Design & Development

Portent Staff 11 Mar, 2008

Pauli Exclusion for the Techie and Creative in Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is a blend of technology and creative. When putting together a landing page campaign or whole new site, you have designers who create the art and the developers who make it do magic.
Some companies make the mistake of having their developer also be the designer. Not good. You’ll end up with a really, really large title text in font size 32 mismatched with really small paragraph text in font size 10. Colors will probably consist of black, white, blue or red and no shades in between. Your background will have some sort of funky rainbow gradient. Not to mention the mega indignation from the developer explaining, “Yeah, it doesn’t look great but it works.”
Just don’t do go there. Get artists to create the art and lay it out nicely. Get developers to make the buttons do something. You’ve probably heard of the Pauli Exclusion Principle at some point in your science classes – no two electrons can occupy the same space at the same time. Think of web design roles similarly. Programmers are not designers. Designers are not programmers. They do not occupy the same brain space at the same time, or a design/functional collision disaster could be the result!
Don’t take my word for it, though. See for yourself.

Design & Development

Portent Staff 28 Feb, 2008

The Struggle for Validation

  Earlier this morning, Ian sent me an email saying that the Portent Website code was great. Near perfect, even! But one thing was weighing on his mind. We weren’t passing the W3 Markup Validation. That giant red “THIS SITE ISN’T XHTML TRANSITIONAL!” message was searing into his poor SMX-addled eyeballs and I was the… Read More

Design & Development

Portent Staff 21 Feb, 2008

Class up your link icons with CSS background images

I loathe the term “web 2.0″. I think catch phrases are easy and unimaginative, and calling the recent boom of easy to use and engaging websites “web 2.0″ seems to cheapen them. It sounds too trendy. It sounds like there will be a “web 3.0″ and that “web 2.0″ will become obsolete once we get… Read More

linespacing Design & Development

Ian Lurie 20 Feb, 2008

5 Easy Tips for Web Typography

Web typography is an art that I’ve never totally grasped – I have to be honest. But I have learned some basic rules worth remembering: 1: Line Spacing Always use at least 1 full line between lines of text, like this: On my blog, I use 1.5em. Reading online text is a pain – wider… Read More

Design & Development

Portent Staff 20 Feb, 2008

QA is Like being a Priest in World of Warcraft

(A quick note: If you don’t know World of Warcraft, skip about 4 paragraphs down. If you do know it, it’s thoroughly worth reading and pertinent. We at Portent love to geek out now and then.) My best friend and her boyfriend recently started playing World of Warcraft, so I’ve reactivated my account after a… Read More

New icon blue glass, isolated on white background Design & Development

Ian Lurie 19 Feb, 2008

A New Look for Portent Interactive

We just launched a new look for my company, Portent Interactive. I lost the battle to keep my picture the hell off the site. I did win the typographical battle though, so we opted for a larger typeface. We’ve also added a (gasp) blog where the Portent team can dwell on everything from design to… Read More

Design & Development

Ian Lurie 24 Jan, 2008

When In Web Design Doubt, Simplify: Aldebaran Web Design Review

Jill bravely volunteered her site for a review and six recommendations. In internet marketing, like any other form of marketing, the simplest message that communicates, wins. The poster with one compelling sentence will do better than one with a so-so photograph. The web site that attempts to do the least wins, too. The Aldebaran… Read More

Design & Development

Ian Lurie 15 Jan, 2008

Get Your Site Reviewed For Free (Only Cost: Public Humiliation)

Hey! I’m not doing this any more. Click this link for my nifty new video site reviews. Once, a long time ago, I contacted Alan Weiss of Summit Consulting. I asked him if I could review his site on my blog. He replied: NO. YOU DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION. In all caps, just like that.… Read More

Design & Development

Ian Lurie 17 Dec, 2007

Amazon Flunks Usability 101? Say it ain’t so…

Amazon needs to read GrokDotCom a little more. When creating links, use the words that call for action – the trigger words. Amazon failed to do that here: If you’re going to sign in, which words would you click? ‘Personalized recommendations’? Or ‘sign in’? Personally, I’d click ‘sign in’. But Amazon linked from ‘personalized recommendations’.… Read More

Design & Development

Ian Lurie 7 Dec, 2007

Friday Book Review: MarketingSherpa Landing Page Handbook

I’m an old fart when it comes to landing pages. I started working with them way back in 2000 or so (gasp). So I can be a bit hard to impress.
MarketingSherpa’s Landing Page Handbook managed, though. It’s absolutely crammed with useful tips, factoids, research and best practices.

Design & Development

Ian Lurie 4 Dec, 2007

Wii Want to Buy. Target Doesn’t Care?

Have you tried to buy a Wii lately? Target stores apparently doesn’t want you to. Ever. I visited a few major retailers’ sites, found by searching for ‘Nintendo Wii’ on Google: To me, the Target ad means ‘buy a Wii from us’. So I clicked on the ad, and got this page: No console. Lots… Read More

suggestion box small Design & Development

Ian Lurie 1 Nov, 2007

Feedback About the New Look, Please

As you can see, we’ve just redesigned the Conversation Marketing blog. While the feedback I’ve received has been mostly positive, I also noticed that pageviews have dropped a bit in the last week. So, if you have a moment, please post a comment with your thoughts/likes/dislikes about the new design. I appreciate your feedback.

Design & Development

Ian Lurie 27 Oct, 2007

Great Version of ‘Captcha’

I regard ‘captcha’ – those crazy letters and numbers you have to type in before submitting a form – as a necessary evil. But it’s definitely evil:


I mean really, is that a ‘w’? Or a ‘u’ and a ‘v’? It’s a usability nightmare.

Design & Development

Ian Lurie 11 Oct, 2007

Key to a Great Web Site: Fire the Committee

Sage words from Seth Godin: “Fire the committee. No great website in history has been conceived of by more than three people. Not one. This is a dealbreaker.” Web design by community never works. The 2-3 times I’ve seen it tried, design stretched out for months, my designers started developing nervous twitches, and the final… Read More

Design & Development

Ian Lurie 20 Sep, 2007

5 Steps to Design a Not-Ugly Web Site

You have a company. You want to grow it online. But, for whatever reason, you still want to design your own site. You could hire an internet marketing professional, work with an agency, or hit Elance and get a design for $500. But this looks easy enough, and you’ve got that free copy of Fireworks… Read More