Turning complexity into clarity.

Phase2: Why You Should Invest in Voice Assistant Technology

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 14:44

In 1994, I was a huge fan of the X-Men animated series. I distinctly remember an episode titled “Time Fugitives”, which featured Cable, a time-traveling mutant vigilante from the future, talking to a floating cube that gave him historical information about the X-Men of the past. I never thought that technology would exist in my lifetime, but I found myself a week ago sitting in my living room asking my Google Home (which resembles an air freshener rather than a cube) questions about historical context.

Conversational UI’s - chatbot and voice assistant technologies - are becoming commonplace in consumer’s lives. Messaging apps alone account for 91% of all time people spent on mobile and desktop devices. Soon, almost every major smartphone and computer will be equipped with Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, or Samsung’s Bixby. These voice assistants are even being integrated into common home electronics - televisions, set-top boxes, video game units, and even washing machines and refrigerators. Sales of home personal assistants are on the rise, with the Amazon Echo alone having increased sales nine-fold year over year. Search giants Google and Microsoft are reporting significant increases in voice searches, each claiming about 25% of mobile searches are now performed using voice.

Source: Should financial services brands follow Capital One on to Amazon Echo?, E-Consultancy, 2017

The trends are clear - conversational UI’s are only becoming more prevalent in our lives, and some predict will replace common technologies that we use today. And in order to continue to engage audiences wherever they are, in the way they prefer to engage, companies should be investing in developing apps that leverage these technologies at home and in the workplace.

Benefits of Building Applications for Conversational UI’s Now

While you may question the business benefits of developing applications that leverage conversational UI’s at such an early stage in the maturation of this technology, there are some clear benefits that come with being on the leading edge of leveraging new technologies to engage consumers:

Early adoption can lead to great PR

Standing on the leading edge and developing applications for these emerging platforms can present a great opportunity to earn publicity, and position your organization as an innovative brand. An example of this can be seen in this eConsultancy article about CapitalOne’s Amazon Echo skill.

You can test new market opportunities

Conversational UI’s may present an opportunity to engage with a market that your organization is not currently. You may identify opportunities to gain new customers, improve customer satisfaction, or create new revenue streams by extending existing products and services into platforms with voice and chat interfaces. Some companies are already starting to offer paid tiers for services delivered via or selling advertising on conversational UI applications.

Early adoption can provide a competitive advantage

While being first to market with a conversational UI app is not always a guarantee of success, it can provide you a leg up over the competition. If you start early, you will have an opportunity to identify best approaches to engage consumers on these new platforms, allowing you to have a well-defined experience once your competitors enter the market. Your brand may also be able to secure a percentage of the market share early due to a lower cost of user acquisition.

US consumers are creatures of habit, and prefer to go back to familiar stores, products, and services they trust. In an ideal scenario, your conversational UI application will become integrated into consumer’s work and or home life before the market is saturated.

Potential Drawbacks

In all fairness, developing a conversational UI application is not easy. There are some risks associated that we would be remiss if we did not inform you of:

  • This is still the wild-wild west - very few best practices or standards have been established.

  • It can be expensive to develop and implement, across the myriad of devices/services.

  • There is a potentially high learning curve depending on the platform you are building for and technologies you use to develop your app.

  • At this time, there are no clear methods for efficiently testing features on voice assistant applications.

  • Deployment of content to this various platforms may require use of many different CMS systems.

While there are risks associated with this starting to leverage conversational UI applications, the long-term benefits may outweigh the short-term losses.

Stay tuned for part 2, where we will discuss how you can start leveraging conversational UI applications to build your brand and grow your business.

 

Categories: Drupal

Phase2: Responsive Design Patterns to Create Penn State’s Beautiful Online Experience

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 14:44

With the recent launch of Penn State University’s main site and news site, we were able to help Penn State breathe new life into their outdated online presence, to allow prospective and current students alike to have the best experience possible on a wide array of devices. Working closely with the PSU design team, we created a complete experience from desktop to mobile, utilizing popular design patterns that would help guide the user experience while never fully stripping away content from the end user.

