Posts Tagged:Giving

rfp-robotRFP ROBOT: Website Request for Proposal Generator

The time has come for a new website (or website redesign), which means you need to write a website request for proposal or web RFP. A Google search produces a few examples, but they vary wildly and don’t seem to speak really to your goals for developing or redesigning a new website. You need to write a website RFP that will clearly articulate your needs and generate responses from the best website designers and developers out there. But how?

Have no fear, RFP Robot is here. He will walk you through a step-by-step process to help you work through the details of your project and create a PDF formatted website design RFP that will provide the information vendors need to write an accurate bid. RFP Robot will tell you what info you should include, point out pitfalls, and give examples.


Interview or Interrogation?

Interviewing for a new job is so nerve-wracking. The adrenaline kicks in, and you are trying so hard to keep it under control. Trying to deliver the polished answers you prepared and rehearsed over and over. Hoping that you don’t slip up, or get tongue-tied. There’s the weight of an entire future sitting on your shoulders while you try to parse the questions.Then there are the interviews where you get the feeling that the interviewer is trying to trip you up. I’ve had them in the past, but couldn’t be sure if I was imagining things. Did other people find interviews combative?As we thought about how we would approaching hiring a new support programmer, we hit the books to find out.Don’t expect to eat at lunch.Though a company like Lending Club claims that lunch is a time for candidates to take a breather and relax, don’t. Your interviewers care about whether you…

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6 Components Moodboards Must Have To Be Effective

Moodboards have been in use for many years especially in the interior design and fashion industries. It’s the first step when brainstorming ideas that’ll contribute to the overall look and feel of the final product. Most established web designers create mood boards as part of their web design process. The main benefits of using a mood board include: Streamlining the design process Reducing the time taken to design the actual website Giving the client a general idea of what to expect early Less frustration Effectively communicate concepts Making it easy to make design changes and revisions A mood board can either be physical or digital. The physical ones are more time consuming since they involve putting together paper cuttings and other physical sources for inspiration. However, they tend to have a higher impact on clients. On the other hand, digital boards are easier to create and are less physically tasking.…

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New: Know Your Company + Slack

We just built our first software integration. Here’s why…“Make it easy, make it a routine.”This is one of our core beliefs at Know Your Company. If something’s a burden, no one will do it — including you. Especially if that “something” is feedback in the workplace. Asking for and giving feedback to your team has to feel natural, easy, and be regular.Because of this, we built Know Your Company to deliver questions via email. Email is a universal tool, in many ways. Most people use it, and you typically don’t have to teach anyone how to use it. As a result, when you use Know Your Company, it doesn’t feel like you’re using a separate piece of software… It’s feels like you’re using email.But what if a company doesn’t use email? Over the past few years, we’ve noticed more of our customers moving away from email as a means of communication. They’ll tell us, “Hey,…

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CSS Animations vs Web Animations API

There is a native API for animation in JavaScript known as the Web Animations API. We’ll call it WAAPI in this post. MDN has good documentation on it, and Dan Wilson has a great article series. In this article, we’ll compare WAAPI and animations done in CSS. A note on browser support WAAPI has a comprehensive and robust polyfill, making it usable in production today, even while browser support is limited. As ever, you can check Can I Use for browser support data. However, that doesn’t provide very good info on support of all the sub features of WAAPI. Here’s a checker for that: See the Pen WAAPI Browser Support Test by Dan Wilson (@danwilson) on CodePen. To experiment with all features without a polyfill, use Firefox Nightly. The basics of WAAPI If you’ve ever used jQuery’s .animate(), the basic syntax of WAAPI should look pretty familiar.  var element = document.querySelector(‘.animate-me’);…

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What UX Designers Can Learn From IKEA

I recently moved and ended up buying a lot of IKEA furniture. While assembling the different pieces, I began to notice how IKEA devises their instructions to gently lead builders through complex tasks.  One of the customer’s first interactions with an IKEA product will be to build it, and this experience will likely shape the customer’s lasting impression of both that piece of furniture and IKEA as a brand. This is a high-stakes interaction, and there are so many places where it could go so wrong. Poorly-written instructions may very well end with the customer either throwing up their hands or throwing a hammer at the piece in frustration. IKEA understands this and carefully crafts their instructions to guard against rage-fueled furniture destruction. They are written (or drawn really) to guide a novice through the complex process of creating functional furniture out of a pile of otherwise inscrutable panels and hardware. But they don’t just instruct. They are devised to positively shape the assembly experience, hopefully…

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If you’re reading this, you probably don’t do hard work

