterest Pins and boards. We’ve distilled that information down into the most actionable takeaways for marketers and businesses, starting with Pins.

The art of the Pin: Images

Pinterest is a visual-first platform and so a good image can make all of the difference in maximizing results.

Use unique, eye-catching images

Images that stand out, are colorful, unique, and say something specific about what you have to offer will give you a major edge compared to other content on the platform.

The Pinterest team explains further, “Lifestyle images are often more effective than product shots. Much of what works with traditional print ads works on Pinterest as well (angles, graphic backgrounds, color, use of space, etc.)”

Use high-resolution, uncluttered images

Similar to most all social media networks and websites, you want to make sure that the images you share are in full, high-resolution. If your images are pixelated, small, or unclear, they will not capture users’ attention in the Pinterest feed.

You’ll also want to steer clear of cluttered images.

According to Pinterest, 80% of Pinners use Pinterest on mobile, so check out your Pin on mobile to make sure the message is easy to digest (and that text is legible in the desktop feed as well as on smaller, mobile formats.)

Use a vertical aspect ratio

As Pinners and marketers know, Pins are organized into columns. Meaning that vertical images take up more space and stand out more in the feed.

The ideal aspect ratio for a vertical Pin is 2:3—600px wide x 900px high.

Here’s a great example from the Social Media Examiner Pinterest account:

Square images – 600px wide x 600px tall – can work well, too!

*The Pinterest team advised businesses to make sure that Pins do not exceed a 2:3 ratio because they’ll get cut off and/or distributed less frequently.

Consider adding a little copy

If your image doesn’t give enough context on its own, the Pinterest team recommends adding copy to the image to help land your message.

But as we mentioned before, try to keep the copy simple and don’t let it clutter the overall image.

Add tasteful branding

To convey credibility, build a brand, and help people understand who or where the Pin is coming from, try including your product, packaging, or logo in your image.

Here’s an example of an infographic we created to promote our blog post on Pinterest – including the Buffer logo directly at the top:

Pro-Tip: Avoid logo placement in the corners of the Pin, or it will get covered up by our visual search icon.

Use multiple images

Did you know: Pins that feature multiple products generally get 30% higher clickthrough rates and 20% higher checkouts, possibly because they evoke curiosity and inspire people to act?

The Pinterest team explained that this works especially well for food, DIY, and beauty content creators who show how-to steps.

It also works well for outfit, roundup, and before/after Pins!

The art of the Pin: Title, description, and hashtags

Provide helpful, detailed descriptions

It probably goes without saying, but Pins with descriptions drive more clicks to your site than those without.

If your objective is to drive clicks, use the description to hint that there’s more to see on your website. Don’t give everything away on Pinterest – just enough to pique a user’s curiosity.

Pinterest mentioned that a strong call to action—like “shop,” “make,” “find,” or “buy”—will encourage people to take the next step.

Use solid, well-researched keywords

One of the keys for ensure that your Pins remain discoverable over a long period of time is to think of the Pinner’s mindset when they are looking for content like yours… and then incorporate those keywords directly into the title and description.

For example, if you’re a DIY blogger with great summer drink recipes, use words like “summer”, “drinks”, “non-alcoholic”, and “recipe” in the title and description.

Or, if you’re a financial services company trying to reach new home buyers, try “home purchase” and “financial help.”

Pro Tip: The Pinterest Search function can help you find new keywords. If your Pin is a roast chicken recipe, for example, search for “roast chicken” on Pinterest. You’ll see suggested searches for “roast chicken whole” and “roast chicken oven,” and search guides like “simple” or “cast iron.”

All of these are great keywords you can add to your description when appropriate!

Add up to 20 relevant hashtags

Yes, it’s true!

Hashtags are a key part of the Pinterest search and discoverability experience.

The Pinterest team recommends that individual Pinners and businesses use up to 20 hashtags to help users discover trending, relevant content.

Pro Tip: Hashtags should act as broad search terms, not niche humor (#springfashion is great, #ilookterribleinhats is not).

Utilize video Pins to bring your ideas to life

Video content on Pinterest can be an incredible way to bring your ideas to life with motion and sound.

To use up as much screen space as possible, make sure your videos are designed for mobile, and are exported in either square or portrait format.

