Imagination is our power

Archive for December, 2012

Review of Popular Web Design Trends from 2012

The year 2012 has seen an immense burst of creative energy. Many web designers & developers will notice this energy is still carrying us over into the new year. But what have we seen come to fruition over these past 12 months?

Responsive Mobile Layouts

How can we look back over this year without immediately considering the enormous focus on responsive websites. My first introduction to this topic was reading Mobile First & Responsive Web Design from the ALA Book Store. It is a topic which seems confusing at first, but once you understand the purpose it is truly brilliant.

I feel that responsive layouts are setting the precedent for an enormous shift in the way we look at websites. Typically people view websites as either static or interactive from a user standpoint – saving data, uploading photos, sending messages, etc. But responsive designs are forcing us to look at websites as fluid entities, which should work on any screen or monitor in the world.

I feel this is only a good thing and will bring designers closer to a legendary breakthrough. It would be fantastic handling all website traffic with the same HTML/CSS codes. And this very well is the purpose of responsive web design. If you haven’t taken a look into responsive web design I suggest a quick 10-15 minute Google search on the benefits to user experience.

Dynamic Effects and Plugins

I would like to think 2012 has been a year for advancing web technologies. More frontend developers are leaning towards scripting and dynamic coding for interface effects. But this also means we are seeing more open source projects and more plugin releases for popular code libraries.

Earlier this month we covered 50 popular jQuery plugins from 2012 which is a massive showcase all JavaScript developers should check out. Many of these plugins would come in handy for complex web projects. Consider things like form validation, Ajax backend scripts, browser compatibility, and a large list of other fixes.

I think that 2012 has seen a deep-seated interest in dynamic website interfaces. We have moved beyond simple dropdown menus to include fading & sliding effects, box shadows, and transitions for link hovers. You can build practically any effect into dropdown menus these days. And the fun part is that most styles can be accomplished very quickly with just a few lines of code.

Designing Around Content

This is a trend which I feel warrants a solid explanation. I have noticed more styles in website layouts over the past few years, and even more custom ideas from website redesigns.

All of the content is split by large header text and thumbnail images. Also the page content is spaced in chunks down the page as easy-to-read excerpts. All of these pieces from a powerful blog design which is focused on wrapping content nicely in the page. But we can see other related examples of this same idea.

The design studio Whiteboard has an excellent single-page website layout also focused around content. While scrolling down the page you will notice large imagery in place as background photos. These are great shots for pleasant aesthetic effects and to illustrate the company’s theme. You will also find their content is wrapped in small segments in-between these header sections.

The purpose for content-based design is to have an idea of your webpage content first. Sketch out some wireframes and figure out what style of layout would work best for the amount of content you need to share. It is certainly an interesting way to go about building websites. And I feel you can portray an excellent user experience by starting with this method.

Digital Website Media

It’s difficult to know where to begin when it comes to sharing & publishing digital media online. There are so many services for uploading photos, videos, slideshows, presentations, documents, and other digital media into the cloud. All of these services offer various means to embedding high-profile media content into website layouts. And I feel that designers are growing accustomed to these common elements.

Web designers back in the 1990s were not so worried about video media. Or even dynamic photo galleries. Some of these effects began cropping up during the early-2000s with minimal effects. But now querying the phrase “open source image slider” will return thousands of search results. I feel that it is even easier to publish media nowadays with CMS brands like WordPress.

Users who are not very tech-savvy may install a free WordPress site, install a free theme, and begin publishing their own content right away. This would require maybe 15-20 minutes of setup time. We live during an era where anybody can launch their own publication and find quick solutions for sharing text, as well as other forms of media.

And I feel this is a noteworthy design trend because the Internet’s core purpose is for immediate human communication from around the planet. I would have to argue the web has come down a long path since inception, and new designers are just getting started leaving their mark on history.

CSS3 Properties Aplenty

Web designers who remember rounded corners and box shadows from the early 21st century know the painstaking difficulty of working solely with images. It used to be so much more difficult building a container with rounded corners using background images. CSS3 has fundamentally changed the way designers construct website interfaces.

This is definitely a trend which is here to stay well into 2013 and beyond. All modern day browsers support the majority of basic CSS3 effects. Box shadows, text shadows, transitions, along with a litany of additional properties. The days of hacking together solutions are almost over. Unfortunately developers must still handle traffic from older legacy browsers – but thankfully over the next few years these will slowly phase out of existence.

Prospective of 2013

As a user interface designer myself, I am quickly noticing the changes in application design. Webapps and mobile apps are beginning to look a lot similar, although dynamic behavior is still a while away. But how far are we from emulating native iOS animations with in-browser jQuery? Will fully-responsive mobile applications be the future of desktop web applications?

When I think of the future in web design I have to think of one term: accessibility. Designers are more intelligent nowadays, and they have an easier time selecting a market segment. You can build website layouts targeting demographics which suit your company or product the best. Accessible interfaces are always going to vary based on the audience using them.

It is safe to say we will not only see a larger movement for building more accessible websites. But also designers who are willing to push boundaries, creating various instances of brand new UI trends & techniques. Innovation is happening every month with new open source code releases in Github and on blogs around the world. And the best part about these rapidly advancing trends? I don’t see anything slowing down anytime soon.

Final Thoughts

The new year is always an exciting time for solemn reflection on your own skills, and the world as a whole. We have seen tremendous strides in achievement for the web development community which is full of passionate individuals. The newer HTML5/CSS3 rules have set a precedent for enormous change in the future of websites.

