Rants

I don’t like Flash – the end.

I went to Tazo.com to pick out some tea for the office here (that’s right, I love tea, and I long for a British accent) when I see this:

No thanks, I'd rather go someplace else...like WalMart.

No thanks, I'd rather just browse Amazon.

C’mon Tazo! I like your tea! I want to drink Tazo tea, and browse your selection for more…but I can’t because I have to go download Flash 7?! I have Flash 10; perhaps you should use updatable text there instead of an image.

To me, it’s just not worth the trade-off. With the awesome stuff you can do with JQuery, why use a plugin that requires visitors to go away, then download and install it, then come back?

If visitors see this kind of stuff on your site, you should seriously think about using another web technology. Plus, Flash is bulky; and it’s frustrating to make changes to your files (in my experience).

I can’t think of something that in 90% of websites I visit, couldn’t be done without Flash. I need quick access to information, and URLs I can bookmark. Flash doesn’t help me with either of these.

Gevangelist

Today, Google released the Themes feature to Gmail. While my Gmail account was not in the first batch of releases, as I learned from Tim this morning to my shegrin, I still love this sweet feature.

I am a huge fan of Google, for several reasons. My main reason for being such a fan is because of the way they run their business.

1. Google has their eyes on the horizon.

While Google started as an advertising company, and still is for the most part. They are not just sticking to one thing and thus painting themselves into a corner. They are constantly branching out and developing other areas of specificity that makes them not only unique, but powerful. They are, in a sense, diversifying their long term business model.

2. Google doesn’t wait until their software is perfect before releasing it.

I wasn’t a very early adopter of Gmail, but Tim tells me that the first release of Gmail didn’t even support attachments. But by continually improving on their product iteratively, we now have Google Talk (or Gchat), and Google Calendar integrated into Gmail. While I’m on the subject, I love gmail.

3. Google doesn’t settle for “good enough”.

While the face of google.com hasn’t changed much over the years, the functionality of all of google’s products have become increasingly more robust and efficient. Take for example, igoogle (google’s personalized home page). It first offered the ability to customize the page, then add RSS feeds. Igoogle now has an RSS Reader built in. A tab to the left has your feed links. You click to expand it and read all of the recent posts from that feed. Yet another significant improvement from the previous version.

4. Google provides awesome gadgets

Even President Bush likes using “the google”, as he calls it. I can waste some time with google earth, but Google Docs is a terrific way for small offices to work remotely on documents together. Sketch Up, which is a fairly new addition to the Google family provides the ability to build 3D models, and then insert them in the google earth world so that anyone can visit your designs (if you so choose). If you want to see all the programs google offers, go check ’em out. There’s no need for me to describe them all.

In closing, a company that no one had ever heard of when they came on the scene, is now a household name, used in popular culture and movies. No one says, “Yahoo it”, or “That’s what Yahoo is for”. Google has changed the way websites are designed and is deservingly shipped with any version of Firefox you download.

With the addition of Chrome, all we need now is for Google to beef up Andriod and take on Microsoft.

:: You can do it google; I believe in you ::

Top 5 mistakes of new web designers

If you’ve dealt with as many designers as I have, you can easily tell when this is their first foray into the wild world wide web. Most of the time it’s a graphic designer who has done plenty of print work and now figures they can hack it in the web world.

The problems usually stem from the fact that the designer:

  1. Has always dealt with constrained proportions. Whenever they’ve done a design in the past, it has to fit on an 8.5×11 piece of paper or something similar.
  2. Has never thought through a user interface. Your run of the mill pamphlet or bulletin isn’t usually clickable. Not to mention people “read” websites and paper completely different.
  3. Has never considered load time. Oh the horrid amount of graphics I get in these designs. Impossible to cut up into a quick loading site.

And due to these facts, here are the top five mistakes new web designers make:

  1. Don’t think about left and right – The mockup will cut off right at the edges of the website. If he is designing a site to be 800 pixels wide, that’s how wide the mockup will be. Thought is never given to how the website will display on a wider monitor. Will it be left justified or centered? Will the top bars continue out or be constrained? None of this is answered.
  2. Have text printed on diagonal angles – Large portions of text will be put at slight angles. Sure, (you think) this looks good, but it’s not the way to go on the web.
  3. Designs are extremely to heavy – Huge background images that have no repetition to them. Every title on every page in a weird (and/or diagonal) font. Every container on the page has a different (also non-repeatable) background.
  4. Uses a non-standard font for everything – Web typography is a completely foreign concept.
  5. 300 dpi – The initial file size alone is often enough to tell me what’s going on. A print designer always uses 300 dpi. A web designer always uses 72 dpi.