Enable Thumbnail View For PSD Files In Windows Explorer

In the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop with the inclusion of Adobe Bridge the thumbnail view of PSD files within the windows explorer is no more present, This can be really difficult if you intent to see preview of the file you need to open the Adobe Bridge inorder to view the preview, which consumes a lot of RAM.

Another way is to restore the the thumbnail view for the PSD files within explorer.

Here’s how to restore thumbnails for PSD in explorer

The psd thumbnail view is not included by design in the lastest version of photoshop. To restore this feature follow these steps:
1. Download psicon.dll
2. Place the DLL in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Shell\
3. Thumbnail previews of PSD files are now back

The psicon.dll can be downloaded from here.

Google To Display Tweets in Search Results

Google has signed a deal with Twitter and will begin displaying tweets in Google search results. The announcement is generating mixes reactions among SEO professionals and site owners.

Google made the very brief announcement in their official blog about the Twitter Deal as part of their goal to “create the most comprehensive, relevant and fast search in the world.” While it will be interesting to see what they do with Twitter tweets, I seriously doubt if this will bring them closer to reaching their goal.

For those not familiar with Twitter, it is a micro-blogging site that might be better described as a micro-messaging site. It is based on a cell phone text messaging model and limits the length of a message to 140 characters. Messages are called “tweets.” Links can be included to tweets, but the length of the URL is part of the 140 character limit. Online URL shortening tools are commonly used to add very brief URLs that are then redirected to the final destination page. In order to receive someone’s tweets, the user must sign up for a Twitter account and then voluntarily sign up to “follow” another Twitter user’s tweets.

Twitter can be effectively used to drive traffic to a web site if enough targeted users can be persuaded to sign up as followers. The main problem with Twitter is that the overwhelming majority of tweets are useless dribble. While it is an ideal medium for celebrities and politicians to get their message out, do we really need to know that one of them is eating a ham sandwich or about to leave to go grocery shopping?

At this point, we do not know how Google will display tweets in their search results. They may cluster them together like they currently tend to do with YouTube videos. The problem is that they may just clutter up search results and push web site pages further down in rank positions.

Do not expect to be able to use Twitter to build links to your site. All outbound links from the major social media sites are blocked in one fashion or another so that they do not pass any link value. In the case of Twitter, all links are nullified with a “nofollow” attribute. That effectively eliminates any link value that might otherwise be passed. It may be safe to assume that Google will do something similar with tweets that show up in their search results.

The real question is, “How will Google determine which tweets make it into their search results?” This could be based upon some Twitter internal ranking criteria, similar to the way that YouTube videos are ranked. It could be based upon the number of followers that forward a particular tweet to their followers. The most logical assumption is that keyword phrases in the tweets will be part of the ranking algorithm.

Advice: Start including targeted keywords and links to destination pages in your tweets.

Until we can determine how Google will select a few choice tweets from the millions of useless tweets generated each day, it would be wise to make sure that each tweet that you send includes targeted keywords and a link to the appropriate page in your web site. It might also be a good idea to make sure that your most important targeted keyword phrases are included in the description in your Twitter account.

Microsoft announced similar deals with both Twitter and FaceBook for Microsoft’s Bing search engine, so it appears that a trend may be emerging.

Bing Offers Link Building Tips

MSN’’s Bing search engine team published a list of issues related to obtaining inbound links that could either help or hurt your web site’s rankings. As most serious web site owners know, building good, industry-related inbound links is important to help a web site rank well in organic search results.

There aren’t any new revelations in the article entitled, Link Building for Smart Webmasters, but the article does do a good job of reinforcing good and bad link building techniques. Bing did reveal that they do have a team of people who actually look at a web site when their spiders report suspicious inbound link building methods.

Bing makes it clear that they are “less concerned about the link building techniques used than about the intentions behind the effort.” That basically means that if you are doing link building to assist users with finding relevant information, they look upon this favorably. However, if you are building links merely to raise search engine rankings, you may find your web site headed in the wrong direction in Bing’s search results.

The following summarizes Bing’s tips, along with our interpretation of how to best utilize these techniques.

What Bing Says You Should Be Doing To Build Links

  • Provide high quality content to attract links from related sites. If you focus on writing the best informational content on the web, others will link to your web pages. Become an expert voice for your industry.
  • Develop your business brand and be consistent about that brand in your content. A site should focus on a specific theme and be consistent with the information that is publish on the site site. Stick to a topic and do not become a generalist.
  • Publish expert articles to online article directories. The publishing of articles to article directories such as eZineArticles.com, GoArticles.com and others has been a long-standing method to build links. The idea is to publish a unique article to these free article directories. The article becomes freely syndicated. Other sites will pick up and publish these articles and are supposed to provide a link back to your web site. Keep the articles focused on the the same theme as your web site. Do not simply publish existing articles from your web site, because that is asking for trouble with duplicate content.
  • Participate in relevant blogs and forums and refer back to your site’s content when applicable. That is basically an encouragement to refer to your articles often in industry-related blogs and forums. A technique that works well is to look for a problem presented in a blog or forum that needs to be solved. Publish the solutions on your site and then link to it from the blog or forum.
  • Launch a blog or a forum on your site. This may work well with some sites, but interactive blogs and forums can be time-consuming and require dedicated attention.
  • Use social media networks to link to your site. While this can drive traffic, most social media networks block link inheritance factors by using the “nofollow” attribute on all outbound links. Bing focuses on building the industry connections that may stimulate others to link to your web site from their sites.

