Monthly Archives: August 2017

Flood capital

The reasons why the fourth-largest city in the US has become its flood capital.

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How to Use Excel: 14 Simple Excel Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts

Sometimes, Excel seems too good to be true. All I have to do is enter a formula, and pretty much anything I’d ever need to do manually can be done automatically. Need to merge two sheets with similar data? Excel can do it. Need to do simple math? Excel can

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9 Open Source CSS Accordion Menu Methods and Designs

You can build some nice menus with jQuery and most of them use free plugins. These menus include dropdowns and responsive slideouts, but many devs forget about accordions.

The accordion menu is versatile enough to add real value to any interface with many related links.

Horizontal Accordion

I don’t see too many of these horizontal accordions but they’re really cool. Most of the time they feature images or some type of Q&A with guidance for users.

But this type of accordion can also work as an onboarding feature or a simple in-page information box.

This specific example developed by Wesley van Wyk showcases what you can do with pure CSS3 and a little imagination. It uses rotation animation effects to open and close the accordion based on which tab you click.

Probably not the most efficient solution if you want broad browser support, but still, an amazing effect that proves CSS is usually all you need.

Radio Accordions

Another pure CSS method of creating an accordion is through radio inputs. These buttons only let the user select one item at a time so they can be programmatically re-designed into an accordion setup.

This pen by Scott Earl shows that radio accordions can be both functional and beautiful. This specific design is snappy and super easy to use, even on mobile devices.

The radio inputs have been totally restyled and take up a good amount of space in the sliding menu. It’s one of the best options for designing a sleek accordion UI without getting into messy JavaScript.

Also check out Scott’s CodePen page if you want to see more great stuff he has built. There’s a lot of practical snippets on there you may find useful.

CSS3 Accordion Slider

Hover-to-animate effects can be controlled using the CSS :hover pseudo-class. This means you can control most user hover behaviors just with CSS.

In this pure CSS3 accordion you’ll find a bunch of really simple effects and custom animation features. This thing is gorgeous and one of the few easy-to-setup accordions out there.

I’d recommend this mostly as a custom slideshow feature on a homepage for startups or local companies. You can feature related photos and add some descriptive text into each accordion field.

Plus you could even link the bottom title area to a related page or blog post making this great as a featured section for magazine-style layouts.

CSS-Only Accordion

The one trait I like about traditional accordions is how one menu item always stays open. This means if you click another item the previous one auto-closes at the same time as the new one opens.

This CSS accordion shows you how to do this using CSS3 and radio input fields.

Each input is heavily customized to blend right into the accordion. It uses a real simple design, but you can also change the colors/fonts on your own with extra CSS.

The beauty of this snippet is the simplicity of the design. It doesn’t rely on fancy animations or anything complex beyond just showing content and creating a usable interface.

Multi-Open Accordion

If you want the exact opposite of the “one item at a time” accordion then you might like this design created by Frank Ali.

It also relies purely on CSS3 but it uses checkboxes instead of radios. These checkboxes can be selected all at once or with any combination so users can open many accordion areas simultaneously.

Not everyone wants this effect because it can take up a lot of space on the page. I think it would work really well for vertical navigation menus or sidebar menus that require multi-level links.

If you want a simple accordion that supports multiple panels then definitely check out this method.

Activated Accordion

Most users prefer the click-to-open accordion style because it’s been the default for years. Yet there are no rules for going against the tide, and that’s exactly what this hoverable accordion menu aims to do.

Free and built with CSS, this thing is a real treat to use. The hover effects animate with a small delay, so you don’t feel like you’re immediately jumping through content.

Also the design is pretty simple, and have full control over the colors with a bit of CSS tweaking.

Users should have no trouble working with this interface so if you like the hover design then definitely work with this template. It’s very much like the photo gallery example I mentioned earlier except this design is vertical rather than horizontal.

Simple Menu

Short and terse best describes this snippet of a simple accordion menu.

This is also aligned vertically and runs on hover events, so the user just mouses over the accordion header to open sub-links. The difference here is the animation style (or lack thereof).

When you hover a link it’ll automatically display all sub-links at once. This can be OK for some sites, but with others, it’ll be a real pain. The jumpy animation can also be annoying if your page isn’t very long since the browser’s scrollbar would jump in and out of view.

But if you want something snappy this is sure to do the trick.

You could also restyle the sub-navigation menus, so they aren’t as tall. This would make navigation a bit easier, and the jump would feel less harsh.

Accordion Sans-Animation

Continuing with the theme of no animation is this custom design, again running on pure CSS.

However this one relies on click events, so it works more like a traditional accordion. The design leaves a lot to be desired, so if you work with this code you’ll probably want to clean up the interface a tad.

But overall the behavior is phenomenal, and this pen is one of the simplest ones you can start with.

Dark Vertical Menu

For a truly unique design check out this dark menu. It reminds me of a Dribbble shot of some kind since it’s extremely detailed and uses a lot of natural gradients.

The actual CSS has a lot of base64 code, so this sets the page background and icons. Meanwhile, the gradients work through CSS3, and the entire hover effect uses CSS too.

