40 Fresh Examples of Minimal Web Design

There is nothing more inspiring than a clean and minimal website. A design with few elements representing something. The saying “less is more”, even though somewhat cliche, couldn’t be more true. We already published here a A Showcase of Clean White Web Designs and a list with 60 Minimal and Super Clean Web Designs to Inspire You. Since minimal sites are always around and they are actually pretty trendy right now, we decided to gather a new list. Enjoy.


Gisele Muller | http://webdesignledger.com/inspiration/40-fresh-examples-of-minimal-web-design

There is nothing more inspiring than a clean and minimal website. A design with few elements representing something. The saying “less is more”, even though somewhat cliche, couldn’t be more true. We already published here a A Showcase of Clean White Web Designs and a list with 60 Minimal and Super Clean Web Designs to Inspire You. Since minimal sites are always around and they are actually pretty trendy right now, we decided to gather a new list. Enjoy.

Works of WeLoveNoise

minimal01

Isotope 221

minimal02

Stuart Hobday

minimal03

hauser lacour

minimal04 Leer más “40 Fresh Examples of Minimal Web Design”

Canal de video de Titonet, lanzamiento en Youtube

Llevo ya tiempo dándole vueltas a un tema: la comunicación audiovisual. El video es un formato que permite acumular más información en menos tiempo. Destinas, por ejemplo, 5 minutos a LEER un post. En ese mismo período te daría tiempo de VER un video sobre el mismo tema, pero con un montón de ideas / ejemplos / explicaciones añadidas.* Ambos son formatos de consumo de información. No obstante, el video es un formato mucho más intensivo. Bien es sabido que una imagen vale más que mil palabras. Entonces, ¿qué valor tiene un video?


Posted by Titonet

Llevo ya tiempo dándole vueltas a un tema: la comunicación audiovisual. El video es un formato que permite acumular más información en menos tiempo. Destinas, por ejemplo, 5 minutos a LEER un post. En ese mismo período te daría tiempo de VER un video sobre el mismo tema, pero con un montón de ideas / ejemplos / explicaciones añadidas.* Ambos son formatos de consumo de información. No obstante, el video es un formato mucho más intensivo. Bien es sabido que una imagen vale más que mil palabras. Entonces, ¿qué valor tiene un video? Leer más “Canal de video de Titonet, lanzamiento en Youtube”

The Ultimate Adobe Fireworks Toolbox

Full article
http://www.noupe.com/how-tos/the-ultimate-adobe-fireworks-toolbox.html

By Robert Bowen

Today we are here to help with the whole getting to know Adobe Fireworks a bit, as we dive deep into the internet to find the most useful sites, resources, tutorials and more to expand your Fireworks knowledge base and skillsets, and we deliver them all right into your readers.

Below is an assortment of various links that will help you assemble the ultimate Fireworks toolbox, so you can get the most out of this under used member of the Adobe Creative Suite family of design tools. So if you are a Fireworks enthusiast, or looking to become one, take a peek through the gathered resources below so that when you dive in to the works, you can dive in with style and preparedness.

Header1 in The Ultimate Adobe Fireworks Toolbox
General Websites

So the first section of our resource gathering finds us with a broad view opened up across the vast network of cyberspace to find you some dedicated sites based around this useful, oft overlooked, graphical and wireframing application. Below are a handful of places that anyone looking to beef up their FW toolbox should be heading first and foremost. Naturally our view will narrow in the sections ahead, but for now, these websites have loads of resources and tutorials for you to expand both your skill and your toolsets.

Adobe Fireworks Team is the FW focused blog from the folks over at Adobe. If you are looking for Fireworks info and insights, then what better place to start than at the source itself. This blog is loaded with all sorts of related tips and talk to help you get more out of the application than you first thought.


Full article
http://www.noupe.com/how-tos/the-ultimate-adobe-fireworks-toolbox.html

By Robert Bowen

Today we are here to help with the whole getting to know Adobe Fireworks a bit, as we dive deep into the internet to find the most useful sites, resources, tutorials and more to expand your Fireworks knowledge base and skillsets, and we deliver them all right into your readers.

Below is an assortment of various links that will help you assemble the ultimate Fireworks toolbox, so you can get the most out of this under used member of the Adobe Creative Suite family of design tools. So if you are a Fireworks enthusiast, or looking to become one, take a peek through the gathered resources below so that when you dive in to the works, you can dive in with style and preparedness.

Header1 in The Ultimate Adobe Fireworks Toolbox

General Websites

So the first section of our resource gathering finds us with a broad view opened up across the vast network of cyberspace to find you some dedicated sites based around this useful, oft overlooked, graphical and wireframing application. Below are a handful of places that anyone looking to beef up their FW toolbox should be heading first and foremost. Naturally our view will narrow in the sections ahead, but for now, these websites have loads of resources and tutorials for you to expand both your skill and your toolsets.

