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Quiz: Who Designed That Font?

April 30th, 2021 No comments

We’re rounding up the week with a fun quiz for anyone who loves fonts. You’ve seen these typefaces used in hundreds of designs — from presidential campaigns, to corporate branding — but do you know who crafted those curves?

We’ll start off with an easy one: Do you know who designed Futura?

Source

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Jenny B Kowalski’s A-Z (and a-z) as Variable Letterforms

April 30th, 2021 No comments

Jenny B Kowalski has been posting a-letter-a-day on Instagram exploring multi-axis variable/responsive letterforms. They are very clever in that one of the axes controls an uppercase-to-lowercase conversion, literally morphing the shape of the letters from an uppercase version to a lowercase version. The other axis is a stroke weight, which also dramatically changes the feel of the letters.

Here’s Q, one of my favorites:

She’s using p5.js, but I don’t see any reason these couldn’t be made into a variable font with custom axes.

OK here’s one more. I find the I/i very clever:


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Poll: Is Basecamp Right To Shutdown Politics At Work?

April 29th, 2021 No comments

This week, in a move like something from a particularly eventful episode of The Office, popular project management app company Basecamp banned political and societal discussion in the company’s internal communications.

In a post that has been revised for “clarification,” the company’s co-founder Jason Fried listed six rules for employees: No societal or political discussions at work; No more ‘paternalistic’ benefits; No more committees; No more lingering on past decisions; No more 360 reviews; No forgetting what we do here.

A follow-up post from Heinemeier Hansson notes that Basecamp will still permit discussion of issues deemed central to its business like anti-trust and privacy; certain civil liberties are to be championed, while others, like racism and climate change, are not.

On the surface, it seems reasonable, Fried and co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson would like you to believe that it is. After all, people are paid to work, not soapbox, right?

So why, if they’re the ones being protected, are Basecamp’s employees angry about the move?

It turns out, multiple sources from inside Basecamp are reporting that the ‘political’ and ‘societal’ issues referred to in Fried’s public memo were, in fact, frank and open conversations about Basecamp itself.

As reported by The Verge, way back in 2009, a list of ‘funny’ customer names began circulating at the company — hardly respectful, potentially racist, and certainly inappropriate. The misalignment between co-founders and staff occurred when staff members attempted to hold discrete conversations about this and numerous other diversity and inclusivity failings at the company. Fried’s move appears to be a direct attempt to halt criticism of the status quo at Basecamp.

Basecamp itself is a highly political organization: The co-founders have written several books advocating certain societal change; they even provided a campaign headquarters and substantial donation for a candidate for Chicago mayor. Both co-founders are highly active on social media, using their business positions to elevate their personal views.

The truth is that the solo entrepreneur is an almost mythical beast. Successful startups require contributions from a range of skills and experience beyond any one individual. Jason Fried may be the frontman, strutting up and down the stage in spandex pants, with David Heinemeier Hansson playing lead guitar with his teeth, but behind them, there’s a drummer keeping time, and behind them all, there’s a crew of roadies without whom none of the equipment will arrive, let alone sound good.

Basecamp’s founders argue that the company has a mission, and that mission is to create apps that streamline the workplace. But how can you develop a product that is inclusive if staff cannot discuss what inclusive means? The answer is, you can’t.

Discussing racial bias in advertising or the impact of company wastage, climate change, or gender pay gaps in HR meetings are all political and societal and lead to a healthier, more united company.

As designers, we often say that you cannot not communicate; every decision is a design decision; there is no such thing as “adesign.” Likewise, choosing to be apolitical is itself a political choice. The only way it is feasible to run a company like this is to treat employees like robots (in the word’s original sense).

If employees feel the need to discuss exclusionary policies in the workplace, do the company founders, who benefit from those policies (or they would not be in place), have a moral or legal right to restrict those discussions?

Although it is the first point in Fried’s list that has drawn most ire, it is the fourth item on the list that is most telling: “No more lingering or dwelling on past decisions.” Like a parent answering, “Because I said so,” Fried’s attitude to his staff is laid bare in one statement.

