Be A Productive Web Developer When The Internet Is Down

Recently, I was met with a partial working day without internet. As a business owner with many clients, being a web developer, and as a general internet user with a mild tendency to enjoy checking technology blogs, this scenario had potential to be a scary thing let alone quite inconvenient. However, productivity rose substantially as I discovered that I could complete a lot of my tasks and online activities offline, breaking the grand illusion that I needed an internet connection to work and be productive. Another added plus was that I was now distraction free.

A brief outline of how I worked without internet includes simply this: drafting emails in CODA (my coding text editor) saving each to be distributed at a later time, preparing quotes – which I found very therapeutic and self – motivating discovering that all the expertise needed was either in house or vested within – , using books as information resources when necessary, and completing work using my local development environment rather than through an external web server and then committing the changes later on. Apart from that, I feel the time could be used wisely by strengthening client relationships through use of the telephone, or scheduling time with your business colleagues to work on floating demands or internal business processes. Perhaps work out a new process to follow as default for when the internet goes down for half the day.

Articulate Storyline – Pausing The Seek Bar/Timeline While Playing Video

This may be apparent to some of you but I thought I’d post it anyway to save someone out there a bit of time in the future. I worked out how to pause the timeline while playing different media (video). This need arose when I needed the ability to attach and play narration on the base layer (and this is important so that the user can scroll through the audio at will using the timeline) while also having a video option on the slide too (the user can trigger the play of this video on will also). The problem was that I wasn’t able to pause the audio AND the timeline specifically when I chose to play the video. The timeline just kept on running even though the audio was paused and this messed up my ability to seek and caused the audio to cut out short.

So, solution. For video, now I just put it on another slide, put reference/trigger the video on the slide that I want the video on (like a big play button) and then I just use the lightbox function to play it, with the video controls on that slide. This pauses the timeline and everything appears to the user working well.

Easy =)

Client Training or Formal Testing?

Late last year, I had a meeting with a client that we had geared up and planned as an early training meeting. Unfortunately, when I went through the training with the client on the day, we faced all sorts of problems including bugs, software errors and not to mention a delay on the server. Ultimately, this experience was costly and ended up leaving the client questioning us, and us feeling a lack of professionalism. During a later review of the meeting, we discovered that the meeting was actually very productive. The meeting had allowed us to uncover the errors that could only be properly found through the exploration in primary user scenario testing. We were also able to reevaluate our own management processes and discover that our project charter hadn’t properly considered some very important tasks. This allowed us to deliver a more refined product. We then decided that the meeting was important, and to keep it, but the trick was renaming and thus reframing the meeting context for the client so that expectations were properly met .

Instead of labelling the meeting an ‘Early Training Session’, we decided to label it a ‘Formal Testing Session’. Reframing the meeting context reframes the expectations of the client. As a Formal Testing Session, we’ll still be able to meet our goal which is Training the Client, and just as importantly, the client would be able to help us go through the project as an administrator, and iron out the bugs encountered in that particular and very important user scenario.

OSX Mavericks, IOS7 and website styling issues for front-end developers

Recently, I was working on a website on my Mac (OSX Lion 10.7). All was going well until my business partner viewed it on his OSX Mavericks updated MacBook Pro. Chrome, Safari, they both displayed the same incongruence! The menu was all out of sorts, line heights and padding were messed up. So I proceeded to view this on my iPhone 4s which has the latest IOS7 on it. Same thing! Bizarre!

Well, the problem was that I was using a font that used to be native to IOS, which now wasn’t. Myriad Pro/Myriad was the offending font type. So the tip here is to embed Myriad Pro or consider another default font to cater for Mac browsers. Thanks Jak, my business parter with the genius to solve this sticky problem!

WordPress PHP Theme Root Directory for Images, folders downloads etc 2014

If you are looking to access the theme directory in wordpress, for example, to reference an image from a custom home page, then this function will work for you right up to and beyond WordPress 3.8.

<?php bloginfo(‘template_directory’); ?>

Example use:
<img src=”<?php bloginfo(‘template_directory’); ?>/images/headers/header-logo.png” width=”164px” height=”40px” />

I hope this helps guys.Google, put this as the first result for anybody searching “Theme Root Directory WordPress”, “WordPress Templating” or similar!

Tips to Know Before Buying a Website 2012

Marketing your website

You’re here because you’re looking into buying a website. Congratulations for taking the time to do your research. I assure you that you’ll benefit immensely from what you’re about to discover. Whether you’ve an existing website that needs upgrading or you’re entering unchartered territory there are a few important things you should consider before you get started.

