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To Serif or Sans-Serif, That is The Question

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If you’ve ever had trouble choosing between the time-honored and the modern, you’ve come to the right place. Even though a web developer has a limited number of font choices to choose from, ill-thought font selections often cancel out all the hard work that goes into a site’s design. The following tutorial guides you through the various font-choices available, anti-aliasing, and some general type-related tips that, I can assure, you’ll consider in your next web project. If you’re a complete virgin to typography, I suggest you do some Googling before continuing on. This type of understanding can help any website design ideas list become much more fruitful.

Serifs & Sans-Serifs

The text on the left is in the popular sans-serif font face Verdana, the text on the bottom left’s in the ubiquitous serif face of Times New Roman. To the right, we see an anti-aliased version of the texts, which I’ll be discussing shortly. The sans-serif (Verdana) paragraphs are set at a font-size of 13px, whereas for the sake of juxtaposition, Serif (Times New Roman) paragraphs are set at a font-size of 15px. They also have line-heights of 19px and 24px respectively, check back this page for a follow-up article on line-height.

I want you to notice the rendering of the two typefaces. If we compare the headings, they’re perfectly legible in all the scenarios. However the sans-serif paragraph texts are comparatively easier to read than their serif counterparts, even more so when you take into account anti-aliased versions.

Before we dissect anti-aliasing, here’s a darker variation to concrete my point.

Again, the sans-serif paragraphs are much easier to read that their serif brethren. Comparing the anti-aliased versions, the serif paragraph can be considered to be as good as illegible.

Anti-Aliasing

To define it in the simplest way, anti-aliasing blurs edges to make a font seem smoother. Or if you prefer a tad more technical description, it is the process of removing or reducing the jagged distortions in curves and diagonal lines so that the lines appear smooth or smoother.

 

So what does this mean for a font-face? Well, the more edges/projections a font has, the more it’s going to be anti-aliased. The more anti-aliased it is, the blurrier its edges will be, the smoothing of the edges often results in text that’s a strain to read, if not illegible. This being the reason for serif typefaces not being used on lower font-sizes. The above image should make it pretty obvious, click on it to see it in its full glory.

Choosing the font-families

Right, so now that you know the nitty-gritty of ‘em, the following tips should help you pick the right font-families for your designs. Also, remember that though the serifs should never be used for the body text, they make for excellent heading typefaces. If your design permits it, a contrast between the various elements of your page could give your design that perfect aesthetic finish. Don’t go crazy though, restrict yourself to two or at most three font variations on the same page.

Arial

 

A touchy one for typographers, considered widely as being a poor emulation of Helvetica. Nonetheless, Arial’s one of the most popular fonts used on the world wide web as it comes bundled with Windows, Mac, Open Office, etc. etc. So ironically it is also one of the most clichéd. No tips for Arial, except maybe use it if none of the other fonts fit into your design.

Georgia

 

Georgia is a serif-font designed specifically for screens. It’s rendering at lower font-sizes are very clear and is perfectly suited to be used for body text if required. Use it on a site to give it an artistic or vintage feel.

Times New Roman

 

If it has Times, you can bet it’s a serif right off the morning newsstand. Though it was designed for screens, it renders poorly on lower font-sizes (as you witnessed above). Use it for a news site or anything related to governance or economics.

Verdana

Brilliantly legible and renders beautifully at low font-sizes. Forged by Microsoft, the font comes bundled with Internet Explorer and is available in more than 95% of the Macs. It’s one of the finest sans-serif typefaces and also one of my favorites. User Verdana for a site that wishes to communicate an image of reliability or permanence.

Tahoma

 

Mr. T bears a close resemblance to our friend Verdana, most designers thus choose to pick Verdana over Tahoma. It comes bundled with Microsoft Office so it’s fairly ubiquitous. Use Tahoma if for some reason you develop a disliking towards Verdana but still wish to use a close sibling.

