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Content Management With ACF (Advanced Custom Fields)

Wordpress has been around for many years now and it started mainly as a blogging platform. Today, Wordpress is one of the most powerful CMS in the planet and it controls 50-60% of the entire internet in terms of CMS shares. The platform offers a lot of options when it comes to building your site from scratch or via premium themes - the possibilities are endless. One of the main features of Wordpress that made it so successful is via it’s plugin system. Almost every feature you want for a site is available via Wordpress plugins be it for security, social marketing, server backups, or interactive components. One of those plugins that is considered a must-have for any Wordpress installation is ACF or Advanced Custom Fields. It’s so powerful you can basically create your own page builder just via ACF alone.   What is ACF (Advanced Custom Fields)     ACF is one of the most powerful plugins available for Wordpress today.     To put it simply, Advanced Custom Fields is a plugin that allows Wordpress to save any kind of data that you can use anywhere in your site. It can be anything from image urls, dynamic variables (that you can use in your code), or even code fragments! The plugin is mostly designed for developers to make content management easier for their clients - which is a very important thing for us.   How Does It Work? We can setup fields groups inside Wordpress admin that will handle all the dynamic data. Think of it as grouping the data into categories based on where you want to display it in your site. In the screenshot below, we basically setup each field groups based on the site’s pages.       You can categorize all of your site’s data into field groups.   Upon setting up the field groups, you now have the ability to assemble the actual fields that will store all of your dynamic data. In the example below (for the page named “Agency”), we basically setup the fields that will hold all of its contents. This allows clients to reorder and change anything on the page without touching any front end or back end code!       Each custom fields can be re-ordered depending on how you want them to appear in your page.   Field Types In theory, we can basically use Wordpress’ default custom fields to change any content on a page. The only downside is Wordpress only supports “plain text” when it comes to its field type which is not very intuitive in terms of content management.     Some of ACF’s field types.   ACF on the other hand gives developers and clients more flexibility by offering many different field types that actually makes sense. For example, we can use an image field type for a page section that displays an image gallery or use the WYSIWYG field type for a page section that only displays articles.   In case you’re looking for a field type that ACF doesn’t support (yet), you can try checking some  custom built field types by other developers or even create your own using its extensive API.   The API The real power of ACF comes from its easy to use programming interface. Setting up the custom fields inside Wordpress will only setup the containers for your data, but when it comes to actually displaying it in your site, you have to use its API.   Retrieving the field data is as simple as calling out the field name in your code: get_field(‘field_name’) or the_field(‘field_name’) and It’s up to you how you want to use this data in your site’s front end.   Final Thoughts We usually develop our own methods when making content management easier for our clients, but with this new tool, we can make their overall experience even better. Not only it gives us developers more options to structure data on the back end, it also gives our clients more control on how their content is being displayed on the front end. You can learn more about this amazing plugin at https://www.advancedcustomfields.com/.  

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Rise of the Screen Design Tools

