Portfolio

Submitted by Catherine on Sun, 02/14/2016 - 20:30
Buddy's Breakfast Menu

 

Spoon Fed World is a working portfolio demonstrating the highly customizable, responsive, mobile-first Drupal 8 content management system, or CMS.  Are you new to this arena?  Determined to have your own CMS?  Are you interested in building or maintaining your Drupal site with minimal effort and disruption?  You can benefit now by reading this page.

Quantum junction get in both lanes 350 x 245
Officer Friendly was not amused when I explained multi-tasking comes naturally.

I Do

  • Scheduled tasks without micromanagement (updating lists, data entry or collection, research).
  • Copy editing, manuals, proofing, straight copy typing
  • Digital photo touch ups
  • Reliable, well supported, inexpensive website and online store setup with intermediate graphic skills.
  • The 'keep it simple' principle.

Configuring a Drupal 8 content management system for easy editing and low maintenance is a win-win-win that allows me to:

  • Avoid modifications that can impact service to mobile devices, or make upgrades a costly nightmare.
  • Harness the power and stability of a robust CMS framework without excess baggage.
Douglas Adams HGTTG book cover
Douglas Adams is the man!  I digress. The point is, finding an ideal developer is like searching for the answer to everything.  Diving in and out of alien worlds, eventually you arrive at the end of the universe to discover your goal was an exercise in frustration.

If you prefer being hands on and want to setup your own CMS with a minimum of fuss, I can walk you through step-by-step.

If you need bells and whistles or seek help with Drupal, you will find yourself repeatedly directed to hire a developer.  However, you can use Drupal or Wordpress with great effect without hiring a developer, or learning several programming languages and scripting.  Obviously it is not in a developer's best interest to help you do that.  This is my niche.

Building websites has become more and less of the wild west these past couple of decades, evolving from an online business card function to full blown content management with embedded taxonomies.  Standards have developed that shortened our leash and added invisible shock collars that ZAP! without warning.

I can make building a respectable website easier for motivated individuals by minimizing unnecessary effort and costs. An average site without any bells or whistles can be a few thousand bucks.  People need to be paid, but there hasn't been justification for padded busy work for a long time.

Over 40 years of diverse and complementary skills converge here with a single wizard behind this webby net curtain.  What you see can be modified to reflect your individuality and focus without sacrificing functionality and limitations imposed by Wordpress.  What you don't see may be possible, so ask!  Contrary to popular assumption I do not know everything and there is usually a way to manifest imagination.

A timely, satisfying end result relies on mutual understanding of services, fees and turnaround.  If you have a project I can assist with, let's talk.

I Don't Do

SEO (search engine optimization).  Why?  My mantra:  "Google and Facebook have no business controlling my business."  Want to lose some weight?  Lose SEO. 

Not optimal:  keeping up with Google's bipolar habits to avoid being blocked when it is unhappy with your carefully worded content.  No search engine should be the Mommy Dearest of your business.  Lame:  paying Facebook for email addresses then struggling against odds to make an unlikely numbers game work instead of developing and showcasing credibility established through peers, clients, and customers. 

Here is another professional's opinion, though his angle is using keywords as income from advertising which does not work for everyone.  Furthermore, I feel that contributes to useless data on the nets.  Nonetheless, Michael Wilding's commentary is close to the mark.

Pssst!  Sometimes less is more 300 x 200.jpg.
SEOs need us to bear their weight, yet don't pay up.  Chintzy freeloaders!

 Another bone to pick with SEO and CMS systems, is subordinating thoughtful content to the RDF aka Resource Description Framework.  RDF is a "W3C standard for modeling and sharing distributed knowledge based on a decentralized open-world assumption."  Say whaaaat?  That's what I said.

Turns out a standard was created to scoop up data and organize as much as possible on the fly.  What is the impact on non-CEOs of SEOs (you and I)?  Professional content writers lack time to play algorithmic catch up with Google. 

SEO optimizers work hard to convince everyone we are lost babes in the sea of internets without SEO.  Why pay for traffic that is not paying you? 

If not SEO, how will people find you?  Include your website in discussions and business communications.  A CMS can be a valuable accessory, however if you think of yourself as a statistic, you may become that.  Keep your self and your business front and center.

More About CMS Setup

Wordpress setup and configuration is about 1-2 hours.  Much of that time is used for researching and testing themes to suit a specific purpose.  To review themes on your own, and immediately avoid about an hour of nonsense and considerable future nonsense, choose a stable theme that is actively maintained by Wordpress.  Most themes are not current with updates or changes for mobile devices; especially many of the pretty, sexy, flashy themes.  Using the Wordpress control panel is seldom intuitive.  If you rate yourself as not savvy on the nets, add at least one hour of one-on-one instruction to learn essential Wordpress features.

Don't eat that it has nuts in it.
Just saying...

Wordpress does well for writing, portfolios, video and photography presentation.  If more is necessary you will soon feel crammed in a tiny shoe box over which Wordpress has the most control.

Drupal is among the most secure content management systems used by a variety of businesses including the White House.  Yes, that big house on the Potomac where nuts make laws that the rest of us do our best to live with.

