Category Archives: Web Design and Development

Designing Photography Website

Use Hero Images

One of the most visually stunning ways to use photography is when it is large. Oversized, or hero images can have dramatic impact and lure visitors into your website.

Opt for hero images when you have one or two stunning photographs with plenty of detail and impact. Images should represent what your site or brand is all about without a lot of additional detail.

Sliders Add Interest for Multiple Photos
When you have more than one image to showcase, sliders can be a good option. What’s also nice about a slider is that it can often accommodate multiple sizes, so you are not locked into a full-screen image.

The key to using a slider is to not go crazy. Stick to a handful of images for the most impact. Make sure each image is relevant and does not duplicate or look like another image in the set. Another bonus to a slider is that you can change the images from time-to-time, such as replacing images with seasonal photos or adding images of new products.

Create a Collage or Grid

A beautiful grouping of photos can add drama to your site. But you have to be careful about photo selection, cropping and grouping. Ajax scrolling features are a fun way to keep users moving through groupings of photos.

But there are a few things to keep in mind when creating a collage or grid – mainly photo size on the screen. Select images that you can see at smaller sizes. Typically this will include images with simpler framing and composition. This design technique is popular with looking at groups of tight images or faces. It does not work so well for landscapes or images with a lot of detailing.

Use a Minimal Aesthetic

Keep the rest of the design simple when working with photography as a theme. You want to let images speak for themselves and a lot of “obvious design” can take away from the images themselves.

Simple buttons, elements and even colors will give photos more room to be enjoyed on the screen. (This is why so many portfolio sites take advantage of a minimalistic style and back and white backgrounds.)
Stay Away from Too Many Effects

At this point, most designers are already avoiding flash, but it is still important to remember. Avoid flash in your photography website designs, as enticing as it may be.

High-resolution photos need to load quickly – they are large files – and accurately on all devices. Keep this in mind when designing animations, loading presets or other effects. And if special effects or techniques impact speed or take away from actually looking at the photography, don’t apply them.

If you want to use an effect, keep it simple. Consider parallax scrolling or autoloading images.

Design a ‘Photo’ Theme

Some photography sites use fun “themes” for photos, which can be a good way to show off photography and some other design skills. Them ideas include an Instagram-style look, Pinterest design theme, black and white gallery, an effect with borders or edging or a color overlay. There are plenty of fun options that you can use to create a site with a photo-based theme.

The caution is to not take away from the message photos are supposed to have. Use a theme in a way that compliments photography and does not hide it.

Mix Up Shape and Size

Some designers get caught up in shape and size when it comes to photography. Images can be different shapes, sizes and orientations (portrait versus landscape). Using a mix creates more visual interest.

Using that same concept, think about the framing and composition of photos as well. Some should be close, others at medium or distant ranges. Think about this variance when it comes to color and background as well. Using a large group of similar photos will bore users quickly; mix it up to keep users flipping (or clicking) through your images longer.

Place Text Strategically
Poor text placement can ruin a website that features great photography. Ensure that text, buttons or other elements are not placed over key parts of an image.

One trend that we’ve seen a lot of recently is the use of large images and ghost buttons. This combination allows for a dominant image with a large-style button that does not overpower the photo.

A few rules of thumb when thinking about text or element placement and photos is to avoid placing elements over faces, keep elements out of the action of images and make sure clickable tools are discernable from the image.

Create Contrast

Contrast is one of the key principles of design and is incredibly important when thinking about websites design around images. Create text and backgrounds that are very different from photography.

Black, white or neutral backgrounds often work best in photography websites because they are so plain in comparison to the intrigue of images. This contrast tells users where to look on the screen.

Use plenty of white space so that photos have room. Each image should have enough context and contrast to be distinguishable from surrounding photographs.

Whatever design aesthetic you choose, make sure that images and the outline where they live are different enough so that users know the main part of the message (the photo) from background elements or navigational tools.

Design for the Images

The most important thing you can do with designing a photography-based website is to design for the photography. Creating a design outline and then adding photos in later will often feel awkward and clunky.

Choose your images first and design a framework to support your content. Design is nothing without content. Treat it properly and you might be surprised at how much better your overall project turns out.

