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LeelandOnline.com: The Opposite Way Splash for Leeland

By Nathan Moore
August 21, 2008
 

Anthology recently had the opportunity to develop a custom spash page for the band Leeland. The project consisted of time-released videos of each band member on the splash page. These videos were humorous and received great response from fans.

A secondary page was created to communicate the band’s “Opposite Way” movement - living the opposite way of the world. This page carried a more serious tone and allowed people to leave stories about how they were living the opposite way. The stories shared here were inspirational to other fans.

LeelandOnline.com

The Opposite Way Movement

Leeland on iTunes

 
 

"Above the Fold" and Designing for the Web

By Nathan Moore
July 26, 2008
 

I think too much attention is given to the concept of “above the fold,” especially in regards to web design. This concept was borrowed from older print design, and more specifically, newspaper design - Old media.

These days, many old-minded people still assign an unreasonable amount of value to “above the fold” on the web - or as it is now commonly referred to as… “above the scroll.” This is the portion of the page that a user will see without having to scroll down for more content.

1. The “Above the Scroll” area is important.

Don’t get me wrong. The top portion of the page is important. There is no doubt about that. However, the major problem is that the first reaction to the sense of “valuable real estate” is to try to cram as much information in the “above the scroll” area as possible. This is just wrong. Prioritize the information and have a keen editor’s eye.

2. User screen resolutions are different.

The days of 99% of users having a 800x600 screen resolution are over. Screen resolutions are so diverse now that it is difficult to tell exactly where the scroll line occurs. Because of this, the thought of defining the line becomes extremely vague.

3. Users know how to scroll.

For goodness sake, most mice now have scroll wheels. I think that many designers disregard the fact that users can scroll down for more content. In fact, most users scroll the entire page even if they do not read it… It is called skimming and users probably do it on your website more than you think. Learn to work with conventions, not against them.

When having a site designed for you, make sure the space at the top of your pages is used wisely, but do not overdo it. Define a list of the most important things on your site or page and use that as a guide to arrange the content effectively.

 
 

The Coolest Browser Trick You Will See Today: Change CNN's Website

By Nathan Moore
July 08, 2008
 

Goto CNN.com (you can even try it here on Anthology Creative). Then copy & paste the following line of code into the address bar:

javascript:document.body.contentEditable=‘true’; document.designMode=‘on’; void 0

Hit Return. You can now edit the page freely. Select some text, change the copy, drag and resize the images.

See - Anthology Creative was just featured on CNN’s homepage:

Anthology Creative Featured on CNN.com

Bummer that you cannot add your own images or move full block elements around, but it is a nice way to trick friends and family - if only to act as if you hacked CNN.com.

This trick works on any website.

Just as a sidenote: this trick does not actually allow you change the public page, so you will only see the changes in your browser.

tags:  Best  browser  Change  CNN  CNN.com  Cool  Firefox  Hack  IE  Javascript  Safari  Tips  trick  tricks  website 
categories:  Random Bites 
 
 

Spice Up Your Web. Try a Pattern.


July 07, 2008
 

[by Katie Laxton]

Some of my favorite blogs have one thing common. Sure the content is great but with all the blogs available to read, great content isn’t too hard to come by. No, my favorite blogs are like my favorite men…they are all quite easy on the eye! They not only inspire me with their wealth of information but with their wonderful graphic content as well. I mean, is having both too much to ask for? A teacher of mine once spent an entire class period talking about the fact that humans do not think with words, they think with images. I am seeing examples of this in new ways everyday. Today in particular, I notice it through background patterns.

Since web design is no exception when it comes to following optimal column width and with computer screens forever getting bigger, browser windows often leave plenty of blank background space. While it is important not to distract the viewer from the information your site is trying to get across, it never hurts to spice things up a little. Sure, backgrounds are neutral for a reason but that doesn’t mean you have to use a solid color or, for the more adventurous, a gradient. Patterns aren’t just for fabric and bad 70’s wallpaper any more! There are some great sites out there that provide some wonderful (and some not so wonderful) background patterns free of charge. Just to name a few of my favorite…

http://www.k10k.net/pixelpatterns
http://www.squidfingers.com/patterns/
http://citrusmoon.typepad.com/citrusmoon/
http://www.noqta.it/dromoscopio/
http://playground.everydayicons.jp/

Just be sure to choose wisely. Some of the patterns are so creative and vivid they may be the only thing a visitor sees on you site. Enjoy!

tags:  backgrounds  Design  patterns  visual  Web Design  website 
categories:  Design 
 
 

5 Annoying Ways Websites Hijack User Experience (And Lose Users)

By Nathan Moore
June 24, 2008
 

Some web developers tend to believe that the more control they maintain over the user’s experience on a website, the better the experience will be. On the other hand, sometimes, it is the client that insists on certain gimmicky “features” in order to make what, in their minds, is a better website. The more control, the better - right? Ugh.

Websites should gently guide the user experience. It is the job of the web developer to keep the experience from being hijacked and explain these reasons to the client. It is the job of the client to understand why it is essential to guide the user experience instead of commandeering it. Here are 5 annoying ways that websites spit in the face of this mentality by hijacking the user experience:

1. Automatically Resizing the Browser

This is one of the most annoying ways to hijack the user experience. Anytime I visit a site and find that my browser has been resized by some sort of Javascript code, I immediately leave that site. Usually, this “feature” is requested by clients that want their users to be engulfed by the entire site - usually clients that are too proud of their work. The problem today is that users normally have several sites open in tabs and by hijacking the browser and resizing it to what you think is best, it screams that you are more important than anything else on their computer. Leave the browser size alone.

2. Automatically Playing Music

Nothing is worse than enjoying the new Coldplay album in iTunes and then visiting a website that automatically starts playing music that you never asked for. Now I have Coldplay and some cheesy trance music mixed together, polluting the musical atmosphere. I equate this to pulling up next to someone at a stop light that has music blaring, windows down, with no regard to anyone else in earshot. Unless you are a band or a record label (in which case I would still not recommend it, but at least it makes sense), do not automatically play any music even if you have a way for the user to stop it. A nice opt-in music player is the way to go. Let the user choose what comes through their speakers.

3. Automatically Playing Video

This goes hand-in-hand with automatically playing music. Unless the user expects to see a video that automatically plays, do not hijack the experience. For example, if the user clicks a link reading, “See a funny video,” and this link takes them to another page with the video, it would be okay to autoplay the video. Other than that, allow the user to choose when to play the video.

4. Making Links Open in New Windows

This is one hijacking technique that can be debatable. Users are very familiar with the back button on the browser - Heck, even Firefox  now has an enlarged back button to signify hierarchy over the other buttons in the top interface. However, many times, clients feel that if a user clicks on a link to another site, they have essentially lost that user. Solution? Open all external links in a new window. However, this usually does more harm than good. More advanced users know how to use a back button, so if they wish to go back to the site, they can simply use this knowledge and hit the back button. Similarly, these users are also accustomed to having links open in new windows. Therefore, they know how to close a window to get back to the site if the link opened in that fashion. On the other hand, a user without much experience may not realize that a new window has opened when a link is clicked. Thus, when they want to go back to the original site, they may click on the disabled back button - becoming frustrated with this unexpected turn of events. Play it safe. Just allow links to work the way links were meant to work. Don’t force a link to open in a new window.

 5.  Popover Ads

These are becoming more and more popular. I am sure that most users are familiar with them - they are the ads that pop over the rest of the content on the page until you click the (often hidden) close button/link. Again, this is hijacking the user experience because the user expects one thing and receives another. When clicking to read an article, users want to read the article (novel concept, I know). Users don’t want to play the “betcha can’t figure out how to close this ad” game in order to get to the content. Banner ads are bad enough - don’t cover the content with annoying popover ads.

All in all, just be mindful of and respect your users. Keep away from things that force an experience. Always give the user a choice and strategically guide them through an experience. Your website will be better for it and your users will stick around longer.

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