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It wasn’t all that long ago that web and product designers were presented with a choice: Fireworks, Illustrator, or Photoshop.

All owned by Adobe, they represented an industry that was dominated by one company. You either spent the large sum of money to buy the individual software or entire creative package, or used a lesser-known, less extensive (and expensive) software.

For a while, Adobe continued to innovate with this software, before beginning to rest on their laurels earlier this decade; it opened the door to new and inventive startups like Bohemian Coding—makers of Sketch—who very quickly began to gain a foothold on the web and product design industries. It drew users away from Adobe software at such a speed that they were forced to react. Similar new features were introduced to current software applications, as was a product design-specific software in the form of Adobe XD.

In more recent times we’ve seen the release of an incredible number of new product and web design tools: Figma, InVision, Framer, Gravit, Justinmind, Atomic, Alva, and Affinity Designer make for just a few of the companies to release competing design tools in the last few years.

the industry is now fragmented with designers all opting for different software and tools

The competitive element has pushed the product teams to innovate at never-before-seen levels. It’s led to some neat and impressive features around collaboration, prototyping,...

The popularity of video content has increased dramatically over the last few years and it’s easy to see why; videos are engaging for all age groups which also makes them an important marketing tool.

Businesses have developed dedicated video marketing strategies which generate more leads and boost sales. Video content is also being used by these same businesses to build a better brand experience and stand out from rest of the competition.

And while it’s entirely possible to create high-quality video content and share it through platforms like YouTube, there’s no guarantee that your video will get noticed by the masses. Why? There’s an enormous amount of video content being uploaded to the Internet every day.

In this post, we’ll step through five ways you can optimize your videos for search engines. By the time you’re done reading through this post, you’ll have a clear understanding of how you can implement video SEO techniques to improve your search rankings and reach a bigger audience.

Before we begin, let’s quickly take a look at the basics of video SEO and why it’s important.

What You Need to Know About Video SEO

The fact of the matter is that most consumers search the web when making purchase decisions. So, if you want to take advantage of video marketing, your videos should be optimized for search engines. Video Search Engine Optimization (video SEO) techniques are used by successful video content creators to improve their search engine rankings and increase visibility...

As sometimes happens, I was thinking the other day. In this case, I was doing my thinking after finishing a long video game: Far Cry 5. It occurred to me that video game creators are the masters of emotional payoff, when everything goes right. The world of that game is in itself rewarding and fun to run around in.

It’s actually enough fun, that I’m more than willing to ignore how the game’s story was an unrewarding, steaming pile of sadness. They made this digital faux-Montana delightful enough that I don’t want to leave. At least I intend to have a few more gaming sessions there, in any case.

That’s actually kind of impressive, when you think about it. The experience has enough emotional payoff to keep me around when I absolutely despised the central narrative. Imagine if a website (Facebook) could (Twitter) do (LinkedIn?) that (Amazon). Well they can, and they do. It’s actually not great, sometimes. But hey, you can use these powers for good.

Anyway, my point is that people want payoff for the effort they put into things, and that includes the websites they browse. You might think receiving the product or service you’re selling is the payoff, and it certainly can be. But you can build emotional rewards into just about any aspect of a website or app.

Here then, are some examples of emotional rewards that can keep people coming back:

1. Connection

Well this is the big and obvious one;...

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

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

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

Mustard UI – A CSS Framework that Actually Looks Good


Site Design: Salt & Pepper


Typeface 2


9 Essential UI Design Trends You Should Stick to in 2018 : JSfiddle for Graphics


Whois is Dead as Europe Hands DNS Overlord ICANN its Arse


Delicious Digital Design Process


A Few Tips on Building Slides


CSS Bullet Style Explained


The Most...

There’s an old saying about dresses and speeches which rightly points out that both should be long enough to cover the subject. In the modern era, men in particular would be well advised to drop all reference to female attire and talk about blogs instead.

How long should a blog be? The infinite Internet has done away with strict word counts and in theory, every online article can be as long as the author feels necessary to get their point across. Unfortunately, many bloggers forget the second part of the old joke relating to dresses and speeches: they should also be short enough to be interesting!

The ideal length of a blog will, to an extent, depend on why you are writing it. Is its primary purpose SEO or social media engagement? Do you want to drive sales or gather backlinks? Does your writing seek to provide detailed knowledge, or entertainment?

The answer to those questions will have a strong bearing on how long your blog posts need to be. But before we look at the possibilities, there’s one thing you need to know…

Respect Editors’ Wishes

There’s just one rule of write club… the editor is always right.

The days of setting words in stone and then printing them onto a page may be almost over, but some consideration for editors and designers is still needed. Online magazines usually have a target word count for their articles: Providing copy that is within around 50 words will...

We’re getting another massive redesign, folks, and this time it comes from a true American (and now worldwide) retail institution. Their new design is focused on delivering a modern, stylish aesthetic, more convenient shopping opportunities, and a renewed focus on fashion. Believe it or not, I’m talking about Walmart.

I’ll be honest, “fashionable” is not the first word that comes to mind when I think about the old Gold, White, and Blue. I mean, I have bought a lot of my clothing there, but that’s because I’ve lived most of my life on a pretty strict budget. Those colors always meant “decent stuff at low-ish prices” to me, and Walmart has been reliable in that.

Aesthetic Changes

Well it seems they’re ready to re-brand themselves just a bit, because their website is taking a whole new approach to the Walmart experience. The first major change is, of course, the new look and feel of their main website. For comparison, here’s the old design:

And here’s the new one:

The old UI was not overly-cluttered, especially given the size of the retailer that we’re dealing with. The new one presents an even greater emphasis on white space, though. Instead of offering you everything all at once, there’s a clear emphasis on selling more finely-targeted products. Everything is still available, but you might have to refine your search.

Speaking of which, search has always been front...

For a couple of years now, AI and Machine Learning have been taking over web forums as well as adding to the excitement of eager developers who are keen to give it a go in their projects. I’m by no means a Machine Learning expert, but I have brushed the surface of it in a couple of development projects which required a “smarter” way of doing things.

To be clear, what we’re going to explore today is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Machine Learning and my examples are going to be quite rudimentary, however Natural Language Processing is quite an exciting prospect and has some amazing, yet creative use cases for your projects, examples of those would be:

  • More intelligent search suggestions and search results
  • Chatbot integration for a better understanding of user input / conversation
  • Text to Speech integrations, similar to services like Amazon Polly
  • Content editing features for content producers like spell checks, syntax and more.
What is NLP?

Natural Language Processing by definition as stated on Wikipedia, refers to: “the application of computational techniques to the analysis and synthesis of natural language and speech.” – Lets break that down.

An NLP library will help you perform relatively complicated data extraction on string. Ever searched on Google and spelled a word incorrectly? Ever noticed how Google then tells you, “Displaying results for x as well” – well that’s some NLP at work. The search form on Google’s home page is incredibly complex...

The holy grail of web development is personalized content; meaning that instead of publishing a generic, one-size-fits-all website, you deliver a bespoke experience to each and every user.

Personalized content, and the bespoke user experiences it enables, means that instead of peddling marketing, you’re building relationships; your users become long-term customers, and even advocates for your brand.

On a web with a new-found obsession with privacy, it’s increasingly hard to personalize a site; at the same time, users’ high-expectations for service mean a generic experience doesn’t cut the mustard.

One solution, is to deliver content based on location; and the simplest way to test for location is with ipstack’s geolocation service.

Using a database of over 2,000,000 unique locations worldwide drawn from large-scale ISPs, and covering more than 200,000 cities, ipstack’s data enables you to quickly determine the location of your user, and adapt your content accordingly.

ipstack’s data enables you to quickly determine the location of your user, and adapt your content accordingly

The intuitive API is incredibly simple to use, and delivers results in JSON or XML format.

Best of all, ipstack’s API is free to use for up to 10,000 requests per month. If you need to scale beyond 10,000 requests, then there’s tiered pricing plans, but 10,000 is more than enough for most small to medium sites.

If you opt for a paid plan, then there are extra features, like currency, time zone, and security modules to dig into, but the core...

Are you one of those designers who loves to test new stuff? Then this month’s collection of what’s new will be a treat! New tools and resources are everywhere this time of year, here are a few that you’re sure to enjoy.

If we’ve missed something that you think should have been on the list, let us know in the comments. And if you know of a new app or resource that should be featured next month, tweet it to @carriecousins to be considered!


FirstSiteGuide is a collection of resources, guides and tools to help you navigate first-time website ownership. Resources can help you start, run and grow an online presence even if you have never done it before. The neat lookup tool also allows you to learn what’s powering a certain website, just type in the URL and search.


There is a productivity app for remote teams. It keeps track of what time it is across time zones for team members so you don’t have to guess or spend time looking it up. Users and times pop up right on the screen.

AI Color Wheel

Here’s an AI application that’s a lot of fun to play with. The AI Color Wheel takes your flat image and colorizes it to generate color palettes. Just upload a design in grayscale, pick a color that appeals to you and get instant palette inspiration. (This is a great tool...

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

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

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

Flowmagic – Simple Time Tracking


Flexible Grid – Framework (Scss/Sass/Css/Html)


A New JPEG Format


Designers Just Fixed Facebook. Your Move, Zuckerberg


Sass Starter for Simple Typography


Start your Designs with a Concept


Gmail Brand New Redesign Leaked


Brutalism Design is the Bad Influence We all Need


Fluent Design System


YouTube and Facebook are Losing Creators to Blockchain-Powered Rivals

Every week we feature a set of comics created exclusively for WDD.

The content revolves around web design, blogging and funny situations that we encounter in our daily lives as designers.

These great cartoons are created by Jerry King, an award-winning cartoonist who’s one of the most published, prolific and versatile cartoonists in the world today.

So for a few moments, take a break from your daily routine, have a laugh and enjoy these funny cartoons.

Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below as well as any related stories of your own…

Kerning blow off

Tech less company

Extended time

Can you relate to these situations? Please share your funny stories and comments below…

Add Realistic Chalk and Sketch Lettering Effects with Sketch’it – only $5!


Push notifications are an essential part of mobile marketing. They get users’ attention faster than any other means of communication. At the same time, push notifications are one of the most challenging things for implementing. Badly implemented push notifications can easily harm your bottom line. According to an Appiterate Survey, 71% of all app uninstalls are triggered by a push notification.

To create good user experience, it’s essential to design notifications to be relevant and useful for your users. In this article, I’ll share a few practical recommendations on how to create better push notifications.

1. Make Notifications Relevant

Have you ever paid attention to the number of notifications you receive on a daily basis from various apps? How many of those notifications are really valuable to you?

Every day, we are bombarded with useless notifications that distract us from our activities. It’s not surprising why we often delete apps that send us irrelevant notifications. At the same time, we don’t mind getting notifications as long as they valuable for us (both interesting and useful information). Thus, it’s essential to ensure that all messages provide value to the user and are worth the momentary interruption.

The difference between two types of notifications can be seen in following examples. The first example is a notification delivered by Facebook. The app sends users notifications to connect to suggested people or even just to remind users to search for friends. Such notifications don’t provide any value for users and...

After years of flat, material and completely minimal styles, the gradient has made a comeback. Everywhere you look, designers are using color fades to add visual interest, create user engagement and just design something that’s worth looking at.

If you aren’t a fan of gradients, maybe it’s time to rethink your stance on the issue. To help convince you, we’ve got 10 reasons to love and use gradients in your website design projects this year.

1. Backgrounds Create Interest

A gradient creates visual interest and helps move users through a design. The eye will land on one area of color and the change between hues and light and dark areas helps shift focus across the screen.

Gradients can be a highly useful and engaging design tool and add spark and intrigue to a multitude of projects. While there are plenty of ways to use gradients, one of the most popular options is as a background element with images, text and other elements layered on top of it.

The example below uses this exact technique. The gradient provides a resting place for the eye with soft colors that help more focus from the top of the screen to the bottom corner, where a “Discover More” direction is located.

The gradient carries through the rest of the page, below the scroll, so that the user always remembers where they are. It also provides a halo type area that highlights the main navigation.


Before I start, I should clarify that my story isn’t from the perspective of a web designer; it’s from the perspective of someone who managed a web design agency and witnessed some pretty awful things done to the offsite team. Like firing every single one of them…without notice…via email…over Christmas…

Jumping into the Unknown

Prior to taking the job at said firm, I had been a lifelong production manager. I worked at a number of high-profile enterprises—many of whom you’ve heard of—as well as for smaller, boutique businesses that were on the up and up. However, my partner at the time accepted a job across the country, and I was unable to take my office job on the road.

Needless to say, when a remote management position opened with Shady Agency [obviously, not their real name], I jumped at it.

It wasn’t just that the job was in my area of specialty or that it gave me the freedom to work from wherever I wanted. The owners of Shady Agency made it seem like theirs was the company to work for: High-profile clientele; Esteemed reputation in their industry; And a 100% remote team all dedicated to the mission.

What I didn’t know at the time though was that the mission boiled down to the following:

If the clients don’t complain about it, just give them the most half-assed work you can manage.

Obviously, I wasn’t aware of this. I was hired to develop technical documentation and bring order...

It’s that time again, readers. We’ve got a variety of sites, here: presentational and simple, colorful and nearly monochromatic. We’re also doing something a little new: we’re including the platform each site was built on, according to my best guesstimate.

At least the WordPress ones are easy… Enjoy.

Note: I’m judging these sites by how good they look to me. If they’re creative and original, or classic but really well-done, it’s all good to me. Sometimes, UX and accessibility suffer. For example, many of these sites depend on JavaScript to display their content at all; this is a Bad Idea, kids. If you find an idea you like and want to adapt to your own site, remember to implement it responsibly.

Reece Parker

We begin with Reece Parker’s illustration portfolio. It’s dark, it’s minimalist, and it has an amusing little animated Q&A that I enjoyed reading through. Now you know how I feel about depending on animation, and all (I am contractually obligated to mention it at least once a month), but this was charming enough to win me over anyway. The whole site pretty much sells itself with charm.

Platform: Semplice

Myles Lucas

Myles Lucas’ portfolio goes straight for the “Well isn’t that something?” approach with a slideshow that is comprised of, well… his name. One letter at a time. The rest of the site isn’t much more subdued, with...

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

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

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

Introducing Artboard Studio


Calling all Web Developers: Here’s Why You Should Be Using Firefox


Modern PHP Without a Framework


Site Design:


Free Book: Coding for Designers


Figma UX Design Kit


DSGN – The Hottest Web Design Showcase


4 Examples of Bad User Onboarding that will Ruin your UX


Working with the New CSS Typed Object Model


25 Best Responsive...

Much has been said about the skills and capabilities of a full stack developer: On one hand, there are people who believe that a full stack developer is a “jack of all trades, master of none.” The range of skills that a full stack developer is expected to have means that those skills do not reach a level of proficiency required for one to be called an “expert.” On the other hand, there are those who argue that even if full stack developers are not experts at all layers, they are still considered skilled and competent since they can perform a wide array of tasks that many people can’t handle.

Full stack developers are a gem for startups, as they provide a range of services and skills that companies with limited resources need. And with the competition in the IT industry growing fiercer than America’s Next Top Model contestants, a developer will feel the pressure to go full stack.

Should You Aim to be a Full Stack Developer?

So how can you become part of the full stack developer workforce that is greatly in demand now? Are your skills up to par with others’? Just how “full” are the stacks of such developers?

A full stack developer refers to a person who understands and has at least the basic skills to develop a product from start to finish. Some people might include design skills as essential for a full stack developer (there’s also what we...

Most people are familiar with the concept of a persona—a fictional character that embodies the traits of your target audience. Marketers gather details from user research and generate a representation of their ideal client. When developing a website or smartphone app, designing for a persona helps identify how users will interact.

Recently Bill Buxton took it one step further when he introduced the concept of a place-ona, a representation that uses smart device feedback to gather data on how and where users interface with their device. Find out how place-onas might give designers and business owners additional insight into consumer behavior and work as a tool in designing for specific locations…

Always Tracking

Most users rely on their smartphones or other mobile devices to provide useful information, but they seldom stop to think about how it’s gathered. In the past, individuals worried about technology interfering with privacy, but now users invest in wearable and portable technology that makes tracking easy. That same technology can help with UX design. Most smartphones currently track the following:

  • Location: If you own an Android or have a Google account, access information on where you’ve been for as long as you’ve had your account. Google says your location history is only available to you, and it’s possible to delete portions, but many other apps provide designers with general location information after users provide consent at download. Snapchat’s Snap Map lets users share their locations and track friends using...

Reddit, the self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’ is getting its first redesign since the heady days of IE7, and George W. Bush’s presidency.

First announced over a year ago, the challenge for Reddit’s in-house team of 22, has been how to update the platform to appeal to new users whose expectations are much evolved from the early web, without alienating old Reddit users comfortable with the status quo.

Reddit has often been hailed as an example of a site that prospers without design; if Reddit can thrive with the same old clunky UI, then why should any company invest in design services. In actuality Reddit established itself using an early version of iterative design. Most of its most recognizable features were developed and integrated without the pomp and ceremony of a full redesign.

Reddit currently serves …4.5% of the human race

Then in 2008, everything stalled. The original founders—now back at the helm—were replaced by a series of CEOs unable to cope with the demands of a site the scale of Reddit. If anything, 2018’s redesign is a return to the approach that first secured Reddit’s place on the web.

Reddit currently serves almost a third of a billion users—that’s just shy of 4.5% of the human race. When taking on a redesign of this size, only one thing is really certain: some users will love it, others will hate it, others will wait and see what others think and then...

As humans, we tend to rely heavily on one piece of information when we make decisions. We often anchor on the first piece of information we are introduced to and judge all subsequently received information in relation to it.

The first piece of information offered automatically becomes the anchor, from which subsequent judgements are made. Anchoring is the persuasive practice of creating a reference point around which we as designers want all other information to be judged and compared to.

Anchoring in the Real World

Do this test at home: Find 3 bowls. Fill one bowl with cold water, the second with hot water and third one with lukewarm water. Now, stick one hand in the cold water and the other one in the hot water and keep them there for 30 seconds or so. Now put both of your hands into the lukewarm bowl. What you will feel now is that one hand will feel the water is warm, the other one that it’s cold.

Nothing is cheap or expensive by itself, cost is always relative.

It’s about the contrast. The same principle applies to price and other comparisons. Nothing is cheap or expensive by itself, cost is always relative. So how can we establish a comparison that makes your price seem cheap?

Once you’ve seen a 150 dollar burger on the menu, 50 dollars sounds reasonable for a steak. What’s the best way to sell a 2,000 dollar wristwatch? Right next to a...