Our blog roll

Double spaces (or not), Design, and Dyslexia

By Molly Northrup Bloom

I gave up the end-of-sentence double space long ago. I remember when I started working for Jen and she said not to use it, so I dropped it without question. Once it was pointed out, I came to view double space as a blight that should be eradicated. My brain had a harder time telling my thumb to stop the space bar two-step, but it didn’t take long. It is strange that it never occurred to me to research why I used two spaces for so long. I figured it was a throwback, and I know Jen had design-related reasons, but I am a curious person in a company of curious people. How did I let this historic habit go so easily? Once it was pointed out, I agreed and moved on. I hadn’t thought about it much in all these years. No client ever thought it was an issue, and new colleagues never argued for two spaces.

When I stumbled on this article, “Please don’t use this study to justify your horrible habit of using two spaces after periods” it grabbed my attention for two reasons: 1) It seems to prove we are somewhat right to give up the double space in the sense that it doesn’t significantly matter for our work; 2) I have a dyslexic husband and daughter, so I am always keen to understand more about how one reads. The Double Space study this article sites has a small sample size of 60 college students (there are currently over 15 million college students enrolled in the U.S.), but it is from a legitimate psychology publication, so now I am now both intrigued and haunted. The study finds that the use of double space does aid in processing text (especially for those participants who already use double spaces in their typing). Comprehension of the given paragraphs was not affected by double or single space. However, the study also noted, that “the passages used in the current study were relatively short and may not have been long enough or difficult enough to detect subtle global differences due to punctuation spacing.”

How did I not dig deeper into this earlier? Jen loves fonts, I love punctuation, and I have family members with language learning disabilities! It seems like the kind of query I would seek out for at least some of those reasons. At Eden, we never just approach design as something that should just look great, but also how people will use and perceive the design. We make our clients fill out design briefs, endure “ideal client” exercises, and provide carefully reviewed content before we even get to the design phase.

I guess if we were in the business of book publishing we would consider the double space more. There seems to be a good argument for keeping double spaces in books and some articles especially if it gives readers an assist. This is ultimately why the researchers did this study because the American Psychological Association Manual states that two spaces should follow (after previous editions stated one space). I suspect it is helpful to those readers who have a harder time with a crowded font like dyslexics (I’ll research that next). Double space appears to better denote the end of a sentence. It may not help with comprehension, but if it improves readability for those who struggle, it should be considered. Were any of those 60 college students in the double space study dyslexic? It’s possible, according to the International Dyslexia Association, 15-20% of the population has a language-based learning disability, of which dyslexia is the most common. It seems that the students in the study were selected with only two requirements: being native speakers of American English and having normal or corrected-to-normal vision. In the end, this is what the article’s researchers conclude, “Thus, while period spacing does influence our processing of text, we should probably be arguing passionate-ly [sic] about things that are more important.”

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

So, why did we start ditching the double space? Typography. According to this article in Slate, James Felici, the author of The Complete Manual of Typography, notes that typesetters in Europe started consistently using a single space around the early 20th century and everybody followed suit. When the typewriter came along, the machine font apparently caused us to go back to double spaces because the typewriter’s monospaced font dictated two spaces for ease of reading. That font was ditched in the 1970s and proportional fonts have been used ever since for most electric typewriters and personal computers.

Hank by Henry WinklerA fun side note: did you know that actor Henry Winkler (yes, the Fonz) is dyslexic, and he created a book series for children using a font created by an award-winning, dyslexic designer who created the font as his graduate project? Guess what is one of the ten most important features of the font? “The distance between individual letters and words is enlarged, which makes reading more convenient and avoids the crowding effect.” More space! You can read about all features of the font and the designer here. It’s a cool story and maybe a good lesson for us all. Designers are really only doing a good job at design if the humans interacting with it can do so with relative ease. This may not be so important for most website landing pages, say, but for more complex reading (like the psychology manual that inspired the study) it just may be.  

 

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend by Reading a Bunch of Boring Regulations!

(How to Comply with the New EU GDPR)

 

“The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new data privacy regulation that aims to give individuals in the EU protection and control over their personal data. This affects how businesses can collect and use personal data. While it is an EU law, it is applicable to any organization with personal data of EU citizens and residents. If you are a business with customers in the EU, the GDPR will be applicable to you when you are handling personal data of your EU customers.”
—Alfred Lua of Buffer

By now, many of you have probably already been inundated with emails from other mailing lists asking you to resubscribe along with links to their privacy policies. Wondering what the heck is going on?

Well, the EU (European Union) passed the “GDPR” which requires all businesses that collect EU users’ emails and other personal information to disclose how the information is being used and to confirm with those users that they do indeed want to remain on email lists.

And, this new regulation becomes enforceable tomorrow, May 25.

