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Updated: 2 hours 24 min ago

How to Make Your Own SVG Files

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 08:00

Using images is essential in web design. This is why knowledge about different image formats is important for web designers. Not only this, but it is also necessary to learn about the functions of each type of image. Knowledge on how to create and edit such images are also considered as essential skills for web and graphic design. Learning how to convert these images from one form to another is also an essential skill.

One particular format, known as Scalable Vector Graphic or SVG, is so versatile and flexible that it is impossible to never encounter them in web design and development. Here are a few things to learn about the SVG format:

Learning the Basics of SVG What is SVG?

The Scalable Vector Graphic, or SVG, is an image or object format that is commonly used in both graphic and web design. SVG has multiple pleasing qualities including the fact that it is highly scalable and modifiable. They function just like images and are recognized by the syntax as so, but are compiled in text format. This means that a user can “draw” a shape using SVG codes by manipulating the shape, height, width, line width, and even color. This is why it could be used directly in line with codes, regardless if it is CSS, HTML, Java, or whatnot. Unlike other object or image formats, SVG files could either be edited by a photo or text editor.

What is interesting about the SVG is that it is an eXtensible Markup Language or XML. These are files used to describe and transport data but are usually read in text formats. These kinds of objects are highly versatile and are usually used for large-scale data publishing. On top of that, these kinds of files are small in size and are easily searchable (within a code).

When to use SVG?

The SVG file format is not a new, revolutionizing thing. It is a late bloomer in the industry and was only recognized recently as an essential tool in creating webpages. What is great about the SVG file format is the fact that all major web browsers support its use. Here are a few situations where SVG file formats come in handy, among others:

  • Graphs, charts, and other data presentation – SVG could be used to plot and present data in charts, graphs, infographics, and maps.
  • Animation and special effects – these kinds of image formats could be used for animation and special effects.
  • Simple diagrams and shapes – SVGs could be used for logo creation, icons, and more.
Draw your own SVG Files Online

Learning how to make your own SVG files is an essential skill for web designers. The good thing is there are multiple free-to-use tools online where SVG files could easily be drawn without coding. Here are some of the best:

Method Draw

This is considered as one of the best online tools in creating or ‘drawing’ an SVG file. It is very simple and straightforward, the interface is easy to use even without tutorials. The basics, just like in any image editing tool, include pen tools, shape tools, line tools, and text tools. Images could be imported and collaged together to create an SVG file. The Method Draw tool can also edit existing SVG files and even download them in different formats. Importing images can also be done to ‘convert’ an image from one file format to SVG format.

Image Source: Method Draw

Vector Paint

The Vector Paint online tool is very similar to Method Draw. But the major difference is that it has a list of pre-set basic 2D objects like animals, icons, symbols, and more. This tool can also be used to import images, edit them, and convert them to SVG files.

Image Source: Vector Paint

Software to make your own SVG Files Inkscape

Inkscape is the most useful software to create SVG images because it functions just like any photo editing tool. The interface is complete and easy to use. It could be used by beginner graphics and web designers for quick image editing works, logo creation, and banner development. This is particularly because it is free to use.

It is important to note that since it is a free-to-use tool, there are limitations to its use especially for more complex jobs like animation, and special effects. Most of the time, there are restrictions on the commercial use of the SVG images created because it does not support AI and EPS files (which are usually created by Adobe software).

Convert raster image to SVG Files

Some images, logos, and icons do not need editing before conversion to SVG files. There are tools available for free online that allow the direct conversion of images from different file formats to SVG files.

Convertio

The Convertio online tool is a one-step conversion tool for SVG files. Simply upload the photo and the Convertio tool will do the rest. It is a very simple, direct-to-the-point tool.

Online-Convert

The Online-Convert tool on the internet has so many functions, converting an image to SVG file format is just one of them. Log-in is required for saving or downloading. However, a Facebook, a Twitter, or a Google account may suffice for download. Simply, upload an image, decide on the image height and width, choose which pixels to crop, then it is good to go.

Also Read: 9 Beginner Photoshop Tutorials

The post How to Make Your Own SVG Files appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

Where to Get a Web Developer Degree Online

Tue, 08/11/2020 - 08:00

One of the best things about the internet is that a lot of things are now easily accessible online. This includes earning a degree in the comfort of our own homes. While being in a classroom setting is still great, there will be circumstances that would always make learning online a much preferable choice. In this current pandemic, an online class is highly recommended. For those who are working full-time, online courses make it possible for them to earn a degree while still working. For those who are looking into getting a degree in web development but unable to attend a physical meeting, we’ve listed down suggestions on where to get a web developer degree online.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers two online bachelor’s degrees and one online master’s degrees in Web Development. They have BS in Computer Information Systems where students are taught everything they need to do business operations and managerial decision-making. The course covers data management, project management, solution development for value creation, and even web and mobile development.

On the other hand, they also have BAS in Internet and Web Development. This is the degree that really focuses on web development including UX design, usability, cross-platform graphic applications and more. To apply for this course, an associate’s degree on applied sciences from an accredited institution is required. Recommended associate’s degrees for this course is graphic design, graphic arts, fine arts, or technical discipline with related work experience. Some courses that you can take under this degree is Web Content Design, Graphic Industry Business Practices, and Information Design and Usability.

For those who are looking to expand their knowledge in web development and computer sciences in general, ASU Online also offers MS in Computer Science. Students who enroll in this course have the choice to do a concentration in Big Data or Cybersecurity. They tackle topics like AI, blockchain, software engineering, and more. Coursera also hosts this degree on their platform.

Bellevue University

Bellevue University, a private school located in Nebraska, also offers an online bachelor’s degree in web development. For those who prefer a hands-on approach to learning, BU’s curriculum offers that. They focus on design principles, client- and server-side languages, database fundamentals, and more. Their 127-credit degree is for those who have an interest to develop their skills on full-stack web development. At the end of the course, students will be participating in a Capstone course to show off what they have learned. The course is an immersive bootcamp-like course that showcases the students’ knowledge in full-stack web development.

Brigham Young University-Idaho

The Brigham Young University-Idaho offers both an online associate’s and bachelor’s degree in web development. Their Associate of Applied Science in Applied Technology is a degree that includes a web development certificate. Students who enroll in the course tackle various topics. This includes back- and front-end web development, database design and more. To apply for this course, a student must have a minimum 2.0 GPA plus their ACT or SAT scores. Essays and an interview is also a part of the requirement.

After completing the associate’s degree, you can now apply for their online BS in Applied Technology. The course is for those who want a career in software and web development, information technology, and other fields related to tech. Along with general courses, the degree is also composed of theoretical and practical courses. At the end of the course, students will participate in a capstone project and complete an internship. Some courses that the students will take under this course are Web Frontend Development, Visual Media, and Digital Media Analytics and Strategy.

Champlain College

Just like BYU-Idaho, Champlain College also offers both an online associate’s and bachelor’s degree for web development. Their Associate Degree in Web Design and Development is a 60-credit program composed of professional courses, general courses, math elective, science literacy, and a course on Human Behavior & Social Institutions. The curriculum will cover subjects like introduction to Python, writing for the web, and Internet and Web Architecture. Those who plan to apply for this online course must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. An essay and a resume is also part of the requirement.

Champlain College’s BS in Web Design and Development, on the other hand, is a 120-credit degree. Students who enroll in this degree will learn and build key skills for web development. They will tackle 32 key applications, platforms, and programming languages together with essential soft skills like problem-solving and communication. Moreover, those studying under this degree can also choose a concentration to enhance their career paths. The two concentrations they can choose from are Web Design and Web Programming. Lastly, new students with previous credits from accredited colleges can transfer up to 90 credits.

You might also enjoy:

Learn Web Development With These Web Developer Courses 22 Resources for New Web Design & Development Articles

The post Where to Get a Web Developer Degree Online appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

What Font Looks Like Handwriting?

Mon, 08/10/2020 - 08:00

There is a multitude of fonts that look like handwriting available for free on the internet. Handwritten fonts are on trend right now and are commonly used in graphic design and web design.  These kinds of fonts are great for statement designs and pieces. Statement arts, web headers, and more. These kinds of handwritten fonts are commonly used for eye-catching titles or headlines. Oftentimes, these are used for popular quotes and other infographics.

It is important to note, however, that many of these fonts are only free for personal use. Some might need small purchases for commercial use like logos, branding, and even web design. Always be aware of which sources are made available by the creators free for any type of reuse.

Sophia Handlettered Brush Script

This hand-lettered brush script has a sweet, soft style. It is cute and romantic at the same time. This particular font is created by Emily Spadoni of Da Font. Sophia Brush Script is created free for both personal and commercial use. The Sophia hand-lettered script is great for beauty product websites and similar themes. They could also be used for wedding or debutante invites.

The creator even made ‘ornamental extra font files’ known as the Sophia Left and Sophia Right. These ornamental extras have extra swirls on them on either side (right or left) so they could be used to create intricate designs at the beginning or end of any word or statement.

Quentin Handwritten Font

This particular handwritten font is a soft, simple scribble. It is neither feminine nor masculine in style. The Quentin Handwritten Font is created by Get Studio. This font is also created free for both personal and commercial use. Corporate uses, however, require the purchase of a corporate license. These letters could be great for handwritten quotes, greeting cards, and even social media posts.

Setta Script

Described as modern calligraphy, the Setta Script combines classic writing script and contemporary typeface. Its squiggliness sets it apart from other fonts with the same typeface. The Setta Script is created by Ian MIkraz and is free for personal use only. These kinds of fonts are great for logos, brand markers, and even product tags. It is cute and elegant at the same time.

Balqis Free Font

Known as striped-rough calligraphy, it has similar elements to the Quentin and the Setta. Compared to other handwritten fonts, it is very simple and legible. The Balqis font is created by Artimasa and is made free for both personal and commercial use. The artist recommends that this font is used for wedding invitations and online greeting cards.

