Archive for November 17th, 2009

17
Nov
09

phpBB 3.0.6 released

A list of major new features implemented in phpBB 3.0.6

  • Better captcha options and backported 3.2 captcha plugins:
    • Classic and GD CAPTCHA
    • reCaptcha (based on API from recaptcha.net by Mike Crawford and Ben Maurer)
    • Q&A CAPTCHA
    • 3D Wave (by Robert “Xore” Hetzler)

  • Introduced new ACM (Cache) plugins. (Please consult our support forums for help if you need to use one of the new ACM plugins)
  • ATOM Feeds
  • Bare-bones Quick Reply editor in viewtopic
  • Users can report PMs to moderators which are then visible in a new MCP module
  • Ability to copy permissions from one forum to several other forums.
  • Send anonymous statistical information to phpBB on installation and update (optional)

A non-comprehensive list of minor feature additions to phpBB 3.0.6

  • Add language selection to the registration terms page. (Patch by leviatan21)
  • New groups option to excempt group leaders from group permissions (allows leading groups having NEVER permissions).
  • New “Newly Registered Users” group for assigning permissions to newly registered users. They will be removed from this group once they reach a defineable amount of posts.
  • Ability to define if the “Newly Registered Users” group will be assigned as the default group to newly registered users.
  • Add new option to disable avatars board-wide. (Patch by cYbercOsmOnauT and nickvergessen)
  • Add unapproved topic icon for moderators on forum list.
  • Ability to define minimum number of characters for posts/pms.
  • Detect if a post has been altered by someone else while editing.
  • Add unread posts quick search option.
  • Add option to disable avatar uploads from remote locations.
  • Ability to delete warnings and keep warnings permanently.
  • Ability to empty a user’s outbox from the user ACP quick tools.
  • Ability to search ACP/MCP logs.
  • Parse email text files with the template engine.
  • Added new functionality to inactive users module:
    • Ability to set users per page.
    • Ability to sort by posts/number of reminders/last reminded date.
    • Show number of posts and ability to search posts.
    • Show number of reminders sent to user.
    • Show date of last reminder sent to user.
  • Display version check on ACP main page.
  • Ability to control the display of custom profile fields on viewtopic.
  • Fallback options for missing language files. (Patch by EXreaction)
  • Separate PM Reply and PM Reply to all in prosilver.
  • Place debug notices during captcha rendering in the error log – useful for debugging output already started errors.
  • Ability to define constant PHPBB_USE_BOARD_URL_PATH to use board url for images/avatars/ranks/imageset (useful for bridges and applications using phpBB).
  • Style authors are now able to define the default submit button used for form submission on ENTER keypress on forms using more than one submit button. Prosilver uses this for the posting page(s) and registration screen.
  • Ability to specify amount of time user is able to delete his last post in topic.

A non-comprehensive list of smaller changes implemented in phpBB 3.0.6

  • Change the data format of the default file ACM to be more secure from tampering and have better performance.
  • Template engine now permits variable includes to a limited extent.
  • Quote BBCode no longer requires the f_reply permission.
  • Banning/unbanning users now generates an entry in their user notes.
  • Smilies no longer require the f_bbcode permission.
  • Hide avatar when avatar-type is not allowed.
  • INCLUDEPHP paths are now relative to $phpbb_root_path.
  • “Post details” links with image in MCP.
  • PM history now only shows PMs of users you currently reply to.
  • Show quote button for own PMs in PM history.
  • Add pagination for icons and smilies in the ACP and smilies in the smiley popup.
  • Changed minimum requirement for Firebird DBMS from 2.0+ to 2.1+.
  • Unapproved topics can no longer be replied to.
  • Allow three-digit hex notation in Color BBcode.
  • Simplified login_box() and redirection after login. S_LOGIN_ACTION can now be used on every page.
  • Resize oversized topic icons.
  • Banned IPs are now sorted.
  • phpBB updater now skips sole whitespace/tab changes while computing differences. This reduces the chance of conflicts tremendously.
  • phpBB updater now solves common conflicts on its own. This further reduces the chance of conflicts.
  • Database updater now supports checking for existing/missing indexes.

A list of important bugfixes since phpBB 3.0.5

  • Show error in the ACP when template folder is not readable.
  • Correctly apply the can change vote permission again. Regression introduced in r9470.
  • Remove data from friend/foe table when deleting user.
  • Fix dynamic config update routine error if firebird is used
  • Fix saving custom profile fields in ACP if Oracle is used.
  • Make view_log() more resilient to corrupt serialized data.
  • Fix Oracle database backup and restore.
  • Update attachments table when deleting user and retaining his posts.
  • Correctly detect files in subfolders when viewing cached template files.
  • Do not throw an error when PDO is a shared module and not loaded preventing SQLite from being loaded.
  • Fix censoring of unicode words.
  • Do not remove recipients when loading private message draft.
  • Fix database updater and db tools to support multiple column changes/additions/removals with SQLite.
  • Posting smilies in view more smilies screen now works again in IE. (Patch by leviatan21)
  • Add ability to prune users who never logged in.
  • Fail gracefully if store folder is not writable during update.
  • Fix error with disapproval of topics having several queued posts only.
  • Preserve newlines in template files.
  • Be less strict with FTP daemons when getting directory filelists.
  • Fix set_custom_template for database-stored styles.
  • Do not send private message back to sender if sender is in the same group the private message was sent to.
  • Min/max characters per posts no longer affects poll options.
  • Do not try to create thumbnails for images we cannot open properly.
  • Apply locale-independent basename() to attachment filenames. New function added: utf8_basename(). (Patch by ocean=Yohsuke)
  • Adjust build_url() to not prepend $phpbb_root_path if path returned from redirect() is an URL. This fixes redirect issues with some installations and bridges.
  • Fix general error in registration, caused by an undefined $config variable in validate_referer(). (Patch by wjvriend)
  • Correctly extract column default value when exporting PostgreSQL tables..
  • Allow updater to work correctly with PHP filename extensions other than “.php”.
  • Update search index if only post subject changed.
  • Prevent style switcher from blocking the tab key.
  • Fix email problems on servers with PHP installations not accepting RFC-compliant subject string passed to the mail()-function.
  • Only embed cron.php if there is no cron lock present to reduce overhead. (Patch by TerryE)
  • Send activation email when activating user from user settings.
  • Correctly display underlined links placed in last line in viewtopic. (Patch by primehalo)
  • Only check whether forum image exists if forum image is specified.
  • Fixed database updater for changes to columns having default value in MSSQL (adding/dropping constraints).

