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Web Design Perth

We had to wrinkle our nose at this post on 6 famous web design atrocities. It may be more about which re-designs caused the most backlash – draw your own conclusions – but the overall sites seem to be doing fine regardless.

  • Gawker – Wait, what changed? We barely noticed.
  • TechCrunch – Look, any guru worshiped by his own personal cult can’t be said to fail at anything.
  • StumbleUpon – Guilty as charged, but Stumble has been concentrated on shooting themselves in the foot since they grew beyond being a Firefox plugin. Whatever they do to their site doesn’t matter now.
  • Netflix – Again, people still flock there.
  • YouTube – Ditto. And again, we barely detect any change since Google bought it.
  • Target – Hey, they’re a brick-and-mortar store. Do they even care about web traffic?

Still, it’s a good guide to what your user base might backlash about. Our take-away: Prioritize function over style.

Web Design Perth

Parallax
prognosis: Rapidly fading fad

While Web Design Ledger gives us beautiful examples of site layouts that incorporate parallax scrolling in their new styles in web design, we’re going out on a limb to suggest that it might not be here to stay. While it’s a very hip style, it’s fraught with compatibility issues for mobile devices and old browsers – and it takes a real rockstar designer to pull off, a huge investment in effort for a very small return. Artists have one more toy for their portfolios.

Microsoft Metro inspired minimalism
prognosis: Squares are popular again

Big deal, squares and plain colors. We’ve been fighting to get away from this for a decade and now we’re back to it. Techihawk has some nice gallery examples, but we’ve seen this play out before: Minimalist movements quickly become “maximalist” trends, as more stuff gets crammed into the interface until it looks just as crowded as any page ever done by somebody who’s never used the word “minimalism”. So what’s the difference?

The Pinterest brick wall
prognosis: Hot, hot hot and here to stay.

It took a site like Pinterest to wake everyone up to the possibilities of CSS-column-based layout. It’s only 10 years late, but what the ducks, we’re glad it made it anyway. The mavens of Mashable can’t stop raving about it. For any visually- oriented layout, from images to video to catalogs, it’s a perfect win.

Sticky headers and footers
prognosis: Only tolerable in small doses

When you browse the gallery at Web Design Ledger’s post on fixed-position elements, bear in mind that these are the sites which do it right. Many, many sites do it wrong, adding toolbar-like clutter to the top and bottom of the viewer’s window until it’s like browsing the web through a letterbox slit.

And our obligatory award for “overuse of trendy design” goes to Fundatia Comunitara, with parallax scrolling, chunky blocks of tomato-soup colors, and a fixed header that devours the top 25% of the viewing area. Granted, the drawings do make it artistic, but scroll continuously and see if you don’t get seasick after awhile.

Web Design Perth

The other day we were buzzing around some office cubicles and caught somebody dropping the phrase “web 2.0″ into the conversation. They were doing it in an ironic, sarcastic way, referencing how HTML5 is supposed to change everything now too. This gave us pause. For the first time, “Web 2.0″ is finally starting to sound like an outdated term, almost as antiquated as phrases like “Information Superhighway”. There’s a number of sites out there who agree:

Effdot spares no words in wishing that “Web 2.0″ died the death of a thousand cuts.

This hilarious YouTube parody shows various reactions to the concept. Ironically, YouTube, in it’s birth, was the premiere site that everybody pointed to as “an example of Web 2.0″.

We just can’t wait until the same thing happens to “cloud computing”.

Web Design Perth

It’s hard to think of any technology sphere that won’t feel an impact from this, so web design customers may as well know. This Computer World article makes no bones about declaring that Microsoft will no longer be focusing on Windows on the desktop. The declaration comes from Gartner analysts, who cite that the technology paradigm is shifting rapidly away from desktop computing altogether.

Instead, they’re looking to more of the mobile and pad market, with WinRT and Metro. They’ve also already made a jump to this with their design decisions on Windows 8, such as killing the ‘start’ button. Not since the shift from DOS to Windows has Microsoft undergone such a massive user-interface overhaul.

What does this mean for website owners? It means that now more than ever, you cannot count on the standard platform of Internet Explorer running on Windows desktops. The desktop market, already fragmented the past few years, is going to experience a huge fragmentation as a plethora of devices are used to navigate the web.

Web Design Perth

It may be kind of an immature thing, but this site makes an important point. It’s aimed at the kinds of “clients” who post on Craigslist, with long wish lists for huge websites for which they explain that they can’t pay you…

Take a deep breath and check out mute.co.

