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Another great week has passed and I came across a lot of useful and interesting articles on the the Web. If you didn’t get the chance to spend your free time updating your feeds with the latest articles published in the week that just passed, here are some of the most interesting reads:
Smashing Magazine - A Comprehensive Website Planning Guide

CrazyLeaf Design Blog - 30 Beautiful Free Icon Sets for Web Designers

Hongkiat - Email Marketing: Tips To Do It Well

Skyje - 33 SEO and SEM Blogs Every Webmaster Should Read

Blog.SpoonGraphics - Sho
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uld You Learn Photoshop or Fireworks? (and more!)

Sixrevisions - Getting Users to Sign Up: Factors in Design and Content

Webdesignledger - The Anatomy of An Effective Web Design

Bittbox - Design a Textured Button in Photoshop

Webdesignerdepot - Good Web content examples and what makes them work

1stwebdesigner - Tips and Considerations for Self-Promotion

Inspiredm – The History Of Social Media [Infographic]

Naldzgraphics – Ways to Achieve a Relaxing Workspace

Do you know any other interesting, useful articles that were published this week? Please share them with us.
Favorite Design Related Articles of The Week #4 is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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Obviously, I’m not talking about literally “kissing” your visitors – being in the online environment you can’t even do that physically. KISS is short for Keep It Simple, Stupid. Funny, right? This is a message and a persuasion principle which applies online. The main idea here is that the key to a successful web design doesn’t consist in making it sophisticated, it’s about making it look simple. It seems easy, doesn’t it? In fact, creating a design which can be described as simple is not at all easy.

Image Source: Urban Barn
When
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you see a simple and clean website, like the Apple website for example, you think “Oh, this site looks great, although it’s so simple!”. As it turns out, well thought simplicity is the key factor which leads a website to success.
Here are some tips on how you can K.I.S.S.:
Limit the loading time for a page
I don’t know about you, but if I enter a website and the loading time of the page takes longer than 10-15 seconds I usually close that page, because I have a lot of work to do and I don’t need to waste time with things like this.

Image Source: 6smarketing
The best websites out there have a loading time under 10 seconds. Note that nobody will wait longer than 30 seconds for your page to appear. So, if your targeted audience is wide, consider the fact that most people are still under 56 k, they may even have their monitor resolution to 800 x 600 and they don’t even know how to change that (or that they CAN change it).
Have a simple and intuitive navigation
The majority of your visitors (and potential clients) will take a look at two, maybe three pages before they leave. That means you are only two clicks away from drowning if you don’t make sure that your visitor finds the info he is looking for quickly.

Have an eye catching title/text
When they land on a page, visitors first look at the text, not at the graphics. Why is this important? Because the text can keep them occupied while the graphics load. Note that you should use graphics only if this will help the visitors to understand better what they are looking for of if it offers information that can’t be communicated otherwise through text. Moreover, if you do decide to use graphics, create a simple graphic element, with a short loading time.

Have an effective Search Option
The search option on any website should provide fast and exact results. Most visitors or potential buyers which land on your website don’t even know how to use properly this option and this usually leads to receiving bad search results or no results at all. And if you do need a Search Option on your website, just make it simple and offer simple instructions. If a search will return too many irrelevant results, the visitors may feel overwhelmed and leave.

Image Source: Smashing Magazine website
Respect online conventions
For most people, blue and underlined words means that there is a link there or we have a “Click here” button. It would be safer if you didn’t create confusions. You should avoid to underline or to use blue to color other texts. Place the navigation options on the upper side or on the lateral side of your website and use reasonable schemes for categories which include more than one element.

Image source: Smashing Magazine website
Try to avoid scrolling down the page
But if you really must use it, then use it only vertically, never horizontally and be sure to place the most important information above the scrolling line. Remember: the most important information must get to the visitor first!
Make everything as clear as possible
First and most important thing, make sure to help your visitors and potential clients SEE the information – white backgrounds load quickly and helps the copy stand out. Label everything and make it simple, don’t use any slangy words. Give accurate explications. Remember: if your visitors can’t find something, it means that something isn’t there.

