Mail gets rejected: This mail server requires authentication.

Hello,

I have a problem sending mail to 1 specific domain on my new cPanel/WHM VPS with Exim mailserver from my external hosted Exchange account. Sending mails to every other e-mail domain on my VPS works fine, only to that specific domain fails.
But when I use an non-exchange email account to send to that domain, it works perfect.

This is the info in the rejection mail:

Quote:

Bronserver: mx1.myoutlookonline.com

axel@xxx.eu
mail.xxx.eu #<mail.xxx.eu #5.0.0 smtp; 503 This mail server requires authentication when attempting to send to a non-local e-mail address. Please check your mail client settings or contact your administrator to verify that the domain or address is defined for this server.> #SMTP#


I think the Exim mailserver rejects the mail, because the sending mailserver domain (myoutlookonline.com) is not the same as my e-mail account (mydomainname.be), but in the mail logs on my server I can’t find any notice of the exchange server that connects, or that any mail gets rejected.

I tried adding the IP of mx1.myoutlookonline.com tot the Trusted SMTP IPs and to the /etc/relayhosts, and I tried disabeling some of the ACL Options, but still I get the rejection notice.

So it looks like the problem is the connection from the exchange server to my mailserver.

Anyone has an idea why the mail gets rejected?

Thank you!

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Fixed rate shipping module available at GetShopped

Available at GetShopped.org now, the fixed rate shipping module allows local and small businesses to charge with fixed shipping rates. Special and custom shipping options are available, including adding separate locations. As explained at GetShopped:

…for example if your business is located in Manhattan you may offer free shipping in Manhattan, but charge a little fee for the delivery in the rest of New York. Or if your business is in Italy you may want to charge extra for delivery to islands like Sicily and Sardinia.

You can download this plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory. Keep in mind, you will need the WP e-Commerce plugin as well.

If you are a small or local business selling products online, you need to check this one out!

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Joost de Valk redesigns, leaves behind, and teases thine minds

Joost de Valk

Joost de Valk has made multiple announcements in the last day or so.  We learned during his WP Community podcast yesterday, where WPCandy’s own Ryan Imel was the featured guest promoting the new WPCandy iPhone app, that Joost had completed a redesign of Yoast.com.  I believe he actually launched the new design with Ryan on the show. The site takes on a more professional look than the previous format, and for good reason it appears.

In a blog post published late last night, he announced he’s officially going it alone.  He’s worked with Orange Valley since 2008, a Dutch web marketing firm.  He says about the move:

“Why leave then?”, you’ll ask. Because it’s time. It’s time for me to be a true entrepreneur, and not an employee. I’m a very ambitious guy: being one of the best SEO’s of the Netherlands, which I think I can fairly call myself, is not enough. I want to be amongst and compete with the best in the world. Some people might think that’s arrogance, I’ve decided that doesn’t bother me anymore.

So it is, with some pain in my heart, that I wish them all the best, I’m certain they’ll do great things.

Joost said one priority is to spend more time developing his WordPress SEO plugin, which has both free and premium options. But he also teased an upcoming startup, which I’m sure we will all be interested in hearing more about. The only real hint he provides is that he will be working with many of the people he already works with, including Frederick Townes. Townes is the Founder and CEO of W3 Edge, which created the extremely popular W3-Total Cache Plugin. Frederick was also responsible for the redesign of Yoast.com.

You can view the full announcement on his blog.

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Orman Clark releases new WordPress theme on ThemeForest

Orman Clark, a UK based web designer, has created a WordPress theme called Repro. He usually makes free themes over at PremiumPixels.com, but Repro is a premium WordPress theme released over at ThemeForest. Some of Repro’s features include, but not limited to:

Repro is suitable for content producers at all levels, personal bloggers, newspapers, online magazines, community blogs… you get the idea ;)

Repro looks great out of the box but also acts as the perfect black canvas for those looking to customise and develop their own content-focused site.

  • Valid XHTML Strict 1.0 Tableless Design
  • Unlimited Colour Schemes (colour picker)
  • Full Localisation Support (contains .po/.mo files)
  • 10 Widget Areas
  • 8 Custom Widgets
  • Extensive Theme Options (unbranded!)

You can follow Orman on Twitter or be a fan of PremiumPixels.

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Introducing the WPCandy iPhone app, and our reverse-launch deal

Today’s a big day for us. After much planning and work, I’m proud to introduce you to our iPhone app, WPCandy WordPress News, available in the App Store right now.

Now you can, if you wish, take WPCandy with you in your pocket (and who doesn’t love candy on the go?). The app will bring you a bite-sized WPCandy, with tabs for all of our top-level content, with options to reorganize based on your preferences.

