Tag Archives: design

YouTube Layout Changes – Good or Bad?

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Like any other website, YouTube is in a state of constant evolution. Like it or not, the site rolled out several new changes to their layout yesterday. I have to give those changes a thumbs up – and a thumbs down.

If you’ve visited a YouTube video page in the past few days, you’ve seen what they’ve done. I appreciate that I have more options (which are easier to access) in handling the videos that I have recorded. I feel it’s easier for me to navigate my way around, finding content from others as well. The “subscribe” button is much more prominent now, which I also appreciate.

I like the fact that the username, date, description and links are now underneath the video. When they were in a sidebar, it seemed as though no one ever thought to look for more information, and would often miss important details.

This type of information is important. I don’t think it’s a great idea that people can only see whether others like (or dislike) a video until they’ve watched it themselves, but we’ll see how that plays out.

What they did with the comments is interesting, to say the least. It’s not a good change, in my humble opinion. It looks like a jumbled mess now. If you hover over a comment, it is highlighted. However, to scroll through them is just a pain. There are bugs at times when trying to block a user. Half the time it will work, and half the time it won’t. You can’t even tell how many comments a particular video has now. That’s a statistic I would appreciate having, but I can manage without it.

According to the research that YouTube has done, the changes make sense from a usability standpoint. I’ve seen a lot of negative commentary floating around though, so I’m not entirely convinced that YouTube has gotten it “right” just yet.

What are your thoughts? What do you enjoy about the new layout, and what do you wish you could change again?

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Mockups Software

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Not long ago, I was talking to my friend Brent Spore, who happens to be an amazing designer. I helped sponsor his PodCamp Arizona recently, and he wanted to do a favor for me in return. Knowing the quality of his work, I was all over this offer! I needed a single web page where people can go to read more about me, and go through a simple PayPal form to pay me to coach them. It would be like an on-demand consulting type of thing, for whatever type of help I can provide.

I had trouble explaining to Brent what it was I wanted the page to look like. I needed a white-board of sorts, so I could show him where I wanted things to appear on the page and how I thought it should look. I couldn’t draw it out on a piece of paper, though. Thankfully, I was able to use mockingbird to illustrate for me!

Mockingbird is a free service. You don’t need to register to get started, but you do need to register (still free!) in order to save your work and share it with others. You’re simply going to be dragging and dropping different elements around until you get them exactly the way you want them. You’ll have just about every possible element you can think of, waiting for you to drop them onto your design.

If you have a good idea of what you want your page to look like, you can use mockingbird to show your designer. Clue them in, and make things easier on both of you!

It can save you time and money by helping you figure out what you’re looking for, before you pay someone to create it. Satisfy your clients by showing them clear mockups of what you’re working on for them.

Mockingbird is so easy and fun to use. I could do this all day long!

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How to Design Your Own Video Game Fighting Moves

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If you ever challenge me to a fighting game, I’d likely not accept. I’m a button masher, in the hopes that I’ll accidentally come across the right moves. I’m not very good at the whole video game thing. If you’re interested in the whole fighting game genre – and want to create your own moves – you’ll be interested in this, for sure!

On Toribash, you create the violence. Toribash is an innovative fighting game where YOU design the moves! Earn credits by winning matches, then customize your character in the store! Trade items with other players. Win prizes in weekly tournaments.

The basic aim of the game is to fight the opponent, scoring points for damage. Some limbs break easier then others, others give more points when hit. To get more points, each joint can be relaxed, contracted, extended or held. This makes the game play very open-ended as there are no set moves, although many people will copy a move which seems to work well.

Toribash is a free download, and works on both Windows and OS X. I am pretty amazed at how easy and fun this is, even though I likely won’t get into it much. I’m just not a fighter! There’s a bit of a learning curve in creating the moves and styles, but you should get the hang of it pretty quickly.

I’d rather see you fighting via Toribash, and not in real life – so check it out today!

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Are You Looking for a New MySpace Profile Design for Free?

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I’ve been building web pages for many years. Heck, I built sites back in the day of no graphical browsers. It was all done by hand. Thankfully, it’s much easier now. If you’ve got free web hosting and you’re looking for a good, solid design, I’ve found a resource that you should check out.

