How to create a privacy policy

When building websites, I am given all of the website content, but more often than not, the privacy policy is not part of this document. As a result I end up looking at the current site and copying the existing text or searching the web for inspiration and writing something brief for the client.

If you are collecting any type of information from your website, such as email for a newsletter or comments on your blog, then you should have a privacy policy in place. But what do you put in there?

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Google Calendar for your Website

Louise’s great suggestion for putting your business on the Google map reminded me of another way to use Google’s tools for your business: a Google Calendar. You can share your calendar with selected viewers, say, to keep your family or partners in the loop. If you want the whole world to know when your Tupperware party is, you can make your calendar public to anyone with just a few clicks. (Do they still have Tupperware parties? OK, maybe you want to list your naughty toys party instead. Whatever floats your boat…)

You can take it even a step further, and include a public calendar in your own website to list your events or schedule. When you sign up for a Google Calendar you can create more than one calendar ā€” so if you had a Bed & Breakfast, for instance, a calendar for each room could show when it’s booked.

There are certainly more advanced and customized ways of doing some of these things, but this is some great functionality if you’re on a budget.

How to add a public calendar to your WordPress site

Calendar testEvent details popup

If you’re comfortable with the teensiest bit of HTML tweaking this is really easy to do.

  1. Create a public calendar at google.com/calendar
  2. Make a page in WordPress
  3. Go to the Google Calendar Details screen and copy the code for including the calendar in your website
  4. Paste it into your WordPress page. Note, you’ll need to switch from Visual view to Code view in your WordPress editor. You may also need to adjust the width and height to fit your page layout.

Your website calendar page will be kept up-to-date because it loads all the events you add within the Google Calendar interface, each time your page is visited.

That’s it. Neat trick, eh?

Creative Culture & Success in Business

Adaptive Path (a user experience design firm in San Francisco) has a wealth of articles on their site which, as a designer, I find interesting. Many articles are of interest to a broader business audience ā€“ such as this interview with Chris Conley.

Conley notes Pixar as a great example of creative business success which “basically create[s] a new billion dollar franchise every four years or so”. Truly an amazing track record. He discusses what makes them so successful, which boils down more or less to:

  • strongly adhering to a higher purpose – in Pixar’s case “To create great stories”. Fabulous storytelling is more important than fancy computer graphics. Mission and focus is paramount.
  • dynamic leadership & a talented team – every project is led by a director-producer pair that brings complementary strengths to the table and is responsible for the project’s outcome in different ways. Their team is made up of artists and technologists that can make their work better through critique. A strong team is diverse and challenges each other.
  • a highly iterative and tangible process – experimenting and sketching begins on day one. There is no waiting for mounds of research or scripts holding back the creative process. The great story they’ll tell gets figured out along the way. You needn’t have it all figured out from the start, get out there and do something.

Finally, Conley says

If corporations were to adopt these principles, behaviors, and values in their innovation-oriented work, they would be orders of magnitude more successful.

There are some good ideas in that list which resonate with me. What do you think?

Finally the perfect web design showcase!

When designing websites there are always a few components that are more difficult to design. Navigation, icons, call to action items, forms and headlines come to mind. When setting up blogs, headlines, comment forms and the entry metadata is often just straight from the design template. Looking at different websites and blogs is a great way to be inspired but finding the right site takes a lot of time and effort. After reading Smashing Magazine article today, I came across Elements of Design, the alternative web design showcase. This wonderful resource is the design showcase of Christian Watson. Instead of displaying great looking websites, he provides us with snippets such as great icons, headlines, pull quotes, calendars, search boxes and even code display. I’m bookmarking this site right now and subscribing to their RSS feed!

Step-by-step guide to using Google Reader

Back in early May, Mhairi wrote a piece about Google Reader and how its use allows you to keep track of your favourite blogs. I thought I would provide a step-by-step guide for those who may not know how to get started.

Step 1 – Register
Sign up for a Google Account

Step 2 – Login
Once your account set up, login. You should come to a page which looks like this:

Google account home page

Step 3 – Set up your reader

Click on Reader to access Google Reader. Using the link “Add Subscription” in the top left hand column add your favourite blogs.

Add Subscription

Step 4 – Enjoy

Now that you’ve added your blogs, you only need to login to your account to access them all in one convenient location.

Alternative Readers
For those of you who may not want to use Google, there are several other options.

The Scoop On Google Reader

Google Reader is a great piece of technology developed by the folks over at Google labs that lets you easily subscribe to information on the web. In tech terms, Google Reader is an RSS or Atom feed aggregator. For those of us without propeller heads, this simply means that it allows available information on the web such as blog articles, e-zine pieces and news bulletins to come to one central place so that you can log in and enjoy at your leisure.

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Freelance Switch: Community and Resource for Freelancers

Since making the switch from chemist to web developer, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy getting up in the morning. Aside from not having to handle toxic chemicals on a daily basis and smelling that ghastly lab-smell, I also don’t miss the commute, lunches from vending machines, unhappy coworkers and office politics. Starting my own business is by far the best move I made so far (after marrying my husband of course).

Launched just a few weeks ago, freelanceswitch.com is a website that offers loads of hints and tips for freelancers. Advice on how to take care of yourself while working long hours, managing your increasingly long list of usernames and passwords and reviews of the different types of pitching and decision-making clients are just a few of the articles that you can find.

It’s a great resource for anyone wishing to quit their job and start working for themselves. Not only is the site full of great information, it’s also beautifully designed. I wish I had access to this type of information when I launched Bluelime Media.

RSS – not so simple after all!

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication but judging from the questions I have received recently, from a user perspective its not really simple at all! Basically, RSS is a means by which information can be published and made available over the Internet to interested parties in one central place. For a user, this means that you can subscribe to information you want from specific blogs, news feeds, e-zines and so on and have this information sent directly to you in real time as updates are made.

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