What is a Favicon, and How Do You Make a Favicon?

What is a Favicon, and How Do You Make a Favicon?

Favicon

A favicon is a small 16×16 pixel icon that appears at the top of a web browser. It serves as branding for your website and a convenient way for visitors to locate your page when they have multiple tabs open. Because of their tiny size, favicons work best as simple images or one-to-three characters of text.

what is a favicon

Example of favicons on a desktop browser.

To get a favicon for your website, you could hire a freelance designer to create one based on your logo and brand colors, or (I would highly recommend) create the favicon yourself.

Favicon Sizes and Formats

16×16 pixels is the standard size used by desktop website browsers. However, many website builders will ask for larger sizes. For example, WordPress requires 512×512 pixels and Squarespace asks for 300×300 pixels.

This is because favicons are not only used in browser bars. They are also displayed when a user bookmarks a site or saves a shortcut to their desktop or mobile home screen. In these cases, the size of the icon grows much larger.

what is a favicon

Example of favicons on a smartphone home screen. These icons are significantly larger than the desktop favicons pictured further above.

To be safe, try to upload whatever image size is requested by your website builder. Again, for WordPress, this is 512×512 pixels. WordPress will automatically resize and display the proper image for each scenario, so you don’t have to worry about resizing them yourself.

The standard file format for favicons is .ico but most website platforms will also accept .png files.

How to Make a Favicon

The majority of websites I create is via WordPress (site icon), so I simply need to create a 512px x 512px (icon) png. I personally prefer using photoshop to create favicons, but other visual/photo editors should work even Microsoft Paint. Even if you have limited graphic design experience you should not be overwhelmed by any means by this “project”.

If you don’t have the latest version of Photoshop, here’s the official Adobe link:

Free Trial or Buy Photoshop at Adobe.com

1. Create a blank 512px x 512px canvas (working area).

2. Create a basic icon via combining basic geometric shapes with a shape tool or even simply large letters with a text tool.

What is a favicon and how do you make a favicon?
What is a favicon and how do you make a favicon?

Optional: I personally prefer a favicon w/o a background, so if using photoshop unlock the background layer and delete it which will create a transparent background.

3. Save the image as a 512px x 512px png file.

Congrats you’ve now created a favicon! It’s that easy!

Now you can share this knowledge/skill to anyone else asking “What is a Favicon?… How Do You Make a Favicon?”

Advertisements
Offboard Web Design Project in 5 Steps: How to Guide

Offboard Web Design Project in 5 Steps: How to Guide

Offboard Web Design Project – 5 Steps

As you draw closer to the finish line with a website, does your client see it just as clearly as you do? Or are they still wavering on design and copy choices even while you’re in the final stages of QA, or talking about additional features they’ll want to add to the site “some day”? It’s time to offboard web design project.

Unless you are getting paid — and paid well — for every single hour you put into a website, you have to be willing to enforce a final stopping point. If you don’t, your client will undoubtedly play the “What about this? Or this?” game for as long as you allow them to.

And you can’t afford to do that. You have other clients whose websites deserve your attention.

Just as you have created an onboarding process to smoothly kick off a new website project, you must do the same with an offboarding process.

Step 1: Collect Your Final Payment

Once the client has given you the approval on the finished website, you push it live. After some light testing to confirm that all is well on the live domain, it’s time to initiate the offboarding process.

You’ll do this by sending along the last invoice. Better yet, your invoicing software should automatically be configured to do this upon reaching the final project milestone.

One my favorite tools to do this with is AND CO.

AND CO

That’s because you can do everything in here:

  • Create a proposal;
  • Send the contract;
  • Track your time;
  • Send invoices.

Because each of these elements exist within the same place, setting up and scheduling invoices based on your project’s milestones (including the launch date) is really easy to do.

Don’t move on to the next steps until you collect the payment due though. Letting a client go any more than seven days after the project’s end without final payment simply invites them to ask you to do more work.

