Chat May 5 — Should I Be a Generalist or a Specialist?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a specialist?Advantages:

  • Differentiate yourself
  • By specializing in one area such as SEO or UX, you can market yourself as an expert in that particular area
  • Clients/companies will pay high dollars for specialized skills.


  • Must constantly innovate to stay ahead.
  • Must work to stay current and relevant. Because web technology is continually evolving, highly valued areas of expertise today may evolve into something else or not even exist 5 years from now.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a generalist?


  • If you’re a freelancer or on a small design team, being a jack-of-all-trades means that you can pitch in where needed on a team or help your clients with everything web related.


  • The web is very complex. Knowing everything about web design is unrealistic.
  • Clients are willing to pay more for highly specialized skills than someone with a broad skill set.
  • Often can spend hours on something that would take a specialist a few minutes.

Which of these directions seems like the best fit for your future? Why?

I would like to find a happy medium between the two. I would like to specialize in the field of UX design. However my knowledge and experience in marketing, web design and development makes me very marketable in a highly competitive field.

Chat April 28 — How to Get Yourself Out There

What were three useful points that articles provided that “ring true” to you and how can they help you? 

  • Create a personal site where you share your best ideas, best practices and even frustrations as a professional.
  • Speaking publicly speak and writing helps is good practice and ultimately helps you to develop better at selling skills needed to sell ideas to clients, but most all become better at job interviews.
  • Need to have a web presence (more than just a portfolio of work on sites like Behance & Dribble) especially if you design, develop, or project manage websites and applications, or do other UX, strategy. Blogs are a great place to start building that presence.
  • Become a contributor to sites like Github or Fonts in Use

Find an article that gives guidance about how to leverage social media to get a job:

How to Use Social Media to Land a Job


Chat April 14 — What to Do with Projects You’re Not Proud Of

What were three useful points that Zeldman provided that “ring true” to you and how can they help you? Try to relate the article to yourself personally.

  • As a designer your job is not only to create great designs but to sell a solution to your clients.
  • Designers must sell so if your selling (persuasion) skills are not your strong point, it would be a good idea to participate in a workshop to brush up on those skills.
  • -If you’re not a good salesperson, find a partner who is. Designers who can’t sell, sell themselves short by undercharging for their services.

Click on one of the links in his article and tell what you found out when you got there. very cool site that literally shows particular fonts used in actual work

Do you think you and Zeldman are “on the same page” completely or do you think differently about this topic in some ways? Explain what makes you think you feel the same and also where you might differ. I agree with what he says, “A decent designer who can sell will have a better career—and do better work—than a brilliant designer who cannot.” I wise salesman told me once, what the point of having a cool package, if you can’t sell what it’s in it.

Chat April 7–Cross Browser Compatibility Principles

  1. Briefly describe the Box Model. Why do you need to understand this?
    The principle that every element on a page is essentially a rectangle (a box). The box calculates how much space an element takes up, the presence of borders, margins, padding and how they behave (overlap or collapse and the box’s position on a page. Because it works pretty much the same in all browsers, is important to understand it in order to achieve cross browser compatibility.
  2. Explain why a CSS Reset is a good idea. A CSS reset is a good idea because it improves cross browser experience. Margin and padding differences in different browsers, can be minimized by resetting everything to zero, giving more control over space and alignment.
  3. Why is Internet Explorer a pain? In general, IE has a lot of bugs and is inconsistent. Some CSS attributes just don’t work. What does Smashing Magazine disagree with the author of this article about? Smashing Magazine disagrees with what the author suggests regarding developing sites for IE first. Instead, they suggest developing sites for modern browsers.
  4. Why is Progressive Enhancement a good idea? Progressive enhancement provides a well-defined strategy for implementing CSS3 into the presentational layer of designs. Helps produce cleaner websites.
  5. Is there a tool in the second article that you’d like to try? Spoon
  6. What’s the biggest takeaway for you from reading these articles? That there are a lot of browsers and browser versions and if you want to achieve cross browser compatibility, you have to build it into your CSS.



Chat: Mar. 10 — Collaborating with Clients

How can you benefit from collaborating with clients? Collaborating with clients creates an atmosphere of inclusiveness and better communication.

The author says that website design boils down to two areas. What are they and what does each encompass?

Aesthetics (teach the client to judge it on 2 criteria, will the user like it and is it inline with the company’s overall message & image)

Structure (user needs vs. business objectives)
What suggestions did you like the most that he offered for each of these two areas? An aesthetics workshop provides the client a framework to understand how to judge aesthetics. One exercise suggested is user-focused moodboarding which should focus on the aesthetic taste of their audience (color, typefaces, style, and imagery).


As far as structure, giving the 6-version exercise gives the client the opportunity to sketch 6 different approaches to what the home page could look encourages them to set a firm direction.


Is there anything here that you think you just would NOT want to try? What are your concerns?

They are all pretty good ideas as far as collaboration goes but my main concern would be about losing control. Early on, the designer should establish himself/herself as a leader and facilitator. Guide the client by establishing an agenda for meetings. Lead the conversation and use the agenda as a road map so that meetings don’t get off track.

Chat: Feb. 24 — To Framework or Not To Framework? That Is the Question

  1. What are 3 advantages of using a framework for front-end development?
    -You can save hundreds even thousands of hours in development time making frameworks an efficiency tool.
    -All ready debugged for browser compatibility, which saves time and money if you had to do it yourself.
    -Grid system is already established and tested to work with different browsers & devices.