Utilizing the Omega Theme, we used the default media queries of mobile, narrow and normal or otherwise known as under 740px (mobile), under 980px (tablet) and anything else above (desktop). These media queries really helped the PSU design team explore the possibilities of what was possible at each one of these breakpoints and how fundamental elements can be optimized for the device that they are being displayed on. Most notable were, menus, search, curated news boxes, and featured article headers were all areas where the PSU designers and Phase2 teamed up to bring out the best experience for each breakpoint.

 Menus:

Whether we are talking about main menus, secondary, or even tertiary, all menus have their place and purpose for guiding the user through the site to their destination. The PSU design team never forgot this principal, and substantial effort went into making sure menu items were reachable at all breakpoints. While the main menu follows standard design patterns, the desktop to tablet change is just a slightly more condensed version of the original, and made to optimize the horizontal space of a tablet in portrait mode. Moving down to mobile, we made the biggest changes. The main menu collapses to a large clickable/tap-able button that reveals/hides a vertical menu with large target areas, optimized for mobile.

 

The secondary menu also behaves in a similar fashion to the main menu by collapsing down to a larger clickable button that reveals menu items also enlarged in order to visually gain appeal while also providing a larger area for users to click on. The transformation happens earlier at the tablet level as we felt that the condensed horizontal space would make the tex-only menu items harder to read and more difficult to click on for smaller screens.

 

Search:

Search was another component that Penn State needed to emphasize  throughout the site. It was very important to leave this as simple as possible, so like the menus, it was decided to collapse the search, for mobile only, into a drawer reveal that focused on simplicity and a large focus area. Again, we went with a large icon that helped by having a large target area for the mobile and tablet experience.

 

 

 

Curated news boxes:

On the homepage, the curated news boxes provided a fun canvas to work with content that shifts around as the device changes from desktop to mobile. Knowing that space is limited in the mobile realm, it was important to provide something visually pleasing, but that would also still engage the user to click through a news story. So iconology was used to capture the specific type of news piece while the title was left to engage the user into clicking through to the story.

Mobile curated boxes

Tablet Curated Boxes

 

Featured Article Header:

Imagery was crucial to the PSU redesign strategy. It was only natural to have engaging treatments to the featured article headers. If the article header implemented a slideshow, we used flexslider. Otherwise, simple css scaled the images per breakpoint. The meta description related to the image would truncate and shift around depending on the breakpoint for better readability and appearance.

By implementing responsive design patterns, we were able to help the PSU team achieve their goal of making their online content and news accessible by any device.

Categories: Drupal

Phase2: Defining Content to Optimize your Editorial Experience

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 14:44

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase “Content is King.” But what exactly is content? The precise definition is subjective – it is influenced by the context in which it is defined. There is no universal definition within the industry, and it is highly likely there is no single definition within your organization.

To have a successful content strategy, it is critical that your organization determines precisely what content means to you, as its definition will inform your entire editorial experience.

An Efficient Editorial Experience

When designing editorial experiences, there is inherent friction between system architecture and user experience. The more complex the structure, the less usable the editorial experience of your CMS becomes. Content strategists strive to follow best practices when modeling content, but these object-oriented models do not take into account the workflow of tasks required to publish content.

Modern content management platforms offer organizations a variety of entities used to build an editorial experience – content types, taxonomies, components, etc. Although editors and producers learn how to use them over time, there can be a steep learning curve when figuring out how to combine these entities to perform tasks, like creating a landing page for a campaign. That learning curve can have two adverse effects on your websites:

  1. You lose efficiency in the content creation process, leading to delayed launches and increased costs.

  1. Incorrect use of the CMS, resulting in increased support costs of ownership.

Content Management Best Practice: Focus on Tasks

Avoid these risks by designing task-based editorial experiences. Task-based user interfaces, like Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, present quick paths to whatever task your content creator wants to accomplish, rather than allowing the user to plot their own path. The greatest efficiencies can be gained by creating a single interface, or multistep interface, for accomplishing a task. Do not require the user to access multiple administrative interfaces.

