Today I’d like to start with a story. Not so long ago, my wife and I were driving home. We thought it sounded like a good idea to pick up a movie so we could watch it when we got home. My wife pulled out her phone and looked for available movies. The movie we wanted was out almost everywhere, except for one kiosk which just happened to be on our way home. So, we took the exit off the highway and headed toward the little town where the kiosk was located.
How much is that going to cost?
That’s always the first question, isn’t it? A client wants a site, tells you a few things they’d like, and then says “How much??”
There are plenty of ways to answer that question.
Whenever we’re building a WordPress site for a client, there are plenty of choices to make when giving a client tools to edit their site. Sure, it’s easy to make blog posts and pages editable, but what about that slideshow on the homepage or the button in the middle of a page? Will an admin need to edit their theme files in order to update a link?
“I don’t have a huge budget, but I’d like a nice site. I’d also like it to run on WordPress so I can blog and easily update my site.”
That’s a pretty typical client request that most web designers get. Assuming your client actually has a realistic budget, it’s usually the start of a great project.
“But WordPress wasn’t designed for eCommerce, so it’s not a good choice.”
That was the line I read in the email. It was my own fault, I’d signed up for a five part email course to learn about building an eCommerce store. I cringed inside, knowing that the author of the email, though well intentioned, wasn’t technical in nature. Yet, here he was, stating that WordPress was a poor choice for an eCommerce site.
Previously I talked about the factors to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform for your project. Today I want to cover a few projects we’ve done for clients and the solutions we’ve chosen.
Lately at SlicenPress we’ve been developing a lot of eCommerce sites – everything from simple donation forms to robust online stores. eCommerce development is a lot of fun, but it can also be a very daunting task to determine the best option for software to power an online store for yourself or your client. That’s why I’ve put together a list of our key factors we evaluate when helping a client choose an eCommerce platform for their site.
With the wide range of web apps we use at SlicenPress, it can be tough to keep everything connected, so I’m always looking for tricks to simplify things. As an example, if someone emails us a support request that goes into Groove, we often need to create a task in Asana so we can assign that work to a team member.
I have a confession to make. I love coleslaw. It’s delicious. I’ve had a love for coleslaw since I was a kid. Growing up, the best place to get coleslaw was KFC. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, a biscuit and coleslaw made the perfect meal (maybe not a healthy one, but when you’re a kid you can eat anything!) Then one day it happened – KFC changed the recipe.
As I sat down to my desk and opened my email, I saw a new email from a client. It was a reply to an earlier thread. As soon as I saw the subject, a feeling of panic came over me. I immediately remembered replying to their email, saying I would look into something and then forgetting to follow through. How did that happen I thought? I marked their email unread so I’d remember to go back and work on that issue…or so I thought. Wait, maybe I was going to mark it unread but then forgot…or maybe my phone didn’t save the “unread” status…
Years ago when we began developing websites, things were pretty simple. We usually only needed one person to work on a project, often myself. The sites we built were very simple, often static sites. We could build things locally and just FTP them up to the live server. If clients wanted changes made, we just made the changes for them since everything was setup via html files. Then things changed – sites became more complex, we needed 2 or more developers working on a project at one time. Changes needed to be tested before being deployed and clients wanted to edit sites quickly – on a daily or hourly basis. That’s when we decided our old methods weren’t working so we needed something new. Enter version control with Beanstalk.
“Are you going to buy it today?” came the question from the salesman. “Well not today” we said, “we’re just testing it out to see how we like it first.” The salesman’s next words were something I’ll never forget, but let me back up a bit.
One of the great things about WordPress are the thousands of plugins available to add functionality to your site. Unfortunately that’s also one of the downsides – it can be tough to find a great plugin. That’s why we’re compiling a list of our favorite plugins that we often use on sites. This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, but it’s a great place to start when looking for plugins.
Bond, James Bond
I love watching James Bond movies. One of the things I love about Bond movies is watching Bond figure out solutions to a problem on the fly. He always has a way out and is a step ahead of the bad guys. Somehow though, he never needs to practice an escape.
Take for example, Bond’s escape in Quantum of Solace where he flies a battered plane up into the air, only to jump out, dive into a huge hole and deploy his parachute just in time for a safe landing – all while saving the girl of course. He didn’t practice that, Bond got it right the first time he tried.
In the early days of the web, fonts weren’t something that most developers were very concerned with. There were a handful of fonts that could work – a few serif, sans-serif and monospaced fonts, but other than that if you wanted custom fonts you had to create an image or share the actual font file. Obviously the creators of fonts wanted to sell individual users a copy of their font, instead of it being distributed for free. That’s not really possible though when visiting a site – no one wants to buy a font just to view your website!
Here at Slice n Press, we work with a lot of great designers. We’re very fortunate to see some incredible design work that we get to turn into beautiful websites. One of the things we often see in a design are twitter feeds. These feeds show a company’s latest tweets – they’re a great way to help engage visitors to your site with your twitter activity. Most of the time, these tweet feeds are integrated into the design in a way that works really well with the rest of the site. There might be white text on a soft teal background or a nice image behind some stylized tweet boxes. Often times though, this is actually breaking Twitter’s new display guidelines and is putting your account at risk.
WordPress version 3.7 was released on October 24, 2013. It’s a great release for a number of reasons, but there’s one new feature that can cause issues if not properly handled.
“In the valley.”
“Welcome to the valley.”
As I looked around, it didn’t seem like a valley. Everything just looked flat to me.
At Slice n Press, we’ve been working on something pretty cool over the past year. Now we’re excited to finally unveil it.
The breathtaking Retina display found on Apple’s iPad provides web designers a new opportunity to engage and inspire their audience. Standard resolution images look nice on the Retina display, but the screen doesn’t begin to ooze crispness until it’s fed high resolution imagery. Are your websites taking full advantage of the Retina display?