Friday, September 26, 2014

10 Ways to Distract your Users with Poor Web Design

Do you enjoy searching for minutes to find simple information: Hours? Location? 
Everyday street noise penetrates the thick concrete barrier that is my office space. Horns, sirens, shouting, vendors standing outside offering free cell phones all create static noise. Couple that with a poorly designed website and you have a very unproductive afternoon.


There are a lot of elements you should do, but there are also elements that you should stop doing. Let's cover 10 items that you shouldn't use when looking into your next design. User Experience (UX) should always be put first and often observing how someone navigates your website is the most accurate method.
  1. Drastic Gradients
  2. Shadows
  3. Bubbly Bevelment
  4. Polychromatic Color Scheme
  5. Animated GIFs
  6. Audio Playing in the Background
  7. Automatic Video Playing
  8. Table Based Layout
  9. Multiple Locations where information is stored
  10. Popup Windows

 Keeping the interface simple is the best method for your users. I'm not one for reducing an interface to such simplicity that it ruins or damages the user experience for the larger audience, but it is important to be cognisant of the lowest common denominator.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Anything and Everything with Firefox

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Layers of the Full Stack

Layers of the Full Stack:

  1. Server, Network, and Hosting Environment.
    1. This involves understanding what can break and why, taking no resource for granted.
    2. Appropriate use of the file system, cloud storage, network resources, and an understanding of data redundancy and availability is necessary.
    3. How does the application scale given the hardware constraints?
    4. What about multi-threading and race conditions? Guess what, you won’t see those on your development machine, but they can and do happen in the real world.
    5. Full stack developers can work side by side with DevOps. The system should provide useful error messages and logging capabilities. DevOps will see the messages before you will, so make them count.
  2. Data Modeling
    1. If the data model is flawed, the business logic and higher layers start to need strange (ugly) code to compensate for corner cases the data model doesn’t cover.
    2. Full stack developers know how to create a reasonably normalized relational model, complete with foreign keys, indexes, views, lookup tables, etc.
    3. Full stack developers are familiar with the concept of non-relational data stores and understand where they shine over relational data stores.
  3. Business Logic
    1. The heart of the value the application provides.
    2. Solid object oriented skills are needed here.
    3. Frameworks might be needed here as well.
  4. API layer / Action Layer / MVC
    1. How the outside world operates against the business logic and data model.
    2. Frameworks at this level should be used heavily.
    3. Full stack developers have the ability to write clear, consistent, simple to use interfaces. The heights to which some APIs are convoluted repel me.
  5. User Interface
    1. Full stack developers: a) understand how to create a readable layout, or b) acknowledge they need help from artists and graphic designers. Either way, implementing a good visual design is key.
    2. Can include mastery of HTML5 / CSS.
    3. JavaScript is the up and coming language of the future and lots of exciting work is being done in the JavaScript world (node, backbone, knockout…)
  6. User Experience
    1. Full stack developers appreciate that users just want things to work.
    2. A good system doesn’t give its users carpal tunnel syndrome or sore eyes. A full stack developer can step back and look at a process that needs 8 clicks and 3 steps, and get it down to one click.
    3. Full stack developers write useful error messages. If something breaks, be apologetic about it. Sometimes programmers inadvertently write error messages that can make people feel stupid.
  7. Understanding what the customer and the business need.
    1. Now we are blurring into the line of architect, but that is too much of a hands off role.
    2. Full stack developers have a grasp of what is going on in the field when the customer uses the software. They also have a grasp of the business.

Friday, September 19, 2014

7 Psychological Traps that Hold Web Designers Back

Let’s talk about self-confidence and psychological misconceptions that may hold web designers and web professionals back from getting ahead in their career.

When it comes to daily routine tasks most of us are not that diligent and logical as we used to think (or want to think). Everybody knows what to do, but somehow we try to avoid following our own pretty plan. The good news is that most people are actually able to get themselves together and control the balance of work and rest. However, there are some creative beings who are just too creative for that – they feel depressed when they need to strongly manage their activity. You must admit that such feeling is pretty much one of the biggest traps for all of the beginnings.

Whether you are subjected to psychological stress or not it’s always better to know the threats that can hurt you (even if you think they have nothing to do with you). So let’s go ahead and examine the most typical self-confidence failures and try to find the solutions that everybody can accept and apply.

Trap #1. Mania to Meet Client’s Approval

Sometimes people are so dependent on pleasing others that they stop thinking critically and ignore their own experience, knowledge and point of view.