One nice thing about this menu is the mix of static links and accordion-style links. You can copy this menu for your own accordion and still have a mix of non-accordion items inside.

Plus the animation is smooth, and even with the hover-to-show effect it’s got a real nice UX. An excellent choice for anyone looking for a dark accordion UI template.

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Cassini hints at young age for Saturn's rings

New data gathered by the Cassini probe suggests Saturn’s icy bands formed relatively recently.

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What Makes Good Copywriting? 6 Characteristics of Top-Notch Copy

Mad Men fans everywhere remember the pivotal first scene where we learn just how talented Don Draper is at his job.
Faced with an almost-impossible copywriting task, he rose to the occasion to solve a huge problem for his client, Lucky Strike. In spite of research warning customers of the

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10 Fantastic Examples of Progressive Webapps

The concept of a progressive webapp (PWA) is simple. Developers create websites that behave like native applications for all environments. These work like hybrid site-app combos where you have “webapps” that can run natively on a mobile device and just as well on a desktop web browser.

If you’re looking for some examples of PWAs then this collection is sure to please.

English Accents Map

english accents map

The English Accents Map site is one of the strangest yet most interesting progressive webapps I’ve found. It features pin markers for different accents in regions across the UK and the US.

Each marker links to a set of videos from YouTube. These videos have been created by people with that local accent, so you can listen and study how certain areas of the world speak English.

Really cool PWA and definitely one of the coolest concepts I’ve seen for a website.

React HN

react hn webapp

The React.js craze isn’t slowing down anytime soon and it’s certainly a staple for building any progressive webapp.

One example is the React HN site that pulls data from Hacker News and loads it all into a neat React.js webapp.

This is designed just like the HN homepage but it can operate like a native app on mobile devices. It doesn’t support account logins but you can do pretty much everything else, and it’s got a real snappy interface to boot.


currencyx converter

Looking for a free currency exchange rate app for your iPhone? Currency-X has you covered.

This free PWA works around a handful of currencies and runs with live data from APIs. This way the currency conversion rates are accurate and you can test them against pretty much every country from Kenya to Vietnam.

I do think the UX is lacking a bit and could be improved for mobile. But on the whole, this is one of the more impressive apps considering how much data it pulls.

pokedex org webapp

All you Pokemon fans are gonna love for its simplicity and ease of use.

This webapp behaves like a literal Pokedex where you can search for monsters and get all their stats quickly. Data comes from the Pokeapi along with Wiki pages to ensure total accuracy.

And while this doesn’t distinguish between the different games it’s still an impressive webapp for the amazing price of free. Perfect for Pokemon players who want quick access to quick data.

GitHub Explorer

github explorer pwa

Web developers love GitHub for its massive curation of free resources. The site has become a go-to resource for code snippets and now with GitHub Explorer you can dig into those code samples yourself.

The site is still a work in progress but it lets you browse through two methods: users and repos.

You can search by username or by repo name and pull up data fast. This includes the full readme file, all directories, and recent updates. However the search feature doesn’t include every repo so it’s more like a demo app showcasing what PWAs can offer.


flipkart ecommerce

Believe it or not there are entire eCommerce shops that support PWA features. Flipkart is the only one I know of but their website is absolutely massive.

This India-based eCommerce site offers complete support as a native mobile application. You can search, browse products, and use your account to purchase items all with a native feel.

I’d argue this is the most complex PWA on the web and it deserves an award as one of the best UX’s I’ve seen all year.

Expense Manager

expense manager pwa

If you want to track some quick expenses on your phone then the Expense Manager app is a nice place to start.

This thing behaves more like a simple calculator but it can save data for the long term. The demo account clears data after one hour but you can try the Vaadin framework yourself if you want a longterm solution.

The Expense Manager is mostly used to help sell this framework and bring attention to the company. And for that I’d say it gets the job done with plenty of “wow” factor to go around.

Offline Wikipedia

offline wikipedia

Here’s another cool demo app that I think should actually be built into the core of Wikipedia.

Offline Wikipedia is a PWA site created by Jake Archibald. It’s fully compliant with all the ideas of progressive webapps so it works on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops alike.

The interface is also pretty snappy so it’s easy searching and finding Wiki articles. Probably one of the few PWAs that I think really could add value to the main site.


splittypie expenses

Never worry about splitting the bill again with Splittypie.

This app is fantastic and for the price of free you can’t beat it. You just visit the site in your browser and you create new “events” for tracking prices.

Whether you’re splitting a meal or the price of a ball game this app works for any device at the click (or tap) of a button.

Also the source code is freely available on GitHub if you want to use this as a base for your own PWA.

FT App

financial times pwa

The massive publishing giant Financial Times surprisingly has their own PWA and it works really well.

Their app runs just like a news site except it’s fully responsive to touch. This means it behaves exactly like a native application where you don’t see new pages load, they just slide into view.

I’d like to think the future of publishing is full of websites like this. We’re already seeing this with Google AMP but that’s only a small step towards full PWAs.

Get Kana!

get kana training webapp

Last but certainly not least is the Get Kana app. What’s cool is this site actually has a full application in the Android and iOS app stores.

