2 years without a post

And now it’s 2012. I’ve been writing a lot of things over the last two years which have never made the light of day and as I sit here watching the closing ceremony for the olympics, I’m wondering what I’ll be doing 4 years from now. Hopefully still writing on this here blog.

I’ll be posting on UX stuff in the coming days in addition to general design and discussion points. Keep an eye out.

Also hope you like the design of the new blog!

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

Fixing the Hover event on the iPad/iPhone/iPod

Note: This information may now be out of date. It was published in 2010!

In truth it’s not a fix as the iPad doesn’t have the ability to hover.

Apple has developed extra events to replace hover on it’s mobile touch devices. I’ve recently been working a lot on the iPad and came across the problem of hovered navigation not showing up. It’s a css :hover event that fires through a CSS selector on an <a> element with no href attribute.

To emulate the hover we simply add an event listener to the element we want to have a hover event. In jQuery we do this (make sure you insert it into document.ready):

//ipad and iphone fix
if((navigator.userAgent.match(/iPhone/i)) || (navigator.userAgent.match(/iPod/i)) || (navigator.userAgent.match(/iPad/i))) {
    $(".menu li a").click(function(){
        //we just need to attach a click event listener to provoke iPhone/iPod/iPad's hover event

That should enable the element to be touched, and stimulate and iPad hover event.

If you’re having problems getting hovered elements to fire you could also try using touchstart or touchend which is probably a better method depending on what you’re trying to accomplish:

if((navigator.userAgent.match(/iPhone/i)) || (navigator.userAgent.match(/iPod/i)) || (navigator.userAgent.match(/iPad/i))) {
    $(".menu li a").bind('touchstart', function(){
        console.log("touch started");

    $(".menu li a").bind('touchend', function(){
        console.log("touch ended");


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 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!

10 Amazing Stereographic Projection photos on Flickr

Stereographic Projection is an art-form which I’ve been eager to try for quite some time now. It’s one of my new years resolutions for 2010. The execution is very difficult to get right but the outcome of such a photography style is simply astounding. Here’s 10 to get your creative juices flowing.

Salt Pan Stereographic

© Martin Heigan – http://www.flickr.com/photos/martin_heigan/1518652806/

Continue reading 10 Amazing Stereographic Projection photos on Flickr

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

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

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*