5 things to watch out for when doing a new website.

  1. Themes – pulling down themes, while cost effective and quick, can be dangerous. Unless they are super simple and don’t have a lot of plug-ins, you should avoid them. Heavy themes tend to have a lot of extraneous features that you will never use, and that can stress load times. Additionally as you add functionality or plug-ins, you risk creating conflicts that you may not even be able to find when your site goes down. When your CMS or Google or PHP does a new release, everyone of those plug-ins or snippets of code is at risk of breaking unless you have a 24-7 webmaster running your site.
  2. Fonts – seems simple but really it’s not. A lot of times you will get font rendering issues due to the variety of browsers and devices out there viewing your site. This could result in type breaking or wrapping oddly, making it a frustrating experience for the user. We recommend you choose fonts from fonts.google.com for your project.
  3. Image/Video Compression – a lot of sites surprisingly don’t use image or video compression or better yet a CDN (content delivery network) to manage the crunching of these files. This will result in higher first-byte times, which essentially means slower loading. You can also run your javascripts from CDN which will also help with this.
  4. HTTPS – Google’s recent updates with respect to location/mapping API’s etc., call for all sites to be running a SECURE site or those API’s will not work. Google will also boost SEO ranking as an incentive for making your site secure and will tag your site with a non-secure tag if you are not. This is just a good practice for anti-hacking as well as plenty of other benefits.
  5. Colors – another one that seems simple but is a bit more complex. Companies typically have PMS colors that they want to translate to the web, however just finding the #HEX equivalent isn’t enough. If you really want to make sure your colors translate to the web properly our advice is to try the color on different devices and browsers and find a color that you feel best translates across the board. You can bet that it may not be the original #HEX value that you thought it was.

BU Creative Cafe Portfolio Review

A couple of times a year I am invited to participate in the BU Portfolio Review. Some of the professors, (Edward Boches, Doug Gould) are former mentors and colleagues of mine and so I am always honored and happy to help.

This year what stood out to me was not only the strength of the creative thinking but the fact that a majority of it came from up and coming women with a clear passion and focus for joining and making an impact in this industry.

The strength and confidence of these women was inspiring and I was glad to have been able to guide their thinking, which some of it, even inspired me!

As always there were plenty of talented volunteer reviewers who are generous with their time, some whom I have had the pleasure of working with in the past.

I usually leave the copywriting and art direction guidance to them as they are far more talented than me in that respect but what I do encourage the students to think about is this:

Think of interesting ways to dimensionalize your work and reach people with your message in unconventional, unexpected and disruptive ways.