Tips

Sketchbook/Notebook methodology by Conánn FitzPatrick

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Sketchbooks and notebooks are one and the same when you are an artist. Sketches are notes and notes illustrations of moments of inspiration and enquiry.  The most important part of any system is to stay out of the way of creativity and spark that lights our fire. Pages of drawings can be free conventions unless deserving of categorization. 

Notebooks will have pages numbered before starting so as to allow for greater flexibility. This way, any page can be used day to day. 

Each page should be dated, have a heading and list attendees where applicable.

Index may be a useful addition if it doesn't waste pages. Index could be a list of projects and relative page numbers listed in a row.

Daily list

Notebook is a perfect place for daily list management and lists should be rewritten at the end of each day.  TO-DO items can be generated organically or come from another system. Daily goals, targets and to-dos should be achievable in the time available, with new items being added organically throughout the day.  

Daily sweep

Lists and notes from the day should be reviewed and reorganized into a new daily list for the next day. Items rolling over should be assessed and or transferred into another system. 

Projects

Projects can be fleshed out and ideated in a notebook but should ultimately live in a more robust system where they can be managed and assigned effectively.

Notes are blocks of text without actions and can be of any length and can end in a page number at a later time to expand on an idea. p 22

Lists start with a bullet "•". List items are assumed tasks that can be assigned or escalated to a project on another page. Events are denoted with an "o" URGENT items "[]" should be handled immediately or placed in a system/page better equipped to get it done. 

•     item one
•     item two
>    assigned - Fred
<    escalated to project p3
O   Meeting with Bobby
[]   URGENT to priority page or other system
✓  completed tasks get a tick
X   cancelled tasks get an x
-    waiting for others tasks to complete

List capture should be organic and free flowing with items being reprocessed, reconstructed or cancelled on the fly. As with a sketch it is vital that thoughts be able to flow rather than seeking perfection in either tone, structure or clarity.  

Post-its

Post-its, napkins and other scraps of paper are an inevitable and valuable part of any functioning system and should be included in the daily sweep where the can become more permanent in nature and part of the broader system. 

References

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/11/how-to-get-started-with-sketchnotes/

http://rohdesign.com/sketchnotes/

http://bulletjournal.com/

Need to write a creative brief? by Conánn FitzPatrick

Bellow are guidelines for anyone wishing to write the perfect creative brief. When engaging in a new project we want to get the ball rolling quickly, layout expectations early and agree time-scales and budgets. 

Removing ifs, buts and maybes from the process greatly increases the chances of the designer surpassing the client's expectations and the development of a lasting relationship. 

 

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Tests for common HTML elements by Conánn FitzPatrick

This is something I have played with on and off when building websites for clients. The idea is to provide a single unpublished post that can be used as style reference when writing their own posts. For the most part it is ignored and merely serves as a way for me to make sure I have covered all the bases within the CSS.

I am pretty sure much of this example was pinched from someone else but I have no idea where or when, so apologies and thanks. Please feel free to steel from here and let me know if there are elements which would can be added.

Paragraphs & boxes

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Full Width Images 670px

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor sub text ut labore et sup text magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Corrupt Fonts in Microsoft Word on OS X by Conánn FitzPatrick

For awhile now I have been suffering from a bad case of microsoftness. Everytime I launch an Office app I have been getting endless corrupt font errors, which prevent the app from opening correctly. Not surprisingly no other programs are effected it's just an office problem. I have tried switching to NeoOffice and the other contenders but Office is by far the best tool for the job.

Solution

Took a few searches and problems but I found the solution here in an article by Beth Rosengard. After reading the article I downloaded Linotype which fixed the problem right away no problems no fus and no major trauma.

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Good advice from Anil Dash by Conánn FitzPatrick

I talk to a lot of consultants, freelancers, and small businesses who do web work, and I used to be a freelancer myself, so sometimes I get asked for advice on how to price one's goods and services. I think I came up with my best suggestion today, and it involves only two simple steps:
  1. Slap the client in face.
  2. Tell the client your hourly rate.
If the person looked more shocked, horrified, offended, hurt, saddened, or wounded by the slap in the face, then you are still pricing yourself too low. Your mileage my vary, this is not to be construed as legal advice, eye-poking may be substituted for slapping in some states. Read More

Search Engine Optimization for Dummies by Conánn FitzPatrick

There is a really good SEO piece over at The Blog Herald which I found via one of my regular reads . Since switching from a flash format to a blog format for this website I have been getting more and more interested in this topic as I have seen a vast increase in the amount of Google juice I get. Rather then write my version of what others have already said I thought I would try and pool together different sources that have been of great help to me along the way.

A visit to the is very revealing when looked at in this context it is not a measure of google rank but it is a quick way to look at what top sites are doing. It becomes quickly apparent is that there is no one-way to skin this cat and the only thing that these sites have in common is they have great content. I am too new at this blogging thing to even pretend that I know anything about great content so I can't help there, but there are some things we have control over which can greatly improve our websites performance.

Understanding What Search Engines See

Google doesn't see nice styling and does not take a look images when deciding what your site is about, it sees your documents content in the context of its structure. So what gives a site its structure and how does it help your blog? Structure comes from HTML and each of the elements gives its content meaning. Use heading tags for headings, paragraph tags for paragraphs, link tags for links etc, Google understands this and uses this structure to make decisions about your content. Problems only arise when you start to do things wrong. If you use a strong tag for a heading Google presumes your know what you are doing and reads it as bold text rather then an important part of the page structure. So what are some of the important elements to keep control of?

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