To enable this set-up, perform user research to understand how content is perceived within your organization and how users of your CMS expect to create it. This is easily done by conducting stakeholder interviews to define requirements. Our digital strategy team has also found success in following practices found in the Lean methodology, quickly prototyping and testing editorial experiences to validate assumptions we make about users’ needs.

To ensure the success of your content operations, define the needs and expectations of the content editors and producers first and foremost. Equally important, prioritize tasks over CMS entities to streamline your inline editorial experience for content producers and editors.

Categories: Drupal

Phase2: Phase2 Joins Forces with Cycle for Survival

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 14:44

Over the past year, we’ve had the joy of working with Cycle for Survival to update the organization’s digital assets. But there’s more than one way to make an impact, so this weekend we set out to fundraise and participate in a Cycle for Survival team ride in New York City. Needless to say, it was a fun and inspirational event.

We invited Brandy Reppy, Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Associate Director of Online Operations, to share how digital technology has made an impact on the organization.

What is the Cycle for Survival mission?

Cycle for Survival is the national movement to beat rare cancers. Through a series of indoor team cycling events, Cycle for Survival raises funds that are critical for rare cancer research with 100% of every donation being directly allocated to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center within six months of the events.

Rare cancer research is drastically underfunded resulting in fewer treatment options for patients. With fewer resources devoted to understanding and treating these diseases, patients face uncertain futures – Cycle for Survival is committed to changing that.

How does digital technology impact your mission?

Fundraising for Cycle for Survival focuses on peer-to-peer interactions. Participants register online for an event and fundraise for their team via the website. Digital technology is pivotal to allowing participants to navigate our website easily during registration and fundraising. Our website also houses critical information for our participants and their donors, so it’s critical that they can access this information seamlessly.

In what ways does Phase2 support CFS in this effort?

With Phase2, Cycle for Survival is able to efficiently manage and update digital assets. These are key resources for our participants and donors – things like updates from around the organization, information on how to get involved, and what we are doing with the funds raised – that need to be easy to access. In working with Phase2, we’ve been able to streamline the process of maintaining these assets and branding elements.

What technical strides have we made together?

With Phase2, we’ve been able to be more efficient with time and resources spent on our digital assets and have been able to quickly manage our content. The major shift has been in having a responsive site (instead of a separate mobile one). This creates one seamless experience across many devices, which allows our visitors to easily access all their information from any browser or device, and allows us to manage one code base.

Categories: Drupal

Phase2: Developer Soft Skills Part 1: Online Research

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 14:44

Developer Soft Skills

One of my earliest jobs was customer service for a call center. I worked for many clients that all had training specific to their service. No matter the type of training, whether technical or customer oriented, soft skills were always a included. Margaret Rouse said, “Soft skills are personal attributes that enhance an individual’s interactions, career prospects and job performance. Unlike hard skills, which tend to be specific to a certain type of task or activity, soft skills are broadly applicable.”

In this blog series I will be discussing what I call “developer soft skills.” The hard skills in development are (among others) logic, languages, and structure. Developer soft skills are those that help a developer accomplish their tasks outside of that knowledge. I will be covering the following topics:

  • Online research
  • Troubleshooting
  • Enhancing/Customizing
  • Integrating
  • Architecting

Part 1: Online Research

One of the first skills a developer should master is online researching. This is an area with some controversy (which will be discussed later) but a necessary skill for learning about new technologies, expanding your knowledge, and solving problems.

One of the best reasons for research is continuous education. For many professions (such as the military, education and medical fields) continuing education is required to keep up on updated information, concepts, and procedures. As a developer, continuing to grow our skill set helps us develop better projects by using better code, better tools, and better methods.

