Jan 28 2015

Saddling Up for a Fun Social Media Campaign

We launched a five-day social media campaign last week, and we had some, ahem, unique personalities stopping by the studio to be a part of it, earlier in the month.

professional photography - Venus de Mileage, a.k.a. "Frank from Jersey," helps a fellow bachelor complete the look.

Venus de Mileage, a.k.a. “Frank from Jersey,” helps a fellow bachelor complete the look.

We’re sponsoring the High Rollers in their 2015 roller derby season, and this past weekend, they threw The High Rollers Showdown Throwdown, a fundraiser party to support the team, and keep them outfitted with the gear, uniforms, and training opportunities they need for a winning season. One of the planned events of the evening was a Bachelor Auction with a twist: the “Bachelors” were female skaters, taking on male drag personas, complete with western outfits to match the old-timey saloon theme of the party.

We were able to coax these five skaters down to Upswept HQ, to be transformed into their Bachelor personas in front of our camera. For some of our Bachelors, this wasn’t their first trip to the rodeo–they came prepared with authentic-looking mustaches and swagger to spare!–but some of these skaters weren’t fully prepared to see themselves as their Bachelor personas.

“Oh my god, it looks REAL! Like a real beard! How does it look so real?”

Social media campaign graphics - Just one of the five "Bachelors" auctioned off at the fundraiser!

Just one of the five “Bachelors” auctioned off at the fundraiser!

Fortunately, the supporting each other is one of the core values of the roller derby community, so the skaters pitched in with their makeup skills and drag king secrets, to help each other look their dude-liest for the auction.

Once they were dressed and ready, we did a quick photoshoot with each Bachelor, and then worked up the photos into five different poster-style graphics, which we blasted out via the High Rollers’ social media channels. We used a heavier hand with the styling, and took inspiration from the saloon theme of the party, resulting in posters that were two parts Old West “Wanted” Poster, and one part Magazine Cover.

The results? The Bachelor Auction was a hotly anticipated highlight of the fundraiser, and we even turned the graphics into framed and autographed posters, that turned out to be popular raffle prizes! The party was even hailed by some alumni skaters as the best in High Rollers history, and the team is kicking off the early season with full pockets and even fuller hearts.

We had way too much fun putting this project together, and re excited to have played even a small role in making their fundraiser more successful.

Interested in a poster of your own?

Only a few lucky people could win the one-of-a-kind framed and autographed prints of the Showdown Throwdown Bachelors, but after all the wonderful feedback we got from this campaign, we’re offering a limited run of Bachelor Auction prints! You can now order a print of your favorite bachelor online, or even a set of ALL FIVE, with every order benefitting the High Rollers.

View/Order Bachelor Auction Prints! >

 

Portland professional photographer | Portland branding agency | Upswept Creative

Jan 20 2015

Making the most of your headshot!

Portland professional headshots Rachel Edidin

Just be your authentic, awesome self, and we’ll do the rest.

One of the things that seems to stay the same, no matter the year, is our relationship with the things that are currently impacting our lives, the things that are happening now – the bus you’re about to miss, the date you’re about to go on, the bill you forgot to pay. If you’re a busy Portland professional with a million things happening, thinking about your headshot may not the first thing on your mind. For us at Upswept Creative, it’s not so very different – we’re busy thinking about our clients, our projects and the plans we have for this year!

But we know all too well that the day will come when you wake up and realize your headshot is completely out of date–let me guess: you are working on updating your LinkedIn because you feel you need a better job? You need help. When you need to step up, professionally? Let a professional help you.

Here’s how you go from awkward mirror selfie to professional-level portrait in three easy steps.

