giovedì 27 novembre 2014

10 Steps to Becoming a Great Web Developer

Steps to Becoming a Great Web Developer

Web Development is the development, or creation, of a website.
This can range from your own personal blog to broader websites where you may sell products (think eBay or Craigslist) to advanced social networking sites, like Facebook or Twitter.
Companies and individuals are becoming more and more dependent on the internet. It's expected that more than three-quarters of companies worldwide will eventually become fully dependent on the web.
Learning how to develop websites for a living is a smart career choice.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 21% growth in web developers between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also states that the median salary for the job is $77,000, with the highest 10% earning more than $124,000 a year.
If you're looking to work for a company, you may need a Bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology or a related field.
Experience is also a must. If you don't have a degree, consider getting certified in web development. Types of certifications include a Certified Web Developer, Certified Internet Webmaster or a Mobile Application Development certificate.
Web developers can also choose to work for themselves. Since you're your own boss, you don't necessarily need a degree or certifications, but you do need to know how to network and, of course, know how to build a website from the ground up.
Other advantages of freelancing your skills are the ability to work from home and the option to work as often or as little as you'd like. You can take time off when you please, set your own hours and determine your pay, based on how much you want to work.
Among the factors to keep in mind:

Learn The Trade

Developing a website requires an advanced understanding of computer programming (which is best learned in a classroom, but can also be self-taught) and coding. Take classes, read books, learn from others, learn from your own mistakes and continue learning. The more you know and the better your expertise, the easier it'll be to begin a career in web development.

Build Your Own Website

Practice makes perfect, right? Develop your own website as a test subject to play around with. Make mistakes and learn from them. Building your own website is all about trial and error. Figure out what works, what you like, what you don't like and perfect your skill.

Build Websites For Others

Contact family members, friends and small businesses in your area and offer to build them a website. You can do this free of charge (since you're still learning) or charge a small fee, assuming your clients are willing to pay. Building websites for others helps you fine-tune your skills and teaches you the importance of communication.

Tip: In web development, plan on dedicating the first year to learning (reading books and manuals, taking classes, getting certified, etc.), the second year to getting real, hands-on experience (building websites for others), the third year to charging others for your service and the fourth year to growing your business.

Know Who You're Building For

In other words, know your clients. What you like may not necessarily be what they like. Set up a few meetings to discuss their goals - what they're looking to get out of the website, color schemes and overall appearance of the site.

Stay Up-to-date On Technology Changes

Technology is constantly changing, and if you plan on working in the industry, you must stay up-to-date with all the changes taking place. This includes everything from technical changes to changes in social media.

Network, Network, Network

They say it's not what you know, it's who know. While this is true for a significant amount of careers, web development isn't necessarily one of them. You must know how to build a website, and how to build one well in order to be successful. That being said, the next step is who you know. The more individuals and companies that you can associate with, the more work you're going to have.

Make Short And Long-term Goals

Do you want to work for a company for a few years? Or immediately start freelancing from home? Is this something you're going to do full-time? Or will you start out part-time until you grow your business? The most successful individuals have a plan and know where they want to go professionally.

Take Breaks

Starting out, it's easy to think that it's best to take on as much business as possible and to always say 'yes.' Great web developers know that they need to start off slow and take time for themselves, too. It's a field that's easy to get burnt out in, and by overworking yourself from the get-go, you're more likely to not stick with it long-term.

Tip: Sometimes it's best to step away from the computer for a bit. Take a walk, go grab your favorite coffee, or even call a friend. Small breaks throughout the day allow your mind to refresh and give you the ability to re-focus once your break is over.

Learn Graphic Design

Website development is different from website design. Web designers design and maintain websites. If you can do both development and design, you're setting yourself above the pack. Being able to both develop and design a website makes you more marketable than if you just know one or the other.

Create A Portfolio

With any creative-type job, it's best to have a portfolio showcasing your best work to show to potential clients. Whether you're a writer, an architect, a graphic designer or a web developer, having a portfolio is vital. For web development, it can be something as simple as showcasing the home pages of the websites you created.

If you really feel a career in web development is for you, learn all that you can in the next few years. Whether you wish to freelance or work for a company, know that it is hard work, but that the rewards are worth it.
Flexibility is high; stress levels are low. If you think you have what it takes, start now.

VIA: Fromdev

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mercoledì 26 novembre 2014

10 Websites Every Web Designer Should Know About

There are a number of websites that you, as a web designer, will use on a daily basis making life easier and making you more efficient.

