Tag: design

screenshot of document filled with mark-ups and track changes
AccountabilityBooksGoalsPlanning

Track Changes – capturing the fine-tuning of creation

My book is just 1/2 way there. I write about habits, goals, planning and the like …and I missed my own August 2014 deadline. It wasn’t for lack of trying or regular writing. The ideas just needed to get clearer, the “killing the darlings” process is mentally tiring, and overcoming the lizard brain (quoting Seth Godin – “the part of you that controls you, makes you afraid, and pushes you because it says you’re a failure”) was surprisingly difficult. After all, who would want to read what I write?

As a non-writer person (lots of ideas and stories, but not great at explaining them), this is quite the process!screenshot of document filled with mark-ups and track changes

I’m worried about deleting all of these thoughts and ideas. What if I leave out something that was the main point? What if the life changing phrase is mistakenly deleted?

This is where the beauty of “tracking changes” comes in to play. I can save the tracked changes daily and start the next day with a new draft called “accepted changes.” Sure, I’ve now got 35 files stacking up in the My Documents folder, but it is a relief to track this mental and physical process of re-arranging, refining, and refreshing the content. 

Aren’t we lucky that we can change? And, that we can track it? The use of apps to track calories, bike riding, running, and debt reduction is a major signal to the power of tracking the changes we make in our lives. We get to see where we were, where we are going and get excited about where we may end up. It’s about growth, adventure, and new horizons while capturing the junky-ness of the journey.

Also helpful, is a morgue file of sorts – a document that I can copy/paste my unused quotes and notes just in case I need them later or …for another book. If anything, it provides mental relief to my non-writer soul. The thought is preserved.

There are quite a few writing gurus out there that have a lot to share about the writing process – what tools to use, what process to go through, and how to become a millionaire eBook creator. I’ll learn what I can from them more in due time.

For now, I’ve got to write, to change, to modify and to morph. And, I’m going to track it!

Screenshot of the current Nudge Village site template
Nudge Blog

4 Tips to overcome template mania

How many times have we changed our site template?

Screenshot of the current Nudge Village site template

Nudge Village – December 2012 theme – how long will it last?

I’ve tried Posterous, Blogger, Squarespace, WordPress, Squarespace, WordPress, Squarespace.

It may even get changed before you have a chance to see the template in the screenshot above!

Sigh.

After spending hours and hours and hours this week, I finally have a template that I think I can live with for a while and perhaps even grow with over time.

Want some of my lessons learned?

Tip #1 – Stick to your requirements!

There are so many awesome designs out there. It is easy to get caught up in the different options available. But, just like buying a house or a car, it is important to keep a list of the functionality you know you need next to you while you search. Otherwise it is easy to leave out something that you at first thought was highly important. The mind can’t handle too much information at once. So, don’t make it memorize. (Note: when I bought my condo, it was late at night. I forgot to check to see if it had a deck. It doesn’t. Big miss.)

No need for anything fancy. Just write your requirements down.

Create a checklist.

I even put mine on my desktop sticky note.

photo of a list of requirements

Nudge Village Requirements List on computer sticky notes

Tip #2 – Experiment with content, categories, and tags

Sometimes you can’t see the full capabilities that a template has available because you are testing with no content. If possible, import some content into a test account and start previewing templates. I’ve discarded many a template only to come back and test it with content and happily found out  that the template did have the functionality that I needed.

Note – some of the newer templates available for free are starting to have the “less is more” or “white space” approach to design. That is ok, but be sure you check out widget/gadget options in templates to make sure that they are enabled for those particular templates. It may be too simplified for what you are trying to accomplish.

Tip #3 – WordPress is popular – which one are you using?

WordPress is really popular. Make sure that you know the difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com. WordPress.com is completely online and allows you to use FREE templates or purchased templates without downloading the site to your own computer. WordPress.org allows you to download a WordPress site to your computer and there are a lot of companies that build templates for this option. However, you’ve gotta know some stuff to attempt this option. Or, you need to get someone to take care of your web presence for you.

I purchased Elegant Themes (awesome site by the way) last year only to find out that it supported the wordpress.org site and I have wordpress.com

Tip #4 – Try a few FREE options before you buy

You may be anxious to have the most awesome site out there, but design can be a bit finicky. Oh, and so can you! Most templates cost substantially over $20. So, why not spend some time leveraging free templates before you break out the pocket book.

It’s easy to switch out free templates as much as you want, but what if you fall out of love with your current purchased template after a month?

Best to use a few free options until you are sure what kind of look and feel and functionality you really need.

Good luck! Let’s see how long our new free template from WordPress lasts!

Screenshot of the Sanity Health Challenge site
HealthWeb Design

Site Upgrades – check out Heidi’s new look

We love when villagers continue to change, upgrade, revise and improve their sites!

When I was out on Twitter tonight, someone I’m connected to tweeted about the new look of Heidi’s site and so I took a look.