The new app brings you the latest posts, our most popular content, WPCandy interview, theme and plugin reviews, tutorials, and our editorial and feature posts.

It’s available right now as part of our reverse launch deal for $5.99.

Handy mobile version of the site

Reading webpages on iPhones and iPods is doable, but hardly ideal. Instead of squinting and pinch-zooming, our app serves up exactly what you’re after (the posts!) nice and big. And in your pocket.


Organized to give you what you care about

Only the most important categories on our site are served up, using tabs to help you find what you’re looking for.


Customizable, tabbed app

Don’t let our app boss you around. Tap “customize” and choose the tabs that you want to show up in the front. It’s your app, after all.


About our reverse launch deal

Typically, when something new launches there is a special deal for early adopters. Usually the new thing is cheaper in the first few days. We like that idea, so we’re doing it.

But we’re doing it in reverse.

Our new app is regularly available for $0.99 in the App Store. For the next two weeks, though, the app will be listed for $5.99 in the App Store.

I’ll say that again: for the next two weeks our app will cost $5.99. At the end of the two weeks it will drop back to its normal price at $0.99.

Why would we do this? We want to give you, the awesome WPCandy readers and community members, the chance to support what we’re doing here. We run an ad-free site, with regular, high quality content containing zero affiliate links. We publish things that are of community interest (tutorials, comprehensive WordPress news, editorials) and we do it every single day. Many have called us crazy for not allowing advertising. They say we can’t make any money without ads. They say a community-driven site just doesn’t work.

We want to prove them wrong.

To show support, to help fund this project, and to make it possible to do even bigger, awesome-er stuff, buy our app for $5.99 in the next two weeks.

Now, for everyone else: if the cost bothers you, please wait and grab it for $0.99. We will still love you the same. The app will still be equally minty in two weeks’ time.

Feedback welcome

Often releasing something marks the beginning of something, and not the end of anything. We’re in this for the long haul, and we have really big plans for this app beyond version 1.0. We’re open to any ideas and your feedback in general!

Be sure to check out the WPCandy iPhone app in the App Store, and let us know what you think!

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Take The Initiative and Create Your Own Projects

Smashing-magazine-advertisement in Take The Initiative and Create Your Own ProjectsSpacer in Take The Initiative and Create Your Own Projects
 in Take The Initiative and Create Your Own Projects  in Take The Initiative and Create Your Own Projects  in Take The Initiative and Create Your Own Projects

During my last job with a large corporation, people started to get laid off. Many fellow creatives came to me, as they had no idea what they would do if they were let go. I had come to that small city from New York and my experience was varied and impressive to those who started their careers with this company. Their parents had hoped for their own children to work there and eventually retire in the same homey place. They were anchored in this town that held no other industries. Like layoffs in a town that has a steel mill, there weren’t many options to those looking for work.

“You’re creative,” I would tell people before my turn came in the next to last round of layoffs (which is some comfort). “You can do so many things that are creative. If you get pushed out the door, make your own projects!” Then advise them where to go and spend the rest of the day creating a book, or painting a series for a gallery show, or create postcards, greeting cards, dolls and websites. This was usually followed by the persons to whom I was speaking to, to ask about something they obviously wanted to explore; leading to a discussion, usually joined by others as well, on how to achieve it. The dividing line is how badly does one want it?

Take The Initiative!

Tailor in Take The Initiative and Create Your Own Projects

Tailor (A) gives creative (B) a snappy new “power suit”, SO irresistible that the client (C) hugs the suit (D) causing it to hit paddle (E), smashing expensive vase (G) and wasting a perfectly goof head of cabbage (I). Further destruction reigns havoc (K – P), dousing all competitors with a toxic chemical (Q). Illustration by Rube Goldberg.

I’m a big believer in self-propelled initiatives. It’s how I make a living. Writing for Smashing Magazine is an initiative. Everything is done before Smashing ever sees it. Authors have to come up with the idea, research it for presentation, get the approval and then write it and submit it. It’s initiative. As with what you may perceive as easy to pitch an article, most initiatives are simple!

All of my career I’ve had people come to me to relay that they have written a book and need a cover or images for the inside so they can send it to a publisher. I tell them they don’t need all that. Just send in the manuscript with a self-addressed-stamped-envelope (many publishers have digital submissions on their sites) and the publisher will choose cover designers and illustrators themselves.

Some people smile at the realization that their dreams were an easy step closer. Some didn’t believe me and insisted I design something for them (and draw, because I’m an “artsy-type!”). I look over the pages and tell them it’s an idea that shouldn’t be “set aside lightly”. They smile and then I tell them it should be “thrown with great force” (with apologies to Dorothy Parker). Some people want it to be done for them. Maybe it’s the prompting of a contest or a “might-as-well-take-it” project.