1. Book an appointment with us at Upswept Creative!

Whether you are an aspiring manager, model, project executive, actor or a wellness coach, we can make your headshot work for you.We are local to Portland, Oregon, and have years of experience doing what we do. We have a flexible schedule with morning, daytime and evening hours, and a convenient Old Town location you can reach by car, bus, or bike. We have a private bathroom you can change in, so feel free to bring more than one outfit. If you are looking for professional hair and makeup, we can organize that too! Our headshot packages are affordable, and allow you to order extra high-resolution photos as well as physical prints. Go ahead and make a commitment to going pro – you can book and pay for your headshot online with just a few clicks.

Is the world going to end if you're not smiling in a photo? We don't think so. :)

Is the world going to end if you’re not smiling in a photo? We don’t think so. :)

2. Tell us a little about yourself.

Start by thinking: “What do I want my photo to say about me?” For many small business owners, you are the product. Consider the environment your photo will be used in. Take a look at other people’s headshots, both those you like, and those you don’t. Don’t be shy to show us examples or tell us specifically what you’re looking for – the more information we have, the easier it is for us to make you happy.

3. Get in the zone.

A lot could be said about preparing to get your photo taken, which is why, in the past, we have taught entire workshops such as Make the Camera Love You in 2014. But a lot boils down to some very simple rules:

  • Wear something that makes you feel confident, comfortable, and completely awesome.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff – i.e. the blemish on your chin, or that you might blink when the shutter clicks.
  • You don’t have to smile, if you don’t want to. Just be your authentic self, and let us do the rest.

We look forward to seeing you in the Upswept Creative studio in NW Portland!

Jan 05 2015

Goal Setting: What can you learn from yourself?

If you’re an independent business owner, you’ve probably spent a lot of time reflecting over the past year.

How did your year go? If you’re like a lot of folks, there were probably some plans that went swimmingly, and others that, well, didn’t go quite as nicely as you hoped. I’m certainly no exception to that! Fact is, when you’re trying new things, whether they go well or poorly, they often don’t turn out quite like you expected.

So, you might be asking yourself: what things did I do last year that made me actually feel successful?

Can I use strategies in my business that made me successful in derby? Yes! (photo courtesy of Regularman)

Can I use strategies in my business that made me successful in roller derby? YES! (photo courtesy of Regularman)

I looked to other parts of my life when I thought about that question, and the thing that stuck out most? Roller Derby. I came into 2014 as a pretty green derby player–I had little play time in my rookie season, I was still learning the game, and I definitely had skating skills that needed help. But, by the end of the year, I became a heavily-utilized player for my beloved home team, I’d won an MVP award, I made it onto RCR’s All-Star Travel Team, and the league voted for me as the Most Improved Skater of the year. For someone at my level, it was a pretty darned successful year of derby play!

I must have done something right to have such a great season, so I thought, “what did I do to make these successes happen? What can I learn from that?” And, there were things I did for derby that could definitely bring into Real Life, and into Business.

Small steps add up to big goals.

Early last year, I had skating skills that needed a lot of work. (granted, they can always be better, but you get my meaning!) I needed a plan to work on them, but I thought, “how will I find the time to work on these skills, when I already have so much going on in my life, and so many practices to attend?”

portland-design-agency_past-success-in-businessSo, I folded little tasks into my regular practice schedule. I made a deal with myself to do at least 8 plow stops after each practice. When I was in a pace line, I told myself to always skate lower than the person in front of me. I added forward/backward transitions into my pre-scrimmage warmups. Just by doing those little things, all of those skills improved, and so did my skating overall–no extra trips to the skate track necessary.

Translate it to business: Something I’d like to improve upon is networking. It’s often an overwhelming thing for me, and finding more time for it seems impossible! So, I plan to take small steps, like attending one networking event per month more than I did last year, and meeting at least one treasured connection for coffee/drinks each month. With any luck, it’ll add up, just like those skating skills did.

Seek out feedback, share, and listen for ideas.

Asking for feedback can be a tough thing, at times, but there were certainly moments when I took the time to start conversations with other skaters about what I was struggling with. Sometimes, they had good advice for me, and I’d come away with something new to try. Sometimes, just by listening to the questions other people asked our coaches, I’d hear something in the discussion that I could apply to my own skating. You’re never the only one who’s struggling, and you can always learn from each other.

