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firefox messes up all my sites, i borderline hate that broswer

Discussion in 'CSS' started by pixelcommander, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. pixelcommander

    pixelcommander Peon

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    #21
    this is all great and helpfull but all you guys talk about how the code is garbage and everything and how i'm ripping these people off. i have worked for web firms, corporations and marketing firms, i've also worked as art director for a huge web firm in chicago/miami and no one has said a single word about using tables or poor code or anything at all. even when i worked for a huge distribution company, redesigning their site, no one cared about the code. people only care about how it looks and works. only hardcore web-designers "care" about the code. i mean i care to a point... as long as the site loads the right way i'm fine. cutting down the size a few k means nothing to me im comparison to the final product working the way it should.

    i guess there is more then one way to skin a cat.
    SEMrush
     
    pixelcommander, Aug 7, 2007 IP
    SEMrush
  2. soulscratch

    soulscratch Well-Known Member

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    #22
    In 2-3 years, no one will be hiring "deprecated" / "oldschool" coders. Go look at job descriptions, many companies (or the tech nerds in the companies) are seeing the benefits of CSS, which is why most new job postings have tableless design/layout as a requirement. I was also once at a point (2006ish) where I was influenced by most of the code out there and thought tables was the way to go since everyone else was doing it, but I've learned much since then and I don't regret at all switching from table layouts to tableless ones. I suggest you spend a week or so reading articles as to why people do it, instead of try to be the rebel.
     
    soulscratch, Aug 7, 2007 IP
  3. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #23
    Which is an attitude typical of graphics houses of years past - have you been 'out of circulation' the past three years or so? It would explain a LOT.

    I know it sucks HARD to be told "you've been doing it wrong for a decade" but that is a fact that anyone in web development is going to have to realize if they want to continue to get 'the good jobs'. The pretty facade that let graphics programmers in the past get away with buggy broken code is not going to survive well in the world of SEO, semantics, reduced capability browsers and handicapped accessability. A conclusion I had to deal with myself 2 to three years ago when I realized I was churning out the same outdated code I had been since 1997

    Which as you are finding, buggy bloated broken code only "works" in IE - and then just by the skin of it's teeth probably taking longer to render in the process. (not that render time arguements mean anything compared to download time)


    Cutting down the size is NOT just about bandwidth though - it's about using minimal markup to make future edits easy - it's about styling minimal markup to make completely reskinning the page without once touching the HMTL possible. It's about accessability for non-visual devices like screenreaders and search engines... Hell, these forums have an entire board devoted JUST to search engine optimization - a series of methods that quite often touch upon the importance of separating presentation from content and using minimal markup.

    Seriously, trying to be helpful here - your attitude matches your code, being three to ten years out of date. This is the computer industry: Where three years is obsolete, five years is pitch it in the trash can and be done with it. (after thirty years going from hand coding ASM to Cobol to diBol to Pascal to C to Prolog back to C to C++ to C# to java to php... I know this trend well)

    Just out of curiousity, how much time did you sink into the code on this? (if any, you did say dreamweaver)

    Ok, let's see, I just polished off the CSS and images for 'my version' of the homepage...

    I kept track of time as if I was billing this normal - every now and then I do these rewrites and document as I go for people on here under the "teach a man to fish" principal.

    HTML - 21 minutes. Simple, not any 'real' content

    CSS - 35 minutes. Took a bit longer than normal - not my normal approach to layout and had to squash some IE quirks/bugs.

    Image recomposition - 12 minutes - didn't need to do much, mostly just recombine the menu componants to a single image.

    Your version:
    HTML: 9k in 1 file
    Images: 153k in 24 files
    Scripts: 85k in 5 files
    CSS: 2k in 1 file
    Total: 249k in 31 files

    Or about a 65 seconds for a dialup user.

    My version:
    HTML: 3k in 1 file
    Images: 139k in 16 files
    Scripts: None
    CSS: 6k in 1 file.
    Total: 148k in 17 files

    Or roughly 38 seconds for a dialup user. Basically shaves off ALL the scripts (good lord man, 85k?!?), a tiny bit off the images, and cuts way down on the number of files... at the cost of a bit more CSS.

