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Archive for the ‘Presentations’ Category

Colr.org, The secret to creative color schemes.

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Good design is one of those things that when it’s right, you might not notice but, when it’s wrong, there’s no hiding it.  One of the easiest ways I’ve found to create good design is by getting the color scheme right and my favorite way to nail it every time is with Colr.org.

Color sets the mood, carries the theme and can convey ideas. When a website’s elements such as links, tables and mast-head images all work together, the other elements of the design seem to fall into place.  After all, it’s much easier to see when a table is too wide than it is to put your finger on just 1 of the more than 16  million colors represented in hexadecimal.

With the help of Colr.org I only have to find a picture that represents the idea I’m trying to convey.  Once I have it, the site’s software allows me to load it and sample it’s colors.

I’ve used this technique for everything from client websites, to matching the tables and links in my Twitter profile to a custom background image.

The “right” picture is one of those intangible things that I can’t really help you find, but I like to start with a short list of adjectives to help me focus my search.  Peaceful, happy, warm, bright, or any number of words that might describe the mood or theme of the design.  From there I just go with an image that I like the best.

Get creative, but if you have a picture you’re going to be using, like a head-shot, or some other main image on your site, I would suggest pulling your color scheme from it.

For this post I chose “Lobster Adirondack Chairs” by  cbgrfx123 on Flickr because it had an Attribution Share-a-like license and could use it, here, and in the example to the left, without running afoul of someone’s copyright.

But if all you need are colors that work well together, and won’t be displaying the picture publicly, it’s fine to use any image you want.

My suggestion is,  if you’ve never used Colr.org’s software, pop over to the site and start playing around with some of the features by using one of the random Flickr images on the home page.  There’s a very handy button allowing you to load other, random images in case the ones on display don’t float your boat.

The button I use most is “Pick a Scheme from image” since that will auto generate a scheme with 3 or more colors taken from the image.

The “Edit Scheme” box is handy too.  With the features found there, you can delete a color you don’t like, add a new one with the + or get the hex so that you can add the colors to a template. There’s even a feature that allows you to find paint by brand name in case you’re designs are for a physical space.

If you’d rather pick your colors on your own, simply hover your mouse over one of the 3 pictures on the Colr.org home page and click into any one of the colored boxes to find out more about it.

Colr.org also has a very handy how-to page for help using the site’s features.

Once you have some colors that you think will work well on your site, don’t be afraid to move them around in your template.  My first instinct isn’t always right when it comes to backgrounds and readability.  It’s perfectly acceptable to switch things around or go back to your picture and find a new color or two to substitute if things just aren’t right yet.

If colr.org can make me look like a design professional, I’m sure it can help you too.

Written by Karlie

January 2nd, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Hints for Presenting with Sliderocket

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A friend suggested I look through VMWare’s job listings to see if anything jumped out at me.  Frankly I didn’t expect to find anything that matches my skill-set because, I don’t fit the standard mold most corporations create.  However, as I perused the surprisingly long list of openings I came across a listing for a Sliderocket Coach.

I checked out the listing for 2 reasons.  First, what’s Sliderocket, and, second, what kind of coaching?

Then the shocker,  I might actually be the type of person they’re looking for.  Most of the time I work to create my own opportunities because it’s easier than trying to find a job that’s well suited for my odd combination of technical knowledge and entrepreneurial kung-fu.

One requirement of the application was that I submit a presentation along with a formal resume and truthfully, I was a bit nervous about that.  I’ve created slide decks, but never as a cover letter and never with the level of sophistication I thought I’d need to get my foot in the door.  I was also concerned since I’ve never used Sliderocket and wondered if I’d be able to use it effectively?

The good news is that the user interface was straight forward and anything that wasn’t immediately apparent was fairly easy to figure out.  Even more “advanced” techniques like creating my own template weren’t all that hard to do.

In just 2 days I managed to create this presentation…

I say 2 days, but that was more like a total of 8 hours.  The first 4 were spent thinking about what I wanted to say, how to say it and learning to use the software.  The final 4 were creating the slides.  Though that’s not completely fair either.  I could have finished an hour earlier if my inspiration hadn’t run out.  For some reason the only closing I could muster was some sort of Southern Belle saying, “lookin’ forward to talkin’ real soon!”

Now, if you’ve never used it before, Sliderocket.com is a cloud platform, so your work lives on the internet.  The advantage is that you don’t have to maintain the software and are always using the current version.  Also, because it’s a native to the internet, it’s designed for sharing and collaboration.  The only disadvantage right now, and this is a disadvantage for all cloud applications, is that connection is key.  For whatever reason you’re caught without a local copy and can’t get online to get one, you could be sunk.  But I suppose this is just a new way to look at the old mantra of “back-up, back-up, back-up!”

If you haven’t done much with cloud applications or just want to see what kind of presentation you could make, sign up for one of Sliderocket’s free accounts.

If you’d like to create a presentation like this one, here are my top 4 hints;

  1. Get inspiration for your theme by seeing what collateral is available first.  The only reason the Ninja worked well for this presentation was because I was able to find just the right photo to kick things off. If I had wanted a picture for every slide I wouldn’t have been able to do it with the choices that Flikr presented me with.  So make sure you have what you need, or know how to work around what you don’t, before you go too far into the process.
  2. If you need a soundtrack for your presentation, check out Jamendo.com.  There’s lots of Creative Commons licensed music for you to choose from.  The song I chose, Plastic & Flashing Lights by Professor Kliq, was found there.
  3. If the text is all you have to convey your ideas, make sure the letters represent you well.   I used a version of the drop shadow that was available in the software to give the white on black words some depth.
  4. I used a QR code because I wasn’t sure the link I added would be click-able or easily copied/pasted to a browser.  Using it gave me one more way for the viewer to go where I wanted to send them.

If you have any questions or comments about presentations, or how I managed a certain effect with SlideRocket, feel free to leave me a note, below.  Otherwise a tweet, Thumbs up or sharing on your favorite service would be greatly appreciated. ~Karlie

Written by Karlie

October 21st, 2011 at 12:55 pm