December 10, 2009

Sexy Buttons

I've just launched an HTML/CSS-based framework called Sexy Buttons that makes it super easy to add stylish, skinnable buttons to your web site. This makes it possible to turn any button or link into a beautiful call-to-action button.

Compare the default browser buttons to Sexy Buttons:

Sexy Buttons vs. Default browser buttons

Learn more about the unique features of Sexy Buttons or see a real demo at http://code.google.com/p/sexybuttons/. You too can have sexy buttons on your web site in minutes!

Posted at 4:55 PM | Comments (1)

March 6, 2009

Run IE6, IE7, and IE8 on the same PC!

Web designers and developers rejoice—browser compatibility testing just got a whole lot easier! For years we've been complaining to Microsoft about the fact that you can't have more than one version of Internet Explorer installed on a computer at the same time. So the only way to test a web site in multiple versions of IE was to use multiple computers, virtual machines, or resort to various hacks. None of these methods was ideal and all left us wishing for a better way.

Meet Xenocode. Xenocode is basically a way to virtualize applications. This product allows software developers to package applications into a self-contained executable that can be run directly without having to install anything.

Xenocode has decided to demo the technology by creating a browser sandbox. They've created free virtualized versions of Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8; Mozilla Firefox 2 and 3; Apple Safari; Google Chrome; and Opera.

Finally! You can now easily run multiple versions of Internet Explorer on the same computer!

Update (9/28/09):  Xenocode has rebranded this technology as "Spoon" and launched a new website for it. The browser sandbox has moved to this new location. In addition, I've noticed that they've been working to improve the stability of this technology. I'd previously had issues running the browsers on a particular PC, but now they appear to work much better.

Posted at 7:32 PM | Comments (4)

January 27, 2009

FireScope: Add HTML & CSS reference to Firebug

SitePoint has just released a Firefox add-on named FireScope. It's actually a plugin for the Firebug add-on. (Ya, I know—we've got plugins for plugins now… crazy world, isn't it?) FireScope integrates SitePoint's HTML and CSS reference web site with Firebug.

This reference material is accessible via two main interfaces:

  1. It adds a reference panel to Firebug where you can search for HTML elements/attributes and CSS properties.
  2. When right clicking on HTML/CSS elements in the DOM inspector you can get context-sensitive reference information on the selected item.

The reference information includes element descriptions, code samples, and browser compatibility information. The information is very well integrated with Firebug and the interface seems natural and intuitive.

I think SitePoint has done an excellent job on this add-on. FireScope is another must-have add-on for any web developer or designer!

Posted at 11:54 AM | Comments (1)

May 14, 2008

Free PDF book: The Photoshop Anthology

For a limited time, SitePoint is giving away free PDF copies of their book The PhotoShop Anthology: 101 Web Design Tips, Tricks & Techniques. [Download link]

Posted at 12:47 PM | Comments (1)

April 12, 2007

‘Don’t Make Me Think’ Workshop is coming to Portland

I’ve just finished reading Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. If you’re not familiar with the book, it’s basically become the de facto standard book on web site usability. It’s an excellent book that I’d highly recommend.

Anyway, I was looking at his web site yesterday and happened to notice that on May 11th, 2007, he’s doing a usability workshop here in Portland, Oregon. If you’re a web designer or developer in the area this would be a good opportunity for some usability training and a chance to discuss any questions particular to your web site with a usability expert.

Advanced Common Sense - Usability Workshops

Posted at 2:07 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2007

"Can you create a web site for me?"

So, you're a web designer or developer… No doubt upon learning this, you've had more than one friend or family member ask, "Can you create a web site for me?" Of course you could create a web site for them… but you're a busy person and would rather do something else with your free time. So how do you politely decline the job while maintaining your friendship? This used to be a difficult question—but not any longer. Now there's Weebly.

Weebly makes creating a website as simple as drag and drop. You can select from various elements such as paragraphs, images, columns, Google Maps, RSS feed widgets, etc., which you drag onto your page. Once the items are on the page you can double click on them to edit them. (And, by the way, this ain't no Frontpage. Weebly creates surprisingly standards compliant web sites.) When you're done, you can customize the appearance by applying a predefined skin and then publish your web site. You have the option of publishing to yoursubdomain.weebly.com, using your own domain name, or downloading a zip file of your web site. Weebly is easy enough that even non technical users could use it to create web sites. So the next time some one asks, "Can you build me a web site?" just send them to Weebly.

Posted at 8:48 PM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2006

WebSnapr

WebSnapr is a cool website that makes it easy to create a thumbnail image of any web site.

You generate a thumbnail by simply using a special Websnapr URL that contains the URL of the web site you want to create a thumbnail of. They make it a piece of cake to add thumbnail previews to external links on your website. Hover over the Websnapr link at the beginning of this entry for an example.

Posted at 1:55 PM | Comments (0)

Free Visual Web Analytics

Most web analytics programs display their data as text in a tabular format, or, if you’re lucky, as charts and graphs. A couple of new web analytics programs are out to change that by offering services that visually display the statistical data on top of your web site.

The first of these new breed of web analytics programs to appear on the scene was Crazy Egg. Crazy Egg allows you to view an image of your pages overlayed with a heatmap showing the most frequently clicked areas. Or use the “overlay” mode to quickly see what percentage of the total page clicks each individual link receives.

SiteShots is the newest competitor in this arena. They provide very similar features to Crazy Egg.

Both programs work basically the same. You add a couple of lines of JavaScript code to your web site that silently track clicks and gather data behind the scenes. You can see the visual results from your account on the respective web sites. Crazy Egg recently emerged from their beta period, but SiteShots still appears to be in some form of beta or preliminary state. Both companies offer limited services for free, with more robust services for paid plans.

Posted at 1:15 PM | Comments (0)