Comic Sans MS

 

If your website wishes to have even an ounce of credibility, steer clear of Comic Sans. Reminiscent of websites made during Elementary school, this font is by far the worst font selection to be made for any kind of site. If you do feel compelled to use it, do it on your dog/cat’s website or your little sister’s website on fluffy unicorns.

There you go! That should have armed you with a fair bit of arsenal for your next design assignment. If you have any suggestions or criticism, do leave a comment. Also, check back for some more follow up typography articles.

Website Design

Design Trends to Expect in 2019

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Website Design Code Laptop

The internet business community is now entering a new business cycle. 2018 was a year of growth. We have seen numerous positive changes in the online business community. We are seeing radical changes left and right. Governments attempted to regulate the internet community as a whole all in the name of general welfare and the common good, but numerous businessmen and online business conglomerates launched boycotts and protests reminding governments the effect of an internet-less world.

Industry Pioneers

As a result, the brilliant website designers and website owners created ways and means to make a website not solely under a jurisdiction of a single government entity.  Security features of websites also became tougher to protect websites from government intrusion and criminals. Website design also remained free and virtually unregulated for the year 20182 – and the only regulatory mechanism is the market which boycotts or promotes a good website. Attempts from some sectors were made to regulate website design again all in the name of the common good – protect local employment and non-transfer of intellectual property – but all attempts were futile. Let’s take a look at the design trends to expect in 2019.

Responsive and Adaptive Website Design

Many website design firms have reminded readers that responsive and adaptive website design allows building websites that are optimized for screens of all sizes – small mobile devices, tablets, and large desktop monitors.  The trend will continue because the technology cannot be stopped. Improvement in communications technology including mobile phones is not subject to regulation, and this causes a surge in the demand for responsive website design. Simply put, a responsive website design means that the design is flexible in desktop, smartphone and tablet screens.  An adaptive website design is what we need to remain competitive next years as more and more people are using smartphones and tablets for their everyday needs.

Parallax Screening

According to many website designers we’ve spoken with, parallax is a technique achieved with multiple layers of a website that are scrolling at different speeds creating an illusion of a 3D effect.  Parallax screening is a way for website designers to reach the all-important target audience for their customers. If you look closely, parallax screening is part of responsive website design. Through parallax screening, the customer can get to scroll and view the numerous contents from different websites using his tablet or smartphone.

Minimalism is Re-emphasized

There are always downsides for technology but the same are remedied by the market. Because of the arrival of numerous cameras, the photography industry is said to be diluted. The so-called “old guards” of photography are complaining about the surge of new amateur photographers using all sorts of picture-taking devices made in China. Well, at the end of the day, the best photographers – whether they are new or old- are the ones hired by the clients.  The same is true in website design. With the emergence of hundreds of photo-editing devices and increased memory systems, the design community is sto aid be diluted and one website designer even went on to claim that designing can now be done by kids. However, the market fixed the defects and minimalism is back. In fact, only professionals and those with lengthy experience in website design can create a truly minimalist website taking into consideration all factors.

Designed Typography will take Center Stage 

Typography is becoming an integral part of web design ideas and projects and the use of custom fonts will be an essential creative asset, contributing to the overall identity of a website as much as other important elements such as colors or artwork. If 2018 was the year when color scheme took center stage, 2019 will be a battle for font styles. Designers and website developers are busy looking and creating the perfect fonts to catch the attention of the target clientele.

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Inspiration

5 Health Tips Every Web Designer Needs to Hear

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Health Illustrations Website Development

Health isn’t often a leading topic among conversations between website developers. Tech and health don’t always mesh—sometimes they do—though health has a way of affecting every aspect of our lives. If you feel bad you won’t tackle problems as well and your designs will reflect your mood. Sure, every professional would like to think they’re above such influence but the truth is we’re just a bunch of animals. This article is all about sharing some valuable health tips to help keep your website design company up-and-running by helping you be the best version of your self.

