March 12, 2014

What A Responsive Facebook Could Look Like

For some reason it really bugs me when major websites display content in a tiny little margin, while leaving large areas of unused space. Now sure, I am a total hypocrite. My blog isn't responsive...I'm just using a Blogger template.

Here's the "new" Facebook as of today:



But here's the same page with a few html tweaks. With chat:



And without chat:

Maybe it's just me. I like that better.

November 27, 2012

What Google Could Look Like, Sans White Space

The Real Google

What Google Would Look Like With Wider Wrappers

What Google Would Look Like With 3 Columns, Content Separated By Type


I dunno about you, but I could sure find what I was looking for a lot quicker in that last screenshot... but I'm sure they've done extensive testing and I am just taking crazy pills. They must make more money showing ads in their design.

Granted I have a 17 inch monitor, but there are much larger monitors out there. Its just strange since Google is pushing responsive web design so hard, yet their content max-width is 1040px.

And here's one more, on a search that has a ton of ads. Pretty obvious that the CTR would suffer if the yellow ad box isn't in the top left...but I just like it better this way :)

The Real Google With Many Ads




What Google Would Look Like With Many Ads, And Personalized Results Get Their Own Column




October 26, 2012

You Mac OS Already Has A Free Color Picker

I spent a long long time searching before I realized this, but Macs come with a color picker already installed. You can find the rgb or hex code of any color on your monitor, and quickly copy and paste it.

I use this to get a specific color to plug into my web coding and designs. You might have another use for it.

But the good news is, you don't have to pay for one of these!
In Applications/Utilities you will find "DigitalColor Meter.app". When you fire it up, the application will give you the color code of anything you point your cursor at.

I believe it defaults to RGB values. Obviously, 255,255,255 is white.
But you can go to the View menu and switch from decimal to hex values
And you're good to go! This blue is 85B1CD.
Of course, you're going to hate trying to type the code manually, so just copy it to your clipboard with Shift+Command+C and you can paste the code wherever you like.


September 19, 2012

Spectacle, Alfred, and More of My Favorite (Free) Mac Productivity Apps

I really enjoy finding new tools that make my life easier. These are a few of my favorites that I use constantly. I hope you find something you can use!

Spectacle

This little app lets you easily arrange your application windows. I find it very useful if I want to quickly put two windows side-by-side. I also use it to make a window expand to fill my screen without using my mouse. As in, resize the window to fill my screen rather than going into "full screen" mode (which doesn't work right with multiple monitors).

You can also quickly send windows to the corners, or top/bottom half of your screen.

Get it free in the app store.

Alfred


I use Alfred all day, every day. It is like the built-in Spotlight only much more customizable. It's kind of like Siri, except that it works right and quickly - and if Siri required only typing a few characters. Press a quick hotkey, Alfred will pop up, and you can perform searches or actions on your Mac. It remembers your selections so it gets "smarter". You can also perform a lot of custom searches, like weather, wolfram, ebay, and many others. You can even type math calculations and get answers. 

I mostly use it to open files or to open a file's enclosing folder so I can grab the file or view its info, but it can do so so much more. Note that some people swear by Quicksilver, which I believe is similar.

Learn more and download it here. The basic version, which I use, is free.

Flycut / Jumpcut


Flycut is a clipboard utility forked from Jumpcut. It logs your clipboard history (but not images, blast it) so you can copy multiple lines of text. Useful if you're heavily copying and pasting, or if you accidentally lose something you copied earlier. 

Get it free in the app store.

Dropbox

You've probably heard of this one! But in case you haven't, dropbox is free (up to 2GB) cloud storage for your files. Not only that, but it is very easy to use and access. You will have a folder on your local computer with all your Dropbox files. These files sync automagically with Dropbox in the cloud, so you can always take your files with you and edit them without an internet connection. If you use multiple devices or want to share files with a team, Dropbox is one of the best options out there.

