Exclusive iStock Promo Codes: October 2015


A few years back I launched what was called “Vandelay Premier” to test my ability to sell “premium” stock graphics. While I would only consider it a moderate success, one main thing I quickly realized was that it was nearly impossible for a blogger like myself to provide enough specific content to make everyone happy. I still get emails every week from our members requesting specific items that I just don’t have the time or resources to provide.

My goal with this website has always been to create enough quality content to keep my readers engaged, happy, and coming back for more. Since it is impossible for me to provide millions of stock photos and graphics in our shop, I might as well send you off to a place where you have a much higher chance of finding what you need…

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10 Mistakes to Avoid in UI Design


User interface design has to do with both the outer layer of a design and the placement of elements in the design, whether it be a website or an app. In simple terms, UI design refers to everything that users can see. However, the more important meaning involves the usability of a design. Just as with a street sign, if the design doesn’t provide clarity, then confusion can occur and scare users away, often permanently.

Of course, talking about the usability gets messy when it comes to terms. Many argue about the actual definition of labels such as UI and UX (user experience), and, really, it’s kind of a moot point here. After all, the “prettiness” and other visual aspects (UI) also have much to do with the usability side of design (UX), and this is why the terms UI and UX (user experience) are often used interchangeably, or at least why UX is more of an umbrella term under which UI falls and somewhat crosses. Because, really, both have to work together to really make a design stellar.

I like how Marci Ikeler puts it in a Quora forum on the difference between UX and UI designers: “Generally, what they [the company placing an ad] mean is: the UI/UX designer is a person who is responsible for strategizing, organizing, and executing an interface that accomplishes that company’s business goals.”

As a UI designer, you should definitely know the common – and not so common – mistakes made on various designs so that you can better help your client meet goals. If you know what to keep in mind while designing, you’ll be much more likely to create a website that matches your client’s description of “easy to use but makes a huge impression and leaves viewers with the right impression of our business so they buy lots of our stuff, forever and ever.” And, if your client insists on including any of the UI design mistakes listed below, you can make a valid argument for refusing…politely of course…

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Secrets of Web Copy That Converts


Whether you’re planning a website for yourself, or for a client, one thing remains the same: Conversions are King. Many elements go into a page that successfully convinces a potential customer to take the plunge and buy what you’re selling. Large-scale images have been known to boost conversions, as do explanatory videos.

But the most important (and most commonly overlooked) piece of the puzzle is the written word.

Compelling web copy that actually convinces people to convert is a nuanced business, and shouldn’t be taken lightly, or treated as an afterthought. I’m going to share a few tricks you can keep up your sleeve when tasked with writing marketing copy for the web.

Take note, the following tips might make the difference between making a sale or taking a dive…

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The Best WordPress Wedding Themes


In recent years as it has become easier and less costly for people to set up their own websites, more and more websites have been used for providing information about weddings. Because WordPress is free and simple for anyone to set up with most web hosts, it is naturally a popular choice for engaged couples wanting to provide information regarding their wedding.

Wedding websites typically include many of the same features and content types, including bios of the couple, engagement photos, directions to the wedding and reception, hotel information, and sometimes the option to RSVP through the website. Sites are also used in some cases to showcase wedding photos after the big day to share them with attendees and those who were unable to attend.

With WordPress, setting up a basic website to provide this type of information is pretty simple, and a number of themes have been developed specifically with weddings in mind. These themes often include some enhanced functionality, and they typically feature a design that fits well with wedding websites…

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35 Fresh and Free Photoshop Actions


Every now and then we like to showcase freebies that can designers can use to save some of their own time. Quality Photoshop actions can be great resources to have in your arsenal because in the right situation they can drastically reduce the amount of time that you have to spend to get the photo effects that you are after.

There are actions that can help you to get all kinds of different effects and looks for your photos. Some of those actions can be downloaded for free, and others must be purchased. In this post we’ll put a spotlight on free Photoshop actions. With freebies the quality is sometimes not up to the standards that you would get with premium, but the free actions showcased here are very good quality and should prove to be quite useful for you.

In this post you’ll find a variety of different types of actions to create all different types of effects. Hopefully you’ll find a few that can prove to be useful by saving some of your own time. Whether you work on photos for clients or photos of your own, the right Photoshop actions can be a great resource to have on hand…

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Pre-made Layouts – a Time-Saving Alternative to Wireframes


No matter how experienced you may be with using wireframe techniques, it is still a time consuming activity, as is researching a conceptual design as a first step in getting a new project off the ground. While wireframes provide basic frameworks for website pages, pre-made layouts have become an increasingly popular alternative.

Conceptual designs need to be developed before wireframing can commence. Conceptual designs are an integral part of a pre-made layout.
Initial sketches have to be transferred to a grid in to initiate a wireframe process. This step is not required when using pre-made layouts.
Incremental enhancement of a wireframe design takes time. Editing a layout is an extremely rapid process.
With a pre-made layout, you can build a website in a small fraction of the time it would take when using a wireframe approach. You can literally hit the ground running…

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10 Reasons Why I Shopified All My Clients

She WILL Get Shopified

Over the years, I’ve managed to accumulate a large handful clients that are using various types of terrible e-commerce platforms. I’ve struggled through these different solutions – wasting my time and my client’s money. I totally understand that finding the right e-commerce platform can be really difficult. There is no solution that is the right fit for every situation, it just depends on the details of the site you are building.

However, in my research and battle with the awful e-commerce platforms, I’ve come to love Shopify, a hosted e-commerce platform.  After finding Shopify, I quickly realized that my clients and I would be way better off utilizing their platform. I saved so much time, they saved so much money, and it’s so much easier for all of us now.

In this article, I’ll walk you through 10 of the reasons why I “Shopified” all of my clients.

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30 Free Script Fonts


Most designers can never have too many fonts. When it comes to script fonts, there are a lot to choose from. If you’re working on a design that needs a script font you may find one here that would be a good fit for your project.

In this post we’ll feature 30 script fonts that can be downloaded for free. As always when you are downloading and using freebies, be sure to read the license details to make sure that you are using it in a way that is allowed by the creator…

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Learning the Basics: Prototyping in JavaScript

Just Enough JavaScript to Prototype

In my book, Learning to Program, I teach the concepts, principles, and tools needed to program the right way. I’m not going to try to do that here. This article will teach you just enough JavaScript to prototype, and some of the things you learn will be just plain ugly. But that’s okay because you’re just prototyping. If you want to learn more, and learn why those bad things are bad for real applications, check out my book.

By the time you’re done reading this article, you will have learned just enough JavaScript to make a prototype registration form that checks for unique usernames and has a password strength indicator. We’ll be using an online editor called CodePen to take care of a bunch of the hard stuff. The hard stuff is interesting and important to learn, but again, that is not the purpose of this article…

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