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Cool UX Design Trends that will Dominate 2017 and Beyond

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 27 September 2017
  • Categories: UX Design

With the advent of Internet of Things, the products and services are converging. The companies need to shift their expertise from selling products or services to selling experiences to develop the sustainable competitive advantage. There are several ways to improve experiences of customers with the brands. Some of them could be personalized communication, increasing the usability of goods or services, UX design, etc. However, User Experience Design is the key element of an unparalleled user experience as it leaves the first impression on the customers.

Thus, UX design is the first moment of truth for customers. Therefore, it requires full attention from the companies which want to shift their focus from product selling to experience selling.

Linear Design – Micro interactions

Taking one baby step at a time to accomplish significant results is back in fashion. UX designers have included the concept of linear designs where the site or app guides the user to perform an action – one step at a time. For instance, Uber uses the idea of micro interactions or linear design to guide users for booking taxis. The trend seems to be catching fast as more apps and sites are adopting this features to provide better experiences and save users’ time. The latest in the fray to join this trend are the chatbots. The chatbots will not only save users’ time, but it will also save companies’ time and resources. The free time and resources can be utilized to accelerate innovation.

Moving beyond Interface

Over the past few years, we have seen the seamless experiences over desktop, tablets and mobile devices. The Internet of Things (IoT), will take this a step ahead – you no longer need to be connected with phone or desktop to do things. For instance, with Snapchat Spectacles, you can connect with your friends without a phone. Moreover, it is a fashion accessory that provides a great experience to the users.

In fact, the list of smart devices will keep growing with the time. Traditionally, the companies have measured experience in terms of time spent by users on the site or app screen, bounce rates, cart abandon rates, etc. However, with the need to provide seamless experiences across multiple devices, the UX designers need to think beyond the interface. They need to reflect on how they can integrate device’s interface with customers’ real life experiences.

Videos Will Dominate

Almost 93% of marketers are already using video ads on social media. Although a majority of sites use videos to demonstrate their products, the production of video content is going to be more aggressive and beyond product showcase. Companies will increasingly use video content as part of their content marketing strategy. They will also use Periscope or YouTube Live to streamline some part of the content. A significant number of the blogs will have video content. Thus, UX designers need to rethink their content presentation strategy to accommodate bite-sized videos across the site without increasing the loading time or compromising on users experience. The seamless integration of video content in the interface and beyond will determine the success of UX design in the time of IoT.

Design as Management Practice – Capturing the Feedback in new ways

The responsibility of excellent UX design will move beyond the UX designers. Companies will not solely depend on the responses of survey forms filled by the customers to measure the user experience. Rather, the top management will act as buyers and actively participate in the customer journey to spot the gap between the company’s vision of experience and the real user experience. They will seek to bridge the gap proactively. It will also motivate employees to do their best to enhance customers’ experience with the brands.

The UX designers will share a broader role within the organization. They also need to work on their business and communication skills to understand the evolving dynamics of the UX design in the future.


UX design is going to play a central role in the success of all types of companies. Not only the horizon of UX design will increase, but it will also become the core differentiating factor for successful companies. The UX designers must monitor the trends mentioned above and adopt and adapt their strategies to stay relevant in the long run.

What Can a Web Designer Achieve that You Can’t?

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 27 September 2017
  • Categories: Web Design

It has become a truism of the modern internet that a cut-throat website matters. Anyone with a decent education can build a basic DIY website, but that’s not always enough. If you want people to find your website, let alone interact with it, a lot needs to be done.

Here is what a web developer can achieve that you cannot despite having well-meaning intentions:

YOU DO NOT HAVE A PORTFOLIO

Irrespective of how good your university web development project was, the painful reality is that you cannot match the continuously updated portfolio of a website developer. Having a portfolio demonstrates one’s capability and the fact that by working on many projects they are also honing their craft, something which you may lack as you were busy launching your start-up.

YOU GET A TEAM

When you outsource web development, you are not hiring one individual but an entire company. This means you get all the skills which are required and applicable to your business’s website. It is pertinent to mention that it takes a marketing expert, an experienced coder, a skilled designer, technical professionals as well as a project to oversee and put together a robust website.

If you are a small business, it is nearly impossible to have all such professionals on your payroll, and it also does not make financial sense until you are ready for expansion. Therefore, when you research and finalise website developers nearshoring you will learn that they have the necessary skills needed to deliver a final smashing product.

THEY ARE MORE EFFICIENT

It is a given that contracting dedicated developers comes at a lower risk than recruiting a full-time employee. The most plausible reason is that a firm with established credentials has policies and processes that have been examined and optimised over the years, guaranteeing a smooth flow of projects through completion.

THEY PROVIDE ACCOUNTABILITY

As with any outsourced partnership, accountability is of paramount importance and a website development firm worth its salt will want to keep your future business as well. Therefore, they will focus on building a long-lasting relationship to ensure that you get value for your money and they get your positive word of mouth.

SHORT TERM COMMITMENT

The most underrated benefit of outsourcing web development is the flexibility to bring in a specialist on a project basis without engaging long-term (and only paying the associated costs). This is because you may need someone with one set of competencies right now, but the requirements may well change come the next fiscal year.

NO OFFICE DISTRACTIONS

It may seem overly simplified, but many work environments are massive distractions for developers. If this applies to you, then good luck building or maintaining a website while answering the phone calls, generating invoices and managing inventories. The fact is that with meal breaks, office gossip and commuting, there is less than half the time available for a developer to get the actual work done. This eventually results in you working more hours which may also affect your health and overall morale.

PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE DEVELOPERS MAKE FAST WEBSITES

A professional website developer will always consider SEO requirements, and one of the most fundamental SEO elements is page speed. While the site you build yourself or got developed in-house offers appealing graphics, it is slow to load. Remember, slow loading speed can effectively kill your site as now it is all about mere seconds. Fast websites are also necessitated by google

Another reason to base your web development strategy on hiring outsourcing professionals is that fact they leave with an optimised, uncluttered code. Clean code is a standard for SEO websites. Such a developer would leave out any script that is not working by adopting a minified approach.

5 Most Important Key Steps To Take Before Designing A Small Business Website

Creating a website has become a precursor, a preliminary requisite to look into and create before you set your business selling goods or services. Globalization and digitalization have become a part and parcel of every economy, trade, and commerce, thus in order to carve a niche for oneself in the flourishing market, one needs to consider designing a website for their business.

Irrespective of the methodology or the way one’s business operates, where, how and why, one needs a platform to attract potential customers to let them have a look at the range of services that are on the offering.

And in such a case, having a website can be of utmost help. Also, if one is into the selling of goods or services online then having a website is indeed a prerequisite. Web sites serve as an excellent medium between you and your potential customers. It helps you to share the information regarding the business and the services offered. In a sense, it is your report card as well as it contains all your details pertaining to your background, experience, prior services among others, that way it makes you more saleable.

From information gathering and planning design and development, one goes through a lot of stages while developing a website. One key mantra that should be borne in mind is the purpose or goal of the website – its use and the reason for its creation. Once this is clear and well established only then, one would be able to embark on this tiring yet rewarding journey of building a website for one’s business.

Creating a website is an easier task if done strategically. There are plenty of options available before you while creating a website including creating your own website with the help of your friends or hiring a web developer to do it for you. One should consider a few key steps before getting into designing one’s website

1. The purpose of its creation

Before you even consider gathering information or working on it, you should be well abreast and acknowledge the reason for its creation. You should know the course ahead and march accordingly with a blueprint up your sleeves. A website ought to have a shared goal to accomplish, of its creator and the potential clients or customers that are being targeted.

What is it that a customer must know about your firm or what is it that he/she should consider before logging into your website? A website might be created for different uses including providing information to potential clients, starting blogs to further engage potential customers; one might even sell goods and services online directly. It all depends on what it actually is put into use. Highlighting the relevance is crucial in a sense that it avoids undue wastage of time in going astray without an eye on the goal. One should consider one’s goals way ahead before actualizing the plan.

2. Using optimized website platform

Demarcating the essential from the irrelevant and what perfectly suits your need is the key to select the suitable software platform. Depending on the use, one can choose different options that are on the offering. For a strictly E-commerce based business, e-commerce specific software must be used including VirtueMart and OpenCart among others. You might also like to go for different software options including templates, interface and design can be used according to one’s need.

3. Web host

Choosing a Web Host is the next big step after you are done with selecting the content management software. Web Host being the home location that visitors can access, depends largely on the traffic of visitors and also on the software one chooses. While setting up your website on your own, you must bear it in mind whether the web host allows the automatic software installation or not. As it stands, most of the hosting services offer the automated installation of the software.

4. Organizing Website

Organizing your website is the penultimate step towards its development and evolution. The logo, menu selections, design and interface all goes into organizing your website from the scratch. Using WordPress can be a quick solution, and all you need to decide is what you should display on each page. While organizing your website, your menu will always take center stage as it is the first thing that a visitor is more likely to focus on, choosing submenus and the templates that come with it. Organizing your website is an important task and must be paid due attention to each component for facilitating maximum flexibility for the customers.

5. Fleshing out the details and maintaining your website

Customizing your website and giving it the textures, colors, texts, contents and fonts and populating it with all the detailing is the last step in this direction. Previewing the content and editing it by adjusting it as per your needs and making it more customer-friendly is an important step. Adding content including new pages, add-ons and blog entries are also required once you finish organizing the website. All software provides a control panel for adjusting all the content and material on your website.

Seamless design, functionality, navigation and a great user interface are the basic parameters that must be looked into while designing a website. Usability and the navigation play an important role in the success of your website. A difficult and confusing website will never be appreciated by customers as they are always in search of something which is prompt and useful. Compatibility with the plethora of browsers available is another crucial factor that must be looked into.

7 Design Myths That Will Wreck Your Site

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 27 March 2017
  • Categories: UX Design

When I was a junior designer I made plenty of mistakes. I believed false assumptions mostly because I did not have the experience yet to know better. I still don’t know it all. But, I am always eager to learn new things about design and to see which preconceived notions are accurate or a complete myth. That’s how this post came about. I want to address seven common design myths which I still see influencing design decisions.

Unfortunately, false design myths like these to lead to poorer quality design and poorer experiences for end users. We can avoid this by making smarter design decisions to improve the quality of our designs.

1. THE HOMEPAGE IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT PAGE

For a long time, people believed the homepage was the most important page. Way back when, it may have been the case when the homepage served as the main directory in getting around to the rest of the pages. It’s no longer the case. The way we browse, and even find web pages, has changed dramatically. Often, visitors will land on a web page from a direct link to a product page, missing the home page altogether. This direct access to other pages is largely due to SEO results or links shared on social media.

Today, home pages serve one main purpose: to get you to the content, whatever it may be. For websites that are constantly filled with new content such as BuzzFeed or Darling Magazine, the home page serves to show the top stories. There are also websites that show off products or services, like Maison Deux. In both of those cases, the user is bound to enter the content specific page because they are not there for the homepage, the directory, they are there to consume information or make purchases. Next, there are services like Mailchimp or InVision where users are interested in using web apps instead. There are plenty of websites out there whose homepage you don’t see as a logged in users, such as Facebook.

Viewing many design gallery sites such as Dribbble, Behance or Awwwards by the sheer number of showings of creative and amazing home pages. There is nothing wrong with having a great looking and well functioning homepage. However, let’s get one thing straight: compared to other pages on a website, a homepage is not as important.

2. MINIMALISM IS THE ONLY WAY TO ACHIEVE SIMPLICITY

Minimalism is a style, while simplicity is about the overall feel and functionality of an application or website. A complicated and extensive design can be made simple. The goal of simplicity isn’t to have the minimal amount of things such as steps, UI elements or interactions.

Steven Sinofsky put it well. He explains that minimalist design decreases the visual surface of a design and its experience, whereas simple design—which he calls frictionless design—decreases the energy required for the experience.

Let’s take for instance the UX of a form with no labels but only placeholder text. We all know this infamous pattern. So although having less visual elements, in this case missing a label, is more minimal the interaction is often confusing for users filling out the input. The interaction is no longer simple. Adding the extra UI element, the label, even providing an example outside of the placeholder, adds to the quantity of UI elements. But, the interaction becomes simpler, easier and more intuitive for the users. That’s a great differentiation between minimalism and simplicity. They are not one and the same.

3. LIMIT THE NUMBER OF NAVIGATIONAL CHOICES

Many people misinterpret George Miller’s theory that the human minds can keep track of 7 (plus or minus 2) bits of information at a time. His theory still holds true but it’s exclusive to the human cognitive condition regarding short term memory. Somehow this theory made its way into web design, specifically to navigation and menus.

Additionally, there is research on limiting the number of choices, which was popularized by Barry Schwartz. Barry Schwartz’s research was referring to choices in product. In his research, Schwartz was referring to jams where the customers had a harder time picking, committing and therefore purchasing a jam if there were a multitude of options. The customers were purchasing jams at a significantly higher rate if they were presented with just a few choices. This can apply to any other product like cars, phones or online subscriptions. They key here is still products.

Neither of those two pieces of research has anything to do with navigation. The job of a navigation is to help a visitor explore what a website has to offer. Back in 2006, Jared Spool wrote on the topic of link-rich websites which are sites filled with many links and pages. In the article he uses an old version of the Dove website to demonstrate his point, and although the website has changed, the conclusion still stands. Dove’s sitemap was more usable to a visitor than their own homepage’s navigation. The reason for this is that is allowed anyone looking for a specific product to find the necessary product page.

Navigation can be large but still allow the user to browse to the product they are looking for. Good navigation won’t hide the multitude of pages. Instead, it will cluster and group them into similar categories to be findable by a visitor. Now, if the groups and clusters are poorly made that’s also not helpful to the user. The bottom line is, hiding pages from the navigation is not beneficial to the user.

4. EVERYTHING MUST BE NO MORE THAN THREE CLICKS AWAY

On computer interactions, the rule is said to be three clicks but this rule has also been extended to mobile devices in the form of two taps. Multiple usability studies prove that this is bogus.

Visitors and users don’t care about the exact amount of clicks or taps. They care about obtaining the information they are looking for, they care about finishing the task they are doing. Additionally, it’s relevant to the user whether clicking through will get them to the desired information. If the user feels they won’t find what they need in their journey, they may leave without clicking just once even though the information might be revealed after a single click. Users will keep on going through as many as 25 clicks, as found by UIE, in order to complete their tasks. The UIE research also states the importance of user satisfaction is also irrelevant to the three click rule.

5. MOBILE DEVICE USERS ARE ALWAYS ON THE GO AND ARE ALWAYS DISTRACTED

When speaking about mobile apps or responsive websites, both of these points are mentioned. First, mobile device users are presumed to be on the go. Second, they are also presumed to be distracted. Way too often, these two assumptions seem to go hand in hand with one another. Someone who is on the go is bound to be distracted. The fact of the matter is, neither is actually the case.

Let’s tackle the first assumption first. A 2012 Google study found out that majority of smartphones were used at home, 60% to be exact. Another study in 2012, this time by InsightsNow on behalf of AOL, found that 68% of mobile page views happened at home. InsightsNow’s study excluded texting, calling and emailing. But, as you can imagine, playing games, browsing Tumblr or Facebook, and any other mobile interactions such as reading articles or shopping, is mostly done at home. Although we should still keep designing for on the go use, it’s not the primary way most of us use our mobile devices now.

Next is the assumption regarding distractions. Distractions are eminent everywhere, albeit it working, watching tv, driving or using a mobile device. That’s just a fact of life. Just because someone is using their smartphone instead of a desktop computer does not make them more distracted. I will point to the same 2012 Google study which found that while using a PC 67% of the time a user is also using another device compared to 57% while using a smartphone.

6. GOOD USABILITY IS GOOD ENOUGH WITHOUT AESTHETICS

Don Norman devotes a whole book to explain how emotions and design go hand in hand. That’s because while great usability may be a great start and it’s certainly necessary, it still may not actually be good enough. Don Norman’s book centers around emotional connections created through design. Positive emotions can be powerful in helping sell products. There are numerous studies to show that more attractive products appear to perform better than products with poorer designs. Not to mention that first impressions are excessively made through appearances.

More importantly, looks and design are often related to credibility. Stanford University’s Credibility Project proved just that. They presented people with websites to learn about the correlation of credibility. They found the 46% of people based the credibility of a website by its appearance. Emotional responses play a greater role in connecting with people than usability. Emotions are human while usability is technological. Therefore, great visual design and aesthetics is a competitive advantage and a differentiator within a marker. Ultimately aesthetics help enhance usability as mentioned in Don Norman’s book, Emotional Design.

7. YOUR USERS WILL TELL YOU WHAT THEY WANT

This one is my favorite. Asking your users for feedback is important. It’s equally important not to take their feedback literally. Noah J. Goldstein wrote:

People’s ability to understand the factors that affect their behavior is surprisingly poor.

And he couldn’t be more right. This type of thinking goes back to days of Henry Ford where he famously said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” That’s because people are bad at explaining their own behavior patterns, intentions, and behavior predictions. This phenomenon is also known as introspection illusion, in psychology. It’s okay, I’m bad at it too.

Another reason why listening blindly can lead to trouble is that people often speak only about the solution to the problem they might be facing. As a designer, I’m sure you’ve received design feedback such as “make the text bigger” with no explanation as to why. A client or a colleague might have a hard time reading the text with a smaller font or they might feel that the smaller font is less noticeable compared to everything else in the section’s design. The same goes for user feedback. Like I said, it’s important to listen to customers and users. But, it’s more important to get to the bottom of the problem first. Do further research based on user feedback, requests or complaints to figure out what the problem at hand might be, and solve it for that instead of their comments alone.

CONCLUSION

There are still many more design myths and assumptions out there. These are the seven most common ones I see other designers cling to, especially junior designers or design students. We’ve all been there—I’ve been there. It’s important to realize that these assumptions are baseless and be smart about them moving forward. Hopefully, exposing these seven will help you make better and smarter design choices.

8 Effective Use Of Icons In Design Projects

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 27 March 2017
  • Categories: Design, Icons

Designing a proper website is like establishing a proper communication with your clients. They are not always going to remember your services in details, but a well-designed website will stick into their minds, for a long time. The same rule is applicable when you are planning to work on the icon creations. Icons are the best way to accentuate the value of your brand name, and mark its deep footmark into their minds. While visiting your website, customers are likely to scan through your websites for some attractive notes, before they dug deep into your content. And that’s when icons come in handy. These icons are the simplest way to help you draw users into content of website.

Effective Icon Uses For You:

It is rather mandatory for you to know more about the effective icon uses, which are brilliant for the futuristic growth of your online business. And these 8 different uses are going to act in your way.

1. Go for visual interest:


People are not quite attracted into plain and simple write-ups. They are looking for information, which is visually interactive. It is during such instances, when you have to move forward with the best visual interest services. And try to add that with proper design of your brand icon. Also adding some fun iconography can work a long way.

2. Go for the feature lists:

Always try to list the services in necessary manner for effective marketing. And you can add that with the icon designing trends. Lists are sometimes boring and bland. So adding icons with it can help the feature list look more attracting and alluring.

3. Interaction creativity at its best:


You have to design an icon which looks to attract more inter activities. People want to interact with you to get your services. And to force them to do that, you have to create the fines interactive icon. Remember that icons do not always have to fit right into specified placements. That will not always work to encourage proficient user interaction. So, try to free flow the icon creation for extending creativity norms well.

4. Listing with products and applications:

Most of the time, your company is not dealing with any one particular product. There are multiple applications and products, which are currently surrounding your internet world. Adding icons with each one of them can be a great idea to attract more people. It helps in establishing a mental connection between particular image and product.

5.Proper use of animation:


Just to add that touch of productivity to icons, you can try using animation. And icons do not always have to be static. So, adding a bit of animation power to it can go a long way. But, be very sure before adding one to your icon. You should not overdo it, as that can mess up the whole icon meaning completely.

6.Listing with services:

Just for increasing the readability power, you can try listing icons with services. But make sure that your chosen icon is relevant to content and the design is likely to be towards the simplistic notion. You must know the areas you want to express through icon, and work on that effectively. Starting from the colors to style, everything needs to be considered first, before applying.

7.Place of it:


Depending on the purpose of icon, you have to place it in correct areas. Icons are always website friendly, and it seems to work in an inviting manner. So, you can try getting a bit creative with your icons. Start adding it with sidebars, headers, feature list or even titles, if that suits your business.

8.Go for icon cluster:

Now, this might have mixed reactions from the website designers and developers, but you can try to go for the icon cluster. You can perfectly mingle various sketches, shapes and even hand crafted icons, which will turn out to be visually appealing. That will even help in adding a form of uniqueness to the entire website.

Make sure to follow these norms thoroughly, before you get started with icon designs. You can even try to procure help from experts, as they are always happy to offer quality results. Be the first one to catch up with them, and you are all good to go.

Key Features That Are Missing From a Web Design Project

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 27 March 2017
  • Categories: Web Design

Web designing is a very important phase and there is always a need to make web design project as successful as possible. In the present day, we can come across a lot of online small as well as big businesses. None of the people can find success with their online businesses if they don’t own a well designed website. Every online business people have a website related to the business that they do but most of the times, they fail to create a website that is designed professionally and powerfully.

Web Design Project become successful only when a website starts attracting more clients and converts more clients to buy certain products. Remember that a well designed website have got the ability not only to attract a lot of potential customers but also can improve the conversion rates. Today, you will be able to find many online business websites and you need to come up with an excellent website that is designed professionally in order to standout from the rest.

The web designing field is evolving every day and therefore, it is important to understand what is trending at the moment when you are about to design a website for the reason that customary website development procedures can often encumber. It is certain that designing and developing websites have need of methods that are as fluent and effective.

When it comes to web design, keep in mind that you have got to adopt exact things. The designers should be familiar with what really makes a site effective and attractive in the minds of customers. It will help you to design and develop websites that has the capability of attracting and retaining customers. Following are some of the effective methods and features that should not miss from a website design project:

Content


One of the most important things that you should take care of while designing your website is its content. You cannot ignore the importance of content in web designing and development. Your website is in all probability the most visible and public expression of your organization. Therefore, you should provide content based on your organization and your business. Fresh and high quality content will keep visitors returning to your website time and again.

People visit your websites for the main reason of finding content that they need, so ensure you deliver it and also attract the clients. You should very specific while preparing content and it should easily digestible to the customers. The customer going through your content should be able to understand the purpose of your website and it should influence them to take favorable action. Content is the senior decision maker and will have a strong influence on the design, content and functionality of a website.

User-friendly Navigation


The website that you design and develop should be user-friendly. The visitors will show no patience to go through every pages of your website and therefore, you should plan your website in a way that makes them to understand your website in an easy way. The design of the website should allow visitors to promptly find the information that they are looking for.

Don’t try to test the tolerance of your visitors because if they don’t find the information that they need quickly, they will go after another website online. Make sure to include easy to locate and logical, simple, and effortless to understand labels in order to make visitors time worth on your website. More visitors will be interested to visit your website in future if they find that your website is user friendly.

