Upgraded to WordPress 2.5

I’m all upgraded to the newest version of WordPress and I have to say – I like it.

The coolest feature so far is the one-click plugin upgrade. It sure beats deactivating, downloading, unzipping, uploading, activating and finally configuring after 5-10 minutes of setup. Now, it takes seconds!

It may take me a while to get used to the interface, but I do like it better than my initial impression. I really don’t like that most of the interface is a fixed width; the fluid design made things much less crammed together, but I do see the benefits in it (Most people have fixed width themes, so why have huge writing panels? Also, you can now write in full screen mode.).

All of my plugins upgraded successfully, save my ‘related posts’ plugin. I’ll fix that soon!

Overall, I like the upgrade and can’t wait to take full advantage of it.

I’ll have a new post soon with some more SEO tips!

Be sure to checkout my post on online reputation management profiles.

Jared Rey Blog

Jared Rey BlogJared has been one of my good friends for a while, and when he started getting serious about photography he wanted a custom designed blog so he came to me. He actually had already put together a design he wanted to go with and just needed my help making it come to life.

Included in Jared’s site are a few little features that you may not notice unless they’re pointed out. All of so-called “pages” are navigated to from the menu but are also viewed in the menu. Instead of clicking on the About page and going to a whole new page, for example, the menu drops down and displays all of the information normally displayed on the full About page. This keeps navigation simple and simplifies the entire site. Jared wanted comments to be quickly viewable, so if you want to see the comments, click the link and they drop down – again, avoiding a page refresh and interrupting the flow of the site.

Website: No longer online

Platform: WordPress

Web Design in Denton, TX

I live in Denton, TX (Corinth, TX to be exact, but who knows where that is?!). Denton is just 45 minutes north of Dallas and Fort Worth. Things in Denton have historically been quiet, rural, or at most, minimally suburban to the bigger 2 triangle counterparts, D and FW.

Before I get to the web designing…Things are changing here. Denton is rounding out this triangle (Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton) quite nicely, or perhaps some think the rounding out is less awesome. I like the coming changes, however. Denton is becoming less of a leech to the other cities and gathering quite a crowd to place into its many newly built and yet to be built homes. The largest shopping attraction is being built as I write and is certain to bring tourism to Denton. Several corporations are moving into town, bringing more jobs, more opportunities, and more options.

For me, I’m excited about the chance that more web design work may be available here. Dallas has a great reputation for advertising, marketing, and creative services like web design. I’d rather not move to Dallas for work though. In the coming years, I’ll probably be able to stay right here and offer the traditional Dallas services right here from Denton.

Of course, I work on the Internet, a world-wide platform, but I like working with people in my community. It’s also easier and more efficient to meet with people sometimes. I always hope that my work is solving a problem, making something more efficient, or serving people in some such manner. Being able to watch that up close is more special to me, so I’ll try to keep it that way.

I may be pretty busy right now, but I’ll have more time soon to take on additional projects, and hope to serve Denton, TX more directly. Email me if you’re looking for a new web site.

Usability Tips: Remind Your Users

Even if you’ve got a great service with great features on your website, you aren’t guaranteed that everyone will use those features or even know what they are. So when it comes to engaging your users, you have to be proactive. Remind them of different things they can do. Suggest next steps and hold their hands. It’s another click, another feature, another pageview – more interaction and more use will keep people coming back to your site. Another benefit is that it can make your website or application seem smart; it knows what you might want, OR it knows what you don’t know you want 🙂

Gmail, for example, will alert email senders that the recipient isn’t using Gmail and offers them a quick link to invite them.

Usability - Invite New Users

Another application I favor is Freshbooks. A very useful feature they’ve implemented is drop-dead simple. When users log out they display the usual log out stuff, but in addition, they add a support form and contact information. A lot of times people have feedback to give, but are too lazy to give it. Often it requires more clicks or hunting down the right page or right email address. Why not enhance interaction and improve your product at the same time by displaying a contact form after users navigate to a page they almost will always choose to view (the “logged off” page)?

Usability - Logged Out Page on Freshbooks