Browsing Category: "Uncategorized"

Web Design Trends

July 23rd, 2021 | Posted in Uncategorized, Web Design

This year is halfway done, and we are already looking toward the future of web design. What new trends will pop up? Which ones will finally be laid to rest? One can only predict, but we have some strong tell-tale signs of what we will be seeing in the year 2016.

Overall Prediction: More Unique Experiences

With Responsive Web Design becoming even more ubiquitous, laying out webpages has fallen into the same predictable patterns. A 3-up stack of boxes to point out sales features here, a 9×9 grid format on a photo gallery there, we’ve reached a point where the majority of “pretty websites” all look the same.

“We’ve reached a point where the majority of “pretty websites” all look the same” (CLICK TO TWEET)

Next year, I predict we will see more well-thought out and unique user experiences. To achieve this, designers can integrate personal touches for a more unique feel, such as custom-created illustration work, hand-drawn artwork, a new way to incorporate a grid, or even an unconventional way of storytelling to their users.

Prediction 1: Unique Way of Using the Grid

Curious Space’s website is a great example of adding a pinch of organic freedom to an ordered grid layout.

You’ll quickly notice the photos of this website stacked on top of each other. Stacking them isn’t a problem, as when a user rolls over on an image, the Z-index of the selected image shifts, so it is pushed to the top of the pile of photos.
Upon scroll, the haphazard arrangement of their logo falls into place to spell out their company name.

Prediction 2: Custom-Drawn Illustrations

We’ve all thought it – “Why should I draw another [name of object] icon, when I can just grab it off an already existing vector pack from the web?” This line of thinking does save time and budget constraints, but how about integrating custom-made illustrations, or other artwork into the project budget in the first place?

Sites like  Creative Freedom Guide, For Better Coffee, DConstruct Conference, or Ice & Sky all integrate custom-made / hand-drawn illustration work that greatly aid in telling their story and leaving a memorable experience for their users.

Prediction 3: Better / More Access to Great Typefaces

We should all be thanking Google for its  free font collection. Because of the company’s library, utilizing a great looking typeface on a limited budget can be achieved. With varying styles, weights, families, and the like, there is sure to be quite a few typefaces that are suitable for any website.

Prediction 4: Cinemagraphs

Did that picture just….move? I love cinemagraphs because like videos and photography, it enhances the desired mood for a website and gives it an additional layer of wonder, mystique, and elegance. Unlike videos, it won’t eat as much bandwidth, and unlike photos, it provides “something more” than a simple still shot. This technology has been around for a while already (since 2011), and I hope to see it integrated into more websites in the future.

Prediction 5: Websites Through the Use of Storytelling

Storytelling through means of a website can be quite a complex endeavor. Nike and Lidyana did a great job with  this website.

Best viewed on a high-speed internet connection, the website takes you through the morning workout routines of a young woman. The opening sequence is of her waking up in the morning. After she gets settled into her routine, the user has a choice of seeing her do different types of exercise activities, such as yoga, running, weight training, and the like. If the user clicks on one of the activities, they are then presented with the young woman performing said activity.

The user is then presented with hot spots on the body of the young woman while she is working out, with links to Nike products she is wearing during her routines. This is a great way to showcase the product in-use, as well as providing the user with direct access to view the product details. If the user clicks on a hot-spot, the products she is wearing load in from the side, while pausing the video.

Through this type of interaction, the user can quickly run through all of the activities with the young lady, while browsing the products she is wearing, without even knowing they are shopping!

Earlier mentioned websites such as For Better Coffee or Ice & Sky also do a great job of integrating storytelling on their websites. Something as simple as teaching a user how to make the perfect brew, or being educated on the history of Antarctica can be fun, interactive, and a great learning experience!

Prediction 6: Semi-flat design

Flat design has slowly morphed over the past few years to semi-flat design. After Windows launched its Metro style, the design world became inundated with this trend. Unfortunately, this style did come with its usability pitfalls. This trend has slowly morphed into semi-flat design, largely in part due to both Android’s and Apple’s releases using this type of style. By integrating depth and dimension through the use of subtle shadows, card / tile concepts, and well-thought out transitions to help guide and orient users, semi-flat design aims to eliminate the problems that flat design had created.

Continuation of Earlier Trends

Prediction 7: RWD

Let’s face it, after the implementation of RWD, there was no turning back. There will only be more devices sold on the market, so embracing and integrating responsive practices on websites will make the web sphere a better place for all.

Prediction 8: Parallax

A couple of the websites mentioned earlier already utilize parallax on their websites. As mentioned in a previous GRAYBOX article, parallax is a type of effect applied to the speed and movement of background imagery. The background of the website moves at a different speed than the rest of the page, thereby mimicking layers of depth on the page. As computers and related technology get better at handling such effects on the web, access to viewing these unique animations will only increase.  Scroll For Your Health is a great example of a fun, interactive, and educational way to present information on different fruits, while employing parallax.

