User experience is what counts when it comes to your site’s conversion

UX design has thus come out on top as one of the most used web designs of today, but since it’s constantly changing, we’ll take a look at how it’s likely to look in 2018 and help you prepare for what’s coming.

The internet world has changed tremendously over the past few years until the point where web design and UX (User Experience) are vital to the success of any website. Google’s algorithm updates for search engines also meant that websites that wanted to be SEO optimized needed to pay more attention to user experience and high-quality content. UX design has thus come out on top as one of the most used web designs of today, but since it’s constantly changing, we’ll take a look at how it’s likely to look in 2018 and help you prepare for what’s coming.

Voice User Interfaces

With the rise of Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant, we’ve come to a point in time where voice interaction is slowly becoming more and more popular. The rapid development of VUIs (Voice User Interfaces) means that they are soon to become a strong alternative to GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) that we use most of the time. This means that web design is going to move away from designing for clicks and taps, towards a more screenless experience. While VUIs are predicted to reach about 50% of all user interactions by 2020, this doesn’t mean that GUIs are going to disappear. Voice-commands can be tricky and socially awkward in crowded places, so there will always be a place for GUIs to be used in the future.

Focus on the Content

Content has become huge over the years and it’s going to stay that way for a long time. Not only will high-quality content directly influence conversion rates on your website, but it will also bring you more traffic if you optimize it for SEO purposes. This is why web design trends like minimalism or UX design have become extremely popular since they never distract the users from what’s really important – the content. Great usage of whitespace is of the essence for web designers here, and once that’s mastered you’ll have a much content friendlier website.

Color and Typography

There are huge differences between desktop and mobile screens, which means that what works well on a desktop might not be clear enough while scrolling quickly on your smartphone. Since we’re already at a point where mobile devices are taking over the market as a whole, you need to make sure that typography is very clear when quickly going through the content on a mobile device. It’s the same with colour, as most users will only stop to read something that catches their eye, so you need to make sure that most important sentences are somehow differentiated from the rest of the text.

Design That Saves Time

Most popular websites today are trying to push their information in an easily consumable fashion. Just take a look at how simple Balenciaga’s shop is. The whole point is to create an intuitive experience that will maximize the effect and save your user’s time. We’re living in an extremely fast-paced society today, so your audience’s time is something you always have to take into account. This is only going to become more important in the future, as we’re just speeding up all the time. If your user can’t get to a certain point on a website in a few clicks, they’ll most probably abandon the website, leaving you empty-handed. Experienced web design veterans from Bapple recommend focusing on clear navigation as it is absolutely vital to your success, and so is the guidance that you provide for your users once they’re on your website.  

Ditch the Hamburger Menu

While hamburger menu was extremely popular a couple of years back, it’s becoming more and more clear that it’s time for it to go. Ditching the menu in favour of a tab bar will increase your navigation clicks, as Spotify found out when they did just that. The same goes for YouTube, who found out that getting rid of the hamburger menu meant their website became more user-friendly. The main reason for this is that you want your navigation menu to be in plain view, especially on mobile devices where you want it to be present on screen at all times, regardless where on the page you are.

Bottom Line

Staying in touch with web design trends has never been more important than today, as things keep changing faster than most people can follow. Minimalism, Brutalism, UX web design, these are all web design trends that are made for one purpose only – to increase conversions. It goes without saying that you should always take into account what’s your niche and how your audience will react to certain changes that you make. This is why you always want to be testing a lot everything before making a final decision.

How to Create Call to Action Buttons That Get Clicked

Your call to action button serves no purpose if it doesn’t scream “click me”.

By Tess Pajaron

Creating a call to action button

Your call to action button serves no purpose if it doesn’t scream “click me”. Websites are littered with buttons, and competitors have the same call to action buttons that you do. When you want to boost conversion, it’s your main goal to create a button that people want to click. You may rely on traditional advertising techniques when designing and placing your buttons, but it’s time to start thinking differently.

Create an Aura of Trust

Clicking a call to action button on a website you can’t trust poses the same risk as accepting candy from a stranger. People are going to be sceptical about giving you their personal information if they cannot clearly discern who you are. To show visitors that there are real people behind the website, create a comprehensive contact page that includes your mailing address. Make sure you place your security seals and encryption information in a place where they’re highly visible, such as the footer of the page.