Wow! Constant improvement. Simple. Straightforward. Elegant Design. White space.

Here’s a screenshot for your viewing pleasure.

 

Why don’t you go take a look?

http://www.sanityhealthchallenge.com/#!STARTING LINE/mainPage

 

Screenshot of the Sanity Health Challenge site

Sanity Health Challenge by Heidi Totten

Design

Illustrator – check out Kim’s latest work

Wow! That’s all I can say.

We highlighted Kim’s work before, but these illustrations are new!

She’s working on a new portfolio and we wanted to share some of them here. So beautiful!

Wish her luck as she takes her work and works toward getting it published!

Girl with pig

Girl with pig

Aren’t these truly beautiful?

Girl crying with pig

Girl crying with pig

Illustration of kids playing on the back of a truck

Summer on the truck

Graphic of Bugagoo Halloween stuff
ArtCraftsDesign

Villagers Paula and Michelle – Creative Craft Site – Bugaboo Corner

Paula and Michelle   Picture of the Bugaboo sisters

Website: http://www.bugaboocorner.blogspot.com/

Etsy Store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Bugaboocrafts?ref=em

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/Bugaboocorner/

We’re excited to highlight two sisters who have come together to create a site that offers creative tips for their readers. Whether it is for a holiday, the kids going back to school, organizing the home or just celebrating life moments, they’ve found a way to infuse their creative talents and ideas into actual products.

Great creativity. Constant posting of new ideas. Focus on a particular target audience. Selling through an Etsy shop. Using Pinterest to get their ideas spreading. And, even a book club for those with the same interests as Paula and Michelle.

All creative ways to spread their message and hear back from their readers using some of the most popular ways to share crafty ideas in the year 2011!

Can’t wait until they start using YouTube to show us how to make these things in a video format! Hint! Hint!

Check out how they change their site banner to match the Halloween season! Smart move considering Halloween is one of the most popular holidays for purchasers in the last few years.

Graphic of Bugagoo Halloween stuff

Welcome to Nudge Village Paula and Michelle!

Book cover of the In Pursuit of Elegance book
BooksDesignNudge Blog

Elegance – may be something missing

Book cover of the In Pursuit of Elegance book

I’m just halfway through this book and am so excited about it that I have to post this right now!

This is a must for anyone that wants to convey a message, catch people off guard, make something truly remarkable – all of us, right?

He talks at length (but in an engaging way) about what he conveys in the tagline – “why the best ideas have something missing.” There is something about minimizing, removing, and simplifying that sometimes brings the most amazing results. Unexpected results. He calls this elegance.

As an example, he shares the Laweiplein experiment. Dratchen, a Dutch city, has a junction/busy intersection referred to as Laweiplein. Hans Monderman, a Dutch traffic investigator turned engineeer, designed this intersection. Basically, he took away all the signs, stoplights and sidewalks.

What…..

Yep, took them all away. And, in taking them away created what Matthew May (the author) states “great safety in danger.”

The awareness of the drivers went up. The awareness of the walkers went up. The awareness of the bikers went up.

Did anything go down?

Yes. Accidents!

There was something about having less, that forced drivers, walkers, and bikers to be more aware. They couldn’t rely on all the usual suspects (signs, lights and lines on the road). They had to rely on their own mind and judgement. They had to act smart and use their brain!

He shares another example where participants in a study were given a new camera ad in three forms:

  • Picture with no words
  • Picture with a few key pieces of info
  • Picture with lots of detailed information

What did people respond to best? The middle option – the one with just enough information. Many people call this the “goldilocks effect.” Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

Do I dare share one more example?

Did you watch the last episode of The Sopranos? I didn’t, but apparently it caught everyone off guard. The screen went blank at the end of the hour and everyone assumed it was a temporary blackout or other issue. It wasn’t. It was just an unexpected ending. At first people were mad, but then they started talking about it, trying to find the meaning and starting online discussions about all the implications.

What does this mean for you – a producer of ideas, products and services?

The psychology of elegance is an interesting thing. You must appeal to people. You must get them to select you over someone else, or in addition to another product. You must stimulate their interest.

So, here are three points made by Soman and Menon (researchers that performed the picture test above):

  1. Arouse curiosity by demonstrating a moderate gap in the observer’s knowledge.
  2. Provide just enough information to make them want to resolve their curiosity.
  3. Give them time to try to resolve their curiosity on their own.

This book goes into all kinds of topics related to elegance, psychology, marketing, engineering, painting, fractals, etc. Like I’m not even done with the book yet and so I’m sure that there are far more topics.

My summary isn’t elegant, but I’m hoping that I’ve accomplished #1 and #2 above and that you’ll go read the rest of the book – or at least go off and read a better review. (-:

Follow-Up

Just finished the book! The four main principles are:

  • Symetry
  • Seduction
  • Subtraction
  • Sustainability

Check out the book to learn the details!