Prediction 9: Lazy Loading

On websites that feed content continuously, Lazy Loading aids in viewing immediate website content without waiting for the entire page to load.

This is especially helpful for websites that are highly visual, such as  FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest. In a society where information is constantly being fed into our lives, lazy loading helps to simplify viewing of said content by loading only small chunks at a time.

Pinterest

We’re excited to see what new trends, styles, and stories next year will bring for us, and what trends and movements will fade out within the next year and beyond!

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How To Easily Build Your Own Website

July 21st, 2021 | Posted in Software, Uncategorized

Nowadays, you don’t have to be a tech wiz in order to build a website. In fact, you don’t even have to be tech-savvy. Website building is no longer reserved for the technology experts who know the ins and outs of computers and can write code. There are easy to use website builders such as Wix.com with ready made templates. With drag and drop editors, and endless choices of templates and functions, anyone can create a professional and great-looking website within minutes. If you can fill out a form, you can build your own beautiful and functional website exactly to your taste!

In the past, professionals and individuals looking to create a website have been forced to hire expensive professional graphic designers and computer programmers to do all of the work for them. Not any more! Building your own site is simple, and will save you tons of money. You won’t even have to install any programs onto your computer, because most website building companies are accessible via web browser.

The basic premise of these website builders is easy-use for the average Joe. These companies have recognized that more and more people without the skill to build sites are interested in doing so, and they’ve provided the solution. These new site builders are as simple as the word processor that you use at home. They make use of pre-set templates that you can choose, which immediately give you a general outline for your desired website. You can start with a basic template and then just follow the simple instructions to customize the design of your site to your taste. You control everything, including the backgrounds, colors as well as interesting textures. A simple site can literally be done in a matter of minutes! Here’s the:

Simple Step-By-Step Process:

  • Choose a template
  • Choose images
  • Upload your text and multi-media
  • Customize it
  • PUBLISH!

It’s really that easy. These easy to use website builders will provide you with all of the technological advancements and options that an expensive professional would charge you a small fortune for. And that is not all! Nowadays it is estimated that people spend up to 40% of their Internet time on their mobile devices. The leading Website building company Wix.com even gives you the ability to make your site mobile compatible, giving you the best of all worlds. That’s certainly not a market you want to miss out on and a feature that professional site builders will charge extra for.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t be intimidated. Head over to Wix.com and find out for yourself how easy and simple building your dream website can be!

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How Hackers Can Crash Your Phone Via Wifi

July 19th, 2021 | Posted in Internet Security, Uncategorized

Among the many tools at the disposal of hackers is the ubiquitous “denial of service” attack (DoS), which is basically the sending of endless traffic to a specific site until it crashes from the overload.

Many people believe that hackers direct this kind of attack only at corporate websites and servers – that’s incorrect.

Online security experts have now researched and proven that it’s possible to attack iOS devices in a similar way, causing both individual applications or an entire mobile phone to malfunction.

Mobile security firm Skycure released the results of its research on the subject at a recent industry conference, showing exactly how hackers can potentially target any device using the iOS operating system.

For hackers, the process is as simple as setting up a wireless network for phones to connect to. Once linked, a hacker can launch a script aimed at any particular device, which will cause it to crash.

Skycure’s latest finding go hand in hand with previous studies it conducted, which revealed attackers could similarly create a Wifi network and cause devices to automatically connect. With all of these findings combined into a larger picture, it becomes clear that large targeted attacks could happen in highly populated areas. A determined hacker could set up shop in Times Square and  crash thousands of mobile devices in a short amount of time.

Unfortunately, there is nothing one can do to avoid this type of attack, except stay away from all unknown, unsecured Wifi networks.

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Starting a Fashion Line: How to Research and Implement a Flawless Business Plan

July 17th, 2021 | Posted in How To Grow, Uncategorized

Starting a fashion line requires a large amount of research, especially for the new designer.

The first type of research you’ll want to do is market research. Browse the web for potential competitors, and compile them into a list. You’re going to have to research the following points about each of your competitors:

Mission Target Market (Demographics of their customers) Experience Sales Strategy (Retail or Wholesale?) Median Price Range Marketing Strategy (Social Media? Paid Advertising?)

Keep all of this info neat and organized, because you’re going to put it into a polished business plan later in the game.

Starting a fashion line requires researching your own target market, too. You need to define this group in its entirety. Find out the following things:

How much money do they make? What is their disposable income? Where do they like to shop? Where do they “hang out” online? How much money do they spend on clothing? What are their needs, are customers? How are their needs being met in the current market? Why will they be inclined to purchase your product?