Shorter videos work best when you want Pinners to discover you (if your goal is awareness or storytelling). Go longer when you want people to do something with your idea (great for education or tutorials).

The art of the Pin: When and how to save images

Once you have a good feel for what sort of content works for your business on Pinterest and an array of relevant Pins and boards on your profile, it’s time to master the art of when and how to Pin.

Here’s a list of quick tips to get you started!

First five Pins each day are prioritized for distribution

According to Pinterest, you won’t be penalized for having a lot of Pins. However, aim to keep them organized in relevant boards.

It’s also a good idea to save Pins regularly, rather than all at once. In other words, consistent, daily activity is much better than a once-a-week or once-a-day flurry of Pins.

Buffer for Pinterest

By using a tool like Buffer for Pinterest, we’re able to schedule content out days, weeks, and even months in advance. This allows us to keep a consistent stream of Pins flowing to our boards without “spamming” our followers or missing out on positive Pinterest algorithm benefits.

Always include links

When people click on a Pin, they expect to be taken to a landing page so they can learn more about the idea or information that you shared on Pinterest.

That means ensuring that your content includes a relevant link to the original source every single time – even if the link does not lead to your own website.

*Note: Pinterest does not distribute Pins with broken links.

Lean into trends

People come to Pinterest well in advance of the season, holiday, or event they’re planning for.

Start saving Pins about upcoming trends, seasonal events, or holidays around 45 days in advance. Then keep adding more ideas daily and maintain a steady pace of content.

For example, Cristin Cooper // The Southern Style Guide shared a variety of birthday party themed Pins leading up to the summer season here in the United States:

Pinterest users could then save her Pins leading up to their event(s) and refer back to them later for inspiration.

Linking multiple Pins to the same destination

Pinterest best-practices show that it’s a beneficial strategy to save a variety of images that appeal to different types of Pinners  – all linking back to the same source or destination.

When doing so, just make sure to add specific descriptions for each Pin. This will greatly help to improve your SEO.

Save to the most relevant board first

The Pinterest team shared that it’s great to save a Pin to multiple boards, but that it’s important to save to the most relevant board first – that Pin will get distribution priority in the Pinterest feed.

And remember that saving Pins to irrelevant boards won’t help and may hurt the distribution of your content on Pinterest.

In other words, make sure the Pin and board are a perfect match.

Add content to Pinterest while it’s fresh

Last, but not least, Pinterest prioritizes Pins that are new to the world and to Pinterest.

As soon as you create new content on your website or on other social media channels, be sure to save it to Pinterest as well.

You can quickly do this by utilizing Buffer Tailored Posts, which allows you to schedule unique content to each social media platform from one place.

How to use Pinterest for business: The art of the board


Now that we’ve covered just about everything marketers and businesses need to know about Pins, it’s time to chat about how to use Pinterest boards.

Again, the Pinterest team shared several useful, insider tips to maximizing Pinterest board results.

Strategically name your boards 

First and foremost, ensure that your board names are specific and relevant to your audience on Pinterest. Be creative, but use board names that contain strong keywords for SEO.

Looking at the Cristin Cooper // The Southern Style Guide profile again, she has clear, well-defined audience in mind with straight-forward, yet creative board names:

How to Use Pinterest Boards

Each board above is structured around a fairly general keyword and topic, allowing her to save a variety of Pins to each.

Create at least 5 cohesive boards 

One big mistake businesses often make when creating boards on Pinterest is that none of their boards are connected to a specific theme or style. Their profile seems to be a bunch of random topics, which can be confusing to Pinners.

Try organizing your boards with sections, styles, or specific topics, where it makes sense.

For example, Food Network organizes several of their boards around a fun theme they call, “Let’s”:

How to Use Boards - Food Network Pinterest

“Let’s Cook”, “Let’s Watch”, “Let’s Celebrate” is their unique way of utilizing relevant topics and keywords to grow their audience while also adding their own uniqueness to their Pinterest profile.

Optimize your board for search

Another way to have your content discovered on Pinterest on a consistent basis is to use your boards as an individual SEO tool.

To optimize your board for Pinterest SEO, start by adding keywords to your board description and pick a board category to help the Pinterest algorithm better understand your content. I.e., what it’s about, who it’s for, what it contains, etc.

You can add keywords and a board description directly within the board editor.