Check out dropbox.com

Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate


This is an extension for Chrome, actually. But I use it every so often when I need to capture a screenshot of a webpage. It can create one picture of the entire page, even though much of the page content can be below the fold. Or you can just capture a select piece of the page, but Mac already has a handy screenshot shortcut for that (Shift+Command+4). You can also annotate and markup on the image, save it temporarily online, save the image locally, etc.

View the extension here

Evernote


Like Dropbox, many of you have heard of this. Evernote is a could-based notepad, essentially. It has a lot of cool features. You can save entire webpages, tweets, text, files, etc. I mostly just use it as a giant pile of my notes and to do lists. Hootsuite also has an app that links to Evernote so that you can save tweets to an Evernote notebook with one click. 

Visit Evernote's website here. Evernote also has browser extensions.

Adium


A great open-source all-in-one chat program. I use it to connect to coworkers through AIM, and friends through Google and Facebook chats in one persistent app.

Check out the Adium website here.

August 31, 2012

Facebook Love

Completely non-scientific. Absolutely non-conclusive. Absurdly useless.
But interesting.

Steady climb until December 2011, steep decline since.


August 28, 2012

Progress & Regression [Pic]


*Note: I feel like I've seen a Hugh MacLeod or something like this before... or maybe my scribble just reminded me of him. Anywho - was just a quick doodle based on a thought I had today. Any similarity was unintentional.  ;)

August 23, 2012

Facebook Is A Marketing Crutch

I believe brands are becoming far too dependent on Facebook. Not all, but enough to concern me.

Over time, companies have come to feel "safe" with Facebook. It sure feels rock solid, right? Almost a billion users can't be wrong. Something this large and successful can't fail anytime soon. Can it? Anyways, it doesn't matter. This is where the consumers are, so this is where the brands shall go.

And so the brands pour time and money into cultivating their Facebook communities. I have no problem with that. The problem is the dependency.

It becomes very easy to lose perspective. Facebook becomes the public face of the company. Interactive, media rich, and exciting. Things just work on Facebook, so full steam ahead.

It happened over a long stretch of time, but essentially this is what companies have said:

"Hey, let's stop advertising our website and only advertise our Facebook page! Oh, let's put the email list to the side - we can talk directly to fans on Facebook! Actually, since we're sending everyone to Facebook anyway, let's put off that website redesign."

And Facebook becomes a crutch. 

You don't own your fans. Facebook does.

You don't own the medium. Facebook does.

The smartest companies use Facebook as a tool. It IS an amazing tool. But I truly believe it will not last forever. At least, not at its current level of success. But it doesn't matter what I believe. What matters is that it MIGHT not last forever. And that alone should keep companies on their toes.

So keep up with your email lists and your blog communities. You own them. You can measure them. You can't lose them. You can have as much marketing data as you choose to collect. You can send any message you choose.

And for goodness sake, do something creative with your website.

Look at BMW. Their website, their US website, and their Facebook page.

BMW.com

BMW US

BMW Facebook

The BMW websites are so boring I want to cry. It's like they are having a mid-life crisis of their own. Facebook page? Bright, brilliant, photographs in every post. Millions of fans and active commenting and sharing. 

Now look at Skittles.

Skittles.com

Skittles Facebook
They have a fun webpage that speaks to their brand. It actually scrolls down indefinitely. It's creative.

Anyways, I've digressed a bit, but my point is obvious by now. Don't do everything through Facebook. You say "of course" but companies are doing it anyway. 

Especially at a time like this.

Facebook has to impress investors. Their stock has plummeted at the time of this writing. What is more likely for Facebook to do - focus on wooing advertisers or focus on happy users? 

I think users are about to get more and more fed up with the way Facebook evolves. Google+ shows just how hard it is to start a new social network. If your friends aren't there, you aren't going to switch away from Facebook. But Pinterest also shows how quickly something new and fresh can take off. 

I think we're just waiting for the right "something" to come along and give us a breath of fresh air, much like Facebook did when Myspace got too advertiser-happy. 

I don't see anything on the horizon, but when it does come it will be quick. Web companies often fall from grace over night. And if Facebook sinks, think long and hard about what you will be left with.