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Updated: 1 hour 14 min ago

Is Your Design Team Consulting These People on Every Project?

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 08:00

Every design team wants to complete their projects quickly and efficiently without any fuss. Sometimes that involves excluding people whose input doesn’t seem necessary. However, sometimes there are reasons to consult people outside of your team. 

To deliver a superior final product, think about consulting the following people throughout the life of each project. 

1. DevOps security specialists

Waiting too long to incorporate security into a web project is a bad idea. Security shouldn’t be an afterthought. Instead, security needs to be considered from the start and throughout the entire project. 

There is a way to get your team, including contractors, on board with integrating security from day one. It’s called DevSecOps. A relatively new addition to the software development industry, DevSecOps adds security to the DevOps pipeline and uses the same principles to test early and often, and sends feedback in shorter cycles to catch issues at every stage of development.

You’re probably skeptical of including security people into a DevOps cycle, but it’s essential. A security team can’t make much of an impact on a project once it’s completed. They need to be involved from the start. If you’re concerned about how to make this work without contention, check out White Source Software’s recommendations for overcoming DevOps security challenges.

2. An efficient project manager

If your team doesn’t have an efficient project manager, or has no project manager, you’re in trouble. No matter how smoothly projects seem to go without a project manager, the same project would be even smoother with a manager.

It’s normal for designers and developers to settle into a groove and get used to specific routines and ways of communicating. However, sometimes those ways are inefficient and adversely affect the rest of the team. For example, it’s common for team members to be completely unaware of dependencies on their work. 

Team members will work faster when they know someone else is depending on their work and can’t move forward until it’s complete. A project manager won’t leave anything up to chance and will set appropriate deadlines to make sure all work is completed in a timely manner according to everyone’s needs.

Efficient project managers have the skills required to create realistic timelines and adjust them as necessary. Many companies arbitrarily set deadlines for design projects and ignore pleas from designers for more time. This results in rushed projects that are often buggy and vulnerable. 

A good project manager will remain active throughout the entire project to adjust tasks and deadlines as the scope changes.

3. Marketing

Some of the best-looking website designs work against marketing efforts. Every web project needs to consult with the client’s marketing manager before starting the project. 

Every element should be strategically placed on all pages and small details can make a world of difference. For instance, a new author trying to sell copies of his or her book might not be supported by a design with a huge slideshow on the homepage. Instead, they might do better by offering a free download in that area. Only someone who knows the client’s marketing strategy can make that decision. 

4. UX/UI expert

Some designers are great at implementing ideas, but lack expertise in UX/UI. Even if a project is delivered bug-free, a poor UX/UI experience will frustrate users. 

Every team should have a UX/UI expert at their disposal to make sure the user interface is aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. 

Be cautious about adding too many people to a project

While every project requires numerous people to be completed effectively, adding excessive people to a project will backfire. When a project is already late, adding more people will make it even more late. Current team members will have to spend a significant amount of time orienting the new people and answering constant questions. Pulling people from other projects will put those projects behind schedule, too.

Each person added to a project should be added for a reason and not just to “staff up” the project. With more fingers in the pie, the quality of the finished product will decrease due to miscommunications, disagreements, and more sections of code to integrate. 

Adding extra people to a project will also frustrate the existing team members who just want to get things done.

If a project has user experience, security, and marketing covered, that’s probably enough to produce a secure, functional product. 

The post Is Your Design Team Consulting These People on Every Project? appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

7 Best Practices for a Coming Soon Page

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 08:00

A coming soon page is so much more than just a practical placeholder for your website. When implemented mindfully effectively, it can serve as a launch pad for the entire online presence of your business.

By utilizing some of these practices, your business can take off with enough momentum to escape the internet’s gravitational pull.

Not convinced yet? Maybe these reasons will change your mind:

  • A generic “this domain has been sold” or “under construction” page looks pretty horrible and can be seen as lazy
  • A savvily made coming soon page is a great opportunity to build up an email subscriber base
  • By at least launching your website in some way, you can start building on your SEO by getting your domain age ticking and being crawled by search engines
  • You can use a coming soon page as part of your marketing strategy and to generate interest in your venture 

So, without further ado, let’s see how you can make your coming soon page live up to its fullest potential.

First Impressions Matter

Before we get into more practical suggestions, let’s get them most important one out of the way: design.

You only get one chance at a first impression, so make it a lasting one. The first thing a user will notice about your coming soon page is how it looks. Before they read anything. Before they interact with it. Before they even think about what they are seeing.

It’s the same concept as going for a job interview. Even if you have the most impressive resume in the world, you might not get the chance to even present it if you show up looking destitute. 

If you’re not a designer, and you don’t have the means to hire one, there are thousands of coming soon page templates with beautiful designs for you to pick from in marketplaces like Theme Forest. The only thing you have to do is slot in your own content.

Just have a look at this gorgeous example, Imbue from mix design:

Be Interactive, Be Engaging, Be Memorable

Since you only get to make one first impression, why not think out of the box and come up with something unique that visitors won’t forget? A gorgeous design and multimedia is a good start, but you can push the limits even further.

Just take a look at this example from Crypton Trading:

At first it doesn’t look like much, but visitors are in for a “wow” moment when they start scrolling and see the interesting effects. Putting the user in the driving seat and making them feel like they control the page is a clever way of drawing them in.

It captures the imagination from a creative and technical standpoint, while also delivering a superb introduction.

Link to your social media (and other) pages

More and more, businesses are realizing the importance of reaching their customers right where they spend their time online. As such, social media can be a great way to network, build communities, and generate interest for your project or business before you launch.

If you already have social media accounts set up, link to them from your coming soon page. This will give users the feeling that it is very much a “live” project. On top of that, social media is a great way to update users on your pre-launch activities and run promotions.

Since your coming soon page consists mostly of static content, you’ll want to direct visitors to somewhere you can engage them.

As an example, fashion e-commerce has become huge on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. The founder of VENIM did a great job reaching out to her target market by setting up social media accounts and linking to them from her coming soon page:

Incorporate infographics

Although we cover multimedia elsewhere, infographics deserve a special mention. If you’re a content marketer, you should already know about the effectiveness of infographics. They are a great way to succinctly provide visitors with a tonne of information in an engaging, entertaining, and memorable way. The core thing here is to know what an infographic a successful one and what mistakes other designers make

They are a particularly great tool if your business or industry relies on bringing across a lot of data and statistics. By combining graphical data with short snippets of informative text, you’ll be able to make your point without boring visitors with walls of text.

Some take this even further by effectively turning their entire coming soon landing page into an infographic. You can imagine an infographic like this being the perfect pitch for a security company, with a bit of modification:

Call to Action and Build Subscribers

It’s never too early to start building an email subscriber list. Not only is it going to be useful when your business is up and running, but it’s an effective way to give major updates pre-launch. While not everyone is crazy about them, a popular practice is a newsletter subscribe box that pops up the moment someone lands on your website:

To counteract any irritation on the visitor’s side, make sure to offer something in exchange or point out the benefit of being among the first to receive any updates.

Create (and Manage) Expectations

Disappointing users from the get-go won’t set a positive tone for your business going forward. So, how do you set realistic expectations? I’m glad you asked. Here are just two of the things you can do:

  • Clearly highlight the problem you want to solve and present your solution without any embellishment or overpromising.
  • Create a realistic timeline with highlights and important dates leading up to the launch of your business/project.