Use Appealing Button Design

Most people will easily be able to discern that a coloured rectangle with text on it is a button that they’re meant to click. Using subtle design tricks can help you make a button appear more interactive, and in some ways, slightly more fun to click. Using a subtle drop shadow around your button will make it appear as a three-dimensional element on your flat page. It will stand out and draw your viewers’ eyes better than a flat button could.

Choose Your Color Scheme Wisely

You want people to notice your button, and because of that, you might feel tempted to select a bold colour scheme. Reds and oranges certainly pop off of the page, but they create an aggressive vibe. Very warm colours often inspire angry feelings or create an aura of emergency. Your users should feel inspired and confident before they click your button – these are the emotions you want them to associate with your website. Stray away from colour schemes that create an intimidating ambience.

Use Effective Wording

The text of your button should tell your users what you want them to do, but choosing pushy language can seem off putting and desperate. “Buy now” or “JOIN!” feel like obnoxious infomercial jargon to the average consumer. By choosing gentler wording, like “See How We Can Help” or “Check It Out”, users will feel like they’re making their own decisions rather than being forced to perform the action you want them to perform. The decision feels more casual and less like a crucial choice, which takes a lot of the pressure off. They’ll feel and know that they clicked of their own volition.

Have a Guarantee

People want to know what’s going to happen next. Is it worth risking their time and money following through with your call to action if there is no guarantee in place? If they’re unhappy with what they receive, what happens then? Always accompany your call to action button with information about your guarantee. Peace of mind can go a long way in turning visitors into customers. Create a page that describes your guarantee, and link to it wherever your call to action button appears.

Last but not least, make sure your call to action button is displayed in every relevant location. Users don’t want to dig around to figure out how they’re supposed to complete your action. Don’t make them work for it – show them that you’re willing to work for them.

About the author
With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.

Online mental models are important for web design

If website visitors cannot rely on their previous experience when visiting your site, they will not consider it innovative

By Liraz Margalit, PhD, Web Psychologist

When designing your customer-facing website, it may be tempting to think outside the box and create a unique and innovative online experience. But this may actually be the least effective and most alienating approach you could take. The reason? Mental models.

The human mind creates images to represent different aspects of the world around us. These stored representations help us to draw conclusions and understand complex ideas. They affect what we notice in complicated situations, help shape our actions and behaviour, and define how we handle and solve problems.

These concepts are integrated into mental models that organize the way we perceive the world. A mental model represents the thought process of how something works. We have a mental model for every aspect of our life: how to behave in a job interview, the ‘format’ of a first date, what a hotel vacation feels like, etc.

Mental models are important because they help us process new information by providing an organized structure for it. For example, when we go to a new restaurant, we know exactly what to expect — sitting at a table, ordering from a menu, waiting for the server to bring food — even if it is our first visit.

When we visit a website, we expect the login area to consist of two labelled boxes of equal size in close proximity one to another. We expect the first box to be for the user name and the second for the password. If this expectation is not met, we may find it difficult to log in properly.

Online familiarity

Without realizing it, we have developed a rich conceptualization of how things work in the online world. In other words, we’ve developed online mental models. We have a mental model of what a homepage should look like, where the ‘Contact us’ link is located, and what a clickable button looks like. If users from different countries are asked to close their eyes and describe an ecommerce site, news site or singles’ dating site, chances are they will agree on the features of each type.

What this means is that if you are planning to launch a new retail site, for example, you must keep in mind that your potential customers will subconsciously compare it to that category’s prototype — eBay or Amazon. Because we retrieve and process information that is prototypical of a category faster than that which is less prototypical, the greater the similarity between your site and these market leaders, the more comfortable — and less likely to bounce — your customers will be.

A key distinction in perception is that between top-down and bottom-up processes. The first are driven by a person’s knowledge and expectations, while the latter rely solely on new input.

