Simple Hover CSS Menu
Navigation / 11 Nov 2008

Simple Hover CSS Menu

Simple Hover MenuOur partner site, 13 Styles has just released a new CSS menu called “Simple Hover“. It is, as the name suggests, a simple affair, with a link description appearing when hovered over.

The menu is completely free to download, use and customize, contains no images (it’s all CSS) and should work in any browser or operating system you use.

Please let me know if you find any problems or would like to contribute a menu in the future.

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Announcing Design Top 10
Inspiration / 3 Nov 2008

Announcing Design Top 10

Design Top 10A project we have been working on for a while launches today – Design Top 10. The site will be updated every month, featuring the best website designs, tutorials and resources published in that period. Hopefully it will grow into a great place to find inspiration and keep up to date with the best content produced online.

The design stems from a notebook style layout, as the site is a ‘scrapbook’ of discoveries and inspiration on a monthly basis. I feel that it fits the profile of the site well and I’m really happy with it.

Please take a look at the site and, if you find it appealing, write a post about it or drop me a comment – I’d love to hear what you think. I hope you find Design Top 10 a useful source of inspiration!

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3D Spiral Winners
Competitions / 27 Oct 2008

3D Spiral Winners

Thank you to all who participated in our 3D Spiral giveaway. We have randomly selected three winners, who are:

Congratulations! We have contacted each of you with information on how to claim your free copy of the 3D Spiral flash component.

To be notified whenever we give away new products and freebies, click below to subscribe:

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3D Spiral Component Giveaway
Competitions / 20 Oct 2008

3D Spiral Component Giveaway

We have teamed up with FlashLoaded to give away 3 free copies of their latest Flash component, 3D Spiral (a retail value of $49.95 each).

The 3D Spiral is a Flash gallery component that displays images on an interactive 3D rotating spiral. You are able to obtain different layouts by changing the height and width of the spiral. The viewer can scroll, move up/down and zoom the spiral freely.

GoodBarry Review
Software / 17 Oct 2008

GoodBarry Review

GoodBarry ReviewGoodBarry is a system which, rather than simply providing a content management service, attempts to offer all the facilities you need to turn your website into a fully functional online business. These range from e-commerce, to newsletter provision, to a complete customer management system. This review is going to cover what my main likes and dislikes are about the system, along with explaining under what circumstances it is particularly suitable.

Before reading this, it might be worth a minute of your time to watch the introductory video at GoodBarry.com. It gives you a quick flavour for what the system does and how it helps to manage your online business.

Ten Years of a List Apart
Articles / 7 Oct 2008

Ten Years of a List Apart

As far as online web design magazines go, A List Apart has been around for as long as I can remember. Their regular articles never cease to probe into new areas of design, or express existing techniques in a new and forward thinking way.

A new post today is celebrating A List Apart’s 10 year anniversary, looking back at how the project started out and evolved over a decade. It also gives an insight into how article submissions are processed and filtered, along with who edits and designs the site today.

If you’re a regular reader, or interested in contributing to A List Apart in the future, it is an article well worth a read.

Free WordPress Theme: Simple Balance 2
Articles / 2 Oct 2008

Free WordPress Theme: Simple Balance 2

Alex, from Blogsessive, has released a minimalist WordPress theme called Simple Balance 2. Full information about the theme and download information can be found over at the release post.

Simple Balance features a whole host of customizable options, and it’s great to see a free WordPress theme offering what usually would be paid for features:

  • Several colour schemes
  • Different advertising layouts
  • The ability to manage adverts from the backend

Download Simple Balance

Designing With GuiMags
Articles / 1 Sep 2008

Designing With GuiMags

GuiMags are a new concept, taking the idea of designing on paper down an innovative route. They comprise a set of magnets, created to stick to a whiteboard, made of material which allows you to write on them with dry-wipe markers.

I have been trying out a sample of these for a few days and am going to share the aspects I feel that work well, and the areas that still need improvement.

Why is this a good idea?

When designing a mockup, I work differently depending on who the site is for. If it is a personal project, working on paper and then Photoshop is perfect. If the design is for a client, commonly there is a need to express ideas in a collaborative environment. This could be done with a projector/laptop, whiteboard or a flip-chart. These all work well, but a common problem is that when using a whiteboard you find yourself drawing and re-drawing common components of a site (form fields, tabs, buttons etc).

GuiMags solves this problem, allowing you to focus on designing the structure without worrying about the small fiddly pieces. Designing forms, in particular, becomes a much more enjoyable process.

Available Magnets

These are the various magnets available, comprising a selection of most common website components:

GuiMags Design Magnets

Limitations

There are two main problems with GuiMags which could stop them being an overnight success. Firstly is the fact that you need a magnetic whiteboard to use them. From my experience, the majority of whiteboards I have used are non-magnetic and wouldn’t work with these gadgets. To be truly practical, they need to work at every client’s office – professionalism takes a hit when you have to start hunting round the whole building for an appropriate whiteboard.

The second issue is the design aesthetic of the magnets. Whilst the chunky look and feel is certainly appropriate, the choice of blue as a background limits the ability to use them in any mockups which illustrate colour. Future possibilities could be to offer a range of colours, or provide a black and white set to ensure they don’t over-power any other colours on the sketch.

Conclusion

Designing mockups and prototyping alongside a group of people has always posed a challenge. GuiMags goes some way to solving the problem, allowing you to create sample designs and forms with greater speed and ease. However, at $100, these magnets don’t come cheap and you may also find yourself requiring a new magnetic whiteboard (anything from $20 to $100 depending upon size). They are a great concept and a forward thinking idea, but some of the initial drawbacks need to be addressed before they are versatile enough to become a dominant tool in my design workflow.

Free Gloss CSS Menu
Articles / 16 Aug 2008

Free Gloss CSS Menu

Gloss CSS Menu FreeOur partner site, 13 Styles have just launched a new addition to their range of free CSS menus. It comes pre-built in red, orange and grey, working in all major browsers. Best of all, it’s completely free for you to download and use!

Download the menu

Integrating Flickr With WordPress
Articles / 22 Jul 2008

Integrating Flickr With WordPress

Flickr and WordPress PluginsWordPress is undoubtedly one of the most popular blogging platforms, so it’s no surprise that there are a huge variety of different plugins to allow you to integrate Flickr with your blog posts. This article does include a sponsored review of iFlickr, but we’ll also be looking at other plugins available to mix these two online platforms together.

Becks Label Design Winners
Articles / 17 Jul 2008

Becks Label Design Winners

Becks BeerThe well known international beer, Becks, have recently run a contest in the UK to find a set of new artistic designs for their beer bottles. We’ve got an exclusive preview of the winning bottle designs, which you can pass your eye over as a designer to let us know what you think.

Becks Beers

The designs have been put together by students at the Royal College of Art and Design, in London. Whilst it’s a big step away from what we consider to be ‘contemporary design’ online, it does capture the essence of the UK and Britain to an extent – with an abstract twist.

Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of very abstract artwork, but I think these could prove to be an interesting talking point – and a great stepping stone for the new artists (such as Tom Price, below):

Becks Artist

It showcases the vast differences between product design and website design. However, the idea of using contemporary thinking and new talent to re-design a corporate brand is a great one, and something that could move across equally well to online design.

What are your thoughts?

Interview With John Griffin of Cutcaster
Articles / 15 Jul 2008

Interview With John Griffin of Cutcaster

Cutcaster InterviewThis is a short interview with one of the minds behind the new stock photography startup – Cutcaster. It’s a great insight into some of the thinking behind a site such as this, as both a business concept and a well designed web application.