1,312 views
Jun 24

Organizing Website Navigation Structure

Perhaps the most difficult part about navigation on the Web is organizing and designing it. After all, coding it can be relatively easy. In this first section, we’ll go over some methods and best practices for organizing navigation, which can lead to a more intuitive user experience and higher conversion rates.

Primary vs. Secondary

Most websites, especially those with a lot of content or functionality, need navigation menus. But as a website grows in complexity, guiding users to that content and functionality shouldn’t be the job of any one menu. All of that content just doesn’t always fit in one large menu, no matter how organized it may be. While many websites need more than two, all websites have at least two main menus: primary and secondary.

Primarysecondary in Planning And Implementing Website Navigation Continue reading

1,565 views
Jun 24

Following A Web Design Process

Almost every Web designer can attest that much of their work is repetitive. We find ourselves completing the same tasks, even if slightly modified, over and over for every Web project. Following a detailed website design and development process can speed up your work and help your client understand your role in the project. This article tries to show how developing a process for Web design can organize a developer’s thoughts, speed up a project’s timeline and prepare a freelance business for growth.

First of all, what exactly is a ‘process’? A Web development process is a documented outline of the steps needed to be taken from start to finish in order to complete a typical Web design project. It divides and categorizes the work and then breaks these high-level sections into tasks and resources that can be used as a road map for each project.

A Typical Process

Here is a standard process that was put together using examples from around the Web as well as my own experience. (Note: Please see the resource links at the end of each phase.)

1. Planning

The planning stage is arguably the most important, because what’s decided and mapped here sets the stage for the entire project. This is also the stage that requires client interaction and the accompanying attention to detail.

  • Requirements analysis
    This includes client goals, target audience, detailed feature requests and as much relevant information as you can possibly gather. Even if the client has carefully planned his or her website, don’t be afraid to offer useful suggestions from your experience.
  • Project charter
    The project charter (or equivalent document) sums up the information that has been gathered and agreed upon in the previous point. These documents are typically concise and not overly technical, and they serve as a reference throughout the project. Continue reading
1,492 views
Jun 17

Be Creative, But Please Don’t Overdo It

The other day a design came across my desk for coordinated letterhead, business cards, post cards, and pens. It was colorful, creative, and stimulating. Or maybe I should say over-stimulating. My eyes didn’t really know where to focus. Four different fonts were used in different areas, six different colors, and there were graphics and text all over the place. What should have been a blank piece of letterhead someone would be able to type a letter on looked more like a TV screen of a news network broadcast with a stock ticker along the bottom, a news ticker at the top, a weather map on the side, and a bullet-point graphic seemingly growing out of the news anchor’s head. It was simply too much. And, anyway, how was I ever supposed to get all that on a pen?

It got me thinking – why is that a bunch of good ideas aren’t as good as one good idea? And how can a designer feel free to expand his or her creativity while narrowing the focus?

The approach of throwing everything up and seeing what sticks is great if you’re talking about a brainstorming session and a whiteboard. It’s not a great approach if you’re talking about a thousand printed sheets of 28-lb linen paper. So instead of thinking in terms of limiting your freewheeling ideas, think of letting your ideas fly, but only in an early stage of the process. In other words, as many crazy ideas as you can come up with the better. But don’t print there. Take it a few steps farther. Continue reading

1,233 views
Jun 17

Content Strategy: Optimizing Your Efforts For Success

Content strategy is a beast with many heads, names and trajectories. To approach it is to be sucked in full force. Even so, as crucial as content strategy is, conveying its gravity to a big audience, or to key administrators, is often hard. Being so inherently complex, it’s often easiest to tackle by example.

My first job as a Web content writer involved creating a campaign that promoted holiday spending and travel. I came up with clever tag lines that incorporated lyrics from Bing Crosby Christmas jingles. I thought I was doing great work, and when I got an email from my boss to discuss the campaign, I assumed I would get a pat on the back.

Content-strategy in Content Strategy: Optimizing Your Efforts For Success
Approaches to Content Strategy by Richard Ingram.

When I got to my boss’s office, she pulled up a page I had recently written and asked me what action I thought the content was encouraging. At first I was offended. But as I sat there, I began sweating and couldn’t come up with a clear answer (beyond that I was promoting holiday cheer). Continue reading

1,656 views
Jun 10

A Guide to CSS Colors in Web Design

With the exceptions of typography and layout, nothing has a more profound impact on the way we design and craft websites than color — from the visuals we showcase through images and media to the simple choice of whether to use salmon pink or neon green to give a website that ’90s “Help, I’m going blind!” appeal. This simple guide will look into CSS colors. You’ll also find excellent color charts and tools to help you work with color values.

Let’s set our objectives:

  • Examine the variety of options that exist
  • Analyze basic code examples for each color type
  • Examine opacity, transparency and more
  • Explore simple color theory and psychology Continue reading
1,437 views
Jun 08

Sothink SWF Editor Let’s You Parse SWF File into Editable Tag Values

I am glad to announce the release of our new product Sothink SWF Editor 1.0. It’s a cute SWF editor mainly designed for Flash users to parse SWF file into editable tag values and fast make changes. With this SWF hex editor, you can get rid of the complicated Adobe Flash tool to execute SWF modifications. Ignore the headache stage, timeline, layer… Instead, you just need to open the SWF file to see all the tags and binary data, fast locate and change the target tag values, preview revised tag node to check results. That’s all! For more information of Sothink SWF Editor >>

swf-editor-introduction

Main Features:

• Auto parse the opened SWF file into a tag tree;

• Edit the SWF file by changing tag values; Continue reading

1,586 views 1,602 views
Jun 02

The boundaries of pretty design

We all love a well-designed webpage. The days of ugly, drab listings are over. It’s all cool now.

Well, that thought struck me when I saw this UK Government site addressing the issues of student loans.

http://yourfuture.direct.gov.uk/

Initially, I might have cheered this swanky design for a government website. But what bothered me later, is how the design may not at all be in tune with the message, with the subject matter.

Not to go into politics too much, but from what I gather, student loans in the UK have not been very popular. A new law was passed that makes costs and pay-backs heftier for the students, and protests (and even riots) were all over the news. Continue reading

1,320 views
Jun 01

One-Click to Download Online Flash with 100% Free Firefox 4 Add-on

firefox4-iconWith Firefox 4 release, Sothink Flash Downloader for Firefox, as a free Firefox add-on, tightly follows its steps to upgrade its version to 1.5, which is compatible with Firefox 4, and helps the viewers download online Flash from Firefox 4 smoothly.

To save Flash from web with Flash downloader, this is the easiest and totally no-fee method to get those amazing Flash movies.

Let us analyze the normal download methods:

  • Get Flash URL; input it in address bar of browser to save Flash movie