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Posts tagged “Web design

Honesty and Integrity

Have the courage to say No. Have the courage to face the Truth. Do the right thing because it is right.
~ W. Clement Stone

Honesty and Integrity should play a part in your personal and career goals.  It’s not the focus of many who are trying to get ahead these days, but for those with moral and religious backgrounds or beliefs, it’s something they think about regularly and hold in high regard.

This blog topic coincides with one of my previous posts “Compassion” that addresses the importance of incorporating moral standards into business practices.  Honesty and integrity are not something you see in very many company mission statements or business plans, but they should be.  If I were to run one of the most successful web companies in the world, I wouldn’t feel truly successful unless I had built that business and grown it on a foundation of honesty and integrity.

When I think about many of the Oklahoma based businesses that have been around for generations, I know that honesty and integrity are something they strive for.  Most customers aren’t going to return or refer their friends and family to a business that doesn’t make those things a priority. Without repeat customers and client referrals, most businesses won’t survive.  If you plan on starting your own business one day, hopefully you’ll incorporate these standards into your business practices.

An article “Examples of Integrity” by Sherrie Scott of Demand Media focuses on four main areas that both companies and employees can use to measure their levels of integrity in the workplace. They are:

  • The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Honesty: Be honest with your customers, co-workers, boss, contractors, etc.
  • Confidentiality: Respect the private information of companies and customers

       (in web design/development this includes making sure security measures are in place when sensitive information is handled on a website)

  • Lead by Example: Set the example of how you want those around you to behave

If you plan on working for another web company, remember that honesty and integrity are something you should make a priority.  You can have the best resume, portfolio and skill set and those things will probably get you the job you want, but if you lack honesty and integrity, you won’t keep that job for long..


Compassion

During this Christmas season we are reminded of the importance of showing compassion for others.  I have heard stories of the person in the Starbucks drive-thru paying for the order of the person in line behind them.  I’ve heard about anonymous people paying off Christmas presents that families had in layaway at department stores and I’ve seen my own family doing things to show compassion for others.  All of these acts of compassion had an affect not just on those who were directly involved, but on everyone that heard of the kindness shown by one person to another.

As a mother, I want to instill in my own children the importance of thinking of others and showing compassion.  The best way to teach them is by example.  As a child, our family would go out the week or two before Christmas and cut mistletoe down from the trees here in Oklahoma.  We would take the mistletoe home and separate it into smaller bags and then go door-to-door in our neighborhood, selling it for $1.00/bag.  After we sold all of the mistletoe, we would bring the money home to see how much we collected and then take it to the Jesus House in Oklahoma City and donate all of it to help families who were less fortunate.  As a child, it’s hard to understand that some children don’t have what you have. I remember walking through the Jesus House and seeing children who looked like they hadn’t taken a bath in a while and their clothes were worn or too small.  It left an impression on me that I still vividly remember as an adult and it made me realize how blessed I was to have a roof over my head, clothes to wear, food to eat.. etc.  Many families are having a difficult time financially this Christmas, but even so, we all have so much more to be thankful for than we probably realize and need to have compassion for those who are struggling.

Compassion is something you should have at all times and in all places.  It’s not just something you show for your family and friends, or to random people you come in contact with.  It’s also very important to show compassion for those you work with.  Your boss, your coworkers, your customers…  I’ve heard the phrase (and even said it myself) “business is business”, but I absolutely believe you can run a successful business and still show compassion for those around you.

I’m sure most people have heard the verse “Give and you shall receive.” Have you ever given something to someone and then realized how happy it made you to do something nice for someone else?  Showing compassion for others is a blessing to you as well, but not just in the feeling you get from helping someone.  In business, if you show compassion to those you work with, you will gain the respect of your coworkers.  If you show compassion for your customers, they will remember you and probably refer a friend or associate to you.  Showing compassion will also help you stand out among your competitors – customers and clients tend to want a company who is sincere in their efforts to help them. Compassion is not a substitute for good business practices and a quality product or skill, but it compliments those aspects of your business and will make you stand out above your competitors and give you the peace of mind, knowing you’re doing what’s right and setting a good example for others to follow.

Arthur H. Stainback once said “The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. Anyone can criticize. It takes a true believer to be compassionate. No greater burden can be borne by an individual than to know no one cares or understands.”  Remember to be compassionate for others in all aspects of your life – you never know, you may be the one who depends on the compassion of others some day..


Playing around with HTML5 & CSS3

I LOVE all the new features in HTML5 and CSS3! I created a page using some of the features that are easy to implement now and still allow a website to function in various browsers. (with a few vendor prefixes and IE workarounds)
**I’ve included links to the website at the end of this article.