Material Design websites

Developer team recently released a library of components in their Material Design style called Material Design Lite, or MDL for short. It’s a library filled with numerous design components like buttons, forms, and everything else your heart could desire really. They are considering this library to be framework-agnostic in order to make it extremely flexible for people to use. Additionally, one of its key benefits is the fact that it is developed in ‘vanilla CSS, HTML and JS. So far so good.

“Material Design Lite lets you add a Material Design look and feel to your websites. It doesn’t rely on any JavaScript frameworks and aims to optimize for cross-device use, gracefully degrade in older browsers, and offer an experience that is immediately accessible.”

You can download the Material Design Lite library, on their website. You can also peruse their Github repo.

Simple tech behind the scenes

A key component to this library is the fact that it’s easy to install. That’s a brilliant step one because it would not make for a great free resource if it was difficult to use from the get go. However, the whole library is based on simple markup, hance they describe is as vanilla. The simple structure of the library makes it compatible with many browsers – another plus. It supports modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox and even Microsoft Edge. The library does promise smooth degradation to the more challenging browsers, like IE9.

A big principle in making this library was its flexibility and accessibility across devices and browsers; it’s impressive that they have achieved it. We all know this is important but we can’t always afford the time to make our designs this flexible ourselves; once again, it’s a huge plus for the library.

Take a look a a code snippet for the round flowing buttons. The markup for the library is easy to follow in terms of syntax as well.

They use great APIs to make the code aspect of the library great, like Polymer for the various paper components and BEM for Sass. If that’s not good enough for you, the CSS can be used by referencing their CDN or imported through npm as well. You know, in case you wanted choices.

 A bold idea

I think it’s an interesting idea to share such a library with the world. The previously released Material Design documentation was geared towards explaining the philosophy of their overall user experience and how it relates to user interfaces. It was a document based on how Google goes about creating their own apps. We share our work with each other all the time, we have plenty of UI kits and code snippets being used throughout our work. That’s nothing new. MDL is geared towards sharing their design and letting everyone else take a stab at it; what makes it interesting is the fact that Google is a big company whose aesthetic is very unique.

I’m also having a hard time seeing a company like Apple, which too is know for it’s aesthetics, opening up it’s style for everyone to use. That’s why I think it’s a bold move for Google to freely open up the use of their style actually and I’m curious how it will go about over time.

Easy to utilize

All in all, the setup steps are neatly laid out to be easy to follow. The library itself is actually pretty well displayed on their website as there is a lot you can do without even downloading it. On their site, there is a section dedicated just to components where you can browse through all the various elements and interact with them yourself. You can even open them in CodePen to edit it quickly and play around it.

Google really though this library though; that’s clear. They provided a whole section designated to colour customization so you can check out to see how their colours play out with each other.

There is even a whole section designated towards the Material Design style that feeds off their Material Design documentation in order to help you understand the design principles governing their visual style. It goes over basic design elements like typography and iconography. You can download zipped file assets too. Like I said, Google Development team give this a lot of thought and it shows.

In order to help us see the potential of MDL, there is a templates section to help spark our creativity. These templates are free for use and are also customizable. They vary from portfolio websites, to stand alone articles. There are only a few of them but who needs an infinite list, anyways? I think the template page was a great idea in helping people conceptualize the ability of the MDL’s capabilities – another smart move.

And now the bad

With everything flattering I’ve already said about the library, I have concerns. As a designer, I don’t want my website to look like a Google app. This to me is concerning. It’s really awesome of them to make this public and free for use but the last thing we need is another set of websites that look the same. It’s unoriginal. It’s not good for design.

Joshua Johnson did a take on this point of view for Smashing Magazine not too long ago either. In an article titled Beyond The Boring: The Hunt For The Web’s Lost Soul,he too points out that too many websites look alike. The lack of originality in terms of style and especially layout is jarring. Joshual Johnson was inspired by Noah Stokes who feels the same way; he’s resentful of the fact that most current designs rely on clear boxes and grids making for uninteresting designs.

As a designer, I consider myself a creative. Now, some design elements will always be reused, like left hand side logos and top navigations. I was much more impressed with Material Design documentation because it provided explanations on why they designed the way they designed. Insight into their philosophy, so that I could learn from it, was not only more useful to me but more empowering. Frankly, I can’t find a single good use for this library as it looks exactly like Google; the library doesn’t provide much creative freedom.