    (those dialup figures assume 500ms of handshaking overhead per file, which is actually quite generous)

    Mine validates XHTML 1.0 strict (you have heard of validation, right?) works cross-browser to IE 6, 7, Firefox, Opera and Safari, degrades functional (but broken layout) to IE 5.x - Gives the viewer something meaningful with "images off, CSS on", "images on, CSS off" and the all important "images off, CSS off" - and gives the search engines SOMETHING to look at (though it's not much, damn that homepage is light on content) and makes use of a whole bunch of things that have been added to the standard toolbox since 1997.

    So here it is:
    http://battletech.hopto.org/for_others/pixelcommander/template.html

    with the CSS:
    http://battletech.hopto.org/for_others/pixelcommander/screen.css

    as with all my examples the directory is unlocked so you can get the bits and pieces
    http://battletech.hopto.org/for_others/pixelcommander/

    I will post up a line-by-line explanation of why/how it works in the morning.
     
    deathshadow, Aug 7, 2007 IP
    MrOrange likes this.
  4. MrOrange

    MrOrange Peon

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    #24
    This is not my thread but deathshadow very nice post. I'm amazed at the effort you are going to to help here. Rep added.
     
    MrOrange, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  5. Stomme poes

    Stomme poes Peon

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    #25
    deathshadow, a question: what are the spans doing in the menu?
    
    <ul id="menu">
        <li><a href="#">Home<span></span></li>
        <li><a href="#">Artists<span></span></li>
        <li><a href="#">The Lab<span></span></li>
        <li><a href="#">MP3 Downloads<span></span></li>
        <li><a href="#">Contact<span></span></li>
      </ul>
    
    Code (markup):
    I see that there's a background image associated with them, but I thought spans wrapped around stuff. What do they do when they're sitting alone?

    Pixeldude, unless one of those big manager corporate dudes happens to be commie enough to use firefox, you'll never hear the higher-ups complain about how shitty or not your code is. They never see it. They see a website with an arrangement of pictures and graphics and they say, wow, looks great. If later their users start bitching because the site is slow or only works in one browser, they're just going to stick that in their statistics data and wait until the bitching gets over a certain level or customers start going to the big competitor. Companies don't care about code often, they care about the flash and the pretty. Users care a lot -- we want the Toyotas and not the Yugos.

    (well, and we want the pretty too).
     
    Stomme poes, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  6. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #26
    Alright, another dull afternoon, so let's break it down bit by bit - first up the HTML

    First 11 lines is a standard XHTML 1.0 strict header without the XML prolog so we aren't in quirks mode - why XHTML 1.0 Strict? I find the structure of XHTML much cleaner than HTML (personal preference, people are arguing that detail until blue in the face), XHTML 1.0 has the advantage (unlike 1.1) of being backwards compatable to BOTH SGML and XML meaning not only can all browsers handle it JUST FINE (despite some XML zealots claiming otherwise) but you can also manipulate it if need be using functions like php's XMLParse. That's the entire POINT of X1.0 that a lot of people flat out seem to forget or want to ignore... Especially all those nimrods promoting going back to HTML 4.01 - the same jackasses who run around claiming that if you serve it as text/html it's no longer XHTML - bullshit! It's in the spec it can be served as either BECAUSE it can be parsed as either... again the term 'backwards compatable' comes to mind.

    The strict doctype? There's a lot of stuff HTML was allowed to do that's just bad practice - overriding the behavior of the browser with the target attribute for example is just plain rude. IFRAME's have been abused to wrap other people's content without permission, etc, etc.

    XHTML 1.0 Strict has proven the best tool for ME the past two years - YMMV.

    Notice that the CSS file we are linking to actually has a media type and a name that matches the media type (also note I include projection - Opera uses that in fullscreen/kiosk mode)... Old programming lesson I almost forgot and had to reteach myself - use names that describe WHAT something is. style.css is just a little vague, especially when we might also have a print.css, handheld.css, etc, etc.

    I used iso-8859-1 as the character set because this appears to be an english page. UTF-8 is cute, but has proven nothing but headaches for me... GENERALLY I try to restrict myself to 7 bit ASCII and use entities for anything else since I mostly only work in US English.