A short explanation of how to do a conversion, installation or update is included within the provided INSTALL.html file, please be sure to read it.

Minimum Requirements

phpBB3 has a few requirements which must be met before you are able to install and use it.

  • A webserver or web hosting account running on any major Operating System with support for PHP
  • A SQL database system, one of:
    • MySQL 3.23 or above (MySQLi supported)
    • PostgreSQL 7.3+
    • SQLite 2.8.2+
    • Firebird 2.1+
    • MS SQL Server 2000 or above (directly or via ODBC)
    • Oracle
  • PHP 4.3.3+ (>=4.3.3, >4.4.x, >5.x.x, >6.0-dev (compatible)) with support for the database you intend to use.
  • getimagesize() function need to be enabled
  • The optional presence of the following modules within PHP will provide access to additional features, but they are not required.
    • zlib Compression support
    • Remote FTP support
    • XML support
    • Imagemagick support
    • GD Support

The presence of each of these optional modules will be checked during the installation process.

Security

Security issues found should be reported to our security tracker in the usual way.

Available packages

If you experience problems with the automatic update (white screens, timeouts, etc.) we recommend using the “changed files only” or “patch” method for updating.

With this release, there are five packages available.

  • Full Package:
    Contains entire phpBB3 source and english language files.
  • Automatic Update Package:
    Update package for the automatic updater, containing the changes from previous release to this release.
  • Changed Files Only:
    Contains only those files changed from previous versions of phpBB3. Please note this archive contains changed files for each previous release.
  • Patch Files:
    Contains patch compatible patches from previous versions of phpBB3.
  • Code Changes Package:
    Package contains changes to the following sections: Language changes, prosilver style changes and subsilver2 style changes.

Select whichever package is most suitable for you. As a tiny guide we recommend the following methods based on the requirements:

  • For a new installation you should use the Full Package
  • For updates of boards without modifications you can basically use the Automatic Update Package (guided update) or the Changed Files Only package (manual update).
  • For updates of boards with modifications you should use the Automatic Update Package. If you are confident with patch files and patching you can use the Patch Files Package.
  • Style Authors and Translators may use the Code Changes Package to update their styles or language packs directly.
  • International Support Teams may use the Patch Package in conjunction with the Code Changes to better support users having problems with conflicts or specific code sections.
  • If you are a hoster/provider, you may want to use the Patch Files Package to update all of your client installations.

Please ensure you read the INSTALL and README documents in docs/ before proceeding with installation, updates or conversions!.

Download Locations

You can of course find this download available on our downloads page.
Our release archive provides all packages we build. If you do not find the desired package you may want to have a look at the release archive.

Download/Documentation

17
Nov
09

100 Amazing Free WordPress Themes for 2009

Blog & Portfolio Themes

One Room [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Elegant Grunge [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Fusion [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Matalag [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Typebased [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Irresistible [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

BlogTheme [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Colourise [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Cellar Heat [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Pixeled [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Outdoorsy [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Vector Flower [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Magaling [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

WildDreams [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

WPESP [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Portfolio Press [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Black Pearl [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Masinop [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

WP CODA [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Google Chrome [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

miniBlog [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Absynthe [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

BlueDiamond [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

BlackPower [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Old School [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Nami

Free WordPress themes

Freemium [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Fholio [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Versatility Lite [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Curious [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Sketchy [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Sanddollar [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Typogriph [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Coffee Desk [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Andrea 0.3 [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Magazine & Corporate Themes

Skyye News [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Meta-Morphosis [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

TheLatest [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Scarlett [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

TurnOut Mag [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

MegaNews [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

SchemerMag [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

TransGravita [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Chara [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Marcelle [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Red Accent [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Parchment [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

ThemePod [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

The Pinnacle [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

MMOZINE [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Gamezine [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Milano [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Zinmag Tribune [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

IsoTherm News [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

CorporateMag [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

CryBook [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Photoblog & Gallery Themes

PhotoMadness [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Snapshot [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

AutoFocus [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Futurosity Aperio Prototype [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Linquist [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Fotofolio [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Viewport [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Folio Elements [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

iQ2 [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

F8 Lite [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

The Unstandard WP 2.7 [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Minimal & Clean Themes

MagZine [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Equilibrium [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Fontella [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Minimo [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Oulipo [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Manifest [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Modern Clix [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Sharpfolio [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Sator-ii [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Undedicated [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Clean Home [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Sans-serif Racer [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Lead