Mistakes That Make Your Website sound unprofessional

1. Improper Use of Template

I don’t condone using templates for large businesses, but I can see the need for them in small, bootstrapped startups. However if you end up using one, it’s a good idea to get a designer to properly customize it to your branding. You may even end up with a pretty good product.

A common problem on websites built with pre-designed templates is a weak visual connection between the logo and the rest of the website. There will be colours used in the logo that aren’t repeated anywhere on the website, or fonts that don’t fit well with ones used in the site.

If you’re saving on brandin

2. Using Dark Backgrounds

Background color covers the largest part of your website, so better choose it carefully.

As a rule of thumb, entirely black websites almost never look good, unless they’re professionally designed. White color is a safe bet, but even more designers use very light gray. Be aware that the darker the gray, the worse is readability of black letters on this background. It’s best to stay below 15% of black in gray to keep the design light.

3. Typography Contrast Issues

Fonts are a much bigger deal than most non-designers realize. They will make or break your entire design, even though they are just “letters”.

A common problem on “home-made” web designs is that there is too little contrast between headline and body fonts. Just implementing some size variation mostly doesn’t cut it. Try using a bolder weight for your headline font, and make it very obviously more important than the rest of the text. This will help with hierarchy and gently guide the eye through the website.

4. Unprofessional Copy

Writing well is hard, but it’s necessary to get your point across on the internet. Especially if you’re trying to sell something, you’ll need to make sure your copy is easy to understand, and have it checked by the proofreader to fix any spelling mistakes.

I oftentimes see awkward sentences in the website copy that seems to have been stuck there as a placeholder text from the prototype stages of design. It’s a good idea to have somebody read all the text before the site goes live.

5.Off-trend Design

Like it or not, we have bid adieu skeuomorphism for now and every website still using the gradient – and shadow- heavy web design is bound to look outdated. While you can get away with some 3D effect here and there, it’s best to explore your creative options inside the flat design guidelines.

So here you have it: 10 most common issues I have come across analysing a number of different startup homepages. Now go and review your website against the tips above!

6.Inconsistency

Your branding should ideally be very consistent. Everywhere you turn up, whether it be social media, Facebook ads, or offline, your customers should be able to immediately recognize your brand.

But let’s take a step back and first make sure that your website is consistent with itself. Have you got any legacy ul styles that are overwriting your body font? Are your logo’s colours exactly the same hex as those used on the website? Are you using the same shade everywhere or just “something similar enough”? Usually, just keeping your CSS files organized and deleting all unneeded code will fix these inconsistency problems.

7. Alignment and Spacing Problems

Spacing is hard. Leaving enough, but not too much white space around elements is probably the hardest part of figuring out design. But it can be simplified with a few rules. First, make sure all elements are properly grouped together, second, leave enough white space around those groups.

Combine Traveling and Web Design Career

In this article I’d like to share how I traveled the world and worked as a freelance web designer while building Despreneur. I want to inspire an idea that you as a web designer can easily combine these two activities and completely redesign your lifestyle. Collect moments, not things they say. As a web designer you’re able to produce your work without physically being in the place so it gives you the freedom to move anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. Read also our previous article about How to Work as A Freelance Designer and Travel.

Plan Thoroughly

Not a surprise but you need to plan your itinerary, future destinations and getting paid for very simple reasons: to save time, money and stress while you’re on the road.

Some of the things you need to think of are:

  • Where will you get web design clients?
  • How are you going to get paid?
  • What happens if you’re not able to work for a month or two?
  • Where are you going to live?
  • What about health insurance and taxes?

Before leaving make a rough plan of where you want to go, let your relatives, friends and family know that you are leaving.

It’s very important to contact your bank and other institutions and inform them about your leaving. Make sure they activate online payments in your cards, enable a risk of your card being used in third world countries, also make sure to get medical check ups. Get a credit card (if you can) that covers travel insurance.

From the professional perspective, ensure that you have a fully working laptop, charger with adaptors for different countries, get a Skype or other VoIP service credit for cheaper international calls.

Ideally, have a list of clients queuing up for your work, healthy work pipeline will give you a lot of confidence and peace of mind. If you don’t have enough clients yet, hold on, save some money and work on booking some clients for the future.

