Mobile is 65% of Digital Time – comScore

Mobile is now 65% of time spent online leaving the Desktop with a paltry 35%.

ComScore has released their report 2016 US Cross-Platform Future in Focus which is summarized on marketingland.

comscore-mobile-vs-desktop-2016
Comscore Mobile App Report Summary

As marketingland states in their article, it’s not that the desktop doesn’t matter given most commerce still happens there. It is just that the buyers or donors started the journey with a search on a mobile device.

For the designers out there it is official that serving the clients means showing them the site on their mobile devices FIRST.

Mobile first design simplifies the information architecture process and focuses the team on outcomes. Focusing on your end users, the people googling your site on their iphone the vast majority of the time, is a success for everyone.

Mobile first changes the question from the ego-driven and outdated mindset of:

“How does my website look on the giant 4k monitor in the conference room?”

to a results oriented view of:

“Does this site reach our audience on their mobile devices effectively?”

Mobile first has been baseline for years. This data just confirms it once again.

Tendenci Responsive Design
Tendenci Mobile First AMS

Note: Tendenci, The Open Source AMS, is fully responsive across all viewports. If you are on an older version of Tendenci (v5 or earlier) we strongly recommend you talk to your developer to upgrade your site.

What is Software and what is a Theme?

New tendenci modules menu

I’ve gotten a few more questions on upgrading from Tendenci 5 to Tendenci 7. It seems we have been overzealous in explaining the changes at https://tendenci.readthedocs.io/en/latest/ and here and here and very extensively here. Perhaps too much info and too technical.

Listening to a client I realized that maybe “geek speak” on my part was part of the challenge. Definitions:

  1. Themes – The “theme” is the visual part of your site that makes you unique. When a major change happens, like the rapid growth in mobile traffic, it is not uncommon to have to purchase or pay to upgrade your theme with WordPress, Drupal or Tendenci.
  2. Software – The “software” stack is all of the functionality below the theme. Open source projects are driven by a community and most modules or add-ons strive to be backwards compatible.
  3. Game changers – sometimes a company like Apple will invent a “game changer” like the iphone. Awesome! Oh, but wait. You can’t write software that works on a device that either didn’t exist or was a tiny fraction of visitors to your site when you first deployed your theme.
  4. LTS Timelines – Who sets the timeline for LTS (Long Term Support) major releases? In Open Source it is driven by the community around a project. Frequently it is a combination of software and “dependencies”.

Examples?

To use a large open source project as an example, WordPress users (like me – my blog is on wordpress) sometimes need to pay to upgrade a premium theme when WordPress does a major release.

WordPress has a theme compatibility checker.
https://codex.wordpress.org/Themes/Theme_Compatibility/

As WordPress makes changes and improvements, sometimes these impact WordPress Themes and their underlying code and use of Template Tags. When a new version is announced, WordPress users are recommended to check the various WordPress Theme Compatibility lists to ensure their WordPress Theme is updated and ready for the new version.

Drupal, another major open source project, lists information on how to upgrade themes to work with each version here:
https://www.drupal.org/docs/8/theming-drupal-8/theming-differences-between-drupal-6-7-8

Tendenci, a much smaller but growing open source project, is doing the same thing for the same reasons. You want a unique brand (your theme) and new functionality (the software) and you’d like it to be as low cost as possible. Hence software updates are “usually” free, it’s just when a “game changer” happens that you need to update your theme.

If you are really curious what is in a theme, there is a great infographic on WordPress themes here.

For more on EOL support on Tendenci 5 you can read this really long blog post. And of course your site will still work if you don’t upgrade, it’s just the Django community has moved on so it’s best to move with them!

Release Process
Django Framework Release Process

Please see this comprehensive blog post for more detail on the Tendenci 5x to 7x upgrade process.

