I think the reason we are all so busy planning is that we are scared to think. If we think, that takes a leap of faith in ourselves that we will actually think of something worthwhile. Thinking is murky and unstructured, there is a possibility that you may spend a long time thinking and still not have the answer to your problem at hand. Thinking does not necessarily guarantee anything, but it does give you valuable perspective.
A plan on the other hand has structure—deadlines, action items, concrete goals and budget numbers. It is impersonal. A plan is about the metrics established by the organization and structured by the budget and timing parameters given to the team by someone else.
The problem is that I have personally seen so many well-organized and structured plans go awry because no one in the organization has paused to think. A goal is handed down with a budget and timeline; and then, with a heavy dose of organizational cognitive dissonance, a plan is created within a construct that may or may not make any sense. No one has asked why; just how, what and when have been addressed.
I know the caveat you will throw at me, “but Laura, we have no time to think.” You are not going to like my response to this one: I think that’s a socially acceptable excuse to not think. I almost never leave a marketing presentation without someone quoting Steve Jobs in admiration. Do you think he was too busy to think?
Something else that is impacted by lack of thinking, your bottom line. I am always amazed by the good money thrown after bad, because Clients do not want to invest the time and money needed to create a thoughtful positioning or marketing strategy before diving right into a web site execution or social media promotion. Effective marketing tactics require thinking.
Do me a favor, start integrating a minute of thinking into your day. One minute. Ask “why?” at least once a day and let me know what happens.
Digital marketing and UX agency, Sandstorm Design is honored to be named one of the Top Interactive Agencies of 2013 by BtoB Magazine. Receiving this recognition for the third year in a row, Sandstorm is continuing to grow by nurturing talent and building creative solutions and intuitive user experiences for new and existing clients.
BtoB’s Top Agencies List is a comprehensive compilation of the top 150 agencies in the United States. BtoB Magazine’s Kate Maddox said, “Many of the top b-to-b agencies registered double-digit growth last year though new clients and organic growth.” Sandstorm is poised to continue the momentum built in 2012 by partnering with clients such as CIC Plus, MathWorks, and CareerBuilder for a successful 2013.
BtoB Magazine is a Crain’s Communications Inc. publication and is a trusted source and platform for top marketing professionals to grow and learn in the b-to-b space.
With a journalism and organizational background, I am Amanda Elliott, your new Marketing Coordinator. I am passionate about anticipating needs, solving problems, and making projects fun. Supporting the Sandstorm team with many of their projects, including web and CRM, I love seeing the potential in client challenges. Having the soul of a fashionista, I have a compulsion to always make something a bit more visually appealing.
Coming from the Florida tropics to the Windy City has been one of my dreams since living in Chicago two years ago—interning at StreetWise magazine. A city girl at heart, I am especially grateful to unlock my cultural anthropological desires and shop, dance, and taste my way through Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.
Sandstorm adds creative and development support with the new hire of our Production Administrator, Jason Dabrowski. A truly organized and creative individual, his charismatic personality and natural IT talent is why we are excited to welcome him to our team. As the welcoming face of Sandstorm, Jason will be supporting the creative and development teams with production of all varieties—Photoshop, InDesign, HTML, CSS and more.
Jason, who is skilled on many levels of organization and artistry, initially came from an administrative background. Explorative in nature, Jason exemplifies our learning and sharing culture with his passion for figuring things out. Whenever asked if he can do something new, he replies, “I don’t know. Let’s see.” Always wanting to stay current with digital technology trends, Jason has taken Digital Bootcamp twice.
Not just a techy, Jason loves the arts and donates his time to Hubris Production as both the Communications Director and an actor.
Welcome to Sandstorm, Jason!
After over a year of Sandstorming, Will has been promoted to Writing, Research and Production—a title reflective of his many talents. As Sandstorm continues to grow, so do its employees. Will said the transition period has been one of his strongest growth spurts. He’s reached a personal and professional goal: do more great work, better.
