Archive of: 2008
Thinking of new income sources
28 December 2008 by
Christmas has finished and with 2009 looking like it will be be a bad year for the economy in general, I have been considering whether the recession or credit crunch [or whatever it is called] will have an effect on web design business in 2009. I have a few actions/objectives ready to go [partly as a result of a free business advice consultation with Business Link a few weeks ago] and I cover a range of web-related activities … so I am hopeful that I will be able to survive the downturn. However, I have also been considering alternative potential income sources just in case.
During my thoughts on this subject, I stumbled on the dilemma of diversification or specialisation. When developing new sources of income, is it better to spread your activities a bit or concentrate on the areas that represent your core skills? Diversification is an area that can be worrying because there is a real danger that you will ‘spread yourself too thin’ and it’s something I have been concerned about in the past. However, perhaps it is necessary? Here are two ideas that I have been considering.
Check your search engine positions with the Rank Checker Firefox add-on
19 December 2008 by
One of the things I do on a regular basis is on-site search engine optimisation campaigns for several clients. Rank Checker must be the most useful Firefox add-on I have discovered this year!
Understanding HTML and CSS code is a good thing
15 December 2008 by
When I was doing some Dreamweaver tuition recently, I was asked about implementing a CSS dropdown menu. I recommended this excellent CSS Menu from Craig Erskine which is itself a derivation of the original Suckerfish Dropdown menus on A list Apart.
The importance of web content
10 December 2008 by
The importance of web content cannot be overstated and writing persuasive and original web content is a lot more difficult than it sounds.
Add your own styles to websites
03 December 2008 by
Jon Hicks has written a great article at 24Ways entitled User Styling. The article describes how you can write your own CSS styles for websites.
Review of Everything You Know About CSS is Wrong
19 November 2008 by
Everything You Know About CSS is Wrong! is a new book by Rachel Andrew and Kevin Yank and published by Sitepoint. The book’s title is a bit of a marketing ploy and it’s not entirely accurate in my opinion. That aside, the book describes some new CSS layout methods, in particular the use of display:table and associated properties like display:table-cell, that will be supported by all major browsers when Internet Explorer 8 is released. The book argues that the release of IE8 means that we should be using these methods now [‘our part of the bargain’] in order to push the envelope for CSS layout and stop ‘holding back the Web’. Read on for my review.
Everything you know about CSS is wrong?
17 November 2008 by
Everything You Know about CSS is Wrong! The title of this new book from Sitepoint seems to be deliberately provocative.
A simple website for a local company
10 November 2008 by
Pyzer Cleaning needed a simple website to replace an existing website that was not working for them.
Recent CSS reading and some advanced CSS techniques
06 November 2008 by
For a Beautiful Web is a promo for Andy Clarke and his web design and development training courses [CSS included] and the blog has highlighted some new [in terms of usage] CSS techniques in two articles that I found really interesting.
The Holmbush Inn on Horsham Pub Guide
30 October 2008 by
I run a couple of pub guide websites including Horsham Pub Guide. I've not had much time to add new pubs to the website in recent months but following a user's suggestion, I've added the Holmbush Inn.
Shopping and blogging: website case study
24 October 2008 by
I set-up a shopping website about a year ago called Shop Junction. It used a product feed and API from those nice chaps at Affiliate Window. In fact, it was the first version of their Shop Window system that I used. The software allows you to showcase a very large product catalogue from many different online merchants on your website. If someone clicks through and buys, you get a percentage of the sale. Sounds good?!
Backing up files using an online application
20 October 2008 by
As a web designer or freelancer, you know the importance of backing up your work [right?!]. If you are like me, you may back-up to various alternative hard drives on a regular basis.
Top 5 resources for building contact forms
12 October 2008 by
As a web designer or developer, contact forms can sometimes cause problems because there may be a degree of difficulty in getting the form to actually send the information and because using CSS to layout the form is perhaps a bit more difficult than you might have thought. Help! Luckily, there are some great resources out there to help you build website contact forms. Here’s my top five list (in no particular order).
Learning about CSS
05 October 2008 by
I was doing some Dreamweaver tuition the other day and my student asked if I could recommend some simple online tutorials or learning resources for CSS.
Smarter CSS using an adjacent selector
01 October 2008 by
Wouldn’t it be great if you could add styles to your web page by specifying a style for a particular element on the basis of its proximity to another element? Well, in fact, you can do this using the adjacent-sibling selector! The adjacent sibling selector is perhaps not as widely used as it might be but it’s well worth considering for use in your style sheet.
Conditional CSS targets any browser you like
26 September 2008 by
As someone who is working with CSS all the time, you may have come across problems with different browsers [ahem]. Many of these differences are related to Internet Explorer and I think it’s fair to say that IE conditional comments are probably the best solution for these IE-specific differences. Now, Conditional-CSS extends that approach to other browsers by parsing your CSS file(s) on the server with some clever coding.
24 September 2008 by
Here's my short review of the book…
Back to basics with To Do lists
18 September 2008 by
Working as a freelancer, it’s sometimes quite easy to feel snowed under with work, invoicing, dealing with clients … and the myriad of tasks that are associated with running your own business. In an attempt to become better organised, I’ve tried a couple of To Do List applications…
First look at Google Chrome
11 September 2008 by
I was a bit lukewarm about Google Chrome, the new browser from the Googleplex, when it was first announced. Another browser for testing websites. I have a few of those already on my system. However, with a heavy heart [just kidding], I downloaded it and my first impressions are pretty good. Firstly, it does seem fast…
Learning Adobe Air
03 September 2008 by
I am planning to learn more about [play with] Adobe Air in my spare time over the next few months.
The Adobe AIR runtime lets developers use proven web technologies to build rich Internet applications that deploy to the desktop and run across operating systems.
Changing from Textpattern to Wordpress?
27 August 2008 by
I have run this blog for a few years now with Textpattern as the content management system. I’m pretty happy with it but I am wondering if I might be better off changing to Wordpress.
20 August 2008 by
I have been geotagging a pub guide website using the geo microformat. I think location-based information will become more important in future and this is one way of adding geodata to your website.
Charging clients for Google Webmaster Tools
14 August 2008 by
These days, as someone who manages a variety of websites for myself and clients, I find that one of the most valuable online resources is Google Webmaster Tools. This Google service allows you to see statistics and error analysis and enables the management of Google’s indexing of your website. It also includes Sitemap submission and reporting. In my opinion, it’s pretty much essential if you want to know more about your website and how Google sees it.
Tiled backgrounds made easy
07 August 2008 by
What do you do when you want to create a tiled background image for your website? Perhaps you open your copy of Photoshop or Fireworks, create a texture, add an image outline, export the image, and re-edit as required.
Convert a PSD file into a CSS/HTML layout
30 July 2008 by
I have been reading a series of great articles from CSS How To where they demonstrate the process of converting a Photoshop file into a CSS layout.
21 July 2008 by
For the last few weeks, I have been working on a fluid elastic layout for a previously fixed width website [see also Going Fluid Elastic]. At the same time, the site has been given a bit of a makeover.
Learning about HTML, CSS and web standards
08 July 2008 by
The web has a huge number of articles, tutorials, and other resources to help anyone find out about the ‘nuts and bolts’ of building websites. However, good in-depth learning resources are sometimes difficult to find. Here’s three that I think are great reference points for anyone to use.
Going fluid elastic
29 June 2008 by
I know that I tend to stick with fixed width layouts for many website projects and I prefer this type of layout over fluid layouts. See Fixed or fluid layouts. I know, I know. Fluid layouts use up the screen space better. They resize to fit the browser window. And all that.
What is my job?
18 June 2008 by
I have started wondering what my job really is because a substantial proportion of the work has involved the addition of product information via an ecommerce administration control panel.
Internet Explorer 6 hangs on
11 June 2008 by
Following an analysis by Shapeshed, I have carried out an analysis of the browsers used by website visitors to a local website that I maintain. The website in question gets around 5000 unique visitors per month, which is not a huge number admittedly, but it is a website used by the general public, rather than a particular audience with web design or geek leanings, so I reckon that it is partly indicative of websites that I build for clients. My main aim here was to see whether I could abandon web design support for Internet Explorer 6 any time soon.
Great method for styling images with CSS
28 May 2008 by
Web Designer Wall has published a clever CSS decorative gallery technique for styling images with CSS.
CSS: Display like a table
23 May 2008 by
With the advent of CSS-based layouts over the last few years, it might be assumed that the word “table" should be banished from your web design dictionary (apart from those really useful data tables that we should all use for related data). However….
