Do Blogs Still Need Comments?

There’s been a lot of conversation lately about the value of comments and whether having comments turned on is still a necessity for blogs. Matt Gemmell has done a fantastic job of aggregating the conversation on his blog post Comments Commentary (ha!). Head over there to read more good discussion from both sides of the argument.

Comments and the two-way conversation they facilitate are one of the things that separates a blog but from just another webpage, but they can also be a giant headache. Keeping out all the spam and other filth while fostering a great community can be be very difficult and the necessary moderation is time consuming.

The right comment strategy will depend on the site and business goals. Depending on the site audience, there could be a more active (and civil) conversation about an article happening on Twitter or Facebook than on the site itself. All of these factors should be considered when making decisions on the tools you implement and on your site’s commenting policies.

Microsoft Teaches You How to be an Expert in Humor

Need assistance in increasing your humor quotient? Don’t worry, Microsoft has come to the rescue with training for you to become an “expert” in the ways of humor.

Are you overdoing your humor? They can help you. Are you funnier than you think you are? They have you covered. You even get to learn how to diffuse tense situations with humor.

Where do you fall in this “competency”? Personally I consider myself a Level 5 Ninja.

“This competency is one in a set of complete functional and behavioral qualities that, when fully realized, can help lead to professional success.” Too bad Microsoft hasn’t added napping as one of their core competencies. I would be Level 6 Grand Master at that.

And don’t forget to check out their recommended reading list at the bottom, you can learn a lot from Dilbert.

Link: Education Competencies: Humor

Wikipedia Blackout in a Protest against SOPA

In a protest against the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), Wikipedia, Reddit Boing Boing and several other companies will stage a blackout on January 18, 2012.

Opponents of these acts believe that if passed, the Government will force domain name registrars to block a website if it’s suspected that a site hosts content that infringes on copyright laws. Opponents further believe that this affects freedom of speech and first amendment laws.

Proponents say that these bills protect intellectual property.

WordPress is showing their support of the blackout by offering a Plugin that enables sites built on their platform to add a temporary 503 status.

Other companies, such as Twitter will support the blackout by providing a platform for discussion. Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO said “Not shutting down a service doesn’t equal not taking the proper stance on an issue. We’ve been very clear about our stance.”

PIPA is scheduled for debate on January 24. SOPA will face a House of Representatives committee for a vote, although it’s been placed on hold.

Want to work with a talented team? Join our creative group!

We are looking a senior level interactive Art Director / Designer that has strong conceptual skills and vision for new and advanced ways to represent creative.  At MarketNet you will concept and design custom websites, mobile websites, Smartphone apps and other interactive experiences based on client objectives and project requirements.  Throughout the project you will focus on concept, design and usability.

Requirements:

  • Experience in web site design (5 years minimum)
  • A well crafted portfolio
  • Strong concept and design abilities
  • Experience in the use of Photoshop, and Illustrator
  • Capable of working concurrently on several projects for different clients including both small projects and large corporate sites
  • Excellent written, verbal communication and interpersonal skills
  • Must be detail-oriented and professional
  • Ability to work collaboratively to assist with site strategy, conceptual branding, and development
  • Mobile design experience a plus

Why you want to be a member of the MarketNet team:

  • You will be working with great people!  Not only are we talented but we also know how to have fun
  • We respect that people work to live rather than live to work
  • You will be able to make an impact.  We want people who look for ways to improve MarketNet and take initiative
  • You will continue to learn and grow.  The interactive world moves fast and  our team stays on the bleeding edge.

At MarketNet we have opportunities, experiences and challenges and are looking for the right person to join our team! We offer competitive benefits such as matching retirement savings, health and dental insurance.   For immediate and confidential consideration please submit your RESUME, PORTFOLIO and COMPENSATION HISTORY via e-mail to careers@marketnet.com.

Microsoft Says Goodbye to IE6

Goodbye IE6 cake

Goodbye IE6!

If you’re a web developer, I hope you’re not all partied out from your New Year’s celebrations because there’s an even better reason to celebrate: Internet Explorer 6 usage in the United States has now officially dropped below 1%!

It depends on the project, but there is often little reason to spend the time and money it takes to attempt to provide the exact same experience for users of a 10-year-old browser. Even Microsoft agrees supporting IE6 should be a “low priority.”

Link: The US Says Goodbye to IE6

Our Favorite Web Design Trends of 2011

Last year was yet another huge one on the Web as things continued to move forward at a breakneck pace. The explosive growth of traffic from mobile devices influenced everything and meant huge advances in both technology and new ideas. Here are some of our favorite trends of 2011:

Responsive Design Goes Big Time

Boston Globe responsive redesignA responsive website uses fluid layouts, flexible images, and media queries to deliver an experience adapted for whatever width browser or device is being used. With the increasing number of mobile and desktop resolutions that must be accounted for, true responsive design solutions use CSS and media queries to flex to handle any width and adjusted layouts for popular breakpoints.

Coined by Ethan Marcotte back in 2010, responsive web design went all the way from unproven concept to misused buzzword in 2011. When the responsively redesigned BostonGlobe.com launched in September it signified loud and clear that responsive design wasn”t just for designer portfolio sites anymore. Responsive concepts can and should be considered for any new site developed in 2012.