Caride Vintage Font

A very bold and elegant design, the vintage script style of Caride is unique. It is created by Flat Icons and is free only for personal use. At first glance, the design seems simple. But closer inspection shows intricate scripts, curves, and designs. It is a very interesting piece. This is recommendable for vintage themed webpages, brands, logos, blog headings, and decals.

Halimun Script Style

Created by Create Type Studio, the Halimun script is a special type of handwritten font. The characters are short and curvy but still very legible. It is elegant in its own way. It is created only for personal use. Commercial and corporate use may require the purchase of a license. This kind of font is best used for product descriptions, website headers, and many more.

West Falia Hand Painted Brush

This font has a paintbrush style created by Pixel Surplus. It gives that unique and authentic feel like it was literally drawn by hand. The messy edges and varied line thickness is its number one selling point. These kinds of fonts are great for outdoor themed webpages and travel blogs.

Stay Classy

The Stay Classy Font is simply gorgeous. The thin line thickness makes it fashionable and contemporary. Very minimalist but also very chic. It is created by Solid Type and it was created for both personal and commercial use. A very romantic design, these kinds of fonts are great for journal-style blogs, fashion websites, and even beauty blogs.

Sue Ellen Francisco Font

This kind of font is literally the ‘handwritten font style’. It looks like it was written by a person on a journal or piece of paper. It has a tall and skinny design that is interesting and quirky in its own right. This particular font was created by Kimberly Geswein and is made free only for personal use. The Sue Ellen Francisco font is great for personal blogs and even travel websites. The unique and personalized style of this font is appropriate for any kind of ‘personal-themed’ niches.

Antro Vectra Hand Drawn Font

Available only for personal use, the Antro Vectra is created by Youssef Habchi. It has a sloping, slanted design. The characters are both round and sharp at the same time, which is what makes it unique. The letters are elegantly thin. This kind of font is great for webpage headers, about pages, and the like.

Also Read: Top Free Apps for Wix From the App Market

The post What Font Looks Like Handwriting? appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

Starting a Web Design Business With No Portfolio

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 20:39

For some people, portfolios are much more important than resumĂ©s or CVs. This is especially true for those in the creative business, including web design. A portfolio can show not only your past works and experience, but also your skills.  With a portfolio, you can get a job, or you can even land a client if you have a business. So what do you do if you have no portfolio? Especially if you’re looking into starting your own web design business?

Here are some things you can do in starting a web design business with no portfolio.

Your First Client is You

Most people that have no portfolio would almost always work for free. This is because no client would really want to pay if he’s unsure of your skills. However, there are also those people who take advantage of someone having no portfolio and tell you, “Work for me and you’ll get experience in return”. While some people do practice this, it creates an unhealthy practice in the creative industry.

If we’re going to look for a client that we’d be willing to work for free, it’d be ourselves. If you’re going to create a website, create one first for yourself. Create websites with a niche that you’re interested in. Doing this, not only are you adding something to your portfolio, but it also gives your future clients an idea of your web designs and what they can work with.

Your Family and Friends are Your Next Clients

Of course, after you, the next best people to turn into clients are your family and friends. These are the people whom you have already established a relationship with. See if anyone in your family or friends have a business that needs a website. If there are any who work freelance, ask them if they need a website. If they have a website, ask them if they need a redesign. Try offering your services to the people you know because most of the time, knowing the client personally can be an advantage. However, if things go awry, your personal relationship with them can be affected as well. So just remember to be careful.

Network is Key

So now, you have a portfolio that consists of websites you made for yourself, for your family, and for your friends. The next thing you have to do is to ask them to refer you to people they know. When starting a new business, your best bet in marketing your services is through word of mouth. While you still have no big clients yet to show off in your portfolio, having someone recommend your business to other people is already a big advantage.

Another thing to do besides referrals is ask for your family and friends to leave reviews! Reviews can go a long way when you are just a new business.

Look for Clients in Your Local Area

Other than waiting for clients to come to you through referrals, try talking to the small businesses in your area. Befriend business owners and create a rapport with them before asking if they’re interested in having a website created. This is a great way to look for clients as some of them probably don’t know where to go (or who to talk to) even if they wanted to have a website. Some don’t even entertain the idea until someone presents it to them. Try looking for clients in your neighborhood or local town first, you’d probably be surprised at how many of them might be interested.

Identify Your Niche

Another thing to make your business thrive is to find a niche. With today’s technology and the convenience of the internet, people who have web design skills have increased. This means that competition is tougher in the web design business. So how do you deal with this? Try to find a specialty or a certain group of clientele for your web designs – and it’s much better if it’s something you’re passionate with. Make a web design for law firms, architectural firms, food/restaurants, or just anything that you can think of. As a small web design business with no portfolio, start small and make a name for yourself – be the go-to person in a specific niche. When you’ve done that, you can now try expanding to other niches.

Take Care of Business Formalities

As it is with any business, always make sure you’re covered with any requirements before accepting clients. This means registering your business, setting up a bank account for the business, and figuring out your accounting and invoicing. Some clients will look for freelancers or businesses that can provide receipts – and it’d be unfortunate to miss an opportunity just because you haven’t done that yet. These things can not only help you in maintaining your business, but it also gives you credibility.

You might also enjoy:

How to Use Instagram to Grow Your Web Design Business 6 Tips for Growing Your Web Design Business

 

The post Starting a Web Design Business With No Portfolio appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

What Are the Best Online Web Design Certificate Programs?

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 10:00

Web design is a continuous learning process. As our technology develops day by day, the number of new things we need to learn to be well-versed in web design increases as well. Good thing there are already online classes that teach web design. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you will surely benefit from taking courses – even if it’s just to refresh your knowledge or to learn new things. However, there are tons of courses out there that offer web design. So it begs the question, what are the best online web design certificate programs we have today?

We’ve listed down some of the most notable certificate programs for web design below.

What Are the Best Online Web Design Certificate Programs? Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development and Coding Specialization

Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development and Coding Specialization is a course offered in Coursera by the University of Michigan. This program is perfect for anyone who has no knowledge whatsoever with programming or web design. It will teach you the very basics with its 5-part course starting with an introduction to HTML5. This course will be followed by Introduction to CSS3, Interactivity with Javascript, Advanced Styling with Responsive Design, and Web Design for Everybody Capstone. If you’re looking for something that will teach you step-by-step, this is one of the web design classes that you should start with.

Since it’s an online course, you can learn at your own pace. The recommended time spent is 4 hours per week which will take you about 6 months to complete the course.

Full-Stack Web Development with React Specialization

Another great web design certificate program in Coursera is the Full-Stack Web Development with React Specialization. This is a course that’s offered by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Unlike the first one mentioned, this program requires some background knowledge on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It consists four courses that starts with a discussion on front-end frameworks, Bootstrap 4 and React. After that, students will learn to develop hybrid mobile apps using React Native and the Expo SDK. Lastly, it also tackles the server side where students will learn NoSQL databases using MongoDB, and work with a Node.js environment and an Express framework.

The whole program estimated completion time is 4 months, following the suggested 11 hours per week attendance.

Diploma in Web Design

The Diploma in Web Design is a course that Alison, another learning platform, is currently offering. It is one of those web design classes that are offered for free. Which is why this is also a great place to start if you’re planning a career in web design. It’s a great program for beginners as it teaches you to create websites using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Moreover, it also tackles the subject of attracting customers for your websites, and how to avoid losing them.

The whole course is just 10-15 hours long and you can get a certification upon completion as well.

Techdegree

Treehouse’s Techdegree is a bootcamp program that lets you learn from Treehouse’s full curriculum for $199/month. They have several Techdegree programs you can choose from: Front End Web Development, Full Stack JavaScript, PHP Development, UX Design, and Python Development. What’s great about this is that you can choose where to start. If you’re a beginner, you can start from the very beginning; and if you have some experience, you can choose to skip some courses. Another great thing about their Techdegree program is that all classes are interactive – from quizzes to projects – and peer reviews of your coding is also possible. It is a whole community that helps you learn, and you can help in return.

Each program varies in completion time since it is self-paced, but they can be done in at least 3 months.

Professional Certificate in Computer Science for Web Programming

The Professional Certificate in Computer Science for Web Programming is a program currently offered by Harvard University in EdX. Just from the name of the school that’s offering the program and you’re sure that you’ll be getting quality education. Harvard University professors will be teaching the curriculum consisting of two courses. The first course is CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science that discusses concepts important to computer science and programming, and a variety of languages including C, Python, SQL, and more. The second course is CS50’s Web Programming with Python and JavaScript. For this course, it is an in-depth curriculum that tackles design and implementation of web apps. Moreover, the courses also has hands-on projects where students can learn to write APIs, interactive UIs, and utilize cloud services like GitHub and Heroku.

The whole program’s estimated completion time is 6 months. This means that each course will take 12 weeks to finish if one devotes 6 or more hours per week.

The post What Are the Best Online Web Design Certificate Programs? appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

Top Free Apps for Wix From the App Market

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 08:00

There are different embeddable applications and plugins for websites depending on the needs of a particular developer. For Wix users, there are multiple applications available in the App Market. No need for plug-in downloads and embeds. The Wix App Market allows the installation of applications and plug-ins with only a few clicks. There is no need to bother with the coding for as long as the website is registered and built using Wix. What is even greater about this is that there are countless Wix apps available for free. Here are a few examples:

Image Source: Wix

Free Wix Apps for your Analytics

Any website builder and blogger would always consider the monetizability of a webpage or blog. This allows the website builder to earn back the costs for paying for a domain, including other management and operation costs. Analytics help a website owner to maximize web usage and internet traffic. Here are a few free analytics apps available from Wix:

Google AdSense

Incorporating ads on a website is one of the easiest and safest way to allow a website to become monetizable. Not only does the Google AdSense application allow the addition of ads on the website, but it also incorporates ads that are relevant to the visitor’s search history. Website builders could also customize the ads so that it matches the general theme of the blog or the page.