What Bing Says You Should Not Be Doing To Build Links

  • Do not build too many links too quickly. That could trigger a review from Bing’s staff. This means that it is not a good idea to purchase thousands of links from web directories.
  • Do not build too many inbound links from unrelated sites. This follows Google’s preference for natural linking and emphasizes that the old SEO cliche, “a link is a link”, no longer holds true. There is a quality factor with links that plays an important role in determining the inherited value of a link. Focus on building links from industry-related web sites.
  • Do not use hidden links on your pages. Hidden links and hidden content have both created penalty situations for many years.
  • Do not link out to known spam sites. Inheritance is a two-way street. When you link to a site that has been banned or heavily penalized by the search engines, your site can be penalized, as well. Google has long preached the same issue. Be careful who you link to.

The Bing article is worth reading and may provide you with one of two good ideas for improving your link building.

Get your Cocktails in a Mix – YouTube bans NHS video

The Cocktails Mix campaign (pronounced Cocktalesmix) was the brain child of the NHS in Derbyshire, dreamt up to warn young people of using excessive amounts of alcohol this  Christmas.

A VIDEO created by the Cocktails Mix campaign team has been banned from a website for being too controversial.

Video website YouTube has removed the Cocktails Mix NHS video clip, called Bloody Mary, which shows a group of young men jeering at a woman who is so drunk she urinates in the street, then falls over and injures herself.

It was one of two videos created by Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust for its £25,000 Cocktales mix campaign, aimed at getting young adults to drink sensibly.

It received more than 15,000 hits in the eight days it was on the website.

The second video made by the trust, Tequila Slammer, shows a drunk man dressed as a turkey being run over by a car, remains on YouTube and can be seen here (warning, some viewers may find these scenes disturbing):

Santa’s tips for Blogging for Business

How does Santa know what everyone wants for the holidays? Simple, the children tell Santa very specifically. Whether they are sitting on his lap, or writing letters in crayon, Santa’s “customers” make it very clear to him what they are looking for this holiday season.

You have the same advantage. Grownups use search engines to tell you exactly what they want. You simply need to show up, no matter what or how they are asking.

If Santa were dishing out corporate blogging advice for marketers this holiday season, I’m sure it would sound something like this:

Blog for search

Recognize that blogging is a terrific search marketing tool and embrace it early. Blogs give you an easy way to quickly tell lots of stories frequently. The reality is that most blog traffic is coming from first-time visitors. They don’t know you yet. What searchers do know is what they want or the problems they are trying to solve. Developing specific blogs targeting specific products or services is a terrific way to target these self-qualifying prospects.

Do your keyword research and take advantage of the space that your blogs give you to talk about your products and services using the words your customers use.

Example: GoalGroup

GoalGroup is an industry leader in protecting investors and funds against losses and retrieves them money after class action lawsuits. It sells its services through a worldwide network and is monitoring and reporting on class actions to its global network of clients and partners. It targets hundreds of specific terms through blogging, using keywords such as “class actions” and “class action lawsuits”.

For GoalGroup, targeting search through class action focused blog articles not only helps dramatically increase organic traffic, but such traffic also converts at a very high level — which is a clear indication that the search audience is happy to have landed on one of the company’s blog articles.

Example: Today Translations

Language Translation agency Today Translations has embraced targeted blogging to drive searches. By empowering its language translators in the markets (in London and financial centres worldwide) it serves to tell stories about their business, the company is able to target people in those markets the very moment when they need the services of a language translator the most. Targeting terms like “language translator”, “English to Chinese translation” or “English to Russian translation” shows up well because of the local stories the language translators tell.

The biggest miss in multi-channel merchant blogging is the conversion. Just like any other web page in your inventory, your blogs need to have clear, relevant, and effective calls-to-action. If a searcher lands on a web page about a Property in Wimbledon or a Private Detective Agency, they sure better have a way to buy that service.

Many companies do a wonderful job on PPC landing pages and totally fail on their blogs. You have to think of your blogs as organic landing pages. The goal is conversion — get your searchers to take the next step in the relationship.

Every kind of business can benefit from search-optimised blogging. By following the advice above, you are putting your organization in front of people who have expressed their intent to find a solution to their needs, whether it’s for information, services, or products.

Using Social Media – Twitter

Twitter is one of several social media networks that is currently growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. While most social media sites are not designed with businesses in mind, Twitter is one system that can be very beneficial if you have an online business.

Twitter was started in 2004 and is officially referred to as a “microblogging” site. What that really means is that Twitter is a web-based text messaging system that allows you to send short messages to anyone who voluntarily signs up to receive your messages. While the actual numbers are guarded by Twitter, there are an estimated 30+ million USA users. Nielsen reports that the largest demographic segment is 35 to 49-year-olds, which make up 41.7% of users. That is an ideal age range if you have a retail store or offer online services and are looking for active Internet purchasers.

Twitter is a natural fit for celebrities, politicians and news organizations. It can also be a good fit for online stores to use to get their advertising message out to people who sign up to read your messages and respond to coupons, sales and special offers.

Here is how it works:

A user signs up for a free Twitter account. The account allows the member to send “tweets” to anyone who signs up to be a follower. You cannot sign people up to be followers; they must voluntarily sign up. When an member sends a tweet, it is sent to the Twitter accounts of all of the member’s followers, who can view all of the accumulated messages on their Twitter home page. The interesting part is that any follower who receives a tweet and likes what it contains can re-tweet it to all of their followers. The beauty of Twitter is that a business can send a tweet out to 500 followers. If the message is interesting or contains a special deal that is worthwhile, any follower can re-tweet the message to their followers. A percentage of those members will re-tweet the message to their followers. It is therefore possible for a message that was originally sent to 500 followers to be sent to hundreds of thousands of followers by the end of the day.

You can also send a “direct tweet” to any one follower that you wish to communicate with. When you send a direct tweet, only that follower will see the message. Messages can be sent via the web, a cell phone or via instant messaging.

The main limitation with Twitter is that tweets are limited to a maximum of 140 characters. That is because the concept was originally based upon cell phone text messaging, which is limited to 160 characters. The twitter founders shortened it to 140 characters to allow for a signature, which tells a follower who you are.

You can include links in tweets. Free URL shortening services, such as bit.ly, tinyurl.com and others, can convert long URLs to very short URLs that are then re-directed to the intended destination URL. URLs longer than 25 characters are automatically run through a shortening services by Twitter.

One problem is that it can be difficult to accumulate a substantial number of followers who are interested in the products or services that a web site offers. The best way to do this is to simply set up a Twitter icon on a web site and invite a site’s users to sign up as a follower.

The best part with using Twitter is that is is easy to learn and is completely free. There are no incremental costs for sending messages. The only investment is in the time it takes to send tweets and accumulate followers.

If you have a Twitter account, feel free to sign up as one of our followers using the Twitter link in the right column on this page. If you need to sign up for a Twitter account, simply click on the Join Twitter link when you arrive at the Twitter site and follow the instructions.

There is one important tip to offer when you sign up for a free Twitter account. During the signup process they will ask you to provide your e-mail password so that they can import all of the the e-mail addresses in your account and invite them to become your followers. If you feel comfortable with this, then go ahead and do it. Personally speaking, I would never provide any web site with my e-mail password. There is a link at the bottom of the page that allows you to skip that step.

Virtual Gets Real with Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) has become a hot topic among marketers, particularly in light of the release of Yelp’s Monocle app that allows users to see location-based reviews hovering on their iPhone screens. The technology has provoked repeat interest from Mashable, Wired, Fast Company, and ReadWriteWeb, while companies like IBM, GE, Best Buy, P&G, and Wal-Mart are moving beyond pure gimmick to truly connect with consumers via AR.

The seminal promise of AR is as the touchstone technology allowing social networks, geo-based tracking, and the semantic web to converge. Put less geekily, think of AR as your personalized digital butler, who will get to know your behavior so specifically that it can prethink your choices based on your friends, location, and how you search online. The cyberpunk fictions have come to reality with AR, and the cultural ramifications are as powerful as the marketing opportunities.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the fundamental ways in which augmented reality will reshape consumer behavior and interactive marketing, as well as a few companies and applications that are leading the way.

From map to mindset
What’s your relationship to the GPS unit in your car? Do you lament the loss of serendipity that resulted from depending on the tinny voice on your dash? More likely, you’ve learned to lean on your satellite siren and have blissfully embraced paperless travel.

This adjustment to technology represents a step toward artificial intelligence, in which machines can learn our behavior and improve the way we live. Adopting GPS not only saves us time in our travels, it lets us clear our mental palette to make space for other thoughts, a “prethinking” process mirrored in augmented reality. Still in its nascent form until the majority of the public owns enabled smartphones, AR’s ability to layer 3-D images on a phone’s screen in the context of a person’s actual location makes it the touchstone technology galvanizing artificial intelligence and the promise of social marketing.

The tech you shouldn’t see
The trailer for Microsoft’s Xbox Project Natal announcement provides a key insight into the future of augmented reality, human behavior, and commerce. Noting from the outset that “no controller is required,” a typical family runs through a set of game scenarios based on their varying interests. A teenage boy karate-kicks an avatar, his older sister video chats with a friend who recommends a virtual dress to wear, and so on.

Although facial and voice recognition enhance the game, we’re reminded that to enjoy the Xbox, “the only experience you need is life experience.” This idea is key — like your GPS, you forget about the tech and focus on the benefits. You augment your reality in the context of what you’re presented.

Skewing social
Augmented reality assigns relevance for users of the “outernet” via AR applications like Yelp’s Monocle that allow you to see location-specific user reviews on the screen of your iPhone by simply pointing your camera and clicking on links. The process is faster than looking online, especially once users search via multiple AR services that aggregate relevant data for their location. The result is crowd-sourced commerce and a prethinking reliance of users to make purchasing decisions once they’re nearing their destination rather than at home. Social networks take on a new and more immediate relevance when posts are seen in the context of physical space.

Tagging taxonomies
Geo-tagging lets you create text, audio, or video you can assign a physical location to via AR-enabled smartphones. When others come to that spot in the future, they’ll be able to experience the content you’ve left behind. This communal prethinking in relation to location will become commonplace, as will the virtual offers pushed our way when we’re in the vicinity of local stores. Prethinking via dating services like Match.com combined with geo-enabled tweets will alter cultural behavior as well.

The sublime search
Prethinking also applies to how we tag ourselves, an act that has direct repercussions on semantic search. Instead of relying on keywords that have multiple meanings depending on context and native language, search powered by augmented reality assigned to specific geo-locations will have the relevance of our physical actions. Taxonomies relating to our actual locations will transform reliance on clumsy search algorithms in lieu of actual behavior. This aggregated data will provide a wealth of information to marketers in terms of when to deliver key messaging and relevance to geography. And as identity standards like Open ID continue to evolve, consumers can set their geo-privacy preferences to avoid unwanted airvertising to create standards for outernet etiquette as well.

Augmented reality becomes a transformative technology when campaigns move beyond Flash to demonstrate utility. Gimmicks can be useful to attract user attention, but AR needs to lead to relevant social or commercial connections.

