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Web Development

8 Great Apps To Create Amazing Graphics On Your Phone

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The times have changed. No longer do you need bulky desktop computers in offices to create graphics. You can create all sorts of art on your mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, even online.

We recently reviewed Pixlr, a website that allows you to create visuals.

Time now for a selection of mobile apps that can help you design amazing graphics for your website, blog or even social media. Create unique image quotes, eye-catching marketing imageries, even memes and logos right from your phone.

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Word Swag

If you have an iPhone, this is one app that you cannot miss. It allows you to use a photo as a background, and then overly text to create wonderful images that you can share on your blog or social media. Only available for iOS, and retails for $2.99.
Download

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Phonto

Another simple app that allows you to add text to your images. You can even create a new canvas, and then completely customize your text — from stroke and shadow color to size and gradient. Several font combinations are included for pretty much infinite styles. Free.
Download

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Rhonna Designs

Odd name, but an astonishing app. The magic lies in the heaps of options that this application provides to enhance your images, including frames, masks, filters, and of course, fonts. One of the more powerful photo editors available on the iOS platform. Highly recommended. $1.99.
Download

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InstaQuote

A pretty neat option for those of you that use Instagram to promote your business or services. This one lets you create pictures for sharing on the site. You can customize elements like background, fonts and colors, and then seamlessly upload your creations to your Instagram account. Free.
Download

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PicLab

Another inspiring photo editor, this one allows you to add textures, borders, shapes and filters to your images. You don’t get too many built-in graphics in this one, but the typography features alone make this worth a download. Available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Free and $1.99.
Download

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Sktchy

Need a little sketch in your life? This handy little social networking app lets you browse through images to find one they like, and then turn it into a sketch, doodle or a sculpture. Creations can easily be shared on Facebook and Twitter. Free.
Download

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PicCollage

What is a collection of app without a collage maker? PicCollage lets you combine images and photos and turn them into incredible collages. And it doesn’t stop there. You can overly them with all sorts of stickers, frames and text. Free. For iPhone and Android.
Download

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A Beautiful Mess

A beautiful name for a remarkably simple app that is perfect for adding captions, quotes and text bubbles to your photos. Plenty of hand drawn doodles are available for you to use. While some more advanced features would be welcome, this one does what it sets out to do. $0.99.
Download

Melanie Russell is a seasoned online business reporter and has been writing about the web for as long as she can remember.

4 Comments
  • Michael L

    Every single one of these are outstanding apps. I love the description and explanation of each one. Very well done post on the ever growing ability our smartphones give us!

  • businessman

    Making simple graphics that are visually appealing or meaningful has never been easier. A great resource for all online businesses to consider using. I think these all seem like interesting and viable options. I’m going to check all of these out.

  • Buzz

    I’ve used a lot of these and have found them all to serve one purpose or another. Out of the ones I’ve used though, I’ve found that RhonnaDesigns to be far and away my favorite app. I absolutely love it.

  • Wayne S

    While I hate the name “word swag” there’s no denying that I love the results from those examples. I have been sleeping on these and really need to check ’em out! Thanks for pulling these together.

Web Design

How To Find Out What Theme A Site Is Using?

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Okay, that’s not quite as confusing as it initially sounds! More and more websites are now built with underlying content management systems like WordPress and Joomla.

While this is good, the best part is that many of these websites utilize custom built themes, whether free or paid. Premium ones are developed structurally and systematically, with designs that scale great on desktops or mobile devices.

Responsive web design, as it is called.

But what if you like a particular design and want to see if you can use something like that on your website, or even a webpage — for example that dedicated landing or squeeze page you’re developing?

Luckily, it’s not hard to find out what theme a site is using.

You can peek under the hood, check out for hints by taking a look at the source of your chosen page. But a couple of solutions exist that accomplish this process a lot more elaborately.

And perhaps the best one around goes by the name of WPThemeDetector.

It digs deep and not only provides details and version number of the theme a WordPress powered site is using, but also author or company details of the designer.

This online detection tool also finds and lists any plugins used on the website you input, along with links to download these extensions. A few additional details are also offered — including previous analysis of a given site, where applicable.

Another less fancy site is What WordPress Theme Is That?, and it too provides similar functionality.

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Web Development

Create Customized Dashboards On iOS With Numerics

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The iOS platform already boasts a number of remarkably well designed dashboard apps that pull in data from different sources and present them onscreen.

This allows you up to date overviews for your online businesses, including website analytics, social media engagements and sales funnels. Even your account balances and data from your spreadsheets hosted in the cloud can be easily displayed.

And one of the best ones currently available is Numerics from Cynapse.

You can easily create and customize multiple dashboards from a growing number of third party sources, swipe between them, zoom in and interact with the data. Beautiful animation combines with several useful gestures to make interacting with the various widgets a pleasing experience.

A number of predesigned widgets are available — line graphs, pie charts, number tallies, funnel lists and more, these widgets can be effortlessly configured, connected and customized.

The app also includes background updates and push notifications, on a per widget basis, meaning you always stay up to date on everything that is going on.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of this app is its customizability. You can either create a layout automatically, or drag and drop the widgets however you see fit. These can then be labeled and colorized for even better control.

The dashboards can also be displayed on external screens using AirPlay to AppleTV, or via a simple HDMI connection to any standard television, monitor or projector.

Numerics Dashboad

All the important integrations are included, from Google Analytics, to Twitter and Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo Stocks, Stripe, Salesforce, Basecamp, Github, Foursquare, and more. Even WordPress is part of this ever growing list of integrations, meaning all your vital data is just a glance away.

Although free to download, the app unlocks the various integrations via in-app purchases, which range from $2.99 to $5.99. But totally worth it for the active online marketer.

Take a look at everything Numerics offers at the official site.

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Maintenance

The Need For Image Compression For Websites

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Although internet speeds have improved around the world in the past decade, heavy downloads are still an issue for a lot of people with sketchy bandwidths or slow computers.

And that’s not even bringing SEO and mobile usage into the picture.

Even with such apparent limitations, most images for the web are typically not optimized to reduce file size while maintaining quality. Most people (and some) graphic designers still don’t use the optimum settings when outputting their final images.

Having large images does not mean their file size has to be large too!

Here is a concise list of some of the immediate advantages of using image compression for websites, and reducing the file sizes of the images, photos and art on your website or blog:

Faster load times

No one says no to a quick loading site. Compressing your images down ensures a superior experience for your visitors, users and readers where they won’t get frustrated. It also makes sure your audience engages with your website longer.

Improved search rankings

It’s no secret that Google loves faster sites. Squeeze as much data off of your site or blog to make it load faster, increasing your organic search rankings along the way.

Better conversion rates

Faster sites convert better. Logic. You don’t risk losing buyers and subscribers this way, while they are waiting for the images to load on your signup page.

Enhanced inbox placement

If you are feeding images from your site to your emails and newsletters, your messages run the risk of landing in the junk folder. The last thing you want, really.

Easier migration

Web hosts are fickle affair, everyone knows that. If you need to change hosting providers, small, optimized images mean quicker movement of files from one server to another. This holds especially true for large blogs and ecommerce portals. Perfectly optimized images also help with faster backups.

Print adventures are fine, you don’t necessarily need to reduce files sizes there.

But images intended for use on websites should always be adjusted for easy and breezy downloading. More so, now with better compression algorithms and browser support. What type of settings you use will depend upon the art you’re creating.

Often enough, going in with an 80% compression in your graphic design software (Adobe Photoshop, or any other) for JPEG files is a good bet for most images.

There’s no hard and fast rule here, though.

It comes down to the dimensions, resolution and type of your image — and whether it’s artwork, gradient, a photo or logo. Do some on the fly experiments and settle on what you feel looks best, does not result in a drastic decrease in quality, and ends up with the smallest file size possible.

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