What are three potential drawbacks of using a framework?
-They contain a lot of components and extra files that you may not need.
-You can customize your download package to reduce bloat but you will need to take note of what you did and did not download so that you repeat the process when updating your files.
-An understanding of CSS and HTML is required. Some knowledge of SASS or LESS is important as well.

  1. What PHP example does the author compare the use of frameworks to? 15-20 years ago everything had to be built from scratch but with Survey Monkey’s API, what cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, is affordable.
  2. How would project budget affect your decision of whether to use a framework or not? If a client has the budget for a completely custom site than that might be the way to go but if the client has a very small budget but still doesn’t want a cookie cutter site, a framework comes with all the components you need which allows you to concentrate on customizing the look.
  3. Explain one “aha!” moment that you had while reading this article. Did this article change the way you feel about anything? I didn’t really have an “aha” moment per se other than why build a site completely from scratch if you don’t need to. Frameworks are clearly a good middle ground between totally custom and totally cookie cutter.

Feb. 17 Chat— Program Survey and Full Page Backgrounds

What is your biggest takeaway from the article?

There are several options you can try when creating full-page backgrounds. The one that is most appealing to me and seems to be the easiest is the progressive CSS3 method. Setting the background-size to “cover and setting the background image to no-repeat center and fixed” ensures that the image will always fill the entire background. I have used this method in the past but I applied the rule to the body tag rather than the html element as the article suggests. This actually makes more sense since the html element will always be the height of the browser window. It works in Chrome, Safari, & Firefox. It only works in IE 9+ and Opera 10. Since IE is going away soon I wouldn’t worry too much about it not working in IE8 or less.

Feb. 1 & 3 — Chris Coyier CSS Tricks Year in Review

What are your top 3 takeaways from this article? Honestly I didn’t quite get where the article was going. Since it’s mostly a recap of the year.

  • Some of the stats were interesting, such as “search” accounting for 84% of the sites traffic. This means implies that meta tags (search terms) are important so you should really think about search words that can drive traffic to your site.
  • Two of the most popular articles are things I’ve searched for or am interested in learning more about: Perfect Full Page Background Image and CSS Box Shadow.
  • Travel should be fun. Definitely

In which areas do you relate to Chris? Explain.

In our goals. I need to invest more in my own website so that it’s a reflection of my personality and expertise.

Google the term “Google Analytics”. What is this? Is a great SEO tool. With Google analytics, you can track the statics of a website (visitor geographical location, pages visited, the amount of time spent on a page, etc).
What are three goals that you’d like to define your year as a budding web designer/developer?

  • Build a WP theme and get it on WordPress to share with the world.
  • Redesign my personal website as a one page website with parallax scrolling
  • UX!!!


Jan 27 Chat- Laws of User Interface

Coincidentally, I’m working on the UX/UI of an interactive service website redesign at work. I’m leading the team which consists of 1 programmer familiar with backend,  and 2 familiar with C++ but no one other myself who understands front end development, design, marketing and some UX. The current version (designed by a programmer with little knowledge of these rules) is confusing and lacks many of  the things the article references.

There were several elements that I came across (things that looked like menus, for example that didn’t behave like menus).

Top 3 takeaways from this article:

  1. Law of clarity is definitely #1.  Users avoid interface elements that don’t have a clear meaning.  Icons are fun creative but need to be intuitive. If a user has to guess they probably will ignore.
  2. Law of preferred action is also #2 on my list. This rule is definitely broken on the website redesign project I’m working  on. There are many elements I found that looked like menus, for example that didn’t behave like menus.  This can be frustrating for a user.
  3. Law of easing  & guided action are my #3. When I met with the team this was something that I brought up. There’s nothing more frustrating than staring at a screen and not knowing what to do because instructions aren’t clear and there’s nothing to indicate what the user is supposed to do.

Interface design for mobile article:

Jan. 11 & 13 — Web Design Trends for 2015

This article is full of things you may not have heard of before. List three things that you looked up (Googled) in order to figure out what the author was talking about and briefly explain what they are/mean.



The movie Back to the Future predicted that hoverboards would be commonplace in 2015.  What is one prediction that you think is more spot-on than that in this article? (Why do you think this will really trend this year? In other words, what evidence do you have that this prediction is already happening?

SVG will finally take off-SVG, Scalable Vector Graphics, is an XML format for 2D graphics. As the name implies, a document in SVG format can scale to any size, effectively filling up any size container making SVG ideal for responsive sites. There are many examples of svg being used to create scalable graphics by combining a lot of small images into a single file. Before this was done with PNGs files.


Did any predictions in the article make you worried? Why?

  • The Internet of things-Not only do designers need to think about devices that people carry but designers will also need to think about things (such as watches, smart refrigerators, other appliances, control panels) that are or will soon be web-connected. The need for consistency will drive an even more simplistic design approach.
  • Framework Dominance-Just when I was started to get the hang of frameworks, the idea them disappearing is painful to think about. Web tech is evolving at exponential speed that it’s difficult to keep up.



Did any make you happy or relieved?

Internet Explorer is finally going away. Why? IE is a terrible browser. It would be nice to finally not have to make CSS and HTML compatible with IE7 and 6.



What are two important things from the article that you think we should revisit in a future Chat Meeting? Explain why you made these choices.

Micro-Design- this is a concept that we need to really understand because not only do designers need sites to work on a variety of screens (responsive) but they all need to be consistent in look and feel they also need to give users give a sense of seamless as they go from device to device. The ability for the user to pick up where they left off and feel will become part of the experience users will come to expect.