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Web Design

Popular design news of the week: March 30, 2020 – April 5, 2020

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

 

55+ Best Free Fonts

 

Colors.lol – Overly Descriptive Color Palettes

 

Reactive Resume: Free and Open-Source Resume Builder

 

Cross-Cultural Design: 4 Ways to Get Started

 

Productivity: The Ultimate Guide

 

Spicypass – Free and Open-Source Minimalist Password Manager

 

12+ Low-Code and No-Code Development Platforms

 

UX Myths to Forget in 2020

 

United Nations Issues an Open Brief to Designers to Help Fight Coronavirus

 

Best Infographic Makers in 2020

 

27 Best Movies & Documentaries for Creatives

 

6 Underestimated Soft Skills that will Make You a Better Designer

 

Design Trend: Mono Gradients

 

Not Safe for Design, a Creative Challenge Generator

 

Top 4 Tips on How to Build an Effective Design System

 

Social Distancing Logos are the Design Equivalent of ‘Thoughts and Prayers’

 

The Best Alternatives to Zoom for Videoconferencing

 

A Complete Guide to Wireframe Design

 

Top 5 Mockup Tools for Web Designers in 2020

 

A New Color Contrast Analyser that Suggests Better Colors

 

How to Build a Bad Design System

 

What Should You do When a Web Design Trend Becomes Too Popular?

 

How Organize your Text Styles in Sketch

 

Basecamp’s Jason Fried on the Learning Curve of Remote Work

 

How to Write UX Copy that Makes your Product a Joy to Use

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.



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Can Web Designers Save the World?

I know this might seem like an odd question to ask. After all, it’s not like we’re living in a villain-filled Gotham City in need of saving.

When it comes to asking the question, “Can web designers save the world?”, I look at it like this:

Superheroes don’t exist in real life, so there’s no way that one single person on this planet is going to “save” the world — web designer or otherwise. But heroes that fight small battles that add up to larger wins for humanity? They certainly do exist and web designers collectively have the ability to help shape and save the world this way.

 

How Can Web Designers Save the World?

We see it all the time from those around us: People who donate blood regularly; Volunteers who rebuild homes and cities after natural disasters; Households that practice sustainability through recycling and composting.

These might seem like small acts of kindness on an individual level, but when you put everyone’s efforts together, there’s a lot of good being done for the world.

Web designers can make contributions of their own, too.

1. Work for Clients Doing Good

I know it can be hard to be picky about who you work with. But when you reach a point in your design career where your revenue stream is stable and you feel confident saying “no” to clients that aren’t a good fit, you may want to factor this in.

In other words, rather than say “yes” because a client can afford your rates, build websites for businesses that:

  • Have sustainable initiatives;
  • Lend support to their local communities;
  • Take really good care of their employees;
  • Build products that make the world a better place;
  • And so on…

By building websites for companies like these, you’ll empower them to spread their positive messages and missions far and wide.

2. Design Accessible Websites

It’s not just the World Wide Web Consortium that promotes a “web for all”. Accessibility is an innate human right that governments are now taking action to protect as well.

As a web designer, you have a crucial role to play in this. If you aren’t yet in the habit of making your websites accessible, today is as good a time as any to start.

Keep in mind that it’s not just about making a website easy for impaired visitors to navigate or see. Accessibility means making it so that everyone can access a website equally. For instance, building a progressive web app would allow a business to get its website into the hands of people in developing parts of the world that might not always have fast or reliable Internet access.

So, don’t forget to think outside the box for accessible solutions.

3. Practice Ethical Web Design

The Internet has done a lot of good for this world, but as we grow more permanently connected to it and our devices, users have begun to experience a slew of negative side effects.

While you don’t want to keep people from the web or the companies and services they need, you can make better choices about how you design online experiences for them. Namely, you can use ethical design features and techniques to encourage healthier online habits.

Many apps, for example, now come with daily time reminders.

Although this solution wouldn’t work for a website, you could try to accomplish something similar by reducing the number of push notifications or emails sent from your site. You use these elements to promote re-engagement with your website, so by reducing how many or how frequently they go out, you can keep users from aggravating their addiction to the web or their smartphones.

4. Use Eco-Friendly Design Tactics

If you want to help save the physical planet we’re on, utilizing eco-friendly or sustainable design practices would be a good idea. You may be using many of them already without actually knowing it.

For instance, many leading web hosting providers are investing in renewable energy to power their infrastructure and, consequently, their customers’ websites. It’s a simple thing — switching to a “green” web hosting plan — but it can have a significant impact on the planet as more and more companies head in that direction.