It turns out two wealthy white men would rather their employees not try to change the world or even their workplace.

When Coinbase announced a similar move last year, it lost 5% of its staff. If Basecamp suffered the same loss, it would amount to three people. Hardly a disaster. The question for the founders — who, judging by the number of follow-ups and clarifications they’ve published, are aware the ice they’re on is perilously thin — is whether this kind of controversy creates irreparable reputational damage.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Sending Large Files

April 29th, 2021 No comments

I’ve got a podcast that will be 10 years old this coming January! Most of those episodes have one or more guests (plus me and Dave). Despite fancy modern options for recording podcasts with guests, like Riverside.fm or Zencastrl where guests don’t have to worry about recording their own audio, we haven’t made the leap to one of those yet.

We have the guests record their own audio locally (typically Quicktime Player or Windows Voice Recorder) because that way our editor can make the most of the editing process. At the end of the show, our guest has a file that is ~100MB that they need to send over to us.

How that handoff happens isn’t always completely obvious. Typically we don’t share a Slack with our guests, but when we do, that works for sharing large files like that. Even a Nitro-boosted Discord won’t take a file that big, though. I’d say 70% of the time, our guests chuck the file into their Dropbox and create a sharing link for us to download it. From there, it’s probably Google Drive 20% of the time, and the last 10% is some random thing.

That last 10% is stuff like uploading the file to a web server or file storage service the guest controls and they link us up to the file from there. If we were smarter, we’d probably use “File Request” links on Dropbox or Box.

I usually say something like, Send us that file however you like to send large files, because I don’t want to be too prescriptive about what service someone uses. You never know if someone has a particular aversion to some specific tech or company. I would always mention Firefox Send because it was meant for one-off file sending and I find people generally like and trust Mozilla. Alas, Firefox Send shut down.

Unfortunately, some abusive users were beginning to use Firefox Send to ship malware and conduct phishing attacks. When this problem was reported, we stopped the service. Please see the Mozilla Blog for more details on why this service was discontinued.

I guess it’s responsible to try to shut down bad behavior, but of course it was used for bad behavior. Dickwads use any and every service on the entire internet for bad behavior. The real answer, probably, is that it was just a little random side project that didn’t make any money and they didn’t feel like investing the time and money into fixing it. Fair enough, but of course that always costs you trust points. What else is on the chopping block?

I ran across Wormhole the other day which looks like a direct, if not better, replacement. It uses end-to-end encrypted and has some nice UX touches, like getting a share link before the upload is complete. It doesn’t say anything about how they intend to pay for it and support it long-term, but I’d guess the cost is somewhat minimal as they only host the files for 24 hours. They also don’t say if they intend to prevent bad behavior or if it’s just a free-for-all. Even with all the encryption and whatnot, I would imagine if a site like Google or Twitter found that tons of wormhole.app URLs had malware on them, they’d be blacklisted. That wouldn’t stop people from using it but it certainly stops people from finding it too. I did hear from Feross on this, and they have ideas to fight bad behavior if it comes to that.

The thing I’m the most surprised by is that we don’t get more emails where the email service itself just hosts the file. That might sound silly, as email is notorious for not accepting very large file attachments, but that has changed over the years with some of the big players. When you select a file that’s larger than 25MB in Gmail, it’ll offer to upload it to Google Drive and automatically share it with the person you’re sending the email to. iCloud does largely the same thing with Mail Drop.

Me, I use Dropbox quite a bit, but rarely for sharing one-off files. If I want to make sure I have a copy in perpetuity, sometimes I’ll even use a personal Amazon S3 bucket. But mostly I’ll just upload it to Droplr, which I’ve used for ages just for this kind of thing.


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How to Monitor Core Web Vitals and Take Action with Raygun

April 29th, 2021 No comments

Raygun is an error and performance monitoring software for websites and mobile apps. In the case of websites, you install their JavaScript snippet onto your site, which takes 2 seconds, and now you’ve got monitoring in place. Why? Well now you can watch the performance of your site, not just in a single report of one test, but historical dashboards, tracking that performance over time.