Visitor Analytics

Compared to the Google AdSense that focuses on the addition of ads, the Visitor Analytics app provides the web developer some statistics about organic traffic coming and going into the website. It allows the monitoring of a website’s overall performance. It provides parameters to how appealing a website is for users, how popular it is to readers, how long a certain user stays on the website, and more.

Best Wix Apps for Visitor Interaction Live Chat

Multiple brands provide chat apps or plug-ins that could be added to a website. Examples of apps that provide free services are Wix Chat, Tidio Live Chat, Jivo Live Chat, Easy Chat, Facebook Chat, and Rumble. Some chat apps provide limited free trials like Facebook Messenger, Chatbots, and Live Chat by LiveChat Inc.

Forums

Enabling communication among readers within a website helps a website become monetizable. Keeping an active community within the website surely increases organic traffic and can help the website gain popularity. Forum apps available on the App Market include Wix Forum.

Social Media and Sharing

One of the best ways to increase internet traffic is to make a website shareable on varied social media platforms. If a reader finds the content interesting and worth sharing with other contacts, the accessibility of a social media sharing button is key to this. The more times a particular website is shared on the internet, the higher is the possibility for it to increase organic traffic. It will get internet users to talk about not only the niche but the design and overall appeal of a website.

Must-Have Wix Apps for Business Websites Forms

There are a variety of uses for forms on any website. There are many ways to use Forms on a website. It could be used as membership signup, online orders, contact details, surveys, subscriptions, and more. There are multiple applications for forms on Wix that offer free plans. An example would be Wix Forms, Smart popups & Forms, Mailchimp Forms by MailMunch, MagicForm builder, and many more.

Payment Options

In the world where technology is ever-improving and online transactions become more preferred over physical transactions, online payment options are a must. The good thing is that there are a few free payment apps available on the Wix App Store. One of these would be the PayPal button. However, for security reasons, it might be better to avail of a paid payment option plug-in so users would not have any second thoughts when buying from a certain website.

Menu, Bookings, and Maps

For online stores and business websites, there are cases that apps for menus, order forms, maps, and bookings may be necessary. In the Wix App Market, there are a variety of applications available for this. Among the most popular are Wix Forms, Hotels & Airbnb Maps, Vacation Rental Booking App, and Wix Menus.

Popular Free Apps on Wix Amazon

This is helpful when featuring an affiliate store or product on a website. Simply install Amazon onto a Wix website to easily create product galleries. A webpage could create a product gallery consisting of about 30 Amazon products. The Wix website could earn commissions for sales made within a Wix website.

eBay store

The eBay store allows a user to sync their eBay posts on their newly-built Wix Website. What the eBay user could do is to sign-in their accounts once the eBay app is installed onto the website. Once this is done, all their listings that are posted on eBay will be synced onto the Wix website.

Also Read: 10 Free Wix Templates for Different Blog Niches

The post Top Free Apps for Wix From the App Market appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

10 Ways to Improve E-Learning Website Design for Better User Experience

Tue, 08/04/2020 - 08:00

User engagement – over the years, this one particular term has become increasingly important in the internet industry. It has emerged as a key indicator of marketing performance for all online businesses, and hundreds of metrics (i.e. bounce rate, retention rate, screen time etc.) have been devised to measure it. 

User experience is even more important for businesses involved in e-Learning, because their users spend much more time learning lessons online, than users of any other type of site. 

Now, user engagement in e-Learning sites depends a lot on the learning experience of your visitors. If they can’t learn anything from your courses, or if it takes a lot of time and effort to learn something, they would want to learn from somewhere else, thus hurting your user engagement. 

So it’s crucial for you to ensure that your visitors are having a good learning experience on your e-Learning site. How do you do that? By having a great website design.

Here are 10 website design insights to improve student experience on your website.

#1. Have a clean and organized Course design

Example of a professional course page

The design of your Course pages and the manner in which course content is presented play the most important role in the engagement of learners. 

Most of the interaction between your site and your learners happens on the course pages, so it’s important that the design of those pages is user-friendly. 

Here are 3 simple steps that you can take to ensure a clean and organized course design:

  1. Modularize your content: The course content you develop should have a linear hierarchy. Divide it into modules that are divided further into smaller lessons and topics, with the help of headings and subheadings. That makes everything easier to read, understand, and learn.  
  2. Use graphics wherever possible: Images, animations, videos, and other graphics explain things better than plain text. So wherever possible, try to explain your course content with the help of graphics. 
  3. Pay special attention to fonts and colors: The fonts and colors you choose in your course content also play a major role in its readability and understandability. You should avoid choosing fonts that are not clear to read and background colors that make it difficult to read the content. 

These are a few simple steps that you can take to ensure a user-friendly course page design. 

#2. Use reader-friendly layouts that are distraction-free

An example of Grid layout

The layouts of your pages also play a crucial role in determining the engagement of your learners. 

Your course pages, course listing pages, category pages, and every other page on your site should have a layout that is easy to navigate. 

For category pages and pages that list all your courses, you can use Grid layout, because that’s one of the few layout options that can display all your courses in a beautiful manner. 

For other pages, like individual course pages, checkout pages, or other content pages, you can try a boxed layout. 

These are our suggestions and you can certainly make a different choice, but make sure that your choice is guided by sound judgment based on testing data and experience. 

#3. Increase page load speed

Nobody likes a website that loads slowly. And when it comes to e-Learning sites, it’s even more important because your visitors are learners who will spend a lot more time on the site. 

Therefore, you must ensure that your web pages load fast. Here are the steps you can take to ensure it:

  • Install a caching plugin: Cache plugins create a static copy of your web pages and store it on the server. Every time a visitor loads your site, the lighter version of your HTML pages created by the caching plugin is served instead of the regular heavy web page containing various PHP scripts. 
  • Avoid overuse of javascript and other fancy elements: Javascripts, animations, buttons, and other similar fancy elements may make your site look stylish, but they increase the loading time of your webpages. Therefore, you should be very careful in their usage. Overuse of these elements can make your web pages too slow to load. 
  • Use a CDN: Content Delivery Networks, or CDNs, play an important role in increasing the speed of your site. They replicate the content and store it across their network of servers, and then push it through a server that is closest to your visitors; thus reducing the distance that data needs to travel. That way they increase the loading speed of your site. 

There are many other methods too for increasing the page load speed, but these 3 are the most important ones among them. If you want to read more on the subject then you can refer to these tips by Google. 

#4. Encourage an interactive student-teacher experience

No one learns anything without going through some doubts, and if your team members or instructors on your site can help learners in sorting out your students’ doubts then they’ll be able to learn much more quickly. 

And frankly, it’s also the best way to improve the experience of your website, because by doing this you’re helping your learners not only learn quickly but also learn in a better way with deeper understanding. 

There are a number of ways to implement this functionality – video calling integration, messaging integration, building forums. 

You can choose any of these methods to encourage interactions between students and teachers. 

#5. Implement social features

For many of us, learning is fun when we learn with others. 

The classroom vibe is great in encouraging friendly debate and healthy competition, which is why more and more e-Learning sites are implementing social features nowadays to help students interact with each other. 

Forums, groups, messaging and other social features can be easily implemented in a WordPress-based site with the help of their BuddyPress and bbPress plugins. 

LearnDash empowers you to embed these features into the content of your courses. For instance, you can create forums around various courses available on your site and design the website to encourage active student participation.

#6. Gamify your course – add badges, points, and certificates

Enhance the fun element of your website design by adding badges, points, certificates, and other gamification features. 

It motivates learners to learn more and more when they know that they’ll be rewarded with something in the end, which means that they buy more of your courses and spend more time on your site. 

The good news is that LearnDash comes with many of these gamification features already built-in, so you don’t need to put much effort into integrating them with your site. You can check out how to enable them in this article.  

#7. Personalize your website

Another great way to improve the engagement and experience of learners on your site is to implement personalization in your site. 

By personalization we do not mean just showing their name in a corner of your site and allowing them to change the color of their account dashboard – we’re talking about personalization of learning experience, which includes design modifications based on:

  • Interests: Understanding the topics your learners are interested in and suggesting relevant content accordingly (more on it in the next section). 
  • Goals: Understanding the professional goals of your learner and offering content suggestions according to them. 
  • Learning styles: Everyone learns differently. Some like learning themselves in solace, some like group study, and taking the opinion of others. Some like reading for hours in one go, some like taking short breaks in between. Have features that align with their learning style. 
  • Language: Not everyone understands English; so offering content in the native language of your learners based on their location. 
  • Prior educational background: Suggesting learners to skip certain topics/parts of a course based on their educational background. 

By personalizing the learning experience in this manner you can significantly increase the interest of your learners. 

#8. Recommend courses to students

Course recommendation is closely related to personalization.

Think how Amazon or any eCommerce website recommends products based on your browsing history and recent purchases? 

You can implement the same idea and design for your own courses.

Once you understand the topics/subjects your learners may be interested in, you can recommend other courses available on your site that they may want to complete. 

By recommending courses related to each other, you can not only increase your per customer revenue but also their expertise in the subject. And when their expertise will increase because of your content, they’ll respect your brand even more. 

#9. Create a forum to build a community

As we have seen above, many people like learning in the company of others as it helps them develop a deeper understanding of the subject. 

Forums provide an amazing platform for facilitating a structured group discussion, as they help learners discuss their doubts and knowledge with each other. 

This creates a community of like-minded folks, which allows people to see how others studying the same thing shape their understanding of something. 

Many of these forums also allow people to build relationships around their academic and professional goals, which is another way how they benefit the learners. And if your brand helps people forge valuable relationships, it’ll be remembered for a long time. 

Therefore, you should seriously consider adding a forum to your e-Learning site.

#10. Make your website mobile-friendly

Example of mobile-optimized quizzes and pages

This design tip seems obvious, but it is nevertheless important. 

The digital world has become more of a mobile story than a PC story a long time ago. 