Join group boards authentically

Pinning solo is great, but teaming up with other influencers and businesses on Pinterest can help take your results to the next level.

Group boards are the perfect way to collaborate with other Pinners and can help to show your audience brand new content from two brands that they might love.

*Note: The Pinterest team does not recommend joining group boards as a strategy to increase your followers. But joining group boards will give your content a boost as Pinterest prioritizes content to Pinners who’ve opted to follow your boards as a result of the partnership.

How to use Pinterest for businesses: Key takeaways


There is a TON to learn about how to use Pinterest for businesses. We hope this guide will serve as your launch pad for incredible results on Pinterest moving forward.

We recommend starting off small – experimenting with a few of the Pinterest strategies above and then increasing your output and experiments over time.

If we could leave you with just three tips on how to use Pinterest before you go, they would be:

  1. The best Pins represent the best ideas. Great Pins are inspirational and actionable. Create Pins that have a clear audience and are engaging for that audience.
  2. Focus on finding an authentic audience on Pinterest. If you optimize your content and boards, the Pinterest algorithm will do the work of showing your content to more people who might also be interested in your Pins. The key is consistency!
  3. Be patient and stick with it. Unlike social networks where all of your audience reach typically happens in the first 24 hours, your content on Pinterest will continue to grow over the course of months or even years. Publishing consistently over consecutive months is the best way to build a dedicated audience.

In-case you missed it, we’d love to invite you to check out our recent Facebook Live event with the Pinterest team – Lots of incredible insider tips shared!

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/how-to-use-pinterest

How to Keep Website Visitor Retention High with Uncode

Of the more than 1.8 billion websites on the worldwide web, a few million or more of them could accurately be described as beautiful, awesome, stunning, and of course, responsive. The use of imagery, together with responsiveness is essential; but what about other elements that are necessary to promote and nurture visitor retention?

If a website is to be a success, which implies it is capable of keeping a visitor from moving on after viewing it for approximately 15 seconds, it must be designed with visitor retention in mind. As you are about to see, visual experiences are not only necessary for visitor engagement and retention and building visitor loyalty; they have become mandatory.

And, here is how you can create those experiences.

 

  1. Use a Vibrant Color Palette

Vibrant colors attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and entice them to hang around. Humans react much the same. It isn’t just the colors that do the trick however. It’s how they are used.

Flashing lights soon become irritating, and colors that scream for attention will as well. The secret is to make clever use of color combined with an equally clever use of white space. Done correctly, it’s not difficult to lead a visitor to the text or video content that conveys important information.

Take this Uncode Theme based website for example –

Where bold color and white space combine to create an eye-catching visual experience.

 

  1. Use an Element of Surprise – Animation

When your website constantly surprises your visitors, it’s much more likely to retain their attention. You want them to be pleasantly surprised and looking for more. Just as bombarding them with colors can produce negative results, so can “in-your-face” popups (Act Now!!!) and excessive animation.

Instead:

Animate page elements to slide, zoom, or pop up. Slideshows on the home page can be extremely effective in generating and maintaining interest. Moving backgrounds (parallax) or having blocks of text pop up against a background image as a visitor scrolls down are also worthy of consideration.

Don’t simply animate page elements at random, however. The movement should appear natural and not out of place.

Like in this home page example. Click to see the animation effects.

A slideshow with moving elements is hard to resist.

 

  1. Use Video Above the Fold to Convey Key Information

Don’t make the mistake of placing video too far down the page. It’s most effective by far when placed above the fold. Placing it above the fold is also the best way to keep a visitor from swiftly moving on to another page or website.

Encourage the visitor to click on Play. A video that starts automatically is seldom a good idea and can even serve as a distraction. Not only might a viewer require a few seconds to get “tuned in” to the video, but a self-starting video tends to disrupt the website’s natural feel.

Note how easy it is to find the Play button. Clicking it on this screenshot won’t make anything happen. Instead, visit the website, click on the arrow, and be prepared to be entertained!

Make sure the Play button’s color stands out (in this case, white is an excellent choice). Another tip is to use a frozen-in-action, or scenic thumbnail to attract attention.

 

  1. Presenting Uncode

Get off to a super start in your quest to achieve high visitor attention with Uncode – the WordPress theme created to help you create stunning visual experiences.

