Today something amazing happened. I launched a new site! But that’s not all.

The homepage of both and features some fancy little javascript that acts like a typewriter. On, I used a series of short messages on a loop to finish the phrase, “Nicholas Petersen is ___”. I thought this was pretty clever. The problem was that as extra lines were added, they pushed the rest of the content further down the page.


I had been aware of this problem and tried to minimize it by only allowing 1-2 lines to be added–no more. However, this still became frustrating for a user trying to read the paragraph of text below because it kept jumping vertically.

I had not been able to solve this problem on my own and the time came to launch the site. I made a decision to launch, wait and see if there was feedback and fix it at a later date. Sure enough, I quickly had some constructive feedback and admitted this was a problem I simply had not been able to solve.

This is where the incredible Omaha creative community jumped in!

Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 10.30.38 PM
Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 10.33.13 PM

Within an hour or two, several people in the Omaha (and the S.F.) design community started responding to a twitter thread with helpful, constructive suggestions for how to solve this problem.

In the end, a little bit of extra code to determine if someone had scrolled further down the page and stop the typewriter, solved the problem.

The real lesson here was in the immediate collaborative spirit to identify a problem, evaluate limitations and work toward a solution. It would have been easy enough for someone to call out my mistake as an #epicfail and move on. It would have also been easy enough for me to be defensive or dismissive of the problem without pursuing improvement. Instead, a community of helpful problem solvers worked together to make something better.

Its also ok to not know everything. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the most brilliant developer or the most talented designer. There’s a lot I don’t know but I want to learn, I want to improve and I want to take any opportunity I have to make my solutions better.

This collective problem solving is the type of thing that should happen every day. The culture of collaboration that exists within Omaha is very special and we should all look for ways to cultivate it whenever opportunities arise.