Delicious: New Look, Same Excellent Functions

Social bookmarking tool Delicious got a makeover. It’s a little louder than I expected, considering Delicious had a very stripped down original interface. But they are owned by Yahoo now.

I love the little gray arrows around the tags. This is my favorite feature. I think it looks great

Is that Arial and Helvetica? I’m a little surprised at that choice. They’re classic, but more print oriented generally.

I’m not sure how I feel about the tag sorting, especially if someone has hundreds of tags.

Bundling tags seems a little easier. However, when you add a tag to a bundle, it jumps back up to the top of the page. Probably one of those designer didn’t catch what the programmer did kinks.

I’m not sure I care a bunch about how it’s sorted for dates. However, it might be helpful for my wishlist account that I used last birthday/Christmas. (Now if I could only figure out how to get the relatives to buy me things off said list instead of giant cat books. I’m not five anymore, Cameron. You weren’t even alive then.) Yep, very helpful now that I’ve gone back and deleted all the clothing stores no longer have.

Besides, the basic function of storing my bookmarks on the web so I can access them from any computer and never fear of losing them and how much I love tags to sort, I do think Delicious provides a great search engine based on user popularity. I always find interesting blog posts or tutorials or nifty little shops when I venture out on the Delicious network. Yahoo may find themselves back as a true competitor in the search business with Delicious.

Other interesting articles on Delicious as a soically relavent search engine: The Search Engine That’s Already Better Than Google at SEOmoz.org and more thoughts on that at Academic Commons.

Web Design: A Little About This Portfolio

I realized today that I never wrote about post about making this web site.

Obviously, every designer worth her/his grain of salt is going to have an online portfolio. My original one was not me. While I consider myself to have to a strong design-oriented eye, I am my hardest client. I am never happy with it, and it will never be perfect enough.

My inspiration for Sliver of Ice Design is actually my oil paintings. When I do oil painting, I tend to use bright colors, colors a lot brighter than I would ever use on the web. Here are three of my favorite oil paintings I did, which hang in my home:

I wanted to show off my art, my eclectics tastes, and have a little fun. A lot of time, when I’m designing professionally, I have to tone it down or take cues from branding because that’s the job, that’s what pleases the client, and makes everyone happy. Having rabbits surfing on carrots is often not appropriate.

The inspiration for the layout of my splash page was my love of comics. Comic artists like David Mack, Pia Guerra, and David Aja are very innovative and one of the many reasons I love comics as an artist. Their art has made me excited to explore new techniques and layouts. I did all the line drawings and took all the photos I used in the art, wanting to use this site to authentically show who I am.

Of course, what everyone really wants to know is: What’s up the bunnies surfing carrots? Well, I’ve always doodled them and in my painting, Universal Library Card, I used it as my signature and they kind of stuck. They’re wacky and memorable.

I do make changes here and there all the time. And I’m sure this site will morph. It’s still not up to this client’s perfect standards.

The Green Pope, not a new superhero movie

Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday that mankind’s “insatiable consumption” has scarred the Earth and squandered its resources, telling followers that taking care of the planet is vital to humanity.

You can read the rest of the article here.

I think this is beyond wonderful for the Pope to address environmental destruction. While Catholicism may be losing ground in the United States, it is still huge in other countries, especially say down in South America where rain forests are being bulldozed by the acre. I also think it’s a great move for Catholicism back to the social justice-type movements it started doing in Vatican II and were somewhat halted by the more conservative Pope John Paul II.

The social justice movement was always something I greatly admire about Catholicism and while, despite my disagreements with some of the church’s doctrine, I’m more likely to be okay with helping clean a kitchen at my maternal grandparents’ Catholic church when they were getting ready to house the homeless than say hanging decorations for a church social at my father’s Lutheran one.

I think environmentalism is a great topic for them to take as well in that it’s very PR-friendly and not as controversial for them to take on, since I don’t expect the Catholic church to stand up for gay marriage any time soon.

Plus, churches have such a great power to install morals and ethics into people, making the old learn new tricks and young children gain them, and it’s nice to see a truly worthwhile cause of our planet. Instead of just telling followers that life will be better in heaven, it’s time to start making Earth a little more heavenly.