Search engine queries

When researching a topic on the internet it usually involves using a search engine. Understanding how a search engine works and how to get to the results.There are two parts to how a search engine works. Part one is data collection and indexing. Part two is searching or querying that index. I will be focusing on how to write the best possible query, to learn more about how search collect and index data see this link. In order to write good queries we should understand how search engines respond to what we type into the search box. Early search results were rendered based on simple (by today’s standards) comparison of search terms to indexed page word usage and boolean logic. Since then search engines have started to use natural language queries.

So we can get better results by using this to our advantage. If I wanted to research how to make a calendar with the Java programming language. instead of searching for keywords and distinct ideas “java -script calendar” by themselves; use natural language to include phraseology and context in our queries: “how can I make a calendar with java”. The first result from the keyword search returns a reference to the Java Calendar class. The first result from the second query return example code on writing a calendar in Java. The better the query the better the results.

Search result inspection

Once we have the right query we can then turn our attention to the results. One of the first things I do is limit the results to a date range. This prevents results from the previous decade (or earlier) to be displayed with more recent and applicable ones. Another way to focus our search is to limit the site that the search takes place on. If we know we want to search for a jQuery function search jquery.com.

Once we have filtered our results, it’s time for further inspection. When viewing a results page, the first thing I look for is the context of the article or post. Does the author and/or site have a lot of ads? This can sometimes mean that the site is more about making money then providing good answers. Does the page have links or other references to related topic or ideas? This can show if the author is knowledgeable in the subject matter.

The controversy

Earlier I mentioned online researching can be a controversial topic. One of the points of controversy is discussed in Scott Hanselman’s blog post, Am I really a developer or just a good googler? While I agree with his major point, that researching bad code can be dangerous, I contend that using a search engine can produce good results and learning opportunities.

Almost anytime you search for any programming topic, one site or group of sites is predominant in almost every result: Stack Overflow or the Stack Exchange group of sites. Several articles have been written about reasons not to useconsequence of using and why some developers no longer use Stack Overflow. Using Stack Overflow will not solve all your problems or make you a better developer.

Again, these arguments make some good points. But I think that using Stack Overflow correctly, just like good use of search engines, can produce good results. Using a Stack Exchange site comes with the benefit of community. These sites have leveraged Stack Exchange Q&A methodology for their specific topic or technology and can be a great resource on how to solve a problem within the bounds of that community. One of my development mentors told me that there were thousands of ways to solve a programming problem and usually several wrong ones. The key is to not do one of the wrong ones and try to find one of the best ones. Searching within a Stack exchange site for answers can highlight the wrong ones but also provide the ones that work best in that system.

Here is an example of a Stack Overflow Drupal community response that came up when I searched for: “drupal create term programmatically.”

This response is correct, but if you look at the link provided, you will see this is for Drupal 6. If you were looking for how to do this in Drupal 7, for instance, the answer provided would not be correct. We could have improved our results by adding “Drupal 7″ to our query. But most important is to keep in mind that sites like Stack Overflow, or other community sites such as php.net include a mix of user-generated responses. Meaning anyone can respond without being vetted.

Keep going

The best piece of advice I can offer for the arguments against using online search results and Stack Overflow is: “This is not the end.” Keep going past the result and research the answer. Don’t just copy and paste the code. Don’t just believe the top rated answer or blog post. Click the references sited, search the function or api calls that are in the answer, and make the research a part of your knowledge. And then give back by writing about your article or posting your own answers. Answering questions can sometimes be just as powerful a learning tool as searching for them.

In the end, anything you find through search, blog, and code sites should be considered a suggestion as one way of solving a problem – not necessarily the solution to your concern.

In the next post I will discuss a good use case for Stack Exchange sites, Developer Soft Skills Part 2: Troubleshooting.

