Jamal

Role: Author

I code, write, and stuff at Five Alarm Interactive. Tweet me: @5alarmint.

Save the Internet: Learn About Net Neutrality

Posted in News, Web Design • Posted on

Neutrality is a philosophy where vested interest, or favoring of sides, is absent from a situation. As one of the original guiding principles of the Internet, net neutrality gives people all around the globe a platform for sharing and appreciating ideas with respect for their fellow person. However, would that be the case if your Internet service provider(ISP) had a say in how you use the Internet?

On September 9, 2013 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia(DC) Circuit began hearing the case of Verizon vs. the Federal Communications Commission(FCC). This case was then decided upon in favor of Verizon on January 14, 2014. This is commonly referred to now as the ruling against Net Neutrality.

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Homer Simpson’s Guide to Dealing With Difficult Clients

Posted in Freelance, Tips, Web Design • Posted on 26 Comments

Experience is needed to avoid dealing with difficult clients, something that not many freelancers have. How would you deal with impossible clients, or con artists or scammers?

What would Homer do?

For every article about how fun it would be to be a freelance web designer or developer, there is about ten more articles saying the exact same thing. This creates a bubble that easily attracts new freelancers, and will have them crying in despair after realizing how much they let the ideas inside the bubble control their outlook on the industry. It’s time to break that!

So in this article we’re going to go over some of the things the less friendly side of freelancing has to offer newcomers.

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Quick Guide on How to Earn Passive Income by Writing Tutorials

Posted in Blogging, Freelance, Web Design • Posted on 5 Comments

The freelancing lifestyle is defined by one word, uncertainty! As a freelance designer or developer you are building a company as a service provider, and that means you’ll experience times when no income is coming from your service. You aren’t going to have steady client work all the time. So how do you go about to prepare for this, CREATE SOURCES OF PASSIVE INCOME! And what better way to do that than creating tutorials?

Creating tutorials is great even outside passive income because it gives you a chance to grow your brand, showcase your talents to potential clients, and gets you active in the community. This is enough talking about doing, lets get to it!

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How to Write a Freelance Pitch That Gets Clients

Posted in Freelance, Tips, Web Design • Posted on 40 Comments

At some point in every freelancer’s career there comes a time when you’re going to write a freelance pitch for a client’s project. If the thought of being a salesman isn’t intimidating enough,this at least doubles after realizing how many other freelancers pitching and hoping for the project. All those different screaming freelancers saying, “Pick me!” makes it almost impossible to feel like your voice is getting through. Let’s get you that voice!

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From Failure to Success – How Three Freelancers Learned from their Failures and Succeeded

Posted in Freelance, Tips, Web Design • Posted on 48 Comments

“Experiencing failure is to be living, and steering away from failure is simply to be alive. “

The quote above perfectly sums up the experience of a freelancer, and what makes many back away in terror. Face it people, we live in a world where only the successful ends of journeys are celebrated. In an industry where we are bombarded with success story after success story, it makes you wonder if those people were simply born winners? To answer this, THEY WEREN’T!

In this article three freelancers share their “failure to success” stories:

  • Spencer Forman of LabSecrets and LabZip relates how Ning unplugged him and his partner and how he started all over.
  • Dainis Graveris, founder of 1WD, tells us how 2.5 million monthly unique visitors dropped to 1.8 million, and a change of focus for our readers.
  • My story of how the dawn of Facebook affected my early freelancing career and how it changed me for the better.
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Adaptive and Fluid Approach in Responsive Web Design

Posted in Tips, Web Design • Posted on 9 Comments

In our past articles on media queries and breakpoints, we’ve solely covered one of the two approaches in achieving a responsive site. This approach being Adaptive. Adaptive Web Design, in the responsive web design sense,  is the more rigid and structured approach because of how the elements of a website only change upon reaching declared breakpoints. This has benefits, mostly in there is less need to worry about how well the site will respond to less popular screen widths, since it will only change at specific points.

However, there are disadvantages to using this approach that are well worth considering. The main one being a benefit. This being the Adaptive approach’s inability to change in accordance to what widths are specified in the media queries used to create the breakpoints. If, say, a tech company somewhere builds a device that has an odd width of 520px, or just imagine a Blackberry. This is what I like to call the forgotten zone, which ranges from 766px to 490px. It gets its name from the majority of us tending to forget this area by only declaring mobile calls for 767px and lower. So with this in mind the Fluid approach wins out. Despite how easy this may sound, there is much more to them than this, and that is what we’ll be looking over.

Note: This article is referring to Adaptive and Fluid layouts.

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Overview of Breakpoints in Responsive Web Design

Posted in Tips, Usability, Web Design • Posted on 14 Comments

Last time, we went over media queries. This is an important aspect to know of Responsive Web Design (RWD from now on) because it is this CSS declaration that allows for the different layouts to appear at different screen sizes.

Hmm, now what about different screen sizes? To make it easy to understand, lets look at this using an analogy. So, imagine that RWD is a blueprint for a wonderfully new house. The foundation, which the rest of the house depends on, would be media queries. After the foundation comes the first level of the house, which sets the tone for how the rest of the house will be built. In this house, the first floor would be break points.

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Breaking Down Media Queries for Responsive Web Design

Posted in Tips, Web Design • Posted on 4 Comments

The core of any Responsive Web Design framework is the media query. Media queries are what enable your website to call different style declarations from your stylesheets based on the current window width of the viewing device. Many of those new to Responsive Web Design, RWD, don’t spend time getting familiar with them. When there are great frameworks like The Semantic Grid System, Foundation by Zurb, and Twitter Bootstrap that let everyone just pick up and go, why would they bother? Right? Wrong! Having a skill that solely relies on code created by another is a hindrance to your career, in order to be able to say something is part of your skill set you have to understand it first. That is why for all those claiming to have an in-depth knowledge of RWD, we’ll be taking an extended look at it’s backbone: media queries.

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Using Character Development for Better Website Design

Posted in Tips, Web Design • Posted on 4 Comments

The ability to add true personality to the design of a website is the attribute that separates professionals from hobbyists. Since the aim of the majority of websites is to persuade a visitor into an action, and the best persuasion comes when there is a personal attachment, this is a vital ability for a lasting career.

The use of this practice will transform a website into something more of a presentation, an informative journey of discovery. So why give visitors only one chapter of the journey to view? Is that fair to them, or better yet, their understanding of what you’re trying to get them to grow an attachment for?

For this very reason, we are going to explore the use of incorporating character development into your web design process.

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10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Freelancing Career

Posted in Freelance, Tips, Web Design • Posted on 6 Comments

There are a lot of great reasons why one would want to venture into freelancing, all of which have been talked to death, but there are also those that should make one take a second guess. It is the latter what we’ll be discussing in this article, and once we are done, hopefully you’ll know if freelancing is really something that is meant for you or not.

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