Step 2: Send the Wrap-up Email

Upon confirming receipt of payment, send your client a wrap-up email.

This doesn’t have to be lengthy. The goal is to get them to schedule the closing call as soon as possible. Something like this should work:

Greetings, [client name]!
I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to build this website for [company name]. I hope you’re just as pleased with it as I am!
I know you’re excited to put this website to work for you now that you have it, but I have just a few things I want to show you as we wrap up.
When you have a moment, please go to my Calendly and schedule a 15-minute Wrap-Up Session for some time this week. 
During this call, I’ll give you a behind-the-scenes tour of your website and show you how to edit your content. Afterwards, I will send along the login credentials you need to manage your website along with all of your design assets.
Talk soon.

As I mentioned in the message above, Calendly is the tool I use to simplify my scheduling with clients.

Calendly

All you have to do is create an event (like “Client Offboarding” or “Client Onboarding”), set up your availability, and then send the link to your clients to pick a time when you’re free. It makes life so much easier.

Step 3: Do the Wrap-Up Video Call

This final call with your client needs to be done over video or, at the very least, a screen-share. For this, I’d suggest using Zoom.

Zoom

The above example is how I used to do my offboarding calls with WordPress clients.

I’d log into their website and then give them an orientation of all of the key areas they needed to know. I’d show them how to create a post, how to create a page, and explain the difference between the two. I’d also show them important areas like the Media folder, the area to manage Users, and maybe a few other things.

This “training” call is yours to do with as you like. Just make sure the client walks away feeling confident in taking the reins over from you.

Step 4: Deliver the Remaining Pieces

The website is done, you’ve collected the payment, and you’ve had the final call with your client. Now, it’s time to deliver the remaining pieces you owe them.

Logins – If you created any accounts from-scratch (e.g. WordPress, web hosting, social media, etc.), send along the login credentials.

Style guide – Did you create a style guide for the client? Package it up in a professional-looking PDF and send it over in case they decide to work with another designer in the future.

Design assets – Again, on the off chance they work with someone else, you’ll want to send along the design assets you created in their native formats.

Licenses – You may have licensed certain assets during this project, like stock photos or design templates. If that’s the case, you’ll need to bill them for the licenses (if you haven’t already) and transfer ownership to them now.

While you could send these along before the wrap-up call, you run the risk of the clients taking the materials and running away… Only to show up months later wanting to know what all this stuff is, what they’re supposed to do with it, and wondering if you’ll have time to walk them through the website now.

Or they don’t open any of it and then message you months down the line, urgently demanding access to their site, files, etc. To avoid this from happening, clearly label everything and send it along in a shared Dropbox folder.

Dropbox

Even if they lose the link to the Dropbox folder at any point, you don’t have to repackage up all their stuff again. You can simply grab the link from your end and resend.

Step 5: Follow Up in 60 Days

Set a reminder in your project management template to follow up with website clients 60 days after the wrap-up. This will give them enough time to sit with the website and either:

  • Become really comfortable using it;
  • Realize it’s too much work.

Either way, it’s a good idea to check in.

If they’re taking good care of the website and using it to promote their business, that’s great. This email will simply serve as a reminder that you remain their trusted ally and you’re here if they ever need anything.

And if they’re not taking care of it, this is an excellent opportunity to offer your assistance in providing (paid) support and maintenance.

Bringing Projects to a Close with an Offboarding Process

If you’ve done a good job of setting expectations with your client from the start, bringing a project to a close should be no problem.

Then again, you know how clients can get. They’re so excited to actually have a website now that they can’t stop imagining the possibilities. So long as you’ve delivered what they paid for, though, you are under no obligation to keep this project open to entertain those ideas unless they start a new contract with you.

