You were right, you were always right. It was inevitable.

MacBook Pro Power Lights

I’ve been a “reputable” designer for a while now. I build websites, it’s what I love to do and have a passion for. Not many people understand the technicalities, the challenges and the experience of what design means to a person. Great design can only really work when the regular users “don’t notice it” so to speak, while the creatives notice the 1px shading and drop shadows. I’m not just talking web design though, but ergonomic, interaction and user experience design. It can range from a simple CTA button, to a complex and expressive JavaScript banner. It’s all in the details. KISS. Continue reading You were right, you were always right. It was inevitable.

The tale of the design rip off

It happens a lot. Someone may browse your website and think “That looks great, I could use that”, then five minutes later there is an exact replica somewhere being passed off as their own work.

It’s finally happened to me. Normally you probably don’t have the privilege to see this blatant ripping of ones own work but today it was brought to my attention. Continue reading The tale of the design rip off

General Election Day, who is the HTML5 of British Government?

Here in the UK a General Election is upon us. The different parties are fighting for your vote and to promote themselves online most of the parties have launched brand new websites. Here is an analysis of the different technologies used to see who is the HTML5 of British Government.

The Labour Party

Notable technologies used:

  • jQuery 1.3.2 + jQuery UI 1.7.2
  • Prototype
  • Scriptaculous 1.8.3
  • Tiny MCE
  • CSS3 (or at least what’s possible using 2.1)
  • XHTML 1.0 Transitional

How does it stack up against web standards?

XHTML 1.0 Transitional with 301 Errors, 45 warnings (oh no Labour, thats bad!)

The Labour Party’s website is well laid out with a solid grid system organising content well. It has a great use of colour clearly defining the brand of Labour (Red). Overall a nice design worthy of any Government site. The use of jQuery seems to be a no brainer in modern websites and so it should be, it works so well.

Liberal Democrats

Notable technologies used:

  • jQuery 1.3.2
  • XHTML 1.0 Strict

The Lib Dems don’t really use a lot of next generation technologies. It pushes the boat out with jQuery, and that’s only used for the rotating banner.

How does it stack up against web standards?

XHTML 1.0 Strict with 1 Error (such a shame! It was only a target="_blank" too, never heard of

The Lib Dems website is pretty horrible really. It’s untidy, poorly organised and their use of colour is pretty much horiffic. First impressions of the Lib Dems site is “Mothercare”, as they use the old Mothercare green their brand was originally built on.

Conservative Party

Notable technologies used:

  • jQuery 1.2.6 + jQuery UI 1.8
  • jQuery 1.4.2 (yes they really do include two versions, and ones not even Minified :-O )
  • Dreamweaver Flash AC_RunActiveContent.js (why in gods name? swfobject anyone?)

How does it stack up against web standards?

XHTML 1.0 Transitional with a pass! Huzzah! (With 2 warnings)

Well after that win for Tory (pass) their design doesn’t do too badly either. With a great use of colour and clear use of typography and layout the Conservatives website is a joy to look at and play with (Homepage). It’s just a shame this is a front for an actually poor site overall. The design completely changes when visiting alternative pages, which is a shame indeed. But at least it passed validation!

Additional Information

Lets compare their Twitter followers:

Let’s be honest though this is a bit of fun, vote for who you like, not how popular they are online, but I know who I voted for!

My Top Ten Web Designer Resources

If your a seasoned web developer your going to want to follow some great resource sites. I myself have quite a large list of RSS feeds in my Outlook but here are my top ten with plenty of resources, freebies and tips…I will however feature 5 “biggies” and 5 “smallies” if that makes any sense to anyone who speaks the English language…

Here we go with the biggies…


Smashing Magazine

Packed full of daily web resources from desktop calendars to tips on learning CSS. They have also recently had a redesign massively cleaning up the content (which was pretty bad on my opinion) and also aggregating content from websites such as, and All of which are also great resources…


Not specific in it’s content, Web Designer Depot seems to feature everything from Illustrator spotlights (like the recent one on the amazing Archan Nair) all the way to freebies such as the nice RSS icon set. I do however recommend they remove the horrible “I WAS a fat slob” adverts on the right as it’s pretty dire to see (see screenshot to the right)…


Is very good at eyeing up great web designs and showcasing them on their site. They are a small design agency in Canada but have a great blog. They also recently showcased my website because of it’s use of cufon, the amazing javascript text replacement (towards the bottom of the list).


Not a brilliant resource per se but it does feature some amazing modern designs. Not to be used as a starting point for designs but rather as “subliminal inspiration”.


Build Internet is managed by twins Sam and Zach Dunn and is a great place to read more about the business side of website design. It’s packed full of jQuery tutorials, graphic design resources, CSS information and HTML tips. Give it a look.