 

web site quality utilities and ideas

Checking your web site for quality is an ongoing task given the number of authors on a given web site. In this post I’m going to link a few of the tools we use to check up on ourselves. And on clients as they author on their sites as well, right? So here goes:

Pingdom Site Speed Checker
http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/

Broken Link Checker because the web changes daily
https://validator.w3.org/checklink

Ninja Online Spell Checker – free for up to 5 scans per day
http://www.internetmarketingninjas.com/online-spell-checker.php

Web Accessibility Measurement Tool
http://wave.webaim.org/

View your site like google sees it using “Fetch as Google”
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6066468?hl=en&rd=2

SEO tests are numerous so you can view this post on hubspot and pick your poison
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33164/6-SEO-Tools-to-Analyze-Your-Site-Like-Google-Does.aspx

Analyze your site offline by making a static copy and searching the folder. We explained this process here:
http://blog.tendenci.com/tag/make-a-static-copy-of-your-website/

Once you have your site in one folder you can use explorer, or finder, or I use sublime text editor to search for content in the files of the entire folder.

find in files with sublime

I do realize there are too many tools out there to list so please google for more. And feel free to comment in the forums if you know of some site evaluation tools that you like. You can register at https://www.tendenci.com/accounts/register/ and post in the forums at https://www.tendenci.com/forums/

Tendenci Templating – we can Improve

Tendenci 4 used basic Dreamweaver DWT files so designers could see everything they were doing. Then we used very strongly typed and very exact html comments along with Python to chop up the template to integrate it with the code.

The benefits were huge in that designers could design, programmers could program. Life was good. Well, almost, there was the whole 2002 use of tables because Netscape and IE were fighting and munged up generated HTMl inside of the script blocks rendered out. Very non MVC but it worked. And it allowed for amazing designer freedom.

Django – Tendenci has been a team effort since 2001 and the big jump came in 2009 when we started the rewrite in fully open source code (old news, I won’t bore you with it, but you can google it.). Django, a web framework written in Python, replaces the custom written framework we built in Tendenci 4 from scratch (hint – avoid writing frameworks from scratch. It makes no sense anymore. Time changes things.)

The problem? Django templates are out of date, they use too much magic (how many times does a designer add a code block and forget the templatetag? Or more common, remove a code block and leave the templatetag out of forgetfulness or fear.

And the worst part – you CAN’T SEE IT unless it is rendered. No more Dreamweaver or any other wysiwyg tools. We take visual people and thrown them into a text based world. For comparison, this would be like coding in Python in Photoshop. It doesn’t make sense.

I wish this post had a happy ending. It is a happy goal. A worthy goal. But the state of affairs with Django and Templates remains stagnant at best as explained here:

https://speakerdeck.com/mitsuhiko/lets-talk-about-templates

We can improve and the future will be brighter when we can just drop in a bootstrap-theme.css file and change our sites as easily as css zengarden.

Design Inspiration with Schipul Designers Mary & Erica!

Looking for Some Design Inspiration Today?

Look No Further!

Erica and Mary

 

In our latest video, two of our Schipul designers Mary Shamburger and Erica Bogdan share some of their favorite sites to visit for inspiration on the web – from web design ideas to design trends to fonts and images!

 

Websites We Love for Design Inspiration:

 

What websites do you love for design inspiration? Tell us in the comments!

Happy designing!

Facebook Fan Page Management Webinar with Erica Bogdan

Facebook Fan Page Management Webinar with Erica Bogdan from Schipul – The Web Marketing Co. on Vimeo.

Businesses are relying more and more on Facebook Fan Pages as a way to connect with their target audience and reach the right client demographics. But having a large, engaged fan base is something that doesn’t just happen overnight. To make the most of your Fan Page you must think strategically and use the right tools to help drive traffic to your site.

Erica Bogdan is  Web designer and developer at Schipul and Facebook page admin for AIGA Houston. She will show you how over the past few months she’s increased her page’s number of fans and gotten them to interact on her page. This Webinar will cover the following:

  •  How to use Facebook admin tools effectively
  •  How to increase your fan numbers organically
  •  What strategies to use to ensure your content is being seen by the most amount of people.