Today more than 50% of internet traffic is from smartphones, which has made adopting a mobile-first strategy not a matter of choice but a matter of priority for all modern businesses. 

Keep this in mind and design your e-Learning site as well as your course content in a mobile-friendly manner. 

Wrapping up

These 10 steps for optimizing website design and features can go a long way in determining the learning experience of your visitors.

The best part is, choosing the right theme for your e-Learning site can make implementing all these steps a lot simpler. For instance, a professionally developed e-Learning theme can help you create stunning mobile-friendly course pages, increase the loading speed of your site, implement social features, and much more. 

Therefore, you should pay special attention to the theme you’re choosing while creating your site. And if you need some help in selecting the right theme for your site, here’s a list of 15 awesome themes developed for e-Learning sites. Go through it and select yours!

The post 10 Ways to Improve E-Learning Website Design for Better User Experience appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

How to Make PNG Images Transparent for Free

Mon, 08/03/2020 - 08:00

Different image formats could be used, downloaded, and uploaded on the internet. There are three commonly used kinds of images on the internet – the PNG, the JPEG, and the GIF. The JPEG format for images is commonly used for articles, photography, and general kinds of presentations. These images are usually compressible and are small in size. The GIF format is best used for images that could be used further as animations, but they are very similar to a PNG. On the other hand, the PNG format is usually used for logos.

What does it mean to make a PNG image Transparent?

Transparency in images is possible for a variety of image formats. However, it is most commonly done in PNG formatted images. An image being “transparent” simply means that it is addable onto another photo without affecting the overall background. It could easily take the effect of any background, like putting a sticker on a piece of paper. This transparency allows an image to be easily editable. Usually, the background of a “transparent” image could be changed depending on the desires of the user. It could be added to another photo, or different color palettes could be used as a background.

Usually, images that could be made transparent are in the formats of PNG and GIF. If a user wishes to create a transparent JPEG image, the photo or object must be converted first either to a PNG or a GIF format.

Tools on How to Make PNG Images Transparent for Free

There are several tools available for free on the internet that allows a user to easily create a transparent PNG image.

Here are a few of them:

Online PNG Tools 

Best Places to Find Transparent PNG Images

  • Choose and upload an image to be made transparent
  • Identify the colors on the image that would be made transparent. Select these on the available color palette, or type in its HTML color code.
  • The chosen color will then be made transparent. Users must choose a percentage of all other “similar color tones” that will be made transparent as well. This percentage considers lighting and contrast in images caused by shadows.
  • The edited image could be downloaded (to save) or copied to a clipboard.

This particular website does the job but does not have a color pick tool. Since the color must be selected from the palette, it is difficult to color match exactly from the uploaded photo. This website tool works well for solid-colored backgrounds.

Image Source: Online PNG Tools

RemoveBG Website

This is probably one of the best website tools that are a common source on the internet. Once a photo is uploaded, it automatically removes the background. No other steps are going to be followed. The downside to this, on the other hand, is that the background has to be a solid color. If the background and foreground are indistinguishable, the website will reject the image.

Originally uploaded photo. Image Source: REMOVE BG

 

Edited Image. Image Source: REMOVE BG

Lunapic Photo Editor

Best Places to Find Transparent PNG Images

  • Upload an image to be made transparent
  • Click on a large area of pixels which should be made transparent
  • Adjust the slide to determine how much of the pixels should be transformed

This is a good online photo editor as it has multiple functions. It works similarly to the MS Paint software but made available online. The downside to this is that the user cannot exactly select which part of the photo is desired to be made transparent. The user can only control how much (in percentage) of the photo will be made transparent.

Lunapic Results. Image Source: LUNAPIC

Best Paid Tools to use to Make Transparent PNG

It is important to note that many websites offer services for free. However, the quality of the image is not as promising. The images are still usable but it could be made so much better. Also, most of the websites are not as easy to use. This is why it is still important to consider affordable photo editing software like the following:

Adobe Photoshop

This particular software is the best tool to edit an image. There are different ways to make a transparent background for PNG format images. Adobe Photoshop is a good investment for graphic designers and artists as it provides a variety of options.

Canva (30-day Free Trial)

Best Places to Find Transparent PNG Images

Also Read: Best Places to Find Transparent PNG Images

The post How to Make PNG Images Transparent for Free appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

10 Best Cloud Migration Companies for Development Work Today

Mon, 08/03/2020 - 03:13

As a business grows, so does the complexity of data. When this happens, cloud migration is worth considering.

Choosing a cloud migration company can be overwhelming with complex services and offers. Not only must the company be able to migrate data, but they should also have a detailed plan for the transition and provide an in-depth analysis of your previous storage systems. In general, big data & cloud migration services are divided into three categories:

  • IaaS, which stands for Infrastructure as a Service. This service will provide infrastructures such as servers, operating systems, and storage media on a monthly or annual basis. Example companies: Amazon and Microsoft Azure web services.
  • PaaS, which stands for Platform as a Service. This service is often used for software development, testing, and maintenance. Unlike IaaS, PaaS has additional tools such as and BI services. Example companies: Red Hat OpenShift and Apprenda.
  • SaaS, which stands for Software as a Service. This service has users connect to applications via the internet on a subscription basis. Example companies: Google and Salesforce applications.

Read also: Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Cloud Provider

With this in mind, here are;

10 cloud migration companies that have a history of reliability

 

1. Erbis

Erbis is one of the most prominent companies that provide resilient cloud computing solutions. Erbis is able to help with ERP, mobile app, Big data supply chain platform, software development, and, of course, high-quality cloud migration service.

Anton Zimarev co-founded Erbis with the goal of updating software development without tampering with the basics. Anton Zimarev is now the CEO and works with Ivan Klim, the CTO. With two big-idea professionals behind this company, Erbis has quickly grown from a conventional software engineering company to a company that offers various services.

Erbis specializes in software solutions with full-stack capability.

2. Kamatera


Kamatera is a cloud migration company that provides cloud infrastructure services with variations in performance from low to high. Excellent features:

  • Customize VPS hosting
  • Add or remove servers without penalty
  • 99.95% Uptime Guarantee
3. Softchoice

Softchoice is a global leader in the deployment of Azure, also a Google Cloud partner. Excellent features:

  • Cloud workload assessment
  • Cloud Accelerator which includes workload migration
  • Operational support 24/7
4. Prolifics

In addition to providing managed services that include cloud, data, and analytics, Prolifics also provides digital consulting and engineering. Excellent features:

  • Cloud architecture, cloud migration and native dev cloud services
  • AI services and business analysis, machine learning and data management
  • Business and functional guarantee testing, performance testing and life cycle automation testing
5. ScienceSoft


ScienceSoft is one of the best providers of cloud infrastructure services in the US with 11 years of experience in IT service management. Excellent features:

  • SaaS application that runs on AWS / Azure
  • End to end cloud service management
  • Inexpensive subscription price
6. phoenixNAP

As a global IT service provider, phoenixNAP offers a secure and scalable IaaS solution. Excellent Features:

  • PhoenixNAP data security cloud
  • Advanced backup services. Affordable prices with an OPEX-friendly model
7. Cloudways

One of the ideal hosting providers for agencies, SMBs, and developers on a simple platform. Excellent features:

  • PaaS with five IaaS options
  • A secure hosting platform that is protected by a firewall, IP whitelist, and other security components.
  • Multiple cost plans
8. pCloud


pCloud provides more storage space, excellent security, and a scalable system. Excellent features:

  • Ease of file management from the web, desktop, or smartphone
  • Several options for sharing files
  • Social media photo back-up
9. Amazon Web Service (AWS)

In addition to offering a variety of infrastructure services such as database storage, computing power, and networking, AWS is also the safest and most protected cloud service platform. Excellent features:

  • Ability to host a static website
  • Users can build complex applications that can be trusted to be secure, scalable, and flexible
  • Free cloud experience
10. Google Cloud Platform

Who doesn’t know Google? Google Cloud Platform provides integrated storage that can be used by developers and companies for direct data located in Google’s data centers. Excellent Features:

  • Free trial services
  • Flexible payment packages

Photo credit: gettyimages.com

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Categories: Design

10 Fun Fonts to Use for Your Designs

Thu, 07/30/2020 - 18:37

Fonts can usually make or break one’s design. It is also the one element that involves choosing from the thousands of options available to you – making it harder to choose the right one for your design. There are serif fonts, modern fonts, script fonts, and unique and fun fonts. Some designs require modern fonts that would fit the minimalist look, or the modern look, while some designs would fit better with a “creative”, fun, and expressive type of font.

These would be the type of fonts that’d call your attention and probably even make an impression to an audience. We’ve searched and put together 10 of the best fun fonts you can use for your designs!

Bimbo

Bimbo is handwritten scriptfont created by Francesco Canovaro for the Zetafonts Foundry. The font is also a redesign of another typeface called Arsenal White. If you’re looking for the handwritten aesthetic, Bimbo is a great one to use for your designs. The font is completely free for personal use, and has commercial licenses as well.

Cadena

Cadena is a monospace-type font that takes inspiration from sci-fi movies. The font is available to use for a dollar.

Quasith

Egidio Filippetti, a graphic designer, is the creator the Quasith font. This is a free font that’s perfect for those looking for the minimalist and modern look for their designs.

Scalter

If you’re looking for the loud and cheerful personality for a font, Scalter’s the one. Dirtyline Studio, a graphic design studio in Indonesia, is the designer for Scalter. It is available to use for both personal and commercial purposes on their website.

Nano

Nano is one of those fonts that combine futuristic and minimalism. Created by Harrison Luke, the font’s unique look is perfect to use for logos, posters, and even branding campaigns. Nano is available for both personal and commercial usage.

Elixia

Another futuristic type of font is Elixia. Kimmy Lee, its creator, took inspiration from geometric shapes and hexagonal grid system to create sci-fi-like and industrial look for a font. The font is available for use at $20.

