Archive for April, 2017

Some Conference News

April 6th, 2017 No comments

Last year I got to MC the first ever Clarity, “A Design Systems Conference”, organized by Jina in San Francisco. It’s back! Coming November 28th-30th, 2017.

Saron Yitbarek is organizing the first CodeNewbie conference, CodeLand, coming up real quick here on April 21st-22nd in New York.

I got to be on the CodeNewbie podcast a while back, and we had her on ShopTalk.

Also coming up quick, Timothy Smith is running an inexpensive online workshop called “Let’s Learn CSS Grid” coming up April 21st, 2017.

I’ve just finished giving a talk and all-day session at An Event Apart Seattle, but never fear! If you’d like to catch me speak, I’ll be at the next An Event Apart in Boston, coming up May 15th-17th. Also in Chicago August 28th-30th, 2017 where I’ll also be giving the all-day session on being a front-end developer.

If you’d like to catch that all-day session, I’m also going to be giving it August 7th in Dayton, Ohio at the Build Right: Maker Series.

If you’re researching web conferences around the world and want to see what’s out there, don’t forget our guide!

Some Conference News is a post from CSS-Tricks

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The Ultimate Guide To E-Commerce Platforms

April 6th, 2017 No comments

Did you know that bandwidth overage charges are (still) a problem and most users prefer not to rely on a developer? Well, I talked to 917 (real-life) users and created a guide to help others find the e-commerce software that suits them best.

I completed this guide by searching for websites built with e-commerce software (you can verify by looking at the source code — certain code strings are unique to the software). Once I found a website, I (or one of my virtual assistants) would email the owner and ask if they’d recommend a particular software. Typically, they’d reply and I’d record their response in a spreadsheet (and personally thank them).

The post The Ultimate Guide To E-Commerce Platforms appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Infographic: What is Augmented Reality?

April 6th, 2017 No comments
Infographic: What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality is everywhere. Everyday, we read about it in the news. And even though Virtual Reality initially seemed to be a big deal—to have the biggest wow factor—it is now starting to appear that AR could be the real game-changer.

Do you know how Augmented Reality will affect your life? Or what’s the difference between AR and VR? This helpful infographic by the folks at answers those questions and more. Get to know a little more about AR’s history, the market it’s creating and the future applications it’ll have…


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Best WordPress Plugins for Boosting your Email Marketing Efforts

April 6th, 2017 No comments

Being a modern business owner, you can’t overlook the effectiveness of an email marketing, especially when it comes to generating quality leads and higher ROI. It is one of the most easy ways to reach a large number of targeted web audience. It doesn’t matter how big or small your marketing campaign is, email marketing … Continue reading Best WordPress Plugins for Boosting your Email Marketing Efforts

The post Best WordPress Plugins for Boosting your Email Marketing Efforts appeared first on Design Shard.

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Best WordPress Plugins for Boosting your Email Marketing Efforts

April 6th, 2017 No comments

Being a modern business owner, you can’t overlook the effectiveness of an email marketing, especially when it comes to generating quality leads and higher ROI. It is one of the most easy ways to reach a large number of targeted web audience. It doesn’t matter how big or small your marketing campaign is, email marketing

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Goodbye Stress: Four Effective Work Strategies

April 6th, 2017 No comments
Make the Most Out of Your Time Using Simple Strategies.

You know the problem: tons of things want you to get them done, and your schedule is already full to bursting. You’d like to introduce 72-hour days, as that would finally give you enough time for all projects. But days only have 24 hours. Keep cool, because efficiency and success can be planned if you know how.

Sometimes, small changes to your work schedule are all it takes to make you get work done more successfully, and even more importantly, much faster.

Success does not mean working longer, but just making better, and more productive use of your time.

In this article, you’ll learn four strategies that are guaranteed to get your everyday work more focused, and more efficient.

Being Efficient Means Making Better Use of Your Time

Make the Most Out of Your Time Using Simple Strategies.

With today’s tips, you’ll be able to check off your to-dos a lot faster, leaving more time for the things you truly care about.

Every day, freelancers and employees have to fight a problem that just originates from faulty plans.

The lack of time. In many cases, it is caused by daily to-do lists that are more reminiscent of a novel than a doable list of daily tasks.

However, the actual problem is hidden in a different spot, as humans and their various abilities certainly can solve the most difficult tasks in no time, if the focus is right.

Focus is key when it comes to a successful way of working. Too many tasks to switch in between of are too much for our brain to handle. It always takes a certain “training period” when having to switch between tasks.

Focus Gets You More Time

Concentration Lets You Get Your Tasks Done Quicker.
Concentration Lets You Get Your Tasks Done Quicker.

