Posts Tagged ‘tips’

15 Useful Web Apps for Designers

06 Jul

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There are lots of web apps these days and they are very popular because of time-saving and productivity benefits. Web apps work on almost all platforms and you can access them from any device. You don’t need to install anything and you can save lots of time in this way. In this compilation, I’ve picked 15 useful web apps for web and graphic designers, developers and other creatives who want to save time and achieve more. Hope you’ll become more productive with these handy apps.

Privacy policy generator

Privacy policy generator

Privacy policy generator helps you to create professional privacy policy document that discloses some or all of the ways to your website visitors about what you will do with information gathered from them, how you are gathering that information and how the information will be stored and managed.



Launchlist is a perfect tool for web designers and developers to check their work before launching any project.

Aviary’s Image Editor

Aviaryís Image Editor

Powerful online photo editor with easy to use user interface. Perfect alternative for popular Adobe Photoshop.

Color Scheme Designer

Color Scheme Designer

Very useful tool for any sort of designer. With this tool you can easily create attractive color schemes for your projects.



Buffer makes your life easier with a smarter way to schedule tweets. Work out all your tweets at one point in time during the day. Then fill up your Buffer with your tweets and Buffer schedules them for you.

deviantART muro

deviantART muro

HTML5-based app that works in all modern browsers, and you can dive in and start drawing on a blank canvas, all without Flash or any other plug-in.

CSS3 Generator

CSS3 Generator

Handy CSS3 generator with a lot of different functions and code preview. gives you the possibility to see how fast your (or any) website loads in a real browser from over 50 locations worldwide.



Great tool for creating notes on any website, you can share your thoughts, feedback about the project with your friends or colleagues.

Resize My Browser

Resize My Browser

ResizeMyBrowser is simple yet very useful online tool. With this tool you will be able to set the browser size by both Inner window and Outer window.



Kuler is the web-hosted application for generating color themes that can inspire any project. No matter what you’re creating, with Kuler you can experiment quickly with color variations and browse thousands of themes from the Kuler community.



The Typetester is an online application for comparison of the fonts for the screen. Its primary role is to make web designer’s life easier. As the new fonts are bundled into operating systems, the list of the common fonts will be updated.



Seen a font in use and want to know what it is? Submit an image to WhatTheFont to find the closest matches in their database.

Ultimate CSS Gradient Generator

Ultimate CSS Gradient Generator

Colorzilla has designed this very easy to use CSS3 gradient generator. It uses sliders and color pickers just like Photoshop and is highly recommended.

Twitter Profile Designer

Twitter Profile Designer

Themeleon helps you to create custom Twitter background. You can use lots of patterns and colors available there or you can customize any of the colors or patterns to get just the right design for you.


97% of Mobile Web Response Time Is On the Front-End

10 Jun

Strangeloop logo Strangeloop president Joshua Bixby decided to take a look at Steve Souders' old claim that 80% of performance issues happen at the front-end. It turns out that for desktop browsers, that number is now at around 85%. But for mobile Web browsers, the number is more like 97%. He published the results here.

Regarding how large the mobile Web's front-end response time, Bixby wrote "I expected this number to be higher than the desktop number, but not this high."


Desktop Web browser performance vs. mobile Web browser performance

Mobile browser times

And yes, before any asks, I'm quite sure that by iPad3 and iPad4 he means an iPad running iOS 3 and one running iOS 4.

I would have liked to have seen Opera Mini/Mobile on these lists, since it's supposed to do much of the rendering usually reserved for the front-end on the back-end. Then again, BlackBerry was supposed to start doing that and it doesn't seem to have done any better than the other browsers tested.

Bixby admits these tests are not the last word on the subject, and needs to conduct further tests - particularly comparing different carrier networks and network types.



Five important lessons Mark Zuckerberg taught us about business

09 Jun

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You don’t get to 600 million friends without doing something spectacular. Mark Zuckerberg knows this more than anyone. But I wonder: do we have any hope of achieving similar success?

Facebook’s story begins, like most businesses, with a single idea and an ambitious person that executes it. Zuckerberg wasn’t a world-class genius, and Facebook was hardly a revolutionary idea. Yet here we stand: Facebook is one of the most valuable websites on the Internet, Zuckerberg is one of the world’s youngest billionaires, and MySpace… let’s not pick on them.

There wasn’t any magic, fate, or destiny at play here — anyone could’ve been in Zuckerberg’s position. However, just because anyone on this planet has the potential to achieve success, doesn’t mean that anyone else actually will.

There are factors at play: things like leadership, experience, timing, funding, and execution play their roles. But some things will always stand out above the rest, and many of the factors that really make a difference will never be taught at an ordinary business school. So let’s steal a few pages from Mark Zuckerberg’s school of business.

