The Handbook Primer Series: Now in Android Flavor!
Posted by Rebecca Blake on May 03, 2016
Want to read our Handbook of Pricing & Ethical Guidelines on your tablet, but don’t have an iPad? Now you can – our digital Primer series has just been released for Android. The Primer series repackages our popular Handbook as three volumes, which can be separately purchased. Volume 1, Business Practice Essentials, covers the professional relationships illustrators and graphic designers develop and the ethical standards needed to maintain good working relationships with clients and other professionals. Volume 2, Professional Issues & Legal Rights for Graphic Artists, covers the often confusing issues, such as copyright terms, work-for-hire, sales tax, and work on spec, that both self-employed and staff graphic artists encounter. Volume 3, Trade Customs & Pricing Guidelines, explores customary professional practices and provides sample pricing tables and salaries for various disciplines within the graphic arts industry.
The Android version of the Primer Series can be purchased from the Vital Source eTextbook platform. The Primer Series in iOS flavor can also be purchased from the iTunes store. Those who prefer to read in the bathtub and don’t want to risk dropping their electronic devices, can always buy the original Handbook in paperback from Amazon or any local bookstore.
Adobe Design Achievement Awards Strive to Prepare Students for the Real World
Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 12, 2016
Adobe’s annual contest of student work, the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, is in full swing, with students entering to meet the June 19 deadline. Adobe partners with ico-D, the International Association of Design, in producing a unique competition that strives to assist registrants in navigating the transition from student to full professional. A full slate of benefits and prizes reinforces the educational aspect of the competition:
- All registrants are eligible to be chosen for a mentorship with a creative professional, and are subscribed to tips emails from 99U, as well as the 99U Quarterly print magazine.
- Semifinalists are also invited to join the online ADAA community, attend for free an Adobe Career Bootcamp, have their entries appear in the ADAA live gallery, and can display ADAA online badge on their LinkedIn and Facebook pages.
- Finalists additionally receive comments on their work from the judges, are invited to partnered events with local design firms, will be nominated for three years for an Adobe Creative Residency, receive a one-year subscription (or extension) to Adobe Creative Cloud, and have their work appear permanently in the ADAA Showcase.
- Winners have their expenses (travel, hotel, and conference pass) paid for a trip to San Diego to attend Adobe MAX: The Creativity Conference, and receive a trophy.
The ico-D Mentorship Program is uniquely geared to assisting students in bridging the career gap. Mentors select students from all ADAA entrants for either a portfolio review or a mentorship. The mentorship is described as a 5-5-5 – five virtual meetings (online or by telephone), over five months, devised to address five predetermined goals that will either improve the student’s design skills, or assist the student in launching a career. Since mentors are pulled from ico-D and Adobe’s global networks, they represent a broad range of professional activity and locations.
Students are encouraged to enter up to three examples of existing work in different categories, from fine art, to commercial, to social impact. (That last category reflects ico-D and the design community’s concern with sustainability, and encompasses work created for social or environmental causes.) Entrants must be older than 18, and must be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education. To accommodate larger scale projects, such as video work, groups may also submit entries, so long as one individual is listed as the team leader. (The competitions rules are posted online.)
While the final submission deadline is June 19, early bird semifinalists will be announced on May 24. Final semifinalists will be announced on July 18, with finalists and category winners projected to be announced in August and September.
David Berman’s 11½ (or 15) Favorite Tools for Testing Website Accessibility
Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 27, 2015
Website accessibility – making sites understandable and usable by those with physical and cognitive disabilities – is a growing concern for web developers. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has long published international standards for online accessibility, the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). The W3C website includes Easy Checks: A First Review of Website Accessibility, a quick checklist of steps to take to ensure a website meets basic standards. At first glance, these recommended steps appear to be fairly simple, such as following a clear hierarchy in assigning heading-tags, or ensuring high color contrast between text and backgrounds. However, many accessibility standards can easily be overlooked, or target goals inadvertently missed.
