Automation Unplugged – Show #77 Kendall Clark

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Hello, everybody! Ron Callis here with another episode of Automation
Unplugged! Episode #77. Thank you for watching, or listening – wherever
you are coming to us from! As I always do, let me take a quick look over
at Facebook to see if we are in fact streaming live. Let me just take a quick peek, and yep, there
we are – we are live! Awesome. So today is Wednesday, June 5th. It is 2019, it is past 12:30 it’s about 12:40
or so. We had some technical difficulties, as we
do on occasion. Chrome decided to do an update and of course,
I had to update and Kendall, my guest, had to update and then I had to reboot and she
had to reboot and then voila! Here we are. So fingers crossed, we’ll see if this show
goes live. I hope all of you, probably by this point,
your kids are probably out of school, if you have kids. I know my son Max has now been home for a
solid week and he’s downstairs playing Fortnite. So in case you hear a little voice screaming
and yelling and talking with his buddies via you know, what is it, Playstation audio conference
– that’s what that is. And I am very excited to bring to you today
our very own, Kendall Clark! Our Head of our Web team. We’ve received a lot of feedback from our
audience that you guys certainly appreciate the guests we bring on, we try to bring on
a nice diversity of integrators, manufacturers, and consultants and other personalities from
the industry, but we were starting to get more and more feedback that you guys wanted
to meet more of our team. So last week, we had Kelly on and due to some
show scheduling and show numbering, I think that was called show #75. And Kendall, very logically then, the next
week is show #77. I hope you guys got that. We skipped a week. If you go to our website and you go to “Learn”
and down to Automation Unplugged, you’ll be able to see all of our guests. Every one has their own dedicated page and
bios. Alright! Let’s bring Kendall in and get started. Stand-by here. Let me see if I can get technology to behave. Alright. There she is! Kendall, how are you? [KENDALL] I’m good, Ron! How are you? [RON] Now, I know that all of the show are
said Kendall Clark and I see here as I’m populating your name, and that’s coming directly from
Facebook, and it’s saying Ellison. So, which one are you today? [KENDALL] I am both, I guess. [RON] You are both. [KENDALL] Yeah, Clark is actually my maiden
name. I got married about two-and-a-half years ago. So Facebook says Ellison and in the One Firefly
world, I am Clark. [RON] Kendall Clark. Got it. Awesome. Well, how are you doing today? I know you were super excited to go live. [KENDALL] Oh, yeah. [RON] Thanks so much. I had to twist your arm a little bit. Thank you for coming on. [KENDALL] No, I’m happy to be here. I’m honored that you asked, so. We made it. [RON] We made it. We fought our technology demons and fingers
crossed there will be no more. If you are out there watching us live, make
sure to like this post. If you have those burning questions about
website design, SEO, or marketing – make sure to post those in the chat. And I will be sure to read those off live
to Kendall and we’ll get some real-time education and knowledge from Kendall. So don’t forget to do that. And if you are listening or watching after
this, so you’re not watching live but you’re watching it on replay – still do that, still
like and share and comment and we’ll be sure to follow the chat stream and provide comments
and feedback as we go. So, Kendall, as you probably have watched
one or two of these shows, and the little dirty secret here at One Firefly – this doesn’t
really fall into Kendall’s plate, but if you ever get hired by One Firefly, one of your
elements of training is that you have to go back and watch all of the videos and get quizzed
on them and we’ve found that’s a really great way to get industry knowledge. But Kendall, this happened way after you joined
us. How long have you been with us here at One
Firefly? [KENDALL] Yeah, I think as of early-July that
will be my five years with the company. [RON] Five years with the company. So, as I always like to do, let’s go through
your background. Where did you come from? What did you study? And I know all of our eager listeners here
would like to know more of your background and how you actually landed here at One Firefly. [KENDALL] Sure, yeah. Well, a little bit about myself, I am born
and raised a Floridian. I’ve lived in South Florida pretty much my
entire life with the exception of college where I moved up to Tallahassee for a few
years and attended Florida State University – Go Noles! And I actually a third-generation Seminole,
so that means that both my parents and my grandmother went to Florida State. So I think that’s pretty meaningful to me. And then my senior year I got to witness a
national championship in football so that was a pretty good way to cap off. [RON] We have this in common, that my senior
year I got to watch the Florida Seminoles at the National Championship but this was
in 2000. And that was when they were stomping the you-know-what