This is Real User Monitoring (RUM)

RUM is regarded as better data than the alternative, which is running synthetic tests. Imagine running a performance test against a headless browser. Useful, but fake. Better is to measure how real people are experiencing your site, which is exactly how Raygun does it.

When you log into Raygun, you’ll see high-level trends as to how your site is performing, with the ability to dig deeper into specific pages and individual user sessions.

Now with Core Web Vitals

Google’s latest user experience metrics, Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift are now directly in Raygun:

What I found particularly cool about this is that you don’t have to necessarily pick which pages you want to track CWV on, they’ll be tracked on all pages you have Raygun installed on. I imagine for most sites, that’s all pages, so now you’ll have CWV (and all other performance information) on every page of your site. So rather than picking-and-choosing a handful of pages to test, and risking there being outlier pages that behave slowly, you’ve got full coverage.

Filter to What You Need

You’re going to have a lot of data with Raygun, and that’s a very good thing. But that doesn’t mean it has to be overwhelming or you can’t find exactly what you need. Say you’ve heard from a user that the site is behaving slowly for them in Firefox, you can filter for Firefox and look into that.

Take Action

What makes Raygun really useful is having all of the information you need to take action, with access to waterfall timelines, session information, and instance level diagnostics. This means you don’t just monitor what your CWV scores are, you can actively improve them.

Crash Reporting

We’ve mostly talked about performance reporting here, but note that Raygun is an error reporting tool as well. That is significant, as it means you don’t need to reach for a separate service for that vital need. You get your performance and crash reporting information in the same place.


Find issues. Fix issues. Watch your site improve. After your free trial, pricing starts at just $8/month for plans that have Real User Monitoring with CWV.


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9 Best Multipurpose WordPress Themes (2021 updated)

April 29th, 2021 No comments

Flexibility, potent website building tools, great customer support, and impressive sales figures are to be expected in top-tier multipurpose WordPress themes. You may or may not choose to invest in a multipurpose WordPress theme for a single website-building project. You’ll save lots of time and money by investing in one when you’re designing websites for a variety of clients or uses.

  • You won’t have to bother with learning the ins and outs and the benefits and limitations of a variety of different themes
  • You’ll have all the design tools, aids, and options you need at your fingertips
  • You can expect to receive top-notch customer service.

A situation may arise where a specialty theme might serve you best. It’s important to know that there are multipurpose themes, including several listed in this article, that are well suited for certain uses.

  1. Total WordPress Theme

Whether you’re in a rush to get a website up and running in response to a client’s urgent need, or you have the luxury of putting the finishing touches on one carefully thought out step at a time, Total will do the job right.

This fast multipurpose theme will serve you well for any website-building task you may be facing, plus it is an absolute joy to work with. Although Total is jam-packed with useful features it will never slow you down.

  • You can disable any feature you won’t be using.
  • You can customize layouts any way you want to
  • Total’s WPBakery drag and drop page builder in combination with Total’s pre-made demos and page building modules can significantly speed up project workflows.
  • Total’s Theme Customizer with its more than 500 color, font, and section and column width styling options gives you plenty of design flexibility
  • Total is WooCommerce and WordPress plugin friendly

Total claims more than 47,000 satisfied customers to date. 

  1. BeTheme

Big and beautiful is one way to describe BeTheme. Add flexibility, economy of scale, and 200,000 sales and you get an even better idea of what this multipurpose theme can do for you. Dig deeper and you’ll quickly discover why BeTheme, the biggest WordPress theme of them all, might be a perfect fit for you.

  • 40+ core features put at your fingertips every tool and design aid necessary to create any website you’re ever likely to want to build
  • Be’s selection of 600+ customizable prebuilt websites covers 30 industry sectors and every website style and type, and key UX functionality is embedded into every one.
  • Be’s powerful website-building tools include the Muffin Builder page builder, Admin panel, Shortcode Generator, Header builder, and Layout Builder
  • Color schemes, fonts, shortcodes, grid options, special effects and more add to your web design possibilities

Click on the banner and prepare to be impressed.