Learn more: Responsive Web Design: What It Is and How To Use It, Responsive Web Design: The Book

@font-face Brings Beautiful Type to the Web

Typekit web fontsWeb typography has been something designers have been forced to struggle with from the earliest days of the Web. As a developer, reminding the design team that they need to choose a web safe font and their options are still just “Arial or Verdana” always results in dropped heads. No more. The ability to embed nearly any font you want using @font-face puts all the power and creativity back into the designer”s hands. Add to it CSS3 properties such as text-shadow and tools such as Lettering.js and FitText, and suddenly the Web is a more beautiful place.

A technology that was around long before 2011, embedding web fonts using @font-face exploded last year and saw some major advances as more type foundries licensed their fonts for web embedding. With more quality fonts available (and many available for free), most projects that MarketNet works on now end up including embedded fonts for headings or navigation elements.

Also in 2011, Typekit, an innovator and leader in hosted web fonts, was acquired by Adobe. The acquisition signifies broad support for @font-face and should mean the inclusion of Typekit capabilities in future releases of Adobe”s Creative Suite tools.

Learn more: Modern Techniques for Web Typography, The Essential Guide to @font-face, @font-face face off

Constant (and Automatic) Browser Updates

Firefox auto updatesInternet Explorer 6 was released over 10 years ago and it”s lack of capabilities and bugs could still end up restricting a web project in 2011. Crazy, right? Fortunately a similar issue shouldn”t be able to occur again. Web browsers are finally updating as quickly as web technology and ideas are, and more importantly they”re doing it automatically without needing users to be savvy enough to know that they need to update their computers.

Google Chrome has been pushing out autoupdates for a while now (and still does it the best), but in 2011 the teams behind both Firefox and Internet Explorer announced they would be doing the same. Now on an aggressive six-week release cycle, Firefox went from version 4.0 to version 9.01 between April and the end of the year. In December, joyous noises were heard from developers across the globe as Microsoft joined the party with the news that Internet Explorer all the way back to Windows XP would now autoupgrade to the latest available version.

Learn more: Mozilla”s Right: Bring on the Browser Updates,

What Will Be the Trends of 2012?

What new tech will be out in 2012? Will Google TV or the rumored new Apple TV set make an impact? How will Android Ice Cream Sandwich influence mobile design? Mobile will continue to grow and will influence many companies to target mobile first when launching new projects. At MarketNet, it”s not just our job but it”s our passion to know not just what”s happening now but also what”s happening next. Get in touch with us and we”ll make sure you aren”t a step behind.

2012 New Year’s Resolutions

It’s a new year and that means it’s time to reflect on 2011 and set resolutions for 2012.

Here at MarketNet, the resolutions we’re focused on for the new year are 1280×800, 1366×768, 1280×1024, 480×320, 320×480, and good old 1024×768. Oh and also 1440×900, 1920×1080, 1680×1050, 800×600, 2560×1440, and 480×360. And 320×240. Those are just some of the hundreds of different screen resolutions of visitors to this blog. In the top 10 alone the widths range from 320 to 2,560 pixels.

Still think your 995 pixel wide site is the best experience for every visitor? How well does your primary messaging come across when viewed zoomed all the way out on a mobile phone? And what kind of new experiences could you be delivering to people taking advantage of a beautiful 27″ high-res monitor?

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Dell EIR Website, By and For Entrepreneurs

We have been very fortunate to work on some exciting projects at MarketNet. One such project is the Dell EIR Website (www.eiratdell.com). We were approached by Dell to design and develop a social aggregator site for Ingrid Vanderveldt (iV), Dell’s Entrepreneur in Residence. What started out as a single page quickly morphed into a dynamic site that will serve as a resource for entrepreneurs and small businesses while chronicling iV’s look inside Dell.

EIRatDell.com

As an entrepreneur and woman business owner, I appreciate Dell’s commitment to entrepreneurs and small business owners. I personally look forward to using this site as a valuable resource.  Please take a few moments and visit the site to view some interesting start-up stories, entrepreneur profiles and helpful information.

New Google+ Tools Enhance Brands Ability to Connect & Engage with Users

After a long wait, Google unveiled on Monday that businesses are now able to leverage the use of Google+ Profiles in their social media initiatives. But, that is not the only news as Google also announced that available to brands are Google+ Badges and Google+ Direct Connect.

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Three Tips For Your Google+ Brand Page

MarketNet Google+ Page

Yesterday Google announced the ability for people to connect to the brands and businesses that they care about using Google+ pages.  So it’s now time to setup another profile for your business.  Here are some tips to getting started:

  1. Make sure your page features information that the people you want to connect with will be interested in
    At MarketNet we want our work and our culture to come through our page.  We want to connect with existing and potential clients, MarketNet employees and potential employees.  We included albums of our work and having fun in our page.  We will soon be adding an album of our team.
  2. Highlight people to follow
    If your company or brand focuses on ideas and solutions then feature people within your company to follow.  Dell does that very well with their Google+ Page Team Picture
  3. Engage with your followers
    Like Twitter and Facebook you need to have a conversation with your followers. They are or will become the advocates for your organization.

Be sure and add us to one of your circles on Google+ as we explore another social channel together.