CDPUG Blog

We are always looking for good blog content from CDPUG members and friends. Contact the blog master for details at blogmaster@cdpug.org

Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Design

  • Date & time: Thurs, Sep 19; 11 am – 1 pm (11 am: Meet the speaker and network; 11:30 am: Buffet lunch; Noon: Presentation)
  • Location: The Tangier, 532 West Market Street, Akron, OH 44303
  • Jacinda Walker is renowned for her work in design, diversity, research, and strategy. She is a former CDPUG board member too!

Presented by AAF-Akron

Hear about strategic solutions to close the diversity gap in design disciplines.

The lack of diversity in design is not a new problem. Although scholars, employers, organizations, and design professionals have been investigating it for more than 50 years, the problem still exists. Representation of people of color in the design profession hasn’t significantly increased in over ten years, while culturally insensitive advertising and messaging are on the rise. What are the problems causing this disparity? Come listen as Jacinda Walker explains the problems causing the lack of diversity in design, shares the need for more resources and outlines strategic solutions to close the diversity gap in design disciplines.

Jacinda Walker is renowned for her work in design, diversity, research, and strategy. She is the founder of designExplorr, a design education business that exposes youth to design careers. Walker obtained an AAB and BFA in graphic design from the University of Akron, and an MFA in Design Research & Development from The Ohio State University. Her research on the Design Diversity Index project and Design Journeys: Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Design Disciplines has been hailed as breakthrough work. Jacinda’s solutions-based thesis explores diversity in design disciplines and investigates effective strategies to expose Black and Latino youth to design careers. Her future goals are to help scale diversity in design education initiatives in corporations, school systems, organizations, and museums for underrepresented youth.

TICKETS – Click Here – (RSVP deadline: Sept. 13)

General Admission: $20 (member pricing for everyone)

Students: $15

Ticket sales are final and non-refundable

Contact: 330-990-9426

Email: ed@aafakron.com

Official Website

When the Software Gets Ahead of the Hardware

Microsoft releases “feature updates” to Windows 10 every six months. I could do without these. Just make it faster and fix the bugs.

Update and restart.
Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels.

If PC manufacturers don’t keep up with Microsoft by updating device drivers (the software tying Windows to hardware components), we’re left with computers that try and fail to install feature updates.

I’m not in the market for a new computer, but I found an article that links to a Microsoft software tool to ignore specific updates. Security updates for Windows can still be installed monthly. If you have administrator access to Windows, this tool could prove useful.

Save $! Cleveland Play House

Exclusively for CDPUG Members: Entertain yourself, your family/friends, and maybe a client or two with a new offer from the Cleveland Play House. Save 30%+ per ticket on the September 27, 28 or 29th performances of Into The Breeches! A play about a group of women who put on an all-female version of Shakespeare’s ambitious Henry IV and Henry V during WWII while the men are at war.

Don’t delay – this offer is only good until September 20!

FRI SEP 27 • 7:30 PM
Discount Price $55 – 32% off – Full Price $81
www.groupmatics.events/event/VIP0927

SAT SEP 28 • 2:30 PM
Discount Price $50 – 33% off – Full Price $75
www.groupmatics.events/event/VIP0928A

SAT SEP 28 • 7:30 PM
Discount Price $55 – 32% off – Full Price $81
www.groupmatics.events/event/VIP0928E

SUN SEP 29 • 2:30 PM
Discount Price $55 – 32% off – Full Price $81
www.groupmatics.events/event/VIP0929

Stay tuned for other discounts throughout the season. CDPUG Membership just keeps getting better & better!

How to Narrow Down Your Google Results

Use Google Advanced to zoom in on better search results.
Photo by Francis Seura from Pexels.

“Just google it”, has become the standard refrain when a question arises in this internet age. But sometimes the search results are overwhelming. That’s when Google™ Advanced search comes to the rescue.

With Google Advanced, you select additional search parameters to narrow down the results. I use it to specify a website and a timeframe, along with search words, to find that elusive article I remember reading but can no longer find. It’s also a good substitute for ineffective search engines found on some websites.

Just go to google.com/advanced_search and bookmark it to have a more powerful search engine at your fingertips.

July Meeting Recap – Hey, You! Get Off of the Cloud!

July’s CDPUG meeting was quite an eye-opener, as our panel discussed non-subscription options for graphics applications to the tune of the Rolling Stones song “Get Off Of My Cloud!”