  1. Kalium — Creative multipurpose theme for WordPress & WooCommerce

With this highest-rated WordPress theme you can not only build a website in a few simple steps but create one that will showcase your website-building skills and creativity.

Examples of what you will have to work with include:

  • Full-paged pre-made concept demos from which you can clone the content to your site with a single click
  • Two premium slider plugins, Revolution Slider and LayerSlider, the WooCommerce top shopping plugin, and Elementor
  • 30+ portfolio types (7 main types with options), blog layouts, navigation options, a font library, and shortcodes for everything

Trusted by more than 39,000 clients Kalium is responsive, SEO optimized, GDPR compliant, and offers free automatic updates and first-class customer support.

  1. Avada Theme

A theme’s popularity can say a lot when it comes to deciding on which one would best suit your purposes and Avada, with more than 450,000 customers, just happens to be the all-time best selling theme on the market.

Key features include full access to the most popular premium plugins, 40+ free demos you can import with a single click, plus Avada is 100% responsive and WooCommerce compatible.

  1. Uncode – Creative Multiuse & WooCommerce WordPress Theme

Uncode is a responsive, high performance, smooth, sleek and pixel perfect theme that enables you to create websites that feature the same characteristics.

  • Creating impressive magazine, blog and portfolio sites are two of Uncode’s strong points
  • Uncode’s designer’s toolkit includes the powerful new WooCommerce Custom Builder, 450+ Wireframes section templates, and a Frontend Editor on steroids
  • Uncode is ideal for creative individuals and agencies, and it is an Envato top seller with 85.000+ sales to date.
  1. TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance WordPress Theme

TheGem, the Swiss Army knife of website building themes, is ideal for eCommerce sites, blogs, portfolios, magazines, and business websites in general.

  • TheGem is a perfect choice for professionals and beginners alike
  • 400+ beautiful editable pre-built websites and templates are included together with 300+ pre-designed section templates
  • Both Elementor and WPBakery page builders come with the package

TheGem is ThemeForest’s best-selling theme with more than 50,000 sales to date.

  1. Hongo – Modern & Multipurpose WooCommerce WordPress Theme

This top multipurpose WordPress theme for 2021 excels as a WooCommerce-based online shop builder and is also an excellent choice for bloggers.

  • Hongo is customizable and highly flexible thanks to its use of the WordPress Customize and WPBakery custom shortcodes
  • Features include 12 ready-to-go store demos plus impressive selections of templates and creative elements
  • Product features include wish list, product compare, quick view, tabs, and filters

Hongo is a modern, relatively new theme.

  1. Brisk – Multi-Purpose Elementor WordPress Theme

Working with Brisk is so smooth and easy you will feel like a pro after the first few clicks.

  • Brisk has a zero learning curve and requires zero coding skills
  • Interactive design tools and a host of customization options give you total control over the design of your website
  • Pick from 200+ pre-designed sections and pages. 30+ ready-made websites, 2,000+ Elementor template blocks, and 200+ Elementor widgets and combine them to create your award-winning website
  1. Pofo – Creative Portfolio, Blog and eCommerce WordPress Theme

Pofo is a creative theme that can be used to create a website for any agency, business, or corporation. It is especially suited for building portfolio, blogging, or eCommerce sites.

Pofo features:

  • The WPBakery page builder and Revolution Slider plugins
  • 25+ home pages, 200+ demo pages, and more than 150 pre-built elements
  • Pofo is crazy-fast, SEO optimized and offers its users 5-star support.

*****  

WordPress users have many decisions to make when they go about their website-building planning. A key decision is often one of selecting the proper WordPress theme for the task at hand.

The decision will often involve settling on a multipurpose theme for one or more of the following reasons.

  • By their very nature Multipurpose WordPress themes take a lot of time and effort to design.
  • They have to be extremely flexible, they have to be reliable, and they have to keep up to date with the latest design and industry trends.
  • They should be exceptionally user friendly. 

