Archive

Archive for the ‘Designing’ Category

3 Best Website Uptime Monitoring Tools 

July 1st, 2022 No comments

An unreliable, semi-broken and unresponsive website is an excellent way to lose leads and visitors — regardless of how aesthetically pleasing or well-designed, the visual elements are.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen more initiative to deliver faster internet to regions of the world that were previously devoid of it. With online communities expanding and more people becoming receptive to online shopping, ensuring your site’s dependability is now more important than ever. 

One way to achieve this is by employing uptime and downtime monitoring tools. This guide will examine the best ways to get alerts when something goes wrong and your website falters.

Why Is Website Uptime Monitoring Important?

Downtime is bound to occur occasionally. Nonetheless, the goal is to minimize it. The longer the downtime occurs, the more traffic and potential clients you lose. A dysfunctional website is also detrimental to your credibility and reputation. People may associate your website’s unreliability with your real-world products or services.

With web developers charging an average of $200 per hour, high-quality websites can be expensive to build and maintain. Nevertheless, it’s often worth the investment. However, an unreliable website can backfire on you. Instead of attracting more customers, it could potentially repel them. This can result in lost revenue.

An uptime monitoring solution can help you prevent or reduce these losses. It verifies if your website is up and functional and notifies you if it’s not. This allows you to troubleshoot the issue and get your website back up and running as soon as you’re alerted. The most common issues behind your website’s downtime include: 

  • Server faults;
  • Network outages;
  • Power outage;
  • Traffic spikes;
  • Cyberattacks;
  • Domain name issues;
  • An erroneous web application deployment;
  • Increased server loads;
  • DNS Resolve issues;
  • Human error.

Thus, you must employ a dependable tool that detects downtime or any interruptions related to your website as soon as they occur. They are must-have tools for web designers, developers, and network administrators. However, not all of them are built the same. So how do you identify the best uptime monitoring tools?

Essential Features of Uptime Monitoring Tools

Uptime monitoring tools typically detect interruptions by running network tests such as pings and trace routes. You could practically monitor your website’s uptime by constantly running these tests yourself. 

However, this isn’t an efficient way to monitor your website’s uptime. A comprehensive uptime monitoring tool will automatically monitor your website’s uptime in the background. It will then alert you through various channels as soon as it senses that your website may be down. 

Furthermore, high-quality uptime monitoring solutions tend to offer additional information regarding your website’s uptime/downtime and its performance. These tools commonly feature dashboards, status pages, badges, exportable records, etc., to help you keep track of your site’s overall health.

9 Best Features of an Uptime Monitoring Solution

The ideal uptime monitoring tool or service should feature: 

  1. Website security features that notify of and repel potential cyber attacks;
  2. 24/7 uninterrupted background website monitoring;
  3. Multi-channel alerts (email, SMS, push notifications, instant messages, social media, etc.);
  4. Report generation;
  5. 24/7 customer support available through different channels (email, phone, chat, etc.);
  6. Be capable of monitoring multiple websites and proxies at the same time;
  7. Offer insights and suggestions to improve your website’s performance;
  8. Be affordable;
  9. High customizability should allow you to choose which features to enable and disable.

Another optional feature to look out for is public status pages that your clients can access to determine if all your services are up and running. GetWeave is an excellent example of this. The website features a well-organized systems status page where customers can check if all of Weave’s services are functional. 

Nevertheless, you can use the above information as a buying guide when assessing potential uptime monitoring tools. The rest of this guide will supply a few suggestions as to which tools you should use for your website.

3 Best Website Uptime Monitoring Tools 

Some of the best uptime monitoring tools for website downtime alerts include:

1. Uptrends

Uptrends isn’t just a downtime detection tool; it’s a complete web performance monitoring solution. It will notify you as soon as it detects any disturbance in your website’s performance. It features highly customizable checks. For instance, you can set performance check limits for load times. Uptrends will notify you instantly if your website takes too long to load.

You can also configure from which locations you want it to monitor your website. Uptrends will then point you to where your website usually suffers performance dips in the real world. 

The service uses multiple communication channels to send users notifications: email, phone calls, and SMS. Alternatively, you can download one of Uptrend’s mobile applications and receive push notifications. Additionally, you can integrate Uptrends with messaging and communication applications such as PagerDuty, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.   

Another impressive Uptrend feature is its ability to emulate your website’s performance on different browsers. It runs Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge on its servers. Thus, you can compare how your website runs on these web browsers without installing them on your servers or computer. 

Uptrends supplies users with various charts, reports, and graphs to help identify sudden spikes or dips. Waterfall reports display the complete page-load from the initial request to the last download. This allows you to compare the history of your website’s performance element by element. It comes with three price plans whose costs depend on the number of monitors you would like. Starting at $16.21 (at the time of writing) the Starter Plan is the most affordable.

2. Oh Dear

Oh Dear is a slightly cheaper option than Uptrends, with the most affordable plan starting at $12 per month (at the time of writing). However, while Uptrends offers a 30-day free trial, Oh Dear only provides a 12-day trial period. Nevertheless, Oh Dear’s interface is a lot cleaner and more minimal. 

Since Oh Dear runs servers in different locations across the globe, it can track how your website performs in various regions. Oh Dear will scan through your website and index all the pages. If it detects any issues, it will alert you immediately. 

Oh Dear also features a continuous certificate monitoring function. Site owners who are concerned with their website’s security may find this feature to be especially useful. It will verify your SSL certificate expiration dates and alert you of any changes.  

Oh Dear’s public status page enables your clients to keep track of your website’s availability.

Oh Dear uses email and SMS text messages to alert site owners of any issues. It also features integrations with communications and social media applications such as Telegram, Discord, Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc. Oh Dear ensures that messages are as detailed and user-friendly. This makes it easier to troubleshoot and find the origin of your problem. Oh Dear is more than a worthy alternative to Uptrends. 

3. WP Umbrella

WP Umbrella is a little different from the previous entries. It’s intended to help users manage and monitor multiple WordPress sites. Thus, it is far more particularized in its approach to website uptime monitoring. Again, as is the primary function of the uptime monitoring tool, it offers a real-time alert system that will contact you through email, SMS, Slack, etc. 

WP Umbrella employs a simple minimal UI. Its main screen consists of a dashboard that allows you to view all your WordPress websites. By default, this dashboard features four columns: Site, Uptime, Speed, and Issues.

WP Umbrella will alert you of any outdated or erroneous plugins or themes. While it doesn’t offer dedicated public status pages, it does have a client report generation feature. You can automatically send these reports to your various subscribers or clients when your website is down. 

WP Umbrella is the most affordable option on this list. Users are charged $1.99 per month (at the time of writing) for each website monitored. In addition, WP Umbrella offers a 14-day trial and does not require your credit card details. It’s an excellent option for anyone running a WordPress website or two.

Conclusion

This guide has only explored three possible uptime monitoring solutions. They won’t only assist you in detecting downtimes, they can also help you find the reason your site may be slow.

These solutions are an excellent place to start. But there are many other options coming to market all the time. You may find that this is the first step to converting more leads and reducing your bounce rate. 

Source

The post 3 Best Website Uptime Monitoring Tools  first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

Bunny Fonts

June 30th, 2022 No comments

Bunny Fonts bills itself as the “privacy-first web font platform designed to put privacy back into the internet.”According to its FAQ:

With a zero-tracking and no-logging policy, Bunny Fonts helps you stay fully GDPR compliant and puts your user’s personal data into their own hands.