    Since this is a fixed-width centered layout, we'll want an extra container. We could actually style the body tag to give us centering, but we may at some point want to add even more styling, and if we want the page centered in IE 5.x, it's the only way to do it (since IE 5.x ignored margin:0 auto and incorrectly centers blocks using text-align)

    The header is quite simple in form - We want a TEXT version of the site name, an emphasized copy of the current page's name, all inside a H1 tag... Remember, only one H1 tag per page, should be the page title. Because it's going to have an image, we'll set up for a varient of the 'glider-levin' image replacement technique by tossing in an empty span since the image is presentational, not content. Image replacement techniques give search engines something 'more relevant' than just image alt text (which is usually ignored BTW) to work with, works WAY better in screen readers like JAWS, and the better techniques (like the one I'm going to use here several dozen times) also give the user formatted text when images are turned off yet CSS is left on.

    So that ends up:
    <h1>Forilla Records <em>Home Page</em><span></span></h1>

    Next on the page is the menu, this is a simple list of anchors, so it should be set as a list of anchors. Because each one uses a different 'image' we'll assign unique classes to each - why classes? We have an ID on the menu, and occasionally you'll have override issues between applying styles as #menu a and #menu_item, so accessing the latter as #menu .menu_item works out 'cleaner'. Again images that should be plain text links, so again the empty span for image replacement as these images too are NOT content, but presentation.

    So each of those ends up something like this:
    <li><a class="menu_home" href="#">Home<span></span></a></li>

    all inside a <ul></ul> of course.

    Up next are the two columns. In this case I'm going to stick with the table because the page looks to be a 100% height model, and I just like to see the footer at the bottom. We will NOT be putting the footer inside the table as that's just one more thing to wait to have download before the table can be rendered... Likewise we will only use ONE table on the whole page to also not only keep render time down, but the code used reasonably clean.

    so we open the table and assign it #middle... It's the middle of the page between the header and the footer - not the most meaningful name, but good enough.

    Our first TD gets #sidebar - because that appears to be what it contains, sub-items that aren't part fo the main content.

    You have a styled box listing some artists, so let's call that .artists_box. We'll use a class here because you may at some point want to use this styled box more than once on the page.

    When doing this sort of thing in your HTML, you want to use semantic markup and classes to label what things are, NOT how they appear. You have two headers that appear to be siblings, so those should both be H2's... they are image-replaced by different images so let's toss a class on each and the standard image-replacement empty spans.

    <h2 class="artists">Forilla Artists<span></span></h2>
    <h2 class="news">News and Updates<span></span></h2>

    The artists lists is again, yes, a list. Style it as such. NO need to waste php logic on making columns, no need to waste a table on something that consists of fixed-width boxes... just a flat list. The images wouldn't quite look right without the CSS to style them, as such we'll assign them INLINE as background-image. Normally I rail against inlining anything 'presentational' but in this case it's a quite elegant solution for content that is not quite content. It also GREATLY simplifies the code for actually positioning the text next to them.

    <li><a href="#" style="background-image:url(images/artists/Chico_Small_Ico.jpg);">
    Chico
    </a></li>

    When we get to the CSS we just assign the anchors as float:left, give them a width half our container width, and boom instant two columns.

    The final bit after the second header is a simple paragraph - well, more of a sentance really, but 'close enough' since we'll likely want a block-level container around said text anyways.

    Next up is the form... This only needs ONE DIV inside the form itself, (I'd use a fieldset, but to be honest I don't TRUST fieldsets where styling is concerned) a header tag to represent the text used by your image-replacement, and two inputs. Piss simple.

    
    <form method="post" id="form1" action="">
      <div id="signup">
        <h2>Sign up for the Mailing List<span></span></h2>
        <input name="email" type="text" 
          id="email" size="36" 
          value=""
        />
        <input name="KT_Insert1" type="submit" 
          id="KT_Insert1" value="sign up" 
        />
      </div>
    </form>
    
    Code (markup):
    That's the end of this column so close the TD, and open the next column which we will assign as #content.