Multipurpose WordPress themes described here meet those criteria.

Finding which one would best suit your needs may take some careful thought on your part, but there’s not a bad choice in the bunch. It’s simply a matter of finding the one that may suit you better than the others.

Read More at 9 Best Multipurpose WordPress Themes (2021 updated)

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Your Team is Not “Them”

April 28th, 2021 No comments

This post was written for engineering managers, but anyone is welcome to read it.

Let’s talk for a moment about how we talk about our teams. This might not seem like something that needs a whole article dedicated to it, but it’s actually quite crucial. The way that we refer to our teams sends signals: to stakeholders, to your peers, to the team itself, and even to ourselves. In addressing how we speak about our teams, we’ll also talk about accountability.

I have noticed shared similarities in those folks I consider good managers whose teams deliver well, and those who don’t. It starts with how they communicate about their teams.

Your team is “we”

There can be a perception that as a manager of an organization you are in control at all times. Part of that control can invariably be perceived as how you appear to be in charge, are competent, or how you personally perform. Due to that, some bad behaviors can arise- not due to malice, but due to fear. For this reason, it can be tempting to take credit for success and avoid credit when there is failure.

The irony is that the more that you try to hold on to these external perceptions, the more it will slip away. Why? Because the problems you are solving as a manager really aren’t about you.

Your team is “we”. You are a driving force of that team, no matter how high up the hierarchy chain. What happens on that team is your responsibility. When you speak about your org, you should include yourself in the statement.

When your team succeeds in something though, then you can praise them and leave yourself out of it. Here’s an example:

They really pulled this project over the line, despite the incredibly tight project timeline. Everyone showed up and was driven throughout the engagement. They did a fantastic job.

However, if the team failed at something, the pronoun is then I:

I didn’t recognize how tight this turnaround was and failed to prioritize the team’s time well. I need to reconvene with everyone so we can come up with a better plan.

And never, ever them:

They didn’t adhere to this tight timeline. They just weren’t able to get this project over the line.

Do you see how the last example shirks responsibility for what occurred? Too often I will hear managers relieve themselves of their duties when shit hits the fan, and that is exactly when a manager needs to step up, and dive in to the problems that are their responsibility.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

The wider organization

There is another piece of this too, and it impacts how your team operates. It’s that your job is not to be the ambassador of who you manage and think of every other group as separate. You’re part of a larger system. A company is composed of groups, but those groups can only be successful if they’re working together, not if they are protecting their own org at all costs.

I admit I didn’t fully understand the depth of this until I read Patrick Lencioni’s great book The Advantage, thanks to Dalia Havens, a peer at Netlify. In the book, Lencioni talks about how organizational health, not “being smart”, as the biggest key to success. Plenty of smart people with good ideas build companies and see them fail. Success lies in being able to work together.

Fundamentally, other groups at the company are not separate from your group, rather that you’re all part of one whole. The Leadership Team is also a team, and should be treated as your team. How you speak about this team is equally important.

As such, when we talk about successes and failures of any groups, these should also be shared. There should be a sense that you’re all working towards a common goal together, and every group contributes to it. Within a leadership team there should be trust and vulnerability to own their part so that the whole organization can operate at its best.

And, yes, the leadership team as well

You may see where I’m going with this: when you talk about the leadership team, this is “we” too. You can’t speak to your team about decisions that were made at a table with your peers and boss and say “they decided something you don’t agree with” even if you don’t agree. You were there, ideally you took part in that decision, when you talk about that team, presenting them as “we” is important as well.

Why? Because as a manager, our job is to try as much as we can to drive balance and clarity. It’s confusing and disorienting to hear a manager talk about a leadership team they are on as though they aren’t a part of it and not take accountability for what’s happening there. Your reports themselves can’t effect change at that level, so if you don’t own your involvement in the leadership group, you can demoralize your staff and make them feel distrustful of other parts of the company. This can have an effect where folks demonize other teams and their initiatives, which as we discussed is ultimately unhealthy.

