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5 Things That Belong on the Front Page of Your Website

In business, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and your company’s website is no different. When customers arrive at your site they should instantly have a clear understanding of who you are and what you do. But statistics show that many small-business websites lack the basics, which puts them at risk of losing a customer with just one click.

The relationship between a customer and a business is based on trust. Is your website customer-friendly? Start with the five things that belong on the front page of every business website.

1. Contact information: A recent survey by Chantilly, Va.-based local media and advertising research group BIA/Kelsey indicates that nearly 75 percent of small-business websites don’t have an email link on their homepage. And six out of 10 don’t have a phone number.

Minimally, your site should have a clear email link and a phone number. If you have a physical location, consider including the full address with the state and zip code, as well as a map and directions.

Related: How to Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly with ‘Responsive Design’

2. Images that represent what you do: If you sell wedding cakes, for instance, the front page of your website should have a picture of one of your cakes. As basic as this sounds, many business sites use irrelevant graphics such as butterflies and family photos, or worse, no graphics at all.

But be mindful of how you display images. Think twice before making them spin or shake or do anything else that can be distracting or irritating.

3. Clear navigation with working links: The front page of your site should have a clear navigation system either across the top or down one side of the page. The buttons should be clearly marked with words that correspond to the content on your site and help customers quickly find what they’re looking for. Also consider including buttons for shipping options, FAQs and background on your company.

It’s also important to click your links on a regular basis to make sure they all work, or use Google Webmaster Tools to identify any 404 errors. Broken links not only prevent shoppers from completing their orders, they can also make it appear as if you don’t care about your business.

4. An email signup box: One effective way to encourage customer loyalty is with a regular newsletter. Put a signup box on the front page of your website and offer rewards, such as a discount on a future order to anyone who submits his or her email address. Services such as Mailchimp offer simple ways of doing this.

5. Social media links: Help customers stay in touch by providing links to your social media accounts right on your front page. Use recognizable icons linked to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn. You can also use feed widgets to encourage instant follow-up as well as social media sharing.

10 Common Mistakes When UI/UX Designers Create Website Buttons

Buttons, as well as links, are the most widely-used interaction elements in web design and can be found on almost every website. Buttons that commonly appear on the websites can be classified into two categories: those with submit function and those equivalent to a link. Links that should be emphasized in the websites are naturally represented as buttons. Then how to create website buttons correctly so as to make it easy for uses to finish their operations?

Sometimes designers make several errors when they create web buttons. Here are 10 common mistakes when UI/UX designers create website buttons.

#1 Using a “reset” button

It’s nonsense. Why would a user want to reset what he/she has just completed? If a mistake is made, he/she can edit it rather than resetting all the contents and restarting. Worse still, the reset buttons are usually located on the left side and thus can be easily clicked by accident. Who knows how much business has been lost by frustrated users leaving the site after accidentally deleting their submissions?

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#2 Buttons that are too small

Make buttons BIG! When you create website buttons, you should make sure people can see the “order now” buttons if you really want them to click it.

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#3 Buttons with generic or misleading labels

When you create website button, keep in mind that not all buttons can be named as “submit” or “next” based on the action that follows. Ideally, the button’s label should clearly describe its action. For instance, “Next Step”, “Checkout” or “Update My Profile”. It’s also a good idea to have “>>” or “<<” added to the label to emphasize the direction of the action.

#4 Buttons that are in the wrong places

It’s just logical that buttons to move you forward should be on the right, and buttons to move you backwards should be on the left.

#5 Fancy buttons

In order to be a seemingly “original” one, some designers may create website buttons that are very very fancy which however look totally different from the familiar buttons. Therefore, the ground rule is to keep it very simple, and a regular gray button with black text just works. A fancy-shmancy button as follows doesn’t:

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#6 Buttons that are hard to see

Buttons should be striking. A button tends to melt into the background if its color is similar with that of the website background. When you create website buttons, you ought to notice that the color of the button should be distinctly separated from that of the website background so that even color-blind people can see it easily.

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#7 Too many buttons

Users can be very confused and end up doing nothing and just leaving if they are faced with too many buttons. When you create website buttons, choose the most significant action you want your users to take and use one big and clear button. If other actions is surely required, use smaller buttons. Take GoDaddy as example, it has so many buttons that it’s really hard to figure out what to do.

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#8 Ugly buttons

Some buttons are so ugly that all you want do is to keep the cursor as far from them as possible. Would you want to click the following buttons?

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#9 Buttons without labels

If users are required to click a button, they should be told the function of the button before clicking it. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Not to everyone:

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#10 Obnoxious button

Buttons that flash, rotate, or have horrible animations will just disgust and distract your users. These kinds of buttons used to be popular in the early days of the Internet. Unfortunately some survived. If you want to make your site look amateurish, use an animated button like this one:

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moreover, to get a favorable effect, you can put some thoughts into button interaction.

The Duffer Brothers Want You to Fix Your TV Settings Before Watching ‘Stranger Things’ Season 2

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The Duffer brothers have channelled a great deal of ’80s pop culture for Stranger Things, working to ensure that the show looks, sounds and feels like the classic films of their youth. That’s why it should come as no surprise that they care about how you watch it.