Spike Radway, Director of Programming and panel moderator, thought the timing was perfect for the topic of alternatives to the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription model, especially with the recent release of Affinity Publisher. Spike was thrilled to be able to use a rock song as the title of a program!

Many of us have been resistant to or uncomfortable about Adobe going to a subscription program. I certainly preferred to purchase my software and upgrades once and not have the continual nibbling expense of the subscription. 

Henry Lee provides a walk through the Affinity Punisher’s interface. Pictured
from left to right are Spike Radway, Henry Lee, Chris Woodman and Ron Skoczen.
Photos by Christine Kaminski

CDPUG members Henry Lee, Copy King; Chris Woodman, Woodman Design; and Ron Skoczen, Skoczen Studios shared some of their alternative software knowledge and experiences with over 30 members. The panel covered page layout, image editing and vector application alternatives and answered questions from the audience.

The biggest set of alternatives come from the Affinity product suite, from Serif, a European company. Serif is bringing competition to a market that has been dominated by Adobe. The Affinity product suite consists of Affinity Designer, a vector drawing application; Affinity Photo, an image editing application; and now Affinity Publisher, a page layout application.

Much of our discussion focused on page layout, as the newest release from Serif, Affinity Publisher has been making headlines since mid June.  Henry Lee enthusiastically provided a walk through the interface and pointed out some of the key or different features. He’s been working with it since the Beta version came out last August and started to incorporate it into his prepress workflow about a month ago. He estimates that he’s using it about 25% of the time currently.

Interested CDPUG members listen to the presentation.

One nice overall feature about the Affinity product suite is that it offers seamless movement between the 3 applications. The applications also don’t carry a lot of baggage or plug-ins and therefore boot up and work faster. 

Affinity Publisher builds layers as you add elements to your layout, much like Adobe Illustrator. It supports print work well, though it does have issues with spot colors. One other thing to note, is that Affinity is geared toward European sizes and measurements, but you can set preferences to inches, etc.

Henry has compiled a useful set of  keyboard shortcuts (see link below) for Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. There is also a link to the panel’s meeting outline.

Affinity Designer.Photo_KeyBdCheatSheet.pdf

Hey You_GetOffTheCloud_ProgramOutline072019.pdf

Each Affinity application is available for Mac and Windows and each can be purchased for $49.99. So, you can get the entire suite for about $150.00! There are also free trials and Ron Skoczen said there are additional savings when the company has special offers.

As an aside, Henry also mentioned Unsplash.com as a little known source for free, hi-res images, which can be used for commercial and noncommercial purposes.

Chris Woodman then gave us an overview of Apple’s Pages app as another alternative for page layout. Often thought of as a Mac OS equivalent to MS Word, it does more than just word processing and it’s free! It can be used for simple documents, is quick, and provides templates for ebooks, fliers, postcards, etc. 

Chris Woodman (standing) discusses Pages as Spike Radway,
Director of Programming listens.

Chris gave a tour of the interface. He demonstrated how it is more flexible than Word. When files are used with iCloud’s file sharing capabilities and saved out of Pages as a Word file, it provides cross platform access to files. Also, files saved to iCloud can be accessed on all devices.

Chris also talked about how to create interactive ebooks with not only Pages but also using the unknown Mac app, iBooks Author. Chris has used the app to successfully design and publish seven books to Apple’s iBook Store. Below are links to his books if you’re interested. Two of his books are FREE, so you can download them on your iPad, Mac, or iPhone to see these interactive books in action.

Links to Chris Woodman’s eBooks.

iPhone & iPad Tips & Tricks: 10 Essential Tips (FREE)
iPhone & iPad Tips & Tricks: Book 1 ($4.99)
iPhone & iPad Tips & Tricks: Book 2 ($4.99)
iPhone & iPad Tips & Tricks: Book 3 ($4.99)
30 Romantic Getaways (FREE)
Discover HDR Photography ($4.99)
How to Create Realistic HDR Photos ($3.99)

Ron Skoczen talked about how he uses all the Affinity products and answered further questions about using them. He also suggested negotiating for better rates on Adobe CC subscriptions. If you turn off the autorenewal for Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe may make some discounted offers.

Unfortunately, our panel was unable to cover all applications depth. Two more worth mentioningCanva is a free open source page layout app available through your browser. CorelDraw is similar to Adobe Illustrator and is popular overseas. It is works on Mac or Windows and is available as a free trial, a 1 year subscription of $198.00 billed monthly for $16.50, or a one-time purchase of $499.00. 

