Keepin’ it 200 (OK)

Category Archives: Sharp Hue

Keepin’ it 200 (OK)

WordCamp Fayetteville #wcfay, a gathering of WordPress enthusiasts is being held June 22-24, 2018 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Being loyal WordPress fans ourselves, it only makes sense that Sharp Hue is a Proud Sponsor of WordCamp Fayetteville 2018.  

Since the Sharp Hue team will be in attendance at the conference, we tasked ourselves to create a shirt for the occasion that celebrates our unique brand. So, we went straight to the drawing board to sketch out a few possibilities.

Our process starts on paper

Putting pen to paper is the best way to jumpstart the brain and get ideas flowing freely. We wanted a design that creatives and technologists would appreciate, while not resorting to the overdone designs like putting software code on a shirt. While that’s something coders would understand, we didn’t want to create something so niche that people outside of our circles would be lost, either. It needed to be something that everyone could enjoy while also channeling our inner geek!

Our original sketches ranged from comparing building websites to baking cakes, to our logo on a Rubik’s cube. Now, while walking around wearing a shirt with a cake on it would’ve been a great fashion statement, everyone liked the idea of spoofing the “100” emoji and its related hashtag #KeepIt100.  

#KeepIt200 was born.

If you’re wondering by now why we’re Keepin’ it 200 OK, that’s because 200 OK is a status code used by web browsers that means “The request has succeeded”. The hackerish looking graphic below provides some insight into that loading process.  While most people have come across a 404 Page Not Found, very few realize 200 OK exists.  In fact, there are dozens of status codes so if you’re fully geeking out, check out HTTP Status Codes.

From paper to digital concepts

Now that we had a fun idea,  then came the question, “What can we do with ‘Keep it 200 OK?”

The emoji idea was cool, though how could we incorporate our own personal twist? So we made several variations and plentiful design revisions. We determined it would make sense to have a t-shirt color that matched to our logo, for the sake of brand consistency, while providing a great backdrop for our design.

Finding opportunity in every concept

$1M dollar, original, one of a kind prototype.

All said and done, the victor that made it out of the design colosseum was the design in the bottom right corner. We are always a little sad when a design isn’t used, however, we remembered how much we like stickers and used the “Keep it 200” emoji style for a cool sticker we could hand out.  After some tweaking and getting it to match the shirt design, we were rewarded with great shirts & a great sticker.  Kevin Bourne, our newest team member who worked on this project, was personally rewarded with the $1 million dollar paper prototype!

So, what does #KeepIt200 mean to the team at Sharp Hue?

While the t-shirt and sticker were really fun projects to work on, there are some deeper meanings to how #KeepIt200 connects with the Sharp Hue brand.

  • We always give 100% to whatever problem we’re solving or project we endeavor.
  • We really love things that are high-quality, built-to-last, and pay respect to our craft.
  • Because 200 OK means the website loaded successfully, we feel this strongly represents everything we do behind the scenes to create Beautiful Websites That Work®

Happy 6th Birthday Sharp Hue!

May 11th is always a special day for us here at Sharp Hue. Today we celebrate our 6th birthday. We have officially survived five consecutive years of business. It is extremely satisfying and humbling to know that over 130 clients trust us to deliver exactly what they are looking for: a beautiful website that works.

Given that it is our birthday, it’s only fitting that we hear a few words about our past, present and future from Sharp Hue’s owner and CEO, Shan Pesaru.

What led you to found a web design firm?

I started Sharp Hue because I wanted to build a company around my passion. I built my first web site when I was in the 6th grade and knew it was something I wanted to do as a career. There is so much to learn in this industry and I think staying cutting edge has always been a driver for me. My education and career paths have always aligned with the Internet and every single day I try to become better at my craft.

What’s Sharp Hue’s current business philosophy?

Build enterprise quality solutions at affordable small business prices. Ordinarily, producing the highest quality product at the lowest price is a sure way to end up in the red. The way we make it happen is to offset the difference with extremely hard work. When we hit the 5 year mark last year, I knew we were on to something and that our “recipe” was proven. Growing a business during a recession quickly validated for me that our product is exceptional and in high demand.

What are your goals for Sharp Hue moving forward?

