Sunday, September 24, 2017

Popular Design News of the Week: September 18, 2017 – September 24, 2017

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

What will the Design Industry Look like in 2022?

 

GitHub Desktop 1.0

 

10 Free WordPress Themes from 2017

 

The 5 Biggest Myths About Stock Imagery in Design

 

Parallel Chat – UI/UX Case Study of a New Chat Interaction

 

Laravel Voyager – The Missing Laravel Admin

 

Burst: Chat with People You Disagree with

 

Icongram – Icons on the Fly

 

A Wikipedia for Data Visualizations is Here

 

Redesigning Apple’s Mail App for Myself

 

Dropmark for iOS

 

9 Recommended GitHub Repos for Interface Design

 

Colors: A Data-driven Collection of Beautiful Color Palettes

 

10 Useful Web Typography Frameworks and Libraries

 

What We Can Learn from Facebook’s 2006 Newsfeed Redesign

 

We Can Design a Better Inbox…

 

Dear Designers, Love your Developers Because They’ve Learned Display Grid

 

The Best Colour Tools for Web Designers

 

Material Design Awards 2017

 

24 CSS Galleries

 

Yes, Bill Gates Regrets Ctrl+Alt+Delete

 

When Copy Loves Itself Too Much

 

50 Top Typography Tutorials

 

Don’t Be Afraid of the Ugly

 

Stripe – New Logo

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Comics of the Week #408

Every week we feature a set of comics created exclusively for WDD.

The content revolves around web design, blogging and funny situations that we encounter in our daily lives as designers.

These great cartoons are created by Jerry King, an award-winning cartoonist who’s one of the most published, prolific and versatile cartoonists in the world today.

So for a few moments, take a break from your daily routine, have a laugh and enjoy these funny cartoons.

Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below as well as any related stories of your own…

Special effects

 

Long lost twin

 

Offline review

Can you relate to these situations? Please share your funny stories and comments below…

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Readdress Success

I am a failure.

My side projects have not made me millions. I’ve not been featured on the App Store. I have not won Site Of The Day on Awwwards, I’ve not even had an Honourable Mention. I’m now over the hill and into my 30’s. My best is past me. I’ve failed at life.

Or at least that’s how it can feel. Every day you can read articles about 20 somethings “disrupting industries” and making millions or people hitting the big time with a lucky strike. I want to be successful and what that success is has been drilled into me by countless “inspirational” stories I’ve read. I’ve lived by the “Dream Big” mentality and it hasn’t helped me. With definitions of success as grandiose as these it’s no wonder that all of my ideas and side projects have been dead before I’ve even started building them.

I’ve Lived by the “Dream Big” Mentality and it Hasn’t Helped Me

For years I’ve planned out the game that changes the game industry; the app that changes the way you live your life; and the website that will change the world. These ideas sat and gathered dust whilst I waited for all of the correct pieces to fall into place. Where the pieces were falling from I couldn’t tell you. God maybe? The stars? Maybe the designs for one of my apps are sitting on a USB drive on the International Space Station. One day, one of the astronauts will be looking down kindly on me and they will eject the USB Drive which will somehow survive the journey back down to earth and land flat in my palm. Or maybe not.

I couldn’t start these projects as they were doomed to fail the exacting standards I’d set myself. For the ones that did manage to fight for themselves and get started an abrupt end was in store for them. My ideas crumbled under the weight of my aspirations. Finishing these projects would just confirm to me that they had failed; that my ideas were never as good as I thought; and that I was never going to be the success I hoped to be. So these half made things, full of promise got pushed aside and they too gathered dust.

My Ideas Crumbled Under the Weight of my Aspirations

Earlier this year I started working on a new idea for an app. A weather app for cyclists who commute to work, a narrow market but I knew I would definitely find it useful. I’d recently picked up Ionic, which gave me a rapid way of building and releasing iOS and Android applications using web technologies (if you’re a web developer and haven’t looked at Ionic I thoroughly recommend playing about with it). Using Ionic to solve a problem I was having felt like a great opportunity for me to learn some new skills. I didn’t worry too much about process (I spend a lot of time worrying about process in my day job), and I had gained some momentum. Instead of wireframing, designing and marketing I just coded. I wanted to get something working as soon as possible.

