Archive for Web Sites

4 Cool Footers

The footer is generally the least noticed part of a website. This is unfortunate, since some sites have some really cool footers. Below are some that I think are worth notice.

The average viewer tends to not make it all the way down the page to the footer. This is why the part of the page “above the fold” is given a lot of attention by designers. However, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a cool footer as well. After all, some people will see it. I tend to read web pages through to the end, unless I have reason not to.

Ready of an inspiring look at some interesting page footers? Read the rest of this entry »

Google Analytics Updates - Wow

Google’s been making some changes to Google Analytics, their already exceptional statistics software for websites. I’m impressed with their changes.

My favorite new feature is the ability to add little info widgets to your main dashboard page, so you don’t have to digg through menus to find the stuff you want. I added boxes that show the top content on my blog, the top sources, and some other things as well.

I have only two major complaints. Complain number one: The GeoMap Overlay isn’t is cool as it used to be. I liked being able to see the cities individual users are coming from. Complain number two: The navigation menu reloads the page whenever you click on a heading. In the old version, it used DHTML instead.

All in all, the changes are great. If they just make the navigation menu work a little better, this will be the best stat-tracking site on the web.

29 CSS and AJAX Resources

Everyone likes Web 2.0. Wait, everyone except Jakob Nielsen. As I was saying, most people like Web 2.0. Here are some resources that you may find useful. CSS is the designer’s tool of choice for, well…designing, so obviously it can’t hurt to pick up a few new CSS tricks. AJAX has quickly taken the web by storm. Sites all over the place are using it to improve usability…and for pointless reasons as well. There are plenty of practical applications for AJAX, so obviosuly it’s worth seeing what others are doing with it. CSS and AJAX are two of the most important technologies making Web 2.0 (who came up with that term anyway?) possible. Ready for the list? Here it comes!

AJAX

CSS

16 Great Photoshop Tutorial Sites

Whether you’re an experienced Photoshop user or a newbie, you’ll always find use in tutorial sites. So, below (in no particular order) are some sites where you can find Photoshop tutorials.

  1. Good-Tutorials
  2. Tutorialized
  3. Planet Photoshop
  4. Pixel2Life
  5. PhotoshopTutorials.ws
  6. Dr. Photoshop
  7. Tutorial Outpost
  8. TalkMania
  9. iPhotoshop @ blogspot.com
  10. SigTutorials
  11. Photoshop @ Depiction.net
  12. SweDesignz
  13. YourPhotoshopGuide.com
  14. PDF Photoshop Tutorials @ About.com
  15. EmpireDesign
  16. TotalTutorial

I imagine that’s enough to keep you busy for awhile. ;)

New TLDs?

According to a post on Yahoo News, ICANN is planning to create new general-use Top Level Domains (like .com or .net) sometime in mid-2008.

About time! The .com TLD is getting a little full, and .net is generally a second choice. I’d like .web or something similar. We need one that’s a good .com alternative. However, it doesn’t matter what new TLDs are added unless some education is done, as the pathetic .info has proven.

People always expect addresses to be www.somethingobvious.com. Annoying it may be, that’s how it is. The average web user will try .com before anything else, which will either lead them to a dead-end or a competitor….neither of which are desirable.

Somehow, web users need to be taught how to browse better. Even better, browsers should be redesigned so remembering the exact TLD is unnecessary. Firefox does this already, to an extent. If I type pizzahut, Firefox consults google and finds that pizzahut.com is the one I most likely want, and it goes there. Eventually all the TLDs ending in .com will be take, and they will be valued at exorbitant rates due to scarcity.

ZetaBoards Enters Beta

ZetaBoards, the eventual successor to Invisionfree, is now being beta tested. Invisionfree, in case you didn’t already know, is a service that provides you with a free ad-supported Invision-based board. As the old version of Invision they use is becoming sort of an antique, they are developing a new forum system that is up to today’s standards…or so they hope.

ZetaBoards will be much better than it’s predeccessor Invisionfree. ZetaBaords adds many features asked for over the years, improves anti-spam, and improves in many ways upon Invisionfree. ZetaBoards (ZB) looks and acts similarly to the old Invisionfree boards, though with many improvements.

A theme changer has been added, along with a more powerful skinning system. More BBCode functions are added, including a Flash tag (useful for posting YouTube videos). There’s a more dynamic feel, and the system seems like it may be more stable. Macros are added, so you can finally mass delete spam posts. There is an unbelievable amount of improvements. One major complaint: The post form doesn’t show buttons for a lot of useful BBCode tags (like the [URL] tag). Hopefully that will be changed by the time ZB lauches.