Image Source: Apple Website
Be sure your visitors don’t get stuck somewhere on your website
Let’s say, for example, that you have an online shop. Just think of your visitors like they are in a middle of a storm and they don’t have any kind of direction. They’re asking “Where are the products for checkout?”, “Where can I pay?” and so on. Make sure you provide a simple and intuitive navigation, so that the visitors can easily orientate on either page of your website. Place all the navigation links on all of your pages if you don’t want to discourage your clients to leave. Any step to the menu bar is a risk that people will leave your website.

See how on the Designious website, when you add something to cart, you are warned that you added that product to the cart by a message and you can see that in “My Cart” area also appears that you have 1 item in the cart.
Don’t assume that all of your visitors are experts in the online environment
Technology is a wonderful thing, but a lot of users are a couple of years behind when it comes to this. That’s the reason why the graphics must be simple. Most important, don’t ask your visitors to download plug-in elements. A lot of visitors don’t know how to do that and if they do know, why would you want to drive them away from the buying process and make them do something else, just because a designer thought that this would be cool. Visitors don’t say “Wow”, they just leave. So if you can’t incorporate something into your website, just let it go and focus on more important aspects. Give your visitors and your clients simple and clear instructions, as well as previous tools to guide them through the buying process.

Image Source: The Visible Dentist
Gain respect from your visitors by providing attention to details
You should know that visitors always look for reasons not to trust you: they look for spelling mistakes, typing mistakes, not working functions, browser compatibility issues and so on. Check and double check every detail and don’t give them the chance to find anything!
As some final ideas, check out the common characteristics of websites in the top 100:
- high loading speed
- as little graphics as possible
- few or none multimedia elements
- no frames
- similar navigation systems
- high contrast in the text and a lot of white spaces
- links in the traditional underlined blue
- no background images
- very few visible JavaScript tricks
- no splash
- a solid database behind them.
Your turn now.
Do you have any other K.I.S.S. tips? Please share them with us.
 
KISS Your Visitors If You Want Them To Come Back To Your Website is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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We have some great news for all you creative professionals out there! We bet you’ve already heard that Jay Hilgert, the founder of BittBox.com, was planning to start a bold project called FontDeals – and I’m sure you were very excited about that. Today, we’re thrilled to announce you that FontDeals JUST LAUNCHED!
People, people, hear all about it: FontDeals, the world’s first font bundle site is finally here!



What’s so great about FontDeals:
They are dedicated to providing top quality fonts at ridiculously low prices.
Th
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eir mission is to provide an affordable alternative to purchasing fonts on an individual basis.
The fonts you can find here can cost anywhere from $30 to $70 or more, but they are hunting down font foundries to get you huge discounts.
Some fonts cost more than software these days, but at FontDeals, you can get super savings and have extra weapons for everything you design.
2011 Summer Font Bundle – FontDeals current bundle
Imagine this: you get 15 font families (29 fonts) worth $506 for the amazing price of $49 – that’s a 90% discount on this sweet deal!

So you know, we checked them out and we can assure you that they are all top quality killer fonts! We think that this inaugural bundle from FontDeals is the coolest deal you can get your hands on this summer, so don’t miss it!
But wait, that’s not all!
The first 2000 bundle buyers will get a free treat: Giga Vector Pack 3 from Designious.com worth $195! Now how awesome is that, right?

Note that this bundle is available for a limited period of time, it will end in 14 days, so hurry up and get your hands on it now! Remember, if you are among the first 2000 buyers, you will also get the Giga Vector Pack 3 from Designious.com – an extra reason to stop wasting time and to visit FontDeals right now!

 
FontDeals.com Just Launched! The World’s First Font Bundle Site is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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This article is strictly based on my experiences as a website and blog visitor and it depicts the situations I have come across and the things that made me lose interest in a blog. Now I’m sure that I’m not the only one which dislikes these things and I wanted to write it down so that maybe the right people will read this and take it as advice.