Free WordPress themes

Grid Focus 2.7 [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Cardeo [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Gigantic [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Smashing Magazine Themes

Imprezz [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Compositio [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Vintage and Blues [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

ASCII One [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Black Magic [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Color Paper [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Cellar Heat [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Simply Ornate [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Agregado [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Notepad Chaos [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

WordPress Fun [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Magazeen [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Gallery [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Infinity [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Something different…

Changing Room [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

UnderCon [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

Crafty Cart [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

WP-Dashboard Like [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

City Dreams

Free WordPress themes

HELLBISCUIT [Demo]

Free WordPress themes

17
Nov
09

40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

AppCloud Theme
A nice e-commerce WordPress theme with a clean and professional look. Built upon 960.gs, with an integrated slideshow, two layouts (horizontal and vertical) for app/gadget images. The theme also includes sections “Featured products” and “Top Selling” and a categorized products view.

Appcloud in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Berita (via ThemeCloset)
Berita is a minimalist corporate theme created for companies to prominently display their logo, but the theme could be used for any type of website. It’s a feature-rich theme with a preview slider on the front page and a robust theme administration page.

Berita in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Magazeen
Magazeen is a two-column theme released specifically for Smashing Magazine readers. The theme has some subtle enhancements that encourage looking at related and new posts, like a related posts drop-down effect for the category link.

Magazeen in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Mainstream Theme (via Wootheme)
You have the option of choosing from five different theme colors with Mainstream. Thumbnails are automatically resided and the sidebar is widgetized.

Mainstream in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Rusty Grunge
Rusty Grunge is a simple WordPress theme yet still gives you the “destroyed” look. This theme utilizes a fully-widgetized sidebar and has been downloaded over 28,000 times and is featured as a pre-installed theme on Dreamhost’s default installation of WordPress.

Rg in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Obscure WordPress Theme
A dark magazine WordPress theme suitable for any site niche; also a good fit for a community-based site.

Obscure2 in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Paper Wall
Smashing Magazine released the illustrated theme Paper Wall last month. The inspiration behind the Paper Wall theme was a designer’s desk, as designers typically put things on paper. It’s a two-column theme with many elements of paper: paper boards, peeling paper and paper “menus”.

Paperwall in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Gallery WordPress Theme
a beautiful, free, gallery-style Thematic child theme for WordPress, designed by Christopher Wallaceespecially for Smashing Magazine and its readers. It is extremely flexible and can be used as a starting point for design galleries and portfolios.

Gall in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Cool Retro
A nice, clean illustrated WordPress theme with a retro-look and nice typography.

Coolretro in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Life Collage
Life Collage is a child theme of the Hybrid theme framework. It’s about getting back to the roots of blogging. About sharing our lives. And, about having a little fun while we do it.

Life in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Shalom Typo
This theme was designed for the typographic template contest at Smashing Magazine by the German designer David Hellmann. This WordPress theme is based upon this layout. A clean and nice typographic WordPress-theme.

Shalom in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Jungleland Theme (via Theme Lab)
The stylish browns give an earthy feel to this blog making it a good choice for those blogs focused on the environment and nature. It features a photo gallery and a sidebar menu

Jungleland-theme in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Monkeypr Theme (via Queness)
Monkeypr is a nicely designed and fun WordPress theme.

Monkeypr-theme in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Folio Elements Theme (via Press 75)
With its black background, Folio Elements theme will surely make your images and photographs noticed. There is no sidebar, no widgets, no list of categories, no place to comment and nowhere to search. However, if you are looking for a basic carousel-type theme with absolutely no basics, bells or whistles, then Folio Elements might be the one for you.

Folio-elements-theme in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

SimpleCart(js)
SimpleCart(js) is another child of the Thematic WordPress framework. The theme requires WP E-Commerce and is a flexible way to showcase products with the grid framework. The theme features a rich wood background and simple white content area.

Simplecart in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Glassic
A simple clean WordPress theme with the focus on typography and simplicity. Released by Abdullah Ibrahimexclusively for Smashing Magazine and its readers.

Glassic-release in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Zinepress Theme (via Well Medicatedi)
Zinepress is a two column magazine style theme. There is a nice sidebar with enough space for ads and for your widgets. It is hand coded and has valid XHTML STrict 1.0 and CSS Level 2.1. The developer has successfully tested this them with IE 6.0+, Firefox 2+, Opera 9+, Safari 3+, and Chrome 0.2+. Suggested WordPress version is 2.7 or higher.

Zinepress-theme in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Futurosity Aperio Prototype
Futurosity Aperio is a clean straight-forward blog theme built on Sandbox

Aperio in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Futurosity Vero (via Theme Meme)
Built on Sandbox and Blueprint CSS framework, the Futurosity Vero is a minimalist theme. Near the top of your home page, your most recent and featured post will be displayed.

Fut in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

PolaroidPress (via Tutorial9)
PolaroidPress, as you might guess from the name, plays on the usage of “polaroids” in the theme that display your random images. It’s a simple two-column theme with an airy feel.

Polar in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

H5
The H5 theme is more of a proof-of-concept theme to show designers how to show theme designers how to design with HTML5 and CSS 2.1. It’s a bare-bones theme that’s perfect as a building block for creating your next WordPress theme.

H5 in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Inuit (via CSS Reflex)
Inuit makes use of a lot of whitespace and preview images for each post on the homepage. The theme also comes integrated with Twitter and Flickr.

Inuit in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Wu Wei
Clean, modern and minimal. The theme was based on the Taoist concept of wu wei: knowing when to act, and knowing when not to act. The theme is built on the principles of the grid system.