Flickr Or Not

I’ve been considering upgrading my Flickr account. Upgrading lets me make as many folders for pictures I want and lets me upload more than the current free monthly allotment. For me, it’s not so much the allotment, but the folders. I am an organizer, and I haven’t really uploaded any new photos to Flickr because I can’t stand not making more folders.

But I really love this code written for a Flickr feed: Admarket’s flickrSLiDR

These are the photos from my Canada vacation earlier this year. All photography, except the photos with me in them, were taken by me. Go Flames.

Prosumer Goals: Analyzing the Walk

I want to put my words into actions and make prosumer goals. Things that I care about include supporting local businesses, supporting small businesses, buying products which last, buying online to support my industry, and buying “healthy” products for both the Earth and my body. Eventually, I want to try to make every purchase I make have at least two of those qualifiers.

I want to start with looking into buying from local small independent businesses. Small steps for big changes. Continue reading “Prosumer Goals: Analyzing the Walk”

A Little Fun in the Summer

Spring and summer always put me in the mood to clean. I know, cliche. I clean out my closet, my computer files, and whatever else ends up in my warpath.

A few years, some friends of mine and I got together and did a clothing swap. Basically, we cleaned out our closets, brought our clothing together, and swapped. Everything left over ended up at a charity shop.

I figured that we work at a clothing company, which means all of us women probably have four times as much clothing in our closets. So we had a fun late, Friday afternoon clothing swap and donated a lot of clothing. Remember, just say no to velor overalls.

Here’s the e-mail image I made for it:

women's clothing swap e-mail

One of Those Days

I’m having one of those where I feel light-years behind in web development and like I’m not going anywhere. So I wrote a haiku about Donna Noble, who’s by far my favorite companion on Dr. Who. We have similar self-worth issues.

Donna Noble rules/Most efficient companion/Finally someone saw

And I made Tofu and Broccoli Chinese Stir-Fry and have pie. Perhaps I need some sleep too.

Free Shipping, Even If You’re a Beaver

There are lots of theories and data on how free shipping effects e-commerce sales. The only constant is that the faster an item ships to a customer, the happier s/he is and that offering free shipping often affects sales in a positive manner.

Free shipping image designed by me

My cheeky direct e-mail image illustrates the happy little beaver whom got free shipping on his/her $75 or more order. Wood has become a prosumer product ever since the realization of globalization and environmental impact hit the beavers. They want to order from Green Bee Wood’s web site with wood that’s been fairly traded and a company commitment to wood as a renewable resource instead of clear-cutting rain forests in Brazil. Because of this, the beaver has committed himself/herself to a higher price point and free shipping is helping to offset the sting on his/her wallet. Because even as a prosumer, the beaver still budgets.

On the business and marketing side, Green Bee Wood knows that their products are targeted at the prosumer and can accept that quality of product and other good business practices do drive up their prices compared to Wood-4-Cheap. Beavers make up 75% of Green Bee Wood’s demographic. In the realm of free shipping, Green Bee Wood has a lot of options. They can offer free shipping across the board, at a certain price point based on their average order, for a limited time only, to offset sale tax charges, at a flat rate instead of free, etc.

Green Bee Wood has decided to offer free shipping slightly higher than their average order to bring average order sales a little higher, and they think it’s a urgency incentive for their customers to buy. Since they want to create a demand, they’ve decided that free shipping is only going to be offered for a limited time, approximately two weeks, to drive up sales in a traditionally slow winter season when beavers stay lodged down with their families and conserve energy.

This free shipping campaign is very successful for Green Bee Wood as they understand their demographics’ buying patterns and how free shipping can affect them. Free shipping helped a few more beavers make the final click to buy.

To use free shipping or not really depends on the company and their target demographic. As a huge company and largely consumer-based, I think it’s brilliant that Amazon.com offers it on all orders over $25 year round. However, for smaller companies targeting prosumers, there are pitfalls in that constantly running free shipping can flatten out sales. People don’t think they need to order then because it will still be on months later. There’s no urgency. Free shipping can be a useful tool, but like all tools, there’s an appropriate time to use it. The prosumer appreciates free shipping, but will appreciate it more if it’s not there all the time.