out of Virginia Tech. My alma mater. But I’m just saying, we do have that in common. But okay, keep going. [KENDALL] Yeah, so I went to Florida State,
I received two degrees – so my first couple of years there I started off just picking
the art route, I got my Art Degree. I took any of the typical classes you can
imagine. Drawing, color theory, computer classes, painting. It was kind of an art degree with a focus
in graphics and web design. But I finished that pretty quickly. I was done within two years and I realized
I didn’t want to leave school, I was having a lot of fun. And I figured there were a few things that
could complement what I wanted to do with my career. So I picked up another degree and that was
in Computer Science. So I did that for the next two years, it was
pretty challenging but something I’m proud of. What I like to kind of compare it to is that
my brain has always been left and right brain focused, so the left brain where I can have
that art-focus but then the Computer Science side kind of fills that need for that analytical
thinking that I like, so web design was the perfect avenue. [RON] That’s a, in my experience in life,
that’s a rather rare mix of seeing people that can appreciate art and do art, and handle
the pretty technical side. When did you identify that about yourself? Did you know that when you were younger? Did you see that or practice that in middle
school or high school? Or did that get discovered in college? [KENDALL] You know, I think I kind of had
a hunch just by what classes I liked. So my favorite classes in school were art
and math, and before I entered college, I thought how could I find a way to combine
those two things? That just seemed like the natural course. [RON] When you were in college, and I know
this about you because I interviewed you five years ago and I’ve known you for five years,
you also were involved in your sorority. Can you talk about what your role was there? And then you were involved at a charity that
your sorority was a part of. [KENDALL] Yeah, so all four years of college
I was involved in my Greek organization. And I got to do various roles while I was
there, you know, homecoming chairs and things like that. Then my junior to senior year I was fortunate
enough to be elected president, so our chapter was a little over 200-women at that point. It was a pretty cool experience. It was definitely a learning experience, but
it was something that I don’t regret at all. It was one of the coolest experiences. And then the charity that I was pretty involved
in, that’s called Dance Marathon but it’s pretty big. It’s with the major colleges, basically, it’s
a year-long fundraising event that raises money for your local Children’s Miracle Network
Hospital. And it’s topped off with a big celebration
event at the end of the year where you reveal the fundraising total and there’s dancing
involved. I’m not really a dancer, so that was – [RON]
It wasn’t a requirement to run it, it was only to facilitate others dancing. [KENDALL] Yes, yes. Every hour on the hour they did a line dance,
so we all had to learn to line dance. So it was just kind of a fun part of the event. [RON] Now, when you graduated, what sort of
career path did you plan to go down? And what did you end up doing? [KENDALL] Yeah, so right after I graduated
I moved back down to South Florida with my family. I think I took one small trip then pretty
much immediately went job hunting. I pretty much knew I wanted to go the web
design route, just having had experience in kind of, either ends of it – you know, I had
the art route and I did the strictly programming route. I knew that I kind of wanted something in
the middle and I kind of had some experience in that. So I just started looking for opportunities
in my area for jobs that were web designed based and kind of checked all of those boxes
and I just happened to stumble upon one for One Firefly. And actually at the time, you know I was living
up in West Palm. The One Firefly office, we haven’t always
been remote, as you know. So I was living about an hour and a half away
from the office so I did that commute every day. [RON] Did you do the train from Palm Beach
down to Hollywood? Or did you drive? [KENDALL] No, I drove. I always said that I didn’t really need morning
coffee because if you’ve driven on I-95 at 7 o’clock in the morning, you know it’s stop
and start. [RON] Yeah, that’s commitment right there. [KENDALL] Yeah, no. I definitely liked you guys! [RON] Yeah no, vice-versa. So when you joined us, and you joined One
Firefly 5 years ago. So what is, 2019 now… that would have been
right around 2014. That would have been when we were initially
launching our first major website design model product called Mercury. Is that what we brought you in to do? I frankly don’t remember. [KENDALL] Yeah, so I signed on as a Jr. Web
Designer, I think was the official role. And maybe a week earlier we had just released
what we now call our Mercury Collection and we only had three design models at that point. So I was brought in strictly to start designing