CSS Piffle did both of them in their coming soon page. The clearly highlighted the problem they wanted to solve using practical examples and presented a schedule of their launch trajectory with a cool timeline:

Trust is everything. Breaking it at the beginning of the relationship means it might never be repaired.

Introduce Yourself and Bring Your Brand Across

Since this will be the first time most visitors really get in touch with your venture, what better opportunity for a proper introduction. Whichever of the above practices you decide to use, the main goal should be to give visitors an idea of what you’re all about.

To that effect, make sure of the following:

  • To provide a brief and clear, yet compelling, mission statement.
  • That the design and voice are consistent with your brand and the end product of the website.
  • Make sure that you already speak to your target market and show them you understand their problem(s) by presenting your solution.

A great example of how to do that is this inspirational coming soon page for an email client, Tinymail:

At the top, they clearly state who they are for and the branding is consistent with modern Mac-based applications.

Give your Website the Start it Deserves

Your website or business only gets to launch once, so make sure you can do so without any regrets.

By now, you should have the knowledge needed to pull off a successful online launch using a coming soon page. There’s no shame in learning from others and avoiding unnecessary work by reinventing the wheel.

Whether you’re a designer, content marketer, or entrepreneur; there are a ton of fantastic free tools to help you build attractive and effective landing pages.

Read: 33 Unique Eye Catching 404 Error Pages

Author bio – Melissa Burns is a marketing consultant, who occasionally also provides workshops for start-ups and small businesses. Melissa writes about digital marketing, web design and business innovation with the single goal of sharing her 6 years’ experience with other marketers. Follow her at @melissaaburns or contact at [email protected]

The post 7 Best Practices for a Coming Soon Page appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

Growing Your TikTok Account in 2020

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 01:29

TikTok is the latest trend in social media, the app burst onto the scenes in early 2019 and the growth of the platform is letting up any time soon. It has become a safe haven for Gen Z who are notoriously difficult to market to and engage with, but if you grow your account in the correct way, you will have no issues in accessing the community that you want to work with, whether you are a business, brand or influencer.

Here are some ways to boost your follower numbers and grow your TikTok account.

Collaborate

Just like Instagram, TikTok is rife with influencers in all different communities that have formed on within TikTok. Find an influencer that reflects your goals and values as a brand or a fellow influencer and ask to collaborate with them. The offer isn’t one sided as you will be opening them up to your audience and vice versa. Using an already established influencer will also solidify your account to become authoritative within the community that you want to engage with.

Content Is Key

You wouldn’t put up a poorly edited, pixilated image on Instagram, so what makes you think you can do the same on TikTok? You need to spend time developing the content that your audience wants to see. TikTok started out as a music video app and this theme still runs in a lot of the content that is put up on a daily basis. Find the songs that your chosen community are using and create stand out content around them.

You don’t need to be able to edit using software like final cut, TikTok has excellent in-house editing features that will help you develop the content. You need to take time curating your videos to ensure they meet the high standard of other popular profiles and feeds in order for you to compete at that level.

Find Your Community

We’ve previously mentioned that TikTok has formed its own communities within the app, it is much more prevalent here than on other social media platforms, so you really need to get a good grip on who you are attempting engage with and potentially market to. If you are unsure of your demographic, go back to the drawing board and really map out exactly who you are trying to appeal to.

You can use other accounts as inspiration for this, look at their content and see how they engage with other followers and look who is engaging with them. The time you spend assessing this will free up time later on as you won’t need to revisit and make adjustments to your growth strategy as much.

Hashtags

Like most social media, hashtags are currency. Keep on top of what is trending by checking on a daily basis to make sure you are using the most current popular long tailed and short tailed hashtags that relate to your content. If you are at a loss of what to tag, look for events or upcoming holidays, these always generate popular hashtags and as long as they are relevant to your content, put them all in, this will vastly increase your reach. Pair your hashtag strategy with a TikTok bot for the ultimate engagement strategy.

Final Thoughts

If you are wanting to grow your TikTok account yourself without employing an organic growth agency or turning to automation bots, these are the fundamental basic principles of how to make your account more visible to your selected community. You need to spend time creating and editing your content to make sure that it stands out, find an account to use as a benchmark and work from that point.

Photos courtesy of gettyimages.com

The post Growing Your TikTok Account in 2020 appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

5 Rules That Govern WordPress Site Design Testing

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 07:00

Think website design, and the ideas and options are endless. There are thousands of website design components to explore and experiment with. There is also a significant increase in the number of personal devices are purchased around the globe. It has become all the more important to think about how websites would look on different devices and provide a consistent user experience across devices. 

Over the years, website designs have evolved with changing user expectations, and so have the rules to modify and test your designs. While experimenting with your website’s look and feel is a great idea, you should ensure that this does not interfere with the user experience on your website.

So for WordPress website designers, here are five rules that you must follow while designing a new website or redesigning an old one to ensure that: 

  • Your live WordPress website is not impacted by slow performance or incompatibility issues
  • Your website visitors continue to enjoy a seamless online experience
  • You can provide a consistent website design across devices with varying display sizes.
  • There is no overloading or over-utilization of your web server resources and bandwidth.
Rule No. 1 – Always maintain a website backup.

Installing a new plugin or theme on your WordPress website may sound great, but it can also cause a website crash or an incompatibility issue. The best guard against this is to take regular backups of your website. These backups ensure that in the event of any website-related problems, you can quickly revert to the original state of the website by restoring the most recent backup.

Not sure of how to make a backup?

  • Opting for the backup-related plans offered by your WordPress web host service provider
  • Manual backups that you perform yourself provided you have the technical know-how
  • Automated backups using a WordPress backup plugin 
Rule No. 2 – Avoid making any design-related changes on your live website.

No matter how confident or excited you are about a new theme or any other potential change to the website, never make any changes on your live website. The best alternative is to create a WordPress staging site that is an exact duplicate of your website. 

You then have a safe environment to carry out all your design-related experiments and changes. You can get a website staging environment:

  • From your current web host provider if they do offer staging
  • By manually setting up a staging environment yourself if you possess the technical expertise and knowledge to do so
  • By using popular a staging plugin like Duplicator or BlogVault.
Rule No. 3 – Adopt a Responsive Web Design.

Ever noticed how Facebook looks the same on devices with different screen sizes, be it the desktop, smartphone, or tablet? The secret lies in a designing technique called “Responsive web design.” What this essentially does is that when a particular web page switches between devices (with different screen sizes), the web design automatically detects the change in screen resolution and adapts to the new screen size.

Why is this so important? You may have optimized your website design to look great on a laptop screen. However, that does not mean that it would look equally good on a smartphone or tablet.

As a rule, test your website design on devices with different screen sizes. You can also use your staging site to check your website changes or create different staging sites for different devices or screen sizes. 

Rule No. 4 – Test your website design on different mobile phones and browsers.

In addition to adapting your website design to different screen sizes even those of mobile phones. In fact, over 50% of browsing happens on mobile devices. You must, therefore, also test if your website looks good on all mobile phones. Ensure that your design is compatible with a range of smartphones – with differences in OS, screen size and display.

