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Showing blog entries 21-25 of 60.

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Why do we need to meet with our clients?

Published | 17.04, 15th of March 2010, by Tom van Aurich | Design

First of all, design questions may not be really appropriate during the initial discovery process. It is true that specific branding constraints may need to be defined and understood, but the design we will evolve will come not from the client's judgment and understanding of design but from the collaboration through our design experience. The design will be our expression of what they need, based mostly on their business aims, the project's purpose, their customers' needs and expectations, the end users' specifics, and so on.

Imagine for a moment that you're a doctor trying to determine the best course of treatment for your patient. In that situation, you would not ask the patient what he thinks should be prescribed. Instead you would inquire about his symptoms, history, environment, physical needs. The answers to these questions will define the constraints and indicate the appropriate course of action. He came to you because he has not the ability to help himself and needs your expertise to get well.

Before the meeting, we learn as much as we can about the company, its history and its past and current activities. We think of a number of questions—some specific to this client and some appropriate for any client—to get the ball rolling. These questions will serve as a springboard to more in-depth discussion, which in turn will flesh out what we need to know to deliver the best design.

(Article gleaned and adapted from Andy Rutledge's in Smashing magazine)

No comments | Make a comment (Average rating | 4.25 / 5)

Some of my clients expect two (or more) concepts from me. But that's a lot of work, and I would prefer to show just the best one.

Published | 16.38, 15th of March 2010, by Tom van Aurich | Design

Good design is not found by picking from a pack of arbitrary options, but is rather the result of deliberate choice of direction. Taking a random approach to design is never effective. Our responsibility is to ensure that our clients don't shoot themselves in the foot.

The only person who knows how many design options are appropriate is the designer who is engaged in the process. And in almost every case there is one best design solution. Sometimes another compelling direction is worth considering and presenting to the client, but this cannot be known until you have fully engaged in the process, conscious of the parameters specific to that project.

In most cases, we'll explore a host of options during the design process. A thorough exploration will weed out a number of options, leaving only the most appropriate and compelling candidate(s)—one or two. These and only these design options should be shown to the client.

As a design professional, our  responsibility is to define how many design options to present in a given situation. If a potential client insists on a less effective and less professional process, we need to explain why that does not serve his best interests. Compromise never brings excellence and weakens design and therefore effectiveness.

Our clients deserve and are paying for more than a compromised design.

(Article gleaned and adapted from Andy Rutledge's in Smashing magazine)

No comments | Make a comment (Average rating | 4.00 / 5)

Internet Explorer 6

Published | 16.32, 11th of March 2010, by Jay Vincent | Technical

You may have seen several headlines in recent weeks about Microsoft's web browser internet explorer 6 (ie6):

"Google has begun to phase out support for Internet Explorer 6, the browser identified as the weak link in a cyber attack on the search engine."

For people who aren't web designers/developers, the outcry against ie6 might seem irrational and trivial so I wanted to try and explain why this is such a big deal, and why Artlines Media will follow suit in dis-regarding ie6 in our browser-compatibility testing.


The security (or lack thereof) of ie6 is predominantly what has prompted google to drop its browser support - essentially the straw that broke the camel's back. Vulnerabilities and flaws exist not only in the browser but also in the implementation of ActiveX controls, which allow programs to be installed through internet explorer. Malware, such as computer viruses and spyware, can be accidentally installed from malicious websites using ActiveX controls.

CSS Standards

Probably the most noticeable errors an ie6 user would experience is poor display of webpages - elements not appearing where they should, unwanted gaps, etc. This is due to ie6's terrible implementation of CSS, the styling language used to position and control presentation of a webpage. All modern web browsers now interpret CSS according to the W3C CSS 2.0 specification, with few discrepancies between browsers. And with CSS 3 just round the corner, it is holding the web back when websites must also cater for ie6 with its many CSS bugs and terrible CSS implementation. (check out to see some of these bugs)

PNG Support

PNG is an image file-type which allows for transparency and semi-transparency. Use of PNG images in modern web designs is on the up, yet ie6 does not support them. ie6 instead removes all transparency and displays the image with a solid colour background (usually grey). To get PNGs to work in ie6 requires long-winded javascript-based fixes, which are non-compliant themselves.

"Quirks Mode"

Microsofts poor attempts to follow set guidelines on CSS and javascript implementation has resulted in what they have branded "quirks mode" - a not quite there version of compliance. This has been a long-running joke in the web industry, but I feel 9 years of dealing with it has taken the joke too far.

So in conclusion...

It is so so frustrating for a web developer to create a website which follows all modern web standards and works perfectly in standards-compliant browsers such as firefox, only for the client to complain of ie6 issues. Accommodating for these issues has always been time-consuming and frustrating.

So from now on, when we design and develop websites for our clients, ie6 compatibility will be seen an extra service in our web development process.

No comments | Make a comment (Average rating | 4.38 / 5)

What is Design? A great video from the Design Council

Published | 12.16, 2nd of March 2010, by Chris van Aurich | Design

Came across this video while researching video integration for a current project, like the video and like Vimeo.


No comments | Make a comment (Average rating | 4.83 / 5)

Really useful programmes that are free.

Published | 10.26, 26th of February 2010, by Chris van Aurich | Random

I thought I would share some great programmes that cost you nothing, and trust me they are good enough for any task.

Browser: Firefox

Email: Thunderbird and add Lightning for calendar and tasks

Documents/Speadsheets: Open Office or Google Docs

I have chosen these tools because I like them and use them. Let me know if there are any others worth a look.

No comments | Make a comment (Average rating | 4.83 / 5)

Showing blog entries 21-25 of 60.

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Artlines Media a full service creative design agency based in High Wycombe.

We specialise in branding & identity design, website design, development & production, e-commerce, content management systems, search engine optimisation, print design and email marketing campaigns.

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