Designing for Windows 8 – What You Need to Know!

With the advent of Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest OS, developers and designers can certainly look forward to build some really cool apps. Add to this, the growing number of tablets, Windows based smart phones and touch-screen laptops; the demand for Windows 8 applications is surely going to see an upward trend. According to Microsoft, there will be as many as 400 million devices powered by Windows 8 in coming years. This itself speaks about the immense potential for developing Windows 8 based apps. Understanding the philosophy behind the design of Windows 8 definitely helps shape your thoughts for crafting applications for this platform.

Well, one need not be a hard-core technical expert to build applications for this platform. However, there are various things you need to know while crafting apps for Windows 8. Let’s take a look at some of these.

Modern UI – Brainchild of Microsoft, the Modern UI is basically language and design style. Taking its root from Swiss Typography and Bauhaus School of Design, Modern UI was created with objective to help users interact seamlessly with content. In order to design a Windows 8 application, you must have a considerable understanding about this design style. Modern UI revolves around five principles. These are briefly discussed as under:
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Skeuomorphism Infographic That Would Remind about Real Life

People are programmed in their instincts to fear everything unknown or at least treat it with suspicion. As an example we can take darkness phobia of some persons – its roots stretch from pre-historical times, when our ancestors could expect a saber-toothed smilodon jumping out of the night at any moment. So there is no need to be a psychologist to agree with an obvious fact that a human prefers familiar things. Therefore, creating something we should take into consideration this simple truth to cause sympathy (or even for more delicate effects on consumers’ minds).

A method following the concept in design has its own name – skeuomorphism. The term comes from Greek: skeuos (σκεῦος) means container or tool, and morphê (μορφή) means shape. Skeuomorphism is a technique when composition uses something unnecessary for functionality as it is in the original product. Talking strictly about web design, skeuomorphism appears to be a method when usual things from real life are transferred as simulacra into virtual user interfaces. This is a very widespread trend recently: skeuomorphism became extremely popular especially after smartphone boom – new simplified forms of user-device interaction caused development of new simplified user experience. Nevertheless, the method emerged long before this: once graphical user interface took stable shape with certain global standards in metaphors, IT companies begin to implement skeuomorphism projects.

A lot can be told about the subject and I have one thing intended to help you to know more. A remarkable infographic about skeuomorphism in web design was presented recently by TemplateMonster. It reveals many aspects less or more related to the subject: beginning from the history of skeuomorphism development and up to pros and cons of using this technique in web design. Moreover, the infographic is designed in attractive retro style with the skeuomorphism shown in it on practice. The central element is a vintage CRT television: information is broadcasted through it after clicking on interactive skeuomorphism elements.

Below I represent static JPG version. A click on the picture or on the link in the previous paragraph would lead you to the full interactive skeuomorphism infographic.

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Tired of Empty Space? Try 10 Dummy Image Generators for Web Designers

Sometimes there is a need to create a random picture without making efforts. It’s not only about laziness: in some cases illustration indeed is permissible to be whichever without requirements of deep concept. You can be surprised, but this can be used for the benefit of a project – proper distribution of efforts gives a real opportunity to pay more attention to other elements.

Dummy Image Generators

Generated by lorempixel.

Web designers, you have a way out – dummy image generators. These helpful services would easily provide with placeholder and dummy images, which are intended to fill useless empty space. Below I listed 10 dummy image generators considered to be the best for web designers. Read More

10 Top Tips for Ranking Well in Your Area

You already know about the good that a killer search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can do for your business. As an offshoot of general search practices, local SEO can also have a number of excellent benefits, especially for small businesses looking for new ways to promote themselves in their community. It is a way for local companies to ensure that anyone looking for their service can find the most convenient option, while also ensuring that they can grow their own business.

What are the top 10 tips for ranking well at a local level, and how can you achieve them?

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Delving Deeper into the Beauty of HTML 5 Canvas

The web development landscape is evolving constantly. Thanks to the introduction of new technologies such as HTML5. For those of you who do not know what HTML5 exactly is, it is the latest version of the hypertext mark-up language, which is mainly used in web design & development by designers across the planet. With each passing day, more number of designers seem to be joining the HTML5 bandwagon since the technology promises to take web design to a whole new level! HTML5 brings with itself an entire new range of exciting elements including the canvas that allow developers to add awesome touch & dynamic capabilities to their web applications. This article provides you with an in-depth idea about HTML5 Canvas. So, let’s get going…

Before we start exploring this major element of HTML5, let’s know a bit about its history as well. HTML5 Canvas was pioneered by the tech giant Apple somewhere around 2004 for the use in Mac operating system. It was meant to power their Safari web browser and dashboard applications too. Ever since then, the canvas has been adopted by Opera, Mozilla and finally W3C for its use in HTML5. Today, all the modern web browsers support this HTML5 element completely.

