Archive for category Web Skills

Resume Tips for Web Designers

1. Be Focused
There is no need to list your entire work career, focus on jobs that are relevant to the position (preferably leave out ones that are not web-related). Then focus on the activities that are relevant within those jobs.

2. Use Lists
Lists help employers to easily scan through your resume and pick out the highlights. If they skim over your resume they will get a sense of whether you have the general skills and experience they are looking for. Remember, your resume may very well be in a pile of hundreds so you want to stand out as quickly and easily as possible.

3. Sell Yourself!
Make it obvious why you’re right for the position. Carefully read the job post and highlight why you are perfect for the position.

4. Be Human
Stay away from business speak and talk like a real person. Try to inject a little personality into your resume in order to stand out from the pack. Too much business talk can be stale and uninteresting.

5. Be Concise
It is quality not quantity. Don’t hide all your best qualities within unnecessary details. Get to the point.

6. Provide URLs
If you want to work in the web industry you are going to need to provide examples of work you’ve done and sites you’ve either created or contributed to. The interviewer needs to be able to look at real sites that you’ve worked on.

Provide links to your sites so the interviewer can look at the code. Don’t forget to point out the highlights within those sites so they can see the things you are most proud of.

SEO for Firefox

Want to improve your SEO skills with a simple glance? Then try ‘SEO for Firefox,’ a free plug in for Firefox. It can be turned on or off for regular web surfing.

According to its creator “This tool was designed to add more data to Google and Yahoo! to make it easier to evaluate the value and competitive nature of a market. SEO for Firefox pulls in many useful marketing data points to make it easy get a more holistic view of the competitive landscape of a market right from the search results. In addition to pulling in useful marketing data this tool also provides links to the data sources so you can dig deeper into the data.”

Pulls useful market research data right into Google’s and Yahoo!’s search results, including the following data near each search result.

• PR: (Google PageRank) an estimated measure of global link authority

• Age: age pulled from Archive.org, shows the first time a page was indexed by Archive.org’s spider. The theory is that if Archive.org found a page so did many of the major search engines.

• Links: (Yahoo! linkdomain) shows a rough estimate of the total number of links pointing at a domain

• .edu Link: (Yahoo! .edu linkdomain ) shows a rough estimate of the total number of .edu links pointing at a domain

• .edu Page Link: (Yahoo! .edu link ) shows a rough estimate of the total number of .edu links pointing at a specific page

• .gov Link: (Yahoo! .gov linkdomain ) shows a rough estimate of the total number of .gov links pointing at a domain

• Page Links: (Yahoo! link) shows a rough estimate of the total number of links pointing at a page

• del.icio.us: number of times a URL has been bookmarked on Del.icio.us. Heavily skewed toward techy / Web 2.0 stuff.

• Technorati: an estimate of the total number of links to a site from blogs

• Alexa: rank based on website traffic . Heavily skewed toward internet marketing and webmaster related resources.

• Cached: (Google site:) shows how many pages from a site are indexed in Google

• dmoz: searches the Google Directory to count the total number of pages from a site that are listed in DMOZ, and the total number of pages listed in DMOZ that reference that URL.

• Bloglines: shows you how many people are subscribed to a particular blog via Bloglines.

• dir.yahoo.com: is a site listed in the Yahoo! Directory or not.

• WhoIs: makes it easy to look up the whois data for any site.

6 Common Job Interview Questions for Web Designers

These are six common job interview questions for web designers I found on a human resources website:

1) Describe your experience with site design and creation, banner ad creation, HTML e-mail development, etc. What was the project?

2) Tell me about a time when you used diagrams and illustrations to convey technical concepts to a non-technical audience? How did you ensure that they understood the concepts? What was the size of the audience?

3) What is your working experience with the following: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Quark, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, HTML, CSS, and ActionScript, RSS, VB, SQL? For each, briefly describe a time when you used it?

