May 06

5 Cool CSS Hover Effects You Can Copy and Paste

Need a cool hover effect for something on your site? Look no further! We’ve created several custom examples that you can view live for inspiration.

If you like the effect, steal it! We’ve got the CSS ready and waiting for you to copy.

Bring Your Boring Site to Life

Hover effects can make your site feel much more dynamic and alive. It used to be the case that JavaScript was required to do anything really interesting with a hover effect but these days CSS3 is capable of doing a ton of really cool stuff if you’re creating enough.

The effects we’ll be using today all use code that is supported by modern browsers, meaning of course Mozilla and Webkit for the most part. IE support is spotty at best across various versions so be sure to test thoroughly in your own implementation. Fancy hover effects are one of those things that you can usually degrade fairly gracefully so that older browsers still see some change.

Bump Up

May 05

Using CSS3: Older Browsers And Common Considerations

With the arrival of IE9, Microsoft has signalled its intent to work more with standards-based technologies. With IE still the single most popular browser and in many ways the browser for the uninitiated, this is hopefully the long awaited start of us Web craftsmen embracing the idea of using CSS3 as freely as we do CSS 2.1. However, with IE9 not being supported on versions of Windows before Vista and a lot of businesses still running XP and reluctant (or unable) to upgrade, it might take a while until a vast majority of our users will see the new technologies put to practice.

While plenty of people out there are using CSS3, many aren’t so keen or don’t know where to start. This article will first look at the ideas behind CSS3, and then consider some good working practices for older browsers and some new common issues.

A Helpful Analogy

The best analogy to explain CSS3 that I’ve heard relates to the world of film. Filmmakers can’t guarantee what platform their viewers will see their films on. Some will watch them at the cinema, some will watch them at home, and some will watch them on portable devices. Even among these few viewing options, there is still a massive potential for differences: IMAX, DVD, Blu-ray, surround sound — somebody may even opt for VHS!

So, does that mean you shouldn’t take advantage of all the great stuff that Blu-ray allows with sound and video just because someone somewhere will not watch the film on a Blu-ray player? Of course not. You make the experience as good as you can make it, and then people will get an experience that is suitable to what they’re viewing the movie on. Continue reading

Apr 29

Showcase of Creative Navigation Menus

Good navigation is the main cornerstone of an effective website. In practice, however, it’s often a tough challenge to come up with a meaningful, unambiguous way to organize, arrange, and display content to users; and it’s often not much easier to find a visually interesting solution either. The wide adaption of JavaScript libraries like jQuery is making it increasingly easy to add various kinds of sleek animations to navigation design. For instance, many recent promo websites are essentially single page websites with an array of animation effects used to make navigation a smoother and richer user experience.

Parallax and Scrolling

Parallax is an animation effect that allows layers to move in response to a particular viewpoint. The effect is used to add a three-dimensional depth illusion to the design and make interaction more responsive and interesting. Recently, this technique has been frequently used to animate background images, as in the famous Nike Better World site.

Nike Better World

Rich graphics and parallax 3D effects

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Apr 28

10 Web Design Rules That You Can Break

As web design and design in general have evolved, rules have been established to ensure consistent and usable designs.

Some of these rules were created simply because website creators abused certain principles without regard for their users. But these rules are not enforced by anyone and should be broken when necessary, especially when breaking them would lead to a stunning design. In this article, we present 10 rules that you can break if it suits your design needs.

Rule #1: Do Not Display the Horizontal Scroll Bar

A significant number of mice don’t have a horizontal mouse wheel. This makes it awkward to scroll left or right when a web page’s content extends past the sides of the browser. It can be annoying to have to bring the mouse cursor down to the bottom of the window and drag the scroll bar over just to see a word or two that lies beyond the viewable area of the page. That said, here are some well-designed sites that put the scroll bar to work in effective ways. Continue reading

Apr 21

Easter – A Celebration of Life Then, Now and in the Future!