Use this offboarding checklist to ensure you give each of your web design projects as strong and final a close as possible.

references: webdesignerdepot, and co, calendly, dropbox

Combine the Power of Data and Design to Maximize Results For Your Website

Combine the Power of Data and Design to Maximize Results For Your Website

In today’s digital era, having an impactful and compelling website is a critical component for any business or organization. A useful site that connects with your audience instills trust, screams authority, and drives action, can mean the difference between remaining relevant and competitive or falling silently to the wayside.

Despite the critical importance of websites in today’s competitive landscape, many web designers find their creations falling short on the performance matrix, under-delivering on KPIs and leaving those in charge scratching their heads for an answer.

Simply put, sometimes innovative layouts and stunning visuals aren’t enough. Lack of data in the design process can create a disconnect between what “works” and what looks or feels appealing.

The marriage of data and design makes for a compelling approach to data-driven design processes and can act as a guiding force for strategizing and implementing site architecture and design elements that not only look great but meet or exceed performance expectations.

Market Research – Where it all Begins

In life, as in business (and web design), having a clear direction and goal in mind from the outset will make for a predictable journey to that end.

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable

~ Seneca

Market research is all about understanding your audience, analyzing the competition and competitive landscape, and looking introspectively inward to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

MARKET DEMANDS

Your “market” represents the gameboard, along with all of its components and pieces upon which your design strategy executes. As it relates to market demands, what elements are vital, required or expected of your design and website?

Examples:

  • Visible accreditations or licensure;
  • Prominent reviews and ratings;
  • Specific contact or support channels;
  • Information such as guides or training materials;
  • Product/service visuals or demonstrations;
  • Transparent pricing.

Market demands vary and will be particular to your specific industry, geographic location, and other factors.

COMPETITION / COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

You know what they say: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. While you don’t need to become best friends with the competition, monitoring their activities, strategies, updates, offerings and other prerogatives can provide you with insightful and useful information.

Competitive data can be used to leverage the time, resources and hard work of other brands to identify those activities or strategies that either perform well or fail in the market.

By doing so, you can learn from costly mistakes, while benefiting from winning concepts already battle-tested in the market and proven to either work.

Further, understanding the competitive landscape in its totality will help you understand what you’re up against, and can help you formulate ways to uniquely position your design in the market such that it stands out among the sea of competitors vying for the same business.

TARGET AUDIENCE / CUSTOMER AVATAR

Without a deep understanding of your target audience, any web designer is prone to missing the mark badly, failing to connect with, engage, inspire action, and meet the needs of their visitors.

Considerations with regards to your audience should include both demographic and user behavior data.

Demographic Data to Consider:

  • Gender
  • Age brackets
  • Income
  • Geographic locations
  • Family size
  • And other relevant data
  • Behavioral Data to Consider:
  • Needs and wants
  • Pain points or complaints
  • Issues/problems
  • Desired solutions
  • Likes and preferences
  • Purchase habits
  • And more…

The specific types of behavioral and demographic data that will be most useful and relevant to your design will be mostly dependent on your brand, vertical/niche, offerings, and other particulars.

PRODUCT / SOLUTIONS AUDIT

Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees as it were. Taking a step back and assessing your product/solutions and other offers can provide perspective on necessary design elements, positioning, and framing that can help turn a non-performing offer into a critical source of revenue.

Utilizing information uncovered in the previous steps, cross-reference your offers and take a hard look at whether or not your products or services meet market and user demands, needs and want.

In what way do your offers stand out (or in what ways can you make them stand out) from those offered by the competition. Utilize this data to formulation unique positioning and strategic approaches to incorporate your offers’ USP or value proposition.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is a vital component of the design process, and will largely dictate how information is architected, organized, presented and delivered on the site.

Approach keyword research from a bottom-up or top-down funnel approach.

Necessary components of keyword research include:

  • Keyword competition;
  • Keyword intent (buyer vs. research vs. informational, etc.);
  • Stage of funnel each keyword targets;
  • Organization of content for search engines and user experience;
  • Link modeling for internal link and ranking strategies.

