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I’m pleased to announce that Zel Creative has been approved as an official ‘Thesis Ninja’ and is included on the DIY Themes list of Thesis designers and developers. I’m flattered to be included amongst such talented web professionals. You can view the profile page here.

If you don’t already know, DIY Themes is the company behind the Thesis theme for WordPress. I use this platform for many of the websites and blogs I create for clients. There are a bunch of reasons for this, but foremost would be the stellar SEO structure, the wonderful typography and the ability to sculpt the theme into almost any design. Over and above this, it all sits on top of WordPress which provides a solid blogging and CMS solution.

My first introduction to the Thesis theme was a couple of years ago when a client needed some updates done to their site which was running on Thesis. Not wanting to turn away business, I decided to dive right in and learn my way around this new territory. As I began to discover the power and flexibility of Thesis, I started using it as a platform for many of the sites I was building. I was inspired by some of the fantastic customizations I’d seen out there and for a while, hadn’t realized what was possible.

I continued to challenge myself and at some point, found a groove with it. Many people have a misconception that Thesis pretty much looks the way it does out of the box. Sure, without any modifications, that’s true, but you’d be surprised what can be done with it. Take my own web design site for example. Believe it or not, zelcreative.com is built on Thesis!

It’s good to be recognized by DIY Themes and I’m excited to create even more great websites using Thesis.

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Every now and then I’ll get a request from a client to place certain key elements of the page ‘above the fold.’ For example, I might be asked to place that call to action button higher up on the screen so that the user doesn’t have to scroll down to see it. And that’s what ‘above the fold’ means in web design. It’s the part of the web page that is viewable without scrolling further down the page.

The concept originally comes from the newspaper industry where big stories and eye-catching images are placed at the top part of the page before being folder over. This is the most visible part of the paper. The concept found its way into web design and many people still place great importance on this, but certain studies have shown that it’s really not that big of a deal.

Dispelling the Myth of the ‘Page Fold’

Where is that magical ‘above the fold’ area of a web page anyway? Doesn’t it depend on the screen size of the person viewing the page? It sure does, but from visitor statistics we’re able to tell the screen size of the largest percentage of users. Regardless of this, there are compelling arguments and studies against placing so much emphasis on the ‘above the fold’ concept. In fact it could be a bad idea. I would agree that there may be a few exceptions, but overall it doesn’t make too much sense.

Instead of rehashing what’s already been covered, here are some links to sites that have done a great job of explaining why ‘above the fold’ is a concept we really should move away from when it comes to web design.

The Wikipedia article provides additional links. When this topic comes up with a client, I like to offer a different perspective so at least there is the awareness that this might not be the best approach. Many times we go along with popular opinion without thinking too much about the ‘why’, and asking relevant questions.

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Hi folks, Paul here. The dude behind Zel Creative. I wanted to write this quick post regarding the relaunch/redesign of the site. If you’re coming here for the fist time, you obviously won’t notice any difference from how it was. This is actually version 3 of the site. When the first version was created a number of years ago, I was just getting started in the industry and wanted to get something up fast, so I customized a template and that was it.

I’ve learned over the years that when you start something, it doesn’t have to be perfect, just start it. Then you continue to build upon it, refine and develop it and at some point you get to where you wanted to be in the beginning. I’ve found many times it’s the things you try to make perfect from the start that end up failing.

So, some time after that I created my own design and launched version 2. It lasted pretty well and most of my clients will be more familiar with that version. I had been wanting to redesign the site for some time as I felt that it was becoming dated and was just not a good representation of my current style and the type of work I was creating. Business had been increasing and the quality of work being put out was of a higher standard than the earlier days. It definitely needed a facelift, but the problem was that most of my time was being spent on client work.

Then one Sunday evening I was playing around in Photoshop with no real intention to launch the redesign project right there and then. But that’s what happened, as is the case with many new web design projects. You start with a rough layout in mind, then end up drawing a line here, or adding some text there, and the next thing you know, the site starts to take on a life of its own. And that’s exactly what happened with this.

After many hours of designing, coding and testing I ended up with what you see now. The new design went live on October 23, 2010. So much goes into creating a website, especially if you’re a little obsessive like me.

I feel this new design more closely represents our quality and style of work, and does a better job of communicating the image of Zel Creative as a talented and professional design studio.

To all my past clients, thanks for you support over the years and to my potential new clients, we’d love to be involved with your next project and welcome you to the ‘Zel’ family!

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This hilarious video was referenced in a post on the Smashing Magazine blog entitled Why Design-By-Committee Should Die. It makes an important point and wanted to share this here.

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