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Carrie Cousins

Carrie Cousins

Carrie is the chief writer at Design Shack, with years of experience in web and graphic design. Sports fanatic. Information junkie. Designer. True-believer in karma.

15 Tips to Improve Your UX Writing

UX Design / 20 Feb 2019

15 Tips to Improve Your UX Writing

There are so many micro elements that are a big deal with it comes to user experience design. A lot of focus has been put on micro-interactions and engagements, but what about micro-copy?

UX writing is a big deal. The words, language, and composition of sentences and phrases throughout a design can make it or break it. (Think about how many times you’ve turned away from a website or app because directions were unclear, or a typo made you angry.)

Today’s the day you should vow to improve your UX writing. It’ll make your website or app better. And it’ll definitely make users happier. Here are a few ways to do it.

10 Web Design Trends to Watch in 2019

Trends / 18 Feb 2019

10 Web Design Trends to Watch in 2019

The average life of a website is three years. And design elements – such as color and typography – often get updated more frequently than that. That’s why it is so important to keep up with web design trends.

Doing this allows you to make small tweaks to your design today so that it won’t be out of date tomorrow. So which web design trends do you need to be on the look-out for this year?

This guide will help you create an on-point design plan for 2019!

50 Best Website Color Schemes of 2019

Trends / 13 Feb 2019

50 Best Website Color Schemes of 2019

Does it ever seem like certain website color schemes just get all the attention? As with every other aspect of web design, there are color schemes that tend to trend more than others. Bright colors, stark palettes, and even some mismatching schemes are elements of color that are trending.

Here’s a look at some of the best website color schemes of 2019 (in no particular order). For each, we’re also sharing the color codes that make up the key elements of the design, so it’s easy to play around with these color schemes yourself too!

30 Tips to Learn Web Design in 30 Days

Business / 11 Feb 2019

30 Tips to Learn Web Design in 30 Days

Is learning the basics of web design still on your “someday” list? Why haven’t you got started yet? We’ve put together 30 tips and resources to help you start learning web design this month (and maybe even find yourself a new career path!)

Graphic designers, print designers, and creatives looking to learn something new or break into website need to quit procrastinating. Every day that you don’t take that first step leaves you one day further behind everyone else!

Follow these steps to begin learning how to create your first website, industry best practices, and much more—all in 30 days!

8 Top Graphic Design Trends of 2019

Trends / 11 Feb 2019

8 Top Graphic Design Trends of 2019

What’s hot in graphic design? One of the things people always want to talk to me about is graphic design trends. Here’s a recap of the top graphic design trends of 2018, plus a little preview of what’s likely on the horizon for 2019.

It’s such an interesting topic because there are trends that change slowly over time – just look at the long evolution of flat design to where we are now – and others that seem to flip overnight. Should you always rush to use the latest graphic design trends in your work? Of course not. But it’s helpful to pick up new ideas, find inspiration, and see what types of techniques and styles are shaping your industry.

Portfolio Design Trends in 2019

Trends / 6 Feb 2019

Portfolio Design Trends in 2019

When was the last time you updated your design portfolio? (If you’re like me, it’s probably been a while.) Maintaining a fresh portfolio is a good way to show off your skills to potential clients and can be helpful when looking back on work for annual contest entries.

If you’ve fallen behind with your portfolio design, or just need a new portfolio in general, this is a great opportunity to create something using trendy techniques and visuals.

A modern portfolio using design trends can make a great impression. A portfolio is also a representation of your skills — so design wisely! Here’s a look at some of our favorite portfolio design trends for 2019.

7 Tips for Sending Better Email Newsletters

Business / 4 Feb 2019

7 Tips for Sending Better Email Newsletters

Email marketing is one of the top ways to communicate with an audience. You can inform users with stories and information, send discounts and coupons to encourage shopping, and help direct traffic back to your website.

But not every email newsletter is created equally. My inbox is just as full of poorly designed messages as ones that I’ll actually read. With so much inbox clutter, designing an email that will stand out—and is easy to read—increases your chances of success. (Open rates hover in the teens to 20 percent range for many industries, so you have to work hard.)

Starting with a well-designed email newsletter is the start. Here are seven tips for sending better emails, that more users (hopefully) will look forward to opening.

9 Tips for Speeding Up Your Website in 2019

Business / 30 Jan 2019

9 Tips for Speeding Up Your Website in 2019

It’s not a trick question: is your website fast enough? Page load times can impact everything from how long users stay on your site (or if they see the content), to search rank and overall conversions.

Speed matters on two fronts – for desktop and mobile devices – with mobile speed mattering more than ever. Not only does your website have to load fast; it needs to load fast everywhere.

So how do you do it? Start by running a Google PageSpeed test to see where your site ranks (you’ll get a few suggestions for speeding up your site there as well). Then, start making these tweaks to make your website lightning fast this year.

Userstack: Detect Browsers and Devices in Real-Time

Reviews / 30 Jan 2019

Userstack: Detect Browsers and Devices in Real-Time

Behind every good website is a set of powerful data and tools that ensure that you are connecting with users in a way that creates targeted experiences and conversions.

One of the best ways that you can ensure these user experiences are the best they can be is to tailor content to the users’ device type. You probably know that already, but do you know how to get that information and use it well?

Userstack is an instant, secure user-agent string lookup JSON API that detects any browser, device and operating system in real-time so you can deliver optimum content to users. Here’s a look at this tool and how it works.

What Are Dark Patterns? (And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)

UX Design / 28 Jan 2019

What Are Dark Patterns? (And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)

Dark patterns are website interfaces that cause users to interact with a website in a way that isn’t what they intended. They cause users to click through to a page, or even add an extra item to a shopping cart, without intending to.

From sneaky clicks to straight-up poor website practices, dark patterns are in more places than you might expect. Today, we’ll look at what dark patterns are, how to identify them and why you shouldn’t use this technique in your website or app projects.

If you think a dark pattern is a cute background image, you need to keep reading.

Brochure Design Software: 3 Options Compared

Software / 23 Jan 2019

Brochure Design Software: 3 Options Compared

So, you need to design a brochure? Where do you start? We’re comparing three different pieces of brochure design software to see how they stack up.

For web and digital designers creating a printed brochure for the first time, to designers that have been making print pieces for a while, using the right tool can make brochure design a more efficient task.

Adobe tools are the common starting place. Today, we’ll compare using InDesign, Illustrator and Adobe Spark (a free offering) for creating a brochure design.

Pitch Deck Design: 10 Tips to Stand Out

Business / 21 Jan 2019

Pitch Deck Design: 10 Tips to Stand Out

A good pitch deck is designed for specifically one thing – to help your startup get funding from investors. But how do you stand out from the crowd, and make a memorable impression?

There’s a delicate balance to creating a deck with just enough slides to entice potential funders, without providing so much information that they are overwhelmed.

Most pitch decks contain less than 20 slides. So how do you create a pitch deck design that stands out? Here are our ten tips to help you get started.