Information Architecture, Web Design, Web development

Strategies for working with developersWorking in a busy office is one of the best parts of being a designer or information architect – you can bounce off ideas, discuss projects with others and get their input, and you can generally have a good laugh.

That is until the time comes where a new project is being started or requirements are being updated. Usually then some sort of “rivalry” will ensue, and in 90% of the cases it will be between a designer or information architect and a developer or development coordinator. Scope was not fully explained or defined, the design is too complicated to build, or data is not coming from the sources it was meant to.

In those times frustration can quickly result in stress and lack of commitment to a project. Let’s see what we would do to remedy that…
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SEO

How to sell SEO - whatwasithinking.co.ukToday I closed my 11th SEO proposal. This may not sound very impressive (and it isn’t a high profile client either), but it does to me, not only because it adds a few more numbers for the account handlers, but because it means that my sales strategy works (11 out of 11 closed) and that the data I am showing and preparing is useful.

One of my followers on twitter asked me what my trick is, so I thought I’d write down what is helping me close a sale, in the hopes it might prove useful for some of you.

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Information Architecture, Usability & Accessibility, Web development

FireFox extensions for Usability, Accessibility and SEO expertsMy day to day work consists of a lot of time spending on the internet, looking at web presences of current clients, prospective clients and their (and our) competition. My tool of the trade being FireFox 3 (especially considering that IE seems to have a little problem). I am using a number of addons which really help my work-flow in the fields of usability, accessibility, SEO and occasionally information architecture.

I was asked by a couple of fellow twitter users to divulge my plugin list, and since I keep track of them myself at times I thought this post would come in handy for everyone.

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Web development

On Google Chroms - the new browser for the masses - Whatwasithinking.co.uk Google just launched its beta of Google Chrome, the in-house browser that is said to “combine a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.” The browser comes with a lot of interesting features such as a new tab look, a neat address bar giving you the options to search for keywords or auto-completing (even partial) web addresses, anonymus web surfing, web application shortcuts and the ability to isolate browser tabs in case anything goes wrong.

So let’s have a closer look at the browser compared to the competition… Continue Reading

Information Architecture, Usability & Accessibility, Web Design

On Link usability - the art of keeping call to actions consistent Not so long ago I was asked by a client, if it was possible to change a couple of sections within their site as they just updated their product structure: the client was expanding their products to list two more categories. To make them stand out, their marketing team was thinking of using different colours throughout the main content area so that is looks much more consistent, which included changing all link colours and buttons to these new colours.

As a designer you have probably faced a similar situation before – can I or can I not change the link colours on certain pages to keep a consistent look and feel?

Yes, you can, but you shouldn’t ever. Here is why… Continue Reading

Rants, Usability & Accessibility, Web development

Cuil, the new search engine looking for relevancy rather than popularity has seen the light of day today. Developed by former Google employees,it claims to be able to crawl through 120 billion pages (that is 3x more than Google and 10x more than Microsoft’s Live search). But what does it actually do and how does it perform?

Well I had had the chance to play around with it today, and I must say I am not overly impressed. Aside from the high server load and time-outs I managed to find either one of the two things:

  • Nothing, or
  • Anything but what I was after

Please read on to read more about my thoughts and usability concerns about Cuil… 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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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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