Passionate about communication, Will explains that every facet of his new position—writing, research and production—encompasses it. “Writing is obvious. Usability testing and user research involves listening to people,” Will says, and his production role results in creating pieces that communicate a client’s brand to their audience.
Being the culture vulture that he is, Will spends his spare time writing sketch comedy and going to the opera. “Whether it’s through the written word, on stage or through music, conveying our thoughts, ideas and feelings are at the core of the human experience.” With an extensive music background to boot, Will is Sandstorm’s triple threat.
Sandstorm is looking for a contract digital production designer. Our team is seeking a new teammate focused on executing unique online experiences for our clients. The right person will be able to start immediately and is interested in the potential of being a full-time Sandstormer.
- Experience demonstrated through digital samples
- Design eye with a development mind
- Experience with industry standard web graphic software including Photoshop and Dreamweaver
- Experience with HTML and CSS
- Good written and oral communication skills, and ability to work either independently or within a team environment
- Ability to work on-site at our office in Ravenswood
- Able to follow existing brand standards and at times build a brand from existing materials
- Produce unique, branded web sites including color and image selection for use in existing template
- Entering and updating content
- Quality assurance testing
- Work in a team atmosphere with creative director, designers and developers
If you are up for the challenge, please email your resume, hourly rates/salary requirements, and sample urls to email@example.com with “Digital Production Designer” as the subject line. No phone calls please.
About Sandstorm Design
Our firm is a growing boutique with great clients to work with. Our team is an affable bunch that enjoys witty banter and FREE snacks. We are only steps away from Brown line and the Ravenswood Metra stop, located on the north side of Chicago in Ravenswood.
A new addition to our growing team, Emily Kodner, a Kansas City native and self-proclaimed BBQ snob, has adopted Chicago, but not its BBQ. In her position as Senior Digital Strategist, she consults with clients, leading projects and working alongside our team of creatives and developers to provide solutions to complex business challenges.
Having a Bachelor’s in Sociology and International Studies, a Master’s degree in International Affairs with a concentration in Conflict Resolution, and a decade shy of experience as a project manager and content strategist, Emily is exceptionally talented at getting to the bottom of an issue. She makes the complex simple and creates the plan to make it all happen. Specializing in content, Drupal site architecture and CMS strategy, Emily’s ability to develop innovative solutions is crucial when determining the needs of our clients and their target audiences.
On top of making it all happen on the job, she also herds the team out of the office once in a while for chips, guac and margaritas. Send a virtual toast to Emily congratulating her on her new role in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
There’s a distinct usability difference between navigating a web site on a desktop with a mouse and on a tablet or mobile device with your finger. A mouse is accurate to the pixel. Fingers are far less precise. They’re particularly less precise if you have big fat caveman fingers like mine.
This came to mind this morning as I inadvertently accepted a LinkedIn request on my iPad that I intended to ignore. It’s true, I don’t willy nilly accept every LinkedIn request I get… but that’s another rant. The options were just too close together and like I said, I’ve got caveman hands.
Physical Space, Not Pixels
This is just one example of why you need to consider real world physical space when designing for tablet and mobile. Bigger pointing devices, like fingers, need bigger targets. Between Apple, Microsoft, Nokia and MIT’s Touch Lab the recommended guidelines for touch targets are between 8 and 14mm with a minimum of 2mm of spacing between actions (source: Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski).
Guidelines, Not Rules
LinkedIn followed the guidelines for some of their targets. However, guidelines are meant to lead you in the right direction, not force you into a rigid structure. How often the target is used and its position on the screen should also be considered for optimal usability. Context and common sense should lead your design if you want it to facilitate human behavior.
The touch targets below are the worst offenders. The options arrow (B) is far too small and placed too close to the accept button (A), making it too easy to accidentally accept a request when all you wanted to do was view the options. Accidentally tapping on a nav item is frustrating. Accidentally tapping on the wrong action item causes you to blog about it.
Thumbs, Not Cursors
Here’s a good rule of thumb (pun intended) when designing targets for mobile. Just ask yourself, “Could I hit it with my thumb?”