Adobe Fireworks Team is the FW focused blog from the folks over at Adobe. If you are looking for Fireworks info and insights, then what better place to start than at the source itself. This blog is loaded with all sorts of related tips and talk to help you get more out of the application than you first thought. Leer más “The Ultimate Adobe Fireworks Toolbox”

40+ Useful Online Generators For Web Designers

By Cameron Chapman

Generators can be a great way to save time in your web design projects. High-quality generators can create graphics or code or even layouts in a matter of seconds or minutes, things that might take an hour or more if done by hand. Below are some useful generators to help you speed up your web design process. There’s everything from color scheme tools to complete layout generators included. If you know of other useful generators out there, please share in the comments!

Color Schemes

A good color scheme is the cornerstone of a good website design. Coming up with unique and appropriate color schemes isn’t always easy. That’s where these color scheme generators come in handy.


Full article
http://www.noupe.com/tools/40-useful-online-generators.html

By Cameron Chapman

Generators can be a great way to save time in your web design projects. High-quality generators can create graphics or code or even layouts in a matter of seconds or minutes, things that might take an hour or more if done by hand. Below are some useful generators to help you speed up your web design process. There’s everything from color scheme tools to complete layout generators included. If you know of other useful generators out there, please share in the comments!

Color Schemes

A good color scheme is the cornerstone of a good website design. Coming up with unique and appropriate color schemes isn’t always easy. That’s where these color scheme generators come in handy. Leer más “40+ Useful Online Generators For Web Designers”

35 Free WordPress Themes For Personal Bloggers

WordPress is already a widely used blogging platform. One of the reasons is the ease of customizing its look to suit your needs and preferences. Many bloggers have designed their theme to stand out among others while there are others who make a living selling such themes.

For those who are not friendly with HTML and CSS yet, we have prepared 35 great resources for WordPress Themes, which are suitable for personal blogging. You can use them for a good start.


By: Citra Sudiro in WordPress
Full article:
http://www.onextrapixel.com/2010/10/12/35-free-wordpress-themes-for-personal-bloggers/

WordPress is already a widely used blogging platform. One of the reasons is the ease of customizing its look to suit your needs and preferences. Many bloggers have designed their theme to stand out among others while there are others who make a living selling such themes.

For those who are not friendly with HTML and CSS yet, we have prepared 35 great resources for WordPress Themes, which are suitable for personal blogging. You can use them for a good start.

Free WordPress Themes

Smooth

Demo | Download

Smooth

Bueno

Demo | Download

Bueno

Polaroid Press

Demo | Download

Polaroid

Rostar Theme

Demo | Download

Rostar

Monokrome

Demo | Download

Monokrome Leer más “35 Free WordPress Themes For Personal Bloggers”

60 Exclusive Free Icons: “Childish”

As you probably know, we love great icons and we always like to give away some great sets.

Today we have a set of 60 exclusive free icons that we call “Childish”. As the name implies, these are ideal for children’s websites or for websites that are more relaxed, with a fun feeling. They’re definitely not suitable for a serious corporate website.

The set contains all of the icons in 4 different sizes, 32×32, 48×48, 64×64 and 128×128.

In addition, there’s a vector file containing all of the icons so that you can easily resize and modify them as needed.

All icons are free to use for both personal and commercial purposes, with attribution required (you can waive the attribution requirement by paying a small fee).


thumbAs you probably know, we love great icons and we always like to give away some great sets.

Today we have a set of 60 exclusive free icons that we call “Childish”. As the name implies, these are ideal for children’s websites or for websites that are more relaxed, with a fun feeling. They’re definitely not suitable for a serious corporate website.

The set contains all of the icons in 4 different sizes, 32×32, 48×48, 64×64 and 128×128.

In addition, there’s a vector file containing all of the icons so that you can easily resize and modify them as needed.

All icons are free to use for both personal and commercial purposes, with attribution required (you can waive the attribution requirement by paying a small fee). Leer más “60 Exclusive Free Icons: “Childish””

Experience Trumps Theory: Reviving the Apprenticeship Model

Once upon a time, we learned only by doing. A quality education meant finding an expert to take you under his or her wing. Whether you wanted to be a blacksmith or a shoemaker, the ultimate break was ultimately a relationship. In exchange, your capacity would be stretched. You would learn in real-time, soaking up the knowledge through trial and error. You would learn the trade in practice rather than theory. You would also build a network and gain respect based on your performance rather than any sort of degree.This era of apprenticeship is now largely a relic of history. Somewhere along the line we decided to economize and scale education. Given the time-intensive and intimate nature of apprenticeships, we sought to train more people at once with a streamlined curriculum. As we moved more and more learning into the classroom, we compromised the intense learning that happened in the field. We traded experiential learning for a more standardized but less potent education.