Working in this field and having to write about design, graphic design, web design I deal with a lot of websites and blogs everyday. I love to interact with people in the design industry, that’s why, when I come across a
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n interesting website I want to come back to it later so I subscribe to it’s RSS; when I love an article or the works of an artist I want to leave a comment and express my thoughts and appreciations and the examples can go on.
So here it goes. These are the mistakes that I recently came across on blogs, which made me lose interest quickly.
No contact info
Now I don’t accuse the blogs where you click the “Contact us” button and it leads you to an online form. I know from personal experience that you can receive a lot of unwanted emails so if you have a blog which has its share of visitors, this might be a better option.

Nevertheless, the thing that bothers me the most is not finding the “Contact” or “Contact us” button at all! I have collaborated in my work experience with a lot of websites, doing giveaways and other mutual beneficial things, so when I want to contact the owner of a website, the first thing I do is look for a contact option. If there isn’t any, in my opinion, it means that they don’t want to hear from their visitors and that they are missing out on a lot of great opportunities.
No RSS/ No visible RSS icon
Evey week I stumble across a great deal of inspiring and interesting blogs and websites. The situation is like this: I come across an interesting title and I follow it to its website/blog. I enjoy the article and I notice that there are other interesting articles on that blog. I’m having a smile on my face like I’ve hit a small treasure of useful information. I search thoroughly the RSS icon because I want to subscribe to their feed, I want to be updated if new articles come up. My smile fades as I can’t seem to find the RSS icon.

I’m a pretty patient person and I don’t lose my temper that fast. So if I really like a blog, I look everywhere for that RSS. I admit that very few times there wasn’t one, as much as I looked for it. But most of the times it wasn’t visible. It was either hidden between ads, links or other stuff, either too small, either in a different color than orange (I admit that at first I look for an orange icon with the symbol of RSS), either masked into a different icon – hard to be recognized as an RSS.
People, I want to subscribe to your feed, I want to come back to your blog, why don’t you want to make it easier for me?!
No email subscription option
Ok, so you don’t have an RSS, at least you must have an “Email updates” option or “Email news” or whatever you want to call it. I admit that I don’t like to receive blog updates on my email, I hate receiving a lot of emails every day and I want to make my life easier. I prefer to get all the updates from my favorite blogs in my Feed Reader, which I can turn on when I want to read the latest news. But if there is a blog I really like and it doesn’t have an RSS subscription option, I make a compromise and I use the email feed.

I’m taking this chance to hand out some extra advice on this news feed subject. Blog owners, just take in consideration that not all people have Feed Reader or an other tool like this and don’t have the possibility/or they don’t know how to use it. That’s why it’s best that you have, besides your RSS, an email based subscription for those who don’t use RSS.
No Site Search option
I have a lot of inspirational blogs that I follow constantly, they are eye candy for me and some give me very interesting and useful reads constantly. That’s why, when I’m searching for something specific, a topic, more info on something, I turn to my list of helpful and resourceful blogs. When I get there, I’m looking for the Search option of the website, to make my quest easier. It’s very annoying when I don’t find it, or they have a Search option, but not their own! Usually it’s for stock websites. This is a good reason for me to leave that blog or website, because it didn’t live up to my expectations by offering me a chance to search the info I needed.

Eye stressing font/font size/font color
I spend all of my day in front of the computer. I don’t have eye problems (yet), but at the end of the day, when I get home, I don’t want to see the computer, I need to rest my eyes and my back for that matter. Even if I have a pretty good relationship with my monitor, I sometimes run into blogs which have a terribly small font size on their articles, or a hard to read (blurry, annoying font style or color) copy and as much as I want to read that post, if it gives me a head ache, chances are I will most likely leave the page.