Half

Half is another unique font designed by the Caio Designer. It is a font that has both designs for the regular look and the “half” look – which only uses half of the lines in the letters. Despite being cut in half, the creator designs it in a way that it maintains each letter’s identifying characteristic. Half is the perfect attention-grabbing font for one’s designs. Moreover, it’s free to use for both personal and commercial purposes.

36 Days of Type

36 Days of Type is actually the name of a global project where designers all over the world submit their own take on the alphabet’s visuals and this is one of them. This type of font by Alan Cheetham utilizes circles, rectangles, and triangles to create the alphabet. This font is also available for free.

Soda Popp

Soda Popp font is a nostalgic type of font. Cahya Sofyan, the creator of this font, took inspiration from the early 2010s pop culture, vaporwave music, and seapunk.

Cosmonaut

Cosmonaut is another creation of Cahya Sofyan. The letters’ interesting shapes in this font came from geometric shapes and cosmology. Not only is the font interesting, but the creator’s process in creating the letters is intriguing as well.


You might also enjoy:

33 Free Display Fonts for Attention-Getting Headlines 25 Useful and Free Fonts to Download

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Categories: Design

Photoshop Basics: How to Flip an Image in Photoshop

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 08:00

Flipping an image may be required for editing photos on Photoshop. There are many different ways to do so, and some had already been discussed in previous tutorials. It is important to note that there are two considerations on how to flip an image in Photoshop. This is to rotate an image as an entire canvas or to flip an image using specified objects. Flipping images can create designs and patterns on an image in Photoshop.

Here are a few ways on how to flip an image in Photoshop.

Easy: How to Flip Image in Photoshop Using Rotate Tool

There are many different ways for which an image could be flipped in Photoshop. Images in Photoshop could be flipped in varying angles depending on the requirement of the user. However, the most common (and the easiest) is to flip the images counterclockwise (in 90 and 180-degree angles) or clockwise (in 90 and 180-degree angles).  This is where the Rotate Tool could be useful. Here are different ways to use the Rotate Tool to flip an image in Photoshop:

  • Specific Angle Method: 
    • On the Image Menu, click on the Image Rotation option.
    • There are different options to choose from: “90Âş Right,” “90Âş Left,” “180º” or “Custom”. The “Custom” option allows the image to be rotated at a specified angle.
    • Another option would be to select between “Flip Canvas Horizontal” or “Flip Canvas Vertical” on the Image Menu.
  • Varied Angle Method:
    • On the toolbar, click on the Rotate View option. Click on the image to pinpoint the ‘Reference Point’ of rotation.
    • Once the reference point is selected, a compass cursor will appear (make sure to hold down the mouse). Move the mouse until the desired rotation angle is reached.

NOTE: The Rotate tool being describe does not rotate specific objects within the image. Instead, it rotates the entire canvass where the image is located.

Moderate: How to Flip Image in Photoshop Using Free Transform Tool

The easy method described above flips an image in Photoshop using the entire canvass. However, there are instances where only a part of the image (or an object) is desired to be flipped by the user. This is where the Free Transform Tool becomes useful. Here are the steps to the user the Free Transform Tool to flip an image in Photoshop:

  • The most important step is to create a layer for the selected object within the image. Once the layer containing the object is determined, it is now easy to use the Transform and Free Transform tool to flip an image in Photoshop.
  • It is important to remember that the selected object becomes a layer within the image. The Transform tools only rotate the active layers. Make sure that the desired layer to be flipped is active.
  • Using the Transform Tool:
    • Click on the Edit menu on the Menu bar.
    • Select the Transform Tool on the dropbox.
    • The Transform tool has options similar to the Rotate Image option: Rotate 90 Clockwise, Rotate 90 Counterclockwise and Rotate 180 degrees.
    • Another option is to select between “Flip Horizontal” or “Flip Vertical”.
  • Using the Free Transform Tool:
    • Click on the Edit menu on the Menu bar
    • Select the Free Transform Tool on the dropbox.
    • Right-click on the image to determine the flip options.

NOTE: Transform tool and Free Transform tool is closely similar to Flip and Rotate canvass tool. The only considerable difference is the fact that the Transform tool flips only a portion of the image (known as objects). The Rotate Canvass tool rotates the entire image.

Advanced: Creating Patterns by Flipping Images

Flipping an Image on Photoshop can create kaleidoscope-like patterns. Image Source: Pixabay

This method is a creative means for which a simple task of rotating an image creates beautiful outcomes. It is easy to create patterns by Flipping images or creating mirror views of images. The technique for this is to create multiple layers and merging them. Here are the steps:

  • Create a copy of the background image into a new layer. To do so, simply drag the “Background layer” into the Create a New Layer option on the Layer window.
  • The next step is very crucial in creating patterns on flipped images – creating additional space on the canvas.
    • Go to the Image Menu and select the Canvas Size Tool.
    • A dialog box will appear, this will show how much of the image and where space will be added.
    • Change the Width and Length of the image (by percent) by determining how much space will be added.
    • The Anchor determines where on the new canvas the original “Background image” will be placed.
  • Create a copy of the “Background layer” onto the blank space using the move tool. This usually creates a New Layer.
  • Flip this portion of the image by using the steps above (Flip objects using Transform Tool).
  • Merge the two layers together to create a single image. To do so, select the Layer Menu and choose the Merge Down option.
Also Read: Photoshop Basics: How to Curve Text in Photoshop

The post Photoshop Basics: How to Flip an Image in Photoshop appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

4 Website Maintenance Costs You Should Watch Out For

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 08:00

Marketers need to get a grasp on their overall budget. No matter how good your budgeting skills are, there are always surprising costs that pop up, especially when it comes to website maintenance. Security attacks, new features, a company rebranding—you name it. Your website needs continuous updates to ensure that it is aligned with your company’s standards.

As one of the first places consumers go for more information, your website will impact a prospect’s perception of your company. Thus, it’s important not to scrimp when it comes to the amount of money you set aside for web development. Unfortunately, there’s a lot that can go wrong. If you aren’t prepared, you might not be able to keep up with the website updates needed. Even worse, they could get costly.

That’s why it’s so important to understand the different aspects of web maintenance that are required for a fully-functional, operating website. By doing so, you’ll be more prepared to address updates to your site without breaking the bank. 

Let’s take a look at five of the most common website maintenance costs that you should watch out for.

Custom Web Development 

Websites are the most important digital asset that your company owns. They are your central hub for product information, customer support, updates, and even community. As your business changes, so must your website. Sometimes it needs to change drastically. 

Most companies have a back-end CMS that a marketer on their team can update. This includes basic tasks like uploading a blog post, changing out a slideshow image, creating a landing page, and more. Those tasks don’t require any knowledge of programming language and can be easily executed by a non-technical marketer. However, what about the tasks that are more complex? Who handles those?

Businesses need to hire an in-house web developer, contract with an agency, or work with one on a part-time or retainer basis. There are plenty of sites out there such as Codementor that provide listings for talented freelance developers who want to work with businesses. This developer should be the one who handles all the major site upgrades including dramatic overhauls, new feature installations, bugs, security threats, and more.

Look at Capsule Fillers’ website. When the pandemic struck, they needed to alert their customers about their locations’ hours and the status of their dispatching orders. In order to accomplish this, they had their web developer add an alert bar at the top of their page, so customers wouldn’t be able to miss it.

(Image Source)

 

Without a widget or a plugin that’s available, this site addition isn’t easy for a marketer to do. Additionally, since the update was timely, the company likely needed it published immediately. This can be hectic for marketing teams that don’t have a developer they work closely with or money set aside to hire one. Hiring a developer or keeping one on retainer will be costly. However, their work is directly tied to sales, brand awareness, and customer satisfaction.

Pixels and Conversion Event Script Installation

Digital ad campaigns don’t just involve social media platforms. From personalized landing pages to monitoring web traffic, your website plays a critical role in the success of your paid ad strategy. One of the most technical aspects of your ad campaigns is installing the ad platforms’ pixels. Pixels are lines of code that you need to add to your site. They track visitors and enable you to retarget them with ads on their respective sites.  

Have you ever visited a website and saw an ad for that same company minutes later on Facebook? That’s the Facebook pixel at work. For example, if you click on Future Kind’s website, there is a high chance you’ll see a Facebook ad similar to the one below in the coming days.

(Image Source)

This is because Future Kind, like many businesses, leverages the Facebook pixel to make their ad campaigns more targeted and relevant to customers who may be interested. Installing a pixel consists of adding a specific line of code to your website’s theme header. In some cases, you’ll want to add another script to certain pages like your checkout and confirmation page. 

These scripts track conversion events, or the amount of times a sale is transacted and the total value of each one. This helps with attribution for your digital ads. Installing these lines of codes can be challenging. You may think you know what you’re doing, but then realize that the pixel is not firing. At that point, you might have to pay someone to troubleshoot or work with your developer to get it working properly.

Due to the frequency of new ad platforms popping up and multiple conversion events needing to be installed, this can become a frequent task for some businesses.

User Experience and Interface Optimization

You’ve probably heard of UX and UI mentioned frequently when it comes to web design. User experience (UX) refers to the core function of your site and how the consumer interacts with it. Improving UX involves changing your site’s features or functions to make the experience more enjoyable for the end-user.

User interface (UI) focuses on the design aspect of your website. This includes your branding, colors, creatives, and messaging that live on the site. Marketers and developers should work together to continuously improve the UX and UI of the site. You don’t want the reason that you’re missing out on opportunities to be because of a clunky, confusing site.

That’s why continuous testing and optimization is needed. This can be overwhelming at first. There are so many different aspects of your site that you could test. Start with what you believe is your most clicked or most viewed parts of your site. Look at minor changes like where buttons are featured and how they’re labeled.

For Sleep Junkie, what would happen if they changed the wording of some of the options on their main navigation bar. Would it drive more or less clicks? What if they changed their navigation bar entirely and simplified the options they could choose from?

