Web Design, Web Trends

An Event Apart

An Event ApartIn the early 2000’s, when I was a young web developer I found “A List Apart.” The blog answered my first hard question as a web designer worried about universal accessibility. How do I create a dropdown menu without Flash or JavaScript. I read the Suckerfish and Son of Suckerfish tutorials, successfully created my menus and was hooked. I continued reading, learning and expanding my horizons with new CSS methods.

Over a decade later, when I got to pick my first professional conference, there was no choice, my response was automatic. I was going to An Event Apart! (more…)

Web Design, Web Trends

The Rise of One Page Design

The release of CSS3 and HTML5 has brought about a new trend in web design: the One Page Design. As the name implies the One Page Design is just a single webpage that contains all of the websites content. Oftentimes the One Page Design has a navigation bar at the top of the page, just like any other site you might frequent, but instead of each menu item linking to a new page the navigation shoots you down the page, to the appropriate section.

Why the popularity?

The web is faster now. I don’t just mean your internet connection, but browsers are more efficient too. New standards mean that pages load faster. Designers have more tools for optimizing images and rendered content. All of this means that having a page that scrolls on for centuries won’t make your hourglass spin for days while the page loads.

The rise of mobile internet access also means adapting to that audience. Pew cites that 63% of adult cell owners us their mobile phone to go online and 34% go online MOSTLY with their phones. Mobile users will find single page websites easier to navigate. Scrolling with your thumb on your cell phone device is second nature, and you never have to wait for a page to refresh.

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Freelance, Web Design, Web Hosting

IronMan

Client Story: KaramFoundation.org.

An amazing non-profit organization that provides much needed supplies to those affected by the war in Syria.

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Web Design, Web Trends

Honey I shrunk the web!

The writing is on the wall, you know you need your site to be mobile (and tablet) friendly. All the research points to the fact that more and more consumers are checking you out online and increasingly doing it on their mobile device.

Getting an app is probably overkill for the small business person and it isn’t even going to help you gain new customers! What affordable (or free) options do you have to help new mobile customers find you? A lot of the options will depend on how you implemented your online strategy in the past.

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Web Design, Web Trends

Cyber-Stats

Mobile phone ownership is quickly outpacing desktop and laptop computer ownership. Trends show that more and more users are getting on the internet with smart phones and other mobile devices instead of the traditional computer.

The internet is in the palm of our hand, what are we doing with it?

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Web Design

Size Matters

We live in an amazing, amazing world, and it's wasted on the XXXXXXX generation of spoiled idiots. They wine and complain about how long it takes to get a message, a web page....just give it a second, it's going to space! Louis CK on Conan O'Brien

We live in an amazing, amazing world, and it’s wasted on this generation of spoiled idiots.
They whine and complain about how long it takes to get a message, a web page….just give it a second, it’s going to space!
Louis CK on Conan O’Brien

In the early days of computers when floppy disks were truly floppy I doubt we could have foreseen where computers would take us. We popped in a diskette to load a program, performed the task that the computer was needed for, then, shut the whole thing down.  Computers were clunky and slow and could only do one thing at a time, they were for computing, no frills, no bells, no whistles. As technology increased (vacuum tubes going the way of the dinosaur) and manufacturing techniques became more sophisticated consumers demanded that our computers become smaller, faster, more useful, and that is exactly what we got! In fact, we have been so successful that my phone has 100 times the computing power that my old IBM XT model had.  With access to these “super computers” 24/7 it is no wonder that ecommerce, especially mobile ecommerce, is flying through the roof.  Consumers are checking out your website on the train, at the bistro and while walking on the treadmill. If your site isn’t mobile friendly the user on the train will probably stay – they are bored and have nothing else to do. On the other hand the guy on the treadmill is definitely going to ditch your site. It’s just too small to read while he bobs up and down. OK, that might be a little farfetched, but the scenario isn’t too far from the truth. If your site isn’t easy to use on the device the user has, the user will go to website that is.

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Graphic Design, Web Design

Last act as webmaster

My last act as Art Director and Webmaster at STYLE Advertising was the redesign and launch of their new website: styleadvertising.com.

We had three main goals with the redesign:

  • New design that reflected the direction the agency is moving in
  • The site needs to provide more information: from services to internship programs
  • Non developers at STYLE need to be able to update the site themselves

I chose WordPress as the CMS platform. It’s easy to learn and update. The Open Source community provides infinite widgets and plugins for any need they might have – and best of all – I know, understand and LOVE WordPress.

What makes up the new STYLE website?

