Is “above the fold” web design dead?

web-above-fold-is-dead
For years, web designers and their clients have had the idea that the most important content must live above the fold (the area viewable in your browser window without scrolling). Back in the days of 14-17 inch monitors, slow modem speeds, and static web pages that was absolutely true. But does the idea that the important info must be above the fold still hold true when we now have 24-30 inch LCD screens with extremely high resolutions?

Everything I’ve read the last few years say absolutely not. In fact, many studies are beginning to reveal that larger numbers of viewers are finding the most valuable information below the fold—likely due to blog-style sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) where information is presented in a top-down updating list instead of static navigation and content locations.

HugeInc has published the results of their study on user scrolling in Everybody Scrolls. The results, perhaps not so surprisingly, is that everybody scrolls nearly 100% of the time.

While this is just one study, I suspect that the vast majority of people have been trained to scroll over the years. As for me, I almost always scroll—if for no other reason than so many sites I visit have the area above the fold filled with annoying content rotators and oversized intro graphics.

I take this as a reminder that rules are meant to be questioned and/or broken at any time.

Free font: Rockfire

Rockfire font

Rockfire is a great display font that’s perfect for titles and logo work. Designed by Jay Cobs, Rockfire is 100% free for personal and commercial use and includes upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and a limited punctuation set.

8 tips for combining typefaces

type tips
You finally chose a typeface that’s perfect for your next print or screen design project. Good job, but don’t break out the bubbly just yet. For many projects, one font isn’t enough to create visual interest and establish the information hierarchy. And when you have multiple typefaces, you want to be sure that they work well together.

2016 tech predictions – as made by a dolt

Any time I see something from an analyst, I immediately mark it as invalid, uneducated drivel. Because it almost always is. But Fred Wilson is a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley—so what’s his excuse for his list of 2016 predictions that are so blatantly obvious, incredibly stupid, or slightly crazy?

I won’t comment on each of his 10 bouts of idiocy, but here are my thoughts on a few of them:

#2 We will see a new form of wearables take off in 2016… If I had to guess, I would bet on something we wear in or on our ears.

No shit, Sherlock, they’re called wireless earbuds. That’s the only wearable that’s going to take off… because wearables haven’t taken off as a concept to begin with. Even Apple’s awesome watch isn’t a mass-market breakthrough.


#3 One of the big four will falter in 2016. My guess is Apple. They did not have a great year in 2015 and I’m thinking that it will get worse in 2016.

If you ignore the fact that Apple had one of it’s most successful years in history, and managed to grow its lead as the world’s largest company, then yeah… they had a really crappy year. And of the “big four” (whomever they are), of course you choose Apple, because they’re the only one that will get you page views.


#4 The FAA regulations on the commercial drone industry will turn out to be a boon for the drone sector…

No. It won’t. The drone industry will sit in the fringe “I play with remote control vehicles” sector that it has sat in for the last few years.


#5 The trend towards publishing inside of social networks (Facebook being the most popular one) will go badly for a number of high profile publishers who won’t be able to monetize as effectively inside social networks…

Yeah. Because publishers are monetizing so effectively outside social networks. Honestly, this one is the big “no-duh” statement you’ll read all year. I’m not even sure about what “trend” he’s referring to, since there are only a small handful of publishers who are test publishing with Facebook, Twitter, etc…


#7 Bitcoin finally finds a killer app with the emergence of…

Oh please. Bitcoin is never going to happen. Stop trying to make it happen.


#9 Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee and… As a result the tech sector will line up behind Hillary Clinton who will be elected the first woman President.

The tech sector is going to line-up behind whomever the Democratic candidate is because they know the Republican Party hates anyone who isn’t a rich, white male. Donald Trump actually has a better chance with the tech sector because, you know, they need a little light comedy in their life.

10 great free stock photo sites

Free Stock Photo Sites

As a designer, stock photography is your lifeblood. Finding clients these days that have a decent photography budget is difficult to say the least. There are plenty of low-cost stock photo sites out there, but even then it can be like pulling teeth getting a client to pay for photos. Thankfully there are plenty of free stock photo sites like those listed below.
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Check out MyApple Magazine

MyApple Magazine
I had completely forgotten that I had downloaded the premiere issue of MyApple Magazine, a new English-language magazine about the world of Apple from the combined staff of Apple World Today and MyApple.pl.

Since I took the last week off for the holidays, I had some time to read through the free downloadable magazine. After reading through the first issue, I quickly downloaded the remaining new issues. Great stuff!

The articles aren’t just blog posts pulled from the website, they read easy—not too long, not too short. The photography is nice, and the layout is easy on the eyes.