Simple and Professional Web Design

Your website should be simple at the same time professional as well. A simple and professional website is well preferred amid the customers. None of the people will be interested to visit a website if they don’t find the website is simple and professional. They will pay no attention to visit a website that is complicated in its design and is also designed unprofessionally.

Simple and Professional Web Designing have the ability to convert the usual visitors into buying customers. You have to keep up an eye-catching layout and layout should be done in such a way that offers a better user experience. You should make available a fair distribution of content and graphics. Don’t include colors that are intolerable and incorporate catchy colors. The font sizes should not make it difficult for the readers to read and don’t place strain on visitors by adding tough font sizes.

Prominent Visual Appearance

For a responsive web design, prominent visual appearance is important to get the attention. Visual appearance is one of the leading principles behind a good web design. Visual appearance offers a huge impact on the success of your web design. A good visual treatment can catch the attention of many people and it can also earn more clients to your website. You can attain better traffic to your website if it is visually effective.

Prominent Visual Appearance


Webpage speed can have a say in deciding the success of your website. People will never be interested in a website that is very slow. None of the visitors will be patient enough to wait for a long time to load your website’s pages. They will go after some other websites that are so quick. People lose patience quickly if they wait for a long time to open Web pages. So, the speed of your website will decide the amount of visitors visiting your website every day. Great visual appearance, gorgeous graphics and high quality content turn out to be of no use if a site takes long time to load.

Search Engine Optimization Friendly


SEO is one of the most generally ignored aspects of a website and web designers should give more importance to create a website that is SEO friendly. Website promotion is very important to take your website to the top of search engine platforms. A well designed website should be SEO friendly. A well-designed website that is SEO friendly usually gets many visitors. One of the most effective tactics that can be used to attract more visitors to your website is search engine optimization. So, SEO friendly website helps a company to improve their rankings.

Target Audience

One of the most important but neglected things when somebody designs a website is audience. Website should be designed and developed according to the needs and understanding of the audience. The audience visit your website for different purposes and therefore, if you target audience when your design your website, you will be able to create a website that goes well with the requirements of your visitors. Visitors should find out what you offer and how they can benefit from visiting your website.

Mobile Friendly


Flexibility and compatibility is a very crucial thing when it comes to designing and developing a website. Web compatibility denotes that people can access your website from different browsers and platforms. Your designed website should load on computers as well as mobile phones. Today, we live in an era that is witnessing people changing to mobile platforms for doing their majority of works. So, you website should load easily on different resolutions, screen sizes, and browsers. Given the growing popularity of mobile devices, your website should be designed to work properly on mobile devices.

4 Pillars of Minimal Web Design

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 06 March 2017
  • Categories: Web Design

Minimalism is a style that is found not just in designs, but also in art, architecture and music among other things. It refers to simplicity by choosing to stay with bare necessary elements in design or art. By focusing on what is necessary, all those elements that serve no purpose are eliminated.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The purpose of creating a minimal design website is to create an interface where user can focus on the primary task in hand, like downloading an ebook or read a blog post. To create such an interface they first need to understand the principles that define a minimal web design.

Flattening the Design


There was a time when gradient colors and glossy buttons on websites were common. At that time, designers tried to give elements on a website a realistic feel by mimicking real world objects. This style of design is called Skeuomorphism. But it didn’t last very long because all those details caused cluttering in design. Apple used to be the biggest supporter of this style of design, but they also moved away from it.

The solution to cluttering in design was flat design, which rose to prominence when Microsoft introduced their Modern Design (formerly Metro UI) with Windows 8. Microsoft created a flat design by using sharp edges, flat buttons, vivid colors, clean typography and grid like layout. Design Museum described it as “…It is a nice, clean, pure color, interface”.

By reducing visual details in a design, flat design puts user’s focus on the content or primary actions and makes website load faster. It made it easier for designers to create a design that is adaptable to different screen sizes.

Less in More


A minimal design has less elements, which means more space of emptiness. A white space (or sometimes negative space) is an empty space between individual elements. The more empty space around an element, the more it will stand out. Just like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said “Less is More”.

White space is the backbone of a minimal design. As a designer, you need to decide which elements need more white space around them and which need less. This depends on the purpose of individual elements and whether it looks good to the eye or not.

Small design elements tend to have lesser space between them. This is usually to connect two or more elements. For example, space between an image and its caption is usually only a few pixels. This is called micro space. Major design elements tend to have bigger space between them, so they look like a separate element. For example, a signup form usually has large amount of white space around them. This is called macro space.

In Zen of White Space in Web UI Design, it is explained that white space makes it easy for users to scan the page and improves legibility because of sufficient space between text and lines. In Reading Online Text: A Comparison of Four White Space Layouts, a study conducted at Wichita State University, it was concluded that white space improves reading comprehension, but decreases reading speed.

Limited Color Scheme


One of the many reasons I love Wes Anderson’s films is the use of limited color palette and attention to detail. The colors used are really comfortable for an eye to look at and goes well with the theme of the story. As a result, it affects the mood of the audience.

“The use of color in his set design and his costuming is masterfully engineered to engrain itself into the minds of an audience and establish a certain mood for a film”

– Color Theory and Social Structure in the Films of Wes Anderson (Vreeland, 2015)

The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014. Colour Palette by Wes Anderson Palettes.

In this regard, web designing is not so different from filmmaking. The choice of color palette used on a website has significant impact on the mood and decisions of its audience. For example, red and violet colors are great for using on a womens fashion website. Using too many colors can be distracting for users. As a result, they may decide to exit the page, instead of browsing further and converting.

Minimal use of color puts focus on important elements and helps diverting user’s attention to such elements. When it comes to deciding which colors to use, some designers go with monochromatic or bold colors as an accent. The color palette of a website includes the colors used in navigation, background, logo, typography and icons. It does not include the colors of an image.

Focus on Typography


Typography is one of the main aspects of a website because without any use typography it can be difficult to convey a clear message. The choice of typeface, its size and weight is as important as choosing a color palette. It is known to significantly impact the legibility and readability of text. According to Oliver Reichenstein:

“Optimizing typography is optimizing readability, accessibility, usability(!), overall graphic balance”.

Typography also plays a BIG part in a minimal web design. Using big and bold typography compensates for the absence of unnecessary elements, like images and other graphics. Such use of typography enhances the visual presentation of a website and makes the website more engaging and beautiful.

Conclusion

Creating a minimal web design can be challenging if you don’t know the philosophy behind it. Minimalism is all about staying with bare essential elements. Using the principles discussed above, even a beginner designer can create a decent minimal web design, though it still won’t be that easy. Focus on creating a design for users, not for the sake of looking good.

4 simple steps for perfect web navigation

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 06 March 2017
  • Categories: UX Design

From checking movie times, to reading a Photoshop tip, to reviewing the daily news, we can find almost any information we are looking for on the Internet. One part of a website that is especially important in helping us find what we are looking for is its navigation.

When we engage with a website we use its navigation to help us find what we are looking for. Unfortunately, many websites have navigation that wasn’t particularly well planned. Sure it may work well enough to get to the information we are looking for, but often, it is only after some confusion—and utilizing that classic method of searching the web known as trial and error—that we able to do so.

If the navigation of a website is poorly organized, has confusing wording or has too many links, it reduces our ability to use it to find what we are looking for in a quick and easy manner. Obvious and intuitive navigation is one of the key building blocks of a great website.These practices listed below will help you create more effective navigation as part of your website.

1. MAKE IT CLEAR

When a website visitor doesn’t know what to expect when clicking a link, or how to easily find what they are looking for, confusion results. Reduce confusion by designing your website’s navigation to be easy for visitors to understand.

Abercrombie & Fitch’s website provides an example of this concept. Their navigation is easy to understand from the first moment a visitor arrives at their website.


The use of clear labels, that are obvious at a glance, lets visitors know what your company does. From the start, they will know they are at the right place and how to get to where they want to be. Thoughtfully consider the terminology you use for the navigation of your website, making it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for.

Avoid creating navigation around the format of content, for instance, rather than having a videos page, create a ‘how to’ section with content separated by topic. Make it easy for users to find what they are looking for by describing content in the terms they will use. Visitors to your website probably will not be looking for a videos section, but they may be looking for tips on how to set up your product or how to use certain features.

Make it clear for visitors which items are navigation items. Subtlety will not help your website visitors get to where they want to be. For instance, even though it may look great to you, making links a slightly darker shade of gray than website text does not help create a great user experience. Don’t make visitors work to use your site.

2. STAY CONSISTENT

I am sure you have been to websites where it looks like part of their navigation was tacked on as an afterthought or it just doesn’t belong. This lack of consistency works to reduce trust on the part of site visitors, additionally, it reduces the quality of the user experience. If something just looks tacked on to you, it will most likely look the same or worse to your customers.

The nice, clean navigation of Bouguessa’s website is consistent and helps improve visitors’ experiences while on their site.


Another issue that tends to reduce the quality of navigation, is having items on menus that aren’t links, especially when they appear to be. When visitors click on menu items that don’t link it increases the level of confusion and consequently, the level of frustration. Use visual design to show which items are links and which are not, for instance, if you have headers as part of a mega menu, use a different font style, color or whitespace to indicate they are headers and not links.

Secondary navigation should also be designed consistently across your website. Apply the same focus and consideration to secondary navigation that you do to primary navigation. Regardless of where visitors are headed on your site, you want to provide a great experience.

If you have pages that are of primary importance that you want to be easier to access, create a feature block on your homepage or section landing page for it. Website visitors pay attention to these blocks, meanwhile, trying to highlight items on navigation menus can often disrupt the menu.

3. KEEP IT CONCISE

Avoid creating menus with too many items. It is best if you can limit the number of items included as part of your menu to seven. Having fewer items to choose from is better for your website’s visitors. It creates less mental strain on the part of your visitors as they are making decisions and increases the chances that they will move forward.

Research has shown that the human brain uses chunking as a method to improve recall. By breaking data up into relevant groups or chunks, it allows us to understand and remember it better. This is an especially effective technique for larger websites that need more than seven menu items. By breaking menu items up into groups you will be helping your website visitors.

Remember that each time you remove an item from your menu or an element from your page; you are making everything else a little more visually prominent. When you remove something, you make other items more likely to be seen and clicked on. Carefully evaluate what you really need as part of your website and be willing to remove the items you don’t need to streamline and improve the experience.

The Olson Kundig website provides a great example of a website with a streamlined navigation experience.


Additionally, you will want to consider the order you use within your navigation. Just like in other areas of life, items at the beginning or end will stand out to users. User attention and retention are at their highest at the beginning or end of a list. This is the result of our basic psychology. As humans, we are wired to remember items at the beginning (primacy) or at the end (recency).

Leverage this phenomenon and put important items at the beginning or end of your menu. By putting items that are important to your customers in these areas you make it easier for visitors to use your website. If you are not sure which items are most important to your customers, take a look at your analytics and see which pages of your website get the most traffic.

4. USE A FLAT ARCHITECTURE

Great navigation begins with a well thought out information architecture (IA).As you consider the organization of your website you will want to keep the architecture as flat as possible. Allow your website visitors to reach any page within one or two clicks.

When you have fewer levels it is quicker, easier and less confusing for your customers to get to where they want to be. Limit the number of levels to help make navigating simple for your visitors.

To help organize your site, separate pages into groups and instead of nesting groups within groups within groups, look to create the flattest organization possible. Consolidate content where appropriate, perhaps even considering grouping the pages differently than you currently are doing to enable this, but make sure that your groupings are consistent with the how your customers view your products. Odd groupings that don’t make sense to users will not help you, even if they help flatten your website hierarchy.

Use visual design to help users understand the hierarchy when they are looking at your menu. Using font styles, sizes, colors, and whitespace can help visitors understand navigation levels. Clearly differentiate secondary navigation in a way that separates it from primary navigation in a harmonious way.

8 UX Design Tips That Will Excite The User

An amazing user experience starts from the designer’s perspective. As a designer, it becomes necessary for you to create something that will lure your users to engage with from time to time.

Seems to be quite simple, right? One of the best ways to delight your users is to think like them and come up with preferable ideas. There is no need to rebuild something new every time. Better you can go for techniques and tools that your users understand better and can use easily. Meanwhile, this will help you to improve and focus on other visual elements. So to help you out, here I am sharing a few things that can help you stay focused on designing exciting UI.

1. Personalize it


Today the world of web designing is all about personalization. Whenever a user visits a website all that he or she wants is to have a better user experience while shopping or playing games.

The interface of the website plays a very important role in it. To understand it better consider visiting some of the top websites out there on the internet and try to figure out their personalization techniques. At Amazon, you will be offered with a list of recommendations based on your past purchases or items you had viewed. You will be offered with a number of movie suggestions on the Netflix while on Twitter, you will be offered a number of follows based on the people you interact on the social media site.

No doubt these customizations are very small but, they greatly influence your users and they feel that the UX is specially designed for them. This will greatly increase user engagement. Moreover, they will feel delighted and happy and can, in turn, lead to user loyalty.

2.Go for simple animations

Another important element for great UX is animations. Apart from delighting your users, it will easily navigate the users through the website.

It is very important to keep the animations as simple as possible and avoid unnecessary movements. This can make users feel dizzy. Remember that animations come with a purpose and should fulfill that. Again make sure that your animation makes some sense on the UI.

3.Go for tried and tested design patterns


Design patterns offer solution to a number of issues. It is the way through which users interact with the interface by scrolling the page or clicking the buttons to perform the required actions. When designing the websites, you have to keep these patterns in mind and design the website accordingly. It is something that all your users understand and so using your website will not be a tough task for them. You can try some design patterns within your design scope too. You can make use of the common design patterns across all the pages. For example, you can either place all the call to actions on the pages at the same location or let them be designed in the same color and pattern.

4.Give a touch of personality

Boring design excites none. So it is important that your website should reflect the brand personality through the UX. For this, you can make use of the conventions signals or signs as well as include microcopy.

5.Keep screens in mind


Whether users are viewing a website from a desktop computer or from a handheld device, they are viewing and interacting in screens. They are let to view a screen at a time. So try designing the website keeping that in mind.

No doubt this has made card-style interfaces as well as parallax scrolling quite popular in the market. These styles create screens, where a good amount of information can be shared on the ‘on-screen’ and users, can keep on moving from one element to another.

It can be a difficult thing depending on the amount of the information that can be shared on the single screen. The number of information you can place on a single screen for the desktop may have to be broken down when you are designing for handheld devices.

Incorporating customization techniques in the design planning can definitely help you come up with end results that offer UX based on the devices.

6.Use interactive content

Placing elements like quizzes, games or videos on the screen is to serve a purpose – boost user engagement on the website. Better user experience will be offered to the user who wants to interact more with the interface. Make sure to use simple contents that are easy to respond and does not bore the users.

7.Use minimal elements


Too many elements on the website can overwhelm the user. For example, a video pops up when your user has just landed on the website. Before he could go any further with the contents on the screen, a modal pop up asking for newsletter subscription. This all can irritate the user at once. So try to keep your design simple and minimal. Use less call to actions on the page as possible and have a clutter-free design.

8.Place everything in order

You can easily have amazing user experience by having all the screen elements placed in the right place and right order. Make use of the grid in your design so that every element has its place. Again, make sure to have responsiveness in your design to let the website work equally good across the devices.

Minimalism and simplicity are in trend today. Moreover, such design makes it easy to interact and can create happy users.

Conclusion

A good UX is easy to navigate and can fulfill the user experience. It is quite tough to define how to delight your users when it comes to UX. Still, you can keep on going with the task by doing things that you know your users will love for sure.

Graphic Design Trends for 2017 – Minimalist, Environmental and Bold

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 30 January 2017
  • Categories: Graphic design

Graphic design trends are typically a mixture of classic favorites and fashion inspired choices, along with a reflection of societal values and concerns. 2017 is definitely poised to continue this trend, and there are some interesting variations between industries and target markets. Overall, though, you can expect the general theme and tone of 2017 to include and embrace even more minimalism and incorporating an organic, eco-friendly look and feel.

Soothing Design Elements

2016 was a tumultuous year, regardless of what side of the social or political fence you fall on. This is expected to influence graphic design in a very noticeable way as we attempt to push forward by looking far back into the past. In a nutshell, this means that simplicity and soothing elements are likely to be the king of graphic design in 2017.

Many studies have determined that spending time in nature is one of the most soothing and relaxing things a person can do, so it’s not surprising that green is going to be one of this year’s biggest colors. Green is known to be quiet and restful, which are qualities that most people are looking for right now. In fact, the spa industry has been using green as one of its primary graphic design colors for many years, and it’s also a very popular choice for healthcare sites. Bringing this color to other industries makes perfect sense right now.

As an added bonus, green ties into another societal element that will have a big influence this year: the environment. When you put all of this together, green seems like the natural choice for color of the year. Other colors that will be popular in 2017 include charcoal gray, brick red, olive green, maroon brown and khaki.

Environmental Influences

Recycling, upcycling and other similar concepts have become extremely popular. Additionally, becoming more self-reliant through gardening and homesteading is something that is no longer done merely by hobbyists and survivalists. Instead, people throughout the U.S. and other nations are fighting for their right to convert their yards into a garden, and community gardening has also become extremely popular. All of this shows an interest in not only conservation but also returning to a simpler, less stressful time.

Graphic designers will be tasked with bringing these societal trends into their websites, logos, packaging and much more. Again, green fits the bill quite nicely, and you can expect to see lots of handwritten fonts and hand drawn imagery. Retro fonts will also continue to be popular, and minimalism that uses green and white will be appealing to many consumers.


Truth on Display Branding

Another aspect of simplicity and minimalism that is expected to grow in popularity this year is the idea of truth on display branding. This means that see-through packaging with minimal wording will continue to attract attention.


Consumers also want to have a better understanding of the ethical and environmental impact of their purchases, so expect to see a big push toward highlighting positive features of products and companies.

Simple yet Bold

Of course, not all companies are going to switch to a soft, green look, nor should they. But the retro feel is being utilized by long-standing companies such as Kodak. There will also be plenty of other examples of bold colors and simple lines, especially in logos. This is going to be most prevalent among tech companies and businesses that are primarily targeting a younger demographic. Although these looks will still be simple, the boldness of their color palette will stand out in a year filled with green and other earth hues.


Hands on Women and the ‘90s Continue.

Photographic choices have a huge impact on consumer opinions, and 2017 isn’t going to shy away from trying to evoke a specific emotion. This is going to be the year of tough, modern women, which means ads and website imagery will lean more toward beautiful women getting stuff done as opposed to just looking beautiful. Photos will also continue to have a candid feel, along with referencing the ‘90s. Perfect studio shots will be exchanged for realistic, spontaneous and filter free images of life.

The Impact of the Health and Wellness Movement.

So far, 2017’s graphic design trends will result in realistic photos, lots of green, simple lines, minimalist packaging and putting the truth on display. All of these concepts speak to those who are interested in the environment and simple living, but they will also attract members of the health and wellness movement. In 2016, gym memberships, meditation and Yoga classes experienced a huge upswing in popularity. 2017 will continue on this path, and Tai Chi, spas and massage therapists are likely to benefit.

This matters to graphic designers because of the psychological benefits and ramifications of such a popular trend. For example, consumers who are drawn into the health and wellness movement are going to be less interested in snack food unless the design and other advertising elements highlight the positive aspects of these options. The huge increase in gluten-free marketing is part of this, and now that sugar is being blamed for weight gain, expect to see food with a low amount of sugar touting this in all of their design choices.

Ultimately, graphic designers will need to speak to the environmental and wellness concerns of most consumers in order to capture their attention in 2017. Those who make the conscious decision to buck this trend will do so at their own peril, unless they’re only targeting young consumers or some other very specific demographic. Therefore, get used to the color green because it’s going to be everywhere this year.

5 User Interface Design Tips to Improve your Mobile App

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 30 January 2017
  • Categories: Design, Mobile

If you take a look at some of the successful mobile applications on the market it quickly becomes apparent that there is no universal formula for designing an effective user interface for mobile apps. With that being said, there are several themes that tend to run through well-created and well-received mobile user interfaces.

Often designers will approach a project without taking best practices into account when designing their user interface (UI) and generally the success of the app suffers from this approach. While there are many things that go into quality UI Design, there are some simple ideas that are often overlooked that can help designers improve their app’s user interface.

These are presented below to help you improve the user interface on your next mobile app.

Create a visual hierarchy


One of the most often overlooked principles of user interface design is creating an effective visual hierarchy. According to Wikipedia, a visual hierarchy is an “arrangement or presentation of elements in a way that implies importance”. When you approach your next UI design project, make sure you design significance into the information on your interface so that users will know how to interact with it.

Carefully consider what the most important thing you want to show to your users is and then work through and create a list of priorities. Remember that if you try to make everything look important then nothing will end up looking important as there will be no hierarchy to inform users where they should look. One of the key functions of a well-designed visual hierarchy is to establish a focal point so users know where to start navigating your application.

You can use fonts, colors, size, contrast, location, white space, etc. to inform users what information is of primary importance and which are of less importance. Remember that balance and moderation are important. You don’t want to overpower a design with a focal point that’s overwhelming or reduce secondary information so much that it is difficult to read. Consider what people do with your app and product and design based on what users do in the real world, not what you are hoping they will do.

Cut the clutter

You want your user interface to help facilitate your users’ decision making process. To do that, you want to make sure that each item that you add meets certain guidelines, to begin with, each item should have a clear reason for being included and each item should help users get closer to their goals for using your app. If an item does not help guide a user or answer a question you should ask yourself if your UI really needs it.

The reason for this is that you want to reduce the cognitive load on users as much as possible. The easier you make the decision making process, the more likely it is that users will make a decision to move forward. If the decision process is complicated or it forces users to work to figure it out, there is a high likelihood users will abandon the process altogether.

Avoid adding visual clutter on your interface as well. This can come in the form of irrelevant images, pointless design elements and redundant links that all add to the cognitive load experienced by users. Clutter can also come in the form of poor communication. Keep your language simple and clear for your users. Avoid technical terms, internal jargon and big words that slow users down. Simple, clear content is much more useful than complicated explanations that need to be read repeatedly to be understood.

Maintain consistency


Make sure you maintain consistency throughout your interface. Not only does it look unprofessional when you don’t, but it will also send mixed signals to your users. If you chose a particular style for an element then stick with it throughout your design. Your users will learn by using your app and by performing actions and if they encounter unexpected or inconsistent content or actions, it will reduce the quality of the experience and perhaps even cause them to abandon your app.

Set style guides to establish standards that will help keep you on the right track. Maintain consistency with colors, fonts, spacing and elements to create a pattern that users can easily recognize and rely on. Simple things like maintaining consistent white space around headers sends a message to users that they are quickly able to recognize.

In addition to design elements, you want the language you use in both your interface and copy to maintain consistency throughout your application. This will help improve users’ perceptions of your mobile app and products and reduce confusion. You want to make sure you don’t use different terms to describe the same thing throughout the user experience. This constancy of communication goes beyond just the terms and words themselves and extends to the tone of your copy.