Georgia Tech’s zombie game provides an example of flash and function that can move the needle for commercial adoption of AR. We all enjoy slaughtering the undead, and moving around a placemat-like game board to see 3-D action via our smartphone screens is sweet. But when an actual Skittles candy is placed on the game board and game characters react to its presence, the applications for marketing become readily apparent. Virtual aisles in retail environments can be festooned with interactive characters or videos. Beer goggles take on a literal angle, and placemats will provide games that respond to various bottles or cans maximized for AR.

Other services like Zugara’s Webcam Social Shopper let people virtually try on clothes, and users can take pictures of themselves to send to their friends on Facebook. Combining the AR app with crowd-sourced opinions from social networks provides utility along with the benefit of collaborative shopping.

USAA has also proven that non-sexy AR applications can gain more traction than gimmicky campaigns. Its iPhone app allows people to take a picture of their checks for instant deposits, a simple yet profound action inasmuch as it engenders ease of financial transaction. As reported by eWeek in an article about the application, “USAA’s customers have conducted more than 13.3 million mobile transactions in 2009.” Prethinking leads to profits via AR-enabled utility.

Jamais Cascio, the popular ethical futurist that regularly writes for Fast Company and other publications, dovetails the notions of prethinking combined with AR in his notion of “focus assistants,” or filtering tools that screen content you don’t want to receive. In his article for the Atlantic, “Get Smarter,” he notes that, “as our capacity to provide that filter gets faster and richer, it increasingly becomes something akin to collaborative intuition — in which everyone is effectively augmenting everyone else.

This process of collective intuition is amplified by AR applications like Pelago’s visual storytelling tool, Whrrl. The service, according to CEO Jeff Holden, is a “real-time storytelling product for people’s daily lives,” which aggregates multiple tweets, posts, and updates to form a kind of visual Twitter. These communal events are also shared to the larger community, which can comment while stories take place. This process creates a form of public prethinking known as group awareness. And it’s the data culled from these multiple communal stories that will form the basis of future interactions in commerce and culture at large.

More stories at Pike Place Fish MarketPowered by Whrrl
Conclusion
Augmented reality offers multiple touchpoints to interact with consumers in an intimate and impactful virtual landscape. When commercial experiences in the outernet honor consumer privacy, are relevant to location, and embrace communal group experience, marketers will benefit. But like GPS and our Xbox family demonstrated, AR is just a few steps away from being invisible. No experience is required and prethinking will become a habit without our realizing its taken place.

Just remember that, like the mom at the end of the video, you can always turn the AR technology off. And unless marketers collaborate with consumers on their virtual sojourns, they’re likely to do the same to us.

Review of Caphyon Web Ranking System for SEO

Advanced Web Ranking is a search engine ranking software application that helps check the position of a website in search engines rankings. The web ranking systems allows users to pick region specific search engines making managing international sites easier than ever before.  To begin users need to enter a list of keywords or phrases they  wish to track.  Caphyon offers various built in keyword research tools to help users with keyword choices.  Entering keywords proved to be an easy task, from there users enter the URLs of the sites that you wish to track.  After keywords and the URLs are entered for a specific project all that is left is to run the report.  Every time a keyword report is run Caphyon will compare the new page rank with the results from previous page ranks.  MintTwist found the “top sites’ and “overview” tabs especially useful due to the fact that they are useful when tracking a large amounts of keywords and for measuring overall success of a project.  Reports are easily exported to different formats including HTML, PDF, EXCEL and CSV complete with logos, headers and footers.  Users can schedule project updates to run whenever they want as many times as they want.  MintTwist is able to manage multiple large international projects with ease using advanced web ranking software.  Advanced web ranking system provides accurate ranking even when there is a large amount of keywords in the project.  Advanced web ranking system is able to run on multiple platforms which has made it easy for MintTwist to access the ranking system interface when meeting with customers outside of our home office.  Another useful tool offered by Caphyon web ranking system was the local search ability.  It allows users to make their own search engine in a way to find results in your interface using google maps and Yahoo local search.

When first using Caphyon’s ranking system users must be patient because the possibilities of the software can be overwhelming at times.  MintTwist users had to take some time to read the user manual and play around with the software for while in order to gain a full understanding of the possibilities.

The one complaint that we had with the software was it was not entirely easy to figure out how to effectively see how our competition was doing, but after some time spent reading the user’s manual we figured out the process.

The Link manager is also a very useful tool for anyone looking to build link campaigns.  Link Manger does exactly what it suggest in that it enables users of all abilities to efficiently and effectively organize their link campaigns to their specific needs.  Features of Link Manger include, but are not limited to: Finds links relative to the users site, keeps track of link partners, finds broken links that can negatively affect your page rank, monitor competitors, track your back links, and produce highly customized reports.  Link manager automatically eliminates manual searches to reduce the bandwidth burdens of other programs.

Overall Caphyon’s web ranking system has been an essential to MintTwist’s success and we highly recommend Caphyon over all other web ranking systems.  The level of competence and possibilities make it a dream to work with.

4 Key SEO Tips For Website Redesigning!

by Kabir Bedi

The world wide web is constantly changing and to make sure your business keeps pace, it is important to be up to date with the latest trends and technologies. And this is why companies decide to redesign their website. Of course, there are other reasons too like re-branding the business, updating the website to reflect the present status of the company in the market, deleting old pages and uploading new information, better marketing fluff and so on.