Certain choices you make for the websites you build can help the planet as well. For example, by creating more efficient user pathways, people won’t spend as much time on your website and, hopefully, online. Even things like minimal design, image optimization, and caching can help as your server doesn’t have to waste so much energy trying to serve it to visitors.

5. Lend Your Skills During Global Crises

As I was looking over recent research and reports for web designers, I discovered an article from Dr. Stephanie Evergreen on Fast Company. It suggested that web designers had an important part to play during global crises, like the Coronavirus pandemic.

As a data visualization specialist, she knows how much easier it is for consumers to understand data and directives when it’s designed visually. And we’re not just talking about laying out statistics in a table. She cites various examples of creative graphics that spell out difficult-to-understand concepts.

This graphic on the Australian Government Department of Health homepage, for instance, is a good example of that in action:

Australian Health Department - Coronavirus Graphic

The graphic on the left could’ve just been a boring text banner (like the one on the right) or, worse, a cheesy stock image of people coughing. Instead, the designer made a great choice by creatively depicting and labeling the most common symptoms of the virus.

Whether you’re tasked with designing something like this to help in a crisis, or you normally work with medical or scientific organizations, your ability to translate quantifiable data into beautiful graphics can make a world of difference.

 

Wrap-Up

Will you, as one web designer, be able to save the world? Eh, probably not. But your contribution made alongside other web designers definitely will.

Just remember that saving the world isn’t always about cleaning up the planet or locking away criminals. The people that you choose to work with, the design techniques you use, and the kinds of websites you put out into the world can have an impact, too.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.



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Design in the Time of COVID-19

It’s April Fools’ Day, and each year on the 1st of April we normally join the rest of the world in posting a humorous, and entirely fictitious story. But this year, we decided to go a different way.

These aren’t normal times. Around the world, millions of people are struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. Many people have lost family members, and many more are struggling to support themselves and their families. For too many of us, the future feels uncertain.

If we’ve learnt one thing in the last few months, it’s that the design community is at its best when we support each other. And so for today’s post we wanted to give a shout out, and a heartfelt “thank you” to all those companies going out of their way to support our readers.

(Laughter is a great medicine, so if you were looking forwards to another April Fools’ prank, you’ll find a few of our most popular from the last few years here: Domain Shakeup, The Web That Time Forgot, and Google Makes Material Design Compulsory.)

Here’s a list (in alphabetical order) of the industry leaders putting our community before their profits:

 

Adobe

Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud products focus their support on students and Enterprise-level customers affected by the coronavirus:

  • Students using Creative Cloud with in-classroom licences now have personal in-home licenses instead;
  • Web-based PDF services are free until 31st May 2020;
  • Team and Enterprise customers on the VIP plan have an extra 60 days to renew;
  • Additional license charges for Enterprise Term License Agreement customers eliminated for 60 days;
  • Adobe Summit has gone fully digital.

Read Adobe’s COVID-19 statement.

 

Affinity

Affinity — makers of Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Publisher — has introduced three measures to support designers of all levels:

  • Free trials of the Affinity suite of products (for Mac and Windows) have been extended from 30 days to 3 months;
  • Anyone who wants to buy a license for any Affinity product (for Mac, Windows, and iPad) will receive a 50% discount off the normal price;
  • Affinity have also pledged to spend the equivalent of their entire 2020 commissioning budget in the next 3 months, engaging 100+ freelance creatives.

We know we’re not saving the world, but we hope these measures can at least provide some form of relief to those who need it. We’ll pull through this together…

Read more from Affinity.

 

Apple

Apple is probably the largest single technology firm in the design space and has announced several measures to combat COVID-19 in the US, and around the world.

  • Apple will match employee donations two-to-one to COVID-19 response efforts;
  • All hourly workers will continue to be paid in alignment with normal business operations;
  • WDC will be entirely digital this year;
  • Trial versions of Final Cur Pro X and Logic Pro X have been extended to 90 days.

The entire Apple family is indebted to the heroic first responders, doctors, nurses, researchers, public health experts and public servants globally who have given every ounce of their spirit to help the world meet this moment.

Read Apple’s statement.

 

Asana

This is a bit of a niche offer, but may be perfect for someone. If your team is a non-profit engaged in medical research or disaster response, specifically related to the coronavirus outbreak, Asana will give you 12 months of their Business subscription free of charge.

Apply for your free Asana license.

 

Codecademy

Codecademy is a leading provider of online web and mobile development courses. To support students who are unable to access their regular learning resources, Codecademy is offering 10,000 free memberships of Codecademy Pro for high school and college students anywhere in the world, for the rest of the school year.

