Dec 13, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Design, Featured
Welcome to the fifth iteration of Webmaster-Source.com! As you may have noticed, the latest redesign has been completed and is now up for everyone to see.
The new design is a lot less…bland than the previous. At the same time, though, it’s a lot cleaner, or so I’ve tried to make it. The goal was to cut out the clutter and make things look less plain, and I think I’ve done a decent job at it. You can decide for yourself what you think, though.
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Dec 4, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Design
Collis Ta’eed has put up an amazing new design article over at PSDTUTS called How a Simple Layout Can Be Mixed ‘n’ Matched with Patterns, Photos and Backgrounds.
It’s pretty amazing how much colour and background can change the look and feel of a website. In this tutorial we’re going to put together a quick, simple but effective layout and then create variations using backgrounds, photos and patterns. We’ll also look at how to make seamless tiled backgrounds out of a photo, methods for ending a single photo and simple ways to create pixel patterns. In short it’s a jam packed tutorial!
The article is quite long, with plenty of screenshots and illustrations. It goes through the entire design process of a website, showing how little touches along the way can dramatically change the overall feel of the site, and provide the right effect. Along the way you’ll hopefully pick-up a few tricks for later usage.
Keep an eye on PSDTUTS as they publish the rest of their Web Design Week posts.
Dec 3, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Design
Vandelay Design has a list of some of the most common things that cause people to leave your website. While it’s not a good idea to obsess over keeping people on your site, it’s worth reading up on how to optimize your site to promote staying longer.
Part of having a successful website is attracting visitors. Keeping those visitors on your site, however, is another topic altogether. Of course, once you have the visitor on your site you’ll want to keep them around for a while rather than seeing them quickly leaving to go somewhere else.
In order to do a good job of retaining visitors, increasing pageviews and time on the site, it’s important to think about what could cause visitors to leave. By knowing some of the major reasons that people are leaving your site, you can make adjustments to improve this situation.
The list covers the main areas that you want to pay attention to to successfuly optimize your site in this manner, which pretty much fall into the categories of content, design, and advertisements. Keep in mind though, that if people notice that you are actively trying to keep them on your site, it will be a major turn off. So don’t
- Be stingy with outgoing links
- Open external links in pop-up windows
- Try to disable the Back button
Stay away from little tricks like that that hinder the user experience.
Dec 2, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Design
I realized it’s been awhile since I did one of my Design Spotlight posts. It is about time to highlight a noteworthy design, isn’t it?
Today I would like to ponit you toward Web Design Ledger, a design blog I’ve started reading recently. Designed by Henry Jones (Henry Jones the designer, not the adventurer. At least, I think… ), it’s fairly simplistic and clean, but the style just looks great.
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Sep 28, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Design, Featured
Welcome to day four of The Mobile Web. We’ve previously covered a lot of ground on the subject of mobile websites over the last few days. Today will be lighter reading though. Who’s up for a design roundup of mobile websites? What are some good examples of iPhone-formatted websites? (I won’t be rounding up any WML sites, since style and WML are pretty much mutually exclusive.)
Here are some good examples of iPhone-specific pages.
Sep 17, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Design
A new blog has started up over the past month or so, and quickly gained the attention of the design crowd, after a few social media hits, and posts on the front page of Design Float.
The Usability Post covers, well, usability. It’s focus is not the visual aspect of design, but how design works. From the About page:
The Usability Post is a blog about design. Design isn’t what something looks like, design is about how it works. Making something usable means understanding what people expect from your product and thinking of ways to make the use of the product simple and enjoyable.
The blog shows promise, and is worth checking out.
Here are a couple of posts from Usability Post that I enjoyed:
Sep 1, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Design
CNET Networks, the long-time and respected tech source that was recently acquired by CBS, has finally released their new design to the general public. When mockups were posted a few months ago, there was public outcry. I didn’t like it either. The design has come a long way since then, and I think it’s a worthy successor to the old design.
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Aug 27, 2008 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
How would you like to gain a steady stream of quality traffic to your website? Traffic that won’t vanish in a few weeks. Traffic that will keep on coming for a long time.
Write a WordPress Plugin, or if you lean more toward design rather than coding, make a WordPress theme. WordPress resources are the ultimate linkbait. It may take you awhile, but it doesn’t take much work to get the traffic coming. Write a page about the plugin on your blog, submit your theme or plugin to WordPress/Extend, post a quick note to WLTC News, and submit to a few social bookmarking sites. It won’t take long before the plugin spreads through the blogosphere, netting you some incoming traffic, and some good links and mentions on other blogs. I’ve done this twice, with WP125 and GoCodes, and both plugins have really added a helpful boost to Webmaster-Source.
If you Google “WP125,” a good many of the 12,000+ results are related to my plugin, though I have to admit there are some scrapers and non-plugin-related posts in there. “WP125 ad” returns higher quality results, and 4.890 at that. Not bad considering the plugin is only a month and a half old…
Now I know not everyone has the skills to put together a good theme or a useful plugin, and therefore may not be able to make use of this tip at the moment. But don’t give up on this idea yet. Anyone can learn PHP, or pick up blog design. If you’re already blogging with WordPress, chances are you’ll be able to pick up said skills without too much difficulty if you put your mind to it.
Aug 26, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Design
As a designer, I’m rarely with a design for long. Not long after finishing a design, I start feeling an urge to redesign the site again. Give it a month or two and I’ll be playing around in Photoshop, making experimental mockups in what spare time I have. I have to force myself to not launch a new design too quickly.
I know I’m not the only one with this “problem.” Many designers are like me. Collis Ta’eed, co-founder of Envato, has admitted to never being happy with a design for long as well. And Adii, from the number of times he’s redesigned his blog recently, has a similar ailment.
Why? Why do I want to redesign so much? Is it because I’m never happy with the end result? Or am I just addicted to designing? I’m not sure. It’s probably both. Normally I’m not disappointed with a design, though they rarely turn out exactly as imagined, but I just…get bored with them. I want to experiment and try out new styles. I want to play with Photoshop and weave new code.
This seems to be something that plagues a large portion of designers, and other creative people as well. Have you noticed it yourself? Do you want to redesign more often than you should? Why?
This was my entry to Smashing Magazine’s guest author contest. It wasn’t published there, so I’m putting it here now that the coast is clear.
Aug 3, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Design
The popular social bookmarking site Del.icio.us redesigned over the past week. Overall they’ve kept a similar look, and haven’t lost any of the simplicity. It’s more polished looking, and probably more usable. Oh, and they’ve dropped the dots from the URL, becoming Delicious.com.
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