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We recently upgraded our workstations to multiple monitors. Our most enterprising effort was the use of three identical 19" displays on a Mac Pro. A Microsoft research study found that use of multiple monitors improves productivity by 9 to 50 percent:
The first study revealed that the users' productivity increased by 9 percent. Further studies showed even greater increases - at times up to 50 percent for tasks such as cutting and pasting. Mary Czerwinski, the VIBE research manager, is excited about her group's discoveries, asking, "If you're able to squeeze 10 percent more productivity out, do you know how much money that will save?"
After several weeks of use, we concluded that while two displays are significantly more useful than any size single display, the gain is not linear as additional displays are added. The problem is that three or more displays provide more screen real estate than can be efficiently navigated by even the most proficient computer users. Our recommendation is that nearly all users can benefit from dual display workstations. The productivity increase will almost certainly pay for the initial investment. [Microsoft Research: Two Screens Are Better Than One]
Speaking in Styles by Jason Teague Speaking in Styles aims to help Web designers learn the "language" that will be used to take their vision from the static comp to the live Internet. Many designers think that CSS is code, and that it's too hard to learn. Jason takes an approach to CSS that breaks it down around common design tasks and helps the reader learn that they already think in styles--they just need to learn to speak the language. How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy Graphic designers love to talk about sources of inspiration, but less willing to discuss the basics on location work, pricing, and how to handle irate or non-paying clients - so it's essential that any graphic designer operating independently have this practical reference. Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell Richly illustrated and easy to navigate, it pairs clear explanations of every design concept with visual examples of the concepts applied in practice. Every major design concept is defined and illustrated for readers to expand their knowledge. Decoding Design by Maggie Macnab Revelations on how common symbols resonate at a gut level. Readers will find deconstructions of famous logos and examples of variety of different designs that effectively use symbols, patterns and shapes to convey greater meaning. Sexy Web Design: Creating Interfaces That Work by Elliot Jay Stocks This is an easy-to-follow guide that reveals the secrets of how to build your own breathtaking web interfaces from scratch. You'll be guided through the entire process of creating a gorgeous, usable web site by applying the timeless principles of user-centered design.
When paying by the click, it's important to target ads as specifically as possible to stretch your PPC budget. One way is to hide your ads from unrelated searches using Negative Keywords. For example, a seller of bicycle tires would want to eliminate overlapping searches from motorcycle owners. Their negative keyword list could look like: "motorcycle, harley, sportbike, wheel, rim, car." In a recent campaign for web design services, we saved 9% on our AdWords spending by hiding terms related to job seeking and free templates. To hide your ads from job seekers, try the following keywords: application apply career careers craigslist direct hire employee employer employers employment freelance freelancing full-time head hunter hiring human resources intern interns internship internships interview job jobs opening openings part-time position recruiter recruiting resume resumes salaries salary staffing temp
The Website Grade for ethercycle.com! Website Grader calculates the marketing effectiveness of your web-pages based upon the keyword popularity, link popularity, page structure, traffic ranking, readability level and search results in Google. Found this post helpful? Follow us on Twitter.
For your iPhone, we've created two wallpapers with a test pattern theme. You may recognize the latter wallpaper as the original Apple logo colors.
To install your new wallpaper, download it, add it to your iTunes photos, sync your phone, and set it from Settings: Wallpaper. For a more detailed explanation, check out iPhonesTalk's step-by-step guide.
In an effort to support startups and small businesses, EtherCycle now offers payment plans for web sites. With just a small down payment we will begin the development of your website. The single flat monthly payments include hosting costs. For your convenience, we accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, and Google Checkout.
Good communication is the cornerstone of client satisfaction. We believe that the more interaction we have with a client, the better the resulting project will be. We have five commandments for client communication.
  1. Offer free consultations and give honest advice.
  2. Listen to what the client has to say to better understand them.
  3. Ask the client questions to clarify the project's goals.
  4. Research the client's target market to ensure the project's effectiveness.
  5. Revise the project proposal as many times as necessary to earn the client's approval.
Mood boards serve as a visual tool to quickly inform others of the overall feel that a designer is trying to achieve. We find them to be most helpful as a source of inspiration. A typical mood board can feature color palettes, logos, concepts, ideas, features, layouts, pictures, screen shots, and anything else that can be informative or inspirational to the project's team.
Sample mood board for EtherCycle.com.
While different clients and projects require unique design and development processes, a typical EtherCycle website is created in the following order:
  1. A consultation assesses your needs, aims, and budget.
  2. A proposal is created to establish the project's budget, goals, and timeline.
  3. A type of poster design called a mood board is created to develop our design concepts and to communicate to other members of the design team.
  4. Mockups of the home page are created.
  5. Mockups of the internal pages are created.
  6. Content is supplied or created as necessary.
  7. Development begins.
  8. Usability testing ensures the website is easy to use.
  9. Cross-browser compatibility testing allows for thorough debugging.
  10. Meta Tags are created based on market analysis.
  11. The site is live, Champagne is enjoyed.
This is definitely an oversimplification of what occurs, but to those of you who are new to the process, it may be helpful. It's also important to note that the client is included in every step, and if anything is not to their satisfaction, that step is repeated. Typically, the home page mockup (step3) is repeated several times to achieve the client's vision. To date, the development process has never had to be repeated as our sites have always exceeded our client's expectations.
Section508 is an amendment to Workforce Rehabilitation Act. It's a provision assures that people with disabilities can access web pages predominately through the use of text labels and descriptors for graphics. It applies to all Federal agencies, and sometimes private organizations who receive Federal funding. EtherCycle understands the fourteen guidelines for better web content accessibility set forth by The World Wide Web Consortium.