The design industry is currently experiencing a major shift when it comes to designing user interfaces for clients. For years, everyone has been using Photoshop and Illustrator when creating designs. It’s a standard workflow that we’re still using up to this day. But with the constant changes in mobile computing and the different design specifications required for the growing list of devices, the industry needs a more “specialized” tool for the job.   There are 3 major software companies that are currently offering their own application designed for creating UI/UX - and we’ve used all of them. All 3 are blazingly fast due to a more focused toolset and less feature bloat present on current design tools. They also have their own unique feature set that separates them from the rest of the applications on this list. Sketch   Sketch has been around for quite some time now and It’s one of the first and most popular design tools available. It’s a vector program that lets you design for almost every major device available. It’s latest update now also allows you to create interactive prototypes right inside the app without any plugins.     One of the powerful features of sketch not currently available on any app is its plugin system. It allows users to extend its functionality through the use of open source 3rd party plugins. This allows sketch to have new features not available on the default installation.   The only drawback of the app is it’s only available exclusively for the mac and there are no plans to release it on the windows platform. Adobe XD   Adobe also released their own screen design focused app that will replace Photoshop and Illustrator when designing user interface and experiences. Dubbed as “Project Comet” when it was first announced, It is now getting widespread attention due to some amazing features that will change how designers and developers work together.     One of this features is you can directly publish your work from XD to Adobe’s Creative Cloud servers. Once published, you can then generate a public link that you can share with your teammates or clients with built in feedback system. Another unique feature of XD is its ability to generate style guides that developers can use once the design is converted into code. We actually published an article about XD’s top 5 features here.   XD’s main advantage over its competitors is it’s availability on both Mac and Windows platform. And since it’s developed by Adobe, you can directly import your old Photoshop and Illustrator designs directly inside XD and continue where you left off. Neat! InVision Studio   InVision started off as a project management platform for designers. Their platform is currently being used by big names in the industry like Netflix, Twitter, and Airbnb just to name a few. They are now creating their own screen design app called InVision Studio. The app is not released yet and is only available via VIP invites. Fortunately, we got exclusive access and we’ve been testing it for some time now on some of our design projects - and It’s amazing.     Most of its basic features are similar to Sketch and Adobe XD. It’s quite surprising because the workflow is very similar with those two apps. We think Invision gathered all of the best features from Sketch and XD (which is a good thing), improved upon it (by adding additional features), and then added it to Invision Studio. Each of Studio’s features is like twice as good compared to Sketch and XD.   One of the app’s main highlight is its integration to Invision’s platform. It unlocks a whole bunch of new features that can help you manage your design projects with ease. You can still use the app normally without any Invision account though, so that’s a good thing. Our Pick All 3 apps listed here are great and they all offer the same basic functionality when it comes to designing interfaces both for desktop and mobile. They also have their own unique features that separates them from other design tools available in the market today. After testing every single one of them, we ultimately settled down to one app that we will be using as our daily driver in every design project - and that will be Adobe XD.     The main reason for this is well, It’s Adobe. We cover a lot of “disciplines” when it comes to design and we’ve been using Adobe’s ecosystem in all of our projects. Compatibility is very important to us and knowing that projects we did in Photoshop or Illustrator will still work on XD is a big plus. We also discovered that XD can open Sketch files too which is amazing.   Another reason is it’s cross platform. We can continue our work whether we are on Mac or Windows. Since our team is a mixture of both Mac and Windows users, we don’t have to worry about design collaborations anymore. We are confident that every version of the file will work on any platform as long as XD is installed.   As stated earlier in this article, all 3 apps were amazing in its own right. We’ve studied every single features of these apps and tried to use it in different real world scenarios. In the end, flexibility and compatibility are still the main features we always try to look out for (specially when trying to migrate to a new app) and Adobe XD both have it.

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The 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using URL Shorteners

URL shorteners has been around for quite some time now. They are used to make long URLs more manageable by “masking” it and replacing it with a very short version. They are not widely used back then but with the advent of “character limited” social media services (ie: Twitter), URL shortening services started popping out left and right which evolved it further as a service.   Today, one of the most popular services is bitly and it offers a lot of features when it comes to managing all of your links. Actually, it’s not about shortening links anymore, in fact, it’s now mandatory to have this service specially if you care about your click data and seo performance.   Listed below are 5 reasons why you should start using url shorteners.   1. Link Management By using URL shortener services, you get total control of all your shared and non-shared links via an intuitive management dashboard. All url shortening services have this as a basic feature so you don’t have to worry if you’re using a different service on your links.     Bitly’s link management dashboard.   The management dashboard gives you a bird’s eye view of the many different metrics attached to your links performance.   2. Metrics In the early days of URL shortening services, it only does one thing and one thing only - and that’s to shorten long URLs. Today, services like this offers a LOT more and one of those features is so powerful, it’s one of the reasons why these type of services is mandatory to have if you have an active online presence.     URL Shorteners allows you to track the performance of your links.   It’s called link tracking. What it does is it basically attaches a lot of different data in your links that will help you track its performance. Listed below are some of the useful data that will be recorded and compiled every time your link is clicked.   Total Clicks - Shows you how many times your link was clicked. Referrers - Shows you the sites where your link was clicked or shared. Location - Shows you the country of origin where your link was clicked.   3. Personalization URL shorteners are good and all but it’s kind of a bummer since by default, it removes your branding on the generated shortlink and replaces it with the service’s brand. The good news is, if you know how to tinker with your domain settings, you can actually purchase your own custom domain name and use it as the default url for all of your generated shortlinks.     KIKA uses its own branded domain name in all of its generated shortlinks.   Don’t know how to setup your custom domain for your shortlinks?  Then you’re in for a treat. We actually posted a guide on how to do this yourself at kika.mk/BrandedBitlinks. See how the link I posted is branded? Pretty cool right?   4. SEO URL shorteners back then are being frowned upon by some people since it affects your overall SEO. It removes everything about your link that makes it hard for google to crawl it and record the necessary data about it - well, not anymore.     URL shorteners actually helps your SEO..   URL shorteners actually helps your SEO by increasing clickthrough rate and by promoting sharing of your links. Some URL shorteners also allows you to set SEO keywords in your generated shortlinks which Google will thank you for.   Still not convinced? Then watch this short 1 minute video from the intelligent folks at Google regarding the state of URL shorteners https://youtu.be/QMkltd6dZzU.   5. Everyone Is Using It URL shorteners are being used on almost every websites today. It’s so mainstream that sometimes it’s second nature for people to click through once they see it on a webpage.     It’s also so popular, Google created their own service called goo.gl.   Final Thoughts I hope this article helped in explaining the benefits of URL shorteners when it comes to your online presence. It not only makes your links more manageable, it also helps you track its performance for SEO purposes. With so many url shortening services available, it’s up to you to decide which ones to use. They work pretty much the same way so you’ll be right at home once you start using the technology.