Thanks to Mary Resnick, we have obtained raffle versions of the applications from Serif. Stay tuned for opportunities to win Affinity applications in raffles at future meetings!

I hope this discussion made you more aware of the graphics applications that are out there.  I know I’ll be checking out a few! Please make sure to test compatibility in your own work flow as you try these new options.

JUST IN! New Complimentary Registration for Networking Event

Thanks to MetroHealth you can now attend
the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Networking Event
for FREE!

Collegiate Career and Community Leader Mixer
Tuesday, July 30 from 6 – 9 PM
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

If you haven’t decided whether or not to attend the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Networking Event, this may send you over the edge! In addition to the original promo code for a $10 savings there is now a Complimentary promo code for FREE tickets!

Paid registrations will support Summer on the Cuyahoga programming.

Promotion Codes:
SAVE $10 – Enter MIX10SOTC
FREE TICKETS – Enter MIXCOMPSOTC

Promotion codes can be entered at the top of the “Select Tickets” window. Don’t miss out on this event! Ticket sales end on Monday morning, July 29.

This is a followup entry to the “Hurry – Don’t Miss the Liveliest Networking Event of the Summer!”

Questions? Contact Eric at EMCGARVEY@SUMMERONTHECUYAHOGA.COM

Limelight Offers Unique and Flexible Office Spaces

Limelight is a new coworking concept in Ohio City offering functional office space as a service. The space “bridges the gap between the residential comforts of a home office and the productive efficiencies of a corporate cubicle farm.” 

Arrangements are being made for our group to experience this unique space in the fall. In the meantime, they’ve made a special offer to CDPUG members.

To take advantage of this offer, contact Nike Olabisi-Green at 216-350-4440 or nike@limelightwork.com. Individual tours are also available on request at any time.

The space is open to a diverse group of members including entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, agencies, and corporate teams needing a client meeting location, conference or meeting space, part-time facilities, or office space.

Memberships vary depending on the amount of access and type of space. The most basic membership is a single day pass with open seating. There is also a range of monthly membership options with varying open seating access from 4 days/month to 24/7 access. You can even select a resident membership with 24/7 access and a private office.

Limelight offers the highest level of hospitality with a uniquely designed lobby, lounge and pantry common area. Other amenities include conference rooms, private phone areas, super-fast internet, top quality AV capabilities, notary public, multi-use copier/printer/scanner and parking.

Limelight is located at 2515 Jay Avenue, Cleveland OH 44113 in a historic post office building. Please note – searches for the address direct people to the back of the building.  There are 3 sets of doors at the front. You want to enter from Jay Avenue through the center set of doors with the old Post Office facade. Parking is included with all memberships. There is a lot in back and to the side of the building. Anyone can utilize free street parking on Jay Avenue.

Hurry – Don’t Miss the Liveliest Networking Event of the Summer!

Collegiate Career and Community Leader Mixer
Tuesday, July 30 from 6 – 9 PM
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to celebrate Cleveland, network with Cleveland professionals and community leaders, and support area college students at the Collegiate Career and Community Leader MixerHurry because ticket sales end on Monday morning, July 29!
SAVE $10 by entering the promotion code MIX10SOTC at the top of the “Select Tickets” window.

Professionals and community leaders are invited to share their career backgrounds, opportunities and advice and establish connections with students and other professionals. 

Key networking time will be from 6-7:30 PM with time afterwards to enjoy the museum or continue networking. Hors d’oeuvres and a cash or credit mocktail and cocktail bar will be provided along with complimentary access to all Rock Hall museum galleries. 

Registration for business professionals is $45 and nonprofit professionals is $35. Professionals are invited to bring business cards and approximately 150 copies of one piece of literature about their organization to share with students

Click HERE to learn more and register.

The event is presented by MetroHealthSummer on the Cuyahoga (internship program), and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Questions? Contact Eric at EMCGARVEY@SUMMERONTHECUYAHOGA.COM

CDPUG Member to Play the Rock Hall with Vanity Crash

Friday, July 19 from 5 PM – 7 PM at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Left to right: Thomas Anonymous, Matthew Angel, Virginia Plain Crash, Dennis Van Crash. Photo by Dennis Yurich.

