People will remember the legacy of Steve Jobs: a visionary, inventor, designer, entrepreneur and icon. But we all need to remember that the people that will feel the loss more deeply are those who call him a Husband, Father, Brother and friend.
His creations have touched the world in so many ways, the iMac, iPod, iPhone & iPad have literally changed the way we go about our daily business. As a Web Designer his creations have changed the way I do my job – I cannot understate the influence he has had, and continues to have on my career.
I’ve read many articles already today relating to what he gave the world and what type of man he was but one of my favourite articles is written by someone who didn’t know him very well, but lived just a few doors away from his home in Palo Alto, a fascinating read:
The fact that I learnt of his death while using one of his devices is really not lost on me. I own quite a few Apple products and they all do their job perfectly and seamlessly, I would dearly love to list benefits of my Apple products but I could be here for quite a while! But all I will say is that they make life easier which is all you can hope for really.
Steve you truly have made a difference, ‘Thank you’ doesn’t really seem to cut it.
Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011
“Don’t be sad because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
The clever chaps in the eSterling Development Team like to think they keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the industry and were therefore all over ‘Responsive Web Design’ some years ago.
It has grown to be a quite an important ideology throughout the internet and therefore deservers a mention on these hallowed pages.
The thought process of Responsive Web Design is to build a site which responds and is even able to adapt depending on how the user is viewing the site. Here are just a few parameters which have an effect on how a web site is rendered:
- Browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari etc)
- Monitor Resolution (1024×768, 1280×1024 etc)
- Size of Monitor (11″, 15″, 17″ etc)
- Ratio of Monitor (4:3, 5:3 etc)
- Device (PC, Mac, Tablet, Mobile Phone)
There are one or two variants there but that’s not the half of it!
Here at eSterling we’ve been perfecting this methodology and now incorporate this into every single web build we now undertake. TEST TEST TEST! is the cry from our Development team and our customers reap the benefits!
So next time you need a website always remember to test it as much as possible because you never know what crazy set up some people are using!
I have covered the very basics here but to learn how to incorporate responsive web design into your web site visit our good friends at Smashing Magazine for more information.
As web designers our job is not only to create kick-ass web sites, but also to educate our clients in the ways of the internet and to explain to them the limitations we all have to abide by.
In this article I will outline some of the biggest issues that face web designers and developers across the world and help you realise why we do certain things the way we do.
1) Cross Browser Support
What’s a browser? Why is it angry? Let me explain..
A browser is the program your computer uses to view web sites and there are a number of different browsers you can choose from, the main contenders are Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome etc. They all render websites in their own special way, which can alter how they appear to you.
In order to be provide you with a valid website we have to test each site in over 5 browsers and make sure it is not only looking right but also functioning correctly in each of them.
Add to this the fact that the companies who make these browsers will keep on updating them, putting multiple versions of multiple browsers into the mix. This makes the job of the web designer tricky to say the least!
One browser in particular has made our job more difficult over the past 9 years and that browser is little ol’ Microsoft Internet Explorer 6. Many of the biggest web sites in the world have now dropped support for this browser, as have many design agencies, so if you are using the dreaded Internet Explorer 6, it’s really time you upgraded.
2) Resolution Issues
I’m not about to confuse you with inane computer jargon so don’t worry, but I do have to mention the Resolution Issue which is cropping up more and more.
Have you ever thought “I want my home page not to scroll”
or “I want my web site to fill up the screen”?
When you say “screen”, web designers think “OK, is it a 17’, 19’, 21’ screen or bigger?
When you say “scroll”, we think “Not scrolling on your resolution? Or all resolutions and screen sizes?”
You see, its not just as easy as coding in HeightOfSite=100% its far more complicated than that.
What we have to do as web designers is come up with a happy medium whereby the site vertically scrolls as little as possible in as many resolutions and monitor sizes as possible. Getting it right for all screen resolutions and monitor sizes is a bit of a juggling act. The end result looks easy, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes!
As a side note, vertical scrolling is now second nature to internet users so it really has no bearing on the success of your new web site.
I hope you have found this article interesting and informative.
So remember, even if something seems easy to you, its probably not the case. You have hired the web designer so trust him or her to do their job properly.
