Friday, May 20, 2005

Google Adsense for Feeds

Christian Cantrell, the product mananger for developer relations at Macromedia who also runs Coldfusion Blog, points out that Google is expertimenting with placing ads in feeds.

Google AdSense is now offering authors of syndicated content a way to monetize their feeds through the new AdSense for Feeds program (in beta, of course). So if you use an aggregator to help you get away from the clutter of internet advertising, sorry, but you'll have to think of something else.
If you plan to use AdSense for Feeds perhaps you should read their suggested best practices:
  1. Syndicate the full text of your articles
  2. Don’t include more than one ad unit per article
  3. Place the ad unit at the end of articles
  4. Include terms and conditions on the use of your feeds
Losing ad revenue through aggregators such as MNXA, newsgator, SharpReader and others has always been a concern. Aggregators and news readers for awhile appeared to be the "browser" of the future. If most readers chose a method of viewing content that denied the publisher necessary ad revenue we could potentially see publishers start to vanish so to Adsense we once again give thanks!

Spy Journal describes RSS and how to add a feed to your blog.
djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me and consults as Superior Internet Designs

Gallina - Use GMail as a blog

By taking advantage of the libgmailer Jonathan Hernandez has created Gallina 0.3. Gallina uses Google's GMail as a blog with messages as the "entries" or posts and the GMail star as the publish status. Replies to the email message are the post's comments.

See Jonathan Hernandez's example. Please add any other examples in the comments to this post.

djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me and consults as Superior Internet Designs

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Blogging software

Note to myself.
Here is some additional blogging software I have come across I need to check out some time.

Top 10 Web Design Tips

Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D. brings us the "Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design."

Dr. Nielsen founded the "discount usability engineering" movement for fast and cheap improvements of user interfaces and has invented several usability methods, including heuristic evaluation. He holds 77 United States patents, mainly on ways of making the Internet easier to use.
A reproduction of Dr. Nielsen's list appears below without his nice explanations. Reading his explanations is highly recommended. Avoid these mistakes:
  1. Bad Search
    Overly literal search engines reduce usability in that they're unable to handle typos, plurals, hyphens, and other variants of the query terms.
  2. PDF Files for Online Reading
  3. Not Changing the Color of Visited Links
  4. Non-Scannable Text
    Write for online, not print
  5. Fixed Font Size
  6. Page Titles With Low Search Engine Visibility
  7. Anything That Looks Like an Advertisement - ie. if you make your content look like an ad it will be ignored
  8. Violating Design Conventions
    users spend most of their time on other websites
    (one of my personal favorites) ergo, user expectations of your website are based upon other websites
  9. Opening New Browser Windows
  10. Not Answering Users' Questions

Dr. Neilsen has created a great list. As a webdesigner I enjoy having these reminders. It is easy to form habits, good and bad, and reviewing the reasons behind what others view as good and bad help to steer us from bad choices.

I would like to add to number ten something I always say to my clients. "People come to the Internet for three things.

  1. Information
  2. Utility
  3. Entertainment
And they come in that order. Design must remember this order. Potential customers frequently turn to the Internet before the Yellow Pages so contact information should be prominently displayed or easy to find. Examples of utility might include the ability to purchase products or schedule a flight online. Entertainment might include games."

As designers we must put ourselves into the shoes of the user. We must understand how the user could perceive our design and make corrections for these perceptions. Ideally, as we design software we should enlist potential end-users for usability testing.

djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me and consults as Superior Internet Designs.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Don't Post Too Quickly on Blogger!

If you use Blogger and like to make short, consecutive posts, you are probably now familar with a nuisance called captcha. This is a graphic of letters created that a computer cannot read but a human can. It is designed to keep programs from automatically flooding Blogger with content. If your 2nd post comes too quickly after your first post you will have to read the letters from the graphic and enter them into the field below the graphic to be able to continue with your post.

I use Blogger to the lottery numbers at TNLottery Results Blog and do so by hand but since my posts come so quickly I now see the captcha and find it very frustrating.

I am against captcha on the basis that it is doesn't comply with 508 Standards.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Technical post on CSS and design

I have found a lot of really cool information about using CSS to create elastic or fluid designs.

I have always taken notice of articles like The Noodle Incident and the CSS Zen Garden, but they are like lectures and the following links are workshops.
Make sure you read the comments on these guys sites, they are as helpful as the original discussions.

John Oxton's discussion on elastic layout - including examples and code.

The Zen Garden shows what can be done using CSS to change the entire look of the same page. Check this out (opens in a different window / tab )and try the different styles from the list. If you are a graphic designer (or hopeful) have a go at your own design and submit it to them.

@Media 2005 are having a Web Standards conference 9th-10th June in London (time specific link) regarding web standards and design.

Roger Johansson writes a great article about fluid / elastic design. This has code in it you can use. Awesome stuff Roger.

Clagnut (Richard Rutter) posts an article about sizing text using ems. Very useful.