Author:

Cameron Chapman is a professional Web and graphic designer with over 6 years of experience. She writes for a number of blogs, including her own, Cameron Chapman On Writing. She’s also the author of The Smashing Idea Book: From Inspiration to Application.

Twitter: Follow Cameron Chapman on Twitter

Google Profile: https://plus.google.com/100062046541538268973/posts

Applying “A Pattern Language” To Online Community Design

A Pattern Language is a book about architecture that was written in the 1970s, before the Web as we know it was even conceived. But the book provides hundreds of valuable patterns for community planning and architectural design, many of which can easily be applied to online communities and social networking websites.

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Niche social networks are popping up online all the time, with many designers and developers taking advantage of pre-built social network platforms and making little modification. It makes sense, after all: why reinvent the wheel when perfectly good ones are available?

But if you step back and really consider how your social network or online community is set up, you might be able to improve the user experience and overall user satisfaction by leaps and bounds. Looking to other fields, such as architecture and civil engineering, is one way to gain new ideas without having to reinvent the wheel.

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Finding Inspiration in Uncommon Sources: 12 Places to Look

Inspiration can be a fickle thing. Most designers, when lacking ideas, turn to design galleries to find ideas. But there are a few problems with that approach. The most obvious is that when taking inspiration from similar mediums, there's a fine line between "inspired by" and "copied". To some extent, looking at established website designs can also be somewhat limiting, especially if you're looking for a fresh solution to a problem.

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There are so many things designers could be turning to for inspiration outside of design galleries. We've cataloged a dozen of those places below, along with where you can find inspiration for each of them. Share any other inspirational sources you might have in the comments.

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Color Theory For Designers: Creating Your Own Color Palettes

In the previous two parts of this series on color theory, we talked mostly about the meanings behind colors and color terminology. While this information is important, I'm sure a lot of people were wondering when we were going to get into the nitty-gritty of actually creating some color schemes.

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Well, that's where Part 3 comes in. Here we'll be talking about methods for creating your own color schemes, from scratch. We'll cover the traditional color scheme patterns (monochrome, analogous, complementary, etc.) as well as how to create custom schemes that aren't based strictly on any one pattern. By the end of this article, you'll have the tools and skills to start creating beautiful color palettes for your own design projects. The best way to improve your skills is to practice, so why not set yourself a goal of creating a new color scheme every day.

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Color Theory For Designers, Part 2: Understanding Concepts And Terminology

If you're going to use color effectively in your designs, you'll need to know some color concepts and color theory terminology. A thorough working knowledge of concepts like chroma, value and saturation is key to creating your own awesome color schemes. In Part 1: The Meaning of Color of our color theory series, we covered the meanings of different colors. Here, we'll go over the basics of what affects a given color, such as adding gray, white or black to the pure hue, and its effect on a design, with examples of course.

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Hue is the most basic of color terms and basically denotes an object's color. When we say "blue," "green" or "red," we're talking about hue. The hues you use in your designs convey important messages to your website's visitors. Read part 1 of this article for the meanings conveyed by various hues.

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Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color

Color in design is very subjective. What evokes one reaction in one person may evoke a very different reaction in somone else. Sometimes this is due to personal preference, and other times due to cultural background. Color theory is a science in itself. Studying how colors affect different people, either individually or as a group, is something some people build their careers on. And there's a lot to it. Something as simple as changing the exact hue or saturation of a color can evoke a completely different feeling. Cultural differences mean that something that's happy and uplifting in one country can be depressing in another.

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This is the first in a three-part series on color theory. Here we'll discuss the meanings behind the different color families, and give some examples of how these colors are used (with a bit of analysis for each). In Part 2 we'll talk about how hue, chroma, value, saturation, tones, tints and shades affect the way we perceive colors. And in Part 3 we'll discuss how to create effective color palettes for your own designs.

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My Website Design Was Stolen! Now What?

Designers spend hours perfecting websites, whether their own or their clients'. When you've invested anywhere from a few days to months in a website, the last thing you want is for someone else to steal the design without even giving you proper credit (or compensation). And if you're a template or theme designer, it's an even bigger problem. After all, if your templates are available online for free, a lot of people won't bother paying for them.

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So what can you do if you've discovered that one of your designs has been ripped off? What should you do? Read on for a complete guide to steps you can take to protect your intellectual property.

I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one on TV, so the advice here should not be taken as legal advice. Before taking any of the actions mentioned below, check with a lawyer or other legal expert to see what is allowable in your state or country or to see if additional options are available to you.

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Designing “Coming Soon” Pages

Deciding what to do once you've purchased a domain but haven't yet launched the website is always a bit of a conundrum. Leaving up your domain registrar or Web host's generic page seems unprofessional, especially if you're trying to drum up advance press for your new project. At the same time, you don't want to spend too much time on a temporary page when you really should be working on the website itself.

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The best thing to do is create a simple "Coming soon" page to notify visitors of what will eventually be there. Good "Coming soon" pages come in two basic varieties: the informational design, which simply tells visitors what will be there after launch; and the page that invites early visitors to sign up for updates or even to request a beta (or alpha) invitation. Below are some great examples of each, followed by some best practices for creating your own "Coming soon" page. You definitely won't see among these the generic "Under construction" page (with the cute construction graphic) that used to litter the Web.

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