Translate it to business: My business has evolved quite a bit over the past three years, and the strategies that felt right at the beginning aren’t quite so fitting anymore. Something I’d love to have when I’m feeling stuck is feedback and outside perspective. So, one of my plans for this year is to seek out a new business advisor, to get some good coaching and feedback.

Be committed, but recognize your limits.

When I tried out for Travel Team, I knew there would be a lot of work ahead. And, that was on top of the time I dedicate to my Home Team, and all the work I do for Upswept, plus much-needed self-care, and time I spend with my sweetie and my friends and family… the list goes on, right? Still, if it’s something you really want, you make the time… sometimes, even when it’s not there.

For Travel Team, we had to make 80% attendance, but I habitually make 100% attendance for my Home Team–sometimes, even extra credit! The idea of less than 100% felt almost wrong, but you know what? Giving 100% of yourself, to 100% of the things you want to do, 100% of the time isn’t always the most sustainable lifestyle.

So, I used that 80% requirement. When I went to practice, I’d give it everything I had, but if I tweaked a muscle or ligament the wrong way, I’d give myself permission to sit out and rest it. If I was completely fried from a day at Upswept HQ and I had no energy left for a practice, I’d let myself stay home that night–I’d get that time for a break and some self-care, still make 80%, and I’d be that much more ready to give it my all at the next practice.

Translate it to business: I did well at being committed, but not overcommitting in 2014–even during the tough times, I usually pulled back before I got too seriously burned out. Yet, I also wound up skipping out on some potentially-fruitful things, because I was too wiped from other obligations. SO, I think being more strategic about what I say No to is the lesson to learn for this year!

What can YOU learn from your own big wins?

Even if you had a tough run in 2014, there IS something you did really well last year, and you can learn from it. Even if it’s only a small part of a bigger scheme, there’s something to take forward with you. Maybe you really rocked it on your e-newsletter. Or, maybe you did a great job of being a parent, or saved up for a car. Maybe you got out of debt, or ran a race, or tried something new and scary.

Whatever it was, it was a Big Win, and you likely had a plan to make it happen… even if you didn’t know it at the time. So, take a moment to learn from yourself, and from something you did that made you feel AWESOME.

Dec 31 2014

Making 2015 Awesome: New Year, New Ideas, New Business!

portland-rebranding-agency_build-brand-know-yourself

This holds true whichever year it is. Let Upswept Creative help build your brand!

Hello 2015 – Goodbye 2014! The New Year is only hours away, the bubbly is already chilling, the resolutions are already written (let’s hope they are different from last year). Is creating new business this next year one of your goals? You are probably not the only one! In this final installment of “Making 2015 Awesome”, we’ll take a closer look at what you can do to jumpstart the success of your brand this coming year!

1.) Go public with your goals.

Many people focus on the future this time of year – many of us have resolutions, whether personal or private. Take advantage of the collective atmosphere of renewal by getting your customers on your side. One way to do this is to blog openly about your new year’s goals – actively drawing people in to your journey and your success. Creating a compelling story on social or on your blog will allow your customers to participate in said story, bolstering your traffic and your business.

The ladies of Confident Creatives launched an all-new venture (with photos by us!) in 2014. What will you do in 2015?

The ladies of Confident Creatives launched an all-new venture (with photos by us!) in 2014. What will you do in 2015?

2.) Launch something new.

There are many options for this one–which is why you can make it your own, regardless of your brand or business. Create a sale, offer a time-limited coupon, review your price list, change a menu around, play with the layout of your newsletter, update your slides, change your header image on social or on your site, make a weekly giveaway, start a youtube channel…the list is endless, but the end goal is the same: Keep yourself looking fresh. People notice changes – virtually and in the real world. Now is the time to renew – personally, and professionally.