Hard for my mind not to go straight to Google Fonts. Bunny Fonts even says they are a drop-in replacement for Google Fonts. It offers the same open source fonts and holds the same API structure used by Google Fonts.

Now, I’m no GDPR expert but the possibility of Google collecting data through its Fonts API is hardly unsurprising or even unexpected. I was curious to check out Google’s privacy statement for Fonts:

The Google Fonts API logs the details of the HTTP request, which includes the timestamp, requested URL, and all HTTP headers (including referrer and user agent string) provided in connection with the use of our CSS API.

IP addresses are not logged.

Comparing that to what Bunny Fonts says in its FAQ:

When using Bunny Fonts, no personal data or logs are stored. All the requests are processed completely anonymously.

Or perhaps more thoroughly explained on the bunny.net GDPR statement:

In most cases, the data held and collected by bunny.net does not contain any user identifiable data. In some cases, which depend on how you are using bunny.net and how your website is structured, personal data may be collected from your users. Such information includes hosting user uploaded content as well as personal data that might be transmitted in the URL, User-Agent or Referer headers of the HTTP protocol.

Sounds pretty similar, right? Well, it may not have been that similar earlier this year when a German court ruled that embedded Google Fonts violated GDPR compliance. It appears that one line in the Google Fonts privacy statement about IP addresses came after the ruling, once the API scrubbed them from collected data.

So, do you need to ditch Google Fonts to be GDPR compliant? I would imagine not if IP addresses were the sole concern, but I’ll leave that for folks who know the rules to comment on that.

But if you are concerned about Google Font’s GDPR compliance, I guess Bunny Fonts is worth a look! And seeing that it’s powered by bunny.net’s CDN services, you should get pretty comparable performance marks.

To Shared LinkPermalink on CSS-Tricks


Bunny Fonts originally published on CSS-Tricks. You should get the newsletter.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

Text-overflow: ellipsis considered harmful

June 30th, 2022 No comments

Eric Eggert:

There are a few legitimate use cases for this technique. For example, you might have a table with titles and descriptions. To preserve more space for the title, you constrain the description to one line on small viewports to the one-line and you repeat the description on the detail page for this item.

However, I often see it used on items like buttons or even form labels to make them look nicer(?) or when aligning them vertically. But once you change the viewport or resize the text, the end of the text disappears.

I think “… if used in certain situations” belongs there, but it certainly makes for a better blog post title without it. As Eric says, there are legitimate use cases for truncating text. Maybe only a few, but legitimate nonetheless.

The ultimate goal is to prevent “losing” data, something that can certainly happen in CSS. Text that inadvertently overflows a container is lost in the sense that it’s simply not there. And if that text is simply not there, users will miss it, even if it is the best and most well-crafted call to action ever published to the web.

Eric points out that there is no way to make the text truncated by text-overflow: ellipsis visible. Once it’s gone, it’s gone (although screen readers seem to announce it). It’s practically lost data. You might be OK with that. That’s cool as long as you know what’s happening and it’s intended.

But here’s what Eric says that made me want to share this:

Don’t constrain the content to fit your design, make your CSS flexible to handle longer words gracefully.

Again, you might want to conform content to the design. But I’d probably argue, like Eric, that the design should adapt to the content rather than the other way around. I have a hard time recalling any situation where the text on a page is unimportant or without purpose to the extent that I’d be cool cutting if off at any arbitrary point determined by a CSS property. Maybe an archive of blog posts where each post shows an excerpt of the post content before truncating, but that’s not exactly a use case for text-overflow: ellipse.

CSS has the tools to make a flexible design that accounts for varying lengths of text. So maybe err on the side of writing defensive CSS… CSS that anticipates issues and knows how to gracefully handle different content scenarios. text-overflow: ellipsis might be part of your CSS arsenal for that. But it might also be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Worth asking whether losing that data is worth the cost of what that content is supposed to do before giving giving it a haircut.

While we’re talking about truncating text…

To Shared LinkPermalink on CSS-Tricks


Text-overflow: ellipsis considered harmful originally published on CSS-Tricks. You should get the newsletter.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

The Complete Guide To Personalized Marketing

June 29th, 2022 No comments

Personalized marketing is when you attune your marketing efforts based on customer data. This data can be anything from the first and last name to purchase intent, concerns, and history.

Personalized marketing has revolutionized the way businesses market their product and service to their audience. It brings value to people’s lives, spiking the sales graph for brands and businesses. So it’s a win-win situation for both the company and the consumer.

Even big companies do this for their campaigns. They do so because it gives them great results and ROI for their marketing initiatives. If these multinational businesses do this, it’s a good idea to incorporate this strategy and learn from a top resource on digital marketing.

This article aims to explain every nook and cranny of personalized marketing. By the end of this 5-minute read, you will know the impact of personalized marketing on our lives. And how you can integrate this into your marketing strategy to benefit your business.

What Is Personalized Marketing?

Have you ever encountered a business that knows what you’re going through? Or did you see an ad online that you closely relate to? Chances are, you were one of the target markets of those marketing materials. And if you could associate yourself with the ad, their marketing strategy worked.

That is what personalized marketing does to your audience, market, or particular demographic. This style of advertising leverages personalization in your marketing materials. The details of your marketing content are tailored to a specific audience and address the issues or real-time problems of a particular segment in your market.

Personalized marketing has become popular because more people demand it from businesses. Once the people have experienced what it felt like, they want to feel more of it.

To objectively see the demand for personalization, here are some statistics to back it up.

Accenture reported that 91% of consumers are likelier to shop with businesses that offer them relevant content. This shows that the right product recommendations can increase the chances of shopping with you.

Salesforce mentioned that 66% of consumers expect companies to understand their individual needs. This statement proves that a generalized way of marketing isn’t as effective as before. The consumer mindset has already developed, and they demand more personalization from businesses.

A striking piece of data from Statista showed that 90% of consumers in the US find the idea of personalization appealing. If that figure is accurate, almost all businesses should start incorporating this into their strategies. There’s no reason for them not to try this out.

Given the high positive demand for personalized marketing, it’s no secret why more and more businesses are doing this. However, not every company out there is doing this right. A wrong way of doing this can bring a loss of clients and a negative ROI.

To help you go on the right track of using personalization in your marketing, read up on the next section of this article.

Know These 6 Tips To Correctly Do Personalized Marketing

You’d agree that knowing your customer’s first and last name is essential. But with the dynamically changing strategies, personalized marketing is going beyond that. It’s actually about understanding what your targeted consumers need, merging with a way to convey the message that your business is the solution.

To help you achieve this, take note of the things below:

1. Leverage Your Customer Data

The foundation of personalized marketing is laid on customer data. The best marketing professionals and strategists emphasize gathering relevant data if you want to scale. Excellent digital marketing courses will teach you that customer data will help you build a solid foundation for your content and campaigns.

Consumer behavior has always been the most important detail for target marketing. With every click, it has become easier to gather data about individual customers, their interests, hobbies, purchase history, buying behavior, and more.

You’ll be able to get this information if you’ve practiced data management and collecting customer data throughout the years of your operation. However, it’s not too late to begin if you haven’t started with this yet. There is a lot of marketing automation software that aids marketing teams in doing this. For example, many businesses use lead scoring software to gain insight into their clients’ needs and categorize them appropriately.

For your personalization efforts, you can use questionnaires, surveys, and feedback forms to capture personal data on the internet. A customer will happily fill out a survey form if a reward in return entices him. This reward can be in any form– a voucher, a first buy discount, free shipping, or more.

This initiative will help you get more data in a shorter time frame.