Theme compatibility is limited in Drupal 8, however flexibility and room to grow is built in with options for immediate and future use.  Options include multiple users, a competent forum, glossary, archive; powerful ability to create and manage internal and external activities; reports with customizable fields, views, displays; editable taxonomy, contextual editing; and Books for lessons, manuals, journaling, or writing.

Add 1-2 hours of review to practice navigating and administrating from the back end to effect changes in the user interface at the front end, upgrade and add content.

Artwork

The previous graphic is my first cartoon.  Possibly an indicator you may want to hire a professional graphics artist.  Digital photo touch up, however, is a very separate skill set.  My avatar for this site is one example.

Photo example touch up 550 x 310.jpg
Transforming a plain photo can be purposeful.  Special occasion photos with an unfortunate blip can be touched up for a fonder memory.  In a wedding photo, for example, by removing poo on the grass near the bottom of a full length veil.  (Yes, that was a professional wedding photo shoot.  How does this happen?)

If a suitable image of your logo is available, that will be uploaded at no charge.  Rates for making an image suitable depend on the effort and time involved.  A text-only logo - as with a motto - might be included at no charge.  Depends on what you have in mind.

Creating original graphics is a staple for many website and CMS managers.  My almost-art skills are probably categorized as amateur and generally conservative.  I do not claim to be a professional graphic artist, which implies expertise near the top of that field.  I tinkered with the header for this page for a couple of days off and on before it appeared exactly how I like it best.  Nonetheless, if I were to charge someone for that same work, I could reasonably expect a couple hours pay.  Professional print shops with professional graphics artists typically charge $100 to $300 for original artwork, more or less dependent on location, complexity, and skill level of the artist.

If you have never created original digital graphics and want an idea of what goes into it, here is an exercise that can be done in about 15 minutes by someone familiar with the terms, actions and tools.  Anyone can learn, but it takes working every day for about a week to become comofortable with this little bit.  Fortunately just thinking about this is nearly as effective as actually doing the exercise.  Download a free copy of GIMP for your operating system.  Create a smiley face with a transparent background.  Make it shiny.  Magnify.  Change the color of a few pixels.  Lasso, then blur selected pixels.  Clean up stray pixels.  Flip the image horizontally, vertically and arbitrarily (because this is an exercise).  Copy/paste/cut pixels in or out of the image and into or from another image without losing the transparent background of the original.  Use masking, layers, paths, history, eraser, brushes, opacities, and at least several other tools and filters because you don't want to be a one-trick pony.  Change the direction of the smile or add eyebrows.  Make the eyes bigger or smaller.  Scale the canvas.  Scale the image.  Add a border, bevel, or other decor.  Colorize, change brightness, contrast, undertones, overtones, mid-tones.  Check composition.  Change resolution and mode.  Save as different file types.  Note the differences of file sizes specific to type of compression.  Keep in mind suitability for intended use and audience.  Then get comfy with fonts and layout.

Typography about
Typography forms the universe where black and white find their balance, whree ink and paper meet.  Typography determines the way in which the spoken word is visualised - it carries its meaning.  Therefore, typography in itself should be invisible.  ~ Joke Gossé

Note:  Joke Gossé is type designer, typographer and researcher at Sint-Lucas Antwerpen.

Using fonts is an entirely different skill set in graphics.  I don't mean creating fonts.  Rather nuances, and using typography to achieve a specific function.

A common practice is the rule of 3s.  No more than 3 fonts, 3 heading sizes, 3 colors, 3 menu levels, 3 pages deep counting the main page.  More than three levels invites average readers to lose focus or interest.  That said, the average concert poster seems to break all the rules by making everything bigger than life.  Yet, a closer look reveals particular focus.  Edward Bernays and Carl Schmitt were well aware of the psychology behind effective presentation of information.

These points about artwork and typography represent a fraction of basics every content manager should be proficient with.   Professional graphic artists raise the bar much higher.  A professional, full time graphic artist has sufficient skills and creativity to bring an idea to life in reasonable time; hours versus days.

Given the numerous steps required to create a complex work which can appear simple, one hour minimum is a reasonable average for simple graphics even if it only takes a professional 15 minutes.  You pay for more skill or more time.  Cost of investment in artistry comes out about the same.  Although the apparent bulk of physical work may only take 10 minutes, the remainder of time is given to refinement, and perhaps a few variations to allow choices. 

Graphics skills set a fuzzy benchmark until you sit down to do it yourself.  THEN you get it.  Logos are generally billed higher because there is more to consider specific to content, purpose, appeal, fonts, colors and so forth.  Much initial discussion is applied to future related artwork.

Hosting

The very first time someone prepares to build or pay someone to build a website, there is often a tendency to over do certain aspects.  Avoid useless shiny things, and unecessary speed or storage you will not use in this lifetime.

If you need to plan bigger than I can help you with, I suggest A2 Hosting.  I have used their services for 1.5 years without a single concern.  A2 offers 24/7 tech support and has a $20 monthly fee for priority support.  I highly recommend A2 above dozens of web hosting services I have used or researched.

Or, you can utilize both our services.  I will show you how to setup and manage your CMS which A2 does not do.  If you are net savvy I can provide slightly less expensive hosting with all the same services A2 provides.

Shopsite

There has not been opportunity to utilize Shopsite to date, however their customer support is available by phone and very helpful.  Not having used Shopsite yet, I cannot estimate a turnaround time for completion of a project.