3.) Create some mystery!

If you are not quite ready for a big reveal, don’t worry! As we all know, sometimes even our best intentions get derailed. If you are more of a long-term planner who doesn’t want to make a quick decision, or you have some big news in the pipeline that is not quite ready yet, don’t blow it all in the first few weeks of the year. Instead, opt for another route: Create some mystery.  Create a series of posts, email blasts or social media posts to create a the buzz before you launch your big news in a couple of weeks or months. Other people’s big news and big changes may have fizzled out already, and you’ll be rising above the crowd.

Dec 26 2014

Doing It!: Catching up with Portland’s ethical jeweler Valerie Kasinskas

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from our photoshoot with VK Designs, for the “Dark Sparkle” collection

An interview with Valerie Kasinskas from VK Designs

I’m a big fan of VK Designs–in fact, I look at something Valerie made every single day. How come? She made the wedding rings for my wife and I! Valerie’s unique style really resonated with my wife’s elegant and naturalistic style, while being simple enough for me.

We at Upswept Creative thought this made a great excuse to catch up with Valerie, Portland’s ethical jeweler, and see what she has been working on since our photoshoot together, as well as getting some more insight into how she got started.

Q: How did you get started making jewelry?

VK: “I studied and received my BFA in Metalsmithing in 2006. I studied everything from blacksmithing to goldsmithing and worked both large and small for quite a few years. Little by little, the sculptures got smaller and smaller. In the last 5 years, I have been focusing more on the smaller scale and creating mostly custom, bespoke engagement and wedding jewelry.”

“While in school, I began questioning where the metals and materials were being sourced from in the year 2001 and found very few answers. Over the years, I began digging deeper and slowly building a network of trusted suppliers and like-minded jewelers. I am proud to work closely with a wonderful group–Ethical Metalsmiths. We are continually working towards educating, sourcing ethically and transforming the industry.”

Q: What are a couple of your favorite pieces that you’ve designed?

VK: There are so many pieces that I just adore that it is hard to pin down! Each piece is custom, personal and such a strong symbol that represents the client in a visual way. I recently created a custom wedding ring set for a couple, using Fairmined gold from a mine that I work directly with in Peru, and even had the honor of visiting this same mine last year. (You can read about the experience here.)

FAIRMINED-20k-VK

Custom 20k Fairmined gold wedding ring set by VK Designs

My clients had traveled in Peru together, and the significance of being connected to and knowing where the gold was from was very important & powerful for them.

Q: What you feel is unique about being an independent jewelry maker in Portland?

VK: I feel that Portlanders really are not typical consumers on many levels, and that also includes their desire for meaningful and personal jewelry. I work with many clients that have very unique and beautiful styles, styles that we infuse into their symbolic jewelry that they are proud to wear. Portlanders are inquisitive and want to know where their food comes from, as well as where their gold comes from!

I am proud to have the most amazing, aware, and creative clients.

Q: What’s next for you and your jewelry line?

VK: I am very excited to continue sourcing ethically, creating one of a kind pieces and want to create more with Fairmined gold and Fairmined silver in 2015. My co-designer (and twin sister), Rachel and I will be featuring Fairmined silver designs in our 2015 line for the Dark Sparkle Collection in 2015 as well. For more info about Fairmined metals, visit fairmined.org.

 

Dec 12 2014

Making 2015 Awesome: Get Your Blog Humming!

Probably one of our last acts for 2014 - Our instagram contest!

One of our last acts for 2014 – Our #UpsweptLovesLocal instagram contest!

We all have New Year’s resolutions – and if your resolution in 2012 was that you’d start blogging more often, chances are things have started to stagnate by now! But not to worry – in this second part of “Making 2015 Awesome”, we’ll address what you can do for your blog and blog audience to dust things off and move successfully into the new year.

1.) Get your tech up-to-date.