Types of Content May Include:

  • Sales/landing pages;
  • Service/product pages;
  • Resources, guides, tutorials;
  • Informational and supportive blog posts or articles;
  • Information Architecture.

Information architecture is essential for user experience, search engine optimization, and conversion rate optimization. Utilizing data from the previous market and keyword research phases you can begin to optimally architect information in a way that is conducive to better performance.

ELEMENTS TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR DESIGN ARCHITECTURE

Site Structure: Determined by both market and keyword research, your site’s structure can be first mapped out by using an organizational chart for ease of visualization.

URL Mapping: This step, while mostly administrative and somewhat tedious, involves the creation of each URL structure optimized for both readability by users and optimized for search engines to understand. Once created, assign designated keywords to their respective URLs.

Page Flows: An understanding of user behavior and the ideal buyer journey should also shape how information is structured and organized, helping both users and search engines to “flow” seamlessly through information in a way that answers their questions and solves their problems with the least amount of “friction.”

Value Propositions: An understanding of the problems and pain points facing your target audience will enable you to architect, draft and present unique value propositions tailored to each individualized problem or issue.

Topic Clustering: Once you’ve mapped out your keywords, pages, and content, group or “cluster” those topics that are semantically relevant to each other. Clustering your content can help with search engine categorization and relevancy metrics.

Interlinking: Once mapped out with pages and content clustered, seek out opportunities to link between related pages.

Closing Thoughts

Tailoring design to user needs and expectations is never far from any designer’s thought process, yet knowing exactly which strategies or tactics have the best chance of performing well is often unclear. By utilizing a data-driven decision-making process, web designers can leverage information in a way that helps them formulate a plan tailor-made to perform and exceed expectations. Designs using data versus personal opinion, experience improved levels of engagement, higher conversions, enhanced user experience and overall performance.

As a professional web designer, you have a responsibility to both the users, and to the organization for which you are working, to use and implement all available tools to deliver the best end product possible. Data is one of those tools and one in which there is an excellent potential for success when used correctly.

references: canva, webdesignerdepot, klipfolio

5 Trends for Web Design in 2019

5 Trends for Web Design in 2019

The web industry is constantly changing. Here are the trends to watch out for in 2019.

Predicting web design trends is always tricky. Get it right and you are praised for being ahead of the curve; get it wrong and you are met with a flood of I-told-you-sos. That said, with 2019 now in full force, I’m going to provide some insight into the trends that will define web design throughout this year and beyond.

We’ve seen some vast changes in the past decade: the HTML5 revolution, mobile-first app development and now native features in web apps, plus more new web design tools than you could imagine. With the increasing use of machine learning, cross-platform frameworks and a more diverse developer base building everything, there’s going to be some exciting changes in our industry. These are my continuing predictions for the biggest web design trends in 2019.

1. AI gets personal

Artificial intelligence is too hot to not bring up. While it might not be as flashy as a self-driving car, the web can certainly connect to AI. Machine learning is going to take analytics to the next level. In the past, analytics offered more of a reactive approach: log the data and then use it for your next release. 2019 and onwards should continue to be about capturing data about how your app is used and improving the user experience by driving the website to change and adapt to this by itself. 

This means that, depending on the data available on a user, the application will be able to act like a chameleon and change itself to provide the ideal UX for them. This will create truly personalized sites that behave differently and show different features depending on the individual using it.

2. Voice interfaces take over

With the explosion of voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri, conversational interfaces are bound to become a natural part of an application’s fabric. As more users become accustomed to interacting with the web using their voice, developers will need to ensure they can offer a seamless experience, even in web applications. Imagine having users sit on their couch and view their social media feed or tell their favourite voice assistant to pull up and read a news article for them – all without traditional inputs.