On my bookshelf: Web Design and Marketing Solutions
15 May 2008 by
I am reading Web Design and Marketing Solutions for Business Websites by Kevin Potts at the moment. The book aims to provide advice for anyone who wants to build better business websites.
CSS Tip: Expand your font horizons
01 May 2008 by
It is sometimes easy to get into the habit of always using the same font declaration in your style sheet for every website you do. Even though the number of fonts that are common to both Mac and Windows systems is pretty small, there are a few variations worth trying.
YAML CSS framework
25 April 2008 by
These days, there are quite a few CSS frameworks popping up all over the place but YAML has an interesting and attractive CSS layout builder tool as part of its arsenal. This works really well and, in conjunction with the core YAML CSS framework, it allows you to build fixed and fluid CSS layouts with a few clicks of your mouse.
Link checking your website
22 April 2008 by
I maintain several personal websites including a pub guide and a directory of pub links. In the latter case, it is particularly important to keep up-to-date with invalid links.
Future of Web Design 2008 review
18 April 2008 by
Yesterday, I attended the Future of Web Design in London. I enjoyed the conference which featured presentations about all aspects of the web design process from inspiration, through user experience, to design and deployment, and promoting and maintaining your website. Here's my short review of the day, with apologies if I do not mention every single speaker. These are my highlights.
HTML text editors
14 April 2008 by
In recent months, I have been using a variety of HTML text editors with several different website content management systems (CMS), including Wordpress and Textpattern, and with ecommerce website administration control panels.
02 April 2008 by
Wild Blueberry provides management accountancy and business planning services for businesses in Sussex. For this particular website, I used a slightly different starting point for the website layout and, as a result, the final version includes some different design aspects to my 'usual'. Let me explain.
The Future of Web Design 2008
25 March 2008 by
I'm attending the Future of Web Design conference in London in a few weeks time and I'm hoping for an interesting day 'away from the office'.
19 March 2008 by
I am trying out ColorSchemer Studio on a 15-day trial at the moment and it seems to be a very useful little application. I think I'll be buying the software in a few days time.
Textpattern for all sorts of websites
12 March 2008 by
If you have used Textpattern to build a website or blog, you'll likely know that it is a fine tool for the job. At least, I think so.
It's been a busy week...
07 March 2008 by
Things are real busy here at CVW Towers. I have several website projects [in varying degrees of completion] that need my attention, I visited a government-based UK agency on Tuesday to discuss a website project.
Recent CSS reading
28 February 2008 by
Cameron Moll has started what promises to be an interesting and clever series of articles called The Highly Extensible CSS Interface.
Turner Security Systems
22 February 2008 by
We have recently designed a new website for Turner Security Systems. The company operates from a base in Cranleigh, Surrey.
Bigger thumbnail images?
20 February 2008 by
Screen resolutions seem to be getting bigger every year. A few years ago, 800 x 600 px was the most common resolution. Now, it's pretty usual for people to be viewing your carefully crafted website with resolutions of at least 1024 x 768 and, in a lot of cases, 1280 px or bigger.
Fixed width or fluid layouts?
18 February 2008 by
I recently started work on a website that uses a fluid layout and it has caused me to think about the old fixed width vs fluid layout web design debate.
Better email productivity
14 February 2008 by
After a few days away without laptop or email access, I returned to a large pile of emails! Moments like this make me realise just how many trivial emails I receive. By 'trivial', I mean 'new link added/new comment on your website/blog' notification emails and various other informational emails. In the course of a normal day, these are easily manageable, but over a few days, they tend to mount up.
Educational toys and gifts
30 January 2008 by
Over the past few months, we have been working on a website for Toys and Learning. After some hard graft, we're pleased to say that the website is now open for business. Yay!
CSS menu trick
27 January 2008 by
Changing the hover state of a link in response to a mouseover event is a common CSS technique.
Versioning for IE8
23 January 2008 by
There's a lot of debate in the web design/development/standards world at the moment about a proposed new feature in Internet Explorer 8 as described in this issue of A List Apart and...
Spock searches for people on the Internet
20 January 2008 by
Spock is a relative newcomer on the search engine scene. It provides people-based searching combined with elements of social networking and other modern website practices like tagging and voting. By signing up to Spock, you can 'claim' your search results which can allow you to shape what people see when they search for your name.
New Year's resolutions for web designers and developers
03 January 2008 by
I don't usually make New Year resolutions but this year I have made a few freelance web design/development ones for myself.