Disable Overtype Mode In Microsoft Word Permanently!

By default in Microsoft Word, when you hit insert key, Word jumps into overtype mode, which writes over the text at the cursor instead of inserting new characters. This drives many people insane. The fact that it is a default behaviour remains to be seen.

How to fix overtype mode:

There are two options to remedy this:

1. Go to Tools > Options > Edit > Overtype Mode

And uncheck the Overtype mode box.

OR

2. Kill the Insert Key:
1. Start Word
2. Click on the Tools menu
3. Click Customize
4. Click the Options tab
5. Click Keyboard
6. Under the Categories dropdown box, select All Commands
7. Under the Commands dropdown box, select Overtype
8. Under the Current keys downdown box, select Insert
9. Click Remove
10. Click Close until the dialog windows close.

Thanks to the guys at tech-recipes.com, where I discovered this information after years of using method 1! this guy deserves a medal!

The Golden Rule of Design: KISS

A sincere thanks goes out to my borderline insane visual communication from my latter high school years – it all started when we had to build a scale house out of paper materials, architecturally acurate to the last detail. What I failed to see was that my fantastic H shaped house had a roof that was incredibly complex, nearly making me overshoot the project deadline trying to figure out how to build a roof for the thing!

My teacher told me something thing that really stuck, and it continues to be a good way of kick starting the creative process when I find myself staring aimlessly into space.

The rule is called KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

The “stupid” part is a reflection of how many of us tend to act out of instinct – so many ideas are floating around that we want to do everything and anything. When a designer sits down and scribbles down how the design will work, perhaps only one person can make sense of it – can you guess who? The user is not stupid, the designer is stupid for expecting others to realise their vision.

Can you think of a top site that does not follow the rule of KISS? Look at Google’s phenomenal growth; once upon a time there was no Google Tools, Google Maps or Google Earth. Despite these tools being generally easy to use, what could be easier than the original Google search design that has barely changed in years? One logo, one search box, one submit button, and a few links at the bottom.

What the other major search engines failed / fail to notice, was that this very simple idea worked. This very simple idea kept people coming back over and over again to something that delivered what they wanted, without any hoo haa. Sure it helped that Google also generally returned the best results, but my opinion is its success lies in the simplicity.

Some sites have the benefit of only providing one function while others are obviously far more complicated. Take my home away from home, www.sitepoint.com as an example. The initial navigation is brilliant:

Home | Articles | Books | Kits | Videos | Blogs | Contests | Marketplace | Forums [search]

They do not enjoy the luxury of having one or two simple goals for their website, but they have the benefit of very well organised content. They started with perhaps one or two of the above sections, and expanded. Now they are enjoying a thriving forum community and a rising star status amongst the web community, not to mention a huge turnover thanks to a user base that keeps coming back.

I’ve been reading “The Usability Kit” from SitePoint.com of late, and it has a very useful set of points that I would like to share – in fact I keep them permanently pinned on the wall next to me!

  • Provide effective navigation and orientation
  • Provide appropriate functions
  • Provide access to help and support
  • Minimise Errors
  • Give the user control
  • Support the user’s prefer way of working
  • Speak the user’s language
  • Keep the user informed
  • Be consistent
  • Implement a clear visual design
  • And for good measure, my addition: Keep it Simple Stupid!

How to Market a Website Using Google Tools

Google is kicking some serious butt with their range of free tools for webmasters. Google’s tools are so much more advanced than any offerings from Microsoft or Yahoo or any of the minor players, that there is no real need to mention them at all!

Google has cleverly devised this set of tools, knowing the high probability that the website owner / marketer is probably going to use Google Adwords which coincidentally links in beautifully with the rest of the software.

The cornerstone to understanding a websites success is to measure its performance on a goal based level. For an E-Commerce site, the most important goal is usually a sale. Other sites may consider new members, contact from the visitor, number of blog comments, or even whether certain pages are viewed or not.

Enter Google Analytics: The most comprehensive, free website reporting software I have ever seen. It gives you all the basics such as number of visits, where the traffic is coming from, and traffic over time which are all standard features in the majority of web statistic programs. But the real strength of Google Analytics is the comprehensiveness of information even on the very basic levels;

  • How does my traffic changed over time?
  • How much traffic do I get from a certain continent, country, state or even city? And more importantly how important is this target group to my campaign?
  • How long do visitors spend on my site?
  • How often do visitors return to my site after the first visit?
  • Visually, how do people navigate my site?
  • How often do people abandon the steps to my shopping cart, instead of completing the transaction?

And so it goes on, and on, and on. Even by answering these basic questions, Google Analytics lets you drill down, compare two different time periods – would you like to see that as a bar graph or a line graph?

Unleashing Google Analytics beyond its basic purpose is where the fun starts. Track your transactions dollar for dollar – even look at an overlay of your site, with visual representations of which buttons and links are used most frequently.

Their new interface has some good features – ability to email and create pdf’s from reports, and a wider ranging context for each set of data you view.

A picture might be forming in your imagination of Analytics being the silver bullet – but you’d be mistaken – Analytics is only providing you with virtually every useful bit of info that it can possibly gather about your site’s visitors. The onus is still on the web marketer to analyze, understand and fine-tune.

Google has really hit the nail on the head with Analytics. Installing Google analytics at its most basic level is a breeze for anyone familiar with website building. Thomas Multimedia can setup Google Analytics on your site to whatever level of customisation you require. Information is power!

Google Analytics Screenshot