and deploying those sites. So my first couple of weeks I sat side-by-side
with John, our Director of Product. He taught me all of that and then I think
I just went to work! And then I think over my first year or two,
I probably did over 100 websites. I mean, we cranked out websites. It was a lot of work but it was a lot of fun. [RON] What did you learn during those initial
year or two?And kind of going from school life into One Firefly and being thrust into
the integration industry – what did you learn? Or what are some of the things you learned? [KENDALL] Definitely a lot about the industry. You know, getting to know and speaking with
our clients every day you really just kind of get to pick up the trends and the ins and
outs. I remember, my first week it’s funny I drew
– obviously, this is the art side of me, but I would draw all of the different interfaces
to try and remember them and remember what each of them looked like. You know, obviously, we’re customizing our
sites to our client’s manufacturer preferences and all that. So I remember drawing all of the interfaces
to try and retain all of the information about the industry. It was a learning curve but it definitely
was a lot of fun. [RON] And now you’re head of the web team,
and so what did that transition look like? From what you started doing with us to what
your responsibilities are today? [KENDALL] Yeah, it was kind of a neat transition. So when I first started, the company itself
was pretty small. I was the only, really the only strictly web
designer, that was deploying these sites. And as we grew and as the product picked up,
as more and more people got word, and we were building out more sites, our team started
to expand. So it was more than just me deploying the
sites, so there was kind of a need for more of technical support and a little bit of a
leadership role within our department. So the next kind of smaller leap I made was
to be the Lead Designer for the department. So that was strictly just providing technical
support, you know helping out others, but also during that time I got to help a little
bit of development doing the designs 4 and 5 for our Mercury Collection. So I got a little bit of product development
under my belt and I got to help expand that product so that was pretty cool. [RON] And it’s fair to say, do you remember
approximately the year that models 4 and 5 were released or available? [KENDALL] Hmm… I know CEDIA was our deadline so it must have
been 2016? [RON] ’16 sounds about right. [KENDALL] Then I think 4 and 5 were rolled
out. [RON] And those models, obviously, they instantly
were very popular and I think it’s fair to say, well just for those watching, that may
not know what was different – what were a couple of the characters in web design that
changed with the implementations of models 4 and 5? [KENDALL] Yeah, so the market had advanced
a little bit so we were able to do a little bit more animation, have a little bit more
flexibility, some of our slideshows and more of the dynamic components on the site were
a little bit easier for us to deploy. [RON] I’m going to attempt to show a model
4. Now, sometimes, ladies and gentlemen, watching
and listening, this is when the whole show goes up in smoke because of my attempt to
share my screen but we’ll give this a shot, and we’ll see if technology behaves here. So bear with me… there we go! This is lelchav.com, so this is a deployed
website. So what would you describe are some of the
characteristics of this site? [KENDALL] Yeah, I think one of the big flagship
things about this model, in particular, was the ability to add video as a background. So video was a very up and coming, it still
is a very up and coming thing within web. But the ability to have a full width, fullscreen
video background made for a different website experience. In this case, I think Alex (Owner of Lelch
AV) has just images with what’s called a ken burn effect, which is that kind of zooming
animation but we could actually put any kind of Youtube video streamed. [RON] Do you have a website at top of mind
maybe that’s featuring video? I know that my mind is a blur so I’ll probably
take that back. It’s different, so it’s probably not this
model but I can show the Wipliance website. It’s a different framework entirely, but the
concept of video. [KENDALL] Yeah, video is becoming very, very
important and not just video, it’s really the speed of video. I think in the past we’ve always had the ability
to add video, whether it be in a lightbox or people have attempted that video background,
but really, to be able to optimize video as a background, like when you land on the page,
is a technology that has really refined over the years. And that’s what this website showcases. [RON] There you go. So here – we have some questions, Kendall. I’m actually going to throw this question
up. Looks like JJ is watching, JJ Canon. And JJ says, “What are some key considerations
for designing a website.” [KENDALL] You know, I think I would answer
that with really thinking about how you’re going to use your website. Different companies and different clients
