Web design, usability, email marketing

Pinterest: beautiful loading swatches — 8/28/13

Pinterest: beautiful loading swatches

Stuck in an airport with wifi that feels like mid-90’s dial-up speeds. On the plus side, I was waiting for Pinterest to load up some entertainment, and I saw this beauty:


I tried to find a pattern for the colors, is it the board category? Who knows.

Probably the least effective email ever —

Probably the least effective email ever

This is why you test your emails before clicking send. Got this email from Vistaprint, and had images turned off. Looked pretty much as expected.


So then I turned the images on and, voila! Nothing. I even highlighted to see if there was text maybe displaying white? Nope. Just a totally useless email.


Then I thought hey, let’s click on view as a webpage. Maybe it’s just a problem in gmail? Also, nope. Awaiting the “Whoops!” email.


Petsmart: You forgot the display:block — 3/14/12

Petsmart: You forgot the display:block

Probably wouldn’t have noticed, except that I just finished a new email design where this came up in testing.

When you put images inside of tables, some email clients (gmail) will add padding unless you include the style=”display:block;” on the img tag. This pretty much ruins your entire email design.

Generational Gaps at the Workplace — 1/19/12

Generational Gaps at the Workplace

Being one of the youngest people at your workplace is interesting. Communication and learning practices that are ingrained in me and others my age can seem weird, off-putting, or even scary to those who didn’t grow up with the internet.

This is not meant to stereotype “young people” or “old people,” but hopefully to help bridge some generational gaps that I’ve noticed  from the last couple years of working:

Asynchronous v. Synchronous Communications

When I have a question, comment, or update on a work project, my default communication technique is email.  If it’s a really quick question and I know the person is online (gChat), I’ll shoot off an instant message. If I happen to run into them, or if it really involves complicated, 2-way communication, I’ll talk in person.

Until a 30something coworker pointed this out to me, I never realized that it can be seen as “rude” or “asocial”  to use asynchronous communication techniques like email, IM, txt, etc. Some members of previous generations think it’s more appropriate to call or talk face-to-face.

Some members of younger generations, myself included, view asynchronous communication as more effective. Why would I walk across the building to ask “did you get my email?” or call someone and have a 5 minute phone conversation, when I could get the same result with an email in a fraction of the time?

Both synchronous and asynchronous communications have their place, but if you are a younger person in a workplace dominated by older people, think about how your IMs and emails are being perceived. If you’re comfortable with your supervisor, talk to them about this and see if you can get on the same page about how to communicate so you’re both happy.

Learning Styles

When I want to learn something, I Google it. I can learn how to do pretty much anything after an hour of Googling. For older generations, this is not how they typically learn new skills. For them, learning involves in-person training, conferences, reading books, watching instructional videos, calling someone and asking them how to do it.

I’ve also personally noticed that for older generations, it’s about depth and not breadth of knowledge. They want to learn everything about a particular issue before delving into a solution.  For younger generations, we’re more interested in quickly learning a little about a lot, and skimming through Google when we need to learn something new.

This has been a particularly difficult issue for me in the workplace, even after discussing with my supervisors. I end up in awkward situations where I’m repeatedly turning down week-long conferences because I will learn more in an hour of Googling (for free) than I will at a conference (for a ton of money). Or I’ll implement a new piece of technology and spend time putting together what I feel is adequate links to websites that explain how it works, only to have to then do in-person training on the same material.


Younger generations value efficiency and self-education in the workplace. The more you can get done quicker, the better.
Older generations value personal contact and thorough knowledge from others. The more in-depth, personal communication, the better.

Marquee Light Letters — 12/28/11
Best error message ever — 11/15/11
Heuristics spreadsheet makes usability easy — 10/27/11
Halloween Card — 10/3/11
Photoshop Batch Processing – aka automate your actions — 9/29/11

Photoshop Batch Processing – aka automate your actions

Using batch processing right now to apply an effect to a folder full of images to use in a Halloween Party card invite.

It’s pretty basic, open 100 files, duplicate the background layer, apply a cutout filter, set blending mode to overlay, save.photoshop batch processing

If you’ve never created an action before, take a look at some of these default ones and you’ll see how useful they can be for actions you’re going to use over and over, like making a vignette.

Making actions and batch processing a folder of images is easy. I made HalloweenCard in about a minute from this tutorial. 26 seconds later, I have 50 new psds of “Halloweeny” images. Sweet.