Looking at web industry from a business angle, Ars Technica muses upon six big stories that stood out last year. Of those six, we’ll peg BitCoins as the story we’re most likely to look back on in a decade and wonder “what were they thinking?” Like Microsoft Bob, Pets.com, and the CueCat, BitCoins still have that cachet of “naive pre-web-bubble idea”. The article goes into several ways where BitCoin has had trouble already, which we predict is the shape of its doom, arrising like a Grim Reaper in the West.
Web Designer Depot has a post up about the gems you can find in creative commons images on Flickr. “Creative Commons” basically means “free to use” – sometimes technically for non-profit purposes, but really, does the 0.0005 of a penny you get from ad clicks count as “profit” anyway? While we’re at it, here’s a bunch more royalty-free image sources every web designer should have bookmarked:
Briefly, the point is that users avoid signing up to become a member of a site unless they absolutely have to. Call it, if you will, “social media fatigue“. Ten years ago, the web was yours just like your TV set, and the only time you had to sign up for anything was if you were buying something. Now you can’t click a mouse button without logging in with a nick and password. Who can remember them all? Why does it feel like getting married every time you just want to leave a quick note somewhere?
We work in the web development industry, and so we love our shiny new stuff! Don’t we? We love our chrome-plated glowy neon high-tech toys, because they make us feel like the hero in a Tron movie.
Ohhh, it’s exhausting keeping that up. But anyway, as painful as it will be to live through, we’re starting to see lots of enthusiastic hype for HTML5, which means that it will come to pass. It works this way because the life-cycle of all new web tech runs like this:
Initial spec. Somebody like Tim Berners-Lee or Paul Graham makes a blog post about it; everybody laughs.
First implementation. Some bright little start-up implements it before its time and it falls over. All the big companies sniff over it and turn their nose up at it.
A handful of bright bloggers keep yammering about it and why we should give it a chance.
Why do web designers get so worked up over fonts? A decision on whether to use one font or another for a logo may embroil an entire office, waging cubicle-to-cubicle warfare (imagine stapler-cannons, binder-clip mortars, and waste-paper-basket helmets here) that shoots down an entire day’s productivity. A non-designer will look on all this and wonder what on earth gets into people.
Let’s try to explain the rationale behind the most-dreaded fonts and why designers feel that way. On top of all these, the thing that makes a font the least popular is when it’s been overused.
Comic Sans – The thing is, this font was only intended as a joke/ novelty font. Think “party invitations.” Instead, a whole generation of novice web users latched onto this font for dear life and use it for everything, be it funeral notices, dear John letters, or results coming back from an AIDS test. There are tombstones chiseled in Comic-Sans out there.
Vivaldi– If Comic Sans is in trouble for people who don’t take themselves seriously enough, Vivaldi is the font for people who take themselves too seriously. Vivaldi is appropriate for snooty French restaurants and symphony programs. Anything else just makes it scream “pretentious snob!”
Hey, it’s refreshing to see somebody acknowledge that web workers have stress, isn’t it? Most of the time our acquaintances will be all, “What are you complaining about, all you do is sit around and type all day?” So this list of tips for reducing the stress of web work really hits home.
Some particularly strong points that need emphasizing here:
Exercise One of the things they don’t warn you about is that a life of sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen will make you fat. There’s no way around this; it doesn’t matter what you eat, if you never burn calories, you will gain weight. So yes, taking a walk will also help burn some pounds off your chunky waistline. Continue reading
I say, isn’t it about time you updated that website you had your nephew build for you back in 1998? Outdated web pages look older every year, and now that the World Wide Web is pushing on into the 2010s, even some of the hot trends of the 2000s are beginning to show their age.
If your website’s outdated, it says bad things about you. Visitors might think you must have gone out of business, have no taste, only care about an older audience, or are just too technically incompetent to keep your website up to date. If your website is sporting any of these long-gone elements, perhaps it’s time to think about an update just to keep up with the passing decades.
1. Photoshop design / Image slicing – This used to be the default method of design, even by the pro shops. But not only is slicing an image to fit into tables now outdated, but the whole “design it in Photoshop” thing is an anachronism. Modern-day sites, relying more on CSS than tables, fare far better if laid out in Fireworks, Illustrator, or Inkscape.
2. Background music / autoplaying media – Probably there are no .MIDI sound files playing any more (we hope! those got old even in 1998!), but today’s equivalent is media such as video or Flash ad content that starts playing sound as soon as the visitor arrives. At least let the visitor mouse over the element or give them a way to pause it. Continue reading
If you are a web designer, then there are scores of things that you need to know, so that your websites will be successful. The website that you design must be able to create a rapport between the site and the visitor for a common good. This is one of the many definitions of a successful website.
In addition, your website must be interesting enough to gain the attention of a visitor who may or may not continue on to your site. Thus, there are many things that you need to take heed of in order to achieve a successful website. Here are some useful tips that can help you to become a better web designer.