I hope these trends and unique ideas can offer some critical design inspiration. 2013 is sure to be an exciting year full of even more trendy user interfaces and experience techniques. I find that some of the coolest ideas start from a small project and begin to snowball elsewhere. If you have similar thoughts or ideas feel free to share with us in the comments discussion area.

Web Design Trends for 2013

At the verge of 2013 there have been talks of what will be pertinent in terms of web design. Some things are disputable while others are undeniable – take web design that used to focus on media options a few years ago, now it’s the era of great usability and classy layout – no one would argue about that. Now if only we survive this year’s end of the world, there is a lot of promising features to appreciate web design wise in 2013

A few points, however, should be highlighted and covered by at least a few words. For that matter you are welcome to read on and share your thoughts in comments.

  • Responsive Web Design aka RWD (it is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones), © Wikipedia). It is currently on top of the list of trends for the next year, thanks to the ability of this technology to eliminate problems related to the size of the layout. A single design that RWD offers will be enough for multiple desktop and mobile gadgets. It looks promising in terms of working really well on all of the devices and should make things better for all of the web designers. Some call responsive web design not just a trend, but the next web design generation.
  • Vertical scrolling as part of websites optimization will be serving a significant role. These days many websites have both vertical and horizontal scrolling for their mobile versions, which is not always very user-friendly because of too much actual scrolling that a user has to make in order to see the whole picture. Therefore vertical scrolling will be leading in the coming year as an easy and convenient way to navigate the website. It allows scrolling a page down with a header menu at the same time without having to go back to see the menu, which is basically a vertical scrolling of buttons and menus with the same kind of navigation for social buttons and shopping carts. Vertical scrolling will most certainly be in demand due to its user-friendly approach in optimization websites.
  • Oversized objects such as large buttons, headings, full-width images and full-sized sliders are definitely to be expected as the next trend in the year to come. Thanks to touch screens getting more and more popular each day, oversizing of the objects becomes inevitable. And even though this may lead to certain deceleration of the websites, because bigger items need more graphics, there is hope that web designers will come up with a perfect solution in the end, otherwise this trend may set out pretty soon.
  • Simplicity is something to expect from web design in 2013. The motto of the year will be ‘the simpler the trendier’. Front-end frameworks will be seen around as well. Among them are such front-end frameworks as Twitter Bootstrap and WordPress, and many others.
  • Parallax scrolling is all about 2D objects being placed on different layers and being scrolled in the same direction at different speeds with the closest layers moving the fastest. That gives the impression of 3D space. The coming year should see a lot of parallax effects in the use of web design. Even though it has been in the industry for quite a while, it was mostly related to video games. Nowadays it is being used as a refreshing addition to highlight a special event such as  product or website launch, or integrated into general webpages like ‘Home’ or ‘About Us’ to optimize the look and feel of something standard and make it exceptional. In 2013 we can expect to see a lot of parallax scrolling effects on regular websites.
  • Typography will most likely become an essential part of every website before we know it. There is a great deal of fonts to choose from due to widely available typography variations. And designers tend to prefer stylish typography designs to nice images instead of the text when optimizing the look and feel of the websites. After all typography is the foundation of any website so it is only going to win back its positions in 2013.

All of the above is an educated guess based on subject matter experts of web design and development company, which always remains on top of the game through permanent improvement of customer services.

What To Do And What Not to Do During Interview:

Some Noticeable point’s needs to be kept in mind while appearing for interview are -
Always adopt a professional attitude and professional looking and wearing.

Listen intently about interview questions. Use strong positive language while answering your questions.

Ask the relevant questions and be specific to job related questions only.

Wear a smile at all times even if your answers are unaccepted by interviewers.

Never indicate at any point of time that you’re desperate for a job.

Try to avoid the discussions related to your personal life; the interviewer should respect your trustworthiness and integrity.

Remain calm and don’t rush to conclusion instantly, try to go in-depth of the discussion and answers the question openly.

Don’t play with your hair, clothing, items in your pockets, it leaves a immature ego state and reflect a childish personality.

Try to avoid negative phrases such as: ‘I don’t know’. I’m not sure’. Talk about the issues not about the persons.

Smiling is a good positive sign, as it reflect your good nature. Maintain affirmative eye contact.

Relax do not rush for everything, use the mirror technique of interviewers, if they laugh, laugh with them.

Maintain proactive position, sit in straight posture, don’t slump, but be comfortable.

Always have a confident and honest attitude towards your work and words.

Some interviewers also asked for aptitude test which assesses your abilities.

While judging your Personality which reflects the profile of your abilities. Many employers believe that such tests reflect good idea of whether your abilities matching up job profile or not, and if your personality is suited to job profile of the company.

Aptitude exams test your reasoning skills under time pressure. Generally there are three areas of testing checking different ability, such as verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and critical reasoning.

The time duration for the test is 30 minutes and the numbers of questions are approx 30. In Personality Tests most of Questions tend to focus on how you relate to other people and how you behave in complex situations, your work nature, and your ability to deal with emotions. Your motivations, interests, determination, enthusiasm, general outlook and your ability, capabilities to handle stressful situations during different situations are evaluated during interview. There is no right or wrong answers in the interview, just be yourself.

The Freelancers Guide to Successful Content Curation

Many social media pundits claim that content curation will prove to be the next biggest thing in the arena of online entrepreneurship and obviously, freelancers with specific skills to perform the job of content curation will gain a good fortune out of it.