Would you rather be working on a low-paying project that is screwing you up at every turn or invest in yourself with the time put towards your dream project? It’s not hard coming up with an idea and creating the images, code or what-have-you. The difficult part is making yourself do it and then selling it and that’s where most people fail.

One of my recent favorite self-initiative stories was about an injured creative with time on his hands and a need for income. Dave is a designer at the Iconfactory and responsible for the ultimate Twitter icon Ollie the Twitterrific bird; he had broke his foot while playing soccer over the Fourth of July. That meant that the poor guy was relegated to staying off his feet at home. Rather than wallow in self-pity, he decided to use the opportunity to keep himself from going completely Rear Window and offer up his design skills to the large Web community — and successfully so!

Self-initiative is not easy for most people. Working for someone else provides a regular paycheck, security, after a fashion, and someone telling you what to do. No self-motivational projects needed. As one person commented on a past article on crowdsourcing,

“I recently participated in the LG “Design the Future” contest (yeah, I didn’t win)… but rarely do I get the chance to design a cell phone like product… it was a great exercise in creativity and it really let me flex my muscle… and they had some substantial cash prices (first prize was $20,000)… I feel like competitions like that are great for the industry. The rules were pretty relaxed and it really let people go hog wild and show off what they can do. Too often you’re forced to roll with the clients vision. It’s great to have a contest that let’s you be you.”

As I was arguing the pros and cons of crowdsourcing in that article, I just had to reply for his edification:

“I understand your point, but let me play devil’s advocate and explore another option. So you submitted something you really enjoyed designing and it stretched your creativity. You loved your final submission. You didn’t win and the client, I assume, owns it anyway. What if you had designed it but not submitted it and then sought out companies that might purchase the rights to the design? You would have taken a cue to create your own initiative and owned the product rights.”

Was the prize worth giving away all rights to the winner? What would the client have paid a design firm or freelancer to do the work? I’m guessing that the prize cost was considerably less than the one that would have run the company. So, who was the real winner? Which avenue held a better chance for him? The odds of him winning the contest and giving up the idea anyway without winning, or the odds of him being able to sell the design on the open market, or  maybe not, but owning it to try again? I can’t say.

Persistence in selling the idea and protecting it can be daunting. Even though, sometimes even an e-mail comes back right away that says, “I love it!”… and a check eventually arrives. (Note: you shouldn’t participate in such speculative design work as a professional in the first place and here is why — Smashing Editorial)

What Will Get You Started?

Tidalwave in Take The Initiative and Create Your Own Projects

A tidal wave of ideas or bills (A) will motivate another creative nearby to foolishly open an umbrella (E) in a lame attempt to hold back the flood, causing what looks like a giant earring (H) to fall and pull the hammer (J) so it strikes a piece of metal (K), waking up the baby (L) who must be rocked to sleep (N) by a trained and poorly-paid dog (M), causing the attached backscratcher (O) to tear at your flesh until you decide it’s better to get off your rear and do something. Illustration by Rube Goldberg.

Your idea. Your dream. No one will do it for you. Even if you have to work at something non-creative — use the money to live, but make your dream the priority. Crappy job gets in the way of your dream? Find another crappy job! They’re everywhere and except for the slaughterhouse idea, they won’t drain your creativity. Have the idea? Now set your plan. Just like your previous boss who had always made projects go around and around, it’s finally time to make your own plan, knowing it will work better, and make it happen!

First, research who your customer is. Using Web sources or going to stores are the best way to find out some helpful examples of consumer habits (yes, marketing people never leave the office, they rely too much on figures supplied to them). See what people are buying and talk to them. I used to go to stores that carried products made by the company for which I worked for, and watched what people bought or didn’t and asked them why.

I would smile as I approached them, excuse myself and explain what I was working on and gathered their opinions. This is probably why my products sometimes sold very well. Know your consumer base!

Also, figure out costs and how you will cover them. You may need a loan or investors. What website and functionality will you need? Packaging, having stock, shipping, advertising, taxes? Is your dream project for you to start a business or do you want someone else to produce it? If you are producing it yourself, you can get a business loan, but you are about to take many, many risks. Get legal and financial advice next. It’s well worth the money and will give you the final tally of whether or not this will be your dream or nightmare.

If you are creating something to pitch to a company for their purchase or licensing a property (certain photos for calendars and cards, for instance), there are a similar but different set of rules.

Start with the idea and marketing, create a style guide and/or presentation. A friend of mine wanted to publish a graphic novel for a pitch for a property she was trying to sell but couldn’t afford upfront fees for an artist and writer and printer, so I told her to use a WordPress blog to post her promotional material that she already had and that would give her a great presentation — the easy way.

