DesignM.agArticles http://designm.ag Articles and Resources for Web Designers Mon, 25 Aug 2014 13:16:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Top 20 WordPress Theme Creators From 2014 http://designm.ag/articles/top-20-wordpress-theme-creators-from-2014/ http://designm.ag/articles/top-20-wordpress-theme-creators-from-2014/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 04:00:00 +0000 http://designm.ag/?p=85362

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Looking for a great design for your website? Do you also want it to work smoothly and to be easy for you to use and customize? And since you’re at it, with everyone using tablets and mobile phones now, it should also be responsive. Well, lucky for you, there are many great WordPress themes you can find that fulfill all these requirements. You can find below the best 20 WordPress themes creators. Make sure to browse through their galleries of beautifully designed and highly functional themes. There’s surely something there that will catch your eye and suit your needs. Meanthemes 1. meanthemes

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Looking for a great design for your website? Do you also want it to work smoothly and to be easy for you to use and customize? And since you’re at it, with everyone using tablets and mobile phones now, it should also be responsive. Well, lucky for you, there are many great WordPress themes you can find that fulfill all these requirements. You can find below the best 20 WordPress themes creators. Make sure to browse through their galleries of beautifully designed and highly functional themes. There’s surely something there that will catch your eye and suit your needs.
Meanthemes

1. meanthemes

 

Meanthemes, will tell you straight off the bat that they’re all about designing themes for WordPress and Ghost. With over a decade of experience to draw from, you can be sure that what they put out is cutting edge and all around awesome. The team can proudly say that they’ve been working with WordPress since 2005, when it was just a blog. In addition, they’ve even designed their own in-house framework for all theme options panel using the WordPress Settings API. You’ll surely get your money’s worth by choosing this team to design your website’s theam.

Meanthemes, even though it may not seem like it, are all about customer satisfaction. Their mission is to create beautiful, responsive themes that will manage to cover a wide variety customer needs. They want you to keep coming back to them for more. Everything they’ve designed so far was client oriented, to make your life as easy as possible. Their whole installation process is simple and straightforward, to make sure that your website will be up and running in no time. And, if something does go amiss, don’t hesitate to contact them. Meanthemes offers full support upon purchase of every one of their themes and they guarantee to give you an answer within 48 hours (although it’s doubtful you’ll actually have to wait that long).

SoloStream

2. solostream

 

Limited time offer – 37 themes for just $79, coupon code “141258″

Here are some of the things SoloStream believe in: integrity, growth, beauty, tech-savviness and…pizza. As you can see, this team takes itself seriously, but not too much so. Over time, SoloStream has consistently put out fresh, clean themes that have considerably enlarged their client base.

The team focuses on creating themes that are compatible cross-browser, eye-catching and search-engine optimized. Their attention to detail and ability to keep on top of all design trends is obvious in the quality of their work. See for yourself and go to their website right now. If you purchase a $89 + $9/month, you’ll get a full package that involves instant access to all their themes, extensive documentation and some of the best technical support available. Don’t be afraid to contact them with any questions you might have, the team is open-minded and friendly and will help you in any way they can. What are you waiting for?

WPZOOM

3. wpzoom

 

The WPZOOM themes come along with the ZOOM Framework that is makes them extremely easy to use. It features an intuitive options panel that allows users to configure and customize their sites without using code. When an update becomes available you can update you theme with just one click. There’s also a wide selection of shortcodes you can use to create more dynamic posts and flexible page layouts with the help of buttons, columns or lists. But by far one of the best features is that you can create impressive slideshows directly in posts. Besides being so flexible, customizable and easy to use, the variety of themes you can find on WPZOOM goes from ecommerce to news and business, so you can take your pick. Also, most of them are responsive and very well-organized. Ultimately, it all comes down to aesthetics which are quite amazing, the team providing excellent visual designs.