Saying “we” holds you accountable to your team for leadership decisions that you are a part of, which is how it should be. If people on your team have issues with the direction, it’s also your responsibility to own that conversation and next steps, as a liaison to the leadership team.

There are of course, some small instances when this might not be appropriate. Something that really goes against your core values that you fought strongly against can make this untenable. I would say those instances should ideally be very infrequent, or unfortunately you may need to pursue another place to work.

Speaking about the Leadership Team in Practice

Here’s how this works in practice, using an example of conveying a decision at the leadership level to the people who report to you:

The leadership team decided that we need to ship at least 3 features this quarter so I guess that’s what we have to figure out to do.

Versus:

One of the key OKRs this quarter is that we as a company need to double the signups to our platform. We’ve done some calculations that show we can almost certainly get there by shipping 3 features, so let’s all talk about what we can do within our group to make that possible. If you’re curious, we can chat through what initiatives other groups are doing to support this as well.

The first is not just passive, but demotivating. I have made the mistake of using this approach when I want to be liked by my employees and for them to think of me as a peer. But we’re not peers, I have a responsibility to them.

You’ll note in the second approach, we also explained the reasoning behind the decision. I’ve noticed personally that when I have to hold myself accountable to the decision, I care a bit more that people understand the reasoning behind it. This is a very good thing for the morale on your team! Which is arguably one of your most important jobs.

The last line in the second approach also opens up discussion- since you’re taking ownership of the decision, you’re also owning that you know about other pieces of the puzzle, and show a willingness to dive in with your team.

What if you make a mistake?

We all do! Management can be difficult and it’s impossible to be perfect all the time. Try not to beat yourself up, but perhaps show a bit more thoughtfulness next time. I’ve made lots of mistakes as well. It’s not a stick to beat up yourself or others, but a lesson learned to be as mindful as possible and promote a better working environment.


We communicate to our teams, peers, and stakeholders whether or not we’re taking responsibility as a true leader in these moments. We communicate whether we’ll approach a problem with humility, and a desire to collaborate and improve. This may seem to be a detail, but it’s a powerful piece of leading an organization.


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10 Elements of Landing Pages That Convert

April 28th, 2021 No comments

Landing pages are central to successful marketing campaigns; they allow you to target particular customers with particular solutions to particular problems.

It’s easy to confuse what a landing page is because users “land” on many pages. When we talk about landing pages, we mean a page that is entirely dedicated to a particular type of customer. In fact, if we could create a unique landing page for each individual user, that would be awesome.

You might think your homepage is a landing page, but it’s not; users reach your landing page in various ways — directly, via organic search, or backlink. A landing page is normally dedicated to a specific marketing campaign. It is accessed from a link in an email, via social media, or most often via a PPC (Pay Per Click) advert.

Here are 10 elements of landing pages that are proven to convert successfully:

1. Use A Single Call To Action

Your potential customers must know how to move forward with your product or service as early in the experience as possible.

Are they signing up for a free trial? Are they signing up for your newsletter? Are they buying a product? Are they contacting you? Whatever you need them to do, make it clear.

The Hick-Hyman law of UX says the more choices you give a user, the less likely they are to make any choice at all; conversely, the fewer choices, the greater the likelihood that they’ll move forward.

Give the user one choice: click the button, or don’t click the button. A single CTA will out-perform multiple options.

2. Keep Forms Simple

Often, your landing page will need a potential customer’s information. They might be creating an account, setting up a trial, or just joining your newsletter.

If the potential customer is signing up for a trial, by all means, ask for their email address. But you don’t need their cell number, their mother’s name, the street they grew up on, their birthday, or any of that other junk that’s used to profile users.

Whatever the purpose, keep your form ultra-simple. That means as few fields as possible. If you really want it, give the user the option to fill it in later as part of an onboarding process — when they’re already invested — but not on the landing page.

3. Make the Headline Punchy

The first thing your potential customer sees on your landing page is the headline, so make it count.

Half a dozen words are usually more than enough. Your goal is to keep it short enough that the potential customer has read the headline before they realize it.

