Archive for the 'Design' Category

Holla 2011.

Well, that’s kinda early for a new year wish. Super. Just take this as a preemptive blog post, just in case, the next update will only come in sometime mid next year ;) . This blog has been pretty quiet lately. And no, we have not been thrown under the bus. Quite the contrary, we actually have been badly steamrolled, fortunately by projects.

Here’s a quick pictorial updates on what’s been going on, partially.

Majlis Agama Islam Johor - Darul Ukhuwah

Bedsty Online - Music. Parties. Design.

Adorable Muslimah eCommerce - Style. Chic. Modest. Singapore - Upscale Dining in an Inspired Setting Singapore - Restaurant Photoshoot

Maxiplan Technology - Financial Performance Solution

Yeah, we wish.


Pikom PC Fair 2009

PC fair babes

PC fair babes  PC fair babes

A slightly larger resolution can be seen on our Flickr page

Pikom PC Fair 2009 ended yesterday. The crowd was heavy like last year. (Recession? What recession?). Above were the only photos i snapped during the event.

Meizu miniplayer

I bought a MeiZU miniplayer. I chose this one over the new Creative mp4 player due to its sleek design, and usability. It’s very slim, light-weight and doesn’t have any ugly buttons on it. You just need to slide your finger on the pad to increase the volume or change the song. Almost ipod-like. It came with a 1-year warranty. The salesman claimed that a 2-hours fully charged battery can last up to 24 hours. I have yet to test it. Maybe tomorrow, and we’ll see if there’s any truth to that. But i can’t deny, this thing really looks good =)


Swan Lake

by Glenn Marshall. Coded in Processing

Absolutely brilliant!


Google Chrome : yet another browser to test against

Google has released their own take of a browser : Chrome a couple days ago. In addition to the much hyped multi process tabs, the simple straight forward design, i think the incognito mode is quite interesting. That mysterious looking spy in thrench coat image on the top left of the browser window does makes your private browsing ‘experience’ feel more secure… But just make sure that there’s nobody standing  behind.

So great, now i have another brand new browser to test against. The first thing i did was to load up all of our sites and web app into the browser for a test run. Everything worked as expected. There’s a slight design issue with our main site when viewed in Chrome but this was also expected since the problem is caused by hacks that I use to make the layout IE  compatible (IE still sucks).  If your coding is standard compliant, then you don’t have to worry.

I dont know how many browsers does other developers/designers  usually test against but for now i’m fine w/ Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari, Opera.

You can get the IE standalone browsers over here :

If you’re very ambitious to test your stuff against more browsers, Evolt has a good collections  of browsers for download :

If you’re not too fond of downloading gazillions of browsers  into your PC, and you’re only testing the layout, you can get a screenshot  of your sites in multiple browsers (more than 46!) here :

Else, just test in Firefox. If it’s OK in Firefox, it should be OK in almost all major browsers (but probably not in IE)

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2 Invalid Reasons To Use Tables For Layout

I stumbled an interesting write-up about top websites that are still using tables. No, the commentaries are not that interesting (using tables doesn’t mean that these websites are not adhering to the design trend), but the writer’s effort must be commended.

It’s nice to see which big-guns are adopting CSS to the max. But more importantly, it’s nice too see a flaming discussion there and another one here between tables and css proponents.


If you dig through the comments, there are several reasonable inputs regarding why you should still consider using tables for your layout structure. However, these comments below carry none of them:

Taking The Easy Way Around

Anyone who’s ever had to do a truly complicated layout on a website, knows that tables are a necessary evil.

If the boss doesn’t care how it gets done, as long as it gets done, and you have a deadline, and tables work consistently across browsers with no hard tweaks, so you use tables, get your work done before 5 PM so you can go home and enjoy the life outside of work…

Regardless I personally prefer tables, as I’m a programmer not a designer, they’re easier to work with for us than CSS.

Without tables i’d keep kicking my coffee over…

We’ve been webdesigning for about 7 years now, and I don’t what is the problem with tables. Easier to manipulate, faster to put out.


Being Ignorant

Who cares! If it works, who cares! Your CSS fanboi’s really need to spend more time making your sites look less cookie cutter web 2.0 and actually start making them useful.

Safe and reliable…always….why go with new conventions or at least the more common convention if good old faithful puts out?

Customers don’t care if it’s CSS or tables.

As long as it gets the job done… Google breaks a lot of other standards, but hey, as long as it gets rendered in the browser properly…

Honestly. Who. Gives. A. Shit.

If the website works well, like, who cares how it works underneath?…I think someone needs to step outside, the average net user doesn’t even know what CSS is and they don’t need to, it doesn’t matter.

Well guess what, I have 150+ clients and I use tables on ALL their websites..