Shape5

shape5_banner

The Shape5 team of professional designers, creates intuitive WordPress themes that are very functional and really easy to use thanks to the S5 Vertex framework that features various configuration options, multiple layouts, a flexible menu and is also responsive, being optimized to run smoothly on mobile devices. Besides usability, Shape5 can boast with great creativity and a large diversity of themes, ranging from the usual business, photography and magazine to crafts, charity, medical and church. All of these themes have neat, polished designs and look great to the smallest details. You can test the themes before purchase through a demo that gives you an insight of how each theme looks and works.

MintThemes

10. mintthemes

Here’s what you need to know about MintThemes: they have amazing artistry, fully functional themes, an extraordinary skill when it comes to eye-catching design and are always willing and able to help you in any way the can. MintThemes has put out 13 themes and has managed to round up more than 12500 clients. Go to their home page now and find out which of their products suits you best.

PixFlow

6. pixflow

PixFlow is a team of open minded, talented professionals who have consistently put out amazing themes for their customers. They can boast themselves with achivements such as: their “Black Pearl Responsive Theme” is a featured item on Themeforest, they’ve been chosen as “Featured video” on videohive and they have an elite author on envato market places. Get a firsthand look at what they have to offer by going to their website right now.

TeslaThemes

7. teslathemes

Here’s what you need to know about TeslaThemes. They provides a variety of Multipurpose Themes with elegant, clean design and extensive features integrated with their very own framework. Amongst these features you will find, for all premium themes, free updates, extensive documentation, responsive design and 24/7 support. In addition, TeslaThemes is offering an exclusive discount for all its products and subscription plans. Just use the code “TESLAPROMO” to get 20% off your purchase.

Skywarrior

9. skywarriorthemes

Let me just say this: SkywarriorThemes is THE web development theme to turn to if you want a first rate website for your game clan, blog or gaming website. They’ve got the skill, the passion and the experience to make your site extraordinary. Their prices start off at $55 and come with full support in whatever issues you may encounter. Oh, and they’ve also tried their hand in social reach and crowdfunding themes, check them out.

ThemeIsle

9. themeisle

 

Are you dreaming of sailing the Seven Seas? The pirate crew from Themeisle might be able to help you sail smoothly on the Internet. All you have to do is choose one of their well-designed themes, that are very easy to install and create your own website in a matter of minutes. It will look neat and you can customize the theme to best fit your needs.

ProteusThemes

10. proteusthemes

 

If you’re growing tired of multipurpose themes and you want to find an UX driven theme specifically developed to suit your business, ProteusThemes is the team for you. With fine-designed themes that are not only responsive but also fast-loading and really easy to use, ProteusThemes offers great customer experience not only by offering such high-quality designs but also by providing real-time support and even a bunch of video tutorials, so even an amateur can easily use their products.

Designova

11. designova

When it comes to imagination and creativity, the Designova team of professionals from Kerala is definitely a great choice. They offer a great variety of themes that are beautifully designed and responsive. Furthermore, prospective customers will be happy to learn that not only does the team offer constant support and updates, but they can also do custom projects when requested.

ShopitPress

12. shopitpress

ShopitPress has made it a point to give their clients and potential clients new themes ever month packed with countless features, from unlimited customization features, to flexible options and powerful functionality. If you want a stable, reliable theme, that runs smoothly cross browser turn to ShopitPress confidently and they’ll help you make your site truly memorable.

Kubasto

13. kubasto

Although they offer a small variety of themes, Kubasto catch the eye with beautifully designed themes that work smoothly and are very versatile. Some of them are responsive, so you can see them on any kind of device and all in all they look great, they’re organized and flexible. You should browse them.

InkThemes

14. inkthemes

How would you like to have your own website with only a single click? The team at Inkthemes provides you more than 40 templates that are very easy to install. Plus, the themes look wonderful, they are responsive, easy to use and customizable. So, what are you waiting for? Start browsing!

