It’s been long time since we updated our blog and we thought that it’d be worth posting inspirational web designs for ourselves and of course for our favorite reader i.e. You! Chicks are synonym for beauty and what could have been a better way than This post to start the inspirational post series (yes! you’d see lots of inspirational posts in upcoming weeks and they’d be regular)? In this post we found fifteen such designs from the web that would attract girls! Feast your eyes with pure awesomeness & some of the web’s most beautiful web designs! We hope that you like these designs and that you’d love to share your opinion about them!

1. Veerle’s Blog

veerle-wordpress-design

read full article →

Bookmark and Share

Comments section is pretty unfortunate as it gets less attention when it comes to blog design. Comments are below the fold and thus don’t get the attention of the visitors that much. This is probably one of the reason why comment styling is often overlooked by bloggers when getting a new WordPress Design for their blog. A WordPress designer will always suggest to style the comments area as we understand that it’s important to entice the user with a good design. Here we will list various practised tips, WordPress plug-ins for making life easier in dealing with comments.

Comment Styling Practices

1. Threaded or Simple view – Threaded comments are great to increase comments. It makes the conversation look better and makes more sense as compared to the chronological display of the comments. On the other hand, chronological display ensures that comments section isn’t abused by the spammers. Many spammers reply to the top most comment even if its not related to the original comment to display their comment with URL on top. Both the options have their benefits and issues, so if you have a community that loves to interact then threaded view should be your choice.

freelance-switch
E.g., Freelance Switch displays a neat and clean threaded comments style. It highlights the original author well and displays the reply in a different color, thus separating it nicely from the other commments.

2. Enable Gravatar – Automattic purchased this plug-in and is offering it as a free service. Gravatar means “globally recognized avatar”, which is accessible through your email. It’s a fantastic service, as theme designers can simply integrate gravatar functionality and whenever their users will put their associated email address in comments, their chosen avatar will come automatically. You can enable the gravatar in WordPress using the following tip. Gravatar can slow your web page load time as well, thankfully there is a plug-in that takes care of the issue.

matt-brett

E.g., Matt Brett.com sports a beautiful comment section. Not only it maintains the overall look through the background image, it also displays the avatars just before the author’s name. Avatars not only gives the face to the comment author, various colors in the avatars enhances the looks as well.

3. Highlight the Post Author comments – Comment forms are used by visitors to ask queries from the author of the post. It makes sense that if the author of the post has different styling as compared to the normal comments. It also helps the author themselves from scanning their own comments. Matt Cutts shares the tip to highlight the author comments on WordPress.

matt-cutts

Matt Cutts features his comments in blue color as compared to the other comment authors. This keeps him highlighted all the time after all he’s compared with GOD!

4. Background styles, html tags – Speech bubbles, quotation marks, borders, alternate styling, flower petals etc can be used as background to style the comments. It should be in sync with the overall design of the blog and the elements from the theme should be used to make the comments stand out. One can add various other elements like comment permalink, date and time for giving clear picture of when the comment was left.

5. Paginate the comments – Pagination of comments ensures that the blog page doesn’t get too long in case there are more comments. WordPress supports pagination of comments and can be incorporated in the theme by following the documentation.

Useful Comment Plug-ins

1. Akismet – Akismet is a comment spam fighting service from Akismet. It’s available as a plug-in for WordPress and eliminates all the headache, a blogger has to go through because of comment spam.

2. reCAPTCHA – reCAPTCHA is a fantastic spam comment fighting service from Google. It’s used across various popular services like Facebook and is available as WordPress plugin. It’s different from regular captcha plugins because it’s got a purpose to it as well -

reCAPTCHA is a free CAPTCHA service that helps to digitize books, newspapers and old time radio shows. Check out our paper in Science about it.

3. Integrating Facebook comments -This plugin integrates the Facebook commenting system right into your website. If a reader is logged into Facebook while viewing any comment-enabled page or post, they’ll be able to leave a comment using their Facebook profile. Non-Facebook users can post with a valid email address.

4. IntenseDebate, Disqus, Echo – There are various services that offer better comment management. Intensedebate is from Automattic’s stable and faces pretty tough competition from Disqus. Even though, Echo is not so popular I was very impressed with it and hence it deserves a mention. All these services have spam filteration, social networking features, easy styling, ajax support and lots more. In short they are perfect for comment management.

5. CommentLuv – There are various plug-ins that enable do follow comments. However Commentluv plugin adds a new dimension to it as it only pulls out the last post on the comment author’s blog and displays it below the comment. Various tests have proved that after enabling this plugin, the interaction on the blog increases drastically.

Inspiration for Comment Styling on WordPress Blogs

After all the “gyan”, its time for getting inspired from various beautiful comment forms and styles that we found across the blogosphere. So, if  you don’t get many comments then you know what should be your next step.