Things these kinds of clients always tell you:

  • “I have a great idea.”
  • “This will be good for your portfolio.”
  • “When the business takes off, we’ll give you a cut.”
  • “It has to integrate with Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Digg, YouTube, Yahoo, and everything.”
  • “It has to be a multimedia Web 2.0 experience.”
  • “We need it by tomorrow.”
  • “Should be no problem for somebody who knows what they’re doing.”
Web Design Perth

But just in case you needed to be reassured, ZDNet brings us Google engineer Matt Cutts, with the big news that SEO is not equivalent to spam. Well, take it from us, we are very relieved to hear that!

It’s kind of silly for anybody to have confused the two in the first place, but hey, it’s a big world and we all can’t be computer geeks, right? Actually, like many computer facets, SEO can be used for good or bad. There is such a thing as “black hat” SEO, which uses ungainly hacks and naughty tricks to fool Google’s web spiders into finding your page to be tasty – but as almost everybody knows, these cheap tricks work for about five days and then

Google’s index drops you like a hot rock. Similarly, programming is nor “hacking”, but programs can be written with the intent of being hacker tools. Blogging is not propaganda, but blogs can be used to spread propaganda. OK, we’ll stop there.

SEO is not spam. Everybody clear?

Web Design Perth

Did you ever think you’d live to see the day when you’d read this headline? Here, wait, let’s hear it in OSNews’ own words first:

“The world’s most popular operating system will not be receptive to Flash, and Microsoft openly stating Flash is history pretty much means that as a platform for the web, it’s done. Flash may still serve a purpose in other ways, but the Flash most of us know and hate – that’s gone.”

Wha… ? Done? Gone? Flash? DOA? Belly-up? Bereft of life, resting in peace?

Yes, the MSDN developer website seems pretty sure about this. HTML5 is where it’s at now. Throw away those O’Reilly Actionscript manuals and beef up on your HTML5. Meanwhile, Apple Insider can barely keep the gloating out of its coverage of the story.

The hilarious irony in all of this? Linux, the platform the Adobe despised the most, is now the only platform that will give the time of day to Adobe. So, ah, Adobe, do you suppose Firefox Ubuntu users can expect their Flash plugin update on time for a change?

 

Web Design Perth

One of our favorite sites is “The daily WTF?”, a blog about crazy stories encountered while working in the tech field – particularly about what happens when the clued meet the non-clued. Seriously, what geek could resist? We tried typing “Google” into the search box and sure enough, came up with these gems…

Web Design Perth

We don’t know why it’s been so long since we linked to The Old Master Himself, but here’s Seth Godin’s five rules for your about page. Thank you, Seth, for stamping out bland business-speak with stock photos.

Has anyone else noticed that all stock photo business people are light-skinned (even the Africans), in their late teens or early twenties, wearing an impossibly expensive suit in a scattered sloppy way like they slept in it, and live in milkworld? “Milkworld,” you know, is that white, shadowless void that’s the background to everything in business websites.

Also the Progressive Insurance store. The people in the Progressive Insurance commercials must be dead. They’re in limbo, not heaven or hell, and that’s what the girl is in the imp that welcomes you to eternity in the spaceless fog shopping for an immaterial object on endless aisles.

Anyway, yes, no stock photos, and no ‘Webtwopointoh-speak’, either. We don’t need to ‘leverage our whole-egg solutions impacting the paradigm of mid-level strategies to synergise our productivity matrix’. It’s getting to the point where we prefer to do business with outright yobs just to avoid having to deal with one more business-major robot.

Peter Brittain

Web Design Perth

There’s a lot of tools out there for discovering keywords, keywords related to the keywords, building up a keyword network strategy, and so on. Here, you can do all of that for free using some Google search operator hacking.

We start with the tilde operator (~). (Ask a nearby Linux geek to find it on your keyboard if you’re stuck.) The tilde means “synonym” to Google; it will highlight the synonym words in bold when you use this. Next, we use the dash operator (-).
The dash means “opposite” to Google
; in other words, leave out all pages which contain this exact word.

Can you see where this is going? Let’s start with a simple word like “dress”. Without quotes (leaving out quotes all the way through this), dress returns (currently from our neck of the woods) 184,000,000 results. “~Dress” returns 1,220,000,000 results – and right away, we see that “wedding” is one of the top keywords associated with “dress”. Others include “clothing”, “fashion”, and “wear”.

Now what happens when we look for pages containing synonyms for “dress” without using the word dress? “~Dress -dress” returns 8,870,000,000 results, and again we see related bolded terms such as “wear”, “fashion”, and now “outfit”.

Let’s go back to the big related keyword and force it. Putting something in quotes tells Google “search for this exact text match”. So “~dress” (unquoted) “wedding” (quoted) produces all of the keywords associated with wedding dresses – “gown”, “attire”, and so on.

Using these operators in combination, you can uncover some dusty pages out there with some very odd results. Have fun!

Some of the people we have worked with

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