A new Zabisco Slideshare presentation has gone live. This month’s topic is to look into Application Design and Oracle Fusion. The Slideshare should give an overview and insight into what you can do whilst creating applications. Also, insight into Oracle Fusion and points covering Application Design. You can take a look here.
In the past 6 months, the phrase ‘Responsive Web Design’ (RWD) has been popping up everywhere in web design and tutorial sites. Although the principles of RWD have been about for a while, its prominence has become more and more apparent with the rise of different devices and their use.
“Every so often, something comes along in our industry that defines a moment in time: Jeffrey Zeldman’s ‘Designing with Web Standards,’ or Doug Bowman’s Wired.com redesign. This book is one of those moments. Insightful, witty and practical, ‘Responsive Web Design’ points us in the direction of a new web.”
—Mark Boulton, Founder, Five Simple Steps
This argument is becoming more and more prevalent in the world of web design. Old versions of Internet Explorer, such as IE6, are difficult to work with, often incompatible with web standards and do not allow designers to utilise more modern techniques, such as the benefits to styling that come with CSS3. (more…)
At Zabisco, we’re always on the web. In the rare moments when we get a little down time to browse through the internet, I like to catch up on the latest techniques and designs by looking through the endless design and development blogs such as Smashing Magazine, Nettuts and various other design sites. I browse these and eventually become jealous of the amount of really nice designs and also quicker and easier ways of coding that I haven’t thought of before.
Something that has been really apparent in the last few months is the large amount of animation rich websites which rely totally on Jquery, HTML5 and Ajax to operate, automatically adjusting images and text and div positions to fit 100% of whatever browser window they are loaded up in. (more…)
Today I am discussing two major and leading web based languages, php and .net, and how they help the world of social media with a bit of analysis of both languages in terms of their operability and flexibility to handle millions of users. Because my discussion is on social media networks, I am taking Facebook as an example for php and MySpace for .net.
If I am not wrong, MySpace (launched August 2003) was the first of the social media networks, whereas Facebook (launched February 2004) join the competition bit later. Both are influential, powerful and likeable, having millions of user worldwide. Facebook, though relatively late in launching compared to MySpace, is now the most used social media network, beating MySpace in terms of hits. So what makes Facebook make more useful and favoured than MySpace?? I’ll discuss how both of the technologies evolved, what makes them unique and which has got more chance of keeping millions of users and meeting their expectations.
Both of the websites have the same landing pages and almost the same process of registration. But the difference starts when you are logged in to the systems and you start using the sites.
Facebook is quite a clean and stylish site and easy to use where as MySpace has many styling issues and it doesn’t appeal so much (possibly because it’s now quite old).
You can also use loads of applications on Facebook and create your company pages to interact with your users. Facebook have a built-in analytics system so you can check how many users come to the user page or application. But, on the other hand, MySpace lacks these features. Companies or individuals can also easily style their apps and pages via CSS on both sites, but on Facebook there are far fewer issues with doing this than there are on MySpace, which has an IE6 styling issue amongst other things.
So what is it that makes both Facebook and MySpace such different social networks? It is the difference between languages the both sites use.
Facebook uses php whereas MySpace uses the .net platform. A plus point of php is that it is web version of c/c++ (php4.0/php5.0) whereas .net is a completely different language which evolved from c++ and has a completely different set of rules. Php is loosely built which means you don’t need specific software to programme in php but on the other side you have to use Microsoft .net suite for .net development. The beauty of php is that it is free source and you can download it from the internet easily, whereas for .net you have to purchase the very expensive softwares and licensing fees.
Php’s growth is over the period is amazing as you can find hundreds of free opensources software and simply install to your website, style it and make some changes, and you are ready to grab millions of users. Php uses a simple approach to build websites and frameworks like Joomla and Facebook, in which application logic and presentation logic is separate so you can easily style and change it according to your requirements, whereas in .net they are mixed up. That is the reason php has more capability to adopt flexible styling and design issues rather than .net. If you look MySpace you’ll see very loose and bad styling, whereas if you see Facebook you have much cleaner and presentable looks. You can make very clean, powerful, secure sites in .net but this site does not work very well with user application and other custom stuff.
My conclusion on this is that if you are making software where style doesn’t change too quickly, and which is secure, complex and powerful, go for .net. But if you are looking for low cost, robust, stylish, user friendly and interactive website, you have the only option to use a php based system. I think in social media centric websites, php works really well and in the longer run .net might fail. The most famous to the date sites are php based (Twitter, Facebook) and it continues to grow.
What do you think? Do you use php or .net? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Everybody knows that a good website is a necessary part of any business, but not everybody has the time, budget or even resources to ensure that website is working as it should – for the company or for its audience – and that’s why we are offering the Website Scrappage Scheme.
Here at Zabisco, everything we do is focused on the end user and the experience that user has when on a website, with a view to ensuring quality visitors and, essentially, a good ROI for our client and their bottom line.
So how do we create the ideal user experience?
Information Architecture (IA)
Utilising the knowledge of our information architects Hammad, Simon, Marianna and Mehdi, we create seamless journeys for all areas of the potential and preferred audience, ensuring they can find what they need and progress through the site easily and in a way which they will enjoy and can engage with.
User Centred Design (UXD)
Our graphic designers Mark and Tom base their creations on the work of the IAs and on making a site relevant to the client and aesthetically pleasing for the user.
Our developers Naseem and Tom build all of our websites above and beyond the industry standard, which means that every aspect of the design works intuitively and as it should for the end user. Utilising Joomla, a content management system, our development team create websites which can be easily managed.
