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UK freelance journalist, author
and copywriter Sean McManus

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Sean's website design and webmaster help pages

Book cover: Web Design in Easy StepsAs 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.

For an up to date guide to creating websites, including an introduction to HTML, CSS and Javascript, see my book Web Design in Easy Steps.

See my Javascript examples

To Javascript examplesI've included lots of Javascript effects on this website, and I've written some tutorials and published some demonstrations to help you to learn how to achieve similar effects on your website. Browse my Javascript tutorials here. Among other things, you can learn how to pause your Javascript code, how to add an advent calendar to your website, how you can make text and images appear or disappear on the screen, how to use Javascript to insert HTML into a web page, and how to compress text stored in a web page. See all the Javascript tutorials here.

Create a 3D anaglyph CSS layout using pure CSS

Anaglyph text grab 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

3D 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

Close-up of a customer service avatarSelf-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

Thumbnail of Nintendo DS Browser boxOpera has released a web browser for Nintendo's DS and DS Lite handheld games units. I've created a site for the browser, including some Javascript games. In this article, I'll share what I've learned about the browser from a webdesign perspective, including tips on making websites that will be easy for NDS surfers to use.

Count on me: an introduction to web analytics

An abacusYou 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

moneyAffiliate 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

Photo: Jakob NielsenI've been interested in accessibility since 2000, when I wrote one of the first mainstream articles about it in the UK for Internet Magazine. Here's a selection of my articles on accessibility:

Create a favicon.ico for your site

close-up of ipod touch interface 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

404 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

Photo: Castle Fictoria 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

Photo of Journalism word in dictionary"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.

3D webdesign

3DML World thumbnail screenshotIt'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.

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