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Articles by ‘Steven Snell’

Responsive Website Testing: Resources for Testing Sites

Testing is a critical part of the responsive web design process. The purpose of using a responsive layout is to make the website useful on any type of device, but without extensive testing it’s not possible to know for sure how the site is behaving in different situations. Fortunately, there are a number of different tools and resources available that can help you to test your responsive designs. In this article we’ll take a look at some helpful tools that you may want to try for yourself…

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10 Great UX/UI Apps and Tools to Work With

You might be asking yourself if you even need a prototyping tool. Testing with a low-fi or paper version can often provide useful results. Nevertheless, being able to show a client a working, high-fidelity prototype that’s difficult to distinguish from the real thing, and use it to test for last-minute design glitches, has huge advantages.

You want to make any choice you the right one, and for a UX/UI tool, making the right choice can depend on a number of factors…

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Website Communication: 21 Ways to Speak to Visitors

One of the most important responsibilities of a website is to communicate with its visitors. Regardless of whether the site is a blog, a portfolio site, a corporate site, or an e-commerce site, it exists to communicate with visitors.

The website communication in some cases is two ways (blog comments are an example), but in many ways the website is communicating to visitors before they even offer their feedback. In order for the site to communicate effectively the designer and site owner need to clear purpose of what messages should be evident to visitors.

In my opinion, improving the communication is an ongoing process. As I evaluate my own sites, or those of clients, these are some of the factors that I consider…

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60+ Memorable and Unique Business Cards

The tone, lettering, style, and presentation of a business card says a lot about you and your business. While typical humdrum card designs are expected in the corporate world, unique business cards can help anyone stand out to potential clients and employers. Being more memorable will often result in a greater probability of getting a call back.

Fortunately there are all kinds of ways to create memorable & unique business cards. In this post we’ll showcase over 60 examples for your own creative inspiration…

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25+ Excellent Business Card Templates for Your Own Use

Business cards are a great resource for anyone looking to market or promote their business. While social media, blogging, and online marketing get most of the attention these days, some old-school in-person networking can also do wonders, and business cards are an essential resource for effective networking.

If you need to save some time or don’t have the experience to design your own cards, these free business card templates can be a great option. Many printing companies offer templates to choose from (although the quality will vary greatly), and you can also find others available from different sources. In this post we’ll feature both free and premium business card templates. The premium templates generally cost less than $10 and can be well worth the expense…

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4 Keys to User-Friendly Web Design

Having a user-friendly website is as important as having a beautiful original website design. Sadly, in our pursuit of excellence it’s all too easy to forget about usability and focus instead on aesthetics and originality. Yet it’s the right combination of beauty, uniqueness, AND a user-friendly design that keeps our clients coming back for more. […]

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25 Tutorials for Business Card Design

For those who primarily focus on web design, designing for print can be a little bit intimidating at first. If you’ve been wanting to design your own business cards but have been hesitant to make the jump to designing for print, you may find it to be helpful to follow a tutorial. There are a lot of tutorials available that will lead you through the process of designing a print-ready business card. Following a few tutorials will teach you the basics, and then of course you can use that knowledge to create a more personalized design of your own.

Here you’ll find 25 different tutorials (for Photoshop, Illustration, and even InDesign) that teach the essentials of business card design.

Create a Retro-Inspired Business Card

Create a Retro-Inspired Business Card

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Learning Web Design: Self Taught vs. a Formal Education

If you’re looking to get into the web design/development industry there are loads of resources and courses to help with your education, but deciding which route to pursue is not easy. There are two basic approaches: going to a university for a formal education, or taking a self-taught approach and learning on your own. In recent years a growing number of colleges and universities have added degrees specifically for web design and development, and of course a graphic design/arts degree is also an option.

In this article we’ll take a look at the arguments for both approaches, and we’ll also provide information on plenty of resources to help you get started with learning on your own if that is the route that you choose. If you’re considering a career as a web designer/developer, you’ll want to take some time to educate yourself on the options that are available and see what is the best fit for you personally. There is no right or wrong approach, but following a path that isn’t the right fit for you can result in a lot of wasted time and money…

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40 Beautiful Church Website Designs

For many churches the website is an invaluable communications tool. The website can be extremely useful for helping new people to find the church, which can increase the growth of the church. Also, the website can help regular attendees and church members to get information on programs and events of the church.

Despite the enormous possibilities for church websites, many of them are ineffective. With that in mind let’s take a detailed look at the subject of church websites, what makes them effective, and showcase some of the best examples.

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Awesome Examples of Website Testimonials Done Right!

Testimonials can be very powerful for helping to establish trust and encouraging visitors to buy, sign up, fill out a form, or take whatever action you are after. For websites and online businesses testimonials can be even more useful than traditional businesses because visitors are often skeptical or hesitant to trust someone online.