If we have created an online mental model, a top-down process is automatically activated as we interact in the online world. It is a cognitive process that flows down to a lower level of function. Guided by prior knowledge, expectations are created so that little input is needed for recognition. In a top-down process, users will feel familiar and comfortable with a new web site after only a brief exposure, because they have general expectations about where to find certain pieces of information even before typing in the URL.

On the other hand, if we are encountering a new structure that cannot be interpreted using our existing model, the senses must provide information to the brain. An example might be the first time we are exposed to a touchscreen on a smartphone or tablet. This bottom-up process requires much more effort on our parts — attention and time that we are not necessarily willing to give.

Our Stubborn Brains

Once created, mental models have a tendency to remain unchanged, even in the face of contradictory information. Our mental models affect the way we accept or reject new conceptual models. Our brain likes to identify familiar patterns around us. We are wired to search for those patterns that led to successful interactions in the past (falling in love, completing a successful negotiation, gambling, investing, etc.). The more familiar we are with something, the less cognitive effort we must invest in finding the correct reaction.

If website visitors cannot rely on their previous experience when visiting your site, they will not consider it innovative. Rather, they will wonder why things are not where they are supposed to be. If you want people to feel good about interacting with your products or brand, you have to ensure that the surface elements match their online mental models so they can be quickly and accurately interpreted.

Businesses must design interactive experiences that take into consideration the limitations of the human cognitive system. Designing web pages according to users’ mental models accelerates orientation, enhances memorability of web-object locations and even affects user interactions.

About the Author
Liraz Margalit is a web psychologist working for Clicktale, the company that converts behaviour into business.

Creative and Inspiring Navigation Designs Pave the Road to Success

Navigation is, without a doubt, the most important element in web design

By Stuart Gonsal

A website reflects the person or organization it represents. That gives it character. Web users look for uniqueness. They want to find an attractive, user-friendly site. Is one of your goals to stand out from the crowd? Then you have to build a navigation system that is like no other.Why? It is probably one of the first things users see during their visit.

Since most websites have some type of navigation system in place, designers have to push their creative limits. They have to explore different graphics programs, and force themselves to produce original creations that are attractive yet extremely functional and consistent.

Select a Trendy Layout Style

Navigation is, without a doubt, the most important element in web design.Users need a sense of orientation and guidance to find their way around a website. Smart designers know how to create a navigation system that is both attractive and efficient. They look for examples that have proven to be very successful. The hottest trends today include the following:

  • Block navigation
  • Visually appealing icons
  • Experimental, but well-tested designs
  • Responsive layouts
  • Retina graphics
  • Horizontal navigation
  • Fixed header bars
  • Large photo backgrounds
  • CSS transparency
  • Minimalistic landing pages
  • Digital QR codes
  • Detailed illustrations
  • Mobile navigation toggle
  • Full-screen typography

The list is quite extensive. If you are looking for examples and ideas, explore the following 3 inspirational navigation designs.

1. Toybox

Do you want to limit confusion and distractions? Create a navigation design that is there when the user first arrives, but graciously disappears whenever a visitor wants to concentrate on a specific task? The navigation system of the Toybox, which is the home of a team of highly trained design artists,is a perfect example. The homepage is easily accessible, but also offers prominence to the website’s critical features. The swivel effect directs a visitor’s attention to the navigation bar whenever they are using it. Once the navigation bar is hidden, the projects are not competing with each other. It allows the user to focus better on what they want to accomplish.

Toybox screenshot

2. Tsto

Are you looking for a simple yet unorthodox design approach? Review the digital agency Tsto’s masterpiece. Navigation elements are located in the corners of the page, neatly framing the eye-catching image in the centre. The hot-pink colour certainly attracts a lot of attention, but not in an overbearing way. The hierarchy is comprehensible, keeping in step with current navigation design trends. The “contact” and “about” tabs are at the bottom of the page.

Another great feature is that users can see the company’s projects without leaving the page. Clicking through the images gives potential customers a chance to view the company’s achievements. All they have to do is click on the “previous project” and “next project” icon on each side of the page.

tsto

3. Second Story
The Second Story’s website resembles a magazine app on a tablet. It is a pioneering design in that it does not give you the feel of a typical page. Instead of moving up and down,you scroll sideways (horizontally). Readers will find the columns fascinating.They have to scroll vertically to access the content. A touch of tradition remains as the navigation icons are anchored at the left side of the page. That makes it easy for users to get to that section they are most interested in. It is almost like watching a slide-show.