Unfortunately, we just became aware of the GDPR on Monday and have spent the past few days researching best practices so that we could advise you on next steps. However, we don’t offer legal advice. We recommend you contact your legal counsel to find out how the GDPR affects you.

Most of you do not have many, or any, subscribers/customers in the EU, but even if you have one EU member on your marketing email list, you must be in compliance. Also, this is a good opportunity to show all of your customers that you care about their privacy by creating a Privacy Policy and posting it on your site.

In a nutshell, here is what you need:

  • You need a privacy policy explaining what data you are collecting and why you have legitimate interest to collect the data.
  • The privacy policy needs to be accessible from every page.
  • For a newsletter you need to confirm the user via double opt-in.
  • The opt-in needs to inform the user about your privacy policy before address confirmation.

MailChimp

Many of you use MailChimp for your email marketing campaigns and you’ll want to be sure that your email list optin forms are compliant. Because many of you use the double optin confirmation feature and don’t have any EU residents on your lists anyway, you should be fine. To be sure, MailChimp has provided these helpful docs:


ICO

The Information Commissioner’s Office has a great website that includes a link to “GDPR: 12 Steps to Take Now” and a “Data Protection Self-Assessment Toolkit.”  To access the main site click here»

Here are some more helpful shortcuts:


Want Our Help?

Again, we’re not attorneys, but we are happy to help you work through your new policy and make changes to your opt-ins for mailing lists. We are working with clients in the order we receive requests. If you would like to get in the queue, please email Jen at jen@edendesignco.com.

After all that, I need a drink!
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend.
Cheers!
—Jen

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Jen Rolston Allyson Scammell Podcast

An Uncorked Conversation

Jen Rolston Allyson Scammell Podcast

Talk about getting out of my comfort zone . . .

With the help of my friend, coach, and client, Allyson Scammell of Shanti Pax, I did something totally new and vulnerable this month — my first podcast interview! I was honored to be on Episode #7 (just so happens to be my lucky number) of The Uncorked Conversation, where Allyson teaches listeners about:

  • Uncorking core gifts to create more magic in life
  • Smart time management + soul-guided planning
  • Infusing higher tools into life + business without burning out

In our episode we discuss how to define & connect with ideal clients — our ideal people, those groups that we are meant to serve with our expertise, products, services, art and more.

I think the episode flows really well and has some great tidbits of information. Listening to my own voice was a bit disconcerting, though. I’m still not sure how a girl from the middle of West Virginia ended up talking like a Valley Girl.

Ways to Listen:

PRO TIP: Need something fun to do this rainy weekend? Play this drinking game: listen to the podcast and every time I say “totally,” DRINK. Totally.


Your Moment of Zen…

“I let the dog out, or I let him in, and we talk some. I let him know I like him, and he lets me know he likes me.”
— Kurt Vonnegut

Henry & Pete

Humphreys Peak

Expanding the Zone

wonder-woman-reflecting-bullets

Better Chickity-check Your Site Before Some Jerk Wrickety-wrecks Your Site

Why You Should Have an SSL, Daily Backups, and Malware Protection

 

“You now MUST have SSL Certificates on Your Websites or Your Site will be Flagged as NOT SECURE”
—love, Google

What the heck is an SSL Certificate?

I know, right?! Stop torturing us, Google! First Google demanded that everyone have a mobile-friendly site and now you may have heard of the need for SSL Certificates or received a message that your site is not secure.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server (your website http) and a browser (Google, Firefox, Safari, etc). This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.

It is very likey your website fits the requirements for needing a SSL Certificate. In fact, we can’t think of a single Eden website client who does not. These requirements are: your website is on http:// AND your site has text inputs such as login, search bars, newsletter sign-up/contact forms, etc.

If you don’t have an SSL certificate, a secure connection cannot be established and Google will flag your website by displaying “Not Secure” in the URL bar.

Here are three good reasons to have an SSL Certificate:

  1. It Encrypts Sensitive Information
  2. It Helps to Protect You From Cybercriminals
  3. Having One Builds Trust & Brand PowerHow do you get one? Read on my friend. 

Malware Protection

Malware is short for malicious software. It is software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems. Oftentimes malware will present as links added to your site pointing to viagra or other pharmaceuticals.You may also see a warning next to your site through google or your broswer stating that your site has been hacked.

Rest assured that, 99% of the time, this is not a personal attack on you, but a random unlucky occurrence. Hackers will attack an entire server at once and just hit what they can. Sometimes they are even testing their malware on smaller sites in preparation for hitting larger ones.

How do you protect yourself and fight back?