AngelList Remote Jobs

AngelList is the largest platform for startups to find investors, hire new people and get press. They just recently launched remote jobs platform where you can find a well-paid startup position to work remotely.

Meeting Other Designers

Traveling and missing out on meeting new people is a complete failure of traveling in general. Meet as much people as you can, that way you will learn about their culture, you will get new ideas and make new friends that will make you feel like home anywhere in the world.

While I was traveling with my buddy we were attending different design, business, and tech meetups and events to meet like-minded people. WordCamp Europe, Startup Weekend, Couch Surfing meetup, Dribbble Meetup as well as different events at co-working spaces. These events provide great atmosphere for people to connect and discuss about their hobbies, life and even potential collaborations.

Startuptravels

Startuptravels is a great website that allows you to browse your destination directory and propose a meetup with local entrepreneurs, while most of them are not designers, they can be very cool people to talk to and potentially will need a web designer services, meaning that in the long term you may get another client.

Dribbble Meetups

Check Dribbble Meetups page of official meetups listed there to book your calendar of an upcoming meetup near you. It’s great for networking with fellow designers, learning from them and generally having a good time

Eventbrite is generally for event tickets but there are many different events for free too, just browse it in your selected area and you will see how much is going on.

Hubud

Co-working spaces is another great place to meet other like-minded people. One of my favorite co-working space is Hubud, a hub in Ubud, located in a paradise island in Bali, Indonesia. They have fast wifi, nice coffee and great community with dozens of events.

Utilise Your Social Network

I was surprised how many followers I have in different countries located in Southeast Asia, where I was traveling for the last 6 months. Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, and many other countries and I had someone I knew online, simply check your current connections and ask to meetup for a coffee or so, if they can’t make it ask for an introduction to someone they think you will have a good time with.

Best Tools To Get Things Done

While working remotely you will need tools to save you time and solve specific problems like scheduling a meeting in a different time zone or sharing a huge PSD file with your client. There are numerous tools to get the job done, and every web designer has their own workflow. I’ll list some tools I’ve been using so you can check them too or look for alternatives.

Toggl

Online time tracking tool featuring 1-click time tracking and helps you see where your time goes. Free and paid versions are available.

iDoneThis

iDoneThis is an incredible management tool which has provided me with unprecedented visibility into our productivity and the areas where we need to improve.

TweetDeck

The most powerful Twitter tool for real-time tracking, organizing, and engagement. Very easy to manage multiple accounts, schedule updates and filter feeds.

Dropbox is a service that keeps your files safe, synced, and easy to share. Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and never lose a file again.

Headspace is a digital health platform, providing guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training for a better work/life balance.

Skype

Free calls with your team, clients as well as your friends and family.

Wave Apps Accounting

Accounting is extremely important and shouldn’t be ignored while traveling. Wave’s accounting tools are 100% free, secure, and accountant-approved.

Travel Hacks

Traveling can get very expensive if you don’t know how to book flights or accommodation for your next destination. In this section I’d like to introduce you to some cool apps and services that will help you find cheaper flights as well as nice places to stay and work from.

Nomad List

Nomad List is definitely your go-to place for researching destinations, value for money, connecting with other nomads and obviously finding some more handy information.

Momondo

Find cheap flights with Momondo. Find and compare fares from 700+ travel sites, find out best dates to travel to your desired destination.

Google Flights

I use Google Flight Search to get the big picture of the biggest hubs to fly from like London in Europe and Singapore, Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur in Southeast Asia.

JetRradar

JetRadar is a flights search engine. Similar to Momondo it shows you the best deals from hundreds of airline companies.

Skypicker

Especially good for using in the US. Save a lot of money and get smart suggestions to save some dollars on flights.

Co-working Spaces

How do you find a place to work from? You will certainly need a very fast internet connection and comfortable environment. While I personally can work anywhere from cafe to restaurant to hotel room, you may want to try co-working spaces first. You don’t just get a comfy place with fast internet and coffee supply but amazing like-minded people around you.

ShareDesk

ShareDesk marketplace provides a platform for mobile professionals to discover and book work and meeting spaces on the go–by the hour, day, or month.

Desk Surfing

Desk Surfing gives you the freedom to work where you want. And who you want to work with. Desksurfing is co-working at any given place.