Pixel Union

15. pixelunion

How would you like to have your own website with only a single click? The team at Inkthemes provides you more than 40 templates that are very easy to install. Plus, the themes look wonderful, they are responsive, easy to use and customizable. So, what are you waiting for? Start browsing!

Hogash

16. hogash

Hogash are boasting they’ve managed to create one of the most complete themes ever and we’re inclined to agree with them. Their product offers SEO optimization, cross browser compatibility, unlimited colors, increased flexibility and high responsiveness to start with. And, to make sure you’re sold, the team is also offering full documentation upon purchase.

QodeInteractive

17. qodeinteractive

The latest developments in web design have focused on making websites as interactive and animated as possible. If this is what you’re looking for in your site, Qodeinteractive is the team to bring your vision to reality. Their themes provide amazing graphics and beautiful design, making for an assured first-rate user experience.

Ait-themes

18. Ait-themes

 

Ait-themes provides many original and interesting themes that are well-organized and flexible. Many of the themes feature more than one language and have a great visual-design. Information and support is provided by the team through a support forum. All you have to do is find the theme that suits you best and enjoy all its features.

Obox Themes

19. oboxthemes

Experience is a very valuable tool and you can be sure the team over at Obox is very skilled at using it. With more than 20 themes under their belt that span over varied categories like ecommerce, business, portfolios and even videos, it’s highly unlikely you won’t find what you need on their website. Check it out now.

Themes Awesome

20. themesawesome

Themes Awesome is a group of designers that offer their clients a diverse assortment of themes that are, well, awesome. They are beautifully designed, well-organized, easy to use and flexible. What more could you wish for? The team also provides support so if you encounter a problem with you chosen theme, you can contact them and they will immediately help you.


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Different Audiences Seeking Different Alternatives to Website Creation http://designm.ag/articles/different-audiences-seeking-different-alternatives-to-website-creation/ http://designm.ag/articles/different-audiences-seeking-different-alternatives-to-website-creation/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:16:58 +0000 http://designm.ag/?p=85401

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The web design industry is advancing at dizzying speed. What used to work just fine two years ago is decidedly obsolete today, and the website creation public adapts to these changes. Websites are brought to life by three categories of creators: pros (who often turn to WordPress), non-pros (who use website builders such as IM Creator), and enterprises (who make their own highly customized systems).

Professionals

wordpress Most web designers are keen on delivering pixel-perfect client projects. They put in a lot of work, and would rarely shy away from the long-drawn out task of coding, given the choice. However, time is of the essence, especially for freelancers.

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The web design industry is advancing at dizzying speed. What used to work just fine two years ago is decidedly obsolete today, and the website creation public adapts to these changes.

Websites are brought to life by three categories of creators: pros (who often turn to WordPress), non-pros (who use website builders such as IM Creator), and enterprises (who make their own highly customized systems).

Professionals

wordpress

Most web designers are keen on delivering pixel-perfect client projects. They put in a lot of work, and would rarely shy away from the long-drawn out task of coding, given the choice. However, time is of the essence, especially for freelancers.

WordPress is very popular, because it enables pros to focus more on site design, strategy, and user experience, as a theme framework takes care of the site infrastructure. More time means more contracts, and a larger cash flow.

On the downside, picking the right framework to implement the design with may prove tricky. What’s more, some clients have no trouble installing WordPress by themselves, so designers are hard-pressed to create theme files on demand, and then they have to compete with inexpensive, ready-made themes.

Non-Professionals

A significant wave of website builders targets ordinary people who are unfamiliar with coding and design, but wish to create their own site. IM Creator is a perfect example. This platform simplifies site creation to the extreme.

imcreator1

Literally anyone can take up a free account, and strike up an online presence in minutes. It’s fast, it’s versatile, and it has a huge collection of images named ‘anti-stock photos’. The builder has plenty of responsive templates, organized in categories according to their purpose.

One need only choose a design, then drag-and-drop content elements, and publish. In addition, a complex design studio is also available to creative professionals who want to make a website from scratch.

