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Dan Moriarty | Web Design http://danmoriarty.com/blog articles about web design, web tech, hosting, seo en Session on Responsive Design http://danmoriarty.com/blog/session-responsive-design <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="800" height="600" alt="speech" src="http://danmoriarty.com/sites/default/files/dan/blog/file0001335259376.jpg?1372354690" /> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'll be giving a talk on responsive design at the 2013 Drupalcamp Twin Cities. I'll be discussing how responsive design as a field goes far deeper than just squishy grids, and get in to various techniques, tips and resources for web themers to use. The talk will be from a Drupal perspective, though the content does apply to any site building or CMS.</p> <!--break--><!--break--> <p><strong>What</strong>: <a href="http://2013.tcdrupal.org/session/responsive-design-out-box-and-down-rabbit-hole ">Responsive Design (Out of the Box and Down the Rabbit Hole)</a></p> <p><span style="font-size: 1em;"><strong>When</strong>: Friday, July 19th, 1-2pm</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 1em;"><strong>Where</strong>: <a href="http://2013.tcdrupal.org/about/location">Drupalcamp Twin Cities</a><br /><a href="http://www.stthomas.edu/">University of St. Thomas</a><br />Schulze Hall Auditorium,&nbsp;Room #321<br />1000 LaSalle Ave<br />Minneapolis, MN 55403</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 1em;">&nbsp;</span></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-shortversion"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Come hear me at Drupalcamp Twin Cities! </div> </div> </div> http://danmoriarty.com/blog/session-responsive-design#comments Tips Thu, 27 Jun 2013 17:38:31 +0000 danmoriarty 191 at http://danmoriarty.com 3rd Annual DrupalCamp Twin Cities http://danmoriarty.com/blog/3rd-annual-drupalcamp-twin-cities <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="600" height="600" alt="DrupalCamp Twin Cities" src="http://danmoriarty.com/sites/default/files/dan/blog/dctc-bigbadge.jpg?1371655936" /> </div> </div> </div> <p><span style="font-size: 1em;">This July 18-21st, we are hosting the 3rd annual&nbsp;</span><a style="font-size: 1em;" href="http://tcdrupal.org/" target="_self">DrupalCamp Twin Cities</a><span style="font-size: 1em;">! This is a local conference, held at the St. Thomas campus in downtown Minneapolis, where you can take part in introductory training sessions, and 2 days of sessions devoted to topics all about Drupal.</span></p> <p align="left">If you want to learn more about the software, no matter you experience level, you should sign up. It's only $35 for 2 days of sessions (Fri and Sat) and FREE for the Thursday training.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 1em;"><strong>A whole day of training for FREE!! </strong>You can learn more at&nbsp;</span><a style="font-size: 1em;" href="http://tcdrupal.org/" target="_self">http://tcdrupal.org</a></p> <!--break--><!--break--> <h3>I'll Be There!</h3> <p>Once again, I am sponsoring <a href="http://tcdrupal.org">DrupalCamp Twin Cities</a>, through my company, <a href="http://electriccitizen.com">Electric Citizen.</a> We'll be manning a table at the conference, so if you come, be sure to stop by and say hi! And if I'm not at the table, my duplicate will be there (you'll have to be there to know what I mean).&nbsp;</p> <p>I'm also giving a talk on Responsive Design, schedule TBD. Hope you can come!</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-shortversion"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Get Free Drupal Training, Minneapolis conference </div> </div> </div> http://danmoriarty.com/blog/3rd-annual-drupalcamp-twin-cities#comments Web Design Web Tech Wed, 19 Jun 2013 15:36:50 +0000 danmoriarty 190 at http://danmoriarty.com MN Taxes on Service Industry http://danmoriarty.com/blog/mn-taxes-service-industry <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="800" height="532" alt="cash" src="http://danmoriarty.com/sites/default/files/dan/blog/file5801241837386.jpg?1366479318" /> </div> </div> </div> <p><span><span>I don't sell CDs, tires, or books.&nbsp;</span>There are no physical goods that trade hands when I build a website. I provide a service, not a good. </span><span>For myself, as a web designer and developer, that means I do not pay sales taxes on my services.</span></p> <!--break--><!