Field Notes Blog
News and thoughts on UI/UX, web design, and more.
With the holidays upon it’s nice to step off the hamster wheel of life to say hello and weigh in on the year’s activities. How has your year been? What were your highs and lows? What are your plans, hopes and wishes for 2020? Pixel Lava certainly kept busy in 2019. It was a year of website redesigns mostly but also some fun new sites. I did a big redesign for the Huntington Beach Desalination Plant, a nonprofit called A Future Without War and I'm in the midst of one for First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego (launching in January). A few fun new sites were the personal site for playwright Patricia Loughrey, a site featuring the stunning photographs of Wayne Brabender and the history of Brabender Farm, and a site for a conservationist working to bring back beavers (I'm totally a beaver believer now) and create a protected watershed called the Superior Bio-Preserve (as in Lake Superior). I also had the chance to do some pretty cool graphic design and a couple of video projects.
As we close out 2018 I want to wish you and your family a very merry Solstice, a merry Christmas, a happy Kwanzaa and a joyous New Year. From the launch of my new Partner Program to my trip to Japan and a whole new business endeavor, 2018 has been a whirlwind. I hope that the holidays bring you peaceful joy and that you share my excitement for the coming year. From my family to yours, Happy Holidays.
The renowned science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." This month I've blended science, fiction, film lore, myth, legend and popular culture to bring you my Cabinet of Curiosities. This custom Illustration is stocked with magical objects, rare specimens, ancient artifacts, odd instruments and a sprinkling of balderdash. Over the course of October 2018 I unveiled a new item on Instagram every few days counting down to Halloween - each with a fun trivia question and weekly prizes.
Be sure to visit my Instagram feed in the app or just stop by on your computer (no instagram account needed) to see all the fun. Fly over to Instagram!
As the carefree days of summer slide into Fall it's time to turn our attention towards holiday marketing...which is enough to make anyone scream. Kidding! As always, this year I'm offering tons of goodies to help you make the most of the holiday season. Spruce up your online presence with branded seasonal website graphics or make wise use of holiday fun with a seasonal campaign. Whether you're selling a product, offering a service or seeking nonprofit donations, Now is the time to get your year-end marketing planned and implemented. I offer DIY webinars and a DIY kit as well as a range of full service options. Not sure where to begin? Check out these 5 Halloween promo ideas.
As an interactive designer I'm fascinated by how much we communicate nonverbally. From websites to social media to the humble business card, we transmit a lot of information visually. But sometimes the effectiveness of a piece has nothing to do with design, it's simply the emotional power of an image. Take for example the high resolution Earthrise image by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter showing our planet from the surface of the Moon. To me, April is a celebration of Earth and a reminder that caring for our cosmic home is nothing less than our sacred duty. Like the more famous "Blue Marble" photo from 1968, this shot instantly communicates - without words - that we are one family living together on a tiny planet. Whether you're a small business striving to use your website to boost sales or a nonprofit using social media to attract donors, powerful images reach people at an emotional level and can carry your message far and wide. If you think that's far fetched, consider the ways in which iconic imagery has shaped our cultural landscape and altered the course of history.
The face of technology, both past and present, is persistently male from Jobs to Gates to Zuckerberg but behind those leaders are millions of people who contribute critical research advances, put the ideas into production and market, sell and support tech companies and products. To celebrate International Women's Day, I did a bit of research and found a huge list of amazing women from a range of countries and cultures whose work laid the foundation for modern computing, websites and the internet itself. Here's a look at just 10 of my favorite pioneering women in technology.
Kindness, civility, compassion and peace
2017 has been the year where I've keenly felt the adage "May you live in interesting times". From the low notes of the horrid political administration and family health challenges to the high notes of getting married to my best friend and completing a big home project, 2017 has been a joyful, tumultuous year. With the holidays, I found myself yearning to spread calm, quiet, peace and compassion.
This year as, I was planning my annual digital advent calendar, I stumbled upon a new idea - kind of backwards actually- the wonderful Kindness Calendar by Helen at maketodayhappy.co.uk. Instead of getting something, this advent calendar prompts you give something every day. All of the suggestions cost nothing and are an open to interpretation. So this year, inspired by Helen, I offer my own illustrated Reverse Advent Calendar. The scene is a cold, crisp, magical evening in a snowy mountain meadow where wolves are playing, owls are hooting, foxes hunt, a bear snores in her den and every creature has a kindness idea. Please accept it as my gift and, if you feel inspired, I'd love to see any acts of kindness that you want to share by tagging them #KindnessCalendar and #Pixellava.
Download your own free, printer-friendly Reverse Advent Calendar!
I conducted sessions with people in several different states and got encouraging feedback to continue and expand to new topics. As websites get easier (and more fun) to use they get more powerful. It's never been easier to run your own site and promote yourself online.
2015 was a big year for Pixel Lava. In addition to being my tenth year in business I also jumped head first into a huge new endeavor - teaching. Here's a recap and a sneak peek at what's in store for 2016.
About the author
As the owner of Pixel Lava Interactive I've helped hundreds of small businesses and nonprofits with websites, graphic design and more. I hope you'll find this blog full of useful information.
~ Ame Stanko