Here is a list of 10 websites (in no particular order) that I find useful and am constantly using. I'm also interested in what websites you swear by and use all the time, so please share in the comments below.

1. iStockphoto

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iStockphoto is a collection of royalty free photos, illustrations, video and audio. You can search for these resources based on any keyword and purchase from only $1.

iStockphoto saves you time and money. Need a good photo for a website but don't have the resources to setup your own photography shoot? iStockphoto will do the job, and you'll be able to use the photos legally as they're royalty free.

I find it really useful for illustration graphics. There are graphics available for $10 that could otherwise take you a day or two to design from scratch.

2. Instant Domain Search

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Checks the availability of domain names using Ajax.

Very handy when you have a brain wave and need to check if the domain name is available.

3. Smashing Magazine

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Smashing Magazine is the ultimate web design blog.

If you need to know how to do something, or need some inspiration, Smashing Magazine will undoubtedly have an article on it somewhere. All you need to do is search the site.

4. Stack Overflow

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A question and answer site for programmers.

The great thing about Stack Overflow as opposed to other forums is there is no sign up required. And it has a great community around it that are always willing to help.

5. SEOmoz

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SEOmoz is one of the best search engine optimisation related websites on the net.

I constantly find myself using the SEO tools available, especially Rank Checker that lets you check how your domains (and client domains) are ranking on each search engine for keywords.

6. Lovely Charts

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With Lovely Charts you can create user flow diagrams and sitemaps.

A great little app for starting off a project and getting your website flow down to a tee. Free to use.

7. Balsamiq

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Balsamiq lets you create wireframes.

It's a quick way of doing up wireframes and it's meant to look quick so that it's obvious to the person you send it to that it is rough. Saves a lot of time and the online version is free.

8. Notable

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Notable enables you to take screenshots and then make notes on top of the design.

Great way for teams to provide feedback on designs, super easy to use and lovely user interface.

9. Campaign Monitor

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For email marketing. Setup, manage, send and analyse email campaigns.

Campaign Monitor provides an easy to use interface for creating and managing your email campaigns. Once your campaign is sent, it provides statistics on how many emails opened, bounce backs, unsubscribed etc.

Very good value for money at $5 per campaign +$0.01 per recipient.

10. Delicious

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Delicious lets you bookmark and tag websites.

Use delicious to tag useful or inspiring websites you come across so you can come back to them when you need them.

Bonus: Dribbble

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Still in 'invite only' mode, Dribbble is an app for designers to share sneak peaks of your work, which can then be liked and commented on by other designers.

There is some amazing work being showcased on Dribbble.

Bonus: TV Shack

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Streams a load of movies and TV shows.

Not so specific to web designers but a good resource to catch up with the latest episode of Lost, 24 and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

VIA: Lee Munroe

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15 Excellent jQuery Plugins To Spice Up Your Sites

1. CanvasJS HTML5 & JavaScript Charts

CanvasJS is an easy to use JavaScript & HTML5 Charting library built on Canvas element. It runs across devices including iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, Microsoft Surface, Desktops, etc.

2. FullPage.js

FullPage.js creates full screen pages fast and simple.

3. jInvertScroll

jInvertScroll.js is a lightweight jQuery horizontal parallax plugin.

4. OnePageScroll

One Page Scroll creates an Apple-like one page scroller website (iPhone 5S website).

5. jQuery Scroll path

jQuery Scroll path is a plugin for defining custom scroll paths using canvas flavored syntax to draw lines and arcs. It comes with a custom scrollbar and it also does rotations.

6. Minimalect

Minimalect is a minimal select replacement for jQuery which replaces select elements with a nicer styled control.

7. JResponsive

JResponsive is a super-smooth transition layout for jQuery.

8. Salvattore

Salvattore is a jQuery Masonry alternative with CSS-driven configuration.

9. responsiveTabs.js

responsiveTabs is a jQuery plugin that creates responsive tabs, optimized for all devices.

10. slideToucher

slideToucher is a touch screen jQuery slide/swipe plugin with vertical as well as horizontal swipe support.

11. Flexisel

Flexisel is a responsive carousel jquery plugin.

12. Swipebox

Swipebox is a jQuery "lightbox" plugin for desktop, mobile and tablet.

13. Photoset Grid

Photoset Grid is a jQuery plugin to arrange images into a flexible grid.

14. AnimateScroll

AnimateScroll is a jQuery plugin which enables you to scroll to any part of the page in style.

15. Selectize

Selectize is the hybrid of a textbox and select box. It's jQuery-based and useful for tagging, contact lists, country selectors, and so on.

