How to Jazz up Your Site with Quality ClipArtWritten by Stefene Russell
Clipart has something of a bad name. And it's true, there's some terrible clip art out there. I always think of images that appeared in my grade-school reading workbooks: rigid line drawings of kids playing sports, pictures of fruit bowls (the apples were always colored in with lots of little dots for some reason), and dopey-looking cartoon animals. Though world and web still overflow with plenty of cut-rate, third-grade clip art, there's also a lot of good stuff out there, much of it free.
If you don't have access to a scanner or a digital camera, chances are you've probably already found some free graphics on web to jazz up your web page. If your site is a personal homepage, then feel free to post all Garfield Cat images you want. However, if you're trying to run a small business on web, choice of graphics can drastically affect your professional image. So, rule number one: no Garfields, unless you're selling Garfield merchandise.
Rule number two: don't resign yourself to using pixely, B-grade images--there are surprising sources of quality graphics all over web. One of these is Library of Congress website. Many of their images are free in terms of both cost and copyright. Just be sure to check carefully to make sure image is domain-free before you use it. Most of images tend to be rather large, so be sure to reduce size, and shrink K by using a program such as Ulead's Smartsaver.
Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/
If you've got time for some serious browsing, visit http://www.clipart.com/ for a listing of free clipart sites. They've listed best sites, rated them, and included visitor comments--which can really help you narrow down what sites you want to search. The clipart searcher (http://www.webplaces.com/search/) offers a free three-day trial membership, if you don't find what you're looking for on clipart.com.
8 Web Site Design Bloopers to AvoidWritten by Lisa Maliga
Designing your own web page or site is a project that can be as fun and creative as you like. You’re putting your work out there for potentially millions of people to read. Whether your site showcases your prized collection of stamps, your photos of family and pet[s], or you’re trying to build a new business; your web site is best window of opportunity to make a good impression. Keep in mind that most surfers will give your page about 15 seconds. This means one thing: make it memorable! To do this, here are 8 important gaffes to avoid.
1. There are hundreds of available fonts from standard size Times New Roman to extra large and bold Goudy Stout. Using more than two, possibly three, fonts are not recommended. It’s fun experimenting with right font for your page, but unless you’re creating a web site where you’re featuring fonts, keep it simple. Also, script fonts look awful when they’re done in all capital letters.
2. With advent of animated graphics [GIF’s], most of them available for rock bottom price of nothing, people can go crazy decorating their site with visual equivalent of Disney World. Some of animations do more than move; they make noise! Remember, folks, less is more! One or two appropriate animations per page can enhance it. Yes, animation is fun. But too much can be distracting.
3. Spell check your page. Read it. Then read it again. Even if you have a graphics’ intensive site, you will have some text. When that text is misspelled and/or full of grammatical errors, you’ll turn away a proportionate amount of traffic. I once discovered a site with TWELVE misspellings on one page! No matter what you’re selling or showing on WWW, being able to do so in proper English [or whatever your language] is always appreciated. Most word processing programs include a spell check. And if you’re in doubt, have someone who likes to read and write proofread it.
4. Text only sites are BORING! If we want to read a book online we’ll go to an e-book company and download one! Or to library -- get point? Even if you’re designing a serious reference site, there’s always a way to include an elegant little graphic, a non-white background, or a line to break up paragraphs. The Internet is a visual medium for most of us [except those who run their browser in a text-only format], so make it look attractive. After all, you are inviting people to share something with you.