Lesson 1: Be passionate about what you do

If there is any way to create something that hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people will eventually use on a daily basis, you better be sure to create something that you would have passion and dedication in creating.

The aforementioned isn’t exactly a revelation to anyone, but if you are not genuinely interested in what you are creating, why would anyone else be? They wouldn’t. It’s a serious problem for many entrepreneurs of both young and old.

Lately we have seen entrepreneurs creating this businesses that some have little interest in actually investing their heart and soul into. Some of these startups look great on paper, but, in the end, the whole intention is to quickly flip these businesses to a company that has plenty of cash on hand. The investors, founders, and, if they’re lucky, employees get rich and everyone goes out for drinks to celebrate. If this is the measure of success, it is no wonder why we hear so much discussion about a potential tech bubble.

Mark Zuckerberg, however, is one of the most prominent examples in recent history of someone who has the passion. Not only did he care about his project, but he also turned down billions of dollars in order to let his company thrive. Turning away billions of dollars, and the opportunity to never have to work again, can’t be that difficult. Can it?

But the reality is that you, me, everyone needs to be reminded every once in a while that having a dedication and passion for what we do in life is key to happiness.

Lesson 2: Constant evaluation

There are generally two types of people in business: those who prefer to play it by gut instinct and those who analyze every little measurable detail. Both have their pros and cons; having a mix of both couldn’t hurt. Generally a person gravitates towards one or the other.

Mark Zuckerberg is the analyzer.

Zuckerberg always insisted that his employees create powerful analytics dashboards. Their purpose was simple: allow him and fellow employees to gauge the interest in newly released features to coordinate their global domination. While other companies were still figuring out which advertisements could be placed at which spot and generate the most return, Facebook focused on optimizing the performance of the user experience. He wanted to know which features worked and which did not.

Those who can gather enough data to garner an understanding of their users, while also being able to determine which features work and which do not, will ultimately be in a better position to achieve success.

The takeaway: do anything in your power (within reason, of course) to find ways to measure success and failure across the board, but don’t get so caught up in the data that you are unwilling to explore new avenues.

Lesson 3: Be willing to experiment

In Facebook’s infancy, its founder preferred to push out enhancements and never look back. This is, admittedly, easy to do when you have a few thousand users; they expect things to change at a rapid clip. But Facebook was different. People relied on Facebook in more ways than most other websites — it was a service that connected people to each other. At this point, failure is unacceptable.

Still, Zuckerberg preferred the gung ho method of development. He would regularly introduce new features — adding the “Wall,” introducing chat functionality, allowing third-party development, and changing the site’s layout (which I have had numerous complaints about before).

One has to admire the company’s insistence on pushing out features in a world where critical services tend to iterate slowly and safely (think Microsoft Windows). This insured that Facebook was a step ahead of the competition while also appearing innovative amidst growing competition.

Sure, there were those who didn’t appreciate these drastic changes (especially those dealing with privacy settings and layout), but when you have a vision, sometimes it pays to put in the extra effort and take the risk; explore it through to the end.

Lesson 4: Be aware of opportunity

Before Facebook, there was CourseMatch, an application that allowed students at Harvard University to compare their course selections for that semester. With this, Zuckerberg indulged students’ desires to know which classes their friends were joining. He exploited an opportunity.

Facemash was a similar expereince. It was Harvard’s Hot or Not for students. These students were interested in knowing where they stood socially — in some ways, we all do. And Zuckerberg, once again, saw an opportunity to exploit this as well.

Facebook was simply a culmination of all these previous opportunities into a single useful package.

It isn’t magic. But it does require looking at things in a different way — to see things for what they could be, as opposed to only what they have been or currently are. Zuckerberg’s ability to notice these opportunities and execute on them gave him the edge in creating and maintaining products that people believed in.

Opportunity exists everywhere — especially with the Internet, where the ability to reach millions is easier than ever. Perhaps there is so much opportunity out there that, perhaps, we have become ignorant to spot the most obvious of opportunities. But being able to spot opportunity is an invaluable skill.

Lesson 5: Make something useful

Facebook isn’t simply another interesting website to visit every once in a while. It is a tool that millions of people use to connect to each other. People use it for sharing experiences and creating new ones. Most importantly, Facebook does something that no other website has been able to do as efficiently, effectively, and with such impressive scale: it creates a virtual environment to interact with your real friends.

I don’t think it is necessary for me to explain how useful something like this is; the 600 million plus members does that well enough. Yet it is this usefulness that makes the company a success. It is a recurring theme that all successful companies build upon. It is also something that many startups don’t seem to comprehend.

If you want the best business advice out there, here it is: create something useful.