Research which company you think would want to take on the project. Again, go online or to a store and look around. Want to really impress potential clients? Ask the store’s permission to set everything up; take videos of shoppers and their answers. What better way to produce proof of a need and then give clients the means to fulfill it!? Let your imagination run wild! As with the man who was so excited by the contest he entered, stretch yourself creatively.

Found the perfect prospect? Do your research and find the people you need to reach. There are many business networking sites. Search the company and find people and their titles. Get addresses and phone numbers. Call the receptionist and ask her/him who is the head of marketing or if they have an R & D contact person. If they don’t know, ask to speak to the secretary of the VP of marketing. Maybe she/he can get you closer. Also, use your network. Do any of your contacts know someone you are trying to reach?

Sounds difficult? It isn’t really; just keep in mind that it takes a lot of persistence, patience, as well as a good sense of humor. Once you lost one of those, you won’t make it.

A Non-Disclosure Agreement Is Standard

Feeding in Take The Initiative and Create Your Own Projects

While feeding yourself (A), the spoon pulls the string (B), flipping a piece of drilled iron into the head of a parrot (E), who is knocked unconscious and knocks it’s beak into a bowl (G) which spills parrot food into a bucket (H) that sets of fireworks (K) inside your house with a razor sharp sickle (L) attached to it, cutting the string (M) and forcing you to remember the paperwork to enforce your rights by smacking you in the face with a contract repeatedly! Illustration by Rube Goldberg.

It’s standard to either have your own Non-Disclosure Agreement or pick up a copy of Tad Crawford’s book on contracts and forms. Bigger companies will insist on using their own. Bigger corporations, to their own detriment, usually have no access point for outside ideas. They are afraid your idea may be something they are working on and they will be sued down the line. Middle-sized companies will just tell you they happen to be working on the same idea. Document your contacts and submissions well.

I was recently told over a dozen product designs would not be used. I later heard the products were available in every catalog world-wide. Did they think my price would go up if I found out how well the work did? You bet it will! Keep your expectations high (expect the middle to low high) when negotiating. A recent question came in from an artist in Mexico who ran across a sleazy representative in the United States who was basically ripping her off for one of her licensed characters. She had jumped at the chance because it was her first time working in a licensing arrangement. I hope she followed my advice.

As with any business transaction… think! Anyone who rushes your decision is up to something. Do your research and see what you find.

Bless The Web And All Who Surf It!

Extended in Take The Initiative and Create Your Own Projects

Extended and dangerous hook (A) catches old fashion sign (B), causing electrical shorts that start a fire and the boot to swing back, kicking the football (C) over the goal post (D) and into a colander (E) which tips the watering can (G) to soak the creative’s back, pants and shoes, which will lead to misunderstandings and new nicknames. The string (I) pulls open the cage (J) allowing the bird (K) to go to eat the worm (M), as the bird had been starved in retaliation for all the Twitter fails, causing the shade to be pulled down (N), which reminds the creative to mail that proposal in his pocket. Using theiWeb only takes half the steps. Illustration by Rube Goldberg.

The Web holds a billion of possibilities. As I mentioned about my friend who built a blog, rather then going through the costs of print, you can hardly lose with a great idea and the ability to bring it to life on the Web. With e-commerce made so easy, how can you not have a site that sells something? At least most of the people I know have a Cafepress or Zazzle “shop”.

When I first started with web design, back in the days when processors ran on mud and sticks… and fire, which was new, I put up sites for my infamous chili recipe, one for each of my kids, a site for toy collectors, and it went on. Why? The Web was young and there were probably only 73 sites live and forty of them were mine!

Use your down time. Partner with friends and split the rewards. Ever hear of a group of social outcasts who got together and created something called “The Onion?” No? I haven’t either, but I do hear good things and that they crawled their way up to be, I believe, the number one humor site in the world. It must have started with an idea and someone’s dream.

(ik) (vf)


© Speider Schneider for Smashing Magazine, 2010. | Permalink | Post a comment | Add to del.icio.us | Digg this | Stumble on StumbleUpon! | Tweet it! | Submit to Reddit | Forum Smashing Magazine
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Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audience’s Attention


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 in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention  in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention  in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Let’s say you’re driving down the freeway at 65mph and you see the roadside plastered with advertising posters on both sides. Some small, some large, all meant in some measure to cause you to remember a brand or identity, to keep that company name in your mind. The more saturated the roadside becomes with advertisements, the more the brand has to be distinctively creative, unique and memorable.

Generally, the eye-catching ads are mostly the ones with witty taglines that are easy and fun to remember. As much as the colors of the images and fonts being used are important to make it easy on the eyes, the idea actually has to be unique and simple enough to be separated from other commercials.

