Archive for June, 2009

Use these 6 UX design techniques to make your top ten lists more readable

Posted on June 29, 2009. Filed under: blog, webdesign, writing | Tags: , , , , |

With the amount of information the average person must interpret on a daily basis how do you entice your readers to read another top ten list? By using good usability design standards you can ensure your readers will get the most out of your post in the shortest period of time.


1

Shorter is better – top ten style lists can quickly get unusable once they include more items over ten. For instance, the more items over ten that are featured, the less likely people will read the items further down the list.

2

Give the user as much information about the list before the jump. If the use has to scroll down to find out why they should read this list they probably won’t.

3

Number your items. This will help your readers more quickly see where they are in the article and effectively separate each item featured.

4

Use HTML <li> tag and CSS to format your lists – read these for reference

http://mirificampress.com/permalink/the_amazing_li

http://www.sohtanaka.com/web-design/css-ordered-list-enhancement-tutorial/

http://codeasily.com/css/style-ordered-list

5

If you are going to use pictures or screenshots, optimize them so they don’t take forever to load. Consider size, quality, and image type when creating your thumbnails. Link:  Online Image Optimizer- GIF, JPG, and PNG is a website designed just for that very purpose.

6

If your top ten lists is a list of images, offer them as a download them all option (zip file) at the end of the article. Your readers will appreciate it.  If your CMS does not allow hosting .zip files there are plenty of sites who will host the file for free.  I use www.filesavr.com because it is easy to upload and equally simple for your readers to download.

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About the Author:

Kalim Fleet is a professional web designer and blogger with over 6 years experience. The web is his passion as he splits his time between blog writing, software development and social media. He loves using and developing new applications for the web, mobile, and desktop.

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Make your blog stand out from the crowd by following these simple 5 tips

Posted on June 29, 2009. Filed under: webdesign, writing | Tags: , , , , |

Web services like blogger.com and wordpress.com have given the everyday web user the ability to easily create web content that is on par with the corporate world and professional bloggers in terms of reader usability without the need for an IT budget. This has no doubt led to an explosion in the sheer number of blogs that are found online but what about the quality of the content? In this post, I will discuss ways professional bloggers can distinguish themselves from the rest of the millions of blog posts published everyday.


5 Simple tips to help make your blog stand out

1. Allow users to focus on content

  • One of the biggest challenges many blog writers face is how to make money from their blog. One common solution is to sell advertisements or sponsorships. Giving space to advertisers may or may not produce income but realize that taking your readers attention off your content may decrease the number of visitors you have to your blog. The idea is to find a balance between your content and the content of your advertisers. Your content should be the primary focus and advertisements should add benefit the reader by supplementing your content. The reader, after all, came to your blog to read a topic of interest – why not supplement that with more information like a book related to the topic or links to a product you just reviewed?

2. What are you known for doing?

  • Much has been written about the importance of branding when it comes to marketing your blog. Quite often before anything else people will read your posts based solely on your reputation for presenting different types of content. You are not reading a collegehumor.com post for the informed political commentary, for instance. However, once it has been established what type of content you provide it is important to focus on the quality of your content. This is what will differentiate your blog from the 100’s of blogs with similar content to yours.

3. What can your readers expect?

  • When your readers visit your blog, can they expect the same high quality content on a consistent basis?

4. Get your readers engaged

  • Comments as microblogs – facebook and twitter are built upon millions of users creating up to the minute updates. If people are reading your posts and visiting your blog then they will want to contribute to your blog in any way possible. They will want to share posts they liked with their friends and family. They will want to leave comments whether the comments are positive or negative. In short, they will want to participate. The key is to make is easy for them to do so. Don’t give barriers to participation. You can use the same technology that websites like facebook.com and twitter.com use to ensure your readers get heard.

5. Get star guest bloggers

  • Often a blog will bring in guest writers who are experts in a particular field or extremely popular. This serves several purposes. First, you can increase your blog’s reputation as a source for expert advice across the blogosphere. Second, you can change up the writing style and give your readers a fresh perspective. Third, you can promote your blog through more channels now because most expert author’s followers will visit your blog to read the author’s post.

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6. Promoting your blog posts

  • Getting your blog posts seen is a topic probably best suited for another post but I here are a few quality links to help you get some perspective on how you want to go about promoting your blog posts.
  1. http://mogdesign.eu/blog/10-easy-ways-to-generate-traffic-to-your-webdesign-blog/
  2. http://www.dailyblogtips.com/10-important-facts-of-blog-promotion/
  3. http://blogbuildingu.com/blog-promotion

That concludes this blog post and thanks for reading.

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About the Author:

Kalim Fleet is a professional web designer and blogger with over 6 years experience. The web is his passion as he splits his time between blog writing, software development and social media. He loves using and developing new applications for the web, mobile, and desktop.

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5 Tips for finding creative inspiration in the most unusual places

Posted on June 29, 2009. Filed under: productivity, webdesign | Tags: , , , |

1. 5 level word association game

Step one: pick any object in your line of sight

Step two: write the first five things that come to your mind about that object

Step three: focus on one of the five things you wrote about the center object. Now write the first 5 things that come to mind about that word.

Step four: repeat step 3 for the next four items

Step five: now you have 31 items (1 in Step 1, 5 in Step 2, and 25 in Step3-4) that are sure to give you some type of inspiration about what your next course of action can be. See diagram below.

mindmap

Image create using bubbl.us

2. Create “new” uses for everyday items

I have always marveled at how a young child can imagine the most arcane things to be the most amazing in my eyes. This child like view of the world can be used by us adults too when we are finding ourselves in a creative rut.

The technique is simple: find some ordinary items you may find in your near vicinity and “create” 15 atypical uses for each item. After a while of doing this, you will find yourself approaching your creative project with a new and unique perspective!

3. Completely “unplug” your self

By unplug, I mean leave your normal place of creation and leave all your creation tools at that place. Do not think about all the work you have to do. In fact, try to clear your mind completely by sitting in a quiet place.

Take a while to reset your brain. After you feel you have sufficiently distanced yourself from the process, take a small notepad and pen/pencil and start jotting down ideas. Then let it go again for a period of time, only coming back to the notepad when you are ready to tackle your next creative project. You may be surprised by how creative your ideas were when you took the time to get away from your regular routine. Depending on the level of your creative stump this process may take only 1 hour or even a week or more.

Realize that creative inspiration is everywhere

Here is another example of how ordinary things can play a big role in your creative process. First, take several items in your near vicinity and write down 5 things you can appreciate about the design of the item. For most people this should be a fairly simple exercise. Now, write down 5 things you think could be improved about the design. This step is far more challenging, but if you can do this effectively you may find the creative inspiration you were looking for all along!

See Differently

Quite often creative blocks come from having access to too much information about the same things. It is often necessary to get away from your normal day-to-day routine so you can actually see differently -then you can possibly create something new and fresh because you are now new and fresh. I hope the techniques featured in this article have helped provide you with some inspiration for your endeavors.

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About the Author:

Kalim Fleet is a professional web designer and blogger with over 6 years experience. The web is his passion as he splits his time between blog writing, software development and social media. He loves using and developing new applications for the web, mobile, and desktop.

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