Similarly, you should test your website design on popular browsers, including Mozilla, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari. This is crucial as each browser can display your website differently, and you’d want to ensure that users have a consistent online experience irrespective of the browser they use. Top-notch browser compatibility tools for testing purposes include LambdaTest and Functionalize. 

Rule No. 5 – Make your website fast and responsive.

Irrespective of the browsing device being used, a website must be fast and responsive. The latest research shows that slow-loading websites or apps frustrate most online visitors and cause them to leave websites even despite a great design.

The design of your website can have a significant impact on its page loading time and speed. For example, the use of large or unoptimized images on your website can slow it down. Similarly, heavy themes that are not optimized for faster loading can increase the loading time on any device. 

Try to stick to themes like GeneratePress and Ocean WP which are light-weight and responsive. This puts minimal load on your web server and consumes less bandwidth. 

These five rules work can come in handy when you are designing and redesigning websites. Speed testing tools like Google Page Speed Insight can give you insight into your website performance (as shown above) and give you clarity on how to optimise your site. The next section lists some useful and practical tips for better website designing. 

Tips for Better Website Design

Want a better website design? Who doesn’t? Here are 4 essential tips that ensure you have a fetching website!

1. Your website must be easy on the eye and consistent across all pages.

The first tip for any website designer is that the website must be easy to read. This mandates the use of color themes and backgrounds that do not block your content and are easy on the eye. As a tip, either use dark-colored text on a light background or light-colored text on a dark background. Pay special attention to the font you use and make sure you test it with a few users before you actually pick one. 

Another important consideration is to maintain a consistent look across all your web pages. This includes website elements like background color scheme, graphic images, typefaces, and even link colors. 

2. Your website must be easy to navigate.

A majority of visitors come to websites for a specific reason like purchasing the product or to sign up for a plan. To meet this objective, your website must be easy to navigate. If there are too many navigation steps, the user may lose interest and leave your site, and if there are too few navigation steps, the user may get suspicious and leave.

Minimise the number of navigation steps and make it easy for users to find the relevant links and Call-to-Action (or CTA) buttons. Design each of your navigational links and CTAs with clear labels and colors that can capture user attention.

3. Your website must have functional links.

Redesigning any website usually results in broken links or non-functional pages. Here are a few practices you can adopt to manage this efficiently. 

  • Check if all your internal and external URLs (examples, links that appear in Google search results) are functioning and are redirecting users to the right page.
  • If you have pages that collect data, like a sign-up page for a monthly newsletter, or a standard “customer query” form, make sure they are easy to understand.
  • Secure your website pages with an SSL certification that encrypts data is transferred between your web server and the user’s browser.
  • For WordPress sites, use effective link crawler tools like W3C Checker or Screaming Frog to check for any broken links on your website.
4. Get your website design reviewed by someone else.

Before you go live, it’s always a good idea to get another set of eyes to review your site. Show it to a colleague or friend who is not part of your design team. This brings a fresh perspective and can help generate new ideas. Besides that, they can point out any glaring mistakes or errors that you may have overlooked. 

In Conclusion

Every website needs to get regular make-overs to maintain a fresh look and attract more visitors. Running a website requires continuous efforts to improve the user experience, increase sales and get more visibility. 

The most important tip we’ve discussed would have to be that you use a staging site to experiment. Even a minor design change can cause your website to crash. As a first step,  consider investing in a backup strategy so you always have something to fall back on in case of a crashed site.  With plugins like BlogVault and BackupBuddy that combine backups and staging, it’s now easier than ever to experiment with and redesign your WordPress site.

Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments.

This post was written by Akshat Choudhary. He has always prided himself on his ability to teach himself things. Since starting BlogVault, Akshat has transformed his side-project into a profitable venture that is scaling new heights in the Indian startup space. Being a member of the WordPress community for almost a decade, Akshat is keen on understanding the areas where users struggle. Akshat’s core belief behind building any product is making sure the end-user doesn’t need assistance and to assist them in the best possible manner if they do.

The post 5 Rules That Govern WordPress Site Design Testing appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

Plug & Play Solutions for Fintech App Development 

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 08:00

Building an app that integrates financial services would certainly make it a very important productivity tool. Look at Intuit and Xero, for example. They’ve become synonymous with digital financial management solutions. 

And with the integrated banking services inside their apps, they’re a staple for most businesses. But can you build an app with the same or more features? Most developers would rather choose a different app genre because of the complexities of building a fintech app. But, if you’re up for the challenge, here’s what you need to know about fintech apps:

Highly protected data Image by Thomas Breher from Pixabay

Building a custom app with access to banking information on your own is not as easy. Banking information is probably the most fiercely guarded after cash, anywhere in the world. 

If you’re planning to integrate financial services into your app or build a purely financial app, there are a couple of things you will need to know.

Volatile Information

First, let’s talk about the nature of the data you want to exploit. You will need to keep this picture in mind before you can do anything. If you already know where I’m going with this, it’s still a good idea to refresh your memory.

Look at what happened when the Panama files leaked. Many prominent politicians and business persons were implicated in scandalous financial schemes. And it certainly may have led to indictments for a lot of them for a variety of crimes such as tax evasion. Those who couldn’t be indicted definitely incurred political and reputational damage.

Unfriendly Consequences

While indictments may only apply to the rich and famous, identity and financial fraud are the consequences for regular people. In short, when banking data gets into the wrong hands, everyone loses. Everyone of course, except the perpetrator. 

So you want to make sure you know this and understand the risks before you even get to work on your app. Pro tip: lawyer up first.

PCI Compliance

To directly host and manage financial data, there is a ladder you need to climb. Unlike mHealth apps where you just have to comply with the standards without certification, handling banking data requires certification. And the process is not easy.

Depending on the nature of transactions you wish to incorporate into your app, the requirements and costs may vary. These requirements cover hardware, manpower, software and more. 

This pushes up the cost of your app development up and requires you to accommodate a longer lead time. That is bad for competition because you’ll be stuck in preliminaries when you should be getting ahead.

So how do you build a fintech app in spite of all the restrictions?

This is the pink elephant in the room. It is almost impossible for you to single-handedly acquire and incentivize banking data without compromising its integrity and security.

No bank will want to give up or share its data any day. So, unless you are building an app specifically for THE bank to be owned by THE bank, you are getting nowhere close to that information. 

But there is another way.

Open banking: what is it all about? 

We are living in the midst of a banking revolution. Since the earliest recorded civilization, banking systems have existed. And for millennia, one thing has been consistent until recently – people had to go to the bank to use the bank. But now, the bank is going to the people.

Changing times

Today, banks understand the importance of going digital and being interconnected. They make more money when they are better integrated with the rest of the tools and systems their users are already accustomed to. 

More than just bringing banking services closer to the people, banks are investing in tools that enable third-party entities to provide value-added banking services like credit score monitoring, loan processing, real-time capital management, treasury management tools and much more.

What’s the catch?

Banks have had to incentivize their data in order to remain relevant. Failure to go digital and provide market integration as a financial institution in this age is akin to taking a suicide dive from the Empire State Building. 

In comes the API

APIs now exist that allow you to incorporate financial services into your app without directly hosting the banking information on your servers. The authors of the API have been vetted by the financial institutions and are constantly monitored to ensure their systems’ integrity is never compromised. 