Brian Yerkes

brian-yerkes

Cosmic Diary

cosmic-diary

Design Disease

design-disease

Blog Less

designless-better

Fubiz

fubiz

Gregory Wood

gregory-wood

Kev Adamson

kev-adamson

Nada Mas Triste

nadamstriste

Partical Tree

practial-tree

Bookmark and Share

web10 Until late 90’s, online publishing wasn’t as easy as it is in current times, it was the evolution of Blogger that started to make this space easier for common person who are technically challenged. Although, it were CMSes like Drupal, WordPress, Joomla & various other open source systems that upped the game by giving more power in the hands of publishers at much lower cost as the whole platform is completely free, the only cost involved is customization of the platform and the way content is displayed which is nothing if we compare the power and flexibility we get using these content management systems.

It was the evolution of blogging that brought many significant changes in the web ecosystem and one of them is that there are far more webmasters now and hundreds of them are becoming professional webmasters every day. I personally believe that its WordPress that has contributed significantly in this space. Its user friendly, has great documentation and has awesome community around it. WordPress is fast becoming the first choice for every publisher, people are shifting on it and this increase in demand is making web design companies adopt WordPress and one of the reason why we see so many companies offering premium WordPress templates and companies offering WordPress design services.

With that, we thought of coming up with a resourceful post that’ll help the new Web designer turned WordPress designers in making their lives easy -

Resources for Coding

aptana

WordPress Codex: What can be better than the official codex itself? The documentation itself is wonderful and that is one of the reason why developers were quick to adopt WordPress.

WP Engineer: WP Engineer has lots of posts with codes and lots of posts with tips that are surely going to help beginners. It’s a must bookmark blog for all those who want to learn coding in WordPress.

Cheat Sheets: Dainis Graveris has listed 23 extremely useful cheat sheets for programmers and WordPress designers. This is one resource that you will love to the core.

Tutorials for Developing WordPress themes: Vandelay design has posted a fantastic list of tutorials that help newbie’s in understanding WordPress theme designing.

Coda Clips: Coda is a text editor for web developers (mac only), it supports keeping small snippets for faster and quicker development. To support that, they started Coda Clips blog that features frequently used snippets and is regularly updated.

WordPress Mailing lists: WordPress official mailing list is the best place to keep yourself up to date with that is happening around WordPress and what are the new changes or requests made by the community. It’ll not only keep you up to date with the current status, it gives you the idea about what may be the next big feature of WordPress.

WordPress plugins to help WordPress Designers – We’ve featured 9 plugins for WordPress that will surely help all the beginner’s in quicker development of WordPress themes.

WordPress Theme Frameworks

framework

A theme framework is the flexible foundation, that can be used to build WordPress themes faster and quicker, without worrying about coding various basic functionalities. Someone with prior experience in CSS would be able to quickly adapt to WordPress designing. We are listing some of the most popular theme frameworks over here.

Thematic – Thematic is a free, open-source, highly extensible, search-engine optimized WordPress Theme Framework featuring 13 widget-ready areas, grid-based layout samples, styling for popular plugins, and a whole community behind it. It’s perfect for beginner bloggers and WordPress development professionals.’’

Theme Hybrid – Hybrid is a user-friendly, search-engine optimized theme framework, featuring 15 custom page templates and 8 widget-ready areas, allowing you to create any type of site you want. Like WordPress, this theme is completely free and open source. You can use it for your client work or for a blog about your grandchildren. It is continuously being developed and has a community growing around it.

WP Framework – WP Framework was created to serve as the starting point in WordPress theme development. It accomplishes this by providing you with commonly used functions and features that modern WordPress themes should have. So when you start a brand new WordPress project, using WP Framework you’ll already have the basic functionality set so you don’t have to worry about mundane task like creating the loop, or recreating all the standard template files.

Carrington – Carrington is a CMS theme framework for WordPress from Crowd Favorite, that makes it easy to create unique looks for different categories, posts and comments just by creating custom templates.

WordPress Books for newbie WordPress designers

There are various books written for WordPress and many are yet to be published. There are some fantastic books for WordPress, although I would like to mention these books for those who seriously want to be WordPress designers.

  • Rockable Press – How to be rockstar WordPress Designer is a fantastic e-book as it is focused on those who want to shift from regular web designing and want to become WordPress designers.
  • Vladimir Prelovac (not an affiliate link) – Vladimir has created lots and useful and some of the most popular plugins for WordPress. He’s a great authority in WordPress plugin development. This book should be in arsenal of those who want to develop WordPress plugins.

I hope these resources will be useful for anyone who wants to be a pro WordPress Designer. If you know any more resources, then please point them to us and we’d be more than happy to include them here.

Bookmark and Share

As a web design studio, we give and receive feedback on the website/blog design every day. We make our lives simple by using Evernote’s premium accounts so that our clients get the ability to edit the notes that we share them for the feedback and we do the same while giving the feedback to our WordPress Ninjas! This certainly isn’t Evernote’s real function, however its been doing pretty well for us. However, it’s not as good as Notable, which is built to address this particular issue.