Found is our way of sharing the best articles, resources and tutorials that find their way to the eyeballs of the CSSDA crew.

VIA: CSS Design Awards

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100 (Legal) Sources for Free Stock Photos

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If you’ve ever tried to design a website or blog, you’ve probably felt the need to add images to your creation. It can be easy to see the Internet as a free-for-all, but images belong to the people who created them. Staying legal means you’ll have to either create your own images or buy them from stock sites. Fortunately, there are a number of sources for free images, and we’ve collected them here. So read on for 100 sources where you can find free stock images: and don’t worry — they’re all legal!

Most Popular These resources are some of the most popular free stock image sites on the Web and with good reason. If you’re looking for some mainstream images for your website, these are the first place to try.

  • FreeFoto: FreeFoto.com claims to be "the largest collection of free photographs on the Internet." They’re available for offline projects as well, as long as you’re not using them to make a profit.
  • KAVEWALL: Look for images and textures in unique categories like tattoo, smoke, and food.
  • Digital Dreamer: Free, royalty-free stock images can be found here.
  • Free Photos Bank: This features a handful of the newest photos in their directory, so check back often.
  • Free Digital Photos: Find gorgeous, easy-to-download photographs in categories like animals, celebrations, home & garden, and lots more.
  • PD Photo: Browse through the categories and subcategories in this site’s database, most of which depict the urban and rural landscapes of the United States.
  • Visipix: Search over a million photographs and fine art pieces.
  • Cepolina: On cepolina, you can choose to save photos in up to five different formats.
  • DexHaus: A wide array of beautiful images are found on this well-organized site.
  • FreeStockImages.net: Chances are you’ll find whatever it is you’re looking for on this terrific site.
  • TurboPhoto: TurboPhoto has 10 categories keep the high res photos easy to find.
  • Yotophoto: An immensely popular site, Yotophoto is worth checking out.
  • Stockvault: Search by photo subject or by the newest and most popular photos on Stockvault.
  • Dreamstime: While most of the photos on this site cost a fee (some as low as $0.26/image), Dreamstime provides a few free stock photos.
  • Open Stock Photography: This site offers over one million images for you to download and use however you want.

Community-Powered Content In addition to being a great source of images, these sites host forums, file sharing and other features designed to nurture community spirit.

  • Image After: Search tons of free photos on this site while meeting other photography lovers on the forum.
  • Unprofound.com: Use the images however you want, just make sure you let them know where you’ve published it!
  • Font Play: This site has nearly 10,000 free photos for you to use any way you want. Look under the "Guests" heading to search by your favorite contributor.
  • Studio 25: This attractive site lets you upload and search images.
  • Vintage Pixels: Share your archived photos with other users. Download images that work for your Web site or blog.
  • Abstract Influence: Search for the stock images you want while talking about photography with other visitors on the site’s forum.
  • amygdela’s atmosphere: This site hosts a forum and a blog, as well as tons of stock images.
  • Every Stock Photo: A forum and blog keep this stock image site fun and informative.
  • Photocase: The good people at Photocase are "prettying up the world." Check out their great library of stock images.
  • deviantART: Provocative photos spawn great debates on the site’s forum.

Artists Welcome It’s probably pretty safe to say that every stock image site on the Web needs the help of photographers to keep it running. The following sites, however, really cater to the needs of photographers, designers, and other artists even though they’re donating their photos for free.

  • Stock.xchng: Check out the gorgeous shots organized into lots of different categories, making your search as easy as possible.
  • Morguefile: Browse thousands of beautiful photos in this site’s archives, but don’t miss their job board either!
  • Woophy: This site organizes photographs by geographical location. Enter into their contest for a chance to win great prizes.
  • The NOAA Library: Breathtaking science and nature shots are available at this site. Don’t forget to check out the "Meet the Photographers" page which includes short bios and descriptions of the featured photogs.
  • Pixel Perfect Digital: Get tons of free stock images and read the latest in photography news.
  • Free Range Stock: Photographers are rewarded for giving away their pictures by getting a percentage of the site’s total ad revenue.
  • AMG Media: As long as you give credit to the photographer somewhere on your site, these images are yours for the taking.
  • Free Photographs Network: Submit photographs for others to see, or download some for your own use.
  • FreePhotos.com: If you’re a photographer, submit your best pictures for a chance to win cool prizes.
  • PhotoRogue.com: If you can’t find a picture of anything you want, go to PhotoRogue.com and make a request for whatever it is you’re thinking of. Photographers will take pictures for you — and it’s still free!
  • Graphicsarena.com: Submit your photos for consideration.
  • Fotogenika: Send in your photos for other visitors to use on their personal sites.
  • Image Temple: Send in your own photos to be included in this site’s gallery.
  • Flickr: Most of the photos on this site are not free, but a clever search will turn up some real goodies.
  • FreeLargePhotos.com: Downloaders must link their chosen photo back to the site, which gives the photographer credit.