In addition, you will need to start searching for suppliers. These are the people that will make clothing production possible. Starting a fashion line is easiest when using a full-service company that can create your samples from your sketches, and translate those samples into patterns, and finished products. Researching these companies in advance will give you a better idea of your options, and allow you to think about the type of supply chain you would like to have. Ask yourself these questions as you research:

Do I want to outsource, or produce in the USA? Where do these suppliers source their fabric from? What are the working conditions of overseas suppliers? How much experience do they have? What is their lead time? Who are their other clients? How will I import products back to the States? What type of company do I want to support with my business? What is the company’s stance on the environment, the planet, and bottom-line profits?

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Know More About Flexible Working

July 15th, 2021 | Posted in How To Grow, Uncategorized

Working flexible hours, or flexi-hours as they’re often called, is a practise which has been increasingly used by many companies since the early 1970’s. With the advent of the digital age, home-computers, and the internet, a greater number of companies are looking at ways to increase company profitability, while improving job satisfaction amongst their employees.

Improved Company Employee Relations:

Many companies have turned to flexible working to better relations with their workforce, retain staff, and reduce sick-time. We live in an age where family responsibilities and work commitments have to be prioritised by many employees. These additional concerns can induce greater levels of stress, reduce output, and promote higher levels of sick leave. All of which have a negative financial effect for the company.

For many employees, the chance of working from home, beginning their working day a couple of hours earlier, or later, can make all the difference when juggling work and family commitments.

Even on the shop floor. If staff have to spend an hour or two commuting to work on crowded roads or packed trains, they’re not going to be in the best frame of mind to put in their most productive day’s work. The option of starting earlier or later, and finishing the same, may be all it needs to reduce travelling time, relieve stress, improve morale, and increase output.

Reducing Costs:

Work from home is the ideal situation for a large number of today’s workforce. Given the opportunity to do so, they provide higher levels of commitment and increased output. Working their own flexible hours they are more likely to start earlier or finish later should work load require, while taking thirty minutes off to take the kids to nursery school.

Many couples have found one partner working full-time, and one part-time, is the ideal way to manage family and work commitments. To take full advantage of this, companies are ‘sharing’ many office positions, allowing two members of staff to share the same job, desk, and computer, while splitting the working week between them.

The greater the number of staff able to work from home reduces the need to expand to larger premises with all the additional costs involved. While employees working fewer hours, so as to attend to personal or family needs, will feel greater company loyalty, and provide higher output.

Moving from Normal to Flexible Working:

Changing company practises from the normal 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. hours, to a flexible mode of operation, requires consultation with staff on all levels, including the factory floor. Most company bosses agree that, although the move can be challenging, it is not insurmountable.

Of prime concern to any business is keeping good customer relations. Maintaining continuity of commitments and delivery dates, while endeavouring to satisfy employee flexible working practises, can prove demanding in the early days. With the change in working practises, employees need to be kept up to date on company policy. They need to be aware of customer needs and those of their work colleagues.

While some may be allowed to work from home, others may not, and this could cause resentment between staff. The reasons need to be adequately explained as to why one can and one can’t, to avoid any build up of ill feeling.

Should the move to flexi-hours require certain staff members taking on additional responsibilities, adequate training needs to be put in place to provide a more versatile workforce.

A major change in Working Practises:

Although moving from normal to flexible working practises is a major change within any company, it doesn’t need to happen all at once. Many companies today work a mixture of both, bringing in flexible working where possible, while maintaining a normal working week where it is not.

Good communications are the key to any major change in policy. Discussing all concerns with employees; why the company wishes to move to flexible working, the employees job security after the move, and why some can go flexible and some can’t. Treat the workforce as a team with a ‘we’re all in it together’ attitude, and face concerns using a team approach, will usually resolve these genuine concerns.

The Boss remains The Boss:

From a management point of view, seeing half the workforce going flexible doesn’t mean you only have half the workforce to worry about. Ensure staff, with their new found independence, realise they still have a boss to answer to – company commitments to follow – and a work ethic they are expected to adhere to.

A win-win situation:

Carried out correctly, a move to full or partial flexible working can be a win situation for both company and employees. The company gains from reduced costs, saving money on having to obtain larger premises. With a less stressed, happier workforce, productivity increases, time off sick reduces, and a greater number of skilled staff are able to be retained. Many professionals these days actively seek flexible employment, accepting lower remuneration in return for greater time with family, or to pursue outside interests.

Employees benefit from a better balanced lifestyle. The difficulty of juggling home and family with a need to provide an adequate income is removed. They become happier, more relaxed, and family relationships improve. For all concerned, a win-win situation.

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