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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

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10 Principles Of Effective Web Design

Usability and the utility, not the visual design, determine the success or failure of a web-site. Since the visitor of the page is the only person who clicks the mouse and therefore decides everything, user-centric design has established as a standard approach for successful and profit-oriented web design. After all, if users can't use a feature, it might as well not exist.

We aren't going to discuss the implementation details (e.g. where the search box should be placed) as it has already been done in a number of articles; instead we focus on the main principles, heuristics and approaches for effective web design — approaches which, used properly, can lead to more sophisticated design decisions and simplify the process of perceiving presented information.

Screenshot

Please notice that

In order to use the principles properly we first need to understand how users interact with web-sites, how they think and what are the basic patterns of users' behavior.

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Graphics In Motion

Graphics doesn't need to be static or fixed: it can float, jump, fly, dance around and transform in different forms. Once you set visual elements in motion, you can achieve stunning results which would be far too difficult to achieve otherwise. And in fact, there are a number of stunning examples of how this can be done.

In this post we present some excellent examples of videos in which graphics are set in motion. In most videos graphics dominates, but it can also support the content.

Feet Want Out

You might want to take a closer look

  • at the category Monday Inspiration where we've covered some graphic motion works over the last months,
  • and particularly at the article Typography in Motion which describes what effects can be achieved once the letters are set in motion.

All links lead directly to Quicktime-versions of the videos which is why you might need some traffic to load them. These pieces simply don't deserve to be watched in low-quality on YouTube.

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Free Fonts Of The Month: Newcastle, Anziano

Every now and again we take a 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 the time you should be investing in your current projects. We search for them and we find them, so you don’t have to.

Newcastle Screenshot

This month we'd like to present you Newcastle, Anziano, Sovereign and Inconsolata. Please read the license agreements carefully before using the fonts — they can change from time to time.

You can find over 150 more high-quality fonts in

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29 Brilliant Music Videos

Music has always been an excellent source of inspiration. Particularly if you are stuck with some problem you can't find a workaround for, a beautiful song can give you a new perspective, let you see the problem from a different angle. And sometimes it's just useful to make a break — for instance, watching some music videos.

In this post we present some unusual music videos for your monday's coffee break. Some of the videos are thought-provoking, some of them are funny and some are bizarre. While many of them are well-known, you'll probably find some videos you've never watched before. The videos all perfectly to the music which is being played in the background. Hopefully, everyone will find something new and inspiring for himself/herself. Please notice that you might need to watch some videos at least twice to get the idea behind them.

Music Video Screenshot

You might want to read the descriptions of the videos — they are provided below every link. The screenshots often don't reveal that much about the videos they stand for.

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Data Visualization and Infographics

The main goal of data visualization is its ability to visualize data, communicating information clearly and effectivelty. It doesn't mean that data visualization needs to look boring to be functional or extremely sophisticated to look beautiful. To convey ideas effectively, both aesthetic form and functionality need to go hand in hand, providing insights into a rather sparse and complex data set by communicating its key-aspects in a more intuitive way. Yet designers often tend to discard the balance between design and function, creating gorgeous data visualizations which fail to serve its main purpose — communicate information.

In both print and web design infographics — visual representations of information, data or knowledge — are often used to support information, strengthen it and present it within a provoking and sensitive context, depending on designer's creativity.

Infographics Screenshot

This article presents some spectacular data visualizations and infographics which manage to combine a strong visual appeal with the effective presentation of information.

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Premium WordPress Themes: Are They Here To Stay?

Over the last few years WordPress managed to become the dominating weblog engine out there. The main reasons behind its overwhelming success aren't that astonishing: WordPress is extremely easy to use, it's absolutely free and it has a huge community. But what is even more important is the fact that WordPress is an Open Source project. That means that everything, from the documentation to the code itself, was and is being created by and for the community for free. Consequently, WordPress themes and plugins have also been released for free in the spirit of the Open Source movement.

Over the last months we've been observing a growing trend towards "premium" WordPress themes — themes designed by freelancers and design agencies, heavily advertised on popular weblogs and offered for a fixed price.

Premium Wordpress Theme
Usually the development of a magazine-style design from scratch would cost $10,000 - $40,000. In these cases "premium" themes might address the needs of clients with smaller budgets.

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100 Excellent Free WordPress Themes

High-quality WordPress themes always come in handy. Whether you are looking for some design inspiration or professional coding solutions — in both cases you can learn a lot, you can apply them and you can build customized designs upon them without reinventing the wheel all the time.

In this article we present 100 free high-quality WordPress themes. Together with hundreds of other designs, these themes have been manually selected, installed and tested over the last weeks. They all can be downloaded, customized and used for free in both personal and commercial projects. Links to demo-versions provide a direct preview of a theme.

Please notice that the listed WordPress themes are presented in 8 sections: vibrant themes, simple & minimalistic themes, magazine style, grid-based, clean and legible, advanced, experimental, photoblog & videoblog.

100 Excellent Free WordPress Themes

You might also want to take a look at our previous selections:

You want them — you get them. This page may take a while to load; therefore please be patient and don't hit "Reload" too often.

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