We’re on track to grow at a faster pace than ever. For us, that means hiring a new employee every few months. This past April, we hired a new manager of Client Services, Megan Perez. With him on board, we are able to take on a larger workload and deliver even more services in an accelerated time period. We have grown this company organically without any outside investment. Owning 100% of my company means a lot to me. In the next couple of years we will need to move into a bigger office space and add a few more developers and designers.

What about you? What do you see yourself doing after you add more staff?

Even though I’m the owner and CEO, you’ll still see me writing lines of code, configuring servers, and moving pixels just like all of our talented employees. I’ve worn all the hats over the years so I intimately understand what it takes to do this business right and exceptionally well. There will likely be a time where my role in Sharp Hue’s operations will transition to a purely visionary one. I’m thinking something like Creative Director and Head of R&D. You’ll have a tough time tearing me away from the keyboard!

Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners you’d like to share?

Customer service and communication are the keys to any business. If you listen to what your customer’s say, you’ll know exactly which way to head with your business. As you grow, expand your company at a rate that’s comfortable for you and in such a way that you constantly remind yourself of the core competencies and values that got you there in the first place. Remember to have fun in the process and get out and play every once in a while.

I often joke with budding entrepreneurs that every company I started with a business plan failed (because I tried hard to stick to the plan). The ventures of mine that still exist have experienced success because we adapt to customer needs, develop efficient processes, reinvent ourselves when necessary, carefully manage our expenses, and surround ourselves with talented people. I still stick to my entrepreneurial roots in order to stay agile and humble. The difference now is that I make fewer mistakes and better decisions.

Launch of Bikes, Blues & BBQ Website Redesign with First-Ever Mobile Version

 

When it comes to great music, amazing food and—most importantly—loud motorcycles, you just can’t beat the Bikes, Blues & BBQ Motorcycle Rally in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The event is a favorite for bikers from all over the country, featuring tons of live music venues, great BBQ food and hundreds of vendors with the latest and greatest in bike accessories, clothing, and gear. This year, Sharp Hue was proud to revamp the event’s web presence, which included its first-ever mobile website!

Yet again, we pushed the innovation boundaries and redesigned the BBB website to modernize the look and feel of the organization, providing easier content management tools so that the group could easily update information on the site. We just finished launching the website on July 23, and look forward to helping this group raise awareness and contributions to its cause.

We were very happy to work with BBB, a great organization that raises money for local charities in Northwest Arkansas through its annual rally. As one of the top five largest motorcycle events in the country, the rally attracts visitors not only from all over the U.S., but from around the world. This year’s event takes place September 28-October 1.

As with any charitable organization, time and resources are precious commodities, which is why we streamlined the management tasks for the site. With custom integration of existing technologies like WordPress, Google Calendar, WuFoo Forms, Twitter, and Facebook, the site is easy to navigate and runs very smoothly. Furthering the group’s dedication to engage in cutting-edge technologies, the new web presence for BBB includes a first-ever mobile version of the site, which provides timely information available at the fingertips of hundreds of thousands of event-goers.

Some of the exciting features of the new BBB site:

  • Redesigned look, completely original and unlike any version of the site in the past decade
  • Custom styling of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube
  • Custom email marketing template
  • Mobile-friendly version of the website (check it out yourself from your mobile phone!)
  • Sponsor ad tracking that records ever-important impression and click metrics
  • Online vendor application forms and payment
  • Online volunteer signup forms
  • Optimized and custom web hosting, providing fast performance before, during and after the big event

BBB’s rallies have donated over $600,000 to local charities since the event began in 2000. We are honored to work with local organizations like BBB, as well as others like the Arkansas Crisis Center, Boys & Girls Club of Benton County and Chile Pepper Cross Country festival. We’re committed to providing our local nonprofits with high-quality and cutting-edge resources, allowing them to best serve those who they wish to help.

We invite you to take a look at the revamped website for Bikes, Blues & BBQ at www.bikesbluesandbbq.org. Please let us know what you think!

The Sharp Hue Toolbox

At Sharp Hue, Inc., we’re cutting edge and committed to excellence. One reflection of that commitment is the tools we use. We’ve worked to refine our toolbox to contain the most powerful and efficient tools. The resulting efficiencies are what let us build premium sites for reasonable prices. We want to be able to help every client, small or large, at a fair price.

The version control system which lets us have zero data loss is one part of the equation. Managed hosting with zero down time is another. Investing in the best software is a third.

We have lots of things in our bag of tricks, but here are the tools we think are the essentials for a designer’s toolbox:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS3 is our primary tool for the prototyping process that expedites communication between Sharp Hue designers and clients. This program also allows us to work efficiently as a team, saving our clients money and time.
  • Adobe Illustrator CS3 allows us to create vector graphics that can be used in multiple media without losing quality. This means that our clients can use the logos we create for them in their print, screen, and online materials, and even in signage and billboards.
  • Adobe InDesign CS3 lets us meld content, graphics, and design in the most natural way. We can produce fliers, brochures, and other print materials to meet the mosMicrosoft Visual Studio is our preferred development environment. We det stringent requirements. Our clients can also be confident that their visual identity will be consistent across print, screen, and online media, ensuring a recognizable and trustworthy impression among their clients and customers.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio is our preferred development environment. We develop as well as design, so our clients can have exactly what they want and need in a website. While we specialize in providing a custom experience at a reasonable price, our range of skills allows us to produce custom solutions when that is the best option for a client.
  • Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 is our web coding tool. We use the code-view approach to help us efficiently hand code all of our web sites with pixel precision. When we code a site, it looks the same on Mac or PC, Firefox or Safari, regardless of operating system.

Check our archive for posts containing tips for using these tools, or just call us to schedule an appointment and let us use them on your behalf.

Ignite the Trend

A couple of months ago I was working in a consultation session with a client on her upcoming web site for East Meets West Spa & Salon (www.emwspa.com). Helena said something profound to me that got me thinking about what it takes to be a real entrepreneur with a vision. She summed up risk and reward in three words “Ignite the Trend”.

Every great idea has to start somewhere & someone has to make the push to make it real. I guarantee that in a majority of those cases where a spark is turned into fire that determination, hard work, and ingenuity were all fueling it.

It’s no doubt that web development today is undergoing a phenomenal rebirth into Web 2.0. Those that embrace this change in their development strategies will definitely see the rewards of doing so at least until Web 3.0 happens. What is profound about Helena’s comment is that it describes a mindset that quickly embraces whats current, but continues to build bigger and better things leaving a blazing path for others to follow.

Sharp Hue, Inc. was built on entrepreneurial principles but also a sound business foundation. The combination is explosive and that’s why we’ve adapted a provisional motto: “We’re cutting edge and we mean it”. We aren’t just another firm that uses hype and language to make ourselves look good. Our clients and portfolio tell the story.

We understand that not every business is ready for the kind of development we are offering or willing to pay for the best, but if you invest in a professional relationship with Sharp Hue today, you can be sure that your web presence will always be better than your competition’s. This is in no way a guess about the future — we are built on firm principles and you can count on us growing to be a well known name in web development in Northwest Arkansas and around the world. We are here to stay and we will continue to Ignite the Trend.

Trends & Dying Arts

We started noticing a trend in big city developers to move towards standards and sites without many photos. Photos have become a thing of the past as a header graphic or space filler in web sites. Instead, practical and useful graphics and screenshots have replaced the archaic methods of web development. Don’t even get me started on stock photography — All I need to say is that unless it is directly related to your concept, nobody cares about the random people dressed in business suits shaking hands anymore.

The wide adoption of CSS in the past couple of years is transforming the way people think about web design. It’s funny though, because all of this technology has existed for many years but just now is being popularized through the concepts of “Web 2.0“. The Wikipedia entry for Web 2.0 has this amazing graphic which explains in a nutshell what all the new hype is about:

[Click Image to Enlarge]
Sharp Hue, Inc. is located in the ever expanding metro of Northwest Arkansas. For those of you that don’t know, we are home to Wal-Mart, JB Hunt, Tyson, and the University of Arkansas. Standards based development is a rare thing around here, but we are no strangers to being cutting edge and leaving a path for others to follow. All of our clients are encouraged to adopt these new trends as they can be a huge competitive advantage if they do it before their competition. So far, we have had good response from clients to allow us to spend a little more time implementing standards in development so that we can continue to make the push for standards in our region. Just imagine how nice it will be when everyone does…then on to Web 3.0!