Wuwei in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Cardeo Minimal
A minimal three-column theme with plenty of white space and gray text.

Cardeo in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Album Theme (by Allan Cole)
Auto-focus is a blog theme designed for photographers to showcase their work.

Auto-focus in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Mystique (by Digital Nature)
This sleek one column theme has a flexible-width, threaded comments, and an adjustable header.

Mystique in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Manifest
Manifest is a straight-forward one column blog. It has no widgets or sidebar, but gives you a nice clean approach that focuses on your content.

Manifest in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Debug Theme (by Joost de Valk)
When your WordPress installs fail and you need more information, the debug theme is perfect. On the home page, it displays the important URL’s, editor, memory setting, etc. On sub pages it shows the page type, all the query vars that are set and the SQL query for that particular page.

Debug in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Calmdream WordPress Theme
A very clean and simple layout for magazine layouts.

Calm in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Portfolio Theme (via WPESP)
Portfolio is a two column blog theme which can be described as a minimalist. This modifiable design will make your own portfolio look great!

Portfolio-theme in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Blog Theme
The Carrington Blog-style theme is filled with advanced features like widgetized sidebars, AJAX loading of content, stylish galleries, customizable headers and colors.

Carr in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Mobile Theme (via Carrington Themesl)
The Carrington Mobile has a beautiful design supporting advanced touch browsers (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone and Pre).

Mob in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Pyrmont V2 Theme (via WP)
Pyrmont V2 is a two-column theme with a black background that could very well make your photographs and designs stand out.

Pyrmont-v2-theme in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

Destyle Theme
Destyle is a magazine-style WordPress theme. This is another theme packed with useful features such as: multi-level superfish dropdown menu, ad management, predefined CSS styles, customa page templates, Twitter and Flick badges on sidebar and automatic image resizing.

Destyle-theme in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

ImpreZZ
A dark, three-column theme that gives the second column a third dimension.

Impr in 40 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes

17
Nov
09

Designing Social Interfaces: Overview and Practical Techniques

Social Interface Design Techniques

User points and Badges

Achievement, and more importantly, the feeling of achievement, can play a big part in social websites and games. You may be familiar with the massive multi-player games that have a system whereby players progress through levels as they play the game. Each level brings more prestige to the player and so keeps them playing more — with the next level always just a little bit out of reach.

The same idea can be used on social websites by recognizing your users’ contributions. For example, for a social news website, you could award points to users for submitting stories. You could also give users special badges when they perform a certain number of tasks. In a social environment, these badges wouldlift the recipient’s ego, and so people would be motivated to compete for badges.

These kinds of things enable us to influence the direction in which our community moves. For example, to increase user participation, such as the number of comments people leave, you could give users a badge after they’ve made a certain number of comments. The same could be applied to any other user driven-content: submitting stories, answering questions, asking questions, writing reviews and so on.

envato_badges
The Envato marketplace awards badges to its sellers and buyers.

Of course, the flaw to this method is that while getting quantity may be easy, controlling quality may not be. You want users to leave a lot of comments or reviews on your website, but you want these contributions to add value. There is no exact science or formula for how to do this, so the best advice is simply to keep this factor in mind when designing a social mechanism of this type. Will the technique you’re considering add more volume or value?

Social news websites tend to give their users points from the submissions that people have liked. This drives people to find better and more interesting stories to submit. Websites such as Envato marketplaces and Stack Overflow give people badges when they perform certain actions or do something a set number of times.

so_badges
Stack Overflow’s achievement badges.

Unlockable Features as Rewards

Points and badges are superficial prizes: they’re all about ego. You can go a step further and offer tangible benefits to your biggest contributors, such as by unlocking new features for your website or application. Unlocking new features differs from things like badges and points because the user isn’t interested here in building their ego; they’re interested in getting more value out of your website or application.

You may be familiar with the “Skinner Box,” the famous psychological experiment developed by B. F. Skinner that saw a rat placed in a box with a button and a food dispenser. If the rat stepped on the button, it would receive some food. The food here was the reward for pushing the button, and it worked. The rat kept pushing the button to get more food.

The same principles apply to social interface design. By giving your users little rewards for accomplishing certain things, you can steer the direction of your community. The trick is to make the rewards beneficial enough for people to want to achieve them.

hn_features

Hacker News unlocks comment down-voting when you accumulate a certain number of points (highlighted).

Hacker News, a social news website for developers and entrepreneurs, unlocks things like comment down-voting as you earn points from your submissions and comments. While you cannot lose points for your submissions (there is no down-voting for submitted stories), you can lose points for your comments. Coupled with the fact that you could potentially gain or lose certain functionality on the website depending on the quality of your comments, this makes users more careful about what comments they leave, and they have more incentive to add real value to what another user says.

Reply Notifications

A popular feature on blogs and message boards is email-based notification of new replies to your messages. The feature works like this: you submit a new post to a social website, and when somebody replies, you are notified by email. This allows you to keep track of new replies without having to visit the website.

wdd_notify
The reply notification checkbox on the Webdesigner Depot comments form.

While this feature makes sense from the user’s perspective, it might not make sense for the website owner. Email notifications move your audience from direct on-site browsing to off-site email. If users can be notified of new replies, why would they check the website manually?

But they do have a reason to come back. When users come back to your website they not only check for replies to their messages, they also read other messages and browse other new content. This keeps the website alive and visitor loyalty high. So while providing such notification systems may not seem logical at first, think about the long-term effects of such features.

