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The Fold

The Fold

Many of us are probably familiar with the idea advanced in the early days of the Internet, that most users don’t know how to scroll through a website. Today that seems pretty unbelievable. The vast majority of websites, and indeed many of the most regularly visited, not only favour scrolling but to a large extent rely on it for navigation. So have the rules of the so-called ‘fold’ changed since the Internet’s inception? And what role should it play in decisions made regarding a website’s design today?

Viewing the web can be a very personal experience. Depending on your very own choice of browser, monitor or resolution, the web can look a very different place. If you’ve ever for some reason been forced to view one of your regularly visited websites on a much lower resolution monitor, for example, you’ll know what I mean. What once appeared spacious and easy to read suddenly seems squashed and cluttered. The cute little thumbnail images now take up good chunks of room and force you to scroll around them to get at the text. And should that site employ a fixed-width design that is wider than the current resolution, even more space goes to waste with the appearance of a side scrollbar.

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After initially solving my database character encoding problems by ignoring the specific strings in the wp-config.php file, I was finally forced to alter the characters in the database during a recent reshuffle. Whilst there are two automated solutions available via plugin, namely g30rg3x‘s UTF-8 Database Converter and the Modified UTF8 Sanitize Plugin, sadly neither worked in my particular instance, and indeed the former is no longer supported for current versions of WordPress, though reports on the WordPress support forum suggest there should be no issues.

Fortunately, an excellent guide was available on Alex King’s blog. For more information and follow-up comments, you should definitely read the full post, but here’s a summary of the method that worked for me.
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Web Design For Dummies (Paperback)

By (author): Lisa Lopuck

Helps you to build your own eye-popping site design and create a user-friendly site, design great graphics, and make updating easy.
List Price: £16.99 GBP
New From: £17.79 GBP In Stock
Used from: £0.01 GBP In Stock


Whilst I normally steer clear of this kind of book, I saw it in a local library and thought I’d have a look, thinking there might at least be a few useful tips. Unfortunately, I was not only disappointed on the tips front, but in the general presentation of this book. Like a previous viewer, I was left rather perplexed as to exactly who the book is aimed at. The blurb suggests it is designed for people planning to build professional, rather than personal websites, and yet the content never quite seems to match up. At once Lopuck suggests that when providing designs for clients you should delegate to members of your team (also dummies, presumably?) so that the designs reflect different interpretations of the requirements, and a few pages later, something as mundane as copying and pasting images will be covered.

The book is so riddled with such strange juxtapositions that it really ends up being of very little use to anyone. Real beginners will be sorely disappointed by many of the chapters, which assume either a background in print design, or that the reader is already a member of a web design team (begging the question, why they should be reading a book purportedly for dummies), or perhaps that the reader already owns software such as Dreamweaver, Fireworks or Photoshop. More experienced readers may find a few useful tips, but I should imagine have already covered the key sections of this book elsewhere, and will only be insulted by the more mundane chapters on the vagaries of web adaptive palettes or font types.