Opening Titles for Web Directions South 2011

A Blue Perspective: <p>

See the in-browser opening titles

Another year and another great Web Directions. Of course, for me, Web Directions isn't complete without frantic late-night coding sessions in aid of completing a madly inspired conference-related project.

Last year I created the Web Directions 2010 opening titles in 3 days from start to finish. This year I gave myself a little more time but made it no less ambitious by expanding the production onto 2 screens; thereby requiring it to run on two laptops simultaneously. (And stay in sync!)

With the number of things that could fall over -- browsers crashing, projections being out of sync, people hating it -- my nerves were ringing right up until I hit "play". Luckily it came off without a hitch, and you can see the results in the video of the performance below. (Or if your computer's feeling adventurous you can check it out in your browser.)


Generating  Multiple Streams of Online Income: A Financial Planning Guide

Let’s face it. We’re currently living in some turbulent times, under a constantly expanding shroud of volatility and uncertainty. Today, it’s becoming more difficult to manage personal and household expenses on a single income stream. But if you’re working online, you’re in luck.

Cutting corners and trying to create a reasonable budget may help. But it isn’t a permanent solution. What you need is to diversify your online income stream. And if you’re a freelancer or trying to find multiple passive income streams online, you can do that in many legitimate ways.

In light of this, we’re going to talk about how to build multiple income streams online along with managing those income streams. We will also talk about how you can track and manage your earnings.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

Some Brilliant Ways You Can Maximize Your Online Income Stream

Become an online tutor

If you want to multiply your earnings as a freelancer, there’s nothing better than offering services as an online tutor.

The market size for online tutoring in the US currently stands at $2.1 billion and is rapidly growing. Plus, compiling your knowledge into digestible online lectures will be easier if you’re good at something.

Additionally, there are plenty of authentic and reputed teaching websites where you can teach at flexible hours. After gradually building your target audience, you can easily create your independent website to convert your lead traffic directly. If you picture yourself working as an online tutor but want to move on to coaching or online training later on, you might want to invest in the right set of tools. With that in mind, know that online coaching software might prove useful later on to assist you in keeping all information and activities in one location, making running the business simpler.

Sell the photos you take

Selling digital artwork, stock images, and photos is another way to earn money online. Some reputed and globally embraced websites allow you to subscribe, upload pictures, and earn commissions when sold.

Moreover, you can even introduce this service on your website for interested parties. With the number of content people churn out daily, everybody needs high-quality stock images.

So, this can be a great way of earning money. However, keep in mind that you won’t get rich overnight.

Do micro-jobs

Micro jobs are an excellent way of augmenting your online income. Plus, they’re less demanding and less time-intensive. And over time, you can rack up quite a decent penny. A great example of a micro job can be filling out online surveys. Some survey platforms may even pay up to $50 per survey.

Similarly, another excellent and passive way of earning money is to subscribe to a data-sharing app. However, unlike micro jobs, the best thing about using a data-sharing app like Honeygain is that you won’t have to do anything actively.

The app pays you for using your internet. It’s crowdsourced, secure, and even has a good referral program that pays great commissions to users.

Powerful Financial Planning Strategies for Beginners

Understand where the money flows

The best way to start building a long-term and successful financial plan is to understand where your money goes 365 days a year.

One of the best ways to do this is using credit or debit cards. You see, it is challenging to track cash payments. With credit/debit cards, you can track where you’ve spent money and how to save money.

Utilize separate bank accounts

If you have multiple income streams, keeping savings and salary account separate for your expenditure and the other for saving and tracking your expenses is wise. Using one bank account could make things a bit tricker and potentially messy when drafting a budget.

Don’t forget to pay yourself

Whenever you receive your revenue, pay yourself the profits first. Then keep the rest of the money in a different checking account.

Don’t just go spending your profits on paying bills, shopping, or other miscellaneous expenses. Do all this from the percentage your pay yourself. This is how you will build financial discipline. 

Important Tips for Tracking and Managing Your Finances

Develop a realistic budget for your monthly expenses

One of the most effective ways to stay atop your finances is via precision-based, realistic budgeting.

You’ll be able to track your spending habits and will learn to make do with the money you pay yourself. Apart from becoming better at financial planning, budgeting also instills a sense of responsibility.

You become more accountable and aware of what you’re spending and where you’re spending it. Gradually, you will learn how to control your impulses and, instead, route all that money back into your business.