Personally, of course I’m all with CSS, but until consistent CSS rendering is applied across all browsers (damn IE!), table is always a great temptation. If you read through the comments there, you’ll understand why.

However the comments above doesn’t echo the same perspective, and thus reflect poorly on their professional standard, their desire to give the best on each project, their awareness towards the evolving web standards and their concern about simplifying their project for their client’s further use.

Think of your client. And your future.

Seriously, I’d understand if people still using tables for fear of cross-compatibility issues. But using it because you want the easier and quicker way out will be very unfair to your clients. Of course they don’t give a damn. Chances are you can just give a full image-page for their website, and they will still be happy.

But semantics matter. And file size too. So does the client, in fact, if they decided to alter the design themselves.

And standing by your table repeating ‘as long as it work!’ ? Of course it will work (and I think always will), but then you can still save some money buying old VW Beetle - and pay the hefty cost for maintenances. On the other hand, you’ll spend more bucks on a new Honda, but chances are you can use it for many, many years to come, hassle-free..

Which CSS will play a greater role by then. Start mastering the CSS now. Or you’ll have a bleak future in web-designing.


Using Visual Flow

When you are organizing the layouts of your web page, consider the visual flow, which should guide your web visitor from their point of first focus to your message. For instance, if you are putting an animated banner with dark color, use static and lighter colored content below it, helping your visitor to first focus on your banner and gently scrolling down section by section so none of your content will be missed.

If you use a similarly dominant element like a crowded and heavy picture on the bottom of the screen, visitors would most likely focus on the banner then directly to the picture, making them undecided on what to focus next.

They can become lost in your page, lessening their interest and attention level - which proves to be a costly mistake in delivering your message. Use contrasting BUT complementing elements and colors, but don’t apply too much variety- or this will happen!

Contrast will separate your content from the design, while complimentary elements will reduce your visitor’s conflict for attention. These should help them to effortlessly absorb the content of your website one by one - making your site browsing not just enjoyable, but effective as well. Look at how this site use a banner, large vertical top sections with icons, a small row of images and decreasing size of texts to guide your attention flow.


Web 2.0 design?

A hectic week this is, but luckily I got some time to do some reading on the net. The hype nowadays among web developer is of course the web 2.0, and currently designers are very concern to produce websites that is up to this standard. Let’s focus now on the web design aspect first where we will cover the programming part in later postings.

Although still debatable (and controversial sometime), there is loose definition on the term itself, making it harder for designers to create a standard guideline in designing a website. Gradient? Rounded edges? Flash?

Design wise, I got a great site to share. According to the page, among the crucial (but not in certain cases) approaches in web design for the 2.0 bandwagon are:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Central layout
  3. Fewer columns
  4. Separate top section
  5. Solid areas of screen real-estate
  6. Simple nav
  7. Bold logos
  8. Bigger text
  9. Bold text introductions
  10. Strong colours
  11. Rich surfaces
  12. Gradients
  13. Reflections
  14. Cute icons
  15. Star flashes

From our definition here at Digital Gaia, web 2.0 is not really design-centric. It’s not about beauty. It’s all about user experience. It’s about delivering your message in a very pleasing way that it can enter your web visitors mind effortlessly.

Of course beauty will always help, but don’t let it detract your message away. The elements above will mostly help as it is the trend of beauty- in the eye of the general web user, not in the web developer’s.

The question: Does your web visitor belongs to the general group? Sometimes, your targeted web user might be those senior citizens, which rich media content might annoys them. Or they might be located in low-speed internet access areas, who find the extra loading time for those heavy yet subtle detailing (and sometimes mega-rich flash animation) painful.

Consider your web user carefully, and choose a design theme that can accommodate their needs and preferences, not yours.


Beautiful Website or Functional Website?

Imagine this:

You are a superbly talented and creative web designer, resourceful and possess the most complex techniques in designing a website. When you are designing your client’s website, which way should you approach? A dynamic and outrageously beautiful website, or a simple static website?

Some of you might ask first: what is my client’s budget? Or some prefer: what is my client’s objective? Then you proceed with the first question. Well, I should mention, you miss a couple of crucial questions:

What is their message?

A website should always focus on the intended message, whether it is to sell product, present news, encourage people to sign-up or inducing brand images. And all this should relates to the next question.

Who are their targeted visitor?

Websites are for web visitors, not you, not your clients. It is your job to find the right way to present your client’s messages to their web visitors. Web visitors, and not your client’s customers.

So,when designing a website, understanding the challenging programming languages or possessing the gifted creative talent is no guarantee for a successful web design. You must understand your client’s whole business and possess a critical view of communication. Your approach can vary heavily in this stage.

Designing the best website takes some time. Understanding your client’s business takes most.