Sean's website design and webmaster help pages
As a freelance journalist and writer specialising in website design, I've written for a wide range of magazines. I was a freelance writer and staff writer for Internet Magazine, and also wrote articles for Internet Works, Broadband World, and Business 2.0. In this part of my website, you can find a selection of my archive articles, some useful tools and tips inspired by them, and some website exclusive tutorials on interesting aspects of website design.
Create a 3D anaglyph CSS layout using pure CSS
I've written a tutorial that explains how you can use the CSS text-shadow property and rgba colours to create an anaglyph website. You can see it in action across my site: just a few small tweaks to your CSS can make your website pop into the third dimension for anyone wearing red/cyan or red/green glasses. I believe I'm the first person to create this effect online.
3D Text maker
Here's a free program to make 3D text for your website, including text that looks like the image to the right. It's a cut down demonstration version of the Xara 3D software, which enables you to create headlines and titles for your site with three-dimensional effects and animation.
Adding customer service agents and virtual assistants to your website
Self-service is both cost-effective and speedy, so if customers can find what they need without having to contact you directly, you'll both be better off. My article offers some top tips and case studies for how to make effective customer service virtual agents.
Designing for Opera Nintendo DS Browser
Count on me: an introduction to web analytics
You need to know how your business is doing and need to find someone who will give it to you straight. Who can you count on? There's a growing range of companies and technologies that will help you to quantify your website's performance and - more importantly - help you improve it, as Sean McManus reports in this introduction to web analytics.
Kickbacks for clickbacks: Boost your sales with affiliate marketing
Affiliate programmes give you access to top-notch promoters at low risk. They're experienced, daring and only paid for successful sales. Isn't it time you tapped in to the web's greatest sales resource? This comprehensive introduction to affiliate marketing is written for website promoters, but also includes handy hints for advertising hosts.
Making your website accessible
- Jakob Nielsen on why accessibility matters
- 17 Steps to an accessible website
- Access? That'll do nicely
- Making Flash accessible
- Accessibility Excellence - case studies of three accessible websites
- Tesco launches visionary website
Create a favicon.ico for your site
I'll tell you how to make a favourites icon (favicon.ico) that appears with your website address, alongside your title when it's bookmarked and on the desktop when a shortcut to your site is placed there. Now includes instructions for creating a logo to be used when iPhone or iPod Touch users bookmark your site.
Create a custom 404 error page
What happens if people follow a broken link on your site or arrive at an obsolete page? Unhelpful server errors will prompt them to give up on your site, but you can replace them with pages that will bring them into your site to explore further.
Read my tutorial on creating a custom 404 error page.
Castle Fictoria - website design exercise
Want to learn website design, but struggling to think of what to put in your first website? Here's the solution. I've created a brochure for a fictional hotel called Castle Fictoria. It provides plenty of material (including pictures) for a website of about five pages.
Writing for your website
"The words on a website are the most important single element on the site because the content is the reason users are visiting the site in the first place," says usability expert Jakob Nielsen. Read my guide to writing for the web, one of my resources for journalists, for tips on making your words work harder.
It's no mistake that we store our work in 'folders' and navbars are designed with 'buttons'. Metaphors from the real world make computers easier to use. So when it comes to navigating websites, what could be more intuitive than a 3D environment that you appear to walk through? See my 3D Web design examples covering technologies including VRML, 3DML, Java panoramic photos and 3D photo albums.
More website design tutorials and resources
- Server side includes (SSI) tutorial
- Embedding fonts in webpages
- Make coloured scrollbars for your website in IE
- Drop down menu creator
- Speed up your website
- Read how I designed this site
- Ransom font
- The websafe colour palette
Website admin and maintenance tutorials and resources
- Using Internet Explorer as a free FTP client
- Maintaining website quality
- Website maintenance tools
- Recovering from website disasters
- Look after your domain name