Web Design, Web development

On outsourcing work in the design industry - whatwasithinking.co.ukNot so long ago I received an email from a former student of mine who has just started up his own design studio asking whether or not outsourcing work to contractors, freelancers or studios makes sense and what to look out for.

Especially for upcoming design studios or companies / agencies who are lacking in a certain area (such as developers or Flash animators) it makes sense looking to outsource work to keep employment costs low and not having to worry about whether or not there will be enough work to keep someone (or a whole team) employed.

Read after the fold what to look out for… Continue Reading

Web development

Uprading WhatwasIthinking.co.uk to version 2.6We apologise for the 15 minute downtime last night, we have just ugraded WordPress to version 2.6 and the Automatic Upgrade plugin died on us due to a read-write permission error (I think!). But we are back now, happy days! :D

I am still working on getting my Yahoo-map-based travelblog prototype online, the Flash image-uploader is working fine, but there is an error once you have a number of users trying to connect / upload at the same time. Stay tuned for updates!

Flash Development, Web Design, Web development

On Flash - map integration with Yahoo Maps and ActionScript (part2)If you followed my entry about Map integration with Yahoo Maps and ActionScript you will probably be wondering what I have to report about the progress. As you may remember, this mash-up is about offering a client a new spin on travel bogging: being able to log in to the client’s website from anywhere in the world and give other users (and family and friends) the opportunity to see where you are going and what you are doing there.

Last time I wrote about this Yahoo / Flash mashup I connected the Yahoo map’s API through Flash and PHP to a MySQL database and was able to write / read from the entries. My next goals were to integrate a user-login, adding links, implementing moderation and a Flash image uploader script. Continue Reading

Rants, Usability & Accessibility, Web Design, Web development

Please display PDF links properly! - Whatwasithinking.co.ukOver 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…

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Flash Development

On Flash - SWF files can now be found and indexed - Whatwasithinking.co.ukUp until a few months ago flash files used to be an absolute nightmare when it came to SEO and indexing its content for search engines. The best solution was always to have alternative content available or to use as little information as possible within a flash file of a corporate site, and about 90% of the time designers would only use flash for non-important browsing routes or as visual treats (think flash image slideshows, think flash maps but with the ability to get to a destination without using it). What good is a website that looks great but can hardly be found?

Yesterday Google announced an update to their search engines with the help of Adobe Labs. Read more about this new development after the break.

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Web Design, Web development

Installing FireFox 2 alongside FireFox 3 - Whatwasithinking.co.ukWith 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

Information Architecture, Usability & Accessibility

On Information Architecture and user-testing - Part 3 - Usability testing and Accessibility testingFollowing my previous article we are now going to put our website prototype to a first test before we begin developing the website. While the functionality and navigation makes sense to us – after all, we just spent the last week(s) working on it – we need to ensure it works the same way for others as well. We understand how we get from a destination page to the product or trip we are after and finally to the enquiry page – but will anyone else do so as well?

Usability testing will reveal if the flow of the site works, and accessibility testing will ensure that our site complies to any relevant accessibility guidelines.
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Flash Development, Web development

On Flash - Flash Player 10, Features & Rich media informationAdobe Labs has just released the beta of its Flash Player 10, code name “Astro”., and its time for us flash-developers to get stuck right in! Flash Player 10 introduces a number of new features and technical improvements to the exhaustive list of features and abilities of Flash 9, among them improved 3D effects and a enhanced drawing API.

For the full list of features please continue reading below the break… Continue Reading