Minimize recurring expenses

If you’ve subscribed to multiple services (and you don’t use most of them), it’s time to disconnect. Monthly subscriptions can rack up quite an amount if not checked or used—an amount you can save.

And do it just for the general principle. Why waste money on things you don’t use?

Bottom Line

All in all, these are some excellent ways you can increase your online income and learn how to stay financially responsible.

Featured image by micheile henderson on Unsplash

The post Generating  Multiple Streams of Online Income: A Financial Planning Guide appeared first on noupe.


How To Create Custom Illustrations For Your Website?

Gone are those days when you only needed to put blocks of text on your website and expect a boost in engagement rates. People are becoming more graphics-centric and believe it should be an integral part of every marketing stage.

That’s where illustrations come in. They are powerful visual elements that you can employ on every aspect of your website – homepage or blog posts. 

According to Springer, customers guided by texts and illustrations perform 323% better than those without. This is especially true if the illustration is placed on your sales page and places where you need to nudge your customers down the conversion funnel.

Note that an illustration can simply be a work of art with characters depicting your brand process. It can also be a combination of data visualizations created with geometric shapes and is useful for articles.

In this article, we will discuss ten important steps that will help you create a cutting-edge illustration.

10 Steps To Create Custom Illustrations For Your Website

Creating a custom illustration for any page on your website is a no-brainer, but you need a basic knowledge of how designs work. So it’s advisable you go through a few tutorials on Youtube to help you get a good feel of how things work. 

Regardless, we have simplified ten basic steps that will help you create awesome illustrations as a beginner or pro below.

  1. Finding The Right Tools

There are several tools for creating illustrations, but the best picks on our list are Adobe Illustrator (AI) and Procreate. AI is a vector-based design software that you can use to design logos, fliers, prints, infographics, and illustrations. And designers sometimes use it to convert raster-based images to vector-based art and vice versa.

Procreate boasts similar functions to AI, such as logo designs and illustrations. You can use Procreate to design artwork, including 2D and 3D characters, which are helpful for storytelling on your home and sales page. Additionally, you can get resources like anime and manga brushes for Procreate from platforms like Brush Galaxy, which makes the tool even easier to use.

  1. Brainstorm A Concept

Once you have a preferred tool, it’s time to brainstorm a concept. You should have a clear picture of how you want your illustration to look, what it should contain, the colors, fonts, and the message to pass. On a better note, you should first identify what page of your website you’re designing the illustration for.

If you’re creating one for your homepage, then you’re most likely going to be working with stats like previous sales data, completed projects, and many others. In some cases, it could be character or descriptive art, which is often useful for impressing new visitors to your website.

A blog post usually does not need overly complex visuals. So your illustration might just wrap around a single paragraph, statistics, or fact. The same goes for case studies and newsletters.

When you’ve figured out what type of illustration you need, visit sites like Pinterest for variations of your concept. Filter the results to get relevant ideas and visuals. You can also explore Canva’s library and Freepik for more.

  1. Sketch Out Your Idea

Don’t forget to sketch the ideas you’ve just brainstormed. Concepts are very volatile, and it’s quite easy to forget one or two at every click. If you have an iPad, you can download Procreate and use your pen to quickly create a rough prototype. Alternatively, you can do the sketches on a sheet of paper – anyone works.

Note that you’re not replicating the same concepts you’ve seen from other designers. You are only taking inspiration from their illustrations to create yours. So take note of the possible variations that can give your own design a unique look when sketching.

  1. Set Up Your Workspace

The workspace is where all of your designs take place. To enhance your productivity and creativity, you should put all the necessary elements here. For example, you can line up your color palettes on the left for easy access when you’re creating your illustrations. This saves you the stress of going to the color drawer over and over again.

Other things to include in your workspace include your preferred shapes, quick boxes, images, and the texts you will use. Another way to tweak your workspace is by adjusting the existing preferences.

  1. Start Designing

Now that you have your sketches, you can scan and upload them to Adobe Illustrator. Start by tracing out the sketch lines and get a basic shape in place. You only need to create a gray draft before adding colors and other elements.

Adobe Illustrator has a font-matching feature that comes with Adobe Sensei. Use it to dig out the best fonts and strokes to use for your texts.