Categories: Drupal

La Drupalera (en): La Drupalera, in the European Drupal Business Days

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 14:02

This month, La Drupalera can’t stop. If some days ago, we told you about our success in DrupalCamp Spain 2017, where our colleagues Isaura Galafate y Bea González triumphed with their talks, now our Country Manager y Technical Leader, Rafa Martín, is news, because he is going to show one of our Case Study in La Drupalera, in one of the most important events of Drupal in Europe: European Drupal Business Days. Furthermore, La Drupalera, which loves contributing with the Community, takes part in the event as Partner community.

Read more
Categories: Drupal

Manifesto: Looking back at our Spring Drupal Sprint

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 12:51
On Saturday we opened the doors of the Manifesto studio once more to developers, site-builders and testers for a one-day sprint of Drupal contribution. An experienced bunch We managed to attract seven attendees to this sprint. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to bring in any first-time contributors. But the upside to having a room of experienced. Continue reading...
Categories: Drupal

InternetDevels: Drupal distributions and OpenFed as a great example

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 12:46

With Drupal, there is no need to reinvent the wheel — the wheels are already in full motion! The vigorous community has created tons of ready made elements that make development easier, quicker and cheaper. What’s not covered by them can be custom made to fulfill whatever your heart desires. A great example are the contributed modules that Drupal has for all purposes, with custom ones being built for special features (see ready-made vs. custom-made modules).

Read more
Categories: Drupal

Website Reface - Upwork

WordPress Work From UpWork - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 11:23
Looking for a creative web designer who can reface our existing website http://www.ignatiuz.com, slightly change navigation style etc.

No content/text need to be changed, no SEO keywords need to be lost, no Smart device compatibility need to be lost. The changes to be completed within 16 hours of time i.e. 2 working days.

Please put forward your suggestions in your job application and I will get started with the one who provides best recommendations.


Posted On: May 16, 2017 20:10 UTC
Category: Web, Mobile & Software Dev > Web & Mobile Design
Skills: Web Design, WordPress
Country: United States
click to apply
Categories: WordPress Maintenance

Code Positive: Optimising content previews for Drupal 8 using Opengraph

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:34

When we share our content on social media we have one goal in mind, people clicking on the link. This article looks at a simple and effective ways of achieving that goal.

READ MORE

 

Categories: Drupal

Code Positive: Optimised content previews for Drupal 8 using Opengraph

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:34

When we share our content on social media we have one goal in mind, people clicking on the link. This article looks at a simple and effective ways of achieving that goal.

READ MORE

 

Categories: Drupal

Programmer Analyst I - Full Stack Developer - University of British Columbia - Kelowna, BC

Drupal Jobs from Indeed - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:15
PHP, SQL, JavaScript, CSS, HTML5, Yii Framework, Drupal, and Linux. The Programmer Analyst I Full Stack Developer works a fixed schedule but requires... $54,941 a year
From University of British Columbia - Tue, 16 May 2017 10:15:58 GMT - View all Kelowna jobs
Categories: Drupal

Website development: create a premium (paid) version of a tech news website - Upwork

WordPress Work From UpWork - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 09:26
The client is a european tech news website. Their website runs using Worpress. They have asked us to create a premium (paid version), much like NY Times and Financial Times website: some content is free, and some you need a subscription for. They also have a free weekly newsletter and a paid weekly newsletter. People can subscribe using credit card on the website.

This functionality was already partially built, and then the project was abandoned. It now needs to be finished.

The original specifications are attached to the job.

Steps to be done:
1/ Take the code and create a development server instance that works
2/ Test against the specifications how much works and how much doesn't
3/ Come up with an implementation plan

We'd like a developer or agency that can do this on an hourly basis. After the testing (step 2), we'll want an estimate on how much time it will take. We need someone with PHP and Wordpress experience, and preferably also with Stripe payment.

Some general pointers:
- Please do not try to contact us outside Upwork.
- Respect the requirements.
- Be responsive - don't let us wait 24+ hours for a response.


