Smarterer image “gotcha”

Creating a Smarterer test to allow others to evaluate their skills is fairly easy – the system is straightforward and takes you step-by-step through the process.

However, as is the case with most endeavours, a little preparation goes a long way – this is especially true when creating an image to go with your test. The image will appear in search results and at the side of your test, next to the description, so you want it to look professional. What may not be immediately obvious when you upload your image is that, to look good in all situations, it must be a PNG with a transparent background. This is especially true if your image has an irregular shape and a white background. When you upload your image it’s previewed against a white background but that’s not the colour it will ultimately be placed on.

The following two screenshots illustrate the problem. Firstly, despite the circular shape, the Pinterest logo looks good –

whereas the rectangular white background of this logo makes it look out-of-place:

Creating a PNG with a transparent background is very simple. There are lots of free online tools that will allow you to upload an image and select the colour to be made transparent so there is no need to install anything on your computer. If you make sure your image has a solid background colour to start this will be a pain-free and very fast process.

What if you’ve already uploaded an image to Smarterer without a transparent background? Unfortunately there is currently no way to change the image once it’s loaded – you have to send Smarterer the new image by email ( and they will replace it for you.



Are you a Byword Master?

If you have used the Byword Markdown editor on the Mac you’ll already know that knowledge of the keyboard shortcuts is essential if you really want to get the full benefit of the clean, uncluttered interface, especially in full-screen mode.

As a complement to my recently created set of flashcards for Byword I have created a new Smarterer test. With 59 possible questions, offered in a rapid-fire multiple choice format, this test will allow you to really evaluate your skills in just a few minutes.

After successful completion of the test you’ll receive a badge indicating your skill level that you can add to your resume or website. You can see mine at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar… unfortunately WordPress (.com) doesn’t allow embedded Javascript so it doesn’t appear exactly as it should but it is still effective.





Test your Google Chrome knowledge at

Smarterer is a great way to test and authenticate your (mainly) computer skills with timed online quizzes. Tests are crowdsourced and regularly updated to ensure their relevance – they aren’t going to replace your Microsoft MCSE certification but for new, fast changing or specialised subjects such as jQuery, Twitter, Google Search, etc. they can be an excellent way to appraise and highlight your skill set.

On completion of a test you’ll be awarded a badge showing your achievement level that you can add to your website or resumé. You also have your own URL that shows all your awards (thankfully you can also hide those you’ve scored badly on). I’ve found most of the tests I’ve taken so far to be of a fairly high standard and both challenging and relevant enough to provide an accurate assessment of my skill level.

If you use the Google Chrome browser on Mac OSX you might like to test your knowledge of its keyboard shortcuts with a new Smarterer test I created earlier today.
There are 40 questions altogether though you may not see them all at first as the questions shown, the order they’re shown in and the points awarded are all determined by algorithm not by the test creator. If you do well on this test I think you can be confident you know your way around Chrome.


If you take the test I’d love to hear your feedback.