To experience where this WordPress theme can take you, visit its impressive demo catalog. These demos illustrate why Uncode is perfect for designers, creatives, shop owners, marketers, and anyone else who wants a website that visitors will refuse to leave until they’ve accomplished what they came for.

You don’t have to create pages from scratch, since everything is done for you. Worried about coding? Don’t be – that’s been done for you as well.

It’s simply a matter of choosing a template, building a site with a few clicks, adding your content, and hitting Publish.

Features:

  • The powerful and popular Visual Composer makes creating extraordinary visuals a snap.
  • Easily mix and match sections, galleries and slides with Slide Scroll and Snap Scroll
  • Online shop? Check out the WooCommerce Single Product feature.

Tip: Before you start on your own, we suggest viewing the Uncode Showcase and see what others have done. Ideas and inspiration abound!

 

Are you ready for the GDPR? Uncode helps you.

 

The new GDPR legislation is enforceable on May 25th, 2018. It upholds the highest standards of data privacy, and applies to any website that collects data from EU citizens. This means if you’re running a website and at least some of your users reside in the EU, the GDPR applies to you. Uncode helps you with new dedicated features.

 

Using Uncode WordPress Theme

 

 

One of the best ways that you can use visuals to achieve high visitor retention is by using Uncode. Uncode is a WordPress theme that takes a dull site and turns it into a stunning and creative experience. This theme comes with an extensive demo catalog. Uncode is for web designers, photographers, video makers, bloggers, marketers, and business owners. Every demo in the catalog is unique. Each features Parallax images, one-click galleries, and elegant designs for eCommerce.

 

Conclusion: How Best to Use Visuals to Ensure High Visitor Retention

Your website doesn’t have to be top dog among billions of websites, but it does have to stand out to gain high visitor retention – and here’s how to make it happen.

Keep your visitors entertained. A constant stream of surprises is an excellent way to do so. This is best accomplished by using stunning visuals, vivid color schemes coupled with a clever use of white space, animated home page elements, and an integrated, above-the-fold home page hero video.

Uncode makes it easy to accomplish all the above with a few clicks, a few drags and drops, and zero coding. A stunning portfolio site, a blog guaranteed to attract a loyal following, or a flawless eCommerce shop can be yours in a few hours.

Read More at How to Keep Website Visitor Retention High with Uncode

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/how-to-keep-website-visitor-retention-high-with-uncode/

Square launches its Square Stand payments system in the UK


Square, the payments company founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, is aggressively expanding in the UK. Today, it announced the British launch of the Square Stand, which turns an iPad into a full point-of-sale (POS) system. The Square Stand lets vendors process card payments, track sales, and manage inventory. Square launched the device in the US in 2013, where it has undergone several iterations and improvements. As is the case stateside, the company expects it to be popular with smaller vendors who otherwise wouldn’t possess the equipment to take card transactions. In a press release, Jesse Dorogusker, Hardware Lead for Square,…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web https://thenextweb.com/uk/2018/05/24/square-launches-its-square-stand-payments-system-in-the-uk/

How Facebook Marketing is Changing (And How to Be Prepared)

Too busy to read? Just click the play button below to listen to this post.

http://data.voxsnap.com/player/v1/buffer/voxsnap.js

Facebook, as a platform, is barely recognizable from the social network that launched to connect Harvard University students in February 2004.

And looking ahead, the Facebook of five years from now is highly unlikely to resemble the product that 2.2 billion people use every month right now.

That’s no bad thing. If Facebook is to thrive over the next 5, 10, 15+ years, it’ll need to evolve.

Here’s where we think it’s heading…

Back in January, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, outlined his vision for the future of Facebook on his Page:

http://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fzuck%2Fposts%2F10104413015393571&width=500

What followed was an update that would prioritize posts from friends and family over public content from Pages in the News Feed.

And just a couple of weeks back, Facebook announced another significant update that could signal a new path for the platform — an update that only developers are likely to have picked up on so far.

On April 25, Facebook announced some API changes on its developer blog:

The `publish_actions` permission will be deprecated. This permission granted apps access to publish posts to Facebook as the logged in user. Apps created from today onwards will not have access to this permission. Apps created before today that have been previously approved to request `publish_actions` can continue to do so until August 1, 2018.