Join Codecademy Pro.

 

Coursera

Coursera is an online learning platform that partners with major institutions, including Ivy League schools. Coursera is offering free Coursera for Campus access to any college or University affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Students need to be registered by their learning institution and will need to complete online courses by September 30th.

Learn more about Coursera’s offer.

 

Cloudflare

Cloudflare offers a range of different solutions for keeping remote teams connected. Cloudflare for Teams allows your team to work securely on your remote-access applications, and access company data, without fear of exposing anything sensitive to prying eyes.

Cloudflare for Teams is offered for free, to organizations of any size, at no cost until September 1st, and they’re throwing in an optional 30 minutes onboarding session with one of their experts to get you up and running.

Originally conceived as a communications network for humanity during a crisis…in this moment, [the Internet]’s being put to use for that original purpose.

Schedule a free Cloudflare onboarding session.

 

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting is a collaboration platform for remote meetings. It’s great for touching base with clients quickly and easily. GoToMeeting have put together an Emergency Remote Work Kit with four tools to ease your move into remote work. They’re free for 3 months for eligible healthcare providers, educational institutions, municipalities, and non-profits, as well as current LogMeIn customers.

Get your Emergency Remote Work Kit.

 

Jamm

Jamm is a lightweight voice and video collaboration app to help teams collaborate, and bond. It is offering 4 months for free to support teams remote working during the coronavius outbreak.

Sign up for 4 months of Jamm free.

 

Kangaroo

If you’re a US-based business that is being forced to vacate its premises leaving valuable equipment inside, or if you’re working from home with valuable equipment that’s normally protected by business insurance, then security will be high on your list of priorities. In partnership with Staples, Kangaroo has launched a small business initiative to supply a security kit, including a camera, and professional monitoring (and free inbound and outbound shipping) for 3 months.

This small but hopefully meaningful gesture is entirely consistent with our mission to make security accessible to everyone. Thanks for making our communities great, and here’s to getting through this together.

Learn more about Kangaroo’s offer.

 

Loom

Loom is a time-saving app for communicating visually. You can record yourself, as well as your screen, and share the video in seconds. It’s excellent for remote design reviews. It has implemented several measures to help teams adjusting to the current work situation:

  • The number of recordings on free plans, normally limited to 25, is now unlimited until July 1st 2020;
  • Monthly subscriptions have been reduced by 50% until July 1st, 2020;
  • Trials have been extended from 14 days to 30 days, again, until July 1st;
  • Loom Pro is now free, forever, for education.

Our hope is that by stepping up, we’re making a dent in the global impact this pandemic is causing, not just by making our product more accessible, but by helping set the kind of example we hope more businesses will follow.

Read Loom’s statement.

 

Microsoft

Microsoft is make Teams — part of Office 365 — free for everyone for six months to help your team keep working during the COVID-19 outbreak.

By making Teams available to as many people as possible, we aim to support public health and safety by keeping teams connected while they work apart.

Read more from Microsoft.

 

Nailted

Nailted is a product for remote teams that helps you maintain a supportive and growth-orientated workforce through feedback, helping you take care of your most important assets, your colleagues. During the coronavirus crisis Nailted is offering its product free of charge.

Create a Nailted account.

 

Pluralsight

Pluralsight is a huge online learning platform and it is offering free access to its Recorded Technology Conferences, which show pre-recorded content from technology conferences and events around the globe.

  • Conference content will be available free of charge to anyone until July 1st 2020;
  • Any tech conference or event can host its content with Pluralsight free of charge until July 1st;
  • Singularity University’s live streamed event “COVID-19: The State & Future of Pandemics” will be hosted on the platform;
  • Pluralsight’s own LIVE Europe conference will be free to access.

More details on Pluralsight’s content.

 

Professional Photographers of America

The PPA (Professional Photographers of America) has made its 1100+ online classes freely available for the next few weeks.

Times are tough – we need to be at our best. More kindness. More patience. More giving.

Access PPA’s education resources here.

 

Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow for Teams is a question and answer space for companies to share knowledge within their team. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak Stack Overflow for Teams will be free until June 30th 2020.

We want to help everyone better collaborate and share information as we navigate remote work during these uncertain times.

Get started with Stack Overflow for Teams.

 

WeFunder

WeFunder has launched a Fight the Virus Challenge with grants of up to $1m for startups tackling the coronavirus crisis. If you’re working on a project that could help — from remote education tools, to protective clothing, to small business support, and anything at all that helps combat COVID-19 — you have until April 3rd 2020 to apply.