Even so, not many amateurs make it through if/when it comes to publishing on domain. Some don’t want to take on a challenge because they don’t believe their site would look as good if it isn’t made by an expert.

As for graphic and web designers, we all know that choosing a template (no matter how beautiful the end result happens to be) is still perceived as cheating. And yet, when professionals are short on time, the template route of this builder is a worthy choice.

Enterprises

Enterprises use specialized software to (re)design and (re)develop their own castles. They have a firm grasp of programming languages as well as third-party frameworks, libraries, and tools, often working with HTML5 to deliver highly responsive websites. With HTML5, it’s easy to implement full text search and create mashups, and it’s no longer necessary to compile JavaScript.

Custom made website

However, for a site to behave well on any kind of display, its UI has to be rather simple and adapt easily. Not to mention that testing the site for all browsers can be a nightmare.

Developers may end up spending ages in the debugger before actually delivering the project. Finally, regardless of the framework, its code may need to be fixed in places, to maintain the site’s adaptability.

Ending thoughts

Overall, each type of site creation has its pros and cons. The enterprise approach is the most energy-consuming, but also the most hands-on and reliable. WordPress takes repetitive coding out of the equation, and leaves more room for imagination.

Site builders like IM Creator gain more and more ground, even among creatives, because it’s the fastest solution and an elegant way of making neat websites.


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Avoid These Top Complaints when Developing Mobile Apps http://designm.ag/uncategorized/avoid-these-top-complaints-when-developing-mobile-apps/ http://designm.ag/uncategorized/avoid-these-top-complaints-when-developing-mobile-apps/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 03:58:46 +0000 http://designm.ag/?p=84009

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Mobile apps are a growing trend these days with 22% of the population across the world owning smartphones and 6% owning tablets. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 56% of American adults own a smartphone. Many businesses now offer loyal followers apps in place of their website to provide convenient and quick access to their information.

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Mobile apps are a growing trend these days with 22% of the population across the world owning smartphones and 6% owning tablets. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 56% of American adults own a smartphone. Many businesses now offer loyal followers apps in place of their website to provide convenient and quick access to their information.

However, some apps end up never being worth even the download due to usability issues. If these usability problems are too rampant with the initial release, then the app may never have a chance to improve due to bad reviews. An app developer has the responsibility of making sure that an app provides enough benefits to be worth an individual downloading, keeping on their phone, and (even better) using on a consistent basis. And one important way to meet these important goals is by being aware of and avoiding the issues that are the cause of common mobile app complaints.

Below are some of the most common complaints that users voice when reviewing mobile apps. Before you begin your next mobile app project, make sure that you use this checklist so that your app doesn’t become one of the obsolete ones that downloaders never use.

Too Many Notifications

Nothing is more frustrating than wading through spam mail after most people spend a majority of their days just working through the important emails. And spam mail is what many app notification emails become. Facebook did it right and allows for some very intense customization of notifications; selecting just to receive notifications for friend requests, for instance. You can even choose between texts, emails, and push notifications. And, of course, always give the option to completely turn off notifications. For many apps, there is simply no point in having notifications, especially since the release of iOS 7 and automatic updates.

Inconvenient Buttons

Photo Credit: JuditK via Compfight cc

While not kosher, it is much more understandable for a website to have buttons that are difficult to reach, especially if it is not a mobile-friendly design. However, apps are created specifically for easier use on a smartphone. So if buttons are so small that users can’t easily click on them, they probably will end up eventually deleting the app. The same applies for buttons spaced too close together or that don’t respond immediately to touch.

Overdone Intro

Keep in mind that an app has to load first before an animated intro can even begin to play. This is why it is so important to keep your intro memorable yet short, as in only 1-3 seconds long. You also don’t want users staring at nothing while waiting for the app to load either, though. To answer this problem, Ryan Matzner in a Mashable article suggests starting the app with a still image that transitions into very short introductory animation once the app loads. This keeps the intro interesting yet avoids annoying users with a long wait-time.