Slides of this Webinar and previous ones can be found here also.

Gary Hoover On How to “Think Like an Entrepreneur” and Succeed in Your Business

This week, I had the distinct honor of hearing Gary Hoover present at the Houston Technology Center on how to “Think Like an Entrepreneur”.  Gary Hoover is a successful entrepreneur having founded companies including Bookstop and Hoovers.com and he’s spent the last year as the “Entrepreneur in Residence” at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Austin.

Gary’s presentation was described as an “intense, information and idea packed presentation… [that] will be like drinking from a fire hydrant.”  That description was spot-on.

I took over 5 pages of notes, mostly trying to type as fast as I could and catch the great and inspiring quotes of wisdom plus the recommendations for books and specific, actionable items Gary said we could do to change the way we thought and be more successful and innovative in business.  

Gary began his presentation by personally handing everyone in the audience his business card and shaking our hands.  On the back of Hoover’s card are the top 8 things he believes are keys to making great enterprises.  Download a larger photograph of his business card with the 8 tips to keep and view more photos from the evening presentation in the Tendenci Photo Album I’ve created.

If you are interested in a  full copy of my notes, leave a comment below or send me an email at sworthy@schipul.com and I’ll gladly send them to you.

I was inspired by how much of what Gary recommended for being a more successful entrepreneur also applied to the work we do at Schipul for our clients in web development, website design, and web marketing.  In learning to think more like an entrepreneur, you also learn to see different perspectives, understand the ‘bigger picture’ of your business, and receive lifelong benefits personally and professionally.

Probably the most profound statement of the evening from Gary was when he said:

“I define entrepreneurship as getting great personal satisfaction from serving others… you have to love it and others have to love [what you are giving them].  

The people who are most happy with their lives at my stage are the people who have spent their whole lives working to make the world a better place.”

Here are Gary’s recommendations for learning how to “Think Like an Entrepreneur”.  My goal is for you to find the same inspiration and ways to relate them to your daily life as I found.

Practice the Habit of Wisdom

“These are people who just cannot be anything but an entrepreneur.  They may fail a lot – because it’s hard to get them to sit still, hard to get them to focus… but ultimately they are going to succeed because they just don’t stop.”

As Gary states, some people are born fundamentally entrepreneurial and others are born to be bureaucrats, while the rest of us fall someplace in between the 2 extremes. If you want to become more entrepreneurial, then you will need to change by developing better thinking habits.

To develop these habits, you’ll first need to master the 3 things Gary calls his working definition of wisdom :

  1. Knowing what matters and what doesn’t matter.
  2. Knowing what changes and what doesn’t change.
  3. Knowing what you can change and what you can’t change.

These are three easy concepts to understand and yet, very difficult to master. As Gary put it, “There’s no rocket science here, but you’ll spend your whole life trying to figure out what matters and what doesn’t.”

Be Curious

“Study the great entrepreneurs, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Dell and so on, and you’ll find an intense curiosity.”

Gary explains the importance of doing your research before starting a new business venture.  The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who ask the most questions and really understand the marketplace, the customers and competitors, and gain insight into the future of the business environment.

Ask the managers and owners of similar businesses questions like:

  • What do you like about your job, and what don’t you like?
  • What is the best day you’ve ever had… describe your worst day?
  • What do you look for in an employee and how do you hire and train new people?

By asking questions and being curious, you can begin to gain perspectives from other people and understand the why’s and the how’s and the what’s…

When you begin to understand these different perspectives beyond your own, you can make better decisions and you are more equipped to solve problems as they are thrown randomly at you.

Read Every Day

“The key question is do you see yourself in a box or not in box?”

The greatest thought leaders in the world are also the most avid readers.  Read daily, Gary recommends, books and business journals… the beauty of the internet is the availability of so much free and great reading material.