Airbnb

Find nice rooms, usually better for shorter term stay, however, hotels and homestays are cheaper but after living in hotels you really start feeling that authentic homes are probably better, even if they cost slightly more.

Agoda

Booking.com and Agoda are great services for nice deals on hotels, providing especially good value for money in Southeast Asia.

2016 Web Design Trends

1.Hero Video Headers (Think Movie-Style Sites)

Websites design is going to the movies. Higher speed Internet connections and better video plugin integration is making it easier for more websites to include an immersive movie-style experience. Video clips are growing from small snippets to almost full-length preview clips. The images are sharp, crisp and in high definition, creating a video experience online that is new to users, but familiar from other devices, such as televisions.

2. Bolder, Brighter Color (With an 80s Vibe)

Big, bright color really started to emerge with the flat design trend and has continued to gain momentum. Google’s Material Design documentation furthers that conversation. And just take a look around Dribbble, where color is everywhere. These are key indicators that color will stay big in the coming year. Some of the change to the big color trend is in the type of colors used. While 2015 used more monotone big color designs, usage is starting to shift to larger and bri

3.Websites with Slides

First there were sliders, so that websites could move images within a frame to showcase content. The next part of that evolution includes full-screen slides. Each slide refreshes the entire screen with new content; it can work with a click, scroll or timed effect. Users can navigate forward and backward for an experience that is almost physical. Expect to see plenty – and we mean a lot – of sites using this concept in the coming months.

ghter color palettes with an almost 1980s vibe to them.

4.Reality-Imagination Blur

Is that site real or animated? Is the path predetermined or can I make choices along the way? The next step of gamification and design is emerging with a blurred line between what’s real and what’s created (or imaginary) in web design projects. And the results are pretty stunning.

From virtual reality to websites that let you make choices to find new content, this type of customization is personal and users seem to really like it. This trend also includes creating imagery that looks real, but you know that it is not.

5.illustrations and Sketches

Illustrations and sketches bring a fun element of whimsy to a site design. They can work for sites of all types and aren’t just for children anymore. The illustration style has also started to grow in popularity when it comes to some of the smaller pieces of website design as well, such as icons and other user interface elements. What’s nice about this trend is that illustrations make a site feel a little more personal. Because an illustration or sketch style icon appears to be hand-drawn, it looks and feels personal for users. That can go a long way into creating a connection with them.

6.Tiny Animations

Animation has been one of the “it” trends of 2015. From hero-style animations that lead off a site design to those tiny divots that you almost miss, moving elements are everywhere. And they will continue to grow in popularity, even as they decrease in size. Animated user interface elements are a fun way to help engage users, give them something while they wait for content to load and provide an element of surpr

 

Designer vs. Develope

Designer vs. Developer

Traditionally web designers and we developers have been separate job titles. (You can learn more about that in a previous Designmodo article.)

Typically web designers use graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create what websites and elements will look like. This aesthetic is then coded using HTML, Javascript, jQuery, CSS and other programming languages by a web developer to make everything work on the web.

While designers and developers may often work from separate rooms or even countries, each needs the skills of the other to create a complete website. So they have to work together.

Pros of Working Together

Simply, the biggest reason that designers and developers should work together is to create a more complete web project. From the look to interactions to experience, the project will only bet better when designers and developers collaborate. (And it’s almost impossible not to these days.)

And while we are talking about designers and developers working together, don’t forget to invite interaction designers to the party as well.

Collaboration plenty of other benefits:
  • A second set of eyes to look everything over and find flaws or mistakes
  • More creative brainstorming and design
  • A more complete experience, because designers can understand what the developer is capable of creating
  • A more cohesive finished product, where all the parts look like they belong and interactions fit the aesthetic
  • You’ll learn something about how design/development works
  • Merges ideas for a more rounded vision of what a project is supposed to be
  • Fosters focus on the mission and goals of the design project

Cons of Working Together

There are not many downsides to collaboration. But there are two things to consider:

  1. There can be some costs associated with having everyone getting together at the same time, especially if workers aren’t typically in the same location. Use tools for teleconferencing and online sharing to communicate when you can’t get everyone in the same room at the same time.
  2. Sometimes people will disagree or just won’t get along. But we’re all grown-ups, right? We can work through it.