Second Story screenshot

2014 Predictions under the Microscope

The world of web design changes every year. New technology and the evolving preferences of consumers and Internet users push the industry into exciting but challenging directions. Web designers have to be constantly on their toes, because what is hot today may be outdated tomorrow. Many speculate about upcoming developments. What has the coming year in store for website navigation system experts?Let’s speculate!

1. Code Free Designs

Finding easier ways to generate and build websites and navigation designs has always been a main goal of eager web designers. What happens if they can free themselves of tedious coding requirements? Webydo has produced an online design studio where there is no need for coding. You can literally transform the way the web was created. Webydo fans will, undoubtedly, stay the course in 2014.

2. Improved Website Responsiveness

This trend was sizzling hot in 2013, and is not cooling off yet. With the amount of people using mobile phones, navigation systems have to cater to a variety of smaller screen sizes and resolutions. Creative web designers will work hard to find innovative ways to tackle responsiveness in website design. With the continuous developments in website browsing technology, site responsiveness will remain a much-talked about issue around the water cooler.

3. Retina Display Support

Aside from being one of today’s key marketing buzzwords, a “retina display” is basically one of Apple’s high-end liquid crystal display screens with a lot more pixels than ordinary devices. The pixel density is so extreme that the human eye cannot identify pixilation typical for a normal viewing distance. Retina optimized websites rank high on most web designers’ priority list. This trend will undoubtedly grow every time whenever more Apple products are launched with retina displays, aside from the iPad, iPad Air, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Mini, and MacBook Pro.

4. Flat Web Designs

Simplicity seems to be on everyone’s mind when experimenting with navigation designs. The basics of this idea are straightforward. There are no 3D elements or shadows. The designs use a full 2D screen instead. This trend is also expanding because of the Windows 8 metro screen, which is their default tile interface.The design is characterized by strong lines, saturated colours, no shadows, minimalism, and the creative use of typography or printed matter.

5. Simplistic Design

Flashing icons are an eyesore. These digital images are annoying and ineffective. People do not want anything gaudy or complicated when exploring the Internet. They want things to be simple.Websites need to be fast, but easy to read and understand. Equipment, such as mobile devices have to be compatible. This can be accomplished by keeping websites and navigation designs plain, like it was years ago. In other words, the old is new again.

About the author
stuartgonsalStuart Gonsal is the co-founder and managing director of Wolf Interactive, a boutique web design, development and digital strategy agency in Melbourne. Stuart believes in collaboration and that people and ideas are at the heart of every successful project. Lava is specialised in building Magento ecommerce solutions. Follow Stuart on Linkedin, Google+ or visit at http://wolfinteractive.co

Flat Web Design; Trend or Design Enhancement

The advent of smartphones and tablets has forced designers to think more about how people interact leading to simpler type of design

For a long time now, the design of websites and apps has been determined by what is happening in the real world, and a real world influence has pervaded UIs and app icons since they were first imagined. Buttons look like buttons, notepads have lined paper as their backgrounds, calendars look like the sort of calendar you have on your wall at home. You get the idea, realism, rather than functionality, has been the name of the game when it comes to online design.

Simple Rather than Realistic Design

That is all starting to change now and is mainly down to the change in how we use the devices around us. The advent of smartphones and tablets has forced designers to think more about how people interact with their work and this has resulted in a move away from bevelled buttons and 3D icons to a much more simpler type of design.

Flat Design

Termed ‘Flat-Design’, this idea is probably best shown in the Windows 8 UI and the latest Apple OS. Yes there are buttons, yes they are interactive, but they look so much more clean and simple. They look functional and that is the root of this trend, functionality.

The buttons are flat, there are no raised edges and no shadows. The UI is at practical as well as being simple to use and inviting. Flat-Design requires a lot more work from a designer since colour, shape and font become more important than in a realistic design. To make a login box, for example, flat, the designer has to use all their skills to make sure the input spaces, labels and the action button are easily recognised and also display clearly on the screen.

