• What's the fastest way to open my RapidWeaver add-ons folder?
• My pages looked great in preview but not after uploading – what's wrong?
• I'm using a responsive theme; why aren't my pages adapting to mobile screens?
• How do I build a stack?
Did you ever have a question about RapidWeaver and didn't want to subject yourself to the rants and condescending abuse on the RW forum?
We've all had a question about RW at some point – some problem that has prevented us from getting on with our work. So after spending an age experimenting what do you do?
In the past, I've submitted questions to the RW forum. The results have been disappointing – not least of all because so many of the answers have been so patronising.
O.K. so I asked a simple question* that, apparently, any idiot can answer and, more often than desirable, they do. And then the thread drifts off on a completely different tangent and my problem never gets solved.
Now you can submit your problem to Answer Café and expect a qualified answer. Sometimes even from The Man himself! Isaiah Carew's new webpages are for those simple and not-so-simple problems that we encounter with RapidWeaver. Anyone can ask, anyone with a solution can respond. The fact that Isaiah himself moderates the site, will ensure that the replies stay on course.
Questions/Answers can be voted up or down, just like Stack Overflow and they can be sorted by Recent, Hot!, Most votes, Most answers and Most views.
Answer Café has been online for just two days, so the number of questions and answers already online is limited. I'm optimistic, however, that very soon, Answer Café will grow into a valuable RapidWeaver asset.
* There aren't any stupid questions, only stupid answers.
The use of mobile devices to surf the web is growing at an astronomical pace. The increase of economical Mobile phones and data plans worldwide, means that during 2015 mobile web access will surpass that of desktop units.
Unfortunately the largest proportion of the web isn't optimised for those devices. Mobile devices are usually constrained by display size and require a unique approach to on-screen content layout.
So you recently visited a company's website on your smartphone and noticed that it had an m-dot address. The idea crossed your mind that, with mobile web access on the rise, it might be a good idea to invest in a mobile site of your own. Don't!
With the constantly changing size of phones and tablets, and the variations between landscape and portrait mode, there is in no practicable method of having a design for each of them. Apart from this fact, you will be penalised by Google, who recently issued a statement that adaptive websites will receive a higher SEO ranking than sites that publish multiple versions of their content.
So what is the solution?
Responsive web design adjusts to suit the capability of the device that a client is using. The layout will change according to screen size and orientation. For example, on a phone, users could see content shown in a single column view, while a tablet might show the same content in two or even three columns, depending on its orientation. Responsive web design allows websites to adapt to a variety of devices and rules out of the extra cost of designing for each device separately. Responsive Web Design will make full use of the size of your devices screen, the contents of a site will be optimised for the appropriate resolution and unnecessary zooming, panning, and scrolling while visiting a website is eliminated.
The easiest way of confirming that a website is responsive or not, is to resize your browser window. If you see the contents of the site alter their size or shuffle around to fit the new size of your browser window, you will be able to view the website on any device — desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile.
The transfer from desktop to mobile devices compels web developers to create a design that is responsive to varying screen sizes. For a while, we assumed that the solution was mobile templates – two or more different sites that would load automatically, depending on the device detected. However, this creates extra initial design costs and can trigger havoc when updating content. A Responsive Web Design makes the enterprise not only easier, but is cheaper and more efficient for revisions – an administrator only needs to adjust one set of web content, saving time and ruling out errors.
As previously stated, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a further key factor to consider. Google evidently prefers responsive web design over mobile templates – It is both easier and safer for a Search Engine to navigate a single URL.
Consider the situation of just two different sets of web content; a desktop version and a mobile template. Technical information was updated on the desktop version, but your webmaster either forgot to update the mobile version, or put off the alterations until after the weekend. Search Engines now have conflicting information. The situation can not arise if you have a single, adaptive website.
