First things first. If you’re not familiar with the process of wireframing, take a few minutes and read “A Beginner’s Guide to Wireframing” from webdesigntuts+. All done? Great.
Wireframing is an important step in any web or app project. It lets you think through the process and interactivity required without getting sidetracked by design elements. This is the phase that brings clarity to your project and allows you to work through all the interactions and layout needs, leading to a more intuitive, user-friendly end result. I admit, I haven’t always wireframed first. I’m guilty of starting with the design and then later struggling to retrofit it as needed. These days, I wireframe everything. Read the rest of this entry »
This is just a quick post to share a couple of good resources. I’m working on an e-book using InDesign (you need CS5 for this), and while looking for the best way to create the table of contents, I found this Lynda.com video. It covers it very well:
This one also has some good info about the difference between EPUB and PDF for e-books:
While working through a code rework on an old site last week, I remembered a few CSS tricks I hadn’t had to use for a while. I thought I’d post a little refresher to share these tips that might help you out of a coding bind.
The child selector:
Let’s say you have an unordered list with an id of ‘nav’ and you only want a certain style on the top level list items. If you try to target them by using #nav li, all of the the list items, even in nested lists in that ul will be targeted. This is the perfect place for a child selector. If you use #nav > li, only the direct children (list items one level down) will be affected. Read the rest of this entry »
Google+ pages has launched. This article from Search Engine Land will give you a quick overview of the set up. They’re a lot like Facebook pages, but I think the “Hangouts” feature is very attractive, especially for service-oriented businesses like mine. I can envision using that for tutorials or training sessions – lots of possibilities.
It was very easy to set the page up. If you have a Places page your info will come up when you click the “Create a Google+ Page” link. Take the time to create a nice profile icon, and be sure to upload some photos. I created a “Samples of Our Work” album to share our portfolio. I like the way the photos look – very nice presentation for a portfolio. Don’t forget to create a badge to add to your website.
Be sure to click “Edit Profile” from your main profile page and add some photos to your scrapbook album so the bar at the top of the profile page is filled (it takes 5 photos). Ours looks like this after completing that step:
You can switch between your personal G+ and business page with the little dropdown by your profile icon. Have fun and experiment with it! It’ll be interesting to see how businesses use these pages and some of the new features that are available. If you’d like to follow our page for web and graphic design tips, it’s here.
Just a short post to let you know that Google has updated their SEO Starter Guide. This guide covers the basics of search engine optimization. The items covered, like page titles, effective content, url structure and image optimization, should be on every web developer’s checklist of basic SEO for each website they launch. The information on backlinks is helpful as well. It’s important that sites linking to yours have related content and are high quality sites, not link farms.
The information on optimizing for your location is also important to remember. Adding a business to Google Places or Yahoo’s local directory will definitely help bring in local business.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the very fun experience of building a social network using BuddyPress. I was pleased to find that it all comes together easily and, with the help of some great plugins and custom code, it’s a very good option for any client who wants to create a niche social network. It’s also a great solution for internal networks – I can see how it would work well for a college, or any organization that wants to have a central meeting place for its members. If you haven’t heard of BuddyPress yet, head on over to BuddyPress.org to check it out.
I thought I’d share some of the plugins I used as well as some tips for creating the best user experience. (All of this assumes a good working knowledge of WordPress.) Read the rest of this entry »
I have two Twitter accounts – one for the design business and one for a more personal nutrition blog. I’ve been noticing that people in the nutrition community talk to each other on Twitter all the time – they respond to tweets and actively participate in the community. However, the design community posts seem to be mostly self promotion and link sharing just to maintain a certain frequency of posting. There’s very little communication. Tweets with questions tend to go unanswered and I don’t see nearly as many @ reples. I think we in the design community need to balance things out a little more and remember the “community” part of the picture. I’m guilty of it too — on a busy day it’s much easier to just put a link up than it is to talk with others, write something original, or help someone troubleshoot an issue.
Personally, I think it’s better to tweet less frequently and put up quality content than it is to post a link to something that’s already been tweeted 500 times. Self promotion has its place. It’s important to share what you’re working on, post launch announcements, and share your excitement when you land a new client, but it’s also important to share some knowledge or advice when another developer is lost and asking for help or suggestions. We all tend to be very busy and our work is stressful, but the value of human exchange is worth the time and effort.
This is just one of the tools I’m excited about in CS5. I can’t wait to play with it! I’m also looking forward to the Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop and CSS Inspect Mode with Live View in Dreamweaver. From what I’ve seen so far, this looks like an exciting release.
I love to share good resources when I find them, and this one is a great find. Created by web designer Grace Smith, it’s a site devoted to finding and sharing “the best freelance related articles, tips, tools, guides and resources available online.” The articles are hand-picked and the quality is excellent. For freelancers just starting out, it’s a terrific resource. There are plenty of articles for the seasoned pro too. As we all know, freelancers never stop learning. By the way, this is not a sponsored post – I just think this is a terrific resource!