    Featured Artist looks important, so we'll wrap a text equivalent in a H2. We'll mark the artists name in strong tags, but make something of a change here. Up to now we've used image replacement with empty spans because for the most part the images were presentational - there is little doubt that this image is CONTENT, as such we will inline the image and use CSS to position it over our fixed-size box. It means that with CSS off we'll get double copies of the link, but that's ok.

    <h2 class="featured_artist">
    	Featured Artist <strong>Parkay</strong> New Album Out Soon
    	<img src="images/featured-parkay.jpg" 
    		width="363" height="266" alt=""
    	/>
    </h2>
    Code (markup):
    The myspace anchor really doesn't 'need' much in the way of styling. Just assign the anchor a class, put some text in the anchor, inline the image and be done with it. You'll notice on this and the one before it I did NOT use alt text - why? Because we are using image replacement meaning that there's no need for it. Including empty 'alt' text in this case is correct since we are using real text alongside it.

    The more.jpg image is also fairly simple. Give it a class directly, no need to waste extra containers on it.

    That's it for that column, so we close the table and start on the footer. Your footer is really simple... It's block level content so we'll use a DIV as #footer to wrap it - your version used two separate anchors, no need for that since we can use just one and some CSS positioning trick. Again the image is content not presentation so we'll actually use the IMG tag.

    <div id="footer">
    	<a href="http://www.pixelcommander.com">
    		<img src="images/pixelcommander_stamp.png" 
    			alt="pixel commander design" 
    			width="104" height="36"
    		/>
    		website design : pixelcommander.com
    	</a>
    </div>
    Code (markup):
    All that's left is to close #container and close BODY & HTML.

    That is ALL the html one should need to make this sort of layout... Some people these days may even argue it is MORE code than is needed or not to use the table - but the reasoning for that table will be apparant shortly.

    If I have time later I will cover the CSS in this same fashion, otherwise it might wait until tomorrow as that's going to take a bit longer to explain.

    Oh, BTW... GREAT IMAGES. The HTML/CSS may have been lacking, but it's nice to see someone who takes the time to try and slice up their images in a meaningful manner and optimize the filesizes down. Usually when I do these 'examples' I end up burning an hour or two on reslicing people's images - in this case all I had to do was combine down 12 images to one and chop 16px off one side of most of them. (hell, I think a few of my individual reslices are larger than your originals - that NEVER happens)
     
    deathshadow, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  7. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #27
    Image replacement technique. I set the anchor to position:relative and float:left (which sets display:block automagically) with the dimensions of the image, then center the text in the anchor - then I set the span to position:absolute (which sets it to display:block automagically) set the same dimensions as the image and place it directly over the text with the image as it's background. Take a look at the page with CSS on but images off, you'll see why I take that approach right quick.

    This has the effect that if you turn image off instead of getting badly formatted alt text or worse, no content at all you get a nicely formatted plain text. This also gives search engines meaningful links by which it can spider your site.

    Setting them alone like that just gives me something to throw style onto.

    Especially users like me who if the site doesn't work in Opera, I assume the coder was an idiot and never visit the site again since there are plenty of sites that work JUST FINE in alternative browsers.

    Because unlike Joe Sixpack I'm not DUMB ENOUGH to beg to have my computer raped up the ethernet port by using IE. That ship has sailed.

    Alternative browser use has broken 20% - IE6 and later will work in a 'standards mode' that 99% of the time works 'close enough' to the other browsers you don't need major workarounds to get it going.

    There is no real excuse anymore for not testing all four major browser engines - too often you get people that design the entire page to one engine then wonder why it doesn't work in any of the other ones, and dive for 'silver bullet' fixes when they could have just written valid cross-browser code in the first place. Non-validating buggy code targeting one browser? /FAIL/ - even the firefox zealots get that /FAIL/ mark for their repeated mantra 'design for FF, hack for IE' which is just as flawed in thinking, being much akin to "We play both kinds of music - country AND western"
     
    deathshadow, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  8. pixelcommander