 

Web designers and web developers have to put the project first and think about the big picture during the process and as decisions are made. Understand that you will win some and lose some fights along the way.

The best place to start is by taking your co- designer or developer our to lunch, or coffee or for a walk. Get to know him or her and their style before you draw the first sketch or wireframe. Talk about how you plan to work together as a team and set some ground rules.

Everyone involved in the project should make a point to check in with everyone else often (maybe even schedule it in to the project calendar) to make sure that everyone is on task and on time. Remember to be nice; offer constructive criticism and be open to feedback from others. And be open to the fact that you are going to learn new things along the way, be appreciative of that.

Tips for Designers

  • Explain design theory in a simple manner to help developers understand where the aesthetic is coming from.
  • Consider interactive elements as you design, and how they will work. Make sure all parts are designed for al stages of interactivity.
  • Design completely. Don’t expect a developer to copy and edit like parts. Create element for every state and have it ready.
  • Ask for help along the way. If you are not sure if a specific font will work on a website, ask.
  • Provide design elements in usable file formats and at the appropriate resolution and size for web use.

Tips for Developers

  • Learn about design. Knowing a little theory in terms of color and type and even the lingo can go a long way.
  • Be upfront about what you can and can’t do. If a designer is going down a road that is not going to translate on the web, say something sooner rather than later.
  • Be available to answer questions and help during the design process.
  • Get involved in the process from the start. Help brainstorm design ideas that will work with the UX.
  • Maintain the integrity of the design – even parts you don’t like or agree with – in the development process. You will only make enemies by changing things visually without a “development” purpose.

One of the greatest bits of advice for designers and developers is not all that new, but is still relevant. The “Manifesto for Agile Software Development” highlights four principles that all web designers, web developers and interaction designers should live by.

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

The web virtual reality

The 2D web could become immersive, interactive and tangible. Imagine Wikipedia as an extensive multimedia library. Instead of reading about the Egyptian pyramids, you could wander around them, explore the inside of the pyramids, view the texture of blocks used to build it or solve a puzzle to gain access to the pharaoh’s tomb. You could even have a virtual guide accompanying you, narrating the history of the pyramids and answering questions. And all this while being accompanied by distinct ambient sound effects and soun

searching for the ultimate wedding dress? You could try them on, see yourself from a 3D perspective. You could create multiple avatars to compare several dresses to could choose the one that fits and have it delivered in one day. Visit a virtual car dealer, test-drive the car, select options, tweak the seat position, see if it suits you and … summon it (Hello Tesla!). Science fiction? Twenty years ago, shopping on the internet was science fiction. Twenty years ago, the idea that you could watch the Olympic Games on your VR headset was equivalent to Star Trek’s holodeck.

The hardware to achieve this, while still in infancy, is here. HD cameras, 360-degree cameras, fast graphical processors and VR handsets are the pathfinders to a new era. Expensive, bulky and sluggish at this time, as the rate of adoption will rise, the hardware will get cheaper, smaller and faster.

The technology behind VR is quickly advancing. WebVR, the experimental Javascript API that provides access to virtual reality devices such as Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard, is available in Firefox’s Nightly builds, in experimental builds of Chromium, and in the Samsung Internet Browser for Gear VR. Test your browser for compatibility here. You can even emulate a VR headset for testing the API without needing any VR hardware with Jaume Sánchez Elias handy Chrome extension. You can even experience VR without a VR headset, but to truly understand the concept, you should get one.

Ready to roll? Head on to MozVr, select one of the 11 showcased projects and prepare to be amazed. (My personal favorite is Inspirit). If you’re still here instead of frantically reading the documentation available on Mozilla Developer Network, then I’ll point you to Vizor.io, where more VR goodies are available. If you happen to have an HTC Vive, you are probably on your first steps to becoming the Picasso of the VR with Mozilla’s A-Painter.

Most of the projects above are based on A-Frame, the open-source WebVR framework for building virtual reality experiences with HTML. Powered by three.js, A-Frame is created to make virtual reality accessible to the web developer and, intrinsically, to jump start the WebVR content ecosystem. A-Frame is made on top of an entity-component-system pattern and integrates with a lot of existing web development frameworks and tools. Being fully extensible if a feature doesn’t exist, you can write a component to enable a missing feature or, if you find a particular component limiting, you can fork it.