Yale University School of Art – this is a wiki website
Now I know that some people are only good at content and not at web design, that they really like purple or other colors and they use it excessively on their text, but you must really empathize with your visitor. Do a Google search, you will find all these wonderful and useful articles with tips about choosing the right fonts for your website, as well as many other tips on general web design which you can put in practice.
Pop Ups
I think you can all agree with me on this one! Pop ups are driving me crazy! I get annoyed when I enter a blog or a website and a big pup up stands before me and the page I want to see. Not to mention that sometimes I can’t ever figure out hot to turn it off because it doesn’t have a turn off button or it’s not in the top right corner where most of them are. I don’t like pop up newsletters (I think that first you have to let me see the content of your blog and JUST THEN I will decide if I want to subscribe or not), big pop up ads which disturb my reading and so on. If you want to place a pop up, make it discrete, place a turn off button and if you see that it reduces significantly the visitors to your blog, let it go!

Photo Source
Too much information
Yes, this bothers me! I don’t like pages that are full of information, many columns of information, lots of banners, online forms,  all placed in a chaotic manner on a page. I like simple things. I like a correct use of white spaces and well organized pages. When I’m visiting a blog, I would like to have as few as possible focus points, preferably just one. For example, if I’m reading an article, I don’t want to be distracted by a colorful ad which changes color every 2 seconds.

Spun
Followup comments
When I read a great article or an intriguing one, I like to express my opinion and I leave a comment. I like to leave relevant comments to a blog, I always read the whole post and if it triggers something in me, I state what’s on my mind. I would like to know if the person who wrote that article has read my comment and what he thinks of it – he appreciates it, if he agrees or disagrees with my opinion. So that’s why I always check the followup comments box – if there is one! I like to think that people write articles to share some knowledge and to communicate with other people, to establish a relationship with their visitors. So if you place a call to action question at the end of your article, that means you want to engage your readers, right? So why not engage yourself in the discussion, answer your readers, but make sure that they get your replies – have a followup comments check box.
 
Now these are only a few things which bothered me as a visitor, but I think that they are among the most important ones. It’s your turn now to complete the list. So:
Which are the mistakes that made YOU lose interest in a blog or website?
 
Mistakes That Will Make Visitors Lose Interest in Your Blog is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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Today, 1st of June we celebrate Children’s Day in many countries. It’s a special day dedicated to the small ones, because they represent what’s most beautiful in life (any parents can back me up on this), they are sincere and pure, they inspire us and they make us smile.
That’s why, in the symbol of this day, we have a gift for you, a special vector illustration for children – with children, which you can download from the Free vectors section on Vectorious.net.
Here is the preview of the FREE vector illustration.
Funny family doodles vector illustr
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ation

Just click on the title or the image to go and download it.
If you liked this vector illustration, please share this post with your friends, your loved ones and everyone else you know to bring a smile on their face.
And if you want to be first to know when we post freebies, premium tutorials and smashing articles, don’t forget to join our news feed, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Children’s Day Freebie – Cute Family Doodles Vector Illustration is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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This Friday we have a special surprise for you! We are cutting the price in half for Grunge Mega Pack 1! So instead of $45, you get this awesome vector mega pack for only $22,5!


Grunge Mega Pack 1 includes 9 of our premium vector packs:

- Grunge Chaos Vector Pack 4

- Grunge Chaos Vector Pack 5

- Grunge Corners Vector Pack 1

- Halftone Vector Pack 2

- Grunge Aged Vector Pack 1

- Paint Vector Pack 2

- Scratches Vector Pack 1

- Spraypaint Vector Pack 3

- Stains Vector Pack 1
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r />This is a limited time offer, it’s only available this Friday, June 3rd, so make sure you visit Designious.com and get your hands on this cool vector mega pack!
Special Friday’s 50% Discount from Designious.com on Grunge Mega Pack 1 is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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Every week I read a bunch of interesting, resourceful and inspirational articles from different cool websites and blogs. At the end of the week I like to share my favorite design related articles with you, maybe you missed one or two. This week you could read about creating effective content, how to choose CSS colors in web design, responsive web design, why it’s awesome to be a graphic designer and much more!
Smashing Magazine – Content Strategy: Optimizing Your Efforts For Success

