Latest Writing

Building an Integrated WordPress Plugin Suite

Building a WordPress plugin can help accomplish a variety of tasks. Building a set of them that work together can totally revamp the way you think about building websites.

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The Pulled Pork Dev Sprint

How much development work can you get done in the time it takes to make a 7 pound pork shoulder? A lot, it turns out.

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Sharp Knives, Clean Code

Finding inspiration the practitioners of other crafts, seeing how a mastery of basic techniques can set the groundwork for constant improvement.

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The Beer Bowl Web App - Part 2: Visuals

After completing the wireframe process, moving on to the visual design for the Beer Bowl web app was a pretty direct process. We’ve had such good feedback on the look and feel of the desktop version over the past several years, we knew that we wanted to extend that to the mobile implementation. I also knew that I wanted to keep the size of any associated files as small as possible, so I was going to use webkit’s CSS3 implementation wherever possible to minimize the number of images required for download.

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The Beer Bowl Web App - Part 1: Wireframes

Some of you reading this – through a variety of different channels – might be previously familiar with the work I’ve done with Beer Bowl, a group dedicated to the pursuit of finding the best beer available. Last year, Beer Bowl saw some explosive growth with the addition to it’s website of an automated way to view and add ratings for each beer by the users themselves. This led to people knowing exactly what they’ve previously rated and what’s still on their list to try. Feedback was positive across the board, but it did raise the question, "can you make a mobile app?" This year, the answer to that question is yes. This is the first in a several-part series covering the process of designing an app for Beer Bowl that allows users to view, rate, and browse ratings and standings through a browser-based app.

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The True Value of Good Design

A lot of times when the discussion turns to prices for design with clients (or the general public), there's frequently a case of "sticker shock". The design community has frequently discussed the negative impacts of things like crowd-sourcing or the cheap rates of overseas competitors, but the truth of the matter is that as designers we should be able to communicate with clients the honest reasons why we charge what we do. More than that, we should communicate the value of our designs and the process that produces them. For clients who are going to invest significant time, resources, and finances in a designer or firm, there’s reasonable trepidation that we should be working to overcome.

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Web Design vs. UI Design Positions – How They’re the Same (and yet not...)

There have been a variety of articles and blog posts in the last year from heavy-weights like Smashing Magazine or Six Revisions about the state of the web design industry and the changes facing it. The perspective in most of these articles is from highly respected industry members who have seen the changes occur at the highest levels of the web. At the other end of the spectrum, I’m examining the changes in the industry as someone searching for full-time employment. By reading dozens of job postings a week, I get a sense of what positions and skills are being advertised and I get a different perspective on the shape of the industry.

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Part 1 - Big, Glossy UX

A while back, I was waiting for a flight in an airport, killing time reading a magazine I had picked up at a newsstand. It wasn’t a particularly special magazine, the stories in it weren’t life changing or ground breaking, but as luck would have it, it was an experience that set off a chain of thoughts that led me to where I am now. That magazine had a beautiful full-color cover photograph, with vibrant colors that sucked me in (it’s probably half of why I bought that particular one). Its pages had varied layouts, with pictures and pull quotes that went with the flow of the story. The whole thing itself had texture, and each page and story varied slightly from the one before.

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