These changes mean that developers, and platforms like Buffer, will be unable to post content on behalf of personal Facebook profiles. This brings Facebook’s API in-line with Instagram’s, meaning developers can only post to business profiles and pages on both Facebook and Instagram.

For more information on how these API changes relate to the Buffer product, you read this full overview with all the details in the Buffer FAQ.

At Buffer, we believe it paints a pretty clear picture that Facebook wants individuals to be interacting with its products (Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp) and others on the networks in a manual, deliberate way — whether that is posting content, consuming content or engaging with content.

What this means for the Facebook ecosystem

Facebook seems very keen to encourage more users to share content and counter the decline of user-generated posts.

For example, its recent focus on Stories and Groups could be seen as a way to encourage more unique content. This, coupled with the “meaningful interactions” update, shows that Facebook might be hoping that more unique content shared by users, reaching more of their closest friends and family will help to spark more conversation and interaction on the platform.

In his January update, Zuckerberg shared:

The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.

For many, Facebook has evolved into a passive experience. Somewhere you go to view a photo, read a news story or watch a video, but not a place you share and engage with friends.

Throughout 2018, and beyond, Facebook will likely continue to experiment with ways to connect users to those closest to them and encourage time on Facebook to be time well spent.

So rather than prioritizing content that might grab a user’s attention, but drive little interaction, Facebook will favor the content that sparks conversations and brings people closer together.

As Brian Peters’ explained in a recent post:

Active interactions such as sharing, commenting, and reacting will hold much more weight than “passive” interactions such as clicking, viewing, or hovering.

The API changes could also help from a privacy and trust standpoint too, as users will know that every update shared by themselves as well as their friends and family will have come directly from them.

So no apps or third-party products will be posting on their behalf or accessing their own or their friends’ data without being given really explicit permission.

What this means for businesses on Facebook

It appears that Facebook wants to encourage businesses to continue to create and share high-quality content on its platform and will continue to support third-party tools (like Buffer) that help businesses to create, schedule, publish and analyze the performance of their content.

At Buffer, we also believe that these changes will help to make Facebook a “healthy” environment for both businesses and individuals. As Joel recently shared:

These new restrictions are more likely to affect products that are pushing the boundaries of what are healthy social media strategies. We believe that the changes will result in a healthier ecosystem for Facebook and Instagram and, by extension, a better place to be for our mutual users.

But what does this mean for marketing on Facebook? Here are a couple of thoughts… 

Fewer posts will receive organic reach

Overall, I believe that this might lead to marketing on Facebook feeling a little more like search engine marketing — a direction we’ve been heading in for a couple of years as organic reach has declined.

On Facebook now, some of your best content will still reach your audience and organically take off (similar to reaching page 1 of Google for a relevant keyword) and this will happen for 1-2% of the best content on Facebook.

And for those pieces of content that don’t break through organically, Facebook’s advertising product offers the chance to display your content to your target audience using its incredibly powerful targeting features (similar to using Google AdWords).

Content should become a destination

There’s also an opportunity for businesses to start thinking about episodic content — the type of stuff your audience will actively seek out if they get into a routine of knowing when it’s published.

Much like how people might purposefully open Netflix to watch the latest episode of their favorite series, people will begin to actively seek out the best content on Facebook.

Moz’s Whiteboard Friday has made their blog a go-to destination for search engine marketers for a few years. And now we’re seeing similar on Facebook. For example, The Ringer’s NBA Desktop show has basketball fans heading to their Facebook Page to check out the latest episode every Tuesday and Friday.

But episodic content doesn’t have to mean high-end video production. It could be a weekly Facebook Live session, daily featured images or a question of the day (using Facebook’s polling feature).

Marketers need to start thinking about how they can make their content worth seeking out. It’s almost like “Inbound Marketing 2.0”.

Instead of interrupting the Facebook News Feed with content, how can you make your content a destination for your target audience?

That’s the big challenge ahead for social media marketers.

Over to you

What are your thoughts on the future of Facebook marketing? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/future-of-facebook

10 Gorgeous Typewriters Every Writer Dreams About

typewriter

Historians have calculated and found out that the typewriter was invented 52 times along the history. One of the first versions was 2.5 meters tall. Another version was build completely out of wood. For almost a century, the typewriter became indispensable. Nowadays, we can only find it at the museum.

