Here at Web Professionals Global, we hope everyone has been experiencing a successful November. It is time again to focus on a few items which caught our attention during the month. We never cease to be impressed at how quickly web technologies change. Let’s briefly focus on these areas for now:
Browsers are beginning to support media query range syntax. Sure, it is not supported in all browsers on all devices yet, but knowing this is coming is huge. It should save significant time coding CSS. Instead of having to specify specific media sizes, we may soon be able to employ mathematical symbols such as >, <, <=, and so forth. Perhaps we can avoid min-width and similar bits as this is supported more and more. Readers are encouraged to follow the above link (it will open in a new tab) to learn more. Please let us know what you think about the possibilities of this via comments.
Adrian Roselli posted an article earlier this year on buttons, enter and space. From a user experience perspective, this is a great refresher on what happens when you use native keyboard interactions. Adrian even provides a working example (with counters). His last word in the article is something we advocate all the time – test. What are your thoughts about keyboard interactions?
Let’s not overlook e-commerce accessibility either. We came across this article specifying UI elements using roles. As many of our readers know, specifying the purpose of UI elements is critical when visitors to a site rely on assistive technologies. We thought this article provided a great number of insights and examples. We look forward to your thoughts on this topic as well.
As we approach the end of the year (and many of us have to provide tech support to family and friends as they receive new devices), it might be wise to bookmark the OUCH newsletter site. Disclosure, Mark (your executive director) is one of the monthly reviewers of these articles before they go live. Each month, a security professional provides a timely overview of one aspect on security. Articles are kept short and are suitable for sharing with those not as savvy in various aspects of technology.
That is all for our November desktop view. We know your time is valuable and appreciate you reading this post. If you would like us to include additional articles or focus on additional aspects, please let us know via your comments below. Until next time…
Mark DuBois, Executive Director
Web Professionals Global (aka World Organization of Webmasters)
Just like having the ability to speak a foreign language, this sort of skill is helpful in almost all professions. HTML and CSS are the foundational languages of the web. As web professionals we should know what updates are taking place in HTML and CSS world. I came across few articles about what’s new about both CSS grid and HTML.
CSS Grid Layout excels at dividing a page into major regions, or defining the relationship in terms of size, position, and layer, between parts of a control built from HTML primitives. (more…)
This article was written by Abid Ullah. He is Director of Search at Marketing Wind. He is an experienced SEO Outreach expert and advertisement specialist. His interests lie in Digital Marketing Management. He is an internet marketing enthusiast and his specialty is in search engine optimization outreach and content marketing.
At Miami SEO (part of Marketing Wind), we work with web professionals regularly Based on our analyses, we have created a list of 5 indispensable skills web professionals must know in 2017. If you are an aspiring web-professional, then look below and invest in learning these skills in 2017.
Create a Great User Experience
As a web professional, you already know that user experience is essential. This means when creating a site, you need to build an excellent interface and great user experience. Avoid user experience errors. Review your efforts with those who will be using the site and confirm the site is not only usable, but is easy to navigate and understand. Have you ever visited the Amazon online store? It is among the best online retailer stores on the Internet. They have used a variety of features and user interface elements that make purchasing and browsing seamless. As it is an e-commerce store, they have made sure the purchasing and delivery system is spot on. Just with an input of delivery information, you can confirm your order and get done with the process that easily. Try to offer your consumers a similar fluid experience so that they stay on your website for a longer time.
This is a must in 2017, many companies are processing payments from their sites. You must protect the site from hacking, SQL injection, and user requests that could be considered as spam. If you are uncertain whether your site is secure, hire a qualified professional to review your site and identify/ resolve any vulnerabilities.