    pixelcommander Peon

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    #28
    deathshadow - i appreciate your help, what you have done is above and beyond what i expected... however i did expect a hand full (not ALL) of the people here bash the way i design sites. like i said, i'm a grahic designer that uses dreamweaver, i used to instruct classes on the program and i stand by it. if i had time to stop everything and learn the new way of coding i'd be more then happy to. i guess i'll take that step when the time comes. but for now i will take deathshadow's advice (unfortunately i'm not going to apply it to the forilla site). the client loves it, it works in all browsers and i'm happy to say i can leave it as is. most of that site is generated by PHP so there are parts that can't be allowed to be static. anyways, deathshadow, you are dedicated to web. dev. and i commend you, esp. for all the help you've given me. i just simpley don't have the time to stop and redesign everything nor do i have the time to learn the new ways of making sites. i'll have to cross that bridge when i get there. i still have about 10 more sites to build along with 3 or 4 sites i have been working on. maybe over winter i'll make a pure CSS site.

    can you reccommend any resources that would speed up the time it would take to make an all out CSS site? i'm willing to learn and i learn fast, i just don't have the time over the next 6 months... i'm booked solid.
     
    pixelcommander, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  9. pixelcommander

    pixelcommander Peon

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    #29
    apparently that's the only thing i'm good at? :confused:
     
    pixelcommander, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  10. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #30
    I've gotten where I'm at mostly through trial and error and constantly designing pages - first thing I did was throw away using a WYSIWYG and grab a text editor - I've not looked back since. Even dreamweaver, the best of the lot - is a steaming pile of garbage if used in anything more than codeview... meaning the user ends up dropping $400 or more for something you can do better for free with notepad and the four primary browsers. (and without adding a FIFTH rendering engine to the equation to mess things up)

    The mere fact they offer CLASSES in it is somewhat offensive to me because it's teaching an entire generation the WRONG WAY of doing this stuff, and tying them to a tool that will cripple their skills for years until they too get fed up with it. It's like giving them a tricycle instead of a bike with training wheels.

    Oh, and on the 'fixed content' part - you could easily slice that into php - notice the stlying on the LI's for artists is identical for example, just loop and plug them in, you don't even need logic for left/right in the code.

    I do know someone who thinks as I do on code, who is more than happy to post endless links to resources - both internet and print - on how to do this stuff.

    OH DAN!!!
     
    deathshadow, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  11. Dan Schulz

    Dan Schulz Peon

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    #31
    You rang, Jason? (Hang on, I'll grab some links for pixelcommander.)
     
    Dan Schulz, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  12. pixelcommander

    pixelcommander Peon

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    #32
    holy hell... i swear to god i know dan shulz. i used to live in a-town.

    dan, did you used to work at NSC?

    ha, if so... the world (and the internet) just got smaller.
     
    pixelcommander, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  13. Dan Schulz

    Dan Schulz Peon

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    #33
    Nope. Graduated from West Aurora High School in 1998 after being accused of plotting to blow the place up during my own graduation, worked at some fast food joints and supermarkets for a few years, then took up Web development as a hobby, which has now turned into a career.
     
    Dan Schulz, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  14. pixelcommander

    pixelcommander Peon

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    #34
    ah, i worked with a guy... named dan shulz at this place in aurora and it looks like me and you are almost the same age. it woulda' been a trip if it was the same dan i worked with.
     
    pixelcommander, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  15. Dan Schulz

    Dan Schulz Peon

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    #35
    Would be nearly impossible, but not improbable. What did this guy look like? (By the way, it's Schulz, not Shulz.)
     
    Dan Schulz, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  16. pixelcommander

    pixelcommander Peon

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    #36
    i think he was mexican (at least 1/2, i know with the last name of schulz there has to be some kind of mix in there) kind of stockey lookin'... glasses. he was all about programming so i wouldn't have been suprised if he started coding for the web. nsc was the place that handled all the 3com and palm pilot issues (we did bug testing, product testing, took phone calls... etc) it's been a while since i was out there, i've lived in chicago for quit a few years. a handfull of friends went to highschool out there but none of them graduated.

