jQuery is one of the most popular libraries when it comes to online scripting and coding. However, simply saying, “I use jQuery on my website” does not automatically mean your site is going to be of a high standard. As with anything, much depends on your own approach to using jQuery, and how creative you are when it comes to developing your website.
Whether you are a freelance developer, work for a design company, or are a new website owner looking to discover the best ways to use jQuery, knowing which jQuery plugins bring the most to your site is always worth it. While jQuery can be used for a variety of features, the plugins are most regularly used to best effect for creating animations and bespoke designs. We have explored several examples of leading jQuery plugins, looked examples of websites that use them, and why they are so effective in making your website seem more alive and dynamic, rather than a static, boring collection of pages.
Digital Slideshow is an excellent jQuery plugin that delivers exactly what we are looking for in terms of animations and bright, exciting design. If you are developing a website aimed at children, or something playful and not too serious for adults, then Digital Slideshow is definitely something you ought to be using.
Bee Digital (http://www.beedigital.sk) is an exciting development company that uses jQuery to great effect throughout its website. Their site is a real look at what they can create for you, which, regardless of your platform, is sure to be smart and quirky thanks to jQuery.
Several web design trends are prominent right now. One of the biggest is the use of changing images to create a dynamic, exciting effect on web pages. Websites like Spotify do an excellent job of creating this effect.
If your website uses jQuery this is the plugin you should use to have scrolling images behind your text. The plugin is more than a simple image scroll tool, it allows your website visitors to select their own image, view each image in their own time, or remove the image altogether if they find it distracting or a nuisance.
Given the impact that great design and images can have on user experience, it is unlikely that anyone is going to bounce from your site because you have done something different. Get images on your website while it is still an emerging trend. Where is the value in doing something when everyone has already done it?
If you are serious about bringing your website up to date and having a modern, intuitive platform that users will love, then using the AnimateScroll jQuery plugin is something you should be doing. The idea behind AnimateScroll is simple. You place animated navigation buttons at the top of your page, the user clicks where they want to go, and the page automatically scrolls down for them.
This idea would work brilliantly if you were employing continuous scrolling on your website, although you would also need to make AnimateScroll follow you down the screen. The demo doesn’t do this, and while we found some websites using similar features, none that we looked at specifically used this plugin.
Although the appearance of AnimateScroll makes it look like an ideal solution for one-page websites, you can choose to use it across different sections of your own site if you wanted to. You also have choices around the scrolling style and speed, so your website is not going to be the same as any others that are using the same plugin. When you use AnimateScroll alongside your existing colorful branding and design, it can do a lot for your website.
Developed by the open source community at http://www.voidcanvas.com, 3dEye.js is one of the smallest plugins you will find from any library. As the title suggests, it enables you to look at objects in 3D, so is perfect for ecommerce platforms or anyone looking to add an interactive, intuitive element to their website in some way.
3dEye.js is also one of the few plugins of this nature that works glitch-free on mobile devices. Only you know where your audience is coming from, but if you are using jQuery and know your traffic comes from smartphones and tablets, you need 3dEye.js on your site.
We often say the simple things in life are the best, and if you want to bring a retro gaming feel to your website, the Starscroll plugin can help you do just that. You can choose for your stars to scroll automatically or manually when a user scrolls down the page.
If you think Starscroll is a great idea but do not have any link to stars and do not wish to use them, but would love to do something with your own images or animations, it is possible to do this. Bite Software, who developed the Starscroll jQuery plugin, have not published how to do this on their website, but they are always in their forums and will be willing to help if you get in touch with them.
If you are using jQuery to ensure your site is one of the best on the internet, then using Juicy Slider is a great way to enhance a responsive web design. This plugin makes it easy for you to carry images on your responsive site and have them react to scrolling, whether you simply want the images to fade to black and fade back in or swap with different ones.
The most recent version of Juicy Slider uses the full jQuery user interface, and offers a great opportunity to make your website look and feel exciting. Juicy Slider is an amazing plugin for bloggers who love images, but also any business that relies on visuals. From holiday companies to designers, and obviously photographers, Juicy Slider offers opportunities for many different people to capitalize and build a better website.
Solari, or split flap, displays might be famous for being staples of airports, train stations, and other public transport hubs the world over, but they look amazing on websites, too.
You can use the Flapper plugin to communicate page titles, as the basis for the whole page if you only have a few details on there – especially a contact us page, for example – or simply have it as a permanent part of the background on your site. The Flapper plugin is easy to customize, too, meaning you can create the effect you want by changing colors, sizes, and even the style of the writing.
Animation and fun brought onto your website, in a very simple, straightforward, and engaging manner.
Yet another simple jQuery plugin that does what its name says. Avoid using this too much, but if you have a logo or a special offer feature on your website, it will work brilliantly in terms of getting the attention of your website visitors.
Have the option to stop the spinning, too, as some people will love your website but not appreciate the additional feature.
Our final jQuery plugin is an exciting animation that can throw your website menu onto the page, with responsive elements and menus helping you to make your website highly interactive and fun to use. As with the other plugins we have mentioned so far, you will get more out of this when it is put together with your existing branding, although you might need to have a rethink around some of the animations if you have a large mobile market.
Using jQuery Plugins
Whether you are using jQuery because it is what you are used to, or because you love the plugins and the potential for developing highly effective websites, it is clear that doing so offers a range of opportunities.These exist for developers and their clients as well as the modern consumer who is forever looking for a cleaner, more effective and engaging, better all-round online experience.
In the age where user experience has an impact on how much revenue your business brings in, as well as on bigger picture elements such as SEO, jQuery is one of the options you should be considering when developing or redesigning your website. As with any script library or range of plugins and widgets, you should be clear on the reasons you are using jQuery and understand exactly what it is going to bring to your website. Yes, all of these jQuery plugins are exceptional, but if you do not have the server to deal with them or your website does not need them to succeed, think carefully before taking the plunge and tearing up something that works for you.
Above all, remember that your website is about promoting your brand and building your business over the long term. Will using jQuery enable you to achieve this? We believe the answer is yes, but we do not know to what extent this will happen. Understanding that is down to you knowing what your current website strengths and weaknesses are, and how jQuery will enable you to be better.
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