ZetaBoards is looking to be a pretty good board system, though personally I prefer to host my own boards using SMF.

15 Reasons MySpace is Dumb

I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this, but… MySpace is stupid! Why the heck are all these people using it? It doesn’t make sense. Why are movie companies setting up MySpace pages for movies instead of making a decent website? Here are, in no particular order, 15 reasons MySpace is garbage.

  1. It’s MySpace.
  2. You have to wait 5 minutes for every freakin’ page to load.
  3. There’s no content. All there is on MySpace is some stuff about a bunch of airheads you don’t know.
  4. MySpace users obviously aren’t designers. Nearly every page looks like…I don’t know what. Is the web slipping back into the early ’90s?
  5. Backgorund music. I though we were rid of that annoying web “feature”.
  6. Background images that render text unreadable.
  7. MySpace news. Reall, what was Fox thinking?
  8. It’s owned by Faux, er Fox, News.
  9. Tons of ads. They must be the most interesting part of the site.
  10. MySpace, and it’s parent company (Fox News), owns everything you write on it. That’s right. That’s got to suck for those bands that post music on MySpace…
  11. Stupid “friends lists”. What the heck? This concept makes no sense, and it’s usage makes even less sense.
  12. Nearly every link (even internal ones) opens in a new window.
  13. MySpace has been the distributor of a surprising amountof spyware.
  14. You can now buy MySpace Sucks T-Shirts.
  15. Just Google “MySpace Sucks”. You get 2,720,000 results.

I don’t have a MySpace account and I never will. If you have an IQ level over 6, then you shouldn’t either.

What’s Wrong With iGoogle (and other similar sites)?

There are plenty of AJAX portals out there. There’s iGoogle, Netvibes, PagePlakes, and others as well. Do you know what’s wrong with them? None of them are right. You see, I only occasionally use any of these AJAX portals because they just don’t work the way I want them to.

Netvibes comes closest (with iGoogle second). I like being able to add a feed-reading box nearly instantly, for one thing. What’s wrong with Netvibes? I don’t like the weird splash-screen while it loads, and I’d prefer to be prompted for my login immediately, instead of getting a “demo portal”. Too bad, Netvibes is really good.

iGoogle is okay, but it’s a pain to login to that too. You have to either go to www.google.com/ig/ or go to google.com and click the iGoogle link. I don’t like having to leave my Google Account logged in on public computers, which I use now and then, either. I never thought I’d say this, but the design is too spartan. This is coming from someone who’s a big fan of whitespace, apple-style layouts, etc.

Pageflakes is worse than netvibes. They give you a stupid pop-up box-thingy that tells you to register. Then there’s a puny little login link down at the bottom. If they put a login form in that box, I’d use PageFlakes.

You see? Every one of these AJAX portals has the same sort of flaw. I don’t like it. Why can’t they just fix it and be done with it? Netvibes would be the ultimate AJAX portal if they’d just throw up a login form that opens in a popup-box like PageFlakes’s register thing.

Reliable Image Hosting? Forget It!

You’ve used Imageshack before, haven’t you? You probably have images you want to post on a blog or forum all the time. It’s a great concept though, predictably, it hasn’t worked out well.

Have you noticed how sluggish Imageshack has become? On my 800k-1mb connection, Imageshack usually takes three minutes to load. Then it takes an exhorbitant amount of time to upload my image. To top that all off, the uploaded images load slowly when you hotlink them. Seems as if they need to drop some cash on new servers.

There are alternatives, like TinyPic, though they have some annoyances as well. Tinypic is lightning-fast, but they have two useful features missing. One, TinyPic needs a transloader function like Imageshack’s. Two, TinyPic needs to offer a field with just the image URL. They give you the preformatted garbage that you have to re-edit. If i’m using the image on my blog, I just need the URL, not BBCode or their prefab HTML.

There aren’t many good image hosts out there. We need more. We need good ones. Imageshack/Tinypic are neccessary evils (got to combat that Digg effect :) ) for now.

5 Great Main Pages

A website’s homepage is one of the most important parts. If someone lands there and doesn’t find anything interesting, they’ll go elsewhere more often than not. Here are some examples of good home pages. Here they are, in no particular order. Study them and learn. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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