Skeuomorphism and Flat Design

Flat-Design has also seen a move away from skeuomorphic design, particularly for icons. No more does an icon have to look like what it represents (a navigator looking like a compass, for example) instead designers are beginning to be more free-form with their designs. The way users perceive the design elements, though, is still important. Buttons that do not follow the skeuomorphism school of thought need to be clear and obvious else they will confuse the user and they will move off the site.

Design has to support the content of a site, not the other way around. Be aware of trends in your design, but do not become locked into them. Design helps users flow through the site, the tools you provide in the way of buttons, text and UIs should aid this flow, but they are not the reason the user came to the site in the first place; that is always for the content.

Trends in Design

Design trends have come and gone in the past, from the frames of yesterday to the cutesy realism of many apps most recently. Flat Design will be no different and, as it is an online trend, it is likely to be over much, much faster than in the past. Today Apple are trendy, but tomorrow? Today Windows 8 is modern, but tomorrow? And the real problem with flat-design comes with the plethora of devices we use to access content. A design planned for a large screen, especially if its an app, may well be found wanting if it does not display correctly on a tablet or smartphone, whether it is flat or realistic.

Content First, then Design

Users expect the same functionality from all of their devices and, yes, they expect the same styling as well. So when you are designing your new site start with the content first – that is what users want. The styling, in fact the whole design is nothing more than a way to solve certain problems, it is not the raison d’etre of the site.

An example of this content first approach towards design can be seen in this minimalist, content centric site: http://www.mathewporter.co.uk

About the Author
Mathew Porter is an experienced Web Designer and Developer with experience in various other Online Marketing and Ecommerce fields. He is currently the Creative Director at The Web Design Group, a Design and Marketing Agency in Nottingham / Derby, UK.

Keeping Social at the Heart of Web Design

Not incorporating social elements into websites can limit functionality, and can make it difficult to expand sites for mobile and other platforms, leading to user dissatisfaction and problems for brands

By Rob James

Why is social media such a key part of web design? In part, social media’s importance can be linked to the need for websites to engage users in new ways, and particularly by allowing them to form communities and promote sites across different platforms. Not incorporating social elements into websites can limit functionality, and can make it difficult to expand sites for mobile and other platforms, leading to user dissatisfaction and problems for brands.

In this context, it’s crucial that designers find ways to build applications and tools into web sites as part of their initial construction; this means making sure that Facebook and Twitter are prominently featured on sites without being too obtrusive. Pages should have the option to like and share content, while also being optimised to include great content and videos that can be easily shared. It’s also important, though, to look at individual social networks in order to tailor content to suit different platforms – a steady stream of promotions on Twitter can complement several new blog posts a week, for example.

Social media elements have to be integrated into dynamic sites in ways that make them easy to find and use, while still being intuitive; social media plug ins can now be easily found, which makes it much easier to program them in, or make them accessible through content management systems. Templates can also work well, in this way, for adding in commenting systems and forms that can allow for user discussion on a page.

One of the main challenges for any web designer is making sure that a site is dynamically structured in such a way as to avoid users being faced by a lot of undifferentiated information; a good site should work as a gateway to multiple actions, whether that means eCommerce pages with easy click throughs, email mailing lists, or subscriptions and bonus content through Twitter and Facebook, and via other social networking sites.

Getting social media right as part of web design similarly means making websites adjustable to mobile only versions – millions of smartphone and tablet users log into social networks every day, and need to receive concise versions of sites that can allow them to quickly move between pages and networks – having scalable sites, and pages that use responsive design can help to speed up this process, while making it more intuitive.

A website that’s been successfully optimised for social media will ultimately deliver a stronger SEO response from users and search engines, with the natural impulse of linking and recommendations enabling a site to gain a much larger footprint than it may normally have been able to. Google have recently updated their search algorithms through Penguin and Panda updates to make great content, and relevant backlinks from trusted sites more important than ever to determining a website’s page rank – ensuring that links are being generated from well established social networks is consequently crucial for boosting the visibility of a site, and can help to establish a strong and loyal community of users.