Building API is not an easy feat. The ongoing maintenance costs are not small either. It takes teams of full-time developers with six-figure incomes to build, operate and maintain these systems. You’d never be able to do it on your own; let alone get permitted to be anywhere near the files.

What plug and play fintech solutions are currently available on the market?

There’s a wide lineup of fintech solutions to choose from to build your fintech app. Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent. 

Brain Tree

Braintree is a payment gateway owned by Paypal.

They process payments from credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets, PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, and Google Pay in a single integration.

Klarna Checkout

Klarna is a payment gateway and credit company.

They process payments from all major card issuers and provide instant credit to online shoppers at checkout for products of even more than $3,000.

Card Connect

CardConnect is a payments platform.

They have a wide variety of solutions that enable you to integrate payments into almost any system, mobile app or website.

Dwolla

They are a money transfer platform that connects you to the US banking system.

With Dwolla’s ACH API you can easily integrate bank transfers. Their API will enable your app to facilitate ACH payments and even verify customer and bank account information.

Google Pay

Payment platform that lets you accept and send payments across all Google and Android-powered platforms.

Google Pay integrates almost every Payment Services Provider on the planet into one simple solution. All of course, except Apple Pay.

Intuit

Money management and accounting solutions developer. Their API enables you to integrate Quickbooks into your app.

iZettle

They created the world’s first mini chip card reader and software for mobile devices.

Create tools for small businesses to manage sales, finances, inventory and more. 

Marqeta

Payment card issuing and management platform.

With Marqeta, you can issue and manage virtual, physical, and tokenized payment cards for single or multi-use debit and credit card payment cards.

MasterCard

MasterCard is a global payment services provider.

They have a long and expansive list of APIs to power complex fintech solutions. This is probably the biggest on this list.

Visa

Visa is a global payment services provider.

Like MasterCard, Visa has an expansive list of APIs that provide varying complex fintech solutions.

For more API solutions, see below. 

Payment Processing | Financial Management | Currency Trade

PayPal | Yodlee | OANDA

Square | Xginite | Coinbase

Stripe | Plaid | Open Exchange Rate

Apple Pay | Finicity

2CheckOut | Fortumo

SimplyTapp | Invoicera

2CheckOut | Gini

Adyen | Kiva

SecurionPay | FinTechSystems

CardFlight

Judo Payments

Go Cardless

Currency Cloud

Figo

Handpoint

Wirecard

Payeleven

Is API bulletproof?

No. But the security keeps improving. It is usually API loopholes that are at the root of most breaches. Open banking is a double-edged sword with both pros and cons. However, security flaws are quickly getting resolved. 

Each time there is a breach, security experts rush to find a fix. And this has made the APIs more secure. It is because of such incidents that we now have more robust security tools such as the Google Authenticator and other 2-factor authentication methods.

Regulators are getting on board PSD2

Governments are getting on board with the digital bandwagon. While it may not be the case, some countries have made moves to legally mandate open banking. This is the case in Europe with the Payment Services Directive or PSD2.

According to the Open Bank Project, these regulations ensure that banks will ‘create mechanisms to enable third party providers to work securely, reliably and rapidly with the bank’s services and data on behalf and with the consent of their customer.’

As with the GDPR, this has spilled over to the US in a non-legally binding fashion. Intercontinental banking requires that system compatibility and service benchmarking be met. So US banks will definitely be providing more open banking solutions at the turn of the decade.

Besides, most of the banks that operate in Europe also have operations in the US. Transferring that technology across the Atlantic shouldn’t be so difficult for them.

Thinking of making your own fintech app?

If you’re interested in building a finance app, you better be sure to find a fintech app developer who knows his trade. While APIs significantly reduce the amount of work and certifications required to build your fintech app, there are crucial best practices that need to be fulfilled.

Author bio:

Joe Tuan is the founder and CEO of Topflight Apps, one of the top app design and development agencies in California. He’s an expert in mHealth apps, Fintech and Machine Learning. Topflight Apps has been recognized on Clutch and other B2B platforms as one of California’s best app development companies. Their clientele includes Stanford Medicine, Medable, and Merck.

Featured image source: Cafe Credit

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Categories: Design

Boost Your Website Loading Speed with CSS Hacks

Mon, 12/23/2019 - 08:00

The user experience on a website matters the most; the content on it being of parallel value. A website’s user experience is all about making the navigation and the buyer’s journey of a prospective customer/visitor as smooth as possible and providing them with everything that they need to complete an action or a transaction, given the fact that they are ready to purchase.

Read: CSS Variables: An Introduction, With Code Examples

This is where the speed of a website plays a very crucial role. Nobody likes a slow website and one can never draw profit off of a slow loading website. 

As per a report, the loading speed of your website will highly determine if people are going to stay on your website or move to your competitors’ websites. You must know the fact that the ideal page loading speed for a website is 2-3 seconds.

If you fail to implement that, your website visitors will be very quick to abandon your website and move on. Even the slightest delay in the loading time can negatively affect the quality of the user session on your website and cause you to lose traffic as well as the prospective sales. Even for the mobile version of your website, 46% of people dislike a mobile website which is slow to load. 

So, if you want your website and the sales on it to fare well, here is what you can do around the CSS of your website to reduce the loading speed of your website. 

Get rid of that cluttered code

Did you know that a  100-millisecond delay in load time can cause conversion rates to drop by 7%? We bet you don’t want that for your website or sales on your website. This is why removing the unnecessary CSS code is a great trick to improve the load speed for your website. If you are capable of, you can manually figure out the duplicate or unnecessary code and the redundant one as well. 

If you manually want to remove this redundant CSS, here’s what you can do:

  • For Chrome users, they can use the DevTools tab to which code is being used on a certain web page and which is not. 
  • Go to Chrome DevTools and use the ‘cmd + shift + p’ command to access the Command Menu
  • Now enter ‘Coverage’ and you will find an option to show coverage. Click on it
  • Now the coverage tab will display CSS files and you will have to select the files. This action will open up that certain file in the sources tab. 
  • The CSS that you see next to the green line is the one in use. The one next to the red line is not being executed. For green and red both, some of the code is being executed and some is not. 

It is recommended that you use tools like UnusedCSS to get rid of this unnecessary code and improve website performance.

Organize your code, FTW

This is a very popular CSS hack used for boosting the speed of a website. All you need to do is ensure that there is minimal duplication. By this, we mean to say that you should make sure that you put your CSS into the right set of branches or even in hierarchical branches. This will help you greatly enhance the loading speed of your website and impress your new visitors and keep them coming back. 

HTTP Connection Reuse

Also known as HTTP Keep Alive, this certain tool allows multiple concurrent requests to be multiplexed over a single connection. By implementing it, you can save some bandwidth by allowing the browser on the other end to download many files without seeking the request to do it again and again. All you have to do is paste the following code to your .htaccess file.

<ifModule mod_headers.c>

    Header set Connection keep-alive

</ifModule>

Use a CDN

One of the best ways to help your website load swiftly on the viewer’s end is to implement the usage of a CDN i.e. a Content Delivery Network. It works in a manner where the CDN service provider uses a network of servers to deliver the content of your website to varied geographical locations with enhanced speed. By implementing a CDN, the number of simultaneous HTTP connections is increased around the globe, making your website blazing fast. CDN helps serve the static assets of a website such as its CSS, JavaScript, which is located in the wp-content directory, making your website fast to load. 

