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design & marketing blog

Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Web Design

April 24th, 2008

Graphic design is the first thing that many Web site owners and managers think about when they seek out the services of a Web developer. There is no denying that the graphic design element of a Web site is important, in fact research shows that design has an immense and immediate effect on your visitors. Within moments, about 1/2 of those visitors will make a judgment on the credibility of your company based solely on the quality of your graphic design. So design is immensely important, just like a foundation is important for a building. The foundation must be solid and it must come first but without the building on top it acheives little.

    Google screen shotWithout design being part of a holistic strategic approach to communication, it becomes impotent. A site with no design will trump the most artistically original site if the former has quality content and offers intuitive and easy to use solutions to its target visitors needs. The classic example is the most visited and arguably most successful Web site in the world: Google.

    Web sites are a lot like people, their success is ultimately based on the value they contain, not their outward appearance. This is vital to understand so that design is put into its proper place. Web design is still important, it just has to be the dressing for content of real value.

    Google is like one of those geniuses who are so recognizable and brilliant that they can get away with wearing an old t-shirt and jeans to deliver a key-note speech. It’s fair to say the brilliance of most of us is not as common knowledge.

    Web design is the same, once the foundation of quality content is present, professional and usable design is an excellent catalyst to facilitate communicating the value of your site. In my next post I’ll get into some specifics about our philosophy and methods for designing Web sites that are modern, appealing and clearly communicate the values of your organization.

    Windows Vista – Internet Explorer 7 Flash Issue

    March 10th, 2008

    Some installs of Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista have a bug which prevents the display of Adobe Flash Movie Files. If you experience this problem our recommended solution is below:

    1. In IE7 delete all browsing history, after pressing “Delete all…” Check the box “Also delete files and settings stored by add-ons.”
    2. In Windows Vista close IE7 and all other open applications.
    3. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features
    4. Select and Uninstall any programs referring to Adobe Flash Player ActiveX or Adobe Flash Player Plugin. There may be as many as three files listed.
    5. Open IE7 and navigate to Adobe’s Flash Player Download Center and follow the prompts to install Adobe Flash Player.
    6. Additional resources on this topic can be found in this Tech Note from Adobe.

    An alternate method which we have not tested is demonstrated in this video.

    Understanding Search Engine Optimization

    February 1st, 2008

    This article has moved to a new page.

    Adobe Contribute vs. RisingLine WebSite 2.0

    January 15th, 2008

    FAQ: How does Adobe Contribute compare to RisingLine’s Content Management sites?

    Our WebSite 2.0 sites are based on the open source application CMS Made Simple which is completely different than Adobe Contribute. CMSMS offers all the non-technical editing capabilities of Contribute (in a much more productive
    server side software model) plus it offers all features and capabilities to develop an enterprise class site.

    WebSite 2.0 offers all the features that would be available through a developer using Dreamweaver and a content manager using Contribute with the notable differences that WebSite 2.0 is exponentially easier to use and after we configure it on your Web server doesn’t require a technical expert “developer” even for many advanced features such as dynamic drop down CSS menu systems.

    Here’s a brief list of the major differences of Contribute when compared to WebSite 2.0:

    • Contribute is client side software. This means that you will only be able to edit a website on a desktop that has Contribute.
    • Contribute requires that every user be licensed. This can be a costly process if there are a lot of users set to update a website.
    • Contribute is a website editing tool, not a website development tool. A web developer is still required to build the initial website design (usually using Dreamweaver).
    • Contribute edits one page at a time, making complex design elements such as navigation menus hard to manage if they aren’t controlled through a single source, like a database, Server Side Includes, or XML file.
    • Updating a website’s content through Contribute can be a much slower process than using a server side CMS system like WebSite 2.0, since each page must be downloaded (and uploaded) individually.
    • User cannot access source code, therefore any function code must be edited in a secondary program such as Dreamweaver.
    • Contribute is a proprietary solution that is based on the concept that other Adobe software will be involved in the production process . . . our Content Management software is open source and does not require other specific software for optimal performance. In other words, there are no additional software purchases intended for those who use WebSite 2.0

    Regarding editing and adding content to WebSite 2.0 . . . any skilled user or developer can work with WebSite 2.0 at their own level so there is nothing that really can’t be done, it would just depend on the skill level of the user.

    We have different permissions that can be turned on for individual users depending on their expertise (or you can turn them on/off yourself). For example one user may be non-technical so we might just give him/her permission to edit
    the content of one page, while another may have more technical aptitude so we would give them permission to create & delete pages, move pages around in the site structure, and edit any page.

    A user could also be given the ability to edit the design skin(s) for a site if they were skilled in XHTML & CSS. Also, you have direct access to the code level of the content (and even the entire page if you want it) just by pressing a button on the page edit screen.

    Another significant difference is that our WebSite 2.0 sites are coded for optimization with the major search engines. There are a lot of details in the code that we optimize for the target keywords of your pages that would require much more manual coding with a Dreamweaver / Contribute platform.

    In addition we configure your Web server for optimal indexing with search engines and utilize Web 2.0 technology, namely Really Simple Syndication (RSS) to increase our clients search engine profile whenever possible. We’ve written a number of articles on SEO that go into the topic much more:

    http://risingline.com/blog/labels/Search-Engine-Optimization.html

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