But this progressive webapp is the next best thing for anyone who wants to try it out in their browser. It’s a Japanese learning app where you can learn the syllabaries for katakana & hiragana through flash cards.

Not something that everyone will find useful but absolutely one of the cleanest PWAs I’ve used. And best of all their code is freely available on GitHub if you want to dig into that too.

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PHCC offers help to hurricane victims

The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association has activated the group’s disaster relief fund, providing money to help members whose plumbing or HVAC construction businesses have been impacted by the historic rains and flooding.

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16 Email Subject Lines You'll Probably Want to Click

I’d venture to guess you get tons of emails in your inbox every day.
From coupons, to daily deal sites, to newsletters, to password resets, to your mother wanting to know when you plan to visit — it’s a lot to sift through, never mind actually open.
So what makes

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10 Outstanding Landing Page Themes and Templates

A landing page is one of the most crucial components to a successful website. It makes a first impression with users and states your case for sticking around. In the age of short attention spans, you’d better put forth the effort to engage people.

In general, a well-designed landing page will feature:

While that may sound simple enough, it’s not always so easy to achieve. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to start your next landing page project from scratch. There are a plethora of themes and templates that will provide you with a tremendous head start.

Here are 10 landing page themes and templates you can use to grab (and keep) a visitor’s attention:

Appexo App Landing Page

Appexo App Landing Page is a clean, colorful and bold HTML 5 template to showcase your product or service. Based on Twitter Bootstrap 3.x and an 1170px grid layout, the template is also fully responsive. You’ll find six demo pages, smooth scrolling, animations, attractive pricing tables, a slideshow and carousel included.

Appexo App Landing Page


Pixel is a beautiful and simple HTML 5 landing page template based on Bootstrap 3.x. It features attention-grabbing video backgrounds that can be sourced via HTML 5 video or YouTube.

The typography here also stands out as it is used to great effect. There are sections for everything you need, including pricing tables, blog posts and testimonials. Also included is a working AJAX contact form.



Olli is a HTML 5 template that will place all eyes squarely on your product. Choose from four slightly different home page layouts and six color schemes. It’s colorful and built to take advantage of strong product photography.

A working order form is included to help drive sales. This Bootstrap 3.x template also includes parallax scrolling, three different product card layouts and integration with popular font and icon packages.



Minimal is a HTML landing page template that is perfect for situations where you don’t need to publish a lot of content – at least not yet.  It’s really meant to serve as an attractive pre-launch or “coming soon” page.

However, it’s anything but bland. Inside, you’ll find the ability to utilize a full-width background image or video slider, along with a text-based slider. You can create something that looks exciting and helps to build anticipation for your upcoming launch.



Holo is aimed at businesses that prefer a highly-functional single-page web presence. This HTML 5/Bootstrap template features powerful animated scrolling effects and lots of assorted jQuery goodies like progress bars, parallax scrolling and a filterable portfolio.

Both a light and dark template is included, along with the ability to easily customize colors. There’s also an AJAX contact form, clean pricing tables and a semi-transparent carousel.



Inbound is a WordPress landing page theme that aims for versatility. Using the included page builder, you’ll be able to create just about any layout you’d like.

Also included is a banner system that enables you to add call-to-action areas to any part of your site. The theme includes 30+ custom widgets for things like pricing tables, Google Maps and image galleries.



One is a WordPress theme based on Bootstrap 3.x. It comes with three design variations and includes integration with MailChimp to make collecting email addresses a cinch.

The look is quite clean with gorgeous typography and slick AJAX animations. Inside you’ll find a copy of Visual Composer to help with page layout, mega menus, a selection of custom Shortcodes and lots of popular page content sections to get you started.



Leadx is a WordPress theme featuring seven demo layouts that span a variety of potential uses. Visual Composer and Slider Revolution are included for easy content and layout creation.

The theme is also compatible with top plugins like Gravity Forms and WooCommerce. Overall, the look is very modern and includes parallax scrolling, progress bars and attractive mega menus. There are also several ways to customize things on a per-page basis.



Eventry is a WordPress theme with a focus on event landing pages. Frankly, the landing page format is perfect for use with conferences and other corporate events. The theme sports four home page variations, along with 10 color schemes to help you get just the right look.

Other features include a countdown timer (perfect for creating pre-event hype), a handy responsive event schedule, a pre-registration form and the ability to get directions to the conference via Google Maps. It’s a beautiful and bold theme with lots of goodies tailored for event management.



Conversi is all about making those cold, hard conversions. The design of this WordPress theme makes great use of color to draw attention to important content. Included are copies of Visual Composer and Slider Revolution.

Beyond that, you’ll find lots of options to customize the CSS, colors, fonts and more. Other features include pricing tables, an image lightbox and a carousel. The theme is based on Bootstrap and provides two custom page layouts, along with six custom headers.


A Smooth Landing

When it comes to landing pages, it’s never a bad idea to go with the tried and true. And that’s where the templates and themes above really shine. They provide you with the tools you need to create an effective page that will accomplish your goals.

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Greenbuild to feature Neil deGrasse Tyson

The host of “Cosmos” and the “StarTalk” podcast is schedule to appear at 11 a.m. Nov. 10.

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