On the web there is a lot of examples of bad web designs that were probably made under pressure of clients who were too pushy about their vision of designs. Sometimes it’s really easier to accept the client’s vision of design and walk away than to explain him why this or that is a bad idea. But every time you say ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no’, remember that this design becomes a part of your portfolio regardless of your wish.

Rule of thumb: ask yourself whether you’d be ready to proudly show the result to potential partners. If the answer is no – try to convince the current client somehow.

Moreover, clients will blame on you in case a new design doesn’t work well. They wouldn’t care that the idea was not yours – it’s still you who they will be angry at for wasted money. So again – you’d better try to convince clients of the effectiveness of your suggestions at the very beginning.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Excel Services

Excel Services
Excel services provides the ability for information workers to show the excel file in a web page. Those accessing the web page do not need to have Excel installed.  Some features include:

  • Global settings for managing workbooks (e.g. security, load balancing, session management, memory thresholds, caches and external data connections).
  • Management of SharePoint repositories to trust for Excel Services
  • An extensive list of trusted data providers for connecting to your data, plus the ability to add your own trusted data provider.
  • Trusted data connection libraries, which allow you to define which data connection libraries in your farm are trusted by Excel Services.
  • The ability to add your own user-defined function assemblies.
A great overview of this is given here:

For SharePoint 2013, there are additional features related to developer functionality in creating Excel Interactive Views related to Excel Services. The key additional functionality lies in the business intelligence integration that now exists between Excel 2013 and SharePoint 2013 – particularly related to the creation of scorecards, reports and dashboards; all of which can be brought into Excel and used to create these which can then be easily displayed in SharePoint 2013 sites. See the following link for further information:

Another excellent feature is of course Pivot-Table, there is a wealth of information on this link that describes what it is, analysis services and how to use this feature:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Some key SharePoint 2013 features

Some key SharePoint 2013 features

Some key SharePoint 2013 features User Adoption of SharePoint is based on meeting the goals and requirements of the business sponsor. To do that, there is an importance in ensuring that the correct features are applied to the relevant solutions to meet their goals. Platform Governance is key; since there would need to be knowledge of the relevant features and an understanding therefore in how they would be implemented, supported, maintained in an evolving SharePoint landscape. This is particularly important in deciding on the migration path of SharePoint 2010 to 2013, since quite a few features have been enhanced.

This quick article gives a list of some the key current features of SharePoint 2010 which are included in SharePoint 2013, and lists key features in SharePoint 2013, all of which will have an impact on steering decision making on what tools needs to be investigated and possibly then applied.

Note that these are subject to further enhancement; through my use of the preview, trawling sites to learn; I’m sure to come across some great bits of info, I’ll try my level best to update as time goes on!

The below are NOT all the features, there’s more in the depths of SharePoint 2013 site collections. So, am working on another article which describes the SharePoint 2010 site collection features and then compares that with SharePoint 2013 site collection features; and attempts points to locations where you can get further information from each one. My reasoning for this is to attempt to centralise that information so when it comes to building business cases its easier for me to collate my thoughts, and at the same time give ideas to what areas would need further consideration when planning upgrades from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013.
Hope this is useful to you!
Ok, lets go for this – in this article I’ll give a mention to:

Existing Key SharePoint 2010 Features included in SharePoint 2013
  • Excel Services
  • Access Services
  • InfoPath Forms Services
  • User Profile Service
  • Search Services
  • Business Connectivity Services
  • PerformancePoint Services
New SharePoint 2013 Features
  • Content Management
  • Translation Services
  • Workflow Services
  • SharePoint Quizzes
  • Education Services
  • Work Management Service
  • Mobile Features
As said this is not all the new features, just some which I think at this moment deserve major attention!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Engadget's back to school guide 2013

Engadget's back to school guide 2013

DNP  Engadget's back to school guide 2013
Welcome to Engadget's back to school hub for 2013! Whether you're a middle schooler, a college senior or just a tech-head looking for an excuse to refresh your gadget lineup, we're here to help. Throughout the month of August, we'll be posting in-depth guides to accommodate every budget, from cheap picks to high-end options. These guides will help you do your research, but 15 lucky readers will have the shopping done for them; our giveaway includes a flagship smartphone, an Ultrabook, an e-reader and many other toys to see you through work and play. We'll be drawing the names of winners in early September, but in the meantime our guides should keep you plenty busy. Click on the available category pages to start your comparison-shopping, and stay tuned for upcoming guides.
Note: You can enter our back to school contest by leaving a comment on the giveaway page, or at any of the category pages listed above. Comments left on this page will not be considered.