1. You must be very patient in order to be successful as a web designer. One of the greatest problems that web designers face is the fact that many web designers will try to rush through their work and thus they will often make mistakes. Don’t forget that your website will serve millions of people on the Internet and you need to be patient and meticulous in your efforts, so that you can satisfy a majority of them.
5. A good web designer must be able to balance the use of graphics and Audio – Video files with website viewing efficiency. Using graphics can make your website interesting and pleasing to look at; but overdoing it can cause your web viewing times to slow down. Thus as a website designer, you will have to balance this equation for that particular website.
6. A good web designer must be able to balance out the content of the web site into numerous web pages. This will be better for the visitors and it will also be better for SEO purposes.
7. It is essential for a web designer to know the driving force behind SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It is important for the web designer to be familiar with Search Engine algorithms. This way the web designer will be able to adjust keyword densities and other relevant SEO related criteria.
8. A good web designer will seek professional help and opinion whenever needed.
Some of the things that you need to keep in mind are:
Maintaining a consistent theme for your website plays an important role in how effective your natural website rankings will develop. A properly developed website theme will reinforce the users understanding of exactly what your company is offering. Continue reading
Regular readers on Earth Movin’ Media would know that along with web design, I quite often write about search engine marketing techniques on this blog.
However, for more in-depth search engine marketing strategies – then I also write another blog covering internet marketing strategies and search engine ranking factors for web design and development. You will find it here – internet marketing blog
Writing articles is an art, and something that has long been used as an option to build relevant links to websites for the purpose of Internet marketing. The idea is to write good articles to create great content for search engines.
If you write and submit good quality articles with content that is relevant to your product or service, it can be seen as highly useful and therefore generate lots of relevant, high quality links to your website
So how does this fit in with web design?
You will no doubt be asked along the way by clients to assist in their web marketing. Maybe not in a big design firm where you operate as a designer only. But, if you choose to go out on your own, you will find that you are requested to fulfill multiple tasks that you may not have expected to do.
So here we go.
Using good content, you can create good articles (& blogs) which can then create direct links to the website. This is done in the article BIO that you will be asked to include when submitting articles to directories such as Ezine Articles or Slinky Directory.
Creating good content requires writing on topical issues relevant to the website you want to link to.
Keep the search engines in your focus: All web surfers use search engines. Therefore, make sure your site is duly listed in a couple of popular search engines. It is also important that your site links up well internally, and all important pages open with a simple click of the mouse. Your website must be search-engine-friendly for which you must use keywords clearly not only in your website title but also repeatedly in the first paragraph of your web content and text. Remember your key words are the words that Internet users are expected to type in the search bar while looking out for your type of website.
Give usability top priority: Make sure that your web design projects your brand very well. Your site’s usability is of vital importance. If it is not very user-friendly then web surfers will go elsewhere. It is the correct use of key words that makes your website user-friendly. Your texts should be clearly visible and site navigation smooth. Your fonts and colors should look pleasing to the eyes. Your link structure should help people find information quickly.
Remember that the usual top-level menu items are: Home, About Us, Products, Services, and Contact Information.
Simple rather than flashy: The use of multimedia can help you provide all kinds of features making your web pages lifelike and interesting. However, it is advisable to avoid its use if you really want your prospective visitors to gain quick access to your website and obtain the relevant information. It is a good idea to limit flash navigation, which can confuse users if over used. Always make access to your Home page direct from any page.
Focus on speed: Files with graphic formats should never give users long download times or they will be driven away. Remember search engines find it hard to decipher text embedded in graphics and these features take longer to download. Avoid such things as far as possible. Have a look here for more technical tips on website loading and page design.
The total size of your images should be under 30K. Consider optimising your images for size, combining them, and replacing graphic rollovers with CSS.
The total size of external scripts ideally should not be over 8K. Consider optimising your scripts for size, combining them, and using compression where appropriate for any scripts placed in the HEAD of your documents.
The total size of your external CSS should be under 8K. Optimise your CSS for size by eliminating white space in the code, using shorthand notation, and combining multiple CSS files where appropriate.
Below are few tips which can help to guide you if you plan to design a website.
Be organized: one of the greatest flaws, which many novice designers are prone to, is organization. Your web site must be well organized and not just for you but for visitors. Make the navigation tools convenient so that the user can search for information easily. Don’t let your visitor get lost under several layers of pages without a clear way out.
Don’t write too much text: don’t over stuff your website with too much text. You can break up the content and put bullets, bold words or make short paragraphs. This will help the reader understand text easily.
There are many things you would like to do for your website but you should not do.
Here are a few tips that you should do and should not do for a better website design.
So, you are a music lover and would like to have some light background music for your website to set the mood right?
Music should always be kept to a minimum for websites. Files can be heavy and thus increase response times for your visitors. If you feel like you need to use music, then make sure you include an on/off button and try not to use music that may be offensive to other musical tastes. Continue reading