I believe the classroom underserves us. We become dissuaded by theoretical lessons, disenchanted teachers, and a reward system that is all about the grade and not at all about the trade. If experiential education is so important, why don’t we give college credits for what happens outside the classroom?

As we moved more learning into the classroom, we compromised the intense learning that happened in the field.

Unfortunately, undergraduate education is centered on the classroom experience and takes extracurricular activities (clubs, etc.) as an
afterthought. Many schools provide credit for internships, but they don’t stress them as an integrated aspect of the overall program. What’s more, the schools usually play little to no role in coordinating the internships, so it’s very hit or miss: A student could have a life-changing experience, or spend a semester fetching coffee and sitting on the sidelines.

Most of the passionate creative people I have met are motivated more by a genuine interest than by money. We are driven by our pursuit of an expertise in what fascinates us. The Holy Grail for most creative careers is becoming a leader in your interests and making an impact. Experiential on-the-job learning is the most natural conduit for developing such an expertise.


Once upon a time, we learned only by doing. A quality education meant finding an expert to take you under his or her wing. Whether you wanted to be a blacksmith or a shoemaker, the ultimate break was ultimately a relationship. In exchange, your capacity would be stretched. You would learn in real-time, soaking up the knowledge through trial and error. You would learn the trade in practice rather than theory. You would also build a network and gain respect based on your performance rather than any sort of degree.This era of apprenticeship is now largely a relic of history. Somewhere along the line we decided to economize and scale education. Given the time-intensive and intimate nature of apprenticeships, we sought to train more people at once with a streamlined curriculum. As we moved more and more learning into the classroom, we compromised the intense learning that happened in the field. We traded experiential learning for a more standardized but less potent education.

I believe the classroom underserves us. We become dissuaded by theoretical lessons, disenchanted teachers, and a reward system that is all about the grade and not at all about the trade. If experiential education is so important, why don’t we give college credits for what happens outside the classroom?

As we moved more learning into the classroom, we compromised the intense learning that happened in the field.

Unfortunately, undergraduate education is centered on the classroom experience and takes extracurricular activities (clubs, etc.) as an
afterthought. Many schools provide credit for internships, but they don’t stress them as an integrated aspect of the overall program. What’s more, the schools usually play little to no role in coordinating the internships, so it’s very hit or miss: A student could have a life-changing experience, or spend a semester fetching coffee and sitting on the sidelines.

Most of the passionate creative people I have met are motivated more by a genuine interest than by money. We are driven by our pursuit of an expertise in what fascinates us. The Holy Grail for most creative careers is becoming a leader in your interests and making an impact.  Experiential on-the-job learning is the most natural conduit for developing such an expertise.
Leer más “Experience Trumps Theory: Reviving the Apprenticeship Model”

Five Useful Design Techniques and Coding Solutions For Web Designers

As designers, we have to create an intuitive user experience, solve design problems and provide a beautiful and functional user interfaces. Unlike print design, we don’t have the luxury of designing in a static area; rather, our canvas is ever-changing in its content, browser width, page length and more. We do need to be able to code to some extent and be able to build a design around a structure of code. Yet, with these complications comes an opportunity for unique functionality, interactive effects and better user experience.

In this article, we’ll look at five useful coding solutions that we’ve stumble upon recently. All of these solutions enhance a website’s design, not just the code. These solutions affect the user interface and the user’s interaction with the design, and they can make for a more usable and interactive website.
1. Bar Graph Effect For Multiple Items

This effect (pictured below) can be a great way to add some oomph to a Web page, and make it more user-friendly. Its functionality goes beyond just being a cool trick, though. By organizing any set of items on a page — such as tags, categories, comments, product count — a designer can enhance user interaction, provide useful content clues and improve usability. By seeing a count of items such as tags and product types, the visitor can quickly get an idea of what the website mostly consists of. This is a great way to make quick connections with targeted visitors.

For comment counts, visitors can quickly see where the discussions are at. Highlights on highly commented posts can reinforce user-to-user interaction.

Pictured below are two examples of this design. The left organizes tags, and the second ranks the most commented posts on a blog. Be sure to visit both websites to see the full functionality and CSS effects.


By Kayla Knight
Full article
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/10/07/5-useful-coding-solutions-for-web-designers/

As designers, we have to create an intuitive user experience, solve design problems and provide a beautiful and functional user interfaces. Unlike print design, we don’t have the luxury of designing in a static area; rather, our canvas is ever-changing in its content, browser width, page length and more. We do need to be able to code to some extent and be able to build a design around a structure of code. Yet, with these complications comes an opportunity for unique functionality, interactive effects and better user experience.

