launches with Business Catalyst

Solve Design and AHD have just launched Robertson+Associates is a family law firm that really puts itself out there as a friendly, "all-my-cards-on-the-table" type of group that truly cares for their clients. Bo Pentacost at Solve Design provided the design while we did all of the back-end development using the Adobe Business Catalyst platform. The site not only provides information about the firm, but it also serves as a great resource for those seeking advice and guidance in the midst of divorce.

Finally! An updated portfolio

In an attempt to simplify and make adding content easier, I’ve finally been able to revise and update the portfolio section of this site. Although it’s not nearly as detailed as the previous version, there’s a better cross section of the types of projects presented. I’ve also learned that detailed and complicated aren’t always better—especially if it makes fresh content more difficult to produce. Now I’m not advocating quantity over quality, but I do believe there is a balance to be found. More on this later.

Mobile makes us recognize the value of simplicity

So I’m listening to a great episode of The Big Web Show (episode 6) regarding mobile web design. It’s great because they veer off on a sort of tangent discussing how mobile sites are easier to use because they strip away as much excess as possible and leave you with the bare necessities. Contrast this to typical websites designed for larger screens filled with armies of animated ads and other “helpful” diversions. Good websites have focus, and mobile designs are getting this right simply because they have to maximize their use of space and bandwidth.

Perhaps the explosion of mobile web devices will force designers and developers to appreciate that same simplicity across all devices, big or small.

To scroll or not to scroll?

People generally have strong opinions about scrolling on websites. Not so long ago it was nearly a sin to design an interface that required scrolling (how long is long in web years?). Today, however, I don’t think twice about placing content “below the fold.” I certainly encourage positioning the most crucial information in the upper portion of the design, but scrolling is easy—it’s “browsable.”

Mighty web usability expert Jacob Nielson has just released an article that suggests while scrolling is acceptable, it doesn't excuse website owners from prioritizing content. He has even included some interesting eye-tracking studies. Cool.

Read Scrolling and Attention.

User testing ain’t rocket surgery

I just finished listening to a great interview with usability expert Steve Krug over at Boagworld. Mr. Krug wrote one of my favorite books on website usability, Don’t Make Me Think, and is latest, Rocket Surgery Made Easy, appears to be a nice follow-up. His main point is that productive user-testing doesn’t have to be anything complicated—it can be a simple 15-minute observation with two or three people.