Changing Directions

So I’ve decided to change directions with this blog as I’m now much busier than when I began and do not have much time to write full articles.

I’ll write a random article here or there but what I’ve decided is a much better method to help my web design & development madness.

I CONTINUALLY search the web for tips and articles myself whenever I run into a crunch and tend to always go back to the same damn stuff whenever I’m in a jam. So what I will do is simply have titles for what you will be looking for with a quick link along with an accompanying quick description blog post with the same link in there as well.

I.e. this will turn into a list of helpful web developer / website design links for the masses and also save me some sanity so I don’t have to keep typing in the same stuff into google to find what I need. Much more productive for you and I.

Stop in, find what you’re looking for, leave with a smile.

nTLDs – Reserve Yours Today!

The web design world could see yet another .com-ish boom after these new Top Level Domains have been implemented. launched a massive TV ad campaign to promote reserving them which can still be done. When I first saw the commercial I jumped right on my comp and began reserving any name I could think of. There’s a counter right next to it that tells you how many names have been registered. When I started it was less than 800,000 and within an hours or so it reached well over 1million.

Definitely excited to see how it will all play out, but I’d imagine someone who owns says or would be an instant millionaire.

The biggest question that I can’t quite find an answer to yet is how google will interpret these… If it in fact becomes readable and marketable new businesses could see a HUGE JUMP in rankings… let’s see.

Latest Apple iOS 7 Concept Brings Forth A Clean New Flat Interface, Dashboard Widgets And More

Paul Morris of redmondpie explains the next update for Apple. Yes.. ANOTHER UPDATE. I hope you didn’t just buy an iphone 🙁

New Facebook Ad Image Sizes / Dimensions & News Feed Option Placements [excerpt]

Excellent article written by Merry Morud featured in Search Engine Watch about the new image sizes for facebook ads

Over the past few days, and only in select Facebook Ad accounts, there have been some interesting and exciting updates to Facebook’s traditional ad unit images.

As production began on new, traditional ad units to a website, we noticed a significant change to the suggested image size as recommended in Facebook’s Create Flow (the web UI for Facebook Ads).

Facebook Create Flow Image Size Preview

Facebook is now suggesting images of 308×308 pixels to show the traditional ad in the news feed, which is a significantly larger canvas size compared to the previous image dimensions of 100×72 pixels.

What’s Going On Here?!

On the hunt for more information from Facebook on this new change, we encountered some inconsistent info in the SERPs.

The search result below leads right to a Facebook help page, but – oops, looks like they haven’t updated their meta descriptions. Outdated information still populates search result.

Facebook Image Ad Size SERP

Fortunately, the page itself seems to have the right dimensions. Or does it?

What Size Should My Ad Image Be

Hang on… when we attempted to upload an image that was 100×72 pixels, Facebook alerted us the image should be “at least 120 x 120.”

Here’s what we know:

  1. Facebook has only rolled out this new feature to select accounts, as not everyone has this new option.
  2. Facebook has never been great at letting advertisers know when it unfurls new features.

Marketing Implications for the New Ad Images

Facebook advertisers who want to take advantage of the new traditional ad image and placement (and who wouldn’t?) must understand how the ratio and sizing of the image will impact both ad units.

New Image Size & Ratio: 308×308

Bigger image = awesome!

Facebook Traditional Ad News Feed Size

But hold your horses, advertisers. Using the new image dimensions will affect the right column ad image as well:

Facebook Traditional Ad Right Column Preview Square

Notice something? Facebook has simply shrunk the 308×308 image to fit within the dimensions of the traditional ad image specifications of 100×72, resulting in an image that isn’t optimized for a traditional ad for the right column (presumably 72×72).

Another option would be to keep the right column image ratio (100×72), but enlarge it to better fit the News Feed format: 308×221. This holds the integrity of the right column image and allows for a nice, big news feed ad image.

Facebook Traditional Ad Preview

Unfortunately, advertisers can’t move or adjust the view of the news feed image like you can with the thumbnail images of your profile.

News Feed Traditional Ad + Social Actions

Facebook advertisers can also opt to connect the ad to their Facebook Page to be seen in the news feed. Adding the Facebook Page will display the profile image, which is great for additional branding, and it seems to provide options for users to take actions on the ad: Like, Comment, and Share.