Posted On: May 16, 2017 10:41 UTC
Category: Web, Mobile & Software Dev > Web Development
Skills: CSS3, JavaScript, PHP, WordPress
Country: Netherlands
click to apply
Categories: WordPress Maintenance

Wordpress Mobile Theme for AppStore - Upwork

WordPress Work From UpWork - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 08:56
I am looking for following:

1. I am looking for a mobile website, which has similar UI as NetFlix mobile App
2. It should be a proper Progressive Web App, with all the cacheing capabilities
3. The theme should be compatible with all the elements of :https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
I have listed all of them below
Leverage browser caching
Reduce server response time
Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content
Enable compression
Optimize images
Prioritize visible content
Minify CSS
Minify JavaScript

4. This will be a website for VIdeos, and should have same or similar interface as Netflix, user will see the list of videos on home screen, and then upon clicking on it, user should go inside the post/video and there should be some description of the video, and then there should be a Play Button below the big screenshot of the video.

5. The "Play" button will be configured to take user out side of our website. it should open in a new window.


Posted On: May 16, 2017 10:41 UTC
Category: Web, Mobile & Software Dev > Web Development
Skills: AngularJS, HTML5, jQuery, PHP, WordPress
Country: India
click to apply
Categories: WordPress Maintenance

Tim Millwood: Programmatically install Drupal 8 module

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 06:41
Programmatically install Drupal 8 module timmillwood Tue, 16/05/2017 - 07:41

There are times, often in tests or upgrade paths, where we want to programmatically install a module. Here's how:

\Drupal::service('module_installer')->install(['workspace']);

Tags drupal-planet drupal drupal 8 Add new comment
Categories: Drupal

Drupal Web Developer - Big White Ski Resort - Kelowna, BC

Drupal Jobs from Indeed - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 06:38
Experience building responsive websites using Drupal CMS, HTML/HTML5, CSS/CSS3, and JavaScript/jQuery....
From Big White Ski Resort - Tue, 16 May 2017 06:38:20 GMT - View all Kelowna jobs
Categories: Drupal

Agiledrop.com Blog: AGILEDROP: Third European Drupal Business Days with Agiledrop

News from Planet Drupal - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 04:52
In the last blog post, we revealed that our development team will be present at Drupal Heart Camp Zagreb. But that won't be the only Drupal Event, where Agiledrop will be present at the end of this week. Namely, Marko Bahor and Iztok Smolic (our Commercial and Operations directors) will attend European Drupal Business Days in Frankfurt. That means that you'll be able to talk to us in person in two different locations across Europe, practically at the same time. From 19th to 21st May up to ten of our team member will be in Zagreb. On the other hand, Marko and Iztok will travel a little… READ MORE
Categories: Drupal

Content review for sales purpose and SEO optimisation - Upwork

WordPress Work From UpWork - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 04:21
Compass Digital, a start-up offering digital solutions for the construction & oil and gas market. We are creating our website.

Here is the WordPress draft that will be professionally redesigned in the coming weeks (posted on another Upwork job) http://test.compass-digital.com

You can see 4 pages for the content. Including 1 blog (resources page).

We need help:

1. To review the text / make it more "commercial" / make people want to click on the "contact us" button.

2. Improve our SEO content / on-page / off-page / links. (Looking for a hands-on person, not only strategy)


Posted On: May 16, 2017 10:41 UTC
Category: Sales & Marketing > SEO - Search Engine Optimization
Country: Singapore
click to apply
Categories: WordPress Maintenance

Senior Software Developer - Gossamer Threads - Vancouver, BC

Drupal Jobs from Indeed - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 01:05
Drupal an asset. Supervise and direct junior software developers on projects to which you are assigned. We are looking for a Senior Software Developer to write,...
From Gossamer Threads - Tue, 16 May 2017 01:05:06 GMT - View all Vancouver jobs
Categories: Drupal