January 9, 2014

Are Sticky and Sliding Website Elements Awesome or Epic?

Sticky-support

I’ll just come right out and say it – I LOVE sticky and sliding website elements.

By that I mean elements like nav bars or other call outs that “stick” to a point on your browser and allow the content of the website to scroll behind it. If used with a bit of restraint, they can keep the most important website elements at the tips of your visitors fingers, providing an intuitive, seamless user experience.

November 20, 2013

How to Make Money on Pinterest the Correct & Easy Way

make-money-on-pinterest-icon

I just saw an interesting email in my inbox from Pinterest this morning letting me know that some items I’ve pinned have dropped in price.  They’ve been rolling out this feature slowly since August, but this is the first I’ve seen it personally.  This sort of feature makes Pinterest a must-include social media outlet for eCommerce sites.  It’s a brilliant innovation that will help businesses make money on Pinterest, as well as help customers get a better deal on the stuff they want.

October 1, 2013

Failing with Grace: The Illinois Health Insurance Exchange Website

Let’s face it – errors happen. With the tidal wave of interest in the new Health Insurance Exchange website, there were bound to be access issues today. The opening of the online exchanges is to wonky political bloggers what Justin Beiber tickets going on sale is to tweenaged girls – an excuse to sit at your computer for hours on end hitting the refresh button, hoping to get in queue before Tiffany gets those front row balcony seats. Oh yeah, and then there are the people who actually need health insurance.

I’m actually pleasantly surprised at the care taken around the user experience on the error pages currently showing at Healthcare.gov.

When I first arrived at the main site on my way to the Illinois-specific information, I found very clear instructions around the fact that I was in queue:

The Illinois Health Insurance Exchange Website

May 6, 2013

“Blog Twin Powers Activate!” Craftzine + Pinterest

My favorite blog by far is Make Magazine’s Craftzine blog.  It’s the only blog I’m signed up to get a daily recap delivered by email.  There’s about 10 or so posts each day with photos of inspiring crafty projects.  It’s about 60/40 other people’s crafts and how-to instructions.  The nice thing about getting it by email is that the images come through and I’m able to scan the photos quickly.  Anything that looks like a fun project I might want to try myself some day I’ll click on the link and then pin the project to one of my Pinterest boards:  “I Could Make That“, “For the House“, “Kids Crafts” for projects I could do with Olive, or (my favorite board) inspiration for the decor of my future “Craft Studio“.

April 23, 2013

Building Apps For Your Business: iPhone or Android?

 

Building Apps For Your Business: iPhone or Android Rock'em Robots

It doesn’t have to be a battle anymore.

 

Are you thinking about building an app for your business? Typically the first choice you’d have to make is deciding on what platform will you build it. Apple? Android? Windows? Blackberry? (LOL. Ok, no one would want to build a Blackberry app.)

We are entering a brave new world friends!  In recent months, a whole new development model has entered the market. Cross-platform, hybrid mobile development systems like Icenium and PhoneGap Build make it possible to build an app using one set of code and publishing it to multiple app stores!

March 5, 2013

Need a Clever Networking Exit Line?

business-networking-exit-line

Networking events are awkward.  Let’s just get that out there, they are.  Not even the most effervescent individual avoids a bit of dread walking into one, but in the service industry, they are a necessary evil and if you want to work your way up the corporate ladder, it’s a skill that needs to be developed.  Here are 3 “tricks” I’ve learned that help me make the most of these events.

  1. We all know we should ask the other person questions about themselves, but it’s hard to know where to start with a stranger.  My favorite all purpose networking ice breaker: “So what projects are you working on?”  So generic that it applies to just about anyone from any industry, even those you know nothing about. Even works at parent networking events or cocktail parties!
  2. It’s important to have a graceful exit line, and that often takes a bit of preparation.  I like to carry a nearly empty glass with me and when I’m feeling the need to exit a conversation, I simply take the last drink and excuse myself for a refill.
  3. Be inclusive.  If someone walks up to your group, make a point to use eye contact, smiles and body language to make them feel included as soon as you notice them.  It’s awkward as all get out to join a conversation in progress.  Showing yourself to be a gracious conversation host makes you look good, ingratiates the new person to you and gets one more person into the conversation which gives it a better chance of going from awkward ice breakers to hitting a subject of interest for everyone involved.  It also earns you good conversation karma which you’ll need next time you try to saddle up to a conversation in progress.

 

As in all thing, practice makes perfect.  Even for those who have a knack for these things, networking is a learned skill that takes polishing.  If you’re unsure about your own skills, start with some low stakes events like a Meet Up for people in your industry or an educational event with networking before or after it.