David Berman addresses those pitfalls in 11½ Tools for Testing Website Accessibility, a webinar hosted by 3PlayMedia. Berman is well qualified: he’s a UN advisor on accessibility issues, and an Invited Expert to the W3C. At the outset, Berman cautions developers to clarify their goals in making their website accessible. WCAG 2 sets different standards for gauging website accessibility, from level A, meeting minimal standards, through AAA. Berman advises that developers identify the WCAG standard they hope to meet so as to avoid wasting resources. He recommends using the WCAG-Evaluation Methodology report, which creates a compliance report that can help pinpoint the target accessibility goal.
The webinar covers a wide range of tools: from ones which scan entire websites, to browser toolbars, to tools which check submitted code (good for checking websites which have not yet been published) or check for specific issues, such as color contrast or photosensitive epilepsy triggers, to tools which emulate screen readers. Throughout the webinar, Berman demonstrates various tools by testing the accessibility of the Volkswagen website. (The company had just hit the news for faking emissions standards and, in light of the company’s boasts of inclusiveness, Berman felt a review of their website accessibility was in order.) The choice turned out to be a good one - a number of tools demonstrated that the VW website failed WCAG compliance because of lapses in basic best practices, such as supplying alt attributes on images.
So why should accessibility standards be a concern to web developers (beyond doing the right thing)? In the United States, Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act requires that federal agency websites be accessible and sets accessibility standards. One of the goals of the Act is to raise accessibility standards across the board by requiring companies vying for government contracts to meet those standards. Additionally, lawsuits brought against major corporations such as Ramada, Priceline, Southwest Airlines, and Target argue that the American with Disabilities Act, intended to make brick-and-mortar establishments accessible to all, applies to websites as well. Currently, Section 508 is under review and expected to become fully compliant with WCAG 2.0 in 2016.
Sheila Copps Challenges Designers to Address Global Issues
Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 03, 2015
At the Eeum Design Connects international congress this past October in Gwangju, South Korea, Sheila Copps delivered a riveting keynote address that challenged the design community to effectively address global issues such as climate change and sustainability. Copps currently heads the World Summit and Congress of Architecture + Design + Planning, the 2017 international design congress which will bring together a multitude of design disciplines. She was asked to replace the scheduled keynote speaker, Victor Margolin, who was sadly injured right before the Congress. If the last-minute call caused any difficulty, it wasn’t evident in either the content or delivery of her speech.
In her address, Copps focused on how design can be used as a leverage for political action. She related that in her 25+ years in politics, she never heard from designers or design organizations, despite the fact that designers work on solutions to many of the issues being addressed by communities and governments. She then asked when, where, and how do designers connect with decision-makers:
“Designers who come together for the common good of the community will get the ear of government… Designers CAN change the world. You design for people. You do not design in a void.”
She concluded her address with ten steps the design communities can take to connect to decision makers, governments, and communities:
1. Determine the outcomes do we want, and reverse engineer those outcomes.
2. Create simple concepts such as “green design” that are easily communicated and which people can rally around.
3. Develop metrics and measurement tools that international decision makers can implement.
4. Utilize international design champions to promote our common objective.
5. Determine the ten key elements of what constitutes good design in a horizontal fashion.
6. Measure the real cost of cradle to grave cost of disposability.
7. Create template for action that is easily understood by governments, NGOs, and the business community, so that design becomes a sustainable economic driver.
8. Create great design which adds value to society that will build value in cities, communities, buildings, etc.
9. Create the potential for tax incentives. Financial incentives come from a design connection that understands how to make good politics.
10. Help policy makers develop tools so that we can measure our footprints.
Guild Member Discount for HOW Interactive Design Conference Boston, Nov. 5-7
Posted by Rebecca Blake on September 30, 2015
At the HOW Interactive Design Conference (HIDC) in Boston November 5-7, designers and developers will explore the intersection of design and technology. The conference is packed with seminars, breakfasts, and happy hours. Talks will be given by industry leaders, such as Jen Simmons, designer and host of The Web Ahead, and Stephan Mumaw, Director of Creative Strategy at Hint and author of Creative Bootcamp. Guild members are invited to attend the conference at a discount of $50 off the registration fee. Register online on the conference website with the code GAG50.
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