Web Design Blog

Freelance web developers wanted

Hey, internet! With the recent rapid growth (and general awesomeness) of Blackbird Solutions we're on the hunt for talented freelance web developers to add to our pool of resources.  Ideally we're looking for one or more people local to the Sunshine Coast who are available for face-to-face chats, but happy to speak to developers further afield who are reliable and can get the job done.  If you're looking for a full-time web developer job on the Sunshine Coast then I probably can't help, but if you're a talented freelance self-starter then let's talk. Experience using Wordpress or Drupal and solid skills in...

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Fun with a pure CSS logo

I couldn't resist myself with the new Sunshine Coast Digital Association logo and decided to have a crack at converting it into pure CSS. As a web developer it's sometimes fun to experiment, and I needed a little technical task to give me a challenge on a Friday afternoon. The logo lends itself perfectly to CSS composition, with its letters comprised of coloured blocks and a web-safe font to boot. After I was happy with the initial result, I wrote a custom PHP function to easily render the logo components on any page. I then decided to take it one step...

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Calling all Sunshine Coast web designers & developers!

Would you like to connect with others in the web industry? I'm very proud and excited to be launching the Sunshine Coast's very first official association for web designers and developers. After many years of attending and helping to run an informal meetup group for local developers, I decided to take the leap and make a concerted push for creating a more formal industry body. Over the years I've had such a positive experience hanging out with like-minded professionals, picking their brain, sharing my skills and building up a local support network, that I decided I couldn't wait any longer to...

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Responsive Web Design

Over the past several years, the usage of smaller devices to access the internet has exploded. Enter "responsive" web design. A simple explanation of this is that a website is built so that responds to the size of the device. So, for example, rather than using the old "pinch and zoom" technique (and squinting your eyes) to view a large website on a small device, the site detects your screen size and serves up a slightly modified version of the website that is optimised especially for you.  Originally it was quite common to build separate mobile and desktop versions of your...

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New website design!

After many months of procrastination followed by a sudden burst of energy, I'm proud to launch the new design of the Blackbird Solutions website.  Although the old design was fairly respectable, it's been several years since I've redesigned so I decided to take the site to the next level. Older technologies such as Cufon and Drupal 6 were removed in favour of @font-face fonts, a fresh new Drupal 7 build, CSS3 transitions, and even more importantly a responsive design which means a consistent user experience across multiple devices sizes (e.g. tablet and mobile).  As with any web project, I began by reviewing...

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A Hitchhiker's Guide to Ecommerce

If you're thinking about starting an ecommerce store, here are a few tips to get you started in online business: Have you done your research? It pays to have a serious think about your proposed online store and come up with a business plan. In particular I'd recommend the following: Research your target market. Is there potential for these type of clients to purchase your product or service online? Does your product or service lend itself to being ordered and delivered online? Have you checked out the competition? Are there any ways you can improve on what they are doing? What makes you different from your...

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A gathering of web nerds and design boffins

For a couple of years now I've had the privilege of being involved in the Sunshine Coast Adobe Web Users' Group (wow, what a mouthful) or SCAWUG for short. I've never seen an uglier acronym, but don't let that put you off.  Basically SCAWUG is an informal gathering where local web developers and web designers to get together once a month and chat. The good folks at Adobe are kind enough to pay for the pizza and beer, and they occasionally let us give away software prizes as well. We'll usually try to have a somewhat serious discussion and also a...

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How to use Social Networking (and still respect yourself in the morning)

There's no doubt that online social networking is huge these days, and it seems everybody wants a piece of the pie. With technology changing so fast, it's easy to get left behind, get confused about what's what, or just try to jump on the band-wagon without any real understanding of what you're trying to achieve. Ultimately, social networking is just a buzzword to describe any kind of website or application that focuses on connecting people. That's pretty much it. The uptake of such applications has been so huge that it's pretty much revolutionised the way we spend our time online, and...

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Web vs. Print Advertising

Let's get one thing straight - I'm a bit of a techno-geek and a lover of the internet, so it probably doesn't come as a surprise to you that I'll side with the web in this argument.  There's no doubt that print advertising certainly has its advantages - right now on my desk, I have a beautiful printed, glossy personalised card from Mazda, sent to remind me of my next car service. It feels good in my hand - it's got my name printed in glossy white letters, and it makes me feel important. Mission achieved.  But when you consider the cost...

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What is a Content Management System?

Back in the early days, if you needed a website, a web designer would build a whizz-bang HTML website for you, ask you for the content, and put it all together in a nice, neat bundle. Down the track, if your phone number changed, you'd need to contact the web designer again to make the change. Editing HTML files requires a bit of technical knowledge, so it's not something most clients can do. Speaking frankly, this is a great ongoing income for a web designer, as content changes are a pretty easy task and therefore a good way to generate income. Then...

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