Billboard Mainimage in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention
Photo credit: Randy Harris

The same principle applies to any website. Though a user won’t necessarily be passing by your site at 65 mph, there is a certain bounce rate — visitors who leave your site shortly after entering it. For many websites, these rates are much too high. This poses a very similar challenge to those who design billboards. You have a very short amount of time to capture your audience’s attention and to keep it for long. With that in mind, here are some principles for developing billboard-style Web designs.

Creative and Unique

An important piece to the billboard website puzzle is creative and unique design. This can be intertwined within the other principles, and when done effectively, can be the sole reason for viewers to dig deeper into your site.

Hey Indy
Creative and fun, heyindy.com breaks the mold of an ordinary, plain and boring website. Complete with customized illustrations, drawings and playful typography, each page engages users, making them feel comfortable on the site. Notice how well the illustration on the top fits with the tagline of the site. Hey Indy creates websites, illustrations and animations and uses the “mixtape” metaphor to attract client’s attention. The site is not obtrusive, but inviting instead. A very personal, attractive design.

Indy in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Dropr
This online service uses a nice typographic poster with playful typography on the front page to explain what it does. The design is attractive and inviting, although a plain simple text message could have worked just as well to deliver the message to the visitors. The interesting part are the animated clouds on the left side with colorful water drops. Very nice use of metaphor contained in the title of the service. An original and unique design.

Dropr in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

TVLCORPs
Interested yet? Though the tagline shown on the web design below does not really say what this company does, the layout is creative and compelling; the strong, vivid contrast is more than enough to turn some heads. Notice how “UX/UI” stands out on the site, focusing the visitor’s attention on the ‘services’ section of the page.

Dreams in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

{ ro:newmedia }
Sometimes it’s a good idea to risk an unusual design approach — be it exaggerated typography, striking color combinations or unusual design layouts. The latter is the case in point for ro:newmedia’s website. The layout is very unusual and original, and therefore memorable. Colorful large spinning circles look like an overlay of the site layout and appear vividly against the dark background. A downside: the font size of the text on the page could be a bit larger.

Ro in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Pixelmator
Much different than the standard, pasted screenshot, Pixelmator works the sleek, elegant interface of their application directly into the design of their page.

Pixelmator in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Relogik
What makes this particular site effective is its ability to draw the eye to the name of the product or service they are showcasing. In this case, it works well to give the company name an afterthought as well as making the product more prominent.

Relogik in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Made My Day
One more test to run is to assume how much impact a particular site has on a reader, if they were to take a quick glance and look away. Ask yourself: If you were to carry out your day from that point, what were you to still remember about that particular site? The large orange circle elegantly integrated into this composition does an excellent job of leaving a style for returning visitors to remember.

Mademyday in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Compelling Headlines

A good design only goes as far as the content it contains. For this reason, it’s vital to go beyond average with your copy text. If you’ve seen a billboard advertisement or two, you may remember the tag lines featured on them. Short and to the point, they’re meant to get you to remember a certain brand.

Many large corporations don’t even use ad copy, but rely solely on their logo and identity to remain effective. One has even gone as far as making their billboard a working sundial in this respect. Though we should all aspire to having a brand of our own this influential, it’s recommended that you stick to clear and powerful copy text along with your design to help capture your readers. Here are some examples of compelling headlines:

Ryan & Sofia
Ryan and Sofia combine hand-drawn design elements with a compelling headline, all supported by a very informal, emotional language and choice of layout. The message is strong and clear, and therefore very appealing.

Marriage in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Comwerks Interactive
This design agency uses a clear and simple language to communicate the purpose of the website. Cute illustrations make a website look less formal and much more engaging. The purpose is clear and the client list immediately proves that the design agency indeed builds cool stuff. A downside: the text on the images in the slideshow would benefit from not being embedded in the images.

Cool-stuff in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Camera+
Clear, contrasting colors only add to the effectiveness of the headline given on this website. In a clear and elegant manner, a reader is quickly able to glance at this website and know its purpose.

Camera in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Just Dot
Sticking to the billboard clarity, Just Dot provides a clever design and tagline to attract readers. Along with a creative chalkboard theme, this site features neat and clean navigation to help guide readers through the site.

Justdot in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Jeroen Homan
In clear and impacting typography, this site screams out its purpose distinctly. In today’s fast-lane crowd of web-surfers, such clear and impacting titles are a must-have for a captivating and inviting website. This of course, is the case as long as the amount of content allows for this.

