I know it’s strange, I’m a redneck and rednecks usually aren’t into meditation, unless it involves beer and fishing (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But, then there’s me I’m into meditation, yoga and qi gong. I’ve recently started yoga, and I have practiced qi going for years. I like to meditate, I’ve even built 2 meditational labyrinths. I walk our labyrinth regularly and recently started taking a mindfulness class.
The class is awesome, and it’s really made me realize just how much of the time I spend is just on “auto-pilot”. To be mindful or aware, to be truly present- man, that is difficult to do.
Of course I’m thinking about how to apply mindfulness to web design and that can be tricky to. Designing for everyone, being mindful of all the potential visitors. Here are just a few considerations to think about when mindfully designing a website.
What types of barriers could my website’s users have? Could they have a slow connection, a physical impairment?
1 out of 5 people in the U.S. have a disability. Do my users need assistive technologies to access my websites, like screen readers, braille keyboards or maybe a mouth stick or head wand.
Is my message clear and concise?
Is my code clear and concise?
Am I writing to what my users need to hear, not just what I want to say?
Is my website, images, music, and videos inclusive, are they empowering people or are they excluding?
Am I following best practices for modern web design?
Incidentally, I guess this list could go on for a good while, but I hear some bluegill calling me.
Accessibility has always been important to me, building an inclusive web has always seemed like the right thing to do. I’ve taken some accessibility classes in the past and this year I’ve decided to up my accessibility game. So I am taking a course from Deque University now (I’m going for the IAAP Certification) and I just finished a class from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign “Web Design: Web Accessibility Evaluation Basics” and received their badge. These classes are really helping me become more of an empathetic designer, and realize some of the challenges people struggle with daily, like being deaf or hard of hearing and trying to watch a presentation or video without captions.
I’ve not dealt with a lot of videos on the web and only recently really thought about the accessibility considerations needed when working with video. Making websites inclusive is a serious subject, but this video on the fails of auto-captioning cracked me up, remember always double check the auto-captions. So now I’m in the process of redesigning my website to make it blazing fast and inclusive as possible. Stay tuned for some cool changes:)
I have a need for speed, well speedy websites anyway. My goal is to build a bunch of super fast website themes that I can base my future work on, so here’s my first attempt. It’s a lightweight, responsive static website theme.
I tried wrapping my script in every type of “$(document).ready(function()” I could think of even trying “(“#id-thats-loaded”).ready(function()”. Finally I learned that “(document).ready(function()” only fires when HTML is loaded and DOM is ready.
And using a “$(window).load(function()” fires when the complete page is fully loaded. After I wrapped the script in the “$(window).load(function()” it loaded the image like it was embedded in the page.
I just published 2 new websites, but you won’t see them in my portfolio. They aren’t original designs, so I don’t feel like I can take credit for them.
The website came together pretty fast, less than 100 lines of custom CSS to get the right look and feel and we were off and running. I would think Squarespace would work great for someone wanting to get their feet wet with a new website. Check out the final SquareSpace website here.
Setup was pretty typical, I downloaded the theme and installed it. Getting the theme installed wasn’t bad, but If you are new to building websites, there’s going to be a learning curve. Once installed, there were a lot of options for the theme at the site and page level. And that might also be a little daunting for people unfamiliar with WordPress or content management systems in general. The website came together pretty fast, less than 100 lines of custom CSS here as well. Anyway check out the final WordPress website here.
A person with minimal skills could probably get a SquareSpace website off the ground and published relatively quick and I believe it would be easier than getting a WordPress website off the ground. For the control freaks like me, tinkerer’s, and those who just want to learn, it’s just hard to beat WordPress.
I passed a blind lady this morning on the steps, navigating the stairs with her cane. It really struck me how much I take my health for granted. According to the US Census of the 291.1 million people in the 2005 population of the United States, 54.4 million, or 18.7 percent, reported some level of disability.
There’s a good chance that some of our website visitors may have some form of disability, with that in mind I try to make sure sites I design meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Some of the tools I use to check accessibility are.
I try to be empathetic in design since I was born with Protanopia, doesn’t that sound awful? It’s not really that bad I’m just red-green color blind and with me being a designer, I guess it’s kind of weird. You will notice I always use a limited palette and for new colors, I will use color tools. I’m pretty safe designing when using a computer, just don’t ask me to paint using traditional tools, my paintings always come out looking like mud:)
When starting a new project I’ll usually set up a domain on my localhost something like “new-project.local”. However, it presents a problem when trying to show your work to clients, either you publish to a live website or you can use this cool tool with a funky name NGROK.
Just drop the NGROK file in your folder, and type a few commands and bam, your localhost has a public address — something like “https://random-string.ngrok.io” that you can show the world, keep in mind your computer needs to be up and running for them to see. So if you send them a link be sure to tell them it’s temporary.
I’ve worked on a couple of projects now that use Bootstrap. I like Bootstrap for prototyping, it’s quick and easy. However, I don’t care for the weight especially in public facing projects. Analyzing one Bootstrap project that I’m putting on a diet has a final stylesheet of 150k and over 3,000 unused classes (ouch).
Mobile users and users in rural areas with poor internet connections may be clients and customers. Getting users content delivered fast is crucial, well if you want to stay competitive. I believe speed is king and a couple of tools I’ve started investigating to speed up the projects are…
It’s official, I am a ScrumMaster! My “official name” (the one usually only mentioned when I’m in trouble or buying a house) is even on the Scrum Alliance website.
I’ve been working in an agile environment for over a year now and while it might not be the right tool for every project,
it has a lot of great aspects. If you aren’t familiar with Scrum, here’s a brief introduction or my “Fitz Notes”.
Scrum is a just a way to get things done. There are 3 primary roles on a Scrum team, and everyone is considered an equal stakeholder.
Scrum Team – people in the trenches working on the project (usually no more than 9 or 10).
Product Owner – The liaison between the Scrum Team and stakeholders.
ScrumMaster – helps the team constantly improve by facilitating meetings, and helping remove impediments.
Projects are time-boxed and developed in “Sprints” and can vary in length (we work in 2-week sprints). Each Sprint the team works to build a “potentially” shippable product increment. We use a Scrum board (we use JIRA) to track task and progress for each Sprint.
The task are discussed in a Sprint Planning Meeting before each sprint by ALL the stakeholders. Each member discusses the project and the task in a quick-never-more-than-15-minute daily meeting during the Sprint. There’s a “Sprint Review” meeting at the end of each sprint for the team to discuss and demonstrate the work that was completed during the sprint and “Sprint Retrospective” meeting to find out what the team did well and how we can improve for the next Sprint. There’s a lot more to Scrum, but this is my redneck definition of the basics.
ScrumMasters aren’t really the team manager or boss. Their primary role is to work with the product owners to facilitate the Scrum Processes and remove any roadblocks for the team. I believe the simple mission of a good ScrumMaster is to try their best in making sure the team is effective and successful. My primary goal as the “ScrumMaster” is to be a “Servant Leader” to the team.
Just finished some first drafts for a new logo, and the client really liked one of the first passes. I love it when that happens, sometimes I get lucky but I believe of a big part of getting the design right is asking the simply asking the right questions in the discovery phase.
Here’s the first pass…