that I’ve worked with take different approaches. I think in general, you want something that
represents your business professionally, shows that you’re a thought leader in the industry,
a professional, you’re up-to-date, especially if you work in the technology world, they
want to know that you’re up-to-date on your technology. Different people have approaches on how they
want to use their site. So if you want to use your site as a sales
tool, you need to develop pages and content on your site that is going to help that. If you just want to use your site as more
as a portfolio, then you need to make sure you have high-res imagery, photography of
your projects, and the pages on your site reflect that. [RON] Awesome. JJ – thank you for that question, sir. I also appreciate the good luck symbol there
in regards to sharing my screen and hoping that technology behaves. I appreciate that. And as a follow question here from JJ, I do
have another question for you Kendall, JJ says, “What is the main objective of a website?” [KENDALL] So again, this kind of goes back
to the previous question – the purpose of your website. Are you using it more as a portfolio? Do you want it to generate leads? I think in general, everyone wants their website
to generate leads, so you do want to have a website design and content on your site
that is going to encourage a visitor to kind of move through a funnel, encouraging them
to pick up the phone and making that next move. [RON] JJ, I hope that is helpful. And if you’d like further clarification, just
type that into that comments, we’d be happy to do that. And so, I had the Lelch website up here. This was an example of the model 4, which
actually, you were the key artichect, Kendall. And just to show you that it isn’t that models
1, 2, and 3 were bad – in fact, we have many of them deployed, I want to say maybe hundreds
of them deployed across the market. Here is an example of this model, just for
the audience and clarification of those original models, this is model 1. You want to maybe give your take on what this
is or kind of how you define models 1, 2, or 3? [KENDALL] Yeah, what I love about all of our
design models, even starting with 1, 2, and 3 is the focus on imagery. People are really attracted to imagery, people
spend more time on websites that have beautiful high-res photos, and all of our website models
are using this full-width design. Which is newer, all of them are mobile responsive
– [RON] I’m going to attempt to demo responsive here, I do not know what’s going to happen. So let’s cross our fingers. So if you could tell the audience what they’re
seeing as I change this browser width. [KENDALL] Yeah, there we go. So what you’re seeing here with a mobile-responsive
website is that you build one framework for the entire site. Gone are the days where you have to go in
and you have to edit your website for the mobile version and then the desktop version. What you’re doing is you’re creating break
points based on the “view box” that someone is viewing your website on. So if they’re looking at it on an iPad vs
a laptop vs an iMac, those are going to be all different dimensions. The site is basically coded to respond to
show you certain things based on that view port that you’re viewing in. In this case, if you look, go ahead and scale
it down again. Take a look at that top menu, so you see all
the menu items testing out and then as we get down to more of a mobile or iPad view,
you’re going to see that hamburger menu that we’re all so familiar with. That’s going to indicate that you can open
up the menu on an off-canvas. All of our design models are still very relevant,
still up-to-date, they all have their different technology on them and they’re all, most importantly,
mobile-responsive. [RON] Awesome. That’s very cool. And I don’t want to push my luck here, so
I’m going to pull that screen down. Very cool, yay! That worked! We do have another question here for you,
Kendall. Then, I want to talk – Iactually have a whole
list of things I want to talk about. But let’s give this question it’s day in the
sun, so Jordan says, “What has been your experience as a woman working in a tech role in this
industry, are there any resources you’ve appreciated?” I think stating the obvious for our audience,
we know that this is certainly a larger percentage of men in this industry, for better and/or
for worse. If you’re a woman in this industry, and I
think I’m proud to say that I think more than 50% percent of One Firefly are woman, what
has been your experience? And what have you used to really get ahead
or resources that have been available to you? [KENDALL] Sure, so I will mention that our
entire web production staff at this moment, we are hiring, we are adding to our team,
but our entire production staff at this moment on the web side of things is all female. [RON] Woot woot! [KENDALL] Yep, I think that’s pretty cool! I think this industry has grown a lot, even
in the short five years I’ve been in it. We are seeing more women at trade shows, we
joke that the bathrooms at CEDIA are always empty on the women’s side, which is kind of
nice because there is less of us there. I think the industry in general has done a