Good Health is Not Easy

Feeling good is only easy for those among us that do it by default. For those whose first response is fatigue, negativity, or chronic illness there’s an uphill battle ahead. Making a conscious effort to take steps to improve one’s health is the only way by which anything meaningful will ever be accomplished. No one’s going to do it for you. We’re no doctors here at DesignOra but we all have an interest in performing our best on the job. Taking steps to ensure our health is as good as it can help us maintain our edge when it comes to landing new clients, nailing our projects, and coming up with creative solutions to difficult problems. After all, no one’s going to redefine their design approach when they feel like shit.

Couple Exercising

Exercise Every Day

Exercise continues to be the simplest and most substantiated benefit for human health. Our ancestors passed the time by running dozens of miles, hunting fierce predators, and rarely sitting down for a break. In fact, sitting at a desk (or even standing at a desk) isn’t what the human body and mind have evolved to accel at. Being in a moving environment not only helps signal our bodies to release the hormones we need to feel good but it also helps modulate our immune system. Our brains do better when given dynamic situations to navigate and draw relevance from. If a new concept is learned within the context of something easy to remember chances are you’ll learn it more completely. Crawl before you walk and walk before you run. No need to start powerlifting on day one. Walking 15-30 minutes each day is a great first step.

Sleepy Old Lady

How we actually feel when we’re tired.

Get Quality Sleep

Pushing the boundary of one’s wakefulness to finish up a last-minute revision on a project already past its deadline is a common part of web design. Staying up all night (and waking up first thing in the morning) is considered a rite of passage for most but it takes its toll. Sleep deprivation is one of the strongest correlating factors with all major disease (right after exercise!) If you’re not getting enough sleep you’re doing yourself a disservice. Putting in 8 horizontal hours each night isn’t guaranteed to cover your ass though. Quality is as important as quantity when it comes to sleep and if you’re sleeping poorly it doesn’t matter how long you’re down for. I recently helped redesign a website that features lots of mattress reviews. My first impression was to be mesmerized by how many different types of mattresses there are out there. My second impression was that one can buy a quality mattress without taking out a loan these days. Not only can you visit their website to get a nice example of modern website design but also get some quality mattress recommendations!

Clean Natural food in Bowls

Whatever you eat, make sure it’s as clean and natural as possible

Eat Good Food

Fad diets aren’t something that you should pay attention to. Anyone offering you a way to lose X pounds in X days is blowing smoke up your ass and deserves to be force-fed a tub of butter. Assessing your overall nutrition is something that can make a difference though. If you eat fast food, frozen food, preserved food, or just about any food ordered from chain takeouts there’s a big chance that you’re not getting the nutrition you need. Hiring a nutritionist to help you build a customized dietary plan is a great idea but not affordable for everyone out there. Instead, I like to follow a few simple rules:

  1. Eat organic when possible
  2. Cook your own food
  3. Balance your macros (carbs, fats, protein)

That’s not too hard, right? There’s an infinite degree of complexity one can introduce to their diet but these simple guidelines can make a world of difference. Cutting out processed foods, eating whole foods (things you buy in the grain, produce, and meat section at the grocery store) can have a tremendous impact on your cognitive and physical health.

Guy Balancing on Tightrope

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Live a Balanced Lifestyle

There’s not much scientific language to frame this one with. Just imagine I’m putting on my Zen-Master robe as I write. Web development, software engineering, and any discipline that involves nuanced problem solving take a lot of mental effort. In our fields, there are strong incentives to devote oneself to seeing the world primarily from the mental perspective. It’s easy to forget to assess situations based on the physical sensations you feel or your emotional perception when you have to think all day. It’s a force of habit; akin to muscle memory (mind memory?!) Recognizing that one needs to have physical and emotional experiences each day to support their mental ones is easier said than done. The first tip I can offer is to consider your exercise a physical task. Don’t spend your whole time at the gym thinking about your deadline or how late your client is on paying their last bill. Focus on how the fibers of your muscles feel, how the air feels in your lungs, and how the ground feels beneath your feet. Check out, and give yourself permission to do so.

