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April 24th, 2015
The reality is that “Mobile First” is yet another .COM bubble waiting to burst. Mobile first is a gateway drug for ignoring the business reality: your consumer wants information and needs a consumer experience that allows them to interact in an intuitive way with your web presence. Designing for mobile before understanding what the consumer needs or how they want it is akin to designing a very small chair for a child, who will one day grow into a teenager. Just because you know they need a chair right now doesn’t mean that the one you are building is the right one in the long run. So, what’s the solution?
April 22nd, 2015
The reality of working for an agency is that sometimes a project might pull you out of your office and into a client’s. Depending on the project’s breadth, allotted resources, and projected timeline, you could end up spending a good deal of time working remote.
It’s important to maintain company culture across these borders, especially for those working remote who may feel disconnected from the office. After all, remote employees won’t be on a project forever and will eventually transfer back into the office on a full-time basis. Remote employees are still as much a part of the team as anyone else, but it takes a bit of extra effort to make them feel included.
Perhaps the most important connections for remote employees to retain are those with their coworkers. The spirit of collaboration is dampened if people are scattered and don’t have the ability to connect with one another. Therefore, it’s essential to provide remote employees with ample resources and channels for keeping up with their colleagues and staying connected to company culture.
April 16th, 2015
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
It is quite important, more than ever, to be connected to the internet and it is even more important to be connected to the internet wirelessly. It’s no surprise that the wireless revolution in the communications field has extended to the field of mobile technology. The co-founder of Rethink Technology Research – a firm that deals with mobile technologies and analysis – has said that based on the way that mobile technology has evolved, transferring enormous amounts of data through the mobile internet network won’t be as far-reaching as it seems. By the year 2020, people will be able to use 5G technology which will have a deep and lasting impact on mobile technologies.
April 14th, 2015
Hipchat rooms can be a great place to get an “at-a-glance” idea of what’s going on in a project. Rather than having to log-in to a bunch of different sites (your agile board, code repository, whiteboard, etc.) to check on different aspects of a project, it’s really useful to have one central place to check for, among other things, when and what things are committed or commented on, where and when a build is happening, and whether tests passed or failed for a given build. The Jenkins Hipchat plugin makes adding these notifications super simple for your build and test processes (or anything else you might have Jenkins running).
April 10th, 2015
The life of a project manager is the opposite of laid back– between fielding client phone calls and emails, orchestrating team meetings, and damage-controlling project emergencies there’s barely any time to eat lunch or catch up with coworkers. Even so, Vonnie somehow manages to stay cool as a cucumber under pressure and finds her zen relaxing at home with family and friends.
April 7th, 2015
In my previous post, I talked about getting started with using CasperJS for testing Drupal sites using the Drupal CasperJS project. Now I’ll cover where (I think) the real fun starts: automatically running your tests in Jenkins and reporting the results.
This article assumes you already have a Jenkins server setup with some kind of build process for Drupal. If you do, skip ahead. If you don’t, there are many options for setting up Jenkins to build your Drupal site. How you implement will largely depend on your development workflow. A very simple command-line based build for dev might just pull new code when a change is detected from GitHub, run drush upda (or drush si -y), and clear caches. You might also want to build with ping or ant or generate files with grunt or use any number of other tools. Again, your approach will vary depending on your workflow, and prescribing one is outside the scope of this article.
April 2nd, 2015
April 1st, 2015
Living in the DC Metro Area, a 40+ minute commute is often the rule rather than the exception. Going from the front door of your home to the front door of the office means an extended period of negotiating traffic in your car or finding a seat to zone out on public transportation.
Because I have discovered my brain is at its freshest in the morning (which was a considerable surprise to me, considering how much I love to sleep in), this is valuable time for me to learn something new. Podcasts have become my go-to form of passive entertainment as I drive to work. But it has also become a way to keep tabs on changes and developments in how we build things for the web.
Here is a list of some of the best web industry podcasts out there.
March 26th, 2015
I recently received a Facebook invitation to my 10-year high school reunion. My initial reaction was refusal to believe that I’m getting this old followed by a mixture of stress and nostalgia. When you hit certain milestones it’s important to stop and evaluate where you are versus where you thought you were going to be. Ten years ago, Facebook itself was in its fledgling stages; since then it has gone from being available only to certain colleges and universities to a completely public platform (despite several threats from users that if X or Y happened they’d abandon it). It is still such a powerful form of communication that my former schoolmates are using it to reunite the Class of 2005. “Flip phones,” once the beacon of modern communication technology, have long been replaced by smartphones. It’s only ten years later, but the ways in which we communicate and stay in touch with one another have changed drastically in a short period of time.
March 25th, 2015
Most of us know that content is the Holy Grail of digital marketing. But few organizations are able to devote dedicated resources to creating that volume of content. Instead, content creation is a responsibility that is shared across an organization– where, frankly, it should be. Content from the horse’s mouth – aka the experts – is more interesting, more detailed, and injects an element of humanity and personality. As self-assured as we marketers are, we recognize that readers want to hear from the experts themselves.
But getting that expert-generated content is another story.
March 20th, 2015
Brian is a problem-solver at his core: He thrives on the push-and-pull of strategy and design, pursuing solutions where smart creativity forges masterful digital experiences. Outside of work, Brian loves to prowl the D.C. record store scene and travel to Ghana to visit his family.
March 18th, 2015
Users rarely think about a mobile app’s navigation unless it does not meet their expectations. An important part of my job is to make it easy for users to navigate to what they need without noticing how they found it. This involves creating an intuitive content hierarchy with familiar nomenclature and identifying the established navigation pattern that works best.
March 12th, 2015
I have been looking at the Internet of Things (aka IoT) in a different light as of late. I’ve taken an interest in 2015 state-of-the-art IPv6 automobile systems and their potential to broaden our understanding of the IoT. Articles such as Dave Lewis’s Is the Internet of Things IPv6 Ready? (www.forbes.com) and Gonzalo Carrasco’s, Blackberry’s QNX: Securing the Internet of Things (www.seekingalpha.com) are great reference points for the conversation surrounding what IoT will look like as it continues to grow.
March 11th, 2015
You sit in a room with a participant for an hour. You ask them to complete tasks for testing a new project. At the end of the session, you’re lucky if you walk away with more than a handful of useful comments. Why is it that so many participants remain virtually silent, even after being asked, repeatedly, to share their thoughts and “think out loud”?
March 5th, 2015
A recent study asked participants to look at a symbol and try to avoid thinking of both the word associated with that image, as well as how many letters that word had (for example, a subject is told to look at a frog and not think “frog” or think “4,” the number of letters in the word). Nearly 80% of people could not stop themselves from “sub-speaking” the word in their head and only 50% could stop themselves from saying the number of letters in the word. Stopping the brain from making associations in the subconscious is nearly impossible, which makes it extremely important to ensure that visual icons and representations are completely recognizable and aren’t easily confused by the user to have another meaning.