Content Generation and Management
Engaging and creative copy is the key to any website’s ongoing success, both in terms of the end user experience but also with regard to search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing which will point quality traffic in the direction of a website. Our resident copywriter (yep, that’s me!) writes all content with the end user in mind and based on keywords which have been researched, again based on the motivations, desires and needs of the end user. This content is then updated and managed, with new content to the site providing search engines with more content to index and increasing the page rank of the site.
And guess what? It’s all about the end user here too. All of our online marketing (handled by yours truly) is based on engagement with the end user, ensuring not only that people visit a site, but that they are people who are likely to engage with the site and, essentially, achieve the goal of the client (be that signing up for a newsletter, buying a product or any other goal). We utilise the latest trends and a range of social media and SEO techniques to ensure traffic levels grow steadily and all visits are quality visits.
How can your business benefit from our services?
Well… we know that not everyone has the resources to build their own website, and even fewer have the resources to market that website and grow traffic levels. So, we (and by this, I mean mostly Hammad, Kate and Simon) have masterminded the Website Scrappage Scheme.
Working very much like the vehicle scrappage scheme I’m sure we’ve all heard of, Website Scrappage allows you to trade in your existing website and have it replaced with a brand new, well designed, user-centred, search engine optimised website with the added bonus of an ongoing marketing retainer and continued support from our technical team. And we’re offering it all at a discounted rate, payment of which can be spread over 12 months, making this a reliable, affordable website solution.
You can find out more about the Website Scrappage Scheme at www.scrapyoursite.com.
In the last few weeks I’ve done something I never thought I’d do, or even think I’d be interested in doing… I’ve joined the dark side! That’s right; I’ve taken my first few tepid steps into the strange and daunting world of code.
Until now, developers have always been those geeks at the other end of the office, non-creatives permanently docked at their little PC stations consumed in page after page of coloured dots, colons and squiggly brackets. Like well oiled machines, they endlessly create, edit and refresh pages of code, only surfacing from their online havens and engaging in the real world for the occasional service or refuel. The distance between them and us has been understandably well observed and any contact confined to email. This is simply the way it’s always been and is best for everyone concerned, right?
Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. After all, the pursuits of the two professions cannot be fully realised without our harmonious collaboration. Despite our fundamental creative and technical differences, we rely on each other for the success of each and every project we undertake. Without us creative types, developers have no page layouts to code away at all day and without their technical skills, we designers have no one to turn our works of art into something useful! Yet the journey of creating a web site always remains a process of two distinct and separate phases, design then development, in which the intricacies and limitations of both fields inevitably arise, occasionally causing friction and frustration for either camp dealing with the ignorance of the other. It is this lack of understanding about the each other’s field that has prompted me to do learn more about the dark art.
I’ve realised that I will never fully understand the restrictions of the web and how that effects my precious design until I actually get my head stuck into some code and try to see things from the perspective of the poor old developer. For too long, I’ve just has to grumpily sigh and resign myself to defeat when Lewis comes and tells me that some part of my design just isn’t possible to recreate or the primary font I’ve used will just look terrible in IE6! My well thought out and balanced response that “the web sucks” simply won’t cut it anymore.
So with the Lewis’ help and complete disregard for my previous bad experiences with linguistics (GSCE French and German), I’ve set about studying the languages of HTML and CSS, in a bid to broaden my horizons, understand how to code a web site and ultimately learn how to best optimise my future designs for web.
So far, I’ve been surprised how much I’ve enjoyed learning about elements, attributes and divs. At first it plays havoc on the eyes and is pretty taxing on the brain, but like with anything, putting the theory into practise and repeating tutorials is proving to be working well. I so far understand everything these languages have thrown at me and can rustle up a pretty basic but solid web site from scratch.
My only previous experience in building websites has been through Dreamweaver’s “Design view” and that has always been a pretty frustrating one, with elements on a page jumping around when previewed, no matter what changes I seem to make. When creating pages using code, everything feels that little bit more deliberate and stable.
Needless to say, the time I’ve spent in code view has helped me appreciate the restrictions of the web in terms of the way different elements display on a page and how the medium is much more fluid than that of print design. I can’t necessarily make every bit of design sit precisely where I want like I can in print, simply because of the organic nature of the web and the sheer number of variables there are (browsers, fold lines, anti-alias’s etc). With each new web site I come to design, these are the sort of factors that I can keep in mind to make the whole process run a bit smoother and improve Lewis’ quality of life.
Not only does my foray into uncharted technical territory help with the efficiency and enjoyment of the design and development process in the studio, it also helps me to expand my skill set and improve my employability in an industry where the role of the designer is becoming ever broader.
When studying graphic design at university, there is very little mention of designing for web, in fact there are entirely separate degrees dedicated to digital and multimedia design. My course focused entirely on conceptual “ideas” based print design, occasionally venturing into the worlds of advertising or packaging design. Yet this separation in design courses is not really mirrored in the real world, where many design/marketing agencies strive to meet the needs of clients wanting a range of services: branding, printed literature, web design and search marketing for example. Unless you happen to join a huge agency which has a team covering each of these bases and thus employ you solely for your branding abilities, then you’re going to have to be able to branch out somewhat and adapt to the requirements of each individual project.
Many job descriptions for designers these days specify requirements for candidates to have experience and skills in both print and web design, and the relevant computer software for each. It would seem that knowledge of HTML, CSS and Flash etc. is becoming just as important as that of Adobe’s Creative Suite and the print industry for those employing the next wave of graduates. For the purist designer who ignores this trend though, preferring to stick to their guns and the world of print, the opportunities may well become that little bit harder to find. This is an industry changing to meet the needs of those wanting to communicate their message, and with the web being at the forefront of the communication age, I for one am not going to rest on my laurels.
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