Ahead of the show’s second season, the duo told Vulture that they’re fairly obsessive about TV settings. Specifically, they hate the bizarre and surreal frame-blending that happens when you don’t turn off the “smooth motion” setting.

“Us and everyone in Hollywood puts so much time and effort and money into getting things to look just right, and when you see it in someone’s home, it looks like it was shot on an iPhone,” Matt Duffer said.

Ross Duffer added, “It’s shocking! We were just at Comic-Con, and we walk on the main floor and the settings on every single TV is wrong. I was like, ‘Didn’t a bunch of nerds put this together? What is wrong with them?'”

Matt continued, “When I go to my friends’ places back home. I’m constantly fixing their TVs.”

Ross said, “But they don’t notice! I’ll be like, ‘This looks like garbage,’ and I go into the settings and fix it for them, and they’re like, ‘It doesn’t look any different.’ ”

If you’re wanting to watch Stranger Things as the Duffer brothers intended, Matt says “The key thing is to turn off anything that says ‘motion.'”

You may as well do that on your television’s settings now. Stranger Things Season 2 launches on Netflix on October 27, and will most likely be followed by two more seasons.

When Design Goes Bad

21 Funny Design Fails Show Why You Need A Designer

Designers deserve more credit than they sometimes get –  they can prevent you from making regrettable design choices like the ones on this list. If you don’t want to end up looking foolish, a good designer is worth the money!

If you have any design fails you’d like to add to this list, please add them!

#1 No Safety

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#2 The Too Cool To Do Drugs Pencil

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#3 Westminster Bridge Design Fail Or Win?

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#4 Thanks For The Advice

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#5 My Mom Bought A Strawberry Scented Minion Shampoo For My Little Brother

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#6 Don’t Think The Owner Of This Hotel Thought This Through

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#7 Probably Should Have Put The Author’s Name Somewhere Else

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#8 Who Thought Up This Design?

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#9 This Designer Hasn’t Looked At A Compass In A While

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#10 This Newspaper

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#11 Jedi Entrance Only

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#12 This Escalator

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#13 That Nose Job

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#14 Take A Left And Then Bunnyhop To Your Destination

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#15 This Seems Like A Bad Idea

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#16 Not Exactly The Color Pattern You Like To See In A Bathroom

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#17 This Pet Shop Sign

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#18 Vote For Yves Lévesque, Official Facefolding Candidate

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#19 I Received The Most Useless Item Ever At A Golf Tournament

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#20 How Is This Supposed To Work?

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#21 This Bathroom Door Is Cut Out So It Could Swing Past The Toilet

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Betting by design – Cheltenham Gold Cup 2017

Throughout the week there are some exciting racing events lined up at the Cheltenham Festival. Whether you are a seasoned viewer of the races or new to the sport this handy guide will help with spotting jockeys by their silks for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Jockey racing silks are the unique colours and patterns they use to identify themselves in the race.

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V Festival introduces new brand identity

Virgin V Festival has introduced a new logo and brand identity to reflect its diverse headline acts across different musical genres.

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The new identity, created by Form, has been launched to coincide with the first stages of marketing for V Festival’s 22nd year and will roll out across marketing communications and onsite at the festival parks in August.

The logo incorporates a set of bespoke letterforms alongside the Virgin V which has been integrated to work with the new direction and features a new colour palette developed to complement Virgin’s brand, with the logo is encapsulated within a red balloon ellipse.

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The logo’s letterforms are drawn from a bespoke alphabet and set of numbers and glyphs that Form has created in collaboration with traditional sign writer and artist Archie Proudfoot. The idea is that the typeface will bring “increased brand equity to the festival” and will be used across all touch points from social media messaging to signage and merchandise.

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“The Festival embraces many styles of music with a big rock headliner one year to a pop act the next, so we felt the new identity should communicate an upbeat, optimistic summer experience of music and good times.” said Form partner Paula Benson.

The studio has also created a comprehensive style guide together with a design kit-of-parts which have been handed over to the Festival Republic in-house design and marketing team to implement.

Nokia brings back the classic 3310 phone

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Long-gone are the days of the brick-phone, emanating the distinctive text-tapping sound and pixelated graphics – or so we thought.

At Mobile World Congress (MWC) this week, HMD Global – Nokia’s manufacturer – announced that it is bringing back Nokia’s classic 3310 handset – one of the best-selling phones of all time.

Launched in 2000, the 3310 was only around for five years, but sold 126 million copies worldwide. It was famous for its simple-but-addictive game Snake, its indestructible casing and its hardy battery life.

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The new 3310 will come in four colours – red, yellow, dark blue and grey – and includes a 22-hour talk-time, SMS texting, an updated version of Snake and a month-long battery life, and will retail at £42.

The return of the phone certainly sticks to the trend of “retro” products making a comeback, from record players to classic iPods, but the announcement has somewhat masked Nokia’s new smartphone series releases – arguably a more important product launch for the company.

The new smartphones – the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and a global roll-out of the existing Nokia 6 – aim to appeal to a “new generation of fans”, according to HMD Global.

