October Roundup: Responsive design, SEO is not Spam?, and (google) Plus for Business

In which we identify, alert you to, and quite possibly expound on three (or four) Web Things of Interest that we did, liked, or *ahem* were critical of in October.  Namely:  Our new website launches with Responsive Web Design.  Google Plus comes to Google Apps. And google super rocking Web Usability bonus: the new Google Reader goes under the knife.

New Look, Responsive Web Design

responsive design changes shape on Android phone.

Infamia on mobile

Surely by now you’ve seen Infamia’s new website, complete with web fonts courtesy of the Google Fonts API. (Our apologies to some Windows XP users.)  But have you opened it in your iphone? or several different-sized android phones? or your iPad? Your 6-inch, 7-inch, 10.3-inch tablet? If so, you  will no doubt noticed very little: everything was still as it should be.  Closer inspection, however, would reveal that the layout is slightly different. Our new theme uses a new technique called “responsive web design.”  In responsive web design, all design elements are defined in relative terms.  This takes more work, but it means that a webpage can dynamically scale up or down to fit the appropriate medium.  The image on the right shows the webpage on my phone: note the menu is vertical.  The menu goes back to its horizontal orientation if I rotate the phone!

We consider ourselves craftsmen of web things, and  we are proud of our web development work. Staying on the cutting edge is an integral part of Infamia. The new site was long overdue. Tell us how you like it in the comments or drop us a line. We’ve written a bit more about how we build our website, if you’re interested.

SINS: SEO Is Not SPAM (and google says so)

Matt Cutts needs no introduction. He is the public face of Google search. And in a new video, Matt Cutts talks about why SEO is not spam.

Don’t feel like spending three minutes of your day?  It’s OK, we watched it for you.  The basic premise is that SEOs do good things for your site, the search world, and all your users too. Here are some key things SEOs can help with:

  • Make sure pages are crawl-able and accessible (read: no Flash)
  • Use the right keywords: no jargon
  • Improve usability.
  • Make your site runs fast
  • Write copy that converts

Of course, Black Hat SEO tactics, keyword stuffing, doing “Sneaky things with redirects” is still bad. Luckily, we wrote about how to hire an SEO. Or you can contact us directly.

Social Media news: Google Plus graduates to Business users

What’s this? You’re a business user of Google’s business-level services, namely Google Apps?  You’ve been waiting for months for you and your business to jump on the Google Plus bandwagon?  Well the wait is over.  Although Google Plus does not (yet) allow for business pages the way facebook does, the service is now open to Google Apps accounts. Such as mine. Of course this means that B2B enterprises can now benefit from the +1 button.

Three things business users should do:

  1. Add a +1 button to your website
  2. Assign someone to be your company’s voice on Google Plus
  3. Tell all your friends

Web Usability Bonus Round: Google Reader under the knife

Google Reader viewport surgery

Speaking of Google, it seems their trained pigeons have been busy rolling out a new design. And not everyone is happy.  So we thought we’d do some math on Google Reader (although gmail and google docs have similar layouts). There are many things I like about the new design, but I agree that top headers are distracting from the main “action area”. We now have three headers: the login/google plus header, the search header, and the utility header.  So how much real estate is used by different things? Here is the math:

  • Headers: 24%
  • Left navigation: 18%
  • “Action” area: 56%
As I said, I like the clear new design. I even like the action area, which is adjustable on some services. But the headers seem to waste some useful real estate. From a usability perspective, these seem to do little more than add visual consistency between google products.

Your turn

Got something to say?  Don’t just stand there.  Leave a comment.

About Mickey Panayiotakis

Mickey, to date, loves: excellent websites, his boat, snowboarding, awesome new technologies, things sustainable, and eating. The list is necessarily growing: he believes people should love more than they hate. Ernesto, his business partner, and Mickey run Infamia. (Mickey cares about, but does not always love, the oxford comma.)
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