Design and Development

Sign-A-Rama Redesign

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Filed under: Case Studies, Design Inspiration, Responsive Design.

We recently worked with a local Signage Shop to completely rebrand their website. We worked hard to create something that truly showcased their amazing work, experience and great customer experience.

Sign-A-Rama: Case Study

Sign-A-Rama – Carpentersville hired us to redesign their entire online presence into something that truly showcased their amazing work, experience and great customer experience.

Our goal is to establish them as a high-performing million dollar company, and their website was a huge thing holding them back from this reputation.

Check out the full Case Study to see how we built their new completely responsive website.

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WordPress Reimagined in a More User-Friendly Way

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Filed under: Wordpress.

WordPress is the most popular Content Management System to date. But is it really up to the task of managing your website? Over the last several articles we have looked at several main problems of WordPress including WYSIWYG Editors, Not enough control over document structure, and a somewhat confusing admin panel.

Wordpress Reimagined

In this article we are going to look at some ways we can improve WordPress to make it way more user-friendly for content editors and business owners.

So let’s jump right in and look at 6 ways that we can improve the editing experience of this awesome Content Management System known as WordPress.

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What does an optimal CMS user-experience look like?

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Filed under: Web Development, Wordpress.

Last week, we talked about several specific problems with WordPress.  I know I said this week we were going to look at some solutions. But in thinking about the problems mentioned, I realized that it was more important to first go over some key user experience (UX) principles before discussing specific solutions.

So this week we will look at what an optimal CMS user experience should look like. We’ll outline the groundwork needed to create a really good editing experience in WordPress, and any other CMS.

The Future of Content Management - Rachel Andrews

This article is based heavily on Rachel Andrew’s talk on “The Future of Content Management”. Her talk really opened my eyes to how much our current management systems are lacking. You can watch it here in it’s entirety.

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Rethinking WordPress as a CMS

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Filed under: Design Inspiration, Web Development, Wordpress.

According to Forbes, WordPress powers one of every 6 websites on the Internet, nearly 60 million in all, with 100,000 more popping up each day. But have you ever taken time to think about how WordPress manages content? Not only from an editing perspective but also from a design/development perspective.

This article has come about from years of experience with WordPress, talking and working with multiple Clients, and being inspired from other innovative products – like Square. One of the things that really strikes me about Square is that they are so focused on their users. They are focused on completely rethinking how payments are done in order to make them beautiful and easy to use.

Head over to Square.com and watch this video, it will give you the background needed to understand this article.

Square - Simple and Breathtaking

Let’s think about the WordPress Admin – is it focused on its users; is it easy to use; is it breathtaking? I think we’ll all agree that it could use some work in these areas.

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Design is Not Just a Veneer

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Filed under: Design Inspiration, Web Development.

The question often comes up in conversations among developers, web designers and business owners of “What is Design?”. When most developers think of design one thing comes to their mind. When an artist/designer thinks of design they often think of a completely different thing. In seeking to define this term we need to ask ourselves some important questions like “Why is it important“, “What does good design look like”, “What does it involve“?

As we seek to discover what design truly encompasses, I hope you will not only enjoy learning some new things, but will also come away with a desire and passion to refine your skills as a designer. I want you to be inspired to study this topic further, through learning from other great designers, reading great books and practice – lots of practice.

Veneer Keyboard by Lazerwood Industries

Photo credit: Lazerwood Industries – Macbook Pro with Veneer keyboard

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How Much Should I Charge to Design a Website – Part 4

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Filed under: Pricing, Web Development, What to Charge.

Just in case you were wondering this is not a guide to teach you how to “make a killing” designing websites. Nor it is even a go-to guide that will tell you if you live in Chicago, IL and you are designing this type of website charge $xx,xxx.

What to Charge for a Website

This series is about giving your Clients more value, more return-on-investment; it’s about niching down your market, providing better service, and how to become a “trusted business ally” to your Clients.

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How Much should I Charge to Design a Website? – Part 3

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Filed under: Pricing, Web Development, What to Charge.

I know a lot of you have been asking me to give you specific pricing tables and such… Well, reading Brennan Dunn’s new book “Double Your Freelancing Rate” will get you started on the right track if you are wondering how much you should be charging per hour.

What to Charge for a Website

The premise of Brennan’s book is answering this question of “What to Charge for Designing a Website?” . His goal is that by the end of the book he will dispel all fears, myths, and excuses for not charging what you are worth for your web projects.

So what should you be charging for a website? His answer – almost definitely more than you are charging right now.

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How Much should I Charge to Design a Website?

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Filed under: Pricing, Web Development.

In today’s age of template designs, PSD to HTML services, and drag-and-drop website builders many designers are struggling with what to charge for their services. It seems like the only way to survive is to bid less, lower rates, and work more hours.

What to Charge for a Website

But is that that only way? Do you really need to compete with every 15 year old high school kid, or coder from India who is charging $15/hr for their HTML skills? Just so you know, I’m not against young people doing web jobs for companies at all, or even oversees “coders” from India, it’s just that I don’t need to compete with their pricing model because we have a very different target market.

Warning: Reading this series may change the way you run your business, and has been known to cause web developers to deliver better value to their Clients, become a ninja negotiator and possibly double or triple their rates. Consider yourself warned!

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How to Design the Layout of a Website – Part 4

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Filed under: Web Development, Website Layouts.

Many times in the world of the internet, website designs and layouts are endlessly copied and reused between different websites. Some top design firm will release a new design for a successful company, and it will suddenly become the “thing to have”. We saw this in 2011 with the introduction of Parallax Scrolling.

Layout Mini-Series

Let’s stop and think for a second. Should we really be blindly copying other designers just because it’s the popular thing to do? Or should we step back and take an objective look at whether that layout style really fits and accents the purpose of our website?

In this article we will look at 2 new popular layout styles on the web and whether or not we should be using them for our projects.

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