Website testimonials can be displayed in different ways, and we’ll take a look at more than 15 examples in this post. Hopefully these examples will give you some ideas that can be useful for your own projects. Here you’ll find some that use video, photos of customers, quotes from reviews, and more…

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48 Excellent Tutorials for Designing Websites in Photoshop

If you’re looking to learn more about web design or to improve your skills, following along with detailed, step-by-step tutorials can be a great use of your time. While there are a lot of resources and courses where you can pay to learn design, there are also plenty of quality tutorials available for free.

In this post we’ll showcase 48 different tutorials that we feel are the best at showing you how to design and layout a simple website in Photoshop. You’ll find tutorials that teach how to design all different kinds of sites, and in a wide variety of design styles. Find a few that you like, work through them, and you’re sure to learn at least a few new things that you can put into practice in your own design work…

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Night Photography Showcase

Browsing through high-quality photographs can be a great source of inspiration for designers. Getting inspiration from a variety of different sources, as opposed to only from web design galleries, can lead to more creative and original work. In this post we’ll showcase some beautiful examples of night photography.

Whether you are a photographer yourself or simply someone who appreciates amazing photography, we hope you will enjoy this collection and find some inspiration for your own design work. If you see something you like, click on the image or the credit link and you’ll be led to the source where you can see more photos from the same photographer.

Night Photography

Photo credit: Vladimir Zivkovic

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30+ Inspirational ECommerce Website Designs

For e-commerce websites the design and layout of the site can have a huge impact on sales because of usability, in addition to just the importance of making a good first impression with new visitors. A well-designed e-commerce site will provide the user with a much more pleasant experience and will make it easier for them to browse, search, and complete the checkout process.

In this post we’ll showcase 32 e-commerce sites that look great. You’ll notice that product photography is equally important to the look of an e-commerce website as the layout and graphic design. Sites that showcase the products effectively will be far more successful as a result. Hopefully this selection will provide you with some inspiration that can be put to good use in your own work.

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13 Ways to Create Unique, Original Blog Content

One of the biggest struggles for bloggers who are pushing for growth is the ability to publish unique content. With millions of other blogs out there it can seem at times that every worthwhile topic has already been sufficiently covered.

Quality, original content is one of the biggest factors in blogging success. Take a look at the blogs you read on a daily basis. Most likely you choose to read them because you like the articles they provide that you can’t get at other blogs.

Of course, not every post you publish has to be ground-breaking. However, you do need to separate yourself from other bloggers in order to attract and keep readers…

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Best Free WordPress Plugins for Theme Development

One of the great things about using WordPress as a content management system is the huge community of users and all of the resources that are available. While all plugins could be used by theme developers, the ones featured in this post are specific WordPress plugins for theme development to aid & improve the dev process.

If you design and develop themes for you own use, custom themes for clients, premium themes for sale, or free themes to distribute, these plugins will prove to be very helpful…

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68 Easy Ways to Promote Your Design Services for a Steady Flow of New Clients

With the huge amount of freelance designers, small studios, and agencies out there offering web and graphic design services it can be difficult to maintain a steady flow of new clients.

While it would be nice to have all the clients you need coming to you for work, the reality for most designers is that some type of promotion, marketing, or networking needs to take place in order to maintain a full work load.

The good news is that there are plenty of different ways you can go about promoting your own design services. Some are more aggressive than others. Some will require only a small amount of your time, and others will require more time and/or money…

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16 Niche WordPress Themes

As you know, WordPress is an incredibly popular CMS for a number of reasons. It’s free, open source, powerful, and it can be used for a wide variety of different purposes aside from a traditional blog or corporate website. One of the best ways to see that potential for flexibility is to take a look at the different types of themes that are available. You can find quality themes for all kinds of different purposes, which makes WordPress even more useful…

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55+ Outstanding WordPress Developer Tools & Resources for Developing Themes and Plugins

WordPress is the most popular content management system, and there are countless designers and developers that are making a living working with WordPress. WordPress’s popularity provides plenty of options for working with clients as well as for creating and selling themes and plugins.

In this post, we’ll showcase more than 55 different Wordpress developer tools that can help you in one way or another. If you’re creating themes or plugins for WordPress, regardless of whether it is for clients or to sell, you’ll benefit by incorporating these resources into your workflow…

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Sunset Photography: 20 Beautiful Examples

Sunsets are a popular photography subject for amateurs and professionals alike. While the lighting often presents challenges, the results can be stunning. Dusk is also considered close to the “magic hour” which plays a big role in the quality of a photo taken outside.

In this post we’ll showcase 20 amazing photos of sunset photography from various photographers. To see any of the photos in a larger size, please click on the image and you’ll be led to the original source…

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Link Building Using Freebies: Tips for Promoting Yourself

An increasing number of web and graphic designers are turning to free resources in effort to promote their services and products. In an industry that can be highly competitive any means of standing out and gaining exposure can go a long way. The method of link building using freebies is being used by designers for promoting their services for clients, as well as for promoting their own products, such as WordPress themes and PSD files. In this post we’ll explore this topic by providing some tips for those who would like to try this method for themselves.