Jeroenhoman in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

DBA Products
An important part of capturing your reader’s attention is in engaging in a conversation. When one reads, “Think before you write” a first reaction is to wonder about what is actually meant by that phrase. Firstly, attention is captured. Secondly, a reader eye is lead to the bottom left corner where they can view a video to learn more.

Dba Products in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Clever and Poignant

Not every billboard is meant to be humorous, however, almost all strive in some way to get a point across in a not-so-ordinary fashion. Consider the last few advertisements you’ve seen. If they were selling toothpaste, did the ad simply state “Buy this Toothpaste” or was there something creative and direct to get you to remember that particular brand?

In Web design, the same principle can be applied. With the hundreds, if not thousands, of websites we’re exposed to overall, trends can be seen which are all too often followed. But because the Web is ever changing, simply following trends can lead to a site becoming outdated the moment it’s published.

How can this be avoided? Once again, we can look back at billboard advertisements. What makes many of them effective is their ability to deliver something creative, or other than what the average person was expecting to see.

Tea Round
Complete with high-quality images, Tea Round’s website captures attention, while incorporating a creative tagline.

Tea Round in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Spring: Supporting Biodiversity
This particular tagline is effective because it engages you with a question. Notice how the question is not “Do you support biodiversity?” but rather “What will you do to support biodiversity?” which places the reader in a position to feel as though they need to take action!

Spring in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Tapbots
Another element to creating memorable billboard-style web designs, is the product or service itself. Short and snappy names are just as, if not more important, than the tagline. “Calcbot” is much easier to say and much more memorable than something like “Calculator Application for iPhone.”

Tapbots in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Pointy
Featuring a vibrant color scheme and typestyle, Pointy successfully merges creative typography with a compelling and challenging headline. Along with the headline is a clear next action for the reader to take: “Let’s talk”.

Kawartha in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Powerfully Branded

Though it’s already been touched a bit thus far, branding is another important piece to powerful Web design which deserves further attention. As with the toothpaste example, a billboard’s purpose may in the end be to generate sales, but just as important is the building of the brand the company is advertising. After all, you can get dozens of different brands of toothpaste, just as there are a multitude of of websites out there, so how is one among the crowd to be remembered? Building a brand through a Web design is the very mark or entity visitors remember you by.

Nike®
Showing the importance of subtle repetition, Nike® combines a creative display of their shoes, while giving viewers multiple views of their logo.

Nike in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

McCafé®
With every cup featuring the McDonald’s® and McCafé® logo, a viewer can be grabbed by the quality of the product, while remembering the brand correlating to it.

Mccafe in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Coca-Cola®
The Coca-Cola&reg website is a billboard in action. Complete with the clean logo and bottle, with the clear and simple tagline, the brand is very easy to remember.

Cocacola in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

What Does a Brand Have to do with a Website Anyway?

Even if the website you’re developing doesn’t have the sole purpose of making money, a brand is still very important. Brands are essential for goading visitors to come back time and time again. Consider some of the recent advertisements you’ve seen. If there is a company you know and love, would you say you’re much more apt to spend time looking at that advertisement, as oppose to the dozens of others you’ve never seen before, or the ones that don’t interest you? The same applies for websites.

Eye-catching, yet tactful

There are countless sites on the web that will undoubtedly catch your attention, but only for the worse. Poor, outdated design, or a heap of flashing animated gifs will only increase your bounce-rate. Appealing sites achieve a balance between capturing reader’s attention and providing an adequate amount of useful information. Something to keep in mind: the design is a key piece of your website, but if it distracts away from the aimed content, it no longer serves its purpose!

Megumi
With jaw-dropping elegance and simplicity, this web design effectively brands their name, gives a brief tour, all while keeping the design clean and clear.

Megumi in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

MailChimp
MailChimp’s website design is bold and clean, and it sticks to a consistent color scheme. Bright, complimenting colors are used while making the main content readable.

Mailchimp in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Row to the Pole
Still retaining a subdued and clean typestyle and color scheme, this site is still able to feature a commanding headline. Communication, clarity, and balanced design are all utilized exceptionally on this layout.

Row To The Pole in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Clean, Simple and Straight to the point

Of course, one of the options is also as simple as simplicity. Not to say we cannot be creative in our delivery, but a saturation of text and images, especially on a home page, can motivate our viewers to click that back button! Here we’ll take a look at some good billboard-style websites that have captured the essence of simplicity to attract readers:

Less
Less has a clean and well-designed interface. Complete with a clever tagline, this application shows you a screenshot of exactly what they’re offering to you. It doesn’t get much clearer than this.

Less in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Courier Mac App
Complete with a well crafted icon, Courier clearly depicts their application with cool, soft colors, yet elegantly displaying the showcased application. The catchy subtitle also assists with remembering the name. Something to take note of as well is the fact that the “download” and “purchase” buttons are clearly displayed at the top of the page.