3. Accessibility becomes a requirement

Accessibility is no longer a luxury; it should be an absolute requirement. We’re seeing this pop up more and more, and this trend will just continue next year. Some have pushed hard with Progress Kendo UI to follow common accessibility guidelines like WCAG 2.1 and WAI-ARIA, to ensure web components follow accessibility requirements out of the box.

This positive trend in accessibility focus will continue in the web. Whether this comes from development practices naturally emphasising accessibility, or governments and legislature stepping in to enforce adherence, we will have more accessible applications.

4. Web apps get an AR makeover

Augmented reality will take the web by storm in 2019. AR is already commonplace in scenarios like Snapchat filters or Pokémon Go, but its use of AR will only expand to cover not only social media and games, but also everyday applications. 

The beauty of AR is that it does not require full immersion via a clunky headset, as with VR. Instead, it can be used with the phones that we walk around with in our pockets today. Why should AR be limited to just the native mobile applications on a device? Why not use it on the web? Offering AR services through your web application without needing it to be installed as a native app can have huge benefits from a UX perspective. 

Imagine being in a grocery store and doing a quick web search for a recipe. AR integration could provide users with turn-by-turn navigation through their mobile device to find all the ingredients within that store – all within a web app.

5. Developers flock to the web

In the past, everyone stuck to their favored programming language. Then along came HTML5 and JavaScript went from being the language only for web to almost a universal programming language.

Of course, JavaScript has its own set of choices. While I cannot predict the rise and fall of JavaScript frameworks, I believe that once the dust settles, developers will realise that the basic concepts of these frameworks are completely transferable. This shifts the focus to better programming habits and architecture of web applications, rather than being akin to picking your favorite flavor of ice cream.

Frameworks such as NativeScript and React Native will also play a big part in bringing more developers to web technologies, since they provide a single codebase for web and native mobile applications. 

Additionally, concepts like progressive web applications (PWAs) will continue to blur the line between native mobile apps and web. Developers will then be able to purely focus on the user experience without worrying about specific platform choices.

Web Assembly is another technology that is bringing more developers to the web. Thanks to Web Assembly, C++, C#, Rust and other programming languages can now target the web. Projects like Blazor, which leverages .NET in the web, take advantage of the promise of Web Assembly and will help open the web to even more languages. This means that in the future, all developers can be web developers, regardless of programming language.

references: creativebloq

Usage of Vertical Typography for Web Design

Usage of Vertical Typography for Web Design

It’s easy to become bored with the ordinary – longing for something original and one-of-a-kind. That’s why common hero areas are bursting with eccentric ideas. They are aimed to not just impress, but also satisfy a user’s craving for creativity and originality.

However, animations and grandiose solutions are not the only things that can do the trick. Going off the beaten path with even the most trivial things can achieve the same effect. And vertical lettering is vivid proof of that. Becoming quite popular these days, it has grown into a tiny trend with some aces in the hole.

We do not see much use of vertical orientation in web design. Traditionally, it is a place where horizontal rhythm rules the roost, though this doesn’t mean that everything should revolve around it. As a rule, developers stick to the traditional models. However, diversity and deviation in habitual reading flow can be beneficial. What’s more, you do not need to take extreme measures. Small doses of vertical orientation are more than enough to produce a proper impact.

Archi Graphi

Here, the creative team has twisted the basic navigation by rotating it 90 degrees and reflecting it horizontally. You should read it from bottom to top – that is quite unusual, but intriguing. As a result, the welcome screen has got a zest without all of those overwhelming centerpieces. Also, note the top header: it feels incredibly spacious, and the logotype gets the overall attention by looking prominent without much effort. That is a smart approach.

Archi Graphi

Lydia Amaruch

There are some other exceptional examples where vertical lettering is like icing on the cake. Consider Lydia Amaruch and her online portfolio.

Much like in the case of Archi Graphi, here the usage of vertical rhythm is episodic but well-thought-out. There is a traditional streamlined horizontal navigation, but it includes just the essentials. All the rest has been pulled to sides – literally. They echo with vertical stripes on the back, creating a harmonious aesthetic.