From the user's point of view, a responsive design provides a better experience. Responsive Design reduces user actions and the exasperation that users frequently experience when using a static website. If a visitor to your site is using a mobile device and, due to panning and zooming, is unable to quickly find exactly what he is looking for, there is an extremely high chance that he will navigate away from your site to visit a competitor. Google informs us, however, that if a user is happy with his experience on your website, the chance of him becoming your customer increases to 67%.
Four things you can do to ensure a positive user experience
If this is your first responsive design, it is tempting to build a web page that is easily compatible with mobile devices. Are you compromising the design in the process? Responsive web design can be challenging to implement, but when it is applied properly, it will provide better results. However, don't neglect the fact that Apple's most popular PCs now have a screen size of 27 inches and a resolution of 2650 x 1440px!
Using a Responsive Grid System, such as Bootstrap or Foundation can assist in making your design fit the content and vice versa.
Remember that users may be accessing your website on slower 3G connections (UK, Asia) and/or less economical provider plans (USA, UK, Asia). Loading times are important and large file sizes can cause a visitor to leave your site even before it loads completely.
Bear in mind that a mobile visitor will be using his finger to navigate your website. Pay attention to link placement. Apple recommends a minimum acceptable size for mobile controls of 44 pixels. Any links viewed on a Smartphone should fit underneath a finger.
Don't disable zooming. In doing so, you are reducing your visitor's control over your website and indirectly reducing his positive experience.
Web design is is in a constant state of change and has been since its inception. We are continually reviewing the methods that we use to improve our websites.
For the near future one thing is undisputed: Responsive Web Design is the road we are traversing. With a multitude of new screen sizes and devices being introduced on a monthly basis, Responsive Web Design is the means for both developers and Search Engines to stay ahead of the development.
A question, I've seen asked a number of times on various forums is "Where can I find some [add superlative of your choice] design suggestions for my website?"
There is a very simple answer to this question — Pinterest.
Pinterest is an online pin-board. If you find something interesting online, you can pin it to your board for future reference. Lots of web designers already do this, and their pin-boards can all be displayed.
An often overlooked fact is that Pinterest is searchable. Searches such as "web design inspiration", "flat web design" or "single page websites" bring up thousands of modern website designs that have already been pinned.
If you find a pinned site that you like, create a pin-board of your own and click 'Pin it'. Within a short period of time, you'll have your very own reference library of web design ideas.
If you are looking for colour palettes, try "web colour combinations", you'll find hundreds of new combinations that you can file away for future reference. "Trending web colours" will bring up a selection of websites with trendy (and mostly tasteful) colour combinations.
Be imaginative with your search and Pinterest will provide endless design resources for your own, individual pin-board; create pin boards for each of your search categories and you'll have a Design Manual that is tailored to your own personal taste. TIP: the searches listed here can be saved in your bookmarks.
Create a free account over at chatcenter.me*, drag a ChatCenter stack onto your page, publish and start chatting with your customers right away – the stack makes it simple to add a ChatCenter to your Stacks page.
DeFliGra's ChatCenter stack is free for the first 100 users. Enter the code "100". (Open the top accordion 'New Stacks')
*ChatCenter is a brand new service that allows you to initiate a chat from almost anywhere. Register now and obtain the user-name that you always wanted, before it is taken.
A simple CMS system for you and your customers.
The new Edits stack from Kuler will allow you to simply implement an editable section on your stacks pages. You, or your client, can access the stack from any web browser. There is no longer any need to install a fully fledged CMS system, all you need is a single stack.
Kuler Edits provides an attractive, yet simple interface which allows you to edit not only the text, but also to edit or upload new images. Uploaded images are automatically responsive and resize to fit the column width.
The stack accepts Rich Text or HTML-code so that, in theory, almost anything is possible within the stack.
Edits does not rely on a database or mySQL, content is saved and retrieved using php and stored within a .txt file on your server. Re-publishing the page will not overwrite any changes made online.
Try out Edit's demo pages for yourself.
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