2. Understand Your Customer’s Needs

Hoarding data will be a complete waste of marketing efforts, capital, and efficiency if you do not extract consumer behavior from it. When you have access to a rich set of data, you have the privilege to understand your customers’ trending needs deeply. After gaining insights from the data, create a marketing strategy based on those findings to target your audience.

Doing this doesn’t just apply to B2C; it also works for B2B companies, which is why the demand for custom software development, tailored services, personalized packages, and B2B data providers have been on the rise in these recent years.

It is a two-way road. While you are on the lookout for your target market, at the same time, the customers expect businesses to know what they need. The market you’re currently serving expects you to know what products or services are fit for them.

So this is where it gets crucial: you have to dig deeper into your niche and find the specs of your audience’s needs. Having a general idea about the needs of your target audience and personalized marketing usually don’t go harmoniously.

Planning a better-personalized marketing strategy will not be a piece of cake but will be much more rewarding for every aspect of your business. May it be sales, return on investments, customer relationships, or personalized marketing campaigns.

3. Personalize Every Stage Of The Customer Journey

The first rule of business is convincing the customer that you are their best friend. Now that you know what they want, you pledge to provide them with whatever best you can. Limiting personalization to marketing is not the solution. You have to be vigilant in meeting these individual requirements at every stage. And remember that consistency is the name of the game. That is how you bring your business into the running.

You can integrate CRM automation, email marketing tools and deploy other content marketing strategies to help make this process a lot simpler. Personalized live chat and chatbots, such as those offered by ThriveDesk, allow businesses to personalize their offerings and build their brand reputation.

As a customer, my requirement would be reading content, browsing, and experiencing products that would hit home. A personalized experience is what every consumer demands. And this is what makes them want to go back and do business with you again.

By creating helpful and relevant content, recommending the right products to them, and giving out convenient payment options, you are setting your business apart from the rest. Doing this allows you to have personalized every touchpoint that your customers do with your business.

4. Present In An Engaging Way

Consider customer engagement as absolutely necessary. Having the best data set and knowing what your customers want is not enough. In the competitive space of business and marketing, everyone is trying to get the attention of one another. And this is what you are supposed to do. This helps in building consumer-brand relations.

When a consumer engages, meaningful things happen. Engaging content pushes the consumer through the funnel and hence promotes conversions. Your content should be creative and eye-catching.

Engaging content blended with personalization boosts the brand experience. Increased loyalty, trust-building, and improved customer experience enhance the conversion and sales speed.

A great way to use personalization in an engaging manner that most businesses overlook would be through exit-intent popups.

5. Be Where Your Customers Are

This is an element that some businesses miss out on. They have created excellent social media marketing content but only distributed it on the wrong channel. For personalized marketing to be effective, it needs to be seen by people.

Are you questioning your marketing techniques because all you see is stagnancy? You have set up an engaging online store on Shopify or Wix, collected all the relevant data, your content is engaging enough, and your marketing strategy is top-notch. But you are still unable to reach your clientele.

You start wondering what you are missing out on. Your content and your strategies will not be prolific if you are on the wrong channel. Remember: the message of your content has to reach the right people for it to be effective.

Should you be on social media? If so, which one? Do you get more traction with email campaigns? Or do you have more engagements on forums?

Find out where your market is, then spend your focus there. Now the next step is how to know where they spend most of their time?

This is where we go back in the loop. And hence we again emphasize that data collection is the foundation of any great marketing strategy.

6. Improve Marketing Content

Don’t rest on your laurels when you’ve gotten everything down to a tee and have attained your desired marketing analytics behind your personalized marketing content. Always think of ways how you can improve.

Evolving at every step will keep you in the running. Don’t be misguided into thinking that your work is done if you feel like you have reached the pinnacle. Keep looking for ways to get better. Set bigger goals and status for your business.

Always go back to the drawing board and brainstorm with your team on how you can change and strive with the dynamically changing world and mindsets. In the end, all you want is to build better relationships with your customers, new and existing.

For enhanced productivity, your marketing team should always look for new strategies. This is how fresh and great marketing ideas are made.

See How You Can Benefit From Personalized Marketing

Irrelevant information can waste energy and time for both customers and the business. Personalized marketing hits the bull’s eye 99% of the time. It brings immeasurable value to the company as well as the customer.

Here are some of the top benefits of personalized marketing:

1. Better Engagement

The first target personalized marketing aims at is grabbing an individual’s attention. And this results in better engagement eventually. If you are presenting your customer with something that wows them, needless to say, it will grab their attention.

This will help bridge the gap between your customer and your brand. Identifying customers’ needs and then giving them what they want will help improve customer interaction with your brand.

It can even be enough for them to follow your call to action. The next thing you know, they will be checking your website, signing up for a list, or even purchasing a product right then and there.

2. Higher Conversions

Are you there for your customer at the right time and place? One-on-one marketing provides easy solutions to customers because you hit them with just what they are looking for at the right time.

When potential customers realize that you understand what they’re going through and provide the solution, most won’t hesitate to try your business out.

Personalization isn’t just focused on content. It can also be integrated into your processes. This results in aiding the increase of higher conversion rates.

3. Improved Customer Experience

Offering personalization will significantly improve the user experience. Once you provide the products, services, and content that meet their needs, their opinion of your business automatically improves.

Considering the statistics about personalized experiences, it is evident that consumers demand personalization strategies from companies. And if you offer such an experience, you increase the chance of making them do more business with you. Personalization helps businesses in reducing cart abandonment rates, better customer journey, increased customer satisfaction, and many more.

4. Customer Retention

Retaining persisting customers is equally important to your business as bringing new ones. Most businesses face low customer retention. It’s also a factor that some companies overlook. You must understand that it’s not all about converting prospects into paying customers. Your focus should also be on retaining those customers to make them loyal advocates of your brand.

One of the major benefits of consistent personalization is an improved customer retention rate. Consumers tend to stay with a business that understands their needs and provides solutions to their problems.

Once you can transfer a customer to a loyal advocate, you can also receive a ton of benefits. These are people that are going to defend your brand from critics. These are the same people who will give you free marketing via word of mouth and positive reviews.

5. Better Customer Relationships

Personalized experience leads to customer retention, eventually building better relationships with your nurtured customers. These entities are connected in a loop.

Customer relationships are an aspect of business that significantly helps with scalability and higher revenue. So connecting with your customers and building a relationship with them is as important as the product you are selling. This is why strengthening customer relationships should be a top priority for businesses.

Personalization makes you an expert on your target market trends. You get to know your audience deeper, which helps you build a foundation for creating a great customer relationship. And this requires marketing and customer experience teams to work together in a symphony.

For this, you can use team collaboration software which aids in the optimization of content and your approach toward the market. You’ll have a better strategy in getting their attention, providing what they want, and recommending things they’ll be interested in.

All of these things help in building customer rapport. When a customer feels that you treat them as more than just a paying customer, their customer loyalty goes to your business.

Best Examples Personalization Marketing

To inspire you to integrate this marketing strategy into your operations, below are different personalization marketing campaigns done exceptionally by various businesses. Grab inspiration, ideas, and motivation from these examples.

1. Coca-Cola

We all know the most basic form of personalization is addressing your customers’ names, but Coca-Cola took this simple idea into a massive global campaign. Their “Share a Coke” campaign started in 2011, wherein they printed different popular names on their Coke bottles and cans.

It seemed like a regular campaign at first, but it started getting traction as more customers wanted to get the name of their family, friends, and themselves. Coca-Cola said the campaign’s purpose was “to create a more personal relationship with consumers and inspire shared moments of happiness.”