The biggest reason behind these predictions about the profitable expectations of content curation is the fact that the content on the Internet is increasing rapidly at every minute and according to some experts, within a few years, the content on the Internet will be doubled or more within every 72 hours or even less. Experts believe that this huge amount of content will offer a great opportunity for Internet marketers to gain online influence so that they may attain more customers for the products or services they are trying to market. However, it can prove to be a daunting task to refine the relevant and quality content available on the Internet and this difficulty can prove to be a great chance for the freelancers to gain an important place in the space of Internet marketing. This is the reason why it is important for freelancers to know everything about content curation as an especial skill and how to master that skill.

 

What is Content Curation?

Internet is a huge pool of a vast quantity of content that can be used for specific purposes. However, it is very important to recognize the quality of content and to arrange it in a meaningful manner so that anyone who is seeking for any information on Internet to share with others to achieve a definite goal may find it easy to attain the right content of appropriate quality. The process of rearranging the huge amount of content available on the web so that it can be presented in an organized and sense full manner is known as content curation. The traditional meaning of curator is a content specialist who organizes the content assets in a cohesive and coherent manner so that the information can be presented in an attractive and explanative manner to attain the interest of the viewers.

Content curation involves the job of refining, cataloging, coordinating, and publishing the information around a specific subject. A content curator goes through all the possible available content and refines it to arrange the best possible content in a definite order of its importance and relevance so that it can be displayed in a proper way. Unlike the popular belief, content curation isn’t just about collecting links and preserving them, rather; it is the job of organizing all the links to present a particular context with proper explanation. A content curator is not just a person who can offer a number of links about a subject, rather; he is the person who has properly researched about that subject and can offer the best, well organized, and highly relevant content on any specific subject online.

What is the importance of Content Curation and who needs it?

The Internet space is continuously increasing and people are now creating and sharing content at an enormous speed and with time, this speed of content creation is going to be increased. Even now, thousands of new videos are regularly uploaded online. People write and publish blog posts at every other moment. There are millions of Twitter and Facebook users who update their status regularly.

To explain the enormity of content creation, let us consider the example of Facebook. The average user of Facebook creates around 90 sets of content in a month. According to Mark Zuckerberg, more than one billion people are actively using Facebook each month. That is, in a month, the Facebook users are creating around 90 billion pieces of content at an average. Add the content on Blogger, Twitter, Orkut, MySpace, WordPress, and other websites and independent blogs and you will find that the data or content on the Internet is getting immeasurable day by day. To put it simply, we are not living in an ocean of content that is expanding at a vast pace. A content curator is the person who knows where are the fishes that a person is looking for in this vast ocean. The content curator can easily offer a quality content of relevance to anyone who is in need of organized information. The role of content curator is certainly important because for a common person, finding the required information and using it in appropriate manner will require a lot of time and attention and in current world; time is the most costly resource that needs to be preserved.

However, who will need this highly specialized information or content assets in an organized manner and why?

According to the Content Curation Adoption Survey of 2012 that was organized by curate, the vast majority of Internet marketers believe that content curation is an important and beneficial strategy and they seek for content curation regularly. The main reasons for why Internet marketers are interested in the process of content curation and why are they actively seeking for content curation can be summarized as follows:

1) Very Little Relevant Information in the Vast Pool of Content

It has been observed that finding relevant content on a particular topic is becoming more difficult while the quantity of content is abysmally increasing. While Internet is a vast resource of content, finding the best and most appropriate content on a subject is becoming more difficult. Internet marketers feel that specific websites that offer curated and properly organized content offers a good solution for their problems. These websites offer links to relevant content and that reduces the burden of marketers to search for the appropriate content. If the best and most relevant content about a topic is a diamond, the curated websites prove to be a mine of diamonds. Those websites that offer regular quality content, gains greater support of marketers.

2) The Race to be the Thought Leaders

With the help of appropriate content curation, marketers can attain success in establishing their position as the thought leader. Marketers want to attain as many customers as possible however, the Internet customers are becoming smarter and they seek for a reputed and trustworthy brand before they may engage in Internet shopping. Those marketers who succeed in providing quality content gains the trust of customers. This content includes original content produced by the marketers and producers specifically to increase their sales and it also include the relevant content from market experts and competitors with their specific presentation and comments. By using this highly refined content, marketers can establish the trust of customers and once they succeed in establishing themselves as the thought leaders of the market, they find it easy to attain regular customers.

3) Increasing Influence of Social Media

As the number of active users of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook is increasing, people are heavily relying on social media as the perfect resource for relevant and timely information. As a result, marketers are trying to implement the strategy of on-demand news. Since marketers are required to create positive influence on these social media platforms so that they can attract more and more potential customers, they need to keep providing relevant information regularly on these social media websites so that they can share best content online. With the help of content curation, marketers can easily provide relevant content at a swift pace so that they may maintain and increase their influence on social media platforms.

4) Content is the King

Internet is virtually becoming the biggest market of the world and one can attain all major brands of any product or service directly online. These brands are actively engaged in providing relevant information, future prospects, customer services, and online shopping facilities to attain more customers. The success of Dell has encouraged almost all brands to experiment the idea of e-commerce which is increasing at such a high rate that e-commerce is actually offering a tight and tough competition to the biggest retailers of the world. This increasing influence of e-commerce has made it mandatory for online marketers to remain easily accessible and easily notable to those who are looking for specific services and products through search engines and social media platforms.

However, to become significantly visible on search engines and on social media platforms, the marketers need to provide best, most relevant and unbiased content regularly in an organized and attractive manner. To improve SEO, providing original, relevant and organized content is very necessary. Content curation helps marketers to provide unique and most appropriate content in an unbiased manner and that increases their visibility on Internet.

Thus, content curation is very important for the marketers to increase their visibility on the Internet which results in increased potential and regular customers and provides higher profit margins for the brands and their marketers.