You may be surprised to learn that my app didn’t make me rich

And I did get it working, sort of. There were a few bugs which needed ironing out. The design needed to be improved slightly. But I had an app that was running on my own phone. It wasn’t on the app store yet but the momentum was carrying me forward. Small steps were making a big difference, and not worrying about the bigger picture meant that I was working stress free.

Small Steps Make a Big Difference

The app I was building was specifically for me, but it was definitely going to make a few hundred thousand. Who doesn’t want to buy a cycling specific weather app? However, I put future riches out of my mind and continued the snowballing momentum I had. The snowball was so large that it actually smashed straight through the brick wall that is Apple’s provisioning profiles, app deployment and review process. Earlier this year I released my first app, solely created by me, which people were paying for.

I’d completed a personal project and this achievement has changed the way I approach all of my side projects now.

You may be surprised to learn that my app didn’t make me rich. It hasn’t got a shed load of 5 star reviews and apple haven’t noticed it one bit. But I feel happy nonetheless. I designed, built and released my own idea. Every time I think, “Well it’s not made any money.” I invariably start thinking, “Well at least I finished it. At least it works”. And it does work, it looks good and I’ve learnt a lot whilst creating it. I’ve navigated the labyrinth that is iOS provisioning and certifications. People can download it and use it, and some are. This is what success is for me.

I found a project I was interested in and didn’t worry about whether it would be popular, or make me rich. I ignored people telling me it wouldn’t work, or wouldn’t be popular. I focused on small steps instead of worrying about selling my idea to Google, or getting featured in the AppStore, and I found that everything became much more accomplishable. All I wanted to do was make it work. If I could get it on the AppStore then it was a success.

I don’t want to get bogged down by fear of failing and it’s not going to stop me from creating things anymore

I’ve started thinking of success as an evolving goal. At the moment success means to me, finishing and releasing the project. After the project is released I can look at what’s next for the project to be more successful, but all the while knowing that the project is already a success. I don’t want to get bogged down by fear of failing and it’s not going to stop me from creating things anymore.

I Don’t Want to get Bogged Down by Fear of Failing

I have already noticed a difference in my mindset. Ideas big and small seem less stressful. I have a couple of projects in the works and my primary goal is to complete and launch them. When I achieve that the projects are a success and after that everything is a plus.

So as a parting note, if you’ve ever not started something because you’re afraid of it not becoming a success, readdress what success means to you. Start small, stay small and finish it. You’ll feel a lot more successful than you do if you never finish anything.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

UX at Scale 2017: Free Online Conference with 20,000+ Registrants

Scaling design is one of the greatest challenges faced by product teams today.

That’s because design just doesn’t scale like engineering. As teams, products, and processes grow, things eventually break.

Despite how daunting the challenge seems, plenty of companies have adapted their own best practices over the years. Now they’re going to share their stories with the world.

On Oct 3-6, UXPin is hosting its third virtual event: UX at Scale 2017. Learn from 15 UX leaders at Atlassian, Salesforce, Airbnb, GE Digital, IDEO, Google, ADP, Linkedin, Shopify, Autodesk, Forumone, Athena Health, and even the US government’s internal digital agency (18F).

Thanks to sponsorship from Salesforce and Atlassian, the ticket price of $800 is waived – the event is totally free to join.

Topics include: design systems, building UX teams, calculating UX ROI, automating processes, crafting design culture, cross-functional collaboration, and more.

The 15 handpicked speakers include:

  • Maria Giudice – VP, Experience Design at Autodesk
  • Kyle Haskins – Director of UX at Salesforce
  • Alastair Simpson – Head of Design, Confluence, HipChat and Platform at Atlassian
  • David Cronin – VP of UX at GE DigitalRuss Unger – Experience Design Director, 18F (U.S. Government)
  • JonDelina Buckley – Principal, UX Strategy & Research at ADP
  • Amy Parnell – VP, Experience Design at Linkedin
  • Dr. Laura Granka – UX Director, Google

Register now

 

[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of UXPin –]

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

6 Metrics You Might Think are Important But Really Aren’t (And What to Track Instead)

You know all of those metrics you track?

They’re probably worthless.

I’m not saying they have absolutely no value, of course. I’m just saying they’re doing nothing for your bottom line most of the time.