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What’s There on Your Back?… April Fish! (Vintage April Fools’ Day Postcards)

“A sense of humor is the only divine quality of man.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

How do you feel today? Have you checked the socks for toothpaste inside? Was your sugar replaced by salt this morning? Or maybe all eggs in your refrigerator turned into hard boiled ones? Today is the first of April, “All Fools Day” and nobody can feel safe from pranks neither at home nor at the office. Everything mentioned above seems funny as long as it’s not happening to you. Nevertheless, we hope that our respected readers possess good sense of humor and enjoy a wonderful possibility to laugh.

So, what do we know about the holiday? Frankly speaking its origin is rather questionable and disputable. However, the most popular version dates back to 16th century. In 1582, the beginning of the New Year was moved to January 1. Some people, who hadn’t heard about this sweep, continued to celebrate the holiday on April 1. These “April Fools” became the earliest objects for public mockery.

Of course, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to make you smile on “April Fools’ Day” and cooked something really odd for you. Below you will find a collection of funny vintage French postcards, developed especially for the first of April. Their designs are cute and original. All of them obligatory have fish somewhere in the composition. Actually, in France, April fool is called April fish because of the traditional prank, played on the first of April. Friends and relatives tried to stick a paper fish onto somebody’s back and when poor thing discovered it at last, all of them bursted into laughter crying out: “April Fish!” This prank is played till present and can be called a gentler prototype of “Kick me” signs.

As Plato said: “Even the gods love jokes.” So, we wish you to get a good portion of positive emotions today and begin smiling right now with our funny vintage April Fools’ Day postcard designs.

By the way, today is the best day to propose a girl. If she doesn’t accept you can always tell her that it was an April Fools’ Day joke.

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April fools' day postcards

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Virtual Fitting Rooms – e-Commerce UX of the Future

Do you buy clothes online? Surely, each person can tell about at least one-time experience of online apparel shopping. And what about apprehension before the final click? Buying clothes online is always entailed with a certain percent of probability that the item won’t perfectly fit because of the wrong size, color, fabric or cut.

According to statistical data, online apparel sales reach nearly 7 percent, notwithstanding the fact, that this e-Commercial category is considered the largest. This figure is negligibly small in comparison with those of books and computers, for instance.

However, a breaking technology (slide 98) of augmented reality, which becomes more and more popular among European and USA merchants, is able to change the situation drastically. The idea is as follows: you can try on all selected models not leaving your home, then change them for the recommended ones, share your images with friends and get their feedback. Don’t you think that such innovative approach can convince even the most hesitant buyers?

virtual fitting room

In other words, the augmented reality is achieved with the help of software using webcam (some solutions don’t require the webcam, just customer’s measurements), motion capture interface, and social media integration.

The application developers even promise up to 60% sales increase and up to 30% returns reduce, which sounds very catching, isn’t it? You know, some online brands, which have already incorporated virtual fitting rooms into their websites, confirm certain positive dynamics in their conversion rates.

No doubt, while the technology is not so widely-spread, there is still much space for perfection. Software’s universality lets merchants use it for a wide range of products like glasses, jewelry, furniture, etc. Maybe in future, the option will completely erase the border between virtual and physical reality, allowing customers not only try on the clothes, but feel the fabric’s texture and weight…

At present, we can arrive at the conclusion that virtual fitting rooms can boost e-Commerce UX from both sides.

From side of brands and merchants conversion rates growth, returns reduce as well as customers’ satisfaction increase can be expected.

From side of buyers, a greater percentage of completed checkouts, stronger confidence in their choice, less stress and disappointment along with stronger loyalty to favorite brand are rather predictable consequences.

If you are impressed with the technology, believe in its cloudless future and even think about incorporating it into your e-Commercial projects, here are some helpful links to developers, providing the service.

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HTML5 and its Frameworks for Mobile App Development

The evolution of mobile web has been rather noticeable and rapid enough to grab the attention of industry experts. We experience the old of native applications , especially the performance, integration and speed, when talking about touch screens. Because of these standards, native applications have easily combined with mobile devices. However, the evolution of HTML5 is swiftly coming in par with native apps and mobile devices are now using quite a lot of HTML5 features on modern browsers. HTML5 is indeed a huge step-up for the web designing and mobile development industry because of its increased functionality.