If you haven’t been logging in to your blog much lately, you may be missing out on some overdue upgrades. Keeping your blog platform ensures that you are able to use the newest technology – which can make things easier, or more secure. No matter the platform you use – if it is running on a server you own, you should update it at regular intervals.

The same goes for any third party plugins you may have installed to extend your blogs functionality. Just be sure to back up your data before you make any significant changes, so you don’t end up with a crisis instead of some light cleaning. And while you’re at it, go ahead and delete the plugins you don’t use, and any spam you might find.

portland-branding-design_blog-quality-content2.) Review what worked – and what didn’t.

Did you have a great idea for a post or post series last year? Did you spend a ton of time researching it, putting it together, and polishing it – only to see that nobody really read it? Did you see something quick-and-dirty you posted on the fly draw your biggest audience yet? Or have you been avoiding your blog stats altogether? Now is the time to face the facts, and learn from what worked and what didn’t.

If you’re trying to boost your brand, it’s vital that you attract an audience who will read what you post. Knowing what worked for you last year helps you build on those successes as you move forward. Knowing what tanked allows you to save time and energy, by not repeating previous mistakes!

3.) Start posting quality content.

Quality content drives traffic – we see this time and time again! But one well-written post will not make a flagging audience take note. Take the time to post regular, engaging posts about topics you know your audience is excited by – this is where point number two comes into play! The most successful blogs are those where quality and frequency remain consistent.

If you’re not sure where to start, start with a year in review, then move to posts announcing something new for the new year.  Do a series of “best of” posts. Touch back on an old subject matter that you blogged about several months prior.

4.) Start something new!

The new year is a great time to start a new project, series or idea. Start a new collaboration, launch a new package deal, coupon, or service. Get people interested in what you are working on and planning for the new year.

Portland branding agency – Portland web design – Upswept Creative

Dec 05 2014

Show Why You Love Local, and Win!

#UpsweptLovesLocal - contest on Instagram and TwitterWe love local makers, and we love that the holidays give us even more opportunities to Shop Local. We want to get YOU in on the action, with our #UpsweptLovesLocal social media contest!

How To Play:

  • while you’re shopping for the holiday, share your snapshots of why you love Local–it could be a product you adore, your favorite neighborhood shop… get creative!
  • use the hashtag #UpsweptLovesLocal when you share your photos on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, so we can see your entry.
  • post your entries between now and December 22nd, 2014, and tell us about it: who made the item, where you’re shopping, and so on!

After the contest closes, we’ll pick our favorite entry for a two-part prize:

  1. The local business or maker featured in your photo will win a 90-minute photography session for their business!
  2. YOU will win your own headshot/portrait session, to kick off your new year!

So, get out there and win for you and for your favorite local business, and support Portland’s independent businesses while you shop this holiday. We can’t wait to see what local loveliness you share with us!

#UpsweptLovesLocal holiday contest
Now thru Dec. 22nd
on your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

Portland web design – Portland professional photography – Upswept Creative

Dec 04 2014

Making 2015 Awesome – Reboot your social!

Welcome to December – and happy (almost) New Year from us at Upswept Creative! Whether you’ll be spending your the holidays at home or out on the town, the move from 2014 to 2015 is the perfect opportunity to breathe new life into your brand’s online presence and social media.

From making the most of your social media to stoking the fire under your online sales, now is the time to dust things off! Every week in December, we’ll showcase a new aspect of keeping your brand fresh and alive in 2015. This first week, we’ll show you some tips and tricks to get your social networks revving during the holiday season and new year.

1.) It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – all over the internet.

Google are not the only people to change their “doodles” for special events and seasons. Many websites change up their icons, colours, or headers to make things look seasonally appropriate, or just to provide some visual stimulus and keep things looking fresh.

Consider updating your Facebook cover image or profile picture, Twitter background or YouTube channel art with something fun, whimsical, and holiday-related. This is a great opportunity to do something humorous and a little different than your usual styling. Do you have some fun holiday-themed infographic you’ve been dying to create? Let us do it for you! Now is the time.

flyer_11x17_2014

Connecting to your audience while supporting others feels good and does good for your business.


