Mind your URLs

I’m reposting this hilarious list of Top Ten Worst URLs that I found today, via the Razorfish Amnesia Blog. It’s great. Among my favorites:

Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at www.penisland.net

Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at www.therapistfinder.com

And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales: www.molestationnursery.com

Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at www.gotahoe.com

Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company… 
www.powergenitalia.com

Make sure you take a look at the whole list. Funnily enough, this was posted back in September 2009, although I’ve seen it linked from a several websites, and via twitter, a number of times this week.

Look no further than WordPress

If you’re looking for an example of company that never stops innovating, and never stops improving – look no further than Automattic, the creators of WordPress.

I’ve been running this little blog on wordpress.com since 2005.  Back then it was good. And I’ve seen countless improvements, new features and themes since then. It honestly gets better every week.

One of my goals this year is to get familiar with wordpress.org. It’s a blogging platform that’s so customisable and so extendable. It’s also loved by it’s community, like no other.

And if you’re looking to start a blog, or even a CMS, give WordPress a serious. You really can’t go wrong. And I’ve no doubt it will keep getting better and better.

This week they’ve launched wordpress.tv, a place for online video tutorials. Can’t wait to see how this pans out. It’s just another example of the great work they do, and what they give back.

I love you, WordPress – You had me at hello.

Goodbye to “the fold”

Ahh, “The fold”.

That mythical line that we all get so worried about. Originating from Newspaper-speak, “the fold” refers to the fact that the paper was folded in half for delivery, or display in a shop.

It was therefore crucial for the key content, and your advertising, to be above that fold. Because that’s what people would see.

Online, “the fold” refers to anything above the bottom of your browser when you first visit a web page.

There’s a strong belief that in web-design, “the fold” matters. You should do your darndest to squeeze as much as you possibly can above “the fold”, to ensure that your users won’t miss a thing.

Truth is, “the fold” doesn’t exist. Differences between user’ screen sizes, web browsers, and browser toolbars installed, etc, etc, etc – mean that your fold and my fold can be very different.

Even if “the fold” did exist, it’s irrelevant. People are getting used to the web (it’s been around for over 10 years now). We understand that a web page can be longer than the screen. And we’re also getting used to longer pages – Recent rises in blog content, and greater online readership of news articles , means that we all know how to scroll down if we need to.

Besides, how difficult is scrolling anyway? Desktop or Laptop, Mouse or Click-pad, it ain’t that hard.

In summary … don’t ignore the fold, but don’t restrict yourself because of it. Yes – It’s important to have some of the good stuff at the top of your page. But don’t try and cram everything in the first 400 pixels of your page. Your content is going to be too squashy, harder to take in, and ultimately your visitors will leave, unsatisfied.

Focus on using the top of the web page to grab the user’s attention, and entice them to scroll down when they visit your site. And remember what Jakob Nielsen once famously said – Users will scroll if they feel that something relevant is there.

(photo credit – zoofythejink)

Best of the internet – My favourite posts for 2008)

I’ve been wandering through my delicious links for the past year, and I thought I’d share with you some of the blog posts that sum up some of things that I really enjoyed in 2008. Without further ado …

Possibly one of the most talked about posts for the year, 1,000 True Fans is about how artists and other content creators can profit from the endless longtail – by concentrating on their 1,000 “True Fans” – to make a living.

I think this post from Steve was probably his best for the year. He argues that many Bloggers and Journalists are ignoring PR pitches and don’t want the help of PR folk for news and post ideas – opting instead to report only on things that they discover themselves. The bottom line – It’s more important for you to be discoverable than it is to send out willy nilly press releases. Too true.

With the launch of i vote for art, I spent a lot of 2008 exploring new artists on the interwebs. This post by Tiny Dad really typifies the types of artists that i like, and the style that I’m trying to represent on my site.

This isn’t so much a blog post, but an incredibly cool way to launch something new. Google acquired the help of Scott McCloud to design a comic to coincide with the launch of their browser. Really nifty I thought.

Adbusters’ rather brutal critique of the “Hipster” – who embody the apathy, nihilism and superficial cool of our contemporary culture – caused quite a stir. But a pretty important article.  I have mixed feelings about Adbusters, but it is at least a magazine that actually speaks about topics with substance.

The original Wired article that will become Chris’ new book in 2009. I’m looking forward to it.

Again, not a blog post per se, but a great demonstration of flash mobbing – just one of the thousand trends that epitomises the exciting times we live in, thanks to collaboration, crowdsourcing, and the interwebs.

Everyone,  including myself, went Twitter crazy in 2008 – I thought this piece by Tim summed up a lot of why Twitter has become so popular.

Ahh, the online mixtape revival of 2008. Such a shame that it didn’t last, but I guess it was always too good to be true. This post from RWW reviewed 3 of the better mixtape providers.

I loved this part rant, part celebrartion by Clay Shirky about this new era of participation. A great read.

Web Design Inspiration

webdesignflickr

One of my goals for 2009 is to improve my web design skills – starting off with CSS, and maybe even following up by some other coding. To get me started, I’m putting together a list of great looking websites in a set my flickr page. Here’s a link to what I’ve added so far:

http://flickr.com/photos/roweben/sets/72157612144305794/

My idea for doing this was inspired by Patrick Haney’s great list (http://www.flickr.com/photos/splat/). In fact, I’ve even used some of his examples to get me started (Thanks Patrick).

If you’ve seen any good looking sites or web apps lately, feel free to share the links in the comments below. Thanks!

Monopoly Re-packaged

monopoly

Wow – Check out this beautiful Monopoly Set … re-packaged by Andy Mangold.

New year, New look

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy new year everyone! I thought I’d welcome it in refresh to my blog’s look and feel. Hope you like it. I’ll probably be doing a bit more tinkering in weeks to come. write some proper posts too.

I really like this 2009 Bubble Calendar, with a bubble to pop for each day of the year.