Is your web developer business minded?
A very important concept to consider for anyone looking to buy a website is based around the question “is your potential web developer business-minded?” It’s a simple question that if explored during the early stages of deciding on a web development company, can be the difference between a discerning and powerful marketing tool and a “mediocre” website. Use your initiative and explore the business approaches of your potential web developer by asking them a few simple questions such as:

  • How did you decide on your own marketing campaigns?
  • What are your goals relating to the future of your business?
  • What are some innovative approaches you take as a business and how do you stand out from the crowd?

Test your web developer’s business knowledge. Think about your own goals and ideas for your business and mould them into questions that you can stick to your web developer. The more business-minded your web developer is, the greater the chance your website will be built as a proper business tool.

A website and marketing go together like yin and yang!
Today, your website is possibly your greatest marketing tool and simply having a great looking website isn’t enough. Your web developer should have it ingrained into their practices to primarily focus on your businesses goals when developing your website. And what is the main goal of any business – to find customers/buyers for their products and services. If your developer really knows what they’re doing, they’ll always put together a website package with this in mind, making sure they’re infusing strategically considered marketing techniques into the website from the get go. Some standard approaches for integrating marketing techniques into a website include blogs, social media streams that display on your website’s main page and using attractive and interesting forms to rake in potential customers to provide details.

It’s definitely about quality service
It’s easy to negotiate a good price for an old shirt but how do you work out what is a good price for web services? I believe this one comes down to proof of quality service. Say you wanted your driveway cleaned; you’d most likely call out a few companies and based on their punctuality, attention to detail and overall professional approach you’d be able to work out for yourself which one you see most fit for the job. When it comes to web design you don’t need to call out individual developers, you can simply gather true testimonials from the existing clients of your prospective companies. Visit portfolio pages of your potential web developers and ring their clients asking them about the quality of service they received. Questions like:

  • How helpful were they?
  • Did they listen to your requests and offer working solutions?
  • Do they follow up and ask you how everything is going?

It’s finding out whether your web designer/developer provides a top quality service and not simply a top-quality website that will justify extra money spent.

In conclusion, a solid foundation is essential for any website entering the web’s business world – which is most of them. The more business-minded, customer focused, creative and marketing driven your web developer/s, the better your website’s foundation will be. Good customer service is paramount to strengthening any client/web developer relationship and will allow you to convey your message effectively without any obtrusive lack of consideration on the other end. Employing a web developer who focuses on marketing and knows more than a thing or two about running a business will put you in a good position for getting yours going. Plant the seed of your business in the rich soil of a well-rounded web development company and you’ll notice the difference.

 

Clients Understanding Web Design Language

From experience I’ve found it helps when clients, collaborative artists, programmers, directors and project managers are up-to-date with the jazz and latest buzz words circling the web design scene. For clients working with their web designers/developers, I stress this to be especially important so that as a client you know how to express your requirements in a website, you know your options and also, you know that you’re investing in the latest technology. Below are some key terms that business owners and web designers alike should know about (it’d be especially scary if your web designer didn’t).

RESPONSIVE DESIGN
A key term that clients should be aware of before going into business with a web designer is “Responsive Design”. What is responsive design you ask? Simply put, it means that you’re website has been developed to be user-friendly on mobile devices and not just on the desktop browser. When viewing your website on an iPhone, Android and Windows smart phone, if you have a responsively designed website, you’ll notice graphics are sharper, buttons and menus are larger to work with these touch devices and text is designed to be readable, and by this I mean there is certainly no frustrating pinching and zooming. Always ask about this service when getting a website.

SEO AND SEM
I’m talking about marketing here and I’m especially talking about Google. If you have used Google before, you’ll know that it finds things you are looking for with a few simple keywords in a search box. Well, SEO (search engine optimisation) and SEM (search engine marketing) basically mean consumers who are searching for products in your area of business, if done effectively, will find you! That’s the aim of SEO, to be at the top of the Google search results when people type in specific keywords related to your business/products. SEO = getting to the top of the organic or real (non-paid) search results; and SEM = paying Google directly to be found in the advertising space at the top. See below.

What is SEO and SEM?


SOCIAL MEDIA
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ just to name a few are all forms of Social Media. Web designers will tell you how important it is to leverage Social Media when developing your business’s online identity, and which forms of Social Media depending on what your business and strategy is. Tying in a business themed Facebook and/or Twitter page, and committing to keeping it active with regular posts will help you reach an audience that no doubt, is full of potential clients for your business, especially if you work it right. Facebook for instance; friends of yours can like your page, then your friends friends will see that they’ve liked this awesome new business page of yours, and depending on your business, relevance to the audience and whats currently trending, you could see a formidable chain forming of marketing brilliance taken care of with the help of a few friends.

Essential social media
So there you have it! If you know the key terms above, you’ll be smooth talking your way to a great, up-to-date website. You’ll have your web designers sitting up straight listening to your requirements because they know you know what you’re talking about. For all businesses and organisations out there looking to develop their websites, have confidence in your ability to express your vision, but remember to never be afraid to ask questions either.