Less is Sometimes More Just because the sites listed in this section aren’t as expansive as some of the others on our list doesn’t mean they’re not worth checking out. Sometimes less can really means more, especially when it comes to narrowing down your search or coming across hard-to-find treasures.

  • Mayang’s Free Texture Library: Download high-res textures from this site, which has categories like architecture, buildings, plants, wood, and stone.
  • Liam’s Pictures from Old Books: Discover hard-to-find illustrations from old books, "most with multiple high-resolution versions."
  • Texture Warehouse: Find interesting textures at this great site.
  • Free Stock Photos: Nature shots and religious themes are abundant at this free stock photography site.
  • BurningWell: Totally free images are organized into categories like animals, bugs, cityscapes, people, plants, and textures.
  • Design Packs: New images and themes are added monthly, so this site may not be a well kept secret too much longer!
  • Amazing Textures: This site is a web designer’s dream. Browse hundreds of high res textures and backgrounds.
  • Aarin Free Photo and Digital Images: These site boasts nearly 1,000 fantastic images for you to choose from.
  • Image Base: On Image Base, breathtaking photographs are organized in categories like nature, concept, people, and city.
  • Majestic Imagery: All the photos on this site were taken by the host.
  • diwiesign studio: All the images are free, but if you’re a frequent user, you might want to consider making a donation to this photo entrepreneur.
  • Zurb Photos: Photographer Bryan Zmijewski uploads his own images onto this site.
  • tOfz.org: Find urban images for free, but consider making a contribution to this artist’s cause.
  • LIGHTmatter: These gorgeous photos were all taken by the same artist, who also hosts the Web site.
  • Insect Images: Find all kinds of photos of creepy crawlers here.

Stock Images Plus There is a lot more to legal stock images than just a bank of free photos. The sites in this section all go beyond being a basic stock photography resource by offering more services that will help improve your search for and use of stock images.

  • Creative Commons: This nonprofit site shows you how to license your images once they’ve been uploaded onto your site.
  • Free Images: This British site offers free images as well as wallpapers, desktops, and a section of ideas and tips that will help you customize your image experience, whether you’re a photographer or not.
  • Creating Online: This stock images site is an excellent resource for any new blogger or Web site developer. Learn about editing your images, hosting, domains, and more.
  • ArtFavor: Find stock images, fonts, sounds, flash clipart, and more, are all on this terrific site.
  • Geek Philosopher: Find hilarious and beautiful stock images side by side. Also check out the site’s blog and web hosting capabilities.
  • Gimp Savvy: In addition to finding great images, Gimp Savvy also gives tips on photo touchups, making a collage, and more.
  • Creativity 103: Find free abstract images and videos on Creativity 103.
  • Afflict.net: Search photos and textures while learning about images in the tutorials section.
  • One Odd Dude: Download photographs, wallpapers, textures, and more on One Odd Dude.
  • Discover: Search for your favorite subjects or web sites, and hundreds of free icons, stock images, and other designs will appear.
  • Photoshop Support: On Photoshop Support, browse photos, read the tutorials, and check out the great imaging tools.
  • AncestryImages.com: Search antique portraits and use the geneaology resources link to connect you to even more tools.
  • Free Media Goo: Download free stock images, audio, and video on Free Media Goo.
  • National Park Service Digital Image Archive: Check out beautiful pictures taken for the NPS. This site also provides a link to the NPS official site.
  • <New York Public Library Digital Gallery: Browse through thousands of prints, illustrations, and photos. Read the photographic services and permissions page for more information on downloading high-res files.

Miscellaneous These image sites don’t necessarily fit into one particular category, but they’ve still got a lot to offer for your website’s needs.