The soft drinks giant used personalization and tied such a strategy with its mission: to bring memories and happiness to its consumers. You, too, can do the same – combine your mission and personalization strategy to create a unique campaign.

2. Spotify

Spotify leverages user data in its marketing strategy. They have several campaigns that make users want to use their application more often because it gives out a more tailored experience.

Other than their year-end campaign( #spotifywrapped), where they show the most played songs and podcasts their users listen to (which was a viral hit), they now also have an #OnlyYou campaign that shows your unique listening taste partnered with a musical astrology reading.

3. Nike

Nike has consistently been recognized for authentic, personalized, and heartfelt ad campaigns. This personalization always makes them capture an audience who can relate and those who start connecting to the brand. So Nike isn’t new to personalization. Their aim is robust community engagement.

Their highly inspirational campaigns with real-life heroes induce inspiration in their audience. Nike is great at converting people because of its excellent storytelling ability while adding personalization to the mix.

Nike’s just launched a new app that offers personalized content and rewards for committed fans. They tackle challenges and issues head-on, but they always make their marketing messages relatable to their audience. That is why they “just do it.”

Conclusion

Personalized marketing is the secret sauce to thriving businesses in the world today. However, incorporating this marketing strategy and finding success is not as simple as you might think. You will face challenges, but with enough perseverance and brainstorming, you can surpass them and successfully create a great campaign.

Remember, this marketing approach can be a hit or a miss. The first step to making it a success is relevant data collection followed by judicious implementation. This isn’t an overnight activity that you can do. It requires months of diligence in the right direction with the proper guidance. And you can gain valuable insights into this guidance via the content marketing strategies outlined in this article. But remember, once you start rolling, there is no looking back.

Source

The post The Complete Guide To Personalized Marketing first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

Help Shape the Future of CSS-Tricks!

June 28th, 2022 No comments

Hey, so it’s been a minute since we announced that CSS-Tricks is now part of the DigitalOcean family. Things are pretty much business as usual and hopefully it feels that way to you, too. Now that we’re getting settled, we’re eager to start poking at the future of this site.

What sort of things are we poking at? Well, that’s where you come in. You see, there’s no shortage of ideas for CSS-Tricks, but we only want to work on things that continue to make CSS-Tricks one of the spots you come to time and again for all things front-end (including actual CSS tricks).

So, we put together a short little survey for you. Nothing crazy, just a few questions to help us vet those ideas and ultimately shape the future of CSS-Tricks.

Thanks so much for your help! And while I have you, thanks for continuing to hang with us. In the seven years I’ve been working here at CSS-Tricks, I know this site wouldn’t even be here today without y’all. Here’s to the future of CSS-Tricks and learning together!

CSS-Tricks Newsletter

Oh, and one more update for all of you who miss the newsletter: it will be back! But we had to drop a ton of you off the list (seriously, like 80% of all subscribers) to be compliant with legal stuff that’s over my head. No worries, though, because you can re-subscribe right down here with your email address.


Help Shape the Future of CSS-Tricks! originally published on CSS-Tricks. You should get the newsletter.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

3 Essential Design Trends, July 2022

June 27th, 2022 No comments

There are a lot of dark, retro vibes trending in website design right now. Although there are still some light projects popping up – including a pastel trend below – a lot of what we are seeing has a quite moody feel.

Here’s what’s trending in design this month.

Pastel Color Palettes

Let’s start with the trend with a lighter feel – pastel color palettes. While much of the web is trending toward dark aesthetics, there’s a segment that’s going in the exact opposite direction. Those sites feature soft, pastel color palettes that serve as a balance to all the super dark websites out there.

One thing about this website design trend is that it jumps out because of the stark contrast with all of the dark color palettes out there.

Each of these designs seems to use a pastel color palette as the basis for a background. A blur effect is paired with the colors to use pastels in a way that has a natural feel without appearing too feminine or light.

Robust uses blue and earth tones for a pastel background that feels modern and strong when paired with the hard-edged headline font.

Atmos uses a light pastel theme that takes you through the clouds with blues, and pinks, and purples. The pastel color scheme works well with the content which is airline-themed and makes you feel like you are flying through the sky. The colors are also soft enough to provide an easy reading experience.

Klezma is another design with the same pastel background with graduated color. The peach tones are fairly neutral and give plenty of room to the content.

Fonts with a Distinct Retro Look

Every one of these websites uses a typeface with a similar look and feel. This retro headline style is trending in a major way.

The best way to use this design element is for short words. This typeface design isn’t meant for a lot of words or when readability is a high priority.

This style is all about creating a specific kind of vibe for your website. The typefaces in this trend have a quite retro look and feel with an almost 1960s or ’70s feel to them. The rest of the design mimics this feel as well with colors and surrounding elements that contribute to the overall look.

A couple of common elements here include the use of all capitals font sets and letterforms that include odd shapes and lines.

Sretks not only uses a retro typeface but bends and twists it a bit too to add to the old-school feel. The background color helps add to the groovy vibe.

Barge 166 uses a retro typeface with the same design feel as the other examples but with a sharper, more serif-style edge. It’s easier to read but still carries a retro look and feel. Use a typeface similar to this if you want to capture that retro font style for a trending look while maintaining as much readability as possible. This option works best for multiple lines of words in a large size.

Picky Joe uses a retro typeface with rounded letters and a bit of a tilt to the characters to create a distinct feel. This is definitely a style that has to be used sparingly but can be a fun option, depending on the content of your website design.

Dark “Product” Sites

Dark mode design is probably the biggest design trend of 2022. Everywhere you look, websites are using dark color palettes and styles. Designers are creating more projects with a dark/light toggle so users can control their experience.

This visual concept is carried over to website designs that feature products as well. This is one of the last places the dark aesthetic had not touched. It’s been a bit of an unwritten rule that product images should be on white or light backgrounds to help make them easy to see and inspect digitally.

This design trend bucks that idea and features products on dark backgrounds – some with so little contrast that you almost have a hard time seeing the products. (Maybe these brands are banking on the idea that you already know them or are selling a lifestyle product.)

HQBC sells bike accessories such as glasses and helmets and the site has a sleek look and feel. You know it is cool from the second you land on it. The question though – is there enough visual information with the dark background to help you make a purchase? This design probably works because it only encourages you to find a physical location to make a purchase rather than buy online.

Doggystyle Shop also banks on the idea of you knowing the shopping experience or brand when you arrive. What the design does do though is put products on white backgrounds after you have clicked through far enough to make a commitment to buy. This helps you see the product well one final time before making a purchase. (The challenge is that it is three to four clicks in for the most part.)

FirstFit uses the design trend in a way that’s similar to the first example. They are showing a product, but not actually trying to convert sales on the website. Other links take you to more product information and content – using a lighter background and color scheme – and the dark background with the product serves mostly as a highly visual landing page that will help entice users to learn more. When it comes to dark mode and products, this seems to be the best option for most website designs.

Conclusion

The state of the world around us and our emotions can play hard into websites and other design projects. Some of the darker elements that are popular now may be a reflection of that or it could be more of a lean into dark mode schemes.

Either way, the web has a pretty dark feel right now.

Source

The post 3 Essential Design Trends, July 2022 first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

Great (and Free!) Web Development Books You Can Get Online

June 27th, 2022 No comments

Right after “Where is the best place to learn?” perhaps the most commonly asked question I hear from folks getting into code is “What web development books should I get to learn?” Well, consider this an answer to that question as I’ve curated a list of books that are not only great for getting into front-end development but also freely available.

