Posted by Peter Otte on August 13, 2013
Back when I edited Portable Computing magazine, I met often with representatives from the different tech companies to discuss new products. There was one memorable encounter with HP. This was around 1993 and there was a lot of interest at the time in the so-called paperless office: if everything was electronic, couldn’t we cut down on printing? So I asked him what he thought.
“The paperless office is about practical as the paperless toilet,” he replied.
Posted by Peter Otte on July 20, 2013
Professional academic writers often use style guides. These guides help the writer ensure that every paragraph and every page follows the same rules for formatting and for citing information. Following these guidelines allows for all of the information to be unified. These same strategies can be applied to web site design, as well as other design projects. Having a professional style guide created before you begin making changes to a web site, or a print project, ensures that the layout and appearance of the content will be consistent from page to page.
When we begin working on a web design project, the first step is to communicate with the client in order to plan the overall desired look and function of the web site. This may be accomplished using a creative brief. Once the design concept has been approved, the next step is to create a style guide. This is something that we provide as part of all of our web design packages because it is so important to the overall process.
The style guide is created before any coding has begun. This guide is an integral resource for the programmers as well as the clients. First, the programmers use the style guide while they create the coding in order to ensure that the layout is consistent from page to page. Even if a different programmer works on a different area of the site, because the team has a strong style guide, the entire project will still be cohesive, sensible, and coherent.
We also include these style guides for print projects. Whether the print project is one page, or an entire catalog, it is still crucial to have a plan in place. For print projects, the style guide includes information about typography, color, and best practices.
The style guide remains significant even after the project is completed. If requested, we provide a guide in PDF format so it can be shared within your organization. Within this style guide, the client will find simple instructions regarding how to make edits in the future without effecting the unity and consistency of the web site. For example, if you needed to update contact or product information, you could easily do so without having to hire a professional programmer. Thanks to the help of the style guide we provided, you can quickly make these changes while keeping your design looking flawless.
Posted by Peter Otte on June 11, 2013
When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in 7 years.
Let’s face it: as great as WordPress is for building websites, its built-in search tools remind me of how I once felt about my Dad: clueless. I often find myself resorting to Google or Bing searches to find the page I’m looking for rather than using the built-in search engine.
Posted by Peter Otte on June 6, 2013
NEW: Check out our new web site package for community banks! Click here.
At POP, we understand that marketing is certainly not a one-size-fits-all industry. In order to have your ad campaign see the best results possible, you have to work with a marketing agency that is willing to take the time to get to know your special niche in the industry. This idea is especially important when discussing marketing strategies for community banks and credit unions.
Community banks and credit unions require much different marketing approaches than say a global clothing retailer. Their audiences and goals are much different. Community banks and credit unions are essentially small community businesses, and therefore need a marketing campaign that will help them attract local and regional business. In order to increase traffic to their websites, and get more customers through the doors, these organizations need the help of an agency that is willing to investigate their local markets.
Posted by Peter Otte on May 29, 2013
Logo design used to be a well-paid, honorable, even memorable profession. But these days, for about the price of a 16GB memory upgrade, you can get a logo designed for your business. Logos have not become a commodity, because they still play an essential role in any branding campaign. But logo design fees have fallen to commodity pricing. This is good news for businesses, as some designers are willing to charge less than $200 for a “winning” logo. Design contests are largely to blame for the collapse.
The logo design business seems more and more like American Idol, but instead of a platinum record deal the winner walks away with a little grocery money. Expectations are high, but budgets have become absurdly low. Web-based logo-design contests, such as Logo Arena and designcontest.com, invite determined designers early in their design careers to compete in open contests with no guarantee for compensation.
Posted by Peter Otte on May 21, 2013
The short answer is yes, a little. If you think back to ten years ago, you will remember that web sites had interesting animations and other functions that made the pages more fun, useful, and exciting. So, what has happened to make web sites so lackluster and a bit stale?
Posted by Peter Otte on February 21, 2013
When the search engine and marketing goliath, Google, announced the launch of a social media platform in 2011, people were understandably excited. The hype surrounding Google+ was monumental, and millions of people signed up within the first month. The downside was that many of those people created accounts and never returned. Numerous businesses have discredited Google+ because not very many people are using it, but maybe it is time to give this other social media company another look.
Posted by Peter Otte on February 14, 2013
Many businesses are wondering if it makes sense to advertise on Yelp. Yelp is a very unique site that combines reviews with social networking. It has become progressively important for consumers to be able to read and share real opinions about businesses, and Yelp enables them to do just that. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, over 500,000 businesses have claimed their pages on Yelp, but only approximately 19,000 have opted to pay for advertising on the site. That being said, a lot of big-name advertisers such as American Apparel have opted to give it a try and seem to be sticking with the program.
Posted by Peter Otte on February 5, 2013
I’m watching the video game industry slowly deflate before my very eyes. Publishers are scaling back; developers are closing doors. While Rovio and Chillingo are certainly doing well, many talented and experienced developers (such as the developer of one of my favorite console games, Starhawk) are shuttering or tiptoeing along the precipice of complete failure.
Posted by Peter Otte on January 29, 2013
This is yet another entry into the POP profile series. While this edition does highlight a famous icon, the individuals profiled will not always be well known. The primary purpose of this series is to profile figures that I believe devoted their lives to creating something special and worthwhile.
This edition will introduce you to Coco Chanel (1883-1971).
Coco Chanel’s life story is the ultimate example of making something beautiful out of very little. Originally born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in the summer of 1883, Coco Chanel’s early life in France was certainly not the dazzling experience we associate with fashion icons.