  • Backgrounds Archive: Find beautiful backgrounds for your desktop or MySpace page.
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service: The government’s Agricultural Research Service sponsors this "complimentary source of high quality digital photographs."
  • Holy Land Photos: Poignant photos of the Holy Land are available here.
  • Stockcache.com: This site makes organizing your downloads easy.
  • Four Bees: Browse through the stock images directory, or download royalty free music and video on Four Bees.
  • Clipmarks: Search for free stock images with this handy tool.
  • Yellowstone Digital Slide File: These beautiful shots of Yellowstone National Park are available for use by the media and public.
  • Plants of Hawaii: Perfect for any botanist, this site has over 45,000 images of Hawaiian plants.
  • Microshots: This site specializes in microscopic images.
  • IN TEXTURE: Free stock textures are plentiful on this site.
  • Trip Album: This site is all in French, but the photos are divided into categories based on country, making it easy to figure out.
  • Orange Trash: Find pictures about Hungary on this Web site.
  • Public domain stock photos: Browse categories like backgrounds, food, nature, objects, and seasonal on this site.
  • BAJstock: Written in both French and English, this stock image site has tons of photos for you to use for free.
  • NWYK Stock Image Library: This hilarious site provides free images that capture the drudgery and playfulness of office life.

General These stock image sites offer a wide range of photo subjects, perfect for casual browsing or a way to get ideas before you plan out your site.

  • Public Domain Photos: Check out these gorgeous pictures of animals, cities, landscapes, and more.
  • Bigfoto.com: Find photos of beautiful places all around the world, as well as fun shots in the Christmas, grafitti, or food categories
  • Photogen: Look through the Top 10 gallery to find the most popular downloads in a preview-friendly thumbnail format.
  • Free Pixels: Find free photos, logos, or other images on this site.
  • DHD Multimedia Gallery: Search through thousands of basic photos.
  • PIX: This site is so easy, you don’t even have to register to download.
  • Photo Rack: New photos are featured at the bottom of the page, so check back often to make sure you don’t miss anything great.
  • Free Stock Photos: On Free Stock Photos, each image comes with a description detailing its size.
  • Barry’s Free Photos: This is a great site for finding all different kinds of images for your Web site.
  • Cromavista: This site is all in Spanish but still easy to navigate if you’re not a native speaker.
  • IronOrchid: Several different categories allow for an efficient search on IronOrchid.
  • Image Blowout: Have fun looking through these unique photos.
  • FreeImages.com: Tons of categories and subcategories make searching for photos on this site simple.
  • ilovefreePhoto: This fun, attractive site makes searching for that perfect photo a little less frustrating.
  • Free Photo Station: Loads of great photos are all free on this site.

Read more: http://www.virtualhosting.com/blog/2007/100-legal-sources-for-free-stock-images/#ixzz3KDYp8Zli

VIA: Virtual Hosting

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5 Tips to Make Your Website Convert More Visitors

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A site that simply looks good and draws an audience isn’t enough. If you’re missing even one vital element for an effective website, you’re missing out on conversions. The good news is that even small changes to your site can pay off in big numbers—and quickly. Here are 5 tips to make your website convert more visitors.

1. Keep it simple

You’ve crammed graphics, content and every other element you can think of onto your landing page, hoping that an informed visitor is a motivated visitor. The fact is, your overwhelmed audience is far more likely to bounce off your page than to try to wade through all that clutter. Keep it clean and focused. Emphasize what your visitors need to know with a few well-placed bullet points of information. And keep any fill-in forms brief—no one likes filling out a lengthy form!

5 Tips to Make Your Website Convert More Visitors

2. Post great content

You may think your product is so good it practically sells itself, and perhaps that’s true. But if no one knows about your company, no one will pay attention to what you’re selling. Great content draws visitors. A well-written product description, tailored to your target audience, will provide more incentive to convert than a page filled with product stats. Publishing articles on your site that tie into your brand will also engage your visitors and keep them coming back, as well as boost your authority and enhance your online presence. More targeted content, enhanced customer trust and increased brand awareness means more conversions.

5 Tips to Make Your Website Convert More Visitors

3. Add engaging elements

A bouncing banana graphic isn’t engaging; it’s an eyesore. Add simple, clean elements that focus on your brand and appeal to your audience. Incorporate pictures or videos that connect with your viewers on a personal level. Employ technologies like parallax scrolling to enhance your visitors’ experience. The more your audience enjoys your website, the more conversions will result.

5 Tips to Make Your Website Convert More Visitors

4. Clear call to action

This one seems like a no-brainer, but many businesses bury their call to action beneath confusing, distracting or even misleading information. Your site’s call to action should be obvious, prominently displayed and emphasized with visual clues. Lead visitors quickly and clearly into the desired action, and you’ll enjoy more conversions.

5 Tips to Make Your Website Convert More Visitors

5. Test

Not sure if something on your website is performing well? Test it! A/B testing enables you to test every aspect of your site, from color to graphics to content, to gain better insight into visitor behavior and determine what yields the best results.