The Nokia 3310 and the three smartphones will be available to buy online and at retailers from the second quarter – between April and June – of 2017.

Government to invest in teaching UK children to code

The UK Government announced it would be investing in teaching children to code

Culture secretary Karen Bradley announced the Government’s digital strategy this week, which is focused on training the public in digital skills and teaching children how to code.

Bradley has pledged to offer face-to-face digital skills training to 2.5 million individuals, small and medium businesses (SMEs) and charities by 2020, and also to teach basic coding to 45,000 children in 2017, through various partnerships with companies such as Google, Lloyds and Barclays.

While skills training in computing and coding is essential to increasing people’s job perspectives and benefitting the economy, the plan neglects to see the value of more creative digital skills, says the Design and Technology (D&T) Association’s CEO Dr Julie Nugent.

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“While coding is important, so too is the need to understand the digital technologies that are revolutionising the modern workforce,” she says, and goes on to mention skills such as computer-aided design (CAD), 3D-printing and laser-cutting.

Read the Government’s full digital strategy here.

NHS sets strict guidelines around use of its visual identity

The National Health Service (NHS) has new compulsory rules around logo placement, typeface and colour usage, which have allegedly sparked anger from hospital managers under pressure to save money.

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Hospitals, GP surgeries and clinics across the UK will need to update their NHS branding, as the organisation has published new, strict guidelines around the use of its visual identity.

The new NHS Identity Policy includes the use of a consistent logo format and placement, colours, typefaces, imagery, tone of voice and rules around which organisations can use the logo.

When used alongside a hospital name, the NHS logo must now sit above the name, the number of permitted typefaces and fonts has been reduced and there is a wider colour palette.

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The core colour palette of NHS Blue – Pantone 300 – and white will continue to be used, alongside four groups of colours including blues, neutrals, a support palette of greens, and highlights, ranging across purple, pink, red, yellow and orange. Particular shades have been specified.

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The core typeface Frutiger will continue to be used in a variation of fonts, alongside a secondary typeface of Arial, and a foreign language typefaces when necessary for those who do not have English as a first language.

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Imagery used must now “reflect diversity” within the NHS and “promote equality”, as well as being representative of the public across factors such as gender, race, disability, age and sexual orientation.

The new guidelines follow market research, gathered from 1,000 interviews and 28 focus groups with patients and the wider public, which showed that people “want to see the NHS identity consistently applied”, according to the NHS.

The guidelines are compulsory for NHS organisations and aim to reduce “confusion and concern” surrounding NHS services, but have “prompted fury and ridicule” from hospitals and charities reports The Telegraph which may now need to update branding across multiple platforms. The NHS is currently trying to save £22bn by 2020.

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The new guidelines apply to all mediums, from print communications to interior and exterior building signage and online and social media platforms.

The organisation says that existing print materials using inconsistent versions of the branding do not need to be thrown away, just gradually phased out as new materials produced adhere to the guidelines, so as not to be wasteful.

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Banksy opens the “Walled Off Hotel” in Bethlehem

Nestled against the infamous cement barrier that currently separates Israel and Palestine in Bethlehem rests the latest ambitious art installation from the elusive street artist Banksy. Titled the “Walled Off Hotel,” and promising the “worst view in the world,” the experiential art show is a fully functional hotel that will be open for reservations as soon as next week.

Banksy and a team of assistants have spent the last 14 months retrofitting an old hotel, transforming the hallways, lobby, dining room, exterior, and individual guest rooms into an art exhibition. With the exception of a piece that showed up on a school house wall last June in Bristol, this appears to be the entire focus of the artist’s efforts since closing Dismaland in 2015.

Not all of the artwork in the Walled Off Hotel is Banksy’s. Guest rooms have been given to artists like Sami Musa and Dominique Petrin, with additional rooms opening in the near future. An additional art gallery curated by historian and critic Ismal Duddera will include artworks by some of the most notable Palestinian artists over the last 20 years.

Via the Walled Off Hotel website:
If you stay at the Walled Off you could find yourself literally sleeping inside a work of art. So far Banksy, Sami Musa and Dominique Petrin have customised guest rooms, more will follow. As Diane Arbus once said ‘to live with an artwork is something different, to glimpse it from the corner of your eye.’

The hotel boasts floor to ceiling views of graffiti-strewn concrete from almost every room. And for the exhibitionists amongst you – many are within range of the army watchtower. All scenic rooms are ensuite and equipped with wifi, fridge, radio, personal safe and air conditioning.

Outfitted with surplus items from an Israeli military barracks, this room offers a bed from $30 a night. No frills, includes locker, personal safe, shared bathroom, complimentary earplugs.

Both the location at 182 Caritas Street in Bethlehem, Palestine as well as the collection of artworks are sure to draw a lot of tourism and controversy. The entire exhibit appears focused almost entirely on the ongoing conflict in the region and many of its consequences, but is also sure to draw significant tourism dollars over the next year.

The hotel begins taking reservations on March 11, 2017 (opening officially on the 20th) and is slated to remain open until at least the end of year. You can learn much more on Banksy’s website and in the hotel’s FAQ.