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“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’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.
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.
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.
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 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 mentioning. Canva 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.
Thanks to MetroHealth you can now attend
the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Networking Event
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.
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 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 email@example.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.
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 Mixer. Hurry 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
Questions? Contact Eric at EMCGARVEY@SUMMERONTHECUYAHOGA.COM
Friday, July 19 from 5 PM – 7 PM at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
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.”
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.
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!
If you missed this year’s Showcase or want to review speakers’ presentations we’re happy to announce that all of the speaker videos are now available on the CDPUG YouTube page!
A YouTube video of your presentation is one of the perks of presenting at the Showcases. You can use the video to introduce yourself to your peers, make new contacts, improve your SEO and attract important potential referrals.
You may not have ever thought about it—but winning a GRAMMY® doesn’t mean you necessarily get to take it home from the awards ceremony!
In March, we found out about the album Apollo’s Fire “Songs of Orpheus” winning the GRAMMY® for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. (March 19, 2019 CDPUG blog entry by Jinni Fontana). The album features the talents of Apollo’s Fire Cleveland’s own Baroque orchestra—Karim Sulayman’s vocals, Jeannette Sorrell’s artistic direction, and Erica Brenner’s production.
As a recipient, you get to see and hold the GRAMMY® award, but the official personalized awards are engraved and sent out after the ceremony.
Erica was patient and now holds her very own GRAMMY® award!
Congratulations again to Erica on her first nomination and win as an independent producer.
You can get the CD at https://apollosfire.org/cds-shop/, or at your preferred music retailer.
A combined group of about 10 CDPUG members and Parade on the Circle artists toured The World of Puppets: From Stage to Screen exhibit at the Cleveland Public Library this past Saturday. The group had a guided tour which featured traditional and modern puppets from around the world in every shape and size.
A good number of the puppets in the collection were from Parade on the Circle. Attendee Sue Berry, who runs the parade’s sewing department, had her name in many places for her sewing contributions. She and her husband Michael Crouch supplemented the docent’s tour with behind the scenes info.
Everyone enjoyed famous puppets such as Oscar the Grouch, Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors, Punch and Judy, and the gang from Hickory Hideout. They also tried their hand at their own puppet show in one of the puppet stages.
A large group of attendees went out for Mexican afterwards.
The exhibit is part of the library’s year-long 150thAnniversary Celebration. The exhibit is at the
library through November 30. Admission is free and open to everyone.