--break--><p><br /></p> <h3><span>No Goods, Only Services</span></h3> <p><span></span>As most Minnesotans know, <a href="http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/03/06/politics/dayton-tax-plan-business">Gov. Mark Dayton had introduced a plan earlier this year</a>, proposing a sales tax on 'service industries,' the same as it does transactions involving physical goods. And a <a href="http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/polinaut/archive/2013/03/daytons_budget.shtml">howl of protest</a> from all sectors of the business community effectively <a href="http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/polinaut/archive/2013/03/daytons_budget.shtml">killed this plan</a>, claiming the loss of profits, loss of customers/clients, and a whole number of other ruinous effects.&nbsp;</p> <p>I have nothing to gain from this new sales tax plan–it would likely cost me money. How much, I'm not sure. So I guess I'm glad it was defeated. I do agree, however, with the central argument Dayton and his supporters made. The current system is not fair. It was designed back when most of the economy was goods-based. Most of our economy is now service based.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 1em;">Why should someone pay sales tax for a selling a car, but not for designing an ad?&nbsp;</span></p> <h3>Is it fair?</h3> <p>The one argument I can come up with NOT implementing this new sales tax, and one I didn't hear much of in the debate, is just this - It can't fair until all the states implement it. If designing a website is only subject to sales tax in MN, and not the rest of the country, it is a disadvantage, I agree.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>So that's where I stand:</strong></p> <p>1) Sales tax on services does sound fair<br /><span style="font-size: 1em;">2) But it has to be implemented in all 50 states</span></p> <p>What did you think?&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-shortversion"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sales tax on website design? </div> </div> </div> http://danmoriarty.com/blog/mn-taxes-service-industry#comments Random Thoughts Sat, 20 Apr 2013 17:35:36 +0000 danmoriarty 188 at http://danmoriarty.com Don't Fixate on Fixed Heights http://danmoriarty.com/blog/dont-fixate-fixed-heights <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="400" height="267" alt="reading the news" src="http://danmoriarty.com/sites/default/files/dan/blog/newspaper-reader.jpg?1363467341" /> </div> </div> </div> <p>The concept of "above the fold" refuses to die. And while it definitely retains some value, it is long-since time to rethink the concept when building a website.</p> <!--break--><!--break--> <h3><span style="font-size: 1em;">The All Mighty Fold</span></h3> <p><span style="font-size: 1em;">If you're not familiar with the concept or origin of "<a href="http://media.about.com/od/mediatermsandglossary/g/Above-The-Fold.htm">the fold</a>", know that it relates to newspapers, and keeping your most important stories above the part of the paper where it gets literally 'folded'. The top half, in other words. Makes sense for paper. People may scan the top half of the news (<a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/number-of-americans-who-read-print-newspapers-continues-decline/">for those few souls who still read an actual 'paper' newpaper</a>, as I do), and never get to the bottom half. I assume studies have proven this out over time, since it's such an accepted truism that I don't even question it.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 1em;">But what about screens? Aren't they different?&nbsp;</span></p> <h3><span style="font-size: 1em;">Meet the Non-Foldable Screen</span></h3> <p><span style="font-size: 1em;">Designers adapated this concept to desktop monitors as they took their talents to the Web. Going off the assumption that everyone had an 800x600 screen, it was decided that the 'digital fold' would be 600 pixels. The maximum height of the average computer screen. In 1998.</span></p> <p>And as screens increased in average size, from 1024x768 to <a href="http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/most-popular-screen-resolution-increases-to-1366-x-768-20120411/">1366x768</a>, that number still held. Maybe it increased to 700 pixels high, but still, a fixed height. But does that make sense anymore? The web is no longer confined to a desktop computer monitor. It's increasingly flexible and fluid, rendered on smartphones small and large, tablets small and large, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retina_Display">high-definition 'retina' displays</a>, and laptops from 11 to 17 inches. And desktop monitors themselves are increasingly found at 27-30" in size. How do you assume what the "fold" is for all these different audiences?</p> <h3>You Don't?</h3> <p>The concept of keeping your most important content or headline at its most visible point holds true, regardless of whether its a phone or a desktop. But beyond that, assume nothing about size. <strong>The fold moves.