Easter is the time those who are Christian in belief both remember and honor the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ that occurred almost 2,000 years ago. Christ in final words to His disciples told them what was to come at His time of physical death and the future He would prepare for them.

History has demonstrated words spoken near or at the time of death are often introspective for those soon to expire. The wise Socrates lived about 400 years prior to Christ, but in his last words was searching, “All of the wisdom of this world is but a tiny raft upon which we must set sail when we leave this earth. If only there was a firmer foundation upon which to stand, perhaps some divine word.”

A contemporary of Christ 20 centuries ago, the famous philosopher Seneca in his final words said, “All my life I have been seeking to climb out of the pit of my besetting sins and I cannot do it and I never will unless a hand is let down to draw me up.”

A frustrated Sigmund Freud, as a psychoanalyst and atheist who berated religion his entire career, in last moments expressed frustration, “The meager satisfaction that man can extract from reality leaves him starving.”

On a more humorous note, the lifelong agnostic comedian and actor, W. C. Fields, was discovered reading a Bible moments before death. Upon being discovered, he exclaimed to the surprised gathering, “I’m looking for a loophole!” Continue reading

Apr 15

15 Essential Checks Before Launching Your Website

Your website is designed, the CMS works, content has been added and the client is happy. It’s time to take the website live. Or is it? When launching a website, you can often forget a number of things in your eagerness to make it live, so it’s useful to have a checklist to look through as you make your final touches and before you announce your website to the world.

This article reviews some important and necessary checks that web-sites should be checked against before the official launch — little details are often forgotten or ignored, but – if done in time – may sum up to an overall greater user experience and avoid unnecessary costs after the official site release.

Favicon

A favicon brands the tab or window in which your website is open in the user’s browser. It is also saved with the bookmark so that users can easily identify pages from your website. Some browsers pick up the favicon if you save it in your root directory as favicon.ico, but to be sure it’s picked up all the time, include the following in your head.

1 <link rel="icon" type="image/x-icon" href="/favicon.ico" />

And if you have an iPhone favicon:

1 <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/favicon.png" />

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Apr 14

How to choose the right ink and paper for your business card?

At the end of every trade show or business convention, the participants go home with a fistful of business cards. Card printing is as important to your business as banner printing, poster printing or any kind of custom printing for that matter. Your business cards are your only link to the contacts you make. A full-service online printing company like 4over4.com can print impressive, attention-getting business cards quickly and deliver them just as rapidly by mail or courier.

For your business card to make the best impression, it needs to appeal to the touch, first of all. High-gloss paper feels classy. Specialty business cards made of plastic or metal are sure conversation starters. With online printing, you can peruse the entire inventory of card stock to find the perfect fit for you.

The design of your business card says a lot about your company. Your child may be an artist-in-training, but hire a professional to design your card. Use a logo or graphic if you like. Full color card printing is as easy to order as single color printing but be careful to maintain a professional appearance. Obviously, if you’re a professional clown, you’ll want to have a fun, colorful card but if you’re a financial adviser, you need a more stately appearance so your customers take you seriously. Continue reading

Apr 13

Make Your Content Make a Difference

Content, content, content. It’s an obvious part of any interactive experience. In fact, you’ve probably heard content is king, or queen, or some sort of royalty. Yet, content is elusive. Often, you don’t realize your content isn’t cutting it until it’s too late. Does any of this sound familiar?

The Real Solution

No SEO trick and no technology product alone will solve the content problem for you. The real solution to the content problem is hard work that demands change in your (or your company’s) approach to planning, designing and developing interactive experiences. That’s what gets results. There’s no shortcut. And indeed, the path to content that counts is a hard road. But it cannot be the excuse for compromising the quality of experience we provide to our users.

Get Strategic

Content strategy is planning for every aspect of content to get results. That goes far beyond writing the copy. When getting strategic about content, focus on three key areas: analysis, editorial and architecture. While explaining content strategy in detail literally requires a book (or two or three), I’d like to share with you a concise introduction to each area in this article.

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