Talking of which, my next post will feature handy tips on how to choose the right Web Design Agency for your next project.
Perhaps a bit harsh but this is something that has been plaguing Web Design Agencies for years, let me explain.
What is ‘Design-by-Committee’?
When a single goal or aim takes a back seat to ‘letting everyone have their say’.
When a group of two or more business owners have a vision to hire a design agency to build their new website, or redesign their old site, they all have their own ideas and thoughts on how it should look and work. They all put their ideas forward and come to a happy medium whereby all of their ideas are appeased and added to the initial brief.
The Designer in question has to take their brief and do all he/she can to please the members of the committee. This is nigh on impossible.
What we often end up with is a middle ground, whereby all members have had some of their input included but the site completely misses the initial goal or aim. This is where the original vision and purpose of the new web site has completely lost out to ‘pleasing the committee’.
This is a sure fire way to have a mish-mash of a design with flawed functionality.
Stick to the Plan
Whether the new site is to attract interest, sell products or even a first port of call for any new customer, make sure you stick to the plan!
The end-users are the most important thing to your site so think about what they would want, what would they want to see? It easy to say “Well that site has got that element, so I want it” but look beyond the obvious and think ‘Why have they got that?” and “Is it appropriate to my customers or potential customers”
Don’t ignore the ideas and skills of the designers/developers that YOU have hired.
Although they don’t know your business or industry they can often steer you in the right direction on how to communicate directly to you customers and potential customers. Listen to them.
Here is some further reading on Design-by-Committee and how to approach having a new web site or redesigning your existing site.
Somewhere along the road to cloud based storage accessed through web applications a weary programmer sighed and pointed out that you would not have access to your data if you have no internet connection. The response was to add local client side storage as part of the HTML5 spec. Hence-forth you could keep a copy of all your data on your local machine for your web apps to access. Possibly the same programmer pointed out that while this was indeed a solution wouldn’t it require everyone to have fully HTML5 compliant browsers ? I imagine there was a lot of frowning from various people at this point. Never fear though because more clever programming chaps have come up with ways to have client side storage on all browsers. Yes, even those produced by Microsoft, which incidentally have had this ability since IE5.5.
Store.js – http://github.com/marcuswestin/store.js
Lawnchair – http://brianleroux.github.com/lawnchair/
PersistJS – http://pablotron.org/?cid=1557
MilkCrate – http://github.com/garrow/milkcratejs
Google’s all seeing eye just keeps on getting worse! As if the whole streetcar invasion wasn’t enough bad press they just had to go one step further…
Taking unauthorised pictures of people and property left a bad taste in the public’s mouth, but Google’s most recent scandal takes the biscuit! Incase you hadn’t heard, Google’s latest potential law suit involves the monitoring of data sent over unsecured Wi-Fi networks in 30 countries.
Only after the German authorities requested to view Google’s logs did Google admit to having gathered `pay load` data as well as SSID’s and MAC addresses by sniffing packets on open networks and loging what was been sent and received. Google amassed a total of 600Gb of data via their already controversial street view cars.
Just another story indicating the importance of encrypting your Wi-Fi network.
Nary a month on from the UK launch of the iPad it’s iPhone 4 day. Beyond the sight of people getting giddy over expensive consumer electronics the proliferation of mobile devices with all sorts of different resolutions and orientations raises the question of how best to serve web content that can be viewed as nature intended on all these devices. We’re not even past clients asking for pages that “fit on one screen” to which we invariably point to articles such as this – http://www.cxpartners.co.uk/thoughts/the_myth_of_the_page_fold_evidence_from_user_testing.htm – so how do we build for everyone ?
One answer are CSS media queries. Simply put these allow you to supply different CSS depending upon queries about the devices resolution and orientation. For more information see http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2010/04/using-css-media-queries-ipad.html and http://www.alistapart.com/articles/responsive-web-design/
Microsoft have announced that the third platform preview of IE9 is available to download and it’s a doozy. On top of their previously announced support for the Video tag we’re now getting a full Canvas implementation. Not only that but it’s fully hardware accelerated too meaning that rendering speeds for complex animations are now faster than competitors browsers. The icing on the cake ? That’ll be the support for ECMAScript 5.