CSS Animations

One great hack to enhance the loading speed of your website is to use native CSS animations instead of the usual animations. This is so because the CSS animations are comparatively faster. Also, do not overdo the use of animation on your website as they tend to slow your website. 

Place external Javascript files at the bottom

A lot of webmasters don’t pay attention to it but the website visitors have to wait for the Javascript to load before the content on it if the webmasters place the external Javascript files at the top. To get rid of this waiting, you simply need to place this at the bottom before the close of the body tag. Or you can consider using the defer or async attributes while placing these files. 

Image compression

Did you know that pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that take five seconds to load have a bounce rate of 38%? The web pages on your website that have images end up consuming a lot of bandwidth off the server and cause the website to load slowly. Talking of bandwidth, using the right web hosting service is also a very crucial decision. A2 Hosting vs Siteground, these are two popular ones that you can choose from. A competent web hosting provider will not only ensure that your website stays swift to load but also provide ample security. 

Hence, you need to optimize your images to scale them properly. There is no benefit in using large and heavy images and then scaling them down with CSS. So, make sure that you scale your images right before you upload them. You can also try compressing them using tools to get the work done. 

Get rid of extra fonts

Something as simple as a few lines of code for custom fonts can end up cluttering your code database. A lot of times, most of these fonts are not in use and only contribute to making your website slow to load. You need to get rid of the weights and styles that you don’t use and limit the characters. 

Gzip Compression

Something as simple as a code addition can help you optimize the loading speed of your website. You can add a simple code to the .htaccess file and enable Gzip compression:

# compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

Conclusion:

By adopting the CSS hacks mentioned above, you will successfully be able to enhance the loading speed to your website and cater to the needs of your audience by providing them a great user experience without any hiccups or all that waiting. 

The post Boost Your Website Loading Speed with CSS Hacks appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

Ways to Enhance Customer Experience with Web Design

Thu, 12/19/2019 - 11:18

How a website looks depends entirely on the individual or company doing its web design. However, having a website isn’t just all about making a website pretty. It can also impact a website’s SEO. Furthermore, web design and digital branding also plays a crucial role in giving a website’s visitors the best possible customer experience. Contacting a web design agency will get you on the front foot of your online brand and have you stand out from the crowd.

As the age-old cliché goes, the customer is always right. If your website provides a great customer experience on top of first-rate products and services, then nothing should stop that customer from giving you the conversion you want. If it doesn’t, then maybe you should take a closer look at its web design and find ways to make your website more engaging to the user. It’s never too late to make adjustments to the way your site is designed to improve its customer experience.

From responsive web design to making the checkout process less of a hassle, here are some ways to enhance customer UI / UX through web design.

Mobile-friendliness equals good customer experience

Mobile users have long outnumbered desktop users, and that gap is only going to get bigger in the coming years. It goes without saying then that the mobile market is a massive one.

For an entrepreneur, getting in on the mobile action is a must. If your website is not mobile-friendly just yet, then do whatever you can to switch to a responsive website design. It’s the best way to ensure that your website displays well on phones and tablets, giving mobile users a customer experience that will hopefully get them to purchase the products or availing of the services you are offering.

Increase page loading speed.

Do the pages of your website take forever to load? Remember, today’s Internet users are an impatient lot. Their attention spans also seem to be getting shorter. And as far as they’re concerned, “forever” means a load time of three seconds or more.

Then again, with ever-increasing Internet connection speeds, a page load speed of three seconds or more does seem to be quite slow, and a slow-loading page when the user has lightning-fast Internet means the problem lies with your website. It could be your web hosting provider, or it could be how your website is developed.

Maybe your web design is a little too intricate and heavy on the graphics. The images you use may be too big in size to slow everything down. And if you love using custom fonts on all your pages, then you cannot really expect fast loading times.

So if you can make your web design simpler and with more whitespace, then that should give your page loading speed a boost. The same thing will happen if you compress and optimize your images. Minimize the use of custom fonts as well.

Other web design tweaks that can help make your web page load faster include optimising your image sliders or carousels and, if you’re running multimedia elements, disable autoplay.

Make navigation better.

Bad website navigation can ruin the customer experience, often to the point where visitors just drop your website and bounce off to another, most likely that of your competitors.

Navigating your website should be effortless and intuitive. If your site isn’t easy to navigate, then you might want to tweak some aspects of its web design. One thing you can do is to organize all your navigational elements well. If you can put up a working search feature, then that would help with the navigation, too. Drop-down menus also make for clear and easy-to-follow navigation. So will anchored navigation bars. A little internal linking wouldn’t hurt either.

Simplify the checkout process.

People are already spending money on buying products on your ecommerce website. One thing that could make them change their minds about it is if you’re making the entire purchasing process a little too tedious for comfort. Interminable identity checks and additional purchase information requirements tend to be perceived by customers as a waste of time, and that can drive them away, often for good.

A tiresome checkout process does nothing but give your customers a bad experience. So tweak your web design a little so you can go easy on the identity checks. Do the same to those fields asking for more information from your customers. If your site has lots of intrusive popups and additional offers, cut back on them as well.

Making adjustments and improvements to your web design is only one of the ways you can improve customer experience, but it’s a good enough place to start. So get to it as soon as you can and make your customers feel more comfortable about giving you their business.

Get in touch with a web design and digital marketing agency today to find out how you can boost your brand’s online presence.

Photos courtesy of us.fotolia.com

The post Ways to Enhance Customer Experience with Web Design appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

4 Web Design Sales Tools You Aren’t Using That Are Sabotaging Revenue 

Wed, 12/18/2019 - 08:00

Web design and development makes the world go round. 

Without it…well, you already know and dread a world with no internet. 

But web design and development isn’t an easy sell these days. In fact, it’s far from it. As a web creator, the pain points can seem endless: 

Getting people to pay on time is rare.

Getting them to respond in a timely manner is even rarer. 

Or the most dreaded of all: “We’re just going to use a website builder.” 

This doesn’t have to be the case anymore. With the right sales tools, you can nip these pain points in the bud fast.

Here are the best web design sales tools you aren’t using that are sabotaging your revenue. 

1. PandaDoc Contract Management Software

According to Hubstaff’s 2017 freelancing study, one of the biggest pain points for service businesses is a bad client. 

More specifically, clients that ask for unreasonable revisions, discounts, or asking to get on too many meetings: 

(Image Source)

Being a web creator, reviews and testimonials are your livelihoods. You need them as social proof to land future clients and keep your reputation on high.

Saying no to unreasonable revisions or discounts can be tough. 

Read: 5 Tips to Putting Together Your Website Navigation

You want to please client needs and deliver good customer service, but you also can’t waste your time and shrink your return on investment. After all, time is money. 

So, what can you do? Enter PandaDoc contract management software:

(Image Source)

With PandaDoc contract management software, you can automate the contract process from creation to negotiation to management: 

(Image Source)

With electronic signature capabilities and direct CRM integrations, you’ll never be dealing with unreasonable revisions and discounts: 

(Image Source)

Lay out your terms clearly in the contract, automate it with PandaDoc, simplify your workflow, and avoid those bad client conversations once and for all.

Without it, you’re at the mercy of your clients.   

2. Constant Contact Email Marketing

Email marketing is critical for any thriving business. 

