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5 Great Tools and Tricks for Designers and Developers (December 2016)


It’s the season of giving, so we wanted to present you with a few more goodies to put under your tree, in your stocking, or what have you.

Traveling for the holidays? Not to worry, each of these packs up light and won’t cost you an arm and a leg to carry onboard.

Enjoy and happy holidays!

Easy Steps To Better Icon Design

Head of content for, Scott Lewis has also been a professional icon designer for more than 25 years. So when he decides to write a how-to article for the legendary Smashing Magazine, it’s definitely worth a look.

Scott’s quick, six-step guide shows his methods and thought processes through the reworking of an dog icon submitted to Iconfinder that wasn’t quite up to snuff. Check out the transition to see what it takes to create a worthy “premium icon”.

The Best WordPress Form Plugin on the Market

Called a one-stop solution to increase visitor’s interaction, CaptainForm may very well be the ultimate form building plugin for WordPress.

The title for this Tool & Trick comes from a post by Vandelay Design’s Justas Markus. But he’s not the only CaptainForm fanboy. Both 85ideas and WebdesignerDepot are equally smitten.

Have a look and get in good form!


You Might Not Need That WP Plugin

Speaking of WP plugins (and on the heels of last month’s recommendation of You Might Not Need JavaScript), You Might Not Need That WP Plugin features a number of snippets you easily swap out for your plugins.

Want to know which ones to replace and which to keep? Easy! The site homepage contains a gigantic list of WordPress features with code snippets to replace plugins. You can filter snippets by keywords or browse everything at once. Since everything’s on a single page it’s fairly simple to search through and copy/paste codes as you find them.


Have an old Second Life account? MySpace? Microsoft HealthVault? The internet galaxy is rife with the dust of Great Ideas past and it seems we’ve all signed up for more than our fair share.

This season give yourself the gift of peace (of mind) and scaling back your online presence by using uses your Gmail address (once you log in) to find any accounts that have been linked in any way to that Google account. Then you can track and delete services associated with your account.

A little freaked out about giving all that access? No worries. Read all about  it in depth in this article by CBC News technology columnist Dan Misener.


Engage New Users by Giving Free Samples

UX designer and An Event Apart speaker Krystal Higgins gives an awesome presentation titled New Users Matter, Too! Designing Better Onboarding Experiences. In it she digs into patterns and anti-patterns for onboarding new users and principles for first time user experiences.

She’s taken part of that presentation and scaled it into a series of blog posts on her site. The one that caught our eye? FREE SAMPLES. (And that makes us different from everyone else how?)

Check out how the use of free samples gets new customers to start using your product or service in the first place.  

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