  • Custom theme built off the Toolbox framework
  • Flash on the home page – highlighting STYLE’s core services
  • Expanded Portfolio showing samples for all types of media
  • Content written to improve SEO
  • Plugins for Contact Forms, Columns, Maps and Gallery
  • An easy to use platform to encourage a site that will remain fresh for years to come
STYLE Advertising Website

The NEW STYLE Advertising Website

Throughout the year I have been working at STYLE Advertising I have worked with many websites from start-ups to established established businesses; new sites, temporary sites, redesigns and overhauls–we have handled it all. I have worked as the developer building out the HTML and CSS of websites with other designers providing the code and on the flip side of the coin I have provided other developers my Photoshop files for them to code.

Besides web design I also worked with print advertising and marketing, maintaining running advertising campaigns for Medical Weight Loss Solutions and designing products for Bass Minder.

Building this site was my last official act at STYLE Advertising. I was offered, and accepted, a position at Infinity Auto Insurance doing solely web design. While I will miss working at an agency I am very excited to become a part of the Infinity Brand.

Now, to Infinity, and beyond!

Graphic Design, Healthcare, Web Design

Ready to Lose It?

The Surgeons' Group, Specializing in Bariatric Surgery

The NEW Surgeons' Group Website

STYLE Advertising has been working with Dr. John Mathews since the first of the year. First we developed a direct mail piece elaborating on the benefits of baratric surgery and now on a new, and improved, website.

The brochure piece was directed to referring doctors, small, compact, to the point. The website on the other hand is for the curious client, the potential patient. It deals with everything from the procedures themselves, the risks, common fears, and even how to deal with insurance companies.

The original website is a SEO nightmare. The header was a scan of a business card, the home page text was a giant jpg, even the domain name redirected you to a “web.me” address! Currently I’m working on bringing it up from wherever poor SEO banishes websites.

My first goal, besides having index-able text, was to work on the design and site’s organization. Dr. Mathews does more than just gastric bypasses, but you don’t shop around when your gall bladder is about to rupture so you don’t need a website for those areas of the practice. The site could be expanded, to include more information on the other laparoscopic procedures he performs, but for now the main focus is on baraitrics.

Some of my favorite features is the BMI calculator and the seminar form. Patients can register for seminars online, and get reminder emails. This has probably been one of my all time favorite sites to build. The guys at REALIZE & LAPBAND gave me great content to work with, which means that I can do more design and less writing. They included figures, stats, charts and videos.

www.surgeonsgrouppc.com has transformed into a real resource for candidates of bariatric surgery and their family.

Coming soon: Surgeons’ Group’s new Facebook page!

Graphic Design, Web Design

Isn’t It Sweet

We have just finished a great new website. Who is “we,” you might ask? We are STYLE Advertising. I might not have mentioned it yet, but I was hired by STYLE at the beginning of 2011 to do print and web media – and, isn’t it sweet! For the past 8 months I have been working on a number of websites for lawyers, entertainers, health professionals and the newest restaurant to hit downtown Birmingham – Sweet Tea.

Sweet Tea Restaurant

Sweet Tea Website

The Sweet Tea project included developing the brand: down home southern cooking, Greek flair, and an expansive 200 item menu in a restaurant suited for downtown professionals, college kids and Sunday school gatherings. The restaurant is actually a cafeteria, serving some 50 items each day. Monday you can have lasagna, Tuesday pastichio. This did present an interesting challenge when building the website, especially the not yet unveiled online order placement.We also developed 9 menus: one for breakfast, one for dinner, and seven weekday lunch menus. The online component was built so that Sweet Tea could add their own items at will, set date ranges to display seasonal items, or schedule a month’s worth of cobblers, pies and puddings.

I must say that it has been a huge success. The restaurant is getting a lunch crowd in multiple hundreds, thanks to the great PR at STYLE.

Web Design

Ah yes, Roll Tide.

Recently I was contracted to do the back-end coding on an e-commerce site – www.yellowhammerltd.com. This would mark my first real collaborative web project. I was only to write  code – I was now part of a team. I was given a Photoshop document with 6 or so layers, literally hundreds of masks, filters and textures. At first glance I was overwhelmed – this was not the way I built websites. There was no web ready structure. There were curves, and shadows – this was created with only the visual in mind – with no inhibitions about limitations in CSS – this was a Challenge.

Yellow Hammer Ltd.

Yellow Hammer Ltd.

My first thought was that this design was never going to translate into HTML/CSS. My second thought was that I could translate it, just not easily. This challenge was what I needed. I had to think outside of my comfort zone, using divs and floats to their max.

Besides dealing with the original Yahoo! shopping cart system, the most challenging aspect of this design was the bottom menu section.  Button’s that had to line up against a curved image. My solution: Saving the images as PNG’s for transparency – up and over state in the same image. Using a floating div, placing the images on the page, and fine tuning the background-image position pixel by pixel until the image lined up. Then using the pixie method the a:hover background-image position reveals the hover state.

Rammer-Jammer, Yellowhammer!