Sixrevisions – Retro Candy: Free Icon Set


Sixrevisions –
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; A Guide to CSS Colors in Web Design

Webdesignerdepot – Mind blowing examples of experimental typography

Webdesignledger – Building Strategies for Written Website Content

Webdesignledger – 30 Creative Examples of Responsive Web Design


1stwebdesigner – Two HUGE Myths of Setting Cheap Prices

Onextrapixel – Making the Best Out of Unwanted Offline Time

It’s Great to be a Graphic Designer. Here’s Why

What does the color of your website say about you?

Which is your favorite article from the ones above?

And if you want to be first to know when we post freebies, premium tutorials and smashing articles on Pixel77, don’t forget to join our news feed, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Favorite Design Related Articles of The Week #3 is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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We’ve just released another set of mind blowing t-shirt designs, ready to be printed on your garments! With these designs containing skulls, griffins, armors, crosses, Celtic knots and more, your prints will look simply stunning.
All the designs are created in house by our talented artists and they did their best to keep the number of colors at a minimum so you can easily print them on your t-shirts, hoodies and not only.
Here are the preview images of the 10 new fabulous t-shirt designs:
T-shirt Design 350 – Knight Armor

T-shirt design 351 – Garg
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oyle

T-shirt design 352 – Skull and Black Rays

T-shirt design 353 – Retro Microphone

T-shirt design 354 – Surfer on Beach

T-shirt design 355 – Surfer on Beach

T-shirt design 356 – Eagle

T-shirt design 357 – Owl and Bali Demon

T-shirt design 358 – Celtic Cross

T-shirt design 359 – Griffin and Grunges

Visit Designious.com to see more awesome t-shirt designs, as well as great vector packs, PS brushes, fonts and other vector goodies.
And if you want to be first to know when we post freebies, premium tutorials and smashing articles on Pixel77, don’t forget to join our news feed, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
 
10 New Jaw Dropping T-Shirt Designs from Designious.com is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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Another week has passed like the wind and it’s now time to wrap up and make a list of all the interesting and useful articles on the web that caught our attention. If you want to have a great read about the relationship between print and web, how to get more attention in web design, a review of smashing book 2, illustrated layouts in web design, Coca-Cola’s beautiful advertisements through the years, becoming a freelancer and much more, get yourself a cup of coffee and check out the articles below.
Smashing Magazine – Print Loves Web

Onextrapixel – Inst
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ant Attention in Web Design

Webdesignerdepot – Book Review: The Smashing Book 2

Abduzeedo – Web Design – Illustrated Layouts

1stwebdesigner – 20 Reasons Why Your Website Sucks Part 1

1stwebdesigner – Coca-Cola Advertising Through the Years

Sixrevisions – Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Freelancer

Noupe -100+ Free High Resolution Photoshop Brush Sets


Noupe -Designing the Airwaves: Podcast’s Part in Design


Webdesignledger -30 Examples of Smart Print Advertisment


Blog.Spoongraphics – How To Create a Sleek Grid Based Website Design

Inspirationfeed – 30 Creative Free Hand-Drawn Icon Sets

Inspiredology – How to Print Your Own Killer Summer T-shirt

Naldzgraphics – 10 Simple Steps to Increase Productivity

Which article is your favorite?
 

Favorite Design Related Articles of The Week #2 is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
39
Last week we launched this awesome giveaway, where we teamed up with All Business Cards to give each of 3 lucky winners a set of 500 business cards at their choice. Thank you all for participating and we hope to bring you even more appealing giveaways in the near future!

With no further talk, here are the 3 lucky winners:
1. Anne
2. Atom
3. Brittany
I will get them in touch shortly with All Business Cards to claim their prize.
Thank you all again for participating to this giveaway and if you want to be the first to know about future giveaways or new top no
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tch design related articles, join our Feed Updates.

1500 Business Cards Giveaway Winners is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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