5 Tips to Make Your Website Convert More Visitors                                              Image by Jonathan Howell

A good-looking website is important, but conversions are the real key to success. Incorporate these five elements, and you’ll benefit from more followers, increased brand recognition and a serious boost in conversions-and that’s good news for any business!

VIA: WDL

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Predictions for 2015 Web Design Trends

Predictions for 2015 Web Design Trends

Like it or not, we’re powering through 2014. While the web and graphic design industry has introduced a slew of killer web design trends this year, we’re looking ahead and placing our predictions for trends to come in 2015.

As designers move toward less complicated and more sophisticated designs, we believe there are a few standout trends you can take to the bank as you plan your 2015 site build-outs and redesigns:

Flat Design

Swap your outdated textures, patterns, shadows, bubbles, and gradients for a focus on the sweet simplicity of flat design. As more and more site visits are happening on hand-held devices, designers are keen on building elements that appear smooth and minimalistic on flat screens. Though flat design has been around for a while, we’re betting on the rise of brilliant and effortless flat user interfaces.

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Less Clicky, More Scrolly

Bulky sites that fragment your brand’s story over dozens of pages are history. Users now expect to be able to scroll through all that you offer in a single page, rather than by viewing every single page of your site. While multi-page sites do harness more SEO power, designs that provide content in the form of a single page are winning the hearts of smart phone and tablet users.

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We say, “Responsive,” You say, “What?”

In our best Jan Brady voice, we’re saying, “Mobile, mobile, mobile!” It’s predicted that in 2015, mobile Internet usage will overtake conventional laptops and desktops. While many brands opt for a specific mobile website along with a regular web front, that means more time spent catering to two separate online campaigns. We’re predicting a surge of timesaving designs that are both impressive and mobile-responsive.

responsive

Typography is King

Typographic art is on the fast track toward mainstream. (We’ve got an ocean of apps to prove it.) High-quality fonts are now available at affordable prices to small businesses that have previously had to pay out the wazoo for complete font sets.  Rich typography will continue to be a dominating design element in 2015.

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Though we can’t exactly predict the future, the trends and developments of 2014 can help us make reasonable predictions of what 2015  likely has in store. But the rate at which web development and design is expanding keeps us confident that web design will only get more inventive and creative in the next few years.

VIA: Hurrdat

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6 Small Things You Can Do When You Lack Discipline

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One of the biggest problems people face is the lack of discipline — they have goals or habits they want to achieve, but lack that discipline needed to stick with it.

Then we beat ourselves up about it. We feel crappy because we can’t stick with it.

And that leads to more failure, because we’re forming a mindset that we don’t have the necessary discipline.

Here’s what to do when you face a situation like this:

1. Forgive yourself. You aren’t perfect. No one is. Realize that beating yourself up will only make things worse. Take a few slow, deep breaths and let it go. Forgive yourself. And move on.

2. Realize that discipline is an illusion. While discipline is a common concept, it doesn’t actually exist. It’s not a thing you can actually do. Think about it: people say discipline is pushing yourself to do something you don’t want to do. But how do you do that? What skill is required? There isn’t a skill — it’s just forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do. And that requires … some kind of motivation. Without motivation, you won’t be able to force yourself to do anything. So motivation is the key concept — and this is something that’s real, that you can actually learn how to do.

3. Focus on motivation. What’s your motivation for pursuing the goal or habit? How will you sustain the motivation when you struggle? Have very strong motivations for doing something, and write them down. Commit publicly. When things get tough, remind yourself of your motivation. Focus on it. It’ll pull you along — that’s more powerful than trying to focus on the push of discipline.

4. Make it easy. Discipline is tough because whatever the task or habit you’re trying to do is tough. Instead, make it easy. Remove barriers. Having a hard time exercising? Make it ridiculously easy, by only exercising for 5 minutes. What use is exercising for 5 minutes? You’re creating the habit, not getting yourself into shape overnight. The 5 minutes of exercise will have only a tiny impact on your health, but it makes exercise super easy. If you can do that 30 days in a row, you now have an exercise habit. Hate waking up early to go to the gym? Do it at home. Do it during lunch or after work.

5. Focus on enjoyment. It’s hard to push yourself — to have discipline — when you hate doing something. So find something enjoyable about the activity. If you don’t look forward to exercise, find some good music, or a workout partner who you can have a nice conversation with, or a peaceful setting in nature that is just beautiful. And focus on that enjoyable aspect. Hate doing your paperwork? Find a peaceful sanctuary where you can do the paperwork and enjoy yourself. Maybe have a nice cup of tea or coffee, play some nice music. And focus on the enjoyment.

