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8 Web Design Facts that Will Blow Your Mind

8 Web Design Facts that Will Blow Your Mind

If you truly want to understand the web design process, you must look beyond just the outward visual appearance of a website. Very few visitors consider what happens behind the scenes of a website, as different web browsers interpret code to display that site on the screen. Extra milliseconds of loading time, browser variations, the age of the code, and the content itself can completely change a user’s experience and resulting behaviors on a website. Let’s take a look behind the curtain to learn about some of the most surprising and amazing aspects of web design.

1. All web browsers render websites differently

1

    When you look at a website from your home computer using Google Chrome, it might be a completely different experience than your friend has when she browses the same website through Safari on her iPhone. Why does the same website look so different across various browsers? It all depends on parsing and rendering, or the way that browsers translate code and display it on your screen. Some browsers will load the code in a very specific order, and sometimes browsers won’t recognize certain code at all. For more detail on this, HTML5 Rocks has an excellent breakdown of how each browser parses code and renders it on the screen.

    Browser differences can make it tricky for you to create a website that provides a great experience to everyone. That’s when professional web designers step in. They are familiar with HTML and CSS standards, known browser issues, and the ways to work around potential hurdles. It’s a web designer’s job to ensure that your website looks good and functions properly across many different browsers. They also perform extensive browser compatibility testing to identify potential issues, and establish necessary fixes for those issues, before a website goes live.

    2. Design dictates where users will focus on your website

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    2

      The Internet has forever changed the way we read and browse content. According to the Nielson Norman Group’s report, “How Users Read on the Web,” successful websites with a clear and scannable layout have a 47% usability improvement. If a visitor can’t skim through your website and identify key information quickly, they are likely to leave and visit another website instead.

      Web designers strive to create sites that direct viewers to the most vital information, such as an online store, your company’s blog, an organization’s history, or other content important to both them and you. Web professionals can also use heat maps and analytic tools to see which buttons and links are popular so that they can continually improve the user experience with future updates on the site.

      3. A two-year-old website may be too old

      3

        Web designers work hard to keep up with the breakneck pace of technology. Since the web browsers and devices being used to access websites are constantly changing, the way that those websites are designed and developed must change as well. To remain current and relevant, digital professionals must stay on top of the latest coding standards, browser compatibility updates, and search engine algorithms. An outdated website runs the risk of not displaying properly in the web browser, having unexpected formatting issues, or not showing up effectively in search engine results. For this reason, a site that is even two years old may be antiquated if it has not kept pace with these changes.

        4. Templates will restrict what you can do with your website

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        4

          Many people turn to website templates as an “easy way out.” Pre-packaged templates often allow anyone to create a website with little to no coding knowledge. Unfortunately, companies can lose credibility by relying too heavily on templates, which typically include bloated code and unnecessary design elements. Trying to force a template to do something new can make it look patched-together, like a Frankenstein website, and that is if that template will even allow for those needed changes. Many templates are notoriously inflexible in what they will allow for, meaning your site may be painted into a corner. Your organization can benefit the most by having a web presence that is custom-made for your needs and the needs of your customers.

          5. Your website’s code helps it to appeal to search engines

          5

            You could have the most visually-stunning website in the world, but it won’t matter if you don’t have an audience to view and use that website. Web professionals make sure that the way your site is coded will help an audience to find your website when they type certain keywords into Google or another search engine. The way that the website is coded even affects how your search engine listings look, from the title of the web page in the search results to the small description of your site that appears below the title. Search engines can be a great source of new traffic your website, and there are many additional steps that can be taken on a site to fully optimize if for those search engines, but it all starts with coding best practices and ensuring that the foundation of your site in conducive to a good relationship with the search engines.

            6. Images and videos can have a positive or a negative impact on your website

            6

              Multimedia content, including images and videos, can be a powerful part of a website, but if used improperly, they can also significantly damage a website’s performance. Large image and video files can dramatically slow down the loading time of your website. When visitors have to wait too long for a page to load, you risk them growing impatient with the site and abandoning it altogether. To ensure that any multimedia content that is used on a site engages visitors rather than drives them away, web designers must use images and videos that are optimized for websites. These optimized files will ensure that your page loads quickly while still offering that rich imagery or video content.