Facebook Traditional Ad News Feed Preview

It’s also important for marketers and ad writers to note that the ad in the news feed places the body copy above the headline. Therefore, advertisers using this ad placement should take into consideration that 1) Users can take social actions and 2) The orientation of text is flipped. This could potentially turn your ad writing strategy on its head, and should.

Potential Blowback from New Ad Placement

Recently, Facebook has been testing many different ad units in the news feed, much to the displeasure of certain Facebook users.

Facebook Sponsors in News Feed Blowback

We’ve seen it, our clients have seen it, heck – there’s a whole community on Facebook rallying against Suggested Posts and ads in the News Feed.

While Facebook is trying to make marketers’ ads more engaging by placing them in the News Feed, many users (who *cough* don’t understand how or why Facebook is free for them…) reallyhate sponsored anything in their feed.

Word to the wise, Facebook advertisers: If you’re running ads or sponsored stories in the news feed, keep a close eye on those comments and take control by hiding or deleting angry comments about “spamming their news feed,” and understand that if a significant number of users “hide” or x-out of ads the quality score of your ad, and potentially your account, will take a hit.

New Facebook Ad Strategy

If there are concerns regarding blowback from targeted audiences, advertisers have the power toremove either of these traditional ad units.

For best practice, create modifications of the same ad, keeping in mind the different displays and text placement.

Facebook Traditional Ad Campaign Preview

There you have it, Facebook advertisers! Something new to look forward to from the Facebook Ads team. Play around, have fun, sell smart!

You can also read the article here

7 Things Web Designers Can Learn from Print [excerpt] Article Excerpt

In an article written by Vladimir Gendelman of They give excellent tips on the web marketing process in comparison to print techniques. I find myself constantly looking at tons of magazines and print media in general old and new for ideas, colors, layouts, etc.

This article kind of helped me get a little more perspective on this process so I figured I’d share this as it may help someone else as well.

This is unrelated but we also should not forget “New Media” meaning your phones. I continually get inspired by what people manage to capture on instagram and facebook posts in general. Whether it’s a landscapes, events, or just the human experience Everyone can be an artist now… whether you’re good or bad is up for interpretation :). I’ll write more on this in the future.

Although the knowledge in effective web marketing has increased over the last decade or two, there is still a great deal that web designers can learn from print designers. After all, print marketing has been around since the invention of the printing press and roughly five-hundred years of successful designs can’t be wrong.

It doesn’t matter if it’s print media or digital media; as a designer, it’s your duty to help your clients show off their brand and connect with potential customers. Here are just a few techniques that print designers use to carry out that duty—and that won’t mislead you even in web design..

1. Less is more

When designing for print, you have to constantly be aware of how much space you have to fit your work into, because adding more space means increasing the size (and cost) of the media itself. On the other hand, web designers have an almost unlimited amount of space to use because the audience can always keep scrolling down to continue viewing the page.

However, you also run the risk of losing the audience’s attention when you bombard them with too much information at once. Consider the efficiency of a business card or direct mailer—in a small amount of space, print designers are able to grab the audience’s attention and deliver an effective message.  Your digital designs should strive for economy instead of over-expansion, conveying a strong central message without trying to stuff your design with as many elements as possible.

Use fewer words instead of pages of dense text. Focus on a few strong images instead of a cluttered collage. Simplify your designs to improve your design efficiency – when you’re worried about a bunch of details, you tend to lose focus on the big picture. In fact, it’s that big picture that your clients are most looking for in their web designs.


Photo Credit: Hovard Design

2. Make Scanning Easy

When people view a piece of print media, they expect to find the information they’re looking for without having to read the entire thing. Think of the way a postcard or brochure compartmentalizes information into easy-to-read sections.  A website is no exception – people don’t want to spend too much time finding whatever they’re looking for, they want it to jump out at them.

Use headlines and sub-headings to guide your audience’s eyes to the most vital information. Add bold and italic typesetting or bright colors such as red to highlight important segments of text. Keep paragraphs short and use repetition to drive home the most important points.


Photo Credit: BASIC

There are several visual cues you can also add to increase the readability.  Include pictures that tie into the information you’re presenting so that people can quickly find the sections they’re looking for. You can even borrow visual design elements commonly found in print media, such as starbursts, arrows and other simple shapes that draw attention.