Courier in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

We Are Omazing
With a simplistic approach, this site integrates the imagery and style into the tagline. Branding is in effect as a memorable name is complimented with readable design.

Omazing in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Clarity and Contrast

Pivotal to any design, good contrast is a must. While subtle typefaces and graphics have their place in design, strong contrast is important to quickly direct a reader’s attention or get them to remember something particular. If viewers have to hunt around for what you do or what you offer – more than likely they will not stick around for long. Make it easy for your readers to know what you’re about from the very beginning.

Charles Elena
Don’t be afraid to go big with your text. This site sports an effectively large Sans-Serif font to grab the attention of its readers and to get them to remember what they do. The design isn’t necessarily strong and vivid, but the message is communicated very clearly.

Charles Elena in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Live Books
There are many different features listed on Live Book’s website, but one thing that’s executed exceptionally well is its clarity. There’s no mystery here, you know exactly what they offer.

Live-books1 in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Conclusion

In an age where advertisements saturate our market, it becomes all the more visible of the need for creative and effective design. As we’ve explored here, good design goes beyond making things look nice, or following trends, but rather effectively capturing the audience of those whom we wish to view the site. In the end, what action viewers do, or do not take, can come down to the finest details of the decisions made by the Web developer.

Feel free to share your opinions or experiences in the comment section below!

Bonus Billboard Template Download

In addition to the concepts explored here, you can download your free billboard website/image template for displaying your billboard-style design. Place any 440px wide image into the code provided, or modify it yourself for a great way to display your images. See some samples below:

Billboard Temp in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention
Smashing Billboard in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention
Smashinglogo Billboard in Billboard Web Design: How to Win Your Audiences Attention

Download the template for free

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Who Will Redbox Choose as Its Digital Partner?

Expectations were high that Redbox would announce its strategy for digital delivery on today’s Coinstar earnings call, and those who believed that the company would lay out its plan must have been disappointed. While the company confirmed that it would go to market with a digital offering in 2011, and said it would do so with a partner, the DVD kiosk company had little to say about the specifics of what such a plan would look like.

Coinstar CEO Paul Davis said that the company spent a good long time debating whether or not to build its own digital offering or to find another company to partner with. But in the end Redbox decided that the partner strategy was the way to go, based on its ability to roll out a digital offering quickly from a technological perspective, as well as a partner’s ability to offer up a wide range of digital content without the DVD kiosk firm having to do a lot of heavy lifting in striking content deals.

While Redbox declined to name which companies it was in discussions with, it did talk about the reasons why it would be an attractive partner for any of those companies. “Consumers have told us that they are hungry for [digital content],” Davis told analysts on the call. Not just that, but Redbox customers are well-positioned to take advantage of a digital offering, with 91 percent of them having broadband connections at home. Finally, Redbox said its strong brand and extensive physical presence would also offer up a opportunity for any potential partners.

That said, it’s not clear whether Redbox would roll out a subscription service to compete against Netflix, as has been widely rumored, or whether it would pursue a digital VOD strategy to compete against rentals from iTunes and other digital storefronts. That strategy would primarily depend on whatever partner it chooses and which options are available through such a deal. With that in mind, these are probably the top potential partners for a Redbox digital offering:

Walmart

Walmart and Redbox have long been partners in the physical DVD world, with the big box retailer playing host to a number of its kiosks around the country. It would only make sense for Walmart to extend that partnership to the digital realm. Wal-mart purchased Vudu earlier this year, and the digital video subsidiary has been mainly quiet ever since. Vudu has distribution on a number of connected consumer electronics devices, and just announced today that it has struck a deal to bring Hollywood movies to the Boxee Box. With Vudu back out of its quiet mode, it wouldn’t be surprising for Walmart to leverage that asset to help out Redbox with a white-label or co-branded offering from Vudu.

Pros: A wide distribution on CE devices, a strong partnership with Redbox already.

Cons: Walmart has struggled with digital offerings in the past.

Amazon

Ever since Amazon rolled out its video on demand offering, it has struggled to gain traction in the digital marketplace, mainly playing second fiddle to Apple’s iTunes. Even so, Amazon has managed to snag some consumer electronics deals, landing on TiVo DVRs, as well as Roku broadband set-top boxes and Google TV devices from Sony and Logitech. Striking a Redbox partnership would go a long way to expanding its market clout, but it might not give Redbox the flexibility it desires from a distribution point of view.

Pros: Quick, easy access to a library of 40,000 on-demand titles.

Cons: Somewhat limited CE distribution.