</strong></p> <p>Websites need to be flexible and fluid, not set inside fixed size boxes. Despite the widely-held belief, people don't mind scrolling for additional content. As long as they feel its worth it, they will scroll. Keep the most important headline and action items up top. Pare you site content down to its bare essentials, and put non-essential information on a subpage or further down the page. But don't assume you know where the "fold" is, it will change for everyone.</p> <h3>What About Fixed Height Websites?</h3> <p>Some people try to get around the idea of varying heights by defining a height for the user. For example, they will make their webpages fixed to 700 pixels high. And any content that goes beyond that height is hidden, until the user scrolls within the webpage itself (not with your browser, which has its own scroll bars).</p> <p>Fixed height web pages suffer from the same problem as the "fold" issues above – what is the height are you assuming? How can you assume any specific height, with all the different devices and screen sizes available?&nbsp;</p> <p>Fixed height pages also suffer from usability problems. Users can scroll pages with their fingers or mouse scroll wheel, but a fixed height page will sometimes require they manuever towards a second set of scroll bars. Not impossible, of course, but inconvienent and annoying.</p> <h3>Additional Resources</h3> <p>Here are some other good articles on this topic:</p> <p><a href="http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/design-theory/designing-for-the-new-fold-web-design-post-monitorism/" title="http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/design-theory/designing-for-the-new-fold-web-design-post-monitorism/">http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/design-theory/designing-for-the-n...</a></p> <p><a href="http://kenneth.kufluk.com/blog/2009/09/fixed-height-web-page-layouts-are-always-wrong/" title="http://kenneth.kufluk.com/blog/2009/09/fixed-height-web-page-layouts-are-always-wrong/">http://kenneth.kufluk.com/blog/2009/09/fixed-height-web-page-layouts-are...</a></p> <p><a href="http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2009/09/24/10-useful-usability-findings-and-guidelines/" title="http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2009/09/24/10-useful-usability-findings-and-guidelines/">http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2009/09/24/10-useful-usability-find...</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.nngroup.com/articles/scrolling-and-attention/" title="http://www.nngroup.com/articles/scrolling-and-attention/">http://www.nngroup.com/articles/scrolling-and-attention/</a><br />(this article in some ways contradicts my article, but worth a read)&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-shortversion"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Above the fold has lost its meaning </div> </div> </div> http://danmoriarty.com/blog/dont-fixate-fixed-heights#comments Web Design Sat, 23 Feb 2013 18:26:55 +0000 danmoriarty 187 at http://danmoriarty.com The new JCPenney approach http://danmoriarty.com/blog/new-jcpenney-approach <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="450" height="450" alt="JCP logo" src="http://danmoriarty.com/sites/default/files/dan/blog/jcpenney_logo_450.jpg?1348940079" /> </div> </div> </div> <p>I recently stepped into a remodeled JCPenney, not far from my home, in the Southdale Mall, Edina. Since my father worked for Penneys for 35+ years, I've always been willing to give them a chance, even though they never were the hippest of stores. But as you probably know, the company recently replaced their CEO with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Johnson_(businessman)">Ron Johnson</a>, who famously headed up Apple's Retail stores to great success.</p> <p>His moves with JCP have been greatly scruntinized, and there's been lots of handwringing over dropping sales and lost profits. The stock's been taking a beating. He's been fairly radical with what he's done to the company, eliminating all those hundreds of "sales" that retail stores continously run, upgrading their inventory, simplifying their price structure, and remodeling the stores.</p> <p>I'm sure many people are expecting him to be fired and soon. <strong>Some think he's <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/the-jcpenney-disaster-timeline-how-ex-apple-guru-ron-johnson-is-destroying-the-company-2012-6?op=1">destroying the company</a></strong>, although thankfully&nbsp;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickhanlon/2012/07/30/why-everyone-wants-to-see-ron-johnson-at-jcp-succeed/">some are still rooting for him</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>What <strong>I</strong><strong> </strong>found upon entering the remodeled store was something refreshing and inspired. Since he was from Apple, I already had a bias toward supporting Mr. Johnson. But I believe in his approach, and think he's on the right track.&nbsp;I want him to succeed too.