Importance of Content Curation for Freelancers

Content curation is very important for freelancers too because marketers often take help of freelancer content providers to attain original, valid, relevant and unbiased content with proper search engine optimization to attain better visibility on Internet.

For freelancers, content curation is professionally essential while it can also be an interesting means of learning too. A freelance needs to provide relevant and latest content about a varied category of subjects. While a freelancer can take help of enormous amount of content easily available on Internet, they need to be especially skilled in acquiring and organizing the relevant content in an appropriate manner so that it can be shared effectively to attain the required purpose. Content curation is necessary for freelancers because it helps them to remain aware of the latest and most important information about any issue that needs to be covered under the content that they have to provide. For a freelancer, content curation is the process of remaining aware and alert about their field and subjects for which they need to produce content so that they can remain efficient at their job.

However, it is not easy to be a skilled content curator. The biggest problem in content curation is the enormity of content available on the Internet that a content curator will have to research to organize it in a meaningful manner within a short period. This can be very cumbersome and distractive but with the help of proper techniques and technological tools, this task can be made easier.

The Process of Content Curation

Content curation is a continuous process and a professional content curator will have to adopt this process in his daily life. The very first step of the process of content curation is to decide for a relevant topic, subject or issue. Once the goal is set, the next step is to seek the relevant information. While seeking the relevant information may seem to be burdensome, it is necessary and yet, it is just a step of content curation. Once content curators have attained enough information about the topic or issue, they need to analyze and refine the available information to make a proper sense out of it so that the content can be rearranged according to relevancy and appropriateness of it to achieve the goal. One may do so by writing a blog post containing the links of organized content to offer a particular meaning of what they have researched, refined and organized.

Making a relevant meaning out of the available content is a tricky job because it is necessary to provide appropriate meaning through your presentation in such a way that it meets the requirements of the content curator’s subject and goal. After this, the content curator needs to present this highly researched, refined, and reorganized content in an appropriate manner so that they may attain largest possible audience. It is necessary for the content curator to confirm that the presentation is in such a simple format that any person can not only understand it but can also make best use of it with ease.

Tools of Content Curation

Obviously, the most difficult and burdensome step of the process of content curation is to find relevant information. While one can search about any topic or issue on any search engine such as Google, one may fail to attain quality information through simple search engines to perform content curation. However, there are enough tools to reduce the burden of seeking appropriate information and a content curator can make better use of the following tools of content curation:

 

  1. Scoop.it:

    instantShift - Scoop.it

    The tagline of Scoop.it is “share ideas that matter” and it explains this tool perfectly. Scoop.it is currently considered as the best content curation tool which offers a series of content based on niche subjects and issues. After deciding for their choice of subject, a content curator can easily attain quality content. The next step is to read and analyze the contents and save them as a collection. One can attain everything including articles, videos, Facebook statuses, Twitter lists, and so on.

  2. Storify:

    instantShift - Storify

    Storify is another quality service or content curation tool that can be used to attain optimized results. Create an account on Storify and start attaining the best content including tweets, blog posts, videos, images and so on. Storify itself provides the content in different niches in a series of meaningful presentations that can be used to attain better results.

  3. Pearltrees:

    instantShift - Pearltrees

    Anyone looking forward to be a master content curator cannot ignore the service of Pearltrees, which is one of the finest curation tools. While one will attain a number of images, articles, videos, tweets, and so on to analyze and observe. One can simply use the browser application to “pearl” the content page that seems relevant, attractive, meaningful, and usable. One can easily share their “pearl” pages easily through Facebook, Twitter, Email, or on their own website.

In addition, there are a number of other highly efficient content curation tools such as StubmleUpon, Pinterest, Delicious, BagTheWeb, Bundlr, and so on that can be used by a content curator to attain appropriate content. However, it will the responsibility of the content curator to analyze, organize, rearrange, and represent this set of content about their preferred niche topic in a meaningful manner.

Content curation may seem to be a hefty task but it is becoming a necessity to maintain a grip on the Internet market. The most important aspect of content curation is that it is not a malpractice or activity of plagiarism. A content curator is not expected to copy and paste information from one content page to other. Rather, the job of content curator is to research the available content on Internet, refine it, reorganize it, and represent it in a unique manner with appropriate references and citations for the original content providers. It is very necessary to maintain the ethical lines of the job of content curation because the marketers that are looking forward to make better use of content curation are strictly looking for ways to gain trust of the customers so that they can establish their brands in the market. When a person simply steals some other person’s idea without offering proper credit to the original content creator, he is simply stealing the content while content curation is strictly the job of sharing the best content in a relevant, organized and appropriate manner.

Stop designing for screen width, design for content

320, 768 and 1024. Do these numbers mean anything to you?

No, it’s not the Da Vinci code, they are the widths in pixels that many designers associate with mobile, tablet and desktop screen widths.

The problem I have with this is that my mobile isn’t 320 pixels wide, my tablet isn’t 768 pixels wide and my desktop screen certainly isn’t 1024 pixels wide. There are hundreds of different screen sizes out there on a variety of different devices and yet we still think of responsive web design as 320, 768 and 1024.

 

What happens to all those screen sizes in between?

I have seen many sites that use these three breakpoints for their designs and simply create 3 static layouts that centre within the nearest width.

This is better than having an old fashioned, static, desktop only site as they are at least serving a one column, simplified version for mobile and a touch friendly version for tablet but then why would you alienate all other screen sizes by not taking them into consideration?

Sure the design will still work on the other sizes but what happens when you have a tablet that is smaller than 768? They will get the mobile experience on a tablet! And when viewing it on a laptop screen smaller than 1024? We’ll just send them the tablet layout and laugh at them for not having one of the 3 screen sizes that we have deemed worthy.

