Safari 14.1 Adds Support for Flexbox Gaps

April 30th, 2021 No comments

Yay, it’s here! Safari 14.1 reportedly adds support for the gap property in flexbox layouts. We’ve had grid-gap support for some time, but true to its name, it’s limited to grid layouts. Now we can use gap in either type of layout:

.container {
  display: flex;
  flex-flow: row wrap;
  gap: 1.5rem;
}

Apple’s been rather quiet about the update. I didn’t even hear about it until Eric Meyer brought it up in an email, and he only heard about it when Jen Simmons tweeted it out.

I checked the WebKit CSS Feature Status and, sure enough, it’s supported. It just wasn’t called out in the release notes. Nothing is posted to Safari’s release notes archive just yet, so maybe we’ll hear about it officially there at some point. For now, it seems that Maximiliano Firtman‘s overview of iOS 14.5 is the deepest look at what’s new.

And how timely is it that Eric recently covered how to use the gap property, not only in grid and flexbox layouts, but multi-column as well.


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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.

Source

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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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How to Convert Freemium Users Using In-app Methods

April 29th, 2021 No comments

Dropbox offers cloud storage. Slack offers an online collaboration space. Candy Crush is a gaming app. All these apps have different services to offer but there is one thing common in all of them – they all follow the Freemium Model of subscription.

Freemium, which is an amalgamation of Free + Premium is one of the most widely used subscription models by websites and apps across all genres. This model has its roots in the most common psychology of users – try and then buy. Users expect to try products before they add their payment details. This is exactly why designing a freemium model can be overwhelming at some point because you need to understand what will trigger your users to make the jump from free trial to premium. 

Your freemium model can be about offering an exclusive feature or prompting upgrades at regular intervals. The key to doing a freemium model right is knowing the USP of your product and thereby designing your model. Here we will look at 7 in-app methods that can help you convert your free users into loyal paying customers. Let’s get started. 

7 In-App Methods To Convert Freemium Users Using In-App Methods 

Note: These methods are also applicable to brands that do not have a mobile app. 

Freemium models are of 6 types: 

  1. Forever Free plan + premium features
  2. Trial period for all premium features
  3. Limited use of features 
  4. Upgrade to remove ads
  5. Referral-based upgrades
  6. In-app purchases

Now, let’s look at how these models can help in converting users into paying customers. 

1. Offering a forever free plan with all basic features

Many SaaS brands use this model to onboard new users. Users get access to all the basic features in the forever free plan. However, should they wish to do more advanced stuff, they will need to upgrade. Take for instance third-party integration app Automate.io. 

You can sign up for a free account and start creating automated workflows with apps of your choice. If you look at the app list, there are several apps that are free to use. However, certain apps are marked as premium. If you want to integrate any of the premium apps, you will need to upgrade your account. Add to this, in a free account you have a limitation on the number of bots you can create. 

For instance, if you are integrating Google Sheets and Gmail, you can do it with your free account since both the apps are available for integration in the free plan. However, if you want to integrate any premium apps, like Quickbooks and Stripe, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan [although here Stripe is a free app Quickbooks isn’t].

Unless the need arises, a user will continue to use the free account without any hassle. 

This is a subtle yet effective way to convert free users into paying customers because customers that upgrade will do it specifically because they need certain apps or want to create more automation workflows. Either way, it is a win-win situation for the brand. 

A similar subscription model is followed by companies like Mailchimp, Slack, and more. 

2. Tempting users with complete access to premium features for a limited time

Creating a time limit helps in creating a sense of urgency. Many products offer free trials of their paid plans ranging at: 

  • 7 days
  • 14 days
  • 30 days

The “your trial period is ending” kind of phrase helps brands create an urgency, motivating users to convert into paying customers. The idea of offering all premium features for free for a set number of days allows the users to understand the usability and benefit of your app. This makes it easier to convince free users to upgrade because they already know what they will get if they move to a paid plan. 

One such app is Pipedrive. When you sign up on Pipedrive, you get to try the app for 14 days. During your trial period, you will see a subtle reminder that you are on a free trial. 

Similarly, Litmus offers a 7-day trial period with a tempting offer to upgrade while Zendesk offers a full month of a free trial. 

This method is also effective in user retention. During the free trial period, users tend to use your app more frequently to leverage all premium features. Similarly, premium users will return to your app because they’d like to take full advantage of the money they are investing. 

3. Add subtle reminders to upgrade on your app

Many products take the subtle approach to remind users to upgrade rather than restricting actions after a certain time. The reminders are placed organically throughout the app experience in a way that does not disrupt user interaction on the app. Each time a user completes an action in the free version, they are nudged about some added benefits that they can access if they go premium. This nudging is not forced but is extremely effective. 

This is a great strategy to reduce user friction when trying to convert your free users into premium subscribers. Using phrases like “Hey! Did you know you can do this” without restricting the current user experience makes the message clear to the user but also gives users the option to choose to ignore at that moment. 

The secret code here is – even if your users ignored your subtle reminder today, they will click it tomorrow or when they are ready to upgrade. This method just imbibes the message in the users’ minds that upgrading will give them added benefits. 

