Issue Two: From the Depths
April 17th, 2009 | Newsletter
April 2009, Issue Two
Twitter has been growing hugely in popularity this year. Even since the last issue of this newsletter thousands have joined up – and not just savvy nerds from San Fran.
Early March Digg.com (a social news site) had a frontpage story on 10 features that could improve Twitter. After reading this I made a comment about an idea I had: Time Shifting Prime-Time Tweets. Soon I was approached by Six Revisions founder Jacob Gube about writing in depth about my idea for a follow-up article.
Sixrevisions.com is a very popular site for web designers and developers, so naturally I was amazed! After getting my contribution, Gube read my blogs at arleym.com and debutcreative.com and asked me to write more often on any topic! It is very flattering to be offered money for writing about a subject I am so passionate about, but what really inspires me is that Six Revisions sees about 500,000 visitors a month.
Ok, so I’m not famous yet, but my Prime-Time article is live http://bit.ly/xFLy8
Faster, Smarter, Radder.
How working from home has made me better
Ever since college I’ve been trying to find the best and fastest ways to work; be it software, work flow or even simple key shorts. I never would have guessed that working from home would be the most epic ‘Work Smart’ trick of all.
I love working from home: I work less time, I work less hard – yet I get more done, I get it done faster and I make more money. I don’t know how it works!
The phenomenon is growing. Readers Digest recently claimed that the Canadian work-force is working from home in greater numbers every year, sometimes only making the commute for periodic meetings.
Through industry publications like zines, blogs and podcasts I’ve been finding out that this is especially true of the web industry. The magazine .net (issue 182) had an interview with Jason Fried; founder of 37signals.com. He spoke about his team work flow: “We don’t see each other that often. This isn’t what people expect when they think about collaboration. We’ve found that by physically staying apart we encourage less interruption.”
“Interruptions are what suck most people’s time away. When you’re in an office, it’s easy to call someone over for a meeting, or to come and look at something… You can’t really be creative in that sort of environment.”
He goes on to illustrate how the majority of what we interrupt people for can easily wait an hour or two. By using passive communication like email or IM I can see how I am not only less distracted, but less of a distraction as well!
I love working from home. Ironically it makes me a better team player. You might say I’m having my cake and eating it too.
Are you using…
I’ve already used several in this newsletter. These services reduce huge URLs like http://freelancefolder.com/bad-clients-and-how-to-avoid-them into http://bit.ly/orUHz This is a huge advantage in print and we services that limit your characters. Several are highly used, and their worth is being recognized. Recently http://bit.ly sold for $8M!
I’m obviously a huge Google fanboy. Docs is one of the great tools that come free with a Google account. It not only allows me to store important files on their server (accessible anywhere with internet) but it also allows users to collaborate on documents. A great app for offices to stay up to date with sharing procedures and account information that change often. Centralize! docs.google.com
Really Simple Syndication allows people to read / share the content of sites without going to the website. Ever find you don’t have time to visit all the websites you want to read? With an RSS reader you can gather all the new content without the visit. Simply copy the RSS URL (usually linked to this icon)
The Exciting World of Web Accessibility
Websites are made with good code or not-so-good code. Bad web code usually comes out of a necessity to meet a deadline or laziness. Good code takes a lot more time and care, and you might not be able to see a difference – so is it worth it?
Web Accessibility gets its name for making the web more accessible to users with disabilities. It’s so easy for us to take for granted what visually impaired or colour blind users must face every day.
For instance some users with visual impairments use screen readers that convert text to speech. Some users might turn off images and surpress colours to improve legibility. Some users change text sizes…So what are they seeing on your site?
Some code mark-up will not allow text to be resized. Media like Images containing text (in some site navigations), Flash and embedded Video are impossible to be understood by these readers.
There is always a work around, but it all takes time. Code can also be optimized for better printing, for use with slow connections, and the ever increasing use of mobile devices with smaller screens.
It might be time consuming, but accessbility is the difference between your site being useful or aweful – and not only to human users; search engines will rank your site based on what they read.
If your site is inaccessible; then it can’t be read by search engines; then it won’t be ranked, then it won’t be found. Invest the time.
Google is, for all intents, a blind user. A billionaire blind user with tens of millions of friends, all of whom hang on his every word.
-Karsten M. Self
Tim Ferriss (author of the 4-Hour Workweek) and Kevin Rose (digg.com, Top-10 most influential internet personalities) discuss the process of naming products / sites and investing in budding websites (30min) http://vimeo.com/3934635
(in less than 5 min): The Technology/Entertainment/Design conference is about spreading ideas. TED Talks are a great source of inspiration (well, about half of the ones I have heard). Richard St. John talks about “Secrets of success in 8 words, 3 minutes” http://tr.im/i9CM
In the next swell issue of the Debut Creative Newsletter…
(quite possibly at any rate)
- Content Management Systems: Not just for Nerds
- The gory truth about browsers (and IE6)
- And more fun links than you can shake a stick at!