 

It’s about percentages not pixels

When you create your responsive layouts, you should always aim to set as many of your dimensions as possible in percentages. This helps to ensure that your content will grow and shrink evenly through different screen sizes and will do so in proportion to the device it’s being viewed on. This approach will also ensure that your content is always filling 90% (or as much as you determine) of the screen instead of possibly 50% of the screen as the content is centred on a screen size that is a few pixels smaller than the next available breakpoint.

 

Content is king

When choosing your breakpoints, you should always be making your decisions based on where the content breaks and not to device screen widths. Instead of creating a design and then modifying it to fit the iPad screen comfortably, you should find out at what width your content starts to struggle.

I tend to start with a 1400 wide design and slowly make the browser smaller until a piece of content breaks the layout or gets close to doing so. That then determines my next breakpoint. It doesn’t matter whether it is at 1200, 800 or 673, if the content still works then why change the layout?

You will find that you will end up with strange breakpoints such as 477 or 982 and that you may have 2, 6 or 10 different breakpoints. The point is that the content will decide rather than the intended screen sizes that you wish it to be viewed on.

With the array of different devices and screen sizes being released every month, it is impossible to determine a set of definite breakpoints for our responsive projects. The truth is that whilst we are using a variable such as screen width to determine our responsive layouts, we will struggle to serve a perfect layout to every different size but by following a few of the tips above, we can at least ensure that the content is always displayed as best as possible.

Importance of an Attractive Portfolio for Graphic Designers

Like any other field, a portfolio holds great importance for a website/graphics designer. An eye catching design has great benefits. It reflects your designing skills and attract your clients.

Being a website/graphics designer myself, I have met a lot of designers that don’t even have a portfolio. When they get clients, they just send over some of their recent designs. In this way, there clients are unable to review most of their work and there are more chances that they will back off and find some other designer.

 

Why Make a Portfolio?

There are a great number of designers all over the globe and it’s one of the most rapidly growing information technology fields with the growing demand of website and graphics designing. This is a vast field and it constitutes of many sub fields. Graphic Designing includes logos, banners, brochures, flyers, business cards and a lot more. Today, there are a lot of individuals or companies that regularly need some kind of graphic design. Whether it be for online uses or printing purposes.

A portfolio for a designer is the basis of clients whether to hire you for their designing needs or not. Your portfolio demonstrates your skills, expertise and talent.

A design portfolio is compulsory for freelance designers as well as those running a designing company.

Designing a portfolio is not something that you just start doing without any preparation. There are a number of things to consider but before you start designing your portfolio, study the reasons why is it important and in what ways will it help you. This will help you in coming up with more creative ideas for your design showcase.

Following are a few points explaining why a portfolio holds so much importance.

  1. Presents Your Skills

    I have seen many designers’ websites without any graphics. They are just full of text and stories. Mentioning what services you offer and what can you do is not enough. You should show a proof of what your are doing. Your client will not be interested to choose you as their designer unless you don’t showcase your work in that specific designing they want from you. Suppose you get a client visit your site wanting to get a brochure designed for their business but don’t find even a single sample of your work.

    Clients need satisfaction as they are spending something to get the job done!

  2. Makes Clients Trust You

    When you display your work; you make new clients trust in you. Get the testimonials from your old clients along with your portfolio so that the new clients get more satisfied from you. This will in turn bring more customers to you.

  3. Represents a Genuine Business

    There a lot of designer emerging nowadays. Many are talented and possess great skills but still there are some designers that don’t have a proper experience in this field. They have learnt a bit of basics and promise their clients to provide quality work. As there work is not worth showcasing, they don’t show a proper portfolio. This simply results in wastage of their clients’ time when they don’t like the unprofessional work.

    In comparison to this, a buyer will prefer some designer showing his/her work.

  4. Prevents Rejection from Clients

    Everybody has their own choice for designs. Similarly all people don’t like some specific kind of graphics. Some will prefer really professional, clean graphics, some prefer 3D, while others want shiny, colorful designs. Suppose you make specific type of designs and you don’t have a portfolio. You get a client and start working on their order. Soon you will come up with a final design and when you submit a preview of it to them, you get bad remarks. This will not only waste your precious time and effort but you will also get a bit frustrated and end up saying bye to your client.

    Showing a portfolio to your clients before taking their order will prevent these situations. Your client will confirm before if they need some variation in their design from the past work you have done.

After getting to know the reasons to make a portfolio and how much importance it holds you must be thinking ways to make a beautiful portfolio. Yes! It should be highly attractive, and force the people looking at your portfolio to choose you as their designer!

Design an Attractive Portfolio

I am going to give some useful tips and tricks that will lead you to come up with a beautiful design and finally some examples for inspiration!

I am not just focusing on Graphics Designer in this article. But this is also to address the website designers! Most of the graphics designers know how to make a graphics template of website. So if you got skills and can come up with a design on graphics software, it will be way too easy for you. And if you have the coding skills it would be a plus.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to code an image to working website! You can get it done from any coder for as low as $20 for single page!

Most of the designers have their websites setup already where they offer their packages or services. But I have seen a lot of designers that don’t even have their websites. They advertise their services on different forums or websites. They think that they are getting enough customers but they are not aware of the fact that they are also missing a lot of clients due to some flaws.

Firstly they don’t have a website which is a turn down for clients who look for legitimacy.

Moreover they are not providing a proper compilation of their past work to their buyers. Anybody going to pay for something needs a proof, and a design portfolio is similar to a proof for buyers!