While impressive for a new technology, the simulations are far from the virtual Amazon we are all looking for.

In fact, we may never have a virtual web. Unlike games, or entertainment, where VR is more or less bound to happen, a functional virtual reality web is a complex ecosystem. While individual sites could offer an interactive virtual reality version to differentiate themselves from the crowd, the plethora of sites available on the internet will still limit to a 2D version floating in a 3D environment.

And this won’t work. The basic desktop monitor is at 30 to 40 centimeters away from the user. All UI elements are there in front. A slight eye movement is sufficient to focus on the element. In virtual reality, the canvas is the environment. There is no bottom or top of the screen. Moving your head to the left, and you have additional canvas. Look down and the canvas expands. You could artificially establish a frame, where you could align icons or notifications (F22 Raptor anyone?), but this is no longer virtual reality. This is augmented reality. Virtual reality is all about creating an immersive environment.

Instead of a screen in front of us, we can have apps, browsers and even a window to the reality surrounding us. Such an environment is based on depth and scale. 

To give you an idea of the canvas in virtual reality, we’ll refer to a passive VR device such as Oculus Rift. According to a paper by Mike Alger, based on useful observations provided by Samsung’s Alex Chu, the main canvas is the field of view when the user is looking straight forward. For example, Oculus Rift’s actual field of view is 94.2 degrees (110 according to specs), close to the 120-degree view of binoculars. Oculus recommends a distance of 0.75 meters to provide a comfortable experience for the basic user. This canvas can be extended 30 degrees from the center with a maximum distance of 55 degrees to the side as a result of head rotation. Upward the canvas can be increased to 20 degrees with a maximum of 60 degrees and, downward with a minimum of 12 degrees with a high of 40 degrees.

 

Trend in Website Design

  1. Fjord Trend

    The homepage features several image backgrounds that are enhanced by duotone technique. The combination of colors is pretty modest and soft. Everything looks calm, serene and businesslike. The solution adheres to website’s philosophy and provides a sharp contrast to vital details.

  2. Heroes and History

    Heroes and History is marked by a lovely hero-themed illustration that is made in two primary colors. Secondary white is used for adding some accents. Although dominant red can be a bit aggressive yet, in this case, it does the trick.

  3. Finesse Design Atelier

    The portal is packed with numerous gorgeous photos that characterize agency’s sphere of expertise. Some of the pictures are left in its original state while others are jazzed up with some nice touches. The screenshot below demonstrates an interesting take on duotone image.

    4.jonkopingssodra

    Green, yellow and halftone touch make the ‘welcome’ background look so outstanding. It is eye-catching and at the same time soft and robust, ideal for supporting the foreground content. The color choice is well-suited to the concept: it reflects the idea more effectively as well as captures its jovial spirit.

    5. Campaign by Lois Jeans

    Campaign by Lois Jeans is charged with energy that is going to burst. Not only is sophisticated layering aesthetics responsible for delivering an overwhelming general impression, but also duotone effect that is applied to videos. Paired with the main light coral shade it ties everything together, achieving a harmonious environment.

    6.New Deal Design

    The website strikes the eye with its unbelievable coloring. Pink and yellow are what makes the project feel so unique and special. Duotone images are bright, dramatic and intensive. They steal the show and substantially contribute to the friendly air and positive mood.

    7. Year in Music by Spotify

    We could not help but mention Spotify. This year portal is the talk of the town. The brilliant interface took the Web by storm and set high standards for the rest. If you need a sheer inspiration for utilization of duotone, then you should give it a try. There is a range of highly intensive images that are worth a thousand words.

    8.Adidas Football
    The campaign’s front page is personified by a series of incredible photo backgrounds that thanks to duotone effect look stylish and modern. They create an amazing atmosphere that meets the mood of the brand and strengthens a sports vibe.

Creative web designers

 

1. Creatives keep their head in the clouds, but their feet firmly on the ground

Creativity involves thinking outside the box. The visions and ideas you come up with have produce practical outcomes. Creatives are able to tailor their ideas to the extent that the websites they build exhibit top performance.

Top creative designers never neglect the UX. Uncode, the creatives’ WordPress theme created by the Undsgn team is a valuable tool. Here’s an example. Uncode’s unique and original adaptive image feature automatically delivers a re-scaled version of your pages to different screen sizes.