  1. Work With Geometric Shapes

Geometric shapes include rectangles, squares, circles, and stars. Often, most non-sketch illustrations start with these shapes and are further combined to create more complex designs. For example, you can use Adobe Illustrator’s “distort and transform” tool to bloat and pucker your shapes for a more artistic look.

When creating illustrator charts for in-article use, you can work with rectangles for the bar and circles for pies. 

  1. Prioritize Brand Consistency

Brand consistency means presenting your brand across all channels the same way. The importance of brand consistency is instant recognition. And that means anywhere your customers or previous website visitors see your designs, they know it’s you.

A quick way to implement consistency is by creating a reusable template for your illustrations. You should also maintain the colors you use, your inscriptions, the logo, and the design pattern. 

  1. Go 2D And 3D If Necessary

While most illustrations are already pretty good without adding extra aesthetics, they don’t have to look paper-like or rigid. For more realistic and expressive designs, you can use tools like Procreate and Adobe Illustrator. 

Also, note that not all of your illustrations need to be 2D and 3D. For example, illustrative pie charts and statistics for email content should be as simple as possible. Blog illustrations can take it an inch further and go 2D. 

  1. Review And Edit

Once your illustrations are ready, sleep on them and review them for extra details. You should also test them across different devices and screens. Importantly, your file size matters a lot since they will be going live on your website. 

So ensure you optimize each byte without affecting the illustration’s quality while also prioritizing your page-load speed.

  1. Use Pre-built Templates

Instead of creating everything from scratch, you can alternatively use pre-built templates. Some sites like Freepiks offer both premium and free templates which you can edit. All you need to do is insert your data where necessary.

If you are a bit versed in graphic designing, you can do some tweaking to the colors, shapes, and other elements used. 

Conclusion

Illustrations are so important and almost indispensable if you want to create a quality experience for people on your website. Adding them to your blog posts is even more crucial and can help enhance engagement.

To create a custom illustration, you need to brainstorm and sketch a concept. Afterward, open up your design software and set up the workspace. Scan the sketch and start designing. Finally, add the finishing touches.

Featured Image by upklyak on Freepik

The post How To Create Custom Illustrations For Your Website? appeared first on noupe.


How a Business Idea Generator Can Help You to Turn Your Dreams into a Successful Startup?

The entrepreneurial landscape is awash with potential, yet one of the most significant challenges entrepreneurs face is identifying a viable, market-ready business idea. 

This is where a Business Idea Generator comes in. It’s a tool or service, often AI-powered, that provides novel business ideas based on specific parameters like personal interests, industry trends, and market gaps. 

As an aspiring entrepreneur, leveraging such a tool can be pivotal in transforming your dreams into a successful startup.

What Refers to a Business Idea Generator?

The Business Idea Generator uses advanced algorithms, industry data, and sometimes, human intuition to generate a list of potential business ideas. These generators come in several forms:

  • AI-based generators: These leverage machine learning and big data to produce business ideas based on trending market needs and gaps.
  • Human-curated idea generators: These are often platforms where experienced entrepreneurs share unique business ideas based on their experience and market understanding.
  • Industry-specific generators: These generate ideas within specific industries, taking into account the unique dynamics and trends of the selected field.

However, using a Business Idea Generator is not without its pros and cons. On the positive side, these tools can inspire creativity, provide a wide range of options, and save time. 

On the downside, the ideas generated may lack originality, and there’s a risk of receiving an idea that’s not a good fit for your skills or interests.

The Role of a Business Idea Generator in a Startup Journey

Business Idea Generators can be instrumental in various stages of a startup journey. They spark creativity and innovative thinking, helping you to think outside the box and explore areas you may not have considered. 

By offering a variety of unique business ideas, they open up opportunities for niche markets and innovative solutions. 

Some successful startups, such as “Airbnb” and “Uber”, were born out of unconventional business ideas that addressed a specific market need.

Turning Your Dreams into a Business Plan with a Business Idea Generator

Turning your dreams into a successful business involves more than just having a great idea. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Use a Business Idea Generator: Input your interests, skills, and market trends you’re curious about.
  • Evaluate the ideas: Not all generated ideas will be perfect. Evaluate them based on feasibility, your passion for the topic, and market demand.
  • Select the best idea: Pick an idea that aligns most with your dreams and seems viable in the current market.
  • Validating Your Generated Business Idea

After generating and selecting an idea, the next crucial step is validation. This involves confirming that your idea is not just good but also has a real demand in the market. Here are some methods of validation:

  • Market research and competitor analysis: Understand the market size, customer preferences, and the competitive landscape.
  • Customer discovery and validation: Conduct surveys and interviews to understand your potential customers’ needs and responses to your business idea.
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP) testing: Launch a basic version of your product/service to gauge customer reactions and gain feedback for improvements.