Now for the smallies, generally sole developers who blog about their industry, not necessarily “small”…

6. Adii Rockstar

Adii Rockstar

Now Adii is quite a little celebrity online. He’s known well for his work on the WooThemes project which sells premium wordpress themes but makes for a very interesting read.

7. Fabio Sasso

He’s the guy behind and seems to be in deep in the website design world. He has some great work to check out and is involved in a large number of successful websites packed full of resources and inspiration.

8. Veerle Pieters

A graphic/web designer from Belgium, Veerle has tons of posts from over the years covering stuff from html to illiustrations. It makes for an interesting read if you dig deep into the older content. You’ll also see just how much a great designer knows about their industry when you read Veerle’s blog.

9. Collis

Probably should reside in the biggies list but because we aren’t talking about his amazing success story, Envato, he slots into the smallies. He’s the CEO of one of the largest and greatest design marketplaces on the web. He has his own blog called the Netsetter which covers mainly covers the business side of the design industry. (he also features a lot of guest writers too)

10. Chris Spooner

Because he’s a local boy! Chris was born and raised in Sheffield, UK, and runs his blog over at Spoon Graphics. He posts some great content covering mainly graphic design but it a great source of inspiration.

There are many more people to check out in the web design world, you just have a dig, and when you find them either subscribe to their RSS feed or follow them on Twitter like a stalker. Either way you’ll get great resources and good reads!

Also see @liammckay @kevinrose @shauninman @jasonfried

Developing for multiple browsers *sigh*

I know it’s unfortunately the “taboo” of modern website design, but many developers don’t want to simply leave their IE7 visitors and IE6 visitors in the dark. It’s fine for sites like this one, or for web applications but what about corporation websites? For sites that HAVE to support older/alternative browsers. This came to light ever more when I recently worked on a website which would mean that customers worth millions could possibly be using IE6. There’s 50% of employees there too who still run IE7 so not supporting them wasn’t an option. I needed (and used) a large set of tools to help me accomplish this task, and I’m going to tell you about them.

Every web developer should (and probably does) use these tools on a daily basis. They streamline your development and help speed up little niggles with your site. Continue reading Developing for multiple browsers *sigh*

Great Advert Roundup

I’m a sucker for a good advert. Clever adverts such as Oranges “I Am A Smile When You Least Expect It (see below)”, Benettons controversial but accurate campaigns, and over the past few days I’ve found quite a few great print adverts which caught my eye.

The Orange advert always makes me smile. It’s so fluid and random at the same time. It makes you think like a child for a second and ultimately drops Orange in an exciting, fresh and great advertising niche. Hopefully after the T-Mobile merge these adverts will stay as the T-Mobile adverts are really sh**.


Clever use of an old stereotype. Kids hate going to Grandmas. So bring her cooking home.


Disturbing in every way yet after reading the tagline it makes sense, in a sick twisted way.


Putting textures into Billboards is probably no easy feat although the guy who put it up probably saved time getting each one smooth.


OTT for sure but a brilliant way to advertise…a magnifying glass!

Y&R Dubai


Golden Age Integrated Marketing & Communication. (Ignore the “Sprinking the Passion” Haiku.)
I like it when companies “dirty” their cars up. Most 4×4’s are pathetic excuses for offroad vehicles, finally Audi saw the light and slapped some mud on there…or did they?

Manchester United vs Chelsea – Community Shield 2009 Wembley

Wembley Stadium

Update 6th Nov 09: My panoramic wembley photo has been used in Main Event Magazine (Thanks Ky for sorting this)
Update 12th Oct 09: This photo is now part of the Wikipedia page on Wembley Stadium as the header image

The game was full of controversy, foul play, substitutions and of course, goals. Chelsea finished up beating the Champions 4-1 on penalties and I took along my trusty SLR to photograph some of the action and I got some pretty good shots! Note: all the photos are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales licence which means they are free to use along with attribution to this site! Enjoy!


Ben Foster



Rooney Loud Mouthing

Owen Man Utd Debut


Cech Saves Giggs

Chelsea Community Shield Winners 2009

Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales

Four Free Vector Characters + HD Wallpaper

Ok so I got my Illustrator hat on yesterday and drew four character doodles on my notepad.
I then thought “Why not draw these as Vectors?”…presenting Four Free Vector Characters + HD Wallpapers!


These vectors are released under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence. This means you CAN use them for ANYTHING, commercial or personal and you can even modify them without asking permission. All I ask is that you attribute my work by linking to this website.

That’s it. The rest is history, as they say…Download (3.3MB)!

Included in the ZIP file are the four characters in vector EPS format and three wallpapers, 1920×1080, 1440×900, 1024×768.