Design specifically for each OS

When designing your app, you want to take into account the specific nature of each OS. While it can certainly save a little bit of time and a little bit of money to make one user interface design that you use both for iOS and Android, it is a better plan to design for each OS specifically.

When you approach your design process the goal should be to create the best user experience you can for your users. It is impossible to do this if you don’t take the specifics of each OS into account. Keep in mind that users of each type of device have slightly different habits and preferences. They have grown familiar with how their particular OS functions and if your application does not behave in a manner consistent with that, users are less likely to enjoy using it.

Android and iOS each have their own particular styles and are a little different from each other. If you design for one of them and then just transfer that design over, you could be creating an unfamiliar experience for those users that turns them off. You don’t need to create a completely different user interface for iOS and Android, but you do need to adapt the design for specifics related to each.

Design a great onboarding experience


Unfortunately when it comes to mobile apps, on average, less than 5% of those that download apps become regular users, meanwhile a staggering 80-90% will use an app just once and never return (Compuware). Because of this, it is essential you make a great first impression with those that download your app.

You can’t beat making a great first impression with users. If you start users out just looking at your dashboard with no direction at all, it creates a lackluster first impression that leaves users scrambling to figure out what to do. But by creating an onboarding experience, you can get those who download your app using it as quickly as possible and create a fantastic first impression.

The onboarding experience should begin as soon as your app is launched for the very first time. To develop an effective onboarding process you want to start with the end in mind. Do you want to give users a basic overview of all the features or do you want to cover a few key features more in-depth? Which would be more useful to your users given the specifics of your app? Which one would help them start using your app right away?

If you carefully evaluate what would be of the greatest value to your users and design the onboarding process with that in mind, you can increase the likelihood of creating a successful first experience with your mobile app.

Top 7 Reasons – Why Sliders Are Effective in Web Design?

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 30 January 2017
  • Categories: Web Design

Content Sliders (also called slideshows, carousels, faders etc.) have become an integral part of web designing. Including homepage sliders is one of the best practices for web development. They are simple, easy to customize according to the look and allows you to show your creative side in a relatively compact footprint.

Due to its flexibility, designers love using sliders in websites and users love it because it’s appealing and can promote multiple elements without using much space. In simple words, sliders enhance the site’s outlook and performance and visual experience. Sliders are easy to add to most websites as there are plenty of options available. To every story there are two sides, therefore, there has been an ongoing debate on the positives and negatives of using sliders making users/developers perplexed as to whether using it or not.

We’ve dwindled down on the positive sides of the sliders and here are our 7 reasons to why sliders are effective in web design services.

1. Highlighting Content:

How good would it be if every time we have something new to look at on the site? Wouldn’t it be good each time you access your site, you encounter content sliders in a new avatar? You can take a cue from some notable sites to know how efficiently they use sliders. Its time for dynamic sites and sliders showcase an ever-changing lineup of new and popular articles and videos delivering lots of content and message that changes frequently.

2. Appearing At The Top:


Most sliders occupy space at the top on the website. This allows more than one piece of content to rotate in and out of the space on the webpage. It’s a great step to greet users with content the moment they land on the site. After all, their eyes first, land on the what’s at the beginning.

If the site interests them, then they may scroll further down and, if not, might just bounce away. A slider allows you to feature several of your best pieces of content along with an eye-catching image.

3. Photo Galleries:


Pictures paint a thousand words. They are more capable of getting your message through more efficiently and effectively. Sometimes, adding too much content can really kill the user’s urge to even scroll down further. Through pictures, you can communicate everything about your brand about your objectives. Whether it’s a handful of full-page high-resolution images or several smaller ones, when you need to display a photo gallery a slider is a great way to do so.

You can use sliders with unique design elements as an appealing homepage element. You can even use a numerical navigation bar as it allows users to browse slides.

4. Quick Navigation:

Sliders also play a key role in quick navigation through the site guiding users to the concerned web pages. Websites have multiple categories for each specific products, therefore, showcasing those categories through sliders is the most effective way to let users check on them without hindering the navigation process. As mentioned earlier, you can also highlight contents and products. Let users click on the right or left arrows to scroll through the images that will direct them to the desired product or page.

5. Show Your Portfolio:


You must have observed that some firms love to present their portfolios on their site. Sliders have become the standard way of showcasing visual contents and online portfolios irrespective of which work sphere you belong to. In very little space, sliders allow you to creatively display virtually any type of work to potential clients.

6. Streamlined Design:

It’s recommended to provide your user with an organized site so that it’s quite easy for users to navigate through the site. You can include a pop-up slider. This is a slider that features one main image plus smaller images the visitor can click on, which will then pop into the slider instead. The pop-up images are linked to the latest articles posted on the site, so the look consistently changes. However, it also has a general design that’s recognizable no matter what the images are.

7. Show Your Creative Side:

There are so many websites on the World Wide Web that people have become a bit cynical. There is a possibility that the visitors might have seen other sites with similar design, therefore, it’s good to do something unexpected especially with your slider. Place it inside another graphic, place it to the side of the page or add something unique.

Learning Web Development in 2017 is Much Easier than You Think!

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 09 January 2017
  • Categories: Web Design

I am a web developer. Although, this was not always the case. Years ago, I took a two-year course which resulted in a certification to be a software specialist – software that was and still is used primarily by banks. It was employed by a number of other industries at the time, but no longer. My career options were pretty minimal, so going back to school was a no-brainer. Because I had always been a bit fascinated with code, web development seemed the natural choice.

Little did I know that becoming a developer would be so easy. Instead of returning to a college campus for night classes, I discovered a wealth of training, much of it free, online. Way to give the traditional brick and mortar schools some competition! And given the potential salary for developers, this was like finding a pot of gold.

Today, life is a lot better – great company, great salary, and great fun doing what I love. For those of you who are toying with the idea of a career in web development, I say “toy no more.” Here are nine websites where you can get web development training on your own time, choose as few or as many languages as you want, and emerge ready for a great career.

Codecademy

Codecademy was by far my most favorite learning website. The courses are well structured, and the explanations are basic and easy to understand. And it’s interactive. As you practice, you are told where your errors are and then gives hints of how to fix them. Once you access the site, (very simple and sleek – no frills), you register, take a look at the courses, and decide where you want to begin.


Total newbies can start with Web Fundamentals, or you can choose a course in PHP, JavaScript, jQuery, Ruby, jQuery, or API’s. You’ll also see stories of real people (full names given) who went through Codecademy and are now very successful. Best of all? Not a penny will be spent!

TreeHouse

TreeHouse is truly “learn by doing.” The teaching is project-oriented, so anyone wanting to build a website or an app can focus just on that. All code instruction is project-based too, and it is video based with practice to follow, along with quizzes. You have access to all of their courses for $25/month (650+ courses) or, as you become more adept, you can upgrade to the $49/month plan for more interaction with experts and access to workshops.


TreeHouse is for beginners through “budding” experts. You can choose from foundation courses in HTML, CSS, CSS3, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, jQuery or JavaScript, or you can go straight to a project. Everything is in learning modules. If you have a web project or want to develop an app, this is the place to go.

Code Avengers

Code Avengers is my second-favorite site, because it is so much fun. These people know how to make what could be kind of boring pretty entertaining. Right now, they only offer JavaScript, CSS3, and HTML5, and the focus is on building websites, apps and games.


There are three levels of training for each language, and the average time is about 10 hours per level. A very comfortable learning environment for beginners. This one’s a freebie too.

Code School

Code School is where you want to go, after you have been to Codecademy and Code Avengers. This site is definitely for intermediate to advanced learners, and you will get really in-depth training. You have 4 path options – Ruby, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, or iOS.


Instruction delivery is through screencasts, and the practice afterward is pretty challenging. You do get hints and can access the answers and can see where you went wrong. Most courses are free, but others you will eventually need to pay a $25/month fee for access.

Udacity

Highly interactive and for intermediate to advanced learners. Udacity is where you go once you have the basics down. What you get are great video lectures from industry veterans, including employees from Google. You get a screencast and then quizzes.


This site provides more videos than other sites, and you have real-life experts providing the instruction. You have the choice of taking specific courses or enrolling in one of their “nanodegree” programs. These programs are tuition-based, but you get half of your tuition back if you finish the program – a pretty big incentive. There are some beginner degree programs too.

CodeHS

CodeHS is a full curriculum for teachers and students, focusing on teaching programming/coding to high school students. From basic courses in the fundamentals of computer science to the development of games and apps, all of the lessons involve problem-solving, using JavaScript, game design, puzzles, and animation as the venues for teaching.


But wait – you do not have to be a teacher or a high school student to benefit from these courses. You will, however, need to pony up some money – ranging from $25 – $75/month. If you really want to develop games and apps, this is a great site for beginner to intermediate levels.

Coursera

MOOC’s have become a hugely popular source for students who want an academic environment and the chance to learn from real professors from top-name universities. With Coursera, students in both web design and web development can take basic programming and/or more specialized courses from such universities as John Hopkins, Stanford, and MIT.


While you will probably pay for certificates for some of the courses, many are free. A beginning student can get all of the introductory courses for free and then move on to the specializations that are fee-based.

Coding Boot Camps

Boot camps are not online courses; however they are short-term total immersion programs that usually last 2-3 months. Students emerge from these as true experts. They are great alternatives to college courses and are the perfect solution for the newly unemployed that wants to train towards a new career.

They can be a bit pricey, but if someone will get right on it and get through a course before that unemployment insurance money runs out, these are great options. Once finished, a graduate will find a high demand for developers or freelance work. Some of these include generalassemb.ly, startupinstitute.com, appacademy.io, fullstackacademy.com, and flatironschool.com.

Khan Academy

Obviously, no list would be complete without a mention of Khan Academy. While there are no structured curricular programs, students can pick and choose and have great video tutorials. This is a great source for beginners who can take a programming basics course and then move on from there based upon their individual goals.


Concluding

Today, life is a lot better for me – great company, great salary, and great fun doing what I love. For those of you who are toying with the idea of a career in development, I say “toy no more.”

The resources are out there, even if you have no money to spend. And unlike so many other fields, getting a job or striking out on your own doesn’t require that piece of parchment we call a degree. If you have mastered the skills and can demonstrate them, you will be in demand.

5 Great Solutions for Team Collaboration and Workflow Management

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 09 January 2017
  • Categories: Design

To complete a large and complex design project, a diversity of skills is generally necessary.

The team leader’s challenge, is to take a diverse set of individuals, each with their own skill set and degree of experience, and get them working toward the same goal. recognizing that a good team is greater than the sum of its parts.

Part of this challenge is to encourage collaboration between team members. When a team is first assembled, it’s often the case that not all team members, or even a majority, have the necessary collaboration skills. This is an area where choosing the right project management tools, including those that encourage collaboration, can be a blessing.

Even with tools like this in hand, team leaders still need to subscribe to the following principles:

  • 1)    Role Clarification: Necessary to avoid oversights, duplication of effort, and confusion.

  • 2)    Assigning Responsibilities. Responsibilities should be explicitly defined, and assigned to individuals, and not to groups or to the team as a whole.

  • 3)    Assigning Decision Making Responsibilities. When assigned to a group, the mechanism for reaching a decision should be spelled out.

  • 4)    Reviewing Project Goals: This needs to be done up front and periodically. If not, teams and individuals tend to lose focus.

  • 5)    Acquiring and Using the Right Tools. Using specific tools for specific functions will make life easier for everyone.

These 5 tools can smooth project workflows, encourage collaboration, and boost productivity. Entrepreneurs and freelancers will also profit by using one or more of them.

Wake


Wake provides the fastest way to get your ideas, and your work, in front of your team. The beauty of this app is that it enables you to do so without having to interrupt your workflow. Wake connects directly to Sketch, Photoshop, or Illustrator, making visibility across designs easy and seamless.

For example, if you want to share sketches from your notebook, or a flow chart you’ve created on the whiteboard, you can use Wake’s iPhone app to snap a photo and immediately send it off to your team. The iPhone app also allows you to keep in touch with team members, your project’s status, and other happenings while you are out of the office.

Check out the Starter or Pro Custom plans, but before you decide to purchase, try Wake for 30 days for free.

InVision


InVision is the world’s leading design, prototyping, project management, and collaboration platform. This powerful app is packed with features, including Workflow 2.0, its design-driven project management package.

Your ability to manage your prototyping, project management, and collaboration activities from a single platform not only makes work easier, but it is much more efficient, and it will definitely boost your team’s productivity.

With InVision, prototyping is the easiest of tasks. Upload a design file, add transitions, gestures, and animations, and you’ll have a high-fidelity, interactive prototype up and running in no time.

General Motors, Apple, Sony, and PayPal are among the 2 million who make up InVision’s user community. Discovering what InVision can do for you is easy. Simply sign up for a free trial. You can work with a single prototype for as long as you wish.

Active Collab


Designers and design teams have the same problem: instead of designing, they have to waste time on business-related issues. Active Collab has the solution. Active Collab is a project management tool that allows you to keep track of everything you’re working on, collaborate with clients, and prepare estimates and invoices in less than a minute.

This app, which runs on the cloud, lets you break down work in to-do lists, keeps your workflow organized, and encourages team collaboration. Sign up for free and you’ll be up and running in less than a minute, no setup required. You can also run Active Collab from your own server for a one-time fee.

Over 200,000 people use Active Collab, including design agencies, startups, large corporations, and freelancers. Try the 30-day free trial and see if Active Collab has everything you need.

Paymo


If a tool that makes project management as easy as can be is a priority of yours, give Paymo a good, hard look. Paymo is an ideal choice for small to mid-size business teams. Customize its visual Kanban boards and Gantt charts to fit your workflow, and Paymo will help you schedule your tasks in logical, sequential steps.

Paymo’s dashboard is a genuine time-saver. It provides a real-time snapshot of project status, and of the time you’ve spent at work and working with your clients. Other project-related financial information can also be displayed. Paymo’s real-time collaboration feature is another huge time saver.

Pinnery


The first step towards project success lies in its planning. Project planning is where Pinnery shines. If you can pin notes on a board, you can use Pinnery, and Pinnery provides an infinitely more organized approach. Place ideas in one column. When an idea is worth pursuing, place it in the next. Soon, you’ll have your plan; a color-coded, ordered list of project tasks.

Everything is kept organized, and everything can be shared with the parties involved. Collaboration among team members is also facilitated. No installation is required, and you can begin by using Pinnery for free.

Ending Thoughts

If you need an app to manage many design and project tasks from a single platform, try InVision. If you need one that allows you to share information without disrupting design sessions, Wake is worth a good, hard look.

Active Collab and Paymo offer excellent solutions for those experiencing project management and/or collaboration needs.

While with Pinnery, you can get your project planning activities off to a quick start. Most of these tools are well-suited for use by individual designers. All offer excellent solutions for project leaders and teams. The best way to determine which will work for you through a free trial. Since these apps are online, no special setups on your part will be necessary to try them out.

A Simple Method for Developing Design Skills This Year

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 09 January 2017
  • Categories: Design

There’s no shortcut or hidden trick to improving your design skills – ask anyone in design or any other field, creative or otherwise. But there is a simple way.

It’s not easy (nothing worth doing usually is), but it is relatively simple. And that is: do one design thing each day that’s outside your comfort zone.

Whether it’s a technique you’ve been learning but haven’t applied yet, or a color or font choice you’re itching to try, or a new arrangement of elements – just implement one of these new things each day. By doing so on a consistent basis, you’ll slowly but steadily grow as a designer and will begin to improve your skills.

And as we have just entered into a new year, now is the perfect time to put to put these tips into practice, could even be a New Year resolution.


Small and Consistent Changes is Key

Big sweeping changes almost never yield growth. It’s too big of a change to sustain.

Just look to New Year resolutions, or trying to go from flab to buff in a short time period, or learning and applying a dramatically different design style or technique right away. The changes are too sudden and drastic for you to be able to keep doing them, so you tend to rightfully give up, like most people.

But if instead you apply small and consistent changes, you’ll be able to grow without too much effort. And with time, you’ll see that drastic change – improved skills, better design style, more productive ideas. Except getting there was much more manageable, since you implemented bite-sized changes that were very do-able on a consistent basis.


Building the Habit

Like brushing your teeth, what you’re doing is forming a habit for design growth. Just how you don’t even think about brushing your teeth each day, the one new design thing you try each day will become habitual to where you’re not even noticing it.

Habits are what’s easiest to keep up and are essential to design growth. If you were a messy person and one day decided to completely clean your apartment, you wouldn’t be able to keep doing that. It’s too big of an effort to do such a massive clean-up each time. But if you tidied one thing each day–take out the trash more frequently, wipe the counter after each use, dust and vacuum sooner–then you’d be able to keep those small tasks up on a consistent basis.

After a while, they become habits, and it’d be weird to not do them. A tidying habit has been formed.

It’s the same for your design work. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can just make some sweeping change by becoming this type of designer or suddenly implementing this technique or something. Instead, form a habit by doing one small design thing each day that’s outside your comfort zone.

It’s pretty easy to try out that new color combination on your next web design project, or to experiment with new fonts for that next banner. So just do things like that each day, and after a while, it will become a habit – sometimes as soon as a few weeks or a month.


Why Only One Thing?

On your first day of trying new design techniques that are outside your comfort zone, you’ll no doubt feel you can do a lot more. You might think: “Why stop at just one technique? I could try three more today!”

Don’t.

You won’t be able to keep that up each day. And the whole point of constantly growing as a designer is to implement small do-able changes that form into a habit.

So sure, you could do three or more outside-your-comfort-zone design things today, but could you tomorrow? And the day after? And after that? How about weeks, months, and years from now? Probably not. But doing only one thing is very do-able. It won’t require too much effort, and doing a little each day pays off much more than a lot at one time.

Just ask fitness experts – a little bit of exercise each day keeps you much fitter than a massive workout once a week. You’re basically “staying fit” with your design growth by doing a small exercise each day. And the exercise is doing one design thing each day that’s outside your comfort zone.

If you really, really feel confident that you could do 2 for example, then, by all means, go for it. But if you can’t keep it up, don’t give up: just drop down to only one thing a day.

Constantly Grow as a Designer

Like with anything in life, the way you can most effectively develop as a designer this year is to do small, consistent changes. By doing one design thing each day that’s outside your comfort zone, you’ll be able to grow consistently.

Big, sweeping changes aren’t sustainable and will usually cause you to give up. But by sticking to a very do-able one-new-thing-a-day schedule, you’ll be able to form a design growth habit without too much effort. And when you gain that habit, you’ll be well on your way to steadily growing as the designer you always wanted to be.

After a month, a few months, and a year from now, you’ll notice big improvements in your design skills and range. And because you already have the habit of doing that one new outside-your-comfort-zone design thing, you’ll just keep on growing.

And don’t forget, learning web development is much easier than you think.

10 Key Things Web Design Clients Should Know & Understand

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 16 December 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

Web design is always changing, and the future is about as clear as an oil slick. New trends emerge every day, it seems, and Google algorithms are always forcing everyone to adapt. SEO, web design, and the number of devices people use seems to expand web design horizons every day. All of this can be a little overwhelming to web design clients.

If you’re a web design client, or are looking to build your own website (tread carefully!), don’t lose too much sleep; there are a few key areas you should primarily focus on, and endeavour to fully know about and understand. We have listed them below.

Stay True to Your Brand

Trends will come and go. Web design elements change significantly over the course of a year, but your brand won’t. That’s what makes your company unique. If a trend doesn’t match your company’s personality, jumping on the bandwagon may not be right for you.

Focus on changes that complement your mission and your goals as an organization. This help you find meaningful updates, and Google will reward your adjustments.


Invest in Responsive Design

People will move to using more and more different devices as time goes on. If your website cannot accommodate those visitors in a seamless and streamlined fashion, you could lose out on a large portion of your customer base. Focus on developing a website that will accommodate any screen. Responsive design is a must.

Invest in Reliable Hosting

As designs change, there are a few aspects of websites that remain the same. Without a reliable host, you could face timing issues and be unable to fully use your platform. A good host will provide regular backups, automatic upgrades, and offer scalability. When you search for a host, look for a company with a strong track record.

Don’t skimp on hosting.

Focus on Simplicity

Simplicity goes beyond the clean look of your website and the user experience. Make sure your site can adapt to the ebb and flow of trends. You should easily be able to change design aspects, content, and other aspects of a page from your office without the help of a developer. Look for a website development company that offers the tools you’ll need (i.e., a comprehensive content management system) to customize your site in the future.


Invest in a Visionary Website Team

Whether you have a website team in-house, or you rely on an agency, partner with a team that understands your business’s long-term goals. Websites generally have a lifespan of 2-4 years, which means you’ll need to update or reinvent your online presence that often. If you choose a web team you trust to help you today and into the future, you can protect yourself from the inevitable slow decline.

Security is a Top Priority

Online security is an investment in your company’s and your website’s future. A security breach can jeopardize customer information, change your SEO outlook, and have other negative effects on your website strategy. Security plugins, system backups, and routine security checks can help you avoid a devastating security incident.


Never Forget the Links

Although this part isn’t fun, try to check links to make sure they all still work regularly. Links that don’t go anywhere or that are of poor quality won’t help consumers reading through blog content or elsewhere on your site. Similarly, link building for SEO improvement will backfire on you. Google is cracking down more and more on false link building strategies.

Focus on natural links that are relevant and from quality sources. You may want to consider investing in a backlink audit to get a clear picture of where your link building currently stands in your overall SEO strategy.

Stay Focused on Current SEO Practices

SEO changes constantly, and it should always be a long-term strategy for any business with an online presence. Take the time to understand which keywords your audience is searching for and remember the fundamental SEO principles that govern web site construction. Make sure you use unique headers, meta-descriptions, and other strong SEO-based strategies to successfully access the market.

Simplify Navigation

Site visitors aren’t interested in clicking through several pages of a site to find the information they need. Unfortunately, online attention spans may only get worse. Instead of developing an elaborate site architecture that might as well be a museum of antiquity, try to keep all pertinent information within three clicks of the main page.

Invest in Content

Online content has a short lifespan. What you post today may not be relevant or accessible in a few weeks. Recycle content by rewording it, expanding it, and changing titles, and constantly look for a fresh angle to present to your audience. Regular content updates are a viable SEO tactic that will continue to benefit your business into the future.

Get Social

Many people find websites by logging into their social media feeds. If your company’s content isn’t there, it won’t get noticed. Make sure your main website is always accessible when you post any content on social media, and use analytics to target consumers who regularly use the standard social media platforms and up-and-coming ones.


Manage Your Online Reputation

Everyone with an online presence has an online reputation. With the viral nature of some content, all it may take is one negative post for your company to suffer serious damage.

Make sure you know what the internet is saying about your organization, and address any negative comments as quickly and as professionally as possible. Try to highlight positive interactions to minimize any negative ones. Your audience should trust what you say online.

Take Calculated Risks

Surviving and thriving on the internet are two different things. Even if you don’t touch your website for five years, you would have some level of presence online – but it may not help you meet your goals. It may be a stagnant, depreciating asset.

