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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.

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

Rich Typography On The Web: Techniques and Tools

Let's face it: Web-safe fonts are very limiting. Maybe a dozen fonts are out there that are widely enough adopted to be considered "Web safe," and those ones aren't exactly spectacular for much other than body type. Sure, Georgia, Arial or Times New Roman work just fine for the bulk of the text on your website, but what if you want something different for, let's say, headings? Or pull quotes? What then?

You have a few options. Many people just opt for more elaborate CSS font stacks, with their preferred fonts up front. But that still leaves a big chunk of your visitors seeing the same old Web-safe fonts.

Typekit

Enter dynamic text replacement. In addition to font stacks, why not replace the heading text with an image, embedded font, or bit of Flash? The methods described below are easier than they sound. And the end result is that the vast majority of users will see the beautiful typography you want them to see. A word of warning, though: don't use dynamic text replacement for all of the text on your page. All that would do is slow it down and frustrate your visitors. Instead, save it for headings, menu items, pull quotes and other small bits of text.

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15 Common Mistakes in E-Commerce Design

15 Common Mistakes in E-Commerce Design and How to Avoid Them (via @smashingmag) -

Selling online can open up huge new markets for many businesses. When your store can be open 24/7 and you can reach a global market without the costs of mailings and call centers, it can be a huge boon to your business. But there are plenty of things to consider when designing an ecommerce site. It's not as simple as throwing up some shopping cart software and plopping products into a database.

ecommerce screenshot

There are tons of mistakes that online retailers make every day, all of them avoidable with a little careful planning. And even if you're already committing some of these mistakes, most of them are easy enough to fix. Avoiding them will greatly improve the experience of your customers.

Below are 15 of the most common mistakes that e-commerce sites make, as well as advice on how to avoid or fix them. Take the advice under consideration before embarking on a new e-commerce project or when thinking over your current ecommerce site, and make efforts to follow the recommendations outlined here.

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40+ Desert Island Web Development Tools

What would you do if you were suddenly stranded on a desert island in the middle of nowhere, with only a USB drive, a dial-up internet connection, and a barebones computer with no software outside the operating system installed? Of course, you'd use the internet connection to call for help first, but what about after that? How would you keep your design business going?

XAMPP

Okay, maybe a scenario that's a bit more likely would work better. What if your computer crashed, wiping out all of your data and programs, and you have a deadline in two days? Or maybe you want to be able to pick up and leave at a moment's notice without taking anything more than a change of clothes and a USB drive. If you have the apps below, neither of those scenarios would be much of a problem.

The apps on this list can help you with everything from coding to graphics to running your business and managing your projects, all from a single USB drive. And while USB drives are getting bigger all the time (last I checked a 64GB one wasn't too badly priced, and that's 4GB more storage than my current MacBook has), you still need special programs in most instances to have true portability. The apps below are just that: truly portable and small enough to fit on a USB drive (often a very small USB drive).

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Guide to CSS Font Stacks: Techniques and Resources

CSS Font stacks are one of those things that elude a lot of designers. Many stick to the basic stacks Dreamweaver auto-recommends or go even more basic by just specifying a single web-safe font. But doing either of those things means you're missing out on some great typography options. Font stacks can make it possible to show at least some of your visitors your site's typography exactly the way you intend without showing everyone else a default font. Read on for more information on using and creating effective font stacks with CSS.

Screenshot

There are a huge variety of font stacks recommended. It seems every designer has their own favorites, what they consider to be the "ultimate" font stack. While there is no definitive font stack out there, there are a few things to keep in mind when using or creating your own stacks.

First of all, make sure you always include a generic font family at the end of your font stacks. This way, if for some strange reason the person visiting your site has virtually no fonts installed, at least they won't end up looking at everything in Courier New. Second, there's a basic formula to creating a good font stack: 'Preferred Font', 'Next best thing', 'Something common and sorta close', 'Similar Web-safe', and 'Generic'. There's nothing wrong with having more than one font for any of those, but try to keep your font stack reasonably short (six to ten fonts is a pretty good maximum number).

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How To Find Time For… Everything!

Time management is one of the most important skills a freelance worker can learn. With a good time management system you can easily find the time to do the things that are important to you, whether in your professional or personal life. Successful time management can be challenging, especially to those who are new to freelancing or being self-employed. When you have a boss telling you what to do and when to do it by, it's much easier to prioritize and figure out what needs to be done and when.

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But when you're not only dealing with client deadlines but also all of the day-to-day parts of running a business, on top of trying to maintain some sort of life outside of work, time management gets a whole lot trickier.

Below are sixteen tips to help you better manage your time and find the time to participate in the things that are important to you. Also included are some further resources to improve your time management.

Also consider our previous articles:

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Data Visualization and Infographics Resources

Data visualizations and infographics can make complex datasets easier to understand and comprehend. By creating a graphical represenatation of data and statistics, complicated concepts and information can make more sense in less time. Many visualizations focus on representing a specific set of data or statistical information. Others focus on less-concrete topics, providing a visual representation of abstract concepts. Generally speaking, the first type appear more like graphs or charts and the latter are often more creative and imaginative.

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But visualizations and infographics can be used poorly, too. Putting in too much information (or not enough), using improper formats for the information provided, and other failures are common. Below are more than 25 useful resources for infographics and data visualization. Most are galleries of effective graphics though some also provide how-to information for information designers.

Also consider our previous articles:

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35 Excellent Wireframing Resources

Wireframing is one of the most valuable parts of any web design project. It can save a designer tons of time by hashing out the details of a site's architecture, functionality, and content prior to actually starting a visual design. But if done inefficiently, it can end up costing more time and can even create bigger headaches for both the client and the designer.

Wireframes Screenshot

Below are more than 35 resources for creating better wireframes, including tutorials on different methods and a variety of tools available. There’s information on everything from paper wireframing techniques to using programs like Adobe Illustrator for the wireframing stage of your designs.

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