Books on CSS

This is the bulk of where we’re going to hang out because, well, this is a site mostly about CSS!

The Magic of CSS by Adam Schwartz

  • Perfect for: Next steps in your CSS journey
  • Learning level: Intermediate
  • Requires: Some basic understanding of CSS

Adam Schwartz covers six CSS concepts in this book, including the box model, layout, tables, color, typography, and transitions. These are things even stump some seasoned CSSers, some of these concepts might be confusing. Adam has gone to a great length to demystify each.

In addition to the book being a great primer on complex CSS concepts, I love how each of the CSS properties mentioned throughout the book is clickable so you can always click on them to see how each is applied. There are many illustrative examples and recommendations for further reading, should you desire to learn more about each chapter.

I found the chapter on colors very interesting not only because it gets into the best practices for using color accessibly, but also because there’s super practical applications, like when Adam gets into using CSS to support an organization’s branding.

Resilient Web Design by Jeremy Keith

  • Perfect for: Developing strategies for writing code
  • Learning level: Intermediate
  • Requires: Some basic understanding of CSS

Straight from the introduction:

You won’t find any code in here to help you build better websites. But you will find ideas and approaches. Ideas are more resilient than code. I’ve tried to combine the most resilient ideas from the history of web design into an approach for building the websites of the future.

What Jeremy does so well is describing soft skills, like planning, outlining, and approaches for writing code. So, rather than dropping in code snippets throughout the book, what you’ll find are details about code strategies, such as progressive enhancement, deciding on what tooling to use, and the challenges of writing future-friendly code.

And for those of you who have not had the pleasure of listening to Jeremy narrate content (like he does in the Web History series), there’s an audio file available to download.

Beginning CSS Web Development: From Novice to Professional by Simon Collison

  • Perfect for: The fundamentals of CSS
  • Learning level: Absolute beginners
  • Requires: Nothing but time and motivation

It may be written in 2006, but Simon’s coverage of web standards and accessibility is timeless and relevant today. He provides an understanding of interoperability as well as approaches for building web applications, including the early planning phases that often go overlooked.

The book has two broad parts which are further divided into 16 chapters. Part 1 covers CSS topics, like working with text, links, lists, backgrounds, images, tables, and forms. It really doesn’t skimp on the details either.

Part 2 is all about layout, shedding light on usability and layout manipulation, plus a handy case study. The chapters are arranged in such a way that one chapter naturally flows into the next. Each chapter also contains a concluding section that highlights all the important concepts covered in the chapter.

Indeed, the book provides novice developers a solid background in CSS and helps them gradually with more advanced concepts. It will make your CSS journey easier.

Books on HTML & CSS

CSS and HTML are often taught together, which can be especially helpful when you’re writing your first lines of code and want to know how the two languages interact with one another.

Learn to Code HTML & CSS by Shay Howe

  • Perfect for: Starting your front-end journey
  • Learning level: Beginners
  • Requires: No prior experience at all

Shay refers to this book as a simple and comprehensive guide dedicated to helping beginners learn HTML and CSS. He does this by focusing on common elements of front-end design and development. Some of the lessons covered are Box Model, Positioning, Typography, Background and Gradients, Lists, Media, Forms, and Tables. In the first chapter *Building Your First Web Page, Shay analyzed the contents of a typical website including elements, attributes and setting up the HTML document structure, code validation, selectors and CSS resets. I find the book very instructive especially as it went beyond the surface to address many key concepts with code samples, which you can follow along.

One profound thing about this great book is that, Shay built a complete project from scratch throughout the 12 lessons and at the end of each lesson, he provided a summary and links to the current state of that website (so you can compare with yours if you follow along) and the source code at every stage of the lessons.

If you’re a learner who learns by doing, you will find this material very useful and by the time you’re done, you will have developed a multi page functional website.

An advanced sequel of the course is also available free via the same link.

HTML & CSS: Learn the Fundamentals in 7 Days by Michael Knapp

  • Perfect for: Starting your front-end journey
  • Learning level: Beginners
  • Requires: No prior experience at all

Can you possibly learn everything there is to know about the HTML and CSS in seven days? Probably not, but that’s why this 2017 book by Michael Knapp is focused straight on the fundamentals. Michael delves into a brief history lesson before launching into HTML and CSS structure, logic, and presentation. You’re going to get all up to speed to the point where you should feel pretty confident about putting a basic webpage together, plus a few extras along the way as the book touches on SEO and analytics.

The book is comprised of simple programs that you can run on your computer if you wish to follow along.

The ebook version is available for free on Apple Books, but there is a Kindle version as well if you already have a subscription there.

The Greatest CSS Tricks Vol. 1 by Chris Coyier

  • Perfect for: Marveling at what CSS can do
  • Learning level: Intermediate
  • Requires: Some CSS experience

Did you know that CSS-Tricks has a book on CSS too? It would be silly to leave that off this list because what you get is a collection of classic CSS trickery that’s explained by none other than Chris Coyier. In fact, Chris handpicked all of the examples covered in the book from his many, many (many!) years running this here site from the plentitude of tricks that have crossed his desk.

Each trick solves a particular pain point. For instance, the first “Pin Scrolling to Bottom” trickdemonstrates how the overflow-anchor CSS property can be used to create the same chat-like interface of a tool like Slack, where the screen is anchored at the bottom in a way that feels as though the page is scrolling for you as new items are added.

Books on process

Code is just as much about how we write code and collaborate on projects with others as it is about the actual code we write. The following books are great starting points for everything from planning and project management to communicating and collaborating with others.

Collaborate: Bring People Together Around Digital Projects by Ellen De Vries

  • Perfect for: Being a better collaborator
  • Learning level: N/A
  • Requires: An open mind to working well with others!

Ellen addresses something in this book that we all have to deal with: collaborating with others. And it’s no small deal — the book is divided into four parts that go super deep into things we can go to work well with others:

  • Know how to prepare the ground and create the right conditions for collaboration.
  • Nurture the group culture in the early stages of collaboration.
  • Maintain a healthy collaborative process.
  • Reap the rewards of a collaboration.

As a content strategist, Ellen has the right kind of experience to help anyone be part of a collaborative project, or get the most from a collaboration.

The Modern Web Design Process by webflow

  • Perfect for: Senior designers, project managers
  • Learning level: N/A
  • Requires: Some basic understanding of CSS

This free ebook features a seven-step design process that’s meant to help define the workflow for today’s brand of web design.

That includes:

  • Setting goals
  • Defining scope
  • Sitemaps and wireframes
  • Working with content
  • Handling visual elements
  • Testing
  • Shipping

Anyone starting a new design project or in the middle of a design project will find the invaluable insights throughout the book. And what’s most remarkable is how this is written in a way that almost feels as though you are being hand-held through an entire project from concept to completion.

Designing for the Web by Mark Boulton

  • Perfect for: Learning to work with clients
  • Learning level: Beginners
  • Requires: A genuine interest in design

It seems many organizations tackle design differently. But author Mark Boulton documents a thorough design workflow in Designing for the Web that de-mystifies many challenges and covers everything you need to know.

What’s unique about this book is that it’s really about work. Sure, there’s a bunch of hugely valuable information on design best practices for things like typography, color, and layout, but what you’re really going to take away from this book is how these fit into a design workflow. It teaches you how to research, the technologies we have to implement ideas, and ultimately, how to work with others as well as clients — perfect fodder for folks including design leads, project managers, freelancers, or anyone who’s involved in the project delivery process.