Dropbox is one brand that does this best. This cloud-storage app has a persistent but non-intrusive style of reminding users to upgrade to the premium version. However, this does not interrupt the user experience across the app for a free user. A free user continues to save files and folders and share them with their peers seamlessly. 

Instead of hitting an upgrade message when a user touches the free storage limitation, Dropbox goes on to persistently use prompters to remind users about the limitations in the free plan. However, these prompters are easy to dismiss. 

Add to this, Dropbox often resorts to different visuals to say the same message. It calls for users’ attention when a different visual shows up instead of showing the same repetitive banner. 

4. Offering upgrade options to remove ads

No one likes ads that interrupt the usage of an app. Whether you are listening to music or playing a game or uploading your files, when you constantly see ads blocking your way, you don’t appreciate it. 

Ads are intrusive but an effective way to convert your free users to premium plans. Recently, YouTube, one of the largest video streaming platforms, started offering premium plans to see videos without ads. While the ads are only for a few seconds and YouTube mostly gives the option to ‘skip ads’ after 5 seconds – still having an ad-free experience whenever you want to watch a video is a tempting offer. 

Plus, when the premium plans are at an affordable rate, it is easier to onboard free users as paying customers. Like majority apps, YouTube also offers a free trial of the ad-free video streaming experience before you actually start paying. 

Similarly, if you have used Spotify to listen to music, you already know about the ads after every few songs. This app has a 27% conversion rate from free to premium users, indicating that using ads that are visually engaging can have a positive impact on an app. 

Note: Whether it is ads on YouTube or Spotify, you will not cringe while looking at the ads. Having ads is one part of the story; having ads that won’t drive your free users away is what you must take care of. 

5. Using referrals to drive upgrades

This is a tricky method but really pays if done properly. Offering your users a chance to go premium when one of their referrals subscribes to your app is not just a great way to retain your existing user but also pull in new users. Trello does this wonderfully wherein if you refer someone and that person joins Trello following your referring link, you get upgraded to Trello Gold for a whole month. 

This method pulls in new app users as well as shows existing users how premium features work. It is more of a mix of the free trial method and referring method. 

The reason this model can be a great mode to convert free users into paying customers is – your free users don’t have to do much. Just spread the word about your app and get new users onboard. In return, they get to enjoy premium benefits for 30-days. They can continue this chain or choose to upgrade by taking a premium plan. 

It is worth noting that this method does not cause any friction to your free users. If you are a Trello user, you will know that even if you are not on Trello Gold, you have a smooth user experience across the app. 

6. Include in-app purchases

Another way to monetize your app is to include small in-app purchases. It can be a certain feature or some credits that are valid for a certain time period. This method is most common in gaming apps. If you have played games like Candy Crush, you will know about small incentives like getting powers-up bundles at a price to cross a particular level especially when you fail to pass a level. 

These apps are otherwise completely free to use. The in-app purchases are designed in such a way that you are tempted to make the purchase because you don’t want to wait until you naturally win some credits. That is why they mostly have the ‘shop’ tab in the game. 

In-app purchases can be of two types –

  1. For consumable goods
  2. For non-consumable goods

Consumable goods include digital goods that users can repurchase multiple times once exhausted. For example, store credits or gaming credits, or tokens. Both iOS and Android have elaborate documentation on in-app purchases and what categories they support. 

Non-consumable goods are those purchases that once purchased will remain with the user for the lifetime. For instance, in games, if you purchase a particular theme, it is non-consumable good because it has no expiry and you access it throughout the time you are using the app. 

Note: When using this subscription model for your app, it is important to elaborately know what will be consumable and what not.

7. Using email drip campaigns to convert freemium users

Lastly, we have email campaigns. Email is one of the most reliable methods – whether it is to onboard new users or nurtures them and convert them into paying users. Almost all companies resort to email drip series to nurture free users and continuously showcase the benefits they will get once they go premium. 

In this, how you design your message is very important. You don’t want to sound persistent and desperate. The motto is to show the benefits in the most convincing way. 

(i) Offering a promo to upgrade

Offering limited and exclusive discounts via email is a great way to convert your free users. Elementor does this beautifully by offering a 25% discount on all pro plans during Black Friday. 

Now, getting a 25% discount is quite a tempting offer, especially if you are frequently using the app’s free version. A worthy attempt to convert free users! 

(ii) Sending reminder emails to upgrade before free trial ends

Running an email series throughout the users’ trial period keeps the user informed that their trial period will soon end. This series should not only be about “your trial is ending, upgrade”. That’s not a healthy way to convince your free users. Instead, using emails to tell why your users should consider upgrading to a premium plan soon can be of help. Educate your users at the best of your ability and show them real-time what they might be missing if they don’t upgrade. Here’s how Pipedrive does it: 

The empathy with which the person reaches out to you will make you rethink your choice and in case you do have a question, you can quickly connect with him and get it resolved. This is probably the most effective way to make sure that your users feel special and they actually want to be paying customers. 