About the author
Rob James is an online marketer he has recently had great success with Bath based web design Deep Blue Sky. Rob can be found blogging about a variety of technology related subjects, including mobile phones, to SEO techniques.

Should I redesign my website?

Should you redesign your website? Yes, says Alex Tuegels of WebKick from Andover

By Alex Teugels

Should I redesign my website? Yes!

That’s a bold statement, of course. I haven’t seen your website. I don’t know your business, your target market, your competition, or your search rankings. But “Yes” is my first and final answer.To explain my reasoning I’m going to assume you already have a number of things in place. If this isn’t the case – don’t panic – they can form the basis of your first redesign. Let’s take a look at the three essential ingredients for your website:

Goal

A clearly defined goal, for example “Enquiries about our new XYZ product”. Have only one goal. Your website will no doubt have lots of other content useful for existing customers, and potential customers interested in other products. However you must use your website to send a consistent message to visitors, and a consistent message can only be used with a consistent goal. What is most important to your business over the next 3-6 months?

CMS or web designer

The technique I’m about to describe will require many changes to your website’s content. If you have a content management system and are relatively web-savvy you will be able to make many of these changes yourself. Alternatively you can hire a web designer or agency to make the changes on your behalf. This is essential – a static website will not improve your website. Doing the same things over and expecting different results is not the way forward.

Reports

Install Google Analytics or similar reporting system on your website. Make sure you have goals set up in your Analytics profile – your goal will most likely be the submission of an enquiry form. If you don’t have these already then make them your first action points. Great! Now we have the ingredients for a successful website redesign.

Sales Funnel

Your website will act as your sales funnel. If you haven’t come across a sales funnel before, it looks something like this:

A sales funnel

Visitor landing
SEO, keyword targeting, and promotion to get visitors to your website

Grab attention
Give visitors confidence that they are in the right place. Are you a UK business? Do you provide what they’re looking for?

Build trust
Who are you as a business? Who have you worked with?

Call for action
Get a visitor interested in your goal and invite them to complete it. Make this message bold, consistent, and available everywhere on the website

Collect data
Use a form to collection information about the visitor

Get in touch
Qualify the lead and process it as you would any other sales enquiry

The metaphor of a funnel is used because its wider at the top – you are going to get more visitors landing on your homepage than qualified leads at the bottom. Most businesses will simply look at the first and last slices of the funnel though, which doesn’t build an accurate picture of the funnel/pipeline.

Now you can use Google Analytics (or similar) to monitor the success of your funnel. How many visitors does your website achieve per month? How many of those look at more than one page (grabbed attention and building trust)? How many go to your enquiry form (responded to call for action)? How many filled it out? How many did you respond to?

These are the numbers that will build an accurate picture of the success of your website. Within 4-8 weeks you will have enough data for analysis. The most important part of this process is identifying areas for improvement.

Making changes

This is the process of redesign and is continual. Your website is never a completed work. It is a living entity which requires constant effort and improvement.

Let’s revisit the funnel. This will guide you on what changes to make.

Are you getting enough visitors in the first slice? If not you should look at further online promotion techniques.

Are your visitors browsing the website, spending time looking around? Otherwise your homepage isn’t grabbing attention or building trust.

Are visitors going through to your enquiry form? If not you should revisit your calls to action and sales messages.

Are visitors submitting the enquiry form? Otherwise you may be asking too many questions, or the wrong questions.

There will always be changes to be made and improvements to implement. Your reporting software should allow you to add comments to graphs – make a note of each change you make so you can revisit it in 4-8 weeks and measure the results. If your changes aren’t working then roll them back, and try changing something else. Keep changes small and focussed so they are easier to measure. Leave changes in place long enough to gather a good amount of data (4 weeks minimum) unless your website has a large amount of traffic.

About the Author
Alex Teugels is the Technical Director for WebKick Ltd

Maximizing Your WordPress Multiple Author Environment

Small website owners who are looking forward for expansion are turning towards multiple author blogging; these are the services that help achieve that.