So following are the essential tips that you should keep in mind before designing your own portfolio website! These are the things that really matter and will make your portfolio stand out!

  1. Make a Decent Collection

    Before making a portfolio, do enough work and increase your collection till some extent. Your portfolio should be not be empty. This is a great turn down for clients and they will probably think that you are an amateur and you don’t have much experience in designing field. Just to give an idea I would suggest you to have atleast 15-20 items in your portfolio. But still you can have more. But remember don’t overfill it. Just keep a balance.

    You can tell your clients later that you have a lot more designs and you can show them if they want something more.

  2. Filter Your Design for Portfolio

    Take a hard look at your past work. Which of your designs are catchy? Separate the work you thing is best. Don’t include the designs you think are not much attractive as compared to your other work. This may cause your client to loose interest in getting their job done from you.

  3. Categorize Your Portfolio

    Your goal is to convert your portfolio visitors to your customers. To do so, you have to try your best to make your portfolio easy on eyes. It should not become a difficulty for your visitors. Don’t just make it jungle of images. This will just annoy your visitors and they will most probably end up closing the window.

    Separate your designs according to the categories. Like if there are logos, banners, business cards, flyers, brochures, just separate them up under different partitions with a prominent title to distinguish it from other designs. It helps the buyers in a way that they will look for samples in that specific design category they want to get a design from.

  4. Variety in Samples

    As I discussed earlier in this article, that all the clients do not have same choice. Your design may have a preference of one client and it may be rejected by the other so don’t ever do the mistake of adding same kind of designs in your portfolio.

    Have a variety of samples, so your client may have an idea that you will come up with something unique, different and something new for them. On the other hand if you have all same kind of designs with similar effects used in all of them, your client will not be much interested and you may loose them. Also add any photo of your print work. I myself request a photo of printed graphics I design for my clients.

  5. Include Testimonials

    Include testimonials from your past clients somewhere in your portfolio. Don’t just throw it somewhere. Instead be clever and place them in an efficient way so they are as prominent as your portfolio items are. Testimonials help a lot in motivating your visitors to become your client. It is a quick way to build trust with visitors. Many designers ignore this factor but testimonials help a lot. Let your client write a little about how was their experience to work with you.

  6. Show Your Work Properly

    Many designers add small thumbnails of their design work or show a little part of it due to the fear that someone will copy their work. Don’t do that, instead host the full-sized images on your own server and link the thumbnail or small image to the full size image, or make some functionality so that the image may zoom up on clicking. Avoid linking your samples to the clients’ website for which you made that design.

    People do not always keep same designs, they might change it and it will be a problem for your further clients later.

    Same thing applies to the web design projects you have worked on. Host them on your own server instead of linking to external websites, you may give a link though but keep a check if your client has not updated their site.

  7. Make Your Layout Simple

    People in search of a designer are looking for a website with an easy navigation. The layout should not be over done. It should not be filled up with a lot of colors and too much fancy techniques. The layout as a whole should look simple, attractive and everything on the website should be easy to understand. Don’t confuse your clients in any way. Make your contact details easily accessible. Remember contrast is your friend and you have to play with it in a creative manner.

  8. A Little About Yourself

    Having an ‘About Me’ page is also a plus point. Do not take it as granted. You have to deal with your visitors in a friendly way. For individuals, it’s a place to show off who you are as a person. Tell about your qualifications, experiences and expertise in your field. To make it more attractive, add any kind of picture of yours, a portrait, sketch, caricature or anything representing you.

    Moreover giving links to your social networks profiles from here is better. It builds more familiarity and makes you more approachable if the client is in need of a designer ever again.

  9. Keep Your Portfolio Up to Date

    Design your portfolio in such a way that it is easier for you in future to update the pieces.

    It’s a common fact that as you make more deigns and gain more experience, you start to like your new design more than the designs you had made a couple of months or some time ago. So if you think that there is something in your portfolio which seems to be odd to you then there is no need to keep it anymore in there. Just replace it with your new designs. Keep on revolving items. It gives a good impression on returning customers.

I have added some really attractive portfolio designs for inspiration. It will give you a better picture of how you have to get creative and design your own unique portfolio.

In this portfolio, the design has given a very easy way to navigate around. The animation gives access to contents of website with keyboard shortcuts.

The designer has beautifully embed the images in a frame. The frame effect makes this portfolio unique!

This design is full of creative ideas. The designer has wrapped all the necessary components of a portfolio website in a single book shelf. There are no unnecessary items in the shelf. Every item gives the information about that designer.

Simple yet attractive design. This website would have been so dull without the lightning or glow effects used. They have given life to the design. See how little sprinkles and toppings can make your site delicious!

The design is an example of use of many colors in a proper and beautiful manner. The abstract not only contain colors but also represents the name of designer along with easy navigation beside.

Here is another creative artwork. The designer is welcoming his visitors and requesting them to have a seat. This builds a friendly environment and look at the way how designer has introduced himself to visitors. Such techniques leave impressions in the mind of your visitors.

If you have a look at the complete website, you will see how in only a single page, the designer has added all the information a client is seeking for. Starting from his introduction to a few recent designs followed by his service offerings and then finally an easy contact form at the bottom.

And at last, simple yet effective about us page. It consists of a paper background effect, little sketch of the designer, and some introduction to him.

Becoming an Expert Proofreader

Very first thought – “What is Proofreading?” The word ‘proof’ is used to mean the final trial print that is used for making corrections before printing. Hence, a proofreader goes through the entire text with a fine toothcomb, trying to look for errors and glitches in the document.

Proofreading involves detection of errors, such as punctuation, grammar, and choice of words, spellings as well as other details of font, style and alignment. It involves surface reading.

