Web Design mistakes that could cost you!



When creating a website it's important to know what users enjoy looking at. It's also very important to know what will make a user shriek in sheer terror. This list is a create thing to have in mind when creating a website.

1. Playing music: when your website opens up and music starts playing it drives me crazy. I don't know where it's coming from and when I finally figure out that its from the website I just opened up I close it immediately.

2. Do not use blinking text: I know in the early 90's was hip but the day of blinking text and scrolling marquees are gone.

3. Use CSS instead of tables: tables where the industry standard in the 90's but web design has defiantly moved on and created great resources so please use them.

4. Avoid intros: I know that flash websites love intros but they are annoying. I want to choose the information I want and I don't want to have to watch an intro to get it.

5. Avoid underling non-hyperlink text: This can get really confusing so don't do.

6. Do not open a link in a new tab: I hate having to close a million garbage tabs because links where opened up in new tabs. All browsers have a back button for a reason.

7. Do not use tiny font: I don know why I even have to bring this up.

8. Websites are not books: please don't write a novel on your website no one wants to read it.

9. When a user visits you site its important they know what its about it seconds: If your services or products aren't clear within seconds people will leave and find the next persons website that has a clearer message as to what they provide.

10. Protect yourselves against grammar Nazi's: they are everywhere are they hate your misspelled websites.

Posted By: Thomas Veilleux Posted On: 07/15/2012 Tags: No Tags

CSS then and now: from CSS1 to CSS3



There is a great article on about.com (http://webdesign.about.com/od/css2/a/aa090202a.htm) about CSS' transition from beginning to now but it is very long and drawn out so I wanted to give a shorter version from the beginning to what is now CSS3. With the buzz of HTML5 and CSS3 I figured it would be important to explain why CSS3 is so exciting.

First lets start off with CSS1 which was released in December 1996. CSS was developed as a consistent approach to providing style information for web documents. CSS at the time wasn't the only language developing this kind of strategy. Netscape created JSSS (JavaScript Style Sheets) along with several other style sheet options but I won't bore you with the less effective systems.

Now in Level 1 CSS or CSS1 most of the basic features that are used today where created in the first level. Grouping
Inheritance
Class
Id
Pseudo classes
Cascading order
Formatting Model
Font properties
Color and Background properties
Classifications
Units

In level 2 CSS, which was created in Nov 1997 less than a year after level 1. CSS2 has had several revisions but most of what was included in CSS2 was media specific. Also level 2 offered some automated content such as numbering and bulleting for list items. Level 2 also allowed for different style sheets depending on the media. Such as if you are on a mobile devise that has a different screen resolution you could create a CSS that was media specific. Relative and Absolute positioning was introduced in level 2. Relative positioning allowed for items to be situated according to its position inside of other CSS tags. Absolute positioning ignores all other CSS tags and is positioned in an X, Y scale format. Level 2 had several other features such as text-shadows, pseudo-classes, and the use of system colors. Check out the W3C website for more info.

In level 3 there are several new features but I'm going to highlight just my favorite ones. If you want even more information on exactly what is new for CSS3 visit W3C

Mutliple-backgrounds

#my_multi_bg{
url(bg1.png)top center repeat;
url(bg2.png)center right no-repeat;
url(bg3.png)bottom center no-repeat;
}

Custom fonts even if website viewer doesn't have them loaded

@face-font {
font-family: "my-font";
src: url(my-font.tff) format("truetype");
}

#my_id {
font-family: "my-font", sans-serif;
}

nth child() and nth() of type this is a way to select only certain elements using a formula.

/* First, Fourth, Seventh, etc..
/* Any type of element */
p:nth-child(3n+1) {
background: #F00;
}

/* First, Fourth, Seventh, etc..
/* Only li elements */
p li:nth-of-type(3n+1) {
background: #F00;
}

Opacity

#my_id {
background: #F00;
opacity: 0.5;
}

RGBA instead of hex

#my_id {
background: rgba(255, 212, 45, 0.5);
}

This and many more features of CSS3 can be found at the W3C website. The biggest issue with level 3 however is browser compliance. It appears as though Internet Explorer is dragging its feet like always. So before you use any of the CSS3 features check to see if it is compatible with IE.

If you like these features check out the features on level 4 CSS that is currently in the works. The best feature of level 4 is that all major browsers will be labeled obsolete. All of the major browsers are onboard with requiring browsers to be upgraded in order to surf the net. I think this is the best feature to date.

Posted By: Thomas Veilleux Posted On: 07/14/2012 Tags: No Tags

Catchy Websites Catch Customers



Face it; yellow pages are out dated. Today's world is digital, fast pace, and all about the Internet. Why pay for a small square in the yellow pages, when you could have an interactive, eye catching website with as many pages of advertisement as you want? Another huge plus to a custom built website is that it has the ability to be personalized, allowing you to show your prospective costumers who you are. A website has the ability tell a prospective client everything they need to know. First there's the cover, and just like a book it can make or break you. Then there's the content, organization is a must and making things easy for your viewers to find is key. If the content is in disarray, your viewers will just hit the back button and move on to the next website. Then there's the personalizing aspect, your website should make your customer fall in love with you. They should look at your site and think, I have to hire them, they're perfect.