Learn Version Control with Git by Tower

  • Perfect for: Mastering Git
  • Learning level: All levels welcome
  • Requires: No prior knowledge at all

In this book, the team behind the popular Tower client for Git introduce learners to the crux of version control system using Git. Developers who work in teams will particularly find this very useful, as it helps in effectively collaborating with team members building different features of a project even when you’re thousands of miles apart. That said, it’s still really great for anyone who might be shy of the command line and wants to build confidence there.

And since the book is by the maker of an application that interacts with Git, you’re going to get a nice dose of using Tower as a GUI in addition to working directly on the command line.

So, whether it’s committing, branching, merging, pull requests, forking work, or handling merge conflicts, you’re going to get a whole lot from this book.

Books on JavaScript

Learning JavaScript always seems to be en vogue. In fact, Jason Rodriguez wrote about the JavaScript learning landscape in 2018 and provided a nice list of free books. Not too much has cropped up since then, but here are my thoughts on the following books.

Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke

  • Perfect for: Getting better at writing JavaScript
  • Learning level: Intermediate to seasoned developers
  • Requires: Prior JavaScript experience

Eloquent JavaScript really lives up to its name. Personally, I consider this one of the best-written JavaScript books I have ever come across. Marjin’s writing style is engaging, especially with how he introduces programming concepts and carries the reader along. In his words, the book is simply about instructing computers and making them do what you want them to do.

The book is a deep dive into JavaScript spread across three parts and 21 chapters. You’re going to read a bunch about basic programming concepts, such as values, types, operators and functions, to advanced concepts like regular expressions, modules, the DOM, and asynchronous programming. He starts every chapter with a somewhat philosophical quote to prepare the reader for what lies ahead and then dives straight into the topic.

Plus, there’s three projects to help you practice your newfound skills.

Understanding JavaScript Promises by Nicholas C. Zakas

  • Perfect for: Those who want to learn all about asynchronous programming with promises in JavaScript.
  • Learning level: Intermediate
  • Requires: Basic JavaScript chops

JavaScript promises were introduced in 2015 as part of the ES6 specification to handle asynchronous functions in JavaScript. According to MDN:

A promise is an object representing the eventual completion or failure of an asynchronous operation

In this 51-page book, Nicholas explains the concept of Promises over three chapters: Basics, Chaining Promises, and Working with Multiple Promises. Although the link to the book we’re providing is the free community version, the full version (available on Amazon) has two more chapters on Async Functions and Unhandled Rejection Tracking. Nicholas simplified the concept of Promises with several illustrations and examples. You will learn how to use then(), catch(), and finally() and understand how to chain multiple promises together. Nicholas also covers the assignment of rejection and settlement handlers. You may want to give the book a read to solidify your understanding of the topic.

Nicholas is a veteran JavaScript book author who has been writing about JavaScript for over 15 years. He brings his wealth of experience to bear in this book (just as he has in his work here at CSS-Tricks).

Speaking JavaScript by Alex Rauschmayer

  • Perfect for: Leveling up from beginning JavaScript
  • Learning level: Intermediate
  • Requires: Knowledge of object oriented programming

This book is presented in four chapters covering more than 30 topics. Here’s how it breaks down:

  1. The first chapter is a nice refresher on syntax, variable types, functions and exception handling.
  2. The second chapter offers historical perspective into JavaScript as a prelude for the types of features covered throughout the rest of the book.
  3. Chapter 3 is presented as more or less a reference book with short, clean examples.
  4. The final chapter outlines tips, tools and libraries to help write better JavaScript and follow best practices.

Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja by John Resig and Bear Bibeault

  • Perfect for: Creating a cross-browser JavaScript library from the ground up
  • Learning level: Intermediate
  • Requires: Some prior programming experience

There’s actually a newer edition of this book, but the 2012 edition is the one that’s free. Either way, it’s a good opportunity to learn from John Resig; you know, the guy who created jQuery.

The techniques covered here include closures, functions, the DOM, object orientation with prototypes, and cross-browser strategies. One nice perk is that each chapter is followed by a brief recap that’s perfect for a reference once you’ve finished the book.

Learning JavaScript Design Patterns by Addy Osmani

  • Perfect for: Learning to write more efficient JavaScript
  • Learning level: Intermediate
  • Requires: A decent level of JavaScript experience

The concept of design pattern refers to a reusable solution to a commonly recurring problem in application development. In this book, Addy Osmani covers the implementation of common design patterns using ES6 and beyond, as well as React-specific design patterns, which can be super handy when working on complex React apps where maintainability is a primary goal.

Some of the patterns covered include Singleton, Proxy, Provider, Prototype and Observer patterns. In some cases, Addy includes pros and cons of using some of these patterns and how they may affect the performance of your application.

You Don’t Know JS by Kyle Simpson

  • Perfect for: Mastering JavaScript
  • Learning level: Beginner
  • Requires: Little or no prior programming experience

While the title might be a bit provocative, what Kyle is implying here is that he writes this book assuming you have no prior JavaScript experience whatsoever.

Kyle begins starts by going through the rudiments of programming as seen through the lens of JavaScript. He then proceeds, in subsequent chapters, to introduce more advanced concepts like scope and closure, the this keyword, object prototypes, async, and performance.

There’s a lot of excellent details and explanations in here, and Kyle makes it super easy to understand by avoiding super technical jargon. There is also many exercises designed to reinforce your learning. This book will definitely get you up to speed with JavaScript. There’s second edition of the book in the works that you can track in GitHub.

The JavaScript Beginner’s Handbook by Flavio Copes

  • Perfect for: A beginner’s reference
  • Learning level: Just getting started
  • Requires: Email sign-up, maybe some prior experience

Flavio has put together a very useful JavaScript reference for those just starting out. It’s more like a quick reference guide than a textbook, so those of you just starting out might want to consider this as something you keep on your desk rather than something you sit with for long periods of time.

JavaScript for Data Science by Gans, Hodges & Wilson

  • Perfect for: Getting into data visualizations
  • Learning level: Intermediate to advanced
  • Requires: A decent handle on JavaScript

The authors cover core features of modern JavScript, including callbacks, promises, inheritance, objects and classes. They also get into testing using Mocha, React, and data vizualization, all of which are great for anyone looking to level up their code and how its written. The book doesn’t get as deep into many the concepts as some of the other books, but it really shines when it gets into data science.

The book uses Data-Forge; a JavaScript library designed for working with tabular data. There are numerous exercises to help readers keep up to speed with the subject of discussion. The last chapter also includes a capstone project that pulls everything together.

Wrapping up

I sure hope this collection of books help you, whether you’re taking your first steps in front-end web development, have a dozen years under or belt, or you fall somewhere in between. I know how hard it is to get into something new for the first time and the feeling of not knowing where to look. I also know how it feels to hit a plateau and need something to level me up. There should be something for everyone here, regardless of where you are in your learning journey.

And, hey, if you have any other books that are available to snag for free online, please share them in the comments! I bet we can get an even bigger list going.


Great (and Free!) Web Development Books You Can Get Online originally published on CSS-Tricks. You should get the newsletter.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

Popular Design News of the Week: June 20, 2022 – June 26, 2022

June 26th, 2022 No comments

Every day design fans submit incredible industry stories to our sister-site, Webdesigner News. Our colleagues sift through it, selecting the very best stories from the design, UX, tech, and development worlds and posting them live on the site.

The best way to keep up with the most important stories for web professionals is to subscribe to Webdesigner News or check out the site regularly. However, in case you missed a day this week, here’s a handy compilation of the top curated stories from the last seven days. Enjoy!