 

Grammar and style form the primary focus of proof reading. The hard and fast rules of grammar need to be adhered to, such as dangling participles, typos, tenses, voices and so on. This is important to create the best image of the company or the person. Style is a little more ambiguous and has to do with the tone of the language, such as sarcasm, serious, ironical, and humorous and so on. These are brought about by the choice of words and each piece of writing needs to have a specific tone. Proofreading, in a nutshell, is not just looking out for grammar and punctuation errors ,but rather looking at the document as a whole and see whether all the words fit in together, supplying better options wherever necessary.

Qualifications of Proofreaders

A proofreader needs to do a check on the quality of a publication before it goes into print. There is nothing like a qualification that is officially recognized for proofreading, nor is there any specific course for proofreading. This does not mean that certificates are of no use for a proofreader or that they can be entirely dismissed as qualifications. However, such certificates do not surely form part of the criteria for recruitment as a proofreader.

The experience of the person is far more important in a proofreading job. You need to get maximum opportunities in order to get this experience and then establish a formidable reputation in your niche to get the maximum possible testimonials. A freelancer with a good command over the language can become a proofreader for different types of documents and articles and even novels. Some of the important qualifications a proofreader needs to have are:

  1. A good eye for detecting details and errors.
  2. Excellent knowledge of the English language, along with intricacies of grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.
  3. A dedicated and systematic approach to the task.
  4. Good concentration skills.
  5. Relevant experience would be an advantage in order to prove aptitude in the niche.
  6. A native speaker of English would also be an advantage, but not essential.
  7. A graduate or an undergraduate working towards graduation.
  8. A good grade in English Literature would be desirable but not compulsory.

A proofreader needs to prove his worth. A freelance job of proofreading done from home can be convenient but you need good communication and writing skills. One needs to go along with the flow and the tone of the piece along with understanding the layout. Freelancers who wish to break into this career need to provide work that people would like to come back for.

Types of Proofreading Jobs

Several websites offer proofreading jobs of various types. There are many writers who want their stories or articles to be proofread. These writers then refer them to others. These jobs can belong to several niches.

For instance, there is technical writing where proofreading is required in engineering and medicine. Several documents are published in these fields and need proofreading. Writers of blogs also require proofreading for their articles. They would like their posts to be perfect in order to draw in more readers and viewers to their blog and attract advertisements. The content and readability of the article can be improved by proofreaders. Many companies also require copyeditors for proofreading their content before it is uploaded to the web. Websites that regularly publish web content are also in continuous need of proofreaders. There are also jobs related to correction of academic papers, such as thesis and other educational papers.

There are sites that allow proofreaders to set prices for their project and only do the proofreading work of those who meet their price criteria. There are several student assignments and advertisements of businesses, such as brochures and newsletters that require proofreading.

There is general proofreading that just requires an overall correction of grammatical mistakes and language errors along with spelling and typos. Journal proofreading needs a little higher skill set according to the requirements of the publishing firm. Apart from this, manuscript proofreading and scientific journals contain more complex studies and need to be properly checked out.

Tips to help Proofreaders to Succeed

  1. Concentration. Concentration is the key factor for successful proof reading. You need to get rid of all distractions and do the work without interruptions. Try to remain away from other noises as well, such as the radio, the television, your email and so on. Even a split second of inattention could cause an oversight and you might overlook an important error.
  2. Be alert to Homonym. There are words that sound similar or those that have the same spelling but different meanings. A proofreader needs to be aware of differences between words, such as ‘complement’ and compliment’ or ‘later’ and ‘latter’, ‘council’ and ‘counsel’, ‘imminent’ and ‘eminent’ and several others.
  3. Errors in Apostrophes. Several errors in apostrophes need to be watched out. For instance, words, such as, ‘your’ and you’re’; its and it’s; there and they’re and so on. These are silly errors, but if they are not taken care of the credibility of the passage is put under great strain leading to a poor opinion of the writer. You need to remember that the apostrophe is only used to show possession and it should not be used in plurals.
  4. Possessive pronouns, such as my, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs and its do not have apostrophe, whereas possessive nouns, such as Jack’s, dog’s, cat’s and other proper and common nouns can take the apostrophe for possession.
  5. Check out numbers/dates. Numbers can play a crucial role in the essay or text. Look out for the number of zeros in a value, such as $10,000 or $100,000; million or billion; 1972 or 1982; 5% or 50% and several other numerical related errors. Wrong statistics could lead to a complete misrepresentation of facts.
  6. Cultivate a sense of doubt. Try to double check your work and keep doubting, so that you will be able to identify all the errors. You need to doubt every word in order to identify each and every mistake. It is important not to take anything for granted while proofreading.
  7. Reading aloud. Read through the text rather slowly and, if possible, try to read out aloud. Read only what is presented on the page and not what is in your mind or what you think is there. Reading aloud helps as it slows you down and you are able to hear the words as well as see them, thereby making use of two sense organs.
  8. Look at the words without just allowing your eyes to slide over the words. Don’t just look at the outer shell of the words, that is the first and last letters of the word, but take in the entire word.
  9. Look out for words having double letters. These usually lead to confusion and spelling errors. For instance, accommodation, embarrassment, omission, occurrence, possession, apparent and so on.
  10. Using a dictionary. Use a dictionary in case of words that you are not very sure about. Select a link where you can quickly check out errors in spelling, punctuation, pronouns, subject verb agreement, periods, sentence fragments, dangling modifiers and tenses.
  11. Choice of words. Instead of using common verbs, such as ‘give’, use ‘offer’ proffer’. Instead of using ‘tell’, make use of a more apt word, such as ‘suggest’ ‘inform’ and so on.
  12. Using Spell check. Spelling errors are the most common ones and are also the most easy to tackle and correct. You can, of course, use spell check and a dictionary for the wrongly spelt word. However, spell check is no use with homonyms, such as ‘accept and except’, ‘who’s and whose’ and so on.
  13. Create a checklist of your own for proofreading. Make a list of the common errors and mistakes that you usually find in a document and refer to this list while doing the job.
  14. Try analyzing one kind of problem at a time or during a reading. First, try to spot grammatical errors, and then look out for punctuation errors, then word choice and then the sentence structure. If you look for one type of problem at a time, you are more likely to do a more thorough job of it. When you look for trouble, you are sure to find it, so the saying goes.
  15. Build a good professional reputation. You need to provide a good quality service of proofreading.
  16. Always complete any project within the given deadline and be professional with the client. You must also do the job accurately and in a committed and conscientious manner, so that you can be set apart from the competition in the particular field.
  17. You could also register with several online proofreading services and submit your resume, but be careful of scams.
  18. To attain success in your niche, you can print your business card and even place them with printers or in the local college boards and other potential clients.
  19. Try to develop your experience by first doing some voluntary proofreading jobs in local schools and colleges. You can also take some online classes or tutorials to develop and increase your skills.
  20. Create a strong resume by clearly listing out your experience, your educational background and any style of writing that you are particularly familiar with. You can also add some samples of your work.