Make your website work for you by taking a calculated risk with your design or an interesting marketing campaign here or there. The more traffic you can drive to your site, the more information you can analyze for future changes. Taking calculated risks is an incredible way to secure your standing in the future.

Finished!

Your website is your company’s online representation. It may be your only opportunity to engage with an individual now and into the future. To secure your online presence, make sure you’re staying engaged with your audience, readership or customers. Keeping momentum moving forward with every aspect of your online strategy is the only way to stay relevant online. Adapt and evolve as necessary to see results. You don’t need to protect yourself from the future as much as you need to embrace it!

The good news is you can start learning and developing habits that will help you out later right now. Get involved with SEO, partner with the right professionals, and start developing regular content that adds value to your audience. All of these tips can only help your online efforts and secure your presence in the future.

And above all else, don’t forget to be a good web design client!

CSS Grid, Flexbox And Box Alignment: Our New System For Web Layout

Layout on the web is hard. The reason it is so hard is that the layout methods we’ve relied on ever since using CSS for layout became possible were not really designed for complex layout. While we were able to achieve quite a lot in a fixed-width world with hacks such as faux columns, these methods fell apart with responsive design. Thankfully, we have hope, in the form of flexbox — which many readers will already be using — CSS grid layout and the box alignment module.

In this article, I’m going to explain how these fit together, and you’ll discover that by understanding flexbox you are very close to understanding much of grid layout.

A Note On Browser Support

CSS grid layout is currently behind a flag or available in the developer and nightly builds of Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera. Everything you see here can be seen to be working if you use a developer or nightly browser or enable the flag in a mainstream browser that has flagged support. I am trying to keep an up-to-date list of support for grid layouts.

New Values For Display

Both grid and flexbox are new values for the display property. To make an element a flex container, we use display: flex; to make it a grid container, we use display: grid.

As soon as we do so, the immediate children of our flex or grid container become flex or grid items. Those immediate children take on the initial values of flex or grid items.

DISPLAY: FLEX

In the first example, we have three elements in a wrapper element set to display: flex. That’s all we need to do to start using flexbox.

Unless we add the following properties with different values, the initial values for the flex container are:

  • flex-direction: row
  • flex-wrap: no-wrap
  • align-items: stretch
  • justify-content: flex-start

The initial values for our flex items are:

  • flex-grow: 0
  • flex-shrink: 1
  • flex-basis: auto

We’ll look at how these properties and values work later in this article. For now, all you need to do is set display: flex on a parent, and flexbox will begin to work.


DISPLAY: GRID

To lay out items on a grid, we use display: grid. In order that we can see the grid’s behavior, this example has five cards to lay out.

Adding display: grid won’t make a dramatic change; however, our child items are all now grid items. They have fallen into a single-column track grid, displaying one below the other, the grid creating implicit row tracks to hold each item.


We can take our grid a step further and make it more grid-like by creating some columns. We use the grid-template-rows property to do this.

In this next example, I’ve created three equal-width column tracks using a new unit that has been created for grid. The fr unit is a fraction unit signifying the fraction of available space this column should take up. You can see how our grid items have immediately laid themselves out on the grid, one in each created cell of our explicitly defined columns. The grid is still creating implicit rows; as we fill up the available cells created by our columns, new rows are created to hold more items.


Once again, we have some default behavior in evidence. We haven’t positioned any of these grid items, but they are placing themselves onto our grid, one per cell of the grid. The initial values of the grid container are:

  • grid-auto-flow: row
  • grid-auto-rows: auto
  • align-items: stretch
  • justify-items: stretch
  • grid-gap: 0

These initial values mean that our grid items are placed one into each cell of the grid, working across the rows. Because we have a three-column track grid, after filling the grid cell of the third column, a new row is created for the rest of the items. This row is auto-sized, so will expand to fit the content. Items stretch in both directions, horizontal and vertical, filling the grid area.

Box Alignment

In both of these simple examples, we are already seeing values defined in the box alignment module in use. “Box Alignment Module Level 3” essentially takes all of the alignment and space distribution defined in flexbox and makes it available to other modules. So, if you already use flexbox, then you are already using box alignment.

Let’s look at how box alignment works in flexbox and grid, and the problems that it helps us solve.

EQUAL-HEIGHT COLUMNS

Something that was very easy to create with old-school table-based layouts, yet fiendishly difficult using positioning and floats, is equal-height columns. In the floated example below, our cards contain unequal amounts of content. We have no way of indicating to the other cards that they should visually take on the same height as the first card — they have no relationship to each other.


As soon as we set the display property to grid or flex on a parent, we give the children a relationship to each other. That relationship enables the box-alignment properties to work, making equal-height columns simple.

In the flex example below, our items have unequal amounts of content. While the background on each lines up, it doesn’t sit behind the content as it would for floated elements. Because these items are displayed in a row, the property that controls this behavior is align-items. Creating equal-height columns requires that the value be stretch — the initial value for this property.


We see the same with grid layouts. Below is the simplest of grid layouts, two columns with a sidebar and main content. I’m using those fraction units again; the sidebar has 1 fraction of the available space, and the main content 3 fractions. The background color on the sidebar runs to the bottom of the content. Once again, the default value of align-items is stretch.


Responsive By Default

The box-alignment properties as used in grid and flexbox layouts are one area where we see how these specifications have emerged in a world where responsive design is just how things are done. Values such as space-between, space-around and stretch allow for responsiveness, distributing content equally among or between items.

There is more, however. Responsive design is often about maintaining proportion. When we calculate columns for a responsive design using the target ÷ context approach introduced in Ethan Marcotte’s original article on fluid grids, we maintain the proportions of the original absolute-width design. Flexbox and grid layouts give us far simpler ways to deal with proportions in our designs.

Flexbox gives us a content-out approach to flexibility. We see this when we use a keyword value of space-between to space our items evenly. First, the amount of space taken up by our items is calculated, and then the remaining space in the container is divided up and used evenly to space out the items. We can get more control of content distribution by way of properties that we apply to the flex items themselves:

  • flex-grow
  • flex-shrink
  • flex-basis

These three properties are more usually described by the shorthand flex property. If we add flex: 1 1 300px to an item, we are stating that flex-grow should be 1 so that items can grow, flex-shrink should be 1 so that items can shrink, and the flex-basis should be 300 pixels. Applying this to our cards layout gives us the example below.


Our flex-basis here is 300 pixels, and we have three cards in a row. If the flex container is wider than 900 pixels, then the remaining space is divided into three and distributed between the items equally. This is because we have set flex-grow to 1 so that our items can grow from the flex-basis. We have also set flex-shrink to 1, which means that, where we don’t have space for three 300-pixel columns, space will be removed equally.

If we want these items to grow in different proportions, then we can change the flex-grow value on one or more items. If we would like the first item to get three times the available space distributed to it, we would set flex-grow to 3.


The available space is distributed after the amount needed for flex-basis has been taken into account. This is why our first item is not three times the size of our other items, but instead gets a share of three parts of the remaining space. You will see a bigger change by setting the value for flex-basis to 0, in which case we wouldn’t have a starting value to remove from the overall container. Then, the entire width of the container could be distributed in proportion to our items.


A very useful tool to help you understand these values is Flexbox Tester. Pop the different values into the tester, and it calculates the actual sizes at which your items will end up, and explains why they end up at that size.

If you use auto as your flex-basis value, it will use any size set on the flex item as the flex-basis value. If there is no size, then it defaults to be the same as the value of content, which is the content’s width. Using auto is, therefore, very useful for reusable components that might need to have a set size on an item. You can use auto and be sure that if the item needs to be around a size defined on it, flexbox will respect it.

Building Your Design Business the Right Way

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 16 December 2016
  • Categories: Design

If you have strong design sense, a well-marketed business concept, and the energy to keep moving forward, your design startup is sure to grow.

However, not all growth is good growth; it is dangerous to expand in unsupported or erratic ways. By laying out a plan for your business’s future now, you will move forward with a stability that is built to last, and make a name that consumers can depend on.


“As you plan, there are small things you can start doing now that will really pay off down the road — some of which you may already be doing with your marketing! Here’s a list that will help you identify the good practices you’re already pursuing, along with some that it would be wise to implement:

  • Always take time to brainstorm. Set a specific time each week to come up with new ideas for your business. An idea you need might be lurking at the back of your brain, waiting for a good brainstorming before it’ll jump out.
  • Reach out to current customers about working with them on future projects.
  • Play around with unfamiliar social networks. You might discover that a platform you’ve never heard of is actually a perfect fit for your design business.
  • Advertise yourself more than a general “designer” — include your specialties. Leave the explanation of your full range of abilities to face-to-face prospective client meetings (it’s less overwhelming that way).
  • Talk with fellow designers — and don’t just dispense advice in an attempt to sell yourself as an authority figure in your field. Listen and take an interest in others. Get your name out there through as much online and offline interaction as you can.
  • Write a piece on how businesses can more effectively use design in their self-promotion, and share it with local businesses. This establishes you as an authority and gives them someone obvious to call when they realize their current brand image is underperforming.
  • Be prepared to pitch a short summary of your services whenever you strike up a conversation in public — commonly known as an “elevator speech.” Explain what you do and why you do it so well, without talking so much that you alienate your listeners.
  • Keep your online portfolio updated and limited to only your best work. When you give out a link to it, on your business card or other informational item, you want to be confident that what your prospects will find best represents the work you do.
  • Learn something new: coding, content writing, SEO, or another skill that ties in well with what you already do and enables you to offer more to your clients.

Little self-improvements here and there will make you a stronger company in the future.

Ways to Build Relationships that Strengthen Your Business

Your relationships with your clients — especially in your early days — will set the tone for your future business interactions. Those who come later, referred by your first clients, will already have an idea of what to expect. This means you must be proactive and personable when going on the hunt for new patrons.

According to industry veteran David C. Baker, you won’t get very far without four things: a unique statement of your own value, confidence in your abilities, strategically sought connections, and ongoing involvement in the client search. If you aren’t original, don’t nurture connections, and aren’t confident, you won’t get much business.

Even if you’ve nailed the uniqueness, confidence, and connectedness requirements, you can’t slack off from your responsibilities. You are the driving force behind your design company, especially in the beginning. Don’t let yourself fade out of usefulness as your team and business grows.


You may have been told “beggars can’t be choosers” when you’re looking for customers, but that isn’t always true. Undervaluing your services for the sake of making a quick profit can trap you in a rut of taking on projects from cheap, demanding clients. If you have a bad experience with a customer, don’t be afraid to turn them away.

It’s not only clients you need to consider, but employees. Unless you plan to remain small enough to handle everything on your own, you’ll probably need to bring in help to keep up with demand. Hire those who are excited about your vision and seek to give rather than take. Involve workers like this in higher-level decisions that benefit everyone, rather than relegating them to drudge work.

Not building the right kinds of relationships can affect your profit. If you don’t hire strategically or bring in experts when you need to, you could find yourself overworked and in major debt. Similarly, undervaluing your services with attractively low pricing may bring in a flood of initial business, but this low profit margin will not be sustainable. To avoid this, focus on the areas that are most profitable for you and promote your work in those fields.

Long-Term Goals to Work toward Today

If you see your business as a potential career rather than a temporary gig, it’s never too early to start thinking about the future. Your first long-term consideration should be to build a brand that you’ll be happy with for years, rather than blindly latching onto the latest trends.

A brand is more than just a logo; it’s the story you tell prospective customers about yourself. If you produce halfhearted content (tweets, blog posts, etc.) instead of building a valuable and strong foundation with your clients, your sales will suffer in the long run.

Another way to grow well over time is to focus on moving forward and producing quality work. Let go of some decisions and trust your employees to handle them. At the same time, don’t be afraid to urge others forward even if they don’t see the need; letting complacency develop is the shortest route to bad, lazy decisions.

In addition, learn how to sell yourself in a way that feels natural to your temperament and the atmosphere of your business. People prefer to do business with someone who is persuasive because they know their own value. Know why your services are just that — and don’t be afraid to talk about it.

Why Fonts Matter To Your Brand

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 26 Oct 2016
  • Categories: Fonts, Marketing

Without realizing it, we’re constantly being bombarded by advertising. Shop fronts, billboards, magazines and online ads are everywhere we look. With our modern world being so ad-drenched, how does a new company break through?

Every day, new companies start up with the hopes of making it big, but how will they surpass the wall of ads already saturating our lives? How can we make it big without pulling out all the stops? The answer is simple – it all starts with a well thought-out design. Your brand image is the first thing someone will recognize about you, so make it memorable for the right reasons.

Defining Your Image

As a company and as a brand, what do you want to represent? Taking the time to define your brand will help you to further define your image and design. Things to take into consideration include:

  • 1. Personality
  • 2. Styles
  • 3. Future applications & edits
  • 4. Color Palette

Personality

This is how people will relate to your brand and is based highly on your mission as a company.

Who is your target market, and how do you envision relating to them? Let’s consider a financial institution. A neon color palette with curly-cue typeface likely wouldn’t be your go-to. You would likely want something bold, classic and trustworthy – that would convey that people are safe and secure in trusting you with their finances.

Styles

Aside from the variety of fonts and type-faces out there, there are other styles to take into consideration. The size and weight of the font is one thing (specifically when used for headlines, titles or logos), as well as whether the font is being used as body text or display font.

Text fonts are used for body text in articles and documents, whereas display fonts are used as headers and logos. Making sure that these separate fonts work cohesively and respond to size variances (print advertising vs online use) should form a major part of your plan.

Planning For the Future

Just as you take styles into consideration, you should also think about how you would like your brand to grow and expand in the future. Just because you’re starting out with an online brand doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about how one day you may want to expand to offline formats.

Some fonts are designed to be purely web fonts and some are designed for print – so if you have big dreams to take your logo or brand offline in the future, you will likely want a font that is a combination of the two.


It may take only a few simple tweaks to make the font appropriate for other channels, but knowing ahead of time can save a lot of extra work down the line. When searching for fonts, it may also be useful to find a font that has not only lettering, but symbols/glyphs included as well. These extra design resources can be helpful when adding a bit of flair to your work, and will keep the designs fluid. You can browse a variety of fonts and bundles online – so spend some time finding your perfect fit.

Color Palette

Color plays a huge part in the design of a brand. Color and design, while intertwined, work hand in hand to create a memorable experience. Let’s take Apple for example – not only do you picture the apple logo (which is easy to recall), but a clean white design also springs to mind. Their brand is based around clean simple design – which spreads throughout all of their products, stores and website and is quickly recognizable.


Choosing a palette that represents your company – be it shades of green for an eco-company, primary colors for children’s toys, or perhaps neutral colors for a financial institution – helps to further convey the personality of your business and brand. Using colors that instil a memory or emotion in your audience will make your brand more recognizable.

Web Designers, Are You Seeking or Setting A Trend?

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 26 Oct 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

Web design is a process of conceptualizing and planning, using a set of HTML codes and JavaScript, to determine the layout, colours, style of text, images, graphic designs etc. Basically, it is creating the structure of a web page.

Current web design trends include

Video backgrounds:major non-banking virtual wallets like PayPal and Squarespace (theirs is seriously great!) are making this switch. It is an innovation that can bid farewell to the image slider concept forever. However, the background video shouldn’t keep the customer or people visiting the web page, waiting. If the buffer is not instant, people will avoid visiting the site.

Grid layout:Pinterest’s grid layouts have certainly given web designers some inspiration. Businesses selling multiple products can use this idea, for a better user/customer experience. The idea is to make the users view each product one-by-one in an organised and logical way.


Large images and fonts:users today are extremely visually oriented. They would prefer a website with a simple and clear layout any day for their online transactions. Larger images and icons and clear-cut fonts which are easier to read do not appear “greek” to the eyes of the customer are always favoured. Banners and ads are to be avoided. ESPN is a good example.

Ghost buttons:the idea of ghost buttons can simply be explained by the display of “JARVIS” inside Tony Stark’s IronMan mask. This design element was made conventional by Apple in their IOS7. Ghost buttons are applicable when the only action needed to be performed is the one that this button offers. This is a partly futuristic design that offers a brilliant user experience. An example is that of the mobile app “XENDER”, used for wireless file transfer that has captured a major portion of the market, in spite of minimal marketing.


Design trends have become exceptionally advanced and continue to grow in its sphere, with the increasing demands of the user for a simple and worthwhile user-experience. Search Engine Optimization is important to outrank your competitors in the business.

How to Optimize Images on Websites to Improve Performance and UX.

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 26 Oct 2016
  • Categories: UX, Web Design

As the number of images and videos on a website continue to grow, slower load times, which result in a negative user experience, are growing concerns for any company.

An article in The Fiscal Times, citing Internet data measurement company HTTP Archive, noted that the average website is now 2.1 MB in size, compared to 1.5MB a couple of years ago. One of the main reasons for this growth is the addition of content, such as videos and engaging images, designed to drive more traffic to the site.




The article illustrated that images account for almost 63 percent of the bytes (1,312 KB of the total 2,087 KB) of the average page by content type. Video came in a distant second at 10 percent (208 KB).

The impact of images on a website can be dramatic, eating costly bandwidth and increasing the time website visitors spend waiting for pages to load. When every passing second reduces your website’s overall conversion rate and ultimately revenues, it makes perfect sense to want to optimize your images and their delivery as much as possible.

If you’re having website performance problems, it’s possible you’re making one – or more – key mistakes with images. In this two-part series, we’ll examine how to optimize both your images and your network to ensure the best user experience and minimize costs, as well as bandwidth and storage needs.

Here’s a look at most common mistakes you may be making when it comes to managing images, and how you can avoid them:

Not Using More Efficient, Modern Image Formats

Even though Google has added support for its WebP image format to Chrome browsers, and Microsoft has done the same for JPEG-XR in most of its Internet Explorer and Edge browsers, developers have still not embraced them. Perhaps you aren’t aware of these formats, or maybe it’s too difficult to deliver different image formats to various browsers and devices. As a result, you may be sticking with the same JPG and PNG formats, and not taking advantage of how the modern formats can optimize their sites.

How to fix:Convert images to the WebP and JPEG-XR modern formats, while also adjusting compression quality to balance between the formats. Also by detecting the specific browser that accesses each image and delivering a different version of the image to the respective browser, you can ensure users receive the best images possible, in terms of visual quality and file size optimization.

small desert island example of large jpeg version small desert island example of lighter smaller webp version
16.9KB JPG6.9KB WebP

Embedding Short Video Clips Using the GIF Format

You may rely on the GIF image format to display short video clips on news sites, media sites and social sharing sites. While the GIF format is easy to use for embedding video clips using a simple HTML image tag, it is not efficient for captured movies because the files are huge and slow to load, especially on mobile devices, resulting in high bandwidth costs and high CPU utilization.

How to fix:There are several ways to deliver and embed the same clips and animations using modern file formats, such as Animated WebP for Chrome browser users. Another approach is to apply lossy compression of the GIF file, which results in a slight visual quality reduction but significantly decreases the file size.

GIF files also can be converted to MP4 or WebM video formats, embedding the clips and HTML5 video tags instead of the image tag. In most modern browsers, this works smoothly and the site looks exactly the same but loads much faster. By taking one of these steps, you will be able to reduce the file size dramatically, saving page load time, improving user experience and cutting bandwidth costs.

gif larger animated image kitten playing mp4 lighter smaller animated image kitten playing
6.3MB GIF311KB MP4

Delivering 2X (Retina Display) Images to All Users

Modern mobile devices and laptops have high device pixel ratios (DPR). Because you want your sites to look great on these devices, you may be embedding double resolution images. While this is a good practice, many developers tend to deliver the same size images to all users. As a result, users with regular displays (e.g., non-Retina displays) must download the hi-res images while their displays only benefit from half the resolution. This results in wasted time waiting for pages to load and increases bandwidth costs unnecessarily.

How to fix:Create different resolutions for each DPR value (e.g., regular images and double resolution images) and automatically detect the DPR value of the web page in the current user’s browser. This will enable you to deliver regular images to users with regular displays and 2x resolution images to users with retina display devices.

DPR 1.0 – 100×100 – 4.6KBDPR 2.0 – 200×200 – 12.1KB

Wasteful Browser-Side Resizing

One of the common shortcuts developers employ is using browser-side image resizing instead of resizing images on the server-side. On modern browsers, the end result looks exactly the same, but bandwidth-wise the story is quite different. Website visitors waste precious time downloading an unnecessarily large image and you waste bandwidth delivering it to them. For older browsers, the problem is even more pronounced as their resizing algorithms are usually sub-par.

How to fix:Make sure the images you deliver perfectly fit their required website dimensions. Even if the same image should be made into different sized thumbnails to fit different pages, it’s well worth creating different thumbnails rather than delivering a large image and relying on the browser to resize it.


Unnecessarily High Quality JPEGs

JPEGs have truly revolutionized the web. For many years now, this lossy format has allowed web developers to depict high resolution images with great detail using a fraction of the bandwidth required by any rival image format. But many developers and graphic designers don’t experiment with JPEG compression, which could significantly reduce file size without a discernible loss in viewing quality.

While 85 percent JPEG quality seems common, we’ve seen many websites in which 95 percent quality was common while a much lower quality would have significantly reduced file size without harming the overall experience. The end result is a higher bandwidth consumption and a dent in the visitors experience.

How to fix:Don’t be afraid to experiment with lower JPEG quality levels. For certain websites, using a 50 percent JPEG quality yielded a very reasonable result and the benefits far outweighed the costs. While higher quality JPEGs will always look better, the improvement in quality will not always be worth the extra bandwidth and waiting times.

95% JPEG – 34KB80% JPEG – 17KB

Incorrect Image File Types

JPEG, PNG and GIF are the most common file formats used on websites today, but each one has very different roles, so if you use the wrong format you’re wasting your visitors’ time and your own money.

A frequent mistake is using PNGs to deliver photographs. There is a common misconception that PNGs, as lossless formats, will yield the highest possible reproduction for the photos. While this is generally true, this is also quite an unnecessary optimization. A JPEG with relatively high quality will return a photo of a comparable quality at a fraction of the PNG’s file size.

How to fix:Always keep in mind what image format should be used for the content shown. PNG should be used for computer generated images (charts, logos, etc.) or when you need transparency in your image (image overlays). JPEG should be used when you are showing a captured photograph. GIF should be use when animation is needed (Ajax loading animation, etc.).

6.3MB GIF311KB MP4

Delivering Non-Optimized Images

Even though PNG is a lossless format, it can be compressed with freely available compression tools that reduce it by up to 50 percent yet still deliver the exact same image. Unfortunately, many developers and web designers skip this step and deliver non-optimized images.

How to fix:PNGCrush and OptiPNG are two open-source image optimization libraries, and if you’re not using these already, you should definitely check them out. If you don’t need to automate the optimization process, you can head to Yahoo’s online smush.it service to manually compress your PNGs even further.