great job at giving resources and providing resources to women that are trying to get
their feet kind of wet in the industry, one that I am a member of is Women in CE, so women
in consumer electronics. I’m apart of their, they have a circle program
where you can meet up with other women in the industry, we meet monthly, we get to know
each other and kind of get to know some familiar faces and then we talk about any challenges
or things you may want to learn about your career or advancing yourself in the industry. [RON] That’s awesome, do we have other members
of Team One Firefly participating in that? We do, I know we have Jo from our web team
is a part of it, Allison whose been reaching out since she joined the team. It’s neat because you learn a little bit from
other female professionals that are not only maybe ahead of you in their careers, but also
in this industry. Then when you go to any events, you have familiar
faces. We all tend to kind of hang out together at
events when we see each other there so it kind of adds that level of comfortability
in the industry. [RON] Awesome. And Jordan, thank you for posting that question. It’s greatly appreciated. I’m just looking at the other comments here. Let’s see here, JJ just threw up a hamburger. He liked the hamburger menu reference. [KENDALL] Yeah, that’s where I think the origin
of the hambuger menu came from, it’s all of the layers. [RON] It’s all about the layers. And then Maggie, Magnolia she’s crying. I don’t know if she’s laughing or crying,
but maybe clarify for us Maggie! What’s going on there? That’s funny. Alright, so those listening that maybe want
a really neat takeaway regarding this mysterious topic of SEO, the idea that you can sprinkle
pixie dust on now you can start showing up in particular designated ways. Can you, for our audience – in your words,
describe what is that and maybe what are one or two things, or three things, that they
can do to make a difference there? [KENDALL] Yes, so – contrary to what everyone might think, it’s not magic. there is a formula and a method to all of it. but basically, SEO is based off of an algorithm that Google has created. so it’s a giant algorithm, I’m thinking thousands – hundreds of thousands, maybe of variables that make up how you rank in Google search. And that could be, some are weighted a little bit heavier than others Things like the content on your site is obviously going to be a little more importance Something like an image-alt tag. [RON] When you say content, what do you mean? [KENDALL] So copy on both the front-end of your site and something called meta-data which is essentially content that is injected into the code of the back-end of the site that you as a visitor might not see, but Google will pick it up when it crawls the site. [RON] Got it. So then what would be the reason someone would SEO their website? [KENDALL] To get found, you know. I think if you, especially if you’re a newer business and you haven’t owned your domain for 20 years, you haven’t been online for 20 years, and you’re really trying to you know, put a foothole in your market, and get found locally, then you really need to put some work into SEO-ing your website so that you’re found for certain phrases that you want to be found for. [RON] Alright. So if I throw, I’m going to put a website back on the screen – I know I’m risking danger here so let’s,
[KENDALL] We can do this! [RON] We can do this. Alright. Fingers crossed. I’m going to throw Lelch AV back up there. Tell me where to go – point at something that you would want the audience to identify as making a difference with SEO. [KENDALL] Yeah, so one of the easiest things if you’re looking “How can I do this on my own? What are a couple of little things I can do right now to add a little SEO value? to my site?” is to look and see if your site has an SSL certificate. So, up in the top left corner – right next to the URL bar You’ll see that Lelch’s website has a little lock icon What that means is that this site has an SSL Certificate. So what an SSL certificate is, it’s technically a secure – [RON] Circuit layer… protect… I don’t know, SSL – Secure Socket Layer! [KENDALL] Yes! Secure Socket Layer. Sorry, it spaced there. [RON] There you go. We’ll edit that out! Don’t worry, no one live heard you stumble over the definition. We’ll edit that out. [KENDALL] But what it actually is, is that it means that any data that’s passed from the browser, so the browser that you or your visitors are looking at and the actual web server, is being encrypted and basically being protected. So in past years, what that meant was when you had an e-commerce site, so when people were passing sensitive information like their credit card information, or making purchases online you had to have an SSL Certificate in order to ensure that your information wasn’t getting released. So that’s actually changed within the last gosh, less than a year, Google made this update to their algorithm where now they want to see that every site online has an SSL Certificate.

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