There is nothing better than building a tool that can be used by many people. We were approached by New Futures to build a website a few months ago for their Smart Start campaign. One of their requirements was a tool to help their visitors look up their state representatives. We accomplished this by building a plugin for WordPress which New Futures has agreed to allow us to release to the public. Their investment in this plugin will now increase in value every time someone uses this plugin! Download the zip, check out the code on GitLab. Read more
And here’s why
My personal story
For many of us, when we think about the kind of work we want to do and how we want to do it, it becomes hard to imagine a “job” that matches our ideals. I’ve been at this crossroads numerous times: keep doing the work you love but have no financial security…or get some financial security and do work that doesn’t serve your purpose. The latter usually forces you into a dysfunctional workplace with limited flexibility, rendering you unable to live a healthy life.
In my adult life I’ve done a lot of different things and nothing makes me happier than the work I currently do. I want to keep doing this work and always be looking for a way to take it to the next level, to push myself and generate power in my community. But the options that traditionally exist for owning your own labor are incredibly frustrating. Read more
…And the messes we clean up.
We do a lot of work on other peoples’ websites. Often times people come to us to fix their websites because someone built them a bad website.
Let’s dig in to what we mean…
Defining bad and good
Bad and good are subjective and slippery. They’re different for different people/groups/purposes and depending on the needs being met by the website. Generally speaking though—and for our purposes—a goodwebsite:
- meets all the technical requirements, AKA it functions as it’s supposed to
- is easy to navigate and find information without being told where to go
- has backups in place in case anything goes wrong
- is accessed by secure login credentials
- is made with clean, well-organized code and has no additional bells and whistles beyond what it needs (I’m looking at you, premium WP themes)
- runs on up-to-date software on a secure server
- can be used by most/all people, even those with legacy software (to an extent) and/or alternative accessibility needs
A bad website is one that doesn’t meet at least two of these requirements. If it fails to meet three or more of these requirements you can consider yourself ready for a strategic overhaul. Read more
I’m co-working with Katie today in a Brooklyn Cafe. An old friend Pablo ran into us and we got to talking about our upcoming trip to Spain and what each of us are working on. Pablo revealed that he is working on relief work for Puerto Rico and that they needed a map. I’ve gotten really good at setting up maps recently, you can read more about how I do it here.
Pablo called up his contact, shared a Google spreadsheet and in a few minutes I had this map setup based on a spreadsheet of donation drop off locations across the US maintained by Pablo’s team. See it after the jump. Read more
The background on the work
Boulder County, Colorado has a working group dedicated entirely to their local foodshed. The Boulder County Foodshed is,
“a new educational campaign formed by a coalition of business, government and non-profit leaders in Boulder County. Our goal is to balance our food system by promoting the increased production, consumption, and preservation of regional and local food options.”
After their formation and initial kickoff another group offered to build their website. And they made a lovely looking website, you can check it out here.
What we did
The Shed team approached us to inject some more interactivity into their site. The main calls to action weren’t clickable and had no other content associated with them. They were ready to write that next batch of content and up their online outreach game. We were happy to oblige.
Math in the age of technology
One of our clients, Cathy O’Neil was just featured on a great podcast called 99% Invisible! You can check out the work we did for Cathy’s consulting business, ORCAA (O’Neil Risk Consulting & Algorithmic Auditing) over here on Drew’s blog. Full disclosure: we did this project together before Good Good Work was born.
Not only is she a badass woman and mathematician, but Cathy does really important work auditing the algorithms that invisibly shape our lives. These highly tuned, mathematically magic spells are aimed at making life easier in the modern age, but they can also inadvertently cast curses, too (*ahem* Trump election…looking at you, Facebook).
As a designer, I love a good challenge. A recent favorite of mine was working for the DSA on a 3-day deadline.
