Content Strategy

How to get better web design feedback from your clients

So we’re redesigning our website. And since that apparently wasn’t enough for us, we’re overhauling our entire discovery and design process while we’re at it (we’re underachievers like that).

But as it turns out, this internal project has also taught us a lot about working with our external clients. We’re learning that the most important part of building websites isn’t the way we work. It’s the way we communicate.

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Invest in your website, invest in your future

Me: “What was that?”

You: “I’m not sure. I didn’t get a good look at it, but here’s version 8.0 of whatever it was.”

Change comes as surely as the seasons

Unless you’ve been living under Abe Lincoln’s eyebrow on Mount Rushmore for the last decade, you know the above rings true. And whether you’re a global giant or a small organization with big web needs, we all experience these changes in technology.

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10 things I learned about running a UX Workshop by watching the World Cup

Like many offices around the world, the Yellow Pencil office got pretty excited about the World Cup. We streamed all the games, ran our own office pool, and enjoyed the occasional celebratory beverage.

But as I was watching, I noticed a number of parallels between running a UX workshop and winning the world cup. Even though they don’t hand out little golden statues for UX workshops (yet. I’m still waiting for mine).

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Lessons from analytics on the value of a responsive design

If you want to improve your website's search optimization, your customers' online engagement levels, and your organization's reputation then you need to get your mobile experience right. We've even got some analytics data to back that statement up.

Mobile is a good investment

First off, here are some of the lessons we've learned about getting mobile right.

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Owner Camp Diary: How I learned to be a better web agency owner

We have four core values at Yellow Pencil. The fourth value is “we keep improving.” In an industry that changes as rapidly as the web, this is critical. The technology we use changes and gets better almost every day, our customers and clients’ expectations change, and the market invents something new regularly. We need to be learning and adapting all the time to stay relevant and produce great work for our clients.

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Overhauling our discovery process

So we’re redesigning yellowpencil.com. Our website is ancient by Internet standards (2012 is basically the dark ages), and our company’s grown a lot since the last iteration. We have different things to say to different people these days.

But it’s tough to find time to deliver internal (aka non-billable) projects in between all that client work. And like our clients, we’re dealing with timeline and budget constraints. So we’re making some major changes to our process, so we can be nimble and flexible while still delivering high quality work.

More about our discovery process

DITA and responsive web design: why DITA and RWD were made for each other

This article is a teaser for a free webinar presentation Phil Kneer and I are doing on Thursday, June 12th, hosted by DC Labs. The webinar will expand upon the subjects covered here, and will include demos of how responsive web design can be crafted to work with DITA output.
Click here for more information and to register.

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A maturity model for web communications (aka getting good at web)

One of the biggest challenges of owning a web agency is trying to figure out everything by yourself. Building a business for 18 years in northern Canada, you don’t get a lot of opportunity to meet peers and learn about how others work. It wasn’t until I attended my first OwnerCamp in 2013 that I met the founders of other digital agencies, and learned that others wrestle with the same issues that I do.

The two most important lessons I learned:

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Displaying a Resultset from a Custom SQL Query in Drupal 7

In my last Drupal blog post  I talked about how you can alter an existing view query with hook_views_query_alter, but what if you want to display a result set (your own “view”) from a custom SQL query?

Well, here’s how.

Background

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A “Creative” day at Quest Food Exchange

At Yellow Pencil we specialize in online communications for cities. We partner with our municipal clients to help them get great at the web so they can provide better online services, improve processes, and lower cost of operations. Through our work we’ve transformed a number of cities including the City of Surrey, the City of Edmonton, and the City of Red Deer.

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