2. Creative designers mix techniques in with styles and trends, without sacrificing visual coherency

Learning what’s the latest and greatest is an essential part of being a good web designer. To be a creative designer, you have to learn and practice the art of blending and mixing different trends and styles.

The mix is subtle, but impressive. This showcase example provides insight into how a creative web designer achieved coherency. And spiced it up a bit in the process.

3. Creative web designers select tool that satisfy their need for perfection

A tool that is does not allow you to create pixel-perfect designs can be a source of frustration. Creative people, like you, strive to implement their ideas to perfection. If you can imagine it, your WP theme should enable you to build it.

 Take a concept like this one. With the help of Uncode’s extraordinary flexibility, you can customize to your heart’s content. And you can create a beautiful, completely original layout.

4. Think out of the box, but into the brief at the same time

Sometimes, there is a tension between the client’s perspective and the creative designer’s vision. You want to transform a great visual idea into reality. A good creative is able to think outside the box. At the same time he or she can show a perfect respect for the requirements outlined in the brief.

Uncode’s concept was the starting point for this website. The visual experience arising from these concepts creates a visual world around the product. And ir provides the user with information relevant to the product.

5. They work with concepts – and not just with design techniques

Coming up with great conceptual designs takes research, experience, and digging into what other creatives achieved. Success comes when you are able to take a concept, and bend it into something that offers a realistic solution to a client’s brief.

In the example above, that looks easy-going with a playful twist, the relationship between the headline and the visual provides a grand introduction.

 

Drawing Through Color in Web Design

Working with color can be so much fun. Color can set the mood and tone of a design. Color can make a design appear clean or messy. Another thing we can use color for is to draw attention to a desired piece of content or element.

In this post, we’ll go over the various way in which color can be manipulated to draw attention to something. Some of the examples will talk about repetitiveness, some about photography and others about how a lack of color can be a strategic thing too.

Let’s get started in analyzing how to draw attention through color.

Nursing bras, photography, and attention

There are a plenty of website designs out there that make use color in a strategic way. Color is so versatile and comes in all different shapes and forms. For instance, when I speak about color in design most people assume about things like text or buttons. We’ll get to that. For now, I want to talk about the less obvious way we color effects a design, through photos.

Storq is clothing store for pregnant women. Overall, the website doesn’t feature too many colors. However, on the product pages, the photos command attention. Part of it has to do with the fact the photos are large. The other part has a lot to do with the fact that the photos are the only elements on the page that have color in it.

The photos feature darker shades and similar shades too. Storq uses photography that fits right in with the overall design. They don’t use dramatic or stark colors in the photos to draw attention; that would be too much and unnecessary.

Neon or contrasting colors are not the only ones that can draw attention when thought through with the context of the design.

Colorful texts can draw attention too

Let’s talk about changing the color of text such as headings or large pieces of copy. I have found two amazing examples of how text colors can leverage a visitor’s attention too.

The first example is that of The Nature Conservancy in California. The website is a great example for two reasons.

First, the design leverages color but also a hierarchy. Hierarchy is a fantastic design tool in pinpointing what is the most important to the least. It’s clear at a first glance, what is important to look at first in the above screenshot. “Our approach” is the darkest piece of text in that whole section.

The rest of the text is the same color but what is more important is determined by size. In this example, color is a unifying factor, except for the heading off course. At the same time, color is used to draw attention away from more trivial elements like the numbers on the left-hand side of the headings.

It’s nice to know the order of the sections but, more or less, the numbers are irrelevant to the experience. Therefore, they are lighter in color.

Additionally, we have an example of Founders. By the time you make it halfway down the home page, you’d have seen at least three different font colors.

When you first take a look at the green hero text, it grabs your attention because of its front and center. But the second you realize it’s actually a dark green color, it gets to keep your attention for a little longer. Here the green is a little unexpected so it keeps a visitor a little curious.

At the very least, if the green headline go unnoticed, it’s hard not notice the change of color in the text within the middle section again.

The headlines are a dark blue while the supporting content is gray in color. The contrast of the light gray against the blue heading gives a lot more prominence to the headlines themselves. The gray makes the headlines stand out a whole lot more. I love that such seemingly irrelevant but highly effective manipulation can be done with just color.