Make sure your passwords are secure. This means using very long, impossible to remember sequences of letters and numbers. I like to use this password generator to do it quickly. You can also use a password vault to keep all of your passwords secure yet accessible for when you need to remember them. I like pwSafe because I can access it from my phone and my laptop. A good rule is to change your passwords every month or quarter but, seriously, who has time for that?

Get malware protection. There are many third-party options out there but recently hosts companies have started offering malware removal and protection as well. In order to simplify, I recommend having as many services in one place as possible so exploring services with your current host is a great place to start.


Daily Backups

Daily backups of your site files will make you extremely happy should something catastrophic happen. Many of you may have backup plugins installed on your website but they may be obsolete or need upgrading. Also, if an entire server gets knocked out you run the risk of losing your backup, too.


We Can be Your Wonder Woman

We may not have powerful bracelets but we can help protect you from attacks! If the thought of calling your host provider to inquire about services fills you with dread, we are happy to help! Most of our clients use GoDaddy so we’ve listed their current options and prices below:

  • SSL Certificate – $74.99 per year; Two Years $119
  • Daily Backup 5GB – $23.88 per year; Two Years $47.66
  • Malware Scanning, Protection, & Removal – $83.88 per year; Two Years $119

Total for all of the above for one year: $183
Total for all of the above for two years: $285.66 (save $80 over paying a year at a time)

*prices as of Feb 21, 2018

Even if you don’t have a GoDaddy hosted site, you can still use their services. If you choose to install these options yourself, be sure to add and run these plugins afterward:

  • Really Simple SSL
  • Easy HTTPS Redirection

Most folks would prefer to, well, really do anything else, then deal with these annoyances — it’s not very fun and you don’t get anything shiny or fuzzy afterwards. If you find yourself in this camp, just press the button below to email us and we’ll be happy to install these services for you. Our Protection Pack is $150 and includes installing the three services and two plugins above, plus any other plugin/theme upgrades that your site may need, plus one hour of tech support for the year. The services themselves will get billed separately by us or directly to your GoDaddy account, if you already have one.

Yes Please Do It

Eden Design 18 year anniversary

An Open Letter to Our Clients

Eighteen years ago this month, I took a leap of faith.

With blind optimism (or more accurately, naiveté), I created a business and a life that allowed me to use my design skills to help change the world for the better . . . a little bit at a time.

e-commerce

It goes without saying that having a web presence to showcase and sell your products and services is necessary to remain competitive in today’s global market. However, building a great e-commerce site takes thorough planning to make sure the products you sell are unique (either by nature, or pricing, or by the way they are presented) and to ensure your site works smoothly, giving the user a pleasant shopping experience. How many times have you visited a site only to quickly leave because it was hard to navigate or the checkout process was difficult?

Read more

What is Branding?

We love working on branding a new idea–nothing beats the excitement of taking a client’s idea and turning it into a tangible representation of their product or business. We like to take that spark and send it out like wildfire.

Read more

What is WordPress?

Originally developed as blogging software, WordPress has become the largest, self-hosted Content Management System (CMS) in the world.* It is an Open Source project, meaning that it is created by and for the community and is worked on by hundreds of people all over the world. You don’t have to pay to install, start or maintain the software. As of the writing of this post, there are over 74 million WordPress sites in the world.

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Eden on Pomodoros

We use the Pomodoro technique at Eden to help us stay on task. It turns out that humans work well at roughly 25 minute increments with short (3-5 minute) breaks, creating a flow that improves mental agility. It works for us. We really like each other and we really like to talk about what went down in the hours we were apart. I know, you wouldn’t think much could happen in roughly 15 hours, but throw in some dogs, kids, significant others, books, movies, food and general small town hilarity and we can really get going. The Pomodoro helps reign us in a bit until our lunchtime chat. It works like this:

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Traveling: Pittsburgh

Three years ago my sister moved to Pittsburgh to attend University for six years while she works on her PhD. At first, I had the reaction that I now realize so many people have when they hear Pittsburgh, “Hmm…..really? Wow. Six years in Pittsburgh, huh!?” Regardless, I was thrilled, because she is an easy three hour drive away. Now that I have been there a few times, I am the head of the Pittsburgh Fan Club. When people start the Hmm…and nose wrinkle I just start my fan club rant about all the things it has to offer –especially as a city to visit with children. So here it is:

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The Folly Grill-Off!

It was a beautiful and delicious October Sunday at the Timber Frame Folly in Shepherdstown. It was the annual Folly Grill-Off and the Eden girls were there to represent. Jen and Miriam entered the event and I had the tough job of tasting. The rules were: cook any fish, bird, meat or vegetarian dish over any kind of open flame. Jen got fired up for yummy gourmet Grilled Cheese and Apple Cherry Sandwiches and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup. Miriam stuck with her stove to produce amazing sweet treats of mini chocolate pies, pumpkin pies and apple cheese danishes.

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