4) Describe your experience with graphic design techniques for creating product images, brochures, flyers, data sheets, public relations materials, advertising and other marketing materials?

5) Describe a project in which you created and enhanced site design, layout, content and navigation to provide a highly relevant and usable site experience ?

6) What is your experience with SEO and online internet marketing concepts to ensure that company online presence is keyword rich and easily navigated?

Wikipedia 1, Newspapers 0

A 22-year-old sociology major attending the University of Dublin decided to test Wikipedia’s fact checking prowess as well as that of the world wide journalism community in order to prove a point. Everything you read on the web in not accurate or factual and if you’re going to quote something make sure you double check its authenticity.

The results? Wikipedia got an A+ while journalists worldwide got an F.

Shane Fitzgerald added a fictitious quote to the Wikipedia profile of Maurice Jarre, an Oscar winning composer, moments after learning of his death. The bogus quote soon appeared in Newspapers worldwide. Wikipedia staff however caught the inaccurate quote and removed it from the site on their own. But not before it was published worldwide by Newspapers in England, India, America and Australia. Even an esteemed Newspaper such as the England’s Guardian was a victim to the hoax.

This indeed shows an alarming trend. With more and more people getting their News from the internet resulting in the deaths of long established Newspapers the question has often been asked, “Where are these sites getting their facts from? Who is checking to see if the data is accurate?”

Anyone can make a fancy website that looks “authentic” and host it on the web. Then they can fabricate whatever they like and publish it as News. There is an old rule that states “people tend to believe anything they see it print.” That being said just what percentage of internet News is factual? Journalism use to be about accuracy. That is why people trusted outfits like the New York Times. But if Journalists are just going to reprint things they find online without fact checking then what is the point of reading what they write? Are they doing their job?

What was the point of going to Journalism School for that matter?

Easy 3D Buttons with CSS

This is a quick and easy way to give buttons a 3D beveled edge using CSS only. By styling each ‘a tags’ borders with a separate color you can achieve a quality 3D look that is light weight and requires no external images. There is no image swap for rollovers and no JavaScript. Just an unordered list in your xHTML markup.

This finished product should look like this!

Make sure to simulate the direction light travels in order to get the right effect!

Other techniques use the inset/outset attribute but that will produce different results in different browsers. This method give you more control. The CSS is fairly simple but you must remember to swap border colors for the active state to get the desired depressed effect. Take a look at the source code and CSS to see what I mean.

Before Your Website Goes Live!

This is an abridged version of Smashing Magazines Checklist of the 15 Essentials you need before launching a Website.

1. Make sure you have a Favicon.

2. Make sure all pages are titled and contain Meta Tags unique to each page.

3. Do a Cross-Browser Check. Make sure everything works on IE 6, 7 and 8, Firefox 3, Safari 3, Chrome and Opera.

4. Proofread everything or better yet get several friend to do it for you. Having a fresh pair of eyes goes a long way.

5. Check all Links to see if they work. Here is a handy tool that will aid you in the process; http://validator.w3.org/checklink

6. Check all Functionality or once again get your friends to give the site a good once over.

7. Graceful Degradation, test your site with JavaScript turned off. It should work with or without it.

8. Validate! Validate!! Validate!!! This is a handy tool that will help out:  http://validator.w3.org/

9. If you have a blog then make sure you have an RSS Link. One that is ultra easy to find.

10. Google Analytics is a must for any website about to go live on the web.

11. Have a Sitemap in your ROOT DIRECTORY. That way search engines can index it easily.

12. Engage in “Defensive Design.” That means having your own 404 page and make sure you check all forms by filling them out and submitting the data.

13. Optimize, for better performance use things like CSS sprites, optimized images and compressed JavaScript. Here is a Web Site Analyzer that can give you lots of details; Web Site Optimization.

14. Always Back Up!

15. Include a Print Style Sheet so users can print pages from your website.

For a much more in depth version of this list see Smashing Magazines website.