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5 Cool jQuery Plugins & Effects for Website Developers

If you’ve ever needed a jolt of inspiration for your next project, I’ve got good news for you.

This is a great time to take stock of what we’ve learned over the past year and plan for the coming one. So today, let’s talk about some cool jQuery plugins and effects that will help you do just that!

There are lots of ways to get started with jQuery, but if you’re new to web development, you may want to start with a basic plugin or two. You can give your website visitors the ability to add their text or images to your page using this Text Widget plugin.

WordPress users will like this RSS feed box that allows visitors to subscribe to your posts. It will show them a preview as well as allow them to subscribe via email or through their favorite feed reader. If you want to make something prettier than this example, check out the tutorial.

Another fun thing you can do is create an animated box that pops up on your site when someone signs up for your newsletter or wins the lottery or becomes a millionaire.

1. Clusterize.js

Clusterize.js is a lightweight JavaScript plugin that transforms a series of numbers into an array of visual clusters using the HTML5 canvas element. The clusters are presented as circles of various sizes, each with a tooltip containing the number it represents. The number is also copied to the clipboard, so the user can easily paste it into another application—very helpful for filling out forms and such.

Deep breath, everybody: it uses HTML5 canvas! This means that all you need to do is provide an array of numbers in any format (objects, arrays, strings) and Clusterize.js will take care of the rest to create an awesome visualization for you.

Clusterize.js is fully customizable and comes with several options that let you change certain attributes like colors, cluster size, and shape, tooltip content and formatting, etc.—it even lets you customize the font face used in the tooltips! You can even add title text to your canvas element to show off your branding.

What else can I say? If you need a quick way to visualize a list of numbers on your website, Clusterize.js will make your day.

2. jQuery Knob

If you find yourself needing to craft a user interface with an element that has a range of values—like volume control, the brightness of a light, or perhaps the speed and direction of a scroll—jQuery Knob is a simple plugin that will give you just what you need to get it done. jQuery Knob was created by John Polacek and is available under the MIT license.

While the project is still in beta, there are currently two themes, each with four knob styles. The most basic theme—the ThemeRoller theme—is designed to give you more control over the look and feel of your knobs than you’ll find in most other plugins of this type. You can also choose which jQuery UI theme (if any) your project should use for additional colors and customization.

The plugin includes several default behaviors for your knobs, including:

  • The ability to create an unlimited number of knobs on a single page.
  • Mouse wheel support for changing values.
  • Keyboard support for changing values (up/down arrows, PgUp/PgDn).
  • The ability to set minimum and maximum values for your knobs (so they always stay within those ranges).
  • The ability to change how quickly each knob’s value changes.
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3. Fancybox jQuery

The Fancybox jQuery plugin has been a popular way to make the web more visual since its inception in 2009, and it’s easy to see why. It makes it easy to embed multiple images or videos into a single frame, and it provides a slick, customizable interface that lets you interact with the media right in your browser as if you’re moving physical objects around in real life. It can even create an interactive “lightbox” effect that looks like you’re flipping through a physical photo album.

You can use this plugin for things like displaying creative portfolio items, creating photo slideshows, adding actionable item previews to your shopping cart pages, and more. It was created by Australian designer/developer Remy Sharp and has been downloaded more than three million times from the official site alone—and that doesn’t count all the third-party developers who have used it on their sites as well.

There’s no shortage of plugins out there for web developers, so how does Fancybox stand out? One of its biggest draws is the quality of its content management system (CMS), which is guaranteed to be easy to install on any server environment and works with WordPress, Joomla! Drupal, Shopify, Magento, Tumblr, Weebly, and Wix.

4. Tiny Slider

Tiny Slider is a lightweight jQuery plugin that lets you create a Fullscreen slider with images, text, or HTML from your website. It has the look and feels of a native iOS photo gallery, and it is simple to set up. First, include the tinySlider.js file on your page, along with jQuery (if you’re not already using it).

Then you can use Tiny Slider on any element by calling its initialization method and passing in the selector of the element you’d like to turn into a slider. You can then specify which direction you’d like the slider to move in

Finally, you can customize different features depending on what you like. Ultimately, this plugin is an easy way to add a fun effect to your website that users will appreciate.

5. Tingle.js

With all of the new tools available to web developers and designers, it’s easy to overlook gems that have been around for a while. Tingle.js, created by Chris Coyier, is a jQuery plugin that will help you add a little bit of delight to your website without being intrusive or causing technical problems.

The premise behind Tingle is simple: it gives you the ability to create a hover effect that doesn’t look like every other hover effect out there—it creates an animation that encompasses the entire element, rather than just highlighting the text or changing the background color. The animation can be whatever you want, though typically it’s something fun or playful.

Tingle is customizable in terms of how long it takes for the hover effect to run, what it looks like, and what happens when the cursor leaves the element—you can move whatever you’ve made with Tingle across the screen by setting a “destination” for it, or you can set up behaviors so that it reacts as if someone dropped an object onto your webpage. Don’t be afraid of getting creative with these animations!