In this article, we’ll look at five useful coding solutions that we’ve stumble upon recently. All of these solutions enhance a website’s design, not just the code. These solutions affect the user interface and the user’s interaction with the design, and they can make for a more usable and interactive website.

1. Bar Graph Effect For Multiple Items

This effect (pictured below) can be a great way to add some oomph to a Web page, and make it more user-friendly. Its functionality goes beyond just being a cool trick, though. By organizing any set of items on a page — such as tags, categories, comments, product count — a designer can enhance user interaction, provide useful content clues and improve usability. By seeing a count of items such as tags and product types, the visitor can quickly get an idea of what the website mostly consists of. This is a great way to make quick connections with targeted visitors.

For comment counts, visitors can quickly see where the discussions are at. Highlights on highly commented posts can reinforce user-to-user interaction.

Pictured below are two examples of this design. The left organizes tags, and the second ranks the most commented posts on a blog. Be sure to visit both websites to see the full functionality and CSS effects. Leer más “Five Useful Design Techniques and Coding Solutions For Web Designers”

Retro Video/DOS Games For The Weekend

We thought we’d do something a bit different for the weekend, because not everybody is actually working during the weekend. And even if we do, we deserve a break from time to time. For just this occasion, we have poured across the four corners of the Web and amassed a collection of retro games to help you make the absolute most of your break time this weekend… and possibly any break time you take from this day forth.

Now you’re ready to take some time off and unplug, let’s stroll down memory lane, the gaming way. Focusing on the days of the old DOS-based games, we sourced some emulators so that you could revisit your old favorites once again without having to downgrade your machine. So flex some willpower (or kiss your weekend goodbye) and dive into the deep end of this DOS-day throwback to get your ROM on.


We thought we’d do something a bit different for the weekend, because not everybody is actually working during the weekend. And even if we do, we deserve a break from time to time. For just this occasion, we have poured across the four corners of the Web and amassed a collection of retro games to help you make the absolute most of your break time this weekend… and possibly any break time you take from this day forth.

Now you’re ready to take some time off and unplug, let’s stroll down memory lane, the gaming way. Focusing on the days of the old DOS-based games, we sourced some emulators so that you could revisit your old favorites once again without having to downgrade your machine. So flex some willpower (or kiss your weekend goodbye) and dive into the deep end of this DOS-day throwback to get your ROM on.

Game Showcase

Prince of Persia
Prince of Persia is a 2-D platformer with run and jump game play. Your hero must avoid deadly traps, solve some simple puzzles and engage in sword fights with guards. As the hero, you have an infinite number of lives, but you have to restart the level every time you die, and you must complete the game within an hour. The very fluid animation of your character is especially noteworthy. The game is still available for free downloading.

Persia in Retro Video/DOS Games For The Weekend

Lemmings
Your task is to rescue lemmings across 120 levels of fast-paced puzzles. The creatures simply walk blindly through the world in the hope of reaching safety at the end of the level. Unfortunately, these levels include steep drops, gaps in the ground, barriers and rivers, among other hazards. You can play Lemmings online. Leer más “Retro Video/DOS Games For The Weekend”

50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

These are great times for front-end developers. After months of exaggerated excitement about HTML5 and CSS3, the web design community now starts coming up with CSS techniques that actually put newly available technologies to practical use instead of abusing them for pure aesthetic purposes. We see fewer “pure CSS images” and more advanced, clever CSS techniques that can actually improve the Web browsing experience of users. And that’s a good thing!

In this post we present recently released CSS techniques, tutorials and tools for you to use and enhance your workflow, thus improving your skills. Please don’t hesitate to comment on this post and let us know how exactly you are using them in your workflow. However, please avoid link dropping, but share your insights and your experience instead. Also, notice that some techniques are not only CSS-based, but use JavaScript, or JavaScript-libraries as well.


Full article:
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/10/12/50-new-useful-css-techniques-tutorials-and-tools/

These are great times for front-end developers. After months of exaggerated excitement about HTML5 and CSS3, the web design community now starts coming up with CSS techniques that actually put newly available technologies to practical use instead of abusing them for pure aesthetic purposes. We see fewer “pure CSS images” and more advanced, clever CSS techniques that can actually improve the Web browsing experience of users. And that’s a good thing!

In this post we present recently released CSS techniques, tutorials and tools for you to use and enhance your workflow, thus improving your skills. Please don’t hesitate to comment on this post and let us know how exactly you are using them in your workflow. However, please avoid link dropping, but share your insights and your experience instead. Also, notice that some techniques are not only CSS-based, but use JavaScript, or JavaScript-libraries as well.