Delegates were about to pick the new leadership body, but were dealing with the unique challenge of needing to represent the true scope of diversity that exists within the democratic socialist left. Charles Lenchner – with People for Bernie – and his team wanted to create a booklet and worksheet to help delegates in the selection process. It would help see at a glance how diverse their choices were before casting their votes.
With the 3-day deadline, we needed to act fast. We had to be agile and adaptive.
The booklet Charles needed had to contain the list of candidates. Each profile would describe them, including a short bio, the region from which they were, their gender, race, and a few other stats that were easy to read for the regular voter with a quick scan.
The worksheet we created would allow to tally up the diversity categories’ totals.
With such a short deadline, the challenge was not only to deliver on time, but also to design alongside Charles and his team. While we created the actual document, they were putting all the information to be printed in the finished booklet together. For this very reason, we needed to work with live documents, so we worked in Google Docs. That’s how Charles and his team were able to update and edit everything as it was created. I watched their edits in real-time, while I fixed up the formatting and design.
Because Google docs’ styling tools are not as robust as in my software of choice – Adobe InDesign – formatting was a challenge. However, the limitations lent to a clean and very simple design, resulting in an easy-to-read document with clear organization. It wasn’t the most indulgent of designs, but what we lost in flashy graphics, we made up for with time. Thanks to the live documents, we had no back and forths of confusing revisions, so all we had to do was work.
With the magic of Google docs, we were able to create live/editable pie charts of the diversity data with customized style and colors. As the data was updated, transferring the new stats to the pie charts was as easy as, well… pie.
In the nick of time, we called it done. We exported the doc as a pdf and went to print. What a rush! Thanks to this time-constrained challenge, I got to enjoy adapting my process to our client’s specific needs. There are a lot of really great tools out there for us to use. Though I may be more comfortable with a cordless screwdriver, sometimes I need to use a hammer.
Do you have a challenge for Good Good Work? Say firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the story of free and open source solutions that made an event more inclusive and less costly.
On the weekend of June 9th, 2017, thousands of progressive americans came together in Chicago for the 2nd annual People’s Summit. There were inspiring speakers, such as Nina Turner, as well as brilliant panels that enlightened, informed, and educated the throngs of activists who had gathered from around the nation. The keynote speaker was Bernie Sanders, who asked the assembled crowd of over 4,000 attendees, “How many of you have run for office, or are actively involved in local campaigns? Stand up.” Half the audience stood. It was truly inspiring.
A few months earlier, in April, organizers came to us, looking for a solution to sell tickets more profitably. Last year, Eventbrite had cost them an exorbitant sum of money in fees. Fees that could have been spent on stipends to help people attend—one of The People’s Summit’s main goals. So, this time around, they wanted to deploy their own ticket sales system.
In the end, we delivered a unique solution that not only helped them achieve their goals, but also saved them ~ $10,00 in fees.
The People’s Summit 2017 asked Good Good Work to develop a ticketing system that could circumvent third-party websites such as Eventbrite while making the event more inclusive and diverse. While helping them save a pretty large sum of money, we also saved them a lot of time by automating parts of the system they didn’t think they could.
There were three main parts to this system:
- Applications system – We needed to create a step in the application process that would involve partner organizations first, before moving accepted applications on to the registration process, starting with the gateway.
- Registration Gateway – Once an applicant was approved, the website needed a way to verify their acceptance before letting them buy a ticket. We also needed to be sure that the applicant’s data—such as a registration code—hadn’t already been used to buy a ticket before.
- Sales system – Once an accepted applicant was through the gateway, we needed a way for them to purchase their ticket.
Back in May a connection referred us to Kottke & Brantz for some branding work. They’re a law firm in Boulder with a long history of serving the community, and they needed a fresh look without too much fanfare, something modern that fit their image, but no need to go over the top with marketing materials. So after getting some basic info about their time, budget, and the branding assets they required, we decided to offer them our Starter Pack. It seemed to fit well within all the project constraints and meet their needs.