Every week I get a variety of requests for assistance. Some of those requests have very specific answers and only apply to a small number of situations. This week I got three requests that had answers that apply to a large number of situations. I’ve paraphrased each request below and the answer I provided.

FIRST: A user has moved all of their computers to Windows 10 and their fonts are out of control. They asked for a way to get them under control and since they are near our office, could I do it for them.

ANSWER: While some things have changed with Windows 10, font management works in much the same way. The best solution is to create a folder (outside of Windows) where you store all fonts. Building this folder can take time and it probably won’t be a very fun task. Sure, I can do it for someone though I’m not sure it is the best use of my time (and your money). I’ve outlined the process in the Fonts, Font Management, Typography and OpenType Success Kit. All you have to do is follow the process and you’ll soon have your fonts under control.

SECOND: A user was trying to trace a very complex graphic using the tools in CorelDRAW and had run into some areas where they weren’t sure the best way to proceed. Some of the questions were related to the optimum way to do it and others were being unsure of how to do it.

ANSWER: Any time you are converting a bitmap to vector, the answer is dependent on the specific graphic. There is no generic answer. Rarely is an “auto-trace” the best answer. For example, Corel PowerTRACE or any other software that does it automatically. They work great if you have perfect artwork. Unfortunately perfect artwork is rare. Knowing how to use drawing tools and the Bézier tool is very important. There are numerous tools for node editing and you need to know them inside and out. For this person, doing some editing in Corel PHOTO-PAINT before tracing would save a ton of time and work. A number of these techniques is covered in the Vectorizing Bitmaps in CorelDRAW Success Kit. For those who need to learn Corel PHOTO-PAINT, make sure to get a copy of Corel PHOTO-PAINT X5 Unleashed.

THIRD: I’m working with an architect on a Web site and they found a photo gallery they liked and provided it to me.

ANSWER: When I’m designing a Web site for someone, typically the most difficult task is getting the client to supply photos and text to use on the site. In the case of this client, I’ve received a total of one picture so I haven’t even attempted to build a gallery yet. The gallery they liked was a total disaster in my eyes for many reasons.

My biggest complaint was that it was built using Flash. This means it flat out won’t work on many devices and the number continues to grow as Flash is a dying technology. Next, it had music. There is nothing I hate more than sites that make noise when I haven’t specifically clicked a button to play a video or sound file where I expect noise. I hit the Mute Tab button immediately and often will never return to that site. The sample gallery took quite a while to load before I even saw thumbnails. As my cursor hovered, they flew everywhere so I couldn’t easily click on any specific photo.

If you make it hard to see photos, people will avoid them. So as any aspect of a Web site is built, it has to be built with the visitor in mind. Yes, it should look good. It also needs to use technology that works on all devices. A visitor should immediately understand how it works and be able to get the information they desire. Lastly, it needs to keep search engines in mind so that the site and individual pages will rank well in search rankings. The sample gallery failed every single test, though it was very fancy looking.

The goal of a Web site is to help a business be successful. Focusing on sizzle is a recipe for failure!

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