eCommerce Solutions Review Chart (Shopify Plus, Volusion, Spark Pay, WooCommerce, Nexternal)

Several months ago I did an in-depth review of some of the top eCommerce solutions for one of my clients. I compared their brand, customer-base, features, possibilities and prices.

With several of them I actually test drove the platform to see how easy to use it is, how responsive it is and had multiple demo sessions with their reps.

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Portfolio Feature: Spoon Graphics

portfoliofeature

Today, I’d like to feature a portfolio of a talented designer, Chris Spooner of SpoonGraphics.co.uk. I’ve featured his work before in a few of by previous posts but here I’d like to draw attention to his portfolio. His skills range from logo design to print, to web design.

portfoliofeature2

One of the jobs he did is these beautiful business cards, in addition to the logo design that he did for this company. Very nice combination of deep color and negative text treatment.

portfoliofeature3

Another piece of his work that I’d like to share is this logo that;s been showing up on various “Top Logos…” lists around the web. It is very clean and vivid for sure. Great job Chris.

Chris Spooner can be reached via his contact form on his website: http://www.spoongraphics.co.uk

25 Popular 404 Error Pages

As I was browsing around collecting the screen shots for this post I was surprised to see how many popular websites have neglected to optimize their 404 error pages.

While there are not very many people that get lost on the net and end up on a page that does not exist, there are still ones that do. What happens when they arrive to one of these pages? The visitor will either hit the back button to return to where they came from or they will hit their browser’s home page button, either way they end up leaving your website.

There are ways to improve the bounce rate if a site simply by optimizing the error pages. Instead of saying “Oops… Page does not exist.” you can say “Oops, the page you were trying to reach is not here but please take a look at other information that might interest you” and have a category or article list below. Instead of leaving right away, your visitor will have something to look and click on instead of just an error page.

Here is the list of 26 of some of the popular websites’ error pages.

whitehouse

WhiteHouse.gov
We’ll start with the WhiteHouse.gov. It has a nice, clean error page with information on how to procede.

amazon

Amazon.com
This one is pretty basic and with the amount of business, visitors and items they sell, I think they could have done a lot better. It would also probably raise their sales.

ask

Ask.com
Same for Ask.com, this page could have been more. They could have a few recommended categories or even ads or something to click on.

bluefly

BlueFly.com
I can see that they put a little more effort into this one. At least there is a suggestion to go to the homepage.

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Google is Biggest “Disabled” Internet User

googlebot

Image credit: Google Bot by Tyler Jordan

When thinking about website accessibility, what comes to mind is, how many blind, hearing impaired or otherwise disabled people are really going to visit my site? According to World Health Organization (Global Data On Visual Imparement For 2002), there are over 161 million visually impaired people in the world. That makes about 2.4% of the world population. Seems like a small number compared to over 6.5 billion of world’s population, to worry about designing the website to accommodate this particular need, considering that more than half of that 2.4% is in the third world countries and most do not even have access to the Internet to come and visit my site even if they wanted to.

Google is Disabled

What we do need to know is that there actually is a really important reason to make sure that every website addresses the accessibility issue. It is not just to make it easier for the disabled but to get better results in the search engines.

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Search Market Share 2008 Chart

Search Market Share 2008 Chart

Interesting to see how Google dominates the search industry and while it’s competition is headed towards doom, Google keeps inching it’s way to the top. I wonder what will happen within the next 5 years.

Looks to me like Microsoft will maybe (well, I think it should anyway) focus it’s resources on it’s software that is earning it a bad rep instead of trying to be everything to everyone and quit waisting it’s money on growing a search engine that I doubt will ever be anything to be proud of.

Yahoo, I don’t know, even if Microsoft does buy it out, it won’t help it. It’ll get rid of a competitor for Google but in terms fo helping Microsoft, I just don’t see it. If Yahoo does not sell off to Microsoft, it’s just going to slowly fade away, I think. I don’t remember when I last used Yahoo search engine…probably about 2 years ago. They just can’t compete with Google and I don’t know if anyone really can.

Social news sites are probably the next biggest/powerful search entity that can go head to head with Google and I can see how maybe some of those companies can buy out Live and Yahoo and do something with them.

What do you think?

3 Practical Ways To Efficient CSS

Most probably already know this but it doesn’t hurt to remind and have it down on “paper”. When writing CSS code and as you adjust things to make it all look good in the browser your CSS file becomes huge with extra lines of unneeded code that can be purged to make the size of the file smaller. All though this is not a complete list, this is practical and easy to remember steps that really make a difference. What I am talking about is Shorthand, Default Values and Multiple Declaration.

Shorthand

There are several elements that you can apply shorthand to font, border, background, padding & margin.

font


 Instead of declaring:

font-family:   Arial;
font-size:        12px;
line-height:   18px;
color:              #333;

You can say all that in one sentence:

font: 12px/18px #333 Arial;

border


 Instead of declaring:

border-color:    #ccc;
border-width:    1px;
border-style:      solid;

You can say all that in one sentence:

border: 1px solid #ccc;

background


 Instead of declaring:

background-color:         #fff;
background-image:        url(images/bg.gif);
background-position:    top;
background-repeat:        no-repeat;

You can say all that in one sentence:

background: #fff url(images/bg.gif) top no-repeat;

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Practical Use Of Photoshop Lighting Effects

These ads look awesome, the lighting effects really make them pop, make them exciting to look at. Makes me want to go an get me PS3 ;). After you check out these PS3 ads, I have a list of some Photoshop lighting effects tutorials that will help you create similar effects… make sure to take a look at the bottom of this post.

ps2-1

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Drag And Drop With JavaScript & CSS

It can be used for various purposes but one is sorting things in a list, like a menu. Even WordPress Uses this function in the admin side to order the widgets on the sidebar. Drag and drop lists have many uses and I’ve never made one before so I am goign to follow the tutorial that I found and see if I can make this thing work.

dragdrop

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Camtasia Studio Review

Camtasia Studio

Camtasia Studio is a presentation software program that allows you to capture, edit, and share multimedia presentations. This software program can be used for creating staff training presentations or for online marketing presentations. Its easy to use interface allows people of all video editing skill levels to put together high quality videos that may be broadcast in multiple formats that look as good on an iPod screen as they do on a 24 inch widescreen monitor.

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10 More Great Website Navigation Ideas

There are lots of lists of 25 of this and 50 of that and I was going to go ahead and stuff the stack of great navigation ideas I’ve found into a list of my own, but after thinking about it I decided that making a few posts of smaller more comprehendible lists of about 10 will be more productive and usefull.

When I see those large lists I scan through them quickly because there is so much to look at but I don’t slow down to look at, appreciate and comprehend each piece. We are here to get inspired, to get new ideas for web design, and in this post here, to get great ideas for website navigation, so let’s take a look at the examples I have here.

Great Navigation - xy-media.de
1. XY-Media.de
Take a look at the button that is highlighted with gray. I like the idea of having that little icon show up next to the gray box as you hover over the button. That adds an interesting element to the navigation instead of just a gray box.

Great Navigation - villalaestancia.com
2. VillaLaEstancia.com
Sometimes simple just looks best. This one has just a simple rollover image that turns the link text a lighter color as you hover over it.

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