Moving from Idea to Execution: Building Your Startup

With a validated business idea, the next stage is to build your startup:

  • Develop a business plan: This should detail your business model, marketing strategy, revenue model, and growth plans.
  • Gather resources and form a team: Identify the necessary resources and the right team to bring your idea to life.
  • Seek funding: Depending on your needs, seek out investors, apply for loans, or bootstrap.
  • Launch and scale your business: Start small, measure progress, and gradually scale your operations.

Potential Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Despite its benefits, using a Business Idea Generator comes with potential challenges. You might end up with an idea that doesn’t resonate with your interests, or perhaps the idea is too broad, lacking specificity. Here’s how to handle these issues:

  • Lack of personal connection: If you don’t resonate with any of the generated ideas, don’t despair. You can always adjust and tweak the ideas to better align with your passion and skills, or try using a different generator.
  • The broadness of idea: If the idea is too broad, take time to refine and narrow it down. Focus on a specific target market or niche to make your idea more precise and actionable.

Do’s and Don’ts of Using a Business Idea Generator

As you navigate the entrepreneurial journey, a Business Idea Generator can be an invaluable tool. However, it’s essential to use it properly to maximize its benefits. 

Here are some do’s and don’ts when using a Business Idea Generator:

  • Do’s:
  1. Do consider your interests and skills: While the generator may offer a promising business idea, it must align with your passion and skills to increase the chances of success.
  2. Do validate the idea: No matter how good the idea seems, always validate it through market research and customer feedback before investing time and resources into it.
  3. Do be open-minded: An idea might seem outlandish or far-fetched at first, but with a little creativity and ingenuity, it could turn into a successful venture.
  4. Do use it as a starting point: Use the generated ideas as inspiration and tailor them to suit your vision and the needs of your target market.
  • Don’ts:
  1. Don’t blindly follow the generator: Remember, it’s a tool to spark inspiration, not a definitive guide. Always use your judgment and intuition.
  2. Don’t ignore market trends: While considering the generated ideas, keep an eye on market trends and demands to ensure your business idea has potential for success.
  3. Don’t rush into execution: Take your time to evaluate and refine the idea, build a robust business plan, and gather necessary resources before jumping into execution.
  4. Don’t neglect the competition: Even a unique idea can face competition. Research your competitors to understand their strategies and identify ways to differentiate your business.
  5. Don’t forget about scalability: Choose an idea that not only fits your immediate goals but also has the potential to grow and evolve with time.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a Business Idea Generator can significantly influence your startup journey. It can stimulate creativity, help identify unique opportunities, and accelerate the ideation process. 

While it has its challenges, with careful usage and by complementing it with personal intuition, market research, and validation, it can indeed turn your dreams into a successful startup.

Remember, an idea is just the beginning. It’s the execution of the idea through a well-devised plan that ultimately determines the success of a startup. 

So, use a Business Idea Generator as a launching pad, but rely on your skills, perseverance, and adaptability to navigate the entrepreneurial journey ahead.

Featured image by Lala Azizli on Unsplash

The post How a Business Idea Generator Can Help You to Turn Your Dreams into a Successful Startup? appeared first on noupe.


How On-Campus Housing Security Is Transforming Thanks to Technology

For many, living on campus during college is an integral part of the university experience. Social engagement and academic sharing by living on campus enable students to enrich this period of higher education. Thanks to on-campus residence, students can access multiple educational extras including seminars, conferences and lectures, libraries, sporting activities, and university clubs. Communal living permits students to form lifelong friendships with peers and form closer relationships with faculty members.

Fortunately, residential technological advancements are not just limited to private residences, apartment complexes, or hotels. Now universities are integrating technological solutions into on-campus dorms to improve comfort, efficiency, and security.

Security is one of the principal concerns for parents when children leave for university. Violent crimes and mass shootings experienced across the nation at schools and on college campuses have shocked and worried families sending sons and daughters off to college.

Access Control for Increased Student Safety

Technological advances now permit the use of fobs, keypads, keycards, and mobile entry credentials. Keyless door locks now eliminate the need for students to carry keys or keycards. Doors can be opened using biometric scans or credentials in a smartphone app. This increases property protection, impedes unauthorized access, and significantly reduces the need to change locks because of lost, stolen, or misplaced keys. 

Access to common areas such as fitness centers, student lounges, study rooms, or pools can be equipped with secure entrance technology facilitating controlled entrance to all areas within on-campus housing facilities.

Technological security access systems also provide several other benefits such as logging who enters and exits a building and facilitating rapid entrance thanks to automation. 

Anomalies such as repeated use of entry credentials can be quickly identified and verified alerting university officials if access credentials have been stolen, cloned, or shared.

Cloud-based access control systems permit remote management from anywhere so that doors can be locked and unlocked at any time from anywhere eliminating the risk of students being locked out and vulnerable. 

Stolen credentials can immediately be disabled so that they cannot be used by bad actors. Credentials granted to service providers and maintenance professionals can be deactivated once tasks have been completed.

Security Video Monitoring

Campus security has always been a priority at educational institutions, but today’s generation of students has grown up in a world where video recording is the norm everywhere. This facilitates the use of video security monitoring within and around dormitory buildings. While privacy does remain a concern, pathways, parking lots, entrances, and exits that are a part of university housing facilities should all benefit from video security surveillance cameras with these areas benefiting from proper lighting. 

Now school video security monitoring systems integrate AI. This permits universities to use automation to monitor potentially suspicious behavior in real-time. Causes for worry can be identified rapidly with alerts sent to security personnel facilitating immediate intervention. Emergency responses become proactive instead of reactive. This greater level of monitoring helps to create a safer environment for students.

University dormitory administrators are also able to identify occupancy rates and times as well as usage patterns. This information can lead to better use of housing resources such as water and electricity increasing efficiency, reducing waste, and saving money.

Security video monitoring systems can integrate biometric facial recognition to improve access control efficiency and increase housing security. These systems can also be programmed to send security alerts informing residential managers and security personnel of a need for immediate intervention should unauthorized entrances be attempted, or suspicious behavior be detected.

Cloud-based video systems can permit security personnel or residential managers to view video feeds from school security camera systems remotely using mobile devices and video analytics can send notifications to security staff and local authorities.

Dorms Are Smarter

Thanks to greater connectivity, the IoT – Internet of Things together with machine learning algorithms and AI are able to collect massive amounts of data and analyze it in real time. Residential managers and building administrators can improve property management and services offered. For example, heating and cooling systems can be better managed thanks to data collection and analysis of energy consumption and occupancy patterns. Smart lighting for increased security can be tailored to meet traffic flow. Automated rapid access controls reduce building entrance time and security procedures are improved thanks to data collection and analysis.

Data collection and analysis through IoT also allows for quicker maintenance and upkeep. Smoke, carbon monoxide, and fire detection sensors can alert authorities and first responders immediately. Heating and cooling systems can signal malfunctions in real time so that repairs can be addressed promptly.

Improved Connectivity

Students require better, faster, and more reliable Wi-Fi connections along with cellular signals. Apart from completing coursework, greater reliability in connectivity also permits students to remain in contact with friends and family members, alleviating parent worries. 

Campus dorms are now boosting connectivity with better networks and routers. Students benefit from stronger signals for personal needs but so do security processes and personnel. Better connectivity permits those responsible for security and safety to benefit from monitoring without interruption and to use remote security solutions such as lockdowns should the need arise.

Alarm Systems

While alarm systems are regularly used for smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide detection, student security does not end with these three threats. Alarm systems can notify students and administrators of unauthorized accesses or break-ins, intrusions, broken glass, gunshots, and dangers in general.

Cloud-based alarm systems send out mobile alerts in real-time and offer the possibility to program automatic lockdowns or evacuations when called for. Internal and external locks can be managed to contain specific threats to a limited area within the dormitory.

All Things Considered 

Security technology now aids administrators and college security personnel in providing a safer environment for university students. Parents can feel better about their children being away at college. Thanks to technological advancements being adopted within university housing, students enjoy a better-quality residential experience. Safety and security are increased allowing students to enjoy their university experience while focusing on their studies.

Featured image by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

The post How On-Campus Housing Security Is Transforming Thanks to Technology appeared first on noupe.


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