July 2008 Entries

Jay Fields: Civics not Cadillacs

The analogy probably breaks down quickly, but the same basic idea applies to business software. Time after time I see developers delivering Cadillacs when Civics would have been acceptable. The business has no idea what the difference in cost is between a Civic and a Cadillac so, as any ignorant customer does, they smile, thank you, and walk away worrying that they got screwed. (via)

This entry was written on July 31st, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with programming, applicationdevelopment, and workprocess

Unmatched Style Interview with Jina Bolton

What makes one a web design professional?

If you make websites for money, you could possibly say you’re a web design professional. However, I know I wouldn’t want to get surgery from a guy who just decided to become a doctor, but hasn’t had any training. I’m not saying you have to go to school to become a web design professional. Experience and research can be everything you need. But if you’ve just picked it up as a hobby, and don’t put the serious time into learning the “right way” to do things, and don’t read up on web standards, then I’ll be honest in saying I will have a hard time believing that you’re a web design professional. (via)

Well said, Jina. Be sure to check out the rest of the interview with Jina as she discusses her passion for such things as typography, user experience, and interface design.

This entry was written on July 30th, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with interviews and jinabolton

What you expect from clients is what you will get

Instead of looking down at your clients, look for ways to convince, educate, and guide them. That’s part of your job. (via)

This entry was written on July 30th, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with 37signals, development, education, and webprofession

A List Apart: The Survey 2008

This entry was written on July 29th, 2008. It was tagged with alistapart, websurvey, and webprofession

Clear Function: New websites for Grace Church and Woodlands Church

We [Clear Function] recently launched a couple of websites for Grace Church, located in Memphis, TN and Woodlands Church, located in Plover, WI. Both of these websites are using Reflect and are two more great examples of what is possible when using Reflect. […] (via)

This entry was written on July 28th, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with reflect, clearfunction, and portfolio

Silverback app has launched

Clearleft’s first desktop application is now available! Silverback is a handy piece of software to make ‘guerilla’ usability testing a breeze. Running on Mac os x Tiger or Leopard, Silverback records mouse movements and keystrokes, and uses your Mac’s built-in microphone to record the usability test moderator and tester’s commentary. (via)

This entry was written on July 24th, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with usability, clearleft, and silverbackapp

Blue Flavor: How we decide what to charge you

The folks at Blue Flavor give us a glimpse on their process for charging clients. It was a bold move to make it public, but one I am glad they did. They have nothing to hide and are open about their work and their process. Over the past few weeks they have given great insight into their process, and it has been great to get a glimpse into Blue Flavor.

This entry was written on July 24th, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with blueflavor, process, and estimation

50 useful tools for evaluating your website

I received a friendly email yesterday with this informative link entitled Is your site hot or not? 50 useful tools for evaluating your website, and thought it would be worth sharing. The tools found in this list are helpful in many aspects of developing, testing, and analyzing on the web. While these tools may not be new to everyone, it's nice to have them compiled in a central location that is easy to break down by category and listing.

Thanks for the resource and the link, Kelly.

This entry was written on July 24th, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with resources, tools, and development

Are they ready to listen?

"The tragic mistake of demographics and media planning is that they overlook the single most important issue: is the person you're talking to ready to listen?" (via)

Take these same thoughts and apply them to web advertising. I know that I have a filter for advertising, but every now and then, something catches my eye. This usually happens when I am ready to listen. When I am looking for good prices on hardware, software, or a book. For those that do online advertising, do you test your placement? How about your message? How about the medium (text vs. images)? Just some food for thought.

This entry was written on July 22nd, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with advertising and marketing

The web doesn't care

The question to ask is, "how are people (the people I need to reach, interact with and tell stories to) going to use this new power and how can I help them achieve their goals?" (via)

This entry was written on July 21st, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with sethgodin

How to use status to style a list

As computer programmers we often get stuck thinking in binary. Things are either true or false, black or white, on or off, good or bad, pass or fail. Although computers think this way, the people who use the software typically do not. We can use our skills as human beings to create a better user experience for our customers. (via)

This entry was written on July 21st, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with designinginteractive, ui, and interactiondesign

Some thoughts on scalability

If a service doesn't scale it is more likely due to bad design than to technology choice. Remember that. (via)

This entry was written on July 16th, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked and Programming. It was tagged with scalability

Walking the line when you work from home

Working from home is a balancing act, to be sure. But pre-planning, negotiation, flexibility, perseverance—and, of course, quiet time—are all you need to successfully walk the blurry line between work and home. (via)

Excellent article, Natalie!