3. Make Your Call to Action Powerful and Upfront

A call to action is one of the most important elements of a successful marketing campaign because it tells the audience what to do with the information they just received. At the end of the day, print marketing collateral is just a piece of paper – it can’t convert customers all on its own. The call to action is what propels the customer into taking that next step towards a conversion.


Photo Credit: Veronica Varesta

The benefit of a web campaign is that a website can directly lead a potential customer onto the next step of the process through hyperlinks and other interactive elements. However, you can’t assume the audience is going to know where to click or for what reason unless it’s been clearly defined.  And they won’t be able to locate these points of interaction unless your design draws attention to them through use of creative typography, imagery or other eye-catching techniques.

Repetition is the key to driving home your call to action. Print collateral with multiple pages will feature the call to action on every page so that the reader is never too far from the information he needs to carry forward with a sale or conversion. Your web design should also feature a clear call to action on every page – probably multiple times per page, depending on the task your design is supposed to perform.

4. Test marketing before implementation is vital

A major benefit of web design is that mistakes can be easily fixed or tweaked if a problem should arise – but this benefit can also be a backlash. With a print marketing design, you have to be certain that everything is correct before you finalize the print job, or else you run the risk of having to reprint and waste materials. Even famous, well-established companies such as Trader Joe’s can fall prey to simple spelling errors.  To avoid this, print designs are often given an extra level of testing under a higher level of scrutiny than web designs.


Photo Credit: Flickr user “jesman”

Implementing the same standards in your web designs can save you time by helping you avoid future fine-tuning. Doing so extends past simply doing testing to make sure that the design is usable—it also means testing to see if the design will be effective in attracting new business.

Talk to your target audience and find out what they value before you even begin to brainstorm ideas for your design. Ask a loyal contingent of existing customers if they would like to participate in test marketing to get a better understanding of how people respond to your design. As the saying goes—the customer is always right.

5. Activate All Senses

When people experience something for the first time, their brains create a sense memory associated with that moment. The more senses that the brain can use to understand the experience, the stronger the memory becomes. Print marketing collateral has the benefit of being a physical object, which affects both sight and touch.


Photo Credit: Ken Lo

Print designs often incorporate embossing, textured coatings, textured stocks and other special options to make a better connection to a person’s sense of touch. Although a web design cannot be touched, it also has the ability to affect more than one sense – sight and hearing. By adding audio to your web designs you cannot only ensure a stronger sense memory but a greater degree of accessibility.

Audio could be in the form of music or ambient noise, such as the sound of a cheering crowd for a stadium web page. Audio could also come as part of a video, which allows the brand to literally speak to the audience. Just keep in mind that audio can also have a negative effect on your design if the audio is too loud, poor quality or jarring.

6. Don’t Sacrifice Functionality for Style

Even the most creative print designs still have to have some level of practicality in order to be successful. After all, a folder has to be able to open and close, not to mention securely store documents. Web designs are no different – creativity is key, but functionality is equally or even more important.


Photo Credit: Beth Sicheneder

You don’t want your audience to become frustrated and navigate away from the page because your design confused them or they couldn’t find what they were looking for. The function of your design is to convey a message, so you won’t want to create a distraction that draws attention away from that message either.

Functionality doesn’t just mean creating a user-friendly interface, but being aware of the different ways people view websites. Adding a plethora of interactive elements to your design is fun for people with newer model computers, but can be a nightmare for those on older machines or mobile devices. Think of your design as a fishing net instead of a fishing lure – the net may not be as pretty as the lure, but it’s a more practical way to catch a large amount of fish at once.

7. Design with Other Media in Mind

It takes both digital media and print media to successfully market a brand, but many designers make the mistake of thinking their web designs are print ready. More often than not, the design elements created for a web marketing campaign will look distorted when printed, unless certain changes are made. For example, designs saved in RGB mode for the web will be converted to CMYK when printed using 4-color process, which can lead to discoloration.

In a print design, it’s crucial that the logo is able to print as one solid color. But many logos designed for the web use complex gradation, which cannot be reproduced when printing with only one color. Design your logos so that it will still be recognizable and effective with only one color—or use multiple logos, one for the web and one exclusively for print.