It has always been important to learn Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). In 2017 web professionals can also use editors that do not require detailed HTML knowledge. Nevertheless, if you want to be a professional web designer and have professional web design skills for long-term and an in-depth understanding of your work then you must learn HTML and understand semantic markup. HTML is source to streamline your lifestyle and business line. Not learning how to use HTML will leave you behind in the web designing and development process. You’ll miss out on easy-to-use visual HTML building tools, latest updates and on ways to enhance your blogging techniques. HTML helps a lot when it comes to formatting your blogs, pasting content from word to CMS, while making a guest post and during content formatting. As the content is worldwide known as the king of web and marketing, who wouldn’t want to learn a coding program that helps in putting the content into limelight?
Search Engine Optimization is not just about content. It depends greatly on the functionality of a website. As a web designer you should know Search Engine Optimization so that you can build a SEO friendly website which has the chances of getting ranked high in search engines. If you are a beginner, you can search about SEO. The web provides a series of SEO learning tutorials and videos. The official Google SEO tutorial is a good place to start. Moreover, the marketing team of the company can carry out conferences/ webinars with the leading SEO experts who can guide through how to do search engine optimization and how to make your website fully optimized for Google and other search engines. Another way to learn more about SEO is to experiment and see for yourself the results that different practices produce.
Basic CSS knowledge is essential; it is important to make sure that you know how to create CSS files from scratch. The CSS (cascading style sheets) is actually a styling sheet language. Through this you can give an effective style to your website along with the use of HTML. It makes the web page more appealing and easily manageable. Thus, learning CSS is a sure shot success key and web professionals must spend their time on it.Learn the new features of CSS-3 as well.
It is preferable to have the knowledge of the web server you’re launching your website at, to name your website properly and to understand secure FTP. This knowledge about the web server helps you find out how well it works with the operating systems, how capable it is to handle the server-side programming and about its security characteristics. Moreover, the knowledge gives you an insight of the search engine and site building tools that it comes with.
Web development is a broad category which also includes web-design and web-optimization, the above skills are taken from all aspects, but in some cases, you might only be focusing on web-designing which will require different skills than web-development. So, pick your category and decide whether you want to work on one aspect or all aspects and start learning.
Our colleague, Colin Cieloha, American author and content marketer at Skilled.co recommended the HTML5 canvas cheatsheet developed by his company (and embedded below).
Colin writes about everything that will draw his attention with a focus on the mobile and e-commerce space. When he is not writing he is spending his time traveling the globe and snowboarding. You can follow him on his Twitter at @ColinCieloha or on Linkedin. We asked Colin a number of questions about this resource. Details are below.
Become a Canvas Master with this HTML5 Cheat Sheet by Skilled.co
Why is it important for web professionals to know/ use this cheat sheet?
It saves time! Instead of having to remember all the coding or search for individual codes, an HTML cheat sheet provides all of the most used codes in one easy place. There’s a lot to be said for having all of that extra effort minimized, the common codes are just a click of your bookmarks away. This is convenient for those freelance designers that are in a time crunch as this allows them to complete their work faster and reach deadlines.
Why should they be focused on canvas now?
Canvas technology is amazing because it’s super easy to use. For example, Canvas can draw colorful text to help your message pop on the screen – and you can even animate it! HTML <canvas> objects can move, too, whether it’s just a few bouncing balls or an intricate animation that tells a story. For designers interested in gaming software, the <canvas> element is a brilliant choice for building characters, worlds, and then setting it all into motion.
The <canvas> element runs into some trouble with older browsers, however, and may not be supported. Canvas is, however, supported in all recent versions of all major browsers, so as long as your browser is updated, Canvas should work just fine. Canvas’s default size is three hundred pixels by one hundred and fifty pixels, width and height respectively, but is customizable. You can adjust the size of the canvas by using the HTML height and width property in the program.
With Canvas, function names are short and easy to recognize, unlike functions written in CamelCase. Identifiers in CamelCase often require lowercase where it would be more convenient to use all caps. For example, acronyms. It’s much easier to identify a function, if acronyms like HTML or SQL are written in full capitalization, but CamelCase sometimes negates this convenience.
