Design With Crackers

Friday, 20 March 2009

First impressions on IE8

So, Windows Internet Explorer 8 is out. As is Google Chrome (In the sense that it is not a beta any longer).

I tried both today and here are my impressions on IE8:

It features better standard compliance, especially when dealing with CSS, but it somehow managed to misunderstand the CSS for the title of this blog, so I changed it even though it worked well in every other browser I tested.

The interface has grown bigger and now it takes an awful amount of the screen real-state for resolutions up to 1280x1024.

Fonts look weird. Some kind of font-edge enhancement must be the culprit, I just couldn't find where to disable it (if it is at all possible) in the five minutes I spent trying.

In the end of the day it is, still, the same old IE, the bad boy in the arena.

What about Chrome? It did not crashed a single time while I was testing it(about 45 minutes). It is as fast as it can be and it does not crashes every once in a while! I'm impressed. All it lacks now is a proper Linux port. That and Firefox extensions...

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Thursday, 19 March 2009

For beginners: self-education

You might be wandering, if you've read my latest post, how and where are you supposed to learn all that?

Here are the answers:

Web Design From Scratch, by Ben Hunt. This should be your start point. You can't have read enough if you didn't read it all.

HTML Dog, by Patrick Griffiths. Read it all, from the beginners tutorials, even if it seems too easy at times, don't jump the basics! You'll regret that later on.

And, of course, my blog, where you'll be getting tips like these and even more links to excellent learning resources!

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Monday, 16 March 2009

For beginners: my number one tip

People often come to me with these questions:

  1. How do I become a web designer/developer?
  2. Do I need to have a Computer Science degree, or perhaps one in Design (as in design for printed media), or even both?
  3. What should be my first step?

My answers:

  1. To become a successful designer/developer, one needs to study the right stuff a lot, and practice it a lot, there is not much more into it.
  2. No, see some of the reasons why here.
  3. Read Jakob Nielsen's “Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity”.

The number one tip I mentioned in the title of this post?

Begin by concerning yourself with what you should do, only tackle the how part once it's clear to you what your clients need from you.

What to do? Create usable, accessible and compatible websites that are both visually appealing and engaging to its users. The keywords that should be roaming your head are Return On Investment, Conversion Rate, Optimization, and others alike!

How to do that? By learning and applying XHTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and MySQL first. Other technologies (such as Ruby, Python, etc...) should come later and only when you have weighted their pros and cons for the type of services you'll be doing by then.

There are some details you should be aware of during this process but I'll leave them for other posts.

Good luck!

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Thursday, 12 March 2009

Minor fixes and gradual improvements

All too often people loose great opportunities because of their perfectionism.

For a long time, I've been suffering with this and I've decided that I can't afford this no longer. So, when I was designing this blog, I took the approach of “implementing it first/improving it later" and I can say that I'm very pleased with the results. Just about every day I do minor changes in the code and images for this blog and test them in several browsers. So far this has led me to a gradual improvement model which hasn't brought me any problems.

Now, I think I'm confident enough to apply this new approach in my clients work and I think you should too, if you don't do it already.

I'll probably be coming back to this point a few posts later to tell you all about my results and new findings on this topic.

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