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Google Mobile Friendly SuccessIt has been announced that starting April 21, Google search engine rankings will depend on your website to be mobile friendly (responsive). Besides having a properly coded website to maintain a higher quality of search results, a significant impact will occur if your website is not mobile responsive.

If you have procrastinated in updating your website, now is the time to update! Unfortunately, it is not as easy as clicking an update button. Fortunately, I have been learning this recently new way of building websites for over three years now since it’s inception from Ethan Marcotte in 2011.

Want to learn more and find out what it means for your website? Google developers has a link to test your site here to see what standing your site is at. Feel free to contact me with any more questions or quote in helping your website make the switch to mobile friendliness.

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Posted by & filed under Design and Development.

Over the past couple of years, I have been diving back into the tech communities out there to get brought back up to speed. In addition to training for new technologies online, I not only wanted, but needed to have a face to face community to compare what other designers and developers are doing. Being self-employed, one can easily disappear from the tech scene. Therefore, it became one of the best decisions I had made in my career, to get out and away from my work desk. In addition, I also am fortunate to be located in Chicago, which has naturally has vast groups of people wanting to talk about a wide range of topics all within a concentrated demographic area.

Chicago WordCamp

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My WordCamp Name Badge

I attended my first WordCamp Chicago this year. The Thursday before the 3-day event, I had the ‘might as well check it out… why not… although probably not a life changing event’ attitude. Sunday night, I threw out all my preconceptions of WordPress and began a whole new view of how I worked, what I worked on and the future of my work. Oh, and they talked about WordPress too! It was a ‘work life’ changing event.

In addition to the overwhelming amount of information, insight and excitement about WordPress technology, there was the community. The WordPress community was an impressive group of people to see first hand and talk with. People came from over the world and varied in expertise from the very developers of WordPress to retired people wanting to learn more for their own projects. I was also introduced to SiteGround via the vendor booths. There, for the first time, I could talk person to person with the people who run and develop for WordPress specific hosting needs. Their company’s culture really impressed me and have been using them from that day forward.

Best of all, WordCamp Chicago 2014 was all archived on video to reflect back on months and probably years ahead.

I will definitely be back in 2015 and hope to participate more in the non-structured areas to extend my experience from the year before. Feel free to reach out to me if you plan on attending too!

Chicago WebVisions

A few month after WordCamp, I was thrilled to have won a raffle within a Meetup group to attend Chicago WebVisions 2014. For years, I had always wanted to attend this event to see ‘the future’ in web design and development, as well as the technologies they will be displayed on. Similar to WordCamp, there were many great presentations to choose from throughout the day. Some of my favorites included:

Build for the future, don’t just talk about it

Finding Balance in the Techpocalypse

MARS Project/Teaching Afro-Futurism!

I hope to go again to WebVisions next year and also participate in one of the hackathons they hold the day before.

Meetups

A couple years ago, I also started again attending Meetups in the Chicago area. Ranging from WordPress specific topics to wearable technologies, I always pick up something new that translates into a better next project. Some of the past Meetups that I have attended include:

Neuromarketing: The Brain Science of Web Marketing

Designing with SCSS

Making the Most of Email Marketing

Responsive Web Design

Technical Search Engine Optimization ( SEO )

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WordCamp Instagram Montage

There is a different energy that I truly enjoy when going to these Meetups that I would surely miss otherwise. I urge anyone, and I mean anyone, to attend these Meetups to see for yourself. A few favorites that I attend regularly include the Chicago Northside WordPress Meetup, Queer Tech Club and Chicago HTML5 Meetup. Please, say hi if you see me!

Occasionally, I also attend other tech related events throughout the year, such as gdgt, Nokia and other emerging tech unveiling events ( to fulfill the geek needs in me ).

On those days where I can’t escape the desk, I occasionally signup to the ever growing list of free webinars that are being offered. Various subjects ranging from responsive email development to Adobe product usages to hosting optimization with SiteGround, have all been well worth the time. Groups of people have also been virtually gathering on Google Hangouts which can be equally informative as the above.

To wrap things up, I wanted to share this with not only fellow designers and developers, but my clients as well. All of this translates, if not immediate, but eventually to better web design. I have seen my own skill set grow at a much faster rate than ever before by getting away from the computer. Who would of thought!