CDPUG member Jinni Fontana (aka Virginia Plain Crash) is not only an experienced graphic designer, art director, project manager, and Showcase karaoke participant—she also has musical talent as a member of the local glam-rock band, Vanity Crash!

Come down and see Jinni and the rest of the Vanity Crash gang on Friday, July 19. In addition to their live performance on the plaza, there will be food truck food and drink specials at this Rock Hall Live SUN SETS event.

Jinni joined the band this past Spring singing backup vocals and playing percussion. She had seen them perform after Thomas Mulready’s (drummer and founder) Beatles’ multimedia presentation at the Bop Stop. She said, “It was exactly the kind of music I wanted to be involved with – original songs and covers by Bowie, Beatles, Velvet Underground, and T Rex. We all hit it off and have been rehearsing since, with gigs booked from now until January.”

Click here for more info

Web Design Experts Discuss Importance of UI Design

Our June meeting featured a lively panel discussion on user interface design at LeanDog on the beautiful shore of Lake Erie. Thanks to Debbie Stahl of LeanDog, Custom Software Development & Consulting for sharing their beautiful ship shape office space.

Photos by Christine Kaminski

The 5 person panel consisted of:

  • Lisa Gruber-Gebby – a Principal of OrangeWall Creative a design and interactive firm with over 25 years experience. Lisa is the god-mother of the CDPUG Showcase.
  • Dallas Riffle – President of DRM, a growing full-service marketing agency in Fairview Park, Ohio.
  • Adam Corrao – owner of Corrao Designs, a website design and development agency based out of Parma, Ohio.
  • Heidi Cool of Heidi Adams Cool • Web Design & Strategy – a marketer and web strategist with 25 years experience in web development.
  • Remington Phillips – a CDPUG Past President and current Director of Digital at radio broadcaster Connoisseur Media.

The discussion began with some general comments from each panelist describing what user interface (UI) design means. Overall, UI has to do with how a visitor explores or navigates a website. It includes the design and elements of the entire site – buttons, menus, paragraphs, photos, etc. Simplicity and organization of information are key. The goal is to guide users to a destination. User interface (UI) is a small part of the entire user experience (UX). Lisa encouraged us to visit a great resource at usability.gov.

Visit usability.gov for more information on UX and UI.

Panelists continued to provide tips on the overall process. When you begin work on a website Dallas emphasized that you need to obtain or write your content first – then look at the layout. Everyone mentioned how important it is to have a goal and know who your audience is. What is it that your user should perceive? Is it a product or service? Heidi provided several hand drawn visuals showing how to take your goal and use it to create a site map and then a wireframe.

Dallas advised making sure all things have a purpose. He felt many sites have a lot of clutter. Designers should make sure they have a reason for adding something to an interface. Lisa brought up various sites both here and throughout the panel discussion as samples.

Remington mentioned that you need to analyze or look at the website for sticking points – whether that be by simply letting family and friends test it out or doing something more organized like creating a focus group.

The meeting continued with a Q&A session. When asked their opinions on sliders – everyone agreed that they tend to be overused and you need to limit them to 3-5 slides. Also, once again – make sure they have a purpose.

Someone else asked the panel how they address creating mobile vs. desktop set ups. Adam suggested using the “inspector” in Chrome (or similar tools on other browsers) to evaluate your site on different sized screens. 

When asked about customizing templates, Heidi mentioned that you may need the help of a developer or designer. In order to do it yourself, she also said it is necessary to know CSS, HTML, Java Script and PHP.

Adam and Dallas brought up the importance of using “child themes” to create new designs. This way, any code changes you make are preserved in the child theme and won’t be overwritten when an update of the parent theme rolls out. If you put custom code in the parent theme and it gets updated, your modifications would be lost.

Another member asked if it was possible to back up or preserve revisions to your sites in case clients want to go back to a certain version—like graphic designers frequently do. There were several good suggestions including using the “revert” feature in WordPress, using plugins to perform automatic backups (such as UpdraftPlus), and accessing backups saved by most hosting companies. To make things more organized, it is recommended you use your own naming system to keep track of which backups are which.

The Q&A session wrapped up with suggestions on how to get or update WordPress.

Remington concluded by reminding us of the importance of incorporating web accessibility tools so everyone can use your site and the sites meet certain medical, government and restaurant industry requirements.

Thank you so much to all the panelists for taking time from their busy schedules to participate. We appreciated your input and advice!

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