Delivering Non-Optimized Images

Many modern websites allow visitors to upload photographs. Whether it’s the user’s profile picture or a shared photo from a recent trip, these were originally taken using a modern camera, which most likely introduced a lot of meta-data into the photo. In the majority of the cases, it would be an excellent idea to strip this meta-data off, but developers rarely take the time to do so, which results in the images requiring more bandwidth to deliver and a slower browsing experience for users.

How to fix:Make sure to strip the meta-data off your images and user uploaded photos. If this information is necessary, you can keep it available somewhere, just not as part of your images. Even if the image metadata is not necessary for your website, there’s one snippet of information, the image’s original shooting orientation, that’s actually critical for correctly displaying the photo on your website. When stripping the Exif info, make sure you rotate the image to its correct orientation based on its Exif data before losing this information.


This article, while no means comprehensive, outlines the most common image-related issues that can be easily and cost-effectively fixed, eliminating excessive bandwidth usage and providing a better experience for your website visitors.

Making an Original Corporate Theme in WordPress: The Homepage and About Page

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 09 March 2016
  • Categories: Wordpress

Corporate themes are everywhere! In ThemeForest, almost a quarter of all WordPress themes fall under the "corporate themes" category, and nearly all best-sellers are a corporate or a "multi-purpose" theme. And it's no different in other theme shops, too: Almost all of their top-sellers are multi-purpose themes, and corporate themes come in second all the time.

Hey, we can't object to what the market wants. We can't make a WordPress theme for the sake of making a WordPress theme; otherwise, the market share of WordPress would have dropped. But this doesn't mean that we should clog theme directories with dull themes which look the same as the theme that came before. If the market wants corporate themes, we should give the buyers the best ones we can make.

In this two-part series, I'm going to guide you through creating a jaw-dropping WordPress corporate theme.

An Opinion on the Reason for the Popularity of WordPress

According to W3Techs, WordPress keeps more than half of the CMS market share and one in every four websites are built with WordPress among Alexa's top 10 million websites. A surreal figure, in my opinion, but so far I haven't seen it refuted. But even if the numbers are much lower than that, there's no denying that WordPress is an inexpugnably popular content management system, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Even though I don't have the statistics to back me up, I believe that a very large portion of websites built with WordPress are simple (or more complicated) corporate websites that gets less than a hundred visitors every day. Sure, there are big shots like Wired, and there are hundreds of thousands—maybe millions—of blogs made with WordPress, but probably all the web design agencies or freelancers that use WordPress in the industry will agree that they make corporate websites with WordPress. Come on, I dare you to object!

Kidding aside, I'm confident that the industry runs on corporate websites. After all, the top-selling WordPress themes are all categorized as "Multi-Purpose" or "Corporate". That's why most people make corporate (or multi-purpose) themes in ThemeForest and other theme shops, and the biggest competition goes through in these categories.

And that's exactly why it has become so difficult to find a "different" corporate theme. Yes, there are many decent themes, several good themes and maybe one or two spectacular themes, but we can't find a WordPress corporate theme that drops our jaw.

Creating a Unique Corporate Theme for WordPress

A logo area and a menu, then a slider in the homepage, a three or four-column grid for products and services, another grid of circular photos and small paragraphs for team members, and a contact page consisting of a couple of contact details, a contact form and a large map. Oh, and a footer with three to six columns. There, I just finished a corporate theme.

Surely, this is an oversimplification. Besides, that's what the market asks for. But that doesn't mean we can't get creative with the material we have.

Let's go step by step, starting with the homepage. Keep in mind that I'll refer to you as "theme maker(s)", the people who buy your theme and build the website as "web designers", and the people (both the boss and company employees) who own the website as "corporate folks". Of course, you can be both the "theme maker" and the "web designer" if you're designing a website from scratch for a company.

The Homepage Design

Homepage design framework

The Problem:Oh, the dreadful homepage. None of those corporate folks know what to put in there, and even us creative types aren't exactly sure. So, we fill it with a gigantic slider (probably with lots of layers), a peek at the products or services, maybe a couple of blog post excerpts and photos of team members... Anything else? Oh yeah, a full-width map because it looks nice at the end of the page. And how can we forget a statistics section with animated circles and bars and—

Seriously, I just had to stick a post-it on my monitor saying "DALGA GEÇME!" (which means "STOP MOCKING!" in Turkish) or else I'd go on for another couple of paragraphs in each subtitle. Anyway, moving on.

How to achieve originality:First off, we should approach the homepage as a "landing page", because most corporate websites are visited starting from this page. In that case, why not put up a large heading and a short paragraph with smaller text, below the header? I'm sure that it would stand out amongst the competitors with layered sliders and whatnot, but feel free to just let the web designer decide and slide in that slider as an option.

I can understand that the corporate folks would want their services and products to be teased in the homepage, but that doesn't mean you have to go with grids. Make those products/services teasers with full-width DIVs. And don't forget to get creative with the composition of images and paragraphs—give the website copywriter a chance to shine!

Putting blog excerpts and that large map is up to you—those things might be necessary in some cases. But other stuff like statistical mumbo jumbo and listing team members should be inside the mandatory "About" page.

The Mandatory "About" Page

About page design framework

The Problem:This is the page that worries those corporate folks. Why? Because it's one of the most visited types of page in a corporate website (along with "Contact" pages), and it's the company's best shot at introducing themselves to potential and existing clients. So, it needs to be handled with care and delicacy. Yet, most corporate themes approach this page type as "a generic page". They want designers to build a page that everyone can read and understand, so they shy away from anything too artsy.

How to achieve originality: I believe that this page needs unique design features—different features than generic pages, at least. And yes, that means the artsy things that corporate folks are afraid of—I'm talking about "art direction", to be exact. For example, a hero image with a few paragraphs of text (on what the company does) could be the first thing that needs to be designed. After all, it's all about what the company is about in the About page, right?

Other than that, you can let companies include their team members, some statistics to show off, and testimonials. Yep, those kinds of things belong in the About page and not the homepage, because they tell people about the company. As the theme developer, you can choose to give freedom to your users to put those team members or testimonials wherever they want, or you can require them to keep these things in the About page to have a more intact page design. Your call.

First Part Over

I started off with a piece of my mind on the market share of WordPress and the reason behind its magnitude, and then continued with creating the unicorn of WordPress corporate themes. Let's have a pause after the homepage and the About page, so we can move on to the other types of pages like portfolios, product pages, a blog and the "Contact" page.

Up To The Next Level: 3D Scenes in Website Design

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 09 March 2016
  • Categories: Inspiration

With feature-rich programs such as Cinema 4D and 3DS Max, the emergence of websites populated with 3D renderings was just a matter of time. Along with clean, minimal flat style designs, lavish illustrations, and dynamic abstract backgrounds, technology has become an excellent instrument for bringing to life innovative ideas and delivering unique and enjoyable user experience that comply with modern trends. It has found its proper place in promo websites dedicated to movies, animated cartoons or upcoming games.

Leading giants such as MasterCard, or YouTube as well as famous music artists or fashion houses opt for semi-realistic worlds and detailed 3D models to naturally direct the attention to important events or present new products in an original way. There are other spheres and projects that derive benefits from it. In our collection we have compiled different examples from generators to static image backdrops made according to this solution.

3D ELEMENTS IN WEB DESIGN

Get Peanutizeme

Get Peanutizeme is a fancy generator with considerable potential. This enjoyable browser game lets you create a Peanuts style character spiced up with your personality. You can start fresh or edit the default personage. The interface is realized with the help of a 3D environment and neat flat controllers.

Get Peanutizeme

Destiny Planet View

Destiny Planet View is an entertaining website that lets you explore planets. The fantastic and unique experience is achieved through a professional 3D visualization of space that is skillfully charged with subtle motion and interactivity.

Destiny Planet View

MasterCard Football Fans

The website comprises several bright and charismatic personages. They are set in motion to add energy to the project and express the sports mood. Although the tablet and mobile versions include only a static variant, nevertheless, it still catches the spirit of the grandiose sports event.

MasterCard Football Fans

Boeing: International Space Station

Brand new web project by Boeing offers users to start an unforgettable 3D space adventure. You get an opportunity to examine international space station that has been planned down to the last detail.

Boeing: International Space Station

CONCLUSION

Browser games, online applications, promo pages, generators and some seasonal websites, as a rule, utilize 3D scenes and models. The approach fits quite well with these projects, naturally separating them from the others. It is one of the alternative ways to create a unique experience and breathe into the project a high-tech vibe.

3D scenes usually look a bit weighty; do you think they can substitute lightweight flat illustrations or animated patterns? Do you prefer 2D or 3D?

What Kind of Hosting Do You Really Need?

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd /09 March 2016
  • Categories: Toolkits

When choosing a web host, what criteria should a business owner look for? Since there is a vast difference between choosing a free web host and a commercial hosting solution, several factors need to be evaluated before making a final decision.

TYPES OF WEB HOSTING

What Kind of Hosting Do You Really Need?

Before choosing a host, it’s important to truly understand what type of service the website needs, the type of server a business requires, the exact budget and the kind of services each web host offers. Hosting options available include:

  • 1. Shared Hosting.
  • 2. Free Hosting.
  • 3. Collocated Hosting.
  • 4. Dedicated Hosting.

Free Hosting

When you hear the word free, what do you think? Some of you may think scam, while others are happy to go with the flow. Free hosting is a great choice when someone is looking to build a website only for fun. Unfortunately, in the world of free hosting, the connection can be slow, websites don't always work well and advertisements are added to your website automatically.

There are some companies that require the purchase of your chosen domain name in order to receive free hosting while others will offer you a “gratis” subdomain underneath them (name.webhost.com). Keep in mind that with free hosting services, you aren't able to transfer free subdomains.

Shared Hosting

If a shared hosting environment is chosen, remember that it's divided with others who share one server. This involves sharing of the physical server and all of the software applications. Most often, shared hosting is quite affordable because the actual cost to operate it is divided between multiple users who are sharing the server. However, there is a downside to shared hosting. For example, the server may be slower than one expected.

Collocated Hosting

Under collocated hosting, businesses are able to purchase their own server and it’s housed within the facilities of the web host. Business owners are completely responsible for the server. One huge advantage of this type of hosting server is that companies are in full control of the web server. They are able to install applications and scripts as needed.

Dedicated Hosting

When choosing dedicated hosting, companies will have the web server all to themselves. This affords them faster performance, as they have all of the server’s resources at their fingertips without having to share with other website owners. This is an optimal choice for businesses that require a higher level of security.

CLOUD SERVERS

If opting for a Cloud server, the virtual space is rented as opposed to purchasing or renting the physical server. More often than not, fees are based on an hourly rate depending on the capacity required. Since Cloud servers function as "software-independent" units, it doesn't depend on centrally-installed software to perform.

TIPS ON MAKING A FINAL DECISION

How does a business owner or freelancer decide if web host will satisfy all of their needs? Reputation is everything. It's built upon customer satisfaction, quality of service and reliability. Before making that final decision, it's a good idea to do a little research to ensure the host is credible.

What Kind of Hosting Do You Really Need?
  1. 1. Pricing usually is the most important aspect when trying to choose a provider. However, don’t let it be the deciding factor. Although there will be considerable differences in pricing from host to host, going with the least expensive option isn’t always the best route. Things like quality hardware and non-outsourced support system costs money, and a hosting provider that charges $2.00 per month probably won’t offer these features.
  2. 2. Stellar uptime records are crucial to the success of any business online. What’s more important than a 24/7 operating host? Companies need a web host that operates on a server that's powerful with stable connections. The rule of thumb is anything above 99.5 percent is recommended; anything below 99 percent is totally unacceptable.
  3. 3. Hosting review sites such as Hosting Facts and CNet offer honest reviews. Take the time to read the reviews.
  4. 4. Ask if there are strict limitations on usage? Even though reviews offer a lot of information, they usually don’t inform potential buyers that some hosts will pull the plug if there is too much CPU usage. Before signing up, read the rules of limitation.
  5. 5. Inquire about their refund policy. What’s the refund policy after the trial period is over? Some hosting services charge insanely high fees if cancellation is requested. Knowing this beforehand prevents major headaches down the road.

KNOW WHAT'S NEEDED

Without knowing exactly what is needed, business owners will never make the right decision when choosing a web host. Basically, the following questions need to be addressed before making any decisions:

  • 1. Are Windows applications needed?
  • 2. What type of website needs to be constructed?
  • 3. Will the website need special software?
  • 4. What is the desired amount of traffic?

In addition to the above questions, knowing how much space is required to run the website is crucial. If expansion comes to mind, then one must anticipate such in the future. Most websites utilize less than 5 MB of space. Needs will vary depending on the quantity of photos the website uses and whether it contains video clips or sound files.

Furthermore, it's imperative to truly know the reliability of the chosen host. It can’t be emphasized enough how important this is for a business owner. A website that’s frequently down will lose a lot of potential customers. In addition, visitors will become frustrated if they are constantly confronted with pages that won’t load properly.

Positive feedback is a must when it comes making the right decision. If all else fails, taking a test drive during peak and off-peak hours will afford business owners the opportunity to see the pros and cons firsthand, thus giving them the ability to make a well-informed decision.

Inspiring Everyday Graphic Design

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 09 March 2016
  • Categories: Graphic Design

The most inspirational things are often right in front of us. It might be the typography on a book cover, the colors of your favorite music album, the opening titles in that movie you saw yesterday. To celebrate all those little moments of inspiration, we have compiled some resources for you which honor the beauty of everyday graphic design and the ideas behind it. Perfect to squeeze into a short coffee break. Enjoy!

Artworks On Your Bookshelf

We learned not to judge a book by its cover, but, honestly, there is nothing quite like browsing through a bookstore, soaking up covers, their colors, their typefaces, their layouts, every little detail. The variety is endless, and sometimes you’re lucky and find a little piece of art shining through the sheer mass.

The Forgotten Art Of Album Covers

The album cover was once an important part of music culture, with artists specializing in them and gaining fame with their work. Today, in times of digital downloads and streaming, the covers have lost their original purpose and live rather unnoticed in the corners of our smartphone screens. Unfortunately, because there are still some real gems out there.

The project Album Colors Of The Year by Marcos Rodriguez and Zé Felipe draws attention to this design genre by showcasing the best covers of 2015. But the site is much more than only a showcase: the covers are arranged by color and hovering over one of them reveals the hex color value of its dominant color. A treasure chest for any designer. Could there be a better source for some fresh color inspiration?

A rainbow of album covers

Graphic Design On A Square Inch

Stamps are boring? Not at all. They are the perfect example that great design doesn’t need a lot of space to fully unfold. For a fresh view on stamps, one that breaks with the widespread idea of a stamp collecting nerd, the Punk Philatelist is your place to go. The blog celebrates the passion with which artists create those tiny works of art and looks at the stamp collectors community with a wink. And if that’s not enough inspiration yet, the Postage Stamps collection on Flickr will keep you busy for quite a while, too. Eye candy par excellence.

An assortment of stamps from around the world

Paying With A Piece Of Design History

We use them daily without paying a lot of attention to them, yet they are one of the most challenging things to design: banknotes. If you take a look around the world, they couldn’t be more diverse. But, let’s be honest, did you ever get the chance to hold a banknote from the Maledives in your hands? (Probably not, which is a pity, because they are actually very beautiful.) While world travelers are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of all those unique, sometimes exotic, designs, the rest of us can find their dose of inspiration in online banknote showcases which turn out to be a rich source of color, typography, and pattern inspiration.

The front and back of a bank note from the Maledives

Another source for brilliant banknote design is the recent redesign of the Norwegian Krone bills. The Norwegian Bank called out competition to find the design for the country’s next banknote series and released a catalog (PDF, 3.1MB) showcasing all entries for us to indulge in. The PDF is in Norwegian, but the designs are worth taking a look as they tackle the given maritime theme in so many different ways, ranging from black-and-white photography to collages and children’s drawings. A very unconventional approach to banknote design. The winning design, by the way, merges Norway’s past und present with a rather traditionally designed front and a pixelated back.

Norwegian 100 kroner bill front and back

10 Tips to Master the Art of Writing PHP Code

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 09 March 2016
  • Categories: Development

PHP has become one of the most widely used languages among developers for developing web applications, such as Facebook, WordPress, and other popular resources.

However, you might find coding in PHP challenging and a daunting task, especially when you're just a novice. So, to save you from making mistakes when writing PHP code, I've listed some great tips that will help you work on PHP language a lot easier.

MASTERING PHP

1. Ditch the Use Of <? … ?>

When starting to write a PHP script, the standard code declaration blocks use “<? php … ?>” script delimiters. However, beginners can make the mistake of writing the script delimiters as <? ... ?> instead of <?php ... ?>. Make sure to avoid such a situation. That's because, <? ... ?> when used in a PHP script may work on your server, but fails to work on other servers.

Secondly, you must avoid the use of shortcut tags when echoing a variable. That's because, those tags aren't supported everywhere. You may find it hard to prevent the use of shortcut tags, but doing so can help in making your code more portable.

Basically, you just need to avoid writing your PHP script only with shortcut tags such as <?=$Var?>. You should rather write it as <?php echo $Var ?>.

2. Understand the Difference Between Comparison Operators

Comparison operators are an extremely useful part of PHP. But let's face it, some programmers fail to determine the difference between comparison operators, such as '==' and '==='. Remember that == is for equality and checks whether the value on the left and right side are equal. On the other hand, === not only looks for whether the values on both sides are equal, but also checks whether the variable type is the same on both sides or not.

Let's have a more detailed understanding of when you need to use the === comparison operator. For this purpose, consider an example of PHP code that requires using the strpos() function – that may return 0, which means that the string you've been looking for is located at the 0th index. Or else, it will be present at the first position of another string. Now, since zero is considered to be equal to FALSE in PHP, clearly from the result of strpos() you won't be able to tell if something is at the beginning of a string or the function couldn't find anything.

//This is an example of bad code
if ( strpos ( $inputString , 'abc' ) == false ) {
// do something
}
//This is an example of good code
if ( strpos ( $inputString , 'abc' ) === false ) {
// do something
}

3. Replace If/Else With Ternary Operators

Rather than making use of an if/else statement, it would be better if you use a ternary operator instead. Here's a line of PHP code that explains ternary operator usage:
$todo = ( empty ( $_POST [’todo’])) ? ‘ default ’ : $_POST [’todo’];

This line of code is equivalent to the following if/else statement:
if ( empty ( $_POST [’todo’])) {
$action = ‘ default ’;
} else {
$action = $_POST [’todo’];
}
?>

4. Use Relevant Variable Names

This is the most obvious step you should follow when writing PHP code, ensure using variable names that add some value. Furthermore, include details about the data that those variables will store. Let's assume, you need to use a variable as an integer. In that case, you must use a variable name with an “i” at the beginning. In fact, this is a crucial factor you must consider when writing PHP code, since we don't require specifying a type during variable declaration in PHP.

Note: Though you can choose to use a variable name in caps or small letters, it is recommended that you focus on capitalizing the first letter of your variable.

Below is a list of some meaningful variable names:
$iNum = 12; // For Integers

$fPi = 2.121956; // For Floats
$bIsMember = false; // For Booleans

5. Add Comments Alongside Each Important Action

Adding comments side-by-side to each important action will help you identify the need for any specific PHP code snippet, especially when you are handling a large size project. In addition, commenting helps make the code look neat and easy to understand to other programmers working on the same project as you.

// Function to Check Login
if (! $user_login ){
header( "Location:http://www.yoursite.com/" );
die ();

}

6. Use “str_replace()” Instead Of “ereg_replace()” and “preg_replace()”

If you need to improve the efficiency of your PHP code to replace strings, consider using str_replace() instead of using functions, such as: ereg_replace() and preg_replace(). In fact, according to an online report, “str_replace() is 61 percent more efficient compared to other regular expressions.”

But, in case you are using regular expressions, then ereg_replace() and preg_replace() will work faster compared to str_replace().

7. Consistent Naming Convention

Using consistent naming conventions is considered good coding practice. Mostly, writing classes, objects, etc. consistently makes it easy for your team members to work on your project without much confusion. Besides this, make sure that the files saved in local directories have an easy-to-understand name.

8. Use isset() Over strlen()

When checking out the length of a string, consider using isset() over strlen(). That's because, the isset() function will help in making calls 5 times quicker. Another great advantage of using isset is that your function call will remain valid regardless of whether the variable exists or not.

Here's a simple example to demonstrate the use of the isset() function:

if (isset( $username [8])) {
// The username is at least nine characters long.
}

9. Prefer Using Single Codes Rather Than Double Quotes

While both single, as well as double quotes, serve several purposes, it is advised that you should use single quotes over double quotes. This is because the first option helps in executing the loops a lot faster. Let us see two different ways of printing long lines of information:
//Using double quotes
print “WorkStatus : $workstatus . Location: $location ”;

Now, let's check how the above line of code can be written using single quotes:
//Using single quotes
print ‘WorkStatus : ‘. $workstatus ’. Location‘. $location ’.';

10. Utilize a Framework

And lastly, the best way to work on a PHP project is to make use of a PHP framework such as Laravel, CakePHP, Yii, Symfony, CodeIgniter and many others. Using any one of these frameworks can help reduce the time in performing repetitive tasks when developing a site or a web application. Moreover, less code means you can debug and test your built web solutions quickly.

In essence, PHP frameworks help get rid of the overheads in building web apps.

CONCLUSION

Hopefully the tips discussed above will help you write efficient PHP code in a neat and more organized way. The tips included in this post are simple, so make sure to explore the topic more to have better familiarity with each concept.

Content Management Systems, Premium Themes, CSS Frameworks

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 16 February 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

As the web has matured, developers have created an abundance of well-made tools and apps to assist the job of a web designer, or developer, while adhering to well-established workflows and design patterns.

Content Management Systems (CMS) allow site owners and admin control over the website without requiring them to dabble in code, yet leaving freedom for the designers and developers who use them.

Q: In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of using a CMS? When do you think it’s good to use one, and what are the alternatives?

Although many web designers have strong preference over one CMS or another, they should be able to objectively decide whether to use one.

* Advantages of CMS: ease of content management, built-in template engines for smoother development, adhering to best development practices, well documented code that can easily be handed to another developer, many available plugins that save hundreds of hours of development work and are well supported, to name a few.

* Disadvantages of CMS: when used incorrectly, may lead to bloated code and slower load times, the tendency to use heavy plugins for small features easily implemented by a few lines of code, limitations for more complex data structures or interactions where the developer may have to “fight” the system to achieve goals.

* It’s a good idea to use a popular CMS for almost any website project where the client needs to have full control over the content. Some larger sites, and especially web apps however, are too complex for conventional CMS, and will perform far better if implemented using a custom made system, tailored to specifics and needs. In many cases, a good CMS can handle these types of projects as well; however, that comes at the cost of heavy modifications, changing fundamental concepts, losing compatibility with plugins and the ability to update or receive support.

The so called “Premium Themes” for popular CMS are a common choice for projects with limited budget or tight deadlines. The built-in features and layout, however, come at a price. Good web designers understand that and can help you decide if this is the right approach for your project, can evaluate the usability of a theme and advise you about its pros and cons.

