Tag: responsive

Geek Pride

geek pride day

25th May is Geek Pride Day and much of our business at weheartdigital is dependent on geeks to get it right #geekprideday! As a digital agency we come across a wide range of projects in many different subject matters and lots of diverse industries.  In a usual day we can be discussing fishing, automotive, social networks, podcasting, sport, video streaming and more.  The context switching requires an agile brain and also makes one rather good at pub quizzes.

 

So often though, we are introduced to a business which is a Start-Up or an SME with a product already in existence. Usually they talk to us (especially in the latter case) because they need help with their digital baby as production is not going according to plan. We like to help by solving issues, hitting milestones and making things beautiful.

 

Let’s Think about a Shiny Lean Startup…

Someone has a great idea – to sell something, fix an issue in the world, create a network, improve a widget and disrupt the normal way of doing things.  If they are talking to us, it’s digital, it’s online, it’s an app, or a mixture of all these things.  This is all wonderful; ideas are great, “we will be the next Gates, Zuckerberg or Jobs in 5 years”, we are told.  Business plans, EBITDA spreadsheets, a Lean canvas – all wonderful stuff – has been written and presented.

 

Then less wonderful stuff starts appearing – “We definitely want it built in an HP and have something with a Red Hat.  And it needs to have WTFAITA system with TWAIN and IPv6 not 4.  We don’t want it in WordPress, we have heard that’s rubbish* and not .NET, we hear it’s more expensive**.  Custom, bespoke out of the box solutions – I hear that’s the way forward.  And HTML6 isn’t it and needs to be repulsive? Its needs to work on all things, including pagers, Post-It notes and my mate Jim’s carphone.”

 

Ok, slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

 

The point is, you wouldn’t go to a vet to get your ingrown toenail removed, or ask a car mechanic to fix The Shuttle.  weheartdigital are here to advise you on the best technical solution to meet your needs. Our team has years of experience, degree level educations in Computer Science and a wealth of projects successfully delivered #geekprideday.

 

* Approx. 1/3 of ecommerce online uses WordPress and Woo

 

** no it isn’t, honest

 

…and the Not So Lean Start-Up

Here are the businesses who have launched, have a digital presence, have a digital agency looking after them and have a great big tick in the box – well done, hurrah, nice work.  You are out there.

 

But then things can change and your existing digital agency is perhaps no longer meeting your needs. You have grown and changed.  You have staff, you have P&L, hopefully some investors, definitely an accountant and  you want an Rest API, you want an App, you want Google to find you.  You are wiser and start to question your partner agency, why they can’t deliver what you need when you need it?

 

You are also becoming very digital indeed, you are growing a network of digital people, you meet new suppliers.  All great stuff.  Then you decide it’s time to change supplier – you have found a new, fresh company who will make it amazing, and costs will be slashed, and they still wear jeans to work and go out on a Friday.

 

You ask your original partner for the code base, it’s your product after all, you paid a 6 figure sum to get them to build it.

 

‘Nope’ is the reply.

 

‘Please’ you say.

 

“Read the contract you signed 5 years ago, section 6a part 2 paragraph 3” you are told.

 

It’s there, in black and white.  They own the codebase.  You have no right to modify it, and have no access to the source. You own a big fat nothing. To go somewhere else, you need to rebuild it from scratch.

 

Top Tips when working with a digital supplier.

  • Don’t decide on technology –  focus on the user experience and success criteria.  A decent supplier will recommend the best tech for the job.
  • Get estimates from a few people to get a balance of the costs with an indication of budgets.  These are variable, and sites can be made in many, many ways.
  • Do not sign anything that means you do not own your IP (it might be a good idea to go and check your contract right now).
  • Make sure you have a written statement saying the code is yours and when it gets handed over.
  • Keep the code safe, in the cloud, locally, and on memory sticks.
  • Understand what existing products are part of your solution which aren’t your own.
  • Check under what conditions your partner can withhold the codebase.
  • Check your hosting costs are competitive for the traffic you’re generating.
  • Make sure analytics are part of the build – if you can’t measure it then it’s pointless.
  • Don’t accept that it can’t be done, it can, but also accept there are costs involved and nothing really takes 2 minutes.