However, search engine considerations are the most forgotten part in the website redesigning process. Website owners are so involved with creating a new look and feel for the website that they often fail to evaluate the SEO implications of their actions. They realize it only when the website is done and ready and there are fluctuations in the rankings of the website. But that is only when precious revenue is lost in terms of traffic, leads and sales.

Here are 4 SEO tips that you should adhere to while redesigning your website.

Strengthen the Information Architecture

Usability should be the key concern while designing the information architecture of the website. However, you should also consider including some SEO objectives for the usability process. Search engine optimization should not come after the website has been launched. Rather, it should be a key consideration throughout the design and development of the project.

Draft a set of relevant keywords that encompasses the essence of your company and business. Then make sure your website has pages that are devoted to those keywords so that search engine have relevant content when their crawlers come to index your website.

Make sure you add new pages to your website, especially if you are deleting certain pages. This is because you don’t want the search engines to think that your website is shrinking. Rather you should tell them that its growing. The deleted pages would obviously take with them their search engine credibility so you would need something to compensate the loss.

Don’t Change the URLs

When you change the URLs of your web pages, the new URLs would be treated as completely new pages by the search engines. All the search engine credibility of the previous pages would be lost along with the URLs.

Therefore, focus on creating search engine friendly web pages with search engine friendly URLs and light code with WordPress and other such CMS platforms. Make sure all the pages of your website are able to rank well in the search results and not just your homepage.

Update the Website Content

Search engine crawlers are always on the look out for new and fresh content. And there is no better opportunity than the redesigning process to upload new content on your website. Unlike blogs, it is not possible to change the contents of the website, especially on the homepage etc. on regular basis. So, make sure you upload useful and updated content on such pages. Ideally, focus on constructing more content on the homepage of the website followed by lesser supporting content on the internal pages.

Launch the website Carefully

don’t forget to run down the last minute check list before launching the new redesigned website. The search engine ranking of your website depends on a variety of factors including the website structure, the design and layout and the content. It is not just about the number of links pointing to your website that decides the ranking but how popular the website actually is among the users.

MintTwist Web Design understands the importance of  SEO in web marketing, MintTwist work with clients to significantly increase the number of targeted sales leads achieved by clients.

Good intentions won’t sell Windows 7

by Dave Rosenberg

Microsoft’s launch party videos have proven to be entertaining to viewers even if not for the reasons for the marketing department had hoped for. There were a great many comments on my post that provided context to their release, but generally speaking most industry-watchers have been confused as to the goals behind the program, questioning the target audience not just for the videos, but for the launch parties as well.

I reached out to Microsoft for comment but they withheld at this time as the videos are apparently just one step in a much larger integrated marketing campaign.

I personally found the most recent video weird, but after thinking through things a bit I think this is a case of a good idea hampered by poor execution. The videos are well-done and professional and try to connect with consumers in a humanistic tone. The fact that it feels like you stumbled into a shiny-happy Windows world filled with sit-com throwaways is the problem. Even if this is a training video to show others how to throw a launch party, it’s hard to connect with the vapid characterizations of party guests.

This is the crux of Microsoft’s marketing problems. It’s not that they aren’t good at technical marketing issues, it’s that the brand itself is so voluminous, it’s very hard for people to connect to specific products like Windows. And the efforts to persuade consumers isolate the tech media and confuse IT shops.

One of the biggest issues Windows Vista faced was consumer confusion as to why they should buy an upgrade at all. Microsoft did a very poor job of communicating why anyone should care and added such a complicated set of offerings that people simply couldn’t figure out what to buy. (Note that Windows 7 also has a very complicated pricing scheme.)

Right now, the Windows brand doesn’t have a huge amount of momentum behind it, even if Microsoft itself and Bing do. Getting momentum behind Windows 7, regardless of the methodology should be Microsoft’s main goal right now. And the company is pulling out all the stops, from commercials to launch parties to getting the OS out into the channel sooner than retail, it is trying to gain back the lost mind-share.

The challenge is that companies like Apple, with a significantly smaller share of the operating system market, have developed such sophisticated and stylized marketing, that Microsoft has a very hard time competing with the overall effect. So, Microsoft has instead gone after the mythical “every-man” (or every-man, woman and racial/gender/ethnically diverse party in the world), which falls way short for we Valley media types that will mock anything and everything.

But the target customer for Windows 7 may actually like the experience of a launch party simply because it humanizes the operating system and allows them to ask silly questions like how to burn a CD. These were not made for sophisticated tech buyers and that may not be a bad thing.

The point is that PC manufacturers need people to buy more computers and really only Microsoft can make that happen until vendors (and consumers) embrace Linux or switch to Macs.

Do not make the same marketing mistakes as Microsoft, Minttwist provides all our clients with effective and targeted  web marketing campaigns to propel your business to the next level.

Is a second wave of world Browser Wars heading our way?…

… Maybe. Although this time it will be more complex.

IE and FireFox are the dominant incumbents and Google’s Chrome is the rising super-power. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll see there are more potential players in the battle for world domination.

Are we heading for a second wave of browser wars?

Are we heading for a second wave of browser wars?

“The issue that lies ahead is whether browsers will remain a relatively simple window on to the internet or become intelligent agents that shape online experiences. If they go down the latter route this would have potentially disruptive effects for others who do business on the internet”, said Alexis Pratsides of MintTwist Digital.

For the internet’s booming social networking industry in particular, the prospect that some of the capabilities associated with social networking will be embedded into browsers, making them more aware of users’ interests and social relationships, could force difficult strategic decisions.

