Aztek Blog
Aztek is a web design, web application development, and digital marketing agency in Cleveland, Ohio who blogs about those very same topics.

6 Questions About Being an Intern at Aztek

There is an idea that every student's first step to having a great career is getting an internship. But what does it mean to go from a college classroom to the real world?

Image of college student holding books. What's it like working at Aztek vs. being a college student?

At Aztek, I have been able to experience the real life of a web developer and QA tester. I've learned that there is a significant difference, but totally in a good way.

Here are six questions you might have about my internship at Aztek, and how it compares to my classroom experience.

1. How competitive is Aztek’s environment?

In my computer science classes, it seems like there is an unspoken competitiveness among my peers. There is this hidden rule that if you help another student succeed (or show them how you reached a solution) then you'll lose the position of being the best programmer in the class.

Aztek maintains the opposite mindset. Their teamwork shows through on the projects they develop and improve for each client. It's clear that working together with honest dialogue is what makes this company such a success. For example, in a design critique a developer can get feedback on their work from a cross-discipline team (web design, web development, and marketing). This feedback helps to improve their work and brings to light solutions or ideas they not have thought of.

Aztek believes in collaboration over competition.

Image of Aztek employees working together on .NET code

2. What were you concerned about before starting your internship?

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5 New Features of JavaScript (ES2015)

[Warning: technical blog ahead]
If you're not a developer, this post might be a little confusing. We share lots of technical details, but feel free to read through or send this to your favorite developer at your company.

Image of javascript. Learn more about ES2015.

ES2015 is ES6 – ES6 is ES2015

Before we get started I want to clear up any ES2015-ES6 confusion. For consistency, I’m only going to be talking about ES2015 as we go from here. It is three more keys to type, but you'll have to trust me that it makes sense. ES2015 (ECMAScript 2015) is the newest version of the ECMAScript standard, and is a significant update, the first major one since ES5 in 2009. Thankfully, the industry is moving away from an index version 6, to a year 2015, with hopes of updating the standard annually.

This update provides some cool stuff out of the box that we’ve all used in other frameworks and through design patterns. I picked out five new features that I can see being the most applicable to the everyday developer. I recommend that you start playing with these today.

1. Variety of Variables

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Behind the Scenes @Aztek: Helpful meetings and ceremonies

At Aztek, we spend most of our days building awesome, super-fast websites for our clients. But to stay at the top of our game, we have various ceremonies that enhance our skills and knowledge.

For those of you who think your web design agency simply hammers out code all day, here are few other things that your team does to bring you the best websites in C-town.

Daily Standup

Image of aztek stand up meeting a holistic web development company in Cleveland Ohio

What it is:

A short meeting (less than 10-15 minutes) to begin the day. Everyone stands in a circle let's the team know:

  • What they did yesterday
  • What they plan to accomplish today
  • What's in their way (blockers)

Standing keeps the meeting short, and we toss a ball to indicate who is speaking (if you have the ball, everyone else should be listening to you).

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Card-Based Design: A Winning Pattern

Grouping related information into a single container can be extremely useful on the web and off. Card-based design takes this simple idea and strategically applies it to the web, and particularly to mobile design.

example of card based design

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Content is King, Structure is Parliament

Okay, the web isn't a constitutional monarchy, but go with me.

Back in 1996, Bill Gates declared that "Content is King," and that's been a mainstay of web design strategy for the past two decades. However, like a king can be a tyrant and run roughshod over a country without anyone to check his power, sprawling and unstructured content can hurt your website if it doesn't have structure (and a good editor, but that's another article).

Content is King, but structure is Parliament, keeping the content in line and making sure it does what is best for your audience and your business.

“Design your system to serve your content, not the other way around.” — Jeffrey Zeldman

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Compatible Cultures - Tips to hire the right web design agency for your company

Culture is a word that is simultaneously over-used by companies (especially tech companies), and over-looked when choosing business partners (like your web design agency). Even if all other things are equal, having a compatible culture with your web agency can be the difference between the success and failure of your project.

Culture mismatches - What can go wrong?

At the beginning of a project, everything is fine...great even. You're both in that "honeymoon" phase. Everyone on both sides of the project is excited about all the new and wonderful things you are going to build together. Unless you aren't a cultural match. Then things go south pretty fast. Communication is difficult. Your processes and workflow styles don't mesh well. They just aren't "getting it" (and behind closed doors, they're saying the same thing about you). After a few weeks, the project implodes and nobody wants to finish it...at least not with each other.

Yikes. And this may have nothing to do with anyone's competence or motivation level. You're just not a good fit for one another. So how do you avoid this project destroying fate?

First off, what is "culture" exactly?

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StirTrek 2016 was awesome and you should feel bad that you didn't go

There's hardly a better use for an empty movie theater complex during the day than packing a couple thousand developers and designers in for some serious learning. Sure, this is the only place in the Universe where the line for the men's room is out into the hallways (and the Ladies' room is clear), but it's well worth it. This was our third year attending Stir Trek, and this one of those core "must-attend" conferences each year for our team.

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6 Ways To Step Up Your E-Commerce Game

There are many reasons to love giant e-commerce retailer Amazon and the shopping experience they provide.

On Amazon you can:

  • Find what you want
  • View products before purchasing
  • Get reasonable / competitive prices (usually)
  • Check out in one click
  • Expect quick delivery, typically 2 to 3 days
  • Get free shipping with Prime

While you probably won't receive as much traffic or sales as Amazon, we'll share six ways you can increase your revenue by enhancing your e-commerce presence.

via GIPHY

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How Basketball Explains Attribution Modeling

Is Your Website Helping Your Business?

Finding ways to increase conversion rates online is a top priority for many businesses. Whether it's driving new leads, selling products online, or having someone sign up for a newsletter, we're big fans of the marketing channels that generate the highest number of conversions.

When a customer completes an action that you've defined as valuable, these customer actions are called conversions. - Google AdWords Help

But what do you do with those channels that struggle to meet your conversion goals? Are they necessarily a bad thing? These questions can be better answered using a powerful tool called, "attribution modeling."

To better explain this concept, I'm using the help of a favorite pastime of mine... sports!

Image of a basketball hoop. Find out more about how basketball can help explain attribution modeling.

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Three Reasons Designers Will Like Umbraco

Why Umbraco?

We’ve been using Umbraco as Aztek's content management system (CMS) of choice for over a year — and not just because it’s free and open source. It's also created opportunities for our front-end developers that used to require the resources of our back-end devs. Thanks to Umbraco we’re able to offer more custom functionality, a better user experience, and a quicker turnaround time for the client.

Do-It-All Designers

At Aztek our designers are more like front-end developers and graphic designers. We go from Photoshop to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You might be more of a visual designer who only uses Photoshop, or maybe you're a designer who also does some front-end development. Either way, these tips show you the power you'll have as a designer using the Umbraco content management system.

Image of designer muscles. With Umbraco designers can learn code quickly to expand their capabilities.

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