Many people are making the mistake of letting their thoughts jump around between tasks. Not only does this cost you time, but it is also reflected in the result. The quality of the single completed tasks drops, and in the worst case, none of the tasks is completed.

Imagine a piece of paper on a beautiful summer day. Put it on a meadow and hope that it inflames. Of course, this won’t work.

To inflame it, you need a magnifier that lets you focus the sunlight onto one point. Only then will the paper burn. Thus, use the law of concentration, and you’ll be able to get your tasks done purposefully and quickly.

Strategy One: Work Down Your ToDo List Depending on Priority

This one is tough to do, I know. But it’s one of the best pieces of advice I can give you. Every evening, write down a to-do list for the next day, placing the most important tasks at the very top. The most important things come first, the less important ones follow.

Always start your day with the most important, most difficult task. Don’t get distracted, close your email client, and focus exclusively on this one task. Only once this is done, go for the other tasks.

This way, you start off your day with substantial success. Then, the remaining tasks seem like child’s play. This helps you push your self-esteem, and you’ll assume successful working habits.

You will be able to get your work done much faster. It will also help you get done blog posts quicker. This leaves you with enough time for other things – like your family, for example.

Strategy Two: Use Your Focus Technique!

Working More Effectively and Faster Using a Focus Technique.
Working More Effectively and Faster Using a Focus Technique.

Even really successful people sometimes struggle to focus and keep up the focus until the end of a task. To circumvent this problem, the “Pomodoro Technique” by Francesco Cirillo is a good pick.

This technique is as simple as it is effective, and will help you get through these moments.

It Works Like This:

  1. Turn off all sources of distraction. No smartphone, no Facebook or Twitter, no distraction from colleagues or family.
  2. Set a classic egg timer to 25 minutes and work very focused for these 25 minutes. When working with a colleague in an office, put on headphones if it could be helpful for your concentration.
  3. After the 25 minutes are done, take a 5-minute break. Get up, stretch, breathe in fresh air at the opened window.
  4. Now, start the next 25 minutes of highly focused work.
  5. After the fourth session, take a longer break of 15 to 25 minutes.
  6. Repeat.

This method helps thousands of people to work off their daily to-do lists quickly and successfully. By the way, Francesco Cirillo used a tomato-shaped egg timer to measure the 25-minute units, hence the name.

Strategy Three: Work Standing Up Sometimes

Many successful people have worked standing up. This doesn’t mean that you should work exclusively standing up, but from time to time, you should. Use a high desk for your job, if possible.

Standing up, you’ll also feel a lot less tired, making you more productive. Thus, it is no surprise that successful people like Winston Churchill, Leonardo da Vinci, or Ernest Hemingway liked working at a high desk.

Divide your work time into blocks, and try to work standing up for a part of them. If your employer doesn’t want to pay for a high desk, I recommend buying one from your own money and using it in the office. At home, you can also set up a place for working standing up.

Even modern and innovative businesses like Google, Facebook, and SAP use height-adjustable desks, as these companies know that their workers are more productive, healthier, and happier due to standing up more frequently.

Strategy Four: When Writing, Always Work On a Timer

Working On a Timer Allows You to Become More Efficient.
Working On a Timer Allows You to Become More Efficient.

You have to write a lot due to your job or in private? Writing is like any other craft. To be able to write faster, leaving you with more time for other things, there are two factors.

1 – Practice Makes Perfect

The more often you write, the faster you’ll be able to write. Practice makes perfect and automatically results in a higher pace. However, if you just started out blogging, focus on the quality of your articles. Speed automatically comes with practice.

2 – Always Write Against a Timer

Get a countdown program, where you get to enter a certain time which will then be counted down. Starting out, you should be able to write an article with more than 1000 words in about three to four hours. So, first set a timer to four hours, and see how this time works for you.

Once you’re more experienced with writing and don’t have to search for every single key on the keyboard, challenge yourself to see how you can handle two hours. This would be the time in which experienced writers should be able to get done. Either way, this technique will definitely allow you to write faster; I’m using it as well.

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Preparing for an E-Commerce Store Launch: E-Commerce Deployment Checklist

April 5th, 2017 No comments
ecommerce website

It’s no secret that e-commerce sales are growing faster than physical sales; especially during typical shopping periods. To score Black Friday deals in recent years, shoppers had to venture out of their house during the dark hours of the morning, wait in line and battle jostling crowds to get their hands on the hottest items of the season.

But now, an increasing number of shoppers are choosing to skip the hassle and check every box on their holiday gift list from the comfort of their own home.

A survey from the National Retail Federation found that over 103 million Americans shopped online during the weekend of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, while just under 102 million Americans visited physical stores. The tides are turning, and e-commerce is poised to continue revolutionizing the commercial landscape.