This causes a serious headache for designers when two acronyms need to be side by side in a line of script: “parse DBM XML” would become “parseDBMXML” or when the function starts with an acronym, like “SQL server” (which the designer would be forced to convert to “sQLServer”). Even if a programmer considers acronyms lower case words and writes “oldHtmlFile”, “parseDbmXml” or “sqlServer”, it causes a mess because it makes it difficult to discern if it an acronym or not. Best case scenario, the designer wastes time. The worst case scenario, they make a mistake and now must comb through complicated lines of script to amend the problem.
Hopefully this sheds light on the massive benefits of the Canvas cheat sheet. Using this cheat sheet will save you time and help you to become a more efficient programmer, web designer, or even help you gain more solid experience as a beginner in this field. I encourage you to go check out Skilled.co‘s Canvas cheat sheet below and begin to create using their helpful, easy to read codes. Have fun creating and I hope this saves you more time!
We had the opportunity to communicate with David Braun (co-founder and CEO of TemplateMonster.com) recently. TemplateMonster is a marketplace featuring 46,000 templates for many different types of websites.
Why should Web Professionals care about this?
TemplateMonster can save you time
Templates exist for major platforms (WordPress, Drupal, and much more)
This means you can speed your workflow
David Braun is a co-founder and CEO of TemplateMonster.com. This company is the oldest and the most experienced on the market in this area. We invited David to talk and provided some questions for our discussion.
David Braun, co-founder and CEO of TemplateMonster.com
What is TemplateMonster.com from your point of view?
TemplateMonster has become a marketplace now. It features 46,000 pre-designed templates crafted for different types of sites, business niches, and engines including the most popular platforms: WordPress, WooCommerce, Joomla, Magento, Drupal, PrestaShop, and Moto CMS. Our aim is to meet the requirements of as many customers as possible. We offer plenty of cool stuff apart from the ready-made templates. For instance, landing pages, plugins, email templates and many other products. 100k people are visiting the site every day. A team of 427 geeks is working for TemplateMonster. Their joint efforts let TemplateMonster reach $15M in revenue.
Why should web professionals care about companies like TemplateMonster?
Because it’s beneficial for them. Cooperating with TemplateMonster frees their time, speeds their workflow, and lets them earn much more money.
Today all business owners understand how important it is to promote their services/products online. But not every entrepreneur is ready to pay for custom design, hire a developer, and create their online presentation from scratch.
They want to get their website within a reasonable budget, they want it to be quality, to look good, work flawlessly, and don’t wait for ages before their project will go live.
Web design agencies can cater to all these needs if they use our templates.
Tell me about the history of the company and how it was launched.
TemplateMonster was founded in 2002. Can you imagine that: people around the globe used our products when you knew nothing about Facebook and YouTube. We watched the evolution of the web and were proud to contribute into it. Hundreds of thousands websites you see today were built on the basis of our templates.
How everything started… I had been working at a custom design studio then. We tried our best to deliver top-quality products, but, unfortunately, most of our potential customers considered our services too expensive for them.
One day, I saw a designer who used a ready-made template to simplify and speed up his job. That was the moment when an idea to launch TemplateMonster crossed my mind. Eventually, this idea started to turn into a successful business.
Our company has held a leading position in the market for almost 15 years. Of course not all days were fine for us. We survived the rainy ones when something went totally wrong with our products. We got negative testimonials. And the bitter truth is that some of them were true. However, most of them referred to our outdated templates. What did we do? We just removed them from our marketplace.
They say “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. And even negative feedback can be useful. We thoroughly analyzed it and took the right turn. We got deeper understanding of what our customers need, and gave it to them.
Thanks for sharing your history. Why should one rely on a template?
Both entrepreneurs with little to no development skills and professional developers use our templates. All our customers get their benefits from our products.
The best thing about templates is that TemplateMonster’s customers see the final result, a ready-made product before paying any money for it.
Templates save time, money, efforts, nerves, whatever, and guarantee satisfaction with the future website.