These are the things that you think matter, but don’t.

In other words, you can track them, but don’t rely on them for real dollar value.

The trick is knowing which ones are valuable and which aren’t.

Here’s why some of those “important” metrics don’t really matter. Along with a few actionable ones you should worry about instead.

1. Clicks + Pageviews

We’ve heard it all before. The questions, the egos, the bragging.

How do I drive 100,000 visitors in a month? I need traffic fast!

Here’s how I drove 4,000 visitors a day, you can too with these simple tricks!

*sigh*

It sounds too good to be true, because it is.

Unless you’re getting paid for the pageview, and you want people to bounce instantly and never return, then go for it. Spam your link on Pinterest, forums and Reddit.

But, if you want to be realistic with yourself, clicks on your ads and page views on your content mean nothing if people aren’t either:

  1. Sticking around and reading more on your site
  2. Converting / buying a product or service / signing up for something
  3. Fulfilling the goal you have set on that page for visitors

So, if your clicks went through the roof yesterday like this:

But, your conversions were like this:

And your pageviews were like this:

But your goal completions were like this:

Then what.is.the.point?

Clicks and pageviews are worthless if they don’t lead to conversions.

2. CTR

CTR. The glorified metric that drives everyone from PPC to SERP “growth hackers” crazy.

Look at me, I’ve got a 66% CTR!

Oh cool, how many conversions did that get you? Two out of 4,000 clicks? Make it rain baby!

Ok, on a more serious note, here’s why CTR don’t mean $#!* in the real world:

Take a look at that AdWords table.

The highest converting, highest traffic keyword/ad group has the lowest CTR (by far).

YET… also the highest conversions (by far).

Paying a low bid on the keyword and spending less money = lower positions = more competition = lower CTR.

But, conversions are still sky-high.

The whole account has an average total CTR of 3.49%. That’s “not good.”

Except, the average Cost per Conversion is 5x lower than the average sale revenue.

I’ll take that deal any day of the week.

CTR ain’t the gold standard. I don’t care what your CTR is if it doesn’t bring in conversions.

3. Impressions

Let’s say you own a brick and mortar store. You sell shoes.

It’s launch day and you get 40,000 people to walk in and out of your store that day.

Those ads must be working!

You’re checking ‘the books’ and you see the following sales numbers: $500. Total.

Now do you get it?

Impressions are cool and all.

“Hey, (insertbossesname), our product was seen by 100,000 people today!”

But at the end of the day, they don’t matter if (can you guess what’s next?) they don’t lead to sales, conversions, or goal completions.

4. Total Backlinks

Backlinks are good. They help with ranking metrics and credibility.

But total backlink quantity is over-emphasized.

Constantly we see people worrying about how many links they can get, however they can.

*Queue Oprah Gif: You get a link! You get a link! And you get a link!

If your backlink profile is spammy:

… then those links don’t mean anything.

URL’s with low DA’s that are known for spamming or giving links like it’s candy on Halloween aren’t going to get you to the top of Google (anymore).

Ideally, you want a nice backlink profile from relevant, editorially-based sources that don’t just hand over easy links willy nilly.

kissmetrics backlinks

5. Rankings

Rankings can be awesome. Who doesn’t love being #1 on Google?

We’ve all seen this graph before:

traffic drop-off after first page on googleImage Source

Sounds peachy, doesn’t it?

We simply grind our content to the top ten positions and get the lion’s share of clicks.

But, it’s BS. Just ask Wil Reynolds.

Google is constantly changing. Personalizing their methods, learning about real people, and real human interaction with their service.

SEO rankings are more related to user search history now.

There’s more importance being placed on things like first impressions and brand loyalty in today’s world than there is on keywords and content.

So doing all those little SEO tricks to get you to the #1 spot isn’t going to be as helpful as you think.

AND, #1 on the SERPs doesn’t translate into conversions.

You need a funnel. Not a ranking.

6. A/B Test Results

Most A/B tests fail to provide meaningful insights.

Why?

Because you’re testing your own opinions and assumptions, allowing that pesky biases to ravage your results.

That’s not the only problem, though.

Peep Laja from CXL tested tons of data and experiments and found that A/B testing is worthless if you have less than 1000 conversions. Per month. Minimum.