By Aubree Parsons

Several big and powerful blogs are making use of multiple author system on their WordPress powered websites. These include Mashable, Techcrunch, GigaOM and the list goes on. However Multiple Author blogging is no more limited to big blogs or big publishing houses. Small bloggers or small website owners who are looking forward for expansion are also turning towards multiple author blogging. But to run a blog with multiple authors working across different locations, you need to rely on a dependable and an extremely powerful source. WordPress is one stop solution for these growing bloggers. WordPress though an extremely powerful tool, is a bit limited in functionality when it comes to managing a proper editorial team, since its primary target audience was small time bloggers or small web site web masters. You can however enhance the efficiency of your WordPress powered blog/website by making use of the below mentioned easily accessible plugins, which would undoubtedly help you to maximize your WordPress multiple author environment.

1. ContentCloud
The ContentCloud WordPress plugin developed by Betaout as a SaaS (Software as a Service) provides a one stop solution for all editorial websites by offering a simple solution to handle editorial project management for multiple authors. The content cloud plugin helps in creating a smooth workflow by enabling editorial management using a single interface simplifying editorial project management in a user friendly manner. Based on plug and play architecture, the content cloud plugin allows editors to create and assign assignments to respective authors, managing deadline notifications enabling in a smooth individual centric workflow mechanism. The unique and powerful features of the plugin allow administrators to manage editorial teams using the same interface on multiple WordPress enabled websites. Thanks to its easy integration module that enabling multiple desk workflows to manage writers as well as publication editors.


Content Cloud

2. Edit flow
Edit Flow plugin helps to empower me in networking with my editorial team I have within my WordPress platform. Owing to the modular format found in Edit Flow, I have the choice in customizing it as per my requirements. It has different features, which help me in my day to day editing and publishing activities and supporting me to assign work to my team members. The Calendar in the plugin helps me to look at my content as per the monthly order. Using the feature Custom Statuses, I can define all the important stages in my workflow. The Editorial Comments feature helps in carrying out private communication between writers and editors. The Editorial Metadata helps me in monitoring on all the essential details. The Notifications feature helps me in getting apt updates over the content, which I often have to follow. The Story budget helps me in checking all the upcoming posts in a proper traditional story budget view, I can carry its printout in my planning meeting as well. The User Groups feature helps me in managing all my users by function or relevant department. In short, Edit Flow plugin helps me in making my team collaborating tasks hassle free and quick found with my WordPress network.

Edit Flow

3. Content Progress
Content Progress plugin helps in adding different icons over posts, custom post and pages types along with checking whether my document is complete or not. Though Content Progress may not know if the page is simply laid out but it informs me regarding the presence of content over the page, and in case if there is no content, it simply flags it as empty. Moreover, in case if it has a small amount of content over the page, that particular document is simply flagged as partial. In this way, the editors can flag the relevant document as incomplete, which requires a recheck despite of any type of content present over the page. It also helps me in communicating with my team mates by adding notes over every individual post. In this way, I can quickly scan all the documents and find out the finished and incomplete ones. You can also find four different short codes, which are available for developing front facing lists of pages including incomplete, partial, empty and need review. These things help me in producing suitable unordered document lists. All the short codes simply accept the argument for the said post type. For instance, empty type = post. In this way, Content Progress helps me in expediting all my editing tasks in an easy to instant manner.

Content Progress

4. Approval Workflow
Approval Workflow is one of the most widely used multiple authored website specific plugin that improves the workflow progress of multiple authored websites based on the WordPress publishing platform. The Approval workflow plugin allows verification of users for various publishing and administrative rights for their respective articles or posts with the addition of a box at the post edit screen. Approval Workflow improves the publishing workflow mechanism by allowing successful verification of rights of each user wanting to publish a specific webpage or web content article while notifying the author with publishing rights once a post has been submitted successfully to the workflow. The plugin use automation email technique to email the user with publication rights and works just as well on WordPress enabled multiples websites. The plugin uses its intrinsic intelligently designed module of hunting down the user with publication rights as soon as any new submissions are made on the workflow desk thereby helping in cutting out any time discrepancies in submission and publication. Since the plugin sends automated emails to all users with publishing rights after every submission, all users with publication rights are kept in the loop of any new publication process and user submission modules. Approval workflow plugin works equally efficiently with all WordPress multisite and allows comparison of new and old pages in the plugin dashboard.

