WordCamp Sacramento is Near!

I’m very proud and excited to be a part of the organizing team for the first WordCamp Sacramento. As the Entertainment Director, I researched and am coordinating venues for our speaker/sponsor dinner and the event after party. We selected Ten22 for the dinner; they have a private dining room and a tasty, seasonal fixed menu for a decent price. The after party will be held at the River City Saloon in Old Sacramento. Continue reading

Lessons Learned and (maybe) Remembered

Proactive Communication Saves Your Ass

I recently told a client I would deliver a document by “the end of this week/early next week”. Normally that’s a fine promise to make and easy to keep. Except this time the document I was delivering was being written by someone else.  I checked in on the progress every couple days, stressing that I had told the client to expect it.  In fact, I remember that little voice in my head being wary- and I did say something to the effect of “If I tell him we’ll have it, we better have it.” Continue reading

MailChimp Redesign

Look at this beautiful-ness!  I do miss the giant monkey a little but wow.  So much white space, big type, full screen, minimalist design and content!!!  Beautifully responsive- check out the features page where the images go off-screen (similar to WordPress theme twenty thirteen).  Lovely.

MailChimp Screenshot



Fresh Designs, It’s Been Too Long

Hey, I actually took a break from proposals and internal projects and go to design something today!  We are working with other teams on this website to support a General Plan Update.  Lou did an awesome logo with bright, fun colors and he kicked off the look and feel with a flier which I took some design inspiration from.  Also, Jacob started a theme on a WordPress site so I had a good idea what plugins and assets we’d be using.

Here are the versions, we’ll see what the client picks!


What I Learned at An Event Apart

Everything is still changing all the time in this field.  If this bothers you, find a new job.  If you love change, welcome aboard.  The big declaration of the event seemed to be:

Content is King.  Mobile is Here. Responsive content is THE WAY.

The speakers didn’t concentrate on specific tools but more concepts and strategies for success.  Here are some of my faves.

  1. Style Tiles.  Keeping in theme with content first and iterations of design and technology to fit multiple form factors, Style Tiles are the new way in my mind.  We can no longer give the client a static mockup of the homepage and get them to approve that.  This is a better way to convey to the client how the site will look and feel without designing ourselves into a hole.  Style Tiles combined with wire frames and information architecture can guide the development team as they put things together.  We can still make a design comp if the client really wants one but designing in HTML/CSS once the wireframes and content are approved will better serve a more systems-based approach allowing us to move our content around in order of importance using content-based breakpoints.
  2. Content-based Breakpoints.  For a while now I’ve been trying to figure out what breakpoints to use for responsive design.  When to shift content to fit a particular screen.  Luke W has made the case for flipping this around and breaking content (or shifting its position or size) based on when the content is no longer readable.  he also gave us a lot to think about on touch and how we all now use our devices.  No longer are we tied to a desk- Personally I check email, facebook and twitter on my phone whether Im out and about or sitting around the house.  I love to also use my Kindle to surf when my daughter hasn’t gotten to it first.  I have less time to actually sit in front of my desktop, and I cant wait to dive into a larger touch screen on Windows 8!
  3. Write Better Content Chunks.  Its always a challenge to redesign a site and get the content to look as good as the design and back-end.  Usually we leave this pretty much up to the client then we complain about how bad their content is.  That’s wrong…  making the content good is our job too and Im no longer going to pretend that its not.  Luke W took some great notes on Karen McGrane’s talk about how to write for the web systems and a few case studies.  Basically the best way (which has evolved from the whole separation of content and design discussion) is to write your content in chunks- much like journalists do.  If you have editors write pages by filling in forms with fields like title, subheadline, short and long summary, image, image caption, by line, publish date, keywords, and so on, then you can rejigger that content in any way that you need for any situation!

My Gurus

Featured “Expert” in Sacramento Business Journal

What is the No. 1 thing I should consider when hiring someone to build a website for my small business?

“Their technical and design abilities should be the primary factor. Have they done similar work at the level of quality you seek? If so, see that they are interested in or even passionate about your business and that you like them and can begin a working relationship. They should provide a fair contract, a detailed scope of work and a realistic schedule at a fixed fee that suits your budget.”

— Heather Hogan, web design project manager; professor, Sacramento City College

Sacramento Business Journal Date: Thursday, May 3, 2012, 9:00pm PDT – Last Modified: Friday, May 4, 2012, 3:00am PDT