Explaining what makes a product or service useful is simple: it is something that people are using repeatedly and on a regular basis. Make something that you and others could use on a regular basis, and make this thing unique. If you do this, along with everything else mentioned here, you will have an opportunity to create and maintain a successful business.

And who knows? Maybe you will be the one creating the next Facebook killer.

What have you learned from Mark Zuckerberg’s success? Share your own lessons below or let us know what you think about the ones mentioned on this article…

Written exclusively for WDD by James Mowery. He is a passionate technology journalist and entrepreneur who has written for various top-tier publications like Mashable and CMSWire. Follow him on Twitter: @JMowery.

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Allow your Clients to Update their Websites on the Go

29 Apr

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Today, we’re going to learn how to set up a website that can be easily edited via your iPhone and the Pagelime mobile app. If you’re unfamiliar with Pagelime, it’s an incredibly easy-to-use CMS that makes the process of editing a website as easy as possible.

Pagelime Basics

Pagelime is unique in that it allows you to design and code your website in plain HTML first, and add the Pagelime editable CSS tags as the last step in the process. Once your site is finished, you can go through the site and add “class=cms-editable” and a unique ID to any elements in your HTML that you want to be editable. Pagelime takes care of the rest.

An Example Situation

For this article, I’m you…and you are perhaps a web designer that makes websites for local businesses, law firms, restaurants, etc. So I make a lot of well designed 6-7 page brochure sites.

So I was pitching a restaurant for their web business, and I downloaded a lovely template from ThemeForest with the amazingly descriptive title of “Restaurant Website 01″. It just so happened to have everything our client was looking for.

Pagelime intro

I’ve decided to use Pagelime because my client doesn’t make many drastic changes, but when he does (let’s call him Chef Tony) he wants to be able to do them himself. Let’s say that I was competing with a few other developers for the contract, and I sold Tony on being able to update his recipe of the month, his employee of the month, and a daily Paella dish photo from his iPhone. Needless to say Tony was impressed. Tony is rarely impressed; so now we have to deliver on our Paella updating promises!

Digging in!

On our template’s homepage, we can see there are quite a few areas on the page that I’ll need to make editable. Since making things editable with the Pagelime mobile app is no different than with the Pagelime web app, we go about adding the editable classes to the different parts we’re interested in.

Here’s the markup for the welcome message.

<div class="headingrow">
	<h1>Welcome to our website</h1>
	<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit…</p>

We’re going to make the p tag editable with Pagelime. Since we’re using the mobile app, we’ll also give it a descriptive title.

	<p id="welcome" class="cms-editable" title="Welcome Text">Lorem ipsum dolor sit…</p>

Here’s the next section:

<div class="subheadingrow">
	<h2>Employee of the month - Jenny Smith</h2>
	<img class="leftalign"src="images/home-image-sample1.gif" alt="" />
	<p>Tasty and fullfiling, … </p>

I want to make the headline, the promo image and the main content itself editable.

	<h2 id="eomtitle" class="cms-editable" title="EOM Headline">Employee of the month - Jenny Smith</h2>
	<img id="eomimg" class="leftalign cms-editable" title="EOM Image" src="images/home-image-sample1.gif" alt="" />
	<p id="eomtext" class="cms-editable" title="EOM Text">Tasty and fullfiling, … </p>

The Recipe of the month section mirrors the above format exactly, so we make the same changes to that block of HTML.

Finally we make the image in the upper left corner editable:

<img id="changer" class="cms-editable" title="Changing Image" src="images/changer.png" />

This doesn’t affect the site layout in any way, and only a couple moments to code. Pretty sweet so far! If we open the site in the Pagelime web app, we now see that all of our elements are editable.

Pagelime intro

Now I’ve delivered the first version of the site to Chef Tony, and he can download the Pagelime Mobile App here:

He can log in with his email and password, and he’ll see his site on the dashboard:

Pagelime intro

At this point, he has the ability to edit the site, manage images, view documents, use Google Analytics, and even make new pages and templates. For the purposes of this article, we’re only going to deal with editing the Site and Images.

Clicking on Edit Site brings you to the Select Page screen where Tony can choose the homepage for editing:

Pagelime intro

The next screen provides you with a list of the editable areas we defined earlier.

Pagelime intro

Clicking on “EOM Headline” will allow us to change the employee of the month text. Tony makes it Chef Tony, because he just so happened to cook a mean Paella today. We tap “Done,” switch to “Preview,” and can now see now the ‘employee of the month’ section has now, indeed, been updated to “Chef Tony.”

Pagelime intro

We’re now going to update the Changer Image. To do so, we’re going to use the “Edit” view. We tap the button in the subnav which brings up a preview of the website with green overlays. The overlays show you what’s editable and can be tapped to open that region – similar to the live editing in the Pagelime web app.