Dealing With Troublemakers

However much we want our community members to all get along, there will inevitably be one or two people who seem to want to cause nothing but trouble. Unfortunately, one rotten apple can spoil the barrel, so you’ll want to deal with these troublemakers quickly and efficiently.

The traditional method of dealing with such people is to remove their access to the website, to ban them. This is the inclination of most people because that’s how things work in the real world. If someone causes trouble in your home, shop or bar, you ask them to leave. In more extreme cases, you might ask security personnel to escort them out. But you just want to get them out by any means.

That’s exactly how most people deal with troublemakers online: they simply ban them using one of several methods. These methods include deleting their messages, de-activating their account and blocking their IP address. In many cases, this works just fine. The user is booted from your website and order is restored. However, things don’t always go smoothly. Some people enjoy the attention they get and may create new accounts to continue making a disturbance.

A social interface technique can come in handy here. Instead of banning these individuals, we could let them stay and use the website as they like, but we would hide all of their messages and content from everyone… everyone, that is, but them. So the troublemaker would still see all of their messages and wouldn’t suspect that anything is up, but no one else would see them, so they would cause no disturbance. Yes, the troublemaker may eventually find out that something is going on, but then again, they may assume that everyone is just ignoring them, which is not an unlikely scenario. Whether they leave or stay wouldn’t matter anyway if they’re invisible.

Reply Threading

Threading, or branching, is a way to organize comments and posts on message boards and blogs. A thread, or branch, is a collection of comments that stem from one particular post, and so they focus the discussion on whatever that parent post is about. Threads organize different topics on the same page, usually by indenting the child comments under the parent. This technique may not work in all circumstances.

Threading comments under blog posts or message board posts may result in parallel discussions taking place. If you don’t want this — if you don’t want people to talk about different topics but instead focus on the original post — then it may be best to keep the comments and replies in a flat, linear structure.

On the other hand, threading can be effective in different contexts. For example, on social news websites such as Slashdot, which feature heavy threading of comments on posts, it effectively turns the comment area into a platform for related discussions, each wrapped in a separate thread. This means that if someone had an interesting angle to explore related to the entry, they could pursue it, and subsequent comments would follow that tangent.

slashdot_branching
Slashdot features deep comment threading on stories, with each comment following its own tangent.

Threading can be useful on blogs because it allows you to effectively reply to individual commenters. One of the best ways to generate healthy discussion is to take the time to reply to as many comments as possible. This sends a clear message: you care. When someone leaves a comment and gets a reply from the blog’s author, they know that their comment is being read and that the author is interested in what they have to say. This makes them much more likely to add more comments in future because they know their input will be read and considered and that they won’t be wasting their time. Threading better organizes commentswhen there are a lot of such targeted replies.

Wrapping Up…

So, how do you go about designing an interface with social elements in mind? Focus on your goals. Before you can come up with an effective interface, you need to know exactly what your goals are. What do you want to happen? Do you want people to leave many comments on your blog? Do you want to encourage people to post answers to questions, or to submit them? Do you want people to submit files or leave ratings? Form a clear picture in your mind of what you want the interface to promote. Before you set off, you need to know your destination.

Only when you have defined your objectives can you begin to develop a strategy to meet them. Social interface design is a new field. Much has been written about usability and interactive design, but still not a lot on social interface design. It is an intersection of various fields: interface design, sociology and psychology, and as such it requires more than just an understanding of usability and design; it requires an understanding of human behavior and interaction. Using concepts from these other fields help you make interfaces that aren’t just easy to use, but that steer your community in the intended direction.

17
Nov
09

Gigya Socialize

 

17
Nov
09

45 Interesting Web 2.0 Online Services And Applications That Can Make Your Life Easier

Web 2.0 is a category of new Internet tools and technologies created around the idea that the people who consume media and use the Web shouldn’t passively absorb what’s available. Rather, they should be active contributors, engaging and interacting with each other, helping customize media and technology for their own purposes, as well as those of their communities. So we would need powerful Web services and applications to aggregate and remix micro-content in new and useful ways.

Web 2.0 Applications

Web applications can be defined as “software delivered as a service over or on the Web” in short SaaS. These applications provide value by allowing users to create, collaborate, collect, and get work done; all within a familiar Web browser window.

But when could a Web service or application be considered part of Web 2.0 generalization?

Web 2.0 has definitely morphed into something more than a set of ‘fascinating’ and new technologies and services. If you realized that the design concept of these application websites are also based on the presuppose Web 2.0 design concept.

Based on the original Tim O’Reilly discussions of Web 2.0 and the seven principles that he describes as

  1. The Web as platform
  2. Harnessing collective intelligence
  3. Data is the next ‘Intel inside’
  4. End of the software release cycle
  5. Lightweight programming models
  6. Software above the level of single device
  7. And Rich user experiences

An application or service must at least fulfill some of the criteria before it should be labeled as a Web 2.0. You can read more about his seven principles here. In short, these concepts are about building something more than a global information space, something with much more of a social angle to it. Collaboration, contribution and community reconstructs the road which maybe creating the sense that we are migrating into a new milestone.

In recent times, however, there has been a spate of new ideas, interesting applications that we thought they might be ridiculous initially and unique start-up companies working on ways to extend existing services. Some of them might be more useful or important than others, and some are certainly be more relevant to education than others.

There is such deluge of new services that it is often difficult and tedious to keep track of what’s ‘emerging out there’ or just simply make sense of what each individual service provides.

Here are a list of interesting 45 Web 2.0 online services and applications that at least fulfill some of the criteria set by Tim O’Reilly.