Ten Common Errors to Avoid as a Proofreader

Some common errors to look out for during proofreading are:

  1. Subject verb agreement – For instance – The balls of slime is eaten by ants. Here, the subject of the verb eaten is ‘balls’ and not ‘slime’. Hence, the subject is plural and should be followed by a plural verb – The balls of slime are eaten by ants. Another example – This box of ornaments belong/belongs to me. Here again, the subject is ‘box’ and not ‘ornaments’. Hence – This box of ornaments belongs to me. ‘One of my sister’s friends is/are a doctor. The answer is – One of my sister’s friends is a doctor (because only one of them is a doctor).
  2. Commonly confused words – We often get confused between words, such as advise and advice; farther and further; affect and effect; adopt and adapt; confident and confidante; envelop and envelope; altogether and all together; amount and number; and several others. You can keep a handy list of such commonly confused words and go through the examples in order to get these words straight.
  3. Verb tenses – Verb tenses are very often confused by writers. The passage begins with a tense and then it continues into another tense. These are very often overlooked by proofreaders. You need to identify the situation and check out whether it belongs to the past, present or the future and then use the correct tense. Facts and Universal truths always need to be in the present and wishes need to be conveyed in the past. Shifting and changing the tense in paragraphs continuously confuses the reader.
  4. That and Which – This is another common error that (not which) many authors and proofreaders overlook. There is a simple method of understanding when to use the right connective. ‘That’ is used as a defining clause and ‘which’ as a non defining clause. When you need information that is essential to the subject, the correct word to use will be ‘that’. When the information following is only supplemental and not essential to the subject, we use ‘which’. For instance – XXX is a company that offers proofreading service. Here, the information following is defining and very essential to know about the company. Look at this – XXX is a proofreading company, which delivers all work in time. The second part of the sentence that follows ‘which’, offers supplemental information.
  5. Active and Passive voice – When the subject of the sentence is more important than the action done, the active voice should be used. When the action done is more important and in cases where the subject is unknown, the passive voice is used. For instance, ‘A well is being dug’ and not ‘Some people are digging a well’.
  6. Use of Ellipsis – This is a common error. An ellipsis is a punctuation used to indicate that some text has been deleted or omitted, or it can be used as a pause. It should consist of three dots that are evenly spaced with space between them.
  7. Use of commas – You have to know when to use a comma and when it is redundant. They are used for indicating a pause, when providing additional information, when joining a main clause with a subordinate clause, to separate items in a list and so on.
  8. Article use – a/an/the – When you refer to something specific, use the article ‘the’. When referring to any noun, use ‘a’. I need a (meaning any) pen. Please give me the (particular) pen. However, a general statement in the plural does not need an article. For instance, Pens are useful for writing. Yet, the pens that I bought yesterday were very cheap.
  9. Singular and plurals of nouns – Some nouns in English form plurals by adding an ‘s’; others by adding ‘ies’ ( babies). Some others remain the same for both singular and plural – deer/deer; sheep/sheep; aircraft/aircraft. Some nouns convert ‘a’ into ‘ae’ (formula/formulae); some others convert ‘I’ into ‘e’ (crisis/crises; thesis/theses) and so on.
  10. EI or IE – The rule here is that ‘I’ before ‘e’ except in case of ‘c’. Thus, ceiling and not cieling; believe not beleive; field not feild; siege not seige.

Conclusion

A proofreading job requires an eye for detail along with accuracy, concentration and excellent language skills. There are no other specific formal training required to become a proofreader. However, one should be careful of the common pitfalls and errors that you need to look out for while doing a proofreading job. You need to establish a good name in professional circles to become a successful proofreader. A proofreader needs to be constantly on the lookout for a whole range of mistakes and errors to do with punctuation, grammar, spellings and also the fundamental structure of the sentence and other word usages. You need to know common spelling errors, homophones, apostrophes and other details of grammar to do a thorough and professional job.

 

There are various types of proofreading jobs available these days and you can easily carve a niche for yourself in the field. However, the competition is fierce and one needs to do a competent and thorough job to thrive in the field. It can be a pleasant rewarding work that you can do from the comfort of your home and is a great career option for the dedicated freelancer.