If you want to land more projects, you need to be on top of your email. 

That means pitching potential sales deals via email, responding ASAP, and scheduling outreach campaigns. 

Doing all this just via Gmail is a surefire way to procrastinate. 

Read: 10 Questions You Need to Be Asking Your Clients

One minute you are writing an email and then next you’re fixing a dumpster fire of a project. 

In the process, the email gets thrown on the backburner, potentially losing client sales and trust. 

Instead, implement an email marketing software that can handle automation needs. 

The current #1 ranked email marketing tool is Constant Contact: 

Constant Contact is an email marketing powerhouse that is built for more than just sending emails.

As HostingFacts says “Constant Contact is a great choice for small business owners who need a tool that does more than just email marketing.”

In addition to email marketing, it features countless integrations, a social media tool, event management, and even calendar scheduling.

3. Woven’s Scheduling Tool

As a web designer, scheduling meetings is often part of the job, especially if you are a startup or a one-person show. 

Whether it’s with existing clients to review steps in the process or with prospects to discuss goals, meetings can help you close deals, reassure clients, and even upsell for increased revenue.

Getting on a scheduled meeting is sales playbook 101.

But, typical calendar scheduling sucks. You’ve probably experienced a dozen emails saying: 

Does 4pm on Friday work? 

No, does 3pm Monday work?

The endless cycle of calendar scheduling is brutal and less professional. 

That’s where Woven comes in: 

With Woven, you simply plug in dates and times that you are available, generate a link, and have your contacts select a time that fits their schedule: 

Not only is this easier, but it’s far more professional. Combine it with a good conferencing tool and you’ll be offering a more premium service to your customers that automates scheduling. 

Ditch the clunky, annoying, and unprofessional back and forth for a tool like Woven.

4. Hootsuite Social Media Management Tool

There are 2.62 billion unique social media users worldwide. 

Being on social media isn’t an option anymore. It’s a requirement. 

Social media is a diverse tool that can be used to build brand awareness via content promotion, perform social listening, and can even lead to direct sales. 

It’s also a fantastic place to showcase portfolio work.

But, managing multiple social channels, scheduling posts, and monitoring engagement aren’t easy. All those tasks take time and often multiple tools. 

When you are on a time crunch to finish projects, you won’t have any time to write social content. 

Meanwhile, your followers and brand will take a nose-dive. 

Until you implement with Hootsuite. 

(Image Source)

Hootsuite is a social management tool that allows you to connect all of your social profiles and do everything from monitor brand mentions to schedule content and everything in between. 

As a small business, you should be repurposing and scheduling all of your content via social to build awareness. 

  • Infographics / custom images
  • Podcast interviews or episodes
  • Your latest blog post
  • Direct portfolio work

Scheduling these content types in advanced batches will help you save precious time.

Beyond that, monitoring brand mentions is automated, giving you notifications even when you aren’t directly tagged. 

This means you won’t miss potential sales, reviews, or leads. 

Conclusion

Web design is much harder than it appears from the outside.

While creating amazing web experiences is fun and exciting, it comes with added stresses and needy clients.

These sales tools can dramatically improve your contracts, lead generation, scheduling, and project efficiency. 

If you aren’t using them, you could be costing yourself valuable revenue. 

What are your favorite tools to help improve the sales process and land new web design and development clients? 

The post 4 Web Design Sales Tools You Aren’t Using That Are Sabotaging Revenue  appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

8 WordPress Plugins for a Faster Website

Sun, 12/15/2019 - 20:30

Speed is one of the most important features of every website. With only one chance to make a great first impression, your website must be on top of its game. Always. If you want your site to be successful, to have a lot of visitors, and your voice to be heard, you need to work smart and hard.

With WordPress being the most popular CMSes in the world, and possibly your choice too, let’s focus on the best plugins that can help you improve the performance of your website.

Read: 10 Social Media WordPress Plug-Ins To Keep Your Blog Relevant

Before digging into the world of plugins, there are a couple of things that can help too.

  1. If you want a fast WordPress website, you need a fast WordPress theme. Look for a fast and lightweight theme that will not slow down your website with unnecessary features.
  2. Keep the size of your website under control. It is always better to reduce the size than to pay extra for a hosting plan that will compensate for the large size.
  3. A smart web hosting choice is crucial. Pick a provider that will grow with you, with quality servers, good security, and quality support.

When it comes to plugins there is one golden rule: “Install only those with must-have features”.

1. Smush Image Compression and Optimization

Oversized and unoptimized images can significantly increase the loading times and performance of your website. This plugin allows you to resize, compress, and optimize all images on your website. With great bulk image optimization that covers your media library and any other image in any directory, this is one of the best free plugins for WordPress.

2. W3 Total Cache

WordPress caching is one of the best and easiest ways to improve your website’s performance. W3 Total Cache plugins will temporarily store the website’s data in the cache so that it loads faster the next time the user opens the same page. W3 Total Cache features page cache, database caching, object caching, browser caching and a lot more. It also offers HTTP compression of the HTML, JS, and CSS files, and lets you integrate CDN services. This way you can reduce the page load time, save bandwidth, and increase the website’s speed.

3. WPOptimize

Database optimization is one of the key things for good performance. WPOptimize plugin is used for cleaning up the WordPress database and optimizing WordPress. It will remove unnecessary data from WordPress like spammy and un-approved comments, trash posts, and comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks, etc.

4. BJ Lazy Load

Everything comes back to the loading speed of your website and its content. If you need to have a lot of images, you need some magic to improve the loading times. BJ Lazy Load replaces all your images, thumbnails, and content iframes with a placeholder and loads the content as it gets close to entering the browser screen. Images will be displayed only when the user scrolls the page, resulting in faster loading and decreased bandwidth.

5. WP Rocket

WP Rocket is a caching and performance plugin that covers a couple of aspects that can help improve your website’s loading speed and performance. With minimal configuration, WP Rocket covers page caching, cache preloading, static files compression and image & videos on request. User-friendly dashboard simplifies the use of this plugin, and there are video guides that explain every feature and help you understand what WP Rocket does.

6. Query Monitor

This plugin will help you track down bottlenecks in your WordPress site’s database. Note that it is designed for developers, so beginners might struggle to pull meaningful information from the plugin. With Query Monitor, you can see all database queries performed on the current request, slow queries, duplicate queries and queries with errors. It can also help you with other debugging by showing PHP errors, scripts/styles, HTTP requests, etc.

7. Perfmatters

Perfmatters is a handyman for your website. It helps you make a ton of smaller performance improvements to your site that can further reduce your site’s HTTP requests and page size. With this plugin, you can enable/disable scripts on a per-page/post basis. This helps if you have a plugin that loads its scripts everywhere even though you only use it on a few pages.

8. Cloudflare CDN

A content delivery network or CDN is a system of distributed servers that deliver pages and other web content to a user, based on the geographic locations of the user, the origin of the webpage and the content delivery server. Cloudflare CDN is one of many plugins that utilize CDN, but its strength lies in additional benefits. With this plugin, you get additional protection from DDoS attacks, a shared SSL certificate, and an integrated firewall. With improved security, you’ll be certain that your website’s performance will not be affected by any type of attack.