(Image Source)

After you’ve mastered the small stuff, go onwards to the larger, more impactful site changes. Test new headlines, try new homepage sliders, and see what happens when you add more interactive features like moving images, email capture pop-ups, and more.

Elemental Labs could test different variations of their headline, “A Tasty Electrolyte Drink” to see which performs the best. They also could try animating the objects in the background, changing the homepage’s color, or alternating the call-to-actions.

(Image Source)

Software like VWO and Optimizely can show different versions of your site to two groups of visitors. These insights can inform web development and design decisions. Adding this software subscription on a recurring monthly or annual basis can add up, but it will likely pay off with added revenue over time.

Site Analytics Dashboards

In addition to performing A/B tests to inform site design, you need analytics to understand who is visiting your site and where they’re browsing.

Important site metrics to track include:

  • Pageviews – total number of user visits to a page
  • Bounce rate – what percent of customers visit a page and exit
  • Time Spent on Page – total duration of time spent on a specific page
  • Traffic Sources – where are your site visitors coming from (i.e. – social media, email, etc.)
  • Exit Pages – pages on your site the users leave after visiting

Google Analytics is an excellent source for this information, but it can be time-consuming to aggregate the data and set it up in a way that makes sense for marketers.

There are many SaaS options on the market that integrate with Google Analytics to make marketer’s lives easier. They include Funnel.io, Domo and Dash This. Although they do cost a nominal fee, they will make your team smarter and help you understand your customers better.

For example, the Medical Alert Buyer’s Guide is the go-to authority for medical alert system reviews. They publish reviews for nearly every medical alert system provider on the market.

(Image Source)

To gauge site traffic and understand which content is performing well, they could use one of the aforementioned software options to make sense of their Google Analytics data. This will provide them insight into what future content their audience wants to see. 

They can also share these insights with advertisers, sponsors, and affiliate partners who may want to get their products in front of a similar audience. While an investment in site analytic software isn’t always necessary, it can be useful if you have unanswered questions about your site’s visitors.

Conclusion

Even the most skilled budgeters are met with surprises when it comes to site maintenance costs. There’s always a costly issue that occurs or new software to integrate. Businesses need to plan for additional site maintenance expenses throughout the year. The company’s website is an investment that shouldn’t be shortchanged. 

Some of the most common site maintenance expenses include custom web development, pixel, and conversion event installation, UI/UX optimization, and site analytics dashboards. By planning for the unexpected, businesses will be able to create a site with limited downtime that they are proud of.

The post 4 Website Maintenance Costs You Should Watch Out For appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

DNS 101: An Idiot’s Guide for Web Developers

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 05:00

As a web developer, you must know the ins and outs of building a website from scratch. Aside from knowing which CMS or web hosting to use, you also need to know how a web domain works and how it connects to your hosted website.

This may seem like a basic topic to discuss in the scheme of things. However, if you read this article through the end, you will learn the important role that Domain Name Service (DNS) plays in making your website more accessible online.

What is DNS?

Before talking about Domain Name Server, let’s talk about life without DNS.

Imagine you want to go to Google on your browser. Instead of typing out google.com on the URL bar, you need to enter http://216.58.192.164/ instead.

If you do that, you will head on to Google exactly like when you entered Google on your web browser.

Now, imagine if all websites are like that. You must memorize the numbers of all the websites you want to visit, which represent their respective IP addresses. It is a series of four numbers between 1 to 255, each of which is separated by a dot. You keep a handy list of these addresses so you don’t forget them.

Thanks to a DNS, things never reached that point. All you need to do ever since is type in the domain name attached to the IP address of the site to visit it.

There are unique ways or “records” you can use to connect a domain name to an IP address:

  • A record – points domain name address to an IP address.
  • CNAME record – points domain name to another domain name, This is commonly used to point the non-HTTPS version to the secure version.
  • TXT record – used to verify the owner of the domain.

You can set these records from your domain registrar.

Parts of a DNS

As mentioned, DNS facilitates the interaction between the hosted site and the domain name. However, how do website visitors come into play in relation to DMS?

Source: WPBeginner

There are the three major components you need to know about DNS and server requests from web clients:

Domain namespace

It assumes the inverted tree structure with the root domain at the top. From here, you can see the different levels and subdomains branching off from the root domain. For example, just below the root domain is the top-level domain or TLD, referring to the domain extension, i.e. .com, .org, .net. The second-level domain, which is the domain name access to your site’s IP address, comes next, From here, you can create different subdomains under your chosen domain name, i.e. subdomain1.domain.com, subdomain2.domain.com, etc.

Resolvers

These draw out information from the nameserver according to the user request.

There are two types of resolvers in this case: the stub resolver and recursive resolver. The former is responsible for managing DNS queries coming from local computer applications.

Let’s say a user clicks on your page from the search results. The request will go through the stub resolver first.

The next step is for the stub resolver to pass along the request to the recursive resolvers, which serves as the middleman between the web client and nameservers. If the requested data by the query is cache, the resolvers will deliver the stored data to the web client of the user. Otherwise, it passes the request to the nameservers.

Nameservers

These contain the information about the domain namespace. You can set the details of your namespace.

Resolvers communicate the request to the TLD or authoritative nameservers. From here, resolvers will have to scour different physical servers since the data of your domain namespace is distributed across multiple servers.

The issue here gets worse if there are lots of requests coming in and out from different web clients. The stress put into not only the resolvers but also the servers will almost always result to the slow processing of requests.

Nonetheless, once the data is acquired from the nameserver, it passes it along to the resolvers and back to the web client.

DNS services

As mentioned, the risk of slow loading speed is prevalent in the exchange of information taking place in the DNS. More importantly, the process outlined above is not privacy-respecting. This means online threats can intercept the data passing through the resolvers, nameservers, and your device.

To keep your online activity fast and safe, there are different DNS services available for your choosing. Tools like Cloudflare, Rackspace, and Namecheap are some of the free and more popular ones in this space.

You can set each one up using the Control Panel from your web hosting provider. Each service may have instructions for installing it with the site, so be wary of this information.

For web client users, it’s also useful for them to use a DNS service that allows them to access the web in a secure and faster manner. Smart DNS servers also allow people to unblock geo-restricted content as part of the package.

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Related posts:

How to Make Sure Your Website is Secure for Users

Choosing the Right Platform to Manage Multiple Sites at Once

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Categories: Design

How to Find a Font

Tue, 07/28/2020 - 08:00

We know that there is a lot of work involved when it comes to designs. Every element designed has a reasoning behind it – from the colors to the shapes and even the look of the texts. Looking for the right font to use for your texts can be a time-consuming task. Fonts, in the grand scheme of things, seems like such a small part of a design. However, how it looks and how it complements your design will create a huge impact on the message you want to convey. In this article, we will be looking at how to find a font that suits your purpose or objective the best.

Font Psychology

For some, font psychology may be an unfamiliar term but it does exist. People associate different things with different kinds of fonts – which is where font psychology comes in. Official documents such as business letters, resumĂ©s, and school applications require professional-looking fonts, while posters, logos, or any creative outputs often use creative fonts, like cursive or handwritten – depending on what kind of image they want to portray. By understanding how a font’s look works and resonates with the audience, designers are now able to choose the right fonts for their designs and even more, avoid using wrong fonts that can be misinterpreted by the audience.

Choosing the Right Type of Font

Fonts are categorized by different categories and there are 5 major ones: Serif, Slab Serif, Sans Serif, Script, and Modern.

Serif

Serif fonts are known as the classic fonts. Most companies that are established and traditional use these types of fonts. If you want to exude an image of tradition, practical, and formal, serif fonts are the way to go. These types of fonts are usually used body texts, printed materials, presentations, and company logos that project authority and formality. If you want to find a font like this, examples of this type are Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia, and Baskerville.

Some organizations that use this font in their logos is Yale, Time, and Wells Fargo.

Slab Serif

If you want to find for a font that shouts boldness and innovation, Slab Serif fonts are the ones to use. They’re similar to Serif fonts, but instead of being formal and traditional, they’re much friendlier, trendy, and confident. These types of fonts are usually used for logos, titles, or headlines. For logos, they’re commonly used by car brands, and tech companies as these groups want to create an impactful and innovative image. Fonts that fall under this category are Clarendon, Museo, Courier, and Rockwell.

Volvo, Honda, and Sony are some of the organizations that use the fonts under Slab Serif.

Sans Serif

Sans Serif is the last category of the Serifs. If they were a family, Sans Serif is the fun-loving cousin. Fonts under the Sans Serif category are the clean, modern, and straightforward ones. No frills needed. Just like Serif, these fonts are used in body texts, titles, and logos as well. If you see an organization using a Sans Serif font, clarity, modern, and universal are the things they want to be known for. This is why fashion brands, tech companies, and start-ups usually use these fonts. Examples of Sans Serif fonts are Helvetica, Century Gothic, Arial, and Verdana.

Some companies that use Sans Serif fonts are Nike, Microsoft, and Evian.

Script

Unlike the first three, Script fonts have much more going on. The fonts under this category are much more elaborate, detailed, and they somewhat mimic a real person’s handwriting. Depending on the font used, Script fonts generally project the image of creativity, sophistication, elegance, and femininity. Moreover, some fonts are able to add a personal touch on texts since they look handwritten. Examples are Lucida Script, Edwardian Script, and Lavanderia. Other than logos and titles, Script fonts are usually seen in invitations as well. If you are aiming to project creativity, invoke feelings and experiences, Script fonts are the best fonts to use.

Cadillac, Instagram, and Coca-Cola are just some of the organizations using the Script font for their logos.

Modern

Modern fonts, despite its name, has been around since the 18th century. These types of fonts can be thin, thick – as long as they are modern-looking and legible. Moreover, unlike Script, they are also very easy to read. If your brand or business’s target audience are millenials, using Modern fonts are effective in attracting them. This is because aside from telling people that your business is “modern”, these fonts can also create an image of intelligence, progressive, stylish, and even exclusivity. If you want to use Modern fonts, you can try looking into using Politica, Matchbook, and Futura.

