Over the last couple of months I have been working on a great number of design, usability and accessibility reports for clients of mine. Some of the sites I worked on are pretty good, and all you can recommend is maybe tightening up their call-to-actions or look at a couple of points of Section 508 to validate properly. Then there are some that need a bit more help than that. That is natural, some of the sites have been up for years and could do with a new design or will need some more development work.
But what gets me going of late is the inability of some websites to display their PDFs properly…
With the arrival of FireFox 3 (and its record-breaking amount of downloads in its first 24h) more and more of us web architects and web developers are getting rid of their beloved FireFox 2 installation and are moving all their bookmarks, themes and extensions to version 3 of the popular browser. And rightfully so, version 3 is faster, much more stable and its updated Gecko engine is displaying your website creations in the best possible way… or is it?
I came across a couple of odd bits when developing a website – it seems like Firefox 3 is displaying a floated element’s width of 100% correctly, whereas FF2 would not fully acknoledge the width unless the element was previously set to “clear: both;” (or something along those lines, unfortunately I am still relatively new to the CSS cut-up world.
So we decided to install FireFox 2 again on the design-machines next to an existing FireFox 3 installation without causing any issues with the extensions or other settings between the browsers. I got it to work pretty much instantly on the first go, but since colleagues and friends were asking about how to get FireFox 2 to work with FireFox 3, here is a quick step-by-step guide after the break. Continue Reading
In my job it isn’t always about a swish flash interface, a cool looking site or animation these days – it is about integration, about offering functionality that jumps out from the rest of the competition. The magic word is integration. A client of ours approached us about adding a special sort of travel-blog.
What we would like is some sort of members-only application that allows our users to track their journeys with us and to maybe blog about them, but it should look swish and very easy to use. We would like a similar functionality for our travel guides who would then post information about the tours.
The idea of a blog is a great tool for customer retention, if done right it allows users to post comments about their journeys, maybe with images to keep a log of what they are doing while on that trip. It would allow visitors to see what is going on on a journey with <Company Name> and what you can do or what the user(s) saw and took part in. Obviously, I wanted to offer a little bit more than just a blog. My idea was to work on a map-blog… Continue Reading
Following my previous article about Information Architecture and user-testing you we came to the point where we have researched quite a bit into the client’s company: we know the brand, we know the product(s) and its userbase, and we have acquired demographics of the target market. It is now up to us to design and develop the client’s website.
Many of the designers I worked with in the past have then gone and worked on first mock-ups of the home page and a product page – nicely designed and with a bit of flash here or there – which they then sent to the client to get feedback and develop a new or final draft of these pages. And then they went off and started developing the website, without much (or any at all!) time spent on the information architecture or usability (and accessibility) of the client’s website. In today’s article I want to go through a couple of best practice approaches to information architecture and usability for Business-to-customers (B2C) websites. Continue Reading
Following up on the previous article you may have some idea about if the mobile web is something for your company and your products. You have probably looked at your target audience by now, you know what users are going to look for on your website, how they find it, what information they read on your website that is related to the product, and you have a clear picture in your mind what content you want to promote for a mobile device user.
The question is now, how do you begin? What do you need to look out for, and what is a best-practise approach? Continue Reading
A friend of mine has just gotten his first freelance project: working on a website for a friend of his: the website is about guided tours around Pembrokeshire and the Carmarthen (Wales). Effectively the requirements for him were as follows:
We need to design and build as website for a small company offering guided tours for families or groups going to Wales. The idea is to sell the beauty of Wales as well as the services for either pre-set tours or tailor-made tours based on the client’s wishes.
So in effect he had a very good brief in front of him already. He is a very good designer, and he knows a lot about coding, so he was confident in producing a very good website. The first drafts he made are looking very promising, nice graphics and use of fonts. When I asked him how he was setting the site up and link products and information together he looked a bit stumped. “You know, I haven’t thought of that really, I wanted to come to that when times arises.”… Continue Reading