Sonic Solutions

Sonic could be the dark horse in Redbox’s partner hunt; while it doesn’t have the instant name recognition that Walmart or Amazon have, it’s providing behind-the-scenes help to a number of digital storefronts already, including those from Best Buy and Blockbuster. The owner of the RoxioNow video purchase and rental offering already is embedded on a number of CE devices and would be able to turn on a branded Redbox offering pretty quickly. At the same time, a Redbox-branded storefront and content library would be competing directly against similar offerings from other Sonic partners.

Pros: Wide distribution, potential for a quick turnaround on a Redbox-branded storefront.

Cons: Direct competition against other Sonic partners.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: (subscription required)

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Nokia touts simplified development via enhanced Qt SDK

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) issued an enhanced Qt software development kit promising a 70 percent reduction in the number of lines of code required to write apps for the company’s Symbian smartphone portfolio. Qt–a cross-platform app development framework–offers a complete toolkit touting an abbreviated workflow, simplified software creation and intuitive UI libraries; according to Nokia, the Qt SDK also enables developers to effectively future proof their apps by adapting their software to run on emerging mobile platforms like MeeGo, leveraging those operating systems’ additional features and APIs. The Nokia Qt SDK also features the Qt Simulator, allowing developers to test their apps on a computer. The SDK is available for download here.

In related Nokia news, the handset maker will make over its Ovi Store content marketplace to incorporate a new look and feel promising a more integrated user experience–in addition, the company touted a series of developer enhancements including new pricing options. According to Nokia, the upgraded Ovi Store will simplify and accelerate application search and discovery; the store will also introduce in-app purchases, enabling developers to deliver expanded pricing options like subscription models, micro-transactions and ‘try and buy’ offers giving consumers the flexibility to download a free, lite version of an application for subsequent upgrade to a more feature-rich premium edition. Nokia adds it will improve operator revenue share on Ovi Store purchases made after Oct. 1, but did not offer specifics.

According to Nokia, Ovi Store developers now reach roughly 175 million Symbian-based smartphones worldwide. The store’s footprint spans across 190 countries and boasts relationships with 91 mobile operators. Nokia notes that more than 50 Ovi Store publishers have reached the 1 million download benchmark, with some topping more than 40 million downloads to date.

For more on Nokia’s Qt SDK:
- read this release

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Android Market tops 80,000 apps–BlackBerry App World at just 10,000

Days after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced its App Store now features more than 250,000 iOS-based mobile applications, rivals Google and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) have checked in with inventory updates on their own storefronts: Android Market now boasts more than 80,000 applications, while BlackBerry App World stands at over 10,000. Google updated Android Market’s status in conjunction with the introduction of T-Mobile USA’s new Android-powered G2 smartphone–the store has added 10,000 new apps since mid-July. Google vice president of engineering Andy Rubin credited Android’s open-source ethos for fostering developer interest in the platform: “Developer-led Android innovation is flourishing,” he said in a prepared statement. “On Android Market alone, the number of applications available to consumers has grown from just 50 applications two years ago to more than 80,000 applications today.”

But access to Android Market is not available to all devices running the Android OS. Hugo Barra, Google’s director of products for mobile, said that Android 2.2 (a.k.a. ‘Froyo’) is not optimized for use on tablets, adding “The way Android Market works is it’s not going to be available on devices that don’t allow applications to run correctly. If you want Android Market on that platform, the apps just wouldn’t run–[Froyo] is just not designed for that form factor. We want to make sure that we’re going to create an application distribution mechanism for the Android Market, to ensure our users have right experience.”

Screen size and resolution appear to be the culprits. The Android Developers website states that from Android 1.6 and up, the OS supports three generalized size (large, normal and small) and three generalized densities (high [hdpi], medium [mdpi] and low [ldpi]), with an upper resolution limit of 480×854 on screens measuring from 3.5 inches to 4.0 inches diagonal. Google has hinted that future Android versions beginning with 3.0 (a.k.a. ‘Gingerbread’) will support the larger tablet form factor.

As for BlackBerry App World, RIM confirmed the 10,000 application benchmark via its Twitter account. RIM recently stated that more than 30 million BlackBerry smartphone users across 65 countries have downloaded BlackBerry App World since it first opened in spring 2009, with consumers averaging more than a million app downloads each day. RIM rolled out a revamped BlackBerry App World in late July–the store now supports credit card payments on top of PayPal, with a handful of carrier partners offering operator billing options as well. BlackBerry App World also boasts new tabbed sections for various application lists: Users can horizontally swipe or scroll to view the Top 25 Free Apps, Top 25 Paid Apps and Top 25 Themes, along with checklists spotlighting the Newest Apps and Recently Updated Apps.

For more on Android Market:
- read this TechRadar article

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