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As we are moving our websites over to responsive and mobile-first designs, it’s nice to take a break from time to time and appreciate some of the symbols we see on our devices daily. The most interesting and memorable symbols to me are the power symbol and the bluetooth symbol.

I remember when working with HannaHodge back in the early 2000s, Bluetooth made a public announcement of it’s new logo. To my surprise, the same symbol was on the back of my work business card. The only difference was that I had hand drawn it. It had the same fundamental angles as the newly proposed Bluetooth logo. I decided to fold and no longer use my version of the symbol. Nowadays, this symbol is as commonly seen as the Apple logo, if not even more.

As an Apple fanboy, the first thing you look for when getting a shiny new Macbook Pro or the like, was that power button. This symbol starts your day and also ends it. Everyday. A friend of mine has also tattooed it on the nape of his neck. Everyone knows what to do when they see that symbol!

If you have a few extra minutes today, take a look at this website’s presentation of some of these UI symbols.

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Hallo! (German for hello, big leap I know.)

I read 10-20 articles and watch even more videos about, not only the tech industry (from an hobbiest perspective), but also web development and design each and every day. I see a lot of beautiful graphics to lure me in, as well as, bright bold colors to keep my attention. Now, this is actually beneficial for me, as I’m usually reading an article while watching one or two videos at the same time. Bad.

That being said, a headline like the following overridingly grabs my attention more then any fancy orniment or clicky 2D button; Tablet shipments now more than half that of the PC (source). What? This isn’t 2014 or 2015 like most of the analysts have been saying since the inception of the iPad. The 2014 time table was intimidating enough as a web developer, but it seems that tablets and smart phones have been so popular, not even the most conservative forecasts came close.

The reason I bring up this point, perhaps not for the first time to you, is to make it crystal castles clear that ‘we’ need to realize that time is now. People are viewing your website now on tablets, not whimsically in a few years. I remember vividly talking to a client about the impending impact of the iPad (the only tablet on the market at the time). I was so proud because little did they know that I had already prepared and coded their website to work on the iPad. To my dismay, when I showed the website on the iPad, their reaction was, “those (tablets devices) are just for kids”, and quickly moved on to their want for a completely flash based (non-tablet supported) website.

That event had stayed in the back of my mind ever since. I always felt confident in my advice, development decision and focus on future website planning regardless of public misconceptions of technology. What I would have never guessed was that the whole tablet revolution would be adapted even quicker then I imagined.

In a future post I will elaborate more on this with solutions such as responsive web design, which I am fully embracing for future projects. While responsive web design is not a end-all solution, it may be the most affordable solution to cover not only the desktop, but also all the tablets and smartphones in one swoop. Or should I say swipe. Either way, something to think about much more carefully for your next website or redesign.

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Kevin Buckstiegel
Freelance Web Design and Developer
kevin @ kevinbuckstiegel.com

Posted by & filed under Design and Development.

Hello!

I’m excited to be re-entering the world of socializing and engaging one another online again! Starting back around 2003 I was involved by means of video blogging (LimeBlog) and running a Bea Arthur fan website. Most of the video blogging was a period before the YouTube phenomenon. RSS feeds and 320×240 goodness. Time has passed and after a brief hiatus, I have adapted and restarted with a new passion of not only learning, but also sharing and teaching others.

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Image :: Some of you may remember me as Limegreen Tangerine. I decided a while ago to simply go under my own name, however I will always answer to Limegreen if you so choose! 

I’m going to start off by talking to my current audience, my clients. Soon after, I will also include ideas and conversation with other website designers and developers. I would like the opportunity to answer some of my client’s reoccurring questions publicly. Such subjects will include:

• Search engine optimization (SEO)
• Responsive web design (RWD)
• Email newsletter process
• Social media practices

Please feel free to subscribe by email or RSS feed to this blog to stay in contact. Also, by adding my Twitter, LinkedInGoogle+, and/or Facebook Page, you will be notified by new article postings. New articles will be released weekly. Your feedback is welcome and encouraged. I can become even more resourceful for you and others by asking me questions, leaving comments, corrections, critiques and criticism.

Thank you for your time and interest.

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Kevin Buckstiegel
Freelance Web Design and Developer
kevin @ kevinbuckstiegel.com