Wix has everything you need to build great looking websites in minutes. You can import pictures and movies from places like Flickr and YouTube. Then, just click, drag and drop your way to getting your site online. There’s several ideas already there to get you started, including ones to build your own MySpace backgrounds.

Wix is an online application that allows users to create and publish stunning Flash-based web content. Wix is not template based, meaning you get to create an unrestrained design. With Wix, you don’t have to be a designer or programmer to create gorgeous, professional-looking websites. You can easily add audio, video, images, text, animation, decoration and so much more. Oh yeah… Wix can be published anywhere on the web, including social networking sites, blogs and personal spaces.

All you do is register for free, point and click… and you’re done. There are tons of customizations to make your website everything you need or want it to be.


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What Room Plan Software do you use for your House?

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It’s been said that if you fail to plan, then you should plan to fail. That’s very true. I have failed in the past when it comes to planning and implementing design ideas in our home. I didn’t have good software to help me in my endeavor, and ended up having to drastically change my plans. All the software I had ever tried was either really expensive, or gave me a horrible experience.

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across PlanningWiz. Yes, you read that right. It’s a website set up to specifically help you design the rooms of your dreams. Simply enter the dimensions of your room and the wizard will build the room for you. There are several example rooms and preset layouts that you can start with and then change around to suit your needs. Or, you can start with a completely blank room.

Everything you may want in your room you will find on this website. You can move furniture and items around over and over, change the dimensions of what’s in the room and even add in structure changes. You can then save your plan, and print or email it.

PlanningWiz is an award winning design tool providing online simplified floor planning that supports consumer decisions in retail and real estate.

People launch PlanningWiz from the website to quickly furnish and visualize themselves in the space in real-time. PlanningWiz editions are used by many different types of retailers including furniture, game rooms, gym equipment, also building contractors and realtors.

Even though the site is designed for businesses, it is still an excellent tool for anyone who is looking for help in redesigning a room or rooms(s) in their home.

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Are There Web Site Builders for Businesses?

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NetSolutions was a recent presenter at Live Pitch 2008 in Seattle. Net Solutions North America designs, develops, hosts, and promotes effective websites. All of their websites include easy to use tools to help you be your own webmaster.


  • Business Category: Tech Startup
  • Founder: Robert Reynolds, Patrice Valentine and Peggy Emmons
  • Company Blog
  • Inspiration for Product/Service: Building a product that a typical business person could use to make changes to their website.
  • Target Customer/Audience: Small business is the target audience with leads generated through B2B resellers. We our products through resellers under the brandname ProFusion and retail using our Net Solutions North America, LLC name/brand.
  • Synopsis of Product / Service: Net Solutions North America builds web application tools that allow non-technical people to build attractive, functional and interactive websites using menu selections and Word-like editors to create pages and modify content. We also do custom design work, custom application development, provide hosting, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, email marketing, site maintenance and application customizations.
  • Main Company Contact: Patrice Valentine

What do you think about this business idea? Leave your thoughts!

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Why Would Someone Want to Blog about Magpies?

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How many of you out there have a brother? I do… and when I recorded this video, I was at his house in Iowa visiting. I received an email from Findlay, asking for help getting interest generated for his brother’s blog. His brother is in the last year of Design school, and is doing a final project on Magpies dotted around areas of historical and cultural importance in London. The problem is, he needs people to see and comment on his work.

The great thing about blogging is that it makes it easy for you to publish what you’re doing. Whether you have text, photos or videos, you can throw it on the Web and get it hosted for free usually. As for rising above the noise, it’s going to be centered on what you’re publishing. I don’t know if your brother has given background notes on his project, or maybe broken out parts of it and gone into deeper detail. Maybe he could give some background even, on where he got his inspiration. Comments will swell around the blog more if there is a story or dialogue, or even by asking questions of the audience.

If this is a visual project, make sure he posts a lot of pictures and videos. Heck, give more background and information on the Magpies themselves. As long as you treat the blog as a kind of pulpit, where you can speak to your audience… you’re going to get attention. Your audience should be captivated, interested, and want to learn more.

