Brief Talk: Image Sliders

Just about every website I’ve seen has an image slider. While there is nothing wrong with implementing one in a CMS, I just think there important factors to keep in mind. In this article, I will be covering why image sliders are important, there add-ons, there purpose, and don’ts of using an image slider. There are a ton of image slider APIs out there to help a developer with the process. I will be using WordPress as a content management system, and information and links to slider plugins.

Why Use an Image Slider?

Now you’re probably wondering why not use a gallery? Well yes and no. Yes if you are just showing images on a separate webpage. No if you want to provide a look and feel to your webpage, and by that I mean, sliding images on a homepage provides emotion. For example, if you are creating a website for a non-profit, an image slider can be helpful for showing the mission of the non-profit. This would apply to any organization or company. Image sliders would provide a unique feature to a webpage.

What the best plugins, add-ons, APIs and so on?

Alright, I have pretty much covered little why image sliders are important. Now let’s talk about the many image sliders available in the WordPress plugin directory.

The first one I will cover is a simple WordPress plugin called Slider. The plugin is simple to integrate into your theme. Once you’ve activated the theme you can then began adding images and descriptions. There are editing options and naviation settings avaliable if you want to change color and styles.

slider

https://wordpress.org/plugins/slider-image/

Next one is called bxSldier. This probably one of my favorite image sliders. One reason would be the fact it’s responsive. Since responsive design is popular why not have a simple responsive jQuery slider. The author provided examples and tutorials on how to implement the code to your theme. If you are using a content management systems like me, you would create an external PHP file for the slider to be used on only one page.

bxslider

http://bxslider.com/

Wow slider is another favorite and popular image slider. There are a ton of examples and tutorials for non-developers. The website provides hundreds of slider examples for like slider effects, style and more. I would recommend developers and non-developers to use this image slider over any other because of the simplicity and array of options.

wowslider

http://wowslider.com/

Last but not least (because there hundreds of sliders) Responsive Slide jQuery plugin. This is a great plugin that is simple for non-developers to use for any responsive design and theme. The plugin has light code, plenty of options for customizing the controls and more. I probably call this plugin the easiest to use for a theme or static. If you are using a content management system, like I stated before be sure to create an external PHP file for the slider.

ResponsiveSlides

 http://responsiveslides.com/

I’ve pretty much covered some of the available sliders and why they are important. Now let’s talk about the don’ts of using image sliders. I will only have 2 don’ts, but they are important.

Do not have image slider without controls. If there is an image that I really like or missed I would like to be able to go back and look.

Related images. Be sure to add images that relate to the content of the page! I have seen this on a few sites, where the images do not relate to the message.

Alright! This was just a brief talk about images sliders. I just wanted to discuss why image sliders are important, some that are available and the don’ts of image sliders. I would suggest implementing one into your design, just make sure the images relate and have controls for viewers.

For WordPress, what contact form is the best?

WordPress is one of the top content management systems for non-developers, developers, and designers. The amount of plugins and built-in features are unless with thousands to choose from. After doing a little research on what WordPress features, and plugins work best for newbies. I was able to narrow down a small list of the best. I searched for contact form plugins that were easy to integrate and simple to set up. First, I thought to myself what are my requirements for the best plugins? Here is a small list of my requirements: Easy to set up Highly customizable Blocks spamming A variety A required option Now that I got my list of requirements out of the way, I narrowed down a list of contact form plugins that met the requirements. The top 5 plugins I researched were the top for every article I read.

PROS AND CONS – no order       

I.            Contact Form 7

  • Pros – Contact Form 7 is the most popular contact form plugin for WordPress, with over 16 million downloads and counting. Customization is simple with the use of markup. The contact form plugin features AJAX submission, built-in CAPTCHA, file upload capabilities, and Akismet spam filtering. A big plus for using the contact form plugin is embedding the form on any page or post with one-line of code.
  • Cons – Contact Form 7 does not lack anything major but more templates to choose from would be nice.

    II.            Fast Secure Contact Form

  • Pros – Fast Secure Contact Form is another popular contact form plugin with over 4 million downloads in counting. The plugin blocks spammers using CAPTCHA and Akismet support. Users are not required to sign up for an account, although it does provide features for scheduling, web based meetings and email support. You are able to add extra fields of any type like text, checkbox, radio, fieldset and more.
  • Cons – The current version has a buggy interface, but the author has released a Beta version, which fixed the issue.

 III.            Visual Form Builder

  • Pros – A clean and simple interface Visual Form Builder is a great plugin with a variety of features. Users are able to build and manage forms from a single place. The drag & drop method to re-order fields is a plus. Other interesting features include exporting entries to a CSV file, customizing confirmation message, sending form submissions to multiple emails and more. Let’s not forget the built-in anti-spamming system.
  • Cons – If users are creating a large WordPress website, Visual Form Builders does not store form entries into your WordPress database

 IV.            Custom Contact Forms

  • Pros – The best part of using Custom Contact Form plugin is the customization. Users are able to change the appearance without CSS, which is great for non-coders. Features include rearranging fields, drag and drop interface, and creating unlimited forms and fields.
  • Cons – A few issues with registering and spamming issues.

    V.            Contact Form by Contactme.com

  • Pros – Contact form by conactme.com is a free and easy plugin for coders and non-coders.  Users are not required to sign up, and registration is free. The plugin features include nonfictions to your inbox, add custom code or script, social links, CAPTCHA support and more.
  • Cons – Contact Me did mention that users have to create an account on the Contact Me website.

In conclusion, each plugin has its pros and cons. Also, narrowing down the features you want is the best way to distinguish between which plugin works for you. Personal, my favorite plugin to work with is Contact Form 7 form the simplistic and features.

Resources:

http://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-contact-forms/

https://wordpress.org/plugins/si-contact-form/ http://wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7/ http://wordpress.org/plugins/visual-form-builder/ http://wordpress.org/plugins/contactme/ http://blazdesign.com/5-free-wordpress-contact-form-plugins-to-consider/

Take on the Challenge

drupal

I still have a lot to learn about content management systems, but I got a chance to breakdown and compare three different CMSs, two of which are popular among developers. Now, I must say out of the three CMSs, Get Simple, Drupal, and WordPress, Drupal was my favorite. I had a bit of a learning curve installing and downloading plugins for Drupal, but I was able to figure out the problem. I found myself more interested in the challenge of Drupal then the concept. There were many articles declaring Drupal to be complex for newbies, which I am, but there are many resources and community sites to assist.

Drupal is one of the most popular CMS and used by a number of professionals and companies. Drupal was the CMS I wanted to learn more about then many others. I love to take complex problems are turn them into simplistic designs, which Drupal met that criteria. Learning about content management systems for the first time this year allowed my decision to learn more about Drupal. I took on the opportunity to challenge my skills and patience, while maintaining a great attitude. Statistically, Drupal is the 3rd most popular CMS, right under WordPress and Joomla. Many developers and high-profile communities use Drupal as a resource, as well as a number jobs available for the CMS. I believe Drupal is a powerful tool, creating elegant and effective designs with an abundant of resources. Although, the CMS can be challenging to learn the outcome is great once you’ve learned about the system.