2.) Tis’ the Season… to be giving!

Thanksgiving may be over, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to show your feel connected. As the weather gets colder and resources wear thin, many people struggle to make ends meet. Do you have cause you feel especially passionate about? (For us, it’s our Bowlful of Heart pet food drive!)

Combine it with your social media, and get two for the price of one. Some examples include donating food to a charity for every Like you receive on Facebook, organizing a toy drive and then tweeting about it, teaming up with others to do a charity event of some kind, or even just collecting gift cards to donate to charities at your Christmas event. Be sure to mention on social what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and how people can support you reach your goals!

3.) Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s are particularly photogenic times of the year.

Leaves, snow and ice, lights, candles, gifts, meals, ugly sweaters, fireworks…the perfect time to take some photos of your business, or even set up an Instagram contest. Get your followers to tag you in their holiday photos, compile a jury or judge the entries yourself, and reward the best photos with some prizes of your choice. You can even combine a photo contest with some charitable giving – the best photos could be rewarded with a donation to the winner’s favourite cause.

If Instagram is not part of your business repertoire, you can tweak the holiday competition idea to work on Facebook or Twitter. Asking your audience to participate, by sharing stories, tips, recipes and gift ideas helps create the sense of community and buy-in that strengthens your social media presence.

4.) Take advantage of the end of the year’s atmosphere of renewal to launch a new product line, pricing strategy, package deal or service.

portland-food-photographer_chocolate-fest-naked-winery-wild-roots

Take advantage of this festive time of year.

Create some buzz around these new offerings by talking about them on social media first, before you create a big reveal on your website! Create a special sale, a coupon, or limited-time only deal, and make sure your social networks know about them.

Do you have any ideas about how to make your brand shine on social this time of year? Are you thinking you could use some handy internet elves to help out with whimsical Facebook headers, Christmasifying your blog, or running an Instagram contest featuring dogs in sweaters? Get in touch, we’re here for you!

Nov 26 2014

Give Shelter Pets “A Bowlful of Heart” This Holiday

flyer_11x17_2014

A Bowlful of Heart collects donations for needy shelter pets throughout the holiday season.

We’re lucky to be connected with wonderful people who love to give, and we’re thrilled to be reviving A Bowlful of Heart pet food drive for the 2014 holiday season! We first teamed up with Alyson Clair of Clair Vintage Inspired in 2011, to work together with Portland businesses and collect pet food donations. Thanks to their help (and yours!), we’ve collected nearly 2000 pounds of pet food donations since 2011, to help the Newberg Animal Shelter!

This year, the Newberg Animal Shelter has a newly-built facility, and they need our help to fill it with necessary supplies for needy animals looking for forever homes! We have drop-off locations for all of your donations in the Portland area and in Newberg, and if you can’t make it to one of our locations, you can even arrange for a pickup.

Upswept is, once again, supporting this year’s drive with a custom designed flyer, signs, and a homepage with interactive map, to help get the word out. And, we can also accept your donations Tuesdays thru Fridays at Upswept HQ–just contact us before you stop by!

You can also keep up with A Bowlful of Heart on Facebook, where we’ll be shining a spotlight on all of the awesome local businesses who are helping to make our pet food drive happen this year. A Bowlful of Heart runs from November 28th through December 22nd, so when you’re out and about this holiday season, be sure to give a little something extra and help the animals!