Welp, that’s disheartening. Unless you’re getting over 1k (minimum) conversions per month, forget A/B testing and the results you got.

They don’t mean anything.

They might look nice at first. But most likely, they’ll regress back to the mean eventually.

Here’s what you should be tracking, instead

Don’t drown in all this negativity just yet. There’s good news, too.

Here are a few metrics to focus on to help make the cash register ring.

1. Funnel Report Data

We just talked about how A/B testing was a waste of time unless you have 1,000 minimum conversions per month.

BUT, you can figure out your conversion trouble spots much faster using funnel report data (courtesy of Kissmetrics).

Funnel reports show you how users actually move through your website.

You can see who performed certain actions, who didn’t perform a desired action, and who skipped certain steps in your funnel (for good or for ill).

You can also track certain steps in your funnel:

So if someone visited, then signed up for a newsletter, then viewed a video, you’d know.

You can then use this data to do things like:

  1. Identify conversion bottlenecks preventing people from joining, signing up, opting-in, or signing on the dotted line
  2. Segment your audience into cohorts to further analyze your funnel
  3. Zoom in on your acquisition funnel to see exactly where and when customers activate

Basically, you can determine how to increase conversions. Reliably. Consistently. Without running a single A/B test.

2. Backlink Quality

High quality backlinks can be hard to get.

You can’t fake ‘em.

They’re a leading indicator, sure. But the best kind.

It’s a measure of performance, telling you (1) how efficient those promotional activities are and (2) if you can expect to see increased traffic in the near future as a result.

For example, here’s what a good backlink profile should look like:

moz open site explorer

#humblebrag

It’s diverse.

We aren’t getting hundreds of links from the same site over and over, as the link quality wouldn’t be as strong or meaningful.

And there are links from other high-quality sites in our industry. Relevance for the win!

But building high-quality backlinks takes an investment.

One survey by Moz found that roughly 37% of business owners spend between $10,000 and $50,000 per month on external link building.

That’s a lot.

We’re not saying you have to invest that much. There is a lot you can do to get better backlinks without dropping that kind of dough.

The point isn’t to just build links. That poor-house mindset is how you end up with the junk.

The point is to look at how you’re getting those links. The campaigns and activities and efforts bringing them in.

Change the strategy, change the end result.

3. ROI

Good old ROI. The gold standard metric.

That no one ever talks about online.

You see all the other stuff here. You might see revenue numbers and customer counts.

However, rarely do you see blog posts diving into the bottom-line numbers that actually count.

Let’s say you get four impressions and one click (and one pageview), with a 0.25%CTR and 0.25% conversion rate.

BUT, you only spend $5 and the buyer converts for 10x your cost per acquisition.

See what I mean? Who gives a crap about any other metric in the end besides ROI.

Now, I’m not saying you should completely ignore optimizing for conversions. Definitely not. Those are extremely important.

Just keep in mind that data lies. High conversion rates aren’t always as promising as they look.

Look at historical data, pinpoint trends, figure out what ROI means for you.

Ask: How does this specific measurement help our company’s growth?

And by growth, we don’t mean impressions, rankings, etc.

Knowing the number of leads each ad campaign is driving is fine. But it’s not good. You can’t stop until you see how much revenue each attributes.

Conclusion

Some metrics matter more than others.

Traffic, clicks, page views, CTR, and… don’t matter as much in the long run. Vanity metrics like these sound amazing on press releases and blog posts and webinars and Growth Hackers and weekly stand-up meetings.

But they don’t help so much when it comes time to run the annual numbers.

You want to think big picture.

Look at your overall funnel. Where are people coming in? What are they doing? Where are they going?

Look at your backlinks to see which drive signups. Links, by themselves, are fine. But the important part is to first identify the ones driving real business actions. And then reverse-engineer which activities are driving the ‘winners’ vs. the ‘losers.’

And focus on the one metric that matters: Money. Moolah. The Big Bucks.

Track fewer, better metrics. The ones that count.

So you can learn faster, iterate faster, and eventually, profit faster.

About the Author: Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. Frequent contributor to Kissmetrics, Unbounce, WordStream, AdEspresso, Search Engine Journal, Autopilot, and more.

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