How to customize Photoshop’s toolbar

Photoshop Edit Toolbar iconThe single greatest feature of the latest Creative Cloud 2015 version of Adobe Photoshop is something I’ve longed for since… well, almost since I started using Photoshop.

Photoshop is for designers. Wait, uh… no it’s for Photographers. The fact is, Photoshop is a useful tool for an awful lot of people. In the past that’s meant that you had to have your toolbar contain the balance of tools that Adobe thought you would need–including the ones you never use. That day has now gone, and your Photoshop toolbar can finally be YOUR Photoshop toolbar.

Simply click that 3 dot icon at the bottom of the default toolbar in Photoshop. This brings up the Customize Toolbar dialog box.
Photoshop Edit Toolbar
Now you can begin dragging items out of the toolbar (the column on the left), and rearranging them in the order you want. Don’t worry, dragging them into the column on the right doesn’t delete the tool, it just hides it from view.

You’ll notice that some of the tools are grouped. That’s what makes the sub-tools where you hold the mouse down on the tool to reveal similar/alternate tools—such as the Selection and Shape tools. You can create your own sub-tool list if you wish, or simply remove a tool from a sub group to give it its own spot on the toolbar. For instance, you could move the circular selection tool out from under the rectangular selection tool if you wish.

The best thing is that Photoshop allows you to save your new toolbar as a preset. So you could create different toolbars for different tasks and call them up quickly when you need to switch.

Why the heck Adobe hasn’t made this an option in InDesign and Illustrator, at the very least, is beyond me.

Create a grid of InDesign frames from a single existing frame

Adobe InDesign has a built-in way to create a user-definable grid of frames from a single existing frame in your document. Why you might want to do this, you ask? Think of what a pain it would be to place the same image in a grid of frames to make it look like a single large image. Or, maybe you just need a grid of text frames made in the exact space that an existing graphic frame resides in.

InDesign frame grid

Open the Scripts Panel from the menubar under Window/Utilities. In the panel, navigate to Application>Javascript and double-click MakeGrid.jsx. The dialog box that pops up is self-explanatory. You choose how many columns and rows you want to transform the frame into, and how much space to place between them. Finally, you have the option of automatically placing the original image into the frames and adjusting their coordinates to look like it’s one large image. You can see the image above for the results.

Free font: Aileron

aileron

Aileron is a free sans-serif, modern display font, coming in UltraLight, Thin, Light, Regular, SemiBold, Bold, Heavy, Black, & Italic.

Dear Apple: Seriously???

I have a pretty darn fast Internet connection. Much faster than any streaming video service requires, and plenty fast enough for me to download large files with little eye-rolling and finger-tapping. But the thought of updating my iPhone makes me cringe.

When Apple pushes an update to iOS, you have two miserable choices.

Miserable choice #1:
You can render your phone completely useless for as long as it takes to download the OTA (over the air) update, unpack/prepare, install and restart your iPhone. The annoyance is compounded by the fact that you must keep the phone from “sleeping” while the update downloads, otherwise it just stalls. So you basically have to sit there like a jackass flicking the screen every minute or so to keep it active. Unless you have a death-wish, you definitely don’t want to do this while driving.

Miserable choice #2:
You can render your entire home network useless for hours by downloading an enormous iOS installer. It’s like downloading the entire OS just to get the updated components. Everyone in the house will hate you, because your Internet service slows to a crawl while you download what appears to be something the size of the entire Amazon video library just so your Apple Music app gets improved playlists, old photographs stop showing up in Photos app as new every time you connect your iPhone to your Mac, and your Email app works the way it should have to begin with.

iOS updates

…And as is always the case…
I decided to update to iOS 9.2 this morning. At 4am, to be exact. Nobody in my neighborhood is awake, so there is no internet traffic from other users in the local pipe. I made sure no other downloads of any kind were occurring. I decided to ‘download only’ the iOS update via iTunes on my Mac. The 2GB file download offers me the wonderful news that it might be finished downloading by the time I get home from work tonight. That doesn’t include actual install time.

So I decide to go the ‘quick’ route by doing the OTA download. A much smaller file, my iPhone claimed it only need ‘about 15 minutes’ to update. So after 40 minutes of downloading, another 15 or so minutes of updating, and 5 or so minutes of excruciatingly slow restarting, my phone is finally ready to use again.

In contrast, I downloaded and installed the entire Mac operating system from scratch in less time than it takes to do a run-of-the-mill iOS update. And I didn’t have to sit there and babysit the download—–as the Mac is smart enough to not fall asleep while downloading/installing.

Seriously, Apple. FIX THIS SHIT!