The next level is to let other people know about it. Contact some general news sites, or other design blogs. Branch out and visit other places, so you’ll get noticed. If the content is good, people will come.


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How to Keep your Website Fresh and Up to Date

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With all the design software and tools out there, anyone can make a website. Keeping it maintained and ‘fresh’ is another matter entirely. Seanzo is a Web Designer, and sent these tips in to help you keep your website current.

  • Always have an attractive title You want your websites’ title to represent what your site is all about, but you don’t want to go in to too much detail. Say you make a website about your new super amazing speakers that everyone will want to buy. Don’t title the website “superamazingspeakersthateveryonewillwanttobuy(dot)com”. No one will remember that, and it will not attract too many customers. Keep it short, simple and to the point, such as Smoothespeakers(dot)com. That sounds very catchy, it has flow, and people will know what your website is all about.
  • Make your website user-friendly So people have made it to your website. You don’t want them to leave. Never make things too complicated. When they enter the website, things should be easy to get around to. If your website is -yet again- about speakers, make the speakers easy to find. When they enter the site, they shouldn’t have to click 48 links and open 25 new windows to get to the speakers. Also, make sure it’s easy to get to these links. Don’t put the links in the tiniest font possible and give them blue font in front of a dark blue background. That would be a hassle to find every time you enter that website.
  • A little Advertisement goes a long way There’s money in the brand. Let everyone know you’re there. Before they can get to your website, they have to find it. And honestly, not many people look up random topics to find a place to hang out or make a purchase. People usually find out about a website through the grapevine. Put your website links in your profiles in all the places you hang out around the ‘Net. People will see that you use it, and if you’re a close friend, they’d probably choose to do business with you. And make sure you tell your real life friends you have a website. When they check it out and they like it, they’ll most likely tell friends. Word travels fast across the Internet.
  • Everyone needs help sometimes Running a website won’t always be easy. Sometimes, you need a little help. It’s ok to hire a staff of friends, family, or even strangers who apply for the job. If they do their job right, they’ll be great help and you won’t constantly have to check up on your website. Obviously you want the viewers and/or customers to be attended to. A staff can help you do that. Unless you want to stay awake for 24 hours a day, running the website, then I suggest finding an employee or two… volunteers recommended.
  • Update, Update, Update Things are being done in this world fast. Technology runs faster than we can. Sometimes it may seem hard to stay with it, but it’s the best way to keep a website active. Make sure you always update your website’s info. Whether you’re updating because of world news, or you’re updating because of personal issues, keeping the viewer/customer notified is always important. You don’t want people to think the website is closing because you haven’t been there in a while. Make sure you let the public in on what’s going on. And with new technology coming out, it’s hard to stay ahead of the crowd. Make sure [if you’re selling something] you always have the latest merchandise. No one wants to find a pair of speakers from 1987 to buy in the year 2015.


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HP Designer Meets the Blogosphere

I just received this note from my buddy, Chris Aarons. He Gnomedex’ed last year on AMD’s behalf – and this time, he’s found a way to bring one of HP’s lead designers to the Thursday night mixer:

Stacy Wolff, one of HP’s lead designers, is coming to Gnomedex. This ought to give you an idea of how important Gnomedex is to HP and how serious they are about engaging and getting feedback from the community.

Unfortunately, we were only able to get him for the Party of Thursday as his schedule was booked solid. I think you and the other attendees will like talking to him as he is a very straight forward, no BS guy and is very opinionated about design. If you or anyone you know would like to interview him, the party is really the only chance for a while. He will be there all night discussing his team’s design philosophy and answering questions.

Also, you should remember will be launching the HP Design Portal at Gnomedex (URL coming soon). This is a direct result of the TX-1000 reviews we did with you and other bloggers. HP was very impressed with the insightful and thought–provoking comments the community shared on this product . As such, we have created an influencer only portal to foster conversations between HP and the community. It was designed by several bloggers for us to give the community a forum to talk about future generations of HP notebooks as well as share any ideas, designs, thoughts or rants they wish.

Blogosphere FTW!!!