Responsive Everything

Happy Friday everyone.

After some meeting of some great people this week, there is a couple of things that come to mind, Responsive Design and Big Data.

Responsive Things
A few years ago, if you said that you would make a site responsive you would get two answers. 1) Our users respond very well to it or 2) Ha, yeah, right, you just want more money.

Whereas now, people get it…they think.

Generally its a rather wonderful WordPress theme that just hides the Top Level menu and shifts stuff about a bit or a full on design based on a grid system that shifts stuff about a bit. 3 column, down to 2 column, down to 1 column…

Yawn

So here is where I am at. Responsive User Journeys, or Responsive Use Cases to me is MUCH more realistic, and much wiser.

An obvious example (cos its Friday and I am drinking Cider). Facebook on t’internet what do you do? Read the feed, watch videos, like, comment, play games, use FB Apps….

What do you do on your mobile? Read the feed, watch videos, UPLOAD IMAGES FROM YOUR PHONE…

Amazon on the desktop – Slowly browse, look at recommendations, deep link from google, buy stuff you didn’t know you wanted, add/edit credit cards, look at My Account. On mobile, LOOK FOR A SPECIFIC ITEM, Buy that item

Different use cases for different devices. Apps have nailed it as they build them with the app in mind. We can do this with web, so lets just do it…

Later, as we are in the Internet of Things part of our lives, do you think we will be designing all things to work on all Things? Nah, everything will become more focused, more sleek, smaller, simpler, etc…

Big Data not Big Databases
So many times we get offered projects that are hip and cool because they are going to use Big Data. Or so they say. And what is this Big Data project I ask. Oh, its a website that 1,000,000 visitors will hit everyday. Or a website that has some clever mechanism for doing something really complex that hasn’t been done before.

Its isn’t that is it. Big data is not lots of data or lots of users. It could be, but depends. Its a scenario where the data or algorithms, or processing is SOOOOO huge it has to be distributed, stored in a special way on lots of machines, processed in massive parallel data centres, etc. A million ain’t big…

eBay, Google, Amazon, Weather, Telescopes, blah blah blah are big data.

Anyway, always turns into a slight rant doesn’t it.

Wearable Apps

Happy Birthday to to…us….

First of all, today is our Birthday, weheartdigital was [purposely] registered on Independence Day, because I thought it was funny.

So happy 3rd Birthday to us.

We have been growing each year, doing better, more creative and interesting projects (From Sport to Shakespeare) and growing our team slowly, but robustly. So thanks to all those involved.

Happy Days
Back in the old days (well 2010/2011)

Anyway, this made me think. Only three years ago, when talking to clients about websites, I used to talk about responsive design principles (must had read it on the back of a fag packet). It was pretty much guaranteed that whoever I was talking to thought a) It was a way to charge more, or b) pointless or c) constraining the design of the ‘main’ site.

Its interesting this, as now its become standard and this concept of ‘main’ site has gone. So we can pretty much know that mobile first, which has been knocking around as a term for a while is going to happen. Do we still feel thought that point c rings true. Are we now so worried about responsive, or grid layouts, or columns, or consistent structure that we have lost that ability to go bonkers and create wild and wacky sites? We have a little bit is my thinking. Or were those sites dead when we realised that Flash was pants and a security nightmare?

Back to the present

So everything is responsive, everything needs to work on all things, it would be forbidden for a user to go to a site and get the desktop view. Well, one day maybe.

But now we have wearables (although I argue that I had one in 1980, I could add/subtract/multiply/divide and write BOOBLESS and SHELLOIL on it – upside down of course).

What is the thinking then with developing Apps for Android, which can work with a wearable device. I see Runtastic Pro is updated to support Google Wear. I guess apps will support the long awaited iWatch as well.

So Apps will ‘respond’ to wearable devices? Or be separate w. Apps like the m. sites of back in the day? Something will prevail, but let’s hope clients get it, and understand that those of use trying to create beautiful things for people want to make them beautiful on all screens, not just try and coin a few quid because they think early adopters will fall for it.