Image Source: Stock Photo by Shutterstock

Defining HTML5

HTML5 is a superior version of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). Well, this language is usually used for structuring and showcasing your content on the Internet or the World Wide Web. HTML5 basically aims to improve the markup language using support for a more advanced multimedia plus sustaining more readability for humans. For a matter of fact, it also aims at consistent understanding by computers and other devices like parsers, browsers, etc. Just like the development and up-gradation that takes place in various software, HTML5 is the up-gradation of HTML. That means, it includes HTML4, XHTML along with DOM Level 2 HTML. In spite of the popularity of HTML5, it got the limelight by web developers sometime in April 2010.

To take a quick look at the standardization process, there were long discussions going on about the development of HTML5 since 2004. The first draft included the specification of web forum 2.0 and the second included the specification of web application 1.0. The merger of these two specifications later turned out to be HTML5. However, it became the start point of work only in 2007.

Later, in Jan 2008, the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) published the first public working draft of HTML5 specification. In May 2011, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) extended HTML5 to “Last Call”. May 2012 brings this specification back to the “Working Draft” state. In July 2012 both these organizations decided to maintain a degree of separation – when W3C focuses on a single definitive standard known as “Snapshot”, while WHATWG focuses on “Living Standard”. W3C demanded the to release a stable HTML5 recommendation by 2014 end as well as HTML5 specification recommendation of HTML 5.1 by 2016.

HTML5 – Focusing the Mobile

Like we already know, HTML5 is not a single tech – but a combination and improvements of HTML. It works without browsers on Tizen, Firefox OS as well as Web OS. Lets look at some of the features of HTML5 that make it suitable for mobile devices.

1. Offline Support – This feature enables the web or mobile browsers to store static web pages. The catch here is that they rely on HTTP response headers of web servers for getting HTML,CSS and multimedia that renders the pages.

2. Canvas Drawing – This feature helps the websites to mark off a space for drawing graphs, charts, gamers, images and other components with the use of programming code and user interaction minus Flash or other plug-ins.

3. Video & Audio Streaming Support – This feature may, someday, enable websites like Pandora and YouTube to skip Flash totally out of the development process.

4. Geo Location API – You can now share your locations with trusted Websites through Geo Location API. It is a simple part of Navigator object.

5. Touch Events – This feature allows you to leverage the touch effect in HTML5. You can now quickly and easily navigate through all your web pages.

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Good Start for Your Business Online – Free WordPress Theme

Not a week can pass without a goodie for you, guys. What’s free for this time? Free WordPress Business Theme that is a ready-made design for setting up your website online. Easy on the eye, well-done, it is worth your attention and interest. Let’s see what’s inside.

This nice design in contrasting color scheme is perfect for showing off your business ideas. The light apricot header against the dark background and the yellow circle for the slider create the pleasant to eyes color scheme and warm welcome to the visitors. The simple structure with all the content blocks carefully organized plus easy navigation will help them find all the information they are looking for. The theme provides also featured blocks in the central part and widgetized sidebar.The set of pages is enough for presenting all the ideas you have in the best possible way. Free template live demo will complete the whole image of this theme.

Free WordPress Business Theme:

To download the whole package of this template, visit the Free WordPress Business Theme download page at TemplateMonster and type an email address that you want the free template package to be delivered to (don’t forget to uncheck the newsletter subscription checkbox in case you’re already subscribed, otherwise you may not be able to download the zip file). Feel free to use this template for your business, but you cannot resell it as a template.

Download Free WordPress Business Theme (18,6MB)

IMPORTANT NOTICE:TemplateMonster does not provide support services on free templates – including this one. We only provide support for the products that are being purchased from TemplateMonster. Our free templates are produced according to the latest web standards and we’ve been trying to make the process of working with them as easy as possible, so for people with minimum web development experience it should be easy to work with them. However, if you don’t have any experience, we recommend you to refer to the tutorials or community forums on how to work with platforms that each respective template is made with, or to hire someone to do the job for you.

‘Making of’ Videos Compiled

In our everyday life we are surrounded by dozens of simple things making it easy and comfortable. Sometimes we even don’t think how much time and efforts have been invested into the process of their creation. Nevertheless, the majority of trivial stuff can surprise you with the complexity and uncommonness of techniques used at its manufacturing. Can you imagine how contact lenses or your favorite chewing gums are produced? If your answer is yes, you are probably a professor at some technical university… But if your answer sounds like: “Not much…” – you get a good chance to while away the time with practical benefit for your IQ.

Here you will find a compilation of fun educational videos of how common things are made. Having viewed them all, you will be able to explain the process to your curious kids or amaze your friends with the level of your erudition. In any case, the videos are interesting and amusing, so have a good time!

P.S.

By the way, unwrapping the process (slide 95) of manufacturing can be used by brands as a part of marketing campaign, raising the customers’ interest to the offered product.

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The Art of Making, Alma Flamenca

making of video

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The Magnificent Obsession of Hand Making Person

making of video

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