Field Notes Blog
News and thoughts on UI/UX, web design, and more.
My small web design & development business has recently shifted focus completely and I’m super excited about what this means for my clients, my business and the future. When I began working for myself in 2003 my job was to create great websites and be available (often seven days a week) for edits and updates. Those changes were emailed to me by clients, I then fired up trusty Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Flash and got the updates done as quickly as possible. About 70% of what I provided was ongoing service. It was a challenge to respond to requests as quickly as expected – especially when a lot of requests came in simultaneously – and getting away on vacation was really tough. I did teach many people how to use Flash and Dreamweaver but for most folks, the learning curve on those apps was just too steep. In the same way that we don’t need to know how a car works in order to drive one, I’ve always felt that one shouldn’t have to know xhtml & css to be able to maintain a website. Finally, with a new breed of user-editable website platforms I’m seeing this come to pass and the old 70% service model is (wonderfully!) shifting.
Thanks to the proliferation of blogs, Facebook and photo editing software, users are much more web savvy now and my job has become more about connecting these users to the cool new user-editable platforms and tools available. When I get a new client now our conversation centers around what THEY want to do with the site, not just what the site will do for them. For example, will adding a Google scheduling calendar make it easier to book appointments for the over-burdened receptionist? Cool, let’s do it! Will sending contact form submissions via text message be best for a contractor who’s in the field all day, no problem. It’s great fun thinking about how the goodies I find in my adventures across the web can best be used, it’s like having a box of shiny tools that do amazing things – and I get new ones all the time!
In addition to what I now offer as a reseller (Dashboard) I’ve been researching and working with a whole new class of platforms which are cloud-hosted and start from function-centric approach. Dashboard is still my favorite for ease-of-use but SquareSpace, Jimdo, CarbonMade, Tumblr and many others offer their own unique pros and cons. With each new platform, I learn more, get excited all over again, and find my mind racing with the possibilities for what my clients can use them for. In the next few months I’m working on a new site for Pixel Lava with lots of demos and case studies, I can barely wait to work on it each afternoon.
It’s an exciting time to be a geek!
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