Photo Credit: Emir Ayouni

When creating designs for the web, you have no limit to the amount of colors you can use. However, when printing using PMS ink, you have to correctly match the Pantone color of the ink. Brand colors should always match a Pantone color swatch to ensure that the marketing collateral is accurate and consistent, both on the web and in print.


Digital media is here to stay, but print doesn’t seem to be going anywhere either. Having the versatility to work effectively in both worlds makes you much more desirable to potential clients, who often want to have someone who can do it all. By focusing on these tenets of print marketing and design, you can ensure that you’ll always be ready to get a brand’s message out to the people no matter what tools you use to do so.

These are just a few of the lessons that can be learned from print media design. What lessons have you learned from designing for print and how have you applied them to your web marketing designs? What about in reverse – what are some lessons that print designers can learn from web design? Share your responses in the comments.

You can also read the full article here

*Aerial Fitness Hot Yoga Studio – Website Client Featured in Newsday

Happy to announce that a website I helped develop was featured in Newsday yesterday. Run by April Yakaboski, Aerial Fitness is a yoga studio based in Riverhead, Ny that does those crazy acrobatic style yoga techniques.

They also do TRX … I’m not a yoga person but I am very amazed by the pictures I saw of their work. HIGHLY recommend it if you’re looking for an interesting workout routine that’s better than “normal yoga.”

Click Here To Check Out Their Schedule

I also helped develop their sister site: Riverhead Pilates so check that out too! This one is RESPONSIVE!

*Both websites were designed by Vivian Piccone Jung who also was Dan’s Hampton’s Winner: Best Pilates Teacher on Long Island!

Here’s a snippet of the article written by John Hanc:

In the nearly four years since she opened her studio in Riverhead, April Yakaboski has discerned one of the uncomfortable truths of yoga.

The girls can do it; the guys, or at least many of them, can’t.

“Women would start to bring their husbands into our classes, and I could see them struggling,” says Yakaboski, who opened Aerial Fitness and Hot Yoga in June 2009. “I knew that there had…

Click Here for the Full Article | Go to Aerial Fitness Hot Yoga website | Go to Riverhead Pilates Website

*note Newsday subscription is required to read the full article

Adobe getting rid of Creative Suite for Monthly Subscription – Creative Cloud

Let’s face it… we knew this was coming

Remember when you went into a Tower Records to buy cds…? Yea, me neither. That’s exactly what Napster caused, the destruction of the music industry as we know it because mp3s gave you the ability to get all the music you want for free. The same holds true for Computer programs. I don’t have the facts in front of me but I’m sure Photoshop is one of the most pirated programs out there. And it’s unfortunate because in the end it ends up being us loyal people that bought the shit the proper way that end up suffering.

There’s no question that web developers, web designers, and graphic designers are the best fields to be in right now and with the Freelancer BOOM that’s occurred over the past 3 – 5 years there’s been an unprecedented amount of copies of the programs like Photoshop and Illustrator that’s been pirated and pirated and pirated. Why pay when you can get it for free right? A lot of fault lies on Adobe, you make a group of programs like the Creative Suite over $1000 and guess what… people are going to figure out how to steal it. Mark the price down and maybe…just maybe people will purchase it legally.

But whatever the case those days are over now with the Creative Cloud. Adobe says they “believe the creative process can be better” … what they really mean is it can be more “profitable”. I mean damn what a deal for them?? Monthly subscribers vs Single one time payment? You got us caught on a leash for life that way! I saw the monthly option a while back on their site and I thought “Oh that’s a good idea for people that only want to use it for a little while.” Little did I know that it was a test to maneuver people away from the old cereal boxes of software cds to the up and coming cloud based world… sneaky bastards.

So in a nut shell what the Creative Cloud is you pay a monthly fee to access all of the latest and greatest design tools that we hold so near and dear [and count on for our livelihood in some cases] instead of going to the store and buying the programs. Then you can use it like you normally would execpt with a MUCH heftier price tag attached to it. And, oh boy, it can even connect to your Behance account to “find inspiration, showcase your work, get feedback, and gain global exposure for your portfolio”… yay.

