Survey Says More Coding

Survey says "I heart you all"

Thanks to all 52 of you who filled out my survey on what you want to learn this year!

It was so fun hearing from you and I was completely blown away by all the nice things you had to say. Looking through the results was a truly lovely way to start my Valentine’s Day!

About You All

The breakdown as far as who self-identified as what was pretty much along the lines I expected:

Reader jobs and roles from 2014 blog reader survey

To put some numbers on that chart, of the 67% of respondents that identified as a developer, the majority are beginners. In fact, about 56% of the people who took the survey consider themselves beginning developers.

A whole lot of you (~63%) are web designers and way more freelancers/ small business owners than people who work as employees for others (which I think is interesting as someone now in a position to be hiring employees).

Favorite Types of Posts

I’m not sure the ranking format was the best choice for the question about types of posts, but regardless I was pretty surprised to find that long coding tutorials are by far the favorite:

Item Total Score Aggregate Rank
Coding tutorials (long ones) 244 1
Business posts (process/ workflow/ running a business) 189 2
Code snippets (short, less explanation) 187 3
Case studies of recent projects 168 4
Resource posts (lists of resources/ links) 168 5
Posts about managing sites & content (non-code) 136 6

I’ll certainly work on writing more of those, although like a few of you pointed out they are pretty time consuming to put together.

Things You Want to Learn

While there was a wide variety of stuff you all shared about where you are in your careers and what you’re interested in, there were also some definite trends. Themes included:

Coding Basics: HTML, CSS, PHP, jQuery, Javascript; GIT; how to put all that stuff together into a website

WordPress: WP and subdomains; site migration; custom theme building; development sites & multisite; security; theme options; plugins; site strategy

Shopify: getting started with Shopify theme development

Specific Coding Tutorials: ajax; different kinds of menus; customized comment areas; slideshow galleries; one page websites

Development & Designing: responsive web design & designing/ coding for various screen sizes and devices; collaboration with designers; coding best practices (what works/ what doesn’t); web design do’s and don’ts; trends in web design/ development; more process posts (especially details about various parts of the process)

Business & Marketing: starting out as a freelancer and/or developer; maintaining & building a business; efficiency tips; case studies; process details; marketing my/your self

Clients: client education/ training; finding your niche & building up a client base

A few people also expressed interested in online and/or video tutorials or classes similar to the classes I’ve taught here in Philly (and on additional topics), which is certainly something I’m considering!

I’ll definitely be keeping all of your suggestions in mind as I plan out my content over time – there are a lot of great ideas and questions in there. At the same time, these responses point out a need for me to continue figuring out how to best organize my existing content so it’s easy to find so I’ll be working on that as well.

A Little Thank You

I decided up the “prize” factor, so instead of one 45 minute one-on-one, I’ve randomly selected two people who’ll each get 45 minutes of my time to ask me anything (except for work time on their websites).

To make these selections, I exported the entry data from only people who opted for the chance for the time (33 people in all) and opened it as a spreadsheet with 33 rows. Then I used the random.org number generator to generate two random integers between 1 and 33, which ended up being 14 (Demoree) and 26 (Shivani).

For Everyone

While I can’t promise individual answers for everyone, there are three ways to get your questions in front of me for possible answers:

  1. For super quick questions, I’m on Twitter more than is probably advisable
  2. For longer questions, you can contact me with your question and I’ll consider turning it into a blog post or shoot you an email response if I have time
  3. You can also book hourly consulting time if you have big questions and want to invest in dedicated time to talk things through. Use the general inquiry form to request time and be sure to give us an overview of how much time you’re looking for and generally what types of questions you have.

Thanks again for reading my blog, I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate it!

Project Flow: Inquiry to Live Site

FYI: This is a completely rewritten update to a post originally published in March 2013, revised to reflect adjustments I’ve made to my processes over time.

project-flow-design-to-live-site

In my current project management workflow, there are 8 phases that my assistant and I track projects over:

  1. Initial Inquiry
  2. Quoting & Estimates
  3. Confirmation/ Scheduling/ Paperwork
  4. Design Phase
  5. Design Transfer
  6. Active Development
  7. Testing
  8. Site Completion/ Wrap Up

We use a Trello board with the ultra-creative name “Project Status” to keep an eye on where things are:

Trello project status board

Click to enlarge

If you look really closely at those tiny little columns, you’ll see that there are actually 2 more columns than phases, which I’ll mention further as we get to those stages.


Read the rest →

Understanding Web Font Licensing Structures

font licensing options from Fontspring.com

Screenshot from Fontspring.com, where licensing is relatively clear

As a follow up to last’s week’s non-technical introduction to web fonts, I’m back on the Aeolidia blog today going into more depth on licensing structures for web fonts.

I’ll tell you straight up – web font licensing is very confusing. There are a lot of different types of licenses, many of which require that you know about how many pageviews per month you’ll have. A particular font may be available from multiple places with different licensing terms.

Hopefully this post will shed at least a little light on what to look for and keep in mind as you’re font shopping.

To the Post

A Non-technical Introduction to Webfonts

Webfonts

Read the post on the Aeolidia Blog

I’m over on the Aeolidia blog providing a “from the ground up” introduction to webfonts. The post is totally non-technical and is meant to help clarify what a web font actually is and how to know if a font you’ve got your eye on is available for the web.

Check back next week for a follow up post that goes into web font licensing (spoiler: it’s head-spinning, but hopefully the post will help clarify the key points).

Ch-ch-check it out

Noted: Analytics Myths, Snazzy Maps and More

noted
In this month’s roundups of semi-random things from around the internet, there’s what I think is a really nice mix between things that are beautiful and things that are useful. That kind of sums up my whole approach to everything, actually, so fitting that it’s the theme here as well.

1

I shared it a bunch on Twitter when it was first published, but I really want everyone to read this article on Google Analytics myths from Skillcrush’s blog. I wish they’d included linked references to the details on each myth in the Google documentation but they aren’t to hard to find once you know what you’re looking for if you want more information. For example, here’s Google’s resource page on time on site, which is well written and interesting.

2

For the designers out there, Social Kit is a nice little free Photoshop plugin that provides on-demand templates for various social media site assets (such as Twitter and Facebook cover images). Hooray for never needing to look up dimensions again!

Social Kit social media ui template free photoshop plugin

Social Kit

3

I think on-demand technical/ coding help is a really interesting concept, so I’ll be interested to see how Hackhands (the sibling to the tool of the same name mentioned in the last bookmarks post) plays out. According to the website, the platform:

“instantly connects developers with a verified network of expert programmers at the click of a button.”

4

When you need to figure out time zone conversions to connect with your new Hackhands buddy (or that client on the other side of the world), this is the tool for you. A quick, visual way to find out the time in every location, as compared to your local time (shows the current time, or you can select a particular time with the slider).

Every time zone online app for time zone conversions

Every Time Zone

5

One of my goals for this year is to improve my working knowledge of web accessibility. I’ll be referring to the well thought out WebAIM website, which has a lot of resources and information on making content accessible to people with disabilities.

6

The selection of Google Maps styles from Snazzy Maps mixes beauty and code – the various schemes are implemented in custom maps builds via javascript.

Snazzy Maps collection of Google Maps styling schemes

Snazzy Maps


What’s caught your eye online lately?