How to Create Simple CSS Grid System

Why are You Running?

15+ VS Code Extensions for Web Developers

10 of the Biggest SEO Mistakes [Infographic]

SVG Loading Animations

AI Pixel Art Human Face

VSLook – Customize the Look of your VSCode

One Line of CSS to Add Basic Dark/light Mode

Basicons – Basic Icons for Product Design & Development

Touch-first Cursor: Round Pointers Vs Mouse Arrows

7 UX Laws You’re Probably Getting Wrong

“Google” Programmers – How One Idiot Hired a Couple More Idiots

Bunny Fonts – Privacy Respecting Drop-in Replacement for Google Fonts

Source

The post Popular Design News of the Week: June 20, 2022 – June 26, 2022 first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

Single Element Loaders: The Bars

June 24th, 2022 No comments

We’ve looked at spinners. We’ve looked at dots. Now we’re going to tackle another common pattern for loaders: bars. And we’re going to do the same thing in this third article of the series as we have the others by making it with only one element and with flexible CSS that makes it easy to create variations.

Article series

Let’s start with not one, not two, but 20 examples of bar loaders.

CodePen Embed Fallback
CodePen Embed Fallback

What?! Are you going to detail each one of them? That’s too much for an article!

It might seem like that at first glance! But all of them rely on the same code structure and we only update a few values to create variations. That’s all the power of CSS. We don’t learn how to create one loader, but we learn different techniques that allow us to create as much loader as we want using merely the same code structure.

Let’s make some bars!

We start by defining the dimensions for them using width (or height) with aspect-ratio to maintain proportion:

.bars {
  width: 45px;
  aspect-ratio: 1;
}

We sort of “fake” three bars with a linear gradient on the background — very similar to how we created dot loaders in Part 2 of this series.

.bars {
  width: 45px;
  aspect-ratio: 1;
  --c: no-repeat linear-gradient(#000 0 0); /* we define the color here */
  background: 
    var(--c) 0%   50%,
    var(--c) 50%  50%,
    var(--c) 100% 50%;
  background-size: 20% 100%; /* 20% * (3 bars + 2 spaces) = 100% */
}

The above code will give us the following result:

Like the other articles in this series, we are going to deal with a lot of background trickery. So, if you ever feel like we’re jumping around too fast or feel you need a little more detail, please do check those out. You can also read my Stack Overflow answer where I give a detailed explanation on how all this works.

Animating the bars

We either animate the element’s size or position to create the bar loader. Let’s animate the size by defining the following animation keyframes:

@keyframes load {
  0%   { background-size: 20% 100%, 20% 100%, 20% 100%; }  /* 1 */
  33%  { background-size: 20% 10% , 20% 100%, 20% 100%; }  /* 2 */
  50%  { background-size: 20% 100%, 20% 10% , 20% 100%; }  /* 3 */
  66%  { background-size: 20% 100%, 20% 100%, 20% 10%;  }  /* 4 */
  100% { background-size: 20% 100%, 20% 100%, 20% 100%; }  /* 5 */
}

See what’s happening there? Between 0% and 100%, the animation changes the background-size of the element’s background gradient. Each keyframe sets three background sizes (one for each gradient).

And here’s what we get:

CodePen Embed Fallback

Can you start to imagine all the possible variations we can get by playing with different animation configurations for the sizes or the positions?

Let’s fix the size to 20% 50% and update the positions this time:

.loader {
  width: 45px;
  aspect-ratio: .75;
  --c: no-repeat linear-gradient(#000 0 0);
  background: 
    var(--c),
    var(--c),
    var(--c);
  background-size: 20% 50%;
  animation: load 1s infinite linear;
}
@keyframes load {
  0%   { background-position: 0% 100%, 50% 100%, 100% 100%; } /* 1 */
  20%  { background-position: 0% 50% , 50% 100%, 100% 100%; } /* 2 */
  40%  { background-position: 0% 0%  , 50% 50% , 100% 100%; } /* 3 */
  60%  { background-position: 0% 100%, 50% 0%  , 100% 50%;  } /* 4 */
  80%  { background-position: 0% 100%, 50% 100%, 100% 0%;   } /* 5 */ 
  100% { background-position: 0% 100%, 50% 100%, 100% 100%; } /* 6 */
}

…which gets us another loader!

CodePen Embed Fallback

You’ve probably got the trick by now. All you need is to define a timeline that you translate into a keyframe. By animating the size, the position — or both! — there’s an infinite number of loader possibilities at our fingertips.

And once we get comfortable with such a technique we can go further and use a more complex gradient to create even more loaders.

CodePen Embed Fallback

Expect for the last two examples in that demo, all of the bar loaders use the same underlying markup and styles and different combinations of animations. Open the code and try to visualize each frame independently; you’ll see how relatively trivial it is to make dozens — if not hundreds — of variations.

Getting fancy

Did you remember the mask trick we did with the dot loaders in the second article of this series? We can do the same here!

If we apply all the above logic inside the mask property we can use any background configuration to add a fancy coloration to our loaders.

Let’s take one demo and update it:

CodePen Embed Fallback

All I did is updating all the background-* with mask-* and I added a gradient coloration. As simple as that and yet we get another cool loader.

So there is no difference between the dots and the bars?

No difference! I wrote two different articles to cover as many examples as possible but in both, I am relying on the same techniques:

  1. Gradients to create the shapes (dots or bars or maybe something else)
  2. Animating background-size and/or background-position to create the loader animation
  3. Adding mask to add a touch of colors

Rounding the bars

Let’s try something different this time where we can round the edges of our bars.

CodePen Embed Fallback

Using one element and its ::before and ::after pseudos, we define three identical bars:

.loader {
  --s: 100px; /* control the size */

  display: grid;
  place-items: center;
  place-content: center;
  margin: 0 calc(var(--s) / 2); /* 50px */
}
.loader::before,
.loader::after {
  content: "";
  grid-area: 1/1;
}
.loader,
.loader::before,
.loader::after {
  height: var(--s);
  width: calc(var(--s) / 5); /* 20px */
  border-radius: var(--s);
  transform: translate(calc(var(--_i, 0) * 200%));
}
.loader::before { --_i: -1; }
.loader::after { --_i:  1; }

That gives us three bars, this time without relying on a linear gradient:

Now the trick is to fill in those bars with a lovely gradient. To simulate a continuous gradient, we need to play with background properties. In the above figure, the green area defines the area covered by the loader. That area should be the size of the gradient and, if we do the math, it’s equal to multiplying both sides labeled S in the diagram, or background-size: var(--s) var(--s).

Since our elements are individually placed, we need to update the position of the gradient inside each one to make sure all of them overlap. This way, we’re simulating one continuous gradient even though it’s really three of them.