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The 10 Web Design Trends of 2018

Over the past 5 years, a lot of things have changed in the world of web design. It updates so fast that sometimes it’s a bit tricky to keep up with the changes. With the growing number of new web technologies available, features that are near impossible to create years ago can now be easily added to any website.     Here at KIKA, we strive to keep up and adapt with these changes. Our team of designers and developers are always on the lookout for the latest web technologies to further help our clients in marketing their brands. With so many design trends popping out left and right, we asked them the 10 biggest web design trends of 2018. 1. More Animation Movement and animation is a powerful engagement tool. More and more companies uses animation to attract customers and make their overall marketing much more interesting.   https://teatrlalka.pl/en 2. Color Vibrancy “Web Safe” colors are now a thing of the past. With advancements in display technology on both mobile and desktop, big companies are now using the term “Super Saturation” in their designs to attract people’s attention.   http://circulardev.com/nike/cortez/ 3. Semi Flat “Gradients” were big many years ago but it was overtaken by the concept of “Flat Design” (thank you Apple!). This year, “Gradients” are slowly creeping back its way to the forefront of the design industry and a lot of big companies are now starting to utilize it in their designs.   http://www.symodd.com/ 4. Asymmetry Grid layouts were the main driving force of every website for the past 5 years. Today, design agencies are using "non-conventional" layouts to bring new direction to their designs.   https://flayks.com/ 5. Big Typography Content is always "king" and this is true for typography in 2018. Expect more impactful type in web design this year.   http://www.boite-a-oeufs.com/ 6. Mobile First The term was first coined way back in 2009 and this has been one of the most important things to consider when designing for web. Mobile has officially surpassed desktop in mobile browsing and more than 50% of internet users are from mobile.   7. Drop Shadows Drop shadows adds depth to any UI and this effect was even made popular thanks to Google's Material Design guidelines.   https://material.io/guidelines/material-design/elevation-shadows.html#elevation-shadows-elevation-android 8. Illustrations Like animation, more and more website are gearing towards the use of illustrations in conveying ideas. A lot of big companies like Facebook has been using illustrations in their product and ad placements since 2017.   https://www.pikmykid.com/ 9. Page Transitions Complex page transitions were only possible back in Flash, but with the continuous improvements in web and animation technologies, page transitions is now starting to be a norm in every web design.   http://xmas.evs.com/2018/ 10. Flexbox Flexbox is CSS3's new advance layout model for responsive web design. This is now starting to be a standard in web design with Bootstrap 4.0 being the first one to adapt the technology.   https://getbootstrap.com/

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Getting Your Site Mobile-Ready For 2018

Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash Happy New Year everyone! We've seen a lot of new changes already this year, and we can say without a doubt that 2018 will be a very interesting year for Online Marketing. One major change we've noticed is Google's new year, new SEO Ranking algorithms. That's right, Google will be experimenting with mobile-first indexing, which is expected to roll out gradually over the year.

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