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              Web professionals also avoid outdated multimedia formats, such as Flash, which aren’t supported by many of today’s mobile device platforms. Instead, they favor current standards, like HTML5 video, so that people can access your media from the widest range of devices possible, including computers, tablets, and smartphones.

              7. A good website design ranges between $500 – $5000

              7

                A pricing infographic by Incion reveals that a good website design can cost between $500 to $5,000. If you’re surprised at this range, consider the number of hours and collective brainpower that goes into optimizing websites for search engines, making content accessible across browsers, and improving overall performance by speeding up your website’s loading times. Designers often rely on specialty software and robust tools to ensure that a website’s code functions the way its intended while displaying well.

                8. There’s a big difference between responsive and mobile web design

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                  Most people don’t think about the seemingly magical website conversion that happens when they switch between their smartphone and computer. These are two very different approaches to shifting screen sizes, either mobile design or responsive design.

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                  Mobile design is restrictive. It serves up a separate, and often limited, version of your website that can be used on smartphones and tablets. However, because mobile websites generally provide visitors with the bare basics that the site has to offer, they won’t get to see the full glory of your web design or use it to its full potential.

                  Responsive design is extremely flexible, allowing websites to resize and reflow their layout based on the visitor’s screen size. This gives visitors a consistent experience from large-screen, high-resolution monitors all the way to the smallest smartphone touchscreens, while also having an experience that is suited to each of those individual devices. Responsive websites will simply adapt to their environment, while maintaining the same stunning images, typefaces, and navigational options.

                  The complexities of web design are indeed mind-blowing, requiring a high level of updated awareness and attention to detail to create the best website possible. Keep these facts in mind as you move forward with your own web presence!

                  Featured photo credit: Kelly Kline via flickr.com

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                  Larry Alton

                  Business Consultant

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                  40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

                  40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

                  Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

                  There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

                  Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

                  It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

                  Productivity apps to help you get things done

                  1. OmniFocus

                  This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

                  Download it here.

                    2. Forest

                    Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

                    Download it here.

                      3. Things

                      Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

                      Download it here.

                        4. 30/30

                        Recently covered here at Lifehack

                        , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

                        Download it here.

                          5. Any.Do

                          A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

                          Download it here.

                            6. PocketLife Calendar

                            This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                            Download it here.

                              7. Asana

                              We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                              , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                              Download it here.

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                                8. ToDoist

                                This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                                Download it here.

                                  9. FlowTasks

                                  From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                                  Download it here.

                                    10. Calendars 5

                                    This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                                    Download it here.

                                      11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                                      A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                                      Download it here.

                                        12. Due

                                        A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                                        Download it here.

                                          13. Checkmark 2

                                          I use this app

                                          for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                                          Download it here.

                                            14. TeuxDeux

                                            Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                            Download it here.

                                              15. Wunderlist 

                                              Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                              Download it here.

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                                                16. Nirvana

                                                For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                                Download it here.

                                                  17. Priorities

                                                  An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    Productivity apps that help you build habits

                                                    18. Productive

                                                    With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                                      You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        20. Streaks

                                                        This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          21. Remember The Milk

                                                          Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            22. Day One Journal

                                                            When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              Productivity apps that makes organization easy

                                                              23. Evernote

                                                              Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                24. Pocket

                                                                You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                                Download it here.

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                                                                  25. Sync.Me

                                                                  This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    26. Droplr

                                                                    One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      27. Dropbox

                                                                      Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        28. iDolly 

                                                                        In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                                        Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          29. Soulver

                                                                          It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            Productivity apps that help you work smart

                                                                            30. Captio

                                                                            A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              31. Drafts

                                                                              A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                                This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                                Download it here.

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                                                                                  33. Doodle

                                                                                  This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                                    I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                                      A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                        36. GoodReader

                                                                                        This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                          37. LogMeIn

                                                                                          Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                                            Productivity apps that improve security

                                                                                            38. 1Password

                                                                                            There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                                              39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                              You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                              All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                                40. Truecallers

                                                                                                Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                                  There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                                  Reference

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