the internet ideas blog

Monday, June 13, 2011

Let's Go To The Batting Cages

The last week has been like a pitching machine going at full speed, I’ve hit a lot of the balls and fouled a few hits, but overall I’ve survived without too many balls to the head. I’ve found great tools for optimizing search results and put them to work for several of our clients already. Working with Teajai and Chris, I’ve picked up and been reminded of design tricks that make life much easier! We’ve tackled and achieved redesigning a current client’s site this week as well as launching a new site, all with beautiful designs!

Here are some previews of the sites we knocked out, Harlow Aerostructures and Clearsite Windshield Repair.

In building the site for Clearsite, a newly launched business in Cleveland, Ohio, I learned some pretty cool stuff about the new windshield repair technique they use and how insurance companies would rather pay a little for your windshield repair and waive your deductible then pay a lot to have your windshield replaced. We've put a Twitter feed as well as their calendar on the site and will be adding their Facebook update feed today.

Harlow Aerostructures’ redesigned website has a very classy look for a business to business company. They make a vast array of complex aircraft parts, here in Wichita, because of that the site content is a little over my head as far as what they are talking about, but we have given it a fresh new look, just in time for their upcoming trade show!

It’s been a great week here in the batting cage and I’m excited to see what balls get thrown at me this week and hope to hit home runs every time!

Dan on Google+

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A few of my favorite web designs!

So I've felt like reviewing a couple of my favorite websites that we've created as a company and share some of the reasons that I like them so much.

To start us off I have to start with our own website! came out really,
really well in my opinion. The subtle use of gradients to mesh the light and dark
areas of the site to draw your attention to specific portions is awesome. Transferring the content over from the old site was a breeze and we managed to tweak certain parts (and add new pages) with relative ease. The site layout encourages standards-compliant development due to it's unadulterated div layouts and very little alteration to content areas.

Next I want to look at the first website that I ever got to use my own templating system for! was a landmark site for me here at Ideas That Work. It was the first site where I really got to get into the back-end of a site and flush it out beginning to end. From the PHP framework to the contact page I was responsible for making sure "it just worked". The website is riddled with hard to digest content and big words, but for pure development analysis, I'm happy with it. The design looks pretty good in my opinion, too.

Last and most certainly least, but still one of my favorite websites (purely because of the programming) is the Extreme Makeover Home Edition website we created for the Wichita Build that can be found at There are several reasons I really like what we
accomplished with this website. Obviously because it was for a good cause, and the website was a driving force in getting donations & organizing volunteers. In a matter of about a week I created a fully functional (sort of) management tool that was deployed WITHOUT TESTING. I'm proud to say it survived the rigors of public launch to a bigger audience than I have EVER serviced and held strong until the very end. It has since been dismantled and is a shell of it's former glory, but I'm still super proud of our accomplishment, even if the entire process had me pulling my hair out.

Enough about us...

I thought it might be kind of fun to show you guys some of the sites that I really like and try to mimic in the way I program. Unfortunately I'm not a designer, Teajai does the art here, so I end up liking the not-so-artsy-but-still-really-awesome sites.

First up to bat is ZenDesk is customer support software made easy.
Or something like that. I really like the simplicity that the site exudes. The green feels a little overwhelming at first, but after seeing it several times I really start to appreciate the attention to details. Hovering over every link gives you a roll-over effect, and all of the graphic work is beautiful. Of course ZenDesk is one of the leading solution providers to the help desk market, and it's no surprise with a website like this.

Second up we have Forrst is a community portal for web designers & dev
elopers. Of course when the target audience is skilled professionals who create the exact
product you're serving them, you better do a stand-up job. Kyle (the owner of Forrst) did that and then some. In cahoots with a very talented designer, Kyle managed to create a elegant yet simple solution and filling a void in a very saturated niche. I especially like the correlation between the design and the name of the website. The logo being the simple tree logo along with the wood grain accents used across the
website just bring it all home for me.

Last but certainly not least is a website design that has inspired many failed attempts by me at recreating it. There isn't a single website that I hold in higher regards. It's amazing in every regard in my eyes. It answers all of your questions in
the first 15 seconds of viewing the site, and in style! The fantastic deep blue clashing with the lighting effect of the light blues, and the fancy icon work that they did to drive the point of their text home really sells this as a high-class website in my mind.

If you haven't noticed, all these websites aren't riddled with high-impact designs nor are they purely textual content driven. They find a nice balance between beauty and business, and it's something I long to create for all of our clients.

If you have any sites that you want to share please feel free. I could spend all day looking at beautiful websites, if Teajai would let me.
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