Despite the seemingly easily customised components and styles, most of the themes they provide usually come at a cost (performance wise) and have significant limitations. A few common problems found in the popular themes are:

* Loading and executing a lot more code and assets than needed. Theme developers strive to outclass one another by including more and more features and capabilities in their themes. That, combined with the fact that themes are made to be flexible without editing any programming code, leads to a bloated code base with too many scripts and the need to query and process more data than standard templates.

Themes’ looks and layouts are hard to modify beyond their intended customisation capabilities. Again, due to a code base significantly more complex compared to the standard CMS templates, heavy modifications take much longer and there’s always a chance those changes could break something else.

If the project requires the use of complex plugins, which add templates of their own, styling those to match the rest of the theme’s visual style is also much harder.

Finally, despite all their customisation options, themes tend to guide the website’s design direction, placing it on ‘rails’ and limiting the creative potential of the designer. This leads to a form over function approach, where content is made for the layout instead the other way around.


A good designer should be able to give you answers similar to those suggested here, but they may also have other ideas about how to turn your project into a success. Good communication is key. Exceptional web designers also have the ability to understand requirements along with the underlying reasoning behind them. That’s why they are able to come up with better ways to solve problems while also providing solutions for problems hidden beneath the surface. In the end, the skill which unifies all design disciplines is the ability to solve problems.

SEO, semantics, content syndication and accessibility concernse

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 15 February 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

We’re now living in a highly connected digital world where your website content is not read only by people on screens but also by machines. Search engines crawl your website to find out what it’s all about and help users by showing them your content when they look for it; people use apps to aggregate content to read at their leisure; disabled users rely on machine assistance to access and interact with your content.

All of this is good both for your website and for its audience. To make sure all of the above is possible, and done correctly, your website should adhere to certain standards and conventions. The closest it sticks to them, the better chance you have for machines to interpret it correctly.

Q: How do you make sure a website is well suited for SEO and the content is machine readable?

The first and most important step to making a website machine readable and SEO ready is to write semantically correct HTML markup code, using the new HTML5 elements to mark each piece of content properly.

Q: Are you concerned with accessibility and what do you do to improve a website in that regard?

Properly marked up, semantically correct content, alone, gives a huge boost to accessibility. Making the website accessible to the widest possible audience of users with disabilities is a valid concern in a project; there are additional steps that should be taken to improve on that regard:

1. Aria roles– in addition to the semantic HTML5 tags, aria roles can be assigned to the more important elements of content in order to show in greater detail each one’s purpose. This helps assistive tools understand the content, thus making it easier to use.

2. Color combination concerns– – many users have different types and degrees of color blindness, so in UI design, it’s important to avoid combining certain colors. It’s good practice to not rely on colors alone as a distinction between two UI elements (e.g. unlabeled green and red buttons or indicators).

3. User control – The designer must also make sure the user has some degree of control over the way the website looks. Most importantly, the browser’s zoom function must not make the site unusable. Additionally, the content on a correctly marked up page is easily picked by reading apps and re-styled, as per the user’s preference (larger font sizes, a more contrasting color scheme, a more readable typeface, for example).


Q: What about content syndication? What steps should we take to make sure our content can be distributed over different channels and used by other apps?

There are several approaches that can be taken to assure the content can be interpreted outside the context of the website. Choosing the right format depends on the content itself, and the intended syndication channels, but there are a few common things to consider:

1. Semantic HTML5 markup is usually the most important and common way to make content redistributable. Make sure the <article> tag is used to mark up individual pieces of content, each one with its own heading. Article headers and footnotes can be marked up with the <header> and <footer> tags respectively, and related content can be marked up as <aside>. Dates should be properly marked as <time datetime=“yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss"> and addresses as <address>, and so on.

2. If you need clearly defined pieces of content, with their unique characteristics specified, consider using Schema.org to make sure everything is properly listed according to its widely accepted schemas.

3. On a technical level, some of the formats that can be used to define specific data structure are RDF, Microformats and Microdata. They use HTML compatible elements (classes or tag attributes) to simulate XML-like structured data.

The Vital Guide to Web Design Interviewing

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 15 February 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

The Challenge

Hiring web designers can be difficult. There are many disciplines under the common term ‘designer,’ and experts in one field may be novices in another, while others are a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” To make things worse, people commonly relate “design” with subjective decisions, personal preference and individual style.

All that makes the search for a great web designer seem like a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be like that; the goal of this guide is to help you find the perfect match for your team or project. This can be achieved by better understanding the different roles a web designer fills, and by having a good idea of the sort of strategic questions you can ask during the hiring process.

Web design disciplines and roles

The “web design” profession encompasses many skills, and sometimes, separate professions.

A Web Designer nowadays has to wear many hats and may have varying levels of proficiency and experience in different fields. It’s important for you to know some of the broader terms so you can better understand what kind of design professional is best suited for the role you are trying to fill. This will also help you clarify your project description and weed out some candidates before you proceed to the actual interview stage.

1. Visual Design– Skills used during the final stages of design, the visual design phase. Generally found in designers with a more artistic profile, not necessarily well versed in the technical side of web design (although many are). These, however, are nice additional skills you can look for in a web designer on top of their technical skills. Deliverables: visual design, mood boards, Illustrations, banners, photo manipulation and compositions

2. Branding and logo design– A profession on its own, branding and logo design are also skills that many web designers have at a rudimentary level. These are nice to have as extras, if that’s part of the project requirement or the job description of the open position you have. Deliverables: Style guides, brand books, color schemes

3. User-Experience Design (UX)– Going hand in hand with IA and IxD, UX is the broad discipline of ensuring digital products work, based upon users’ expectations, providing the fastest, most painless workflow, while achieving the goals of the product. Deliverables: User personas, workflow charts, low fidelity sketches, accessibility analysis, usability tests, wireframes.

4. User-Interface Design (UI)– This is the practice of creating individual control elements and design of broader systems and visual language that makes the usage of a website or application nice and easy. If you are designing applications (mobile, web or otherwise), you will need someone with good UI skills in your team. Deliverables: High fidelity sketches, working prototypes, pattern libraries, UI kits

5. Interaction Design (IxD)– Everything that deals with the interaction between human and machine generally falls into web design. With websites more and more having app-like diverse functionality, and with the myriad of interactive elements users have become used to, it’s nice to work with a web designer who is well versed in good and bad practices of IxD, who understands the well established conventions and knows when to break the rules to achieve a specific goal. Deliverables: interaction and functionality libraries, interactive prototypes, workflow charts, state maps

6. Front-End Development– This is the part of development that involves code employed to render the user-facing side of a website or application, and to handle interactions between user and machine on a technical level. The most technical of the design-related disciplines, and often considered a profession on its own, front-end development mainly involves good skills in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Good front-end developers also utilise various assistive tools such as CSS preprocessors (LESS and SASS), task runners (Gulp or Grunt), and others like npm, Bower, or Yeoman. Deliverables: Production level HTML, CSS and JavaScript code, tools for handling design changes and sometimes environment migration.

Note that this distinction is sometimes artificial, and although there are highly specialised experts who excel at just one of these disciplines, it’s very important for them to have a good understanding of at least a few of the others. So, even if a designer’s only job is to provide the best possible wireframes for a website, s/he must also understand how that wireframes will be turned into a working, responsive set of HTML and CSS files, and how much JS will be needed to implement the intended interactions.

Larger projects benefit more from an in-depth look at each component of the design, and require a design team comprised of highly specialised experts in their own fields. Depending on the specifics and the complexity of the project, multiple roles could be filled by a single professional or by separate specialised teams for IA, IxD, visual design, and so on.

Web Design Workflow

Web design as a profession has evolved a lot over the last 10 years. Effective workflows and practices have emerged and have proved to be the de-facto industry standard. However, there are still certain practices, remnants of the early years of the web design, which should be avoided.

One such ineffective and outdated practice is the “three mockups” approach. In the past, companies that have needed web design services have asked designers to provide three (usually) Photoshop mockups (or other forms of high-fidelity comps) to choose from. These are usually based on a set of initial brief requirements or a couple of talks with the client. The final product of this approach is design-based on personal preferences and subjective choices. Chasing user needs and achieving business goals this way is like shooting in the dark. Working this way (and requesting it from a web designer) should be avoided.

It involves five stages, each based on decisions made, and work done, in the previous step.

1. Strategy– Defining the key business goals of the product and balancing them with the user needs of the target audience (based on market research, focus groups, user personas, and the like). Deliverables: High level brief, design team requirements, project objectives.

2. Scope– Documenting the required functionality and the needed content. Also involves deciding what is to be built, and what isn’t, as part of the current project. Deliverables: Detailed project specification

3. Structure– Information architecture and interaction design. At this stage, the structure of the website, and its pages, is decided via card-sorting and user-journey maps. For applications, workflow charts and state maps are created. Deliverables: site map, low fidelity prototypes or wireframes.

4. Skeleton– UI design, information design and navigation. With the structure in place, objective decisions can be made about laying out content, what UI elements to use and how they would work. All navigation elements should be implemented at this point and content added to its proper places. Deliverables: fully functional prototype of the website or application

5. Style– Applying the visual treatment and the brand’s style guide to the working product. With a completely functional and properly laid out website, it’s much easier to apply corporate or product branding and make objective choices about its visual treatment..

This is an iterative process and each step can go through several cycles until it’s approved. During each step, it’s also possible to find flaws, or ways to improve the previous, and change the previous set of deliverables to reflect that. The main advantage of the ability to run usability tests at each step is avoiding large commitments of time and budget on ideas which later would prove to be fundamentally wrong or suboptimal.

Web designers well versed in modern practices and workflows should be acquainted with good tools for prototyping and wireframing such as UXpin, Balsamiq or Axure. While some may prefer creating the wireframes in Photoshop, Fireworks or InDesign, others implement them straight into popular CSS frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation. The advantage of the latter is that these early prototypes later evolve into actual production templates. This eliminates dead-end deliverables and reduces production time.

Responsive Web Design Process

These days, with a large percentage of internet traffic coming from mobile devices of different capabilities, it’s crucial that any new website be usable on as many devices as possible. The process of designing and developing websites suited for myriad screens and devices is commonly referred to as “Responsive Web Design” or sometimes as “Adaptive Design” (which is also used to refer to a specific methodology in responsive design).

Today the question whether to have a responsive website is no longer relevant; the answer is a clear “Yes!” and even Google is placing websites not suited for mobile devices behind those that are. The real question is how to execute a successful and effective multi-device strategy without going over budget or missing the point of mobile user experience.

Any experienced web designer should be well versed in the techniques that make a website responsive. To help you find the best matches for your project, we have prepared a few questions and guidelines. There are some important considerations that must be addressed when designing and developing a responsive website.

Content Strategy Across Devices

Responsive design is not just about fitting all your content into any screen size; the designer has to take into consideration the context in which each device would be used along with its capabilities.

Thanks to the mobile revolution, web designers have to take into account numerous different software and hardware platforms. Sometimes, it’s better to skip certain pieces of copy on a mobile device, use alternative copy or different image assets because the navigation of a website needs to change between different screens. Other times, specific pieces of content or functionality should be enabled only on mobile devices, such as a “click to call us” button, offer interactions based on a user’s location or show an “app download” button for the specific devices being used.

Sometimes, yes. Here are instances where such changes are required:

  • Most often images have to be cropped differently for a small portrait screen; a wide aspect ratio image is great for a desktop website banner but is almost unusable on an upright smartphone screen.
  • Where a large presentational video might be great on a computer screen, it could be replaced with an image and text on mobile devices, especially if you expect traffic from devices with slower mobile internet connection.
  • Some pieces of copy may have to be omitted (or rewritten) for small screen devices where the user likely won’t read it./li>
  • Certain call to action controls might be changed to better suit the device; for example, “Send a Message” on computers might be replaced by “Call Now” on mobile phones.
  • On small screens, complex graphs, charts and long tables are better left as linked stand-alone pages rather than have them in the content stream of the page. Another idea is to present the same data in a different way, or only show the most important parts.
  • Navigation should be rethought, or even designed separately, for different screen sizes. This is not necessarily about its visualisation, but often includes different structure, such as a flat list of links instead of dropdown/drill-down menus, or by showing less levels of depth in more complex menus on specific devices.

Interaction with the user interface on different devices

Since devices differ not only in screen size but also in terms of input methods, make sure every UI element works as expected in the context of each device type. This means that dropdown menus should be acceptable for computer screens but on smartphones and tablets, users would expect navigation methods more akin to those on mobile apps.

Different devices come with different capabilities, and users expect websites on their device to function in similar fashion to the apps on their device.

The most important distinction between a desktop and a mobile UI is that desktops are usually controlled with a mouse or trackpad and a fast and easy to use keyboard, while mobile devices rely on a touch screen with no pointer and with an on-screen keyboard that’s often a hassle to use. Another consideration is that devices with no pointer also lack the hover state which is frequently used to trigger certain actions on web pages. The two input methods, pointer and touchscreen, also make different actions easier (more natural) or more difficult and slower. For example, moving items across the screen or dragging is easier on touch screens (therefore, dragging is avoided on desktops), while clicking on smaller controls is much easier with a mouse pointer (thus UI controls should be made larger on touch screens).

Interaction Design: The Final Ingredient to a Perfect Website

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 15 February 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

If you have a website for your company or are trying to promote your personal brand through social media, odds are you know a couple things about the Internet. One, you’re probably aware that a lot of people use the internet, to the tune of 168 million DVDs’ worth of information exchanged online on a daily basis.

So, yeah. A lot of people are online every day. Two, you probably have a good sense of just how much business is done over the Internet every day.

In case you weren’t totally sure about the numbers, it’s about $2.5 million in ecommerce every minute. Mind-boggling numbers, I know. But here’s the point: if you are using the Internet to promote a business or brand—if you’re not, you should be—then you know the importance of having a good-looking, attention-grabbing website.

Intimidation

Of course, if you know just how massive the Internet really is, it’s quite possible you’re also quite intimidated. You might be asking yourself, “How can I possibly make a splash in a world that is overflowing with new information every day?” It’s a good question to ask, but don’t worry, you don’t need to be intimidated. All you have to do is make sure your website or app looks great and functions smoothly. That’s the first step in establishing a dominant online presence.

Now you’re thinking, “Okay, sure. Seems simple enough, except for one thing: I don’t know anything about web design. I’m just trying to run my business!”

If you are thinking this, that’s okay. First of all, you’re not alone, not by any means. Second of all, don’t worry if you don’t know the first thing about web design! There are professionals for that sort of thing! Indeed, the world of freelance digital design has really taken off in recent years, as more and more people begin to recognize the paramount importance of their online presence.

Process

Before you get too relieved and rush out to hire the first digital designer you meet, you should know that the process of digital design is a very complex one, involving many steps. It’s equal parts art and science, and because the website is such an important part of your company’s image, there are tons of little details that go into the creation of a great product. Here’s a few things you should know about digital design before you dive in:

First, you should know that generally speaking, the process has four steps: User Experience (UX) Design, User Interface (UI) design, Visual Design, and Interaction Design. Typically, good digital designers will specialize in just one or a couple of those categories, and the process always goes in that order. Think of it like building a house. You need to have the blueprints first.

That part comes in the UX phase of the design process. Then you need to lay down the foundation and the framework of the house. That’s where UI comes in. After the walls and roof and windows are built, you need to make sure the house actually looks good. That part is taken care of in the Visual Design phase. Then, after all that is done, you make one final sweep of the house to make sure everything works and the layout flows nicely from room to room. That’s where Interaction Design comes into play.

Obviously, all four of these steps are crucial to building a high quality website, but if there’s one you should make sure you absolutely don’t skimp on, it’s Interaction Design. Think about it: your house can look gorgeous and attention-grabbing and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but if you’ve got a staircase that leads to nowhere, you’re in trouble, and that’ll be the one thing everyone says about your house, despite all the pretty decorations. Don’t believe me?

Quality

So, you’re fully convinced that you need to get out there and hire a top quality freelance Interaction Designer. Good call. But, now you might be thinking to yourself, “How can I tell the difference between a really good Interaction designer and an impostor? It seems like digital design is such a subjective field anyway.”

Among the many pointers and sample interview questions you should keep in mind when vetting freelance design candidates, this hiring guide also points out a couple key features that you should definitely pay attention to in your search. The first one is an understanding of the psychology of a user. Good Interaction designers will know that many users go to sites for a number of different reasons, and they will tailor their creative process to that particular end—user motivation.

Because Interaction is the last step in the process before you present your site to the world, you want to make sure your Interaction designer has a very firm grasp on the many psychological principles that underscore our internet usage, including Goal-Oriented Design, Personas, Cognitive Dimensions, User Scenarios, and Learnability and Usability, among others.

So now you’re ready to take the world by storm with your brand new, beautifully elegant and smoothly-functioning website. All you need is the help of a good digital designer. Be sure to keep these tips in mind, and don’t skimp on Interaction just because you can see the finish line.
Happy hiring!

Web Design Trends of the Future: High Definition Design

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 21 January 2016
  • Categories: Website Design

One of the hottest techniques in web design is the HD background, enabled by the growing commonality of HD displays. But it’s not going to be easy when you’re creating a pattern whose trademark is visual complexity.

In this article, we’ll take a look into the future of web design. It’s not a question of if HD web design will dominate the web, but rather when high-res monitors become widespread enough to necessitate improved visual designs.

Images

These are the most descriptive words of modern web design when it comes to background images. Not only are designers thinking about HD, but they are taking HD to the extreme with backgrounds that occupy the entire screen.

Design technique works because users are innately visual.

After all, as described in Web Design Trends 2015 & 2016, vision dominates a lot of our subconscious interpretation of the world around us. On top of that, pleasing images create a better user experience partly because we perceive attractive objects as working better. It seems harshly superficial, but when it comes to design, perception is reality.
High definition screen resolutions provide the perfect opportunity for users to see images with a level of detail that just wasn’t previously available.

Here’s five ways to use a HD image to your advantage:

1.Make a stellar image the focal point – Just because a photo is the background, doesn’t mean it can’t take center stage. A strong photo creates an emotional connection with users, so learn the nuances of how images affect the visual hierarchy of your design.

2.Consider multiple images– Use a slider or card-style framework we described in Web UI Patterns to for content-heavy or portfolio sites.

3.Use an effect on the image– Blurred or color overlays can add or alter the emphasis on an image (a global red tone will be more energetic, for example). This works well in HD because the underlying image is still discernible thanks to its high resolution.

4.Consider how the image will look on different screen sizes– Plan background images for a variety of sizes and so that the background image fits the site at any breakpoint and does not rest on top of a solid color box (which in turn becomes the actual background).

5.Think outside the frame– A photo background should not conform to the standard 1 to 1.5 aspect ratio of cameras, and can include images that are cut out of their respective backgrounds.

A background photo can create simple visual interest. The technique works best when you start with a great photograph that emphasizes your brand, product or message. Remember, the use of a background photo can include multiple images as well, just ensure that the design framework and surrounding elements support each image individually.

Videos

HD video backgrounds might be one of the most popular techniques of the year – especially incorporating fast-paced action with plenty to look at for an almost frenzied feel. From giants to smaller sites across almost every genre, streaming video is fast becoming a vital part of the web design landscape.

Some of the first websites to take advantage of background video were actual movie themselves. The site for “Life of Pi”, for example, uses an actual preview from the film as a background (in downloadable formats as well).

The emergence of video as a design technique has a little to do with its newness. Full-screen video backgrounds were just not something many browsers and internet connections could handle until the introduction of HTML5 (and smartphones with high-definition video capability).

Just having a video clip is not enough. All the cinematic techniques for creating a great movie – framing, zooming and panning to name a few – are just as essential for web videos, even if used as backgrounds.

Again, we’ll offer five guidelines for using HD video in your design framework:

1.Pay attention to video length and duration– A background video should tell a visual story that users can get a feel for in a few seconds. Somewhere between 10 and 30 seconds is a good goal for loop time.

2.Turn the sound off– Sound is still a polarizing autoplay element for most users. If you’re going to use sound, set the default as muted.

3.Focus on load times– While HD video is fun, it should not bog down your website. It doesn’t matter how amazing your video is if users leave during a slow loading time

4.Consider alternatives– Some devices can’t render HD. Check in Google Analytics to reveal your most popular devices, then design accordingly. Usually, you’ll find that you’ll want to use a static image as a backup option.

5.Stick to quality video– Whether you film your own, hire someone to do it or use stock video, it needs to be top-notch in terms of visual quality. Not only does it have to work in a high-definition framework, but it has to actually be HD quality. Just like a photo, video falls apart at any resolution above what was originally captured.

Website design, especially when it comes to background video, is becoming a cinematic experience. HD video in websites creates a full multimedia experience with layers of information conveyed through a moving background.

Animations

HD background animation lives in the space between still images and design because these animations often contain both still and moving elements.

For as trendy as loading animations seem, the principles have remained nearly unchanged for decades. What has changed, however, is the level of quality afforded by HD displays.

The key to successful HD animation is timing. Animations should have smooth, seamless effects. Any looping should be unseen to the user.

As described in Web Design Trends 2015 & 2016, we’d recommend keeping these five tips in mind:

1.Stick to a simple animation– Overly complicated stories or actions may end up increasing cognitive strain, so execute the fundamentals flawlessly before weaving any complex narratives.

2.Use bright color and on-screen cues to connect to the user interface – For example, start with a simple hover animation such as a link changing color. Consider the brightest hue from your color palette for the hover state to bring attention to the animation. Another visual cue such as expanding the colored letters during the hover state would add extra emphasis. These simple tools can help clarify the desired user action.

3.Take advantage of HD screen capability– For the best visual quality, use scalable image formats like vectors.

4.Approach animation like video– The same nuances apply to animations. For example, avoid jarring movements or elements such as sound that may annoy users.

5.Plan animation for the right audience– While many designers think of animation and illustration at the same time, this may not be appropriate for every website.

As always, pay attention to detail. Depending on your site and users, animation can be cartoonish, video-style displays, or simply touches of motion in an illustrated framework. Animation can be triggered through user interaction – taps, scrolls or mouse clicks – or it can work in a simple auto-play format.

Layering: Putting It All Together

An HD background is effective only when treated as another layer of information. A phenomenal image, video or animation can’t do it alone – you must consider its relationship to other on-screen content.

Here are three short case studies from sites that successfully put it all together.

Adidas Design Studio

Adidas Design Studio uses a variety of techniques with big, bold images to entice people to join their workforce.
The full screen background actually links to a video and the scroll actions use parallax effects to guide users through product lines and information. Sharp images are paired with equally sharp type. Colors establish a visual hierarchy in a way that’s not overpowering.

Flipboard

Flipboard has perfected the art of the still background image, which relies heavily on the traditional principles of fine art photography.

The HD image includes lots of detail, but is not overwhelming. The image also extends off the screen in a way that you can imagine the table extending from either side, which it actually does at different screen resolutions. The tint also establishes the image as a background element, keeping the focus on the brighter and overlaid call-to-action information.