&nbsp;</p> <h3>Declutter</h3> <p>The number one word running through my mind when walking through the remodeld store was 'decluttered.' Racks and racks of tightly packed clothing have been replaced by a much more minimal, less-is-more approach to inventory. Areas of the store are being organized into clearly defined departments, or "stores within a store." Everything is so much clearer, cleaner and more manageable.</p> <p>I feel more relaxed walking through the store. I feel encouraged to browse. When I pick up an item, I can see clearly what the price is. And if it's marked down, that too is printed nicely on the tag. There's no coupons to bring in, no guesswork as to what the final price will be.&nbsp;<strong>Simply put, they got rid of all the bullsh** that plagues most retail stores.</strong></p> <p>I guess if the store was busy (which sadly it was not), it may not have been as enjoyable a shopping experience for me. Hard to say. But not only was the store easier to shop, the quality of clothing seems better too.&nbsp;</p> <h3>Good Design = Good Business</h3> <p>Design has always been at the forefront of Apple's success, and it's clear that design has become a major marketing strategy for JCPenney. Their weekly inserts look so much nicer. So clean, vibrant, and clear. Their ads on TV have stronger appeal. And the clothing is so much more in style.&nbsp;</p> <p>Good design has typically been more the domain of higher-end, higher priced stores. But Target embraced design to great success. It's differentiated them from the Wal-Marts of the world. Why not JCP? It can't all be about sales and low prices. JCPenney will never win that battle. At least they're starting to form a stronger identity, and giving people a reason to visit.</p> <h3>How This Applies to Web Design</h3> <p>You may wonder what this has to do with my job and this blog. I see JCP's new direction as inspiring for everyone, including web design. By focusing on simplicity, clean and clear messages, and good use of 'white space', you can make your own website more appealing. Offer a pleasant experience. Tighten things up. Focus on quality. It sounds like a winning strategy to me.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-shortversion"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> JCP embraces good design. Hope they succeed. </div> </div> </div> http://danmoriarty.com/blog/new-jcpenney-approach#comments Random Thoughts Sat, 29 Sep 2012 17:34:46 +0000 danmoriarty 184 at http://danmoriarty.com Latest Browser Usage http://danmoriarty.com/blog/latest-browser-usage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="800" height="468" alt="" src="http://danmoriarty.com/sites/default/files/dan/blog/StatCounter-browser_version_partially_combined-US-monthly-201105-201205.jpg?1339173835" /> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking at data provided by StatCounter, it would seem there have some definitely changes in browser use over the past year. In the USA, Google Chrome recently took the crown as the most popular browser in the world. It's been my favorite for the past year as well. Internet Explorer now sits at the #2 spot, with Firefox a strong #3 and Safari a much lower #4.</p> <p>http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser_version_partially_combined-US-monthly-201105-201205</p> <!--break--><!--break--> <h3>Chrome Wins! Or Does It?</h3> <p>This data combines all versions of Chrome into 1, while keeping Internet Explorer 7,8, and 9 separate. Combining all versions of IE into one and it's still the most popular. Chrome users tend to update their browser versions reguarly, however, and most have no idea what version they are running, while IE users tend to be locked in to the browser version they are using (because of work restrictions or operating system requirements).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-shortversion"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> See which browser is now the king </div> </div> </div> http://danmoriarty.com/blog/latest-browser-usage#comments Web Tech Fri, 08 Jun 2012 16:43:55 +0000 danmoriarty 180 at http://danmoriarty.com Most Popular Screen Resolution http://danmoriarty.com/blog/most-popular-screen-resolution <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="800" height="533" alt="man inside a screen" src="http://danmoriarty.com/sites/default/files/dan/blog/laptop-man.jpg?1339174313" /> </div> </div> </div> <p>Going off the great info on StatCounter.com, I came across this surprising (or not) statistic. 1024x768 is no longer the most popular screensize. Due to widescreen laptops and larger desktop screens, the new benchmark is&nbsp;<span>1366x768.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>http://gs.statcounter.com/press/screen-resolution-alert-for-web-developers</p> <!--break--><!--break--> <h3>What does this mean?