Leer más “50 New Useful CSS Techniques, Tutorials and Tools”

Important Features All Blogs Should Really Have

Blogging is more commonplace now than ever before. It’s estimated that there are at least 147 million blogs[1] covering topics from technology to Japanese theme restaurants.

But regardless of the vastness of the blogosphere and the diversity of blog topics, there are a handful of site features that you’ll likely find in most of them. In addition, readers have come to expect these site features to be available to them when they visit their favorite blogs.

This article covers the standard features that all blogs should have. These features are meant to improve the user experience by enhancing community engagement, content sharing, findability of posts, and more.
Blog Post Archive

Typically, when site visitors first land on a blog’s homepage, they’re greeted with the latest blog posts sorted from newest on top to oldest at the bottom. This is what blog readers expect to see, but that’s not to say it’s all they want to see.

Many visitors will enjoy going through your older posts once they decide that they like what you have to say. Having a post archive — a web page or section in your blog that lists previous blog posts, customarily sorted in a logical fashion such as by date or by category — is an excellent way to draw in more page views and improves the ability of readers to discover content on your site.

A post archive can serve as a way to increase the conversion of first-time visitors to steadfast readers because it shows them what to expect if they choose to follow your blog. For existing readers, a post archive gives quick access to posts they want to revisit.

It’s not difficult to construct an archive of past blog posts either; most blogging platforms and good content management systems have the capability to display and list your posts. Take for example, WordPress. WordPress has core functions, a core template, and API hooks specifically for dealing with archives (e.g., wp_get_archives and archives.php).


by Jake Rocheleau |http://sixrevisions.com/user-interface/important-features-all-blogs-should-really-have/

 

Important Features All Blogs Should Really Have

Blogging is more commonplace now than ever before. It’s estimated that there are at least 147 million blogs[1] covering topics from technology to Japanese theme restaurants.

But regardless of the vastness of the blogosphere and the diversity of blog topics, there are a handful of site features that you’ll likely find in most of them. In addition, readers have come to expect these site features to be available to them when they visit their favorite blogs.

This article covers the standard features that all blogs should have. These features are meant to improve the user experience by enhancing community engagement, content sharing, findability of posts, and more.

Blog Post Archive

Typically, when site visitors first land on a blog’s homepage, they’re greeted with the latest blog posts sorted from newest on top to oldest at the bottom. This is what blog readers expect to see, but that’s not to say it’s all they want to see.

Many visitors will enjoy going through your older posts once they decide that they like what you have to say. Having a post archive — a web page or section in your blog that lists previous blog posts, customarily sorted in a logical fashion such as by date or by category — is an excellent way to draw in more page views and improves the ability of readers to discover content on your site.

A post archive can serve as a way to increase the conversion of first-time visitors to steadfast readers because it shows them what to expect if they choose to follow your blog. For existing readers, a post archive gives quick access to posts they want to revisit.

It’s not difficult to construct an archive of past blog posts either; most blogging platforms and good content management systems have the capability to display and list your posts. Take for example, WordPress. WordPress has core functions, a core template, and API hooks specifically for dealing with archives (e.g., wp_get_archives and archives.php).

Viget InspireAt Viget Inspire, a company blog, posts are listed and categorized per month in their archive page. Leer más “Important Features All Blogs Should Really Have”

What Can You Learn from 7 Awesome Corporate Blogs?

A Quick Guide to Starting Your Own Corporate Blog

If the above blogs have inspired you to start your own corporate blog (or revamp your existing one), the tips below will get you going in the right direction.
Why Are You Blogging?

All the blogs featured above have clear-cut reasons for blogging, and the content they publish reflects that. There are a few different reasons businesses might blog, and some businesses blog for more than one reason. Figure out why you’re blogging so it can guide your decisions from here on out.
Set Goals

Before you get started, think about what you want to accomplish by blogging. Simply saying you want to blog because everyone else in your industry is doing it isn’t a good enough reason. You need to want something from your blogging efforts. Take a few minutes to write down your blogging goals, and then keep them in mind as your blog grows and evolves.
Blog Management

You’ll need someone to manage the technical end of things, as well as your content. If you don’t have designated IT people for managing your website, going with a hosted blogging service will save you a lot of headaches.

On the content end of things, it’s a good idea to designate one person as “editor“. That person should be responsible for making sure there’s content ready as scheduled, and that it’s been proofread and optimized for search engines. This can be one of your bloggers or someone else in the company.

It’s important to decide on the kinds of posts you’ll publish, and who’s responsible for writing posts. Have more than one person updating your blog, especially if you want to publish on a daily basis. Spreading the workload out lessens the chance that your bloggers will get burned out. You’ll also want to create some kind of guiding document for your bloggers, so they know what is and isn’t acceptable to post.


