Alex manages design and front end development for and is SitePoint's Design and UX editor.

Alex's articles

  1. Spin the Bottle with CMS Matrix

    Clients are definitely becoming more sophisticated. Three years ago every initial client meetings involved an explanation and demo of a content management system — “So,… then I can change this at the our office?“. Now they more often arrive asking if our CMS has friendly URLs and subcategories.

    I think this has been one of the great effects of the ‘rise of blogging’. Although most aren’t running their own blog, many seem to have a friend or colleague who is, or, at least, have placed comments on other people’s blogs. Essentially the whole process has helped them understand the idea that websites aren’t static bill posters but live, editable spaces that reflect whatever’s going on in their life/business/world.

  2. ‘DOM-foolery’ with Images

    Last week we were dealt a little design challenge in an otherwise straight-forward site mock-up — the presentation called for the ‘content images’ to have rounded corners.

    In the past, there wasn’t much choice: you made a nice framing template in Photoshop, dropped your picture behind it and exported your new image.

    The most obvious problem in this approach is that, although the image itself is considered ‘content’, the decorative corners are a mere ‘designer’s whim’ that is only relevant to the current look and feel. If the client decided that the next redesign should be ‘hard-nosed & corporate’, we would need to either re-author every image or, since no-one likes making work for themselves, more likely just grin and bare it. Neither are particularly attractive choices.

  3. The Web Developer’s Keyboard

    Here’s one from the ‘I.. want.. one..’ department. Picture it. You’re using your right hand to add elegant flowing curves to a nice header graphic on your Touch Senstive LCD Display, in Photoshop. But why should your left hand be shunned? It is no more, as it taps away at ‘paint bucket’ and ‘magic wand’ […]

  4. Usability improvements using the DOM

    As a rule, users don’t like surprises. If they expect one thing to happen and you give them something else, they get grumpy. And rightly so. Links are probably the best example of this. How many swear words have you muttered watching Acrobat suddenly spontaneously launch itself moments after clicking on a seemingly innocent-looking link? […]

  5. Fixing the ‘onClick’ in Dreamweaver

    Here’s a Dreamweaver tip from the ‘fishing with dynamite’ department. Although it’s not the ideal tool for all tasks, Macromedia Dreamweaver is a very useful tool. However it has one particularly nasty little habit that has bugged me for a while now — an infuriating penchant for automatically and forcibly converting my perfectly valid ‘onclick’ […]

  6. The Web Designer’s Sketch Pad

    I’ve got a nasty habit of buying a new sketch pad and another click pencil every time I wander into the newsagent. As I’m always leaving them somewhere other than where I need them, the only way to guarantee there’s always one on hand is to have massive redundancy in my system. So, looking at […]

  7. Small Screen Testing in FireFox

    A month or two ago I wrote a little piece on Testing for Smartphones & PDAs in the Design View. In essence, the article was a barebones rundown of the more well known small screen emulators. Today I discovered I had overlooked a reasonably handy alternative — particularly if Firefox is your weapon of choice […]

  8. Firefox – the secret is out

    As you may have already noticed, SitePoint’s latest title has just hit the shelves — ‘Firefox Secrets’ by Cheah Chu Yeow. Chu Yeow, in case you don’t know, has run one of the most influential and informative Firefox blogs over the last few years and has been a long time, respected member of the Mozilla […]

  9. The End of CAPTCHA?

    Aside: It’s good to be back at the wheel after a short interlude — having gained a baby daughter but minus a little surplus sleep ;) Most of us have used a ‘CAPTCHA’ at some point, even if we didn’t know that’s what it was called. According to WikiPedia, ‘CAPTCHA‘ is the acronym for ‘Completely […]

  10. Veerle’s Charts in Illustrator CS2

    I’ve spent a bit of time recently talking about some of the newer and groovier features in Creative Suite 2, so it’s great to see Veerle chime in with this easy-to-follow tutorial on producing stylish pie charts using Illustrator CS2. I think the nicest feature is Illustrator lets you to leave the data in a […]