A Bowlful of Heart
Nov. 28th thru Dec. 22nd, 2014
Portland and Newberg

DROP-OFF LOCATIONS:

Amelia – 2230 NE Alberta St.
Chehalem Valley Brewing – 2515-B Portland Rd., Newberg
Creative Kidz – 710 Foothills Dr., Newberg
Critter Cabana – 516 E First St., Newberg
Fang & Feather – 1926 N Kilpatrick St.
Newberg Animal Shelter – 1591 S. Sandoz Rd., Newberg
Newberg Vet (12/7 Only) - 3716 E Portland Rd., Newberg
Salty’s Dog & Cat Shop – 4039 N Mississippi Ave.
Union Rose – 7909 SE Stark St.
Upswept Creative – 217 NW Couch St.

DONATION NEEDS: quality dog and cat food / kitten food / quality treats / pill pocket treats / small bites dog food / grain free dog food / canned cat food (pate) / pine cat litter / paper towels / laundry detergent / dish soap / cash donations for spay, neuter and other medical needs

 

Portland web design – Portland professional photography – Upswept Creative

Sep 29 2014

Ello and How to Make Your Web Site Experience Easier

“This UI is bonkers. I tried to post an image…it was not successful.”

“I know this is beta, but it seems really clunky.”

“I can’t find anything on this thing!”

If you’ve been on Ello, you’ve probably noticed that, well, it’s not exactly easy to find things. We’re not talking about obscure user settings, either–we’re talking about functions that are vital to the site, like uploading images, posting, and editing. And, hey, let’s be real: if someone visits your web site and can’t find what they’re looking for, your web site is not doing its job

How can you fix that? There are a few simple things that you can do to make your user’s experience easier to bear, so your web site can build that effective connection with each person who visits you.

Ello user interface web site designContrast, Contrast, Contrast.

Part of the problem with the Ello interface is Contrast: the colors of different elements don’t pop enough against the background. Important function buttons are light-grey on a white background, which makes them hard to find, because your eyes are getting pulled towards the darker icons and text. How long will it take for your average user to get frustrated, when they can’t easily find the button they need?

For important things on your web site, like vital information, frequently-used links, or Calls to Action, you’ll want to have good contrast to make sure they don’t get lost. We’re not saying you should bust out the day-glo green, or anything, but wise use of light-on-dark or dark-on-light can get you a long way.

Icons: What’s That Shape Mean, Anyway?

The icon trend has been on the rise in web site interfaces since well before Ello hit the Intertubes, but they weren’t shy about jumping on that wagon. The problem is, while certain icons are fairly universal–or at least easy enough to figure out–others are, well, a tad confusing. Would you have guessed that the (+) icon would mean, “Invite,” before you hovered over it?

This principle goes back decades in web site building: don’t make your web site user think. “Mystery meat” links and icons can be confusing, and nobody likes to go in guessing. It should be easy for your visitors to figure out what different links and buttons lead to. If it isn’t? You risk losing their attention, and their business.

There’s More Than One Way

One of my bigger beefs with the Ello interface is photo uploading: for using images in posts, there’s an upload button, but to change your Profile photo or Header photo, you’re forced to drag-and-drop the image you want. In fact, they have to specifically instruct you (on hover, of course) to drag-and-drop. If you don’t hover over that profile photo, you’ll never know what to do.

Not only is it dreadfully inconsistent, but it’s also not terribly intuitive. And, seriously, who forces Drag-and-Drop as the only option for a photo upload?

Not everyone is going to engage with your web site in the same way. Different people use different devices, and they’ll flow through your content in different ways. We don’t expect you to go out of your way to serve absolutely every stone-age 1990s refugee desktop PC in the world, but an extra option or a bit of adaptability can go a long way towards helping your viewer find what they need, so they can take advantage of what you’re offering them.

Small Changes, Big Impact.

The temptation to get super-slick with your web site can be hard to resist, but the best answer to making your web site more effective is often the simplest one. Small changes can make a huge difference in how people interact with your web site, how they respond to what you have to offer, and whether or not they contact you or get interested in your product.

Your web site’s mission is to make the most important parts of your brand and your business easy to find and to learn about. Don’t get so caught up in style that you lose out on connection.

Portland branding agency – Portland web design – Upswept Creative