Goodbye “Get SignOff”

Headscape, the Web design and development company of BoagWorld’s Paul Boag, announced today that their design proofing and approval service Get SignOff will be closing its virtual doors as of May 31, 2011.

Unfortunately, I never really got a chance to test out the service, as I don’t perform an extreme amount of design work; but it seemed like a nice option.

If they really are closing the service for the reasons cited in the message below, I must say that I respect them for the decision. I understand how tough it can be to provide the dedicated service and support that something like Get SignOff may require; and I wholeheartedly believe it’s better to shutter the service – while directing your users to another similar service – than it is to let a service continue floundering with no real support.

BoagWorld Says Good-Bye

A few days ago, Paul Boag announced that he would not continue publishing the BoagWorld podcast past the beginning of next month. While I understand his reasoning, support his decision and am really looking forward to see what he produces in the future; I am also very sad to hear this news. The BoagWorld podcast has been an invaluable resource for me since I discovered it.

Redesigning The Airplane Boarding Pass

Tyler Thompson was frustrated with the way that Delta issued boarding passes. Tyler notes, “It was like someone put on a blindfold, drank a fifth of whiskey, spun around 100 times, got kicked in the face by a mule (the person who designed this definitely has a mule living with them inside their house) and then just started puking numbers and letters onto the boarding pass at random (yes, I realize that a human didn’t lay this out, if a human had, judging by the train-wreck of design, they would have surely used papyrus). There was nothing given size or color importance over anything else, it was a mess.”

Tyler decided to start working on a new layout for the Delta boarding pass. You can check out all of his thoughts on how he went through a variety of iterations before arriving at his final design and layout.

A number of designers provided their attempts at new boarding passes for a variety of other airlines.

After nearly 20 years in the business, it’s amazing how many times things are done the way they are done because that’s how they are done. Only until a person like Tyler (and the others) create better ways do we clearly see how much better things can be done. It would take Delta a spot of time to change the way their boarding passes look to make them so much more rich and practical. Will Delta reply to Tyler? Our bags will probably arrive on the luggage carousel first. Helmut Granda takes a look into what it would actually take to change the Delta boarding pass.

I like Yoni De Beule‘s Delta revision the best followed by Matt Davey‘s Germanwings redesign.

Using CSS Sprites to Reduce Load Time

I’ve found quite a few articles and tutorials explaining how CSS sprites are basically the be-all end-all of Web development, going on and on about the idea that all of the icons you use on your Web site should be stored in a single file, reducing the amount of time it takes to load them individually and reducing the number of times a browser has to request something from your Web server.

It’s a great idea, in theory, but it’s not always practical. CSS sprites are extremely useful when you are working with fixed-size (height or width) elements on your site. However, they can be extremely tricky to implement (and generally not worth the effort) when you’re dealing with items that have dynamic heights and widths.

When you are dealing with fixed widths or heights, though, CSS sprites can be fantastic, especially if you have a slower Web server or if a large number of your users have slower Internet connections.

eduCheckup – Grading Higher Ed Web Sites

eduCheckup logoI wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a Web site I’ve been enjoying for the last few months. Nick DeNardis recently celebrated the one year anniversary of his video blog series “eduCheckup.” A few times a week, Nick visits a site that’s either been suggested by his users or that he’s found on eduStyle, and then reviews that site with a unique outside perspective. He evaluates the visual appeal, the quality and accessibility of information and the quality of the source code. He then averages the scores he’s given in each category and provides a letter grade (like you’d get in school) for the overall presentation.

Interview with CSSMania Founder Gabriel Segura

Over the past year I’ve had several sites listed on a variety of CSS galleries. CSS Mania has always provided the most traffic and comments/votes and I thought it would be interesting to chat with the founder, Gabriel Segura. Gabriel was kind enough to answer our questions and the transcript is below.

Allen: Can we start with a brief overview of yourself?
Gabriel: My name is Gabriel Segura. I was born in 1975. I am a telecomunications engineer (working at Ericsson during the day), flash designer, front-end web developer and CSS Mania’s father (at night). Married with a beautiful woman, Susana, and father of a “real” daughter Claudia (3 years old). We also have a Himalayan Persian cat at home called “Yuna” (Final Fantasy X). God gave me a wife that loves to play PS3/Xbox/Wii more than me.

Allen: What is CSS Mania?
Gabriel: We believe that CSS Mania is the largest CSS showcase in the world.

Allen: Why did you start CSS Mania and when did it launch?
Gabriel: CSS Mania was born in March 2004 as a section on my personal blog as I loafed around the few CSS Showcases that existed during that time. In 2005, before our admired Paul Scrivens sold CSSVault to Jacob Gower, we realized that other CSS Showcases sites, except ours, weren’t updating very regularly. We know that updates are what make a difference to readers.

We aren’t interested in the geek insights or trivial discussions common on other similar sites. We are interested in learning what any CSS afficionado or professional might want to learn.