</h3> <p>Given the exploding popularity of mobile web browsing, the larger screen width actually doesn't mean so much. It's an interesting footnote, but the best approach on all new web projects is making sites flexible and responsive, so they can adapt to any number of screen sizes.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-shortversion"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> What is the most common screen size today? </div> </div> </div> http://danmoriarty.com/blog/most-popular-screen-resolution#comments Web Tech Fri, 18 May 2012 16:51:53 +0000 danmoriarty 181 at http://danmoriarty.com Electric Citizen http://danmoriarty.com/blog/electric-citizen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="460" height="152" alt="Electric Citizen logo" src="http://danmoriarty.com/sites/default/files/dan/blog/logo-electric-citizen.png?1335559885" /> </div> </div> </div> <p>Big things are underway. The unofficial announcement here is that I am starting a new web design and Drupal shop. Look for a more official announcement this summer.</p> <p>The new company, <a href="http://electriccitizen.com"><strong>Electric Citizen</strong></a>, will continue to be focused on Minneapolis and St. Paul based organizations, such as cities, government organizations, nonprofits and corporations, building out custom-crafted websites utilizing Drupal as the CMS and framework.&nbsp;</p> <p>The big difference is there will be a "we" behind this company. I'll be able to offer clients bigger and better websites, with greater capabilities and even greater attention to design and content. This site will continue to operate, and I will continue to offer support and services to all existing clients during this transition.&nbsp;</p> <p>It's an exciting time, I hope to post back here again soon with more information and a link to a new website. In the meantime, if you're looking for Electric Citizen, feel free to <a href="/contact">contact me</a> about your projects or questions.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-shortversion"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> A new company is coming! </div> </div> </div> http://danmoriarty.com/blog/electric-citizen#comments Random Thoughts Fri, 27 Apr 2012 19:28:27 +0000 danmoriarty 179 at http://danmoriarty.com Twin Cities DrupalCamp http://danmoriarty.com/blog/twin-cities-drupalcamp <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="180" height="150" alt="Drupalcamp Twin Cities" src="http://danmoriarty.com/sites/default/files/dan/blog/dctc-180x150.jpg?1335130187" /> </div> </div> </div> <p>The 2nd Annual Twin CIties DrupalCamp is coming up soon, <strong>May 18th and 19th</strong>! Several of us having been working hard to put together another great 2 day conference, and anyone with an interest in Drupal should plan to attend.&nbsp;http://2012.tcdrupal.org/</p> <h3>Free Training</h3> <p>If you are currently working with Drupal as a site editor, designer or new developer, or plan to be working with Drupal soon, you really should consider attending the free training sessions, on May 17th.</p> <p>For the price of FREE (!), you can get sign up and get an entire day's worth of training in working with Drupal. Two tracks will be offered, one on <a href="http://2012.tcdrupal.org/content/build-your-first-drupal-7-web-site-video-workshop">Building Your First Site in Drupal 7</a> and the other on <a href="http://2012.tcdrupal.org/content/development-best-practices-chapter-3">Developers' Best Practices</a>.</p> <h3>Two Days of Sessions</h3> <p>For a mere $20, you can attend 2 days worth of Drupal-related sessions, over 5-6 tracks per hour. Sessions are being submitted now, and will cover topics from specific modules for Drupal to designing and theming your Drupal site.</p> <p><strong>More info to come soon!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-shortversion"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Twin CIties DrupalCamp is coming up soon! </div> </div> </div> http://danmoriarty.com/blog/twin-cities-drupalcamp#comments Tips Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:29:47 +0000 danmoriarty 178 at http://danmoriarty.com Text Spam http://danmoriarty.com/blog/text-spam <p>Getting more SPAM sent via text messages to your cell phone? This article from the New York Times has a few suggestions,&nbsp;http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/05/technology/personaltech/fighting-back-against-spam-texts.html</p> <p>Overall, it's a going to be a pain for some time, but at least this is a start.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-shortversion"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Fighting SPAM text messages </div> </div> </div> http://danmoriarty.com/blog/text-spam#comments Tips Sat, 21 Apr 2012 20:02:29 +0000 danmoriarty 177 at http://danmoriarty.com