A fast website is a must

To put it simply, you need a fast website, because the average span of users’ attention is getting smaller every year. You need to serve great content without any delay, and for that, you need great WordPress plugins. Pick them smart and watch as your metrics improve.

The post 8 WordPress Plugins for a Faster Website appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

Stumped on a Logo? Lettermarks are Simple to Create and Look Great

Sun, 12/15/2019 - 19:16

It can be really difficult to design an original logo from scratch, especially for designers who are just starting out. There are always websites like Hire the World to give you a boost in your logo designs, but if you want to hone your craft, the task of inventing some sort of original shape, icon, or imagery can be daunting and quite frankly a bit overwhelming.

There are other options beyond the graphics in logo design. A splendid alternative can be a lettermark logo.

Think that letters are on the dull side? You definitely need to look closer at letter and work marks and how innovative they can be with touches of graphics, color, and interesting font choices. FedEx, Amazon, Coca-Cola, and IBM all seem to be getting along just fine with their lettermark logos, perhaps you company can do likewise.

This article will serve as a tutorial for putting together a lettermark logo for your own business or a client.

Sketch the Concept Logo

Doing things by hand makes it a lot more powerful and real than using a computer program. You can see the letters more clearly and focus on the individual lines and curves then could on a screen. You’ll also be able to play around with different aspects and elements of your logo. The famous hidden arrow in the FedEx logo came to life while an artist was doodling during his trial-and-error phase. A big point to remember with lettermarks is that while there are lots of great fonts out there, if the reader can’t see what your letters are, it won’t matter much what they say or how cool they look.

Choose a Font

It’s true, this might take a while. Fonts come by the thousands and for a large segment of designers, there’s something fascinating about trying them all on for size, sort of like one of those wedding dress shows where the bride tries on 400 different combinations before deciding she liked the first one the best.

Scan your hand-drawn image into your computer and open that file in Adobe Illustrator or a similar functioning software. Start selecting fonts that you like for a list of possibilities. Combine serifs and san-serifs so you get a full smorgasbord of potentials on board. Now type the letters in and turn them into shapes or outlines using the Type menu on Illustrator.

Command+O makes them into outlines and Command+Shift+G ungroups them so you can take on each one letter by letter.           

Manipulate the Letter Shapes

There is no wrong way to do this part. You can adjust vector points, delete them, use the Pin Tool, or anything else you see fit to manipulate the way the letters look. Put them on angle, push them into the realm of three dimensions, cut them in half to create interesting white space, or anything else your brain likes. Change angles to see what looks sharper or smarter. 

Keep Refining

It might be several days before you find the perfect combination, but if you keep working and keep refining you will eventually settle on a great look lettermark that represents the qualities of your company and will best appeal to your company’s target audience. Refining can mean different fonts, different sizes, different angles, anything that catches your eye or that you can say to yourself, “I can make this better.”

Color Wonder

Way too many designers want to rush forward with their colors first, but the look of the logo must be taken into account first, as that is how it will look regardless of what size it is or what shade of the rainbow it inhabits. 

Your colors are very important, but they won’t always be present so save them for later in the process. You should treat your colors as if the maximum number possible is two. Unless you’re advertising rainbow gum or Skittles, too many colors will almost always ruin your professional look. There are lots of guides out there that can give you amazing color combinations for any sort of logo design you have in mind.                               

Read: 25 Videos and Resources for Learning Color Theory

The post Stumped on a Logo? Lettermarks are Simple to Create and Look Great appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

5 Best Website Wireframe Tools in 2020 for UX/UI Designers

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 08:00

Wireframes are like the blueprints for the website, a landing page, or an app. They are quite important for creating the perfect UX/UI for the app or website. It’s a visual representation outlining the basic structure of any website or app.

A wireframe is quite simple and it doesn’t have many elements either. It has simple shapes or elements highlighting where each UI element or content piece will go. A wireframe is simple but quite powerful as you can shift the elements or rearrange them according to your needs.

You must create a wireframe first, and then move on to the actual designing. It will help you get the approval of what you are doing before making it to the final stage. If you do this without wireframe, you may have to design the whole thing again.

So, if you want to create a good wireframe, you need to start looking for an app that can help you with the same. Here is a list of apps that are best and popular for creating a wireframe.

1.   Lucidchart

The first thing you should know about this tool is that it works on most popular platforms like Mac, Android, iOS, and Windows.

With this app, you can easily design and test your ideas, and it lets you create interactive and demo-ready mockups.

Here are some features:

  • It is a cloud-based tool so there is no need to download or update the app, you can access on any device and even integrate it with slack or similar services.
  • It lets you work in a team which makes it easier to work.
  • It lets you customize the shapes or tool as per your needs.
  • You don’t need to be a professional to use this tool. Pros and beginners can use the app alike as it is quite simple to work on.
  • You can start using this app for free and then upgrade to a paid version. The other paid options are basic at $4.95, and Pro at $8.95/.

2.   Canva

If you are a non-designer, this tool is perfect for you. With Canva, even a person with limited designing can use this tool to make a quick visual wireframe.

With Canva, you get features like:

  • You can use the app to drag and drop elements to create your wireframe.
  • It also lets you use charts or illustrations to give more depth to your wireframe.
  • It is a great tool that can give you the chance to design a wireframe without facing many difficulties. It does rely heavily on templates, so that is something you need to consider.
  • The Canva work plan is 12.95/month/user and free for individual use with limited features.

3.   Gliffy

It is a web-based wireframe designing app that lets you create an effective, but basic flowchart solution for companies that requires the same. It provides features such as:

  • It has a simple drag and drop interface, which makes it easy for you to create easy wireframes, and collaborate it with others.
  • It has ample of basic shapes to help you design like SWOT analysis, mind maps, and Venn diagrams. It also has templates which help in creating wireframe with ease.
  • It lets you share the wireframe with anyone on any platform and even edit it also.
  • Gliffy’s basic version is $7.99 per month, while the team is $4.99 per month.

4.   Photoshop

One of the most professional and heavyweight wireframing tools that maximum professional use globally, is Photoshop by Adobe. It is pixel-based which handles a lot of things from digital painting to editing and so on. The best reason why you should use Photoshop for your wireframing is that it lets you create an easy high-fidelity structure without having the need to switch design systems.

  • With Photoshop design the UI components with the help of the elements that Photoshop has.
  • It is the best tool in terms of its raster image editing skills.
  • The price of using this tool is $9.99 per month.

5.   Moqups

Moqups is also a web-based platform whose price is around $13 for personal use per month, and $19 for creative use per month. It is one platform that lets you work collaboratively with wireframes, prototypes, and mockups ranging from low-fidelity to high fidelity. It has these elements:

  • It has a comprehensive library that allows you to build wireframes quickly and easily using widgets and shapes from the library.
  • It lets you drag and drop the images from your mobile or desktop into in-built designs, creating them into interactive designs.
  • It provides users with ample font choices, and it also integrates Google fonts into its mixture.
  • It works in real-time so collaborating is easy as you get feedback instantly. It also lets you jump from wireframes to diagrams to mockups with ease.
  • It is simple to use and learn.

For your new wireframe, use one of these tools and get instant and effective results.

Read: 10 Places to Find Free Graphic Design Mockups

The post 5 Best Website Wireframe Tools in 2020 for UX/UI Designers appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

Business expansion: Top tips for scaling your business the right way

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 10:53

First and foremost, there’s no doubt that business expansion is something that should be well and truly celebrated.

