11/19/09

Of Fonts and Food

Many of you are familiar with our local Frederick celebrity, Bryan Voltaggio, of Top Chef: Las Vegas fame. Bryan has seared and seasoned his way through the ranks of 18 other chefs this season, and will be competing for a spot in the final three next week. Having eaten at his restaurant, VOLT, a number of times, I can attest to his ability to create delectable, crave-worthy, food coma-inducing dishes. Bryan has mastered the art of choosing just the right ingredients and/or cooking technique that harmoniously come together to create a memorable (and sometimes magical) dish.

Though not quite as scrumptious, choosing the right font is as intrinsic to creating a good reader experience as picking fresh apples is to making the perfect apple crisp. Readers may not care, they might not even consciously notice, but you can guarantee that it will make a difference in how they feel, perceive and understand what they read.

Now comes the hard part – with so many options, how do you choose? Here’s a great list of guiding principles. Or, take the step-by-step approach. Still stuck? Choose one of the classics, or one of the top 100 best fonts of all time. Need help with fonts for the web? Check out these typographic best practices.

Oh, and good luck Bryan! We’re all rooting for you!

11/5/09

Your Website is Your Website is Your Website…Don’t Put It on a Social Media Platform

In the past few weeks I have heard several people/businesses discuss the idea of taking their website and putting it on a social networking platform such as a blog or a Ning. This is not a good idea! I’d love to hear your thoughts. But in no particular order, here are mine.

These sites and platforms are in their infancy – some will simply go away or be bought by another larger company. What does that mean for your website?

Features are being changed all the time. What if you employ a feature that is altered to your disadvantage?

Sometimes features are all together eliminated.

Many of these sites don’t allow you to archive information or pull custom reports.

Future growth could be limited.

Syndication of data can be restricted.

Narrow analytic options, if any.

Blogs, Ning, FaceBook, Flickr, Youtube, etc. should be used to drive traffic to your site and increase SEO.

FREE doesn’t mean you won’t pay, especially the paying you will do if you fall victim to one of the above scenarios.