Slow Loading

Photo Credit: Daniel E Lee via Compfight cc

As briefly mentioned already, users do not like to have to wait. An app should make accessing information much quicker than using the website on a mobile device. So, if anything on your app takes too long to download, it’s a sure sign that your app is destined for deletion. Make sure that everything from the initial loading of the app to any buttons clicked on in the app loads quickly. You don’t want to keep users waiting for more than a few seconds.

Not Enough White Space

Remember, an app is for small screens. The more content you try to fit onto the screen, the less usable the app will be. If you find yourself trying to add too much to a single page in the app, you may want to go back to the drawing board and rethink your layout. As mentioned above, you need plenty of space around buttons so that users can easily tap the button they intend to without accidentally tapping on the button next to it. But you also need white space around text, images, graphics, and any other element in an app design. A small screen is hard enough on the eyes. Don’t make it harder on users by overwhelming them with too much clutter, which also ends up hiding the most important information you need them to see.

Poorly Focused Content

While white space is certainly important, it will never make up for a lack of focus. Make sure that in your attempt to create an uncluttered white space you don’t leave out important content. You may simply need to re-organize. Use bullet points rather than long paragraphs and break up content with boxes or lines. You may need more than one navigation menu. And don’t forget to utilize your color scheme and fonts wisely to break up content and emphasize important sections.

Overly Annoying Ads

Free apps make money off of ads, so completely removing ads is not an option. You can give users a paid version option that removes all ads. However, make sure that you are not intentionally using ads to push your users into purchasing the paid version. If your ads are too annoying, users may simply delete your app because they are too frustrated to want to pay for the ad-free version. Frustrating ads include videos that play with sound even when the user’s phone sound is on silent, ads that have too small of an X to exit back to the app, and ads that pop up too often.

Too Many Requests

When an app asks over and over for a review or rating, but every single time the user clicks on the No Thanks button, you could eventually end up annoying your users enough for them to quit using the app. There is a reason these rating requests include an Ask Me Later button. Other requests that could prove detrimental to your app’s popularity is requesting Facebook connectivity, asking for you to advertise the app to your Facebook friends, and requesting a rating before deletion of your app.

No Updates

Not every app is perfect at release. Sometimes it takes simply releasing an app before you can see where improvements need to be made. And operating systems are continuously rolling out updates as well. If you want your app to stay at the top of the popularity list, then one of the best ways to do this is to keep improving with updates.

Test for Usability!

Photo Credit: philcampbell via Compfight cc

One excellent way to avoid including any of the above mentioned issues is through usability testing. With any app, testing is an important part of working out any navigation or other bugs that you or your team may have missed. Just be sure that when testing to find testers who are familiar with their device. Don’t forget to test on both wireless as well as the cellular networks to make sure your app runs well on either connection.

What are some complaints you have heard from users or annoyances you yourself have experienced with mobile apps? Feel free to share your advice in the comments below!


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Introduction to the new Google Docs Add-ons http://designm.ag/articles/intro-to-google-drive-add-ons/ http://designm.ag/articles/intro-to-google-drive-add-ons/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 13:59:08 +0000 http://designm.ag/?p=84377

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If you've ever tried Google's cloud-based document suite then you likely know it's pretty great. Google Drive is completely free and offers each Google Account free storage along with free use of their Google Docs interface. You can build spreadsheets, word documents, and slideshows all within Google Drive.

google drive extensions add on store

Currently the newest add-ons will focus on docs and sheets. But there are plenty more in the works you can expect sometime in the future. This article is dedicated to getting you familiar with Google Drive's add-ons and how you can install them for your own account.


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If you’ve ever tried Google’s cloud-based document suite then you likely know it’s pretty great. Google Drive is completely free and offers each Google Account free storage along with free use of their Google Docs interface. You can build spreadsheets, word documents, and slideshows all within Google Drive.

google drive extensions add on store

Currently the newest add-ons will focus on docs and sheets. But there are plenty more in the works you can expect sometime in the future. This article is dedicated to getting you familiar with Google Drive’s add-ons and how you can install them for your own account.