There are many websites that offer information on browser compatibility for HTML5 and CSS3 so you can begin experimenting with both and have an idea about what features are best to try now and which have little or no support.

A few sites I recommend:

CSS3 Checklist
A browser support checklist providing an overview of the different browsers and their compatibility with CSS3 features.
html5Test.com
Determines what browser you’re using and ‘scores’ it based on how many HTML5 features are supported. It gives you a breakdown of each feature and your browser’s level of support. It has a tab for viewing how other browsers rank as well.
CanIUse.com
Covers both HTML5 and CSS3 and provides a customizable filter to target compatibility info on specific features in specific browsers – you can even specify previous/current/future versions of each browser!


HTML5

I’m excited to experiment with the new features offered in the current HTML5 spec. Especially those related to forms and adding functionality without the need for additional lines of JavaScript. Once implemented with more cross-browser compatibility – you can use these features to make your forms more user-friendly! I did discover that the incredibly simple DOCTYPE declaration for HTML5 didn’t affect my site’s functionality in Firefox, but when I replaced XHTML elements with some of the new HTML5 elements (i.e. header, section, article, footer) I started seeing some crazy things in the browser because I was in version 3.6 – it is supported in Firefox’s recently released 4.0 version.
*While it’s very important to learn how to use these new features – it’s equally important to remember that most of them are still in the experimental stage and you should be cautious about using them on client sites until there is more cross-browser support.


CSS3

So what about CSS3? My favorite features of CSS3 are the ability to use web fonts, gradients and those wonderful rounded corners you get with border-radius. Yay for CSS3!! I also added drop-shadows and played around with the opacity settings on some of my images.

*Something else I discovered along the way!:  You can change the opacity of images embedded within the HTML document with the CSS3 “opacity” property but if you insert an image in your CSS file with the “background-image” property and then try to change its opacity, you will end up changing the opacity of the entire section within which the image was inserted.

A couple of ways around this:

You can create a psuedo-element within the HTML document and then reference it in CSS to insert the background-image. This will allow you to apply opacity to the image, but then provides some positioning challenges within the page.
(not semantically correct, but an option)

Another option is using relative and absolute positioning within CSS to create pseudo-parent/child elements that prevent the entire element from applying the opacity setting. See: ImpressiveWebs.com for more info on this workaround. (thanks @wddatft)


While HTML5 still lacks basic compatibility – CSS3 is fairly easy to implement into your sites now, if you use the new features sparingly and as an enhancement, rather than an integral part of your design. I can see myself using the CSS3 features I mentioned earlier in a lot of my future projects and look forward to playing around with the other features I haven’t used yet.

Here are a few websites I found helpful on HTML5 & CSS3:

CSS3Please.com
A generator where you can see real-time application of CSS3 features.

FontSquirrel.com
Love their @font-face kits!

5StepstoHTML5.com
An overview of HTML5 in a site created with HTML5 & CSS3!


**My Assignment: Create a one-page website using HTML5 & CSS3 – Theme: Seasons


Link to ‘Seasons’ Website:

For browsers that support new HTML5 elements Click here
For browsers that don’t Click here
For Internet Explorer users Click here 😛


Respect in Web Design

There is new talent joining the world of web design and development every day, so how do you stand out from the crowd and keep clients coming back to you vs. someone else?

RESPECT!

You gain respect with both clients and others in your field by keeping on top of the latest technology and standards and producing work that you can stand behind.  But – it’s not all about gaining respect by impressing others with tech talk and fancy websites… It’s also about showing respect for others.  You need to establish yourself as the expert in the field, but not at the expense of discounting what your client or a colleague has to offer.  Not respecting the experience and input of a fellow designer can prevent you from learning invaluable information or tools of the trade that might help you land that next big project.  Not respecting the opinions, desires or input from a client can cost you lots of money in lost contracts!

There’s another aspect to the topic of respect that deserves mentioning:

As web designers and developers, we represent our field through our interactions with others, our portfolios, blog posts, etc.  Always be mindful of whether or not your actions will gain respect for the field or hurt it’s reputation.  Individuals and companies are always looking for ways to save money and many think one option for doing so is creating their own websites, or finding someone who will do it for a nominal fee.  I’m a member of a local and state photography organization that emphasizes the importance of gaining respect for your knowledge and skills and showing clients why investing in your talents is a smart choice.  By believing in what you do and taking pride in your work, you gain the respect of your existing and potential clients and add worth to your product.  If every web designer and developer applied this to their work imagine the effect it would have on our industry!

More on this topic: You Are Not a Robot by Jonathan Kahn is a great article from A List Apart about the perception many have of web designers and how we can improve respect for our field.