Often, you’ll want to clarify the statement with more information. That’s fine as a sub-heading after you’ve grabbed their interest, but make sure you grab their attention first.

The headline “Coyote Anvils” is best followed by the sub-heading “You’ll be eating roadrunner for dinner!”

Your goal for your headline is to explain your product or service in 2–3 seconds.

4. Center Your Content Around Your Value Proposition

What makes your product or service stand out? What makes it better than the competition? If you’re not sure, spend some time checking out companies in your space.

Creating a value proposition can be one of the toughest challenges a business faces because you need to put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes. But if you get this right, it will carry your marketing. You need to find the benefits within your product or service, not the features.

Value propositions are best when backed by facts. The “World’s Most Accurate Anvils” is best backed by proof: “9/10 coyotes said they were more likely to hit their target than themselves when using our patented AccuAnvil.”

5. Lists, Lists, and More Lists

You’ve got seconds to engage your potential customer, perhaps even less. One way to grab them is with a great headline, but you have to keep them interested beyond the headline.

One great way is bullet lists with short entries. Short-item lists naturally pull our eyes down the page because our eyes take in the whole line in one glance; we don’t need to read to absorb the information.

The longer you can keep someone on the page, the greater the likelihood they’ll keep looking, so pulling them down the page with lists is a great tactic.

6. Exploit the Zeigarnik Effect

The Zeigarnik Effect says that people remember incomplete experiences better than they do completed ones. This is because when a task is seen as completed, it can be filed away as a memory, but if it’s incomplete, then it remains at the front of your mind.

This is a boon for designers creating landing pages because we can create a situation where the potential customer begins an onboarding process and is aware that it hasn’t been completed — they might need to verify their email address, for example.

The lack of completion keeps the landing page and the product or service fresh in the potential customer’s mind. So when they see that onboarding email, they’ll use it.

7. Proof

Anyone can put up a website. It’s easy. And as a result, potential customers don’t necessarily trust you.

One way you can combat this is with some form of proof. That may be in the form of official certifications, or featured testimonials, or just independent reviews.

It rarely occurs to potential customers that you’re cherry-picking the testimonials and reviews you’re choosing to display, so even if only some of your reviews are good, it’s worth including them.

But be careful not to sound too good. If you post nothing but 5* reviews, people will smell a rat; that 3* review may actually do you a favor by making the 5*s seem more genuine.

8. Predictive Images

Potential customers lack imagination, they don’t have all the facts, and unless your product or service is very basic, they may not fully understand what the product does for them.

Use images to quickly show them what life may be like using your product or service. Paint an appealing picture. If they can see themselves in the image, they’ll grant you a little more time to persuade them in the form of further content.

9. Continuity

How did the potential customer arrive at your landing page? Chances are it was via a PPC link, or if you were lucky an organic search link. However they arrived, they were in a certain frame of mind, with a certain problem they wanted to solve; they aren’t going to take kindly to being diverted onto a different train of thought.

Your landing page has to match the tone, style, and value proposition of your adverts. The potential customer’s experience of your organization begins with the advert, not the landing page, so make sure that you don’t break the spell. If your landing page doesn’t match your advert, you could lose the potential customer altogether — and increase your bounce rate while you’re at it.

Remember: the customer was attracted by something in your advert, so give them the same attractive qualities on your landing page.

10. Drop the Nav

Most sites have a single main menu and a rich footer with links to customer service, contact pages, and so forth. These are detrimental on a landing page because you’ll leak traffic to other, less-focused parts of your site.

Your landing page is a streamlined selling machine. The only link you want on the page is your CTA.

It’s fine to keep legal text and even links to privacy policies — users rarely click those anyway. You can also link to your homepage using your logo. But don’t add any navigation that invites a click, or you’ll dilute all the work you’ve put in.

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20 Best New Websites, April 2021

April 26th, 2021 No comments

This month’s collection contains a combination of big and bold, and clean and minimal. Although basic minimalism is still trendy, with lots of white space and greyscale type, we are seeing it softened with color. This is implemented differently, ranging from hints of off-whites in images to gentle pastels as section backgrounds.