In times of great need, the next generation of great startups is born.

Apply to the Fight the Virus Challenge.

 

& The Rest

These are all generous offers from companies that want to make a difference to the world we live in. But don’t forget that there are thousands of free and open source projects that are available for free 24/7 365; they deserve support too.

Stay safe everyone. Stay home, flatten the curve. We will, eventually, come out the other side of this.

 

If you know of an organization that is offering its goods and/or services free of charge, or at reduced cost, to support the design community during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, please let us know and we’ll add it to this collection.



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Bublup: The Cloud Reimagined | Webdesigner Depot

Since mankind first crawled out of its cave, looked at a block of stone, and wondered if it wouldn’t roll better if it were round, human beings have been looking at technology and trying to make it better.

Almost every tech you can think of, from digital music players, to cryptocurrency, to search engines, may well be revolutionary in their first incarnation, but only go on to change the world once they’ve been reimagined with the kinks worked out.

however you want to store your stuff online, you can do it with Bublup

Now, Bublup (pronounced Bubble-up) is reimagining the cloud, one of the mainstays of modern computing, by reinventing not just the technology that powers the cloud, but how we use it in our daily lives.

One of the biggest problems with the cloud is that no matter who supplies it, it is structured and organized in a way that suits the cloud supplier; photos go in your photos folder, notes go in your documents folder or a notebook, links go in your bookmarks folder. Bublup is different, Bublup lets you organize your content however you want to. You can even mix and match media types in the same folder. So, unlike some cloud providers you can store links with photos, notes in with videos, PDFs in with MP3s; however you want to store your stuff online, you can do it with Bublup.

organize-lp-hero-3

It’s this flexibility that makes Bublup one of the most intuitive ways to save and share plans, memories, ideas, and projects. Imagine you’re planning a trip to your dream destination next year, instead of keeping all your research across a dozen different folders, with Bublup you can store everything in one place — your flight details, reservations, your itinerary, maps, places you want to eat, things you want to see, guidebooks – everything you’ll need for the trip of a lifetime. The same goes for work projects, sharing family photos, meal planning, and more.

You can even use Bublup for work collaboration

Bublup makes your folders private by default, so you don’t have to worry about anyone taking your files without your permission. But one of the best features of Bublup, and one we know you’re going to want to check out, is its collaboration options. You can invite anyone to join your folder, and work on it together by commenting and reacting on items or folders. It’s an awesome way to build up content from a whole group of people.

You can even use Bublup for work collaboration. Just create a folder for your project and invite your team to join you. Store emails, briefing notes, assets, contracts, everything for your current project in a single, secure location.

bublup_recipes-min

One of the key benefits of Bublup is that everything is organized visually, with big thumbnails and titles, so you never have to hunt around for the file you’re looking for, it’s always right in front of you and easy to find.

Perhaps our favorite Bublup feature is “rolls”. Rolls are beautifully presented stories built from the contents of your folder in just a few clicks. Upload your vacation photos and videos to Bublup, and then in seconds create a story that captures the event perfectly. Best of all, rolls can be shared with anyone – they don’t even need a Bublup account – just build your roll and share it with a single link. It’s the perfect way of sharing vacation memories, or keeping in touch with family.

travel_roll_bublup
cooking_roll

Something we know everyone will love is Bublup’s suggestion engine. This awesome tool seeks out fresh content for you, helping you discover ideas you didn’t even know were out there. It’s an incredibly useful option when you’re researching. Let’s say you’re planning that dream trip, wouldn’t it be great to get the best tips on places to eat, stay, and enjoy from locals and leading sites on the web? Bublup’s suggestion engine will search them all out for you, you can choose to add them to your folder, or ignore them, it’s completely up to you!

bublup_travel_hero

The best thing about Bublup is that it’s easy to use. You don’t need to be an expert to get the most out of this tool. It’s so easy to use even complete novices will be up to speed in minutes, and it’s the perfect solution for everything from staying in touch with family and friends, to collaborating with colleagues on professional projects.

Incredibly, Bublup’s standard plan is free, with 3 GB of storage for files and unlimited links, and all features except the most advanced roll features. If you discover that Bublup is the right tool for you then keep using the standard plan for free, or upgrade to a paid plan from just $2.99 per month. Head over to bublup.com now to start organizing your content the way it suits you.

 

[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of Bublup –]



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3 Essential Design Trends, April 2020

This month’s website designs are showing elements of what is happening in the world around us. While this is often true, some of the things we are seeing right now are an immediate reaction to current events.

Trending this month are designs for website notifications and pop-ups, retro typography, and blue and green color schemes. Here’s what’s trending in design this month.

