Mar 19, 2014

The Invisibility Factor

Developer

This past week marked the 25th “birthday” of the World Wide Web. While recently reading about “what’s next” for the internet, I came across an article from Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL, which I found quite interesting. It talked about the “waves” the internet has gone through as a whole and what is next for everyone who uses the internet. There was a quote that really stuck out that I wanted to share, because I thought it had a great deal to do with how responsive websites are being used today and how they will be used in the future.

The Internet will shift from being the main event to being increasingly invisible, as it becomes more integrated into our devices in subtle, but powerful ways.

I thought this point was incredibly interesting; that the internet is slowly shifting from something we think about and interact with all the time to something that is just… there.

This is where I began thinking about responsive websites and how we are creating products that, on devices, are not necessarily the shiny and sparkly products people use to want, but are the products people now need. We are giving our websites the “invisibility” factor, so that all visitors don’t even think about zooming in and out or missing important information because the site is not compatible with their smartphones or tablets. The information they want and need at that moment is just there for them.

 

For anyone interested in reading the article, it can be found here: http://mashable.com/2014/03/12/steve-case-world-wide-web-25/

 

Mar 10, 2014

How to helpful your webz.

Designer Developer Resource Center

Open this site in your phone … I’ll wait.

Did you see it? Instructions.

In case you didn’t see it open http://www.sva.edu in your browser of choice and set the page emulation to your phone of choice (or just drag the edge of your browser to phone width.) Instead of being presented with a standard issue mobile site, we have a helpful pop-up that helpfully points out the helpful menus using helpful arrows. It’s all very helpful.

This addresses a problem often overlooked in the mobile-dev world. Customer: I’m at your site, but … how do I get around? Where is everything? Where are your links and buttons?

biggest-frustration-with-mobile-browsing-modapt

(If it was 40% of a person’s frustrations in 2011 it must be 9000% by now, if my math is correct)

At the NYC School of Visual Arts, they simply give you the answer, frustration free, with “View Section” and “View All” … Got it? (They have that covered too.) It wouldn’t have taken any great effort to play around with the site and find out how to navigate, but finding this helpful tip in place was nice; surprising and thoughtful. By dropping this little hint, they can elegantly hide the nav menu and give the site a nice visual kick without all those big clunky nav blocks eating up the screen space. It’s a minor, but impressive little bit of code; a nice little detail. Details count.

 

**it only works once per session. to see it again, use incognito mode or equivalent.

Feb 28, 2014

Google Analytics and Responsive Design

Communicator Designer Developer Manager

For many groups on campus, Google Analytics is a great tool to help you tweak your navigation and design. What about using it to show how people are accessing your site from a mobile perspective?

Check out this Google Analytics dashboard that you can add to your account that will help you get a better understanding of what devices are visiting your website.

If you are wondering whether or not it is time to go responsive (the answer is yes you should by the way) then why not let your site analytics answer the question for you. We have built a ready to use google analytics dashboard that lets you see how your site is stacking up across desktop mobile and tablets.

Feb 3, 2014

How two student organizations have harnessed the power of responsive web design.

Developer

The Department of Information Technology in the Division of Student Affairs has partnered with Fish Camp and Big Event to harness the power of responsive web design for the custom applications they support for these organizations.

The Big Event is first organization that DoIT implemented a responsive web application for.  The Big Event is a one-day service project where over 17,500 students volunteer to complete community service jobs for residents in the Bryan/College Station community.  Last year the Big Event completed almost 1,650 jobs.  During the very short kickoff period held in the parking lot of Reed, a representative from each group assigned to a job must register/check-in, receive their tool list, and turn in waivers for participants.  You can imagine the challenge of networking 20 laptops in a parking lot. Until the last few years, they used mifi hotspots for accessing the web application that supports this process.  To avoid wait times and long lines, the Big Event web application was modified to be responsive.  This allowed Big Event staff to use their mobile phones to walk through the lines and check-in volunteers if the check-in tables started experiencing long lines.  The student director staff can also utilize the application to monitor the number of groups who have checked in to determine when to start the welcome program and kick-off.

The next student organization that DoIT worked with to implement a responsive web application is Fish Camp, a four-day extended orientation program which kicks off in August.  Over 900 students must be checked in at Reed Arena on the first day of each session.  Attendees check in at designated tables for their camp color which are staffed by camp counselors, who use bar code readers to scan the participants nametags and check them into the Fish Camp Registration system.  The staff and students needed a real-time count of the number of students who had checked in and how many had not.  DoIT worked with the organization to make the Fish Camp Registration web application responsive.  This allows the Fish Camp student leaders to utilize their mobile phones to know when to begin their welcome activities.  Another benefit of making the registration application responsive was that it now allows freshmen to register for Fish Camp with mobile devices.  This has been a success; a majority of registrations last year were from mobile devices.

Jan 13, 2014

Now What?

Designer Developer Manager

Now What?

We have evangelized to you about using the “Responsive Web Design” for over two years now. We have done numerous presentations on: “Why Go Mobile”, “How to Go Mobile” and best practices. We have even done some basic training and given you templates to get you started with Responsive Web Design. So now what?

Well, we have one more option which would be beneficial for you. Prepare yourself for some engaging Responsive Web Design Conferences! These are events gather some of the top experts in the field to present on cutting edge topics related to Responsive Web Design and Development. Many of these conferences also have training available, so you gain practical development knowledge. There are a plethora of training opportunities prepared with you in mind. Here are a few options:

 

All of these conferences have a cost associated with it. For those that need some persuasion tactics for your boss to get one/more of these conferences on the usual tight budget, please see these links:

Why Go Mobile: http://gomobile.tamu.edu/why-go-mobile

Convince your Boss https://bdconf.com/resources/pdf/convince_your_boss.pdf

 

So……now what? See you at the conference!