Accounting, Finances & Invoice

Free Agent is an online accounting Nirvana for freelancers and small businesses.

Freeagent Central

FreshBooks mission is to deliver fast and simple invoicing and time tracking services that help you manage your business.

Freshbooks

LessAccounting is a comprehensive online accounting tool for small business.

Lessaccounting

Pulse is the easy way to manage your cash flow online, allowing you to quickly manage and evaluate your income and expenses.

Pulseapp

Ballpark changes the way of sending invoices and estimates.

Getballpark

Mint is a free personal finance software to assist you to manage your money, financial planning, and budget planning tools.

Mint

Outright is a free, online bookkeeping software for small businesses.

Outright

ronin is a professional looking application that does simple online invoicing and time tracking for creative teams and solo freelancers.

Roninapp

Email Marketing

MailChimp offers free email marketing service which allows you to design, send, and track HTML email campaigns with its simple tools.

Mailchimp

CampaignMonitor allows you to send beautiful email campaigns, track the results an manage your subscribers.

Campaignmonitor

OtherInbox helps to keep you organized automatically and moves the email clogging your Inbox out of the way until you’re ready to look at it.

Other Inbox

CRM, Collaboration & Productivity

5pm is a web-based project and task management application for your team.

5pmweb

Basecamp is a leading web-based project management and collaboration tool.

Basecamp

Socialcast is a simple, secure, free collaboration tool that helps employees communicate in real time.

Socialcast

Goplan lets you keep track of your projects and collaborate with your colleagues securely through an intuitive user interface.

Goplan

Onehub is a web application that provides everything you need to easily and securely share files and collaborate online.

Onehub

Planning Center Online is an easy, low cost way to increase your teams productivity.

Planning center online

Tracking time is easy and free to use time management software and a business intelligence tool to manage projects, tasks and employees.

Tracking time

Seavus DropMind is online mind mapping tool with unique four sphere map layout which allows you to create original mind maps and deliver superior and stylish presentations.

Dropmind

Officevp is a total web solution, a CRM based application that helps you target your online market with measurable results.

Officevp

SUBERNOVA makes you more productive by taking the stress out of remembering important details of your projects, lets you track your time and keeps your business smooth by keeping tabs on your invoices, deadlines and more.

Subernova

colaab offers any business or organization secure, real time collaboration through a rich, simple user interface that streamlines work and cuts down wasted hours spent in meetings

Colaab

Nirvana is task management software that’s 100% web-based. Based upon the well known GTD method of keeping organized, it is fast, easy, available from anywhere.

Nirvanahq

Planzone is an online project management software that enables project teams to work smarter by sharing to-dos, documents, wiki pages and project schedules.

Planzone

Social Media Tools

Dialogix is a social media monitoring tool offering accurate sentiment analysis and near real-time data feeds of your brand in EVERY social network.

Dialogix

Gigya’s technology is the standard for connecting content with the social web, providing publishers and marketers with powerful tools for increasing audience reach and engagement.

Gigya

nomee is the ultimate sharing and following tool which allows you to organize, monitor, follow and share over 100 social sites.

Nomee

Shout’Em is a platform on which you can easily start co-branded microbloging social networking service.

Shoutem

Youmeo is a simple utility to bring together all you social websites and friends into one place.

Youmeo

File Sharing And Monitoring

Fileshare HQ provides professional users with the ability to share and send large files to their clients and staff.

Fileshare

Reinvigorate measures your influence on the web in real-time. Gain up-to-the-minute insight into your audience, then adapt to meet their needs and watch your site grow.

Reinvigorate

W3roi track the clicks, leads and sales from all your online advertising in one place.

W3roi

freelancerkit is a feature packed PHP Project Management Script. Also known as “PHP Groupware” which includes — Project Collaboration, Project Management, File Sharing, Note Taking, and User Management.

Freelancerkit

SugarSync enables you to share and access files from PC, Mac & mobile phones – your data anywhere and anytime.

Sugarsync

FileGears is a file collaboration and file sharing web application allowing you to upload, store and work with your files from anywhere and share them with your team members or friends.

FileGears

Other Interesting Web Applications

CoTweet is a platform that helps companies reach and engage customers using Twitter.

Cotweet

Site Remark gives you greater access to customer feedback.

Siteremark

BigContacts is a web based CRM software, online business contact management software, sales force automation software & customer contact management tool.

Bigcontacts

BuySellAds.com is an advertising marketplace for small to medium sized website owners/publishers.

Buysellads

CrowdSound allows companies, groups and non-profits to easily gather customer feedback.

Crowdsound

Task.fm is a simple reminder and task management tool which can create reminders that can be delivered via sms, email or voice call.

Task

Lifetick is an online Goal Setting application with a stylish, easy to use interface.

Lifetick

iamnews connects news publishers to reporters and enables them to co-create news in real time.

Iamnews

Gist is an online service that helps you build stronger relationships.

Gist

Product Planner ables you in identifying and optimizing user flows is an essential part of creating a successful web product.

Product Planner

Reviews?

Well, if you have used any of the above mentioned applications or services, please provide some reviews about them. This will goes a long way of helping everyone in deciding which web application or service to choose from. We’ll really appreciate that.

This inventory is not exhaustive and there are definitely more other great web services or applications that did not make into the list however feel free to recommend them if you think they are worth a look.