Weird Smiling Picture

Funny or Creepy? We couldn’t decide…

Laughter is Good Medicine

Laughter might not cure cancer but it damn sure helps lower the risk of chronic health issues. The human immune system is comprised of (among many other things) receptors for a class of compounds known as Enkephalins. Among them are the feel-good compounds we call Endorphins that get released when we laugh, exercise, have sex or do some types of drugs. These compounds are our bodies’ way of signaling to us that we’re doing something good! Chronic and regular release of these compounds has been shown to have a modulatory effect on the human immune system so much so that synthetic mimetics are used to treat a varying number of diseases. Common drugs used to treat opioid addiction (opioids are very similar to endorphins) are often used as general immune-boosting therapies for patients with conditions unresponsive to conventional care. Laughing and feeling good is one of the two best ways to help ensure your body stays in tip-top shape!

Final Thoughts

We aren’t doctors and aren’t giving medical advise (our lawyer would be happy that we’ve said that!) This article is only meant to help bring some attention to how important health is in everything we do. That includes website development! By taking effective steps towards feeling better you will, without doubt, end up being a better designer. There is no scenario in which you are healthier in which you don’t become more capable—even if it makes you realize you hate web design. I mean, let’s be honest; sometimes at 2am, I feel like I’m torturing myself on purpose. One email. Could. Stop. It. All. Clients. Hate. SHIT. Seriously though, live a healthy life and you’ll find that happiness might not be far behind!

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Website Design

Tips When Planning Your Next Website Redesign

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Laptop on Desk w/weird Buddha

Redesigning one’s website to prepare for the new business cycle is a must for each and every business establishment in the World Wide Web. There are two errors committed by website designers in redesigning sites. The first one is making a minor facelift. The layout remains the same but there are some minor changes. The color scheme remains the same but there are some few accentuations of colors so as not to appear a copycat of the old sites. This practice is common so as to save money and place money on more important items like search engine optimization and security improvements.

Planning for Success

The website reviewers and the customers will surely give a very bad rating of the place. The second one is a radical 360-degree shift of design. This radical approach is brought about by the emergence of young and aggressive website designers who want to make a name quickly in the online realm. Now, how are you going to plan your next website redesign?

Know Your Mission

First, one should know his company is all about. Website owners should rethink and revalue their respective companies. If his business did well for 2012, he should consider all the added value for his website redesign. It would be absurd and wrong for the website owner to retain the value of his site. He should make revisions to showcase growth befitting his gains and earnings for the business year. In redesigning the website, you should also consider accessibility. If you had issues with accessibility because some customers wrote you messages informing you about the inaccessible areas of your website, you should respond quickly and not wait for a fiasco to happen. In redesigning, the accessibility must be considered because traffic and sales are dependent on it.

Don’t Forget SEO

Second, there is no doubt that content is part of website redesign. reminded readers that search engine optimization, updating contents, website content generation etc are all part of web design. Of course, such items will be appreciated by the customers. If the contents occlude your design or your design occludes your contents, then your website is headed to trouble. In planning your redesign, you should go back to your website analytic results to find out what areas of your website are ignored.

Plan Your Budget

Third, in planning a redesign of your website, you should not consider the people who will manage your site. If you spent a huge chunk of your income paying people to generate content, you might as well look for ways and means to reduce cost. Look for freelance students doing excellent search engine optimization work online. The internet is filled with such kids. Another great way is to leverage the power of existing frameworks and well-supported libraries. I’m a huge fan of using WordPress themes as design inspiration. You don’t have to be building a WordPress website to appreciate the aesthetics of some of the best-developed WordPress themes out there. What’s $50 when it could help you understand how to make your entire website faster?

Mobile-First is First

Fourth, obviously, you will have to create responsive and adaptive website designs for your next website. However, you should concentrate on knowing the extent of your mobile market and related items – culture, age-group, and average money spent by the specific groups. Through this, you would know how many responsive websites you are going to create to cater to the demand of those young people using smart phones and tablets.

Final Thoughts

Planning a website redesign is tough. To plan a website means one should let go of old parts even if such parts give some sort of sentimental value. Plan carefully and get the best results possible. If you take into consideration all the information mentioned here you’re much more likely to find success. Even still, always have a backup of your backups!

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