The Basic Features

Most of the add-ons released are completely free to install and use at your leisure. It’s certainly possible that Google developers will release add-ons which eventually cost money, behaving much like the Google Chrome extension web store. But for now I’ve only come across free add-ons.

When opening a new document you can find add-ons within the primary links at the top of the page. If you’re new to Google Drive this link will have a small “new!” tag attached onto it.

google docs drive addons screenshot new feature

This menu only allows you to access the Google store for downloading new add-ons. These items will appear in the add-ons menu once installed. Each add-on requires authentication much like you would expect when accessing a 3rd party website using your Google account.

Running with Add-ons

Each installation is tied to your Google Account so add-ons should work from any computer. It’s one of the small benefits to working with Drive since it is a cloud-based web application.

Open the add-on store from the tools menu and you can choose from any of the most popular releases. Note that a document will provide different add-ons compared to a spreadsheet. Once you click “install” a small popup will appear asking for your permission. Click “Accept” and it should finish installation within seconds.

google drive addon accept decline message ui

From here you can always work with installed add-ons from the menu link. For example the Thesaurus add-on requires that you select a word and then try to find synonyms. A sidebar thesaurus extension will appear, offering some info about the word and plenty of synonyms.

I personally haven’t noticed any performance issues running with add-ons. Some might expect the cloud application to load slower – and this could be true if you install many different add-ons. If you ever need to remove one(or a few) you can do so from the menu Addons->Manage add-ons.

google drive add on manage extension popup

Overall this is a nice addition to Google’s free alternative to Microsoft Office. It feels good having access to all of your work from any computer with Internet access. These free add-ons are merely a delicious side dish next to the main course.

Writing your own Scripts

If you’re confident with your coding abilities why not try building your own add-on? The market is still brand new and there’s plenty of need for handy developers. And Google makes the process super easy with an API and cloud-hosted dev tools.

Check out Google Apps Script which is a general scripting language based on JavaScript. It allows developers to extend functionality for Google documents, forms, and other types of Drive content. You’ll do all the coding right within your browser, so there’s no need to download or install software to your computer.

The official page for script add-ons has a lot more information and guides for new developers. Google has made everything organized and quick to read, although it will take some time getting used to the code structure. Working strictly in the cloud feels like jsFiddle but with a greater performance requirement.

If you want to get into building add-ons just dive in and start reading. You might want to read about the basics of JavaScript first, but it’s entirely possible to build your very first Google Drive add-on without any prior experience.

Free Add-ons

Here’s a small collection of newer add-ons that you can install for free. Remember these scripts are built to run over multiple document types including spreadsheets and forms. I haven’t found add-ons for presentation slideshows, but hopefully Google will create this functionality somewhere down the line.

Gliffy Diagrams

gliffy diagrams extension drive addon

Track Changes

track changes drive extension addon

Thesaurus

google drive addons thesaurus words

Table of Contents

table of contents addon drive google

Texthelp Study Skills

google drive highlighter effect drive addon

HelloFax

hellofax hello fax google drive addon

EasyBib Bibliography

easybib bibliography document docs drive addon extension

Advanced Find & Replace

advanced find replace excel spreadsheets

Supermetrics

supermetrics google drive extensions spreadsheets

Template Gallery

google drive extension addon sheets spreadsheets templates

Remove Duplicates

remove duplicate rows entries spreadsheet google extension

Remove Blank Rows

remove blank rows spreadsheet google drive addon

Messenger

google drive docs messenger im addon free

Draw.io Diagrams

draw io diagrams drive extension addon

Maps for Docs

google docs drive maps extension addon

UberConference

uber conference chat google drive extension

Easy Header & Footer

google drive docs header footer document add-on

Lucidchart Diagrams

lucidchart diagrams extension addon drive docs google


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