The Portent Blog

Design & Development

31 Mar, 2011

Easy CSS Columns: to Float or not to Float?

By Jarrod Medrano

This method is based upon Float-less Layout. But I have made it simpler to fit my needs. I also don’t like how they make their entire site a list, while it seems to make sense, I find that putting a whole bunch of stuff inside a list becomes annoying fast, just like using tables. Since… Read More

Design & Development

27 Dec, 2010

I’m not crazy: 10 great, content-friendly web designs

By Ian Lurie

A marketer walks into a meeting, ready to see the newest designs for their client’s site. The new design is beautiful. It makes everyone weep with joy. It’s also totally devoid of text. The marketer (or SEO, or copywriter, or strategist) walks back out of the meeting, punches a wall until their hand flattens, and… Read More

Design & Development

19 Nov, 2010

5 response codes you gotta know: Learn to speak server

By Ian Lurie

Whether you’re an internet marketing wonk, a top IT geek or an SEO pro, you need to know how to speak web server. Not fluently, of course. If you can do the equivalent of asking where the bathroom is, you’ll be in good shape. That’s what I’m going to go over now. When you visit… Read More

Design & Development

3 Sep, 2010

Defensive design cost-benefit analysis, courtesy of Wells Fargo

By Ian Lurie

The short version: Learn to use the TRIM() command in whatever programming language you’re using, so you remove spaces that some poor soul accidentally includes in a data they enter via web form. The TRIM() command Every programming language has some version of the TRIM() command. TRIM() removes leading and trailing spaces from any alphanumeric… Read More

google xml Design & Development

20 Jul, 2010

Google Plays Nice: XML sitemaps, images, and a mystery

By Ian Lurie

Last month, Google announced that they’re now accepting mixed-media XML sitemaps: You can put images, video and regular page URLs all into the same map. I saw this and rubbed my hands together while cackling maniacally. I could finally make sure that valuable images that clients paid for, or paid to have taken, would get… Read More

Design & Development

29 Apr, 2010

Super-fast string handling in ColdFusion – Geekery

By Ian Lurie

OK, getting VERY geeky here. You only want to read this post if: You program in ColdFusion. I’ve been using CF since the late 90s. It’s far and away my favorite programming language. You get happy tingly feelings when you make an application run 60-70% faster. You’re a nerd. If you’re still here, this is… Read More

Design & Development

21 Feb, 2010

24 E-commerce development tips

By Ian Lurie

This is part of my ever-growing list of tips for developers building e-commerce sites. I cover a lot of territory in one list, so be gentle folks. Use SSL only within your cart. There’s a hell of a lot of debate around this. But one fact is clear: SSL page requests require more server cycles… Read More

Design & Development

28 Jan, 2010

Have You Been A/B Tested Recently?

By Tom Schmitz

Full disclosure: I am not a designer. I cannot select color palettes. My favorite textures involve brushed steel. Whenever I walk by, our design team seems either out for coffee or in a meeting. That said, even I can recognize colossal web design blunders. It's amazing how the perfectly wrong photo will rip the eyes… Read More

using wordpress Design & Development

13 Jan, 2010

HTML Basics Lesson 5: Using WordPress

By Ian Lurie

This one’s an experiment: I’m going to spend this and the next few HTML Basics lessons showing you how to use WordPress to apply the HTML stuff you’ve learned in the last 4 lessons. An introduction to using WordPress to add and edit content on the web. Please let me know what you think –… Read More

lists Design & Development

30 Dec, 2009

HTML Basics: Working with lists

By Ian Lurie

Lessee, so far we’ve talked about creating a basic web page, working with headings and paragraphs, and creating links. On to lists: If you can work with lists in HTML you can make your blog look better than 90% of your competition. Here’s how: Learn to create ordered and unordered lists, and why you need… Read More

creating links Design & Development

22 Dec, 2009

HTML Basics: Creating Links

By Ian Lurie

Now you hopefully know how to do headings and paragraphs. Time to move on to links, which are not nearly as scary as they may seem. If you’re blogging, a well-placed link can draw folks deeper into your site, get you more attention and make a post more ‘sticky’. As with previous topics, I made… Read More

html tutorial Design & Development

20 Dec, 2009

HTML Basics: Video Tutorials

By Ian Lurie

I’ve been helping the middle school class at my children’s Montessori learn to write basic HTML. The goal: Get them to the point where they can work comfortably in WordPress. The result is a slowly growing series of videos on the subject. If you’re a wannabe blogger/geek and don’t know the basic HTML tags (headings,… Read More

Design & Development

27 Sep, 2009

10 Words on a Line, Please

By Ian Lurie

Reading online ,10-15 words on a line is best. Don’t take my word for it anymore. I’m tired of arguing with you. Just go over and subscribe to the Designer Bookshop Newsletter. They’re design geniuses, and they say stuff like this: It is important that the columns are set to a length that is “proportional”… Read More

Design & Development

21 May, 2009

4 Truly Awful Banners, And What We Can Learn From Them

By Ian Lurie

First, I apologize. If you are the person who designed any of these, I know full well you created something great. Then your client came and said “It needs more text” or “I need to explain the entire history of my company in a 730 x 90 space”. And your dream project was ruined. I… Read More

Design & Development

30 Mar, 2009

For Design, Focus Groups Suck

By Ian Lurie

Don’t take my word for it. Jakob Nielsen said it best in 2001. Of course you can try a focus group. Do your design. Then put 10 strangers in a small box, give them free candy, point 10 cameras at them and start firing questions. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure there’s a painfully… Read More