A winning corporate blog can bring new traffic to your website and added attention to your company. According to one study, businesses that blog get an average of 55% more traffic on their websites than those who don’t. It adds value to new and existing customers, and can make you stand out from your competitors. But how, exactly, does a business go about creating a blog that their customers will actually read?

Zappos.com CEO and COO Blog

zappos ceo coo blog
Zappos.com, the giant online shoe and apparel retailer, has a number of blogs. Some focus on their products and general company news, but one in particular stands out: the shared blog of their CEO and COO.

What sets this blog apart is the transparency it offers to Zappos.com customers. Internal emails, memos, and other corporate news are all shared. The fact that internal emails are copied in their entirety and shared with the general public is something a lot of corporations would scoff at. But it’s all about building trust. Zappos, for instance, recently posted an extensive internal email that marked the 1-year anniversary of their deal with Amazon, and included the original email they sent out when the deal with Amazon was announced.

If the public sees you as honest and straightforward, then they’re more likely to do business with you. It’s that simple.

Zappos.com also has another blog that’s noteworthy: Zappos Insights. It’s hosted on a separate domain, and includes tons of information about the way they do business and their corporate culture. They also offer information on outstanding company culture at other businesses. They have regular features on things like books they’re reading and fun posts like the Zappos Family Music Video. It’s aimed at other entrepreneurs and businesses, and has tons of valuable insider information on how to build a corporate culture as outstanding as what Zappos has.

The Takeaway

Transparency builds trust. If you want your customers to view your company as honest and straightforward, don’t be afraid to share internal documents and be as open as possible about what your company is doing. Having that information come from a higher-up within the company lends more credibility and gives it extra impact.

The Facebook Blog

the facebook blog
The Facebook Blog is clearly targeted at existing users. And when you have an active user base of more than 500 million people, it’s important to keep communication not just open, but streamlined. The blog serves as a perfect, unintrusive platform for keeping users updated on new features and important information.

The Facebook Blog is another great example of how having multiple employees posting can result in better, higher-quality content and a more consistent posting schedule. Included in the people who blog is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Having your CEO or other high-level executives blog when something important is being announced gives it more credibility in the eyes of customers.

The Takeaway

The Facebook Blog can teach us two things. First, when you have to communicate with huge numbers of people, a blog can be a great way to do so. Second, having a huge blogging team that includes employees from throughout your organization makes your blog much more engaging for users. Your CEO should be blogging, but so should your interns.

Lulu

lulu blog
Lulu takes a different approach to their blog. Rather than just promoting their company and their services, they offer valuable information to their customers and prospects related to self-publishing, the industry they serve. Sure, they also talk about their own products and services, and how to get the most from them, but it’s always with the customer in mind. You won’t find any regurgitated corporate press releases here.

When your customers are do-it-yourselfers or a similar demographic, providing information that empowers them to do what they do better, you become their go-to point for knowledge. When they have a question about something, they view you as an authority on the subject and turn to your blog for advice.

The Takeaway

Think about what your customers are doing, and how you can help them do it better. That should include not only how you can help them directly, but also how they can help themselves or get help from others who do things your business doesn’t. If you put the needs of your customers first, they’re more likely to respect your company and turn to you when they need something. Leer más “What Can You Learn from 7 Awesome Corporate Blogs?”

Fastest Way to Lose Customers

# 9.5 minutes are spent on average trying to reach a human when trapped in an automated phone system »tweet«
# 61% of consumers take their business to a competitor when they end a business relationship »tweet«
# 71% of consumers have ended their relationship with a company due to poor customer service »tweet«
# Globally, the average value of a lost customer is $243 »tweet«
# $83 billion is the cost of poor customer service in the US »tweet«
# Rookie mistakes on @Twitter can push a customer away »tweet«
# 65% of Fortune 100 global companies utilize @Twitter to engage with the world »tweet«
# Companies focus on acquisition more than customer retention, even though it can cost 7x more to acquire new customers »tweet«
# 63% of marketers felt that new customer acquisition is the most important advertising goal »tweet«


Any business owner will tell you that retaining your customers is low-hanging fruit. Understanding how to create loyal customers so you can retain them is one of the most important things for a business. For starters it’s critical to know the fastest ways to lose customers so you stop making these mistakes and start retaining customers. This graphic highlights the fastest ways to lose customers…Stats You Should Tweet: Leer más “Fastest Way to Lose Customers”

Getting Started With E-Commerce: Your Options When Selling Online

The world of online sales, whether of products or services, can be daunting at first; the options seem confusing and the information conflicted. Yet as the designer or developer of an online store, you will need to guide your client through the maze of choices in order to get it up and running.