For the main element (placed at the center), the background needs to be at the center. We use the following:

.loader {
  /* etc. */
  background: linear-gradient() 50% / var(--s) var(--s);
}

For the pseudo-element on the left, we need the background on the left

.loader::before {
  /* etc. */
  background: linear-gradient() 0% / var(--s) var(--s);
}

And for the pseudo on the right, the background needs to be positioned to the right:

.loader::after {
  background: linear-gradient() 100% / var(--s) var(--s);
}

Using the same CSS variable, --_i, that we used for the translate, we can write the code like this:

.loader {
  --s: 100px; /* control the size */
  --c: linear-gradient(/* etc. */); /* control the coloration */

  display: grid;
  place-items: center;
  place-content: center;
}
.loader::before,
.loader::after{
  content: "";
  grid-area: 1/1;
}
.loader,
.loader::before,
.loader::after{
  height: var(--s);
  width: calc(var(--s) / 5);
  border-radius: var(--s);
  background: var(--c) calc(50% + var(--_i, 0) * 50%) / var(--s) var(--s);
  transform: translate(calc(var(--_i, 0) * 200%));
}
.loader::before { --_i: -1; }
.loader::after  { --_i:  1; }

Now, all we have to do is to animate the height and add some delays! Here are three examples where all that’s different are the colors and sizes:

CodePen Embed Fallback

Wrapping up

I hope so far you are feeling super encouraged by all the powers you have to make complex-looking loading animations. All we need is one element, either gradients or pseudos to draw the bars, then some keyframes to move things around. That’s the entire recipe for getting an endless number of possibilities, so go out and starting cooking up some neat stuff!

Until the next article, I will leave you with a funny collection of loaders where I am combining the dots and the bars!

CodePen Embed Fallback
CodePen Embed Fallback

Article series


Single Element Loaders: The Bars originally published on CSS-Tricks. You should get the newsletter.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

How to Bootstrap a Web Design Business

June 22nd, 2022 No comments

Starting your own business is a process with a fair share of challenges. Even in the web design world, where you can potentially minimize costs by working from home and collaborating with freelance contractors, many expenses exist. 

To run a successful web design business, you need enough money to invest in everything from skilled colleagues to resources (like fonts and themes), software subscriptions, and technology tools. Finding a way to fund your company can be the most complicated part of ensuring its success.

For most new companies, the easiest option to generate opportunities is “bootstrapping.” Learning how to bootstrap a web design business means knowing how to bring your business to life with virtually no starting capital. 

Here’s how to get started.

What is Bootstrapping? 

Successful bootstrappers take an idea, such as creating a web design company and create a fantastic company without the backing of investors. It takes significant dedication, commitment, and single-mindedness to accomplish your goals, but some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, like Steve Jobs and Sam Walton, got their start this way. 

The term “bootstrapping” comes from the phrase “to pull yourself up by the bootstraps,” which indicates overcoming challenges on your own without any external support. 

The pros and cons of bootstrapping include:

Pros:

  • Full control: Bootstrapping allows entrepreneurs to retain full ownership over their business. Alternatively, engaging with investors means allowing other professionals to own a portion of your company or make a share of the decisions. 
  • Innovation: Business owners in a bootstrapping model are forced to invest in agile and innovative business models. You must develop processes to produce immediate, lasting cash flow from day one. 
  • Accomplishment: Building something from the ground up creates a powerful sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. 
  • Ownership: You won’t have to sell any equity in your business to other investors, which means you can benefit fully from the company as it grows.

Cons:

  • Risks: Self-funded businesses generally run out of funds faster and struggle to scale as quickly as other companies, limiting the brand’s ability to reach its potential.
  • Limited support: Traditional financing methods (like working with investors) also provide networking opportunities and support from specialists who want to see your company succeed. 
  • Pressure: Bootstrapping businesses need to be meticulous about everything from keeping books to making the right decisions for brand growth. 
  • Hard work: With limited resources, connections, and options, bootstrapping entrepreneurs need to work harder than most and take on more roles.

How to Bootstrap Your Web Design Business: Step by Step

Bootstrapping a web design business can be complicated, but it works for many companies if you follow the right strategy. The good news is web design companies generally don’t require as much initial capital as some other types of companies, like standard retail brands or companies with a need for brick and mortar offices.

However, there are still steps you’ll need to follow to ensure success.

Step 1: Source Some Initial Funds

While you might not work with investors when bootstrapping your web design business, you’ll still need some essential initial funds. To run a web design business, you won’t necessarily need a massive initial investment, but you will need something. 

To determine how much capital you need to raise from your income, savings, a line of credit, or other common bootstrapping sources, think about:

  • Where you’re going to work: The upfront costs of operating your own web design business will be a lot lower if you choose to work from home and with remote specialists. The less you have to pay for office space, the better.
  • Business fees: You may need to pay fees for registering your business name, hosting your own website for advertising, and dealing with any registration costs.
  • Equipment and software: Think about what you will use daily for web design. Subscription-based services like Adobe Creative Cloud can cost quite a bit to access. You’ll also need a good computer, and perhaps a tablet for sketching.

Step 2: Find a USP 

The easiest way to ensure a bootstrapped web design business is a success is to ensure you are offering specific clients something they genuinely need. In a service-based landscape like web design, you need to know what your customers want and offer something they can’t get elsewhere.

For instance, can you differentiate yourself from other web design companies by helping with modern trends like 360-degree video and XR-ready design? Can you build apps for companies from scratch and provide ongoing maintenance for the websites you make?

An excellent way to find your USP is to examine your competitors. Find out what other companies in your area are offering their customers, and listen to consumers in your industry when they talk about what they need from a website designer. 

Step 3: Choose a Cash Flow Optimized Model 

Since you’re relying only on your cash and the money you make from your web design business to fuel its growth, choosing a model optimized for consistent cash flow is essential. Bootstrapping a business often means you place most of the profit you gain from your company back into the development of the brand. 

With this in mind, consider how you’ll offer services and charge your customers. Are you going to ask for a portion of the fees up-front before starting a web design project? Can you provide your customers with subscription models to improve your revenue consistently?

For instance, you could provide help with ongoing maintenance, development, and support rather than just offering to build websites for companies. Another way to make additional income is with professional services, like consulting. 

Make sure there’s a market for the services you’ll offer before launching your business by examining the surrounding environments and services your competitors provide.

Step 4: Keep Costs Low and Profits High

Keeping costs low will be essential to ensuring your success when bootstrapping a business. Fortunately for web designers, it’s relatively easy to cut down on fees. For instance, WordPress is free to use for your development projects, making it an excellent choice for many web design strategies. 

You can also look into common free and cheap alternatives to web design tools online, like GIMP. Shop around for the things you will be paying ongoing fees with. For instance, it’s best to check out multiple vendors when looking for web hosting and marketing support. 

While keeping your costs low, it’s also essential to accelerate profits as much as possible. You can look for ways to boost customer retention by building stronger relationships with your clients and offering them deals on long-term subscriptions. 

If you have time outside of your web design business, you can also try taking on some side hustles. Options include:

  • Selling web design assets on sites like ThemeForest
  • Offering your services on a freelance basis with sites like Dribbble and Toptal
  • Designing and selling NFTs for the metaverse
  • Teaching web design or selling webinars

Step 5: Grow Cautiously

Finally, while the goal of successfully bootstrapping your web design business will be to grow as rapidly and consistently as possible, it’s important to be cautious. For instance, you’ll need to be able to afford the fees of every new designer you bring onto your team, so consider looking for freelancers and contractors rather than permanent hires.

Use organic channels for marketing your services, like blogging and content marketing which can help improve your SEO standing and attract attention among clients. Plus, encourage your customers to recommend your services to other brands. 

As new clients approach your business, ensure you only take on as many customers as you can reasonably handle. Compromising on quality will damage your relationships with customers and harm your reputation. 

Good Luck Bootstrapping Your Business

When you’re bootstrapping a business, you get the benefit of being able to eliminate any outside influences from your growth. You’re free to focus on building relationships with companies of your choice, and you get to make decisions about your growth. However, there are downsides, too, like significant stress and limited financial opportunities.

While bootstrapping your business is tough, if you manage to complete the process successfully, the results can be fantastic. 

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

Source

The post How to Bootstrap a Web Design Business first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags: