After the design

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So I’ve basically only been covering design theories and how a site should look based on the audience. However, I wanted to search words that designers/web creators should and should not use on their site. I found a site that talks about certain words that could possibly increase web activity!

First, for companies that are selling a product, these are words that, according to research, increase web traffic.

  1. alleviate
  2. avoid
  3. bargain
  4. best
  5. bonus
  6. coupon
  7. gain
  8. get rid of
  9. heal
  10. new
  11. prevent
  12. restore
  13. reviews
  14. training
  15. scam

According to orbitmedia, “As Google evolves, search results are based less on specific phrases and based more on general meanings. This benefits websites that have sections of many pages relevant to the wider topic, all related and interlinked. Creating several pages using buyer keywords helps indicate that your site is relevant for the broader, semantic meaning.” This means that as a designer, it is important to know certain keywords and phrases that can attract attention.

Another piece of information that can help people when designing their site is thinking about clever headlines. According to orbitmedia, these are a few words that have created viral posts.

  1. smart
  2. surprising
  3. science
  4. history
  5. hacks
  6. huge
  7. critical

The article goes on to talk about words that can help gain retweets on Twitter, or what a subject line should look like for an email. It’s crazy to think how certain words can change the game.

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Best Designed Apps

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I just went over the best apps for design tools, but what about the best designed apps? Let’s see what there is out there that comes out on top.

First is the Arles Festival App. Clarity is one of the essential elements of a good UI design. It should not confuse your users nor give them a hard time figuring out how to use your interface. And you can find that in this app designed especially for the Arles Festival, which has around a hundred thousand recorded visitors annually since its inception.

Next is the Eda.ua – Food Delivery iPhone App. This mobile design version for an existing website is designed by a group of designers from the Ukraine. The app has both an iOS and Android version with a very friendly UI designed especially for the food delivery business. In order to meet usability standards, the designers conducted intensive market research and took note of various offbeat ideas. Then, they created and tested an interactive prototype with over 100 wireframes to ensure that the app design meets the needs of the client’s business.

Third is the Workout Book App. Unlike other workout apps, the Workout Book easily records your workouts and lets you see all the necessary information at a glance right on the home screen. Create your own workout with just a flick of your fingers and press save. Customize, set the day, and the targeted area you want to work on. Each workout has a color tag so you can easily look over them and monitor what you have missed.

Designer Videos

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I want to keep some videos on file that I can come back to to learn how to use design tools on programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Below are a few Youtubers who have the skills!

Stephen is the creator of the Graphic Designer Tips YouTube channel, which is one of the best online resources for learning Adobe Muse, and Adobe Illustrator, as well as the overall Logo Design and Print Layout Design process. What makes Stephen’s channel unique are his series. Stephen has multiple 20 video deep playlist walking you through projects from start to finish. (https://youtu.be/KkK8_DsJEIw?list=PL9k8t41FVBP70wl9cyyYNVYOE7hLXZvaN)

Shawn Barry has created some of the most in depth and well-produced content for learning the principles of Graphic Design. Shawn is a Designer from Canada and has been an agency Creative Director and brings that experience to the table through his content. Shawn’s design lectures are a must for anyone trying to build a strong foundation of design knowledge and develop a true eye for design and visual communication. (https://youtu.be/owZvImgo57s)

Logo designer Will Paterson is a very popular and easygoing UK Design YouTube creator who primarily focuses on logo design, Brand Identity and Adobe Illustrator. Will’s videos inject a lot of humor in addition to great information that is easy to consume and understand regardless of your experience level. His personality has made him a favorite channel for many designers. (https://youtu.be/dPpZxq0fJRo)

One-Page Wonder

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So I started to create my website a bit too late, it’s due tonight. This made me think of creative ways to design a portfolio. I wanted to make a one-page portfolio, similar to a design I saw when I was comparing weebly, wix and squarespace. According to elegantthemes.com, Divi’s single-page sidebar navigation makes it easy. When you create a new page, you can easily enable “Divi’s Single Page” navigation option, giving any visitors a visual and clickable representation of their progress on the page. You can also use custom anchor links and Section ID’s to create one-page menus for the complete One-Page package. Enabling a one-page navigation is actually easy, and it can be done on a per-page basis. Whenever you create or edit a page, I have to go to the “Divi Settings” box to the right of the text editor. Within this box is a side navigation option. I just need to select “On” from the dropdown menu, and then save the page. Now there is a floating navigation bar has been added to the right side of the page.

The side navigation bar automatically adds a clickable link to each section on the page. When I want to add a new section, a new circle link will be added automatically to the floating side nav. Users can click the circles to skip to different sections on the page. It also makes it easier to identify where the visitor is on the page, makes long-format pages easier to understand and navigation!

Designing University Websites

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According to nngroup.com, there are essential design guidelines a web designer needs to follow in order to successfully create a university/school website. I learned a lot from this:

  1. It is important to clearly identify the university on every page
    The name of the college or university should be clearly visible on every page. Apparently, not everyone arrives at the website from the homepage! NNgroup says that many will arrive on internal pages via search. This means that for subsites and microsites especially, it is essential that users know which university they’re looking at.
  2. Use images that reflect the university’s values and priorities
    This makes sense to my previous post. “Visitors make value judgments about your school based on the images that you use.” So, like JMU’s Duke Dog on the homepage, a few photos of sporting events could help users see an emphasis on athletics. A video gallery with thumbnails of people that all look the same means that users will see a lack of diversity.
  3. Make the “About Us” page count
    I didn’t have a chance to look at either HBS’ or Johns Hopkins’ about us page, but according to NNgroup, the About Us page is one of the top places where prospective students go to decide if a university is a good fit for them!

With these design principles in mind, I’ll forever look at University websites differently. I wonder who designs them!

Website Builder Winner

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For me, I would choose wix just because it has a lot more templates to choose from, which I think is the beginning and end of a great website. The best thing about their templates is that they are completely built out already and are very professional looking. All you have to do is just pick a design that works for you, put in your own pictures, and other information.  The website layout and designs are all done already.  This means I won’t have to spend time building or trying to be creative, as the templates have literally done all the creative work for me already. The only downfall here is that changing templates means that all the work I have done on it will be gone forever.

Wix also gives you a lot of advanced controls over their elements, meaning you can have a lot of different styling options. In addition, Wix is always updating and getting more innovative features on a monthly basis, making it a progressive choice. I liked the websites I visited because they are unique and different. Because Wix gives you more design and features flexibility when it comes to their elements it could slow down my website loading speed, increase the number of people abandoning my website, which is never what I want. In the end, there won’t ever be a perfect site to choose to build what I want, but I think Wix is the closest to something I can handle and definetly learn for future careers.

YouTube Advice

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I have learned a lot from YouTube over the years. How to do my makeup, how to braid my hair, how to put a shelf in the wall. So why not pick up some web design skills from a Youtuber? I found this insightful video on important skills I should know as a web designer.

There are three skills that this almost too calm man says are necessary to keep in mind. Empathy, Awareness, and Grit.

Empathy is the ability to understand the experiences and feelings of another person. This applies to the industry, as he explains, because we should understand why trends became trends in the first place. For example, he stresses that we ask clients “what need does this design fill for you?” “Why is this trend a logical solution to the problem we want to solve?” He says that to make things for people, we have to understand those people, we have to empathize with them.

Awareness is part of a web designer’s career because it helps us to recognize our strengths and weakenesses and being able to work off of them. He says that this helps us to not take our mistakes too seriously and to take those moments as a time to push ourselves to be better. Being aware gives us the confidence to know what we want when designing. “You know what you’re capable of and you know what you need help with.”

Grit applies to the industry because it has to do with not giving up and staying true to your craft and abilities without getting discouraged. He says that it’s important to push through criticism and learn from it rather than let it knock you down. “Sometimes your biggest critic can be yourself.”