One of the few websites that I visit daily has recently been redesigned. At first I thought it simply looked worse, but I decided to give the new designs a chance. Now, a couple of weeks on I still don’t like it, and I’ve also figured out why. Webwereld is in Dutch by the way, so don’t bother trying to read the text in the screenshots.
More On Webwereld’s recent redesign
I changed themes mid December, and according to googlebot’s stats, pages have been taking twice as long to load since then. This got me thinking. What was it I added that caused this? Surely I didn’t make the pages twice as heavy?
More What’s slowing down my blog?
Edward Terry‘s Tweet3D lets you few any Twitter user’s most frequent topics as a 3D tag cloud. I’m not quite sure what kind of (undoubtably very clever) magic goes on behind the screens, but it appears that the topics are frequently used words. Somehow, Tweet3D extracts these from previous tweets and passes them to Cumulus to be displayed. Pretty nifty stuff!
Last week, when working on a game for a client, we decided raid the company’s snack machine and prototype the game using colour-sorted M&M’s in order to work out if was any fun and balance the game by adjusting variables. My random number generator supplied the randomness, Masterfoods the colourful candy. Great fun!
Thanks to Suzanne for the picture from her camphone.
I’ve been using this trick for years but it seems it’s never really been blogged about. When saving JPEG files using the “Save for Web” feature (“Save for web & devices” in CS3), the quality slider exhibits some strange behavior. Increasing the quality setting by a single percent usually adds only a little extra file size (about half a kB for the test file I used). Going from 50 to 51 with the same file added a full 10 kB. There’s also quite a difference in image quality between 50 and 51. In fact I feel 51 looks pretty good and is the optimal setting for most web projects. Anything above that is a waste of bandwidth, except perhaps for photography portfolios and such.
More Photoshop JPEG quality 51 trick
On June 14th 1997 I started my first full-time job at NOB Interactive, the internet branch of Holland’s (then) biggest audiovisual company. This means I’ve been a professional web designer for ten years now, to the day. From HTML 3.2 with lots of frames to tableless semantic XHTML, from 28k8 modems to broadband, from Futuresplash Animator and animated GIF to Flash 9. It’s been lots of fun and I hope to be able to keep doing this for a long time.
Every once in a while ideas pop into my head. I can’t help it. Most are crap, but some warrant further investigation. Problem is that I do not have the technical knowledge to look into some of them and create proof-of-concept type applications. I’m pretty good with WordPress and actionscript, but other than that I’m pretty much lost. One of my ideas would require using the Google Maps API for instance, others need somewhat sophisticated database operations or SMS interaction, or… who knows.
More Wanted: Tech guru
Chi Nederland, a Dutch association of human-machine interface specialists has published a short interview they had with me. It deals with interfaces, Flash and other usability issues. Enjoy!
Man. I thought the Web Developer extension for Firefox was extremely cool, but this very useful add-on to the world’s best browser is an even better equipped toolbox for front-end developers. You can tweak every little code detail right from the browser and see the results instantly. I found the option to temporarily disable individual lines of CSS code to be very useful. A must have for web designers.