But new challenges face e-commerce business owners as they decide how—and when—to deploy flash sales, feature updates, and product launches. A physical store would never shut its lights off and turn eager shoppers away in the middle of a huge sale. But e-commerce stores who fail to prepare for their deployments risk downtime because of an error. As Inc. points out, downtime does not just result in lost sales. Only 22 percent of the total revenue damage comes from missed sales; 37 percent stems from damage to your brand’s reputation.

What can your burgeoning e-commerce store do, before deployments, to make sure everything goes smoothly for your store and your customers?

It all starts with a platform. When you’re considering building your e-commerce store on platforms like Shopify or Magento, choosing scalable e-commerce architecture that can accommodate your large deployments will save you headaches down the line. Because in the end, all your savvy e-mail and social marketing hype will go down the drain if your site crashes due to traffic spikes on product launch day.

Next, you’ll want to manually test your deployments before they roll out. It’s important to double check that the updates on your online store don’t affect your customers’ ability to shop and pay. As EConsultancy writes, payment processes are commonly affected during deployments. It only makes sense to test your integrations before doing a full roll out so you know what to expect. Your original goal with a deployment may be to update all the ways that customers can pay, which is a positive improvement. More flexibility in the customer checkout means one happy customer! But a simple mistake in this area can unwittingly take your store out of commission and make it impossible for anyone to convert.

To prepare for an e-commerce deployment, it’s wise to ramp up communication leading up to the big event. Every team needs to be in the know every step of the way so they can monitor, improve and fix issues as needed. For example, rolling out a major site update right before employees head home for the weekend is a recipe for disaster. You don’t want a Friday-afternoon glitch to cut into next week’s sales, especially since Monday is traditionally the biggest online shopping day of the week, as Time reports. Implement and monitor deployments when all hands are on deck, and keep everyone informed on possible hiccups so your company can correct problems as they arise.

Smooth e-commerce deployments help your site evolve over time. As an entrepreneur, you know how important it is for your brand to grow and change in positive ways. Updating the features and product offerings in your stores can be nerve-wracking, as can planning for the moment that your biggest flash sale of the year goes live. With the right platform and a preparation checklist, your e-commerce business will be ready to make the most of every opportunity.

Read More at Preparing for an E-Commerce Store Launch: E-Commerce Deployment Checklist

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Quartz goes “mobile-native”

April 5th, 2017 No comments

Launched just five years ago, Quartz is a digital publisher of news that aims to present readers with a truly world view. Focused on the business world, is targeted primarily at mobile devices; two thirds of Quartz readers access the service on their phone.

Originally released in 2016, Quartz Index is a form of digital storytelling that transcends web sites, or news feeds, and enters the realms of Time, or National Geographic, by embracing its medium using videos, interaction, and easily digestible stats.

Read about the world’s longest flight, the one job destroyed by automation, or why Brazil’s 0% GDP growth is actually good.—Zach Seward, SVP of product and executive editor, Quartz

This week Quartz have unveiled an ambitious and highly successful redesign of the Index service. It is visually striking, easy to interact with, and highly addictive. You can tap, and swipe through stories in a way that is perfectly intuitive. (Of course, the service also works on desktop if that’s your preference, but it’s simply beautiful on a mobile device.)

The most interesting aspect of what Quartz are doing with Index, from a web professional’s point of view, is moving beyond mobile-first. Mobile-first is widely regarded as the best way to style content for the web, but so often it’s a case of simply scaling desktop content down to a smaller viewport. The whole approach of Quartz Index, is mobile centric.

A product of its time, Quartz adopted mobile-first as soon as it was conceived, but with this latest iteration of Index the team behind the build began using the phrase “mobile-native”.

In designing this new version of Index, we challenged ourselves to go beyond mobile-first, which has guided most decisions at Quartz from the beginning.—Zach Seward, SVP of product and executive editor, Quartz

Quartz tells stories digitally, in a format that feels like a stripped down Sunday supplement. With videos, stats, and bite-sized content to draw you into the zeitgeist, it feels like the perfect approach for our time. With so many media outlets mimicking print, or broadcast techniques, Quartz Index succeeds by embracing the interaction, and the flow, of the web.

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My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #18

April 5th, 2017 No comments

My name is Mason Ellwood, and I’m currently working on Flatiron School’s Online Full Stack Web Development Program. Each week, I’ll be writing about my experience, what I’m learning, and tips on learning to code.

Last post we talked about SQL, SQLite, and creating a database. This allowed us to get a little more comfortable when working with the database and what exactly it is and what that looks like all written within terminal command. But more often than not we will be writing SQL commands directly within a text editor.