The most prominent company that uses this font is Facebook. Other companies that use Modern fonts are Hulu and Nars.

Display

While not a part of the major categories, there are also fonts that are just meant for decoration. These types of fonts are unique and creative and more often than not, customized to a brand’s identity. These fonts are mostly used for logos because they have a very different style, and they add personality as well. Examples of Display fonts are Gigi, Jokerman, and Valencia.

Disney, Fanta, and Lego are just some of the companies that use Display fonts for their logo.

You might also enjoy: How To Select the Best Font For Any Project or Website 33 Free Display Fonts for Attention-Getting Headlines

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Categories: Design

Photoshop Basics: How to Curve Text in Photoshop

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 08:00

Understanding how to curve a text in Photoshop may be one of the things we don’t realize are important in learning how to use the software. When done wrong, a curved text in a Photoshopped image will surely look too amateur. To any beginner, there are multiple ways to curve a text in Photoshop. However, there is only one true way to do it correctly and perfectly.

Easy: Using Warp Text Tool (Least Recommended)

Using the Warp Text Tool is the simplest and most direct to the point method in creating a curved text in Photoshop. For simple projects, the Warp text Tool will definitely work. It does its purpose in creating a curve in a text entered into an image. However, the usage of such a tool is surely obvious to an expert’s eye. Why? Because the text itself will look DISTORTED.

The point of the Warp Text Tool is to literally ‘warp’ or ‘distort’ an object within an image. To do so, the alignment of an object is edited to compensate for a desired “shape”.  Instead of creating a curved “path” for the text to follow, the alignment of the text is curved. Because of this, the text is distorted to create an arched shape. The Result? The letters on the text will lose its uniformity in many ways like thickness, width, or size. This particular tool is best used for creating other designs on texts like creating text in varied sizes or maybe even creating a waved design.

  • Create a sample text by clicking on the Text Tool on the toolbar. Simply press the letter ‘T’ on the keyboard, as another option.
  • Once the text is typed into the canvass, click on the text to make the Layers Window appear.
  • Make sure that the text layer and the Type Toolbar is active. Then, choose the ‘Create Warped Text’ icon on the toolbar.
  •  A warp text dialog box will appear with the following options:
    • Style – Choose the ‘Arc’ Type of style so the text will be distorted at a radius.
    • Type – You may choose the Horizontal (for horizontal axis distortion) or Vertical (for vertical axis distortion)
    • Bend – Choose a percentage between the values -100% to +100% to create a curve on the text. A negative bend will create a convex oriented curve while a positive bend will create a concave oriented curve. Smaller values create smaller arcs.
    • Horizontal Distortion & Vertical Distortion – The distortion on text is not always symmetrical. The symmetry could be altered through the ‘distortion’ slide values.

Distorted Text design. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Moderate: Using Smart Objects

This option is very similar to the warp tool, but the major difference is that using smart objects allow for more arbitrary revisions. Controls are also easier and the user can easily choose the desired curvature “by eye”. On the other hand, using Smart Objects is not a ‘one-click’ type of tool. Here are the steps on how to create curved texts through smart objects:

  • Create a sample text by clicking on the Text Tool on the toolbar. Simply press the letter ‘T’ on the keyboard, as another option.
  • Once the text is typed into the canvass, make sure that the text layer is active.
  • On the menu bar, choose the Layer option. Then, select the Smart Objects option and then choose Convert to Smart Object.
  • Once the text is already converted to a Smart Object, go to Edit on the menu bar. Choose Transform, then select Warp. 
  • The chosen object will have movable anchor points that the user could freely adjust.
  • Once the desired curvature is reached, click on the Commit Transform icon on the toolbar.

The two options above are the easier methods of creating curved texts on Photoshop. Make sure to remember that text will surely have flaws that may not always look great on an edited image. If a ‘perfect’ curve is desired with no distortion visible on the text, here is the most effective way to do a curved text in Photoshop:

Advanced: Type on a Path Option (Most Recommended)

This option allows each character to twist its orientation to fit the ‘path’ which was created by the user. It does not require to warp the text, thus no obvious distortion is visible. This method, albeit not as simple as the warp tool, is most recommended by avid users of Photoshop. Here are the steps:

  • The most important step is to draw a ‘Path’ that the text will follow. Any shape available on Photoshop could be used or the pen tool could be used to create a more arbitrary path. In this case, we will use the Ellipse or the Circle tool (whichever curvature is desired)
  • When the ellipse or circle tool is active, go to the Options menu. Change the Tool mode to “Path” (usually it’s set to “Shape” mode). Proceed to draw the “path”.
  • Select the Type Text Tool to type in the text. But before typing in the text, move the cursor (without clicking) towards the created path. It will be noticeable that the cursor will change into a different image. (Normal text cursor has an arrow on the corner, text on path cursor does not).
  • Once the cursor changes, click anywhere on the path where the text should start. Click the check icon on the options bar once done.
Also Read: Photoshop Basics: How to Edit Text in Photoshop

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Categories: Design

Developer Job Hotspots in the US

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 08:00

With over four million people in the US currently working in jobs that require some level of software development, there’s a lot of competition out there. Fortunately, there’s also a wealth of job opportunities at all levels of skill and experience. Whether you are just starting out and looking for an entry-level position, or you are a senior developer with experience in a variety of coding languages, there are plenty of attractive positions out there.

Some developer jobs are more prestigious than others, of course. If you want to narrow your career search to the most desirable employers, it might be in your interest to relocate to one of America’s developer hotspots, where the tech giants offer some impressive opportunities to work on innovative software, apps, and creative programming challenges. It will also help to know what skills are most in-demand for various positions.

Online Schools Report analyzed data for 50,838 full-time job listings that require developer skills across 768 cities, and referenced it against the most desirable employers in tech, to produce an interactive map of the best locations you should hone in on to find the developer job of your dreams.

#dev-job- hotspots{min-height: 560px;}@media (max-width: 833px){#dev-job-hotspots{min-height: 560px;}} The states with the best jobs:

With 54.7% of all developer vacancies coming from just five states, the major hubs for the American tech industry are California, Washington, Texas, New York, and Massachusetts.

The cities to head for:

There are great jobs available all over the place, but the odds of getting a job are best in Seattle, Washington (5,285 vacancies), New York, New York (2,841 jobs), San Francisco, California (2,310, including 87 with desirable companies), and Austin, Texas (1,541 jobs listed, including 60 at top employers).

If you want to work for a highly desirable company, you should move to Santa Clara, California, where Apple and Nvidi have listed 981 attractive roles out of 1,530 in the city.

Check out the handy infographic to find out more about where developers can earn the best salaries, and where different skills can be put to use.

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Categories: Design

Important Skills Every Web Designer Needs

Fri, 07/24/2020 - 08:00

Learning web design skills can lead to a fulfilling and exciting career, especially if you’re a problem-solver or are creative. But it can seem overwhelming to get started, especially if you don’t know what skills you’ll need. If you’re wondering if this is the right career, it’s easier than you think to get started creating websites.

Becoming a Designer

Many web designers open their own business or at least try freelancing. But in the beginning, it might take a while to get enough customers to turn a good profit. Don’t give up. If you want to have a full-time business, try cutting down your living expenses. If you have debt, such as student loans, consider refinancing them to get a lower interest rate. Before jumping into starting a business, try using an online calculator to preview your potential monthly savings. While it might seem obvious that you need to know about design, visual design might be a little different than you think since it focuses on digital products. The principles of design are used to create the feel and look of a site. The principles range from typography to grid systems to proportions. You’ll also need to know something about color. Creating a website is the time to start experimenting with fonts, color palates, and type hierarchy.

Making a Good User Experience

UX, or user experience, means how users feel when they use your site. The user approach is about putting the users first when making your design. How can you help a visitor get what they need from your site? It takes some research to find the answer to this question. You’ll spend some time creating profiles of imaginary users who would visit the site. Then you’ll create a site map and layout the pages based on the path that a user might take. For instance, will they go right to the social media pages? Or will they go to your contact page first?

Learn to Use the Right Software

The right tools will help you do your work more efficiently. You can create a site in a web browser, but today, designers use tools to make assets like images and logos and set up mockups. As a professional, you’ll need to know how to use them, but you can try some free alternatives if you’re just getting started.

Have Good Coding Skills

You might not have thought that you would need to know how to code for this career. But for many jobs, it’s necessary. HTML means Hypertext Markup Language. It’s the coding language that you’ll use to place content on the site and structure it. So, you’ll be creating paragraphs, footers, and headers, as well as videos, photos, graphics, and videos. The partner to HTML is CSS, also known as Cascading Style Sheets. CSS tells a browser how to style HTML on a site. It’s what makes content like the text look good. You can change the fonts, adjust the colors, and add backgrounds. Using CSS is where you should have an eye for detail and make each site unique. Coding is a great place to start if you want to be a web designer.

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Categories: Design

10 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Cloud Provider

Wed, 07/22/2020 - 20:07

Cloud computing services are becoming more popular, as more freelance web developers can take advantage of them for productivity, security, and communication. However, before you choose a cloud services provider, there are some important considerations to bear in mind. 

1. Technologies and services available

First, consider which technologies and services are provided by this cloud vendor, and how those offerings match your needs. This should be an obvious consideration, but many freelancers end up with a plan that has less than what they truly need (causing them to search out new partners shortly thereafter) or more than what they need (causing them to overpay and underutilize). Run a thorough audit to get the closest possible match. 

2. Security and governance

What kind of security and governance standards does this provider employ? Are they formally certified? Is their infrastructure compliant? Depending on your needs and what types of clients you serve, you may be interested in additional layers of security; for example, web security for Google Cloud can help you ensure that your data is being protected. 

3. Integrations and APIs

Which other apps and products does this cloud product work with? If you’re looking to streamline your productivity with a good synergy between apps, you’ll want to make sure you can exchange data freely between platforms. If an open API is available and you like to develop your own solutions, you can likely stitch together products as you see fit.

