Kelsey Brookes is a professional designer, online strategist and writer.
From the late 90s Kelsey managed the multimedia and film courses at the prestigious Computer Graphics College, Sydney and eventually founded the Melbourne chapter of the college.
At the same time, Kelsey was a feature writer for Digital Media World magazine, interviewing subjects from the Australian and overseas film and production industries.
Since 1999 Kelsey has managed thinksync, providing design, online strategy and marketing services to clients around Australia.
Validating a website has become standard practice among designers over the last few years. As a site nears completion, the designer tests the site against the W3C Validator service to ensure that the code meets the standards, allowing them to proudly display a badge declaring their competency.
I have no real problem with this, except insofar as it provides no value (except to the designer's ego!) to show this badge.
The real problem lies with the claim that validation is inherently valuable as an SEO tactic. Sites like Google, Amazon and a plethora of other high-ranking sites stand as proof positive that validation alone will not ensure your site ranks highly.
So why is validation touted as an SEO technique?
This week nearly 20,000 Facebook users were duped into 'liking' a rogue fanpage called 'The argument that disproves atheism'.
Like many other users, I clicked on the link that appeared in my newsfeed, mainly due to curiosity at what had come over my friend to post such a link.
A sizeable group of us were caught out, suddenly and inexplicably 'liking' a fanpage without the usual button-clicking. Just clicking a normal looking link seemed to be enough, which has scary implications for Facebook's 'social graph', if it can be gamed so easily.
Fortunately, while people might have difficulty removing the notification of the 'like', it's simple enough to remove the application from your profile altogether.
Fashionably Yours approached us to redesign their online store with an eye for flair and modern professional design.
With the Spring Carnival season looming, it was also a vital consideration to have an extremely fast turnaround, only two weeks from starting work to going live.
If there's one thing we love, it's being able to deliver on time. We said we'd have the site up by the end of August: the site went live on the 31st with enough time to write up the case study.
If there's a problem with this site, it's that the ecommerce platform actively defeats SEO and is extremely inflexible. Not to mention the awful table-based coding that harks back to the bad old days of 1990s design.
Check out the before and after shots after the jump.
I'm starting a new series, DIY Web Design Mistakes, quick examples of real-life problems caused by DIY design.
Today's candidate is The Boat Shed Restaurant in Maroochydore.
DIY Mistake #1: Not checking your site's listing in organic search
Otherwise, this can happen:
Yes. That's the Joomla! default description Meta Tag. Why this is bad and how to fix it, after the jump.
Finding imagery for your site is hard, whether it's part of the design or for an ongoing blog.
If there's one thing I loathe, it's shiny-happy people images that say nothing except "I don't care enough to find evocative pictures".
As Tim Reid would say, "It's an EPIDEMIC!".
An epidemic of bland, faceless marketing that toes the corporate line but fails entirely to engage the humans who are forced to deal with the drivel. It's the visual equivalent of this kind of sentence:
GenericMarketingCo is a leading performance-based marketing company with enabling technology that connects marketers to consumers through a comprehensive set of email marketing and online media services.
I get it. It's hard to write good copy and it's hard to find good images.
But when you do find the perfect image, for the sake of your business, don't steal it.
As hype-laden services go, FourSquare must be right at the top of the hysterical ladder. It's up, it's down, it's the next big thing, it's a flop.
I'm a FourSquare user. I like to checkin, just not everywhere. Who cares if I'm the Mayor of Coles? I am however in a running battle with my sister-in-law for the Mayorship of CoffeeGuy, a small boutique coffee house in Wooloowin, Brisbane. Best coffee going and an ambience that's hard to beat.
It's just one of those places that you want to tell your friends about. For this purpose, FourSquare is genius. An ongoing stream every time I checkin, either boasting or bemoaning my status and the wonders of the coffee - which is then published to my FaceBook and Twitter accounts.
Of course, CoffeeGuy isn't the only place I visit, but my checkins elsewhere are rare. I see this as more symptomatic of the business than of FourSquare: most businesses simply don't inspire you to checkin.
There are some days where you get to sit back and feel proud for the work you've just done.
Today's one of those days.
This was a fantastic project for us. We've done a reasonable amount of User Interface work in the past, but due to confidentiality issues we've never been able to discuss or use these past projects on our portfolio.
Here's how it worked out.
I've been looking at a few different tools for mapping social media presence in the real world. I suspect this could be a useful tool for business, but perhaps not quite yet: while local trends were rolled out in early 2010, there's a lack of location-aware applications that utilise maps and twitter trends that have any other purpose for general use.
Looking at Trendsmap today, I noticed something glaringly out of place in Australia.
Queenslanders don't tweet.
While Joomla's core article system is reasonably robust and the introduction of template overrides made it possible to more easily theme elements of Joomla that were previously untouchable, K2 takes both theming and editing to the next level.
Designers have much greater control of each 'view' of content presentation and editors have less to worry about when publishing articles.
It's a win-win situation for aesthetics and usability.
I get it. Twitter's a big deal in social marketing circles. I've come to love it and use it extensively - I get it. It's a great tool for spontaneous communication, for finding interesting people with awesome things to say.
It's not hard to build a following. You can have ten thousand followers in no time - or so the long pages of flashy text that are direct-tweeted into my inbox tell me.
But are those followers worth having? Will they enhance your reputation? And who to follow? All these questions and more, answered in my 7 Rules for gaining quality followers on Twitter: