Professionally Proofed

Professionally Proofed

Sunday School: Scott Young at TED

January 25th, 2015 by

I really want to blog everyday, but I also need to have days that I can blog quickly and spend time with my family.  So, I think I’m going to start a “Sunday School” column, where I share a video or a tutorial for learning that someone else has done.

This week’s comes from TED.  Scott Young did all the coursework for a 4-year degree from MIT in one year.  He shares his experience and insights below.

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Web Design Toolkit: Colour Lovers

January 24th, 2015 by

ZapotecI’m not an artist, and I’m especially not one when it comes to colors.  I mostly wear earth tones and purple (I’m not sure what my fascination with purple is), and I tend to think most colors look fine together, but I tend not to care.

Unfortunately, in web design, I have to care a whole lot.  Color schemes and palettes make the difference between a good design and a great design.  I tend to think that color and typography are the two most important elements in a design, and I’m definitely lacking in my eye for color.  In the past, I have overcome this limitation by stealing colors from logos and images that I was using in the site to make sure everything coordinated.  This was generally a good strategy, and it’s one I still use. Continue reading »

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Old Reliable

January 23rd, 2015 by

google-formsWell, we had our first hiccup on our website.  For a day, we didn’t have a functioning contact form.  So, if any readers tried to contact us yesterday or this morning, we didn’t get the email.  We’re very sorry, but please send it again, and we’ll be happy to help you.

So…what happened?

I love using Google Forms for everything.  They make great contact forms, quizzes, data collection mechanisms, surveys, etc.  I have been able to use them in lots of creative ways, and they never fail me.  However, they aren’t really pretty.  On the old Google Forms, you could make your form transparent, and it would blend into your website seamlessly.  With that functionality gone, you are left with Google’s default styling and colors (although this is getting better and much easier to work with). Continue reading »

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Peek User Testing Review

January 22nd, 2015 by

peeklogoA month ago when I was doing research for starting an online business, I listened to a podcast that suggested using Peek User Testing to get feedback on a website.  I thought it sounded like a great idea, so when I finished the first iteration of, I went over to their website ( and followed the instructions to have them test my site.

What Peek advertises is to have a random internet user use your site for 5 minutes while recording their thoughts, and that you can receive three of these tests a month for free.  This is an amazingly useful tool when designing a site and starting a business, so I was excited to get feedback and hear from users about our site.

What I got was a mixed bag. Continue reading »

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What I’ve learned starting an online business

January 21st, 2015 by

business-plan-concept-23869209I never really saw myself as an online business owner.  Any dreams of starting my own business were of the “one day I’d like to own a coffee shop or a book store” variety, more ways to feed my obsessions than actually make money.  They were always abstract too.  I’m a teacher.  That’s what I do.  It’s my passion.  So, there really wasn’t a reason for me to pursue something else.

That being said, I do have a lot of passions outside of the teaching field.  I love to read and write.  I love computers, and I love the power of the internet to bring people together and to give people a voice.  For many years, I blogged.  I wrote about politics, religion, philosophy, and sports.  I dabbled in web design, creating my own blog templates and designing sites for schools I worked in.  The web was a playground, not really a place for me to make money or do business.

Then one day Shanda came home and said her boss needed help with her website and that she would pay me to help her do a few things.  Two meetings later and I had been hired to completely redesign a website for a small business. Continue reading »

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