Recently in Web Design Category

If typefaces were dogs

From an email list:


A site for fonts

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There are lots of bad fonts out there. Just ran into this website and am very pleased with the fonts they have. Check out DaFont Free for personal use.

Griping about the Web

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A List Apart is an excellent blog for people who do web design. This Valentines Day, they hosted their own little massacre and invited some web design notables to comment on those things that drive them nuts...
Valentine's Day Massacre
by Our Gentle Readers

Roses are red, violets are blue, sometimes dear web, we sure hate you.

Daniel Aitken, web designer, proprietor
What angers me in today�s web, is the term �Web 2.0.� It�s the �2.0� specifically�the idea that the entire web is in for an upgrade, a change for the better to version two.

The web is not a singular application, it is a fluid interface. A means of information distribution, of functionality, of user-interoperability. It does not constrain to any idea of what an application is, because it is the combination of individual applications that make it so fluid. New coding techniques are constantly created, new hacks and workarounds for non-standards-compliant browsers. New ways of putting together existing code are being thought of and put into use every day somewhere on the millions of web pages the internet is home to. We aren�t yet on web 2.0, or internet 2.0, or computing 2.0. This is a dynamic change that will continue to happen whether or not we apply version numbers. The mass of netizens has triggered the implementation of web based applications, not a developer meeting that decided on the version change.
And over 20 more -- excellent ideas and thoughts on web design.

Bad Web Design in 2005

Jakob Nielsen is at it again. Here is his list of the: Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005

For this year's list of worst design mistakes, I decided to try something new: I asked readers of my newsletter to nominate the usability problems they found the most irritating.

I assumed that asking for reader input would highlight many issues that I hadn't noticed in my own user testing. This was not the case. Instead, all of the top thirty problems were covered in existing usability guidelines. Thus, when you read this year's top ten list, you'll probably say, "Yes, I've heard about this before." That's okay.

There's value in reminding ourselves of past findings and raising their priority on the agenda of things to be fixed. Because these mistakes continue to be so common, it makes sense that people continue to complain about them the most.

And the list -- here are excerpts from the top three:

1. Legibility Problems
Bad fonts won the vote by a landslide, getting almost twice as many votes as the #2 mistake. About two-thirds of the voters complained about small font sizes or frozen font sizes; about one-third complained about low contrast between text and background.

2. Non-Standard Links

3. Flash

Design web pages? Check out OverLIB. From their website:

What is overLIB
overLIB is a JavaScript library created to enhance websites with small popup information boxes (like tooltips) to help visitors around your website. It can be used to provide the user with information about what will happen when they click on a link as well as navigational help (see the examples below). Not to mention that it looks cool, is stable, and has an active developer community to boot!

Downloaded the software and it looks pretty slick -- very low overhead and much better than other pop-ups built into the HTML spec. (I'm thinking specifically of the "acronym" tag which works but has no formatting options and is slow to display...)

Handy web development tool

Sometimes you see a website and like the colors being used but don't want to rip the design off, just use the same color combinations.

Point this tool at the site in question and it interrogates the HTML and CSS files and returns the colors used on that page.

Very spiffy!

The Most Hated Advertising Techniques

Jakob Nielsen is very much a person to listen to when it comes to website usability and interface design. He is very opinionated and outspoken but the funny thing is that he is right most of the time... He publishes an excellent website UseIt and every few weeks comes out with an Alert Box - the one for December 6th deals with web-based advertising and what people hate: bq. The Most Hated Advertising Techniques Advertising is an integral part of the Web user experience: people repeatedly encounter ads as they surf the Web, whether they're visiting the biggest portals, established newspapers, or tiny personal sites. Most online advertising studies have focused on how successful ads are at driving traffic to the advertiser, using simple metrics such as clickthrough rates. bq. Unfortunately, most studies sorely neglect the user experience of online ads. As a result, sites that accept ads know little about how the ads affect their users and the degree to which problematic advertising tricks can undermine a site's credibility. Likewise, advertisers don't know if their reputations are degraded among the vast majority of users who don't click their ads, but might well be annoyed by them. bq. Now, however, we have data to start addressing these questions. At my recent User Experience 2004 conference, John Boyd from Yahoo! and Christian Rohrer from eBay presented a large body of research on how users perceive online advertising. Here, I offer a few highlights from their presentation (my comments on their findings are solely my responsibility). Here is the list of what people hate:
Design Element Users Answering
"Very Negatively"
or "Negatively"
Pops-up in front of your window 95%
Loads slowly 94%
Tries to trick you into clicking on it 94%
Does not have a "Close" button 93%
Covers what you are trying to see 93%
Doesn't say what it is for 92%
Moves content around 92%
Occupies most of the page 90%
Blinks on and off 87%
Floats across the screen 79%
Automatically plays sound 79%
There's a lot more food for thought on the website. Check it out and follow the links to other articles if you are involved in website design.