Actual hard workDesigners, programmers, tech entrepreneurs, and investors love talking about how hard their work is.Let’s get real.Hard work is picking lettuce 8 hours a day in 90 degree heat.Hard work is being a single mother or father who has to work two minimum wage jobs back to back with nary a recuperative break all day.Hard work is heaving dirt and rock on a construction site. Or working with industrial equipment that could crush you if you make the wrong move.Rule of thumb: If it’s hard you’ll have trouble finding people who want to do it. There’s no shortage of people who want to be programmers, designers, strategists, social media consultants, entrepreneurs, investors, etc… But try finding people to work the farm. Hard work is doing the work other people don’t want to do.Coding, or designing, or writing pitch decks, or making sales calls, or preparing spreadsheets, or writing blog posts, or social media marketing, or buying…

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Tips To Create Effective ‘Coming Soon’ Landing Pages

The company website is an effective tool for grabbing the attention of potential customers. While it may seem like a daunting task, creating an effective ‘coming soon’ landing page is not all that hard. Just like any website page, it needs to have an appealing and attractive design to make your customers excited about the launch of your new website. What is a ‘Coming Soon’ Page? Before we learn some tips on how to make an effective ‘coming soon’ page, let us first have an understanding of what these pages are. As the name implies, these are placeholders that announce whether your website is launching or undergoing maintenance. They are designed to capture a visitor’s limited attention span. While creating one may take time and energy, it can also help create a sense of anticipation to your loyal and potential customers. Making them look forward to your launch date can…

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Influence — The Power of Free

A few weeks ago we walked by a comic book store and noticed it was Free Comic Book Day, an event where comic book publishers provide… What else? Free comic books. My 3 year old daughter has expressed interest in learning about comics so we thought we’d check it out.It was a great experience. Line wasn’t long. And they gave out 3 free books per person. Not a bad haul for Free.I recognize the goal here. Give people a free taste and they’ll want more down the road.Or maybe some will come for the freebies and buy something else out the door. But I didn’t see enough people buying anything as they left….Dr. Robert Cialdini is the famous author of books on influence and persuasion. One interesting chapter in his book Influence is on the power of “reciprocation”.Dr. Cialdini describes the Hare Krishnas, a religious organization that was having trouble in the 1970s raising…

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Bargain for Bugs

Comic from xkcd.comI found a bug . . .When you receive an email from a customer that starts like this, what is your first reaction?Disappointed? Are you anxious? Shocked?The support team at Highrise is often skeptical. Why?Because sometimes what you think is a bug isn’t a bug at all. It’s an expectation.We’re firm believers that the best answer is a question.Because if you expected X, and got Y — that’s not a bug. It’s an expectation. What did you expect to happen is a powerful question.For example . . . .I found a bug. When I filter by the tag Chicago and I only see four total contacts. There are several other people associated with the companies tagged Chicago so why does it only show four?Please advise on when this will be fixed.This was an email our support team received over and over again. When we began asking the question: What are you expecting to happen?We found that the customer expected to filter by…

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Trickle-down workaholism in startups

“And then I said anyone not willing to break their backs working for me was a tourist!”If you want to understand why so many startups become infected with unhealthy work habits, or outright workaholism, a good place to start your examination is in the attitudes of their venture capital investors.Consider this Twitter thread involving two famous VCs, Keith Rabois and Mark Suster:These sentiments are hardly aberrations. There’s an ingrained mythology around startups that not only celebrates burn-out efforts, but damn well requires it. It’s the logical outcome of trying to compress a lifetime’s worth of work into the abbreviated timeline of a venture fund.It’s not hard to understand why such a mythology serves the interest of money men who spread their bets wide and only succeed when unicorns emerge. Of course they’re going to desire fairytale sacrifices. There’s little to no consequence to them if the many fall by the wayside, spent…

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You're Good At Your Job

As part of my annual performance review last summer, I set one goal that wasn’t directly related to my UX practice: to build confidence at work. This goal flew under the radar — I don’t think we even discussed it in my actual review — but I knew it would be the most important thing I worked on this year. Like many people, I was suffering from a serious case of imposter syndrome, and I was suffering in silence. I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone because I thought talking about it would make people realize I actually was a huge fraud who was terrible at her job, or they’d think I was latching on to the latest trendy topic as some sort of excuse. Actual photo of me before building professional confidence. Here’s the thing about imposter syndrome: it seems like another trendy topic until you’re the one suffering…