What are the advantages of this approach instead of coding all by hand (or using Foundation or Bootstrap or other frameworks)?
Entrepreneurs get independence from designers, coders, and other professionals who sometimes overrate their work and don’t meet the deadlines. They don’t need to spend hours and hours searching for a responsible, skillful freelancers who may design something that they may be disappointed with in the end. As I have mentioned above, at TemplateMonster you see the final result at once. In other words, you see a ready-made product you are paying for. All you need to do is just replace the default content with your own.
Suppose you are just getting started and have no idea how to install the template, add your logo and other content, change colors, etc. You think only about the ways to generate more revenues and have no desire to mess with all those things.
So, you want to skip installation, customization or, say, integration with Google Analytics. Then, contact our Service Center. Our trained professionals will take care of everything and deliver you a ready-to-use site within 24 hours. Some tasks are completed even faster, i.e.: we install the template and plugins within 3 hours. There’s no issue members of our Service Center can’t cope with.
As to the coders knowing Bootstrap and other frameworks. Developers who are able to build sites themselves pay money for our products because it is advantageous for them.
With the help of our templates, developers considerably speed up their working process. They deliver more projects and earn more money respectively. We have a vast choice of templates in stock, which means that anyone can find the theme that meets the requirements even of the most picky customers. Creating something from scratch simply makes no sense if our marketplace offers so many ready-made designs. It’s like reinventing the wheel. Smart developers prefer to customize something here and there and deliver the website to the customer as quickly as possible.
I would like to tell you about the project we have launched not so long ago. It gives developers from all over the world an opportunity to get an official certificate from TemplateMonster that proves their skills. They just need to complete a course and then pass a final test (or pass the quiz at once) at our Certification Center. Having a certificate from a globally recognized web design company is a great way to improve your online image and look more credible for the customers.
Besides, having the certificate from TemplateMonster lets you get into Web Studios Catalogue, which gives a heap of additional opportunities.
You raise good points about certification. That is why Web Professionals has been certifying web designers, developers and more for so nearly 20 years.
What are the disadvantages of using a template?
Ok, you caught me;). It’s a tricky question, but I will answer it.
There is an opinion that using a template you fall under the risk to be unoriginal. If you’re going to use a template, then the chances are that you’re not alone, that’s the truth. But what is your chance of seeing a similar website on the Internet among millions of websites if you have bought your template from a marketplace like TemplateMonster with its terrific choice especially after customization? To my mind they are next to nothing. However, if it is crucial for you to be the one and only owner of the design, you can buy it out.
The quality of available templates varies, but in some cases, you might find the choices are rather basic. Some templates rely on you to fill in most of the gaps, and may have a poor set of graphics or visual elements. Frankly speaking I don’t see a big problem here as filling the template with your own content makes your website unique.
Using a template is unchallenging. Relying on templates to put together your projects, means you don’t get the benefits of learning the ins and outs of the software you’re using. But don’t you think that this is the essence of the template – to speed up and simplify the process of website launch? Not all entrepreneurs want to learn to code, design, and so on. They just want to get their benefit from the brand new website asap. A template gives them this possibility. In case they want to study everything that was left behind the scenes, they can sign up for one of our free educational projects (like “Your web studio in 61 days marathon“) and make up leeway.
Templates are naturally designed to help you get the results as quickly and easily as possible, but in many cases the customization options can be limited, restricting what you can do with your files. That’s why it is important to read the template’s documentation carefully before the purchase. Don’t want to read? Watch the short video from our playlist on YouTube. Don’t want to watch the video or can’t find the relevant one, ask the support manager. They are always available to answer all your questions and help to choose the right template for your purchase. Don’t worry, the guys will work until you are 100% satisfied.
What other products/services do you offer?