Google’s main contribution to the browser skirmishes we’ve seen thus far has been an obsession with speed. With a new, faster engine for executing Javascript – the code that makes it possible for a browser to imitate applications that run on a PC – Google galvanised the rest of the industry and forced rivals to focus harder on their own core technology.

Google’s goal, as it takes on Microsoft, is clear – to accelerate the advances in the internet platform in ways that eventually make it unnecessary to run “native” software applications that rely on a PC’s underlying operating system. That, ultimately, should benefit the web-based services on which its success depends.

Others, however, see deeper potential in the browser and are out to push its capabilities further. As a piece of software that all users have to use – it clearly has a strong strategic position.

For instance, Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser, says it is looking into arming its browser with a number of extra munitions – such as ‘knowing who you are and handling authentication on the websites you visit, keeping a record of your social network so that you can interact with friends; and, making it easier for you to share content with your network.

Given that these are all territories that social networks like Facebook currently view as their own, that could create new fronts opening up between browser makers and the internet services that rely on them.

If it makes life easier for internet users, bringing more capabilities into the browser will be hard to resist and populations of internet users may start to migrate away from using artificial silos [like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn].

This has attracted a flurry of interest and investment in browsers from the social networking big guns. The potential for “social browsers” is a currently a hot topic in Silicon Valley.

The internet industry has long nurtured a feeling of mutual growth and co-operation; but there’s a growing evidence that the time may be coming for players to choose sides, ready themselves and prepare for war!

MintTwist help medium sized product and service based businesses to increase revenue and sales leads by defeating their enemies on the battlefields of the internet with better web design and web marketing services. Contact Alexis Pratsides for more information.

Twitter sets to roost in London

London is becoming the Twitter capital of the world, in terms of number of users and number of businesses developing add-on tools for the communications network.

While is the toast of its native Silicon Valley in California, London boasts more users than any other city in the world.

Even though Twitteritself is yet to generate any revenue, early-stage investors are pouring millions of pounds into small companies in the Twitter “ecosystem” in the London area.

London web designers have produced many of the most popular of the many third-party tools used to post to Twitter, called Tweetdeck. Reading’s Tweetmeme, which tracks the most popular news stories discussed on Twitter, is attracting millions of visitors a month while Twitterfeed, based in Tooting, is used by thousands of publishers to post their latest headlines on to the site.

Twitter was launched in 2006 but really took off in the UK at the beginning of this year, thanks to support from celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross. But many see Twitter’s potential as far greater than documenting the lunching habits of the stars.

“Twitter has huge potential as a marketing and communications platform”, says >Elliott King, Director at MintTwist Ltd.

As Twitter has broken out of the early-adopter niche, it has attracted more mainstream users and uses… Jobseekers are using Twitter to find new employment. Many businesses push marketing messages and even run customer support services through their Twitter profiles. Millions of users flock to the site for the biggest news stories of the hour, as defined by the Twitter community rather than newspaper editors.

MintTwist help medium sized product and service based businesses to increase revenue and sales leads with the smart application of web design and web marketing services. Contact Elliott King for more information.

WPP chief: Industry rebound will focus on web marketing

The world economy is improving, but that has not translated into increased demand for expensive, elaborate advertising campaigns, according to WPP Group chief Martin Sorrell. However, the industry has the potential to rebound, and when it does, it will focus on digital, Sorrell said.

Sorrell told reporters Wednesday that the ad industry will look very different when it fully recovers from the effects of the recession, with the focus moving away from traditional, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“It’s not going to be in 30-second TV ads; it’s not going to be in newspaper or magazine ads; it’s going to be digital, it’s going to be viral and organic” Sorrell said.

One particular reason the industry won’t rebound as quickly as the economy is that marketers have grown accustomed to paying less for campaigns as agencies have been forced to slash rates in an effort to retain clients. Even Dublin-based WPP, the world’s largest agency by revenue, reported a 48 percent drop in net profit (to $177.3 million) for the first half of the year.

30 Examples of Attractive Navigation

Web designers always have to strike a balance between usability and visual appeal when designing a website. Without this balance, a website might be nice to look at or difficult to navigate. Or, it might be easy to navigate, but not easy on the eyes. With this in mind, balancing attractive navigation with usability does not need to be overly difficult. To help you generate new ideas and inspiration for user navigation, here are 30 great examples of attractive and usable navigation.

See the full article from www.webdesignerwall.com here:

May 25

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30 Examples of Attractive Nav

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Guest Post by Joel Reyes

Web designers always have to strike a balance between usability and visual appeal when designing a website. Without this balance, a website might be nice to look at or difficult to navigate. Or, it might be easy to navigate, but not easy on the eyes. With this in mind, balancing attractive navigation with usability does not need to be overly difficult. To help you generate new ideas and inspiration for user navigation, here are 30 great examples of attractive and usable navigation.

Typographica

This site features the simplicity of an attrractive menu that empowers users with undeniably easy to follow navigation. If you hover over the headline under the logo you will see that the word “Type” remains highlighted, and as you begin to hover over the rest of the words you’ll be able to clearly select the corresponding area you’d like to visit.

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Atebits

Links are in the form of icons that feature a neat effect that allows the icons to light up as you hover over them. It’s simple, subtle, attractive, yet effective.

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Contrast.ie

The navigation on Contrast.ie displays a unique approach to creative styled menus. All of the buttons are placed in a comment shaped figure and pop out as you hover over them.

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Search Inside Video

The navigation on this site clearly directs you in the form of an arrow as you hover over them with your mouse. Effective navigation leaves behind complex design. Seems as though this site made use of this suggestion.

