Oh, the Internet. It's a place full of hilarious memes, amazing YouTube videos and really long articles that no one has time to read. Have I lost you yet? No?
Let me introduce myself. My name is Evan Skorepa. I’m a high school senior, and currently an intern at Aztek.
Next year I’ll be studying Interactive and Social Media at DePaul University and I wanted to get some exposure to the web/technology industry before heading off to school in the fall.
Search and Skim
I grew up with the Internet, and it has affected the way I search for and acquire information. I'm used to having hundreds of search results at my fingertips in seconds without having to step foot in a library. Even when I go to the library, I search Google instead of searching a library catalog (@ Google Scholar).
Looking for a job as a .NET developer?
So was I about a year ago. Same thing with Alex Yosa. We're here to give you an idea of what it was like during our first year working at Aztek. Apologies in advance for the non-techy audience; we talk about programming languages and other terms you might not be familiar with. And there definitely aren't enough cat references.
TL;DR: Two of our web developers share highlights and challenges from their first year at Aztek.
The other day, I was thinking about a conversation I had with one of our newer web marketing clients. I was disappointed because the client wanted to stop their web marketing efforts...just as the site was about to start generating serious revenue.
Then, and maybe because the dark humor of Monty Python always cheers me up, I started thinking about a scene from The Holy Grail. Specifically, this one:
Note: This video is slightly NSFW. If you have YouTube safety mode on, you can change your safety mode settings by following these instructions
If you choose not to watch, here's some background: The movie takes place during the reign of King Arthur. The scene involves a son carrying his older (but still fully alive) father over his shoulder as the town Dead Collector walks by collecting bodies during the latest plague. The son convinces the Dead Collector to "get rid" of the father, even though the father feels fine and wants to live.
“So just make it up!”
That’s the advice it seemed everyone had for me as I approached my first conference presentation at Stir Trek (a one-day conference focused on software development and new technologies) and had to turn a 15-second abstract into a one-hour talk.
To be fair to “everyone,” I was giving a talk on using improv skills to improve communication, and I have a performance background in improvisation, so it wasn’t just being cruel. However, after the thirteenth person, the cleverness rubbed off.
Last week the Aztek team attended the Stir Trek conference in Columbus, Ohio. Among the many great talks Chris Love’s “10 Things to Make Your Site Faster” presentation stuck out and got us thinking we should share a few of the ideas we use when designing websites and applications.
So, Why Does Speed Matter?
It’s true— there was a private screening of the new Avengers movie on opening night. But we went to Columbus to hang out in movie theaters for an even more compelling reason, our second year at Stir Trek!
Stir Trek is a one-day conference in Columbus, Ohio focused on teaching software developers the best in new technologies, techniques, and tools. Last year we came back with tons of inspirational ideas and helpful tips. And this year didn’t disappoint.
TL;DR: Another year of great sessions, but one of our favorites was by our colleague, Mike Hagesfeld, about how improv comedy can improve your communication skills and help your career.
Some of Our Favorite Sessions
Or get all the slides and code examples from Github.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you probably already knew that more and more people are browsing the web from smartphones and tablets. What you may not have realized is that mobile internet usage - both in terms of total users and time spent - now exceeds PC internet usage.
So it comes as no surprise that Google recently announced that mobile-friendly websites will get a rankings boost for searches on mobile devices starting on April 21, 2015.
How Does this Impact My Business?
If you ever hire a web designer (firm or freelancer), you will need to give them the image and graphic assets to use in your design. And if you are not a designer yourself, you may be a little unsure about what formats and sizes to give them. Here're a few simple guidelines to help you give them what they need.
Our team had the recent good fortune to attend "Agile Explained" on the very cool boat/office of the good folks @LeanDog
The two-day course is a fire-hose of information about the agile process and will leave you exhausted with your head spinning; but in the best way possible. Our team left positively buzzing with all the ideas we want to learn more about and implement into our own workflow.
Problem: Vague or Generic Goals
Many of the organizations I talk with on a daily basis say they want to “improve things.” Of course. That’s always the goal.
But how exactly do you plan to "improve things?" Do you have measurable attributes associated with your improvements? And how does the Web play into those goals? In order for goals to be meaningful, they should include what specifically needs to be done and in what amount of time.
Solution: SMART Goals
I know, I know. You’ve probably heard this term before. And for many of you this isn't going to be anything earth shattering. However, this is one of those things that everyone knows about but is rarely implemented.
What are SMART Goals?