liquidfish current https://liquid.fish/current en-US daily 1 Love and Creative Briefs https://liquid.fish/current/love-and-creative-briefs Tue, 12 Feb 19 11:03:07 -0600 Valentine’s Day is upon us and love is in the air!  It’s the perfect time of year to strengthen the relationships in our lives - and here at a creative agency, few relationships need as much attention as those between content strategists and graphic designers.

If you want your graphic designer to love you, don’t be like Mick Jagger.  I know what you’re thinking, “Don’t be like Mick Jagger? He’s got the moves, the charisma, everyone loves him!”  Well here’s the thing: he wrote the worst creative brief; maybe ever. Here it is. Give it a read. It won’t take too long.  

One of the most acclaimed artists of the 20th century, Andy Warhol, was given this barebones set of instructions to come up with album art for The Rolling Stones. The phrase “do whatever you want” is literally used.  I like to call that phrase, “How to Get Dumped by Your Graphic Designer.” Any designer worth wooing will tell you there is nowhere near enough information in this brief to make a deliverable the client will approve of.  So that begs the question, what do you need to include when writing a brief? Most importantly, you need balance. 

There’s certain details that are considered brief must-haves: dimensions, medium (i.e. Instagram ad, LinkedIn post), a general concept of color scheme or font style (for a pure graphic), the right Shutterstock search (for a photo), and the most refined version of any copy the graphic will have. However, you don’t want to put your designer in a box.  That’s where balance comes in. If you love someone, set them free. Especially the creatives. They need room to spread their wings and show you what they can do when given the freedom to create. “Do whatever you want” gives the designer freedom, but doesn’t show them that you care.

In short, if you want your designers to love you back, give them what they need, but don’t hold them down.  Let them be themselves, but make sure they know you’re there for them.

At the end of the day, despite Mick Jagger’s creative brief shortcomings, here’s what Warhol made: one of the most iconic album covers ever.

Happy Valentine's Day, XOXO liquidfish

 

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Planning for the Unplanned https://liquid.fish/current/planning-for-the-unplanned Wed, 30 Jan 19 11:01:00 -0600 Schedules are hard.

Really hard.

The dictionary defines a schedule as "a series of things to be done or of events to occur at or during a particular time or period."

In my experience, a schedule is a list of items that you expect to do, but then everything goes haywire and you end up doing things that you either weren't expecting to do, hadn't planned on, or simply forgot.

Schedules are hard!

Missing plans, cancelling plans, forgetting that you were supposed to be the clown at your niece's 8th birthday party, and then remembering 6 months later.
It strains relationships.
It causes people to lose trust.
It could be why the last time you visited your sister, your niece kicked you in the shins.

I've been there, and those kicks hurt! Fortunately, this is shortly after the new year, and with new years come new resolutions! So throw away that plan to "eat heathier" or "exercise more" that you aren't going to keep, and resolve to plan smarter! Let's start with the basics:

Start With A Plan(ner)

The obvious first step is to set up a planner. If you don't already have one, a planner can help you keep in mind what's happening when, but a more likely issue is that you don't remember to write it down. Remembering to write things down can be hard, especially if you're already having a hard time remembering what you're supposed to write down to be remembering.

What can we do about that?

Well, there are any number of handy scheduling apps, calendar apps, and the like. With everyone having a portable planner anyways, it's easy to remember that when you set up that meeting over text, you can switch over to your calendar and set up a timeframe.

What about in-person plans?

These are a bit harder to remember, what with adorable little 7-year-old nieces running around and having tea parties. I've played around with methods and found that the easiest way to remember is to have your calendar on your home screen so that when you open your phone again, you're reminded to make a plan for whatever it was was scheduled. Repeat until second nature.

Buffer Your Plans With Plans

This is easier to grasp than to follow, and it has to do with planning an amount of time around your planned time. I've found that 30 minutes before and after a planned item is ideal. 1 hour meeting? plan for 2 hours. 30 minute lunch? plan for 90 minutes. The extra 60 minutes isn't a hard and fast rule, you can adjust to your liking or expectations. This isn't to extend your plans, but to make them more malleable. It's far easier to spend 90 minutes in a 60 minute meeting if you've already expected it to be 90 minutes. This will keep you from over extending your days and finding yourself unable to complete everything.

Make Time For You

This one is imperative and almost requires a separate article on it's own. It's of vital importance that you take some time out of every day to relax, unwind, and focus on things that make you happy. It can be early, with a small nap; It can be late, with a nice show; It can be sprinkled throughout the day, in the in-between time that you have from your buffers. Remembering that the reason you make these plans is because people like you and want to spend time around you, so it helps that you like you too.

As I wrap up, and get ready to head off to my niece's 9th birthday party in a clown outfit, I'd like to touch on a cancelling and rescheduling:

Rescheduling - Sometimes all of this planning amounts to having to push things back. It's no big failure to communicate that you need to pick a better day. The sooner you mention it, the easier it'll be to take.

Cancelling - It happens. Sometimes something comes up and you can't reschedule a plan. A birthday party comes to mind, but maybe you need to spend time with a friend who's grieving, or maybe work was just too much. It's better for yourself to admit when you're over extended.

These two things are unfortunate, but so necessary to keeping your schedule, and mind, stable.

Happy scheduling!

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Title: ($dogs > $humans) ? true : "WRONG"; https://liquid.fish/current/title-dogs-humans-true-wrong Fri, 18 Jan 19 10:52:23 -0600 Did you know spending quality time with your dog can help with stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness and other "down-and-out" feelings? They can also increase exercise and cardiovascular health when you play with them. The one thing that separates dogs from our other pets is the love they can give back to us.

Dogs learn how to be more human just how we learn to be more dog. If you have the joy of a cuddly pup in your life, you'll know what I'm talking about. We learn what the ticks and movements mean just how they learn our tone of voice, facial expressions and commands. With this type of communication, a bond between man and canine is unlike any other.

Studies have found that people with a canine companion tend to have lower stress, depression, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and even our average of doctor visits (by about 30%). All of this just from laying around with your best friend next to you. The benefits are extremely obvious for those living with some sort of disability or ailment. The training and skill set these pets have is truly remarkable. I know a few of my friends wouldn't have the same quality of life if it wasn't for their service pet.

With a strong animal bond, you can escape the realities and annoyances of humanity. I know my Rosie specifically likes watching soccer and listening to music. I know when she needs outside, is excited, anxious, hungry, sleepy, happy, scared, lonely...all of them. ROSIE LIVES!

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Making a List You Can Check Twice: A Yule Log https://liquid.fish/current/making-a-list-you-can-check-twice-a-yule-log Wed, 19 Dec 18 15:59:44 -0600 Here at liquidfish, our developers are like a family. Like a family, we help each other out. In much the same way, developers the world over are one big extended family. Sure, we have our disagreements, we don't always see eye-to-eye, but for the most part we help each other. So when I needed to find a good way to make Laravel log to the database, I went looking for help. And wow but that extended family made it harder than it needed to be! Laravel is a very extensible framework; that's why we like it. It comes pre-built with logging tools, models, and plenty of other goodies to make a developer happy. Laravel uses Monolog for most of its logging needs, which can write to whatever channel you care to set up. So why is logging to the database not built in? I couldn't say, but it turns out it's actually super simple! No need for a store-bought package with gimmicky settings; the best gifts are often homemade.

#How To: The Meat of the Yuletide Feast

So, you're ready for the recipe for my super-simple database log?

You'll need: 1 Model class

1 AbstractProcessingHandler class

1 migration and a dash of setting spices.

The Model:

namespace App\Logging;
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;
class Log extends Model
{
    protected $fillable = ['message','context','level','level_name','extra'];
    protected $casts = ['context'=>'array','extra'=>'array'];
}

The AbstractProcessingHandler:

namespace App\Logging;
use Monolog\Handler\AbstractProcessingHandler;
class MonoLogDBHandler extends AbstractProcessingHandler
{
    protected function write(array $record)
    {
        $log = new Log($record);
        $log->save();
    }
}

The Migration:

Schema::create('logs', function (Blueprint $table) {
    $table->increments('id');
    $table->string('message');
    $table->text('context');
    $table->smallInteger('level');
    $table->string('level_name',50);
    $table->text('extra');
    $table->timestamps();
});

And finally, settings: In your `config/logging.php` you'll find a list of channels. Here's what our new db channel looks like:

'db' => [
    'driver' => 'monolog',
    'with'=>['level' => \Monolog\Logger::DEBUG],
    'handler' => \App\Logging\MonoLogDBHandler::class,
], 

Now we can use the db channel for all our logging. To use it by default, we can either set the 'default' channel to db, or (my preference) use the 'stack' channel which logs to multiple channels and then add the db channel to the stack. Easy as mincemeat pie!

#Wrapping it up: Santa's Little Helpers

Now we just have to write to the log:

Log::info('Little Johnny',['Nice'=>true]);
Log::info('Cindy Lue Who',['Nice'=>true]);
Log::warning('The Grinch',['Nice'=>false]);

Now that's the makings of a happy yule log!

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Oklahoma City's Design Community https://liquid.fish/current/oklahoma-citys-design-community Mon, 10 Dec 18 15:25:23 -0600 I’ll be the first to admit it. I haven’t always been the best in supporting the design community in Oklahoma City. My participation comes in waves but I’m here to say that I’m back. In such a small city, each and every designer plays an important role in supporting our fellow designers and developers in town. As creatives, it’s also important for us to continue growing, learning, networking and spreading education of our profession around the city.

If you’re looking to be get involved, here are a few ideas:

 

AIGA OK

If you’re looking for design specific organization, they have want you need: bi-monthly speaker events and monthly meetups. They’ve been responsible for bringing some prominent designers to the city: Aaron Draplin, Debbie Millman, Jay Schuster, House Industries, Ty Wilkins, Hoodzpah to name a few.

oklahoma.aiga.org

 

OKC Ad Club

The Addys are a staple in Oklahoma City design awards. But they do more than just hand out hardware. They put on monthly lunches with speakers that range from social media to copywriting.

okcadclub.com/

 

DSN/DEV

Although their events has died down as of lately, they have established a great online community. Whether you’re looking for jobs, advice, or casual conversation from other creatives, there’s a channel for you.

dsndevokc.com/join-our-slack

 

Local Inspiration

Some great work getting out there, check it out.

dribbble.com/places/oklahoma-city

 

Design Lunches

Lunch meetups around town for designers to talk shop or vent about clients. Actually, I haven’t seen one put on in a while. Anyone out there know? Hit me up, let’s start it up again.

twitter.com/DesignLunchOKC

 

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The Holidays in OKC https://liquid.fish/current/the-holidays-in-okc Fri, 16 Nov 18 09:30:09 -0600 With the holidays right around the corner and the cold weather upon us, the desire to get out and about is only going to shrink. If you are like me, the cold winter months with little sun can make me feel down. I try to make an assertive effort to combat those feelings by staying active and engaged with what is happening in my city and enjoy the many things going on.

If you are new to Oklahoma City or don’t travel downtown much, you might be surprised on the number of events and activities going on in the metro area. I am lucky to work and live near downtown, so I have been able to enjoy what it has to offer, and I wanted share some of the tips and tricks I have learned from attending a few of these events.

Devon Ice Rink

The ice rink opens on November 9th and runs through January 27th. If you plan on going with the family during the holiday season, make sure you know the holiday hours. Also, remember to take a pair of tall, warm socks!

Find out more about the Devon Ice Rink

Holiday Pop Up Shops in Midtown

The shops open the day after Thanksgiving and go through December 23rd, and a new set of local merchants are featured each week! This is a perfect solution for those who hate shopping at the mall, which can be especially stressful during the holiday season.

Read more about the Holiday Pop Up Shops in Midtown

Free Holiday Water Taxi Rides

The Bricktown canal is a spectacle filled with Christmas lights and is definitely worth checking out. It is a great (and free) event for a family night out or date night, but be sure to get in line early because it can be a long wait.

Find out more about the Bricktown Canal Holiday Water Taxi Rides

Opening Night

For those who don’t know what to do on New Year’s Eve, this is a great solution for the entire family or that special someone. Skip the line by pre-purchasing your wristband at participating 7-Eleven stores, MidFirst Bank locations, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and Plenty Mercantile.

