What Steve Jobs Meant to Me

Although I have only been a owner of Apple products since I got the iPhone 3GS over two years ago and a MacBook Pro a year later, I still couldn't escape how deeply I felt at the loss of Steve Jobs yesterday. So I would just like to take a bit of time to clear the thoughts from my head. Finish Reading »
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Identify Target Users

We are nearing the end of the Website Strategy walkthrough, but there is still one very important piece left. Most the previous articles focused on thinking internally such personal goals and brainstorming -- things that 'you' want to see on the site. Now we need to do some external thinking and consider what other people would want from our website. For this task, I'm going to break it up into two manageable pieces: first Identify Target Users and then Profile Target Users. So for today's post, I'm going to show what I did to identify my target users and leave some thoughts about what you can do when identifying yours. This is a post in my Building a Website Series and Case Study. This is the fourth post explaining How to Develop a Website Strategy. Finish Reading »
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Brainstorming a Website

By defining goals for your website you've given your thoughts a bit of structure to them, now its time to let them run wild. Goals help to scope what you're wanting to accomplish, brainstorming helps to determine methods for accomplishing them.  The great thing about brainstorming is that there isn't a wrong way to do it. For me I just write down all the questions or ideas that I might have. I tried to consolidate them into my notebook but I know I've got several scraps of paper with different rough idea on them. Brainstorming isn't restricted to a hard ending point like some of the other steps in the website design process is. Take a few days to write down ideas, then move onto the next step, but don't stop brainstorming. As you advance close to a finished product new ideas will enter your head. Never stop brainstorming, but learn where to draw the line when it comes to building. Not every good idea needs to make the initial release. For my personally type, this is where I struggle the most. I want to put it all in and not show it to anyone until it is completely finished and perfect. To quote one of my new favorite quotes that I read in the Huffington Complete Post Guide to Blogging,
Perfect is the enemy of done.
This is a post in my Building a Website Series and Case Study. This is the third post explaining How to Develop a Website Strategy. Finish Reading »
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Setting Personal Goals

Often when building a website it's natural to put all of your focus on the website. We can spend hours thinking about what goals we want the website to accomplish, but not thinking about what we really want to get out of the experience. So before you get out your sketchpad and start making wireframes, think about what you personally want to achieve by building this website. Are you personally gaining some new skills to make you a better designer/developer/marketer? If the website is a complete failure, is there something you can look back on and say, "Well, at least I'm better at xyz" or, "I got to meet some cool people that might be able to help me later on." Here are the goals for latest website project and some general guidelines to help you make yours. This is a post in my Building a Website Series and Case Study. This is the third post explaining How to Develop a Website Strategy. Finish Reading »
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Setting Site Goals

So you have finally have your website's inspiration, now its time to move on to figure out how to make that dream become a reality. Goal setting is common to most every field in life because it forces us to define what 'success' is. It gives us something concrete to look to at and to measure how our current efforts align to what we are doing. So naturally, it’s a good idea to some goals you want to achieve for your new website. This is a post in my Building a Website Series and Case Study. This is the second post explaining How to Develop a Website Strategy.

Site Goals for My Website

Most of my goals are more content related or not really quantifiable. I'm not sure if this is really a bad or not. I didn't set any goals for things like monthly unique visitors or such because I really had no idea what a good goal for that would be. There weren't any real competitors in my space to try to set traffic goals like that. My goals really are more like ambitions; things I'm striving for; the general direction I want my site to go. Upon going over these again, and since the site has been live for over a month now, I really should add some more quantifiable goals to obtain. I need to add goals for things that I can control like having a page for every park in the county on my site and for things that I can't necessarily control like having the major of a city tweet about an article on my site.

Take Away Thoughts about Setting Site Goals

Setting goals can be a tricky thing. You don't want to set the bar to low so that achieving it is effortless, but you also don't want to set the bar so high that it cannot feasible be achieved. I think an important attribute to add to your goals is to set a time. Have some goals that you want to achieve this month, have some that you want to achieve in 6 months and have some that are on your all-time list. Another thing about goals is to write them down and review them. Reaffirm these goals frequently and when big decisions have to be made, reference your site goals. After you have determined what you would like for your site to accomplish, it's to move forward and figure out what you personally would like to accomplish with your new website by setting some personal goals.
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Finding Inspiration to Build a Website

Too often the inspiration behind an idea is presented as if it were a moment; waking up from a dream in the middle of the night, standing in line at Starbucks or hitting your head on the bathroom sink. The ideas are complete and perfect without any further thought needed, just need to turn the idea into reality. Maybe I'm the odd one out, but I know for my website project that just wasn't the case. The inspiration for it was slow and curated over months until it got to a point where it felt like a successful idea and was something I was passionate to start. This is a post in my Building a Website Series and Case Study. This is also the first post in explaining How to Develop a Website Strategy. Finish Reading »
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Building a Website: Site Strategy

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration
That quote is often used to show that hard work is needed for anything to be successful, but sometimes see the other truth in the quote. Sure perspiration might take up a majority of what is needed to be a genius, but without inspiration, nothing meaningful can occur. What if that 1% was a bad idea then the 99% was wasted. Both are needed, and both need to be good for success to occur. Site strategy is where you develop that 1% and fully realize the concept before diving in and making something. Here is what we will be going over in the Site Strategy Phase of building a websites: Be sure to subscribe to get notified when this series gets updated.
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Everything You Need to Know about Designing, Building and Running a Website

Too often online tutorials only show you a small portion of what is needed to complete a thing, whether it be a logo, taking pictures or in my upcoming series case, a website. I plan to change that and would like to take you through my journey of over the past year of me creating a website from its inspirational origin all the way through seeing it being designed in my moleskine, polished in Photoshop, developed into HTML and then into WordPress and finally into what I am doing to run the website since I launched it a couple weeks ago. Finish Reading »
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MapQuest: Brand Success, Service Failure

I have a quick thought that I'd like to express to you about how a brand name can be a resounding success yet it doesn't help the company or service that the brand is attached to. Finish Reading »
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Guest Post on Noupe

I have broken my seeming blogging silence to let you know that a guest post I wrote about CSS Habits is now live on Noupe. This is the first guest post I've ever written and although it is more of a basic concepts post, it feels good to be accomplishing my main New Year's resolution of producing. I hope to have more guest posts appearing around the interweb in the next few months. When I do have others published I will just mention them on Twitter instead of making a big deal of it like this post. So if you aren't following me, then do so. If you happen to be visiting from said guest post, then welcome. I don't write often but when I do it is usually design or tech focused, with an occasional rant. Feel free to look around to archives to find something of interest. If you like what you see then feel free to subscribe via RSS. You have no fear of me spamming your reader. Currently, I am working on a pet project website of mine. While doing so I'm documenting it's progress while using this design process. I am almost finished with step 6, and hope to have all the HTML and final polish finished right before WordPress 3.0 comes out. If there is a gap between those two then I will be writing posts describing steps 1-6. I planned to do more posts while I was working on it, but when I get a spare 2 hours I find myself wanting to spend that time working on the project instead of recapping it. So there you have my past, present and future all summed up in under 300 words. Have a great day.
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