For me, the star of this email is the last line. Francisca from Pipedrive is not just mindful of what you require but is also ready to encompass the fact that Pipedrive may not be ideal for you. A message like this helps products understand why a user did not want to upgrade or continue with you [making way for improved user experience in future]. 

Sometimes, words can have all the power in an email! 

Conclusion

These are some of the effective ways to convert your free app users into paying customers. The freemium model has been around for quite some time now and is really effective to monetize your app. In order to maximize the conversion rate from freemium to premium, employ strategies that sound best for your product. Understand what your target users want. Try stepping into your users’ shoes once in a while to see conversion through their eyes. You will surely have the best shot at converting your free app users into loyal paying customers. 

Good luck.


Photo by Taras Shypka on Unsplash

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6 Crucial Aspects of Efficiently Managing a Small Business in Florida

April 29th, 2021 No comments

There are around 2.5 million small businesses in Florida, making up 99.8% of all businesses in the state and employing more than 3 million workers, which is about 42% of the state’s private-sector workforce.

If you’re one of them, you are probably wondering how to cut through the noise and gain a competitive edge. Effective management can help you rise above the rest, but where do you start? And what exactly does it take to effectively manage a small business

When you are just starting with a small business, you don’t have years of experience to help you make smart and educated guesses. So, in this article, we are offering 6 management tips that will help you avoid unwanted headaches and push forward to the progress you want.

1. Protect Your Business

As a business owner, you’re probably aware that owning and running a business can be fraught with risks and pitfalls. Effective management doesn’t only mean turning profit; it also means protecting your business from lawsuits and losses. Mortgage obligations, debts, product or professional liability, consumer-protection issues, claims for damages caused by your employees, are just some of the risks small businesses have to deal with. If handled improperly, these risks can result in the loss of both business and personal assets. 

For small businesses in Florida, one of the best and easiest ways to ensure peace of mind is to purchase insurance. Even though Florida doesn’t require businesses to carry commercial liability insurance, it’s definitely wise to carry some insurance to protect your assets. You can get a quote, purchase coverage, and share your certificate of insurance online in just a few minutes. 

2. Plan Effectively

Effective planning is the best way to manage a business effectively. The first step is to define a strategy that will focus on both the positive and negative outcomes of a business plan. 

Planning your processes for essential business tasks can have a number of benefits, including increased productivity and efficiency, by eliminating problematic steps like bottlenecks and loops; reduced costs which result from fewer employees needed to complete the same process; and improved accuracy, by including success measures and checkpoints to ensure that process steps are completed properly.

3. Build Strong Relationships with Your Employees

Better management starts by building stronger relationships with your employees. Yet, according to studies, about 70% of managers have trouble communicating effectively with their team members. Making time to talk with the people in your company and provide feedback is vital for building trust. This way, they will know what they’re doing well and what changes they need to make. 

So, be sure to find time to check in with your staff. Ideally, you should do this at least once a week and, whenever possible, face-to-face. If you can’t meet one-on-one, take advantage of team messaging tools or apps to provide regular feedback. In addition, let your team know they can turn to you whenever they have questions or issues.

4. Have an Automation Strategy 

Any task that can be put on autopilot will help you save time in your day. This is especially true for repetitive tasks that require templates (such as invoicing and emails) and uniform processes. Automating your workflows and tasks will also make it easier for your team members to get the work done when you are not available. 

There are many ways to use automation in order to streamline your business operations, improve productivity, increase efficiency, and reduce costs, from marketing to inventory management automation. You should be aware that implementing automation will require some investment to set up the technology and standardize the processes, so in order to effectively allocate your resources, you will need to identify the areas where automation will yield the highest return for your business.

5. Invest in Employee Training

When small business owners hire employees, they do so in order to be able to delegate certain tasks and free up some time to focus on other, more pressing matters related to running a business. However, hiring new people won’t mean anything unless they are familiarized with your business processes and standards. 

Investing in employee training will pay off in the long haul. According to Huffington Post, nearly 25% higher profit margins can be the result of companies who invest in employee training. The benefit here comes from retention. With a strong training program, fewer employees will leave, which means less money lost in replacing employees. So, if you take the time now to make sure they understand your expectations, your staff will be able to consistently deliver in the future.

6. Invest in Your Ongoing Education

While employee training is definitely important, you should not forget to invest in yourself as well. Workplace and office trends change continuously and your teams’ expectations are evolving as well. You need to be open to new opportunities and ideas and constantly learn more about small business management. Doing so will make sure that you are up to date with the best practices and that you won’t get stuck in your ways.

Although enrolling in training and courses might mean you should pay a certain sum upfront, this can actually save you money in the long run. That’s because, in these programs, you get the chance to listen to people who have experience and established credibility in the field. They will educate you on how to increase your profit by using more effective strategies, which means you won’t risk losing money on experimenting to figure this out on your own!

In Conclusion

Starting a business can be difficult, but running it is even harder. Regardless of the size of your business, at the end of the day, it all comes down to not losing sight of your goals.

Even though the processes might seem quite complicated, you can make things much easier by integrating these 6 management tips into your routines. 


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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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)

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

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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