On the other hand, it’s also something that can result in very dangerous territory. Put simply, you are venturing out of your comfort zone – and this can be the formula that sends your business into complete disarray.

At the same time, while it can be risky, the rewards can be terrific. Expanding into new markets or countries can allow your business to reap fantastic profits – but there are right and wrong ways to go about this.

Suffice to say, we are going to hone in on the former. We are now going to look at how you can (almost) safely plan to expand your business.

Sometimes it’s about your existing customers

One of the big mistakes that we see a lot of businesses make in relation to expansion is only focusing their attention on new customers. Granted, this seems logical, but there is a solution much closer to home.

Sure, in some industries this might not be applicable, but on the whole your existing customers are an excellent source of expansion. Sometimes, it’s like effectively “upselling” to them, while on other occasions it’s about tapping into your existing relationship and finding out what they are really missing.

This is by far and away the cheapest form of expansion, and there’s far less risk involved.

Tread carefully with your storage

In most industries, expansion usually involves selling more of a particular product. Naturally, unless you happen to be a service provider or involved in drop shipping, you need to house these additional products somewhere.

It’s at this point where you have to tread very carefully. Yes, you need more storage space, but you don’t want to enter into a hugely expensive commitment for something that isn’t guaranteed to work. For this reason, it might be advisable to turn to a more temporary solution. It might be for storing office equipment, or storing the additional products that you are going to supply. Regardless, making sure these aren’t long-term arrangements can remove a small element of risk from your strategy.

You might just need a brand campaign

Sure, opening up to new markets or releasing new products can be the most obvious way you expand, but some businesses have other options on the table. One of these comes in the form of a brand campaign. In other words, you place a lot more attention on advertising your brand.

It should be highlighted that this a long-term gain, and is unlikely to reap quick results. However, it’s another very efficient method and can result in that slow growth which is a little more sustainable for some people.

Analyze the competition

If we were to tell you one area to pledge most of your resources it would undoubtedly fall within your analysis. Usually, this comes in the form of market research, and making sure you know everything about the competition and how they are faring in your desired markets.

If they are struggling, find out why. If they are succeeding, find out if there is room for you to muscle in and take some market share.

Photos courtesy of gettyimages.com

The post Business expansion: Top tips for scaling your business the right way appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

Ready for Christmas: How to prepare your retail business

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 16:52

As we all know, some businesses rely on seasonality. In other words, a large chunk of their sales arrive during the same months of every year and suffice to say, Christmas tends to be one of these bigger periods.

It means that your results during this period can make or shape your financial year. It would be fair to say that the market has turned on its head significantly over the last few years, and the rise of ecommerce means that the rules have shifted somewhat.

However, regardless of whether you operate in the online or offline space, we have put together today’s guide to show you how to universally prepare.

Showcase your sales wherever possible

Like it or not, this is the period where sales are in their full flow. If you don’t jump on the bandwagon, there’s every chance that you are going to lag significantly behind the competition – and customers are going to find alternatives.

As such, you need to showcase these promotions as much as possible. If you operate on the high-street, find out more about using digital signage for your business. If you only have an online presence, look to use every marketing channel possible to shout that you’re on sale for Christmas.

Push your delivery dates until the limit

In an ideal world, everyone would be properly prepared for Christmas. Unfortunately, it seldom works like this. In other words, we’re all running late when it comes to present shopping – and this is where you need to make life for your customers as easy as possible.

Granted, in some industries it’s going to be more difficult than others. However, try and push your Christmas cut-off delivery dates to the limit. If you can appeal to any unorganized Christmas shoppers, you’ll have boosted your appeal immensely!

The power of a gift wrap service

This next tip can appeal to any business, whether you are based online or not. In short, the nation is becoming lazier. Getting someone else to wrap your presents can save significant amounts of time, and make life much easier.

As such, try and offer this service. If you can do it free of charge, then naturally interest is only going to rise in it. If not, at least make sure you’re doing a professional job.

Product positioning is crucial

Finally, one of the things that separates a good performing company over the festive period with a great one is product positioning.

If you sell any products that are going to be considered as gifts, it goes without saying that they need to be placed as prominently as possible.

Then, when it comes to those smaller, “stocking filler” items, consider placing them near the cash register. Or, if you operate online, add them as subtle reminders when the user is progressing to their checkout.

Of course, alone these items are small change, but over time they can combine and really supercharge your festive profits.

Read also

Photos courtesy of gettyimages.com

The post Ready for Christmas: How to prepare your retail business appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design

Preventing Questionable Emails with the Help of Office 365 Updates

Sat, 11/30/2019 - 05:29

Threats can be hanging out in your business email inbox right now. Find out how a new Office 365 update is being implemented to help catch those suspicious emails

Phishing attacks and other malicious email attacks have made their way into the headlines as the seemingly most effective way for hackers to steal valuable information, and many business owners have fallen victim to these attacks. A combination of lacking knowledge among business professionals about email attacks and business email compromise and lacking email security features have been easy to blame for the apparent problems.

If your company uses Hosted Exchange or Microsoft Office 365 as the email server, you may have a new advantage when it comes to protecting your business messaging platform. A new Office 365 feature referred to as ‘Unverified Sender’ may be able to help you thwart attacks from unverified senders who would normally make their way to your Outlook inbox at work.
Philadelphia IT support professional Scott Clarke with Menark Technologies looks into how Unverified Sender works with Microsoft Office 365.

A Look at How ‘Unverified Sender’ Works

Unverified Sender has a simple function: it helps users of Outlook email identify emails that may have suspicious requests. When the feature is turned on in the settings tab in Outlook, incoming emails are funneled through the security tool and Microsoft determines if the sender is a verified sender with legitimate credentials or if the email contains spoof information.

If an email sender comes back as not verified, the People Card on the email will automatically be replaced with a question mark symbol. This allows the account user to quickly spot emails that are potentially coming from a sender with ill intentions or simply someone who is not verified.
Microsoft was quoted as saying in a blog posted recently:

“Unverified Sender is a new Office 365 feature that helps end-users identify suspicious messages in their inbox…we’ve added an indicator that demonstrates Office 365 spoof intelligence was unable to verify the sender.”

Of course, the feature will only work if the account user turns the feature on, but since the feature doesn’t interfere with any other action, most users will likely have no problems.

Microsoft Also Offers Malicious Email Analysis

Outlook email protection for users has grown increasingly better to try to combat problems with threats being sent to email inboxes. Microsoft seems to be leading the pack when it comes to email servers when it comes to securing inboxes. Malicious Email Analysis is another Outlook feature that Microsoft introduced in 2019, which is designed to specifically warn account holders of an email that seems to be malicious in nature. The program uses various safeguards to scan emails for potential threats, and anything that looks suspicious is quarantined until the account user can take a closer look at the message to determine if it is indeed risky junk.

Implementing Email Protection Should Be Easy with the Right Help

Protecting your business email from thieves and hackers should be easy, but even with new updates to some of the most widely recognized email platforms, it is not always easy to stay protected. Reach out to a managed IT services provider for more information if you are afraid your business email is not as protected as it should be.

The post Preventing Questionable Emails with the Help of Office 365 Updates appeared first on SpyreStudios.

Categories: Design
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