Insight, advice, news and chit chat

Michael wins at Startup Weekend London

A couple of weeks ago, I won a ticket to attend “Startup Weekend London” – a 54 hour ‘hackathon’ event at Google’s new Campus co-working space in Shoreditch – and won!

Our team of 4 went up against 140 other participants to conceive, plan, and create a start-up over a long weekend of designing and coding, to be pitched to and judged by a selection of top-dogs in the tech world, such as Eze Vidra of Google, Jemimah Knight of The Next Web, and Philipp Moehring of Seedcamp.

The idea we came up with was ‘pollarize.me’, a social polling tool which allows people to create questions with 2 possible answers, push the question out to all of their social networks, and gather feedback and results in one place, visually represented by a pie chart.

Ever wanted to spend 1 hour at Top Left Design, but really only had 2.5 minutes?

Today, Michael put up his iPhone 4S with Olloclip fisheye lens up on our office door using a Gorrillapod and Glif+ mount to hold it in place.

Then he took a timelapse movie of us working away like the busy bees that we are. We also wanted to send a special mention to Amy who works in our Cape Town Office and hasn’t physically been in our new London office yet.

We did have time to wave at all you lovely folk. It’s good to be famous! Check out the video. it’s truly awesome!

 

Michael’s Movember 2011 Roundup – More Moustache Memoirs

By now you must all be aware of Movember – it’s been hard to ignore this year, thanks to a great marketing campaign, fantastic use of social media to increase involvement, and all the dodgy moustaches you’ve been seeing for the last month!

In case you’ve been living under a rock though, Movember is an annual charity challenge, whereby men grow a moustache in order to raise money for Prostate Cancer.

When it comes to making websites look good, there are a plethora of ways to set a design apart from the rest, without needing to delve into the pit of cliché doom.

A strong design does not need gimmicks, just as it does not need uninspired generic content. The tricky part is finding the balance!

Here are some common culprits, steer clear of these or you might end giving people a migrane – or worse – they might steer clear of your site completely…

Which browser do you use? (Poll)

Here at Top Left Design, we need to keep on top of many different browsers – websites can look different depending on which one you use!

While the less tech-savvy Windows users amongst you may still be using Internet Explorer (*ahem*), most of you will have no doubt experimented with different browsers.

With so many available, which one do you prefer to use?

[poll id=”02″]

8 Ways To Increase Your Browser Productivity

We all know that web browsers are getting faster. So what can you do to keep up with them?

There used to be a time when you might have waited 3 minutes for a webpage to open.

Then we got broadband.

Then we only had to wait an average 10 seconds for a page to load.

Then we got Firefox.

Now our new browsers such as Google’s ‘Chrome’ not only load the page in a split-second, but the programs themselves open almost instantaneously. Plus they can handle a metric ton of ‘tabs’ and not slow your computer down in the process!

Here’s 8 tips to give your web-surfing a steroid boost

4 steps to make a custom 404 error page

Welcome to my first tutorial!

In this post, I’ll be showing you how to make your very own custom 404 error page!

Time needed: 30 mins + any time spent designing the page itself
Necessary resources: Notepad, Site FTP access, coffee
Optional programs: Photoshop/Illustrator (for design of the page), FTP Client (for easier uploading)

A custom 404 page is not only a way to expand accessibility on your website, but it also shows that you (or your company) has attention to detail, and can be a way to inject some humour into a website!

Movember

You may have noticed a suprising increase in moustache abundancy recently – and subsequently as we roll into December, a sudden lack of Tom Selleck look-a-likes.

Are you experiencing any unexpected moustache-withdrawal symptoms?

For anyone who doesn’t already know, Movember is an annual charity event, where for the month of November, men across the world grow moustaches and get sponsored for doing so – all in the fight against prostate cancer!
Think of it like the men’s version of the pink ribbon.

The Movember rules are simple:

  1. Each Mo-Bro must start November 1st with a clean-shaven face
  2. Then, for the entire month of November, each Mo-Bro must grow & groom a moustache according to these rules:
  • There is to be no joining the mo’ to the side burns  – that’s a beard!
  • There is to be no joining of the handlebars on the chin – that’s a goatee!
  • A small complimentary growth under the bottom lip is allowed – (AKA ‘The Tickler’)

It’s been an interesting month to say the least – Thankfully, Keren was very happy for me to participate, and even gave me my first sponsorship! This also meant that I couldn’t back out if the Mo’ became too much to handle!

The first week wasn’t too bad, since at that early stage you can get away with the stubble, though it can look a bit pathetic at the start…

But as the weeks went by, it grew. And grew some more. And that’s when the funny looks on the tube started.
However it’s a defining moment to be on a crowed tube, and see a random man across the way who is also sporting a ‘tache, looking slightly embarrassed. You catch eyes, and give “the nod”.. From one mo-bro to another!

By the end of Movember, my mo’ was huge and more comical than embarrassing!

So far I’ve raised £160 for the cause – much more than I thought I would when I started out!

And at last count, the UK has raised a total of £3,841,626! Almost 4 MILLION pounds!

Globally, Movember has generated £19,790,822 so far, and donations are still welcome!

See this page for the current tally

Here is a link to my donation page (with pictures!)

On Friday night (27th November) I went to the London Movember Gala Party in Battersea Evolution – and it was the best night I have had this year!

It was so much fun, the place was full of awesome friendly people, with such a great atmosphere, I had 2 great friends with me and it went on from 7pm to 3am!
There was an orange carpet outside (the colour of the movember site) – inside was funky 70’s music, 12 bars, photographers, cage dancers, breakdancers, raised dancefloor with camera men feeding footage to a big screen, mechanical bulls, dodgems, ping pong tournaments, poker, blackjack, roulette, goodiebags, and free photobooths (see a picture of me with 2 sexy “Mo Chicks” below!!

The London Gala Movember Party

We still want your help donating so click to sponsor Michael and Top Left Design for Movember!

Michael joins TLD and grows a moustache soon after

The open day we held was very successful, thanks to our ad on Sugar Jobs Job Board, and our chosen candidate Michael Hobson happening to apply at midnight, and the fact that Keren saw his response and was awake to write back to him inviting him in for the next day’s open day. Two weeks later, after the open day, a trial day, a Thomas International PPA test, and an intense grilling interview, Michael joined the TLD Team.

He has been doing brilliantly so far, and has participated actively with us on Twitter (follow him on www.twitter.com/tremulantdesign.
Oh, and you may as well follow us too!

One thing he can do which none of us girls at TLD could is participate in “Movember“.

Luckily our friend Alan Ogden from 3DPixel.net (who run our hosting servers) decided to use his own photo retouching skills on our faces, with impressive results.

See below – but really we still want your help donating so click on the image to sponsor Michael and Top Left Design for Movember!