    anyways, as far as the dreamweaver thing goes, i understand why people don't like it, but i'm not new to the game out here and it is a requirment of 90% of the companies in chicago that the web people know and use dreamweaver. to some, it might sound crazy but it's the truth. i pull in a new client every 2-3 days, granted none of them know squat about web but when i do pick up a client that is a web or design firm that needs some extra hands they always insist i use dreamweaver. even when i was art director i wouldn't hire anyone that didn't know or use dreamweaver. we had one guy that said he used dreamweaver but he used all CSS code in notepad and when he left no one could figure out how to update the sites he made, i almost got fired for hiring someone that worked that way (well i almost got fired because i was upset that i was in trouble for hiring someone that didn't use dreamweaver and i got an attitude about it).
     
    pixelcommander, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  17. Dan Schulz

    Dan Schulz Peon

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    #37
    Actually, Schulz is a Germanic name (Bavarian to be precise - it means "mayor" or "village magistrate"). Ironically the person you describe sounds a lot like me (stocky, wears glasses, but not the 1/2 Mexican part, though my long hair is almost naturally black, but is really a very dark brown). Can't say that I've worked there though. Never even heard of NSC until now.

    Anyway, back to the Dreamweaver crutch. I understand why companies work this way - they (wrongly) think it's a time-saving device, but it's not. It's a crutch that actually inhibits the usability and accessibility of the Web, and as Jason said, if it's used in code view, then it's nothing but an over-priced glorified $400 text editor. I used to use it (Jason - that's deathshadow for those who may be reading this thread in the future - can attest to that), but I got fed up with it and ditched it for a text editor and haven't looked back once.

    Now, as for the list of resources you want, I'm going to have to ask you, how good are you with writing clean, minimal, semantic and valid (X)HTML by hand?
     
    Dan Schulz, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  18. pixelcommander

    pixelcommander Peon

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    #38
    i'm not so good at it (yet). i do get fed up with dreamweaver and edit the code in code view to attempt to clean it up... but apparently my efforts are wasted on that end. if it means getting me more business then i can learn... that's the best part about things like this... if you can read you can do anything. that's my theory at least. i would like to appeal to real webdesigners so i am willing to move forward with CSS. i have tables down great and i'm getting much better at using CSS to style things (like backgrounds, color, text, size...etc) but i still rely on tables to make my sites complete. a huge part of what i do for money is skinning DNN sites and they are all tables from i know. but that doesn't mean i can't start using CSS to make sites that aren't DNN sites. i'm not a rebel by any means, like previously stated. i just do what i do and people like it, but i have just found a group that doesn't like what i do so that inspires me to do things a different, and in your opinions (and i don't disagree with you) better way. i know i make great interfaces and that's my shoe-in to the market and i know i'm on the tail end of dev. but i would say i'm pretty current with my designs and concepts.

    i just wish my cleints would provide more content, i hate having pages with 1 or 2 sections only, but what can you do. one thing is for sure, i have people waiting for me to build them sites, maybe i can slowely apply what i learn to the next 10 sites i build and by the 10th one it will be 100% up to current standards. the way i looked at it was, why change a good thing? the answer is because things change.
     
    pixelcommander, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  19. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #39
    I can agree with that one - I usually like to put up 'minimums' to prospective clients... like 200 words of front page copy. Real text in the form of actual content drives traffic to the site because search engines like it - it gives it a professional touch instead of the 'oh let's slap up some really big images' nonsense. The more I can explain to them on how to make a successful site, often you can 'sell' them on doing some extra work themselves. It's always good to take the time to explain everything to clients up front before signing the contract.

    But a lot of people just don't have copy for their products, artists, or whatever else they are promoting - makes our job a heck of a lot harder especially if you start thinking along the lines of SEO and accessability.
     
    deathshadow, Aug 8, 2007 IP
  20. pixelcommander

    pixelcommander Peon

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    #40
    one good thing about clients (like forilla records/thelabchicago.com) is that since they don't have content i can sell them on a CMS so i'm doing work 5 months later for something that has been paid in full.

    I'm going to browse through the site, i just got a new client that needs me to design a few HTML emails for him and it's been a while since I've done one of those. I usually just sell the layout as a high quality JPG and they do the rest but this one needs me to design and code it.
     
    pixelcommander, Aug 8, 2007 IP