Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's the End of an Internet (Explorer) Era

Cross-posted from: http://blog.mroberts.me

It’s about time! According to Arstechnica, http://arst.ch/rg6 which cites http://www.netmarketshare.com, Internet Explorer has finally dropped below 50% browser market share. As a web designer, this comes as a great relief.

Microsoft’s slow adoption (read: blatant ignorance) to web standards, has been a curse to web designers for years. Instead of focusing on design and usability, the design process becomes more about fixing all the little bugs that IE throws as it tries to load and display W3C compliant web pages which should render perfectly.

This is not my first IE post nor my business partner’s, as early as 2007 Malcolm’s posted:
and I’ve posted:
We’ve been disappointing since we started our company and unfortunately, unlike my last post suggested, Microsoft never really did accept standards.

For the same reason that Microsoft swept Netscape Navigator out of the browser wars, (before they even started) Microsoft installing Internet Explorer as the default browser on all Windows machines skyrocketed their market share because for the average user, the E icon was the internet.

The increasing publicity of alternative browsers like FirefoxChromeSafari; and Google’s educational website, http://www.whatbrowser.com are trying to increase the knowledge of the average user so they can make an informed decision and not just blindly accept IE.

An other aspect cited in the article is the increasing usage of mobile devices, a market in which Microsoft has yet to make any significant contribution.

I hope that Microsoft does step up it’s game, competition is key to any healthy marketplace and when corporations compete, it’s the users who benefit, but the way thing’s are going doesn’t look hopeful.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hiatus, Social Networking & Asphalt Sealcoating

After a very frustrating spring season in which our website was down for three months I am glad to say Stikmen Graphic Design is back in action. We have migrated hosting and domain providers and things are finally settling down.
Malcolm and I both purchased our own personal domains during this time, mroberts.me and malcolmm.cc, I have placed a small "business card / dashboard" type of site on mine, inspired by the simple link-driven about.me and flavors.me sites, which many individuals are starting to have as a simple way of collecting their various social networking profiles from across different internet services into one aggregate place. I decided since I was a web designer, I would code my own instead of using one of the pre-built services. (I also wanted to give jQuery a try, which I believe worked out well. I am quite pleased with the resulting website. (The fact that I am using a .me domain just like the other services is purely coincidental.)

In design news, I have just completed a design for Seal-Pro's Asphalt Sealcoating, a business run by a high-school friend of mine, and added some social media aspects to Rockcliffe By-the-Sea - Tweet, Share on Facebook and Download as PDF buttons, as well as links in the header to Rockcliffe's Facebook, Twitter and Blog.
I have also been asked to complete a "Member's Area" on the site, for the property owners to share thoughts and contact information with each other. It should be completed within the next couple weeks. It will be password protected, so unfortunately only the owners will get to see it. I have decided to on a PHP MySQL backend.
If everything goes well with that, I have been thinking about designing a CMS for a while - possibly in PHP MySQL, though I may try Ruby on Rails. In any case, I will post an update when I start thinking about it more seriously.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Berwick United Church Camp Emergency Update

Right before Christmas, a large storm rolled through the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. The campground of one of our clients, Berwick United Church Camp, got hit hard. Stikmen Graphic Design immediately mobilized and started publishing information on the website to keep the many campers around the country updated on the events and clean up operations.

Once the temporary solution, an updates page, was successfully implemented, we began to think about the long term updating process, as the rebuild effort will likely take a couple of years. Through communication with the Berwick Rebuild Committee, we decided to set up a blog platform to allow the executive to post information & pictures as well as allow the members of the community to post replies and their own information.

In under a week, the Berwick Rebuild Blog was brought online and began to be populated with regularly updated information, directly from the Camp Executive. We utilized the wordpress.org blogging platform, as it could be directly administered from the Berwick Camp website, and has a plethora of addon features as well as a completely customizable design. In addition to the blog, a feedburner rss feed was set up, that allows people to subscribe to the updates in a feed reader, like Google Reader, and the unique ability to allow people to subscribe to updates sent directly to their email, for those of the internet community who do not use feed readers.

A month later, we are proud to see that the blog has blossomed into a large community site, with many comments of support and requests to help from the camp community.

Cheers,
Matthew

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rayworth & Roberts Website Finally Here!

I have recently finished designing a website for Rayworth & Roberts Surveys Ltd, my father's surveying company.
I am still receiving some new information, adjusting the wording and design features a bit, but the basic design is complete. This project should be wrapped up within the week.

The website design has been donated to R&R in the Christmas spirit.

Regards,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rockcliffe By-the-Sea

Hello,
I have just finished updating the Rockcliffe By-the-Sea website. The site was in old HTML4 code and to keep with the times (conform to standards), I have updated it to XHTML1.1 and tweaked the style.

Some tweaking includes: widening (because most monitors are bigger than 800x600 now), adding menu items, playing around with triadic complimentary colours, adding background style and some additional style features to a site that was designed in the early 2000s.

On a side note: it amazes me that I am able to say "the early 2000s" whilst discussing something which is outdated. I can remember New Years Eve- December 31st, 1999 and it astounds me the technological advancements that have happened in the last 10 years, including how far web design has come.


But I digress. The important features of this update are the added Photo & Webcam page, showcasing user submitted photos of the area plus a live webcam feed and a link to their Blog.

Cheers,
Matthew

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rockcliffe By-the-Sea Blog

Salutations,
It's Matthew here with a quick update on the status of Rockcliffe By-the-Sea's web presence:

  • Stikmen Graphic Design has been commissioned to design and maintain a blog for Rockcliffe By-the-Sea. I have utilized the Blogger backend and the blog is currently residing at http://rockcliffebythesea.blogspot.com although once everything gets set up, I shall migrate to blog.rockcliffebythesea.com.
  • Also SGD is setting Rockcliffe up with a webcam, showcasing the oceanfront scenery of the land development company. So check back here or on the Rockcliffe blog for updates on when this will be put in place. (Current estimate: within a month!)

Cheers,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Website Maintenance Contract

Stikmen Graphic Design has recently embarked on a long-term contract for management and updates of Rockcliffe By-the-Sea, a land development company in Parrsboro.

The website was not designed by us and not only does the content need to be updated, the code is outdated as well (HTML 4 Transitional). I will be updating the site to conform with the W3C recommendations as well as adding new content and linking to the Rockcliffe Picasa Web Albums which contains a vast number of photos uploaded by various members of the seaside community.

Malcolm and I begin to prepare to return to school within the week with busy days and long nights in the foreseeable future but we will continue to offer our web design services

Peace,