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.
Blogging, especially business blogging, is the in thing these days; just about every business with an online presence is into it. It’s something that everybody is doing, and why not, after all a blog not only brings to a website an added sense of credibility, but also improves the brand awareness of your business and its products and services.
But, it must be remembered that blogging just for the heck of it, and because everybody is doing it, doesn’t work. It must be purposeful in order to succeed. To make you job a little easier, you need to keep a few business blogging tips in mind, to ensure that your blog is successful.
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?
Oh, you think you’re pretty savvy and sophisticated, with your Twitter and Facebook and Blogger? You think we’ve gone places and done things that could never have been done before? That we’re living in the future, plugged into a worldwide hivemind that our predecessors could only dream of?
Nah, actually, Wired assures us that we’re not any different than prehistoric cavemen when it comes to social networks. Researchers studied a primitive tribe of hunter-gatherers and discovered that they had the same behavior patterns in socializing that our electronic socializing does. They found matches in mutual popularity, closer friends versus more remote ones, and similarity breeding friendship, among other factors. Continue reading
We haven’t been showing enough love to CSS3 lately. There is a fundamental shift in web design happening right now, between the end of the Flash era, beginning of the HTML5 era, and the advent of (at last!) working CSS3. Here’s a roundup list of pretty and/or cool tricks in CSS3 that just make you go “Awsome!”
A nice little round-up of 53 CSS-Techniques You Couldn’t Live Without, over at 9tricks. These represent the leading edge in everything CSS is capable of lately. It’s surprising that we don’t have more of it deployed.
A few observations on the list:
We’ve seen 1001 rounded corners tutorials, but none of them will compare with the one-line ‘border-radius’ feature… when all web browsers support them.
Wrapping text around an image – every hack for this we’ve seen deployed so far works in two browsers and breaks in all the others.
The dynamic piechart looks like one of those painfully-obvious image-sprite hacks, but you have to admit you never thought of it until you saw it.
The adaptive layout technique – this is the next feature we’re going to be crying for better solutions for, in HTML6 and CSS4. The massive array of screen widths we now have to deal with, from pocket-mobile devices to ridiculous monitors the size of a swimming pool, is a mark that it’s high time the device took care of more of this for us.
If you work for a web design firm, you might have to sign no-compete agreements (depending on the laws in your area) saying you won’t work for clients in your off-time. However, web design is a big field, and touches a lot of side enterprises. Here are some ways you can put your extra tech-savvy skill points to work doing a little moonlighting:
Blogging – So obvious we almost don’t have to say. Most every web designer has a blog or social media account of some kind. Toss in some ads, and you’ve got a little side money.
iPhone apps – No doubt you’re heard of some of the top-selling applications for the iPhone. Apple lets you set up a store and sell these at the iPhone apps store.
Twitter backgrounds – Twitter has given rise to a new cottage industry in making backgrounds for Twitter home pages. Many sites give away backgrounds, a few sell them or make them to order for a fee.