Simple Browser-Based Editing

If you’ve ever had to allow your client to edit their website, you’ll know what problems that can cause.

Clients can get sucked in by the power of most editors, and new fonts will appear, new colours, new styles. Pretty soon it looks like your masterpiece was created in Publisher! (Don’t laugh – I’ve seen it happen.)

You have a few choices:

  1. You can allow them control using something like Macomedia Contribute – but it has it’s limitations and if it’s only simple things that need editing it can be expensive and/or overcomplicated. It also gives the client a lot of control, which can be dangerous!
  2. You can use something like XStandard, which generates excellent code, but it’s a plugin and gives the client a lot of control. Danger again.
  3. Or you can use something like Camron Adams’ new widgEditor. It doesn’t do much, and that’s the best thing about it. Clients can’t go “formatting crazy” – they can add headings, bold things, italicise things, and make lists.

The beauty of this thing is it’s simplicity. No need to spend hours teaching your clients how to use it, nor trying to give them lessons in semantics. The button that generates a <strong> element is labelled B. It can’t get more basic.

If he’d inlcude an “Insert Image” button that’s all the extra functionality I’d add.

Simply brilliant!

Smoking is good for you?

Brendon Sinclair has done it again.

Taken a brief encounter with another business and given us his thoughts on how to make it better.

This one will take a few minutes to read – but there are bound to be some ideas in here for everyone. He covers:

  1. Finding your target market
  2. Identifying what you’re actually selling
  3. Developing a marketing plan
  4. Media releases, direct mail, loyalty incentives
  5. Educating clients
  6. Encouraging word of mouth

Got all that? Good!

Now… just to apply some of this advice…!

On knowing the ‘Why’

Dave Shea has posted some thoughts on overcoming the dreaded designers’ block.

I’m most interested in this coment:

What’s more important than a planned process, however, is the due diligence (DD) that must happen before a design begins. Gathering materials like existing branding, project objectives, content, and anything else available is essential for the design process.

I couldn’t agree more.

Too many designs (and I’ve been guilty of this in the past too) are just slapped together without thinking about the website’s objectives. Logo here, nav there, photo here…

I had a meeting with a client a few days ago and we were discussing improving the conversion rate for their website. Their home page looked nice in a generic sort of way, used their logo and colours, but it had no real purpose. We identified a couple of concrete activities that a visitor could do, but the design in no way encouraged anything.

So here’s what I’m thinking. Whether you have designers’ block or not, here’s what you should have before you even think about starting:

  1. Existing branding
  2. Project objectives
  3. Content (or at the very least an outline of what the content will be)
  4. “Anything else available is essential for the design process” – which should include:
    • client preferences (if any)
    • potential audience or target market
    • Specific actions you’d like the reader to take

If you don’t have this information, you’ll really battle to make your design work. It might look nice, but the commercial reality is it needs to do more than that.

Man fired over weblog accusation

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a man in Britian has been fired for badmouthing his employer in his Blog. Apparently he complains that his dismissal “raises some disturbing issues of freedom of speech”. Well – what did he expect to happen? What would you do if you were his employer? I know what I would have done!

Sure, he has a right to free speech. But you can’t go badmouthing someone in the public domain and think nothing will come of it. Why post something in a blog thinking that nobody will read it, or make the connection?

Sorry – but I just can’t feel sorry for this guy. “You reap what you sow”…

Here’s the story:

An employee of British bookseller chain Waterstone’s has been fired for bringing the company into disrepute after he made entries on his weblog site identifying it in code as “Bastardstone’s” and accusing it of slavery.

Joe Gordon said he was dismissed from the company’s Edinburgh store on the grounds of “gross misconduct” and “bringing the company into disrepute,” although he had never identified the company by its proper name.

“I did not set out to attack the company in some systematic manner,” he said.

But Waterstone’s had refused to accept his defence that the blog entry had just been a satirical spoof, written at home in his own free time.

In the blog, called Woolamaloo Gazette, Gordon gave his company the code-name Bastardstone’s, called his line manager Evil Boss, and complained about his working hours and what he said was “slavery”.

A company spokesperson confirmed the dismissal, saying: “There’s an ongoing disciplinary procedure, and Mr Gordon has the right to appeal twice. We can make no further comments until then”.

The dismissal “raises some disturbing issues of freedom of speech,” Gordon said.