Hamburgers in the Wild

Last week, a new website client (Rob Levin, president of the Bookhouse Group, a company that makes commemorative books) was on a conference call with his team, sharing our progress. Rob and his team were using different browsers, and I got a concerned email from Rob. Why couldn’t his team see the page navigation buttons?

What Rob saw:

website without hamburger




What they saw:

Website with Hamburger Icon





Rob’s computer was opened to full screen view, and his team must have been accessing the site from a tablet (or smaller screen). What none of them realized, [Read more…]

Design for Users: Research on User Experience (UX)

Website constructionI love arming myself with data about when and why to make website design decisions. I was able to pick up some new ammo while at WordCamp Asheville from Melissa Eggleston’s presentation, Website Design with UX in Mind.

Melissa says that great user experience (UX) gives a business a competitive advantage and I see evidence of that everyday.

We’ve all experienced the feeling of frustration of searching online, choosing a site and then watching it load … and load … and never get there. Or it might come up but we have no idea how to find what we’re seeking. Or the text is too light or too small to read. One of my big pet peeves is a site with so many moving parts that it should come with a Dramamine tablet.

What do we do when those things happen? We [Read more…]

Finding Your Website’s Flaws, the Right Pink Spoon, and a Very Valuable “Peek”

Pink SpoonIt’s been one month since we launched our redesigned website,, I was so glad to get it published but knew that didn’t mean we could sit on our keisters and relax. Oh no, a website owner’s work is never done. (That’s why you’re reading these posts each Wednesday!)

This past week I took a good look at our stats to see what is working and what isn’t, and here is what I learned.

Finding the Right Pink Spoon

My call to action that was at the top of the site (“Fetch a Website That’s Best in Show”) was a click to contact me for a consultation. I knew before we launched that it was not ideal to ask people to do something that personal before they knew us. But I didn’t have the time or the energy to figure out what freebie I could offer instead to tempt people into giving me their email address.

call to action 1
Original Call to Action that asked for too much too soon.

[Read more…]

New Found Compassion For People Redesigning Their Websites

dog with laptop-redesignI have never had much of a problem pulling the trigger on major decisions after an evaluation of the situation. In fact, one of my favorite sayings is,  “production rather than perfection”.

We’ve been working on our New Tricks website redesign since last fall, and I can’t believe it is still not quite ready to launch.

Here’s how the process has unfolded. We thought about the redesign for three months. Before the holidays, we set up and completed a photo-shoot so we’d have images to work while I recovered from knee surgery in January. I didn’t have time to work on the site since I was on drugs and after I got off them in two weeks,  I was back to work. Over the next few months, we did get some designs done, in between client work and organizing WordCamp.  By April we actually had three different versions of our new design, using different theme frameworks . Although obsessive, that was progress.

A month ago, we showed our test site to people at a WordPress Meetup for preliminary feedback. They gave us the  [Read more…]

How Entertaining a Seabird Relates to Your Home Page Content

entertaining seabirds and your home page contentFour years ago, when we upgraded our New Tricks website, I made some decisions that are no longer working for us.

First, I decided to have a blog style home page because it was the format most bloggers used.  And I am a blogger. But, unlike most bloggers, I also own a web design business; and despite that, I made the decision to feature my blog posts anyway.

The other decision that is coming back to bite me, is that I [Read more…]

Home Page Disasters

Ugly Baby
Image from Eric Martin

Last weekend I was invited to speak on a panel critiquing B2B marketers’ websites for a session called, Your Baby is Ugly with Eric Martin and Stacy Williams.

Since the conference was for marketing people, I was a little worried no one would volunteer their sites for review or, that if they did, we wouldn’t have much advice for them since one would hope marketers would have great home pages.  But, as the saying goes, “The shoemaker’s children has no shoes.”

This was validated, when surprisingly, we found plenty to critique. [Read more…]

Create and Display Custom Post Types with Toolset WordPress Plugin

Toolset-screenshotHave you ever wanted to add testimonials, portfolio projects, information directories, or other custom post types and display them in a specific way? You could use a post category to separate this one kind of post, but that gets messy and doesn’t easily allow for much customization.

You could write the .php to declare new custom post types and create the necessary template files to display those post types, but that’s probably more difficult than you would hope.

What’s the easy solution?
Types & Views available in the WP-Types plugin Toolset simplifies the process to create custom post types and custom views for those post types.

This tutorial explains how [Read more…]

My What Big Font You Have!

Pet Peeve Alert: Websites with Unreadable Text

My What Big Font You HaveWhy would you want to go through the trouble of writing blog posts, or telling someone about your business but make the font so small, and the text so crammed in, that no one can/will actually read it? When text is small visitors take one look, decide it is too much trouble and move on. And it only makes it worse if the text is light on a dark background.


Let me tell you. It is not just me, Oliver Reichenstein of the design firm, Information Architects, is on a mission that as a blogger, and content marketer, I can get behind. It is called 100% Easy-2-Read (#100E2R). [Read more…]

Is it Time for a Website Redo?

time for changeIt’s that time again for New Tricks to make some changes and updates to our website. It’s been a few years since I refreshed my site design, and I want to redesign my home page messaging and presentation to better reflect all of the creative services we offer at New Tricks.

Having a website built with WordPress makes update projects much easier than starting from scratch. Since the content of a WordPress site is stored in the database, we can change the layout by updating theme files, and then tweak the content while keeping what works, and changing what doesn’t.

Incremental changes are usually preferable to changing everything on your site at once. Our clients get attached to how things are, and typically hate changes. You know how whiny we can be when Facebook changes things up?

Roger Dooley, author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing advocates against ever doing a whole new website redesign in an article on Forbes. The advantage to making incremental changes is that rather than risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater by changing everything all at once; you can make and test your changes more subtly.

Although a total website overhaul is usually not the best option, there are some cases when it is absolutely necessary. [Read more…]

Don’t Succumb to Analysis Paralysis

do the work. get a biscuitI sent this message out a couple of years ago; but, It’s such an important topic that I dusted it off, added a bit to it and I’m sending it out again.

It’s easy to get caught up in the sneaky web of resistance. It disguises itself as the need for perfection, whatever that may be. I know there is a fine line between getting things right before launching something and falling into analysis paralysis, especially when it is something very public. A common side effect of this syndrome is to explore all of the options and then rethink them several times over. Around and around you go creating a sure path to never getting anything done. [Read more…]