5 Ideas for Making a Screenshot Great

You want to include a screenshot of your app on your blog post or website. How do you make it look great? You want your screenshot be apart of the design and attract the attention of visitors.
5 Ideas for Making Your Screenshot Great

What can you do?

Use a colored pattern

Put your screenshot on a solid or patterned background. The background can help to draw attention to your screenshot.Scrrenshot with blue-green background

Place it on an image of a computer or phone

Create a screenshot that shows how your app looks on a desktop, phone or tablet. With a blank template, you can size it to fit. First, resize the computer monitor image to the size you want. Then, resize your screenshot to fit inside the monitor. You may need to crop and resize to get it to fit without looking squished.
Screenshot in Monitor

Add text to the screenshot

Is there a feature or part of your app that you want to show? Take a screenshot that focuses on that area of your app. Then, use your favorite photo editor to add text that describes the features that you are showing.
Screenshot with text

Create Multiple Screenshots

One screenshot doesn’t show the uniqueness of your app. Try three. Layer them on top of each with the most important screenshot on top. Or show it on a desktop, tablet and phone.
Three Screenshots

Add a shadow behind it

Use your favorite photo editor to edit the screenshot and add a background shadow to the image. The shadow can make it look like it is hovering over the background on your page.
Screenshot with a shadow

Your screenshot is an important part of the design. You want to make it stand out. Mix and match one or more of these techniques. You can make it look great by using one or more of these additional design techniques.

What do you do to make your screenshot great?

Have you Customized your Bootstrap website?

Once you have built a few websites with Bootstrap, you may notice that your sites look too much alike. As a web developer, you want your websites to useful as well as attractive. How do you fix this problem? You can customize how your Bootstrap looks. By working with and customizing the design, you can create a Bootstrap website that doesn’t look like it was made with Bootstrap.

Have you customized your bootstrap website?

What web development techniques can you use?

  • Create a custom style sheet
  • Use Custom Fonts
  • Add Custom Photography
  • Use Font Awesome
  • Customize Bootstrap’s Buttons

Create a custom style sheet

You want to create a custom style sheet to keep your design customizations separate from Bootstrap. Nothing more annoying than upgrading and realizing that you lost all of your design work because you added them to the Bootstrap CSS and forgot what you did. If you use Adobe Kuler or COLOURlovers color scheme generators, you can create a Bootstrap theme with the color scheme to start your designs from.

Use Custom Fonts

Fonts as well as colors should be unique to your website. By using custom web fonts, you can change how your site looks quickly and easily. When you choose the wrong font, your site can look bad. Where can you get ideas for choosing the right fonts? You can use the following resources Top 20 Google Fonts and How to Use Them and 10 Great Google Font Combinations You Can Copy.

Add Custom Photography

With sites like pixabay.com or Death to the Stock Photo, you don’t have to be a photographer to add unique and interesting photos to your website. With tools like Photoshop, you can crop, add photo effects and more to make a photo unique to your website.

Use Font Awesome

With Font Awesome, you can incorporate these icons into your designs. You can use them on buttons, navigations bars or anything else that you need.

Customize Bootstrap’s Buttons

Bootstrap comes with default buttons for you to use. You can customize the way these buttons appear in your design. Use this Bootstrap Button Generator to create the look that you need.

With web development tools like photos, Font Awesome and CSS, your Bootstrap website doesn’t have to look like a standard Bootstrap website. You can customize it to look the way you want.

Paper Prototyping

Have an idea for project? Do you start by opening your code editor and getting started? I have. Those projects seemed to take longer and failed to become good products. What works is prototyping or sketching the product out. Sketching helps you to slow down and think about the problem. It makes you choose one solution over the other and even seen things that you may not consider if you had jumped into coding first.

Paper Prototyping

Why paper?

  • Paper is cheap and easy. You just grab a piece of paper, a pen and start drawing. If you don’t like it, you can throw it away and start over.
  • Easy iterations. A paper prototype also allows you to create multiple iterations as possible without the expensive of writing code.
  • Documentation. No need to create additional documentation. The prototype becomes your documentation. With paper, you write notes on your design or on the back or add them with Post-It Notes.
  • Collaboration. You and your team can quickly and easily draw out ideas on paper and share them.

