Happy Birthday to the Cutest and the Wisest: A Story of How Social Media Connected Family Across Generations
Yesterday my family celebrated the shared birthday of two guys we've designated "the cutest" and "the wisest".
Name: Justus Floyd Burton
Past Times and Hobbies: Being cute, duh. Also saying things that are so adorable you want to squeeze him, playing hardcore with anything with wheels, and pronouncing anything that has the "k" sound as a "t" (e.g. "fork" equals "fort").
Claim to Fame: He is really, really good at redistribution. And by redistribution, I mean redistributing Cheerios from the box to the floor.
Name: Floyd Wesley Burton
Past Times and Hobbies: Antique cars. Spending time with friends and relatives. Helping out on the farm. Serving others.
Claim to Fame: There is so much. He can fix anything. Anything. He's a self-taught farmer/engineer/mechanic with an intense work ethic and a never-give-up attitude. He's faithful to his wife of over 60 years, faithful to his family, faithful to his friends, and faithful to his community.
These two. There are almost no words for how precious this relationship is.
Justus is the youngest of my brother and his wife Tyler's children, the youngest of Floyd's great-grandchildren. Floyd is my father's father, my gramps. Weeks before Justus' birth, I followed a link from my sister-in-law's Facebook to an online blog, accidentally discovering that she had commented under the blog article that if their baby was a boy, they were going to name him Justus Floyd.
I virtually tiptoed away, and never said a word about it to anyone. On August 28, 2014, the phone call came.
They'd had a boy.
They'd named him Justus Floyd.
I just could not imagine how Gramps was feeling when he heard the news, but my heart was smiling so big because it was just so right.
Backtrack a few years. My brother and sister-in-law lived overseas for years, doing hard things in countries people don't go to. They gave birth to their two older kiddos in the States, and we all treasured the early months of their lives, then watched the first few years of their lives in pictures through the internet. And guess who was first in line for updates on Facebook?
Gramps. He lets nothing stop him from being there for his friends and family.
And aren't we all like that? The things that are important to us are the things we spend our energy, time, and money on. Most people wouldn't guess than an 80-something-year-old great-grandfather would be eager to learn new-to-him social media platforms. Most people would say, "There's no way you'll see my grandfather on Facebook!"
I wouldn't be too sure.
Family was a powerful motivator for Gramps, and he's never been afraid to learn new things. So he bought a laptop. Then an iPad. A smartphone was next, followed by a mobile hotspot. It's entirely possible that today, at 87 years old, he owns more tech gadgets than the rest of us.
Gramps dove headfirst into digital communication. The 13-hour time difference made direct communication difficult, but he made it work. Before long he was researching how to set up and maintain solar electricity panels and sending blueprints to my brother's e-mail, catching on all the latest photos from overseas, posting and commenting from his winter home in Texas, and Skype calling to say hello.
My brother and his family are back in the States now. Last month, they moved in just down the road from the family farm. Guess who was there almost every day during the renovation and move in process? That's right, my Gramps.
Last night we all gathered at their new home for a joint birthday party, celebrating the cute and the wise. We ate good food and laughed a lot. Our days of overseas communication are over, but Gramps is still going strong on social media. He tried it. He liked it. And he came back for more. I'm so glad.
Happy birthday boys. Love you!
With planning, organization, and content, the foundation for a website is laid. The basic structure is in and ready, and now it’s time for one of my favorite parts of the process: design.
Although the overall concept of design encompasses much more, for the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to use the term “design” to refer to the overall look and flow of the website. And when it comes to the overall look and flow of the website, my main goes is to make sure the visual look of the website consistently portrays the image the client is wanting to project. I also make sure to ask my clients what feelings or emotions they want web visitors to have when visiting their website, because design plays a huge part in this as well. A website can be fully planned out, organized down to the last detail, and have the best-written content in the world, but if the overall design is poor, the whole website will fall flat.
There are four key elements I utilize when designing a website: typography, space, image, and color. We will be discussing image more in depth in next week’s blog. Today I’m going to break down typography, space, and color.
Fonts and typefaces, serif and sans serif, display and script. Why are there so many buzz words when it comes to typography? To put it plainly, because typography matters. The way words and letters look on a screen can invoke emotion and motivate action. It can also frustrate or clarify. Choosing fonts is an important step in the process, because font sets the tone for how the text appears.
Sometimes my clients have definite opinions on a font they want to use, especially if their existing logo uses a certain font. Other times they're more open. Regardless, I always ask myself the following questions when choosing fonts
When choosing a font, besides readability and relatability, consider the typefaces available within that font family. Is the font available in bold or italic? It's nice to have those options to offset content text that's extra important or carries heavier meaning. I also suggest using no more than two fonts throughout a website - one for body text, and another for headings and featured text. Below are two examples that show what a difference is made when typography is used carefully and effectively.
Space, the final frontier . . . and when it comes to web design, each page needs some. Space is really the unsung, underappreciated element of design, but without it, a website will implode. Take another look at the two examples above. The first example is, shall we say, crowded. There are so many elements on this page, the eye doesn't know what to look at first. Instead of looking like a cohesive unit, all the colors, text, and highlighted phrasing fights for attention. Sometimes what's not on a web page is as important as what is, and the first example is the perfect case in point.
The second example shows an excellent use of space. The large, single image compliments the bold headline text, which drawing the eye directly to it. You can tell right away what the page is about - the Autumn Winter 2016/17 line of this brand. The navigation bar at the top right is streamlined and clear. Nicely done!