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Leihu

This site takes creative navigation to the sky. If you look to the left and mouseover the guy you will see a smile appear, if you mouseover the icons and images you’ll instantly see a description next to the mouse’s pointer as well.

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Forty

Forty uses a creative, image-based user navigation. The arrows “guide” the users attention to the buttons and invites the user to click on them.

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Healogix

Healogix asks the four most important questions of itself with large text that draws the users attention. When, what, why and who? Can all be answered one click away from the homepage.

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Ideas on Ideas

There is only one main link to the home page, but the idea is both creative and usable. The link is prominent and it “speaks” to the user. Users, in general, enjoy web pages that they can interact with.

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Sarah Longnecker

The navigation of this website is simple and easy to use. The banners behind the selected page make the navigation easily identifiable from the rest of the page.

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Made By Elephant

Made by Elephant features large and easy to use navigation. The blue text also adds a nice contrast to the heavier red and black.

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Work at Play

As you begin to click through the menu of this site, you’ll be able to notice that the position of the background and color of the entire site quickly change.

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Clear Left

The menu on this site resembles that of a post it note as you mouseover the links. Then entire layout of the site is based on this concept.

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Pattern Tap

As soon as you enter the site you’re greeted by a green arrow that feeds you information about every section as you scroll through the site. This makes it easer for users to interact with the site.

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Unstoppable Robot Ninja

The navigation is as bold as the name of this website. Furthermore, it also enhances the design tremendously.

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Red Nose Day

The main navigation links fit in well with the playful theme of the website, while maintaining usability and prominence.

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Polar Gold

This text-based navigation features a colorful and playful look while maintaining usability without the use of Javascript, but Flash instead.

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Webpage FX Blog

A unique and interesting take on navigation. The links to the home page and blog are featured in a sentence across the header of the page. It does not violate usability principles, it is easy to read and highly effective.

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Opera Ma-gé

The main navigation is easy to find, and the green underline creates uniformity between the navigation and the rest of the page.

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Owltastic

Owltastic is a perfect example of good user experience. Every element of the main navigation animates when the user hovers the mouse over it. Like other examples on this list, the navigation is also prominent and easy to locate.

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Guillaume Pacheco

Like Owltastic, this website interacts with the user as they mouse over different elements of the page. The site is well laid out and easy to navigate.

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Full Cream Milk

Full Cream Milk uses a distinct text-based navigation, as you roll over the links, a portion of the top of the page is highlighted. This is a great example of navigation that is pleasing to both users and search engines.

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Arca Lui Noe Hotel

This site features user navigation that is both beautiful and easy to use. It is very stylish and adds to the overall design of the page.

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Sushi & Robots

Sushi and Robots uses elegant Typography to create a beautiful and attractive navigation that stands out.

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Sharify

Sharify features a monochromatic user navigation that is pleasing to the eye, and usable because of the contrast between the white text and the sky blue background.

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Stephen Caver

Here, the navigation is essentially the first content you see on the home page. It is “clean” and easy to use. Moreover, the use of whitespace in the navigation is excellent.

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Thought and Theory

This site takes a minimalist approach to navigation, and it simply works. It does not take anything away from the page or distract the user.

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Slightly More

Again, the high contrast black and white adds to the usability of the site. The javascript rollovers are light blue tabs that add interactivity and aesthetic value.

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Ulster Grocer

The navigation makes use of bright colors, easy accessibility and unity with the blue background of the main content of the page.

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Adaptd

The Adaptd site features creative, easy to follow, and beautiful navigation. The aspect of this navigation that stands out the most is located in the section where the portfolio resides. When you place the mouseover these buttons the words become transparent blend in with the sites background.

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Sac Jazz Festival 2009

This site has navigation that the user does not even have to search for. In addition, the vibrant color of the navigation adds even more color to the page. The elements of this design blend together seamlessly.

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30 Untypical WordPress Sites Microsoft Event & Free Giveaways

Comments

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There are 79 comments (+Add)

  • 79 Jessie Matanky http://jessiematanky.com
    July 28th, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I really liked these- these sites seem to be up on all the blogs & web design sites for all sorts of different stuff. They should be proud.

  • 78 chris
    July 20th, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Be sure and check out the page source for the Slightly More site, includes some ascii art and text! Very shocking and funny.

  • 77 Nashville Web Design Guy http://www.nashvilleinteractive.com
    July 15th, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Very diverse range of styles and functionality on the list. Very nice compilation. I tend to lean toward linear navigation if it can fit at all into a project. I like to lead people through the experience. It’s not always feasible of course but a nice change for users and it allows you to gauge interest pretty easily via analytics.

  • 76 London web design http://www.totallydesignlondon.co.uk
    July 11th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Yeah this is well nice!

  • 75 egypt web design http://www.egyptwebdesign.com
    July 7th, 2009 at 6:43 am

    great article thanks for share with us, really great list.

  • 74 yapidekor http://yapidekor.blogspot.com/
    July 6th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you my friend …

  • 73 matrax http://multimanyak.com/matrax
    July 3rd, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Your site and your content to a really great hand healthy;)

  • 72 Bernard Teske http://www.bernardteske.de
    July 1st, 2009 at 7:46 am

    In this webside, http://www.druckundrepro.de you can use the navigation in the left side or use the cursor like a “hand-tool”. Think this is also an interesting way :-)

  • 71 Rob http://robstathem.com
    June 25th, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    @ Joe…I don’t think your rude behavior is appreciated by anyone in this forum. I would automatically delete your outcast behavior, and so should the designer of this website.

    There’s no need for your attitude. Take it somewhere else!!!

