Milwaukee Design Firms, Bad Web Sites…

I spent some time evaluating the web sites of some Milwaukee design firms, and I’ve gotta say, I was sadly disappointed. I do not want to name names, because I’m going to discuss actual trends rather than specific issues. (Plus, I know people at many of these companies, and to be fair, I should disclose that I do work for at least two design firms in the area.)

Also, if you have not read my posts on Business Web Site tips, you may want to see them now: #253, #267, #271, #285, #301. Many of them apply…

The overall trends I saw were the following:

  • Inability to print pages/content
  • Inability to resize or select text
  • Inability to open multiple windows/tabs due to navigation using Flash
  • Music playing on page load (with no way to stop it)
  • Text as an image, or within Flash, which does not get indexed by search engines

Overall, many of the problems of poor usability were caused by Flash. (I know, I have a history of being somewhat anti-Flash, but so often Flash is anti-usability, so it all works out.) Many of the sites I evaluated had just one or two results in Google, which is probably not ideal for companies that want potential clients to find them.

To be fair, I know many design firms end up not overhauling their sites for a long time because they are too busy doing client work, but honestly, most of them looked like graphic or visual designers with no background in usability designed them.

Milwaukee design firms, it may be time for a reboot…



The folks at WITI are putting on Blog-A-Palooza in Milwaukee. It’s scheduled for Wednesday January 31st, 2007, from 5PM to 9PM.

It’s a shame I can’t make it. Who knows, they might wanted to have talked to Wisconsin’s first blogger, podcaster, and videoblogger. (I’m pretty sure I hold the title for all three of those…)


Web414 Begins…

Back in May I attended a Milwaukee Web Design Meetup, and found out there was a small but dedicated group of people in the Milwaukee area interested in getting together and discussing the building of the web.

Then in October we had BarCampMilwaukee and came to realize that maybe there are more people out there interested in web design & development. I think a lot of us wanted to see the BarCamp spirit carry on to other things, and I think that’s one of the basic ideas behind Web414.

Web414 will be replacing the Milwaukee Web Design Meetup group in 2007. We’re hoping all members make the move with us, but we are also hoping to expand and welcome new people. Freelancers, designers, developers, usability folks, anyone interested in the future of the web and making it happen.

The site at is still in it’s early stages, but you can sign up now to follow what we are doing. (And if you’re more of a traditional designer, there’s always Design414.)

So if you’re interested, join us December 14th, 2006 to discuss the future of the group.


The New Admirals Logo

I’ve been hearing people’s opinions on the new Milwaukee Admirals logo since it came out. My opinion, it looks like it’s meant to appeal to kids, and in doing so, does not appeal to adults. So I thought I should fix that.

Milwaukee Admiral's Logo

Here is the original version.

Milwaukee Admiral's Logo (fixed!)

Here is my version.

Ok, five minutes in Photoshop might not cut it, but you get the idea. It’s all in the eyes. In the first version the eyes just make it all look too cartoony. Skulls aren’t all happy and shiny, they are mean and scary. Or at least they should be.

(I wonder if I can find work doing logo re-design…)


Milwaukee/Wisconsin Podcasting Directory?

I used to be the guy who maintained the Wisconsin branch of the directory. (I might still be, but haven’t gotten any requests for additions in months.) Is still being used today? I’m not even sure…

Anyway, Sara Oceguera from mkeonline sent out an email asking for Milwaukee area podcasts to list themselves in the podcast directory. So, you know, if you’re in the area (Milwaukee, that is) and do a podcast, here’s one more outlet for you… Enjoy!