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 1.6.1.0
  • 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 window.open?)

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…

1. SmashingMagazine.com

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 spyrestudios.com, buildinternet.com and webdesignerwall.com. All of which are also great resources…

2. WebDesignerDepot.com

rss
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)…

3. Spyrestudios.com

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).

4. BestWebGallery.com

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”.

5. BuildInternet.com

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 abduzeedo.com 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

New Result Group Website Launch

rentalresult

So it’s 4 months in on my new job and I’ve finally just launched the brand new Result Group website. It’s three solid months of development, hundreds and hundreds of tweaks, 1500+ lines of CSS and thousands more of XHTML programming and PHP. It’s built entirely by hand, no cheap CMS systems and no limitations on scalability. It also runs part of the site on WordPress (see the Rental News section).

Result Group develop world leading Rental Management Software and they needed a world class website to go along with that. The site was redesigned from the ground up by myself and there has been a lot of work chucked into a very fast moving three months. We finally went live last week and as of now, all hiccups seem to have been rubbed out.

It also uses GeoIP technology to direct you to the correct regional site (United States visit us.rentalresult.com while UK visit www.rentalresult.com).

It really was a mammoth task and one in which I’m very proud to have built solely.

Go check out Result Groups rentalresult website for their rental software and check out the design and jQuery loveliness.