6. Repeat. You’ll almost inevitably slip up sometime, no matter how good you are. Unfortunately, people often take this to mean they don’t have discipline, and they just beat themselves up and give up. Well, it’s just a bump in the road. Get up, dust yourself off, and get going again. Start from Step 1 and start all over.

 

VIA: Zen Habits

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BECOME MORE PRODUCTIVE

Let Go, Keep it Simple, Move Quickly: Secrets to Being a Productive Entrepreneur (Infographic)

 

Time is money, especially if you are launching a business. As you kick off the new year, let go of old habits and focus on becoming more efficient.

From figuring out the perfect sleep temperature to dumping the clutter from your desk and learning how to let go of "perfect," streamlining everyday tasks can lead to a more productive lifestyle, according to San Francisco-based startup organization Funders and Founders.

Related: Get it Done: 35 Habits of the Most Productive People (Infographic)

Want to know more ways to become more productive? Check out the series of infographics below.

via entrepeneur

Categories: , , ,

25 Killer Websites that Make You Cleverer

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1. Duolingo

1. Duolingo

http://www.duolingo.com/ This isn’t the first time I’ve recommended this language-teaching website (and app), and it certainly won’t be the last. Duolingo is a free version of Rosetta-Stone that delivers the same results: teaching you another language. Regular use of the site can have you speaking and writing Spanish, English, German, French, Portuguese and Italian in a matter of months depending on the diligence you put into it. Hopefully, even more languages will become available soon.

2. Khan Academy

2. Khan Academy

https://www.khanacademy.org/ Have you ever wanted to pick up a subject you’re not well-versed in, but you didn’t have the money to invest in a college course? Khan Academy aims to provide education at the collegiate level for anyone who wants it. They provide resources for learning pretty much every subject out there, including math, science, history and more. As you learn, the platform will even assess your progress and help you gauge what you’ve learned.

3. Justin Guitar

3. Justin Guitar

http://justinguitar.com/ Guitar is one of the few instruments out there that’s actually pretty easy to learn if you’re a little older, making it one of the most accessible instruments. Still, learning how to play still takes some direction, at least for most people, so a guy named Justin decided he was going to help out. His website provides hundreds of free guitar lessons that range in different styles, depending on how you want to play. His schedule for learning is pretty easy to follow, and the site is a great stepping stone for people wanting to pick the instrument up.

4. Cooking for Engineers

4. Cooking for Engineers

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ Founded by Michael Chu, Cooking for Engineers goes further than just providing recipes. The site is a blog that is geared toward making your food taste good. Additionally, his analytical take on ingredients and cooking recipes is interesting and will likely change the way you approach cuisine.

5. The Dating Specialist

5. The Dating Specialist

http://www.thedatingspecialist.com/ Or Nick the Dating Specialist is a website that wants to help guys be better dates. The site is full of advice on how to approach social situations and flirt successfully with different types of people. Nick even offers personal coaching at your request, so he can help your specific situation or hurdle to successful dating.

6. Nerd Fitness

6. Nerd Fitness

http://www.nerdfitness.com/ When we think of exercising and gym techniques, we typically think of bodybuilders and jocks from high school. Nerd Fitness aims to provide resources for getting in shape from a nerd’s point of view. All of the guides, blogs and fitness tips on this site have a geek flavor that is intended to make anyone who feels uncomfortable at the gym feel right at home here.

7. MIT Open Courseware

7. MIT Open Courseware

http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm As much as I would love an education at MIT, that isn’t really in the cards. Thankfully, the educators at the Massachusetts Institue of Technology decided to give out information for tons of courses online through Open Courseware. Hundreds of millions of people have benefitted from the information that they can learn from these courses, starting a trend for other sites to offer free courses as well.

8. Investopedia

8. Investopedia

http://www.investopedia.com/ I don’t like to admit it, but my lack of a business degree tends to make me feel easily intimidated when a conversation starts taking a turn for the financial. To solve this, Investopedia was born to provide a news blog that makes it easy to digest and really understand the financial markets. There are tons of resources like tutorials and videos that will help you keep up with the ever-changing world of money, and the news stories will keep you coming back for more.

9. Quora

9. Quora

http://www.quora.com/ Have you ever wanted to ask someone famous a question, but you suffer from never having the chance? Thanks to Quora, you can read the opinions and answers of fascinating (and varied) questions from the leading experts in pretty much everything. You can answer questions too and get feedback from numerous others who share your love for a given topic.

