Our take on the latest trends in the digital landscape.
Time management is a skill everyone should develop and varies for each person. The notion that creatives rely on random inspiration and fly by the seat of their pants is simply not true. To be efficient and effective as a creative you need to have a time management system in place. I have outlined a few principles in time management that will help you set up your own schedule for optimal performance.Read More
As a graphic designer, creativity is essential to my job. I have to conjure up creative ideas at a moment’s notice. So how can one make creativity consistently happen when it seems it should only come through inspiration?
I will share a few ideas I have about making room for creativity so it can be conjured up when needed. These ideas only take a few minutes of the day. I practice them regularly and they help me keep the creativity flowing.Read More
Redesigns are always stressful. There’s always someone that won’t like it for whatever reason. Most of the time, it’s just people unhappy with change. As a designer and administrator, I’ve been involved in many redesigns over the past twenty years.
I’ve worked for a few media companies, and I’m familiar with the politics involved in a redesign and the user experience that people expect. Most projects will involve someone in a powerful position that doesn’t have the experience or training to make decisions that they are responsible for making. People often make frivolous statements like, “It’s too busy” or give advice on how things need to operate or look without taking into account how things should operate and look. By the end of the process you have a website that doesn’t have the users’ best interest in mind.Read More
WordPress Data Management on your clients’ websites can be difficult. Often, clients want to be able to update every aspect of their website, but this can be difficult when you have hard-coded functioning components such as sliders, modals, and tabs. What’s the best way to integrate these components into WordPress? Should I download a plugin for each of these?
We have found a great solution in a user graphic interface plugin call Advanced Custom Fields (ACF). The ACF plugin allows us to add custom fields on pages, posts, custom post types, and even create a Theme options panel with 20 different field types. Not only is the ACF plugin great for managing all your basic elements like copy and images in the WP Dashboard, but it can be great for managing your more complex components on your website.
Here is just one of many examples of how powerful this plugin can be:
Let’s look at a simple component such as a slider. There are so many WordPress slider plugins out there. Believe me, we have tried them all and there are some great ones out there, however, we often run into road blocks when a client makes a request that the plugin doesn’t accommodate. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves restricted to the Slider plugin options which only allow you to do so much and have a limited number of layouts and functionality built in. Some of these requests may be things like having the slider image open in a pop up window, a thumbnail navigation menu, or having clickable CTA’s inside a slider.
Hacking these slider plugins to make them function does get messy, and these slider plugins are often vulnerable to hacks, and decreased site speed and performance. We have found that using the ACF Repeater fields to create user friendly sliders is secure, extremely customizable, faster, and more scalable than any WordPress slider plugin ever could be. Often WordPress themes get bogged down with a plugin for your slider, a plugin for testimonials, a plugin for your photo gallery, the list can go on and on. The ACF plugin can replace all these plugins and quickly you will realize you have 5 to 8 fewer plugins to maintain.
Having a great user experience is always important on the front end of a website, but we often feel that it gets over- looked when it comes to the backend … and a clean organized backend experience will save you loads of time and headaches. This often starts with your plugins and anytime you can find one plugin that replaces 5, that is a win.
While in college, I took a commission-based sales position and quickly learned about the thrill of the sale and what it took to be successful in any sales gig.
I am a quick study and selling comes naturally to me. Rising to the top in short order, I eventually led a crew of 20 sales associates. There were some hard lessons learned along the way and sharing some of these with you might prove to be of value. So, here are some lessons learned, so far, in my sales career.Read More
Being a partner in a young design and development firm means you wear many hats.
For example, I have a big part in running our business, meeting with clients, and driving the design for our company. I know many companies are structured similarly, and whether you are working with a team or by yourself, it’s easy to have many tasks pile up.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, projects will slide, and it can cause an avalanche of work that is overwhelming. I’ve had this happen to me time and time again, and fortunately there are a few things that I have learned to do in order to overcome the avalanche of work:
It helps me to write what I have to do down on a piece of scrap paper and scratch them off one by one as I accomplish them. This helps me feel like I am making progress.
Divide your tasks into digestible chunks of about 4 hours of work at a time.
Make sure to do something totally different during your break. Exercise, play video games or go shopping. Give your mind a break.
Don’t start out with the hardest thing you have to do, but don’t save it for the end, either. I like to put my toughest tasks in the middle of my list so that I feel like I’ve got momentum as I get to them.
It always helps me to sketch concepts quickly. This allows you to think through your design and gives you a plan of attack.
It’s unreasonable for clients to expect you to work 24/7. Give them realistic timelines. If you can not meet the timeline, as yourself, is it really worth it? Make sure your clients know that it’s not OK to contact you during your personal time.
Sometimes people like to have meetings about meetings. Do you really need to have that meeting, or can it be handled in an email, via Slack or group chat, or short telephone call?
It’s liberating to say no. Sometimes you have to. If you take on too much, then all of your work, and personal life, will suffer. Only commit to what you have to.
Sometimes disconnecting from the internet is a good thing. Turn off your phone. Don’t check your emails. You’ll find that you will get more done without any distractions.
Once you have your list of things to realistically do, set goals to get them done and reward yourself when you get them accomplished. After all, you just climbed a mountain.
The key is just to not freak out. You can’t stop time. You can’t slow down time. You are one person and you can only do so much. As long as you have a plan, you will get through it and be ready for the next tidal wave.