The Pricing Problem

from Andy Budd's site: bq. Working out a price for a website can be an extremely stressful exercise. If my experiences are anything to go by, most people will email you (and 100 other web designers) asking for a quote with very little or no information to go on. bq. Usually they simply ask... bq. "How much do you charge for a 20 page website." bq. Which is about as helpful as somebody walking into a car dealership and asking, "how much do you charge for a car with 4 doors". If you are lucky they may also throw in a few titbits like... bq. "We'd like something like" bq. Where is either the worlds worst website, or something so huge and expensive you just know they don't have the funds. bq. or bq. "It has to have a flash intro/news ticker/frame based navigation" bq. However you're a professional so you struggle on. You'll try to open a dialogue to extract a few more nuggets of info until you have enough to go on. bq. Then you work up some prices and put together a proposal which can take anything from a few hours to a couple of days. You spend the time because you're a professional and because you want to let your potential client know as much about the web design process and what you do as possible. So true...

Web design Usability

from A List Apart bq. ALA was designed in 1998 and until recently was maintained by hand. Many magazine, library, government, and education sites began life the same way and face similar hurdles as they make the transition to standards-based design powered by database-driven publishing tools. Excellent points here for anyone who maintains or designs a site.

Death of the Websafe Color Palette?

from Web Monkey bq. One of the givens of Web design, the holiest of holy truths, is the sanctity of the 216 websafe color palette. It's a rite of initiation for every Web designer or developer: Use only these colors, we are told, and don't question why. bq. But it's been more than three years since Lynda Weinman assembled her "browser safe palette" for Photoshop, and a lot has changed in the world of Web design since then. Designers have kept up with changes in client-side technologies, such as dHTML and Flash, and we've given up font tags in favor of CSS styles, tables for divs. Yet we cling to the 216 websafe color palette even though it continues to be the bane of a Web designer's existence.

The Ten Most Violated Homepage Design Guidelines

from Jakob Nielsen

Summary: There are ten usability mistakes that about two-thirds of corporate websites make. The prevalence of these errors alone warrants attention, especially since they appear on sites with significant investment in usable design.
I typically focus my top-ten lists on issues that I think are the most important and most in need of attention. This time, I've used a different criterion: I've focused on the known usability principles that designers most frequently violate. Whether big or small, the very prevalence of these usability problems makes them worthy of attention.

The frequency statistics are based on the numerous homepage reviews that my company has performed since I published my book on homepage usability. This data source introduces a bias, because only big companies or government agencies with a substantial usability commitment will invest $10,000 to have an independent expert assess its homepage design. However, we can turn that bug into a feature: if companies with a demonstrated commitment to usability make certain mistakes, they must be particularly slippery pitfalls.

For each of the ten most frequent mistakes, I state the deplorably low percentage of homepages that follow the guideline. I've sorted the list by compliance rate: number one is the guideline that the fewest sites follow (that is, the mistake that's made most often).

CSS - Keep it Simple

Excellent article from Digital Web Magazine regarding Cascading Style Sheets and why the current trend to do clever hacks with them is a Bad Thing...

Daily Sucker - October 29, 2003

Daily Sucker for Wednesday, October 29, 2003

America's Web Site brings you another site that deals with dogs.

I'm at a grantwriting conference all day today, so here's a really simple example where almost everything is wrong and it keeps up yesterday's theme of dogs. Here's the e-mail:

I teach a film studies course at a high school in Massachusetts. I was trying to find some sources for one of my students who is interested in animal actors and animal training, and I found this:

It has been a while since I read your excellent book Web Pages That Suck, but I remember enough to know that you might get a chuckle out of this website.

I'm sure my animal rights activist daughter won't get a chuckle out of the chimps and monkeys page or too many of the other pages.

Animal Actors

MovableType and FeedDemon

Post to MovableType or Typepad from FeedDemon

In the FeedDemon newsgroup Jakub Kazecki shared how to post to MovableType directly from FeedDemon RSS Reader, as shown below. See also Glenn Slaven's post for posting to Typepad from FeedDemon. FeedDemon 1.0 RC2 is also now available. See today's post for links and details. (168 words, 8 links)

Web Design

World Domination for Small Web Businesses

You want to own the global Web development market? Ditch that inclusive marketing approach and narrow your focus to self-contained segments. Andrew presents the theory and practice of niche marketing, arguing that it's easy to be a big (and prosperous) fish when the pond is small.

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