5 Eme Gauche

5 Eme Gauche features a large image background with multiple layered elements, including downpage navigation, social media icons, a brand header and main links in the center of the screen.
Each layer of content interacts with the background image and stands apart from it in a way that allows you to almost see all the layers on the screen at once. The site maintains good internal consistency since pages throughout the site use the same layering format over images and scroll-action animation.

Conclusion

While HD backgrounds have spiked in popularity lately, it’s not entirely fair to write them off as just a trend. Rather, they are the product of usefulness finally matching up with technological advances.

What this means is that people won’t simply get bored of HD designs and move onto the next big thing. As a growing part of a visually-rich industry, this makes creating them a technique definitely worth learning.

PHP for Startups: New Lease on Life?

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 21 January 2016
  • Categories: PHP

With tech startups, the hassle around technology selection seems to outshine the chicken-and-egg problem. Is it the nature of the selected technology that determines implementation success, or the other way round, the hottest startups glorify the programming languages they implement? On the technology side, PHP for startups was given up for lost quite a while ago. But, while Ruby on Rails and Django advocates have been crossing swords to establish technology leadership, the PHP technology has evolved substantially in recent years. At the end of the day, PHP demonstrates incredible fitness for usage in tech startups.

With a set of modulable and ready-to-use bundles, we were able to literally assemble the customer-facing, ecommerce, and admin components to draw resources to proceed with more effort-consuming integration tasks. Basically, PHP is pretty good when used for the Web part of a multi-component, multi-technology solution.

You also can test certain assumptions by swiftly assembling a minimum viable product with PHP—and move to technology optimization with further iterations if proven efficient. Facebook, the most frequently cited proof to PHP's potency, got off the ground by building a product that enabled it to raise budgets for subsequent large-scale optimization of its massive PHP code base.

Speed

PHP is one of the fastest languages to code with, deploy, and execute. The philosophy behind it, if any at all, is built around quick turnaround. The language was originally designed for finding the shortest path and the slickest solution to Web problems. Moreover, community contributors have been steadily moving the technology towards modular design in recent years. The PHP frameworks offer easily configurable, modulable, and ready-to-use, out-of-the-box bundles and libraries to arrange into a ready-to-use solution.

Cost Effectiveness

From a hiring perspective, project stuffing, or finding replacements for current team members is not that big a headache. PHP developers are noticeably cheaper due to comparably low entry-level salaries for a programming language that is quickly learnt and embraced. The PHP resource pool is vast, and not so susceptible to fashion trends; given the today's technology-based stereotypes, if a person persists in pursuing a PHP developer's career, chasing trends is definitely not his or her style.

Quality

The new generation of community contributors has been struggling to beat the not-so-uncommon opinion about bad practices or insecure code that entry-level developers used to continuously indulge in. Today, by and large, such perception is an outworn sort of thing. Modern PHP development practices have regained their positions over the last few years, with numerous educational materials coming out to offer one-stop access to best practices in solving common and confusing PHP tasks

Libraries and community apart, certain biases concerning PHP's technical features and their attributes, such as inconsistency or unpredictability, do have a rational kernel. But, the lion's share of criticism calls up the times when PHP couldn't do proper OOP and had no classes. With the latest versions of such great frameworks as Laravel and Symfony, it's not the early 2000s anymore. A significant standardization effort was made to define basic coding standards and a set of guidelines extending on the former that all framework contributors are bound to follow. After all, PHP plays its part really well as far as startup environment quality, pace, and flexibility are concerned.

A strong PHP team with well-established conventions, processes, and guidelines can accomplish great things. So, just get up to assembling your strong team. There's not a lot left to do, right?

Tips for Using Session Cookies with PHP

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 21 January 2016
  • Categories: PHP

A session cookie, also known as a transient cookie, is named like that because exists only temporary during the time that the user navigates the website, so when the user closes the browser, the session cookies are deleted. Websites normally use session cookies to make sure that you are recognized when you navigate from different pages within a site and that any information you have provided is remembered.

Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember stateful information (such as items added in the shopping cart in an online store) or to record the user's browsing activity (including clicking particular buttons, logging in, or recording which pages were visited in the past). Cookies can also store passwords and form content a user has previously entered, such as a credit card number or an address.

Without a cookie, every time you open a new web page, the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor. You can adjust your session cookies through the settings feature of your browser.

Cookies are plain text files, they are not compiled so they cannot execute functions or make copies of themselves. They cannot browse through or scan your computer or otherwise snoop on you or dig for private information on your hard disk. Cookies have a very limited function: to help your browser deliver the full features designed into many of today's websites. These features include smooth login, preference settings, themes, shopping carts, and many other features. Cookies cannot scan or retrieve your personal information. As I mentioned above, the most popular uses of cookies are: to store username/password information so that the user doesn't have to log in every time they visit the website ("remember me" sign-ins), to simply remember the user's name, to keep track of a user's progress during a specified process, to remember a user's theme.

What can I do to manage cookies stored on my computer?

As you certainly notice, when you navigate on different websites, you got this message: "This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here." This message appears because of the European Directive 2009/136/CE that urges to alert to the user and ask for an approval of the current website Cookies Policy. According to this directive, the Cookies Policy Notification Portlet notifies every user who accesses the website for the first time the terms of that portal Cookies Policy.

The notification may contain a message which includes the reason, a link to any other page where the complete policy would be explained (i.e. how to remove or disable the current portal cookies) and also a tacit consent therefore I accept this policy if I continue accessing portal pages. Different browsers offer differing ways to configure your browser's cookie settings. Due to the wide range of differences among various website's privacy policies, many browsers allow for universal privacy settings from which users can choose. Users can choose differing privacy settings based on their particular privacy concerns. Most commercial and/or professionally-created websites like Yahoo and Google have privacy policy pages that disclose how the sites handle, gather, and/or pass on user information to third parties. These are known as "P3P" features (Privacy Preferences Platform).

Cookies in PHP

PHP transparently supports HTTP cookies, as we said earlier, the cookies are a mechanism used to store data in the remote browser and for tracking or identifying return users. In PHP you can set cookies using the setcookie() or setrawcookie() function, described below. Cookies are part of the HTTP header, so setcookie() must be called before any output is sent to the browser. Any cookies sent to you from the client will automatically be included into a $_COOKIE auto-global array.

The two PHP function used for setting cookies are setcookies() and setrawcookies(), both described below:

• setcookie() defines a cookie to be sent throughout with the rest of the HTTP headers. Like other headers, cookies must be sent before any output from your script (this is a protocol restriction). This requires that you place calls to this function before any output, including and tag. The cookies can be accessed only after they have been set, on the next page load using the $_COOKIE array. Cookie values may also exist in $_REQUEST. The setcookie() method syntax is:

setcookie(name, value, expire, path, domain, secure, httponly);

where: • name represents the name of the cookie;

• value parameter represents the value of the cookie, that is stored on the clients computer (as an example, if the name is MyCookie, this value is retrieved through $_COOKIE[' MyCookie ']);

• expire parameter is the time until cookies expire, to set that parameter you need to use the time() function plus the number of seconds before you want it to expire (per example, you can set the time of the cookie expiration after 7 days like that:

time() + (86400 * 7)); 86400=24h*60min*60sec

• path on the server in which the cookie will be available on;

• domain is the domain that the cookie is available to;

• secure parameter indicates that the cookie should only be transmitted over a secure HTTPS connection from the client;

• httponly - when TRUE the cookie will be made accessible only through the HTTP protocol. This means that the cookie won't be accessible by scripting languages, such as JavaScript.

• setrawcookie() is exactly the same as setcookie() the only difference is that the cookie value will not be automatically urlencoded when sent to the browser.

1. Setting new cookie and getting the cookie

The listing below sets the cookie named 'test', with the value 'Cookie' and the expiration date after 7 days, using the above described function setcookie(). The result, the 'test' cookie, can be seen into the below printscreens of the browsers, in our case Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, using the two corresponding extensions for cookies: Firebug and HTML5 Storage Manager All in One:

<?php
								$cookie_name = "test";
								$cookie_value = "Cookie";

								//setting the cookie name, value and expiration date - after 7 days
								setcookie($cookie_name, $cookie_value, time() + (86400 * 7), "/");

								//listing the cookie
								echo $_COOKIE["test"];
								?> 

2. Accessing Cookies with PHP

The simplest way to access cookies in PHP, is to use $_COOKIE that is an associative array of variables passed to the current script via HTTP Cookies. Following example set and access three cookies:

<?php
								setcookie("name", "Rafa Nadal", time()+3600, "/","", 0);
								setcookie("age", "28", time()+3600, "/", "",  0);
								setcookie("RolandGarros", "9", time()+3600, "/", "",  0);

								echo $_COOKIE["name"]. " ----- ". $_COOKIE["age"]." ----- ".$_COOKIE["RolandGarros"];
								?> 

3. Updating Cookie

To update a cookie, all you need to do is to set the cookie again, using the setcookie() method:

<?php
								setcookie("name", "Rafa Nadal", time()+3600, "/","", 0);
								setcookie("age", "29", time()+3600, "/", "",  0);
								setcookie("RolandGarros", "9", time()+3600, "/", "",  0);

								//updating the cookie 'name'
								setcookie("name", "Roger Federer", time()+3600, "/","", 0);

								echo $_COOKIE["name"]. " ----- ". $_COOKIE["age"]." ----- ".$_COOKIE["RolandGarros"];
								?> 

4. Deleting Cookie

To delete a cookie, you must set the time parameter as expired, so that cookie will be deleted automatically, as you can see in the below example. Cookies must be deleted with the same parameters as they were set with. If the value argument is an empty string, or FALSE, and all other arguments match a previous call to setcookie(), then the cookie with the specified name will be deleted from the remote client.

<?php
								//the cookie is expired, so it will be deleted
								setcookie("age", "56", time()-3600);

								//deleting the cookie by setting the value argument FALSE or an empty string
								setcookie("age", "FALSE", time(), "/", "",  0);
								setcookie("age", "", time(), "/", "",  0);
								?> 

Check if Cookies are Enabled

To check if cookies are enabled we need to use the count() function, like in the below listing:

<?php
								setcookie("name", "Rafa Nadal", time()+3600, "/","", 0);

								if(count($_COOKIE) > 0) {
									echo "Cookies are enabled.";
								} else {
									echo "Cookies are disabled.";
								}
								?> 

This article as explored what the cookies are and why are they useful, how to set a cookie and make different operations over it.

Design Trends To Look For In 2016 (In The Form of Gifs!)

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 06 January 2016
  • Categories: Design

Design trends are developing in an exceptional speed and will continue to grow into the next year, with the increasing demands of the user. Here are a couple of trends to keep in mind for a simple and worthwhile user-experience.

Scrolling above clicking

The user today views all but buys selectively. Since the concept using a scroll bar is obsolete, and people can just use their thumb, we should expect more websites to adopt scrolling first and clicking second.

scrolling

The fold is literally dead

Since scrolling has become way easier, web designers now have the opportunity to do what magazines have been doing for ages, full-screen image image titles with no text/links visible until one scrolls down.

the-fold

Animation is back again

With the internet speed improving considerably, GIF’s and flash animations has become really popular. Since a flat design can look pretty monotonous, animation can help a website to stand out from the rest, and also pack more information into little space.

animation

CSS shapes

CSS shapes allow a designer to flow his/her layout into shapes like a circle. The outcome looks really cool, but as of yet, it is not supported by all browsers.

animation

JavaScript: Explained in Simple Words

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 06 January 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

Anyone who has ever tried explaining technical jargon to someone who is not well-versed with the terminology is aware of how difficult the explanation process can be.

Simplified JavaScript Jargon, as the name suggests, is an attempt to cure the above mentioned problem. Basically, it is a community driven exercise that explains the buzzwords related to JavaScript in simple words.

In other words, Simplified JavaScript Jargon is a glossary that you can refer to, when you need to figure out the meaning of JavaScript terminology in simple language.

To help you get a better idea, here is how it describes some of the major terms:

1. AJAX: a technology for asynchronous HTTP requests.
2. AMD: a standard defining how to load JavaScript libraries or modules asynchronously..
3. AngularJS: a structural framework for dynamic web apps
4. Babel: a JavaScript transformation toolkit which started as an ECMAScript 2015 / ES6 code translator (transpiler).
5. Backbone: a structural framework for dynamic web apps.
6. Bluebird: a fully featured Promise library with focus on innovative features and performance.
7. Bower: a package manager for front-end dependencies.
8. Broccoli: a fast and reliable asset pipeline.
9. Browserify: a tool making possible to use the require function from Node.js within the browser.
10. Brunch: a tool focusing on the production of deployment-ready files from development files.
11. CoffeeScript: a language that compiles into JavaScript.
12. Chai: an assertion library used with a JavaScript testing framework.
13. CORS: a way for a server to make things accessible to pages hosted on other domains.
14. CouchDB: a NoSQL database with JavaScript as query language and HTTP as API.

How Will HTTP/2 Change. How We Build the Web

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 06 January 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

Every web application that powers the web, CSS, HTML, and JS is about to get turn on its head with the introduction of HTTP/2. The basic of HTTP/2 are simple and yet amazing. It is much more efficient in comparison to HTTP/1.1, which only allowed for each connection to a server to handle one request. HTTP/2 can serve multiple requests all at the same time. Connections can also push a representation from servers to clients.

To help you get a better idea, here is how it describes some of the major terms:

This changes everything about how applications are used to build the web. With HTTP/2 there is little advantages from, putting script tags in HTML, inlining of resources, or compressing JS files. Rebecca Murphey shares the new,best practices to keep in mind when deploying applications with the new concept of HTTP/2

Bootstrap Zero offers free open source BS Themes & Templates

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 06 January 2016
  • Categories: Bootstrap

Every web developer should already know about the legendary Bootstrap library It comes with pre-built methods for crafting websites and even dynamic JavaScript components.

While the default Bootstrap library is fantastic, it leaves room for aesthetic improvement.

This is where a resource like BootstrapZero comes into play. You’ll be able to download and work with free themes, templates, and same code snippets that all support the latest version of Bootstrap.

Devs are constantly looking for ways to customize Bootstrap so that it stands out against all the other similar-looking Bootstrap websites. The first way is to manually customize a design yourself.

The quicker way is to rely on pre-built themes and templates already running on Bootstrap.

Here’s a brief explanation from BS Zero’s BS Zero’s homepage:

Since Bootstrap was first released back in 2010, it has grown-up to become the most popular frontend framework worldwide. Bootstrap is really an amazing framework, and has made “mobile-first” responsive design easier to grasp. It enables frontend developers to get started quickly with Bootstrap’s many patterns, tools and components. It also helps to ensure consistency of design. This collection of totally free themes will show you that it’s easy to make your Bootstrap site, “not look like a Bootstrap site”.

Take a look at BootstrapZero and visit the starter templates for new sites. There are hundreds of free themes for all occasions and interface elements.

10 Reasons Why Web Projects Fail

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 06 January 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

Nowadays every project uses some sort of CMS. Instead of painting a canvas in the old days of HTML, the requirement is to build software applications that need to follow more traditional development approaches.

If the project is coded improperly, then quite often you have to throw it away and start over. The cost to fix all of these problems can be significant.

Here are some of the most common reasons that make so many web projects fail.

Unqualified Developers

You want to build this incredibly complex website that will automate your business and benefit from the wonderful opportunities the web provides. Everyone is telling you they can do it for you and they all sound the same. The problem is most of the people you are talking to may not be qualified to do the job. Most marketing agencies are incredible at building a brand, but do they have the people in-house to build a website or application?

Hiring developers in-house could get you a jack-of-all-trades and a master-of-none. Multiple people with specialization of different disciplines is required to build today’s complex websites. In-house resources are better suited once the project is launched. The developer can then support in-house resources on an as needed basis saving you money.

Unclear Definition of the Scope & Requirements

Everyone is so anxious to get going, but they don’t think about how it’s all going to work and what happens under different scenarios.

This is especially true when a company puts their business online for the first time. Most clients think they know what they want, but the devil is in the details. I’ll bet that you have met a huge number of clients that when pressed to detail their process, haven’t thought through all of the ramifications.

Make sure you go through a detailed planning exercise before you start building. Make sure you’re building something that clients want and need, not just what you want. Get input from customers.

Lack of Stakeholders

Management wants a new website to meet corporate objectives and to increase its ROI. Then management doesn’t take the time to get involved when key decisions are being made.

Huge problems can arise when management tests the Beta version and finds it’s not what they initially wanted. Changes can be very expensive in time and money if made at the end of a project instead of the beginning.

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you have a really complex project, built it in phases. You don’t have to publish it all on the web at once. There is nothing wrong with replacing an existing website after three or four phases are completed.

Designing Without Purpose or Function

You have probably seen some beautiful designs for new projects that just cannot be built or would be too expensive to build. It’s best to wireframe out all of the functionality taking into account the platform you’re using before the design is done.

Then have the development team work with the designer, so together they come up with something that is both beautiful and functional. Otherwise, you could end up with a Frankenstein site that is neither.

Not Using Version Control

It’s unfathomable today to build a new website without some sort of source code control system. When developers create, support, and update source code files for a large application, the coordination can be complex.

Source-control systems record all file changes, with comments, in a project. You need to have the ability to roll back functionality, merge work together and work offline. Proper source code control is vital for any project.

Lack of Good Project Management

The Project Manager (PM) is the Quarterback (or number 10) of the football team. The PM is responsible for the successful planning, execution, monitoring, control and closure of a project.

The PM needs to understand the client’s needs and provide communication to and from the developers. Without a proficient PM, the project will get off track and become a runaway train that ends in disaster. A good PM will publish weekly progress reports keeping everything on track.

Hacking Core or Source Code

Hacking is changing the source code structure. When an unqualified developer doesn’t know how to do something, they tend to hack the code to make it work. This causes a number of problems and greatly affects quality. If a developer fixes one problem and another arises, it may be the result of a lot of hacks.

Doing so will make it near impossible for site updates due to security and bug fixes. It also makes it difficult for those that come in later to maintain the site and could possibly leave a site vulnerable to exploits.

Scope Creep

A good PM’s main job is to keep things on track. It’s natural as you go through the development, to come up with new ideas and things you want. You need to realize that every time you make a change, it all adds to the time and cost of a project.

If a website is built and tested, you will have to retest after the change. Some changes are beneficial, especially if they make the website better for users. But lots of indecision and changing can derail a project. Scope Creep happens when decision makers aren’t involved early on or the project didn’t go through proper planning.

Lack of Cohesive Quality Assurance

All projects have bugs, so it’s better to find the problems first instead of the users. Set aside 20% to 25% of the development time to perform proper QA. Make sure there is a comprehensive QA Plan, otherwise you could get a website that has a lot of issues.

Developers need to be thinking about quality from day one and be responsible for fixing their problems. Otherwise, things could get very sloppy.

Building a successful website requires all ten of these areas to be adequately addressed. Failure to perform any of these tasks could derail a project which ends up being completely wasted money in the budget.

When you select a developer make sure they can address all of these before you start. Properly done projects can be a tremendous asset to the wellbeing of your company.

Methods for Improving UX with Motion Design

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 05 January 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

Animation in apps has taken on a new and improved meaning. Unlike the flashy, confusing website animations of the old days, new animation is clean, smooth, and easy to navigate. Forget what you know about GIFs, obnoxious ads, and Flash websites. Those are things of the past.

When animation is used sparingly and used correctly, it greatly improves user experience (UX). There’s a host of new trends emerging in the animation world. HTML5 and CSS3 have given web designers a way to incorporate movement on a webpage without making it an eyesore. Bring a little motion to your website incrementally to make sure you’re not overloading the page and cluttering the UX. Here are a few methods to incorporate animation on your website.

Animation Between Pages

Animating page headers and page loads is an effective way to add some movement to your website without going overboard. When visitors come to your site, they see a smooth transition between pages. They’re typically quick to load, and they close the gap between pages with one fluid animation.

Infinite Scrolling Paired with Animation

We’ve talked before about the infinite scroll trend. Many website are using infinite scroll to keep all their information in one place. Instead of navigating a page through a series of menus and submenus, users simply continue scrolling down until they find what they’re looking for.

Infinite scroll is a beautiful way to incorporate motion, as long as the components on the page are clean and cohesive. Too many colorful blocks or too much movement will confuse visitors and load unpredictably. Consider using big background pictures or a grid in a pleasing color palette to create cohesiveness and simplicity.

Bringing Charts & Graphs to Life

Animated charts are easy to integrate and fun to look at. They add a bite-sized portion of movement to your website and make for an entertaining infographic. " Custora.com , a website that analyzes e-commerce trends, shows off its data with an array of gorgeously animated charts.

Metrics such as mobile orders are generated in a bar chart, which loads as you scroll down onto it. It brings a little excitement to what would otherwise be some dull data points. Visitors are naturally attracted to watching the bars load because they want to see where they stop.

In this case, animation is used to hack into the visitor’s psyche. Again, the animation is pleasing to the eye because the page isn’t overloaded with colors and other forms of animation. The website has a subdued color palette with a muted bright font on a crisp, white background. That gives the content on the page a chance to step forward without having to compete with other elements on the site.

Controlled Modular Scrolling

Modular scrolling gives users control over your site’s animation. Modular scrolling features individual panels users can scroll through. This type of animation is effective because it can be used across multiple industries. For example, a construction company could allow users to scroll through one panel of images, which serves as a portfolio of work, while the other panel has individual menu buttons and company information.

Of course, the most effective websites keep other elements of design simple to allow for all that movement. Otherwise, you risk giving users a sensory overload.

Stylizing Anchor Text Animations

Hovering has been around for some time now, but motion design trends have made it nice to look at. When you hover over a link, it lights up like Christmas tree. But instead of using old animations to show a word is clickable, why not do something interesting?

This website shows a few examples (below) of how you can make hovering a little more visually stimulating. It shows how you can use color negatives, fading, outlines, and other little details to highlight anchor text. It’s animation on a very small scale, but it still has an effect on the user. If you’re looking for a subtle way to add some visual interest to your site, changing your hover text is a nice way to do so.

As with all things web design, balance is essential. If you choose to get on board with the motion design trend, implement it in baby steps to get a better idea of what’s just enough and what’s too much. Whether you choose to go small-scale with animated forms or anchor text or go bigger with something like modular scrolling, your users will have a more pleasant and interactive experience – and that’s always good for business.

Exploring the Long Scrolling Web Design Trend

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 05 January 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

The smaller the screen, the longer the scroll.

That truism explains the rise of the long scrolling: with mobile browsing overtaking desktop browsing in 2014, the popularity of small screens has urged designers to rethink their outdated “above the fold” mentality.

Long-scrolling creates plenty of new opportunities for storytelling, navigation, creative visuals, and a more immersive overall experience. As a result, we find several common techniques and strategies start to emerge:

Parallax Graphics

Borrowed from the video game industry, this strategy of moving the backgrounds at different speeds creates a 3D effect and stimulating visuals that are more enjoyable to interact with.

Screens as Pages

An important way to organize information on a single page, differentiating concepts into screen-sized sections, usually by changing the background, makes sites more cohesive.

Sticky Navigation

One of the biggest drawbacks of long scrolling is disorienting the user, so having a navigation system that always stays in the same place on the screen gives users control and security to prevent getting lost.

Animated Interactivity

Scroll-triggered animations add a fun level of interactivity that engages the user to a point where they enjoy scrolling regardless of content.

Atypical Direction

Due to the recent trendiness of long scrolling, sites can set themselves apart by scrolling left, right, or upwards.

Indicators

Some users will not think to scroll on their own, so quick instructions like “scroll down” or another indicator avoids confusions — just be sure to distinguish these from other links or calls-to-action.

Best examples of long-scrolling sites.

The Rise of the Almost-Flat Design Web Trend

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 05 January 2016
  • Categories: Web Design

Starting as an alternative to the then-popular skeuomorphic style, flat design originated as a wholly simplistic and minimalist style that lived up to it’s name. Throughout the last few years, however, it’s been evolving to satisfy the shifting tastes of users and to implement the advancements of technology.

Flat design in its current state (what Ryan Allen calls “Flat 2.0”) is a style different than, but similar to, what it was in the past.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Flat Design

Take a look at our short analysis below to see if a flat design can help your site.

Advantages:

  • 1. Conducive to responsive design
  • 2. Easy for users to learn the system and navigate
  • 3. Structured layout and crisp visuals create visual maturity
  • 4. Speedy loading times
  • 5. Simple typography promotes readability

Disadvantages:

  • 1. Deceptively difficult to do well
  • 2. Simplistic style can weaken the signifiers
  • 3. High risk of appearing boring
  • 4. Lack of individuality due to its popularity

Now that you know what the style has to offer, let’s look at 7 techniques for using it.

Shading

Part of Flat 2.0, shading adds a depth and complexity without sacrificing the minimalistic elements that make flat design appealing.

Dynamic Colors

To make up for the sparse visual effects, flat design embraces dynamic color, especially bright hues. The energizing colors contrasted with one another keep a page of few elements from appearing dull.

The lively colors of flat design have, from the beginning, been one of its most identifiable characteristics. The above site for the CSS Conference uses a traditional flat palette, with soft and happy hues. Because color usage is so crucial, the site Flat UI Colors has collected some of the most effective of these patterns.

Simple Typography

True to form, the typography in flat design stays simple and easy to read — which equates to sans serif and a uniform stroke width.

With its emphasis on readability, the popularization of flat typography is even infiltrating other, less minimalist styles of design. We see this flat style of text used with hero headers, oversized typography or type-only websites.

Ghost Buttons

One of the trendiest elements in web design lately, the ghost button fits in equally well with the photo hero backgrounds as it does with flat design, and for the same reason: it doesn’t draw too much attention to itself, but is still recognizable as a button.

The basic typography within the buttons furthers the effects of deflecting too much attention. The minimal distraction of ghost buttons suits flat design’s classic sparsity, and makes it one of flat design’s most noticeable features. As opposed to some other traits on this list, the ghost button can easily be used with almost any style.

Minimalism

Flat design and minimalism go hand-in-hand, sharing many of the same principles like usability and simplicity.

While it may seem like the easy way out, minimalism is actually harder to apply than it looks. Fewer elements mean you have to use the available ones with more care.

Iconography

With only the essential elements on the screen, icons need more detail and flair to keep things interesting.

Icons are growing in size to incorporate more detail, and as such as becoming more of a mainstay artistic element for a site’s expression. Notice how with the Stash Flat Icons above, each icon features the flat style within itself. Bright colors, cartoony designs, and just enough detail.

Accent Colors

The traditional bright color palettes of flat design will never fully go out of style. Flat design does, however, appear to be shifting to more standard color palettes with bright colors used only as accents.

Contrasting the bright colors against dryer backgrounds and surrounding elements gives the designer more control over what’s seen and what’s not. This works especially well with the basic colors, particularly black and white, which make flat’s bright colors stand out even more.

Flat design characteristics are slowly seeping into other styles of web design, and hybrid designs are becoming just as common as the purebreds. Don’t be hesitant about only using one or two of the above traits if you don’t want to fully commit to a flat design — these tactics can often succeed on their own, and may be the initial inspiration for a more innovative style all your own.

How to Use Color in Web Design

  • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 05 January 2016
  • Categories: Design

The current landscape of color in website design is interesting to think about. Most websites look more or less the same, yet color can be a powerful tool in design.

I’m not trying to state this as anything revolutionary or as an extraordinary find. But if most websites have similar color schemes, what does that mean for color? Actually, it means a lot. Imagine a world where every website was colorful – it would possibly be very pretty and rainbow-filled but it would mean that nothing stood out. It’s like having every paragraph bolded in your essay.

Therefore, when color schemes are muted, it allows for many opportunities.

Draw Attention to Anything You Want

Most websites start with a basic grayscale look – white background and black text. Color comes in as accents that get you to look places. That’s why websites are not filled with color – they use it to get you to look at the buttons, headlines or links.

Create Personality

Color is wonderful because it can set a tone and mood for a website or brand. Beagle is a service for creation project briefs and their site starts of with lighter earth tones. As you scroll down their homepage you view pleasant shades of brown, charcoal, green and even pink. The earthly tones look professional and elegant making for a great impression on behalf of the company.

Make a Grand Statement

Making a statement through color can be really fun. You have to make sure that the color stands out and grabs the attention of the user. That’s easy. But it also has to be a good color choice for the statement being made. You can’t just pick any neon color, it has to make sense for the overall purpose of the page and its look and feel.

Provide Cohesion and Flow

Color can also be used to guide a user along with a flow. It’s exactly like guiding a user’s eye like in the above example of Takeit but less drastic. Color can be subtle and there doesn’t need to be dramatic or over the top in order to help guide a user along. It’s especially helpful when the hues are cohesive among each other. It’s basically how brand colors work.

Take Marvel or Dropbox. Both of these apps have great color schemes that are predominantly blue. But you see other colors in their graphics like green, orange or red that fit well together; it’s like they make sense.

Color in Images

An interesting trick with color is when you use it through images. UI elements are not the only ones that can add some color to a website. With the rise of photo background and big product photos on landing pages it’s a good idea to try to use the composition of images to bring color to your designs.

Who Needs Color Anyway?

It’s interesting to see websites without color, too. Sometimes you don’t need it. Websites can still be gorgeous without reds, greens or blues. Grayscale color schemes can create the necessary look and feel for a brand as well as make a statement.

The lack of color can be stylish and look great in just black and white.

Easy Accounting

  • Author: Global Edge Software Ltd / 30th November 2015
  • Categories: ODOO - OpenERP

Easy Accounting supports small businesses to large corporations - with accounting, invoices, sales, purchases, customer relations, human resources and much, much more. Easy Accounting provides an integrated view of core business processes, in real-time. Track business resources - cash, raw materials, productivity - and know the status of business commitments - orders, purchase orders, payroll. With Easy Accounting, information is entered only once and this data is shared among departments, business relations and your accountant.

Easy Accounting modules

  • Accounting
  • Accounting is the financial backbone of any organisation. A fully customizable general ledger and multiple journals, cashbook and bank reconciliation. Generate reports like a balance sheet and profit & loss anytime.

  • Invoices
  • Professional, clear and correct invoices improve the payment morale of your customers. Fully customizable and easy to generate.

  • Sales Management
  • Create sales quotations, sales orders, sales invoices and manage contracts under Sales Management module.

  • Warehouse Management
  • Warehouse management provides you with a double entry inventory system and allows you to track products and generate inventory reports.

  • Human Resources
  • Manage employees and their timesheet activities or attandance, issue payslips with payroll, manage expenses are a few operations that can be carried out under Human Resource module.

  • CRM
  • The customer relationship management module allows to manage leads, manage sales team, multi-level marketing campaigns, and has many more features.

    Inlife Training Institute

    • Author: Global Edge Software Ltd / 30th November 2015
    • Categories: Training Center

    Inlife Training Institute is a training centre for education, located in Port Louis. Being an MQA registered training institute, we offer low-cost, high-quality computer literacy training. As such, we offer a wide range of computer training courses that cover everything from basic PC literacy to advanced Microsoft courses designed to help users get the most out of the software they use on a daily basis.

    Inlife Training Institute's Courses

  • Basic Computer Skills
  • In this course, students will gain skills and knowledge required to operate a computer and to perform common tasks. This course is great for adults with no previous computer experience.

    Package Courses are:

    1. Introduction to Computer.
    2. Microsoft Office Package.
    3. Internet & Email....

  • HTML 5 & CSS
  • The aim of this course is to provide essential knowledge and skills for designing, publishing and maintaining websites for personal or professional use.

    Course Contents are:

    1. Web Concepts & HTML syntax.
    2. CSS: Styling web pages.
    3. Creating web Layout and Navigation....

  • Photoshop
  • The aim of this course is to teach candidates how to create eye catching designs and to prepare candidates to improve digital photos with editing.

    Course Contents are:

    1. Vector Drawing Techniques.
    2. Typographic Design.
    3. Correcting and Enhancing Digital Photographs....

  • Advanced Course(PHP, JQuery & Bootstrap)
  • In this course, students will learn advanced features of HTML5 & CSS3, PHP & MySQL, JQuery, and Bootstrap to build complex, mobile friendly and dynamic websites.

    Package Courses are:

    1. HTML5 & CSS3.
    2. Advanced PHP & MySQL.
    3. Advanced JQuery.
    4. Advanced Bootstrap....

    E-Transfer Technologies

    • Author: Global Edge Software Ltd / 30th November 2015
    • Categories: Online Banking Software

    The ETT financial software product is a system that provides support for financial services and helps managing financial institutions. The system provides a database core and a front- end for customer facing functions and a back-office for and staff-facing functions. As an online banking solution, it can be used to support e-banking, payment processing, treasury management, foreign exchange and other applications.

    Using our banking software, you can allow your customers to: apply for accounts, create subaccounts, access funding instructions for their accounts, manage beneficiaries, request payments, transfers and foreign exchange transactions, query their account statements, and close accounts, and more.

    Unlike other treasury management systems provided by, or used by banks, the ETT financial solutions integrates foreign exchange processing directly into the transaction processing system and assumes that all customers will send and receive multiple currencies and will hold foreign exchange positions. Similarly the software assumes that there will be multiple banks providing facilities to the platform, and that the back-office manager will choose the most efficient bank by currency or time zone, for, example. This requires the back office manager to be able to reconcile all these positions, on demand, by bank and by currency. The unique reconciliation function of the software can enable instantaneous profitability calculations and integrity checks at the push of a button and at electronic speeds. These specific attributes mean that the system is extremely efficient, easy to implement and easy to manage.

    Main Software Features

  • Manage third party funds anytime, anywhere
  • 1. See a consolidated picture of customer accounts, own funds and revenues.
    2. Approve customer payments and FX.
    3. Monitor account activity, access transaction history, etc.

  • Security
  • 1. Reset passwords and authorization codes for your customers.
    2. SSL certification included Monitor back office user activity.
    3. Most Modern and Advanced Security System.

  • Online Banking Software
  • 1. Quickly and easily execute transfers for your customers.
    2. View, print and download account statements.
    3. Access detailed information

  • Advantages for your customers
  • 1. Improved use of IT resources and business processes.
    2. Better relationships with suppliers/ customers.
    3. Quick delivery of products and services.
    4. A reduction in data entry and customer services related errors

  • Improved efficiency
  • 1. Analysis on demand of your financial situation including revenues and net assets to date.
    2. Reconciliation on demand of your treasury by currency, bank or liquidity pool.
    3. Search transactions by client, currency, amount, transaction ID, date, transfer type.

  • Quick and Easy
  • 1. Manage pre-paid debits cards for your customers.
    2. Add cards to accounts, allowing customers to load directly from their accounts.
    3. Export formatted data for your card program.
    4. Have your own private banking software.

    Drupal 8 Released With a Powerful New Suite of Tools

    • Published by: Global Edge Software Ltd / 30th November 2015
    • Categories: Content Management System (CMS)

    The popular open source CMS just released their latest update Drupal 8. Their latest release hope to create better user experiences for anyone using the CMS for their business or personal website. Drupal 8 features a whole new suite of tools and capabilities, including native support for integrations, API-first publishing and better performance and scalability. In addition Drupal now includes enhanced testing with KernelTestBase, for quick API testing of how well various components are integrated.

    With over 200 new features and improvements.

  • Universal configuration storage
  • Drupal 8’s configuration system handles all kinds of config settings, and you have options for how and where you store your data. By default, both global and itemized settings are stored, in a standard format, in the database. But you can change that. Choose Drupal UI, Drush, or file-based workflows. You can also export your config data into YAML files to manage it with version control. And, if you need to, you can override config data in your settings.php file.

  • For better deployments
  • You’ve learned—theoretically, or the hard way—to be very careful about making configuration changes on live sites. But exporting and importing settings between environments hasn’t exactly been simple. Now, you can move production-ready data out of development or staging more fluidly. Drupal includes support for generating and validating universally unique identifiers (UUID) to sync configuration between instances of the same site. If two environments have the same UUID, Drupal 8 makes it easier to deploy single or full-export configuration changes from one to the other (and back again).

  • And for better maintenance
  • The new configuration tools aren’t just for launches and roll-outs. A lot of work happens before and after pushing changes live. That’s why Drupal supports configuration schema, dependencies, and validation in all your environments: so you can maintain data-integrity between deployments and updates. Trust that most dependencies are dynamically calculated and declared automatically. Use schema to automate config entity persistence and the generation of the config translation UI.

    HTML5 Sets New Standards for Web Advertisers

    • Author: Global Edge Software Ltd / 30th November 2015
    • Categories: Web

    Now that Flash is officially dead since Apple and Google have decided to no longer support it, HTML has room to take over. Despite being mostly irrelevant in the web design space, Flash was still seen in the online advertising space. Recently, The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has published guidelines on an international standard that set the latest specifications following HTML5-based banner advertising.

    The change comes as Google AdWords now makes it possible to automatically convert advertisements created using Flash into HTML5. Below is a list of some of the advantages that come with the change from Flash to HTMLs when it comes to ad design and capability.

    1. Smaller File Sizes
    2. Mobile friendly
    3. Advertisers and developers have more options
    4.HTML5 banners can be constructed responsively
    Can use everything from animations, web fonts and complex graphics, even video!

    How Will Privacy by Design Affect Web Design

    • Author: Global Edge Software Ltd / 30th November 2015
    • Categories: Web

    Privacy by Design (PbD) is a term for a concept that was first originated by a joint team on “Privacy-enhancing technologies” back in 1995. PbD involves engineering something with privacy in mind from start to finish. Creating things with privacy sprinkled on in is a common analogy used when referencing Pbd. It is though that any product, service, or program will automatically be better because it was developed with privacy in mind.

    However there is some vagueness that surrounds design with “privacy” being sprinkled in. Designers may only focus on one specific feature of privacy. We see this become more commonly in the form of Fair Information Practice Principles or disclosure placed on sites around the web. When designing with user privacy in mind there are a two main things designers need to keep in mind.

  • Volunteered Personal Data
  • Most personal data on websites is shares through forms filled out on a site or landing page. When designing with PbD in mind there is a multitude of user privacy questions one must ask themselves. How clear is it to the user what you will do with their personal data submitted? How is the user submitted notified of this? How is the information saved or distributed?

  • Automated Personal Data
  • Most of the data collection for advertising is collected through the use of cookies and other which is read by various platforms for advertising or data collection a website uses. There are locations outside the US that have rules set to track visitor consent and cookies.

    Designing with Pbd in mind hold the website developer or designer responsible for the technology added to site therefore requiring the designer to potentially evaluate every aspect of technology infrastructure for user privacy.

    How did the web look and feel in 2015? We look back at some of the biggest web trends of the year.

    • Author: Global Edge Software Ltd / 30th November 2015
    • Categories: Web

    What makes a site look modern and what makes it look dated? Every year, survival of the fittest chooses which trends work and which ones don't. With 2015 coming to a close, we can now pinpoint the most successful trends of 2015, the ones that define the year's style and show enough strength to carry forward into the new year.

  • Long scrolling
  • With mobile browsing now exceeding desktop, 2015 saw web design catering more to smaller screens. Like many of the trends on this list, long scrolling became popular for its usefulness in responsive design: smaller screens means longer scrolls.

  • Best practices
  • 1. Use a sticky navigation menu or a jump-to-section option to improve navigation. Long scrolling and single-page sites are susceptible to disorienting users, so put a safeguard in place.
    2. Draw out the playful aspects of long scrolling with effects such as parallax and scrolling-triggered animations

  • Flat design reimagined
  • Years ago when skeuomorphism was (ironically) a modern trend, flat design emerged as an adversarial alternative.

    However, the flat design today is a far stretch from its origins. The new, more nuanced iteration of flat design — Ryan Allen calls it 'Flat Design 2.0' — offers more opportunity for details and flourishes. The new flat design that dominated 2015 took on the characteristics of:

    1.Lighting glares and highlights.
    2. Gradient and/or drop shadows.
    3.Greater values for detailing

    All-in-all, though, flat design remains flat at heart.

    The general simplicity and minimum embellishments haven't gone anywhere. Its almost-cartoonish graphics, legibility-first typography, and playful colours remain unchanged, and keep the style as one geared for easy comprehension.

  • Powerful animations
  • Animations took on more duties and responsibilities in 2015, reaching beyond aesthetic value to serve more practical roles.

    Because motion attracts attention, animation can influence the visual hierarchy of what gets seen first. Animated effects can advertise certain elements over others, with the potential to contend with more traditional aspects such as size or colour.

    Animations also have the power to show relations. Think of an animated effect around minimizing a window, where it shrinks and then flies into the menu — this animation first confirms the action's success, but also shows the user where on the menu they can view the window later.

    All-in-all, though, flat design remains flat at heart.

    The general simplicity and minimum embellishments haven't gone anywhere. Its almost-cartoonish graphics, legibility-first typography, and playful colours remain unchanged, and keep the style as one geared for easy comprehension.

  • HD backgrounds
  • Working together with trends in photography, the use of HD backgrounds also rose in popularity this year. With more and more people owning HD devices, it was just a matter of time.

    We see HD quality for video, as well as the hero images described above. Browsers and internet speeds can now handle more video, and cinematic backgrounds tend to be more effective at atmosphere and emotional connections than a stagnant photograph.

  • Best practices
  • Scalar vector graphics (SVG) translate images using lines and points, not pixel-for-pixel like raster formats (.jpg, .png, .gif). Use them when you can for new graphics, and save raster formats for real-life images and video because they have a fixed number of pixels from the start — that's why it's important to capture the media in HD from the beginning.

    Most devices' backgrounds will not conform to the usual 1:1.5 aspect ratio of cameras, so take an active role in cropping. Otherwise, you won't control what's cut and what's seen.

  • Bold typography
  • With font rendering no longer a concern and the availability of new, free fonts, typography has begun playing more of a role in web design.

    Bold typography refers to text that draws attention to itself, but is not necessarily wild or elaborate. In fact, simple typography is sometimes the most bold. Along with flat and minimalist trends, current typography also favors simplicity. A sans serif typeface set in a thick styling makes a visual statement while improving readability.

    Regardless of the font, one of the most common uses of typography this year is extreme size. This could be large or small — the trend is simply bringing typeface to its extremes.

  • Best practices
  • To keep it simple, start with just two fonts per site. For variety, experiment with more typefaces, but stick within the same typeface family.

    Remember the primary goal of typography is legibility and readability. It doesn't matter how impressive your typeface is if it's not understood.

    With enough emphasis on visuals, bold typography can take over the role of an image on the page. Text can also be eye candy, and it's common to see pages with beautiful text as the central focus.

  • Involved interactivity
  • The advancements of HTML5, CSS, Javascript, and jQuery now allow deeper interactions, a powerful tool for all businesses. Users are now more involved, with more visual stimulation, stronger content, and more engaging controls. This year saw an increase in:

    1.Clickable/swipe-able elements.
    2. Personalization (especially geolocating).
    3. Control over revealing content.
    4. Video and animation.
    5. Scroll-based navigation.
    6. Transitions and loop functions.
    7.Push notifications.

    The increase in interactions also means an increase microinteractions.

    Interaction design will only get more intricate, making this a trend that's sure to stick around for a while.

    Yet to Release PHP 7 Expected Features and Advantages

    • Author: Global Edge Software Ltd / 29th November 2015
    • Categories: Web Programming

    Have you been waiting for the release of PHP 7 ? If so, your long wait for it is becoming a reality, anytime soon. As a language for web development, it has continued to be popular among the PHP developers community.

    Undoubtedly, this server side scripting language is today the language that is much in demand. With a history of more than two decades, PHP has grown in popularity right from its version 3.0. As time passed, numerous features were added to this language, making the task of web development much interesting.

    Now that PHP 7 is on the horizon, it is certainly worth to discuss what new features can be expected, though this exercise is speculative in nature.

  • PHP 7 Features and changes that are in the Making
  • PHPNG will become the basis for PHP 7
  • NG in PHPNG stands for 'next generation'. PHPNG, a new branch of PHP using Zend Engine, aims at improving the performance of PHP language and memory consumption efficiency. Also, code would run faster with JIT engine in PHP 7 dynamically compiling Zend opcodes into native machine code.

  • Combined Comparison Operators
  • It is also called by the name Spaceship Operator. It serves in performing 3-way comparisons from two operands. < = > operator will return 0 in case the values of both sides are same, will Return 1 in case the value on the left is greater, will Return -1 in case the value on the right is greater.

  • Scalar Type Declarations
  • Scalar Type Declarations will make way to use integers, strings, floats and booleans as type declarations. It has to be noted that scalar type declarations are non-restrictive. So, passing a float value to integer parameter will simply coerce it to int with no warnings or errors getting generated.

    Nevertheless, in case a wrong type is passed as an argument, errors can be thrown by enabling strict mode. For enabling strict mode, declare() directive has to be placed at the file top.

  • Return Type Declarations
  • With the coming of PHP 7, the PHP developer can have the flexibility to define the return type of functions and methods. The return type declarations would also work in coercion mode and strict mode, same as in the case of Scalar Type Declarations.

  • Uniform Variable Syntax
  • Variable operators in the yet to be released PHP 7 obtain wider orthogonality. Unlike in the rest of PHP versions, it is possible to have a new operator combinations. The flexibility of combining variable operators arbitrarily is allowed.

    Added to the above mentioned, PHP 7 will offer consistent 64-bit support, Anonymous class support, Isset Ternary Operator, Abstract syntax tree, null coalesce operator, lots of libraries, generator return expressions, generator delegation, and so on.

  • Conclusion
  • No doubt, after the release of Version 7, PHP web development will get a shot in the arm. For developers, the sheer pleasure of working on PHP will only see an upward trend. As PHP 7 would be released anytime during the fourth quarter of 2015, you should till then continue with the preceding version of PHP, i.e., PHP 5.