I have developed many e-commerce websites during my career as a Web developer. I’ve used and modified off-the-shelf software and have also developed custom solutions — so I know from experience that there are a number of important questions to answer before presenting possible solutions to a client. Getting all the pertinent information up front is vital if such a project is to run smoothly, and it can save you from delays during the process. It can also help you advise the client on whether they need a full custom cart or an open-source or off-the-shelf product.

This article responds to some questions you should be asking of your client before putting together a proposal for the development of an e-commerce website. I’ll explain the most important things to think about in terms of taking payments and credit card security. It should give you enough information to be able to guide your client and to look up more detailed information about the aspects that apply to your particular situation.


The world of online sales, whether of products or services, can be daunting at first; the options seem confusing and the information conflicted. Yet as the designer or developer of an online store, you will need to guide your client through the maze of choices in order to get it up and running.

I have developed many e-commerce websites during my career as a Web developer. I’ve used and modified off-the-shelf software and have also developed custom solutions — so I know from experience that there are a number of important questions to answer before presenting possible solutions to a client. Getting all the pertinent information up front is vital if such a project is to run smoothly, and it can save you from delays during the process. It can also help you advise the client on whether they need a full custom cart or an open-source or off-the-shelf product.

This article responds to some questions you should be asking of your client before putting together a proposal for the development of an e-commerce website. I’ll explain the most important things to think about in terms of taking payments and credit card security. It should give you enough information to be able to guide your client and to look up more detailed information about the aspects that apply to your particular situation.

What this article doesn’t cover is the design and user experience side of creating an e-commerce website, because gathering this information would normally occur alongside the designing and branding of the website.

What You Need To Know

It is really tempting to select a solution based on something you have used before or perhaps after asking around to see what others recommend. But you can get stuck in a rut this way. Every online business has different needs, so one solution is unlikely to fit all. Before writing any code or trying an off-the-shelf package, you need to ask yourself or your client a few questions:

  • What are you selling?
  • What shopping functionality should you offer?
  • How will you take payment?
  • How will items be delivered?
  • What reporting and other functionalities are required?

What Are You Selling?

Your online store may be selling physical products that are shipped by the postal service or a courier to the customer after a completed purchase. Or it might be selling products that are delivered electronically, such as e-book downloads, MP3 music or software. Donations and subscriptions are types of transactions to consider as well.

What Shopping Functionality Should You Offer?

Will you be selling a single item, (such as an e-book) or will visitors need to be able to browse and add multiple items to their cart? Are these items associated with distinct options? If you’re selling t-shirts, for example, size and color might be options to include. Are categories needed to make ordering easier? Will a given item be listed in only one category, or could it be found in several? Would the ability to tag items be useful, or the ability to link them to related items (thus allowing the store owner to promote accessories for items that the customer has added to their cart)?

Sm-ecommerce-hicksmade-crop in Getting Started With E-Commerce: Your Options When Selling Online
Items on the Hicksmade website can be displayed in categories. (Large view)

Will there be special offers on the website? Standards ones are “Buy one, get one free,” “20% discount,” “two for one” and “buy item x and get item y at half price.” Setting up these kinds of offers can be quite complex if you are developing a custom system; and if you’re buying an off-the-shelf solution for the store, then you’ll need to know whether it supports them.

The devil (and the budget) is in the details. If your client is expecting particular functionality, find out about it now.

Accounts and Tracking Orders

Part of the user experience could include managing an account and tracking orders. Must users create accounts, or is it optional? Can they track their order and watch it move from “processing” to “shipped”? Account functionality must include basic management functions, such as the ability to reset a forgotten password and to update contact details.

How Will You Take Payment?

You’ll likely need to accept credit and debit card payments from customers. There are a number of options that range in complexity and expense.

PayPal

PayPal is a straightforward way to take payments online. The advantages are that creating a PayPal account is easy, it doesn’t require a credit check, and integration can be as simple as hardcoding a button on your page or as involved as full integration. Google Checkout offers a similar service (and a similarly low barrier to entry), as does Amazon (in the US) through Amazon Payments.

Using A Merchant Account

To accept card payments directly, rather than through services like PayPal, you will need an Internet Merchant Account. This enables you to take credit card payments and process the money to your bank account. If you have an existing merchant account for face-to-face or telephone sales, though, you will not be able to use it for online transactions. Internet transactions are riskier. So, to start trading online, you’ll need to contact your bank. The bank will require that you take payments securely, in most circumstances via a payment service provider (or PSP, sometimes called a payment gateway).

What you should definitely not do is store card details in order to enter them in an offline PDQ later. This would be against the terms of the merchant agreement. So, unless you have written permission from your bank saying you are allowed to do this, and you’re complying with the PCI DSS, just don’t.

