Desktop wallpapers can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. However, if you use some specific wallpaper for a long period of time, it becomes harder to draw inspiration out of it. That’s why we have decided to supply you with smashing wallpapers over 12 months. And to make them a little bit more distinctive from the usual crowd, we’ve decided to embed calendars for the upcoming month. So if you need to look up some date, isn’t it better to show off a nice wallpaper with a nice calendar instead of launching some default time application? This post features 75 free desktop wallpapers, created by designers across the globe. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free.Please notice:all images can be clicked and lead to the preview of the wallpaper;you can feature your work in our magazine by taking part in our desktop wallpaper calendar series. We are regularly looking for creative designers and artists to be featured on Smashing Magazine. Are you one of them?So what wallpapers have we received for September 2010?
A few years ago, you might not have pointed out during a meeting with a potential client that you maintained a blog. Over time, though, blogs have evolved from the being a personal hobby to a serious work tool. In fact, today, web designers are supposed to know much more than just how to design and build websites. Customer's expectations have increased, and unless you are in position to choose your favourite clients, meeting them requires hard work. Hence, it's important to keep learning about the variety of design-related fields every single day — be it marketing, psychology, business, copywriting, publishing or blogging. This article doesn't cover "traditional" web design discipline as we know it, but goes a bit beyond it, exploring various writing, blogging and online publishing strategies. Apart from that, we present some useful writing style guides that may help you educate your clients on their copy for their upcoming project.
In this post we release a yet another freebie: Academica WordPress Theme, a free WordPress theme designed specifically for educational websites such as universities, schools etc. It's a flexible and versatile free theme that can be easily customized and branded for any university, academy or non-profit organization. The theme is designed by ProudThemes (the server is currently not working) and released for Smashing Magazine and its readers. As usual, the theme is free to use in private and commerical projects. The theme was developed for WordPress 3.0+, allows enabling/disabling of a jQuery-based content slider on the homepage for showing your photos, has 9 sidebar widget areas and 3 custom widgets, 3 custom page templates and 2 custom post templates and provides dynamic image resizing (TimThumb script). The theme is released under GPL. You can use it for all your projects for free and without any restrictions. Please link to this article if you want to spread the word. You may modify the theme as you wish.
To mock-up the user interface of a website, software or any other product, you'll need some basic UI elements. And this is where wireframing kits and UI design kits come in handy. When you want to create a low-fidelity prototype for your projects, you can use these kits to give your idea a certain shape, keeping it abstract and not losing yourself in details. In this post, we've prepared an overview of useful web and mobile user interface kits, handy PDFs and resources that you can use in your projects. We've carefully selected the most useful kits and resources to get you going in the early stages of a project.
Recently, A/B testing has come under (unjust) criticism from different circles on the Internet. Even though this criticism contains some relevant points, the basic argument against A/B testing is flawed. It seems to confuse the A/B testing methodology with a specific implementation of it (e.g. testing red vs. green buttons and other trivial tests). Let’s look at different criticisms that have surfaced on the Web recently and see why they are unfounded. Jason Cohen, in his post titled Out of the Cesspool and Into the Sewer: A/B Testing Trap, argues that A/B testing produces the local minimum, while the goal should be to get to the global minimum. For those who don’t understand the difference between the local and global minimum (or maxima), think of the conversion rate as a function of different elements on your page. It’s like a region in space where every point represents a variation of your page; the lower a point is in space, the better it is.
jQuery plug-ins provide an excellent way to save time and streamline development, allowing programmers to avoid having to build every component from scratch. But plug-ins are also a wild card that introduce an element of uncertainty into any code base. A good plug-in saves countless development hours; a bad plug-in leads to bug fixes that take longer than actually building the component from scratch. Fortunately, one usually has a number of different plug-ins to choose from. But even if you have only one, figure out whether it's worth using at all. The last thing you want to do is introduce bad code into your code base. The first step is to figure out whether you even need a plug-in. If you don’t, you’ll save yourself both file size and time.
What do corporate websites have in common with other people's children? Three things: they have their charm, like finger-paintings on the refrigerator; they can be useful, if infrequently; they are usually admired only by the people who created them.While designers know that a user's experience on a website has a large impact on the way that customer will interact with them, impressing that concept on the corporate establishment has taken a very long time. Trends in design are making their way into corporate web, albeit slowly; with patience and a little luck, businesses will soon start to consider carefully coded and appropriately functional design as important as their mission statement and recent sustainability reports. One unfortunate fact is evident above all else: despite having plenty of money at their disposal, many corporations are lost in sterile MS Word-esque designs that are more stagnant than a museum exhibit… though at least museums have dinosaurs and mummies and stuff. Here's hoping we all will get new corporate clients soon.Below, we present some interesting corporate websites, although the insight they offer may not be immediately apparent. This review is not about aesthetics or visual appeal, but rather about the design solutions the sites exhibit. In fact, corporate websites aren't as visually arresting as you might think, so if the appeal isn't immediately apparent in the previews below, take a moment to visit and interact with each of them.
Today we are glad to release a yet another freebie: Polaroid Magento Theme, a professional design skin for the shops powered by the popular open-source ecommerce web application Magento. The theme was designed by eCommerce-Themes and released for Smashing Magazine and its readers. As usual, the theme is absolutely free to use in private and commerical projects. The theme is released under GPL. You can use it for all your projects for free and without any restrictions. Please link to this article if you want to spread the word. You may modify the theme as you wish.
Product photography could well be the single most important design aspect of any e-commerce website. Without the ability to touch, hold, smell, taste or otherwise handle the products they are interested in, potential customers have only images to interact with. Ultimately, the softer, tastier, flashier and more attractive your products look to shoppers, the more confident they'll feel about purchasing from you and the better your conversion rate will be. While any product can look great in a photo (sometimes deceptively so), keep in mind that your images should match your website’s overall aesthetic and your company’s image. Let’s start with a few great examples of how online retailers have incorporated high-quality product photos onto their websites. In this article, we will focus on images of actual items, rather than models, events or landscapes.
Every now and then we look around, select fresh high-quality free fonts and present them to you in a brief overview. The choice is enormous, so the time you need to find them is usually time you should be investing in your current projects. We search for them and find them so that you don’t have to.In this selection, we’re pleased to present Piron, Nobile, St Marie, Code, Arcus, Crimson Text, Quadranta, Juice, Prociono, Mr Jones, Ibarra Real and various useful symbol fonts. Please note that some fonts are for personal use only and are clearly marked as such. Please read the license agreements carefully before using the fonts; they can change from time to time.You may be interested in the following related posts:20 Fresh High-Quality Free Fonts25 New High-Quality Free Fonts15 Beautiful High-Quality Free Fonts40 Excellent Free Fonts for Professional DesignYou can find over 80 more free fonts in our Fonts section.