4. Reliability and performance

What kind of uptime does this cloud service provider offer? Your provider may or may not publish this information. At the very least, you should have access to reporting and monitoring tools that allow you to evaluate the service’s performance as you use it for your clients. 

5. Contracts and business terms

What kind of contract do you need to sign? What business terms will you need to abide by? Many cloud service providers are open and flexible, with easy-to-understand terms and contracts that allow for free and easy termination. However, some will have more complex legal territory to navigate. Generally speaking, simpler is better. 

6. Migration support and exit planning

If you already have data on another platform, it’s important to know what kind of migration support your new vendor offers. Similarly, you’ll want to find out what kind of support they offer for companies exiting or terminating their services; some cloud service providers attempt to lock users into their services by making it exceptionally difficult to leave. As a freelancer, you’ll want as much flexibility as possible.

7. Company profile and reputation

Learn more about this specific company. What kind of history have they had? What is their reputation like? Do they stand by their customers, and do they continually improve their products? 

8. User reviews and testimonials

Along similar lines, it pays to look at user reviews and testimonials. Which companies have used these cloud services in the past, and what do they think of their experience? Are they still using these products and services? What is their overall experience like? What are the biggest strengths and weaknesses they see? 

9. Pricing

Cloud service pricing can be confusing. Many of the major players in the cloud service world publish their prices openly and use fixed prices so you always know what you’re paying. But this isn’t always the case. Make sure you know what kind of deal you’re getting and whether it’s appropriate for the field. 

10. Service and support 

What kind of ongoing customer service and support are you going to get? Are there regular updates and new features to look forward to? If you have an issue, will you be able to get in contact with someone? 

The Vetting Process

The vetting process for new cloud services providers can be daunting, but it’s worth the extra effort. This partner is going to be responsible for a significant chunk of your capacity as a freelancer, so it’s not a decision to take lightly. Take your time, review your available candidates, and only finalize the decision when you have sufficient information. 

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Categories: Design

Photoshop Basics: How to Edit Text in Photoshop

Wed, 07/22/2020 - 05:00

The addition of texts to images further improves the quality of an image. Sometimes images are important to give more substance to an image. There are a variety of uses for adding text to images. It could be used to add labels to an image. Or more importantly, many graphic artists use texts to create signatures of watermarks to their works. This is very important as plagiarism and owner attribution for various content is a major issue in digital media.

Here are ways on how to add, remove, and edit the text in Photoshop:

Adding, Removing, and Replacing Text on an image Adding Text to an Image

There is one simple way to add a text to an image. This could be done through the Type Text Tool. There are two kinds for this – the Horizontal Type Text and the Vertical Type Text. The Horizontal Type text adds text that is read from left to right. On the other hand, the vertical type tool adds an image that is read from top to bottom.

  • Adding a single line: Press the letter T key on the keyboard. Click on the target location of the text. An Insertion Icon (blinking I-beam) will appear. Type in the text you wish to add. Press Enter key on the keyboard.
  • Adding a paragraph: Click and drag on the canvass to create a rectangle. This rectangle will become a Text Box that allows texts in multiple lines. Type in the text you wish to add. Press Enter key on the keyboard to exit.

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels

Removing or Replacing Text from an Image

There will be instances that existing texts from an image should be removed. However, there is no specific tool on Photoshop that deletes texts from an image. Despite this, it does not mean that existing texts from an image cannot be removed.  Here are different tools that could be used to remove texts (or objects) in an image:

  • Use the Spot Healing Brush Tool: This tool is used when deleting texts or objects within an image. Usually, it copies the pixelation, color, shade, and other attributes of a sampled area within the image. Then, it recreates all the details onto a separate selected part of the photo being edited. Usually, this is helpful when removing objects or texts on an image with solid backgrounds. What is great about this tool is that the pixelation is then blended seamlessly.
  • Clone Stamp Tool: As the name suggests, this particular tool is used to create a ‘clone’ or a copy of a particular portion of an image. This ‘clone’ is then ‘stamped’ on top of an area within the image being edited. It copies exactly from a selected area of the image and recreates it onto the other portion where the text or object needs to be ‘removed’. Then, the cloned portion of the image will cover the object being deleted. This is not only useful in deleting objects but also in duplicating objects within an image being edited.
How to Edit Text in Photoshop Understanding the Character Panel

The Character Panel on Photoshop allows the editing of various variables affecting a text. Users could change the style, size, orientation, and even color of a newly added text. To open the Character Panel, on the Window bar choose Character. The keyboard shortcut for this is pressing together CTRL key + letter T key (Windows) or COMMAND key + letter T key (Mac).

Here are a few of the basic options that could be edited on the Character Panel:

  • The Font Family is the style of font being used for the text. There are different default font styles available for Photoshop. For instance, the user could use the Arial font style or Times New Roman font style.
  • Toggle Orientation is the option that allows the user to change the orientation of the text either vertical or horizontal.
  • Font Size is very direct to the point. However, the size of the font could be changed in terms of measurement units. The user could choose in terms of the metric scale, imperial scale, or even by pixel sizes.
  • The Font Color allows the user to select a color that matches the tones of the original image. There is a Color Picker tool available for selection. Also, users could edit the color of the text per character.
  • Alignment is very different from justification. This changes the spacing and scaling of texts relative to each other. This is very useful when creating texts with multiple lines.
  • Warp Text allows the user to style the presentation of the text. The text could be curved, distorted, stretched, and so on using the Warp Text tool.

There are more advanced ways on how to edit texts in Photoshop. Advanced skills may even allow a user to create custom font styles on the application. There are even text effect options available for more advanced tutorials. Usually, these kinds of skills require additional plug-in installations onto the software.

Also read: Photoshop Basics: How to Feather in Photoshop

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Categories: Design

Photoshop Basics: How to Feather in Photoshop

Mon, 07/20/2020 - 08:00
What is ‘Feather’ in Photoshop?

To ‘feather’ an image simply means to soften its edges. In some references, ‘feathering’ is also called blurred edges. Feathering is done to an image for a variety of purposes. This is usually used to isolate a certain part of an image, to use an image as an artistic portrait, to highlight a certain part of a photo and more.

Creating a blurred edge, or also called ‘feathering’, is probably one of the easiest editing processes in Photoshop. It is straight forward and greatly improves the quality of an image in just a few clicks. Here are a few ways on how to feather an image in Photoshop:

Vignette Effect usually darkens the corners of an image. Image Source: PXFUEL

Easy: How to Feather in Photoshop using the Entire Image

There is one straight to the point method on how to feather an image in Photoshop. This is simply done through the Feather tool. Here are steps on how to use the Feather Tool:

  • From the Select Menu, choose the Modify button. Then, select the Feather Option.
    • This could easily be done via a keyboard short cut. Simply press the ALT key + CTRL key + the letter D key.
  • A dialog box known as a Feather Selection Dialog box will appear that will allow the user to control the Feather Radius.
    • The Feather Radius is measured in pixels. This identifies the amount of ‘feathering’ should be done to an image. The most recommendable values for this lies between the values of 20 and 30.

TIP: One thing to remember is that the Feather tool does not have a slidable knob that allows the user to actually see how much of the image is being softened. This is one major drawback of this feature. Most editors use the Undo function and repeat the feathering process until the desired image is reached.

Moderate: How to Feather in Photoshop using only part of an image

When using selection tools (like a marquee, lasso, or regular selection tools) to ‘feather’ only a select portion of an image, it would seem that nothing actually happened. This is because the chosen pixels changed do not contrast with the pixels of the background. What is important to do here is to isolate that portion of the image from its ‘background’ so that the blurring of edges are obvious. To do so you must use the Quick Mask mode and the Inverse Tool:

  • Use any Selection Tool depending on the desired outcome or shape. The outcome image could be circular, elliptical, rectangular, or square. It could also be any desired shape, in fact. Click and drag the mouse until the desired area on the image is selected.
  • Users should see a boundary box or boundary line (dotted line) around the selected part of the image. Go to the Select menu, choose the Modify button, and Select the feather option.
  • Enter the desired Feather Radius on the dialog box.
  • To see the extent of the image where the Feather tool was used, the Quick Mask mode is the best option. It adds a colored overlay on the portion of the image which is not selected for ‘feathering’. The Quick Mask Mode is on the lefthand side of the canvass and is donated by a box with a dotted circle inside.
  • Redo the steps above until the desired size, shape, and selection is reached. If so, the next and final step is to remove the background.
  • To isolate the selected portion of the image, go to Select Menu. Choose the Inverse button. Then, press the Backspace key on the keyboard. This should isolate the selected portion of the image with softened edges.
Advanced: Feather Effect Vs. Vignette Effect

The feather effect and the vignette effect, in reality, are the same. The feather effect creates a white-edged glow on the image while the vignette effect creates a shadow effect on the image. The feather effect kind of removes the edges by blurring it while the vignette effect adds a shadow from the edge to create a highlight on an object on the image. Here is a simple way to create a vignette effect (first few steps are the same with feathering)

  • Select a part of the image using any Selection Tool.
  • Go to the Select Menu then choose Modify and select the Feather button. Enter the desired value on the Feather Radius dialog box.
  • You can check the image using the Quick Mask tool before isolating the selection in the image.
  • Go to Select Menu, choose the Inverse button.
  • Make sure that the boundary line (dotted line for selection) is still active. Go to the Layer menu, then choose New Adjustment Layer. Make sure to choose the Curves option.
  • To make sure a new adjustment layer is added, check the Layer Panel to see a new layer labeled ‘Curves’.
  • Click on the ‘Curves’ layer, and a graph dialog box will appear. Click on the curved line to adjust the curvature of the vignette effect. Adjusting the graph’s curvature adds darkness (upwards) and lightness (downwards) to the corners of the image.
Read Also: Photoshop Basics: How To Rotate Text in Photoshop

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Categories: Design
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