Interactive wireframes are a great step in the discovery process of any web based project. They go beyond the standard view of static wireframes and help clients explore how the website or mobile application will function instead of just showing what the website will look like.
Every company struggles with backlogged projects. There are always too many projects and too little time. The problem is that a lot of backlogged projects are important and are time sensitive but they get delayed (often indefinitely) because companies don't have a way to prioritize them.
Who actually owns your website? Or maybe asked a different way, who has the ability to shut your site down if they want? We are starting to see panic stricken clients asking this question more and more often and it's one you should be asking now.
As the federal regulations around stopping frivolous lawsuits are handicap accessibility are about to take effect more and more law firms are trying to file their class action lawsuits against organizations. We have had a variety of companies reach out to us to help make their websites ADA compliant. The problem is that while everyone wants to accuse our clients of not meeting the ADA standards no one seems to be able to say exactly what that means.
Most web developers and designers have used the Bootstrap framework for years but apparently the US government is getting involved now too. If you do work at the national or possibly even state level for website and web applications you may see this pop up on an RFP requirement soon.
15 years ago companies saw a need for building out business automation platforms but there was not enough development talent to build them all. This meant that companies of all sizes started using "build your own database" applications like FileMaker and Microsoft Access DB to build business applications. Now those platforms are becoming obsolete and outdated. What should these companies do?
Jacadis (A local web security company) came out to our office to present on web security to our team at our weekly Beer and Code event. It was a huge learning experience and at the end of the day we all took away a few basic practices to make web and mobile applications more secure. Thanks to Doug and Grant for presenting.
As more and more companies start to build web enabled dashboards there are a lot of considerations in just how they look. It's not just about color anymore. Concerns range from how far from how high off the ground will the screen be, will it be accessible on a phone, and do you need to have a print version are all important considerations.
We are probably going to make a lot of IT departments mad by publishing this but we think it's an important subject to discuss. "Shadow-IT" often has a very negative connotation and with all the press on vendors doing really stupid things that ultimately exposed companies like Target to cyber attacks we understand why. However, Shadow-IT does not have to be dangerous and in many cases it's needed to get the job done at large organizations. If you follow a few simple guidelines you can have security and a successful project without the hassles many IT projects face.
Interactive maps are being great tools for showing information. Instead of simply dumping out spreadsheets or big data into a chart you can show it on a map and make it interactive. A great application is big data pulled from census and other government statistical surveys.
The largest challenge with building dashboards and custom reporting is not getting the information. It's about taking the wealth of information and making it meaningful. Find out why miles per gallon, megabytes, and calories are completely irrelevant to your life.
Atul Gawande's book The Checklist Manifesto has quickly become a business classic. If you haven't read it an oversimplification of the book is that using a checklist massively increases quality and accuracy and prevents errors. He works through how checklists allow skyscrapers to be built in months with a failure rate of nearly zero. How pilots used checklists to make routine tasks like takeoffs become safer, and ultimately how they help in his industry, medicine.
If you’re running a successful business you’re probably looking at some important numbers on a weekly or monthly basis. While there are a number of names for these number reporting systems (Scorecard, Critical Numbers, KPI’s) most of our clients call them a Dashboard. We’ve helped a lot of clients automate these over the years so we wanted to share a few common problems that clients develop when they use a company dashboard along with a few quick ideas to make them easier and more beneficial to use.
Switchbox is excited to announce the launch on Skinny Ohio. We had a great time modernizing this site for the Auditor of State in collaboration with Conrad Phillips Vutech. The new Skinny Ohio boasts a slick user interface, responsive design, and custom CMS built on Dot Net Nuke framework.
One of the big buzzwords that everyone has probably heard of when working with, or working as, developers is Agile Development. A large sect of this methodology does not directly impact a client and is more how developers work, as such we will gloss over those for now. Agile, as it relates to clients, be they big businesses, mom and pop shops, or single-person operations, is excellent when it comes to getting client involvement, engagement, and most importantly getting a client what they want and need, whether or not they can articulate it without seeing progress as it goes on.
People Seem to enjoy using their Fitbit; It Magically makes staying in shape fun. I hear people talking about how they won X competition or are ahead in Y group almost daily in our office. Yet, the Fitbit itself does absolutely nothing to help you exercise. It doesn't weigh anything, it doesn't suck fat out of your blood stream and it doesn't increase your heart rate. You just slap it on your wrist and go about your day like normal. What it does do is measure progress against a goal with regular updates. This helps achieve a bigger result. Per this famous quote from Peter Drucker, "What gets measured gets done".