2016 became the year when our team focused on developing flagship templates. They are much more multi-faceted compared to our regular products. Let me explain the things with using flagships on the example of WordPress templates. Of course I can’t help mentioning the recent release of Monstroid2 – Multipurpose WordPress Theme. It’s not an ordinary template, it’s a whole toolkit to build an online magazine, business site, personal portfolio, web store, whatever. You can create a complex portal combining several types of sites into one as well. Supposing you want the impossible from a single template: to present your company, plus share some interesting info with clients and sell products at the same time. It’s hard to believe, but using Monstroid2, you can build a business site, add blog and store functionalities to it. Monstroid2 is a one size fits all solution for all the needs you may have.
Here’s how it was. At first we created a flagship for WordPress because it’s the most popular CMS in the world. But then we decided to develop flagships for all popular engines: Joomla, OpenCart, PrestaShop, etc.
But that’s not all, we didn’t forget about the guys who don’t use any CMS at all. You can find new flagships among HTML5 templates. You already know that it’s one of our goals to meet the needs of everyone who comes to TemplateMonster marketplace.
Please note that we don’t charge more for flagship products. You can get any of them for the price of a regular template. Considering professional 24/7 support that we provide for a lifetime, our flagships are the best deals you can find on the market today.
It also should be mentioned that the users can figure out everything by themselves, without professional help. Every template comes well documented. The instructions guide the users through all ins and outs of using it. There are also numerous detailed tutorials at our Help Center and Startup Hub for those of you who are just at the start or want to learn how to handle their template by themselves. What’s more, we run a blog to share a lot of educational content with our audience, particularly, free eBooks, webinars, tips, tools to become more productive, and much more. At TemplateMonster, you won’t just learn how to build beautiful and functional websites lightning-fast, you’ll learn to enjoy the job.
What differentiates you from the competition?
The cost and value of our products comes to my mind first. Our prices are not higher than the ones of our competitors. If you want to save, just search Google and you will always find promo codes to reduce the price by 10%-40%. We always offer great discounts on Christmas, Independence Day, and other public holidays.
Sometimes you find out that the price for this or that template is a bit higher, but, remember about the value we provide. All our customers get more goodies as bonuses to their templates. For example, all our products, except for GPL WordPress themes, are delivered with HD images shown in the demo. It’s a good opportunity to save, as there’s no need to buy stock photos. At TemplateMonster, you can also benefit from free professional technical support.
How long are your templates supported?
TemplateMonster is the only website developer that provides this service for a lifetime without charging any extra payment now. Our competitors provide it for free only for a limited period.
I don’t think it’s fair. Some people don’t use the template straight away. It’s your right to decide when to use the product you paid for. But with a time limit on free support, you’ll have to pay extra money to get consultation, say, in half a year or stay on your own with your issues.
This is not our method. We are ready to help our customers any time at TemplateMonster (the same day, in a week, in a month, in a year, and so on). What’s even more important, our team of experts works until it’s over. Every customer should be absolutely satisfied.
Though, words are not a weighty argument. Thanks to our unsurpassed customer service, we entered the top three of web design companies per the TrustPilot rating. Do you believe this bullet-proof resource with verified customers reviews? So many people can’t be under a delusion.
Here is a video to prove my words.
David, what happens with a purchased template as web technologies continue to evolve?
It’s a good question. You need to update your site regularly and redesign it from time to time if you don’t want to look outdated. Trends are changeable, you’d better not miss the moment when your site starts looking rusty. Customers never take your seriously if your corporate web presentation looks outmoded.
I also recommend you to check how user-friendly your site is in terms of navigation, readability, and other essential aspects. It’s very important to test how it works on smartphones and tablets all of us use to browse the web on the go. Your site must adjust to all modern mobile devices, otherwise you will lose clients. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you can forget about high SEO rankings. Google doesn’t like such kind of sites.
BTW, flagships owners may not worry about the matter. Their websites will serve them for many years to come as regular updates are included into templates packages prices.
Thank you very much, David. You provided lots of thought provoking information for both practicing and aspiring web professionals. Have any more questions for David? Ask them in the comment section below.