Learn more about Opening Night

Now that you have learned a bit about the events going on in Oklahoma City during the holiday season, I challenge you to get out of the house, stop worrying about the holidays and enjoy yourself!

Find the full list of things to do in Oklahoma City around the holidays

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Mobile Apps: Native vs Hybrid https://liquid.fish/current/mobile-apps-native-vs-hybrid Fri, 26 Oct 18 10:39:47 -0500 There are lots of decisions to make when deciding to build a mobile app, and one of the first decisions you’ll make is deciding which technology to use. In this post, we’ll explain the differences between Native and Hybrid mobile apps and help you decide which approach is best for your product and preferences.

First, let’s examine what the terms “Native” and “Hybrid” mean.

Native Application: an application written for a specific operating system in its native language.  For iOS, you would build a mobile app using Swift or Objective-C, and for Android, Java or Kotlin. Developing natively means that if you want your app on both iOS & Android, you’ll be building and maintaining two separate apps.

Hybrid Application: an application built to run on two or more operating systems.  These are usually built using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript, but the main idea is that the same app will run on both iOS & Android.

So which is better?  There isn’t an easy answer, and it’s probably no surprise that deciding which to use depends on what your goals and budget are.

Let’s look at some specific issues and compare the two.

Native

Pros

  • Faster & more responsive. Animations and transitions come in at a buttery smooth 60 frames-per-second.

  • Native access to all of a mobile device’s capabilities and immediate access to new features.

  • Better user interface. Android and iOS users are used to seeing buttons, switches, lists, navigation, etc looking a certain way on their OS of choice. The practical effect here is that your app will feel familiar to users, and learning how to use it will come more naturally. This leads to a...

  • Better user experience. This is what keeps a user coming back to your product.

Cons

  • Additional skills required. You’ll need developers skilled in two separate native languages.

  • More expensive. After all, you’re developing and rolling out features twice every time.

Hybrid

Pros

  • Faster development time, which means...

  • Less expensive. You’ll develop your app in around half the time which means you’re paying less and you have a faster rollout.

  • Fewer skills required. Hybrid platforms such as Cordova require the same skills as a front-end web designer.

Cons

  • Works and feels like a web page does on mobile, i.e. clunky & unresponsive.  

  • The HTML, CSS & Javascript need to work and look perfect on ALL native browsers for Android. Each different Android manufacturer has their own built-in default browser (Sony, Samsung, LG, etc), and every browser has their quirks and needs attention to get CSS to look right.  

  • Users may not be able to articulate it, but they can tell when an app isn't native. It feels janky, and scrolling and taps aren't as responsive, and the user will “feel” that something is not quite right.

So which is better? There’s no easy answer. It depends on your goals and budget. Consider these aspects of your app when you’re making your decision.

UI/UX - How important are these to you and your users?  If you answered “Very”, go Native and don’t look back.

Cost - Developing an app on a budget? Consider a Hybrid solution.

Performance - Native apps will run faster and use fewer resources than their Hybrid counterparts. Decide if this is important to the success of your app.

Development Time - If you need to get an app out sooner rather than later, then add another point for Hybrid.  

At the end of the day, the decision should be based on a practical assessment of your needs.   liquidfish specializes in custom software and custom design, so if you’re looking for a motivated team to help craft your mobile app, contact us!

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The Principles of Motion https://liquid.fish/current/the-principles-of-motion Thu, 11 Oct 18 17:06:27 -0500 As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, and if that’s true, how much more can be communicated through something in motion?

Motion is an essential part of life. It enables us to grow, to develop, and to express ourselves in unique and individual ways. You can tell a lot about a person by how they communicate through their movements. For example, body language and facial expressions can have a host of meanings to an observer and communicate a vast amount of information in seconds. What’s amazing is that we live in a time where we can replicate this kind of expression through technology, and more specifically, digital platforms.

As a designer here at liquidfish I get to work on some pretty amazing projects like websites and mobile applications, and one of my favorite tools to use in our process is a program called Principle. With Principle, I can take the designs I’ve created in a static environment and bring them to life in an interactive environment with animated interactions and movements.

Telling the Story

Why is this important you might ask? Well, the purpose isn’t just making something look more lively — though it is a lot of fun. Through movement we can go a step further in crafting the story behind a brand.

This enables us to find creative ways to bring our client’s personality to the foreground of the design. When the interactions and movements are executed well, just like our comparison on the old adage, we’re able to say even more about a product, service, company or individual through movement than we would have with just static visuals alone.

Communicating Functionality

Another important aspect for using a tool like Principle is that it allows us to explore functionality in a more meaningful and productive way. For example, when we’re determining the relationship of landing pages to secondary page content, or how a menu will function on mobile as opposed to the desktop, we can prototype these movements and interactions before we ever type a line of code. This means catching issues early and creating better solutions before investing the heavy lifting required during development and programming stages. It also means happier developers!

Making Lasting Impressions

With all of the planning and strategizing that goes into our projects, our ultimate goal is to create an experience that people will enjoy and want to revisit again and again. Whether that be through an eye opening website introduction or the subtle movement of an icon to let you know you’ve successfully interacted with the page content, motion is a tool I look forward to exploring further to bring more value to our clients and enhance the effectiveness of our work.

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OK, hear me out... https://liquid.fish/current/ok-hear-me-out Fri, 07 Sep 18 12:21:20 -0500 Hi, my name is Ben. I am new to liquidfish, and this is my first blog post. I am a former athlete, a current designer, and I have something I want to confess:

 

..I think I am a WNBA convert. This was my first season giving it a legitimate shot and I’m sold. 

 

In fact, I can argue that it is a better product than men’s NCAA basketball. I think men’s college ball is boring. The shot clock is too long. There are too many time outs. The coaches have too much control over the tempo as they stifle the individual expression that makes the game fun. Not to mention the players aren’t good enough to hold my attention. 

 

The WNBA is none of these things. 

 

I came to this conclusion during the 2018 Women’s NCAA tournament. For the second year in a row, I watched nail-biters in the Elite Eight, Final Four and Championship rounds. Two straight years where the excitement, parody and randomness of the women’s game trumped the men’s. There was nothing on the men’s side that came close to the clutch shooting of Arike Oqunbowale and the performance of Notre Dame. The footage of the announcers calling the final moments went viral. Even Kobe Bryant was live tweeting the game. I am also a sucker for watching juggernauts nose-dive on national TV with all the marbles on the line, and Geno Auriemma’s UCONN Huskies were barely scraping to keep their unbeaten record alive against the onslaught of the Fighting Irish. I knew I was watching a moment. 

So when it finished, I thought to myself; “these players gotta be going somewhere.. The WNBA should be full of Arike’s, right?” And instead of dreading a long offseason between the end of the NBA FINALS and the NFL preseason, I came to the conclusion that I would fill that gap by actively watching the WNBA. 

 

Taking a newfound interest in the League has its pros and cons, but before I go there, I must touch on something that helped me to watch “women’s basketball”. I had to strip away any and all expectations of what I thought professional basketball should look like. A lot of people are spoiled by the NBA, and I had to wrap my brain around the idea of a man standing 6’8”/6’10” and covering ground like a gazelle being extremely bizarre and rare. When I put that aside, I was able to see the WNBA for what it is.. GOOD basketball. If you watch enough WNBA, you can begin to see NBA doppelgängers in it’s individual players. You can also appreciate the ferocity some women have on the glass. You start to notice the speed they have in the open court, or with their first step from a triple threat position. If you catch enough games, you’ll know that they the average WNBA player probably shoots as well —if not better— than their male counterparts. Cons? You can’t find it on TV anywhere. Chances are, cornhole or spikeball gets more airtime on ESPN on a Saturday afternoon than a marque WNBA matchup on NBA TV (requires a paid subscription I don’t have) or on Lifetime (who watches Lifetime?). 

 

As I write this, I am thinking about the two game 5’s (game 7 equivalent in the NBA) that I watched last night to decide the teams who will play in the WNBA FINALS. One of which had their star player return from a hyperextended knee in a game 2 loss return to carry her team to a first ever FINALS birth in franchise history in a slugfest, and the other who had the oldest player in the league (37) summon a rain dance to bury their opponent in a barrage of threes in the 4th quarter. All after breaking her nose in game 4. If this were men’s basketball, it would have been front and center of Sportscenter for a 48-hour news period. 

 

The cool thing about all this is that I have very talented co-workers who have been working on a newly completed website for A’ja Wilson, the first overall pick and WNBA Rookie Of The Year for the Las Vegas Aces. I remember A’ja from the first of the two aforementioned NCAA tournaments I watched. She ran through the competition on the way to the ‘ship, and here I was on day one of the job, watching my colleagues working on one of the most dope websites I’ve probably ever seen on her behalf (seriously, go check it out ajawilson22.com). Ironically, as I’m finding the league on a personal level, Liquidfish brought me even closer to it on a professional one as well. 

 

I haven’t been shy about my newfound interests in the circles that I run in. My friends attribute my new fascination to me being a new father of 15-month-old identical twin daughters. To that I say that they are both right and wrong. I did want to take up something new to occupy the layover in sports over the summer.  But, I also wanted to be entrenched into something my babies can one day look up to. I figure that if I start now, then by the time they can understand and participate in sports, they can see people like them participating in something of value, because daddy values it too. 

 

Hopefully by then, more people will catch the bug. And the WNBA would be worth more as a league, and to society. I want to see these women excel and I want them to get paid handsomely for it. I want their exposure to be far and wide because it is important for young girls to see themselves on TV and to associate that imagery with excellence. I aim to convert more believers. And if you like good hoops, then you’ll come to realize what’s been hiding in plain sight all this time. Basketball is basketball!

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Instafamous - 5 Tips to Grow Your Instagram Following https://liquid.fish/current/instafamous-5-tips-to-grow-your-instagram-following Thu, 07 Jun 18 16:04:36 -0500 I started a personal project where I create a new logo every day to post on my artist Instagram account. Since I started sharing my work, I have learned what works and what doesn't when it comes to increasing an account following. These are 5 tips that can be useful to grow your Instagram following.

 

1. Consistency is Key

Instagram is a highly competitive environment where thousands of new posts are made each day. Posting consistently increases your chances of getting noticed by potential followers because the more posts you have out there, the more chances you get for profile visits.

While posting consistently is important, you have to make sure each post has value and can stand out from the rest in some way. Yet each new post must also fit well into your profile feed. Good posts invite users to explore a profile in more detail, and that is where the decision to follow or not is made. It’s important to have a consistent theme so that your followers, and potential followers, will know what kind of content to expect from you. 

 

2. Improve Your Hashtag Game

Hashtags are more important on Instagram than on any other social network. If it weren't for hashtags, a profile would be virtually undiscoverable. Providing relevant content and posting consistently is not enough if your posts don’t get to the eyes of the right people. While using hashtags like #picoftheday can get you many instant likes and follows, your posts will probably only be findable in the hashtag feed for a few minutes before they get lost in a pile of new posts. 

Using hashtags relevant to your content ensures that the right people will see your content. Try to find hashtags that have been used around 10,000 - 80,000 times. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post or comment. I like to add my hashtags in the comment section to keep my captions clean. It’s also a good idea to keep a couple lists on hand of quality hashtags to use with each post. Adding a location to your posts also creates better results. 

It is important to mention that “curators,” a new category of Instagram profiles, have become increasingly popular. These are accounts that do not create any content, but simply have you use their hashtag in your posts. They then repost or share the best posts under their hashtag. This is a great way to get your profile noticed and to start building your following.

 

3. Study Your Audience & Analytics

There isn't an absolute best time to post on Instagram for everyone, this is why it’s important to use the analytics tool to your advantage. Monitoring your posts helps you to be more efficient. After I started posting regularly, I found out that I get the best results when I post around midnight, which is apparently when most of my audience checks Instagram. Seeing how your posts perform is an important tool to understanding what will do the best in the future.

 

4. Build Community & Stay Connected

Having great content can sometimes be irrelevant if you don't build a community and connect with others. I started by commenting on posts I thought were great and followed profiles that I liked. Doing simple things like replying to comments or answering private messages creates an online presence for you that your followers can interact with. I have found that Stories are a great way to share and stay connected. They have recently become even better with the inclusion of polls and slider bars, as well as the ability to include hashtags in your story. This allows people who may not be following you, but who are following those hashtags to be able to see your story. 

Your content is what makes people follow you, but the way you behave online and interact with your followers is what makes them stay. 

 

5. Stay Up to Date with Features & Trends

Instagram is constantly changing and adding new features. For example, hashtags used to rule Instagram, but I have recently seen stories being used with greater success now that you can highlight them in your profile. 
Staying aware of these changes and using them to your advantage helps you stay on top of your game. 

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The Evolution of Process https://liquid.fish/current/the-evolution-of-process Thu, 24 May 18 09:36:17 -0500 I’ve been at liquidfish for over three years now, and a lot has changed within the company, including our process for approaching projects. When I first started, a process was in place, but I noticed an immediate need to document and formalize it.

I am a visual learner, so developing something tangible that we would be able to reference when needed was important. The process would inherently include aspects from each department, so we worked as team to put together a four-step process: Discovery, Content, Design and Development. It was a great first step toward a streamlined process and served us well for a while.

After about a year, we recognized that we needed to expand on our process to help alleviate issues and further support our clients. So at that time, it went from a four-step process to a six-step process. We added in time for Site Mapping and Quality Assurance/Testing: two areas I can’t imagine doing a project without.

Fast forward two more years and we have now developed our process even further to include eight steps. Yes, I know eight may seem like a lot, but it has allowed liquidfish to excel in our craft in many ways. We are paying attention to the small details and creating internal and external flow of communication better than we ever have before. When we all adhere to the process, we can keep each other accountable every step of the way, which in turn gives our clients a better end-product. 

Of course there are situations that arise and things that have to change, but when they do, liquidfish is able to be nimble and flexible, paying attention to the client’s needs while still using our streamlined process as a guide to help us stay on track. We not only want to customize your website and digital marketing needs, we also want your entire experience with us to be custom and unique. 

For those who want to learn about or review our process in depth, please feel free to call or email us. We will be happy to share our experiences and how we approach our work. We can’t wait to hear from you.

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Magic: The... Programming? https://liquid.fish/current/magic-the-programming Wed, 25 Apr 18 14:35:08 -0500 “Magic: the Gathering” is a very popular game, boasted as the most played trading card game in the world. You might be thinking to yourself: “Hey, isn’t this supposed to be about developmental practices?” I’m glad you asked, voice in my head. 

“Magic: the Gathering” is a trading card game in which players will purchase packs of cards, build decks, and play them against one another. Each player starts with 20 life, and the goal of the game is to bring the opponent down to 0 life. The way each deck does this is different, but most of the time, it involves some form of attacking with creatures to deal damage to the opposing player. Once one player has been reduced to 0 life, the other player is declared the winner.

This may not sound anything like development, but the proof is in the pudding, er, programming. The similarities come not in the end result, but in the journey itself. The five colors of mana, or sources, Magic has to pull from are: White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green. Likewise, there are multiple languages that can be used in programming: Javascript, PHP, C#, Ruby, SQL. Also, each color has elements that are similar to each other: creatures, sorceries, enchantments, etc, similar to how each language has data types, syntax, and native functions. The key to being any good at either thing is to learn what to build with and why. What’s the most efficient way to bring my opponent to 0 life? How can I most effectively build a splash page? 

Further similarities begin to reveal themselves as you delve deeper. Archetypes in “Magic: the Gathering” can be compared to how each language has a specific purpose. The most common archetypes of Magic are: Aggro, or aggressive play styles that involve playing lots of small creatures and attacking with them; Control, defensive play styles that focus on keeping the opponent from getting too far ahead until they can win; and Combo, unique play styles that revolve around playing a few specific cards to do something that no other deck can beat. 

Similarly, front-end development focuses on user experience and interface design, like what needs to stands out and what looks best. Back-end Development focuses on data and page manipulation. You would never use PHP or RUBY to run a client-side function, any more than you would use client-side javascript to access data from the database. 

The parallels don’t end there, but this blog does. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look at how the magic of development can be related to the magic of, well, Magic. That’s all we have today, so untap, upkeep, draw, Fireball you for 20, game

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