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 Now those platforms are becoming obsolete and outdated.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.
Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with the amount of information that is given to you each day? Or how about struggling to meet with different members of your office to reach a specific goal or quota? Then we need to talk. About your diet. No, not what you eat (go ahead and have that donut, we won’t tell) but the low information diet.
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".
We all know that people have bad habits. Some people may bite their nails, swear, stress eat or drink too much coffee. We’ve all had our fair share of forming and continuing bad habits within our own lives. While we aren’t really sure why or how a bad habit is formed, it is clear that […]
We would like to thank Wendy’s for inviting us out to the Wendy’s High School Heisman awards last weekend in New York. Our team had an amazing time meeting the high school candidates as well as the college Heisman Finalist. Thanks to Rattleback for including us in the web development work for Wendy’s. It’s been a […]
When we talk about user experience, or UX, we tend to think about wire framing. This is for obvious reasons: it is simple, cheap, and does a good job of conveying what we will provide to our clients. Even still, wire framing cannot provide the details clients need to make informed decisions and fully appreciate […]
Here at Switchbox, we have two development teams, focusing on different languages and technologies. On one side, we have a .NET team focusing on Microsoft technologies – Windows, SQL Server, and C#/ASP.NET. On the other, we have an open-source team primarily working with Linux, MySql, and Ruby on Rails. All of our developers are great […]
One of Switchbox’s client, AppRiver, headquartered in Gulf Breeze Florida, specializes in email and web security and protects their users with the latest spam and virus protection possible. They offer web security, email encryption, and Office 365 backed by 24 hour customer support. Attention to detail can be found throughout AppRiver.com and their 404 page […]
One of the most difficult things a developer faces is choice- which language, framework, method etc. and when to use something or when not to use something. The stress for most developers is palpable, and the choices are a crippling part of this anxiety. Enter ‘convention over configuration’. At its core, the concept of applying […]
For the past two months, our team has been engaged in a friendly book drive competition to collect children’s books for donation to the Worthington Resource pantry. The Resource Pantry is a center that provides education and food to those in need. Their purpose is to promote the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual heal […]
Company culture has become a huge topic within organizations. Understanding what brings in good employees and keeps them around is an added advantage to an employer. While most companies, at one point, may have never even considered the idea, it seems like an unavoidable topic in today’s businesses as more and more potential candidates ask […]