Pagelime intro

This gives us a preview of the image we’re changing. We now have the option of taking a live picture on the fly, choosing an image from our phone, or choosing an image stored in the Pagelime image manager. For this tutorial, I’ll take a picture of a Paella, and then use the auto-cropper tool, which allows us to proportionally scale and crop our image to match the dimensions of the editable image on the site.

Pagelime intro

We can now check the preview and see how it looks before clicking publish…

Pagelime intro

When we check the actual website…

Pagelime intro

… we see that everything has been updated — all from our phone! No real technical knowledge is needed, and you have an awesome bit of client candy to help upsell your clients and make more money. (We won’t tell Tony he forgot to update his Employee of the Month Photo.)

So there you have it: a website integrated with a CMS with the added benefit of iPhone – on the fly – updating! Go make a glass of Limeade, enjoy the spring air, and the smell of all the extra green you’ll be making.


Optimize Your Website with Overstat

23 Feb

overstat150.jpgTesting your website is crucial, but far too often, it simply doesn't happen. The reasons can include cost, convenience, tech resources - you name it. But a company onstage today at LAUNCH wants to take away those excuses and make website testing - and, of course, website optimization - incredibly easy.

Overstat has a number of competitors in the optimization space, including the Y Combinator alum Optimizely. But Overstat's presentation today at LAUNCH made it look like it had a simple installation (just some JavaScript) and interface for both identifying problems and making updates.


Overstat uses a heat map in order to identify where users are clicking (or not clicking) in order to help you identify the buttons and links you may want to address.

The judges at LAUNCH seemed to like Overstat, and several of them chose the startup as one of their favorites out of the first round of presentations this morning. And one quipped that perhaps the company could merge with YouEye.



Eye-Tracking & User-Testing Made Easy with YouEye

23 Feb

youeye150.jpgUser testing with eye-tracking software can be an expensive undertaking. But a startup on stage today at LAUNCH may offer a way to simplify that process - both in terms of cost, testers and technology.

YouEye uses a webcam to record users' behavior on a website. Eye-tracking can point to the areas on your site where users are drawn and those that they ignore. By using an online, Web-based and webcam solution, the service means that you can avoid complex eye-tracking cameras, and in turn, recruit testers without requiring they own specific equipment.


YouEye allows you to easily set up the tests and collect and share the results. The testing includes not just eye movements, but also the mouse activity and audio recorded. You can watch the test results, listen to testers' running commentary and "see what users see."

YouEye runs on a subscription model, based on the number of tests and testers. The startup is in beta, but you can sign up on the site for access.




Quick Tip: Display Elements Sequentially with jQuery

13 Dec

In this video quick tip, I’ll teach you how to add a bit of flair to your page, by displaying a set of elements sequentially. While there are numerous ways to accomplish this task, today, we’ll review one technique that uses recursive functions.

// Wrapping, self invoking function prevents globals
(function() {
   // Hide the elements initially
   var lis = $('li').hide();

   // When some anchor tag is clicked. (Being super generic here)
   $('a').click(function() {
      var i = 0;

      // FadeIn each list item over 200 ms, and,
      // when finished, recursively call displayImages.
      // When eq(i) refers to an element that does not exist,
      // jQuery will return an empty object, and not continue
      // to fadeIn.
      (function displayImages() {
         lis.eq(i++).fadeIn(200, displayImages);


What makes this usage effective is the fact that, when lis.eq(i) refers to an element that doesn’t exist in the wrapped set, an empty jQuery object will be returned. When this happens, the subsequent methods in the chain (fadeIn) will never be called.


Quick Tip: Multiple Borders with Simple CSS

21 Jun

Did you know that we can achieve multiple borders with simple CSS, by using the :after amd :before psuedo-classes? This is something I recently learned myself! I’ll show you how to add more depth to your designs, without images, in just a few minutes.

Final Code

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html lang="en">
	<meta charset="utf-8">
		body { background: #d2d1d0; }

		#box {
			background: #f4f4f4;
			border: 1px solid #bbbbbb;
			width: 200px;
			height: 200px;
			margin: 60px auto;
			position: relative;

		#box:before {
			border: 1px solid white;
			content: '';
			width: 198px;
			height: 198px;
			position: absolute;

		#box:after {
			content: '';
			position: absolute;
			width: 196px;
			height: 196px;
			border: 1px solid #bbbbbb;
			left: 1px; top: 1px;

	<div id="box"></div>

In short, any browser that supports the :before and :after psuedo-elements (all major browsers) can take advantage of this effect. Of course, there are alternatives, including the use of box-shadow, as well as adding additional mark-up to the page; however, this is clean solution that you should definitely consider. Thanks for watching!