The Blog Archives

Where all the blog posts live. Leave your shoes at the door.

Design Posts

Inside Out

When was the last time you caught yourself looking over at a person’s screen who is serving you? Trying to get a glimpse of what they’re dealing with. It might be to see something for your own benefit. Or perhaps your curious about their user interface. Maybe you’re even comparing their system to something you use. It doesn’t take much to find staff battling along with some hideous internal systems.

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Sharing Your Story

Struggling to sleep? Just try reading through a handful of corporate website About pages. Not so long ago I wrote about neglected email unsubscribe pages and next on the list is About pages. It’s amazing how many sites neglect the opportunity to showcase their journey. There’s no limit to how we can showcase our stories through text and visuals.

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Rethink Stock Photography

This is more of a plea than a typical blog post for me. I’ll keep it short and sweet. If you have business people shaking hands; a call centre person with a headset; a person holding up a card with a generic message on it; or a white blob man performing some generic action—delete it. Don’t bother replacing it. Let your branding, site design, typography, and more importantly the content speak for itself.

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Weekly Industry Team Talks

Last week I attended Industry Conference in Newcastle. One of the takeaways for me was to conduct a weekly Front End Development Talk. It’s a weekly meeting where people on the team get the chance to talk about something related to their industry.

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The Top 7 WordPress Plugins I Use

When I’m building a WordPress website there’s always a select few plugins that I always use. They might as well come bundled with WordPress for me. First up is Yoast’s SEO Plugin—WordPress SEO.

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You have been unsubscribed

I think we need to start giving our email unsubscribed pages a bit of love. Quite often it can be the last thing we say to our visitors, customers or readers. Quite often we give them a boring black and white page with a little bit of generic text.

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Whosit & Whatsit

Back in June I went down to Newcastle to get my hands dirty in the Whosit & Whatsit renovations. If you’re not familiar with Whosit & Whatsit, they promote independent designers by giving them a space on the highstreet in Newcastle’s prestigious quayside.

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Quick Wins for Web Typography

Quite often on the web we visit sites to read. With the web being about 95% typography it makes sense to try and get it right. 95% of the information on the web is written language. It is only logical to say that a web designer should get good training in the main discipline of shaping written information.

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Keeping up to Date

It’s tough keeping your skills up to date—especially when it comes to a fast paced industry like the web. Whilst it’s not possible to keep on top of everything, there are a few resources and tools available to make things a little easier. Here’s the resources I use.

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A Year On

It’s been a year since my day job switched from IT to web design. A year since my job title changed from IT Support Technician to Web Developer. It still sounds a little weird to be honest, although my title has switched to Designer recently which feels like a better fit. I had been freelancing outside of the day job for four or so years previous. It’s only been this last year though, where I’ve had a design job which took up all my working week.

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Getting Stuff Done

I use four main tools to help me get work done. I find they help me keep focused on the tasks in hand, and help with creative block. If I know something is taken care of, and I know I won’t forget about something, it helps me focus on the task in hand.

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Attending Conferences

I’ve been to three web industry conferences now, #TIDE in Scarborough, SmashingConf in Oxford and The Meat Conference in Aberdeen. Next up for me is The Web Is in Cardiff at the end of October. They can be expensive but for what you get from them I really believe it’s worth it.

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Redesign Process

Initially I was going to write about the process of my site redesign in a previous post, but that turned out to be an overview due to the size of it. Here I want to go into the tools, thoughts and technical aspects such as getting into CodeKit, statistics, SASS and suchlike. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve learned a lot since my last site revision so it was time to tighten things up around here.

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Putting what I’ve learned over the past 18 months since my last redesign to the test. Overcoming designing without constraints and bring in new ideas to my approach to web design and freelancing.

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Web and Design Industry Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to get up to speed with what’s going on in the web industry. Many talk about emerging technologies, interview interesting people, and sometimes even go into tutorials. Here’s a collection of podcasts which relate to website design, development and running a website which I’ve found useful.

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Ditch They QR Codes, Dude

Let’s take a look at why you should ditch the Quick Response (QR) codes, in favour of a simpler approach. Not only do QR codes require a certain level of knowledge, but they also require a device with a camera and software to read it in order to take you to the codes content.

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Image Resolution for Website Design and Graphic Design

Having images at the right resolution is very important when it comes to sending the files to the printer, be it your own printer or a local firm. Images at the wrong resolution can lead to fuzzy prints or your printing firm just refusing the work.

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