This entry was written on July 15th, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with workfromhome, homeoffice, and freelance

New website for CoNotes.com

Clear Function recently launched a new website for CoNotes.com, the online destination to discover and learn about job opportunities in fast-growth and startup companies. It was a pleasure working with Andrew Chen of CoNotes and to be involved in what we hope will prove to be a great resource for job seekers.

For those of you who saw the official release earlier, this one includes a second phase built around social features allowing you to search jobs, bookmark jobs, add favorite companies, communicate with other members, and more.

The real world value of proper web development

"[...] So... how many potential clients / employers that YOU work for actually care about the quality of what's being built for them? And what do you feel the perceived value of a quality frontend developer is these days? Does our expertise really MATTER? (via)

This entry was written on July 14th, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with professional, webdevelopment, and webstandards

New addition to the family

I know, you are probably thinking a child. A pet. Anything but...a computer. I received my Mac Pro earlier this week thanks to Brad at The Big Noob. I took some quick pics as I unboxed it and began the process of cloning computer drives. Here is our family picture:

Family picture of Apple Computers

This entry was written on July 11th, 2008. It was tagged with imac, macbook, macpro, iPhone, ipod, and timecapsule

Eyeballs are overrated

Eyeballs are overrated.

See, it’s not about HOW MANY eyeballs you capture; it’s WHOSE eyeballs you capture, ask Seth Godin taught me.

Because all the traffic in the world doesn’t do you any good (except for maybe a temporary ego boost) … unless it actually converts into something worthwhile. (via)

This entry was written on July 10th, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with traffic, seo, and analytics

Cornerstone Subversion client for OSX

"Take control of Subversion with a client application that was specifically designed for Mac users. Cornerstone integrates all of the features you need to interact with your repository and does so in an elegant and easy-to-use fashion." (via)

I have been testing out Versions over the past week and have really enjoyed this. I was recommended Cornerstone via my friend Brad Dielman and had to check it out. So far it looks fabulous.

This entry was written on July 3rd, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with svn, subversion, braddielman, cornerstone, and versions

Why we need another CMS

The last week or so I’ve been beta testing Reflect. Nate Klaiber and our friends at ClearFunction have hit the nail on the head with their hosted CMS solution. It’s light, agile and flexible. You can build your own website in a few minutes or have a professional designer put the look and feel together for you. It’s competitively priced and offers a few well thought out features [...]

Reflect recently went into private beta and we have already received some great feedback from many of the users. Thanks to Josh Walsh and Dave Goerlich from Designing Interactive for their kind words.

If you haven't heard of Reflect and are interested, you can check out the official Reflect website where you can sign up for the mailing list to receive updates and invitation to the private beta.

On a side note, I recently had a chance to meet up with Josh and Dave and check out their new upcoming app, Simpli5. If you are tired of e-commerce sites that do everything under the sun, but don't do what you need - sign up for their mailing list to get more information. I was blown away by the interface and R&D that they have put into building this application.

This entry was written on July 3rd, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with reflect, joshwalsh, designinginteractive, and davegoerlich

Early retirement is a false idol

Why does the idea of work have to be so bad that you want to sacrifice year’s worth of prime living to get away from it forever? The answer is that it doesn’t. Finding something you to love to work on seems to be a much more fruitful pursuit than trying to get away from the notion of work altogether.

This entry was written on July 3rd, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with 37signals, passion, work, and retirement

Fighting the traffic race

Why not get into the traffic race? Because I’d rather be in the race for a smart, focused audience. That’s where the real action is.

This entry was written on July 3rd, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with traffic, stats, analytics, and scoble

Google and Yahoo peek inside flash with help from Adobe

"[...] Adobe has been working to make Flash more index-able by search engines. Google has recently rolled out better code for Flash, e.g. you’re now more likely to see useful snippets on Flash pages in Google’s search results." (via).

While I think this is a good step, I think there are many other aspects to be considered with Flash. Search engines being able to see inside Flash still doesn't solve browser related issues, nor does it index contextually as your page with actual HTML markup would. Content areas inside of flash have no organization like a raw HTML page. How will search engines index keywords as more important than others? These are big factors to SEO performance and it will be interesting to see how they are handled (maybe this is already in the works?).

Here is an example of results in Google, appropriately marked as FLASH. However, browsing through a few random pages of those results shows that the text that they see inside of the flash file looks like gibberish. There is no structure.

This entry was written on July 1st, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with flash, seo, adobe, google, and yahoo

Revyver refreshes

These sites are simply beautiful. Great work Bryan!

This entry was written on July 1st, 2008. It was filed under Bookmarked. It was tagged with design, revyver, and inspiration