Zurb, a well-known company in the silicon valley that has worked with some of the top companies like Facebook, Ebay, Yahoo is behind Notable, an app that they built for internal use. Notable is a web-based application and great for designers and agencies who work from remote locations.

Notable - Easy collaboration for designers

The application works on Firefox, iPhone and of course, the browser-based functionality is available for all the platforms. You can clip any page on the browser and add notes on specific areas that you want to point out for the feedback. Once the feedback is uploaded on their servers, it can be discussed by team members using the comment form. All of this is part of the visual section, however since it’s focused towards the web agencies and freelancers, Zurb has taken care of the code and one of the best feature is that you can point out on the search engine optimization of the page as well!

Notable's Workspace

I was mostly impressed by Notable’s simplicity, its user interface is simple and without complex features that may confuse people. Its got the most important features packed for collaboration and notification, it allows you to restrict the collaborators to let them add notes or just view it.

Overall, I was fairly impressed with the application as it delivered all the features that we were looking in such an app. Notable certainly saves time as the feedback ends up being more contextual, visually accurate as it forces feedback givers to be specific. I would certainly suggest this app to all the freelancers who are into web designing as they’d find this app irresistible!

Bookmark and Share

typography.jpg

Typography definitely plays an important role in enhancing or diminishing the overall look of any web design. And all the web designers/developers were stuck with certain font families, even if they wanted to use the font of their choice, they couldn’t do it freely without compromising on various aspects. Of course, there were other ways too and I would love to include all those methods along with their pros & cons.

siFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement)

Scalable Inman Flash Replacement (sIFR) is an open source JavaScript and Adobe Flash dynamic web fonts implementation, enabling the replacement of text elements on HTML web pages with Flash equivalents. sIFR embeds a font in a Flash element that displays the text, preempting the need for a font to have been manually pre-installed on a user’s system. [via : wikipedia]

In even simpler words, instead of showing the normal text – it is replaced by Adobe Flash’s text and the font embedded in that flash file is used to display the text. You can add shadow, effects to the text and the best part is that its cross-browser compatible and thats why its loved. However, siFR is often criticized for making the pages load slower and is not supported by iPhone.

Cufon

Cufón aims to become a worthy alternative to siFR, which despite its merits still remains painfully tricky to set up and use [This is not the case, if you are using WordPress]. Some of the benefits of Cufon over siFR are that it loads faster, no plugins are required. [Via - Github]

Of course, nothing comes with cons. Cufon comes with the inability to highlight and copy/paste, not all fonts are supported. However, still its one of the preferred methods of using other fonts. We are using Cufon on this blog, so it can be a good example for you to look at.

There are other ways as well like Typeface.js, FLIR (Face Lift Image Replacement), however as browsers are getting better in supporting CSS3 – the better its becoming to improve the typography of the webpages. Although, with this method, copyright issues often come into play. In order to avoid these issues, few web services have come up with a model where by paying some fee, web designers will be able to choose various fonts (without worrying about licenses) for their website and the fonts will be served from their servers. Here are these services -

Typekit.jpg

Typekit

Typekit is one such service that has partnered with type foundries and have taken care of the legal issues. They let you choose the fonts using their web based editor. They have a plugin for WordPress, that lets you integrate this service with ease. There is an option of free plan and if you have one blog, you should definitely try this service.

fontmeup.jpg

FontMeUp

FontMeUp is another service that allows you to use any font on your website. They have a similar concept and have hundreds of fonts to choose from. They also have a free plan and a WordPress plugin.

So after, looking at the benefits of these services, I’m tempted to use these service for this blog. I’ll notify as soon as this will be applied and will try to post the results as well. Personally, I see no reason for not trying these services and why any one else shouldn’t. Will you be using these to improve the typography on your blog or will you be going via existing ways?

Bookmark and Share


wordpress-for-clients.jpg

Image Credit – Twimg.com

WordPress is an excellent CMS and one of the most popular blogging platforms available. WordPress is free, open-source, extremely extendable and it gives the clients control over the content of their own website. It is quite user-friendly, it provides flexibility, you can use hundreds of plugins and last but not least it has a huge support community. With all those positive attributes how can you not simply like it. However it can be a little bit different for your clients. While you are probably fully comfortable in managing, editing, and adding content, most of your clients probably will be regular people not technically savvy and may find WordPress hard to use. So part of our job would be to make things easier for these people for their better overall user experience with WordPress.

read full article →

Bookmark and Share

Dom Tabs Save Space
If you run a blog for a longer time, you will notice that there is always more and more contents to display but less and less space for it. A solution for that can be the tabs feature. The Tabs are used in sidebars but also in the header for providing easy navigation and make information more available in a compact space. By using tabs you can have wide variety of content on your blog and all you need is to click on any tab and only the content for that tab gets displayed and the rest of the tabs’ content remains hidden.

read full article →

Bookmark and Share