Lydia Amaruch

Yo:Ha

Yo:Ha adopts the same approach. Whereas the main navigation is hidden behind the hamburger button, links to the homepage and social media stay on the surface. Again, notice the overall theme. Here, vertical rhythm can be seen in various details, such as the slider that is broken into three semi-transparent panels and elongated symbols. Consistency marks the design of this website.

Yo:Ha

Ivan Ibanez / Gothamsiti

Ivan Ibanez and the team behind Gothamsiti show us how to apply vertical orientation to the entire navigation. As it turns out, it is handy to use – to say nothing about its attention-grabbing look. Note, these two examples have different themes, moods, and atmospheres. But, vertical navigation fits like a glove in both cases.

The personal portfolio of Ivan Ibanez has a boxy vibe. There are hollow blocks, split layout, ultra-thin lines and lots of white space. The vertical navigation beautifully finishes off the design.

Ivan Ibanez

The creatives behind Gothamsiti’s design have positioned links around the perimeter of the hero area – placing each one in a corner. In this way, nothing distracts the attention from the mysterious and creepy welcome screen. At the same time, all the gateways are exposed, making users feel comfortable.

Gothamsiti

Prime Park Sessions

Let’s step away from navigation and explore examples of vertical lettering that is a part of the content.

Since vertical orientation looks a bit strange to the majority of us, it can be used to put an extra emphasis on the crucial things like, for example, a tagline. The idea can be seen in Prime Park Sessions. Here the nameplate of the agency is directed leftwards, just where we usually start to read. It also mirrors the vertical navigation on the right. As a result, the design feels complete and visually-interesting.

Prime Park Sessions

Luxury Villas

The team behind the design of Luxury Villas uses a vertical orientation for displaying the tagline. The latter is also provided with a relatively wide background so that it looks like a sidebar. Though it is not just an ordinary sidebar, it is a sidebar with zest. That is clever.

Luxury Villas

Kitamura Makura / Canatal

Another way of benefiting from the trend is to use it for headings. Consider Kitamura Makura and Canatal.

When it comes to telling a story, both teams prefer to focus the users’ attention on the vital things, such as content, rather than captions. Therefore, the headlines were moved to the right and rotated in 90 degrees, thereby naturally giving way to the text.

In the case of Kitamura Makura the caption has been pushed to the right edge, making it feel like a part of navigation. With Canatal, however, the caption is still a part of the block and overall design.

Kitamura Makura
Canatal

Protec / Building the Future

Protec and Building the Future have made things a bit more interesting by making vertical text a part of the entourage.

Protec features huge captions that stretch from top to bottom. They are carefully set aside and shown on the left side, giving the content top priority.

Protec

In the case of Building the Future, the vertical lettering is even bigger. However, here it plays merely a decorative role, strengthening the traditional caption featured at the top of the text block.

Regarding SEO, it is not a good practice since headlines should be a part of document hierarchy and enclosed in corresponding tags. However, sometimes you can go off the beaten path and win over customers with design rather than search ranking.

Building the Future

Kwok Yin Mak

While for the western world, vertical rhythm feels like something extraordinary and a viable trick to add zest to conventional designs, for our friends in the east it is the most natural thing. Let’s take a look at Kwok Yin Mak.

The design looks refreshing. The traditional black and white color scheme, lots of white space, logographs and of course vertical orientation make this interface look so special. The trend feels at home. However, even though we expect it to be here, the team behind the website has managed to save it from looking trivial.

Kwok Yin Mak

A Pleasant Surprise

Vertical lettering is a rare guest, yet a welcome one. It is safe to say, that in the universe of everything horizontal, it is a little light that makes us smile. It pleases the eye with an unexpected twist in reading flow and effortlessly brings the essential things into focus.

It is a simple way to make things interesting without reinventing the wheel and going the extra mile.

references: speckyboy