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Snap Animation States

There are many ways to make icons for a website. Inline SVG is scalable, easy to modify with CSS, and can even be animated. If you’re interested in learning more about the merits of using inline SVG, I recommend reading Inline SVG vs Icon Fonts. With ever increasing browser support, there’s never been a better time to start working with SVGs. Snap Animation States is a JavaScript plugin built around Snap.svg to help create and extend icon libraries with scaleable, editable SVG icons. Snap Animation States makes it easy to load and animate those SVGs with a simple schema. Getting Started Lets start with a basic SVG hamburger menu. This one was made using Affinity Designer, but there are many other free (Inkscape) and paid for (Adobe Illustrator) options available for making vector images. <svg width=”100%” height=”100%” viewBox=”0 0 65 60″ style=”fill-rule:evenodd;clip-rule:evenodd;stroke-linejoin:square;stroke-miterlimit:1.5;” fill=”none” stroke=”#000″ stroke-width=”10″> <g> <path class=”hamburger-top” d=”m 5,10…

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Taking Vacation When No One is Paying You to Take Time Off

My family usually takes two “bigs” trips each year: one spent visiting family across the country and another to explore places that are new to us. This is no problem for my wife. Her employer gives her four weeks of paid vacation every year and she can bank on that when we’re planning where we want to travel and how long we want to spend there. So lucky! The problem for me, however, is that no one is paying me to take time off. It’s kind of ironic in a way because my wife has one employer who pays her to not work for a limited amount of time, but I have many employers who do not do the same for me. That’s one of the many benefits that often comes with full-time employment and something we may even expect an employer to provide. For me and others who call…

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User Facing State

Let’s talk about state. Communicating state to the user that is, not application stores state in JavaScript objects, or localStorage. We’re going to be talking about how to let our users know about state (think: whether a button is disabled or not, or if a panel is active or not), and how we can use CSS for that. We’re not going to be using inline styles, or, as much as can be helped, class selectors, for reasons that will become clear as we go. Still here? Cool. Let’s do this. All dynamic components of an application have a default user-facing state, and that state needs to be stored and updated as users interact with these components. For example, when a button is pressed, things happen (that’s what buttons are for). When these things happen, they are typically represented in a visual manner in the interface. The button’s background may change…

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6 Reasons Working Moms Make Good Workers

As of 2010, Women comprised 47 percent of the total U.S. labor force and are projected to account for 51 percent of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018. (United States Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau) And according to a Pew Research Center survey, half of U.S. homes today include a full-time working mother. While there are more working moms in the workforce than ever before, old-fashioned stigmas remain that working moms are not as productive as women without kids and/or men in general. The reality is what makes us good moms also makes us good workers. We are just as ambitious, dedicated, and motivated as our peers. The difference is when others are hanging up their hats, we are just starting our second full-time job. 1. We Are Chief Multi-Taskers Have you ever taken a client call, while holding your baby with one hand, and…

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11 ways to get feedback from your most introverted employee

I’m an introvert. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them this (I do a lot of public speaking for an introvert 😳), but I am an introvert through-and-through. When I need to recharge, I seek alone time as opposed to being around a group people.As an introvert, I also tend to avoid questions that seem overly personal or require long, drawn-out answers. Honestly, it can feel draining to divulge so much of myself and talk all the time.Early in my career, I remember how this played out at work: My boss at the time would ask me for feedback about the company… And I struggled to answer his questions candidly. As introvert, I never felt comfortable being 100% transparent with him about what I thought could be better in the company.I’m embarrassed thinking back on what was probably viewed as avoidant, disengaged behavior. It’s not that I didn’t want to be…

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The Tools You Get with Cog: The New Drupal 8 Base Theme

Cog, introduced in a previous post, was built as a toolset for satisfying the needs of enterprise clients by Acquia’s Professional Service Front-end Team. It’s used as a basic starting point for a new project and includes tools for reinforcing front-end best practices. In this blog post we will introduce you to some of the tools included in Cog. SMACSS Architecture If you are unfamiliar with SMACSS, it is a Drupal standard method for categorizing CSS rules. On initial setup of a Cog subtheme, a folder titled “sass,” will appear in your theme folder containing partials that are broken out according to SMACSS methodologies. While the initial file structure is intended to enforce SMACSS, it does not inhibit the use of other methodologies. The styles.scss file is responsible for importing all the partials and folders that the sass folder contains using globbing, allowing you to easily add new partials out…

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Copywriting Q&A: How to Deal with Multi-Revision Clients

Clients are a varied bunch. Some of them are easy, and approve your work with minimal changes. Some of them, though, change their minds constantly, change the project constantly, and make you go through round after round of revisions. Let’s talk about how to deal with that second group, shall we? Read on… Today’s question comes from Alton C., who asks, “I have a client that I’ve been working with for about a month. I’m happy to have this client, of course, but it seems like something isn’t working in our relationship. We’ll have the project nailed down, then he’ll change his mind when I’m halfway done. Or, on the last one, after I was already done. Then he’ll want to add things that weren’t even in the original request. How do I deal with that?” Let’s start out this discussion by managing expectations: It’s very rare that a client…

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