A well designed website will make your potential client feel like they already know and trust you, even though they haven't met you yet. Your website is like your business' autobiography and is essential for any small business. This is not to say that word of mouth is not a main source of advertisement, but think about it. When someone gives you a name of a business that they like, what do you do? You pick up your I-Phone or get on your computer and look them up and when they don't have a website you are disappointed. Leaving you with the thought that they must not be that great if they don't have a website.

There is too much business to be made on the Internet. So, if you don't have a website, I would highly recommend that you seriously ponder the idea of investing into one. It can only help you reel in the customers.

Posted By: Leigh Martin Posted On: 05/23/2012 Tags: Web Design

Why You Need A (Better) Website!



Your website works for you 24/7

With information today being accessed online at all hours of the day and night, there is no way you can be on hand to provide your customers with the information they are seeking. Your website becomes your hardest working employee providing all the information your customer is seeking, whenever they need it. The best part is unlike a traditional employee your website does not increase your cost of doing business when it is used by your customers. So your website become your own customizable receptionist, salesman, and customer service representative that is on call and working for you 24/7. Set the right first impression

If your business is a two-man operation working out of your garage you can still put your best foot forward when customers see a well-designed webpage representing your business. First impressions are very important and when potential customers find your business on the web you want them to see all you can offer not be confused or left wanting. Having a well designed professional website can be the key to making the kind of first impression your company deserves.

"Google it"
Lets be honest no one uses the yellow pages anymore. If you want to find anything today the first place people go is their computer. The cheapest way to make your business accessible to anyone in the world at any time is have a well built website.

Posted By: David Fink Posted On: 10/18/2008 Tags: User Experience

Is Search Engine Optimization Worth The Trouble?



For many freelancers the time and effort to do proper search engine optimization may seem like a task better left to the big dogs. Lets face it for those of us running a small operation we are trying to build a site they will be happy with and provide the best value to our customers. Often the effort it takes for me to code an entire website leaves little time or money to spend on SEO. So you may ask yourself; should I just throw in some extra meta tags and call it SEO or should I take more time to ensure maximum hits on my customer's site? The answer is both yes and no. While companies that charge big bucks and have teams of people to push websites to the top my seem like Goliaths of the Google search there is a lot you can to fight your way to the top. Having a solid grasp of SEO and keeping the tips and tricks of the trade in mind through the design process will save you loads of time going back and reworking the site's code. Doing this will not only allow you to work smarter not harder but, building a site that makes it to the top of the search box right out of the gate will add some clout to your portfolio. The trick is from the beginning of the build keep in mind how you intend to use SEO for the site and stick with your game plan through out the build. This plan will save you precious time later when you are revising the site for SEO and lead to happy and hopefully repeat customers.

Posted By: David Fink Posted On: 10/17/2008 Tags: Web Design

Trick Of The Trade For Beginners



You have learned the code, tested your skills with a few tutorials, and you think you are ready to make some cash. Chances are you already built some sites for friends and family for free, or at a rate close to nothing, in an effort to build a bit of a portfolio and hone your skills. Now that you have your feet wet you want to bring in some serious cash. Here are a few steps to get you started off on the right foot and avoid a few mistakes that many new designers make.

1. Only take good work.
There are many places for you to find freelance jobs to make some quick cash. Searching ads on Craigslist.org or Freelancer.com can yield some promising leads but be wary of low balers. Doing design work for people who want lots of work but aren't willing to pay what your worth will ultimately leave you overworked, underpaid, and dissatisfied. So take your time and find jobs that fit both your skill level and what you expect to earn.

2. Get it in black and white.
After talking with your new customer, deciding on the design work the job entails, and a rate you both agree on get it written in a detailed contract and have it signed by both you and the customer. Many a designer has allowed customers to push them into doing a lot of extra work that wasn't in the original plan without increasing that rate they agreed to pay. This will leave you overworked and dissatisfied so be sure both you and your client agree on every aspect of the job, including pay, before you begin the work.

3. Test, test, test!
If you are working alone be sure that the site has been tested with a fresh set of eyes before delivering it to your customer. Have a friend or family member spend some time not just looking at your design but also thoroughly clicking through every link on the site to be sure every thing works well and makes sense. I prefer to have a friend who isn't a designer take a look at the site to see how the average web surfer thinks it looks and works. If the site is for kids have your buddies little brother look at it, if it is geared towards adults tell you Mom to give it a look. I have found that no matter how perfect I think a site is someone can always find something that needs to be tweaked or rewritten to make more sense to users. So ask for a little help and take their criticism with an open mind. The key is to do you best to deliver a well-polished site Taking these three tips to heart as you begin to design sites will save you some heart ache and ultimately make you much happier as you work with customers.

Posted By: David Fink Posted On: 10/17/2008 Tags: No Tags