Here are 2 books Gary recommended Tuesday night:

The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators” by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton M. Christensen

The Innovators DNA describes 4 skills required for innovation:

  1. Observing
  2. Networking
  3. Experimenting
  4. Questioning

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck

Mindset describes the importance of not locking your children or yourself into a set way of thinking.  Gary recommended this book and said “It’s not about being smart or being stupid: people who think they’re smart are locking themselves in a box just like people who think they’re stupid.”

Entrepreneurship is not About the Technology

“Entrepreneurship is a lifelong process of self-understanding: learning about yourself .”

As I listened to Gary’s presentation, I found myself mentally replacing the word “entrepreneurship” with “Marketer” and “Schipulite”. We’re passionate about providing great service to our clients.  We’re constantly asking questions and inviting our clients to come hang out with us so we can get to know you.  We never stop trying to innovate and find better ways to help your business increase online and offline revenues through your website and web marketing.

These quotes from Gary’s presentation were my favorite because they gave me new perspectives on creating a better user experience through our Tendenci CMS for you, your staff, and your website visitors:

“When I use the word technology, I mean any way of doing better things… Technology is only relevant to the extent that it makes people’s lives better!”

“Step back and look at the big pattern – and the big pattern here is that ALL MEDIA has been digitalized, it’s all been turned into 0’s and 1’s.”

Be obsessed with your customer and making great products for them and you will succeed – be passionate about it. It is about making it good for the user!”

I would love to hear how we can make our products and services better for You and anything else you want to add!  Please tell us below in our comments or Come Hang Out With Us and get to know us.  (And I promise to ask you lots of questions!)

Dan Roam Keynote on Visual Communication at NTC 2012

We’re here at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco this week. This morning was a great keynote by Dan Roam, author of “The Back of the Napkin” & “Blah, Blah, Blah – What to Do When Words Don’t Work.”

Below are highlights of the presentation:

“We can solve our problems with pictures”

Dan’s primary point was that pictures allow us to solve problems far better than words, and unfortunately, pictures aren’t even involved in many of our largest problems.

“We can clarify our ideas with pictures.”

55% of our brain works to process visual information. Why spend the first 18 years in school learning how to be more verbal? Why do we only define intelligence by ability to verbalize?

“Whoever draws the best picture gets the funding”

This is something Dan repeated throughout the presentation. Whoever best describes the problem is the person most likely to get the funding. This is because:

  1. They are able to get buy-in as they help people understand the problem
  2. And also because the person who has drawn the problem has already began to map out how it works, who is involved, and is laying the foundation for the solution… so they are more able to come up with a solution

“Any sufficiently well drawn problem carries with it the beginnings of the solution”

How Our Brains Process Pictures

Our brains process visuals using 6 visual pathways. When drawing a picture of an idea, be sure to address all 6.

  1. What – Recognizes the objects in front of you
    This is the simplest recognition of an object
    The picture of this is a portrait
  2. How much – Quantitative – How many are there?
    The picture of the “Ho much” visual pathway is a chart
  3. Where – Distance – Where are they?
    The picture is a map
  4. When – There is no cause and effect, just sequence picture is a timeline
  5. How – Cause and effect based deduction of what we think we are seeing
    The picture is a flowchart
  6. Why – Make the connection of why something is happening

A Real Life Example – Dan Roam on Healthcare Reform

Dan has recently been in the news for using pictures to explain Healthcare Reform. He, along with the help of a Heathcare expert reviewed the 1,447 page Healthcare Reform bill and created a series of 40 visuals to explain it and posted them to Slideshare.

View more presentations from Dan Roam

The presentation is approaching 500,000 views. And Dan has been interviewed on news organizations like Fox News on the topic. Because he was best able to show a picture of the issue.

Similarly, Dan has worked with the government to create whitehouse.gov/whiteboard – which uses visuals to explain complex governmental issues.

More Nonprofit Technology Conference Goodness

It was a fantastic session & I can’t wait for more NTC goodness!

More resources from NTC 2012: