6 Tips for Posting Content Anonymously

For one reason or another, you may find yourself wanting to publish things online anonymously. Now to some, the “A-word” conjures up images of hackers, Guy Fawkes masks, and people generally saying terrible things to each other on Twitter. There’s long been an ongoing debate about whether anonymity is something that should even be allowed on the Internet.

Yes. Yes it should. There’s no doubt that there are terrible people in the world; but anonymity is a powerful tool for good as well. Here are some of the more obvious examples:

  • Fighting the power: It sure would be nice if we lived in a world where everyone in every government had the people’s best interests at heart. We don’t, and they don’t. Ask Nelson Mandela, or any number of other great men and women throughout history who have fought for progress and human rights.
  • Exposing criminal activity: Whether you’re a crime blogger writing about the criminal underworld, or a whistleblower from some large corporation, exposing criminal activity is dangerous. People have died.
  • Adult content, and other “culturally offensive” themes: Something as simple as writing your own (very personal) memoirs can draw a lot of unwanted attention from those around you. Even if what you’re doing isn’t morally or ethically wrong by any reasonable standard, people aren’t always terribly understanding. And then, perhaps the people in your life would rather that their personal activities didn’t become public knowledge. Staying anonymous is a good way to avoid unnecessary drama, in cases like these.
  • Maybe it’s just work: One of my favorite blogs back in the day was Waiter Rant where a then-anonymous waiter told all of his juiciest stories. He stayed anonymous for the simple reason that his bosses didn’t want any extra drama at their restaurant. Besides, rude customers who might’ve just been having a really bad day don’t deserve the kind of hate the Internet can put out.
  • Not holding back: Webdesigner Depot runs a series of posts written anonymously called The Secret Designer. They’re anonymous, because

Why Don’t We Just Use Material Design?

I work out of a small office in a co-working environment. Next to my dedicated space is a hot-desking area used primarily for video conferencing. Thanks to a bank of west-facing windows, an overenthusiastic heating policy, and unseasonably hot weather, meetings are often conducted with the doors open, and it’s then that I overhear some of the most engrossing insights into the minds of both clients and designers, that I’ve ever encountered.

Last week, as I munched on my lunch, I was eavesdropping on a meeting to determine the design direction of a fairly well known site (that will remain anonymous). The owner was connected from Australia, there were high-up members of the team connected from the US, and the UAE, and the design/dev team was about 10ft from me.

The conversation was increasingly heated, and centered around the fact that one of the design team had been removed from the project: such-and-such was a great person, and really dedicated, but her design style was all wrong; things had gone off the rails since such-and-such left; such-and-such did beautiful work, but it didn’t test well with users; and so forth.

Material Design…is seen as the standard to aspire to

The management team were clearly desperate to uncover a new design direction in which to take the service, and the design team were clearly desperate to accommodate them. After several hours of back and forth based on little (as far as I could hear) but subjective opinions, someone uttered a phrase that almost made me crash the meeting with subjectives of my own:

“Why don’t we just use Material Design?”

I’m not sure who said it, but it sounded like it was in the room. What followed was a cacophony of praise for Google’s design system: The designers admired it, the one developer I could identify loved it, the owner hadn’t heard of it but loved Google’s business model, the UX Lead—who until this point, I hadn’t heard contribute anything, said it was the “ultimate refinement of human-centered design”.

Five minutes …

7 Steps to Successfully Onboarding Design Clients

You’ve done the hard work: you’ve taken a lead and turned them into a paying customer. Congrats! Now, you have to build their website.

But is it that simple? The client signs the contract and you immediately get to work on designing the website?

You could certainly approach the kickoff of a web design project that way. However, you’d be missing out on the huge benefits of having a well-laid-out onboarding process.

By the time you have a signed contract in hand, you’ve already established some basic expectations with your client. That’s good. You never want to enter into a relationship with a client if they (or you) don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.

Onboarding further strengthens the basic groundwork you’ve laid down.

Use this onboarding checklist to ensure you give each of your web design projects as strong a start as possible.

Step 1: Duplicate Your Project Management Template

This first step assumes that you have a web design project template. If you haven’t created one yet, I’d strongly encourage you to do so. Each project you take on will have the same basic structure, so why not spare yourself the trouble of having to recreate it every time?

Regardless of which project management software you use, duplicating your template is easy.

In Trello, you’ll click “Show Menu”:

Then, “Copy Board”:

Name it with the new client’s name and click “Create”.

Or, in Asana, you’ll click on the “More” (three dots) icon:

Then, “Duplicate Project”:

Name it with the new client’s name and then click “Create New Project”.

Add any team members that will be working on the job to the folder now.

Step 2: Save Project Documents to the Folder

Centralize all of your documents, communications, and deliverables in the new project management folder. Start with the scope-of-work (SOW), proposal, and any notes you gathered on the client prior to the signing of the contract.

Step 3: Schedule a Kickoff Call with the Key Stakeholder

If you haven’t already done so, identify who …

What’s New For Designers, April 2019

We’re all about learning tools this month in our round of up new resources and tools for designers. From games to books to tutorials, there’s something new for everyone to learn and 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!

CSSBattle

Jump to the top of the CSSBattle leaderboard by using CSS skills to replicate targets with the smallest possible code. Put your skills to the test in this fun way to test your knowledge. New targets being added as well so you can keep going and moving up in the rankings.

UX Agenda

UX Agenda is a compilation of conferences, meetups and workshops in a single, searchable location. Look for events near you or add your own UX events for free.

Codetalks.tv

Codetalks.tv is a collection of the best talks about coding around the world in one place. Watching any of the videos is free. Look for talks from specific conferences or by topic.

Static Pages

Static Pages allows you to publish any static page on a WordPress website with any URL in a matter of seconds. It also includes SEO optimization for ease of use.

Static Pages – Upload Static HTML Pages to WordPress

Javascript Grammar

Javascript Grammar is an educational e-book offering from Greg Sidelnikov, also known as @js_tut or JavaScript teacher on twitter. You can get it on Amazon, with a tweet or direct from the author.

Illustration Gallery

Illustration Gallery is a collection of royalty-free illustrations for projects. It’s updates weekly with plenty of options for personal or business use in a clean, modern style.

Neort

Neort (which is still in beta) is a digital art gallery where you can share artwork and how it was created. Upload work with a short description and gather feedback on it from a community of artists. Think of it as the artist version …

Popular Design News of the Week: April 8, 2019 – April 14, 2019

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.

Water.css – Make your Tiny Static Websites Beautiful

 

How We Used WebAssembly to Speed up Our Web App by 20X

 

What Design Tools Get Wrong

 

Illustrated.dev

 

New Logo for IKEA

 

How to Create Clipped, Blurred Background Images in CSS

 

Kickstarter Campaign – Gimli : VIsual Web Tools for Visual Studio Code

 

Hyper Editor – A Backend Agnostic Block-based WYSIWYG Editor

 

How to Build a Design System from Scratch

 

UI/UX Patterns You Literally Cannot Design

 

Find Color Names by HEX Value or Invent New Ones with this Twitter Bot

 

The Most Relaxing Colour in the World? Dark Blue Apparently

 

21 Pricing Page Design Secrets for More Conversions

 

Public Sans

 

The Five Areas of UX

 

Feeling Empty in Whitespace: My Love and Hate Relationship with Negative Space

 

Building a Front End with no JavaScript

 

The 12 Branding Archetypes of Successful Businesses

 

ColorKitty

 

Color Accessibility: Tools and Resources to Help Design Inclusive Products

 

After Nearly Three Years of Development, Does Adobe XD Offer Enough of a Challenge for Designers to Consider a Change?

 

What do Potential Clients Want to See in your Portfolio?

 

If You’re not Uncomfortable Showing your Work, that Might Be a Bad Sign

 

Partners in Design — a Guide to Client Empathy

 

No Country

Master Information Architecture by Designing with Data

In today’s digital era, having an impactful and compelling website is a critical component for any business or organization. A useful site that connects with your audience instills trust, screams authority, and drives action, can mean the difference between remaining relevant and competitive or falling silently to the wayside.

Despite the critical importance of websites in today’s competitive landscape, many web designers find their creations falling short on the performance matrix, under-delivering on KPIs and leaving those in charge scratching their heads for an answer.

Simply put, sometimes innovative layouts and stunning visuals aren’t enough. Lack of data in the design process can create a disconnect between what “works” and what looks or feels appealing.

The marriage of data and design makes for a compelling approach to data-driven design processes and can act as a guiding force for strategizing and implementing site architecture and design elements that not only look great but meet or exceed performance expectations.

Market Research – Where it all Begins

In life, as in business (and web design), having a clear direction and goal in mind from the outset will make for a predictable journey to that end.

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable

~ Seneca

Market research is all about understanding your audience, analyzing the competition and competitive landscape, and looking introspectively inward to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Market Demands

Your “market” represents the gameboard, along with all of its components and pieces upon which your design strategy executes. As it relates to market demands, what elements are vital, required or expected of your design and website?

Examples:

  • Visible accreditations or licensure;
  • Prominent reviews and ratings;
  • Specific contact or support channels;
  • Information such as guides or training materials;
  • Product/service visuals or demonstrations;
  • Transparent pricing.

Market demands vary and will be particular to your specific industry, geographic location, and other factors.

Competition / Competitive Landscape

You know what they say: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. While you don’t need to become best …

How to Sell Web Design Services

It’s becoming easier to design websites, what with Wix, Squarespace, and even now WordPress providing DIY site builder tools. On the flipside of that, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to convince even the least technically-savvy business owner that they shouldn’t try to build their own website.

Sadly, the rise of the site builder isn’t the only excuse prospects have for not wanting to work with web designers.

In this post, I’m going to explain the most common reasons why prospects say “no”, or “not now”, or “not you” and what to do about it.

“I don’t have time to talk about this. Can you just send me an email with the information?”

You’re being given a brush off before you’ve ever had a chance to make your pitch. That’s because they view a website as a burden.

When you hear this objection, gently explain that it’s okay, what you have to tell them won’t take too long. This isn’t about stealing their time; this is about giving more of it back to them.

Just make sure you come prepared with a clear explanation of what you’re going to do for them (focus on the benefits, not the features) and be able to explain it quickly.

“I don’t need a website. I have a Facebook / LinkedIn / Google page”

Explain that, while social media is indeed a necessity in this day and age, nothing can substitute for a website.

With a website, the business controls the narrative of their story. Plus, the business doesn’t have to compete with surrounding links and ads and other company mentions. The website is their dedicated space to proclaim to the world wide web: “This is what we do!”

In addition, websites can do things that social media and a Google My Business page cannot; like accept reservations and appointments; or sell memberships, digital downloads, and physical products; or actively target specific keywords for ranking in search results.

A website is a powerful tool they can’t afford to be without.

“I already have a

6 Actionable Tips for Accessible Emails

WHO suggests that 1.3 billion people all around the world have some kind of visual impairment – which includes 217 million people with moderate to severe vision impairment; 36 million people are blind worldwide; 15% of the global population have some kind of disability.

With the advancements in adaptive technologies, such as screen readers, magnifiers, eye-tracking, joysticks, and sip-and puff technology, visually impaired and disabled people are able to use computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Emails that are designed taking into consideration only people with a normal range of vision, hearing, and mobility, may not be usable for others. As a result, email accessibility is now a must-know topic for designers.

Let’s take a deep dive into how to design accessible emails, and reach each and every subscriber on your list.

1. Email Copy

Divide your copy into easily readable chunks with the help of headings. By doing so, your email will be easily understandable for every subscriber, including those who are listening to the email with the help of a screen reader. Check your emails with Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease test in Microsoft Word. It will let you know the readability score of your emails:

  • 90-100: Easily understood by child of 11 years.
  • 60-70: Easy to understand by 13-15 years old teens.
  • 30-50: Easy to understand by college students.
  • 0-30: Understood by college graduates.

Use lucid and to-the-point language to get a better (higher) score.

Take a look at this email by SurveyMonkey. It has a succinct copy with a neat presentation. The ample white space makes it easy to read. The contrasting CTAs in the white background are clearly visible to the reader.

2. Visual Elements

If you are creating an accessible email, the imagery should not contain the text that conveys the core message of the email. Even if you decide to use text in the images, write illustrative copy.

GIFs are being used in emails extensively but you should refrain from designing animated GIFs that flash repeatedly, lest they trigger photo-sensitive seizures in some users; use a …

20 Best New Portfolios, April 2019

Greetings, Readers! It’s April, so there will be no joke here. You’re welcome.

This month, designers seem to have hit the minimalism button hard. There is a bit of variety in there, but if you like lots of white space, you’re in luck. A few Powerpoint-ish sites, too. 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.

Steve Mcgugan

Steve Mcgugan has a name that is a lot of fun to say out loud, the first Drupal site we’ve had on this list in a while, and a quite minimalist approach to showing off his work. It’s clean, it’s pretty, and it’s mostly monochromatic with just a splash of green here and there. Classic and effective.

Platform: Drupal

David McGillivray

David McGillivray continues the trend of the mostly black-and-white site, but with an interesting twist in the way the layout is organized. There’s just a curated list of ten projects on the right, and that’s it. Hover for a preview, then click and go.

It’s not terribly scalable, perhaps, but if you’ve curated your work down to a list of ten projects that show you off at your best, why not? We all end up redesigning our sites at least once a year anyway, right?

Platform: Custom CMS (I think)

Outline

Outline is another wonderfully minimalist site, but this time with a bit more color thrown into the mix. One thing I like is that they built a multi-step pre-project interview right into the site. Sure, it’ll probably deter customers that are in a hurry, but that’s the point, right? You want the ones who have clearly thought about what they want.

My only …

Popular Design News of the Week: April 1, 2019 – April 7, 2019

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.

Apple’s New System Fonts Page

 

Why Cancel Buttons Should Never Have a Color

 

What’s Wrong with Landing Pages

 

Awesome Design Tools

 

Most In-demand Tech Jobs in 2019

 

3 Routines that Made Me a Better UX Designer

 

6 Predictions for Creatives in 2019

 

New Design Tools, Spring 2019

 

Google Doc-based Personal Website

 

A New Religion for Designers

 

DeviantArt Rolls Out Sleek New Look

 

The Matrix Code Came from Sushi Recipes

 

Form Validation in Under an Hour with Vuelidate

 

The Truth About UX/UI Designers

 

Am I the Only One Seeing the ’90s Retro Theme, with the Unicorns and Sparkles?

 

Load Google Fonts Faster in WordPress

 

You Probably Don’t Need that Hip Web Framework

 

Building Spotify’s New Web Player

 

How to Create a Culture of Open Design

 

10 Heuristic Principles for Mobile Interfaces

 

What is Cognitive Overhead in Design and How to Reduce It?

 

The Feedback You Choose not to Give is as Important as the One You do

 

Google Maps Revives Snake for an April Fools Game

 

How ‘Good Design’ Failed Us

 

Orange You Accessible?

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

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