Many people fail to consider what a useful tool space is in their websites, assuming that blank space is wasted. It's not true. Space is like a tour guide for the eye. When used to the web designers advantage, web visitors can find the information they want quickly and efficiently, which is always a win. Just remember, too much to see is just simply too much.
Color is such a fun element and probably ranks even higher than typography at eliciting emotion from viewers. Color used well is like dynamite that sparks memory and knowledge retention in the brain. Color is one of the first things on a page to make a big impression, either good or bad.
If a client already has a logo or a color scheme, that's where I start. More often than not, even if they don't, they have an idea what colors they like and want to be associated with. The color chart above is a great starting point to show your client as you begin your discussion on color. I love searching the web for color schemes. You can see some great examples of website that use color well here.
When the color scheme is settled, I then think of ways I can incorporate the chosen colors into the website itself - page backgrounds, photo frames, header text, navigation bar, footers, featured blocks of text, a chart or graphic. Using color throughout the site helps help tie elements of the website together and promote the cohesive look your client is going for.
In the client example for this blog series, color first entered the discussion with their logo. My client is wants a completely new look for their website, beginning with their logo. Red and gray are the colors they'd like to use. Although the logo is still in the final stages of completion, the color palette looks like this:
Design Wrap Up
Typography, space and color are three of my favorite stages of designing a website and a chance for me get creative. Throughout the process, I continue to communicate with my clients every step of the way. Quick recap:
Building a website is a time-consuming, involved task, but when it's done right, your new website will be the launching point for an established web presence for you and your business or organization. In the first two posts of this series, we covered website planning and organization. Now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty of website building: CONTENT.
After organization, content is easily the most important feature of your website. For the sake of brevity, we're mainly going to focus on text content in this blog post. Elements like photos, videos, and other graphic elements will be discussed in a separate post. To see how content comes into play in a website build, let's refer back to my client's website tree:
While a website tree serves as the framework of the website, the written content fills that framework in, providing the details and information website visitors are looking for.
Our website example for this series belongs to a father/son team who run a manufacturing business. Because I'm not a manufacturing expert, I will rely heavily on my clients who are experts in this field during this stage of the process. I will sit down with them, copy of the website tree in hand, and we will go through it step by step, website page by website page. I ask myself, and them, a whole lot of questions in my quest for information:
Once I've finished discovering all the content, it's time to write. Again, this will be a back and forth process of reading and proofing between my client and myself. Going page by page, I take the information they've given and I begin placing it in where it belongs. I pay special attention to not only what the message I'm writing says, but also how the message is given:
Once the content itself has been written and approved by the client, it's time to do one last edit. Nothing screams "unprofessional" like spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. This is when I often call in extra eyes to proof read, as I find that it's easier for a new reader to spot an error than it is for me.
At this point in the process, it's a temptation to call it a day. My brain is tired. My eyes are tired. But I have a few fun memes I keep around as reminders that the editing step is vitally important.
Amazing! Okay, just one more:
I can't stop. That's so entertaining!
Providing your website visitors with quality content is a winner every time. Although it's a time-consuming task, creating good, clear content can make the different between a website visitor cruising on by your website or clicking through for more.
Have a great week! I'll be back next week with a sneak peek into my design process.
I was twenty years old when I first met these two. I walked into their modest home, the new girlfriend of their oldest grandson. We sat down in at their drop-leaf wooden table, and we played Pictionary and laughed. A lot. We laughed until we cried.
It was here, in the midst of our rowdy game, as I was gasping for breath with laughter-tears running down my face, that I caught the eye of my now-husband across the table and he flashed me the "I love you" sign. No one caught it but me, and I will never forget that moment or the genuine look of joy and contentment on his face. It was the first time either of us had expressed the "L-word" to the other. We had only been dating two weeks, and I was dead-crazy in love with him too.
I was stunned. I was terrified. I was elated. What he didn't know was just that morning I had woke up thinking about him, as usual, and had come to a startling realization: I wasn't just infatuated with this handsome fellow, I was in love with him. THAT VERY SAME MORNING! I went about my day and never said a word about it to anyone (although God and I were having a running conversation about it. "Am I nuts God? This is nuts. I've lost it. It's only been two weeks." You get the picture). Then that evening, he backs me up me up with his "I love you" sign. American Sign Language has never looked so good my friends.
We left that night and our love story continued. Within another month and a half, we were engaged, then married that summer. People thought we were crazy. There may have even been some bets that it would never last. But not Grandpa and Grandma Kelly - they knew. They believed in love. They believed in us. This weekend, we'll have been married for sixteen years.
When I left that night, the night of Pictionary and American Sign Language and laughter tears, they both hugged me. Even thought I was a virtual stranger. Even though we had just met. It's not that I was special - or maybe that's exactly was it was. You see, they're like this with everyone. They see the specialness and worth in everyone who walks into their lives, and they always, always see the specialness in each other. They are two people who know the value of building relationships and building families. They've been doing it all their lives. They will do it until they pass on into eternity.
I build things for a living - websites, promotional plans, sale catalogs. I love it. However, even more important and vital in my life is following the example that Grandpa and Grandma Kelly set in building their family. My husband's grandparents have been married over 60 years, and they're still dead-crazy in love with each other. In another 44 years, we'll be in their shoes, God-willing. I feel so blessed that the beginnings of our love story played out in their house, at their wooden table playing Pictionary.
Hi, I'm Christa, an Iowa-based messaging expert specializing in targeted messaging, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. I have one handsome hubby who's my partner in crime (not literally) and two great kids who keep us busy (Track and field! Volleyball! Basketball! All the sports!) Using words to help people promote what they love is my favorite!