What do you need to get started?

  • Paper
  • Pens and pencils
  • Stencils

When do you use paper prototyping?

  • Brainstorming new ideas
  • Creating a mock-up of a new feature or product
  • Redesigning an older feature that no longer works

Should you use it for every project?

It depends. If your client or project can be easily understood by simple sketches, then you can use them to present your ideas. For some project, you may need to create a more interactive mock-up. Your client may need to see a working product in order to understand how you plan to implement your idea.

Paper prototyping is the easiest and simplest way to get started. If you want to stop talking and start sketching, this guide can help you get started.

Why a Lean UX Design Process?

Design is a marketing tool. The best marketing tool you can have is a well-designed product.
Annie Wang

How do you create a well-designed product? By focusing on solving the right problems and delivering value to your customers. A Lean UX Design process gives you the tools and system for developing a well-designed product.

Why A Lean UX Design Process

In Designing with Lean UX, Kate Kutter describes UX as

  • a mindset
  • focused on delivering value
  • inspiring the right kind of ideas
  • guides your decisions

What is Lean UX?

In A Lean Design Process for Creating Awesome UX, Annie Wang described Lean UX as a repeatable process that is goal-driven and outcome-focused. Your team has a designer, developer and product manager. Most startups are going to have small teams. They focus on the following principles:

  • Rapid cycles: think, make, check
  • Generate many options and decide quickly which ones to develop
  • Focus on solving the right problems
  • Recognize hypothesis and validate with user feedback
  • Research with users as the best source of information and inspiration

What does a Lean UX Design process look like?

A typical UX Design Process may incorporate the following:

  • Discovery
  • Wireframe
  • Prototypes
  • Validate Internally
  • Summarize
  • Iterate

In Lean UX, Lean doesn’t equal Skinny. Less is more.  You want to build a product that is simple and clear with less features and more details. You want to go through cycles of Think, Make and Check. The key is user feedback and to reduce cycle time, not your build time. Not every product needs to follow the same UX Design Process.

As we develop our own UX Design process, we want to focus on thinking, making and checking. User feedback is key to making products that are simple, clear and easy to use.

Have you created your own UX Design Process?

7 UX Tips for Developers

The success of your website or app depends on creating the best user experience possible. Not all developers have a designer available to help with the design.

7 UX Tips for Developers

You can use the following 7 UX tips to create a better experience for your users:

Prioritize features

When you create a new website or app, you need to decide what features to add, leave out and improve. Prioritizing makes it easier to create a website or app with the right amount of features and helps you to focus on getting it built.

Speed things up

Make sure your website or app is fast and responsive. A page or app that takes to long to load will loose users. Make it as fast as possible to ensure an enjoyable user experience.

Design before you code

Sketch your designs with pen and paper or other prototyping tools. Show your designs to users or even team members. Get their feedback before you write any code. It is easier to change a design before you start writing code. Here’s how you do a UX Design Process:

Track data

Use Google Analytics or other analytic software to help you learn more about your users and how they use your app or website. The more you know, the better decisions you can make when improving your app or website.

Make your UI simple and easy to use

Easy said than done. How do you make the UI better? Keep it clean and consistent. Use readable fonts. Choose larger font sizes and avoid fancy fonts like script or handwriting fonts. Make your navigation simple. Use standard icons and words that people recognize.

Remove or prevent extraneous features

Be ruthless when considering new features. Ask does this feature solve a need? Will majority of our users want it? If you have older features that no one uses, reconsider whether or not you should keep them.

Show informative error messages

Write error messages that tell the user what happened and what to do next. Good error messages can help make your website or app easier to use. Bad error messages only frustrate and irritate users.

When people can’t figure out how to use a website or app, they leave or delete the app. If you want to prevent people from abandoning your app or website, use these tips to make it better.

What tips would you add?