17
Nov
09

The Keynotes Of Web 2.0 Design Elements With 30 Dazzling Showcases

Web 2.0 culture has indeed change the way on how we look at the design of websites and the Internet. With tons of new websites sprung into action daily, we examine each individuals if they fit the bills of Web 2.0. Though the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 design is ongoing, and in a pace that it may well entered yet another era before your know it. Horrible and droning website design still literally corrupts the Internet today but it would take considerable effort to completely eradicate this form of malice and raise a new level of web design standard.

Web 2.0 Keynotes

Still most of us may remain oblivious of the true meaning of this term which is defined as Web 2.0. This topic is not unfamiliar and has always been debated by web developers, designers and professionals. Are there any guidelines for us to follow or protocol to adhere to?

While the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) sets the web standard and guidelines for the Internet and even develops inter-operable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web. But when it comes to Web 2.0, there is no clear indication on how it should be, primary when it occupies a more design aspect.

For many, Web 2.0 design standard may just means that a website is more colourful, more visually enhanced or simply with more animation or motion graphics etc. However there should be at least some basic ingredients to be implanted before a website should consider a Web 2.0 category.

I quote the explanation from Wikipedia:

Web 2.0 is a revolutionary view of the Internet and the social and business uses of advanced technologies rather than the technical aspects of those technologies. The core concept of Web 2.0 is: Use Internet as a platform and leverage network effect to harness the collective intelligence in a cost-effective manner”

The Wikipedia definition may not help you to understand the meaning clearly maybe because Web 2.0 concept cannot be explained in mere words. I think it would be easier for us to understand the true meaning of Web 2.0 by presenting the generation of the Web 2.0 concept graphically. I shall touch on the characteristic of Web 2.0 design in this segment.

Keynotes of Web 2.0 Design Elements

Here we analyzed and discuss some of the keynotes of what makes a Web 2.0 Design Elements.

Simplicity of Design

The simplicity of web application functionality is both mirrored in the design and style of today’s webpages. Simplicity of today web design simply means focused, clean and straightforward. Web designers have moved from the stage of squeezing every single pieces of information into our webpages to eliminating the unnecessary, at the same time presenting a clean and simple interface for visitors. They are also attempting to engage the lifespan of visitors by capturing their attention instantly to what is important, rather than trying to overwhelm them with everything under the sun.

Twitter presents a clean and simple layout on its site. The clear and distinctive information bring users straight to the point without confusing them.

Twitter

Columns Reduction and Centered Design

The ancient layout of floating left and right pages with numerous columns has been replaced by the stylistic centered design trend. Designers are able to present information in a sleeker and self-assured centered orientation. As fewest numbers of columns is used, the simplicity increases simultaneously. It’s practical as well in the area of viewing because  it’s much more compatible with various screen resolutions and sizes.

The resumator has a centered layout with minimal columns to present their information clearly. This neat and obvious way of design will have maximum impact on the attention of their visitors.

The Resumator

Arrangement & Whitespace

Readability is a critical factor to bring your message across. Instead of cramping your texts, website designer are keeping a simple and clean layout by increasing line heights and adding lots of whitespace to pages. Web designers are also focusing on the essentials of improving the viewing pleasure of visitors by producing crisply, sharp and fresh pages.

Checkout App has a high level of readability on its site with nice level of spacing. It has also arranged their section neatly to provide organized and clean pages.

Checkoutapp

Choice Of Colours

Today’s websites used a mixture of strong and complementary colours to emphasize important concepts as well as creates distinctness between areas of the site. Certain colours has been perceived to be more effective and safer for designers to adopt. Designers also have a variety of Web 2.0 colour tools available to test-drive and enrich their design.

Tea Round has manipulate colours brilliantly by using bright, strong colours to divide the page into clear sections and to highlight important elements yet retaining the original feel of its concept.

Tearound

Variation of Fonts Sizes

Bold use of large fonts is often used by new websites to point out their key concepts to visitors, or to convey a focus and clear message about their website’s main objective or mission. It’s like an “elevator pitch” or limited self promotion. The font sizes of today’s new websites have increase to improve the readability of the visitors. More utilization of lower case fonts and different selection of comfortable typography could also be seen to create a casual and comfortable rapport with the visitors.

Kissmetrics uses different variety of typography and font sizes to differentiate the weight of each statement. Its mission is to “Keep It Simple” whether it’s their design or application.

Kissmetrics

Sticky And Simple Navigation

This new trend of navigation set apart from the busyness of the site content and the body of the page. There are usually a hierarchy of navigation bars displayed distinctively with each specifically fulfilling their intention. Web designers has realized the importance of effective navigation so they have built the navigation into something that is simple and could be found on every pages without you trying to look for it.

Envato present site navigation in a new and interesting dimensional way. Its navigation bar slides down into an umbrella chain of community sites at the same time remains firmly on the bottom.

Envato

New Age Logos

The designers have restudied the logos design capability and reinvented the logos into something which is daring and confident. Significant large logos are often used to establish a prominent brands business and gave an intriguing feel to visitors.

WP Coder boosts a logo that is cleverly related to it’s scope of work. Not only has the logo been imbued together with the text, it has shown that logo design could be bold and adventurous, at the same time forging a brand with incorporating attitude, tone of voice, and first impression.

Wpcoder

Blunt and Rounded Edges

This current trend is to round out the corners, even on fonts too. Its set to reduce the visual intimidation of anything that’s sharp or stern. It’s also reflective of the informal attitude and casual tone of today’s Web approach.

Apple is a great example of striking the balance of simplicity with rich imagery sensitively-applied. It has changed the usual formal and traditional corporate feel by designing the edges of the icons, text and design into something which is so elegantly and pleasing yet enjoyable for most visitors.