SQL Database and Text Editors

To be able to write SQL in our text editor and execute that SQL against a specific database, you will have to create files in your text editor that have the .sql extension. With this extension applied will indicate that the file holds valid SQL code. Once code is written you will then execute the file directly against the database.

First, create your database:

Then create your file with the extension of .sql, this is where you put all your data that you want to add to your database.

Then with the syntax specified below, shovel the information from the created file to the database that you would like to add to.

To make sure, access the database that you have created (.sqlite2 database name) and run .schema. This allows you to make sure that the information added is indeed actually there.

With this you will now be able to integrate your files with your database.

But before I talk anymore about this I want to touch on life and staying on track. This may sound like something that has been spoken about time and time again, and there does not need to be anymore said about it. Or at least that’s what I thought about it, until one of these derailing events happened to me. Staying on course, maintaining focus on a goal, and pushing through to get to meet that goal can be easier said than done when one of these derailing events happen to you personally.

I will not get into what directly has happened to me recently, knowing that they would not like that, and for my own privacy. But basically it was something that could not be resolved quickly while taking a lot of energy across the whole family to resolve. When this happened, my life and progress across all projects halted. How could it with my mind somewhere else, and energy being placed elsewhere. But through this I learned how to manage myself through extraneous events.

My school which is online and self-paced started falling. I currently do not have a job, which makes my full time “job” The Flatiron School. But there is no penalty for skipping a day of class or taking some time off. So when family issues occurred, school was the first thing to be phased out, because family is more important. This pushed me further behind in school and progressing to my personal goal of completing school.

So how do I treat school as a mandatory job, while being a self-paced activity?

Something that I have had to do is force myself to take a step back. Allow myself space from that is going on at home, and work to progress for my future self. Please do not think that, what I am saying is to remove yourself from any issues and be absent from family functions. But if you believe that “this school” is necessary to your growth in your personal career, or necessary to job placement. That you should also set it as a precedence in your life, just as you do all important functions currently in your life. Just because it is self-paced does not mean it should be treated as self-paced.

Read More at My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #18

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Little Stuff about Markdown I Always Forget and have to Google

April 5th, 2017 No comments

This is mostly for me. These are the little things that sometimes confuse me about Markdown and I find myself having to search the web for. So I’ll write them down. Blogging as memory extension.

Know that your mileage may vary on this stuff, as there are many varietals of Markdown.


There is no concept of a

in Markdown syntax (or most other structural HTML elements), except that Markdown supports HTML so you can just use a

if you want to. But as soon as you do, nothing nested inside of it can be Markdown.

### Header

<div class="special-class">
1. Nope
1. Not 
1. Happening

Except it can! In many (most?) varietals of Markdown, you can put

on the element and it will allow Markdown inside of it.

### Header

<div class="special-class" markdown="1">
1. All
1. Fixed 
1. Up

Multiple paragraph lists and blockquotes

If a list item need multiple paragraphs in it, you can’t just break multiple lines and keep going. The next paragraph needs to be indented for it to be considered part of the same list item. Otherwise the list ends and new one starts.

1. one paragraph

    more for 1st list item :)

1. another paragraph

Blockquotes are similar:

> First bit.
> Second bit.

There will be no line break there. Those two bits will be inside the same

inside the

. To make them multiple paragraphs, you’ll need a blank line in between.

> First bit.

> Second bit.

If you wanted them to be entirely separate

s, without any other text in between, I’m not sure what’d you do.

Escaping characters

Certain characters have meaning in markdown, like how *asterisks* make text italic. But what if you want to actually display an asterisk? You escape it with a backslash, like *.

You can even escape the backslash itself, meaning is .


Markdown supports HTML, so if you need any special attributes on elements, you can just use HTML. But it’s nice to not have to.

Different varietals of Markdown handle it in different ways.

A somewhat common way is to allow them on headers like this:

### Custom IDs {#custom-id}

Some varietals simply add an ID on all headings for you automatically.

This is also doable client side.


It’s the same as the link syntax [link text](url) except it starts with a bang.

![alt text](

Slightly trickier still is nesting it to be a link:

[![alt text](image.jpg)](

Languages on Code Fences

The language comes right after the first set of backticks.

body {
  background: red;


You basically draw them like ASCII art. Note the dashes to denote the header row, and the colons for alignment:

| header | header | header |
| a      |    b   |      c |
| 1      |    2   |      3 |
| foo    |   bar  |    baz |

I guess I’m not alone

Here’s quite a thread of what other folks forget.

Little Stuff about Markdown I Always Forget and have to Google is a post from CSS-Tricks

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