The Payment Gateway

The purpose of the payment gateway is to take the card payment of your customer, validate the card number and amount and then pass the payment to your bank securely. You can interact with a payment gateway in two ways:

  • Via a pay page
    The user moves from your website to a secure page on the payment gateway server to enter their details.
  • Via API integration
    The user enters their card details on your website (on a page with a secure certificate installed, running SSL), and those details are then passed to the gateway. Your website acts as the intermediary; the user is not aware of the bank transaction happening, having seen it only via your website.

The advantage of pay page integration is that your website never touches the card details, so you are not liable for the customer’s security. The most significant disadvantage is that you lose some control over the payment process, because the final step requires gathering all the details to pass to the payment server. In addition, you are often unable to customize the payment screen, even if only to upload a logo.

Store owners are often concerned about this break in the user experience: they fear the user will bail before going to the payment page on WorldPay or another server. But transferring your user to a known banking website where they’ll enter their card details might actually give them confidence in the legitimacy of your website. When I deal with an unknown website (perhaps a small retailer) and it asks me to enter my card details, I immediately worry about how it will handle them. Does the website email my card details in clear text? Will the details be stored in a database somewhere by the website? Even if the page has a secure certificate and checks out, I still have no idea what happens to my details after I hit “Submit” on the form. If the final step of checking out takes me to a known PSP page, then I can be confident that my details are safe and the small website isn’t handling them at all. I trust WorldPay with my details far more than I trust Joe Blogg’s Widget Store.

Another useful argument for using a pay page is that, should there be any changes in card payment regulations, these will be handled by the PSP. For example, 3-D Secure (verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode) was instituted recently. It requires that users verify their payment on a page related to their bank before it can be authorized. If you had API integration, you would need to edit your code to ready it for 3-D Secure; whereas on payment page websites, those changes are done by the PSP.

These points have encouraged many website owners to reconsider their reluctance to use a pay page — most realize that being responsible for credit card details is more trouble than it’s worth.

Pay page integration should work with most off-the-shelf software. After payment is made, it typically sends back something that enables your website — which has a script running for this — to identify the user and the transaction and perform any post-purchase processing that may be needed (such as marking an order as “Paid” in the database or giving access to an electronic download).

The advantage of full API integration is that you control the payment process from beginning to end, including the look and feel of the payment pages. However, you are also responsible for the security of the user’s card details, and regulations require that you prove you are following best practices. Leer más “Getting Started With E-Commerce: Your Options When Selling Online”

Saca el jugo a la nueva era de los teléfonos exprimibles

Cuando comúnmente se dice que un usuario es capaz de exprimir todas las funcionalidades de un teléfono inteligente, no hablamos en el sentido literal de la palabra. Por lo menos en la actualidad.

Pero en un futuro cercano los teléfonos serán susceptibles de ser apretados físicamente para sacarles mayor rendimiento, siendo capaces de alterar su apariencia para mandar un mensaje de alerta en situaciones en que las señales visuales y sonoras no son suficientes.

Shwetak Patel, un investigador de Ciencias de la Computación e ingeniería en la Universidad de Washington, en Seattle, ha desarrollado un teléfono móvil que se puede apretar, el SqueezeBlock, y que puede imitar el comportamiento de un muelle por medio de pequeños motores integrados en su cuerpo.

Unos sensores de presión en el dispositivo detectan cuánta fuerza se aplica en la carcasa, mientras los motores de control responden ejerciendo resistencia. Debido a que esta resistencia puede ser ajustada, el grado de elasticidad del dispositivo puede ser controlado y proporcionar información básica sin exigir la atención de los ojos o de los oídos.


Cuando comúnmente se dice que un usuario es capaz de exprimir todas las funcionalidades de un teléfono inteligente, no hablamos en el sentido literal de la palabra. Por lo menos en la actualidad.

Pero en un futuro cercano los teléfonos serán susceptibles de ser apretados físicamente para sacarles mayor rendimiento, siendo capaces de alterar su apariencia para mandar un mensaje de alerta en situaciones en que las señales visuales y sonoras no son suficientes.

Shwetak Patel, un investigador de Ciencias de la Computación e ingeniería en la Universidad de Washington, en Seattle, ha desarrollado un teléfono móvil que se puede apretar, el SqueezeBlock, y que puede imitar el comportamiento de un muelle por medio de pequeños motores integrados en su cuerpo.

Unos sensores de presión en el dispositivo detectan cuánta fuerza se aplica en la carcasa, mientras los motores de control responden ejerciendo resistencia. Debido a que esta resistencia puede ser ajustada, el grado de elasticidad del dispositivo puede ser controlado y proporcionar información básica sin exigir la atención de los ojos o de los oídos. Leer más “Saca el jugo a la nueva era de los teléfonos exprimibles”