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Category Archive: Usability


  1. FINALLY! V.9 of AbsoluteB is up and running and live, and not a moment too soon! Between buying, fixing up and moving into a new house, a full time job and preparing to become a new dad, I really didn’t have any way to get things done sooner. A free evening every now and then whenever I could summon the energy, a weekend every once in a while whenever I had the time. I think there were times I even conjured up make believe hours and days that didn’t even really exist. And we all know when you take this long (over 2 years since v.8 got launched) to redesign and redevelop a personal site, you start hating what you’ve done every few weeks and start again from scratch, so that didn’t help. In some ways, however, that’s a good thing and I’m glad I took my time to not rush it just for the sake of getting something out there. (more…)

  2. I remember years ago when I first discovered WordPress, how excited and thrilled I was to be able build fully dynamic websites quickly and easily. Need to setup a site quick? No problem, WordPress is good at that, in fact, many web hosting companies offer a simple one click install for those who don’t desire to get into the MySQL/PHP setup. Need extra functionality? Download one of the thousands of plugin that all do the same thing. Need more help? Ask the community or simply Google for tutorials. Possibilities are endless. And over the years, WordPress has ever evolved into so much more than just a blogging tool. It’s the CMS of choice for many web designers, web developers and bloggers for one simple reason; its simplicity and its focus on ever improving usability and ease of use. Within that simplicity however lies perhaps one of it’s biggest drawbacks, notably for web designers and developers; it makes assumptions, and it makes plenty of them. (more…)

  3. As a web designer and front-end developer having worked on many various projects over the years, I’ve come to accept and understand that no two projects are alike. I should rephrase; no two clients are ever alike is what I should say. It’s the reason I don’t make use of a template system when it comes to custom projects. Because when a client pays for a unique website look and feel, it’s what the client’s going to get (at least when they’ve hired me). Client’s are going to have their own unique expectations based on several different factors. To name a few; expectations can be based on what a client wants or needs, what they’ve seen on the web already and what they know (or at least what they think they know). Just read all the entries on the Clients from Hell website and you’ll start to form a picture of how many clueless clients, bosses and managers there are out there. (more…)

  4. If you ask me, Google.com is one of the best and ugliest looking sites on the web at the same time. It’s bare and raw simplicity and functionality make it so pleasant to look at and use, while at the same time, I can’t help but think, WTF? I could do a better job… couldn’t I? Google just works and does what it does best very, very well, and yet, by design standards, or at least by my own, it’s far from bring the most awe inspiring design I’ve ever seen. And yet, even though there are so many ways I could imagine improving the overall look of the site (all IMO of course), it’s a design which cannot be improved. Even the bezel and shadow on the logo on the home screen could almost be considered too tacky!

    I bring this up because these past few days I have been exploring designing a search site in a lot of depth. It’s not something I’ve done before and it’s a very interesting and tricky situation I find myself in, it’s certainly one that intrigues and motivates me. Google, as cliche as it may sound, has been the standard to go by of course, but purely from a functional stand point. I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to whether it would be possible or not to design a search site in my own way… in a different way. (more…)

  5. fonts

    I have to admit, when I design a website, the choice of font, though absolutely crucial, is rarely a difficult one. When I design a logo or some kind of identity however, it’s a different story, but because I’m designing a potential image or vector, the decision to use a unique font isn’t as difficult, because designing a website means my choices are pretty limited because of the tiny list of standard fonts installed on a viewers computer. In any case, I personally am a bigger fan of clean and simple fonts and prefer the use of sans-serifs in my designs, though should a project call for it, serif fonts do have their moments. It’s not always a big deal though; besides the logo or the headers of a website, I don’t find using a unique font for content all that important, or even good practice. Sure there are ways around it like creating an image of the font, but the use of alt tags isn’t very SEO (though I’m told it is improving all the time by our SEO specialist at Bonobos), and since I would usually only use a unique font for headers and titles and such anyway, that would mean leaving out the H tags which is a big SEO no-no. But now I’ve come across a pretty awesome solution called Cufon (sorry that I came across like an infomercial just then). (more…)

  6. fiss

    One of my favorite design studios, FI, or Fantasy Interactive. has given their website a face lift, and though it can hardly be called a redesign at all, I have to say that its a huge improvement on a design that was pretty much near perfect to begin with. I remember when FI launched their previous site, which replaced a design that was, in comparison, very flashy and inspiring, it was met with quite some criticism that it didn’t quite represent the company as it should have. That design incorporated a lot of 3D, dynamic Flash components and video and it was a whole new standard on its own. With the previous iteration of the site, things calmed down and the idea was to let FI’s work speak for itself, rather than the website itself. Given how the trend of web design is towards clean, sensible usability, which everyone seems to be following, only a few agencies like FI could go with those trends and still come out with something unique and special, and this face lift is such a breath of fresh air! (more…)

  7. CNN.com Analysed

    cnnss

    I always try to stay on top of things, regardless of what it is. Whether it be related to design, development, Internet, technology, economy, gadgets or automotive, I just wanna know it all! It’s in this way that I first read the rumor that Apple was probably about to launch a new mouse, and this while I had just bought a wireless Mighty Mouse. Not wanting to be stuck with old tech, I rushed back to the Media Markt electronics store and returned it within the 2 week period in which this was allowed and got a full refund. Two months later, sure enough, Apple launched the Magic Mouse and though I have yet to pick one up, I’m glad I’m not stuck with the soooo 2009 Mighty Mouse.

    Among the many news/social sites and blogs that I visit daily, even hourly, CNN.com is definitely one of them, and recently the International news network launched a new site, which I have to admit took some getting used to, but having spent some time on the new site, I found the user experience to be much leaner and cleaner than the previous design. Like all new sites and designs I come across, I looked at it analytically, wondering if there was anything I would have done differently or if there was anything I could maybe learn from their new, (I’m assuming) well thought through design. Then I came across an interesting article on Web Designer Depot . It described the new layout, design and usability of the site and brought up some interesting points. Some of which I agree with, others I don’t so much. None the less, I thought it was worth sharing! (more…)