 

Website Notifications

The COVID-19 world health pandemic has created a need for many designers to add notices to websites. From temporary closures to delayed shipping to changes in business operations, almost every transactional website has a need for a notification.

And while many of us are having to react fast, there’s no reason these notifications need to look bad.

The keys are to ensure simplicity, readability, and user-friendliness.

Each of these three website examples does it in a different way, but all meet the three goals above.

One big change to these pop-ups from others that we’ve looked at recently is the mood of the design. It is somber and informative, not bright and cheery like many of the more sales-oriented pop-ups that have been popular.

Dick’s Sporting Goods uses a simple popup with a store image in the background that’s faded out with bold white text on top. The message is direct and to the point. There’s a secondary popup notice at the bottom of the screen for users who want to know more.

dicks

The pop-up notification has an obvious X to close the window. When the primary, center screen pop-up is displayed the rest of the website has a dark overlay to help bring focus to the notification.

Chase retooled their website header, stripping out images, to include a COVID-19 update notice alongside the customer login box. Information is easy to read and the red icon distinguishes this as important information. The button is large and visible, making it easy to find more information about what the financial institution is doing and how to find help if you need it.

chase

The shift from an image header to this informational one changes the whole mood of the website to one that is appropriate for the times.

Hell’s Kitchen uses a simple pop-up with a full-screen overlay that darkens the rest of the design. This pop-up notification contains a lot of information. But blocks of text and bolding in the right places keep it organized. The date as a headline also helps customers know that the information is up-to-date with fast-moving changes that are happening everywhere.

hells-kitchen

Note that the notification also includes links to other parts of the business that can be patronized, such as buying gift cards or making a reservation in the future. Adding a relevant link or button to a notification is a good way to help users do something with the website when they can’t necessarily do what they originally came for.

When creating this style of notification for your website, pay attention to relevant settings. With sales-based notifications or pop-ups, they may time out, stop displaying due to a cookie, or only appear for certain customers or on certain pages.

With a notification such as the ones we are seeing for COVID-19, it is likely that you’ll want to think about these settings carefully. You will likely want a popup to appear on every visit for every customer. You may need a couple of notification types; one for a physical closure and another to note delayed shipping times, for example.

 

Retro Typography

Old styles almost always come back around.

Designers seem to be experimenting with retro typography styles in a big way lately, making this a website design trend this month.

Retro styles are being used in a variety of ways and there isn’t one dominant typography style. The most common theme seems to be retro typefaces that are a little flowier with a lot of character and personality.

Retro typography styles are nice because they can create a very intentional mood for a project. One of the concepts that has trended in 2020 is the notion of throwing back to the 1920s. That retro style is something you can see hints of in the typography choice for Playful.

Without saying anything more, a typeface can transport someone to a different era or mood. That’s exactly what this design trend does for these projects.

Playful uses Antiga Regular for the main headlines.

playful

Nika Fisher uses Ziggy for the nifty counter in the bottom right corner.

nika

Madies uses Blw for the main headlines. (Note that the logo also uses a different retro style as well.

madies

 

Blue and Green Color Schemes

Blue and green color schemes make you think of nature: Green grass and trees and blue sky. These palettes can be calming, soothing, and very harmonious. (All things that might be a fresh feel in a tumultuous world, right now.)

While the use of blues and greens is not new, it is a combination that we haven’t seen a lot of in website design projects for some time.

These color schemes are evolving in a few different ways and are an easy fit with many brand colors and styles (thanks to a mostly neutral feel).

If you are interested in using this trend, play with different shades of blue and green. Start with a blue or green that is part of your brand color palette (if you have one), and incorporate colors around it.

Another option is to work from a blue or green that you might have used as part of another color trend, such as the super bright colors from GadgetGone. The blues and greens here have a definite Material Design vibe to them.

gg

Vonnda mixes the gradient trend with green and blue to create a striking visual on its homepage. The color combo makes a cool gradient in the oversized geo shape on the right side of the screen (which has a nice balance with all the whitespace) and helps the eye move through the text thanks to “commerce” highlighted using the same green-blue gradient.

vonnda

Goya uses a deep navy background with a striking emerald green to create a simple homepage aesthetic. Green is used as a highlight color in the downpage illustration and is the brand color that serves as a thread between scrolls in the one-page design. This example shows how to start with a brand color (emerald) and build a trendy palette around it.

goya

 

Conclusion

While this month’s design trends might be a little more somber than in recent months, it is a reflection of world events. Even in uncertain times, design work continues and new trends will emerge.



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