The price tag for Students is currently $20/month for the first year… but you know that’s going to go up. SO the first year student can maybe afford it but fast forward to when they have to pay $30 or $40 the next year then you run into trouble.

For us none students we’re looking at $50/month…. good god. So now someone out of college who works from home will have to pay rent, cable, internet, electric, netflix, STUDENT LOANS, utilities (I’m, assuming), car payments or transportation fees, car insurance, cell phone, food/beer, maybe news subscriptions, and oh yea another $50 a month for ADOBE…. It’s as if society doesn’t want us under 30 people to live on our own…

For us already invested in this industry, hey it could be a good thing…

The upside I see to this is it could help weed out the new developers and graphic designers from entering the market in the future since there’d be a heavy price tag to pay to do it… I can’t see most college kids who can barely afford their own food and beer to be able to shell out $20/month for this. The computer room is going to get MIGHTY crowded…

In closing, I say to all my software designers out there now is the time to end the monopoly Adobe has and create an open source program like you did with Microsoft Office or even just a similar lower cost version for Creative Suite… Think about it. Your market possibilities just opened up TEN FOLD which means, if done right, you could be a millioniare.

Enhance Your Photography [article excerpt]

There are a few different websites I research for inspiration or just to keep up to snuff within the internet / graphics / web design world… is by far my favorite. They have a mega-load of content that can help with Graphic Designers, Web Designer, Web Developers, App Developers, Mobile Design, Photoshop, releases and the like.

This article I thought really put in perspective the steps photographers should be taking to capture a real experience on camera. I’ve been to the Met ALOT in the past few years and as much as I enjoy looking at paintings by various artists photography has been my art poison of choice. It’s all has to do with real experiences, and capturing that I just find to be inspiring and at times life altering… Ansel Adams has always been a personal favorite (corny and cliche but true) of mine and glad to hear he’s mentioned here.

There are 10 steps in all but I’m showing the first 5. Click the link at the end to read all 10.

Written by Ian Plant:


1. Learn to think in the abstract

Famous photographer Minor White once said “One should photograph objects, not only for what they are, but for what else they are.” What he meant by this is that a photographer should learn to think abstractly about composition. Try not to think literally about objects in your scene—don’t think of them as waterfalls, mountains, trees, etc.—but rather think in terms of the shapes they form, perspective (depth and scale), space (the placement and arrangement of elements), and color. This process is an important first step: once you start seeing elements of a scene in abstract terms, then you’re ready to start tackling advanced compositional techniques.

"Light is Life" by Ian Plant

2. Get your feet moving

Ansel Adams once said “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” Thoroughly exploring a scene is the best way to ensure that you find something compelling and original. A little bit of curiosity goes a long way—if you aren’t asking yourself questions like “What would the view look like from that small hill over there?” then you are limiting yourself to only the most obvious shots. If you want to make unique and meaningful compositions, you need to get your feet moving, and experiment with different angles, focal lengths, and relative positions. Only then can you really see what the world has to offer.

"Eternal Mirror" by Ian Plant

3. Use “power shapes” to create bold compositions

Simple shapes such as triangles, circles, radial patterns, curves, lines, and zigzags attract the eye, lending themselves to simple yet bold compositions. Sometimes the shape can be the basis for the composition itself, whereas other times it can merely be the background structure for a more complex composition.

"Shadows and Sand" by Ian Plant

4. Create depth in your photos

Manipulation of the relative size of objects can help you create depth in your photographs and lead the viewer’s eye into the scene. One powerful technique that does this is called forced perspective, which employs optical illusion to make an object appear more prominent than it actually is. This is usually accomplished by getting close to a near object with a wide-angle lens, thus exaggerating its size and visual importance relative to more distant objects. Forced perspective can become a powerful tool used to create dynamic visual relationships between near and far objects.

"Kaleidoscope" by Ian Plant

5. Direct the viewer’s attention

Leading elements are useful for compelling the viewer’s eye into the photo. Leading lines which stretch from foreground to background are especially powerful. Other shapes placed in the foreground can accomplish the same thing; a curving river can encourage the eye to meander throughout the scene, whereas a triangle-shaped rock can point into the composition. Multiple visual elements, arranged properly, can encourage the viewer’s eye to travel deep into the scene; a near-to-far, bottom-to-top visual progression is often particularly effective.

Read full article from