In 1714, the British-man Henry Mill was patenting his invention, but it didn’t make it to it’s final metal form. The Italian man Turri Pellegrino created a functional device in 1808. But neither the machine, nor a description of it haven’t survived to these days. All we have left are the textes typed with this typewriter.

The next “remington” was registered in 1868 by a mechanic named Christopher Latham Sholes, from Milwaukee, a quite strange man,oddly dressed. He looked for a producer for five years and he needed other eight influencers in order for his creation to draw the attention of the people and of the governmental institutions. On first of March 1973, the American company of guns “Remington” started the serial production of the typewriters.

Sholes also invented the QWERTY keyboard, adopted later on by the electric computers. He has closely analyzed which letter are mostly used together in English and he set them onto some little metal arms. The first writer to have used the typewriter was Mark Twain.

Initially, the people from the Remington company thought that the typewriter will be mostly used by the women. They decorated all their products with all sorts of flowery patterns. However, in 1910, 19% of the officially registered typists in the USA were men.

The Word Record for typing registered in the Guinness Book was set by Barbara Blackburn in 2005. She was able to stroke the keys 750 time per minute.

At the end of the 20 century, the typewriter had the same end like many other crucial inventions such as the steam engine or the CD-player. It became history.

The sound of typing is one reason to own a vintage manual typewriter — alas, there are only three reasons, and none of them are ease or speed. In addition to sound, there is the sheer physical pleasure of typing; it feels just as good as it sounds, the muscles in your hands control the volume and cadence of the aural assault so that the room echoes with the staccato beat of your synapses.

These are the very words of Tom Hanks in an article for New York Times, describing the emotions he feels when “playing” his typewriters. This is definitively something that many millenials will never experience. Unfortunately, letter are not a thing anymore. The only envelops people get in mailboxes nowadays contain bills, flyers, and whatnot. I won’t say that I wish letters were still a things, because I appreciate the development and progress of technology. But sometimes we have to go back in time, to the origins or predecessors of the gadgets we have today, and to commemorate them and their contribution to today’s advanced technology.

That being said, we have put together a list of the most beautiful typewriters out there that every writer, amateur or professional, would want it.

1. Sholes Glidden (1874)

 

2. Hall (1881)

Typewriter

3. Merritt (1890)

typewriter

4. Univeral Crandall No. 3 (1893)

Typewriter

5. Blickensderfer No. 5 (1893)

Typewriter

6. Peerless (1895)

typewriter

7. Hammond No. 12 (1905)

typist

8. Crandall – New Model (1887)

9. Lambert Typewriter

10. Commercial Visible typewriter – 1898

gorgeous typewriter

 

We really hope you liked all these gorgeous typewriters just as much as we liked them. Let us know which was your favorite one in the comment section below.

Read More at 10 Gorgeous Typewriters Every Writer Dreams About

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/10-gorgeous-retro-typewriters/

This startup wants to make buying a dog online safer and more ethical


Each year, Brits buy 1.5 million puppies, with much of the trade happening online. For obvious reasons, this can be a difficult and risky process, not least for the dogs involved. While there are some reputable breeders, there are also far too many unscrupulous puppy farmers. These high-volume breeders care only about their bottom line, and not the health of the dog. It can often be difficult distinguishing between the two categories of rearers. One service trying to fix the online dog market is the London-based Tailwise, which has built a monitored, curated market for dog breeders. The only breeders allowed…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web https://thenextweb.com/tech/2018/05/21/this-startup-wants-to-make-buying-a-dog-online-safer-and-more-ethical/

Making Britain a tech success means looking outside London


Yesterday, Tech Nation published its survey of the British tech scene: the 2018 Tech Nation Report. The name Tech Nation might be unfamiliar to many. It’s the government body deigned to advocate for Britain’s tech industry that formed after the merger of Tech City UK and Tech North earlier this year. Its annual report takes a fine-tooth comb to everything UK tech. It looks at almost everything concerning the industry, from exits and funding rounds, to diversity and demographics. I must admit, many of the findings punctured the conception I had about the UK’s tech scene being London-centric and young.…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web https://thenextweb.com/uk/2018/05/18/making-britain-a-tech-success-means-looking-outside-london/