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