Apple

A New Feel And Look

Subtle use of drop shadows, gradients, mirrored images, glossy and shinny surfaces has added a realistic 3D effect and classy edge to the once dull interface. The effect of creating a reflective logo, surface or image could be found on many new websites to make them more engaging. The site not only become more entertaining in visual and life-like but enhances the qualitative feel of the design. These little touches make our visual interface feel more solid and real. Realistic effects of water droplets, shiny plastic surfaces, glass reflections have been very popular and may also remind us of certain tactile or aesthetic qualities of real-world objects.

Two Toasters has shinny icons, gradient background and shadows images to make the website more visually interactive.

Twotoasters

Engaging Icons

The old school of stock photography or marketing images with happy business people shaking hands has gradually been replaced by simple and engaging icons. These impressive and richly detailed icons draw the attention of your visitors and does not put them off by those rigid traditional pictures. These may well include exciting and idiosyncratic shapes or star-shaped labels which has a call to action effect, often utilized to promote and highlight a free or particular service.

Cabomba make uses of intriguing icons and labels to engage their visitors. Those icons are not only sharp and clear, its also bring out their intended meaning perfectly without using huge human life pictures.

Cabomba

Web 2.0 Websites

Now, we’ll be showcasing 30 very classic example of websites that have built with the Web 2.0 design elements in mind.

TapTap Mobile
TapTap Mobile is a website dedicated in developing software for iPhone and iPod touch.

Taptapmobile

Miro
Miro is an Open-source, non-profit video player and podcast client.

Getmiro

Guifx
Guifx services include creating touchscreen interfaces, consulting and custom GUI design.

Guifx

Telebidscript
Telebidscript allows you to create your own Swoopo-style pay-per-bid website in seconds.

Telebidscript

Transport Magic
Transport Magic is a matchmaking service that gives consumers the right tools to make the best decision for their shipping needs.

Transportmagic

LemonStand
LemonStand allows web designers & developers to create custom eCommerce sites with powerful features.

Lemonstandapp

Media Temple
(mt) Media Temple, Inc. is an industry-leading, privately held, profitable web hosting and software application services company based in California.

Mediatemple

Real Mac Software
Real Mac Software focused on developing exceptionally useful and easy to use software for Mac OS X.

Realmacsoftware

Ribbit
Ribbit integrate voice and rich communication features into your website, application or community.

Ribbit

Sourcebits
Sourcebits provide software development services for Mac, iPhone, Android and Web.

Sourcebits

Storenvy
Storenvy allows you to start selling online by opening an e-store.

Storenvy

Yazsoft
Yazsoft make high quality software for a wide range of users.

Yazsoft

Blackberry
Blackberry is a popular brand selling smartphones internationally.

Blackberry

AppBoy
AppBoy is a social outlet for mobile applications lovers.

Appboy

BeQRious
BeQRious.com is focused on supplying news, information, technical solutions of QR codes.

Beqrious

Enhancedlabs
Enhancedlabs is a global design firm specializing in high-end graphics and branding. They also provides some free beautiful Web 2.0 icons.

Enhancedlabs

HouseShout!
HouseShout! is a website designed for those looking to buy, sell, rent, let and share their properties without the use of an agent, in a community style platform.

Houseshout

iCyte
iCyte enables you to highlight and save text on any webpage, allowing you to recall the most relevant information.

Icyte

Mobclix
Mobclix is the industry’s mobile ad exchange network via open marketplace platform. Its project a clean and neat image with some cute icons.

Mobclix

Mozilla
Clear, open, fresh and simple. When you arrive at this site, you’re under no doubt what the site does, or where to start looking for what you want. The design is positive and lively with every Web 2.0 ingredients in place.

Mozilla

PixelNovel
PixelNovel Timeline is a revolutionary version control system built for designers who use Adobe Photoshop.

Pixelnovel

Skype
Skype allows you to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users. Its site is lively with exceptional colour handling.

Skype

Toldya
Toldya lets you buy and sell among friends on social networks, blogs and web sites. You can simply create and copy your store directly to your profiles (such as MySpace, Facebook and others) as well as your own blog or website.

Toldya

Spacelocker
A joyful and lively site that has rearrange the section of traditional layout.

Spacelocker

VMIX
VMIX provides software as a service (SaaS) online video and photo platform solutions for media, entertainment, organizations, and business websites.

Vmix

Vyew
Vyew is a new and powerful platform for real-time and always on interaction between people and content.

Vyew

Zooloo
Zooloo is a comprehensive application that bring all of your interests together.

Zooloo

Putacart
Putacart sells just about anything on your blog or favorite social site by putting up a shopping cart.

Putacart

Lovebox UK
Lovebox is a digital wristband to help raise money and awareness for different charities around the world via the web. Its has excellent colour symbolism to encourage visitors to donate.

Lovebox

Krop
Krop is a job board and career resource website for creative professionals. Its sleek design joined perfectly with the term professional.

Krop

Web 2.0: The Upward Trend

Some may argues with the design elements of Web 2.0 but what we all can agreed on is that Web trend are indeed moving into a more simpler, beautifully visualized and sophisticated era. The effects of Web 2.0 design are far-reaching. Like all paradigm shifts, it affects people visually, culturally, and even socially.

One of the most affected groups is the designers and developers who will be the group that will be building it. Not only because their technical skills and mindset will be adjusted but also because they needs to integrate content as part of a unified whole, an ecosystem if you will, and not just an individual island.




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