Approval Workflow

5. Post Revision Workflow
Post Revision Workflow is a very useful WordPress plugin that allows successful revision of any published content on the WordPress based website or blog without the revising the published content in real time. The plugin works in a user friendly as well as publisher friendly manner without altering the original published content. The plugin provides editing or revision options in its publish Meta box and all changes are saved as a revision text and posted without altering the workflow of the original content. There is no one size fits all revision process in the post revision workflow plugin. In fact the plugin offers dynamic revision options from saving revised changes without notification to saving revised content to automatically publish revised changes while announcing the changes to the reviewer or publisher as per the workflow of the website. The only thing amiss in the post revision workflow plugin is its inability to send notifications to users on its own accord. Since the plugin is newly developed, the future versions may offer a better solution as far as notification is concerned. Overall compared to the effectiveness of the plugin to revise content successfully and to allowing revision of published content in a user friendly manner and a clean interface, the notification issue can surely be overlooked without much concern. The post revision plugin also has multiple installation options allowing usage either as a standalone plugin or over network without any hassle.

Post Revision Workflow

These five plugins maximized my WordPress Multi Author Environment. Try them and let me know about your favorite plugin.

About the Author
Guest blogger Aubree Parsons  is a journalist and contributor. Aubree writes for sites similar to The Hurry Cane Reviews

The Importance of Colour Choice in Web Design

Website colour can affect consumer choice so t is important to be deliberate about the colours used

By Rachel Sanders

Whether you have noticed it or not, colours affect your emotions…and sometimes your decisions. The emotional and behavioural impact of colours on humans has been studied by members of several academic fields, especially in psychology and marketing. In advertising and marketing, it is believed that colour choice plays a huge role in consumer decision making, and this is an important piece of information that web designers need to take note of.

Most scientists and researchers believe colours impact our feelings and behaviours because of cultural conditioning. For example, red is associated with danger or alertness in many Western cultures, while green is associated with the environment and cleanliness. colours are also associated with gender. Whether as a result of conditioning or not, women tend to respond well to brighter, lighter hues, while men tend to respond well to saturated, darker hues.

Whatever the reasons, there seems to be something about colours that make us react in very specific ways, and this can be used to the advantage of those selling a product or service on the internet. In a study conducted in 2009 by business and consumer behaviour specialist, Ravi Mehta, subjects were asked to choose between two types of toothpaste. One brand was for cavity prevention and the other was for teeth whitening. The results of the study showed that more people chose the cavity prevention toothpaste when it was paired with a red background and the teeth-whitening toothpaste when it was paired with a blue background.

This observation shows how colour can affect consumer choice. In this case, it seems that subjects associated the colour red with prevention and attentiveness, and the colour blue with freshness and openness. This same observation can be found in the various marketing campaigns used by businesses, in which focus groups and test markets are used to gauge the reaction of advertising campaign designs by the public. Although many scientists still aren’t sold on the idea that colour can dictate human behaviour and emotion, there are too many real-world examples in marketing to ignore it.

Web designers must use this same marketing technique when creating web pages for businesses. It is important to be deliberate about the colours used, because the wrong choice of colours can potentially turn customers away. You should only use a maximum of three colours on your page, to avoid confusion and over-stimulation. These colours should complement one another, as well as the business’ brand. This is especially true for businesses that already have a well-established brand theme.

It is also important to note that colour connotations change, depending on what part of the world you are in. For example, while red often represents danger in the West, it usually stands for good fortune in the East. For more information on the meanings and effects of colours, take a look at the following books.

Colours: What They Mean and How to Make Them, by Anne Varichon

Colour – Messages & Meanings: A PANTONE colour Resource, by Leatrice Eiseman

Colour and Culture: Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction, by John Gage

About the Author
As a blogger for www.WebDesignSchoolsGuide.com, Rachel Sanders has a passion for helping potential and current web design students fulfil their education and career goals. Always looking for the latest and greatest in web design news and technology, Rachel also writes about education in general, computer technology and student life. Feel free to leave your comments and questions for her below!

Source:

http://www.dailyillini.com/article/2012/09/505935a780895