  • 70 Rob http://robstathem.com
    June 25th, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Fantastic!! Thanks for posting these examples of awesome navigation! I’ll admit, it can be real exciting adding different design touches to the navigation!

    I tend to design the navigation based on the style of my website. For elegant designs, I tend to use subdued text for links or maybe a subtle roll-over. The hotel website listed above is definitely an elegant type of roll-over!

    I think it’s probably important to note that when doing roll-overs, image based roll-overs should be done with CSS instead of JavaScript. The JavaScript is a bit clunky and CSS just makes it a little cleaner. Just my personal opinion!

    :) Rob

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Website Launch: Goal Group

MintTwist launches the new UK website for Goal Group who are widely-acknowledged in the financial services sector for its innovative and creative solutions to highly-specialised niche processes.  The new website is sleek and modern and, combined with the new web marketing strategy, will talk to a wider audience.  7 foreign language websites are due to follow this in the coming months.  See the new Goal Grgoup website here:  www.goalgroup.com

“Dragons Den winning company” chooses neighbour to refresh their blinds

London, U.K. — The company, Blinds-In-A-Box, has launched a new website ( http://www.blindsinabox.co.uk ) which sells their product; low cost, temporary and easily installable blinds.

Blinds-In-A-Box’s three partners Simeone Salik, Janice Dalton and Dominic Lawrence joined forces in 2007. After Simeone struggled to find temporary blinds for her new home, she along with her interior designer, ceased the current market gap as an opportunity and created their own business of temporary blinds.

In order to grow as a business, the trio needed outside support. In 2008, nervous but prepared, the three appeared on BBC’s show Dragon’s Den. After a clever and well planned pitch, Blinds-In-A-Box won the offer of investment with the show, but not without receiving a few disappointing ‘no’ responses from the other dragons investors. By taking up the offer with James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne, Blinds-In-A-Box was able to receive an investment of £40,000, buying the two Dragons half the business. The appearance on the show sparked a large rise in orders for Blinds-In-A-Box from customers. They were also able to close a deal with Argos that will stock more than 800 of their stores with thousands of Blind-In-A-Boxes temporary and inexpensive blinds.

Blinds-In-A-Box needed a website that mirrored the style and professionalism of their growing business. Mint Twist was selected because they could increase sales for the company by improving the website’s ‘visitor-to-customer conversion ratio’. It was a huge advantage that they just so happened to operate out of the same building; Central House in Finchley.

Early results indicate that visitor numbers and conversion rates are increasing.

Mint Twist was able to accomplish this by following a web design and marketing processes that gets target messages to target audiences with ‘clear calls to action’.

*****************************************************************************

MintTwist is a web agency that helps product and service businesses increase real sales leads and improve communication with proven, process driven web design and web marketing techniques. Its head office is in North London.

Contact Elliott King (MintTwist Business Director) on +44(0)20 8349 8213 or email elliott@minttwist.com to arrange an exploratory meeting.

Software Launch: ISSEL

ISSEL is a specialist in helping customers maximise the performance effectiveness of their organisations through the use of web analytics and performance management technologies.  MintTwist has been working with ISSEL to produce a SUSHI compatible web service to be installed on top of their existing HitList system allowing clients to access SUSHI reports remotely.  The web service is now running live and doing a superb job!

Website Launch: Visibility Lighting

The funky new website for Visibility lighting goes live!  Visibility Lighting & Sound was established in 2002 with the aim to provide customers with light fittings at affordable prices and from the worlds leading Lighting Design companies such as Murano, Foscarini, MetalSpot, Flos and de Majo to name but a few.  The new website reflects the compnies core values and talks directly to their target audience.  See the new website here:   www.visibilitylighting.co.uk

Website Launch: The Faraday Partnership

MintTwist are proud to announce the launch of the new Faraday website.  Faraday offer a personalised portfolio of complementary services to improve your organisation’s performance and leadership throughout the UK.  The brand new website compliments the announcement that Faraday is now accredited to Lot 16 – Management and Leadership on the OGC.buying solutions framework agreement for Learning & Development and eLearning Solutions.  See the new website at www.thefaradaypartnership.com

Web Design and Doughnuts

9th – 16th May 2009 is National Doughnut Week (UK) which is supported by celebrity chefs Ainsley Harriott and Brian Turner and sponsored by The Children’s Trust, a registered Charity and MintTwist Ltd, a London Web Design Agency.

Celebrity chef and popular TV personality, Ainsley Harriott is once again putting his support behind the campaign, in the hope that even more cash will be raised for The Children’s Trust. He said:

“Everyone deserves a treat now and then and National Doughnut Week provides a fun opportunity to treat someone you know to a delicious, mouth-watering doughnut. So bakers, get baking and all you lovely people get buying and help raise funds for a very special charity.”

Celebrity chef, Brian Turner is also supporting the 2007 campaign and said:

“National Doughnut Week is a fantastic way to treat yourself with some guilt-free indulgence because it’s all for the amazing charity, The Children’s Trust! The Trust makes a difference to the lives of children with multiple disabilities all over the country. So treat yourself and someone special to a doughnut and help change lives this National Doughnut Week.”

Director of MintTwist, Elliott King said:

“When we were first approached to get involved with National Doughnut Week we weren’t sure whether we should be taking offence. It was an honor to donate our skills to assist the Children’s Trust.”

Get involved and see the website here: http://www.nationaldoughnutweek.org/

More on this: http://minttwist.wordpress.com/2009/02/09/minttwist-eats-up-design-costs-for-national-doughnut-week/