How to Generate Image Placeholders : 3 Elegant Solutions

If you’re putting together a design example, it always helps to have convincing placeholders.  Whether you’re piecing together a mockup of a website or an advert draft, getting the layout right is always important.  Here are 3 simple solutions which can help you generate image placeholders so you can quickly communicate your layout.  All 3 allow you to define the size of your placeholder and to download the image, but each comes with its own little benefits.

1. How to have an image placeholder with descriptive text

dynamic dummy image generator


The Dynamic Dummy Image Generator is a simple generator which allows you to describe the placeholder and scale it to an actual size so people understand what they’re supposed to be looking at.  Although not aesthetically the best solution, This is often the most straightforward and will eliminate any confusion as to what the the image should actually be.

2. How to use color to represent your image placeholder

random image generator

If you’re personally stepping a client through a presentation, the Color Random Image Generator can help to make it much more pleasant to look at as it allows you to choose between different shades of oil painting textured colors to represent your idea.  The only drawback though is that it can be ambiguous as to what you’re supposed to be looking at, but if you’re walking a client through the layout, it shouldn’t matter.

3. How to use beautiful photos as image placeholders


Flickholdr creates lovely placeholders simply by grabbing a random picture with relevant tags.  So tell it what your picture should be, and it automatically sources a relevant photo for you which you may then use as a placeholder.  The only major drawback to this is that sometimes – Flickr tags may be very general and although you’re assured of a gorgeous image, you may find yourself tweaking tag names to find a truly relevant image.

So there you have it – 3 simple ways to generate image placeholders.  Do you like any of them in particular?  Tell us in the comments!

SEO Tips: How to Optimize Images, Videos and Audio for Your Website


If you’re an online publisher, then Google is king.  Whatever content you’re pushing to the web, you’re going to want Google to index it properly, and serve it up in its search results.  There are lots of guides on basic text and blogpost optimization out there, but what about other types of media like images, video, and audio?  Here’s a simple guide to follow so you can make the most of your multimedia content.

First things first, the general rule of optimization is to ensure a descriptive file name and URL which match what people may be searching for.  This is crucial when it comes to Google deciding if your content is relevant to search terms.  If you want to refine it, you can try using the Google keywords tool to determine search volume. 

Tip 1. How to Optimize SEO for images

picture frame

Tagging of images is essential for Google’s understanding of what your image actually is.  Pay close attention to your ALT and TITLE tags when you upload an image to the web.

  1. ALT attribute is an important part of search engine optimization. It describes your image to search engine and when a user searches for a certain image this is a key determining factor for a match. 
  2. TITLE attribute plays a lesser role but is important for visitors as this text will automatically appear in the tooltip when mouse is over the image.

If you’re using WordPress, you can try SEO Friendly Images, which is a free optimization plugin that automatically updates all images on your website with proper ALT and TITLE attributes.  What this plugin does is, it changes these tags based on your image file name and your post URL.  This is a quick one click solution helps optimize all your images at once.

Tip 2. How to Optimize SEO for videos

Sitemaps are Google’s way of understanding and indexing your videos.  Check out this video for a bit more detail on this.

To get more tips on submission of setting up an mRSS feed so you can automatically submit sitemaps of your videos in the correct format, you should visit Google’s Video sitemaps page.

Tip 3: How to Optimize SEO for Audio


  1. Text Transcripts: There are several ways to optimize for audio, but the best way is to have actual transcripts of your audio on your web page.   No matter how much you optimize, having plain text is always more Google friendly.  Consider recording in conjunction with speech to text software if it’s more efficient.
  2. Descriptive Metadata: Changing your ID3 tags to give really descriptive titles and comments which are embedded within the file.  If you’re changing a few files you can simply right click the file in Windows, then go to properties, then summary.  From there you can edit all the attributes of the file.  If you’re handling this for multiple files you may want to use freeware like ID3 Tagit to help you along.

Do you optimize your content on your website of blog?  Tell us about it in the comments :)

4 Search Engines That Use Images to Show Search Results

Tired of looking through pages and pages of search results? Sometimes it’s just easier to search and discover interesting news by scrolling through pictures rather than reading through lines of text.  Images make for much easier scanning and the really interesting stuff often catches the eye quickly.  Here are 4 visually gorgeous search engines which you can play with.

1. SpaceTime 3D


SpaceTime 3D is a visual search engine which uses Coverflow, the amazing Apple interface which allows you to elegantly flip through snapshots of different websites.  It works for Google, Wikipedia, Youtube and image searches.

2. Cooliris


Cooliris started off as a simple Firefox extension but has grown to encompass the iPhone as well, and can now be integrated directly into other websites.  It uses an ╦ťendless-gallery’ approach where users can quickly scroll through a whole wall of images, news items and videos.

3. Middle Spot


Middlespot allows you to get a visual preview of search results which corresponds to a description in the search engine sidebar

4. Spezify


Spezify returns all types of media related to the topic from photos, to audio, to web pages, to twitter mentions, and more.  This is probably my favorite of the lot because it just fits everything together in a cohesive manner.

Do you use alternative search engines?  Tell us in the comments!

Online Photo Collages : 3 Easy Ways to Create Them


If you have a whole bunch of photos to share, it may be easier or even more fun to pull them altogether into a neat little collage.  Here are 3 online tools which work directly from your browser, all free – which will help you do just that.

1. How to make collages with the photos on your PC


Photovisi is a free online service which allows you to pick one of many collage template and then launches an in-browser interface where you can quickly add pictures. 

My favorite part about this service is that it you don’t need to upload entire photos (which can take very long if your photos are high-res) in order to make it work.  It is intelligent enough to create and use thumbnails from your pictures on-the-fly so that adding pictures from your computer is incredibly speedy.  No installation or registration needed.

2. How to make collages with photos already online


Shape Collage takes photos found on any webpage and instantly turns it into a collage.  The beauty of this is that it you don’t need to point it to Flickr or particular photo site for it to work.  Just point it to ANY site, and it will crawl the page and make use of the pictures.  Plus, you get to make all kinds of interesting shapes for collages.

There’s also a free desktop edition which allows you to play with your pictures offline.

3. How to edit photos and make simple collages online


Picture2Life is a free service which allows you to make simple edits to your photos before you collage them.  Available on multiple platforms, it has a facebook as well as a made for iPhone interface, and a Firefox extension so you can collage from wherever you feel most comfortable.

Do you create photo collages online?  Tell us about it in the comments

How to Instantly Improve Images Online


When it comes to organizing pictures, I only ever use Google’s Picasa photo organizer

Now, one of my favorite features from Picasa is something called ‘I’m feeling lucky’ where it enhances dark and bright colors in a photo and adjusts both color and contrast to optimal levels in one click.  No fiddling around – just instant editing. is a great piece of free web technology which allows you to get access that feature without having to install anything.

You just upload your image…

  • …and it automatically adjusts the color saturation, temperature and lighting of your photo
  • …and lines it up side by side with the original for a quick comparison.
  • …where you can download your new and improved picture on the spot!


Perfect for quick edits – where you don’t have or want to fire up Picasa to make simple tweaks.

What other images tools do you use?  Let us know in the comments!