Playing around with type and using typefaces with a few characteristic quirks is another way minimalism is being tempered without negating the overall effect. Plus, we’ve got some strong examples of type rules being deliberately broken to good effect. Enjoy!

Crusta C

The new website for seafood company Crusta C makes clever use of the company’s simple logo mark ‘C’ with a cutout video effect.

How Many Plants

How Many Plants is a guide to house plants and how to look after them. A good combination of illustration and space gives a friendly but efficient feel.

Out of the Valley

Out of the Valley, make bespoke and prefabricated cabins focusing on natural materials and traditional craft. The subtle changes in background color add warmth to the minimal layout.

Saskia Wilson

Portfolio site for photographer Saskia Wilson. This is absolute simplicity, with a clear grid and nice, bold type to bare minimum text.

Made Thought

Design studio Made Thought has some pretty prestigious clients; for a designer, it doesn’t get more prestigious than creating a new brand identity for MoMA. Their bold aesthetic and approach explain their success.

The Great Lake

For-fun sites like The Great Lake are a great way for web creatives to show their skills. This one from designer and front-end developer Anna Sherruble is visually appealing and has some informative content.

Acayaba + Rosenberg

Architects Acayaba + Rosenberg use carefully curated photography and subtle scrolling animation to pull the user in and create a pleasing browsing experience.

Omexco

Soft colors and a well-ordered grid recreate the feel of a mood board that prevents this site for Omexco from appearing cluttered and overly busy while showcasing multiple products.

Johan Belin

For his own site, digital creator Johan Belin has opted to show off his skills by creating this single-page site instead of simply showing work. This can be a risky tactic, but it works here.

La Nouvelle

A combination of contrasting and complementary color combinations creates freshness in this site for digital agency La Nouvelle.

Found

Found Studio’s website uses a very basic grid layout to allow the work to stand out; varying the typeface, weight, and style within sections of text creates individuality.

CKMS

CKMS is a design and build company. Their site is minimal but with a few nice little touches, like the background color change button in the bottom right corner.

Slow

Slow is a collective of people–largely artists, designers, artisans–aiming to implement and live by the slow movement principles. The design of their site reflects these aims, creating a sense of calm and deliberation.

Anne Frank House

Practical information for visiting the Anne Frank House and museum is combined with historical information and educational resources in this thoughtfully structured and visually engaging site.

Runway

Runway is a platform for publishing open-source, pre-trained machine learning models, as well as for training your own models aimed at artists and filmmakers. If this site aims to make the user want to try Runway, it succeeds.

Fat Free

Fat Free video branding agency add warmth to their minimal site with soft color and occasional illustration.

Pinch

The furniture and other interior products produced by Pinch Design aim for a quiet, elegant aesthetic, and their website reflects that with pale grey and generous spacing.

Sentempo

Digital studio Sentempo manages to achieve glossy without being overdone. The star dividers are a nice detail.

One Year

Many companies, including creative agencies, have come up with ‘what we did/achieved in the last year’ microsites. This one from Context Creative succeeds as a good advert for them.

GT Super

This single-page intro to GT Super font has a certain drama in keeping with the font itself and allows you to play around with the size, weight, and style of the font in most sections of the text.

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Popular Design News Of The Week: April 19, 2021 – April 25, 2021

April 25th, 2021 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!

Coca-Cola Presents New Packaging Design

Seven Mistakes To Avoid In Your Technical Interviews

10 Interesting Ways to Plan Web Design Projects

Web Developer’s Guide To AVIF Images

 

3 Effective Ways To Improve Your Site’s Carbon Footprint

Pure CSS Before & After Image Slider

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25 Exciting New Tools For Designers, April 2021

Text In A Circle Using CSS & JavaScript

A to Z of Adobe XD: Tips & Tricks!

Content-Aware Image Resizing In JavaScript

Remove Distractions and Waste from Your Website

Top 18 Best Practices for Writing Super Readable Code

Atriom

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