Category Archives: Tools

Platform throw down which side should you be on?

1:28:2013Phone, laptop, tabletop, tablet. Which device should your content (web site info) be available on? All of them? In order to decide you need to step inside your user’s shoes. Ask yourself how the user is coming to the information, is it via a smart phone, tablet, etc.? Let’s go through the process using Parker Payroll Services as the model and go through each device. Starting with a smart phone, what content would a user of Parker Payroll access using this device? A user may use it to check if paperwork has gone through and checks issued. That could be a valuable option. How about accessing forms to fill out payroll data for processing? Probably not so much but it could be conveniently done using a tablet on the go. The content available for a laptop or tabletop computer is the same but might include expanded features, such as a blog, that isn’t necessarily available on smaller devices. An important and over looked factor is how is the information presented. Content on a smart phone will scroll, put the important need to know content at the beginning. The important take away is think like a user of your services and try to meet that need. Last food for thought, what about an app? Could Parker Payroll Services provide content and collect information using a specially tailored app?

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More than a soapbox

Twitter has become ubiquitous. Even payroll companies have Twitter accounts. Can you use Twitter to your and your company’s advantage? I think so. Twitter accounts can be protected. You can allow only certain people access to the account. In other words, you can set up a company account that only employees can see. You can set up accounts for departments. You can use Twitter as a fast simple way to communicate. The storm out East is a perfect example. For those inland, the threat was not so evident. Suddenly the decision to close shop doesn’t have to be made far in advance. It can be decided last minute, not at a dangerous last minute, but now there is more time to gather information before making a decision. A change in a meeting is one Tweet and now everyone knows. A family emergency can be communicated to co-workers and save a lot of time. Information can be spread quickly. It is can be faster and is briefer than email, Tweets can be received on smart phones and computers. As a communication tool, Twitter can be immensely useful. As soon as I get me some people I’m going to get myself a Twitter account. “DonutGirl@Donut Girl #Stopping @ bakery! Who wants pastry?”

To tweet or not to tweet

Apparently you should. I googled-wait for it-payroll and got several hits, including one payroll company with nearly 2,000 followers. Many of the followers are other types of companies and other payroll companies. Some might be customers or trade organizations. Many of the tweets are tips or information about services.

There are several things you need to consider when venturing into social media. One, is do you have the time or several people to maintain your effort? Don’t make it one person’s job, they might change jobs and then the social media account might languish. Another is will you have enough content? And maybe most importantly, have you set up guidelines for staff to follow? You want to be a-political, not over fanatical about sports or celebrities. You need to think about your page on twitter. Make sure your company name and logo are prominent; follow your branding. Make sure posted images are appropriate. Tweeting may not make much of an impact but it might be something to try if you have the resources. And lastly, if you find you don’t have relevant followers you can shut it down.

El, em, en, Oh!

En dash, em dash. What are they and what can they do for you? Nothing more than help you get across your meaning in writing. Em dash — is longer than an en dash. It is used to set off a comment much like parentheses do.
Grating lemon peel—with a fine grate—into your coffee grounds before brewing will give your coffee an Italian flair.
An en dash is used to a to show union, correlation, things that go together. Red–green, blue–orange, yellow–purple.
And the hypen is for joining words or separate syllables of a word. Eye-opener.
On a PC an Em dash is created by typing two hyphens—at least in word—and they should be automatically joined. An en dash is best inserted by using the menu, insert+symbol+special character. En and em dashes are at the top of the list. And for those of us who use a Mac, far easier: Em—Shift+option+hyphen and the en—Opton+hyphen.
P.S. The em dash is the same size as your type, 12 point type has 12 point em dashes. The en dash is half the point size, 12 point type has a 6 point en dash.

The equivalent of what?

The decimal equivalents of an inch. You think one-eighth and computers think 0.125. Every designer worth her salt has a decimal equivalent chart. Most of the conversions we know by heart. Every so often, however, we have to check. And since we can layout things in our programs to the thousandth of an inch, we get pretty precise. I would say anal, but this is a G rated blog. I’ve made a decimal chart for you. You can view it below and download the pdf. It is not fancy, no pretty graphics, not even my web site address or a pitch. Print it, trim it and enjoy.

Decimal equivalent of an inch

Decimal equivalent of an inch
Fraction Decimal to 2 places Decimal to 3 places
1/16 0.06 0.062
1/8 0.12 0.125
3/16 0.19 0.188
1/4 0.25 0.250
5/16 0.31 0.312
3/8 0.38 0.375
7/16 0.44 0.438
1/2 0.50 0.500
9/16 0.56 0.562
5/8 0.62 0.625
11/16 0.69 0.688
3/4 0.75 0.750
13/16 0.82 0.812
7/8 0.88 0.875
15/16 0.94 0.938
1 1.00 1.000