The freebie promotional method includes a great deal of flexibility, so it can be used by designers and developers in a number of different ways. As was already mentioned, freebies can be used to gain exposure in attempt to land more client work, create quality links back to your website, or to sell more files and resources. In addition, freebies can be distributed from your existing website or blog, from a website or blog owned by someone else, or you can set up a site specifically for distributing freebies. Utilizing link building with freebies is a great way to promote yourself and showcase your skills in your free giveaways…

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Design Review Checklist: Questions to Ask Yourself

All designers struggle at times to get a design to achieve a look that they are thoroughly happy with. Many times we’ll have an idea that really seems like it will work, but when it’s executed in code or in PSD format it just doesn’t look complete. Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint a specific reason that the design isn’t quite right.

In this post we’ll take a look at our design review checklist which features some questions to ask yourself when a design is not living up to your expectations. These should put you on the right path to identifying and improving the trouble areas. These questions focus primarily on the design, not necessarily the effectiveness of the site overall, the usability, or the content…

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Full-Time Freelance Work: 10 Signs That You Are Ready

Knowing when to make the move to full-time freelance work can be a difficult decision. Making the move too soon can lead to added risk that most people would prefer to avoid. On the other hand, a fear of taking that risk often leads to waiting longer than necessary. With that in mind, this article discusses 10 signs that you are ready to make the move to full-time freelancing…

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Showcase of the Best WordPress Magazine Themes

If you run a news-style blog that publishes high volumes of content, a magazine-style design or theme may be the most appropriate. WordPress users have loads of great magazine and news themes to choose from, and in this post we’ll showcase some of the best ones we’ve found this year. A quality theme can make your blog or online magazine look professional, and the good news is that there are plenty of quality themes available for under $100…

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Beautiful Vintage Design: Showcase and Resources

The vintage style is very popular in web design right now and has been mastered by many designers. Vintage-style designs typically include textures, colors and some items that give it that vintage feel. In this post we’ll showcase some excellent examples for your inspiration, and we’ll also feature some resources, like textures and Photoshop brushes, to help in your own vintage design.

When it comes to trends, we all know that they move in circles. What goes around usually comes around, at least within a couple of decades. Retrospectives at art galleries, musical homages and retro interiors are all mining the past for inspiration, as old as the source material it ‘borrows’ from…

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Stone Textures: Free Downloads for Your Designs

Stones textures can be used to create beautiful backgrounds to websites, flyers, posters, wallpapers, and more. We hope that you will be able to put them to work for you in your own designs. Quality stone textures can be extremely useful because they are so versatile. They’re great for layering and combining with other types of textures to give your design a finishing touch. We hope you enjoy these 5 free stone texture packs!

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15 Steps to a More Productive Workday

Freelance designers, as well as those who work for small design studios, often face the challenge of getting the most productivity out of their time and achieving maximum efficiency. While this can be a struggle for anyone in a more “typical” job, freelancers have added distractions, unique challenges, and no one to hold them accountable. To be a successful freelancer you’ll have to place a priority on productivity and find ways that work for you.

Each of us is unique and no process will work for everyone, but all of us have plenty of things that we can do to improve our workflow. In this article I’ll cover some of the lessons that I have learned through my own experience. For me, productivity is a constant goal, and always interested in finding new ways to get more out of my time. I’m far from perfect in these areas, but making consistent improvements. Hopefully some of these things will help you in your own work…

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Shopping Cart Design: 20+ Inspirational E-Commerce Website Designs

Many e-commerce websites tend to get very cluttered and suffer from not being user friendly. In this post we’ll showcase our favorite e-commerce sites that have utilized clean layouts including inspirational shopping cart design. All of these sites have very clean designs, leaning more towards minimalism rather than clutter. While this style of design is common with other types of websites, it’s not that typical for e-commerce sites. These sites may help to show that e-commerce and shopping cart designs do not need to be cluttered and use excessive design elements…

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A Guide to Passive Income for Designers

There are a number of different ways to earn a living as a designer or developer. Of course, you could work as an employee for a design studio, you could work as an in-house designer for a company, you could freelance, or you could start your own studio or agency. While those are the most common approaches, they are not the only options. With loads of competition for client work, a growing number of designers are actually using a combination of a few different sources of income in order to earn a living.

You may have heard or read about earn passive income as a designer. In this article we’ll take a detailed look at the opportunities to use your design skills for passive or recurring income…

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25 Beautifully Colorful Websites

When designing a website, one of the most common challenges is to develop an effective color scheme. In many cases the sites color scheme will be determined, or at least influenced, by the existing branding of the company. However, when you’re facing decisions on color there are plenty of options. While it is always an important part of the design, color can be used to make a website stand out and attract attention…

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30+ Designers to Follow on Twitter

Looking for more designers to follow on Twitter? I thought it would be helpful to do some research to find designers who would be worth following. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive (so please add a link to your profile in the comments if you like), but it should give you a great start to following some talented designers. This is a list of over 30 designers, in no particular order, with a link to their Twitter profile…

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