10. Information is Beautiful

10. Information is Beautiful

11. Spreeder

11. Spreeder

http://spreeder.com/ According to Spreeder, a lot of us have trouble reading quickly because we can only read as fast as our “inner voice” can. Spreeder’s solution is to teach you to read without an inner voice, boosting reading speed and comprehension immensely. The best part? It’s totally free.

12. Project Gutenberg

12. Project Gutenberg

http://www.gutenberg.org/ Imagine a library with tons of free books that you can keep for the rest of your life. Actually, you don’t have to imagine that because Project Gutenberg gives you the ability to download thousands of free e-books, and it’s completely legal.

13. Codeacademy

13. Codeacademy

http://www.codecademy.com/ If you haven’t noticed by now, the Internet has pretty much taken over everything, which means the skill of coding and developing websites is in higher demand than ever, and that’s not likely to change. With Codeacademy, you can use free tutorials that teach you the basics of coding with interactive and handy tools for helping you become an expert.

14. GeographyIQ

14. GeographyIQ

http://www.geographyiq.com/ Imagine if Google Earth and Wikipedia decided to make it official and have a child. That would be GeographyIQ. Using the world map, you can select any country and access virtually every facet of useful information there is about that country, including history, currency, population and more.

15. Anki

15. Anki

http://ankisrs.net/ It’s no secret that the key to memorizing information is mastering recall. With flashcards, you can recall things faster, making Anki an ideal resource for using flashcards online. Unlike other sites that use flashcards, Anki allows you embed more than just text. You can use video, audio and images to help you start studying faster and smarter.

16. Lumosity

16. Lumosity

http://www.lumosity.com/ Using games to learn is something I’ve treasured since Kindergarten, making Lumosity a trusted resource for me and countless others. Using a daily schedule of games, Lumosity is literally designed to make you more clever. As you progress, the software figures out what your strengths and weaknesses (such as memory or math skills) and assigns you games accordingly. The best part is that the games are actually addicting and fun to look forward to!

17. TED

17. TED

http://www.ted.com/ For years, people have been benefitting from TED talks that provide free insights from the world’s smartest people. TED provides the value and learning growth of a seminar, but without the exorbitant costs and travel expenses, by providing visitors with tons of free video lectures. The app is also great for catching up on the latest talks, and you can even download some on iTunes.

18. CliffsNotes

18. CliffsNotes

http://www.cliffsnotes.com/ Ideal for high school and college students, Cliffsnotes provides valuable resources like study guides and test prep for standard books and subjects you’ll have to read anyway. The site also provides resources for math and science, giving you the chance to finally master the dark arts of homework.

19. Pinfruit

19. Pinfruit

http://pinfruit.com/ Need to memorize a lengthy number? Pinfruit analyzes the number and provides all of the options you could want as a mnemonic device. That’s all there is to it, since (unfortunately) they only provide this for numbers and not words.

20. Mindtools

20. Mindtools

http://www.mindtools.com/index.html There are countless blogs that you can enjoy for being interesting and mildly useful, but how many of them actually help you with your career? Mindtools is a blog that teaches you what they call “practical career skills” that you can apply at your job. This is a great daily read for entry-level workers who want to make a great impression, and the variety of topics and advice provided make this is a fantastic bookmark for anyone wanting to excel.

21. Learn Street

21. Learn Street

http://www.learnstreet.com/ Want to take your coding skills to the next level? Learn Street helps teach you how to use advanced coding scripts such as JavaScript, Python and Ruby without making your head explode. It even provides a service for helping you teach advanced code to others.

22. HowStuffWorks

22. HowStuffWorks

http://www.howstuffworks.com/ There are things we want to know about, and then there are things we didn’t know we wanted to know about. HowStuffWorks addresses the latter by providing information on a variety of topics and eye-opening facts that will broaden your horizons.

23. The World Factbook

23. The World Factbook

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ Did you know that the CIA has information on pretty much everything in the world? Okay, but did you know that they make a ton of this information open to the public? The World Factbook is your godsend for research, allowing you to cite facts and details that pertain to a seemingly endless amount of information from reputable sources.

24. OneLook

24. OneLook

http://www.onelook.com/ Finding a great dictionary is not a difficult task in a world full of search engines, but it can be tricky to define more complicated words and phrases that most dictionaries (besides UrbanDictionary) don’t attempt to define. With OneLook, you can find multiple definitions from numerous dictionaries in one place, even if you’re looking up a phrase that is obscure or too specific for normal dictionaries to help you out with.

25. Couchsurfing

25. Couchsurfing

 

VIA: Acid Potion

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